About Me

My photo
My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friends and Foes ... Listen Up

You all know I have recently become hooked on skydiving ... and if you know me then you know I'm always trying to find a way to combine the things I love with the things I'm passionate about - namely Pine Ridge. So ... I'm going to jump for charity! When donations to Backpacks For Pine Ridge reach $500 I will jump out of a plane (with a parachute). You have to go to the link below and donate in order for it to count toward the jump. You can however, always donate directly to Backpacks For Pine Ridge on our web site - it just won't count toward the jump. Either way is fine with me because either way the kids on the Rez win.

So, if you're my friend, this is a good opportunity for you to donate a few dollars and help the kids at Pine Ridge and allow me to do something I love. And if you're my enemy ... well ... donate to help the kids and know that I'll be jumping out of a plane.

Just follow the link below (or on the sidebar) and watch the altimeter go up as donations go up. Oh and if you're like me and love to skydive or have ever wanted to give it a try, you can sign up too and get your own altimeter going. Just be sure to click on Backpacks For Pine Ridge as the charity you want to jump for when you sign up.

Visit My Donation Page! Click Here

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The SCARY Thing About Halloween

I love Halloween. I know, in some of the more legalistic Christian circles, that's not a popular thing to say, but I'm not legalistic so I'll say what I want and I happen to love Halloween. I am well aware of the evil behind its origins and all that stuff that some people like to bring up but I'm also completely aware of the fact that dressing up and having a party and eating candy and taking kids trick-or-treating is not about anything evil. Enough of that.

As I was saying, I love Halloween. I love the crisp weather. I love the beautiful leaves. I love dressing up in silly costumes. I love the parties. I used to love taking my kids trick-or-treating (I really miss that), and I love the candy. I even love the spooky old movies that are more silly than spooky. But you know what's really scary about Halloween this year? The price of candy! Is it me or is the price of Halloween candy higher this year? I just got back from Walmart and wow ... candy prices seem to be higher than usual.

Tomorrow night is the party at church for all the kids. We all bring candy for around 120 kids. Since I'm of the mind set that there is no such thing as too much candy and since I'd rather not have to tell some little kid that I ran out, I buy for around 150. If there's some left over. Not a problem. I know how to take care of that. I also buy enough candy for both me and Brian to give it out to the kids so I usually buy around 300 fun sized candy bars. And I like to buy the good stuff. Who wants a bag full of junk Halloween candy, right? Normally I buy Reeses and M&M's. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I saw that a bag of Reeses was $5 this year and only has 25 bars in it! That would add up pretty quickly. I could have easily spent $65 on candy. So, I still bought decent candy (Nestle, Payday, etc.) and I still bought enough for both of us to give out but there will be no Reeses or M&M's in the mix this year. Bummer.
BTW, are those two little guys not the CUTEST kids ever?? Never mind answering, I know they are. They're mine. :)

Goin' to the Dogs

Poor Gunner had a really bad day last Tuesday. He got neutered. Since then he's been pretty much zonked out on pain meds. When he's not sleeping off a buzz he's peeing and pooping all over the house. Doesn't matter how many times we take him out, he still manages to make a mess in the house. Just this morning he went out and peed 4 times only to come back in the house and pee 2 huge lakes of urine in the house ... and then poop. I can't get mad at him. I mean, look at him. He's pitiful. So I grab a towel and mop it up. Now I'm going broke buying laundry detergent and can't get my usual laundry done because the pee towels are always in the wash. Oh and the floors ... well, let's just say its a good thing we're replacing the flooring until he's over this.

And then there's Taser, our beautiful and very girly girl German Shepherd. She's been outside playing while Gunner stays inside and gets pampered. Neither of them are happy with this arrangement. She wants to be inside and he wants to be outside so they sit on either side of the patio door and cry at each other. And I have a hunch that Taser, although she's not the brightest dog in the world, has figured out that Gunner is getting pampered because he's "hurt" so she's taken to limping. There seems to be nothing really wrong with her paw - no abnormality, no cut, no sticker stuck in it, but she's limping anyway. It could be she sprained it. Or it could be that she's faking it to get attention. Actually, as I type this, she's standing perfectly fine on the back deck barking at a squirrel. I'm going with the idea that she's faking it.


For those of you not on Facebook or keeping up with this in other ways, I posted all the wild and wonderful things that happened this year here. And that doesn't even take into account the trip to PR or my personal life! Crazy...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Happen to Know Some Really COOL People

This afternoon we packed food for Kids Against Hunger that our group will take to Haiti next October when they go over to the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. All in all, we packed 21,000 meals! I've been to Haiti and helped distribute food to the people who are literally starving there ... its one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. What can I say ... once you've done that, its just not something you forget. Ever. It was good today to be able to be a small part of that again.

It was good too to see Bill back from D.C. Back from the WHITE HOUSE no less. I didn't get to see his award but did get to talk to him about his time there and he passed on this article that appeared in the LA Times about it. Very cool stuff.
And this weekend I missed out on something I wish I could have been a part of. It wasn't my 30th HS reunion but it was something close - a gathering of old friends from my hometown. I've known these folks for ... well, for all my life. I hope they don't mind that I snagged one of the pics from Facebook. Looks like they all had a great time. These are good people. People I should have gone back and hung out with.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This and That

Just some things going on at our house ...

Two weeks from today Logan leaves for Basic Training. I dread it. He's started boxing up all of his stuff and preparing to move out. I don't mind so much the moving out part, but I sure wish it were under different circumstances. When our oldest moved out it was because he got married. Although I knew I'd miss him and knew our relationship would change, it was still a happy occasion. This one, not so much. I SO wish he were moving out because he was going to college, or getting married, or just getting a job and could support himself. Anything but the military. Not being able to talk to him for several weeks will be tough. No phone calls, no text, no Facebook. What's a mom to do? Accept it I guess. And then get busy rebuilding his bathroom. :)

Cody and Allison had another sonogram yesterday and saw the twins. We still don't know if they are boys or girls or one of each. What we do know is that they are healthy. One was jumping all over the place and the other kept swatting him/her as if to say, "knock it off I'm trying to sleep". Maybe by Dec. we'll know if we're shopping for pink or blue.

Tomorrow Gunner, our mutt that moved into the backyard and decided to stay is going to have a really bad day. He's getting neutered. Poor baby. Its a good thing dogs don't know all this ahead of time or he would be a mess. Its also a good thing I don't have to watch his panic tomorrow (at last not for long) or I'd be a mess too. By this time tomorrow he'll be back home and wondering what happened to him. No doubt he'll get lots of love and attention and babying. That's pretty much standard fare for him anyway.

My friend Vicki is home from the hospital. I made dinner for them tonight and had Brian drop it off. No one was at home so he left it on the porch. I hope a dog or cat doesn't get into it. I wonder where she was? Earlier today I heard that she was in a LOT of pain so I hope she didn't have to make a run back to the hospital.

My tooth is messed up. Three weeks ago I went in to have a broken tooth fixed. They had trouble getting me numb. After two tries of the strongest stuff they have I was numb enough that I didn't both to tell them I could still feel it when they drilled. At that point I just wanted it over with. Well don't ya know ... it also seems the gold crown I've had on it now has some decay under it. Last week I went in to have the old crown removed and a temporary one put on. It is driving me CRAZY! It feels like a wad of gum stuck over my tooth. Except that now it feels like its sliding over my tooth. Yeah, I'm pretty sure part of the tooth is now exposed. I think that's a bad thing. I'm supposed to get the permanent one on next Tues. I'm debating whether to wait till Tuesday or call them tomorrow. I'm SO tired of the dentist.

Tomorrow's another day ... still wrapping up some Rezonate stuff and dropping off some things to The Community Foundation.... and maybe calling the dentist. Life goes on ...

*Pictured: Logan (top), Vicki giving me a "victory hug" after I landed (bottom). I'd say we looked so "top gun" but I don't think the top gun guys hugged too much.

Wordless Wednesday: from my trip to Hocking Hills Yesterday

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Ugly Truth

Click here

I don't think much else needs to be said

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spring Grove Cemetery Photos

I spent the day at Spring Grove Cemetery today and took my camera along to see what I could find.

a creepy looking tree ... not sure what the story is there but there has to be one

another creepy tree ... sorta reminds me of the tree the headless horseman lived in (Sleepy Hollow)

i Heart Faces Pink Week

When I saw that iHeartFaces.com is having "Pine Week" in support of breast cancer awareness I had to submit this pic of the first part of "Team Vicki". Those who read here regularly already know that 2 years ago Vicki was diagnosed with stage 5 breast cancer. She's been kicking cancer's butt ever since. This past week she underwent more surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and is coming home today! Before she went in for this past surgery 6 of us went skydiving with her to support her and to just have some fun. It was a blast! So here is my submission for the iHeartFaces Pink Week! Vicki is the one in the middle with the big smile. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fat Chance!

I shouldn't even respond to this because its so ludicrous that the only response it deserves is to ignore it, but this touches a real hot button for me and there's been a LOT of this nonsense in the media lately ... so I guess I just have to say something about it.

I thought we were making progress. I thought maybe, just maybe women were starting to get a positive message about embracing who they were and being "real". Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty has done a wonderful job of encouraging women to shake off the crazy-making messages the media has doled out for so long and accept and even celebrate who they are and how they look. I thought maybe the insanity was slowing down a bit.

Until this week.

This week I've heard of three different incidents that send a very damaging message to women
1. Jessica Simpson was blasted on Fox Sports for being too "fat". Apparently the writers thought that no man would ever want to be with someone who looked so fat. Oh yeah, right. I'm sure of that. I'm betting the writers were a bunch of idiots who couldn't get a date with someone who looked remotely as good as Jessica. I may not be her biggest fan but listen, the girl is NOT fat. Not by a long shot. What was Fox Sports thinking?? To top it all off, the spot was sponsored by of all places, Burger King.

2. Ralph Lauren fired Filippa Hamilton who has been their model since 2002 because she was "too fat" at 5'10 and 120 pounds. This was after a recent ad was released with an image of her that is so altered that she looks like a freak. I mean really, her head looks HUGE in this pic. Is that supposed to be "pretty"?
3. And then there's the most ludicrous of all. It seems that Barbie (who I hate by the way) is not even immune from accusations of being too fat. According to French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, Barbie's ankles are too fat. Somebody help her quick! We can't have a Barbie doll running around with fat ankles. Maybe she needs plastic surgery. I guess some people will do anything to get their name out there. Did he really expect women to go running out to buy his shoes if Barbie is too fat for them?? Seems like somebody is too stupid for his own good.
Now most of us can read this and know that its SO absurd that we pass it off as just that and pay no more attention to it. But the thing that concerns me is that there are a lot of young girls who are still forming their identity who hear this and are affected on some level by it.
I have done my share of fighting off the insane notion that you have to fit society's standards of "beauty" to be acceptable. I am grateful to be free of it. The scars will be there forever though. I had hoped that one of the benefits of recovery would be that I would get to a place where I could accept the way I look. Not like the way I looked - I knew that was impossible, but I had hoped to be able to accept it. It never happened. What I did accept was that it just wasn't that important. Truth be told, there isn't a day that goes by that it doesn't affect me. But it no longer controls me. This is my life and I alone am responsible for it. I no longer have to starve myself into somebody else's idea of what I should look like. I like my freedom too much to allow somebody else to determine what I do or don't do.

So ladies, I think the response to the designers and corporations who promote such insane standards should be - if you think we're buying your bull crap or your products anymore - fat chance!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

39 Years is a Long Time to Wait

The thing about a hero is - they never talk about the heroic things they've done. You might sit next to them in church for years and never know. Most of them balk at the term "hero" and yet, the dictionary defines a hero as someone distinguished by their exceptional courage, nobility and strength.

39 years ago, one of our own at Winton Rd., William Sizemore, was a part of an extraordinary group of men who displayed exceptional courage.

It was March 26, 1970 in Vietnam and they were part of the Alpha Troop or "A Troop". They had been awake for 2 days and had just suffered a horrible accidental ammunition explosion that killed several of their men when they heard the cries for help. An airborne unit, the Charlie Company, was surrounded by the Vietnamese in the dense jungle. The conditions made it impossible for a helicopter to get them out. Running out of ammunition the Charlie Company was sure to be overrun, killed or taken hostage.

The decision was made that Alpha Troop would volunteer a rescue attempt. And that they did. Amidst attack from the enemy they were able to load the wounded and evacuate Charlie Company. Because of this decision around 100 lives were saved.

To go in and make a rescue attempt like that is incredible. It is even more so considering what Alpha Troop had just gone through previous to the rescue. What happened next is also incredible.

Shortly after their heroic action, Alpha Troop joined in the invasion of Cambodia and their story was all but forgotten. One of the men from Alpha Troop was told that "no such battle happened". For 39 years these brave heroes have gone unrewarded and unrecognized. But no longer.

Next Tuesday, Oct. 20th the remaining members of Alpha Troop will travel to the White House to receive the highest honor bestowed upon a military unit - the Presidential Citation. Hopefully President Obama will be there to give the awared in person. For anybody who's like me and wants to watch - it will be televised on CNN and FOX around 11:45.

The Alpha Troop's former commander, John Poindexter has written a book about the events of that day called The Anonymous Battle.

You also can read more about this on The Alpha Troop web site, or see the NY Times article here, or read the account of one of the men of Charlie Company here. These sites are very worth your time to read.

Bill, we are rejoicing with you and your fellow soldiers as you finally receive the recognition you deserve. We are SO SO SO proud of you and grateful for your service to our country.

* Pictured above: From left, John Poindexter, Stanley Carter, Fred Pimental, William Sizemore, Ray R. Moreno and Angel Pagan.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ya Never Can Tell

Ya just never can tell what Blasé is going to say next. Imagine how surprised I was to log into Bloglines and see this post on his blog. Ha! For those of you who know me, you'll get a kick out of it. Thanks buddy. You're too kind. Kelly, if you're reading here I'm thinking we need to get that 7:30 pm on Thursday prayer thing going. ;)

If you haven't checked out his blog, then what are ya waiting for? He's got a whole bunch of followers - mostly women. LOL

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Dare Ya!

Barbara had this interesting post titled "What Do You Want to do Before You Die" on her blog yesterday. The link she provided is pretty interesting. I've been asked this same question or some form of it a few times recently - probably because I went skydiving. :] But ya know, I don't really have a "bucket list" so to speak. And no, I'm not in a mid-life crisis. I may be in mid-life but I'm not finding it to be a crisis at all. I'm not just "conquering fears" fears either although that has been a part of it.

Let me explain...

I kinda feel like you've got to die before you can live. And I feel like the old me died a while back and I'm just beginning to really live my life. Before fear of what people would think about me pretty much determined what I did or didn't do. Through the recovery process I learned that this is MY life and that I and I alone am responsible for it. What other people think about me is really none of my business. I will answer to God for the way I've spent my time here and they'll answer for theirs.

See, its not the "death-defying" acts like skydiving that require great courage and faith, its the daily task of getting out of bed and facing the day that takes guts. I no longer have to starve myself to death to conform to someone's opinion of what I should look like. And I no longer behave in ways that conform to someone else's idea of how I should behave. In a word, I'm FREE.

Life took a new and exciting turn back then. Life has never been better. Seriously, I could write a book about all the crazy things that have happened since I started living. Shake off all the man-made restraints and follow God and you'll be amazed at who and what crosses your path. Try it. I dare ya!

*For the record, I am afraid of heights but skydiving is not as much about heights as you might think. With no point of reference you don't have the sensation of being up high. I was just as afraid of leading my first group to the Rez as I was jumping out of a plane on Saturday. Really. The level of fear was exactly the same. Both things still scare me but hey, its just fear.

Today's the Day

skydiving 065
Originally uploaded by ABuriff
This is the first round of "Team Vicki", a bunch of us who went skydiving to support Vicki (the one in the middle) in her fight against breast cancer. Today she is back in surgery. It will be a very LONG surgery and then they hope to keep her asleep until late Tuesday to help with the pain. Keep her and her husband in your prayers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The First Step You Take is the Longest Stride

Well its been a little over 24 hours since I took the big jump and I have to say that I do feel different. I'm not sure what that might be and suppose its too early to tell, but it does seem that jumping out of a plane changes you in some way. Would I do it again? Yeah, today if I could. I loved it! Was it scary? Oh my ... YES!! Scary doesn't begin to describe it. That first jump out of the plane is a heart-stopping moment to be sure. But as with most things, the fear is a small price to pay for the reward of the experience. I'm not sure what if anything, can be learned from this experience, but I'm kicking around some thoughts about it and will post something when I figure it out. For now, let me walk you through my experience ...

Climbing into the plane was different. The floor seemed slippery and I couldn't get my footing very well and wondered if I would be able to stand up to jump out. There were two benches that sat very close to the floor of the plane and we sat single-file, straddling the bench between the legs of the guy we were jumping with so he could fasten us to him during the flight. I was right beside the door since I was the first tandem jumper out of the plane. The camera guys were in front of me since they jump out first and hang onto the plane to get pics of you jumping. Those guys are SKILLED. Jason, the guy I jumped with, handed me seat belt which I thought was odd since we were jumping out ... I don't remember ever doing anything with it. The plane climbed to around 12,500 feet and then the door opened.

I think I said, "Well that's a little unnerving". The next thing I knew the camera guys were jumping, it seemed all at once and one head-first. "OH MY ........" It looked almost like they had been sucked out. Incredible!

Then I hear Jason say, "Let's get into position". I don't remember standing up. I'm still not sure if I stood up or if he picked me up. I'm just not sure what happened but I was suddenly aware that I was standing in what seemed like the open doorway of the plane. I knew I was supposed to have my toes hanging over the doorway so I did look down to check to make sure. As I did that I heard Jason say, "One ... Two..." We never made it to Three. Suddenly we were hurdling through the sky at an unbelievable speed. I've heard someone say that we drop at a rate of 200 mph during the free fall. I don't know. I do know that I couldn't catch my breath. I kept thinking "BREATH! BREATH!" I tried breathing with my mouth open and well ... that was a really bad idea. Jason had told us to keep out chin up so the camera guy could get pictures. It took everything I had to do that because I was in shock and couldn't THINK of what I was supposed to do. Besides, I was just trying to BREATH and thinking was impossible with the ROAR of the wind in my ears.

I had been given a little watch like thing that indicated our altitude and was instructed to look at it and at 5000 ft we would pull the cord to the chute. I'm not sure how anybody can think about that. I was just ... stunned. Jason had said at one point he would take my hand and place it on the ball and let me pull the chute but that never happened. That is fine by me.

Jason pulled the chute and my world rocketed in another direction in the span of a heartbeat. At one moment I was heading 200 mph through the sky and the next moment I was being jerked as hard as I could be in the opposite direction. That was rough. I was sure the harness would be embedded at least 3 inches into my body.

Then ... it was silent.

And awesome.

And beautiful.

And peaceful.

We seemed to just hang in mid-air with the beauty of the fall colors below and the clear sky all around. My family and friends were below and I know that at least Brian was really stressed out and worried. I think if heaven is above us somewhere it must be a lot like that. Just really AWESOME and CALM ... no fear... no noise... just beauty and peace. A sharp contrast to the hectic pace of a few moments before.

Just before landing we did some funky twists and turns and then slid in for a soft landing to the cheers of family and friends.

It was over way too quickly. I wanna do it again!

If you ever get the chance - go for it. Take the words of the Nickleback song to heart and DO IT!

My best friend gave me the best advice.
He said each days a gift and not a given right
So leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That fist step you take is the longest stride

So go live like you'll never live it twice

Here's a link where you can watch the video of my jump. You'll have to type in your zip code.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Skydiving Pics

Skydiving was amazing. The jump out of the plane was definitely a heart-stopping moment and the freefall at a speed of 200 mph through the sky was simply overwhelming. The ride down is beautiful and peaceful as you glide through the air. Then you land and have some of the best people in the world there to cheer for you. Amazing. If you ever get the chance don't ever let the fear stop you from jumping.

Real Women ROCK

Love this!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Pink Parachutes

There weren't any pink parachutes today, but there should have been. Today three of my friends took the big jump and went skydiving for the first time. I went to watch and cheer them on. The original plan was for all six of us to jump yesterday but the weather wouldn't cooperate ... so ... three went today and the rest of us will go next Saturday morning.
Why on earth would we do this? Well, lots of reasons. I for one have always wanted to go skydiving but recently had a good reason to go do it. My friend Vicki is a pretty good reason.
Vicki is one amazing lady. She's smart. She's funny. She's courageous. And she's not the least bit self-centered. It wasn't all that long ago that Vicki got the bad news that she had breast cancer. And to make matters worse, the cancer was pretty advanced. In fact, if memory serves me right, she was told that it was as bad as it could be - that if there were a stage 6, she would be stage 6. Since then she has fought hard and is kicking some serious cancer butt.
You know, as I type this, I can't recall a single time when I've heard her complain. Chemo is NASTY stuff. Really nasty. I find it completely amazing that she hasn't made it known far and wide how awful she feels. She's been honest and has said when she didn't feel well but you really have to ask her about it - she doesn't complain. I don't remember a time when she's done anything at all to draw attention to herself or to gain sympathy from others. She just does what she has to do to take care of herself and she does it with an amazing sense of humor. I know that last year she was one of the first to sign up to volunteer at REZonte in spite of all she was going through herself - figures that the last person you would expect to come out and volunteer would be one of the first. But Vicki's like that. Nothing much stops this lady. When we first talked about going skydiving she said she wanted to go if she wasn't sick. Then she quickly added, "Oh I'll go even if I am sick. I'll just take my puke bag and go". Watching her go through this with the attitude she has just makes me sit back and say, WOW.
On Oct. 12th she'll go back in for more surgery. Before she went back, she wanted to skydive and so a few of us decided to jump with her. My only regret is that we all couldn't do it together. Here's some pics from this morning. As you look at them, send up a prayer for Vicki!

Bev and Vicki suiting up!

Sherri suiting up

Ya gotta have attitude to gain altitude!

Never read the back of the jump suit before you jump!

And there they go ...

Vicki landing

Sherri and Vicki after the jump