About Me

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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.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Day I Hoped Would Never Come

We made the decision to put Jazz down today. We were all set to do it on Monday but, then, she started acting OK and there was the little bit of doubt that it was time. She is 17 years old, skin and bones despite a hearty appetite and can barely get around on her own anymore. I think she's generally pretty miserable. The other night in the middle of the night she had to go out to go to the bathroom. It was sleeting and there was several inches of snow on the ground. She fell and couldn't get up. I had to go out and pick her up and carry her in. I know this is for the best, but I hate it. Years ago we had to put another dog down and I decided then I never ever wanted to do that again. I had really hoped she would just die peacefully hear at home but I suppose that's being selfish. Jazz was a good dog. She was the dog my kids grew up with. She was obedient and sweet and never did much of anything wrong except to beg for food. Ironically, that was her last act this morning. I know its best but it feels so awful.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Dogs

We've got snow ... and ICE. The dogs are loving it. Us, not so much. Its pretty but traveling in it is a challenge to say the least. My son's employer is determined to stay open today so Logan has left with my Jeep for work. There is a significant amount of ice accumulating on the electrical lines and some in the area are already without electricity. I'm hoping ours stays on. I'd hate to have to go through what we did last fall after the "hurricane" we had here in Ohio. Just in case, I'm doing laundry and baking cookies and using electricity while we have it. :)

Here's some pics of Gunner and Taser playing with a frozen sock. Gunner is small and get get into places Taser can't. Taser being the ultimate "girl" just stands and barks a pouty little bark when she can't get the sock away from Gunner.

Monday, January 26, 2009

For Today

We were all set to put Jazz, our 17 year old dog down today. She's pretty pitiful. She is skin and bones and gets weaker all the time. Yesterday she couldn't even get up by herself. It was time to do the thing we've been putting off. But today I swear she knew it was coming and is getting up on her own and walking around as usual. It may just be her last big spurt of energy before she dies but at least for today she has a stay of execution.

Gunner is being a sweet, loving dog who is nurturing her. Taser would rather attack her so we're keeping them separated which means Taser is doing a lot of crate time when she's not outside.

Me, I need a vacation. I'm so tired. Tired of crazy people who do whatever they want despite consequences. Tired of dying dogs and trying to decide what is best for her vs what is best for us. And tired of trying to pull together sponsors and bands for REZonate and plan a trip to the rez. SO glad I have a good team, but for now the bulk of the work is on me since I book the bands and get (or try to get) sponsors for REZonate.

We're due for a big snow/ice storm tonight. I'm hoping for several inches of snow. It won't make much difference since I work from home but it might be fun to go make snow angels and act like a kid for a while.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just a Dog Story

Everyone knows Gunner, the spunky stray that moved in and took over our home last summer. Well, he's definitely got "personality" and is always into .... something.

A couple of nights ago Brian went upstairs to take a bath, and of course, Gunner followed. We have a board across the bottom of the stairs to keep the dogs downstairs but that means nothing to Gunner. He just jumps over it and goes on his merry way oblivious to the fact that the board is meant to keep him out of the upstairs. So he followed Brian upstairs and watched him turn the water on and then to into his office for a few minutes while the tub filled with water. After a few minutes I heard Brian yelling, "AMBER, COME HERE". Wondering what in the world could be so upsetting I ran upstairs to find Brian laughing. Apparently while Brian was in his office and not looking, Gunner jumped into the tub. He then tracked water all over the bathroom and bedroom and was laying in the middle of the bed with a guilty look on his face.

Yep, that's Gunner. Gotta love him.


Sometimes I wonder why there are people who will question everything you attempt to do. Why there are people who will make assumptions about you when they don't even know you ... have never met you .... or have never taken time to find out what you're really all about. But it happens. Its just a fact that I need to accept. And I do accept it, but it still frustrates me sometimes. Some examples ....

When some Native Americans assume that I am trying to save them (the great white hope) ... that I pity them and think I'm going to ride in on my white horse and save the day.

When some Native Americans assume that because I follow Christ that I'm like every other "Christian" they have met or heard about.

Basically they make assumptions about me because I'm white and a Christian.

I guess that's fair ... a lot of harm has been done by white Christians but I get tired of it being assumed that I'm like all the others when in fact I'm just as horrified as they are about what has been done. I do wish they would at least get to know me before jumping in with assumptions.

And then sometimes I sit and talk to white businessmen or I apply for grants and have to explain why what we're doing is a good thing. I know, I know, they have to make sure their dollars are not going to be misused, but for crying out loud, I'm simply giving school supplies to kids who live in poverty. Its not like they're going to misuse them. Its unlikely that some drug addict is going to sell a pack of crayons for drug money. I suppose that is possible, but I highly doubt it.

OK, as I said, I do get it. I accept that this is just the way the world works. but it seems so unnecessarily exhausting. Its just part of living in a world where evil exists. Its Thursday morning and I've already ran into both of these situations this week. Who knew giving kids school supplies could be so controversial.

As I've always said, some people will curse you and some will bless you regardless of what you do. I try not to pay attention to either. So I guess I'll just keep doing what I'm supposed to do and leave everybody to their own opinion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Freedom Of Choice???

I got the following from my daughter-in-law this morning. So much for "freedom of choice". Freedom for who??

I am writing today to share some information with you regarding legislation that may be passed early in this new year. I feel very concerned about the effects this law will have. Please read the information below and visit the website at the bottom to learn more. You can sign a petition against this legislation on the website. Please also send this along to friends and family.
Barack Obama is now the President, and he made a promise to Planned Parenthood last year they expect him to keep.

"The first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing I'd do."

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would eliminate every restriction on abortion nationwide.
FOCA will do away with state laws on parental involvement, on partial birth abortion, and on all other protections.

FOCA will compel taxpayer funding of abortions.

FOCA will force faith-based hospitals and health care facilities to perform abortions.

Fight FOCA Petition
I oppose the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), because:
FOCA is a radical attempt to enshrine abortion-on-demand into American law;
FOCA seeks to sweep aside existing, protective laws that I and the majority of Americans support;

FOCA will prevent states from enacting protective measures in the future.
The Fight FOCA petition will be sent to key Members of Congress upon the re-introduction of the Freedom of Choice Act in the 111th Congress, and to President-Elect Obama.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Give Me a Break

I need a break. Everything I've tried to do today has been a HASSLE. I mean really, how hard can any of the daily routine things be?? Pretty hard apparently.

I've spent the entire morning online TRYING to apply for a grant for Backpacks For Pine Ridge only to be met with every conceivable annoyance. Besides that, good old AOL keeps booting me. Gotta love AOL. Actually its worked fine for years but something is majorly screwed up with it now.

I wont even go on to talk about grocery shopping or my dogs who I'm about ready to give away to a good home.

In the middle of all of my hassles though I did manage to tune it and watch the Inauguration. I didn't vote for Obama, but I don't hate him. I don't think he's a terrorist or the anti-Christ, or any of the other outlandish accusations that have been slung about. I hope he does well. I like him. I don't like his stand on some things which is why I voted for someone I didn't really care for but that's another story and ancient history now. Frankly I find the world-wide frenzy surrounding him a bit scary, but I truly hope he is all everyone hopes for. I DO think its VERY COOL that we have elected a black man as President. That is pretty amazing and something to celebrate.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Night

Forgive the jumbled up ramble here. Its been a bit hard to get my thoughts together because I've been running in so many directions - kind of like this post. =)

There's something to be said for a Monday night date night. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" came out in theaters today and Brian and I have been wanting to see it, so we put our usual Monday night date off until tonight. Bad idea. We were surrounded by 8th graders. At least I'm guessing they were 8th graders. The movie was packed out with pre-teens and the young girls behind us talked non-stop. I mean like, they never stopped talking. It wasn't really annoying or anything but oh my gosh, do girls that age EVER stop talking? Wow, I'm even starting to write like they talk. I'm betting they talk in their sleep. The movie itself was pretty funny. Typical Kevin James, who I love, so it was enjoyable.

Dinner conversation was also interesting. We used a left over gift card to Captain D's to grab something to eat before the movie. Apparently they have a Friday night senior discount so dinner was quite a bit different than the movie - except for cell phones. Kids have cell phones, so do old people. And the older couple at the next table took a call and spoke rather loudly to whoever they were talking to. It seems that someone they know had a bowel obstruction and was given double enemas. Great. Just what I want to hear about at dinner. Then the couple behind us got a call. Thankfully he wasn't quite so loud but we did hear him ask to person calling if they were able to get their cow back in.

I did something else unusual today. I discovered a new band called 8 KOunt. I didn't actually "discover" them as in making them famous or anything, but I stumbled across their Myspace page and I was impressed. So impressed that I bought their CD on iTunes ... and emailed them about playing at Rezonate later this year (they're local). They seem interested. I'm glad. Tim I know you're shocked since I'm slow to pick up on new music but these guys really blew me away. Check 'em out. If you don't like ROCK, you won't like them but I do. Now the fact that I checked out some local music is strange enough but I'm starting to get a strange feeling here ... let me illustrate ....

REZonate '08 took place in 2009

8 Lives Spent played at the event and have overwhelmingly supportive.

Now 8 KOunt may play this year too.

And since we're trying to pull together a charity bike run to coincide with the event, we are going to try to get Aces and Eights Harley Davidson to be a sponsor.

Do you see a trend?

Very strange.

OK, now I've got to put this new CD on my iPod so I can listen to it loud .... Logan just yelled at me to turn it down.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Very strange. More than 20 years ago Brian and I were kicked out of a church in Alabama. Among the friends who came to help us pack and load up the U-Haul that day was a Nazarene minister. We had been friends with him for our short stay in Alabama .... long enough for me to know that he played guitar. As we packed I grabbed my guitar (yes I had a fairly nice one, much like the one in this pic), and handed it to him and told him it was now his. After all, I suck at anything musical and was doing both him and the guitar a favor.

Today he emailed Brian. Somehow, he managed to find our contact info and got in touch. It was great to hear from him. The guitar is still in his family. Funny he would mention that after all these years.

* For those of you wondering ... yes I took guitar lessons when I was a kid. I was horrible. Still am. I don't even remember the two chords I did know and I was really bad at those. Pity my poor dogs who were the only ones to hear me play.

Its Amazing Where a Youtube Video Will Take You

Today is a much slower day. In fact, I'm just sort of relaxing and trying to soak everything in. Saturday night when I was sitting at the Virginia Brewing Company watching everything unfold, I was struck by the complete absurdity of how things sometimes come to be. Never in my wildest would I have thought this up. This was nowhere near being on my "Things I Want To Do Before I Die" list. And yet, as I have said so many times, its amazing what happens when you let God run wild and don't put any restrictions on Him. And its always good. Some people may not understand or even agree with how I follow God but I have to follow Him the way I think He wants me to follow Him regardless of the opinions of others.

Today I am blessed, full, grateful, and amazed. And I'm ready to see where this wild ride will take me next. And I am so very grateful to have a husband who is supportive. I doubt that this was what he envisioned when he married me 25 years ago, but he has never ever wavered in his support. He didn't even blink an eye when I suggested a secular rock fest last year. And he seemed to fit right in at the Virginia Brewing Company Saturday night. I think that may have been his first time ever in a bar.

Crazy stuff. I am also very grateful for new friends in Winchester. Grateful and amazed. It was maybe a couple of years ago that I had posted a video about Pine Ridge on Youtube. I don't even remember which video it was, but I got a message from Brian Holt who introduced himself as the drummer for a rock band and asked for permission to post the video on their band's web site. Somehow we ended up emailing back and forth occasionally. Then while planning Rezonate '08 and booking bands, along came an email from him. I responded saying that it was strange to hear from on that particular day because I was in the process of contacting bands to play at the festival. I didn't think it would be possible for them to come up for it considering that we had no money and Winchester is a long way from Cincinnati. I mean really, who would pack up a band and equipment and travel that far for something that wasn't paying?? I couldn't even pay travel expenses for them. And yet, they came. They wouldn't even hear of me paying for their hotel rooms or gas. They were just happy to be involved. Crazy. In a world of mostly self-absorbed people, along comes a blue-collar rock band who is willing to go to extremes to give to help people they have never met.

And it didn't stop there ... next thing I knew Joe, their bass player emailed ... he had designed a bass guitar to be raffled off at another show and planned to give the proceeds to us. What on earth?!?! And as if that wasn't astounding enough, he then offered to design one for Rezonate.

They came, we took them to lunch, and at that lunch Brian Holt asked me what they needed most on the Rez. I said "heaters". I told him about the harsh winters and that the people heat with propane ... that the do receive a bit of assistance but not enough to fill their propane tanks even once and certainly not enough to fill them for the winter. I told him about a lady who having run out of both propane and fire wood, resorted to burning her couch for heat. That struck up something in him and he returned to Winchester and began putting together a benefit to raise money for heaters. And so that is how we came to Winchester, VA last weekend. It was crazy amazing. Great music to be sure. Great cause to be sure. And yet these things always go beyond the intended cause. I'm guessing about 50 families will have heat because of the efforts of 8 Lives Spent, Michael Fath, Brent Woodall and Tom Fitzgerald. Beyond that, relationships were formed. Conversations were had. People were touched. And I believe in the middle of it all, God revealed Himself.

*Thanks Brian Holt for your "ministry of whatever". You are amazing. Your hard work does not go unappreciated. Your generosity is unbelievable. If more people were like you the world would definitely be a better place.

** Thanks honey for being willing to step out of your comfort zone and go with me and for speaking for me. I'm shy, or so they think ;) I'm betting our church people would tell them to be glad I'm still in my shell.

*** Thanks to our church family who, though they may sometimes wonder what I've gotten myself into now, are always supportive.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What a Weekend!

We are just back from Winchester, VA for a benfit show @ The Virginia Brewing Company to raise $ for heaters for the people at Pine Ridge Reservation. What a weekend! We are SO tired and SO grateful to 8 Lives Spent for pulling this together. For info and pics click here

Thursday, January 08, 2009

This Weekend is Gonna ROCK!

Well, its here! We are packed and ready to leave bright and early Friday morning for Winchester, VA!! Saturday night we will be at the Virginia Brewing Company with our friends 8 Lives Spent, Brent Woodall, and Michael Fath for a benefit to raise funds for electric heaters for the Lakota people at Pine Ridge Reservation. We can't wait! I'm ready to leave NOW. :) Here is a video that will be shown at the show Saturday night. I'll post about it all when we get back! You can also read a bit about it on Brian's blog.

Someone I'm Proud Of

Josh has done something that is simply amazing. Its simple I suppose, just burn more calories than you take in ... but anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that is far from easy. If you've ever struggled with weight issues, check out his blog and see about his journey. There are also daily tips for better health. He's pretty inspiring ... who knows, maybe I'll even get off my duff and lose some extra poundage and get healthier too.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

People Sometimes Ask

People sometimes ask me what they can do to help the mission at Pine Ridge. First, thank you for your interest and support! It is SO good to know that our friends care about taking the Kingdom of God outside the walls of the church to share the love of Jesus with others.
Here are some things you can do to help support the mission efforts at Pine Ridge:

  • Pray. This year we have a much smaller crew than usual which means it will be a much bigger challenge. We need your prayers more than ever.

  • School supplies. After sharing God's love, our priority is to provide as many children with the necessary tools for school as possible. Doing this gives them hope for a better future. (see www.BackpacksForPineRidge.com for a list of supplies)

  • Heaters. Winters are brutal on the Reservation, sometimes reaching 40 below wind chill factors. Heat on the other hand is limited. These conditions are especially difficult on the elderly. We accept electric space heaters all year long to take with us each year.

And as always we have a crew of people who are willing to sacrifice their vacation time from work, often without pay, to go out and put in a hard week of work to share God's love with the Lakota people. It is a financial hardship and a sacrifice for every single one of them. This year the cost of the trip is higher due to the lower number of crew members. Below is a list of our crew for 2009. The one's with a * beside their name need sponsors. If you would like to help any of these out, please see me (Amber). Your sponsorship is tax deductible when your check is made out to the Winton Rd. First Church of God.

The cost for each crew member goes to purchase fuel, food for all of the children and the crew for the week we are on the Rez, VBS materials, Work Project Materials, and truck rental. The cost is so great this year that we may need to cut out feeding the children a lunch each day. We really don't want to do that unless we absolutely have to.

  • In addition, Wint Martin is a professional auto-body fixer. Sorry, I don't know the correct term. :) If you know of someone who needs auto body work done he is able to work with insurance companies and has 25 years of professional experience. Any work done through the church family will go to support the Pine Ridge mission.

  • Charles Jackson also does mechanical work on cars/trucks to raise money for the mission. He's honest and good! See Charles for details.

    Cathy Jackson *
    Charles Jackson *
    Debbie Hall*
    Fred Howell
    Brian Whitlock
    Darlene Birkley*
    Rachael Kirk* (Darlene's daughter)
    Mark Mosely*
    Brandon Whitaker*
    Dennis Whitaker*
    Nirvana Martin*
    Wint Martin*
    Jeff Smith*
    Amber Buriff*
    Brian Buriff*

Thanks so much for your support! You can keep up with all that is going on with the trip at our web site http://pineridgemission.blogspot.com

Hoka Hey! (Its a good day to die! To self.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

I Know U Want 2 Know This

Wanna see who is going to Pine Ridge in July?? Click here to see the trip blog

Sunday, January 04, 2009

God Has Really Screwed Up

Today has been the day from hell. I've found myself thinking that God really screwed up when he created humans. If he wanted something to love and be loved by, he really should have stuck with the dogs and not gone on to create man. Dogs are good. Humans ... are a mess.

I've talked to a lot of people today whose lives have been blown apart. I hurt for them I've prayed for them. It is now midnight and I have a mountain of work to do before morning because I didn't get to it today - too much emotional upheaval to concentrate on mission team meeting agendas and Sunday school lessons. I feel physically sick.

I love these people and I hate to see the torment they are going through. So much of it seems so unnecessary.

I've heard people blame each other. I've heard them blame God. I've heard them blame the person who tried to bring some sanity to the situation. But I've yet to hear one of them stop blaming and take responsibility for their part in the mess.

I love them. I will continue to love and listen even if they continue to blame and never take the steps they need to take. I'll continue to pray for them too even though God will never ever force his will on anyone who isn't willing. But until one person is willing to stop and take a good look at their own issues and how they contribute to the situation and is willing to make the excruciatingly difficult changes ... I don't have a lot of hope for anything being any different.

Its heartbreaking. I can only imagine how God must feel.