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.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Radio Interview

Click below to hear the 96ROCK interview with Niki from 8KOunt and me on the morning show.

Ashes to Ashes by 8KOunt!!

Here's a video of 8KOunt doing their song Ashes to Ashes with some help from the younger members of the audience. The video is good but doesn't really do this band justice. I've been blasting their CD from my car and home and I think my neighbors might be getting a bit tired of it. :) Seriously, thier CD Getaway Car is great and I'm not just saying that because they played at REZonate or to give them some recognition. I'm saying it because they really are that good. If you get their cd, you'll see what I mean. The song End of the Road is worth the price in and of itself and I think you might just recognize the story of a prodical in that tune. Check 'em out on iTunes or at www.8KOunt.com They are not a "Christian" band, but .... "Jesus spoke in parables.....For those who have ears to hear, its in there, to everyone else, its just rock and roll" - James, lead singer of 8KOunt.

Ya Gotta Love a Harley!

Thanks for the ride Shane!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's Not Fair

I've said many times that I've learned that any time you attempt to "do something" that will have a positive impact on the lives of other people, that some people will bless you and some will curse you. I've also said that I try not to pay too much attention to either but just try to keep moving along doing what I believe I'm supposed to be doing. As I've attempted Pine Ridge trips and REZonate this year, I've received both blessing and cursing from people. This was without a doubt the worst year for me personally for the Pine Ridge trips. I won't say more than that, but believe me it was not an experience I would wish on anybody. I don't mean the trip itself but rather the ... well, enough said.

Then REZonate came along and, well ... it just isn't fair. I get the front page of 2 local newspapers. I get to be on the radio. I get the bands attention and the applause and the credit and the glory. Meanwhile, there is a whole crew of people who are knocking themselves out to make the event happen and they never get a single mention. No one is aware of what they do or the sacrifices they make.

After a long week of working to put it all together, Dennis then turned around and worked until 2 am after the event was over to get the sound put back together at church. Jess got a call that her husband was being moved to ICU and left the event to go be with him - and then came back to work the rest of the event. Brody took time off work during a very busy time to make sure equipment was there when it was needed. Jeff and Scot put in hours of work to make the bike ride happen and they did an excellent job! Organizing a bike ride is no small task - its at least as complicated as doing the concert itself. Paula put in countless hours sending out press releases and contacting media. Whitlock had a rather aggravating job of finding food vendors and getting them to commit. Then he worked sound a good part of the day as well. Brian puts hours of work in keeping records and lets a big portion of his house be taken over with "Pine Ridge stuff" all year. Tim made contacts and acted as the on site electronics wizard and photographer. The Hopewell Church of God allowed us to use tables and chairs and tents and then sent us a crew of volunteers to work most of the day. Ericka, Bailey, Logan, Josh, Brian, and probably some I'm missing were there from 7am - after it was all torn down that night. One man who wants to be anonymous dug deep to put in $2000 of his own money toward the stage rental and then came and worked all day. Brenda and Pam worked all day making sure the band members and bikers were well fed and had all the water they needed. Cathy and Charles worked all day manning the booth and doing security. And that's just the beginning. There are more ... many more. Not a bit of this would happen without those volunteers and all the others who came and gave all they could with no recognition at all. I know they don't do it for recognition. None of us do. Just wish I didn't get any either. It's not fair. It's really not.

Pics From REZonate!

THANKS to all who made REZonate possible!! Awesome is probably an overused word but there is simply no other word for this weekend!! There were about 3x more people at REZonate this year and some pretty incredible things happened! I'll post more about it soon ... but right now, I'm gonna crash ... I think I've logged about 4 hours of sleep since Thursday. There are some pics up on the Backpacks blog. Check 'em out and don't drool too much over the Harleys

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Early Morning Conversations

Me, speaking as a very tired event organizer who sees a whole team of people who are knocking themselves out cold to make REZonate happen ....

"If those kids had any clue what we go through ...."

Brian: "Yeah ... and if we had any clue what they go through ....."

That really says it all.

Come out to REZOnate today! Really. If you are ANYWHERE in the greater Cincinnati area, come out. We need YOU there. Your support and encouragement would mean so much...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday, Aug. 28th .... 96ROCK!

Tune in to 96.5 fm 96ROCK this Friday, Aug. 28 at 8 am to hear Niki from 8KOunt and yours truely (amber) live on the Gamble and Fin show! You can listen online at http://www.purerock96.com/

Monday, August 24, 2009


This pic pretty much says it all

My beloved Jeep has been giving me FITS for a while now. It runs great ... until it doesn't. I'll be out driving around and it will just die. Right there. Without warning. Just die. Sometimes it'll start back up right away. Other times I have to wait it out for a while. Eventually it will start again. While I'm waiting its really nice if I'm not in the middle of the road on worse yet, in the middle of an intersection.

I've got a REALLY good friend who is a great mechanic. I trust him fully. He's good and better yet, he's honest. He has even made a house call once. But he's stumped. He just had it for over a week going over it with a fine tooth comb ... replaced parts and gave it the best treatment any Jeep ever could dream of... and yet... I have it for 3 days and it dies again.

I've seriously considered the Cash for Clunkers bit, but didn't want to do that. For one thing, its only got 80,000 miles on it and should have a lot of good life left in it, and more importantly, I really can't afford a new car. In any case, that opportunity has come and gone. Maybe I could sell it to an off road enthusiast who wouldn't mind the lack of reliability so much. I don't know. I've got about $1000 in it recently ... its got so many new parts it should be almost completely rebuilt by now. Still ... it's not fixed.

Don't get me wrong. I love my Jeep. I really love it. I would just love it more if it ran.

Today I was out at VOA helping Brody put up one of our banners for REZonate when the sweet thing died. I seriously thought about leaving it there with the hope somebody would steal it. My luck, it would still be sitting there Saturday when I go back for the Festival.

So, here I sit. Literally.

The thing is, I really need my Jeep. I need it to haul all the stuff I have to haul ... like mass quantities of school supplies. Now is the time I need to be out buying those school supplies.

OK, enough whining. My Jeep isn't nearly as bad of a problem as a lot of folks have. Hmmm... wouldn't it be great if some car company donated a SUV or truck for Backpacks for Pine Ridge? OK, dream on Amber. Thankfully my mechanic friend is not about to give up on it. He's determined to fix the thing. I hope he can.

Apologies to my Facebook friends who have heard about this way more than they ever wanted to.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Brian came home yesterday with a proof of one of the banners that will go up on the stage at REZonate. We'll have 3 banners with pictures of different kids on them. He brought home the proof and I was taken aback by the sheer size of it. It will look small on the stage because the stage is a monster, but in my kitchen, it was HUGE. He said, "I'm not sure which kids this is". I said it's Billy*.

Billy was about 3 years old in the picture. He's probably about 7 or 8 now. His mommy was an alcoholic who abused him. When she was about to be arrested, she took Billy and fled. As best as I can tell, no one knows what ever happened to him. Or at least if they do, they're not talking. The picture marks the last time I saw him. I've wanted to ask around ... see if anyone knows where he is ... see if anyone knows if he's OK, and then I remind myself that he will never be OK. Not totally. He was the only 3 year old I've ever known who wore a constant expression of fear on his face. That is how I remember him. Afraid. I only saw him smile once. I was coming around by one of the buildings and saw him stomping in a puddle of water left by a hose that had been left running. He saw me and terror instantly filled his face. He'd been caught and now he was going to get it. I stopped in my tracks and said, "Its ok baby, its just water. That looks like fun" and then began stomping in the water with him. He grinned and laughed, not quite sure what to make of an adult stomping in water.

Billy is one of so many. I also remember the words of an eight year old who told his teacher, "No one loves me. No one. And there is no safe place in this world". Eight is an awful young age to come to that conclusion. This year that little guy didn't want to go to his class. He said he didn't feel good. I knew he was fine and was just not wanting to go to class so I said, "well then, I guess you'll just have to sit on my lap", thinking there was no way in the world an 8 year old boy would want to sit on his teacher's lap. But he did. He ate it up in fact.

And there's the little boy who lives in a rat trap trailer with broken windows. He lives there with his mom and 6 brothers and sisters. He doesn't get as much to eat as he would like and wears the same clothes all week. He begged to come home with me this year. It was all I could do not to bring him.

To me these are not just kids on a Reservation. They're my kids. They're kids I know and play with and love. They are a big part of the reason I do the insane things I do. I can't fix it for them. There's so much I can't do, but I can do what I can do to make it a little bit better. And I assume that's what I'll keep on doing.

*Not his real name

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Life Goes On...

Here are a few snippets from my week in no particular order ....

  • Interview with a reporter
  • Fire Dept. shows up at my house
  • Belly Dancing (somebody in Pittsburgh did a belly dancing benefit for Backpacks and called it Bellies for Backpacks) :)
  • Broke a tooth
  • Discovered a new favorite author
  • UPS delivered a big box of school supplies to my house sent by a total stranger
  • Got my Jeep back from the "shop" - it had been in for a week and a half - only to have the radiator hose bust as soon as we pulled into the garage
  • Had a friend call and to tell me she got her dentist to donate toothpaste and toothbrushes for the Lakota people at Pine Ridge, and no, I didn't even ask her to do such a thing.
  • Found out one of my favorite ladies has liver cancer
  • BLT's
  • Found some more old friends on Facebook
  • Dinner at the Homeless Shelter
  • Met a new blog friend
  • Found my new blog friend through another blog friend who has a lot of women followers and a great sense of humor
  • 100 Grand candy bars (my new addiction)
  • Louie (dog-sat for my son and daughter-in-law)
  • Softball game - the last I'll see my youngest son play for a very long time

Life goes on ...

For Anybody Thinking of Coming to REZonate Next Saturday

I thought you all might want a bit of info so you can choose when you might want to come.

Biker Registration begins at 8:30 am; Depart at 11:00 am and will return around 2:30 pm (it might get loud then)

Music Kicks off at 2:00 pm

2pm - Double Cross, playing top 40 Country music.

3pm - The Sonic Sledgehammers - playing rock covers from the 60's - today. They cover everybody from the Beatles to the Foo Fighters. This is music everyone knows and likes.

5pm - Gary Hitsman and band - Gary used to be the frontman for a local band called Distant Rail that headlined at Bogarts often. They opened for some very well-known national acts. Gary still has an amazing voice but now performs Christian Contemporary music and covers a lot of Stephen Curtis Chapman songs as well as many others.

From 5- 9 pm local Country Music Stations B105 and The Wolf will be on site.

6pm - 8KOunt will ROCK the place with their hard-hitting "big rock" sound. These guys have headlined the WEBN fireworks for 2 years and have been called "the best rock band in Cincinnati" by Rockstars Glued.

8pm - Dove Award winner Brian White will be on stage with Karyn Williams. Brian used to tour with a band called Brian White and Justice but is now a song writer with Benson and has 11 #1 songs to his credit.

Karyn Williams will also be signing copies of her newly released book The Takeaway which she co-authored with her father, Pat Williams, senior vice president of the Orlando Magic. Pat and his wife have adopted 19 multicultural children. When leaving home, Karyn wrote her dad a letter describing all the life lessons she had learned from him that she would "take away" with her. That letter became the basis of the book.

Food vendors at the event include Indian Tacos (a real treat), Papa Johns Pizza, Rib City Barbeque and Little Jimmy's Italian Ice.

Friday, August 21, 2009

So How Did I Get Here Again??

I'm not sure how this happened but I have once again found myself doing an interview on a rock station with a rock band. I can't even begin to tell you how out of place I feel. But I've gotta say I'm grateful for guys like the guys in 8KOunt (pictured) and for the time 96Rock is giving us next Friday. We're scheduled for an interview around 8am next Friday to let the guys from 8KOunt talk about their music and to promote the REZonate Music Fest. I am not anywhere near cool enough to pull this off, but I figure if I can jump out of an airplane, I can do a radio interview. I think you can listen online. If anything changes, I'll let ya know.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Please Be Careful Folks

Nothing Like Having the Fire Dept. Show Up!

OK, so this morning I get this call from a friend who is a fireman and he says he wants to drop something by. OK. Come on over. So he does. Along with the firetruck and probably a few firemen. He was working and ya just never know when you're going to get a call that someone is in need so they travel with the whole deal. My neighbors are probably still wondering .... :)

The thing is, he is volunteering to work the First Aid booth at REZonate. All day. So for many, many hours he and a buddy will be sitting in the First Aid booth just in case someone needs them. Amazing.

More amazing than that even, he dropped of some T-shirts ... for REZonate ... that he himself had made up ... as a donation to us. Wow, what do ya even say to that?? I've always wanted a t-shirt that says "Event Staff". :) THANKS Toby!! You amaze me.

Another Day in Paradise

Things are moving along pretty much on target. I do wish I knew how to add a mp3 file to the blog or to Facebook because I just got the radio spots for REZonate Music Fest and Bike Ride that will air on 96Rock and Warm 98 next week. I'm impressed! They used music from a couple of the bands that will play at the event and it sounds really good.

For the most part my work on REZonate is pretty much over. Well, at least the hard part. I work on getting sponsors (I HATE that part), and booking bands (love that part) and doing general coordinating. That's all done, things are put together, and now all I have to do is wait for Aug 29 and then go set booths up, carry stuff, register bikers, and basically hang out listening to good music, eating good food, and making sure everything moves along.

I must say that I SOOO appreciate my crew. They are truly amazing. Jess works hard on getting volunteers and planning out their schedule. We need about 100 or so of them so I'm eternally grateful to her for dealing with that. Brody gets the equipment. Having a good, well-respected guy who has a great relationship with businesses that rent equipment and who is willing to give so much of his time to the event is, well, just a priceless treasure. Tim and Dennis have the huge and often thankless job of getting the sound equipment together and running it all day. Its a long day and a lot of pressure but they're the best money can buy and we don't even pay 'em anything. Paula works hard on contacting all sorts of media to promote the event. Paula is as sweet as can be but she is one determined lady when it comes to promotion so its funny to see this sweet little lady going for it. Whitlock gets our food vendors and believe it or not, that is not such an easy job. But Whit has worked with some of the biggest companies in the US (you would recognize the names) and makes this look like small potatoes. This year he managed to get Papa Johns Pizza and get them to put our flyer on all of their pizza boxes! How he did that, I've no idea. Amazing. Pam and Barb are the WC Township employees who have helped us SOOO much. We lost Pam a month or so ago - she is on leave and it was like losing our guiding light. She was so helpful and I'm absolutely sure that we would never have gotten this off the ground without her help the past 2 years. Barb has stepped in and done a good job of taking over when she wasn't sure what was going on. Both of these women are amazing. And no, in case you're wondering, my hubby Brian takes care of our books. That's a time consuming job to say the least. He literally spends hours on it to make sure not a single penny is misused. He also makes countless trips to the Community Foundation to deposit money, as if he has time for that. And on top of that he lives with my insanity as I put this together and has given up 2 rooms in his home for school supplies. All of these folks give up a night a month to meet and plan this thing out and then they give up the whole day of the event to be on hand. Amazing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Three Dog Night

That's what it's gonna be around here for a while. We're babysitting Cody and Allison's dog Louie. Louie is a sweet natured mini schnauzer. Add to that Gunner, a high jumping alpha-male and Taser a sissy-girl German Shepherd. So far we're keeping them all separated. Hopefully they'll warm up to each other. I think they want to. Tails are wagging and Gunner did try to give Louie a ball, which is HUGE for Gunner. But Louie makes small sudden moves and that freaks Gunner out. We'll see .... Think I'm going to put them in their crates next to each other and let them talk it out.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

You Can Learn a Lot Reading Gates

Originally uploaded by ABuriff
It's been quite a week. Its been both a very GOOD week and a VERY difficult week. For those of you who prayed for me - THANK YOU! Believe me, I felt your prayers! I took Friday off to play a little and came acrosss this pic from our trip to Ireland. The words here still speak with wisdom and even though I remembered them at the week's end, they apply beautifully.

The text on the is very famous gate reads:

Everything You Know is Wrong

In the service of God one can learn three things from a child and seven from a thief. From a child one can learn 1) always be happy 2) never to sit idle 3) and cry for everything one wants. From a thief you should learn 1) to work at night 2) if one cannot gain it in one night to try again the next night 3) to love one's co-workers just as thieves love each other 4) to be willing to risk one's life even for a little thing 5) not to attach too much value to things even though you've risked your life for them just as a thief will resell a stolen article for a fraction of its worth 6) to withstand all kinds of beatings and tortures but to remain what you are and 7) to believe that your work is worthwhile and not be willing to change it.

Anybody want to guess who's gate this is??? :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where I Come From

Its been fun reuniting on Facebook with people from my past. I've found friends I went to grade school with that I've not seen in years and, if everything goes well, I may get to go "home" and see them in late October. I also found these photos of my hometown. I guess it makes me sound really old to say that I remember very well each of these sights - with the exception of the second one. Click on the photo for a larger view.

My mother used to work at Don's Drive-in

I remember saving my allowance and buying my Malibu Barbie and Ken at this Dime Store.

Saw a lot of movies in this place. :)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Betcha Can't Guess

Got this today. Its Brian's Kindergarten class picture. Can you guess which one is Brian?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Allen Road

The Allen Road
Originally uploaded by ABuriff
This is how I will always remember SD... a road, a bad road, stretching out for miles, wide prarie, big sky, lots of fluffy clouds. This is actually a picture of the road that leads to the village we visit that I added some HDR effects to

Twittering from The Edge

Did you Twitter users who love U2 know that you can follow The Edge on Twitter? He isn't saying much :) but he is posting pics while on tour.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Heat is On

Here's a short video of us delivering some of the heaters that our friends 8 Lives Spent raised the money for. We delivered heaters to the villages of Calico, Wounded Knee and Allen. BIG THANKS to the guys from 8 Lives Spent for all their work! Some people will be warm this winter thanks to them.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jumping Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane

So ... anybody wanna go skydiving?

A few friends and I are going to do just that on Oct. 3rd.

Yep, nevermind that I'm afraid of heights. I'm going up and I'm jumping out.

The more that go, the bigger the discount so if you seriously want to go jump with us, just holler ... or as the case may be, scream.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I Rarely Talk About This But ...

Just heard from a friend that she heard on the news that the Avon plant she works for is closing and she'll be out of a job. So will her best friend and her best friend's husband. I think its sad that she heard it on the news ... not even a phone call. I also think its a shame that the plant will reopen ... in Mexico. So why in this economy are we sending American jobs to another country?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sometimes Sandbaggers Win

In a Demolition Derby, sandbagging is avoiding contact with other cars and refusing to be aggressive. They may pretend to have mechanical problems until the last two or three cars are running then their car will start running just fine and they become more aggressive. A sandbagger is the low-life of the derby. Nobody likes a sandbagger because they don't really play fair. If you have good officials and judges, they will be disqualified (get their stick broken) but if not, sometimes the sandbagger wins. Its disturbing when that happens because somewhere deep inside all of us, we want things to be fair. Life itself isn't very fair so maybe that's why we want our games to be. Maybe that's why we scream and shout and loose our voices when the officials fail to keep things on the up and up.

You guessed it, we went to the demolition derby at the county fair last night. It wasn't the best derby I've seen but it was fun to hang with the family doing a typical redneck thing for a while. Besides, the lemonade was fantastic. The lemonade and the horses are always worth the trip to the fair for me.

Left to right: Allison (my daughter-in-law), Cody (my oldest) and Logan (my youngest)

For some reason this reminds me of a bull

There was also a lawnmower demolition derby. Now that was fun. Dangerous, but fun. Sorry the pic didn't turn out very well.

Then I got bored and started taking pics of random things. This is one of the lights in the grandstands with bugs flying around it. No, Ohio bugs do not have that long of tails, it was the setting my camera was on.