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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If You Want to Watch Us Skydive Saturday...

For anyone in the area who would like to come and watch us skydive on Saturday, we will be there at 3pm.

I'm not really sure what time they'll be pushing us out we'll be jumping out of the plane.

From Cincinnati I-75: Take I-75 N toward Dayton, take exit 29 for OH-63 toward Monroe/Lebanon - 0.3 mi,turn right at OH-63 E/W OH-63 - 2.9 mi,turn left at OH-741 - 2.0 mi, turn right at Greentree Rd - 1.0 mi.

Warren County Airport
2460 Greentree Rd.
Lebanon, OH

And I'm pretty sure there's still room if anyone wants to jump with us.

There's Nothing Like a Funeral to Make You Feel Alive

If you really want to freak somebody out, walk up to them and ask them if they will speak at your funeral. I've recently updated my funeral plans and can tell you that you get some strange reactions when you ask someone that.

Some years back I began planning my funeral. Not because I thought I was going to die anytime soon, but because I got tired of going to funerals where the people left behind were left to guess at what the deceased would have wanted. I decided to put my wishes in writing so that when my time came, and it will come to all of us, that there wouldn't be any guesswork.

I believe its a good idea to make those plans now, while its easy to do so. If you wait until death is imminent, it is often too difficult for family and friends to want to discuss it. And if you don't do it at all, then family members have to deal with figuring out what you might have wanted. Being married to a pastor, I've seen both of these things happen way more than is necessary.

So I planned out my funeral. And I update it every so often to include my current favorite clothes, music, etc. Just so everyone knows ... its perfectly OK to wear jeans to my funeral. I'll be wearing mine. :) Its also perfectly OK to be honest. I get tired of going to funerals where everyone talks about what a wonderful person the deceased was when everyone there knows good and well they were a pain in the backside. They had their good points too but please .... when its my turn just be honest. There's both good and bad about me and I've tried to live honestly and hope that I will be remembered honestly as well.

So, what about you? Have you planned your funeral yet? You're going to have one someday ya know. May as well have a say in it.


*Post title is from the song Life is Beautiful by Sixx AM.
*Photo taken at Glendalough, Ireland

Monday, September 28, 2009

Here's the Video

Phyllis is a very sweet lady in our church who is fighting some really nasty cancer. She's been sick for a long time and hasn't been able to be in church which has always been a really big part of her life - so ... since she can't be with us, I put together a video greeting so that when she's at home laying on the couch and feeling crappy and isolated, all she has to do is plug this into the DVD player and see her kooky church friends wishing her love.

Hats off to those who participated. Nobody likes to talk to a camera and I'm sure every single one of us who did this felt really stupid but you guys will make Phyllis' day ... probably a few days and will surely give her a reason to laugh. Keep Phyllis in your prayers. She's one of the good guys.... one of the people who doesn't play church but is the church ... one of the people we need down HERE for a long time to come.




This is an edited version of the video. Youtube has been giving me a hard time today. The first video I uploaded was too long and was rejected so I had to cut parts out. You all missed the part with Howard and Angie. Angie was hitting Howard and telling him to "say something". A few other parts were also cut. Phyllis got the whole video though. It was delivered to her tonight.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Other Blogs

I've been spending money again. Lots of money. I'm sure Brian loves to hear, "Honey, I just put $3000 on the credit card today" when he comes home. Its the time of year when I buy backpacks and school supplies and Cody's old room starts looking like a warehouse. You can see some pics up at the Backpacks for Pine Ridge Blog. The UPS man is probably not happy with me this time of year. Or maybe he is ... he gets his route over in one stop.

Today I've been cooking. I'm not a great cook - I figure good cooks are people who love to cook. I don't. I do it and I do OK but I don't love it. But no one is starving at my house - anymore. I did that for a while but not because of my cooking ability. Something I wanted to do when Cody got married and Logan moved out was to make up a book with all the recipes I've collected over the years for them to take with them. I had wild ideas (imagine that) about doing a scrapbook cookbook and all. But ya know what? Scrapbooking is expensive. Its a lot cheaper to just do a blog. Its free in fact, and other people can access it as well. So, if you're feeling brave, I have a blog of recipes. I'm still adding to it and still trying to take photos of the dishes I have there, but its a start.

I think most of you know about the Pine Ridge Blog where you can keep up with all that's happening with the mission trips to Pine Ridge Reservation. If you've missed it, well there's some cool pics and stories up there from Fred and Judy's trip and some news about Shelly's visit - she'll be here in a week and a half!

What Was I Thinking??

A week from today I'm going to be jumping out of an airplane with a bunch of my friends.

The date has been out there in the future for a while but now it's getting closer and the knot in my stomach gets bigger and tighter every time I think about it. I'm terrified. What in the world was I thinking? I'm so afraid of heights that standing on the train platform in Chicago made me nervous so why did I think I could jump out of a plane??

Oh well.... I've always said we shouldn't let fear keep us from experiencing things so, next Saturday I'm going up and I'm jumping out.

There's no way I'm backing out just cause I'm afraid.

Friday, September 25, 2009

U2

How awesome is that pic? You really have to click on it to see it bigger. That was from the show at Soldier Field in Chicago. I WAS THERE!!!

This is a clip from that show too. Please pardon the poor quality. I'm guessing it was from somebody's cell phone since they didn't allow video cameras in.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

They Say Its Your Birthday


Today (Friday) is a very special lady's 50th birthday! Barbara is one of the first bloggers I met and has been a loyal friend. She's one of those folks who you can tell anything to and she'll listen and not judge. The thing is, she genuinely cares about other people. She can be going through her own personal hell but she has time to rejoice with you about something that's going on in your life. She is one of the most self-less people I know. Since I've known her I've seen her go through what may be the toughest thing anybody can ever go through and yet she has faced it with dignity and grace and wisdom. If you haven't been to her blog, GO THERE NOW and say hello. You won't regret it.

Barbara, I wish I knew of a way to let Bruce (or Bono) know about you because I am very sure that if either of them did, they would be honored to wish you a Happy Birthday. I love ya! I'm proud of ya! I'm grateful to have met ya!
Happy Birthday girl! If anybody deserves to have a good one, you do!

Forever in Blue Jeans

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a wearer of jeans. All the time. I do dress up for funerals and weddings but that's it. Any other time, its me and my jeans.

The problem is that finding jeans that fit can be a real challenge. But, I think I may have found the trick.

Most of the time I have trouble finding jeans that fit because the are way too baggy in the butt and thigh. I can't stand baggy jeans. I'm not saying they have to fit like a glove or anything, but there can't be any bagginess or I will go insane. IF I manage to find a pair that fit in the butt and thigh, they are always way too short and leave me looking like I'm wearing high waters. Can't stand that either.

SO ... today I got brave and went to the Jrs department to do my jean shopping. Yeah I know, an old fat lady has no business shopping in the teens department but hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

And the result is - they fit! At least they do at the moment. We'll give 'em some time and find out if they still fit but I do have hope.

And if worst comes to worst, this company makes custom jeans. If you have a pair of jeans that fit you like you want 'em to, you can simply mail them to them and they'll make you a new pair off the measurements of the old pair. It's $55 for that and free shipping, which is a bit pricey for me but might be cheaper than buying less expensive jeans that I can't wear.

BTW, I spent a whopping $30 on these jeans. That's more than I've ever spent on jeans but they were on sale and I think I might be able to wear them!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I've Been Waiting For This

Yup, that's Cody (my son) and Allison (his wife) and yes that is a pregnancy test and yes, it is positive! Wooo Hoooooooooooooo!!!



We've known for a while but have been waiting to get the go-ahead to be able to share the FANTASTIC news.



Here's the kicker ...



it's TWINS!


Their due date is April 19th, one day after Brian's birthday but we figure since there's two of them they'll probably come a little early.

We couldn't be happier or more excited!

I Don't Want to be a Good Christian

No, seriously. I don't want to be a "good Christian". I mean really, when you think about it, isn't the term "good Christian" and oxymoron? If we were "good" we wouldn't need Christ.


The term itself implies that there are "bad" Christians, which sets up a whole system for focusing on behavior rather than the heart. In fact, I Googled the term "good Christian" and came across this interesting article in WikiHow that lays out no less than 16 steps to become a "good Christian". And then as if 16 steps wouldn't do the trick, they added 6 more "tips". And if that were not enough, there are an additional 12 "warnings" to help steer you in the right direction. Good luck with all that. I found the one "reform yourself" especially interesting. As if anybody could.


Like I said, the whole "good Christian" approach is all about behavior. Now I'm not advocating bad behavior ... I just think its a good idea to remember that we're all sinners saved by grace and our need for grace doesn't end when we accept Christ. To me, it's pretty simply, not easy, but simple: Love God, Love People. Nothing else matters.

Maybe Rich says it better....



I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be in
the all-sufficiency of the Grace of God than to live in some kind
of pietistic illusion of moral excellence ~ not that I don't want to be
morally excellent but my faith isn't in that idea that I'm more moral than
anybody else. My faith is in the idea that God and His love are greater than
whatever sins any of us commit. ~ Rich Mullins


* Photo by Nikki Sixx who may or may not be a good Christian but is an amazing photographer who I believe "gets it".

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Need a RockStar

Last night was the follow-up meeting from REZonate. After a year of meetings the last thing any of us really wanted to do was have another meeting .... but .... we did need to decide if we want to go through this madness again and what we liked from this year and what we might do differently next year. We made it tolerable by having a cookout and inviting team member's families to come along too.

And so ... yes, I believe the verdict is that we will do this again next year. Amazing isn't it how you can torture people for a year and they come back for more. I AM kidding. Sort of. It is a LOT of work but yeah, I do believe it is worth it and I'm GRATEFUL that the team seems to think so too.

SO ... we've decided to dream BIG next year. We want a bigger name, which at this point and time seems pretty much impossible but there are a few of us who kind of thrive on doing the impossible so ya just never know what might happen.

SO ... does anybody know a big rock star? I'm in need of one.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm a Bad Blogger

No doubt about it. I'm a bad blogger. I read the comments people leave. I love and appreciate the comments people leave, but I rarely ever comment back. I try to comment on their blogs regularly but that's not the same as coming back here and giving a direct comment. SO ... I'm gonna steal what I think is a great idea from my fellow blogger Blase and post your recent comments here with my response. (Thanks for the idea dude - I like to think I'm learning from one of the best.)

“Thank you. Blatantly honest and no excuses. Praise Him. In everything, praise Him...” - Krippled Warrior

Thanks. Being honest and offering no excuses is the only way to be. :)

“I thought maybe you were inspired by the real cover of the "Beggars Banquet" album.” - Tim

Huh??.... oh yeah ... :)

“Everybody's normal till you get to know them. - Tim

You got that right! Normal is really overrated right along with perfect mental health.

Thanks again for sharing your story of HOPE and faith and endurance and HEALING and recovering. I love Bob's comment too. - Barbara

Thanks ... my heart goes out to you and I'm really praying that your loved one will soon find all the rewards of recovery. He's an great young man who will be even more awesome once he gets through this.

From Facebook:

Awesome! Thanks for sharing that Amber. I'm sure that will encourage a lot of people. - Jenny

That's the only reason I share it. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

11 Years

September is National Recovery Month. Last year I wrote out a part of my story. I think I will just repost it here. It has now been 11 years of "sobriety" from anorexia.
_____________________

Its funny how time can go by and you don't even notice. I was talking to Brian the other day and was a bit surprised to realize that this year marks my 10th anniversary of "sobriety" from anorexia. The actual date came and went without any notice by me or anyone else. How could it not - I was busy living my life. That day was the first day of the 2008 mission trip to Pine Ridge, July 28th. So, since I missed it, I hope you'll allow me to reflect a bit.

I'll warn you, I'm going to be honest. Brutally honest. If its going to bug you to read it, then don't.

I'm not really sure how it began or what the big "trigger" was but I do know when people began to notice that something was terribly wrong. The thing about an eating disorder is that you can't hide it for long. You tend to wear it like a neon sign for everyone to see. Some say we do it for attention. Other say its all about control. I don't know. All I knew was that it bugged me to no end when people worried about my weight loss because to me, they were all overreacting. In my mind, I was fine. I just needed to lose a little weight and then I would stop.

The thing is, I didn't stop. I would lose 5 pounds only to decide that I needed to lose 5 more. Then that 5 wasn't enough so I would vow to lose just 5 more. It became a losing cycle in more ways than one. I resorted to starvation and then laxative abuse to help me achieve my goal. At my worst, my daily routine looked like this: Get up and run 6 miles. Then go to the Y and work out. Eat no more than 400 calories a day and then take up to 60 laxatives in a day to get rid of whatever I did eat. I built up a tolerance to the laxatives and became physically and psychologically dependent on them. I think that's called an addiction.

I don't know what I was addicted to the most - the laxatives or the "high" I got from getting on the scale and seeing that I had lost more weight. Looking back it was ridiculous. I could wear my 9 year old son's shorts but still insisted that I was fat. To this day I don't understand it. Oh, I "get it", I completely understand the compulsion, the self-hatred, and the fear that drives such behavior but I still don't understand how someone so underweight can look in a mirror and see a fat person.

So, what made me want to get better? I finally got sick of being sick - literally Every single day, every single day, I would wake up and spend an hour or more laying on the bathroom floor in a cold sweat, sick as a dog, too dizzy to stand up without passing out while it felt like shards of glass were passing through my digestive system. I would have to stay there until all the toxins I had put in my body, were out, then I could go do my day. My therapist had begged me for a long time to enter rehab but I wouldn't. My excuse was that I had children and could not be away from them for the 3 months that I was told I would have to be there. Rehab was the one thing I would NOT do. And I was pretty adamant about it.

But ya know, people generally don't get better until they are willing to do "whatever it takes". Somehow at some point it occurred to me that while going to rehab would take me away from my kids for a while, that neither could I raise them laying on the bathroom floor. Not to mention that if something didn't give soon, I wouldn't be around to raise them at all. I was doing things that compromised my health and put my life in jeapordy. Even then I knew there was a limit to how long I could get away with that kind of behaivor without paying the ultimate price.

I didn't go to rehab. Not because I wouldn't though. I didn't go because I couldn't afford to pay out of pocket and my insurance didn't cover it unless I was "actively suicidal". What the heck does that mean anyway?? One foot over the bridge?? Thankfully I had a great therapist, an OK doctor, a very patient and non-enabling husband (if you living with an addict and he gives you advice - listen to him - he helped save my life - literally), AA, and Eating Disorders support group, and a recovering alcoholic friend who helped me enter into a recovery process that would be one of the hardest things I've ever encountered in my life.

I will always be grateful to those folks who stuck by me and were abundantly patient and loved me when I was pretty unlovable. Many of my relationships did not survive my addiction. Quite a few people just couldn't take it. I hold nothing against those folks. Not a single thing. I am aware that I was pretty impossible to be around on any level. In time I learned to be grateful for my experience in recovery.

Let me just say that I am completely aware that God is perfectly able to deliver someone from the clutches of addiction instantly. He's God, he can do anything He wants. But I am so glad that He chose not to do that for me. I would have never entered the growth process of recovery and I would have missed out on one of the biggest blessings of my life. The 12 Steps helped me to live out my faith in ways that I had not learned in churches even though I had attended church since I was 12 years old.

In AA they talk about "the Promises of AA". At first reading they seem impossible, but I'm here to tell you that they are very real and that they are indeed possible to experience.


If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be
amazed before we are half way through.

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.We will not
regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our
experience can benefit others.That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will
disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our
fellows.

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle
us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for
ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being
fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always
materialize if we work for them.

~ Alcoholics Anonymous p83-84


The road of recovery has not been smooth and without challenges. I don't think its supposed to be. Life isn't about being happy and problem free. I have relapsed many times. But that is part of recovery too... part of the process and part of the progress. Recovery is not about living it out perfectly. Its more about progress.

If you're one of the unfortunate folks who stuck with me through the bad times, I thank you. It was not easy for you and I do appreciate you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

OK, I Was WRONG

So it turns out my cool idea for the downstairs bathroom wasn't so cool after all. Well, actually, I still think it was pretty cool but my bathroom is too small to do it with red paint. First mistake - I ordered a flat paint and once it was on the wall and dried, it was glossy. Shiny red walls - not good. It was supposed to be just like the paint in my study (yes my study is painted red and I love it and it looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself) but it turns out that your paint is really only as good as the technician that mixes it. Even with that, the red was too overpowering for a small room, which was the second mistake.

SO ... its do-over day. I'm still lovin' the chalkboard paint on the one wall. :) The other walls will now be a khaki tan color. Yeah, yeah. Play it safe and all that.

This pic is what inspired my bright idea.....

It should be done by Thursday. I'll post pics.

I Was a Little Skeptical

We're back! It was a GREAT weekend in Chicago. We went to Navy Pier and did an EXTREME speed boat ride on the Seadog where they basically take a speed boat and turn it into a roller coaster on the water. We ate Gino's pizza and had a Chicago style hot dog. We rode the public transit system (I'm NOT impressed) and the whole thing was an early birthday present for me and vacation. But of course, the REAL reason we went to Chicago was to see U2!

I was more than a little skeptical when I first began reading and hearing about U2's new stage design for the 360 tour. Its become known as "the claw" and it does look a lot like some kind of alien space monster.

But ... seeing it in person and in action Sunday night at the U2 concert at Soldier Field in Chiciago ... I have been won over. Absolutely won over. It is weird, but what they do with that strange looking contraption is pure genius.

I'm sorry to say that there is simply no picture or video that could begin to capture the utter awesomeness that happens at a U2 show and how they put that baby to use. You've just "got to be there", which, if you get a chance and can find a ticket, GO.

Brian and I have been trying to figure out which was our favorite parts of the concert and its just a bit hard to decide. Some things that were in the running are:

Turning the whole stage and all lights green in solidarity with Iran during the song Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Unfortunately there is always someone in the world to do that song for and seeing the people of Iran brutally attacked as they stood for their freedom was appropriate for it this year. "How long, how long must we sing this song?"

Magnificent was magnificent. There is really just no way to mistake Bono's intention with that song as he bows, lifts his hands toward heaven and sings, "I was born, I was born to sing for you. I didn't have a choice but to lift you up and sing whatever song you wanted me to. I give you back my voice from the womb. My first cry it was a joyful noise".

Yes folks, that was at a secular rock concert. Along with Bono saying, "Let's go to church. Its Sunday night service before launching into I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, and later breaking out his guitar to sing Amazing Grace.

And of course it wouldn't be a U2 show without a word about justice for the poor and oppressed people of the world. There's a message from Bishop Tutu concerning Aids in Africa and how the One Campaign has helped.

U2 also does a bit about Aung San Suu Kyi before they perform Walk On for her. For those who may not know, Aung San Suu Kyi is Burma's democracy leader. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, she has been described as Asia's Nelson Mandela. She has been detained under house arrest for almost 14 years. Her party, the National League for Democracy, won elections in 1990, but the ruling military junta refused to hand over power. Some form of elections are scheduled for 2010 but Aung San Suu Kyi will not be allowed to participate. Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal and oppressive dictatorships in the world: More than 2,100 political prisoners are in Burma's jails - many have been brutally tortured. Rape is used as a weapon of war - even against girls as young as five.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been used as slave labor, and even used as human minesweepers. The dictatorship spends around 40% of the budget on the military while the majority of the people live in poverty. See this site for how you can support the freedom of the people of Burma.

This was my first live U2 show and I hope it won't be my last. Thanks to my sweetie Brian for buying the tickets and driving me to Chicago to see them. The man knows how to treat a lady. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Its the WEEKEND!!

SO ... its the weekend and I've got big plans. Early Sunday morning Brian and I head to Chicago to enjoy the city, eat some Gino's pizza and maybe grab a Superdawg, take an Extreme Seadog boat ride on Lake Michigan and of course, see U2 in concert! I've never been to a U2 show before and I can't wait for this one. This is our vacation for the year. Its only one night but a good night it will be. :)

The last BIG rock concert I went to was when I was a teen. I thought I'd died and gone to Hell. Seriously. It was awful. I liked the band that was playing but the crowd was unspeakably horrible. To put it mildly, I couldn't walk through the place without sliding around in other people's puke. NOT my idea of a good time. However I'm quite sure that a U2 show isn't remotely like that. Nope, not even close.

Then we also have this bathroom project going. A while back we decided to tear the wallpaper off of the bathroom and paint. Then when we were on the Rez, our dog Gunner got himself locked in the bathroom and went into a panic and nearly tore the bathroom apart. Now it's a "have to" thing. At least he was thoughtful enough to tear up the room we were going to redo anyway.

My husband thinks my idea for the redecorating is, in a word, crazy. I've assured him it will be good. He's not buying it. I'll be posting pics when I get it finished and let you all be the judge.

Where Were You?

I had grabbed a piece of leftover pizza for breakfast and sat down to watch Good Morning America before I left for class. I realized it was just after 9 am and wondered why GMA was still on when they began talking about a plane that had hit the World Trade Center. Brian was upstairs in his office so I ran up there to tell him a plane had hit one of the towers. He shrugged it off as probably just an accident that he didn't need to hear about and I returned to the TV with my pizza.

As Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson continued reporting I noticed a plane coming onto the screen and (wow, just typing that now makes me emotional) I figured it was a plane that was checking out the damage or something. My next through was that the plane was much to large for that and before I knew what I was seeing I watched the plane crash into the second tower. At that point I hollered for Brian and told him another plane had hit the Trade Center. He came down and we watched in stunned silence until I had to leave for class. Once at class I was told that The Pentagon had also been hit. We had class that day but everyone was unsettled, finding it difficult to concentrate on Human Physiology when we knew our country was under attack. After class Brian met me for coffee as we had planned. His first words to me were ... "All the rescue workers...the police and firefighters .... they're all gone". Gone? What did he mean gone?? "The towers collapsed on them", he explained.

We quickly found a TV on campus and watched more of the coverage, trying to figure out what was going on.

Reports indicated that some schools were dismissing early so I skipped my next class to come home in case my kids were sent home early, knowing they would be afraid and not wanting them to come home and be alone.

We will never forget that day or the people who died just doing what they do.

I believe that day is a big part of the reason my youngest son joined the Army and wants to be a police officer.

God bless all the brave men and women who protect and serve us all.




Thursday, September 10, 2009

Born Out of the Pit of Hell

If its an attitude

a belief

a place

an action

or even a so-called conviction.

If it separates people who know Christ from people who need to know Christ, its born right out of the pit of Hell itself.

If it costs you a relationship, it may cost someone else their soul.

"Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken." —Rich Mullins

Check this Out

Rachel is one of the Pine Ridge team members who went to the Rez with us this past summer. She posted a note on Facebook this morning that just really says it so well. Please go check it out.

Click here to read the note from Rachel

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

There Must be Something About # 8

Not only do these guys make up a great band, but I'm proud to call them my friends. 8 Lives Spent played at REZonate last year, then did a benefit that raised $1500 for heaters for the people on the Rez. And on top of that, Joe, their former bass player, custom designed two guitars that were raffled off with the proceeds going to purchase backpacks for the kids on the Rez. Last year for my birthday Brian had him design a guitar for me and it was absolutely beautiful! Now they are competing again in the FOX ROCKS DC contest and could use our help. Last year they came in second with the gap between 2nd and 3rd being pretty wide. I would love to see them take 1st place this year. I would appreciate it and I know they would if you would click here and then register and vote for them. You can vote once a day with the voting ending on the 20th. Let's all give them a little help and see how far they can go.

And my new friends 8KOunt, I hope I can call them that, have just posted a new video from last weekend. I was there and can tell you they are awesome. Check it out when you get a chance.

"I'm Going Through a 15th Century Castle in Transylvania ... with a Torch... How Cool is THAT?"

I'll admit, I have no idea how to do this. Heck, I don't even know what a "McLinky" is, but I'm always up to a challenge so today when Michelle tagged me with this Blog Hop idea I said, "Why not?". I can't resist anything that has something to do with pictures.





Ok, so here’s the rules for this hop:Go to the place where you upload all your photos. If you don’t upload them online, just go to wherever you store your pics on your computer. Open the oldest album, and post the first photo. Tell the story behind it. Grab the MckLinky and post it on your blog. Just for fun, tag 3 people you want to see old photos of




I have hundreds of pics stored on my computer ... so many that I didn't even realize I still had these pics on it. This is a picture of my trip to Romania way back in the early 90's. I went there on a mission trip with Roy Hauser, Brian Hitsman, Scott Planck, and Rick Brown. I believe the mission group Project Partner led that group and it was my first and possibly my best mission trip ever. I know it was definitely one of the highlights of my life.


Romania had a lot of orphans and street kids and we went there to work with Jesus the Hope of Romania to refurbish a building that would be used to house some of the street children in Timisoara.



Anyway, without getting into all that, on the last day there we went to sight-seeing. We went up into the Transylvanian Alps for a fantastic chicken dinner and then went on to see this castle. We arrived at the castle and our two Romanian friends stepped off to the side to chat about something. Me and the guys were looking at the castle and wondering how we were going to get over to it. (There was a large, deep pit-like thing around it). We did see an old wood plank bridge going across to it, but it seems to be in very, VERY bad shape. Several of the wood planks were missing and the others seemed to be deteriorating. It didn't look like it would hold the weight of a cat let alone 4 big guys and me. Now I might add that I am afraid of heights and this bridged gaped a very, VERY deep gorge thing. It may have been a mote, I'm not sure. In any case, it was so far down that it would have been impossible to survive a fall. About that time our two Romanian friends came up and said, "Let's go" and began across the bridge. We looked at each other in amazement. The guys all started across but not me. I yelled up ahead and told them I was kind of tired and would just stay behind and rest and wait for them. One of the Romanian guys came back and pleaded with me to come ahead and see the castle. "You must", he pleaded. Being a certified chicken I held my ground, determined to stay OFF the bridge. His pleas of "You must" continued but then took on an entirely different tone of "You MUST". OK, got it. I MUST, as in you have no choice in the matter Amber. So, I went but told my Romanian friend that I was hanging on to him for dear life. And I did.



I am going to tag: Barbara, Gary, and HennHouse



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Hope I did this right. If not, let me know. :)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Rock and Roll is Here to Stay

OK, so I'm blogging 3 times today. I guess I've got a lot on my mind and blogging is a way to express it.

I'm bugged about the Hammer thing. I've been thinking about what in the world can be done about that. I can't begin to tell you how bad I just want to jump in my car (not the Jeep) and drive out there and get him and bring him home. Of course, that's not practical. I'm not sure why it isn't but I'm told its not. I may have to test that to see if I can figure out why.

And right or not, this line of thinking about the kids and the ungodly things they go through gets me a bit ticked off.

I've recently been called into question again. Yeah, again. Its actually a pretty regular occurrence. It seems there are people who don't like that I book rock bands to play at REZonate. What a shame. Sometimes people ask me when the Christian bands are playing and I really have to resist the urge to tell them to come out when the non-Christian bands are playing and be nice to people and maybe, just maybe something good will happen. Holy huddles are OK I guess but there really not my thing. Some people worry that maybe one of the bands will use profanity. Now I'm not a big fan of profanity either but I'm not going to get all bent out of shape if somebody uses it. For one thing, people do use profanity. Even Christians do. I know, I've head them. But the real issue I have is that while profanity may not sound very good, there are things in this world that are truly profane and those are the things I get disturbed about. Things like 6 year old little boys living in cars and going hungry. What kind of world allows that? More importantly, what kind of Church allows that?

Did you know that the original meaning of the word "profane" means "outside the church" or "items not belonging in the church"? I don't know about you, but children living in those conditions within this "Christian" country seems pretty profane to me.

So I guess I'll keep doing what I feel like I am supposed to do. I've got to follow God the way He wants me to follow Him and not the way other people think I should follow Him. And yeah, that means booking rock bands at REZonate. Christian or non-Christian makes no difference to me. If we get people there and raise awareness and raise some money to give these kids what they need for school then good. If we can also let our light shine in a dark place while doing that, even better. Seems to me the world is a pretty dark place and they could stand to see the Church acting like The Church.

I May Not Be Able to Stand This

One of our team members and his wife went out to the Rez this weekend to take a load of coats, hats, socks and shoes to the kids on the Reservation. I just got a call from them and the news is not good.

Hammer, everybody's little buddy, is living in a car with his brother Damian. I can't stand it. I really can't. How will they even survive the winter?

And one of the men we have gotten to know has Psoriasis of the liver, lung cancer, and his kidneys are failing.

It seems like every year we get to know someone and the next time we go back they are no longer there. I've read and have been told that the only place in the Western Hemisphere with a lower life expectancy is Haiti. I believe it.

I Have Been WOWed... Twice!

I've lived in Cincy off and on since I was 14 years old but have never been to Riverfest before. Until last night. All I have to say is ... WOW. I've come to the conclusion that you've never really seen the Riverfest fireworks unless you've seen them in person. There is just no comparison. We had great seats, right in front of the barge and next to the bridge where they do the "waterfall". It was truly awesome.

I was also surprised that the crowd was so well behaved. I didn't see a beer in the bunch - Riverfest has been "dry" for several years now and I'm sure that cuts down on all the misbehaving. Almost everyone was polite, friendly, and courteous.

I was also WOWed by 8KOunt, one of the bands that played at REZonate played at Riverfest last night. Of course I had to go ...and get as close to the stage as possible. :) They were AWESOME ...again.

Click on the pics for a larger view







Saturday, September 05, 2009

Riverfest!!

For as long as I've lived in Cincy I've never seen seen the Riverfest fireworks in person. We always watch on TV to avoid the traffic, but that's gonna change this year. Tomorrow I'm headed down to the river to grab a spot and enjoy Cincinnati's signature event of the year with about a half a million other people. Its HUGE. For those who don't live anywhere in the tri-state area, click here to get an idea of what I'm talking about. An added bonus, 8KOunt, one of the bands that played at REZonate last week will be playing there. Last night they competed with another local band to see which band gets to headline the event. I've not heard if they won or not - I think the announcement comes later today, but either way they'll be playing. Its no small deal to be runner up in this event.

Hey and if you don't already know, Fred and Judy are probably pulling into the Rez about now with a load of winter coats, shoes, socks, etc for the kids in the village. They have access to the Pine Ridge blog so you can check out pics and read about their experience. I LOVE it when this stuff happens.

Its a good weekend again

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

When the Music Stops

I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I love it because all my work is over. And I hate it because its all over. True, my work is done. No more need for long days and sleepless nights. True, I can rest and do some things I enjoy. But there is also the feeling that everyone has left the room and the music has stopped and its just me left with an empty room. There's a bit of sadness because I've met new people that I like and wonder if I'll see them again. And there is time. Time to do ... what?? Boredom is not a good thing for me. I don't deal with it well. At all. It may not be healthy to "keep drinking that coffee and keep going" like my friend says I do, but its a lot healthier for me than dealing with boredom.


This time last year I crashed. Hard. So I've taken some steps this year to deal with the boredom. I have things to do. Of course, I still am not completely finished with REZonate. There are still thank you notes to do and "Gift in Kind" forms to fill out and file, and there is still a lot of junk around my house that I need to move to storage. Its my hope to get all of that done this week. We'll see. I've been playing with the pics from REzonate too... seeing what kind of cool effects I can add. Rock bands and Harley's lend themselves well to that kind of thing.


Then I do have some things to look forward to. This weekend is Riverfest! It's the signature Cincinnati event and I always look forward to seeing it - on TV. For as long as I've lived here I've never seen the fireworks in person. There has just been no way I would fight that traffic. Not when they're on TV. But this year ... well ... this year my new favorite local band is playing there and I'd love to see them again so I'm heading to the river this Sunday and I can't wait to hear 8KOunt play again and to see those Rozzi fireworks up close and personal.


The weekend after this one, I'll head to Chicago to see U2 in concert! And in Oct. I'm skydiving. At some point I have a bathroom to strip wallpaper off of and paint and I have tulip bulbs to plant. So yeah, I have things to do. Maybe this year will be better. I guess I just don't like good-byes.





Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kids ...

Kids just blow me away. They're so honest, and innocent, and seem to naturally care about others. Maybe that's why Jesus suggested we should all be more like kids.

I didn't make it to church Sunday night. I was wiped out, to put it mildly. But Brian came home carrying this little "Belle" bank with a look on his face that told me it wasn't just any "Belle" bank. One of the little girls in our church collected her money in this bank and then gave it to use to help the kids on the reservation. Its not the first time this little one has done this.

And I'm touched. But I'm not surprised. This little girl has a mommy and daddy that have lived out the principal of being generous and caring about other people in front of her every day of her life. To her, I'm sure it's just "what people do". Simple. Not easy, giving rarely is, but its what you do when you care.

Her mommy knows something about that. Her mommy is from another country and grew up in poverty. Someone in America sponsored her so she could get an education. Now she's in America, married with kids and she's teaching her three to reach out to those in need.