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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Go Fast, Take Chances

So its all full throttle again as we are gearing up for REZonate! I sat here this afternoon pondering how in the world I got here. Honestly ... I don't have a clue. As I've said many times before, this was nowhere near being on my list of things I want to do before I die. Life takes some crazy turns doesn't it.

Never in my wildest did I think I'd be organizing a city-wide event. Never did I think I'd be listening to Eliot Sloan sing one of his top 40 hits at that event. I'll always remember hearing him sing "The Light in Your Eyes" on that unseasonably pleasant summer evening with a full moon overhead. Awesome! Simply awesome!

Never in my wildest did I think I'd be on Cincinnati's Rock Radio station with a local "rockstar" (that was fun wasn't it Niki). Never did I think that Brian White who has 13 #1 songs to his credit would come up from Nashville at his own expense to play at this event. And never in my wildest did I imagine the Teamsters would offer to raffle off a brand new Harley at this event. Crazy.

Yeah, its not what I imagined at all for my life ... but it sure is fun. I'd be happy to sit by the fire and read or knit but life turned out all different. Of course people who know me well would tell me I'd be happy knitting for about 10 minutes and then I'd have to find something insane to attempt. Maybe.

Speaking of doing something crazy ... today I went to church wearing my Start Skydiving t-shirt that reads "Go Fast, Take Chances" ... and my sling. Didn't even think about it when I left this morning ... but later I thought ... "hmmm... that probably isn't a great advertisement for Start Skydiving". By the way, I was thrilled to see them on the news the other day. Apparently very few planes are able to land in Haiti but the kind of planes they have are permitted ... So ... they hooked up with some other friends of ours called Caring Partners International and the pilots volunteered to fly a load of medical supplies to Haiti. Cool!

Hey ... I wonder if we could have skydivers jump into REZonate??

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Workout Playlist

So ... its been about 3 weeks .... I think ... since I began working out at the gym. I like it OK. Weight training is cool, cardio , not so much. Reasons why I hate cardio:

1. Its hard. I'm old, and out of shape. Its been years since I was in the gym.

2. Its boring. I like to run. Running is fun. But I'm not allowed to run yet. I just asked again yesterday and the answer was "not yet".

So I ride the stupid stationary bike which has a seat that is now very well acquainted with my seat.

Today was my first day in the gym with no sling. I'm not sure if that was a good idea or not - time will tell. So today I did 15 min. on the elliptical and 25 on the stupid bike. I swear, music is the only reason I stay on it.

My Workout Playlist:

  1. If I Could Turn Back Time - Cher (which is what I'm trying to do)

  2. Back in the Saddle Again - Areosmith (literally)

  3. What's it Gonna Take - Motley Crue (I ask that daily)

  4. Where the Streets Have No Name - U2 ( a geat running song)

  5. Give me Novocain - Green Day ( by the time I get to this one I really do need some)

  6. I Gotta Feeling - The Blackeyed Peas (sure do have a feeling)

  7. Walk This Way - Aerosmith (good for the treadmill)

  8. Desire - U2

  9. Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen (not sure why that one other than its a good song)

  10. I'm Too Sexy - (OK, so I'm not sexy but its fun to pretend)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Accepting Life on Life's Terms

Tomorrow will mark my fourth week post op. Its been a rough ride. I'd always heard that rotator cuff surgery was a long and painful recovery... they weren't kidding. There are improvements though. The other day at physical therapy they measured my stretches. A 5% improvement in 2 weeks. While that sounds discouraging, at least I'm moving in the right direction and regaining, however slowly, a good range of motion. I can get my arm up above my head on my own now and I can fix my hair without even thinking about my arm. In the first week after surgery I would prop my arm against the wall to comb my hair.

Sleep still eludes me however and that is the biggest challenge for me. Last night was the best night's sleep I've had in quite a while and I was still up for 2 hours in the night. I lose energy fast. I've lost any semblance of a routine or schedule. On a good day I get up around 7:30 and eat breakfast and am at the gym by 8:30 or 9. After a workout I drop by the store to pick up anything that we need, come home, shower, eat lunch and take a pain pill and go to Physical Therapy. PT can take up to 3 hours of my time and by the time I'm home from that I'm usually pretty wiped out. I asked my therapist the other day how long it would be before I could expect to sleep. She just said, "Oh darlin', you've got quite a ways to go". Good to know.

The pain is better. It used to hurt all the time. Now the worst times are during and after PT and at night. A few times I've even gone more than 24 hours without pain meds. I still have percocet and take it as needed - usually twice a day. I don't' like taking it and want to get off of it as soon as possible but for now, I need it.

I'm behind on work. Really behind. Between the lack of energy and the time going to PT, I can't seem to get much accomplished. I wonder how people who have a job do it. I'm really glad I made up those freezer meals - we're still eating them but I think this week will be the end of those.

PT is tough. Everything you've heard about it is correct. I've had some pretty tough men tell me they screamed and cried at PT. I don't doubt it. I've not screamed yet but have come close to tears and have gotten dizzy enough that I thought I might pass out twice. I hate everything about it from the pain to the time it takes up but I know its the key to getting my arm back. No PT, no use of my arm again. So I do it.

Despite what this post may sound like, I'm not complaining. It is what it is. When I was in recovery - you know, the other kind of recovery, I learned that things go better when you accept life on life's terms. In a nutshell that means accepting what you can't change and taking things a day at a time. One day I'll be back to normal. It won't be tomorrow and it wont be next week but the day will come. For now I'm just here doing what I'm supposed to do and doing what I can do. I get frustrated at times but that's OK.

Monday, January 25, 2010

One Thing Leads to Another - and This Turned Out Cuter Than I Thought

This is an idea that grew into a project.... again. There is a lady who has gone above and beyond in helping our team pull together REZonate every year. She's simply awesome. In a nutshell, she's the reason we can do what we do. Well, at our last meeting we found out that she is going to have surgery this week. She was, get this, getting a gallon of milk out of her fridge and crushed several vertebrae in her neck. Crazy, huh?

So, I was thinking of getting her a card. Which got me to thinking ... that I've got an old antique milk bottle sitting in my kitchen ... and I could get some daisies to put in it and get a card to tell her that we're thinking about her and that she should "milk" it for all its worth. Well ... it became this little project. I made a cow card with a pocket inside for a gift card to a restaurant so she can get some takeout after her surgery. And of course, you've got to have cookies with milk and the colors of my gift back for the gingersnaps I make were perfect ... so ... this is what I came up with - a gift crate with shredded paper that looks like straw. You can't see it in the pic but the 4 little black "brads" are blocks with the letters "M I L K" on them. You'll have to imagine the milk bottle full of daisies and the cookie bag full of gingersnaps - I've still got to do those, but you get the idea...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hope For Haiti

Like many of you I watched the Hope For Haiti telethon last night. I wasn't sure I wanted to ... I mean how much suffering and sadness can you take in? But turning the TV off and looking away doesn't make it go away.

I was pretty impressed with the telethon. It was nice to see so many stars come together to pull that off and nice to see so many donations pour in. It made me proud to be and American. I'm not always proud of some of the things our country does, but I am proud when we show what we're made of and reach out. I was pleased that they didn't feel the need to identify or glorify any of the stars involved. It wasn't about them. It was about the Haitian people and as far as I could tell, they were the only one's who's names were given. I like that.

I have lots of mixed feelings about the situation in Haiti.

I feel helpless. I can give but I can't give as much as I'd like.

I feel very, very proud of the Haitian people. If they've not taught us all something about faith and courage throughout this horror, then I don't know what could. They are tough. They are courageous. They are beautiful people, both inside and out. When I was there back in 2003 a man walked for 2 hours to get to the clinic at the mission - with a machete in his head that the surgeon said went all the way to his brain. Amazing. That kind of thing happens in Haiti all the time so I'm not all that surprised that they have found people still alive and still praising God after a week under the rubble.

I feel proud that my husband is going there in October. I'm a bit worried about him going, but I'm glad he is.

I wish I were going. I had thought about it ... back when they moved the date from their usual June date to October. I can never go in summer because my time is tied up taking a group to Pine Ridge and then pulling together the REZonate Music Fest. But October, that's my "down time" when I'm not busy ... I could do that. I've not even mentioned that to my husband. I didn't mention it back then and I've not mentioned it since because I can't go anyway ... I can't afford it. The trip is about $1400 and it will be a stretch for us to pay his way and my $800 trip to Pine Ridge. Another $1400 is just out of the question. Yeah, there are fundraisers, but being a pastor's wife puts me (and him) in a really awkward situation ... we draw a salary from the church so to go back and ask for someone to sponsor us to go on a mission trip is just too weird. Other mission team members can send out sponsor letters or do all the "a-thon" fundraisers but that's not too cool for us to do. Oh well ...

I also feel uncomfortable doing a fundraiser this Sunday for Pine Ridge. We've got to raise $4000 for an amphitheater we hope to build. Somehow, in light of the situation in Haiti, it seems really shallow. I don't really believe we're "competing" for dollars ... I believe God has enough for both, but it feels uncomfortable to me. It shouldn't, I know, but it does.

And somehow in the middle of it all I do feel hope. Life is brutal. It doesn't always make sense. It surely doesn't always make us happy. But life is good. How can I say that? Because even is the very worst of situations, good can come. Life isn't about being happy and comfortable. Life is so much more than that. I've seen it in my own life and I've seen it in every tragic and horrific situation I've witnessed. Scattered throughout the suffering are stories that are nothing less than awe-inspiring. The eyes of the world are on Haiti right now. Our hearts are with the people there. And God only knows what can happen as a result.

*The photo above was taken on my trip to Haiti in 2003.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Old Jeep

I sold my old Jeep yesterday. I really hated to see it go. I love that Jeep and I'm gonna miss it.
It was the perfect vehicle ... snow was never a problem. I used to park in snow banks just to have fun getting out of them. You could take the back seat out and haul stuff if you needed to. I hauled a LOT of backpacks over the past 7 years in the back of that old Jeep. You could take the top off and have fun in the sun if the mood struck. It would go anywhere but it wouldn't go anywhere fast. There wasn't too many parking places I couldn't get in. It would turn on a dime too. I've never seen maneuverability like that old Jeep had. And then there's the indisputable "cool" factor of driving a Jeep.

I've got a new Jeep now. I like it OK but I don't love it like I did my old Jeep. It's got power windows and power locks and a remote starter - all handy things to have but they are just so not Jeep. And its bigger. Apparently they're building Wranglers bigger than they used to. I feel more like I'm driving a Hummer now than a Jeep and I don't like that so much. I'm sure in time I'll get used to it and I'll come to love my new Jeep, but for now I'm thinking, "I'm sure gonna miss that old Jeep.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It'll Cost You Your Heart

When you go on a mission trip, you will lose part of yourself. You will lose a part of your heart. I don't think it matters where you go ... you will never again hear about that place or the people there without feeling touched personally. Six years ago I went to Haiti. Although I've not been back because I've been led to work in other areas, part of my heart will always be in Haiti.

Like many of you, I've sat this week and watched news reports from there about the earthquake and have felt helpless. I've wondered what I can do in the midst of such suffering. I've wondered about the people I met there and if they were affected. Of course they were affected. .. All of us are, even those who don't live there ... but you know what I mean. It was disturbing to hear that Jose was unaccounted for after the quake. The mission where we go is in the Northwest part of Haiti and suffered no damage but Jose just happened to be on Port-au-Prince the day of the quake. He has since been heard from and is in fact there doing all he can to help the rescue efforts.

As the news reports come in I find it difficult to watch but also difficult to turn away from. I also find it odd that life can still go on in the States as if nothing has happened, and yet, what other choice is there really?

Please, as you go about your day, remember Haiti and please do whatever you can do to help. What they need most is money. There are several organizations that can pass along your donation.

And if you want a glimpse into the lives of someone who is there, Jose's wife Jody has a blog that is well worth a read.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


My heart hurts for the people of Haiti. A group from our church goes there every year - I've been once and Brian has been once and will be going back there in October. Having seen the poverty there, I can't imagine how they will deal with this devastating earthquake. We are grateful that our friends there and the mission are all accounted for and safe. They will have their hands full taking care of the needs there in the coming days and months. Please keep this situation in prayer. And if you are able to give any amount at all please go to this page and follow the directions. We know these folks and know that the help will get to the people who need it most.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Burning It

So, its my 4th time at the gym and I've noticed a few things ...

  1. Most people there look pretty average - they're not really the body builder type with the exception of a few. The younger women are the ones that try to kill themselves on the treadmill, the younger guys grunt the loudest so that the younger girls on the treadmills will take notice of them.
  2. Everyone there seems to know me even though I've never seen them before in my life. They even know things about me - like that I'm expecting twin grandbabies. Its' the "that's Brian's wife" thing. He must talk about me a lot ... which makes me wonder ... how many women are hitting on him there for him to make it known far and wide that he's married?
  3. Apparently you need a goal to make progress. I wanted to build muscle because muscle burns more calories than fat does, but my husband thinks I should focus more on burning fat ... Hmmmmm ... Don't be too hard on him - he's right and the truth hurts but its still the truth.
  4. Most people seem to be kinda amazed that I'm there ... they see the sling and say lots of things ... like, "well at least I'm in better shape than you are", or "hey dude, that lady with the sling is kicking your butt".
  5. The thigh machine is evil. Nuff said.

As for Physical Therapy ... its ever bit as horrible as you've heard. All I know is, I'd better get a new body out of all this or I'm going to be really ticked.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Win a 2010 Harley Davidson!!!

To say I was excited would be an understatement. I didn't even ask ... they just decided to do this .... which really amazes me.

Last year the Cincinnati Teamsters Motorcycle Association did a charity bike ride to benefit Backpacks For Pine Ridge. And then ... a few weeks ago I ran into the vice president of the Cincinnati TMA who said they were going that afternoon to buy the Harley. What Harley, I asked. "The one we're raffling off at REZonate this year". HUH?!?! Yeah, that's right ... they're raffling off a 2010 Heritage Softail Classic (in black) at REZonate! They're doing another bike ride too!

So here's a pic of the baby YOU can win. It's just $10 a ticket and you could be riding on this beautiful Harley! I had thought that I was ineligible to win since I'm the event organizer and all ... but they have informed me that I am not exempt. HA! Gotta LOVE those guys! So maybe I'll be riding those twin grandbabies around on this before the year is up? Well, OK, maybe we better let the twins get a bit older but its a thought for the future.

So all I can say is ... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Cincinnati TMA!!

Oh, by the way, REZonate Music Fest will be on Sept. 11th this year. There'll be a charity bike ride and possibly a car show and of course a tribute to the heroes and victims of 9/11 too. And music ... lots of music. Yeah, it's gonna be a great year! Check it all out on our web site www.BackpacksForPineRidge.com

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I Joined A Gym Today

I joined a gym today. I wasn't able to go there today because of the snow and tomorrow I probably won't be able to either because it looks like I've got a really long day at the doctor's office and Physical Therapists, but hopefully Saturday I'll get over there and get on a bike. I can't do a lot yet but I can surely sit on a bike and pedal without falling off and maybe I can do some leg lifts. My goal is to run a 5k this year.

I've ran before. I used to run 6 miles every day, but that was obsession and not really a healthy thing.

So what's different this time?

Well, for once I'm not concerned about losing weight. I need to do that, but that's not my goal. It weird because I may not even change my eating habits all that much. No, this time I just want to move what I can still move while I can move it. I am getting to an age where I am beginning to realize that if I don't start moving something now, I won't be able to in the years to come. I'm not in it for a hot bod ... just one that'll work a little bit longer.

I have no desire to get obsessed with exercise, weight and food. Really, I'm SO over that. I just want to be active... you know, so I can still go skydiving and all that.

Pics from the Past Week

Taser enjoying the snow

Gunner - NOT enjoying the snow

my stitches at one incision site as of today - they come out tomorrow!

the lovely bruise on my arm ... crazy how it can bruise so far from the incision site

That's pretty much it ... pretty boring around here. Just doing a lot of laying on the couch, going to physical therapy, watching the snow.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Something I've Never Done Before

I'm doing something I've never done before - ever.

I'm reading one of my husband's books. It might surprise you but I've not read all of his books. Of the four books he has written, I've read one of them, Beyond The Passion, and the reason I did that was because he wanted my feedback before it went to the publisher. I've seen him teach from Revelations To Go and found it pretty amazing that somebody could make the book of Revelation into a life application but then, that's Brian. He has always said if the bible can't be applied to life, what good is it? I agree.

But those are not the books I'm reading. I'm reading the devotional book he did called Serenity For the Soul. Cheesy title, I know. I'm not reading it because my husband wrote it. If that were the case I would have read it years ago when he published it. I'm reading it because it offers a reading plan that will take me through the bible in a year. I'm not sure I've ever read through the bible in a year before. I've read the bible and I'm sure I've read every part of it before - just not in a year. There are lots of plans out there but this plan seems to be as good as any.

Now lest anyone think that I have something against my husband's teaching, let me be clear. I don't. He's actually one of the best for being able to dig out obsure things in the bible and present them in a way that makes sense for in everyday life. I've been in church now for 36 years and I've heard about every take of every scripture you can imagine, but I've gotta say, Brian still surprises me. I can still walk away from his most of his messages with something to think about.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Day 4

Sorry to blog so much about my rotator cuff. I hope I'm not turning into one of those people who think that everyone is as interested in my injury as I am. :) But maybe it will help someone else going through it ... and if not, it'll help me remember what I may need to remember so feel free to read or skip as you wish.

So far I have a few problems:

1. I am afraid to take my pain meds. Well, actually I'm not afraid to take them, I'm just afraid I'll run out. Some docs aren't too good about writing prescriptions for narcotics and I've got 4 - 6 weeks of physical therapy 5 days a week to get through. I tried not taking them so I'd have them for PT but that was a bad idea. I found out really fast why people say this is a brutal recovery. And I do use my arm more when I take them, which is what I'm supposed to do. So ... I really wish I had asked him how many prescriptions I'm allowed.

2. Pain meds again. I take them and then tend to overdo it. I lifted a pot of soup last night - totally forgot I wasn't supposed to do that. Brian was napping and I didn't want to wake him up to fix supper.
BTW, the pic is a pic of my shoulder today. The doc must be pretty good at what he does to be able to get in there and work and leave almost no bruising. My right hand is actually more bruised than my shoulder from the IV. So, yeah, I'm impressed.
I'm really VERY grateful for the cards I've gotten, for the people who have prayed, and for the Chick-Fil-A sandwich! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Chick-Fil-A and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the two people who brought it by. OK ... back into the sling.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Rotator Cuff Surgery: Some Tips

For anyone getting ready to have rotator cuff surgery, here is a bit of my experience and some tips that may or may not be helpful.


Aside from doing everything your doctor suggests, I found it was a good idea to get the house ready for post-surgery. Since I'm the primary cook in our family and would not be able to cook for a while, I prepared a couple of weeks worth of meals that could be frozen and then reheated as needed. Some people will have family and friends who will want to bring meals by and that is great, but you will probably be in a sling for anywhere from 4-6 weeks so having meals prepared is always really helpful. I also stocked up on any shopping that needed to be done to make life a little easier for my husband who gets lost in a grocery store really easily. As much as you can do ahead of time, the easier things will be after surgery.

You might also want to get the room you'll be sleeping in ready. You probably won't be able to sleep in a bed for a while so they suggest a recliner. I don't have a recliner that's good for sleeping so pillows propped up in the corner of the couch worked well too.
A friend suggested that I have a basket of goodies close at hand after surgery so I loaded up a basket with hand lotion, chap stick, my iPod, books, tissues, hard candy, chocolate and pain meds (all the essentials of life), along with a water bottle with a pop-up lid. Something I wasn't expecting was the horrendous sore throat I had after surgery from the breathing tube. The hard candy was especially handy for keeping my throat lubricated and feeling better. And of course the TV remote and my phone was essential too. You can Facebook with one hand from the phone and stay in touch with people to help with boredom.


As for the surgery itself there's not much to say. It is easy and fast and I think in most cases now is done on an outpatient basis. If they offer a nerve block, I would highly recommend it. It will numb your shoulder and arm down to your hand. You'll wake up and have a really strange sensation in your arm and hand and your hand will be completely useless but it will give you anywhere from 12-18 hours with no pain. Numbness can be a good thing!

After Surgery

They will want you to start physical therapy ASAP. A good thing to invest in is a pulley that will help you stretch out the arm when your doctors says you can do that. If you're handy, you can probably make one, if not, you can buy them for about $20. They are well worth every penny. A wall works well too but the pulley was a good starting place for me to work up to the wall.

At the suggestion of my PT I also use a baseball bat (the ultimate weapon) to help with over the head stretches.

Bottom line is - DO YOUR THERAPY. It HURTS like all get out but if you skip even a day you may lose what ROM (range of motion) you have and you don't want to have gone through all of this for nothing.

Getting Dressed

This was something I was worried about. For women, this surgery presents some challenges our men friends just don't have. One thing that worked out well for me was to find a sports bra with spaghetti straps - not the kind that cross over in the back - you wont be able to get your arm though those. When you get dressed, just step into the bra and pull it up. Sounds crazy I know, but "whatever works".

Button up shirts are a must as well as sweat pants - you wont be able to button your jeans for quite a while - that just requires too many gymnastics for a one-armed person.


I had worried about this one. No one can fix my hair. I pay a very good hairstylist to cut my hair and she can't fix it to please me so I was worried. I bought some hats to wear "just in case". Turns out, they want me to raise my hand above my head as much as possible so I just consider it "therapy" to fix my hair. It may not look great, but I'm pretty proud of the effort.

Make Up

Put your makeup on. Ha! Seriously, no one cares if you wear make up or not but IF it makes you feel better, then go for it. If you feel better you'll be more likely to get up and move and that's what recovery takes, so whatever works to get you moving, do it.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Days 2 & 3

Well, since I have little else to talk about I'll be one of those folks who blog about my recovery. Ha ha!

Percocet is my new best friend. Its great and had kept the pain manageable.

I'm really grateful for good friends and a good husband. Fred and Judy brought my some Chick-Fil-A for lunch yesterday. I LOVE Chick-Fil-A and I love Fred and Judy. Yesterday, which was the day after surgery I returned to the doctor and then went to physical therapy. I had dreaded it because I knew it would be rough but actually after I got there, was able to dress normally and saw how much range of motion I now have I was pretty pumped. I can move my arm above my head now, which I couldn't do before. It hurts and is a pretty excruciating process but I can do it - before I couldn't. Now its just a matter of keeping it up so I don't freeze up and lose it again. I've got a baseball bat and a pulley that helps me to stretch it out at home. It felt great to get the bulky bandages off and to be able to put my arm through a shirt sleeve and dress normally - for the most part.

I had wondered about restrictions and was pleased to find out that aside from lifting with my left arm, there really aren't any. When the PT told me that I said, "Good 'cause I'm not all that crazy about how my husband fixed my hair today". He cracked up but took Brian's side since he's a dad to a 4 year old daughter and understands how hard it is for some guys to do hair.

Speaking of Brian - he's been great. He slept on the floor so he could be close by in case I needed anything in the night. I can't sleep in a bed so I'm on the couch propped up with pillows. He's done a great job of doing everything for me ... when I'll let him. I'm pretty independent and like doing things for myself unless I just can't. I'm good about asking for help when I need it though.

Today, day three, I decided to see if I could go without the pain meds. I have therapy 5 days a week for 4 weeks and its pretty aggressive therapy so I know I'm going to need the meds then. I'm afraid I will run out and the doc won't be too cool about prescribing narcotics again so I thought I'd better cut back and save them ...... bad idea. I've still done my exercises today but I don't feel so good today.