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, July 26, 2010

Simple Life

"Let me tell you 'bout my home town ... "

That's a lyric from my cousin Jason's song "Simple Life". I went back home this weekend. There was a big deal going on back home. Jason and his band was opening the Pike County Fair with a concert and most of my family were going to be there ... so, it was a good time to go back. Besides, I knew it would be kinda cool to sit with my family at the fairgrounds in the little town where I grew up and hear my cousin sing Simple Life - a song about our hometown. And it was. cool. I've got to admit though, it felt strange ... me and my cousins sitting there with grandkids. My grandparents are long gone, our parents are old, and now we watch the happenings of Pike County with not just our children but our grandchildren. The last time I was at that fair I was a little kid myself. Its funny how time goes by so fast and things change and yet they still stay the same too.
Jason's doing OK for himself. He's touring, playing with Brooks and Dunn, Kenny Chesney and who knows who else. His song is being played on radio stations around the country and he's been on CMT. Not too bad for a Pike County kid. It was also cool to watch a hometown parade in my hometown. Its been ... well, a long, long time since I've done that. They even passed out Popsicles as we watched. And of course there was lots and lots of candy for the kids.

So, let me tell you about my hometown ....

Main Street
(two stop lights and an IGA)

My Dad's old store.

(The Hallmark store used to be "Cliff's Clothes for Men and Boys" and we lived in the apartment above the store.)

The road to my Grandma's house

The house I lived in when I was a little girl. It still looks pretty much the same as it did. Its got new siding and windows and probably a new roof, but other than that, its the same as it was when I was seven.

The barn at my Grandma's house

My Grandpa's old Dairy barn

The clock at the Courthouse

The Parade!

My cousin Greg's restored car

My cousin Brian is running for County Commissioner

My cousin Alden driving one of the Miss Pike County Contestants

My cousin Jason was the Grand Marshal and my other cousin drove him

The concert

And here's a video of Jason performing "Simple Life" at the fair. I apologize for the poor quality of video. Its really bad, but ....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Thoughts on the Trip

Well, the Pine Ridge team got back home last Monday evening. It was a physically draining trip. Once home we had one with broken ribs, one admitted to the hospital with inflammation around his heart and pneumonia, one with a injured knee, and one with blockage in the carotid arteries. As usual, there are lots of stories to be told but I have a hunch we're all to spent to tell them. At least I am. I just can't quite get over the tiredness.

To be honest, I've had a hard time readjusting to being home. Aside from just being really, really tired, I just don't feel "right". It was a good trip and yet I don't feel any excitement about it. I can't think of a bad thing that happened and there were many, many good times. Lots of touching moments and lots of laughter ... and yet .... the joy seems to be missing.

I was tired, emotionally tired anyway, before I even started planning this trip. I just didn't feel up to it. Last year was a great year. We did some really great things and when it was over I felt like it was our best year yet. But that changed pretty quickly. There were two team members who were not happy and unfortunately chose to handle their issues in a way that was ungodly to say the least. Dealing with that just took away all of the joy of an otherwise wonderful trip. I don't think I've recovered that joy yet.

I've always heard that its the enemy's job to steal your joy. I was never really sure what that meant. Actually I'm still not sure. If its to discourage me, well ... I don't do this for the joy it gives me. At times it does bring me joy, but there are other time it does not. That's not why I do it.

I don't do it for the happiness either. At times it does bring me happiness but there are other times it most certainly does not. It doesn't matter. I don't do it to be happy.

And I don't do it to be praised or to feel good about myself. Occasionally those things happen but just as often I feel like a failure and just as often someone has a complaint. That's OK. I don't do it for that reason either.

Neither do I do it for the kids. I love the kids out there. No question about it, they are worth all of the work and hassle. But if we didn't put in the work and hassle, someone else would. That's not why I do it.

I do it simply because its where God has me at this point and time. No other reason than that.

So ... about the trip ....

There were three things that stood out.

1. God's provision. You can read stories about that on our Pine Ridge Mission blog. If you're in need of a faith builder I can think of no better thing than a mission trip. Its a way to see God move up close and personal ... at just the right moment.

2. The relationships we've built. I remember well when we started these trips 7 years ago. There were some teens back then that I was sure hated us. They were tough. Really tough. It never even occurred to me that they must like us a little bit or they wouldn't come. So it is really cool now to have those teens who are now no longer teens but young adults with babies of their own, make an effort to come and visit us where we're out there. Even one of the boys who still comes each year but is very standoffish asked why we only stay a week. Now when we go to the PowWow there, its almost like coming home because we know so many of the people there. I guess Hammer said it best. When I picked him up for VBS he ran to the van, climbed in and gave me a big hug then made his way to the back of the van. One of the little girls said something to him (I couldn't make out what) but his response was "she knows me". And he said it with such pride.

It really is my home away from home and the people there really are my extended family.

Which is why the 3rd thing was so special to me. During the week some of the kids told me that one of the little girls who I'm particularly close to was going to receive her Indian name in a naming ceremony at the PowWow. I asked if that was something we could see or if it was a private thing. They weren't sure. But on Friday evening at the PowWow we got to witness the naming ceremony for not just one, but several of "our kids". These are kids that we've watched grow up. Most of them have known us their whole lives. To see them at such an important time in their lives partaking in one of the ceremonies of their culture was simply the most rewarding thing I've been a part of out there. And when it was over and we were leaving, the missionary came running up to our van and gave me a gift of two beautifully made pillows - a gift from one of the families that they gave as part of the ceremony. I don't even know what to say about that.

Shelly and me ( I LOVE this lady. I don't know how she does all she does. She's my hero!)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Just Another Day

This morning John and I went to Walmart to purchase the last of the food for the trip to Pine Ridge. The food situation will definitely be different this year, but from the looks of things, we'll still be eating pretty good. I'm doubting that anyone will starve to death next week. So, I've spent the afternoon getting it packed and making phone calls ... and then more phone calls.... and then more phone calls.

The company that is donating some of the food emailed that we can pick that up on Thursday between 8am and 1pm.

Problem - I may or may not be available for that. There are any one of three things that may or may not take my day on Thursday. I won't know till Thursday. SO ... John is going to take care of that.

Problem: The coolers the food goes in are all at my house. John said he'd get someone to take care of that as long as I leave them in my garage. (he along with half of Hamilton have the code to get in to the garage)

That is not a problem. No one would come into my house and risk the wrath of my dogs. :)

So ... I went upstairs to carry the coolers down and guess what? They were all full of bottled water! Now where did that come from?? I don't know for sure but we can use it for REZonate. Coolers are now empty and sitting in the garage. Back to packing stuff ...

I still can't find my bean bags to get the game box packed up. I guess if we don't find them we'll just not play cornhole out there. We can however still play the toilet toss game ... and maybe we'll get creative and find something to toss through those seats.

I've also got to run over to a neighbor's house and drop something off to help make sure the missionaries out there receive some financial help. I'm sure that line doesn't make sense to anybody but me, but that's OK.

At some point I need to pack my own stuff. That means I'll need to do some laundry too. That will probably be a last minute thing though.

I think there's another load of materials being dropped off at my house tonight too. I won't be here, but like I said ... everybody knows how to get in. And Logan is probably going to be around here since he's sick as a dog with step throat.

Tonight we're off to soak up some grandbaby time! It may be the last time I'll get to see them for 3 weeks or so. Ugh! I may not survive that. Hmm ... the mission team comes through Ill. on the way home .... I wonder if I could hijack them and run past Allison's parent's house?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

What a Week!

Well the weekend is finally here. Tonight we go over to mom and dad's for a big cookout and fireworks. About 30 people will be there. Ha! Should be fun.

Last night I built a fire in the backyard and Brian and I made Smores and watched lightening bugs. It was nice to have some time to relax from the week - its been a most crazy one.

Let me recap ....

Last Sunday Ron, Gary, and Scot from the Cincinnati Teamsters Motorcycle Association joined with me and Cathy at Bridgewater Falls Shopping Center for their Bikes and BBQ event. We had a booth there for Backpacks For Pine Ridge complete with the 2010 Harley the TMA guys are raffling off. Ickey Woods (former Cincinnati Bengal) was in the booth right next to us, and yes, our super salesman Scot even sold Ickey a raffle ticket. Not too many people get past Scot and very few say no to him. You can see some pics over at the Backpacks blog.

Monday Allison, her mom, the twins, my dad, Logan and me and Brian went to a Reds game and walked Eli and Owen around the field. Fun night. Lots of work to pull it all off but worth it to make some memories.

Tuesday we got word that all of the food items we had requested from a local food company for the Pine Ridge trip had been discontinued. Soooo ... John Lansdale and I came up with a new list of food items to ask for and resubmitted a request.

Wednesday I was tired. I don't even remember Wednesday. I know I didn't rest though. At the moment I just can't remember what I did. According to my Facebook status I hit the gym and then ran errands for the Pine Ridge trip. Went to church that night and passed around a sign up sheet for people to pray for us as we are on the mission trip, and put the brass sign on the case that holds the star quilt that Melda gave us last year. Its been that kind of week.

Thursday we found out that the donation we requested from the food company was approved but that we'd only get about half of what we asked for and that they will not be packing it in coolers with dry ice this year. The last 6 years they've donated all of our meat products and packed it for us. But things change. At least we're getting something and every little bit helps.

Thursday we had our final team meeting before we leave for the Rez. Everyone showed up!! That's always a good thing. I think, I hope, I tried to bring everybody up to speed. Quite a few have missed meetings where I've given out some important info .... I hope they got caught up.

And Thursday while I was at the meeting, Brian was cutting the grass at home. While he was in the front yard riding the mower, he looked up and saw both Taser and Gunner running around the neighborhood. They had managed to knock the chain link gate off its hinges. He fixed it, got them back in the back yard then went to take a shower and check email. After that he came downstairs to let the dogs in ... except, there was no Gunner. Gunner had somehow (we still don't know how) gotten out again. When he heard Brian he came bounding across the yard next to ours, climbed the fence, balanced on top of the fence for Taser to get out of his way, then jumped back into our yard. What that dog doesn't do.

And Friday ... I did nothing. Absolutly nothing.

The coming week will be crazy too I assume. We leave next Saturday morning bright and early. Actually it won't be bright yet since we leave at 5:30am. You can keep up with our updates while we're gone over on the Pine Ridge trip blog. I'll update it from my phone to let you know of our adventures.