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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Parenting 101

Its hard to imagine but from time to time I have people ask me for parenting advice. I've always been kind of hesitant to give it for a few reasons - for one, I don't think its wise, second, I haven't done everything "right" myself, and third, while parenting has a huge impact on children's lives, its not the only thing that determines "how they turn out". Other factors, that parents have no control over have a pretty big impact on our kids too.

But, since parenting does have a big impact, and since I've been asked, and since I do feel I've learned some good stuff over the years of raising my kids, I'll share some of that here for anyone who cares to read.

Being the Perfect Parent

Don't try to be the "perfect" parent. Trying to be perfect is, in my opinion, almost as bad as abusing your kid. It puts unbelievable pressure on your kids and it teaches them that its not OK to screw up, and we all know that we all screw up and need grace. Set a better example by giving yourself some grace when you screw up. That does not mean that you let things slide. It means when you screw up that you admit it and make amends as necessary. Making mistakes in parenting is normal. All parents make mistakes and have regrets. Own them and take responsibility for them and admit them to your kids. As far as perfectionism goes, check yourself - are their other areas in your life where you demand perfection of yourself? Your kids see that and trust me - it makes a huge negative impact. It sends the message that if you're not perfect (no one is) then you're not acceptable and your children will internalize that and live it out in their lives.

Teaching Kids to Give

Since I've been leading mission trips I see two basic responses from parents about missions and both are a little scary to me. Some parents say that their children are too young and can't be left at home for a week. Other parents want to take children that are too young on the mission trip. Both of these responses give me nightmares at times.

Let me address the first issue - Kids are not as fragile as you think. As long as they know that they are the most important things in your life, they'll be just fine without you for a week or two. In fact, they'll be better than fine. They'll see that helping people is important - so important that you'll give up a short bit of time with them to go do it. That will teach them more than any words you have about the importance of helping out others and giving. Words are cheap, actions are not and kids know this. That's not to say it'll be easy. I left for a two week trip to Romania when Cody and Logan were very young. I think Logan was just three at the time and Cody was old enough to worry about me getting hurt "over there". It was stressful for all of us. When I dropped them off at my mom and dad's I cried all the way to the airport and then all the time until we boarded the plane. Are my kids OK? I think so. Both of them have chosen careers that help others. One is a missionary and the other preparing for a career in public service. Both have been on mission trips themselves to Pine Ridge, Haiti and the Philippines and both have a desire to go on other mission trips. As far as I know they are neither one scared for life. In fact, I think it was a good thing. And really, it's only a week. Its what happens all the other weeks that matter to your child's development.

Now let me say this - if you're kids don't know that they come first, you will have some resentful kids if you leave them for a mission trip. In fact, you're going to have some resentful kids regardless if they feel something else comes before them. As I said above - its what happens all the other weeks that matter to your child's development. Wondering if your kids know they come first? They know. And so do you.

As for the second issue with mission trips. Sometimes parents want to get their kids involved in missions. That's awesome! BUT, you've got to be careful here. The maturity level of your kid is a really, really important factor if you want them to have a good experience rather than a bad one. I'm assuming people want their kids to have a good experience so their kids will learn about giving. But taking a child who is too immature on a mission trip can backfire and leave them with a really bad taste for "giving". Mission trips are tough. They're mentally and emotionally tough for adults and they're just that much harder for kids. Aside from the physical toughness of these trips, you have to be able to put others first, do without privacy, and tolerate people who may rub you the wrong way at times. That's a tough thing for most adults. Some kids are exceptional and can handle that beautifully. Others, most ... not so much. That does not mean they are bad kids. It simply means that they're kids and they're supposed to be immature. Its OK. They'll grow up and there will be other opportunities. Not sure about your kid? Ask someone who will tell you the truth.

Well, I'm out of time and I bet you're out of time reading, so I'll continue this topic in future blog posts.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Video & Pics

Yesterday was a lot of firsts here at the Buriff house. It was the first year we've had Thanksgiving at our house, Eli & Owen's first Thanksgiving, and the first year we started a new tradition (thanks to Pati Germany for sharing the idea). I bought a simple white table cloth and a laundry marker and each of us wrote something we were thankful for on the table cloth. Over the years we'll be able to look back and see all of the ways God has blessed our family. This year we traced the twin's hand prints on it.

We had a great time together and WAY too much food. Below are some pics and a video of us trying to get Owen to "talk". He has a way of squealing that sounds just like he's saying "hi". I'm not sure we captured it but we did get a cute kid on video.

In this one we were laughing at Allison

who was trying to get the twins to look toward the camera

"What are we supposed to do with this bone?"

They know what to do with it

Friday, November 19, 2010

Twin Pics

Click on the pics for a larger view

Eli riding the Harley

Owen loves "cookies"

Eli can really work the pout

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Goodbye to a Very Good Friend

I am just absolutely shocked ... and stunned. Just a while ago I got word that a very good friend of mine passed away very suddenly yesterday morning. Many of my blogging friends will know Gary from his own blog and we will all miss him terribly.
I first met Gary years ago on an online recovery forum. Over time he became a very good friend and walked with me every painful step of the way through the recovery process.

There are so many things I will always remember about Gary. First and foremost is his compassion. Gary always cared deeply for those who struggled. That was evidenced in so many ways, whether it was just a willingness to listen to someone vent, or whether it came across in the words he carefully crafted on his blog, or whether it was his willingness to donate his time and talent to a great cause. Gary cared. No one who ever knew him would doubt that for a second.
I will also remember him for his wisdom. He would laugh at that, I'm sure because he probably never thought of himself as wise, and yet, most truly wise people don't. Just take a few minutes to read through his blog and well... you'll see what I mean.
I will also remember him as an irreplaceable member of the Backpacks For Pine Ridge team. Although he lived on the other side of the country and although we never actually met in person, he was a valued contributor to our work. Gary was a hugely talented graphic designer and he freely gave of his time and talent to create the beautiful logos for Backpacks For Pine Ridge and for the REZonate Music Fest. Then there were the countless fliers he created for REZonate. Every year I dreaded asking him if he was up for it one more time but every year he replied that he felt it a great honor to be a part of what we were doing. And he never did just one flier. He did several - he was a perfectionist like that and wanted to be sure we had his very best. There are other people who will be able to put a flier together, but no one will ever be able to replace Gary.
It just seems so strange to be writing this. It all seems so unreal. Gary, you will be missed ... greatly. Rest in peace my friend.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Trailer Full of Coats

Click over to the Pine Ridge Mission Blog to see all about Ray and Kathy's coat drive and what happened this week when Brian and Ray delivered them to the Reservation.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Crazy Little Story

Ever have one of those times when things are just ... weird? Well, here's a story like that. For the past few months Ray and Kathy have been collecting winter coats to take out to the Rez. In fact, they leave next Monday to take them out there. Well ...

It so happens that Ray was in Middletown ...

and it so happens that he wondered into a thrift store ...

and it so happens that he came upon a box of winter coats that had a sign that said "Half Off".

The coates were marked anywhere from $2 - $4.

So Ray asked the manager if that was the half off price or the regular price and found out that it was half off of the price marked. So he bought them all.

It so happens that then he was telling the manager what he was doing with the coats and so the manager said, "Come see something ..."

And it so happens that the back room of the store was filled with coats. Maybe a few hundred of them.

And it so happens that the manager told Ray that he could take them all.

Not all of them are in good shape. They'll have to be cleaned before they take them out to the Rez, but still.

Then it so happens that Ray mentions the church he attends ...

and it so happens that this manager said, "So is Howard Eliott still the pastor there?"

It so happens that this manager used to attend our church and knew him.

Then ... the other day Brian was sitting at Panera working on his message and a man walked up and said hello and asked if Brian remembered him. Brian was a bit embarrassed but said, "Can you give me a hint".

It so happens that this man was the same manager at the thrift store who used to go to our church and remembered Brian and just happened to run into him again.

Is that crazy or what?