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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What a Day!

Yesterday Eli and Owen spent the day with me.  Their mommy is sick and needed some rest so ... we picked the boys up at 8am and took them home after dinner.  Here is a glimpse of how the day went.  :)

They LOVE books ..
and taking my bookshelf apart


I wonder which one can get the window the dirtiest?



Eli likes to share


Yup, they're guilty alright - guilty of getting into Bama's books
(of course I don't care at all)

"Where's the pictures??"

"Hmmm... this one looks ... interesting.  At least there is a cartoon on the front"

"Wait, isn't Buriff MY name?  I wonder if my grampa wrote this?"

"Grampa writes books you can really sink your teeth into"







"Now just what am I supposed to do with these things?"

"When it doubt, chew on it"

"Hey now THIS is fun!"



"This is better than a set of drums!"

"Now why didn't I think of that?"

Topping the day off with McDonald's

"May I recommend the fries?"

"yeah, I think I'm gonna like this place"

Spring Break?

I think the only thing breaking this Spring are a couple of backs - mine and Brian's.  His was sore yesterday after getting several truck loads full of cement, gravel, sand, and other stuff.   Today I'm tearing out the brick patio - not a fun job.  Why would we do something so stupid you ask?  I've wondered a time or two myself during this process.  But we have a drainage issue.  When it rains, which it does often in the Spring, we have water pooled in the back yard and on the brick patio.  Our yard sits lower than our neighbor's yards so all the run-off comes here.  It gets much worse than this picture even shows.  MUCH worse.

SO ... we're tearing out the patio, raising the grade of the yard, installing some drain pipes, and then re-laying the brick patio. 

My part is to get the brick up and stacked.  His is to finish the rest.  Although I'm sure I'll be helping haul stuff from the wheelbarrow from time to time. 

So far ... I'm not very far into my part of the deal and I'm already sure I might not be able to move tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Hills of Donegal

It seems that most of my Irish ancestors came from either Derry (Londonderry, for those who prefer), and Donegal.  Donegal is beautiful with hills, a rugged coastline, and oh yeah, sheep. Its what people think of when they think of Ireland.  And its known for its tweed.  When we were there we stopped in a little shop and since there were no other customers, we got a lesson in weaving from the owner of the shop.  Granted, it was probably meant to encourage us to buy something - which we did - that's where my green scarf came from. 

And its where James Blaine came from.  James Blaine is my 6th great grandfather on my dad's side of the family.  Before James, all I can find is "unknown Blaine" so I have no idea who his father was or anything about his family before.  Mary Blaine, married Samuel McCord who originated from Scotland and was my 4th great grandfather. 

On my mother's side, comes Robert Harris, my 7th great grandfather, Flora Douglas, his mother.  They came through the Gray for any family reading that wants to know. 

Through the Cole side of my mother's family come the Clingans, the Pattons, the McCrackens, and the Lynn families, all from Donegal. 

Here are some pictures I took while there...










Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who knew ... (Irish Roots)

At the time, I had no idea ...

Really.  None at all.  I had already fallen in love  with Ireland and there was a  bit of hope ... that maybe, just maybe, somewhere back in history, I might have ancestors from there.  But I didn't know.

Looking back, its strange.  While I loved all of Ireland, I felt particularly comfortable in Derry (Londonderry) and Donegal.  Why, I couldn't have said.  In fact, it might have seemed strange to say I felt comfortable in Derry because Derry is a city that has seen more than its share of strife and violence.

So I was surprised and delighted, when doing some family history on Ancestry.com, to find that I have Irish roots on both sides of my family - more than one line, in fact, and that they almost all come from, you guessed it, Derry and Donegal.

Today even, I was surprised to find that my 12th great grandfather on my mother's side was a surgeon who died in the battle of Londonderry in 1688.  He died within these walls not long after they were built.  A few years ago I walked the walls of Derry with Brian having no idea that I had such a personal connection with the city.  Below are some pictures of Derry and the story of Lancelot Vance, my relative who died there.


Derry, Northern Ireland
walking up the steps of the walls


on the walls of Derry
one of the many canons that line the walls of the city


Reverend John Vance (1617 - ): England systematically removed the Irish Catholics from the north of Ireland and re-colonized it. Many of the new colonists were Scotchmen.


John was the first of the Vances to settle in Ireland. He was a Presbyterian minister and traveled to Ireland about 1660 to escape religious persecution and likely to search for new opportunities. He was also the first to use the name Vance. Under the Act of Settlement, John obtained the lease of a tract of land in the County of Tyon and there founded the village of Coagh. He married Sarah Williams, daughter of Ashe Reinty, Esq. of the County of Derry and had six children.
Their first son, Dr. Lancelot Francis Vance, died of at the siege of Londonderrry leaving one other son as heir, Patrick