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.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blogging Again

I'm not sure if anybody reads here anymore.  I hardly ever post here anymore so there's not usually much to read.  When I started this blog it was just to share whatever general insights, thoughts, or questions I have grappled with "along the way".  I also have used the blog to post pics for family members that are located across the US.  But then I moved to Facebook and posting here slowed WAAAY down. 

I do have a few other blogs that do get a bit more action.  They are much more specific in their nature, but for those interested ....

The Pine Ridge Mission Trip Blog is where I post updates and info about our annual mission trip to Pine Ridge Reservation.  You can find that at Pine Ridge Mission Trips

Then there is the blog for The Well Armed Woman - North Cincinnati Chapter.  I post articles there about various things we as women have to consider when making the choice to defend ourselves and our families.  You can find it at The Well Armed Woman - North Cincinnati Chapter  You will have to pardon the self photo in the banner - it was what I had to work with.  I hope to change as soon as I have time to get my camera and go to work.

And lastly, its not so much of a blog but there is info posted about the Ohio CCW Classes I teach at Ohio Concealed Carry.

Beyond that - you'll find me on Facebook and very occasionally on Twitter. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What The Heck??


I’m sure there are some folks out there scratching their heads and wondering what the heck when they hear that I am a NRA Certified Firearms Instructor.  Well, let me assure you, I’m right there with ya. 
I think this journey began a while back when I got my eyes opened to much I was fooling myself about how safe I was.  You can read about that earlier in this blog.  Once my eyes were open, I began to see friends of mine who were also putting themselves and their children at risk.  Somewhere inside of me a strong desire began to develop to help women be better able to defend themselves and protect their children.  I wasn’t sure what direction that would take, but the passion was definitely growing.
Then an opportunity arose to lead a local chapter of The Well Armed Woman.  The Well Armed Woman was formed last year by Carrie Lightfoot in order to educate, equip, and empower women to protect themselves.  It’s a group where women of all shooting experience levels can come together to learn about firearms in a less intimidating environment.  Some of the women are afraid of guns but feel they need one to protect themselves.  Others are more experienced. We all get together to teach and encourage one another.  That was right up my ally.    I applied and before long, was in the midst of starting up the North CincinnatiChapter.   As of this posting we have just over 20 women on the email list and we have no t even had our first meeting yet. 
Safety and responsibility are stressed at these  meetings and one requirement is to have a Certified Instructor or Range Safety Officer on hand during the range portion.   I figured it would be easier to get the training and become certified myself than to find someone, possibly have to pay them, and then count on them to be present – I knew I would be present … and so … last weekend I completed my training.  I must say it was a bit intimidating.  Besides one other lady (also a Well Armed Woman leader) everyone in the class were either military or police.  One guy had even guarded President Reagan … and here I was a housewife and grandma.  But ya know what? I did ok and one of those police officers even tracked me down at lunch to tell me he was impressed with  my shooting.

Now I will be busy.  Not only am I serving these women in our chapter but I’ve officially hung out my shingle and will be teaching Concealed Carry Classes.  I certainly don’t believe I’m going to get rich doing that, but maybe I’ll make a few dollars and will be in a position to teach safe gun handling.  You can find my brand new page here

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Thoughts on Gay Marriage


I’ve been asked about my stand on gay marriage, and … its complicated, so rather than give a Facebook status answer, I’ll attempt to unravel it here.   This will not be the most well-written piece you’ll read on the topic, but it is what it is.

The Biblical Stance

If I’m going to follow Jesus Christ, and try to acknowledge Him in all my ways (I fail miserably at that sometimes), then I have to look at what His Word says about the issue of homosexuality.  Fact is, my faith really should influence every part of my life and all my thinking on whatever issue is currently the hot topic for it to be a faith that matters much.   Fortunately, It is clear where the Bible stands on homosexuality.  I won’t make this post longer than necessary by getting into all of the scriptures – Old Testament and New, that deal with the subject.  Short answer, according to scripture, homosexuality is a sin.  So, if I follow Jesus and I know He knows what is best for His creation, and that He loves us unconditionally and gave his life to pay the price for our sin, then I have to believe that homosexuality is not good for us.   

That Leads us to the Sin Issue

So, if I oppose gay marriage based on my religious belief that it is a sin and not good for us, then what about all the ways in which straight people abuse marriage?  How is being gay and married any different or worse than the horrific ways straight people sometimes behave in marriage?   Well … its not any worse.  One sin is not worse than another in God’s eyes.  Child abuse ranks worse in my mind, but that’s another topic.   Does it serve us well to say “well, straight marriage is often badly abused at times so gay marriage should be ok” ?  Some of the things that go on in straight marriages are horribly sinful.  There is brutality, cheating, self-serving and often children are caught in the middle.  That’s some pretty bad stuff.  But how is it logical to say that because one form of marriage is sometimes bad, that other forms of marriage should be ok?  Does some wrong make everything else acceptable?   Of course not. 

What about Love?

Aren’t Christians supposed to love everybody?  Of course they are!  Who says we don’t?  Where are you hearing that from??  I think where it gets misunderstood is that there are people who think that love means you have to agree.  It is absolutely possible to love someone unconditionally while not condoning or agreeing with everything they do.  Don’t believe that?  Ask a parent.  There are some bad parents out there, but many if not most parents love their children unconditionally but all of us have kids who sometimes do things we do not like or agree with.  That in no way causes us to love or value them any less.  That’s what the UNCONDITIONAL part is about.   Love that is conditional only loves those it agrees with. 

I have gay friends who I love very much.  They are amazing people – every one of them.  I do not dislike them or avoid them in any way – and I most certainly do not “hate” them.  I’m not sure how we got to the place where disagreement equals hate, but that is a messed up way of thinking.

Yes, there are some extreme hate groups out there who go by the name of Christian.  Thankfully they are few. Unfortunately they get a lot more press than they ever should.  Those do not represent Jesus or His followers in any way.  And yes, there are some mean-spirited church-going folks who are , well ,mean.  Shame on  them.  Really.  Shame of them for being such a  poor, poor, poor representation of Jesus.

So Why Shouldn’t it be Legal?

I go back to my main argument that according to scripture, homosexuality is not good for us.  I don’t think it is good for us as individuals and I don’t think its good for us as a society.   Men and women are different.  I do think we’re more alike than we are different, but we are different.  Males and females both bring something unique to the table.  Both have value, and having both present in a marriage gives children the best possible environment in which to grow and flourish.  Granted, it often doesn’t work out that way, but it is still the ideal and shouldn’t we shoot for the ideal?  What is the purpose of shooting for the less than ideal?   If we have stronger, healthier families, we will have a stronger, healthier society.

I also oppose making gay marriage legal because, at some point, as a Christian, there is simply a time to take a stand for what is right.   Frankly, I need no other reason that this one.  Its really  just that simple.  I’ve got to wonder at my “Christian” friends who do not stand against gay marriage, and sadly, there are many.  When did we become so comfortable with sin?  My sin, your sin, the sin of others – when did it become palatable?  There is always a price for sin.  Always.  Sometimes it comes in the form of natural consequences.  But the ultimate price was paid a long time ago when God himself laid down on a wooden cross and endured one of the most humiliating and excruciating deaths imaginable to pay for our sin.  With that picture in our minds, how can we possibly be remotely comfortable with sin?

Another reason I oppose gay marriage is that I am not convinced that gay marriage and religious freedom can co-exist.   There was a time in America when someone could choose to abstain from any activity because it was against their religion. Whether we agreed with them or not,  we respected their choice.  That time is fast slipping away.  It is possible, maybe even likely, that if gay marriage becomes the law of the land, that pastors and churches who oppose homosexuality based on their religious beliefs and refuse to perform gay marriages, may be sued for discrimination.  Will that happen?  I don’t know.  Could it, yes.  Are we really willing to take that risk?

So, there is it, at least in part.  Some things to think about.  I hope we are thinking about it because once passed, there will be no  going back and are we really prepared for the ramifications?

 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The "Betty" Holster Review

Here is my review of  The "Betty" holster for women ... although, I suppose a man could use it too.  Like The "Ava" which I reviewed below, the "Betty" is another holster in the "Pin Up" collection that is designed for women by Looper Law Enforcement

The Betty is a thermoplastic In The Waistband, holster that is molded to fit each specific gun.  I personally use The "Betty" for my Smith & Wesson J Frame revolver.

What I Like About It:

  • It covers the trigger guard completely.  As I've said before, safety is a huge thing for me and I really want my holsters to cover the trigger guard.  The "Betty" does that.




  • Its small.   I mean, fit in the palm of your hand small. 



  • It is comfortable.  It is so lightweight and small that you barely know its there.
  • The hooks are strong and will hold tightly to your waistband without a belt. 

  • The cant is adjustable.  You can move it to virtually any position you want.
  • It is versatile.  While it may not be the most comfortable way to wear it, it can be clipped to the inside of a boot or to the inside divider of a *purse and worn that way. 
What Needs Getting Used To:

  • While the hook is strong and the cant is adjustable, the trade off is that sometimes with extended wear, the screw on the hook will need to be tightened.  No biggie - just be aware of that or it can get a little sloppy.
What I Don't Like About It:

  • The retention.  While it does a good job of holding the gun in place during normal activities, if turn upside down, the gun will fall out.  If the retention were better, this would be a perfect holster.

As for concealment.  As I've said before, I find concealing even a very small gun a huge challenge.  The Betty is not perfect.  In some clothing it will print, but I've worn it for quite a while and no one has ever mentioned seeing it.  In fact, people who know I carry sometimes ask me where it is. 
*I am not a fan of purse carry.  How many times do your children or grandchildren get into your purse to look for candy or something?  Do you really want them getting into your purse if there is a gun in it?  It is also easy to forget and leave a purse behind in a restaurant or store. It doesn't happen often, but it only takes once.  And then too, if someone is going to mug you, what will they likely go for - your purse.  Then they have your purse and your gun.  I know sometimes purse carry is necessary but I don't recommend it. 

The "Ava" Holster Review

Buying holsters that work well for you can be tough - especially if you're a woman.  I have found that I buy two before I find one that works, and that's after doing a lot of research and reading a lot of reviews.  From what I'm reading, I find I am not alone in my holster confusion.  So I thought I would throw my two cents in about a couple of holsters I use.  This review will be of the "Ava" by Looper Law Enforcement

As you can read on their web site, the Ava is designed for women by Lisa Looper and is part of the "Pin Up" collection of women's holsters.  You can read all about the specifics on their site so I wont repeat all of that here.  I'll just share my opinions about it here. 

What I Like About It:

  • I like that it covers the trigger guard completely.  I'm a bit of a safety freak and that's one thing I'm picky about.  I tried other holsters that covered the trigger guard okay, but okay is not good enough for me.  I want it covered completely and Ava does that.  


  • I like that it is relatively small.  Of course I use it for a small gun - a Glock 26 but compared to other holsters I looked at, it seems smaller and for me, the smaller the better.




  • It is comfortable.  I always felt like my Glock was a bit heavy (don't laugh men).  It seemed heavy and I always felt lop-sided when I had my Glock with me.  With the Ava, I don't feel that way at all.  It fits snug and secure and I barely know the Glock is there when I use Ava.   The purple suede is soft, making it unnoticeable against my skin. 


  • The hooks are strong, will hold to a waistband without a belt, and are adjustable. You can see in the pics that there are three positions you can fasten the hooks into to allow the holster to ride higher or lower.   You can also wear the holster in any waistband position you like.




What I Will Need to Get Used To:

  • Reading reviews and descriptions about the Ava, I was expecting it to be more versatile.  I was expecting to be able to adjust the cant of the gun.  Well .... maybe you can, but it is not clear how to do that.  It seems fastened on there pretty good, did not come with directions for adjusting it, and I'm unable to find directions online anywhere. I could try, but I'm afraid I would tear up a good holster doing so ... so I choose to live with it as it is, which is not really all that bad.  It is canted forward and I had never carried that way before, but if its good enough for the FBI, then I guess its good enough for me. 
What I Do Not Like About It:
  • The retention.  While it does a good job of holding the gun in place, the retention is not perfect.  In a normal day to day situation, the gun will stay put very well.  The thermoplastic part of the holster is molded to fit each gun and as such, holds it in place pretty well but if turned upside down, the gun will fall out. If the retention were better, this would be a perfect holster.  As it is, it a very good holster.

As for concealment, I find concealing even a very small gun a very BIG challenge.  The Ava does and okay job.  Its not perfect.  In tighter fitting clothing, it will print.  Even in some looser clothing it may be possible to make out a small gun bump, but it seems to do as good of a job as any holster I've found. 

*UPDATE*
 
 
After doing some research, I found a way to adjust the retention of the kydex part of the holster.  Here is a video of a guy adjusting his Crossbreed Holster - I had the same hesitation he had about messing up a $60 holster, and I did not have a heat gun so I used a hairdryer.  It worked!  I have much more confidence in the Ava's ability to hold my Glock secure while still allowing a quick draw.