This page has moved to a new address.

A Girl and Her Gun

A Girl and Her Gun: March 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's Ok to Be Jealous

A week or so ago, Mr. Arete mentioned to my husband that he would be open to teaching me a few things. As I am sure you can imagine, I was extremely excited and spent the next several days nagging, ask my husband when, when, when, WHEN, might this happen. 

Last night Mr. Arete sent me a text and we discussed the kinds of things we might do and other general chit chat.  I knew there was no way on earth he would let me pay him for his time, so being the clever girl that I am, I offered to buy the equipment he ordered. I was told no.  I attempted to tap into my new, tough, bad ass self and insist that he let me to which I was told, "It doesn't work like that." 

Of course, it doesn't. I didn't think it would, but I had to try. I gave up rather quickly because as much as I want to give back, he doesn't want it.  He is not the kind of guy to blow smoke, so if he says it, he means it.

Appreciating those around me is important.  Giving and contributing feels good.  I like to be a part of that, but I am learning it is more important to do what the person actually wants instead of what I want.  It is a surprisingly difficult lesson.

Ok, here is the part where you might get jealous: Me and him doing a bit of training to include knife fighting.  I have been a little obsessed about wanting to learn this skill, but it has never worked out.  I am beyond thrilled that he is willing to teach me some moves.  

I think some time after Easter is the plan, so stay tuned. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Not Very Good Odds

Today I had a meeting with my son's teachers.  While I was there we got into a discussion on E.  They asked if anything had been going on at home because they had noticed E had kind of lost her pep for a while, but that they had noticed this past week she had been more like her old self.  Light, happy, extremely inquisitive and calm.

I shared with them what had happened and they were shocked, both that it had happened and that neither E nor I, had told them.  They were shocked, but here's the deal, they shouldn't have been.

There were 3 of us in the room at this point and immediately after I shared our story one of the teachers gets tears in her eyes and tells me some guy punched her 90 year old father for money.  90.  In broad daylight. 

When she is done telling her story, I look at the other teacher who has tears in her eyes and she tells me a story of a man who  approached her with some bullshit (her word) story about wanting money.  It was dusk and he came around her car, she told him to stop, he did, he asked for money and then took a few more steps forward.  What he didn't know was that her son was on the other side of the car.  He is a big strapping guy (A Marine now) and he said, "Can I help you?"  The guy said no and left.  He did not say, oh, yes, I am looking for gas money, can you all help me out.  He left.

She said she froze.  She had no idea what to do and if her son hadn't been there, she would have been toast.

So, 3 out of 3. That is 100%. 100% of the people in that room were victims of a crime, 2 of them violent crimes. It is worth noting that none of us were in a bad neighborhood, at midnight, soliciting drugs or sex.  We were all average people going about their daily business who were attacked or nearly attacked in the same town on different days.

I wondered if teacher number 2 had the same bad guy as me because the stories were so similar, but her guy was young with dark hair, so no. 3 victims. 3 different bad guys.  

I think most people think, it won't happen to me.  They think, heck, it hasn't even happened to anyone I know.  Except that it does and it has.

I am close to these two women.  We have been through a lot with my 3 kiddos and we have shared our lives, but none of us told the others what had happened to us. You don't know when you might find yourself in a sticky situation and you have no idea how many people in your immediate circle of friends already have.

You can take the gamble, you can roll the dice, you can lie to yourself, but know this, it's a mighty dangerous game your playing.  You might want to think about how to stack the deck in your favor.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Heartbroken

I was doing my usual blog visits this morning when I was blindsided for the second time in 2 days...Old NFO reports Newbius died on Tuesday.  I am actually shaking while I write this and I am so very sad.

We were not close. I barely new him, but he was unbelievably kind to me.  He took me shooting and he let me shoot and shoot and shoot. When we were done, I tried like crazy to pay, but he had a gigantic smile on his face and say "NO WAY.  "I haven't had that much fun in a while."  He gave me tips on how to be more internet savvy as he felt my personal safety could be at risk.  He was funny and sweet and passionate.  I will miss him.

He spoke so lovingly of his family, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Get Out The Candles...Oh, Wait

I was at one of my most favorite places today and followed a link here.  It's the classic bad guy doesn't follow the law and has evil intentions, good guys say not today and save the day kind of story. Now, I find this kind of story to be a happy one.  I get all glowy inside when I see the world working as it should. Innocent lives were not allowed to be terrorized by a mad man.  Matt Lauer with his smug little smile and condescending tone didn't get to sit down and re-traumatize victims with accusing questions. Joe Biden couldn't claim the gunman looked like his son. I thought to myself, every single person on earth will be happy, happy, happy knowing all is well at the South Side Freewill Baptist Church.

Well, not everyone. Not my good friend Joan and her posse. How sad for them.

There is no one to light a candle for.  There is no lynch mob to be called.  There is no way to twist and turn this into some kind of self promoting lie. There is no blood to dance in.

Bad guy is in jail.  Good guys are alive. Joan would probably pissed off(if she was aware of the story which she probably isn't).  Sounds like a good day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Train Them Up In The Way They Should Go

I am going to assume that most people reading this are patently aware of why I write this blog and therefore are aware that my daughter, who I call E, has had a heck of time.  She is doing great!  I wish you all could have seen her turn from a confident strong child into a scared, frail, fragile, insecure person into a bold, aware, strong amazing example of courage.  She went through a situation I wished she never had, but being witness to her transformation has been an honor. To watch that kind of spirit and fight is inspiring. We got to be a part of that kind of change with our daughter, A, when she came home from China.  It is painful, but we are all better for it.

People have asked what  we did, how we help her and I have sat down a few times to write, but as I thought about our journey, I came up blank on what to say.  I knew what we did, but there is nothing that I am going to tell you that is earth shattering.  There will be no ah-ha moment.  There is no secret that we discovered, but that doesn't mean there aren't lessons.

Probably the most important thing for our family is that we had a solid foundation with our daughter. Well before the attack she knew to the fiber of her being that we loved her.  That we love all of our children.  She doesn't think parents are suppose to love their children, she just knows her parents love her, completely.  That was important because she knew she could come to me and say the truth.  She could look me in the eyes and say, "You didn't take care of me". "How do I know you will in the future?" I had never lied to her, so when I looked her in the eyes and said "I made a mistake". "I didn't handle that day well, but you are safe and so am I". She knew that was true.  When I held her hand and said "I am sorry for what I let that man do and I will never let it happen again", she knew without a doubt I meant it..  She was scared and it took time, but I don't think she questioned the validity of my words.  She is 8 and she is a thinker.  I mean she is a thinker, so to underestimate this child's understanding of what happened would be a mistake.  Her questioning, her mind, her ability to dissect an issue is both aggravating and challenging. It challenges me to know what I think and what I believe and it challenges me to be what she needs me to be.  The success to teaching a child about self defense starts long before they can make a fist or hold a gun.

The second most important thing we did was to reaffirm her safety again and again and again and again. We constantly told her in no uncertain terms she was safe.  While I can not guarantee her safety 100% of the time, I need to prepare her mind. I don't want her to ever, not even for a second think there is ever any situation she can not conquer. Her ability to believe in herself is paramount.

I have always cared about the safety of my children.  I have always thought about how to keep them safe, but my understanding of what I really needed to do to prepare them was lacking.  For example,  I taught my kids to look both ways for cars when crossing the street. I told them why, but not really.  I said something like, "look those cars come pretty fast and it's dangerous, so we have to be sure it's clear first".  Yep, that's good, but it's not enough.  It's not the full story. Now, I ask questions and the first few times I provide the answers.  Now our conversations go more like this, "Do you know why YOU have to look?" and which ever child I am speaking to will say, "Because it's my responsibility to take care of myself." We let them know we are here and they can always count on us, but ultimately each person needs to accept responsibility to keep themselves safe.

I allow them much more freedom to do things now.  My son is 20, but when he was 7, I was still making his bed, picking out his clothes and cutting his meat. It never occurred to me that he could do things for himself.  I long since realized the error of my ways, way before that day in March and the little ones have had to do more for themselves and the family, but it was always in preparing them for life skills such as laundry, dishes, being a family, but not really safety.  E was recently diagnosed with asthma. She has to take antibiotic 2 times a day and an inhaler 2 times a day.  The rule in our house has always been, never, ever touch medicine.  One day she asked me if she could pour her own medicine.  I said no at first, then quickly changed my mind. I said yes, but you always have to let dad or I know BEFORE you take it.  It has been 3 weeks.  The medicine sits on the counter not under lock and key.  No one in our house touches it and every single morning without fail, E asks one of us if she can take her meds and then she doses out the exact right amount.  Last night she asked me if she could take her meds and  I said sure.  She came to me a few minutes later and said, "mom, this doesn't look right."  The medicine is normally a creamy light pink, but this time it was a watery bright red.  If this had happened before I would have said way to go for checking, but this time I went further.  I told her great job for being aware and great job for trusting her instincts.  I told something inside you told you something wasn't right and you went for help.  I told her to always listen to that voice. Always trust it. 

We do teach her it's ok to hurt a bad guy and we teach her how to run, how to kick, how to beware of what is going on around her,and  how to shoot. At the dinner table we set up different scenario like if a kid at school is calling you names, is he a bad guy?  Would it be ok to hit him?  Would it be ok to shoot him?  If someone steals your favorite toy, is she a bad person?  Would it be ok to stab her?  If mommy and E are walking out of a grocery store and guy who scares us is walking in our direction what should we do first? We do all that, but those kinds of things are about 2% of our lives.  Most of our time is in building a stable home where we  love on her and the other kids and on each other.  Most of our energy is focused on using daily moments to teach and think. 

I believe the more we loved on her the more secure she felt.  We didn't tell her to toughen up.  We hugged her, we let her cry(which she only did once and it was more like a few tears.  She is more like her mother than she should be), we let her sleep with us, and we let her be scared and I think that allowed her to purge her feelings.  I also believe that her watching me doing things to protect myself was vital.  I didn't just tell her I was sorry and I wouldn't let another bad guy hurt us. I did things to assure that my words had meaning. She saw my eyes get watery when she was hurting and she my eyes get confident as I gained skills.  She saw me tired and ragged right after the attack and she saw my joy and lightness return with each day and each step I took towards self reliance.

That's it.  That's what we have been doing for the past few months to help our daughter heal and it's working.

Monday, March 26, 2012

We Were Soldiers


As most of you know I am not a person that watches TV or movies at all and when I do it is along the lines of Golden Girl's and What About Bob. I don't like to be sad and I don't like to cry.  Never have.  I dislike it so much, I don't do it.  After my brother died, I let myself be a little more emotional, but mostly I am a I don't like this, so lets not think about it and move on kind of person. This past year, I have not cried much, but I have been trying to let myself feel pain.  To think about things that are not pleasant or are down right tough and to feel them.

War makes me sad. I hate it.  I hate what we ask these men and women to do and I have never wanted to know the full extent of the sacrifices.  I know very little about war for a woman who's husband served 20 years in the Marines.  When he was in Somalia with HMLA 369, he sent me a picture of himself standing in front of a building that had recently been shelled.  He was in his green PT shorts, shirtless and bone skinny.  He had a rifle flung over his back and those images so terrified me, I never watched a single piece of news on the the events taking place over there.

This is about as much as I knew...

On November 28, 1992, HMLA-369 began planning for Operation Restore Hope, the international United Nations humanitarian relief effort in Somalia. On December 3, 1992, the Gunfighters were assigned as the force in readiness and by January 1, 1993, the entire squadron was deployed to Baledogle, Somalia, as the sole light attack helicopter squadron in theater operating under Marine Aircraft Group 16[2] HMLA -369 flew a variety of missions including Close In Fire Support, Command and Control, MEDEVAC, Escort, Visual and Photo Reconnaissance, Logistical Supply, VIP, and Non Governmental Organization (NGO) support. HMLA-369 logged 1,098 flight hours during January. The Gunfighters returned to Camp Pendleton in April 1993.

November 1993 saw the Gunfighters depart for Okinawa in support of the UDP deployment Program. Additionally, the Gunfighters provided detachments for the 11th and 31st Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)). The Gunfighter 11th MEU(SOC) Detachment supported Operation Continue Hope and Operation Distant Runner, aiding in the evacuation of Americans from war torn Rwanda.

My husband was there in 1992 and 1994.

I had no idea how dangerous and out of control that country was.  I really didn't understand the nature of it until the movie Blackhawk Down came out. I assumed my husband would want to see it.  He did not. When I asked him why, he said  "It's to close to home." We still have not seen it.

I have been trying to understand more about combat mindset, self defense, strength, courage and sacrifice.  I have always known the qualities of my husband's character. I know why he was such a good Marine, such a good man, but I have never had the courage to face what he faced.  I dealt with life as a Marine wife, by doing.  I volunteered for every organization on the base and I worked at helping families.  I kept busy doing and I rarely stopped.  Stopping meant thinking and I did not want to think. 

Yesterday we watched "We Were Soldiers".  I understand it is not the most graphic movie that was ever made, but for me it was tough to watch.  My husband has seen a good deal of combat.  He was not a tip of the spear kind of Marine.  He was not a sniper, he was not special forces, he was not infantry and so I think that made it easier for me to believe that he was off  on some USO Tour and not really fighting. Of course, there were times throughout his career where pretending was not possible.  There were times when I had to face the realities of a life in service to your country.  We lost friends, I attended services for the fallen, I cooked meals for their families, I watched their children, I stayed up nights wondering if I would get a knock on the door, I comforted those who did, but mostly, I just kept my head down and did everything I could not to feel, not to know.

My husband saw combat both as a young Lance Corporal and later as a company commander leading a truck company of 400 Marines across the line of departure into Iraq, so for him watching these movies is also tough.   The first time he watched We Were Soldiers, it was before he deployed to Iraq.  He found it motivating.  He has not seen it since, but he said yesterday he watched it from a different perspective.  He saw it more from the leadership position, from the loss of my men side and that just kind of always sucks.

I was struck by the part of the movie where the men are getting ready to leave to join the war.  There are long dramatic silences just before they head out.  I don't know if that was in the book, if that is what happened for these families or if it was added for dramatic effect, but for us, that is exactly what it was like.  We barely spoke, for days, weeks before my husband left for Somalia. Mostly because the work ups were so time consuming, I just never saw him. Before he left for Iraq he was involved in war plans and could not speak of what he was doing.  His mind was heavy with the burden of leading his Marines forward and leaving his family behind.  I didn't have any idea what to say, so I didn't try. Mostly we just touched, but almost never spoke. Those days leading up to a deployment there is a distance that is hard to explain.  We didn't fight or argue, but there was a separation, a heaviness, a numbness. Having his skin on mine was the only thing I could feel and it said more than any words could. 

I had no real idea of what happened in Vietnam. I knew the school book accounts and the public perception, but I didn't really know. My family didn't like to talk about the war. My cousin Billy's helicopter went down over there and he died. I never knew him, but the pain and torture of his death, on my family, left such an ache in me, it was like he is a part of me.  The only thing I know of his life is his death and even that is mostly just the agony. It's been 45 years since my cousin's death and it is still the central part his parents days. Ironically, my family has spent so much of their life trying to avoid the pain of Billy's death that it is actually the only thing they feel. That is not a judgement. It's an observation.

Today I wanted to know more about his life and about his death, so I did some research.  How strange that I miss him so much.  How strange that I have an overwhelming desire to know him.  I don't know what I would say, but more than anything, I want to wrap my arms around him.  I want to feel the person and not his ghost. I want to feel the flesh of man who's memory I have carried with me and who I have loved all of my life. How strange it is that not feeling hurts so much.



Not Much

I don't know about all of you, but as summer approaches my life is becoming more and more crazy.  Good crazy, but it is a challenge to keep up with all the fun things on my plate. 

My weekend didn't have any shooting plans or any plans at all involving guns.  We planned the normal thing:, work in the yard, do laundry, take the kids shopping for shorts, BBQ, that kind of thing.

Saturday evening we headed to friends' house for a birthday party.  We had such a lovely evening with our friends and their family.  Our kids all get along so well and the food and wine are always delic.  The night was winding  down and all the guest had left except for us.  We were getting ready to say good bye when the husband asked me a question.  I can't remember exactly what he asked, but that led to a discussion on parking lot safety and my friend, the wife, told us a story about a man who had approached her.  Nothing happened and if fact he apologized for scaring her and said he should have known better, still she told him, no, you can't talk to me.  She is smart like that.  My friends know about my mugging and asked a few questions and for the first time, ever, I told the story from start to finish of exactly what happened.  I have never written all the details and I have never spoke of them.  Pieces, bits here and there, but never details.  That night I did.  I got teary eyed as did they, but I did not break down.  Later that night, I wondered why it took me so long.  I had tried before, but I just could not say the words. The husband knows a lot about guns and such and we had a nice talk about things and he gave me a couple of gifts.  It doesn't matter what they were, but they are connected to self defense and I was in awe.  The items themselves are wonderful and are useful, but his heart in giving them to me, was deeply touching. 

E is getting stronger too.  She has not had a nightmare in a while.  She is back to sleeping in her own bed sometimes without the nightlight.  She does not ask endless questions about the bad guy or how to stop him.  The more tools we give her the stronger she becomes and I am seeing that strength show up in all areas of her life.  She is actually more willing to take risks in others area like school.  She has always been a good student, well after we got her caught up from not having any education at all, but she is type A and she gets as stressed about a spelling test and she does a bad guy.  However, the past 2 weeks she has been so much more relaxed both about studying for the test and taking it.  Our daughter-in-law offered to help E study for her words last week, but E said, "no, my mom gives me tips and helps me know what to do, I would like to wait for her."  The distance that had been between us has all but disappeared.  That's the biggest thing that I lost.  That is the biggest thing he tried to take from me, but there was no way in hell, I was going to let that happen. 

A quick note about the Give-A-Way. It is a week away and I have updated the prize list.  Mr. & Mrs. Groundhog have generously offered to donate a 100 rounds of ammo to each winner.  I was contacted by 2 others for prizes, but they have yet to confirm exactly the prize and details, so I don't want to list anything that can not be guaranteed. I do want to stress though, that an opportunity to get yourself trained is extremely valuable and is the main point of the Give-A-Way. I applaud all of you who have entered!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Scars

I don't believe that anyone else's pain is worse than an others.  I don't believe that it is helpful to say, well only this happened to me and so and so has it so much worse.  All of us have had a variety of different experiences that build our schema and we deal with all that is thrown at us, the best we can or to the best of our abilities at that time.  What happened to me was painful and traumatizing for me.

I have never been to war, so I don't know what it is like to watch another die. I do not know the horror my husband knows.  The helplessness. The rage.  I don't know the exact images that kept him awake for nearly a year after he came home, but watching him go through that process, I can imagine, just a bit, what it is like when I read stories of other veterans that are coming home and dealing with the harsh realities of war. 

My husband came home, so I do not know what it is like to get that knock on the door and see those Marines in their Dress Blues with solemn looks on their faces, but I know what it is like to sit and wait and wonder if that knock is going to come, so I can imagine, just a bit, what it is like when I hear about a woman who has just lost the love of her life.

Those that have never been attacked while their daughter watches do not the exact feelings of guilt or shame or fear that I have, but reading my story, helps one know, just a bit, about how it does feel.

My friend was mugged many years ago when she lived in Arlington Virginia. It was late, a man approached her, asked her for her purse,, she refused, he grabbed it.  She is a fighter, so she refused to let go.  He drug her a few feet got the purse and took off.  He never put his hands on her.  He never threatened her with words.  Her child was not present and she even down played it in her own mind as she told her friends about what happened.  No big deal.  He go my money, but as time passed and she learned that this same man later mugged another person at gun point, she got more scared.  For a year and a half she would get absolutely terrified if she saw a man walking down the street.  Her fear was real.  For her, that was the scariest thing to have happened to her and it was real, regardless of anything else that happened to anyone else, she felt what she felt and she had to heal in her own time.

Each of us has the right to feel what we feel and we have the right to allow ourselves the freedom to be in pain; however, if we are serious about healing, there is much that can be learned from others tragedies and their triumph.

When bad things happen to us, personally, they leave a mark.  I have some on the outside and some on the inside.  E's marks are all internal, but can sometimes be seen. Regardless of where the scars are, we get to decide if they will remain hard and callused or if they become beautiful symbols of love and courage.

I recently read a blog post by a woman who was in a plane crash and burned over 90% of her body.  She has had a remarkable journey and she has been incredibly open about her struggles.  Before the crash she was the epitome of what the world says is beautiful.  She was young, thin, striking in her features.  She was kind and gentle and she was happy, very, very happy.  She admits to putting a lot of value and joy in her looks.  Not vanity, but she liked her reflection in the mirror and although she had much bigger issues, this was one she often wrote about.  Recently she posted about a family presentation her son did at his school and what happened on the playground. I have been thinking about how she is finding strength not so much in her scars, but in the love she has regardless of them.

The lesson isn't in suck it up, someone has it worse. The lesson is what do you have that is worth the fight to heal those scars?



Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Milestone

The other day I was searching through my archives to find a post I wanted to link to and while doing that I realized it had been almost a year since I started writing this blog.  One year ago today to be exact.

I have often wondered, many times aloud on this blog, why I come here to share things that are so personal and why doing so has helped me so much.  There are the obvious reason of finding support and comfort and I have most certainly found that, but when I am overwhelmed by my emotions, the fist thing I do is come to my computer and write and when I am doing so I am not looking for anything.  I am writing what I think and what I feel, but not with an audience in mind and not with a purpose and yet, when I am done with a post, I feel comfort and calm.  Before a single response is posted, I feel a peace. Sometimes, later, I feel pangs of regret, but regardless of what I feel after I post, the act of writing the rawness of what I feel, gives me an instant reconciliation that propels me forward into a better, place.  The process of processing has kept me moving in a positive and empowering way.

There is something about writing...There is no judgement, at least not at the time of the writing.  No facial expression of displeasure or shock, no need to hold back as to not upset someone.  It is very self indulgent and selfish in a way.  I get to express what I am feeling right at that moment and it's freeing. To be cliche, it's cathartic.

No man or woman is an island and no one thing is the answer.  I am where I am today in my handing of a crisis(it was in my life, for me) because of a whole host of reasons to include this community of gunnies and bloggers, but writing has been as integral a part of that healing as anything else.

Thank you for giving me a safe place to do just that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The GunDivas

I have been working on 2 posts, but neither one is coming out exactly like I want, hopefully soon.  One is discussing things we have been doing to help E becoming more sure and more secure in herself and one is generally how we have prepared our children to live in a house with guns.  While you wait(cuz I know you are), you can read what I wrote for The GunDivas.

I was asked by The GunDivas to write a post on my latest training session and include a little bit about why I personally feel it necessary to do more than just point and shoot training.  I love The GunDivas, so, of course, I said yes.

If you are interested, my post will appear on their blog tomorrow. While you are there take some time to poke around.  You will find some very good posts!!!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Update on the Bersa

When the package arrived, I immediately thought, this is not right, but I am so new to guns, I thought I better check to be sure shipping guns in tobacco is not SOP.

Anywho, we did put in a call to Bersa. A supervisor did call back within minutes and she is sending one new magazines to replace the onr that is missing and another one for our troubles plus a t-shirt for my son. I will also write a letter to the actual company that did the work and I most certainly will use the company in Colorado if ever I should need any more work on the Bersa.

As always,THANK YOU!!!

Weekend Roundup

Do you all remember this story? Well, on Saturday the little boys parents. The Captain(they have a boat) & Martha(not her real name, but she is more hospitable than Ms. Stewart) invited us over for their annual March Madness party.  I went last year too, but anyway, when we got there both the The Captain and Martha told me they read the blog and love it.  I was flattered , of course, but the really neat thing is that Martha. said she wanted to sign up for the training give-a-way!!  That is right, folks, I think I inspired another person to give shooting a shot(pun totally intended) I really need to win the lottery, so I can just outright pay for these folks to get the training and skip the whole give- a- way run around, but until then I am going to bask in the knowledge that I am successfully spreading the love. 

On Sunday we met up with some other friends for an afternoon of bowling.

We were met by this sign
The husband is an FBI agent, and while I have always known this, we have never discussed guns or his job, but of course, everything is different now.  I had a nice talk with him about guns and self defense and he really recommends I take a course at the Sig Academy, so that might be in my future.  The wife and I were discussing being mugged and she shared a story with me I hope to share with you all, but I need to double check first and make it is ok. When i am in my everyday life I am not thinking about the blog, so when I am talking with people I don't think to say, "Hey, can I share this with several thousand of my friends?" Anyway, I was surprised at how much we have shared with each other over the years and how close our families are and yet, I never told them about my attack even though I have seen a couple times since then.  I never mentioned it and I was surprised by what she shared with me.  I am finding out that my reaction was not all that abnormal and oddly that gives me great comfort.

Last year about this time, I bought a Bersa for my son.  He was 19 at the time and in Virginia a person that is over 18, but not yet 21 can openly carry(there are certain circumstances where younger folks can also) a handgun, but can not purchase one.  A parent can purchase a handgun for their child if that child is otherwise legally eligible to carry one.  He wanted a Bersa, so that is what I bought him.  He has had all kinds of issues with this gun, so finally we sent it to an approved Bersa gunsmith to have the repairs made.  On Friday we got the gun back.  I was a bit shocked at the condition it came.  I am not sure if this is normal or not, so you all tell me if this is standard procedure or if I should send a note of displeasure.

The gun was placed, action closed(it's open in this pic), in a tobacco package and then inside another plastic bag.  Even though we sent a magazine, it was not returned.
 The gun is covered in tobacco.

I am not sure if there is some reason for this or not.  Any thoughts??

Lastly, my husband and I were suppose to go to Appleseed this coming weekend to meet up with Sean, Keads, my BFF,  and several other bloggers, but we have had a family issue come up.  Nothing to worry about and nothing to discuss here, but unfortunately we can't make the trip.  I am beyond disappointed, but I am excited to hear all about their adventures.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Few, The Proud

I have been follow this blog for a few weeks now and I always walk away with a deeper appreciation for a military I am already intimately in love with.

Today I read a post that the blog writer linked to with passages like...

It is a fact that our country today is in a life and death struggle against an evil enemy, but America as a whole is certainly not at war. Not as a country. Not as a people. Today only a tiny fraction of American families—less than a percent— shoulder the burden of fear and sacrifice, and they shoulder it for the entire nation. Their sons and daughters who serve are men and women of character who continue to believe in this country enough to put life and limb on the line without qualification, and without thought of personal gain and they serve so the sons and daughters of the other 99% don’t have to. No big deal, though, as Marines have always been “first to fight” paying in full the bill that comes with being free…for everyone else. As a friend of mine wrote recently when offering condolences to a family who’d lost a son in Afghanistan: “service to and sacrifice for the nation have become a legacy affair for a relatively small number of families. This nation is blessed to have families who are willing to accept the responsibilities and endure the sacrifices that sustain a way of life cherished by many, but sustained by few." 

 and like...

As I close , I have the name of the most recent hero killed in Afghanistan only a few hours ago but I cannot share with you his name because the a Marine Officer and Navy chaplain have not yet executed their honored duty of notifying the next-of-kin of the death of their son. That family, right now, somewhere in America is in the final minutes of blissful ignorance before their entire lives change forever. I know God will help them bear this inconceivable burden—a burden I am told by those who know never goes away or even gets lighter—and help them find comfort in the fact that their son was doing exactly what he wanted to do, was doing it with the finest men on this earth, and for a cause that meant more to him than his life. The reality is, however, it doesn’t matter if we are comforted, or if we accept it or not, it only matters that he did.

Those words were spoken by John F. Kelly Lieutenant General, U. S. Marine Corps Commander, Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North. I would encourage you to go read the whole thing.

I will be honest, I am not sure what I believe about being in Afghanistan. I know I am sick of war and I am sick of death, but I am mostly sick of the leaders in this country who don't seem to have a clue what they believe. Those that say they believe in taking the fight to the enemy, don't seem to let our men and women fight to win and those who claim to want to bring the troops home, don't. Both sides looking for what is best for them. What I do know is that we, as Americans are putting an awfully big burden on the people we ask to give their lives in service to us. I wonder when we are gonna get fed up and demand better in service of their lives. I am guessing right about the time the enemy comes looking for us over here, again.

*My husband just called me after reading this post to tell me that General Kelly's son. Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. When the young Corporal Kelly was trying to get commissioned, my husband sat on his board. My husband found him to be extremely qualified and extremely cocky. My husband did recommended Cpl Kelly for commission. He kind of likes those qualities in a Marine.

A Light

I have been subbing this week at my children's school. This morning I got ready and E(my 8 year old)asks me "where's your gun?". I tell her the law does not allow me to carry my gun into a school. "But what if a bad guy comes in?" "Who will stop him?" "A good guy, should be able to have a gun."

I thought, well she understands this and while I know she is very smart, I would think the folks who make the laws, in theory, should be smarter. They should be able to put the pieces together and come to the same conclusion.

We had a nice talk about understanding that a gun is nice to have because if a bad guy comes a gun is quick way to end the threat, but that with or without a gun, we can stop the bad guy.

"Oh, you mean by kicking and screaming?" "Or hitting him with a chair?" she asks.

"Exactly!"

The specific stratgies for defeating a bad guy in her school are not what I focused on. Her hitting a bad guy with a chair may not be the best solution, but i wanted to reward her mindset and I just wanted her to understand that there are lots of things she can do to keep herself safe and lots of things that other people can do to protect her.

I saw this conversation as very encouraging because she was looking to me to protect her. That hasn't happened for a while. She was not agitated durning the discussion. Normally, she is very jumpy and panicky while we talk about bad guys and how to stop them. She is never satisfied with any answer I give her, but this time, she appeared confident in the responses to her concerns. She said, "oh, ok." and asked to watch some kids TV then skipped off to do just that. Normally, I don't let my kids skip in the house, but I enjoyed watching her be carefree, so I didn't say a word.

She has been uneasy about me leaving for Appleseed, but since I am not going now(more on that later), she has completely relaxed. We are not at the end of the tunnel yet, but the light can clearly be seen. E has splept soundly, without nightmares for more than a week. Her spirit is lighter and I can see her anxiety level is low. The more skills we give her, the more calm she becomes. You can literally see in her eyes, the peace. I will write a post about all the different things we have been doing to help her, but for now, just know this precious, brave, little girl has a mind and a heart to fight for her life, not simply to be alive, but to live it, free from fear. She is not satisfied to be scared and she is determined to move on. She is 8, so we have never said those words to her. We have never told her, she needs to have joy and get passed this, but she has an inner drive that has servered her well all the years of her short life. I can't believe I get to be her mom.

She is amazing!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Like Boys

On Thursday's my husband and the other gentleman from his office go to the range at lunchtime.  Today they invited me to tag along.

There were 4 of them and me.  One of the guys I don't know much about, but one has an extensive gun collection and used to do a fair amount of shooting, but life and whatnot got in the way, so I think the past couple of months has been fun for him.  You know all about my husband and one is a former sniper.  He is the very nice man who let me borrow his holster for my trip to Memphis.  I haven't given it back yet, by the way.  I like having that kind of character on my hip but, since stealing isn't much of an act of valor, I will return it...someday.

Lots of people like to met celebrities or rock stars, I have never much cared for that, but I had been looking forward to meeting Mr. Arete(these types prefer to stay low key, so for the blog he is Mr. Arete because he is exemplifies the word) for some time.  It was an honor.

The main reason I went though was to test out my sites.  Larry left a comment on my blog that I should color them in with a black marker because the white dots were messing with me and so I did just that...SCORE!!  I was able to shoot where ever I wanted to.  I did some head shots, some chest, some groin, some to the left, some to the right.  I put that target all the way down to the end of the range and shot at the 3 times at the 7 on the target, then 3 on the 8, then 3 on the 9, then 3 on the bulls-eye and then bang, bang, bang in rather rapid fashion and every single shot was where it should have been.  Now, no I did not have a dime sized hole anywhere at anytime.  That never happens for me beyond 5 yards, but I don't care.  My groups are what I would call a golf ball sized group, for the most part and never more than the size of a fist.  I shoot about 200 rounds and didn't have one flier.  I don't think I have mentioned this here before, but I really, really, really like to shoot.

The M & P did have one jam, no biggie, tap, rack, bang and on I went. I shot 2 magazines of my husband's Glock .23 with 180 grain .40 S & W ammo.  It did not hurt my hand and my group was nice, if I do say so myself.  No pictures, so no proof, but trust me.  I also shot half a dozen .22 rounds from a Ruger .22.  That was just plain fun, thank you Brad.

After we got done, I chit chatted with Mr. Arete and he gave me a few drills to try.  I am not going to tell you about them now, but I will after I try them out for myself.  I am very excited to try what he suggested.  He asked me a few questions and I started to explain my last trip with John, but he interrupted me and said, "Yeah, I saw the pictures." and I said "You, did?" and he said "Yes, I read your blog."  I blushed.

My husband, his friends, 80 degree weather, my pistol, and the chance to use it...yeah, life is good. 




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Re-Post

Man, I mention a problem and I get swarmed with solutions.  I pretty much know how to email and type in a word document.  That covers my knowledge of computers, so thank you all for helping me!!

Maybe you can help me with my other problems like who is currently running our country, the other people that want to run our country, taxes, little boys that don't remember to put the toilet seat down...anyone???

Here is the missing post from yesterday(edited slightly).  Thanks again!!!!!



I have struggled to find the words to express what I am feeling.  I don't want to accidentally insult anyone, but at the same time, I want to be sure that everyone understands my motivation.

I know 100% that this community is made up of very generous, caring people.  People who have been giving back and doing for others long before I came along, just as I have been giving back and doing for others in communities outside of the gun world for, well all my life.  I realize that those who offer up additional prizes to the Give-A-Ways,  are doing it out of pure kindness and desire, and that you aren't doing it because of me, but I do want to mention, that I am NEVER expecting anything from anyone.

I received an email from someone saying "I am sorry, I can not contribute this time."   I don't want anyone to be sorry or feel bad.  If you gave to last time wonderful and if you didn't wonderful.  I never dreamed anyone would donate last time.  Not because I didn't think others are generous, just because my mind doesn't think like that. I was simply doing what I could to give because I am crazy passionate about empowering woman. I wasn't looking to get anything from anyone.  

The Give-A-Ways I do are out of my desire to do what I can to give back to a community that has given much to me and to help educate and encourage women.  That is it.

I am thankful for the support and for the team work, but please know that I am not asking or expecting anyone to give anything to me or to the the events that I plan. 

To be honest, I used feel guilty a great deal of the time.  I felt like I was constantly taking and not offering much back.  Up until Anastasiya, I didn't even have a cool gun for people to shoot, I don't have any expertise to offer, I have nothing, but supportive words and encouragement.  I DO NOT do the Give-A-Ways out of guilt.  I do them out of love and a desire help others, like I have all my life, but I wanted to make it clear that I am never trying to get anything more from anyone.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Catching Up



-Remember this, well, my son went to court...all charges dismissed and all court fees waived!!

-Months ago I wanted to share this neat story about a woman who emailed me, but I got so crazy busy and just never had a good time to do,so here you go...





I’m currently in my final semester of SUNY Empire State College’s MBA program and my final project is creating a business plan for opening my own gun store. A different kind of store (at least different than other local stores) that would be warm and welcoming especially to women and beginners because the entire experience was so intimidating and overwhelming to me.  I grew up in a home without guns, so for a long time guns to me were scary and made me nervous.  My husband on the other hand grew up with guns and so he wanted to get his pistol permit.  I had no problems what so ever with this but felt strongly that if we were going to have guns in the house that I NEEDED to know how to use them so I took the safety course and applied for my permit.   

I set out to purchase my first pistol…I had NO IDEA what I wanted since I had never handled a gun before and went to a local gun store with my husband.  The store was so…unwelcoming and cluttered.  When we walked in they didn’t acknowledge me and immediately set out talking to my husband (we talked before we went and he suggested a .22 to learn on but the decision was up to me).  I’m a pretty outgoing gal so I was trying to get in on the conversation but it seemed as if they just didn’t know how to “deal” with me.  They were nice when they did speak to me but it seemed like they expected my husband to make my decisions for me (guess they don’t know this girl!).  We had similar experiences at other stores. I left feeling frustrated and went home and called one of my girl friends who is a gun owner told her about my experience and asked her what kind of pistol she thought I should start off with being a beginner…she took so much time with me, answered all of my questions and also suggested I start with a .22 and told me to go back to the store and find the pistol that I felt “fit like a glove”. 

So I went back and after much consideration picked my pistol.  The guy said…”you want that in pink?”  No joke.  First of all just because I’m a girl does not mean that I even remotely like pink…in fact my favorite color is orange.   Perhaps the better question would have been “this pistol comes in an array of colors; what color would you like?”

Fast forward to my MBA program…we had to pick a project that we’d like to work on for 30 weeks!  We could chose an existing business identify a strategic problem and find a solution for it OR we could think of a startup business and work through a business plan and discuss the strategic opportunity I see. I started thinking of what kind of business I may like to run and I could not shake a gun store out of my mind thinking that someday that my husband and I could open up our own gun store and offer a way better overall experience to EVERYONE who walked in the store not just experienced firearm users (I say someday not now I need more experience and money!!  This is just my final project keep that in mind and basically a dream). 

I started asking around if there were any women sales people at local gun stores…nope.  What about women trainers (locally), nope.  So I started asking my women friends about their experiences purchasing their first firearm and everyone had similar stories to mine and one worse...we all went to different stores and each had a common thread no local woman friendly stores.  And with that my project was born. 

So the past 15 weeks I’ve spent doing research about the gun industry, political, economic, legal, environmental, etc. aspects and for the next 15 weeks I’ll be doing the implementation plan…selecting a location, finding out about financing, inventory plans, marketing plans.  Again like I said this is just a project and I honestly don’t think that we could qualify for the financing so really this project is probably not going to come to fruition but let me tell you it has been amazing and eye opening and perhaps something we could do in 5-10 years.  Plus I’m no expert by any means…just yet.  The one thing that is lacking is my training!!  So when I saw your give-a-way I just had to throw my hat into the ring! 

I called all of the local gun stores to ask them for interviews asking questions about the industry their feelings on trends, problems they feel they face, not specifics about the stores and only one would speak to me and that was because I know the treasurer at the “best” local gun club who put in a good word for me and it took a lot of pestering.  It happened to be the place where I bought my gun.  They were nice but I could tell really did not want to deal with me.  They said that they have seen an increase in women but felt it wasn’t due to genuine interest that it was driven by husbands/boyfriends.  Sorry dude, I can make up my own mind thank you very much!  I asked about if they would ever consider a women sales person and was told that they would consider it but they didn’t know any women who would be qualified.  For the icing…before I left one of the guys said, “I think you should probably change your project to opening a jewelry store.”  Again no joke. Even more ammunition for me to keep moving forward with my project, excuse the pun.  I must say all of the “kitchen table” dealers I spoke with were genuinely sweet and were extremely supportive so were the folks at the gun clubs I spoke with. 

If you made it this far I appreciate you reading the email and sorry it was so long but I wanted to share my story!  I’m very excited about the project (as if you couldn’t tell) and have learned so much, such an amazing project like I said seriously eye opening in so many ways and am so glad I decided to do this over an existing company.  I think a more obtainable goal is to become a trainer over the next 5 years but I have to get my own training first and am excited to learn more perhaps after I graduate I can start my own blog about my journey on becoming a gun owner and becoming a certified trainer...   

I found A Girl and Her Gun and The Cornered Cat while doing my research and have been inspired by both of you, so thank you!  Again, sorry for the long email.   I present the first part of my project to the class on Friday morning…wish me luck!- Dana

-I love hearing about women who are thinking about getting involved in the gun community beyond just learning how to defend themselves and I love anytime I read about someone who gets so excited and passionate about their goals!!

-Finally, I was introduced, by email to the wife of Captain William A Griffis USMC .  Mrs. Groundhog had shared her story with me and I was so deeply moved, I asked if I could share it here.  There are so many compelling parts to Sally's story and it is my sincere hope that you take the time to read each link, because you will be better for it.  I am going to dedicate a post entirely to this woman and her story, but I want you all to have a few days to read her story for yourselves and digest it before I offer any words of my own.

**Several of my posts have disappears to include the one I wrote earlier this morning.  Of course, they are posts I had yet to save into word docs.  Anyway, if you are looking for something and it's gone, I am sorry:)

Monday, March 12, 2012

I Have A Surprise!!

A few weeks ago I received an email from a new friend and it ended with this...

If you’d like to do another training raffle, I’m able to contribute. Say $xxx towards training for a woman who might not otherwise have the opportunity?

Take care and be safe. And watch your 6.



This wonderful woman does not have a blog and she prefers to stay anonymous.  Many generous people do, so here is the deal, we are in fact going to do another Give-A-Way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We have chatted back and forth and the 2 of us have come up with 2 prize packages.  I am contributing, but the bulk of this Give-A-Way comes from our anonymous donor.


PRIZES
1st Place- up to $150 towards one basic shooting course, The Cornered Cat: A Woman's Guide To Conceal Carry, & 100 rounds of ammo(.45ACP, 40 S&W, .9mm or .380), an additional 100 rounds of ammo donated by Mr. & Mrs. Groundhog

2nd Place- up to $150 towards one basic shooting course, The Cornered Cat: A Woman's Guide To Conceal Carry & 100 rounds of Ammo(.45ACP, .40 S&W, .9mm. or .308), an additional 100 rounds of ammo donated by Mr. & Mrs. Groundhog

RULES
-This is for women only, ages 21 or older
-Must be used for a basic or beginner level gun training course to include some range time
-Course must be held in The United States of America by a reputable instructor/course(determined by me)
-Entries must be received by Monday April 2nd, 2012 (Drawing to held on Tuesday April 3rd, 2012)
-Must be signed up for an approved course by October 1st, 2012 or forfeit prize.

HOW TO ENTER
All entries must send an email to agirlandhergun@gmail.com You MUST include your full name and email address.  Entries missing information will not be entered. All personal information will be kept private and confidential.  Each entry will receive a number and that number is all that will appear on the blog when the winner is announced.

That's it!!

*If you entered the previous Give-A-Way and did not win, you may also enter this one.  If you won the previous Give-A-Way, you may not:)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Riddle: What Is Black & Blue and Tough As Woodpecker Lips?

ME!!  Ok, I am not all that black and blue or tough, but I think it's funny, so deal.

Yesterday my husband and I met John and Mr. & Mrs. Awesome for some training on the range.  We covered a lot for our brief 3.5 hours there.  Again, there are not many pictures because we are all there training and it's just tough to focus and think about grabbing the camera.

I knew that the plan was to do self defense work from the ground to try to keep the bad guy from getting us to the ground and what to do if he succeeds. I think having that knowledge ahead of time made me a little jumpy.  At the beginning I was a little unsure of myself and I think I was trying to anticipate when the moment would come, which made me behave oddly.  Usually when I train with John, we are kind of in-sync.  I know where he is going with things just by his words or tone, but yesterday as he called things out, my reaction was off and my mind wasn't "on".  Either that or I have done too much psychoanalyzing this past year and I read way to much into everything now.  Either way, I was off my game.

One of the first things we did was, we learned how to access the gun if you find yourself on your back.  John simulated pushing us down, we would fall, then kick, kick, kick, the spin on our backs until we faced the target, drew and shot.



I felt pretty good about this drill.  The interesting thing was when Mrs. Awesome took a go at this exercise.  Both she and Mr. Awesome carry in the Remora as well.  They love it!! Time for the drill. John pushed her down, she kicks, spins, goes to draw her gun and it's not there.  It is not in the holster.  She does well, she feels for it, finds it and shoots, but we awere all kind of like, "Not good!"  She was wearing the model with the reinforced top, so I said let's try it with the collapsed version.  I had mine in my range bag.  She did.  She falls, spins, draws and the gun was there, but when she drew the whole thing came out, holster and all.  Here are 4 people that use this holster daily and and it failed, big time.  Not a good feeling.  Lots of chit chat, trouble shooting talk.  Mrs. Awesome does not wear a belt, so Mr. Awesome tosses out the idea that maybe that is the issue.  Mr. Awesome is wearing a belt, so he steps up to the line and does the drill.   Falls, kicks, kicks, kicks, draws and all goes well.  We might be onto something.  John happens to have an extra belt, so Mrs. Awesome puts her regular carry gear on with the belt and runs the drill.  Fall, kick, kick, kick, draws, perfect!  Looking good, but lets do that a few more times just to be sure.  She does not have any more problems.

You know how all the experts tell you, you should train with your gear and you should be sure it works on the range before you trust it to save your life...PAY ATTENTION!!!  I saw the look on her face and on her husband's and I felt the drop in my stomach.  I believe we were all beyond grateful, that scenario played out there and not in a parking lot somewhere.  In the past I have trained with the Remora as had both of them.  We did dry fire and I had even used it at the range a lot, but none of us had worked from the ground in a fight with it.  It is my opinion that a belt is needed for the Remora.  The company DOES NOT claim that one isn't needed and they specifically say that some kind of tension is what makes it work and if you are standing up or have an extra mag pouch, that is enough tension to suffice, it is not once there is slack like laying on your back. So much was learned from that one drill.  First of all Mrs. Awesome dealt with what to do if something goes wrong.  When her gun went MIA, she didn't stop and give up, she kept looking and she finished up with the shot.  Same when the holster stayed on the gun, she pulled it off, tossed it aside and shot. I will continue to wear the Remora and I think they will too.  It's good gear and I trust it, but it needs a belt.

One note, rolling around on the ground with a loaded gun, drawing from your back and shooting can be a formula for disaster.  I think good trigger finger control is beyond important.  If you draw and put your finger straight on the trigger, you are not ready for this drill.  You could shoot yourself in the leg or someone else as you draw before your muzzle is on target.  It is simulated, but it is "under" stress.  These drills are so important, but I wouldn't rush anything. By the way there is nothing wrong with that.  The point of training is to learn how to keep yourself safe.  It doesn't much matter if the bad guy gets you or you do, the end result is the same.  Sometimes we need to push ourselves, but never beyond what we can safely handle. I also would not train with people you did not fully trust.  I trust these people with my life and I was comfortable. I had shot with all of them before.  We have had conversations about guns and life and I know how they think.  I have seen how they handle their guns and their attitude about safety.  Feeling safe let me relax and focus.  I would not do this drill with people I just met.

Another note, just for FYI.  I trained with my M & P.  Flawless.  Not a single issue.  Well, there was one issue, but that was not the gun.  I also brought my AGirl holster from Michael Hast.  I wanted to see how it would preform now that I had spent time breaking it in.  Perfect!!!  I feel comfortable now carrying the M & P and using my new holster. 

We did a drill shooting from, ugh, I can't remember what the position is called.  I want to say position 1, but I think I am making that up.  So, you draw, the gun is at your side, low, no extension and you start shooting from there as you move up to the full two handed, extended position.  I think the drill is called "The Zipper"  Another fabulous lesson.  I am rather well endowed, so when I drew my gun and pulled the trigger the slide hit my breast and did not have room to fully go back, so my gun jammed.  I did do tap rack, bang, which only made it worse and instead of taking care of it, I stopped.  This is not like me.  I am very good at dealing with malfunctions and finishing up, but my mind was not on and I noticed everyone else had stopped shooting, so I did too.  NOT the right thing to do.  Anyway, it was a good thing to have happen because I knew I needed to make an adjustment to my draw.  I did and did not have any more problems.  I will practice that drill a lot in dry fire. I think it is important that I do it again and again, so it is ingrained, naturally.  Under stress, I doubt I will remember where my boobs are.

Next we did ground work.  We completely disarmed.  Nothing, not even a flashlight on us.  Did the TSA groping drill to be sure no one had forgot anything, then used a blue gun.  For my newbies, a blue gun is just that.  A plastic "gun" that is blue.  It really is a gun shaped object.  The slide doesn't move, there is no where to put bullets or snap caps. It is just a molded piece of blue plastic in the shape of a gun.

We took turns laying on our back, bad guy on top, grab, pop hip, shove off, grab gun, shoot.  This is where I got bruised.  My hips are boney and tossing someone off of me, made my hips black and blue and sore.  I also have a large bruise on  my thigh, clueless as to how I got that.  Again, I felt good about this, but in a way - not.  My bad guy was my husband, so he was on top of me and I don't think he was trying very hard.  I understand simulation and I know no one wants me to kick them etc, but I would have preferred actually being pushed to the ground and trying to get a person who was trying off of me.  The technique is so important and that repetition is vital, for skill building and mindset.  It's not good to just lie there and say, well, I am toast, but I don't know if I could really get a big huge dude off of me.  My take away really was, I do not want him to be able to get me on the ground.  For the record John said that.  He did not endorse letting the bad guy A. get close or B. Get you on the ground.  I am just stating the obvious. My mind was fine for this drill and I think it would have been no matter what, but since there was man on woman, we did it with couples.  Again, I think it would have actually been better for both my mindset and skill building, it the bad guy was not my husband.  I am not afraid of him, I know him well and I know he was not "trying".  By afraid, I don't mean I want to train with someone who scares me, I just mean there was not once ounce of apprehension or anticipation. I know that training is not all about me.  I am not the only person to be considered and no one wants to lose a knee, the family jewels or an eye to my obsessive need to learn, I'm just saying.

We did some drills where we were pushed up against the wall and the bad was choking us.  We learned to drop the knees to get slack and push the arms out, run, grab gun etc.  Again, my husband didn't really choke me and I was kind of annoyed (I am strange like that) I said, "Babe, you are not trying"  So, for the next few times he did and it was more difficult to get his hands off of me, but I felt a little better about those attempts.  The Refuse The Mount, the bad guy on top and the back against the wall drills were very valuable to me, for what should seem like obvious reasons.  My son is a pretty large man and I am gonna make him do the drills with me.  I don't think he will try very hard either, but just by virtue of his size and mine, it will pose a very big challenge for me.

We ended with some basic marksmanship type drills.  I suck at those.  I can shoot accurately on the move, under stress, from my knees, on back etc, but ask me to line up the sites and shoot, forget it.  I hate the sites on my M & P. For the record neither John or Mr.s Awesome like my sites either.  I shot Mr. Awesome's 1911 with Heinie Sites and those I loved. Also for the record, I really loved his 1911.

As with any range session I could write endless posts and I am know I leaving things out, but this pretty much covers the main points.  I had a great day!!!  I learned so much and I did not have any flashbacks, I did not get shaky or have an emotional breakdown.  I did not cry and I did not have any nightmares.  Something did happen in my mind about the attack, but I will save that for another post.

I consider myself beyond fortunate to have access to the kind of people and training I have.  These people, their commitment to help me has literally saved my life.  Not just physically, but my mind.  Having the tools and support has helped me heal in a way that lets me have a quality of life that is free from fear.  Knowing I can defend myself and knowing I have people I can go to, well I consider it a blessing straight from God.  Also, I just fricken love it.  I am serious, if God himself came down, stood in front of me and said the world is safe.  You will never be harmed again, I would still call up John and say, hey wanna teach me how to roll around on the ground and shoot? 

P.S. my God is about my personal faith.  For me he is a he and he is in heaven and all that, but when I say "God", I mean a benevolent loving God and I don't mean him to be exclusive or limited to my version of him.  I just mean, I believe in a Devine-ness that has sent me foul mouthed, politically incorrect, often crude men (& women) who I adore, that's all.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Copy Cat

Last week Kymber had a craving for sushi, so 45er made her some, kind of.  His creation looked so yummy, I decided that would be our Friday night treat.

I like raw fish, but I don't trust myself to select and care for it properly, so when we make sushi at home, it is always with cooked fish, thus we have never had Salmon.  I don't know why I didn't think of it, but 45er used smoked salmon...brilliant.

During a chit chat with North about my dinner plans he brought up asparagus...I am border line addicted to that particular green veggie, so I decided to add that ingredient as well. We have a variety of pallets in our house, so I made several different kinds.  Follow 45ers instructions on exactly how to prepare if you interested in making it, but here are a few other things I did.

I thought I had shrimp in the freeze, but didn't.  I did have bay scallops, so I sauteed them in a pan of olive oil and finished with a squeeze of lemon. This is not authentic sushi.  This is food I like wrapped in rice and seaweed.

I let it cool and then chopped it up in fairly small.  For the asparagus, I doused it in good olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it at 450 degrees until charred and a little on the crispy side. As an aside that brown goo in the pan, my daughter eats it by the spoonful.  She calls it scallop pudding.

Combinations I made...
snowcrab & avacado
smoked salmon & cream cheese
asparagus and cream cheese
scallops, asparagus & cream cheese
scallops & avocado.

I served it with a home made sauce of mayo, Sriracha sauce & lemon. I also made a sauce of Tamari, rice wine vinegar(equal parts), red chili flakes, chopped scallions, honey and chopped cilantro. Wasabi and pickled ginger on the side. 

If you are talented like Brigid then you take lovely, mouth watering pictures to showcase your work, if you are me with a family of 9 and 3 extra guests your son invited over, you get this...

and this...

Not pretty, but even the youngest in the group devoured it...


While I was stealing, being inspired by 45er, my daughter was ripping off, borrowing Jalissa's muffin recipe.  This is the wife of our own Kirk.  They have a blog called The Lowry Place.  It's filled with all kinds of interesting info from gun stuff to yummy treats.  We have made several of her dishes to include lasagna soup.  Crazy good! 

My daughter making the muffins...



Again, not as aesthetically pleasing, but they were mighty tasty.

I think they say imitation is the best form of flattery. Thanks guys for giving us wonderful ideas for a fabulous family meal!

Friday, March 9, 2012

More From That Cat Lady

When I was down in Memphis taking my course with The Cornered Cat,  I learned a ton of very helpful things and I would like to share one of those handy dandy tips with you.

When all is right with my gun it looks like this...

That is the part of my gun where the bullet comes out and in this picture you can see everything is lined up and ready to go.  Perfect.

The way I have always reholtered my gun is to maintain my normal grip, but with my finger off the trigger, sort of like this...





With my Glock and both my Crossbreed and my Remora this has always worked, but Kathy suggested that when we reholster the gun, we move our thumb onto the backplate, like this...

The point of this is to be sure the slide does not get out of whack like this...

I have never had my gun do this when reholstering until I got my new AGirl holster from The Holster Site.  The fit is snug and therefor when I slide my gun into the holster, the slide pushs back which could be a problem for a variety of reason.  By placing my thumb on the back of the gun instead of on the side, I can assure that the slide does not move and that I get a good holster. 

The woman knows her stuff, I tell ya.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Please Read If You Donated To The Give a Way

To all you extremely generous bloggers who gave to the Give -A -Way, our winner Mrs. Groundhog would like you to please email her at marymcmmiller@gmail.com 

She has received all the prizes except for about 250 rounds of ammo and she is beyond grateful to everyone.  I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to her upcoming training and seeing her in all her gear!!!!

I have had the pleasure of continuing to get to know her and really she is one fabulous lady.  We did good folks. 

Ok, please, it is important to her that you contact her.

When Are You Gonna Talk About Gun Stuff?

I am so glad you asked.  This just in from Ce...

This is not my holster, gun, or review and the cute tushy, also not mine:)  This was sent to me by a woman who won this holster in a fundraiser I did to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
In November 2011 A Girl and Her Gun held a fund raiser for a very awesome cause. She was raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org. For every $5 dollar donation made your name was entered in the hat for some really cool prizes. Among which was a holster from Dragon Leatheworks http://www.dragonleatherworks.com.
My name was pulled out of the hat and I was contacted almost immediately by Dennis at Dragon Leatherworks!  After giving him my pistol make/model and telling him that I was right handed he went to work building my holster. I was very excited as I had requested a holster to be made for my Springfield Armory XD 9 sub-compact. I love carrying the pistol but hadn't found a holster yet that I really liked.
Weeks went by as I paced the floor anxiously awaiting my prize. Dennis had told me it would be at least 8 weeks due to the handmade nature of each holster, but I still asked my husband every day what came in the mail.
Finally it came! I opened the box like a kid on their birthday, ripping into the packaging and finding this! 
 
 Of course I immediately ran for the pistol and after removing the ammo (and double checking twice) this is what it looked like. 


The holster itself is beautiful. I love the colors and the inlay, it is a shame I have to conceal it in my state! The leather is thick and gives the holster a very solid feel. The stitching is very nice and I don't foresee any issues with stitches coming loos due to the high quality of the craftsmanship.
It was a very tight fit to begin with but  after a few times of inserting and removing the unloaded pistol the leather stretched just enough. The retention aspect is still there, but it is not a fight to get the pistol out. 
This is going to be my weekend carry holster as most of my work clothes don't have belt loops. I did find this very comfortable to wear. I normally carry the XD on my right hip in about the  4:30 to 5:00 position so it is out of the way as I wrangle the kids and dogs.

 There is still some breaking in of the holster in the pictures the pistol is quite as far down in the holster as I would like it sit, so more use is definitely needed! I am also using the extended clip in these pictures which is not the clip that I carry in the pistol on a daily basis (that adds to much length and weight to the pistol for me to be able to conceal with my short waistline), it was just the only empty clip available. While wearing the holster the first time out and about I went grocery shopping , to the eye doctor, to the gas station and was in and out of my vehicle quite a bit. Never once did the holster slide around or did I feel the pistol shift.
Overall I really like this holster and the more I use it the more I will like it. It is going to quickly become part of my frequently used items.
I would highly recommend checking out Dragon Leatherworks next time you are in the market for a new holster. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Grace

I can not tell you how good yesterday's post felt to write. It was my screaming, kicking the dog, throwing the plates across the room declaration that I am officially done and it felt great! Plus I didn't have to kick an actual dog or break any plates. I think the last few months you have seen that I was pretty much there already. I really had dealt with the guilt and had moved on and was and am doing well, but when I read that email about Jeanne, imgot very angry at the bad guys of the world and the idiots that feed them. I thought it was time I wrote a strong post to the other women out there and try to use my story to encourage them to put the blame where it belongs, on the criminal. I believe Jeanne has done that, but the rest of us need to, too. I have had help in learning that the guilt has no place and I wanted to pass that knowledge and wisdom on. With that I want to share a story.

I recieved several emails last night and I was blessed by them. People are hurting and healing and I want to be sure I am clear on a few things. I don't normally like to tell another person's story and that includes my children, but I think this story is important because it illustrates how many times we are more gracefully to others than we are to ourselves.

This is not a story of violence and no criminals were involved. It is a story of guilt and shame though.

When a family is waiting to travel to China to adopt their child, they are often looking for ways to occupy their time and also find any information on their child that they can. One way to do this is to join a Yahoo group for that child's province or SWI(social welfare institute, aka, orphanage). For our 2nd daughter(not the one with me that day) we did this. She was from a small mining town of just over a million people. In China that is considered small and her SWI was one of the smallest I had ever heard of. It was located in a 2 room apartment on the 4th floor of an industrial building. Less than 40 kids there. About 2 days after I announced the adoption of our daughter, I got an email from someone who said they had information on our daughter and would I like it. This is not unusual. Many times families that travel earlier to get their children will take pictures of the other children and then pass those on with any other information to the new families. When I got the email I was excited and I said yes please. What I got was unexpected.

The woman sent me 50 pictures or more along with an email that said, we travelled to China to adopt this little girl(my daughter), but found her to be no good, so we returned her. Now, at first her choice of words was upsetting, but there was a language barrier and I do not believe she meant those words in the way we might think she did. Anyway, at first I was a little mad, but I wanted information, so I was nice and polite, but as we exchanged emails, she revealed to me her guilt and shame over not adopting our daughter simply because she was deaf. She told me of how she would sometimes close her eyes and rock in the rocking chair and she could feel A's breath on her. She said she didn't sleep and she cried a lot. She would apologize to me and I knew she was hurting. It was tough for me to separate out my anger for her and my compassion, but in the end, I could see no value in harming her. I could see no value for me or my daughter and I could see no value for her. What good would it serve? I thoughtmif I could help her heal a little then there would be some good. I can not image a worst fate for a child than a guilt ridden mother. I was not responsible for her redemption and I wasn't sure I could help, but I tried. I told her she made the best choice she could at the time and that she didn't owe me an apology. I told her A was with the perfect family and that she was loved. People would tell me this woman was awful and I should tell her so, but I never wanted to do that. I thought a lot about her children and what they deserved. They deserved a mother who was free from guilt and who could focus on them and love on them. We spent about a year emailing back and forth and finally it came time to go our separate ways. I had no intention of telling my daughter about her and I felt she needed to move on. She thanked me and I could tell she had healed that year and while she may always have tears for the choices she made, I believe she isn't reeling from the guilt any longer. I think what she did was wrong and it profoundly effected my daughter in very negative ways. In a ways it took her and us years to overcome, but I don't think beating herself up would be have good for anyone and I wanted to be a part of the solution and not the pain.

I thought about her the other day, for the first time in years. She just poppped into my head and I thought, I extended grace and forgiveness to her in a way that I hadn't allowed myself. Other people offered me that grace,but I kept harping on my mistake.I would take giant steps forward and then my daughter would share a memory and bam, I was right back to knocking myself around. I bet if you were a victim and you read my story you say, she is too hard on herself or something to that effect and then you go right on beating yourself up. It's time to stop.

What good are we if we let our situation turn us bitter or into a drunks or paranoid? What kind of mother am I going to be if I sit around wallowing in what I should have done for my daughter? What about what I can do for her now? She has 6 years of me being a good mommy and 1 day of me messing up. Yes, it was a big mess up, but it was one day and she deserves to have the rest of her life without having her mommy reliving it everyday. She deserves a well rested, happy, carefree, loving mommy to teach her how to love, how to trust, how to avoid danger, how to fight. The best thing I can do for her is to let it go. It's the best thing I can do for myself and it's the best thing you can do for yourself. It's time to let it go.

Whatever you did or didn't do that day, you are here and there is plenty of life left to live. If you didn't fight, you can fight now. Fight your way back to your life. If you fought, then maybe it's time you stop fighting and give yourself a rest. A rest from the guilt and all the what could have been or should have been. My time table is not yours. It will take some people more time and others not as much and that's fine. There should be a process, but if it has been several months or years and you are not moving forward then it's probably time to take a deeper look at why and perhaps start taking those steps forward. These bad guys don't deserve our lives, not our blood and not our joy.

I hope you find encouragement here and peace and I pray that today you allow yourself some grace.