A Bought a Gun!

The first time I bought a gun, it was just a week or so after my incident in the grocery store parking lot. I had been reading about guns and whatnot, but really was just desperate to have a firearm, so armed with nothing more than a weeks worth of internet knowledge, I met a guy I didn’t know in the parking lot of a pawn shop and handed over $550 in cash for a gun I knew nothing about.  Now, it all turned out fine, that gun has been mighty good to me and I love it, but ladies and gentleman, that is not the way to do it.

So, for those of you who are new to guns, here is how you do it and for the record, this is exactly how all the experts will tell you how to do it and I probably should have done it their way, but then I would have that cool pawn shop parking lot story…

A few months ago, I saw a video on the XDm 5.25 barrel 9mm and from that video, I decided that was the gun I wanted.  I was so excited by how excited the guy in the video was, I just knew I needed that gun, so I pretty much set out to get it.  Wait, the experts probably won’t suggest you buy a gun based on a dude in a video wetting his pants with excitement, but I am getting there.

I mentioned to a couple of people or pretty much anyone who would listen that I wanted an XDm, so being the amazingly nice folks that they are, many of them including Newbius and Girls With Guns, offered to let me shoot theirs and my lust was confirmed and it turned into a full fledged love affair.  I shot it every chance I got.

In the meantime other folks said, hey why not try this gun or that gun, of course, I did.  One gun I shot was the M&P 9mm and that one felt good too and the more I shot it the more it felt right, but I was torn because I was emotionally attached to that XDm. 

John invited me out to his range and we did all kinds of drills and tests.  I shot my Glock and the XDm of a very nice guy that was there that day also and I shot John’s M&P.  Again, there wasn’t a massive difference between any of the times or accuracies, but in the end I did the best with the M&P, which should have been enough to convince me, but, I am a girl and I am emotional, so I still wanted that XDm.  Wait, the experts probably will not advise that you buy a gun based on your emotional connection to it, especially when your emotions are based on that dude in the video, but I am getting there.

One of my favorite things about my Glock is it’s lack of a manual safety(meaning something I have to do before hand to “unlock” the gun in order for me to fire my first shot) I like being able to draw and shoot.  Both the XDm and the M&P come without a manual safety, but the XDm does have a grip safety(a little “level” on the back of the grip that when you grip the handle will press into the gun and as long as your grip is right, the gun will fire.) which has never been a problem any of the times I shot the XDm.  No matter how I grabbed the gun, it shot, but some people I train with had said that as I advance in my training and do more “rolling” around onto the ground kind of work, the grip safety may become a hindrance for me.

So, I decided that I should keep shooting both guns, shoot a few other as well to include the Glock and to talk, talk, talk to people about their experiences. I went to several gun shops and gun shows and put my hands on everything I could to get a feel for what felt comfortable.  I looked at my targets and I set my emotion aside.  I looked at what I was going to use the gun for, what felt good to me, and what I was able to accomplish with said gun(ie, draw, accuracy etc.). I took my time and once I made my choice, I didn’t rush it or settle.(This is what the experts suggest) Ok, I did try to rush it a couple times, but fate intervened and kept me from jumping the gun, no pun intended.

Finally, yesterday, I went to a reputable gun store with my son and John and purchased a M&P 9mm.  Robb, the gun guy, installed Apex parts, to improve the trigger. If you are new to guns this part might not make sense, but before the trigger was kind of ratchety and the reset(the point where the trigger clicks and lets me fire again) was, not sure the right term, someone will explain this, I hope.  anyway, Robb also switched the gun over to work with my left handedness.  My Glock is made for a right handed person, so I have had to adapt.  Instead of pressing the magazine release with my thumb, I use my index finger etc.  This has not been a problem because, it is all I have ever know, however, last night as I tried to do some dry firing with my new gun, I kept trying to manipulate everything with my index finger.  I don’t think it will take long to get that under control though.

My paperwork took about 15 minutes to get approved.  For some reason this seemed to annoy the folks around me:)

Not a great picture, but there she is…I am off to the range today to do some break in work.  I will let you know she does.

A Smile As Big As The Moon

Tonight my husband and I sat down with our older children and watched a Hallmark movie. Yep, a cheesy, sappy, tear jerking, kind of movie. This movie was about a special ed teacher that wanted to take his kids to space camp.

Being the mother of 3 special needs kiddos that have had their challenges, well, of course this movie appealed to me. It was your typical, predictable, cliche flick and yet, it was full of truth, loaded really.

So, here is a teacher fighting the odds and the system and he eventually takes his kids to the camp. Everything is going great when, wham, a kid with “issues” loses it. The teacher gets ready to chase after him when one of the other kids steps up, puts his hand on the teachers shoulder and says, “No, let us go”. “We don’t need you any more”. The teacher looks to his co-worker and says “They don’t need us anymore.” and she says “Isn’t that the point?”


Of course, they still need them. We always need people, their support, their love, their encouragement, but it changes. It moves from dependence to empowerment to partnership, to friendship.

There were no guns. Nothing blew up. But there was plenty of fight. Only the thing they were fighting for was a place in this world and I couldn’t help but think, isn’t this what I am fighting for? Isn’t this the point? Helping the least of these, be a little more powerful, a little more confident, a little more independent. Isn’t this the whole point? I reach out to others who help me be stronger, so I can be stronger, so I can help others be stronger. Plus they played Kenny Roger’s The Gambler and that alone hooked me.

You all get it, I know, but it’s still worth saying. The fight is so worth fighting.

Dinner With Friends

Last night we had some friends over for dinner. We have known them for a couple of years as our children went to kindergarten together. We go to their house a couple times a year and they came to ours once or twice. We are close, but still getting to know each other. What each others values are, politics, how we feel about improtant issues, etc.

A few months ago they invited our family out for one of their annual get togethers. My husband was out of town, so it was just me and the kiddos. After things had settled a bit and most of the other people had left, I was sitting and talking to our friends about our current president and my lack of appreciation for his stance on the 2nd Amendment. They agreed with me and we exchanged quips, jabs, the usual banter that takes place among friends. The kids were all running around playing, so they could hear us, but no one was sitting down intently paying attention to what any of us said, which is why I was surprised when they shared this story with us…

A few weeks after the party, their son had a little playmate over for the day. The
little girl had gone into the little boy’s room to look for his nerf guns, but she couldn’t find them. So, finally in frustration she asked the little boy,

“Where are all your guns”

His reply “Obama took’ um”

Is It Any Wonder

Last night I received an email alert from our local police department warning abut a suspicious man following a young girl home from school.  I decided to check my personal FB to see if the local newspaper had posted any additional info.  They had…

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating a report of suspicious activity near Freedom Middle School. A male appeared to follow children from the school to a neighboring residence, then lingered in front of the house once the children were inside. He is described as a white male approx 30-40 years old, 6 feet tall, 190 lbs medium build with curly grey hair with a bald spot and close cut grey beard last seen wearing a grey t-shirt, silver wristwatch, blue knee length basketball shorts and white and grey shoes. Citizens are advised to monitor their children carefully and report any suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s Office- 

Later today another update…
At approximately 5:15 p.m. a female 14 year old 8th grade Freedom Middle student
walked back to the school to get her keys which she had forgotten after volleyball
practice which ended at 5:00 p.m. She noticed a white male (description below)
running on the track and remembered seeing him there the day before when she
went home after practice. After retrieving her keys she began to walk home and
noticed the man leave the track and begin to slowly run and walk behind her. The
student called out to a friend who was outside and had him walk her home. Once
inside her residence the suspicious male stopped outside her residence and began
stretching, until a neighbor told him to get off his vehicle. The male then ran to the
end of the street and began stretching again. Once the student’s aunt arrived home
the male ran back toward Freedom Middle School.

The school principal was notified and worked with the Sheriff’s Office last night in
an attempt to identify the male. The student describes the male as follows:

Gray curly/frizzy hair on top of his head with a small bald spot/slick hair on the
back of his head
6’0” 190 thick body shape
Lost of hair on arms
Gray shirt with words on it, blue basketball short to knee length, white sneakers
with gray outline
Drove a white SUV type car that he parked in the bus loop
-walked on track or around the school two days in a row around 5pm

This was on the news and alerts went out and it was in the newspaper and on FB, but this person and no one that he knew came forward. 
 At some point the police said they were patrolling the area and noticed a man fitting the description and decided to question him.
They, the police decided that he is not a bad guy, just a jogger and no one should be worried.  Now, to be honest this doesn’t sit well with me, but that is not the point of this post. 
I make a comment on the story as followed…
I am immensely impressed with this young person. Way to be aware, make good choices and let a trusted adult know! Not her job to decide if he is a good guy or not. She did exactly the right thing!
This is the response from Melissa…
Dang I better be aware of my surroundings when I go out running in neighborhoods…or try to make it obvious I’m just out for a run! Good for the girl to stay aware though…
That is her answer to a kid’s reaction.  A kid.  A girl, basically alone at the age of 14.  This child accused no one of anything.  Not a single person was harmed in this event, but this person, Melissa, thinks it is wrong for the jogger to be inconvenienced.   The jogger, not the child, that is who she is concerned about.
This man very well may be innocent, although I half expect him to turn up on America’s Most Wanted someday, but regardless, this is the message much of society sends to it’s children, it’s women. 
We wouldn’t want to offend an innocent man, so it is better to keep quite and if he happens to mug you, beat you up, rape you, kidnap you or murder you, at least you didn’t cause a scene.  You were a good girl. After all isn’t that what we are looking for?
I am half tempted to post the link and unleash the full force of the gun community on her, but instead I will rant to the ones who already know the truth.  The ones that are already protecting their children and teaching them how be survivors. 
Good gravy, I am mad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No wonder we have woman and children who don’t stand up and say STOP! GET BACK! 
I am not blaming society for an individuals responsibility to defend themselves, but if one has no idea, no idea at all and is socialized, embarrassed and harassed into thinking it is wrong to stand up and question the odd behavior of another, well then, there is a good chance that person just might not be equipped, mentally or otherwise to fight back.
When I first started carrying my plan was still not to cause a fuss. To just sit back quietly and carry my gun.  I had planned to blend into the background of life and not draw to much attention to my gun totin’ ways, but that is out the window.  Little by little I have talked a little louder and I have fought a little harder, but this it is, this the straw that broke the quite little ladies back…NO WAY  I WILL BE QUIET!  NO WAY! I will not let Melissa convince  children that they should hush up.  That they should be good little girls.  That they should wait for something bad to happen, before they speak up. Nope, not a chance.
I am in this fight.  I am all in!

National Take Your Daughter To the Range Day

As you probably know, growing up I did not learn about guns.  I did not like guns and even though I wasn’t particularly girly, I was not athletic in any way that required skill.  I liked track. Running in a circle, that I could do. I was a very shy, quiet, and I kept to myself, mostly reading.  I had friends, I fit in, but I was very unsure of how to act and what to say and to say that I was not cool would be a huge understatement. 
As I grew up and went to college I became more outgoing and less of a recluse, but I would still keep to myself mostly. My husband and I have always had a small group of friends that we choose to spend our time with and neither one of us is what you would call adventurous.  My husband was a Marine for 20 years, so that would seem a contradiction, but it isn’t.  He did his job, which he loved, brilliantly, but he was not for taking risks just to take them.  He will go to battle and fight to the death, but he isn’t going to bungee jump off the bridge just for an adrenalin rush and neither am I.
I have always chosen the safe path in life.  The middle of the road stock options, the respectable, but not to exciting career, the 2 kids, white picket fence kind of road.  It has been a good life and I have had much joy and fun, and occasionally I have detoured off the path and do something a little unconventional.  When my passion overrides my fears, like when we adopted our kiddos, but I quickly returned to my cozy life. 
Recently, as I have gained a new kind of peace and confidence, the kind that comes with knowing I can take care of myself, I have started to take more risks. I have a much deeper appreciation for my life and while I still have no desire to fling myself off a bridge, I am more likely to take the harder road now. 
When I faced my fears about guns and not only overcame those fears, but blew them out of the water, I started to believe in myself in a new way.  I am more willing to step out and fight for what I want even if it scares me or even if I am not sure I can succeed.
Confidence comes anytime one faces a challenge, whether a person succeeds at it or not.  Just taking the steps forward to try is character building, but when one takes responsibility for their own life, all of it,  not just the paying the bills and taking care of the children part, but for it’s very breath…that is a confidence like no other.
That is the confidence I gained when I began shooting. That is the confidence I want for my children, especially my daughters (I say that because society often doesn’t make that as easily accessible to the girls).  I want that kind of confidence to pulse through their veins.  I want that to be the very breath that they breathe.  
Of course, there are many aspects to teaching children that kind of confidence.  It isn’t as simple as putting a gun in their hand, but for our family, shooting is a vital part of the lessons we want to teach. 
Our children know their life matters and they know they have the right to fight for it and to protect it.  That is our number one lesson…YOU MATTER! Learning how to protect themselves is one major way to teach that lesson.
If you have never taken your child shooting then you are missing out on an incredible opportunity to teach your child, not only a skill that might one day save their life, but also a valuable tool to help them gain confidence.  Talk to any woman who carries a gun and I’ll bet she will tell you that she walks a little taller and sleeps a little better knowing she knows how to use a gun.
I want to invite you to take that first step(or if you are old hat at this, then I invite you to join in anyway)  and take you daughter/s to the first  National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day.  This year’s event will be held on June 9, 2012. I know the people putting this together and they are top notch.  I will be doing everything I can to help and I hope at the very least you will come out and shoot!  For more information go here

I Hope I Made You Proud

Today I met a new friend at my local range because what better way to get to know someone then to share a little lead?

My gun collection consists of a Glock and a Ruger LCP. Not much to offer, but at least I paid for the range time. My new friend has lots to offer. In addition to her sweet personality, she brought an XDm in 9mm, Glock 19(which is also a 9mm), a .22 pistol, and a bodyguard in .380. Do I even have to say how excited I was?

While said friend was loading her magazines with ammo, I shot my Glock 27(that shoots a .40 caliber bullet, if your new)

I breath, I aim, I squeeze, bang…OUCH! What the heck, that hurt. My finger was numb and my hand was stinging. I have had this happen a few other times, but I could not find any rhyme or reason as to why sometimes I shoot my gun and nothing and other times, I can’t hardly handle the sting. I shoot my gun a few more times and decide I am not a fan, so I put it down and start shooting the other guns. First the XDm, then the Glock 9mm, then the Bodygaurd. Actually, I am taking turns with my friend, but that is the order I shot the guns. Then my friend says would you like to shoot the Glock .40 full size. Sure. I shoot and it doesn’t hurt. I am sure the size of the gun impacts recoil, but I just didn’t think the bigger gun was the main difference.

(This where you might be proud because this is where what I have been learning here kicked in.)

My mind was thinking and thinking what is the deal? Finally, I ask my friend what grain her .40 ammo is…she says 155. Mine are 180 grain.

For the purpose of those that might not understand what I am talking about, I am going to give you a very basic explanation. As always, the technicalities of all this I will leave to others, but grain is essential the weight of the bullet. So, you can buy a bullet in a .40 caliber, but it’s weight or grain can vary. You can buy a .40 in 155 grain or 165 grain or 180 grain. There are more choices, but just to give you an idea.

I have understood the differences intellectually, but I didn’t really understand how they effected my shooting, until today. Well, I understood a lighter grain meant the bullet travels faster, but not as far whereas the heavier load goes farther, but at a slower velocity. I am not really a good enough shooter to be able to tell the subtle difference between grains, or so I thought.

After I realized that her .40’s and my .40’s were different grains, I asked if I could shoot my bullets out of her gun. She said yes, so I did. Guess what? It hurt my hand. Not quite as much as when I shot my smaller gun, but my hand still stung after each shot, so, of course, I asked if I could shoot her .40’s out of my gun and since she is unbelievably AWESOME, she said yes. Guess what? No pain! I normally shoot 165 grain, so the 180 grain is brutal on my hands. Too much power for me. I have to say, even though I felt the recipe differently, ny shots were pretty darn good regardless of what I shot. That was pretty cool.

I literally jumped up and down. I figured it out, on my own. I was so excited that I had enough knowledge to think, “hey I wonder if it is the grain” and then to do a little experiment and then to find the answer!!!!

Our hard work is paying off! Thanks for answering my endless questions. I am learning! I am learning!

P.S. I do not like 180 grain, do not like it at all.

I’m In Love With A Dragon

Back in November 2011 I ordered a holster for my husband from Dragon Leatherworks.  Dennis had it ready and shipped in time for my husband to open it Christmas morning!!  I had a minor issue and contacted Dennis to see if he would mind making the adjustment and within 3 minutes of me sending an email to him, he called me.  He was happy to make the change and he did so lickty split!!  From my first conversation with Dennis I knew this was going to be a good experience.  He was nice, professional, timely and his holster speaks for itself.

The workmanship is outstanding, the customer service stellar and plus this is one gorgeous holster!  Thanks Dennis!!


Tonight I was catching up on Facebook posts and I read “Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better” on The Cornered Cat’s page.

It reminded me of something I have said several times over the years…the easiest thing in the world to do is nothing. It takes courage to change.

To do something different is very scary for people and so many, if not, most people choose the easy path and do nothing. They choose to remain in a place of misery, or fear, or a victim.

After my brother killed himself, my parents, understandably, had a rough time. It was a difficult time for all of us, but my parents couldn’t seem to move on from the guilt and the pain. They were in so much pain and filled with such anger, anger that just grew and grew, that they essentially were no longer living. I remember telling my dad that he was doing my brother no good. The guilt he felt about being a bad parent wasn’t serving any purpose except to destroy another life. It made more sense to take the lessons learned and to be a better father, grandfather, friend, person…

I understood it would be hard, but it was really the only choice.

Three days after my brother’s funeral, I laid on the floor, on my stomach, curled up and sobbed. It was the first time I really let go of my emotions and sobbed. Up until that point, I had cried,of course, but there was much to be done, to include being strong for my parents. I don’t remember how long I laid there, but my husband says it was hours. He knows because the entire time, he laid on top of me and held me. At some point, I pulled myself together and moved forward. One of the things I said to my husband was that I wanted to show my kids how to handle hardships. How to deal with the worst life has to offer and to come out the other side, not just alive, but living. It took me about a year after my brother killed himself until I fully felt like myself. Durning that year, I had a lot of good days. Days that I laughed and days that I smiled, but from time to time, I would get overwhelmed by the emotions of anger I felt at him or the enormous amount of loss I felt not having him around and when those times came, I let them out. I cried and talked about how I felt and then I moved on. The time between “break-downs” got longer and longer until they just didn’t happen any more. Now my kids were very young then, so I shielded them from a lot as I do today, but when they ask about that time, I can tell them, I had days where I just laid in bed, but the days I got up far out weighed the ones when I didn’t and I am so glad I did because look at what I would have missed.

I am trying to do that now too. I am trying to teach my kids how to heal from a bad situation. I want them to learn lessons from my mistakes and also give them skills to cope with life, the good and the bad.

It is not healthy to feel guilty and I don’t and it’s not healthy to stay in a cycle of self pity and I am not, but it is not realistic to think some events won’t cause pain or won’t be difficult. I want my children to know its ok to cry and it’s ok to have a bad day, and doing so doesn’t make you unstable or unhealthy. Just the opposite, really. Cry, scream, yell, then move forward. Find positive ways to move forward. That is inconvenience. That is healing.

Make no mistake, I am tougher and if ever anyone makes the mistake of coming at me again, the scenario will end much differently and make no mistake, I am preparing my children to be fighters, to be mentally tough, to be courageous, but I am also teaching them how to feel. How to be passionate, how to care, how to have empathy and love for others and themselves. I am trying to be an example of healing. I don’t think I am teaching them much if I am only hard and never soft. If I am only strong and never weak. I want them to know being strong doesn’t mean not feeling sad. Being brave doesn’t mean not crying.

Change takes inconvenience. It takes courage. It is not a smooth ride. It is worth the effort.

Pretty soon we will only find these posts in my archives, but until then, I will keep moving forward.

I am making the changes. I am healing. I am living.

Tomorrow one of my daughter’s from China is turning 8. When she came to us, she was 4, she was broken, she was empty, she needed things she couldn’t ask for, she could offer us nothing in return, but we loved on her and we taught her how to heal. Today she is confident, carefree, peaceful, full of life. She still needs us, but not the way she used to. Tomorrow I will be smiling and probably crying and my heart will be full. We will be celebrating not only her birth, but also her life and her fighting spirit.

Yep, it’s worth the effort.

Does This Sound Right To Anyone?

Before I go ranting and raving about the injustice of it all, I want to check with you all to see if this sounds wrong to anyone besides me.

My son is 20 years old and has a Wisconsin drivers license.  He used to live in Wisconsin, but recently moved back to Virgina.  He moved here January of this year.  Anyway, my husband and I have a car that hasn’t been running and we haven’t needed it so we have not bothered to get it fixed.  Now that our son is home he needs the car, so this morning we got it fixed and our son was driving it to get it inspected.

About 2 blocks from the house he gets pulled over for the inspection not being current.  That is fine, but the cop also gave him a ticket for not having a license.  Our son went to get his license out of his wallet and realized it wasn’t there, so he told the police officer, he would bring proof to him later.  In Virginia a person has 24 hours to produce proof that one is in fact a licensed driver.  The police officer said that since, he, the cop could not prove that there was reason to believe our son had a valid  license in Wisconsin, that he was giving him a ticket for operating a vehicle without  any license at all.

The police officer was on a motorcycle, so he called into dispatch to have them check to see if Wisconsin had a record of his license, but the dispatcher said she/he didn’t have access to find that out.

So, the police officer told our son that it is true a person has 24 hours to produce their licenses, but that if there is no way to tell that one has a license that he can cite the driver and in addition, he told my son he can’t drive until the March 2nd court date.  That does not sound right to me.  My son has the license, but it is in his wife’s purse.  When she gets home I am going to drive him to the police department to show proof within 24 hours, but I had to go pick him up.  If he is a legal driver with a valid license and is in a state where the law allows 24 hours to produce said licenses and it has not yet been 24 hours, can the police really tell him, he is not allowed to drive until March 2nd?

Just seems wrong.  Can any of my Virginia friends(or anyone else) shed some light for me?