Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Tribute to Military

For the July 2017 Corridor Article I asked people to pay tribute to their military hero.... This is what I got.  I love that we can celebrate freedom and appreciate all who chose to serve.  

Taylor Williams says “my favorite veteran is my father in law, Brian Williams. He has been serving in the Air Force for 35 years now. He has served in Iraq twice, Turkey five times, Qatar, and Afghanistan. He has received countless metals but is so humble I'm sure I don't even know all of them. Chief Williams has a special place in my heart and I'm so thankful he is home safe. He has put his life on the line for many years and he is so proud to have been able to serve his country. He is a proud American and our family would be lost without him!”

Bo Kociuba wanted to share few details about her father, Janusz Bratek, who was just a 10yr old boy when the war started in Poland Oct.1, 1939.  “He is my hero and there are no adequate words to express my gratitude and recognize his sacrifice.”  Her father was a child who lost his mother at the age of ten and his father at the age of thirteen.  He was a survivor of Majdanek concentration camp and a member of the Polish Underground Army.  Janusz fought in the bloody and heroic Warsaw Uprising, the major World War II 63 day battle, where Polish resistance, most of them young teenagers, fought to liberate Warsaw from German occupation  For his actions he was awarded a Cross of Valor. He was a survivor of German Stalags of Lamsdorf, Muhlberg and Oschatz where prisoners, because of starvation, were forced to hunt for cats and rats. He was one of a youngest POWs in WWII. He served under Gen. Anders in Italy with a rank of Petty Officer. In 1945 ended up in Manchester, England then came back to Poland in 1947.  *While we recognize that Janusz Bratek was not a United States Soldier, we still want to recognize the heroic role he played in the freedom of people like his daughter Bo Kociuba, who is now a US citizen.

Pilar Dykes wanted to recognize her husband Zack Dykes.  Zack was active Army from 2010 to 2014 in Ft. Lewis, Tacoma, WA, and served in Afghanistan 2012 as a gunner on a Striker armored truck.  He is currently serving in the Army Reserves.  Like many other service men and women, Zack has received awards and medals but he is very humble about it and does not share those stories with many folks.

C’Anne Smally wants to recognize her husband, Jason Smalley.  He served 6 years active duty in the United States Marine Corps. His job was communication, navigation and electronics countermeasure systems. He left the Marine Corps as a Staff Sergeant. He deployed to the South Pacific, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Jason was an expert marksman. Jason received two Navy Achievement Marine Corps Medals (NAM), a Presidential Unit Citation and two Marine Good Conduct Medals along with other medals and ribbons.

Stacy Burns, wife SSG Tyler W. Burns Army National Guard, B Co 1-179 Deployed 2007-2008 & 2011-2012 says “after our second date, I told Tyler I would not date him because I would not fall in love with him because I would not marry him and I would not be an Army Wife. God had other plans. Before the year was over we were married. Three months later I watched him load a bus that would take eventually take him to Afghanistan. That was a scary year for us both. Thankfully God watched over him and brought him back safely. We now have two beautiful boys who look and act just like their Daddy. I am so proud of my soldier! He is a strong man and someone our boys can look up to every day.” 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Father's Day Tribute, The Corridor June 2017

Father’s Day
As I sit here and think about the topic of this article, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or someone special, it is making me take a deeper look into the men who have impacted my life.

First, how do you put into words what father means? It is going to be a different answer for everyone you ask. For me, for my earthly father, it is dad or daddy. Thankfully my dad has always been a part of my life. If you look back at my article writing history you will see the many times that my dad is included in them. Dad did not make every ball game or school event while I was growing up. He often worked swing shift and was not able to make it, and sometimes he would rather go hunting than to a ball game, but that was okay with me. Sometimes I would have rather have gone hunting, too! So many of my childhood stories start with “my dad took me”.

Dad started taking me hunting with him when I was pretty young. I remember him tying me to a tree with some sort of pink string. That was way back before safety harnesses were popular, but I was pretty small and he was doing his job of protecting me. That was also before I was old enough to have a bow or gun and hunt myself, so I sat with him while he hunted. He took me fishing and golfing and taught me how to play dominoes. He still likes to take me hunting and fishing and I think it means more to me now than it did when I was younger. Getting to spend a few hours with my dad is something I will always cherish. He taught me what it means to work hard and to give a helping hand to others. He still is often doing for others instead of for himself or his wife.

My dad, Wendell Davenport, and Me. Shooting at the Annual Christmas Eve Skeet Shoot

“Daddy”, however, is a name I reserve those times that I need something. You’d think that at 29 years old and holding I wouldn’t need to use that term. . .but occasionally I still do and thankfully my daddy has always been there for me. He made several phone calls for me not to long ago looking for trees. Over the winter he drove the 45 miles to my house to help me haul hay. He has picked me up on the side of the road when a vehicle has broken down. Those are my “daddy” moments.

If you ask me if I have a perfect dad I will always answer no, absolutely not but he is just what I needed and that makes him perfect for me and I will always love and appreciate him.

When I got married, part of the deal was a new “Dad”. I have an amazing father-in-law. I think if you ask his kids if he is perfect they would say yes, as perfect as an earthly father can be. They will tell you he is the wisest, most Godly man they know. He is a man I am comfortable asking for help and doing things with. For more than eighteen years he has treated me as a daughter and I greatly appreciate that.

This is my Father-In-Law, Ben Husted. He is great! In this pic we had just finished working several hours pruning fruit trees! (Sorry Ben, this is not the best photo of us but it's the only one I could find. We'll have to make sure and take one on family vacation)
I have had two very different grandpas. One still living, who used to take me hunting and fishing, and camping. I have let life get too busy and don’t spend as much time with him as I should. The other passed away when I was in my early 20s who I have fond memories of taking me to junk auctions and to the café for breakfast at the ungodly hour of 6am. Both would let me put barrettes in their hair and make them look silly.

I have a host of uncles, male cousins, and male friends who have been a great influence on my life. Watching these men has showed me what I wanted in a husband, showed me how I needed to treat a husband, and how as a wife, I should expect to be treated.

The big question of Father’s Day is what do you get that special man in your life? Dad is expected to tell you what he wants, and there is an expectation that it will have a monetary value to it and it will be easy for you to click online order it and have it mailed to him without you ever having to personally interact with your dad. Skip that this year or if you feel obligated to buy something add to it!

I asked a friend Tyler, who has a six month old daughter and a 3 year old son what he wanted for Father’s Day, and he did not hesitate in his answer: time. He wants more time with his kids and he wants to create more memories with them. I think you will find that many dads do not want “stuff” for father’s day but will simply want time and memories.

Tyler and his son Adam and Daughter Sarah

Dads now days are not necessarily the sole provider in the family but a lot of times they are still the majority bread winner. When a dad spends forty plus hours a week working, sometimes swing shifts, sometimes out of town for days or weeks at a time he misses a lot, and when he is home he is tired. So, my suggestion for your Father’s Day gift this year is to plan something where you get to spend time with your dad. It doesn’t matter if you are a young child or a (roughly) 29 year old child like me. Cook his favorite meal and maybe play yard games or dominoes. The Corridor is also full of places to take dad and spend some time. Look at one of the many golf courses, lakes, bbq restaurants, parks, museums. What you do on Father’s Day is less important than who you do it with. Most dads want just a few hours of your time and it will be worth it to both of you.

For those of you with family too far away, make the phone call and tell your dad how special he is. I think you will ask just about anyone who has lost a father to death or otherwise and they will tell you all they want is time back with their dad so don’t put off those special times. Create lasting memories for you, your children, and your grandchildren. It will be worth it. In years to come you can sit and reflect on the time that you put barrettes in your grandpa or dad’s hair or painted his toe nails while you were playing beauty salon. It’s the memories that count.

*The next four pictures and tributes were all that made the magazine

Dad Randy Seaton and daughter Jennafer Seaton: He's an absolutely amazing man who has bent over backwards for my mom and us kids. He works his tail off to make sure we have what we need and want and he is always there when we need him. I can't tell you how many times I've gone through things I didn't think I would make it through that he was right there with me every step of the way helping me in any way he could and crying right there with me.

Dad Randy Brown and daughter Kamber Brown: My daddy, who has helpmed me get to the place I am today, has always supported our family even when it came to quiting his job and starting his own business to give us a better life. He is someone who would willingly give his shirt off his back if need be. I'm so proud to call him my dad and not just becauseof what he has done for me but also for our country as a USA Marine Veteran who spent time in the Gulf protecting our country.

Grandpa Jack Fick Sr and granddaughter Brandi Williams: My grandpa was the most honest, hardworking man I knew. He also loved to joke around! He would give someone his last $10 bill if they needed it. He was special to me. This picture, from my wedding, was one of his last outings before he passed away. Jack's daughter Marsha Laxton and Teresa Allen also commented this about their father. He taught us how to be a hard worker. I, Marsha, started out driving at 5 years old driving in a hay field. I loved my daddy so much I always wanted to be with him in the hay fields. He taught me how to work hard for what I wanted, but most of all he taught me how to love people. I still hear today stories about my dad. How good and hard worker he was. There was many young men that would try to out work my daddy but they didn't stand a chance. He enjoyed watching me play basketball as I grow up I can still hear his voice in the stands cheering me on. He was a great man that the town of Agra loved very much. I miss him still today. Love you daddy. Teresa says Jack was a special man, all his kids felt like we were his favorite! Never seen anyone be a better example of being a cheerful giver! Miss him everyday!

Dad Allen Jeffries and daughter Taylor Williams: I have the most loving, supportive, and fun dad out there! He has always had my back and made sure I chased my dreams growing up! I already thought the world of him and once my little girl was born, I saw a whole new side. He is such a great papa and I love seeing them both play, interact, and talk over FaceTime. He is such a hard worker and I'm so lucky to have him as my dad!

*The next pics and tributes I got after the deadline or there was not enough space, so they did not make the magazine but I wanted to share them here....

Kamber and Papa Larry Seaton: Then there is my Papa, someone who placed the love of music into my heart. He bought me my first guitar and sat in the floor with me teaching me cords all night, I remember dancing in the living room of their home or us just singing in the truck with him. My Papa was at every ball game or event he could make it too. What can I say I was extremely blessed with two amazing men, to watch and help me grow.
From Kelly Joe about Dad Larry Seaton: A lil girls first love is her daddy. It's who protects her and holds her and rocks her when she is sick. (My mom told me I never wanted her just my daddy). He chases away the monsters from beneath her bed. Most of all he loves her Mama. He is the Disney Prince come to life. He's the leg she hides behind when little and the hand she holds as she grows up and the last mans she will hold before she becomes a wife. He is her superman and hero. He is the man that sets the standard on how she as a woman, wife, mother and even a lover should be treated, respected, honored, spoiled and loved. He is what she searches for in every eye of a man that she meets. Those qualities, that heart, that love of his fellow man and God combined. and that soul. All that is good in the one man she has entrusted with her life. No matter 5 or 50 you will always be Daddy's lil girl.
My greatest example...storm
Season. Daddy was always on call and my birthday always meant storms. He had been gone numerous days restoring power. It was my 5th birthday and he took time to call and tell me happy birthday. I still remember sitting in the kitchen in pajamas on an old yellow rotary phone twirling the cord telling him I wanted a Holly Hobby Stove from Otasco in Prague and a pony. Later that night during the middle of my party he drove up in a CVEC service truck. In the front seat was a fully assembled stove(that I still have) and tied to the bumper was my very first horse, Tony. Yes this kind of man is rare. These standards are what I want for myself, my daughters and my niece.

From Carrie Delk: This man is tough, he is stern, he is gruff, strong and he has a heart of gold. I think that is what a dad should be. He has taught me about the kind of person I want to be. He has led by example in teaching me lessons of both, what to do and what not to do. He always has and continues to break his back everyday in order to provide for his family, always putting us before himself. My brother and I are very lucky to call him Dad!

From Billi Wright: So this is a picture of my Dad, my Father in law and my Husband. My Daddy is the best gift God ever gave me. He stepped into our lives and took on 4 children that weren't his as his own. He worked 100 hours a week most of the year to support us. Growing up I had never met a man that worked the way he did. He taught us what love really meant not to mention how to work for what you want out of life. I'm so thankful for that. By the grace of God I married a man that is just like him. He has been a great Daddy to me and the best Papa to my children. I owe him everything. My father in law was a mess. He was also a hard working man. I'm so thankful for the man he raised that became my husband.

Bobby and Kandice Taylor: My dad was my biggest encourager, supporter, listener, sounding board, rock, and first love. He was "my person." He made me feel like the most important person in the world. Although I only got 27 years with him, I probably felt more love than some people feel in a lifetime. I still feel as if he's looking out for me and I can't wait to see him again. His wings were ready, but my heart was not. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bowfishing (May 2017 Corridor Article)

Bowfishing is an old sport that, because of the World Wide Web, social media, YouTube, and hunting shows, is gaining popularity.  It is a sport that can be inexpensive, it is loads of fun, it gets you outdoors, and anyone, men or women, young or old can participate.  I say inexpensive but, like many outdoor sports, you can spend as much money as you want to. . .and many want to spend a lot!  Kind of like a rifle hunter that only needs a two hundred dollar rifle to harvest a deer but “needs” a high end rifle, hunting blind, camo attire, 4-wheeler, private hunting land and so on.  A bowfisher could easily get by with a hundred and fifty dollar setup but will often spend thousands after they get a taste of the fun: new bow set up, new boat, trolling motor, generator, batteries, lights, pickup to pull the boat, you get the picture. 

Matt Willis, Dwayne Carter, Lance Carter

I asked a couple bowfishermen why they liked bowfishing and they both stated it was exciting.  It is a hunt where you do not have to sit quietly waiting on the game.  You get to be loud, you get to cheer your friends on that make a good shot on a fish and give a good harassing when someone misses.  You get to shoot over and over and are not finished with the hunt after the first kill.
I remember bowfishing at Lake Texhoma with my dad when I was younger, a lot younger, but it’s been several years since I’ve enjoyed the sport.  After seeing an interest by many on social media I thought I’d see what the big deal was and why it is again gaining popularity.  When dad and I bowfished we just used our fishing boat and dad took the sight off my hunting bow, attached a reel in its place, attached a bowfishing arrow to it, and we started shooting.  Today, setups can get pretty elaborate.  Some build special boats with a raised platform, which help you see deeper into the water with less reflection.  Some buy special bows and retrieval systems.  
I visited with Dwayne Carter of Dwayne Carter Hunting and Oklahoma record holder for the shortnose gar (nine pounds eleven and a half ounces and forty three and a quarter inches long, he was quick to mention) about bowfishing.  First we talked about equipment.  What do you have to have what can you get by without and this is what Dwayne said.  “All you absolutely have to have to get started is a bow with some type of retrieval system; my first was a Folgers coffee can with twine wrapped around it, and an arrow with a barbed point.  A fiberglass arrow is the most popular and very reasonably priced, running around $10 an arrow.  You can pick up a heavy duty carbon arrow but it will set you back more than two times the cost of a fiberglass arrow.  It doesn’t matter if you have a recurve or a compound bow, there are benefits to both.  When it comes to retrieval systems there are a few ways you can go.  Of course you can go the extremely cheap way and use a coffee can or you can spend around seventy dollars and get a spincast reel or a retriever reel in the one hundred dollar range.   A barbed point, which penetrates through the fish and uses the barbs to hold the fish on your arrow for retrieval, will run you about eight dollars.  There are a ton of accessories you can add but my advice on this is find a friend who is into bowfishing and look at their set up or go to a good archery shop and the staff bowfishing expert to get you set up.” 
Dwayne Carter

Dwayne Carter

I spoke with Brian, the staff bowfishing expert at Davenport’s Archery about equipment and technique.  I asked him what his best advice was.  He replied simply: “aim low”.  Because of the refraction of the water the fish are usually deeper than they appear.  That one looked a foot deep and was really three feet deep.  Add night shooting and it gets even harder.  If you think you’re aimed low enough then aim even lower.   As one bowfisherman, Britches Ryerson, interjected during our conversation, the point of bowfishing is to have fun and do not get frustrated with misses. 
Davenport's Archery Staff Bowfishing Expert Brian Seaton with an alligator gar

So, now that you have your setup, what do you bowfish for?  “Trash fish” also known as nongame fish is what you are looking for: gar, carp, or paddlefish.  To shoot these nongame fish you do need an Oklahoma fishing license and a paddlefish license, which you can get for free when you buy a fishing license.  Paddlefish and alligator gar are the only two nongame fish that have special requirements.  You can only harvest one paddlefish a day with a limit of two per year and you cannot shoot paddlefish on Monday or Fridays.  Hey, I’m just telling you the rules, I’m not telling you they make sense!  Alligator gar are restricted to one a day but no yearly limit or limit on days you can harvest.  You are required to check these fish in with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department using the E-check system or calling a phone number available in the Oklahoma Fishing Regulations.  Other species of carp and gar have no limits and no restrictions.  Just make sure you properly dispose of them.
Where do you find these nongame fish for shooting in Oklahoma?  Just about any decent size creek, pond, river, or lake will have plenty of fish for shooting.  The best place to look is in grassy water and during the heat of the day look in water with trees for shade.  Speaking of time of day, you can shoot fish day or night.  At night bowfishers will outfit their boats with lights.  You can use LED or halogen but you have to look at electric supply.  LED draw less amps and can be ran off good batteries for a few hours, halogen generally require a small generator. 
If spending money on a boat setup isn’t what you want to do you can do what many do and wade the banks of the waterways or shoot off the banks.  You will still get plenty of action and save a *boatload* of money.  To do this you only need your bow, retrieval system, and arrow. 
Why do people shoot nongame fish?  Well, many of these nongame fish are not native to Oklahoma waters and most people say they are not good for eating.  Like any such wild game, if they are not controlled through legal harvest they will become more invasive.  The gar species will eat game fish, destroying the population of good fish in a waterway quickly and the carp move into the areas where game fish spawn and destroy their beds.
            Dwayne also told me about the Oklahoma Bowfishing Association.  They host several tournaments throughout the year to get people out and hooked on bowfishing.  Dwayne and his team took 3rd place a while back in the Big Five Red River Tournament.  These tournaments all have different setups.  Some go by most weighted in fish, some by size of individual fish, some by specific breed of fish.  I asked Dwayne what his best advice was for bowfishing, whether it’s a newbie or someone who’s bowfished a lot and he told me “be safe, have fun, and keep shooting.  The more you shoot the more fish you’ll reel in.  You might not hit every one you shoot at but that’s okay, you’re there for a good time.”  So ladies and gentlemen, get out and enjoy a fun sport where there are no heavy expectations, just heavy fish.
Brian Seaton, Randy Mayfield, Dwayne Carter, Dustin Statton, and Derek Mayfield
AnnDee Lee
Colby Seaton
Christine Carter - Stingray kill while bowfishing the Gulf of Mexico

Related Links

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Little Farm Work

Being a #farmingwife, for the most part, is a joy!  We've had a couple babies this week and that is always fun!  The first was born on Christmas day and the second on the night of the 27th....  
I try to always take a pic of momma and baby when they are first born so that I have another record, then we try to get them ear tagged within a few days so that we can identify them quickly if need be.  
 This is the little girl who was born on Christmas Day.....
 Unfortunately, my photography skills are not always the best, this was the second little girl born.... Not that you can tell.
 Here she later in the day....
 This was this morning before we got them up and about to tag them, Such a lovely picture of momma and baby.

 This little girl was pretty easy to catch and tag, she is, thankfully, pretty calm!
 The wind is blowing in the Great State of Oklahoma and the cedar trees are pollinating!  Those things cause trouble for my handsome husband and his nose!

 It's 52 degrees and sunny but the north wind has a bite to it!  We're walking the pasture looking for the other little calf....
 After walking a long ways momma, who had been eating cubes, noticed that we were in the vicinity of her calf and came running.  She stopped and mooed and turned circles and looked one way then the other and mooed some more.  We stood and watched her to see if she would lead us to her baby, but she wasn't giving in.  I finally spotted the little girl buried in the grass not far away from me but opposite of where momma was looking!  Momma was trying to throw us off course!

Can you see her?
We had just about given up!  The grass sure conceals them and she's a pretty tiny girl!

 Mr. H sneaked up and grabbed her right before she took off and I got her ear tagged and we were done!
 Pretty calm baby too, she didn't head for the hills when Mr. H let go of her!
 She didn't care for the tag, kept shaking her head trying to get rid of it! On a side note, the sky is cool in the next couple pictures!

Finally she went to momma for comfort!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Exercising Your Right To Carry, A Ladies Viewpoint for Ladies Jan. 2017 Corridor Article

“A strong body makes the mind strong.  As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun.  While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind.  Games played with the ball and others of that nature are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind.  Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” Thomas Jefferson, 1785, in a letter to his nephew concerning what Jefferson considered the best form of exercise
I have several passions; one of the most important is firearms.  I love shooting, I love buying guns, I love talking about them, and I love exercising my right to carry.  I started carrying a pistol in my purse when I was roughly nineteen years old.  I was opening and closing my family’s business and taking large sums of cash to the bank by myself.  My Grandpa Gene insisted I start carrying. 

My first carry firearm was a Colt 1911; big, bulky, but oh so sweet to shoot.  I carried my Colt in a Coronado Leather purse that was made specifically for carrying a firearm.  I kept my purse hidden in a desk drawer in my office so no one could get to it.
Around 2008, while working in my families sporting goods store, I noticed more and more ladies coming in wanting to purchase firearms for self-protection.  I also noticed that, while I was not an expert, some of these ladies had absolutely no idea what they were doing!   That was a little scary to me, so I decided I would see what I could do to improve that for some.  My husband and I are now NRA and CLEET certified instructor and have had the pleasure of instructing tons of ladies in the art of firearm. 
I also noticed, starting around the same time, that more and more companies were making firearms and firearm related products targeted at women.   Women competition shooters started to get more and more attention, and shooting classes, taught by and for women, became the norm.
Now, back to how and what I carry.  As you recall, I mentioned I started carrying in a purse.  If you know me, I know what you are thinking:  “Wow, Missy, you are a huge advocate of on body carry but you really started carrying in a purse?”  Short story, there was a customer, who was on some kind of drugs, who was pretty adamant about taking me to lunch in my shiny red convertible.   Thankfully nothing bad happened, my uncle was standing there and had my back, but that incident made me realize that I had to get my firearm on my body and carry it everywhere every day, it was doing me no good tucked away in a drawer where I couldn’t immediately get to it! 
When you decide you want to start carrying a firearm on your body it takes some work figuring it out, and it is possible you will have to change the way you dress to accommodate said firearm.  You will possibly have to buy a different firearm, and many holsters, until you find what “fits” you.  For me there wasn’t a lot of changing.  I wore jeans and t-shirts most of the time and I do not tuck in my shirts.  My first on body carry was a revolver carried in a pocket holster in my pocket.  That worked well for the most part but was not always the best.  Ladies jeans are not known for having very large pockets.  I later found an inside the waist leather holster that I carried right over my appendix and for the most part that is still my go to carry location every day carry. 

I often get asked what my every day carry, or EDC, is, and how I carry it.  My normal answer is, “depends.”  It depends because I have at least 4 pistols that I can choose from to carry.  A small S&W Bodyguard in a .38 special revolver, a small Ruger LCP .380, a S&W M&P9C, which is a compact 9 mm, and a full size S&W M&P 9mm.  The decision on what I carry on a particular day is, what am I doing, what am I wearing, and where am I going?  If I’m working outside on the farm, odds are I will carry my full size 9mm in an outside the waist holster, that makes it easier to get to if I were to need it.  I don’t always want someone to know that I’m carrying, so when that is the case I will carry my Ruger LCP in an inside the waist holster.  It is super compact and very easy to conceal.  I mostly carry my M&P9C during the winter when I’m wearing more layers.  It disappears easily and I don’t have to worry about it showing.
On the note of what holster do I use, well, again, “it depends”.  My favorite for my smaller guns is a soft leather inside the waist holster.  It is not bulky, it has a heavy clip for attaching to waist bands, and conceals nicely.  If I am not worried about the outline of my firearm showing I have a great CrossBreed holster that I use for my M&P9C and for open carry I have a dependable Fobus paddle holster which isn’t pretty, but is functional.
Now since this is the Health and Wellness Issue of The Corridor let’s talk about exercising and carrying.  You can exercise your right to carry while you are exercising.  I normally carry my Ruger LCP in a Bulldog Belly Band when I walk or jog or if I’m at the gym.  Just for kicks I decided to see if I could carry a larger gun while running a 5K.  I positioned my M&P9C just behind my right hip in my belly band, about the four o’clock position, put on my skin tight workout pants, doned a t-shirt, and ran.  It was comfortable, it did not slip, and I felt safe running around the park with no buddy.  
Are you working out at the gym or doing something other than walking/jogging/running?  Again, the belly band works great because it can be moved around your waist.  You can position it so that your firearm is on your hip at the three o’clock position and do situps, move it to the one o’clock position and you can do what needs done on your side. 
A couple pet peeves of ladies and firearm.  First, DO NOT let your husband, boyfriend, dad, uncle, brother, or anyone else pick out your firearm for you.  You can let them pay for it but not pick it out.  Your hands are different, your fingers sometimes shorter, and what feels good to them may not feel good to you.  Most ladies love shopping, so go shopping for your own firearm.  Find a store that will let you handle the firearm and if possible rent a few different ones and shoot them.  Second, try-try-try to find a firearm that you will carry on your body and not leave at home, in your car, or in a purse.  The reason I do not like purse carry is there is too many things that can happen to your purse.  Have you ever accidently left your purse in a booth at a restaurant?  Have you ever left it sitting in the shopping cart while you turned your back to look at a product on the shelf?  Has anyone ever tried stealing your purse off your shoulder?  Those are just a few reasons not to carry your firearm in your purse.  If purse carry is the absolutely only way you can find to carry your firearm, well, that is better than leaving it at home. 
Here are a few pointers on carrying in your purse.  1) Find a purse that has a pocket just for your pistol.  There are many companies making “conceal carry purses” that have special pockets, or find a purse you like that just has a pocket you can slip your firearm in.  2) Always put your firearm in a holster in your purse.  Things like lipstick and ink pens can get in the trigger guard and be wedged around and pull the trigger.  3) If your firearm is in your purse do not let go of it.  Do not put it in the shopping cart, do not set it in the booth next to you, do not set it on the floor while you try on that cute pair of shoes.   It is best if you can find a purse that can be carried across your body because is easier to keep up with and harder for someone to walk past and rip off your arm.  Also, do not ever leave your purse accessible to young ones, there are too many scenarios that could and have gone very badly.  
In closing, go find that great gun shop along the Corridor, purchase a firearm and holster you like, find a gun class and get up to speed on your firearm and start exercising your right to carry.  You are responsible for your personal protection and the protection of your family, don’t depend on anyone else.

If you want more questions or are interested in classes, you can connect with me on facebook at
 *Mr. H. got me this awesome outside the waist holster for Christmas.  I'm in love!  I've never found a holster that I can comfortably carry outside the waist but this one is awesome and so pretty!  Check out Gungoddess for great goodies for the ladies and a few things for the guys......

Sunday, December 4, 2016

St. Wenceslaus Church, Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague

*December 2016 Corridor Article 
That is how I felt as Cecilia Hecker was giving me a private tour of the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Prague, home of the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus.  The St. Wenceslaus Church of Prague dates back to 1899 but The Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague only dates back to 1947.  At that time, the church had again outgrown its current location and was in need of a new building, but funds were limited and things were in a holding pattern.  It’s said that Father George V. Johnson, while walking up and down the aisle of the Church praying The Divine Office, caught sight of the Infant Jesus of Prague statue and promised the Infant Jesus that he would make a new church a Shrine to the Infant Jesus of Prague if the Infant would help him get a new church built.  Donations started rolling in from locals and folks across the United States and the church was dedicated in February of 1949.  After completion of the church the Father then traveled to Rome to gain permission to make the Church into a Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague.  “The More You Honor Me, The More I Will Bless You”, has become the centerpiece of world-wide devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague.

When you walk into the church the first thing you will see on the south wall is a beautiful stain glass piece of the St. Wenceslaus, the only surviving piece after a tornado went through and destroyed the church in 1919.  

The windows throughout the church are stained glass and depict the history of the devotion of the Infant Jesus. 

Behind the pulpit you will see the statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague.  The statue is dressed in colors according to the Church liturgical calendar.  You can view the different gowns for the infant just off the sanctuary.  There are several gowns, each made and donated to the Shrine by people from all over the world.  Some are very elaborate with beads painstakingly sewn on by hand, while others are elegantly simple.
Another thing the Church is proud of is the three relics located at the front of the sanctuary.  The relics of the Holy Cross, the Holy Manger, and St. Wenceslaus and St. John the Great are preserved with an air of veneration as a tangible memorial. 
When visiting the outside of the Shrine you can walk through a stations garden that holds statues depicting the life of Christ.  At the end of the walk you can sit and meditate over the beautiful granite fountain depicting the empty tomb that was created and sculpted in Rome and is an exclusive at the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague.  Also, outside is a small garden and fountain along a covered walkway dedicated to Saint Francis.  On the south side of the church is a peaceful Mother’s Garden dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.   A covered table with benches provides a great place to sit and meditate or just escape from the outside world, while listening to the sounds of the rain fountain. 

For those of you with youngsters in the family, there is a great place to let the kiddos run off a bit of energy before getting back into the car for your next destination along The Corridor.  The playground is designed to allow the children a learning experience.  The setup follows the format of the Infant Jesus Chaplet.  There are twelve round pads circling the playground equipment representing the twelve beads on the Chaplet.  Each pad represents one of the stages of Christ’s Infancy and Childhood.
The Church is currently in the season of Advent.  Advent starts four Sundays before Christmas Eve and is the preparation of the coming of Christ, the first coming, or birth of Christ, and also the anticipation of the second coming of Christ.   The church uses a wreath with three purple and one pink candles to represent each week of Advent.  A life size nativity is located in front of the church with an empty manger.  The baby Jesus will be added on Christmas Eve to begin the Christmas season. 
The season of Christmas starts on Christmas Eve and runs through Epiphany, the feast of the arrival of the wise men, which is January 6.  A friend of mine, Jerry Suva, recalls one St. Wenceslaus priest, Fr. Joachim Spexarth, now at St. Gregory’s Abbey/University, who really took this to heart.  Suva says, “There would be a few lights and an empty crèche, (nativity), out front during December, but that was *all*.  Then come Christmas Eve, the church would be decked out like Griswold’s.  He really wanted to emphasize the waiting and the celebrating of Jesus’ arrival.   This same priest, had a knack for emphasizing the humanity of Jesus, that he was real, had relationships with Mary, Joseph, cousins, townsfolk.   Fr. Joachim explained the reason for having a shrine that commemorates Jesus in His infant form is exactly the same reason why the shepherds and the Magi traveled to see the baby Jesus.  He was real, so real that he was otherwise an infant child just like the rest of us.  Even as an infant He was God and our savior.  He was made flesh and dwelt among us.  That’s what visiting the Shrine should remind us.”   Suva, who often served as an Altar Boy at the church, also stated that because the midnight mass Christmas Eve service was always packed, they would arrive thirty minutes early, during that time the choir sings carols before.  He said “it was really, *really* Christmas then.”

            Along with the many other Christmas traditions of the Church, they have Christmas Bell Trees.  Bells can be purchased in honor of loved ones, alive or deceased, and the bells and names are hung on a tree.  The names are remembered at the Shrine during Mass and Novena prayers during the month of December. 

            The church also holds a yearly holiday bazar featuring local artists and crafters. This year it is December 10 from 8am to 12pm.
            To learn the history of the St. Wenceslaus Church, Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague and of the Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague, which dates back more than four hundred years, go visit the church, it will be worth your time.  Hours for the Shrine office and gift shop are Monday thru Friday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday 12 pm to 3pm.  If you visit during these hours the staff will be happy to take you on a tour.  If not visiting during these hours, brochures are available to take you on a self-guided tour.