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Category Archives: Thank You

Thank You, John Lauer

Thank You, John Lauer

John Lauer is my husband.

If I made enough money to put someone on payroll, he would be my first employee. Not in the “I’m your boss” sense of the word either, more like, “You’re a valuable asset that deserves payment for your services.”

Point of fact, I could not do what I do without John.

I would not be who I am without John.

He started this whole thing with asking me two of the most important questions of my life:
1. “What do you think of getting your concealed carry permit”
2. “Are you ready to kill another human being to save your own life?”

He’s asked me some other really important questions (like, “Will you marry me?” and “Have you ever seen ‘Big Trouble In Little China?'”) but we’ll keep this relevant to self defense.

John doesn’t like attention.

He’s a quiet man who, when pressed to take a more open role in how instrumental he is to this operation, responds with, “That’s your thing.” But its not just my thing. It’s our thing and he needs to be recognized for his part.

Like when I’m in the middle of writing an article and almost inaudibly say, “Hmm, who’s the guy who makes those holsters that we bought for my 1911 like 5 years ago?” and before I can even begin to research to that end he puts a tablet on my desk next to me with the website open and model of holster selected and while I’m reading up he goes and digs it out of the holster bin and puts it on the other side of my desk or reminds me that we sold it to that one guy we met four years ago.

I can say, “I want to take a class on room clearing,” and in the morning I will have a list of four instructors who do room clearing work, why they are worth considering and their schedules and his schedule so I can cross reference and decide when I want to go.

Every. Single. Day. Without fail, he is there, supporting me. ALWAYS two steps ahead of me and anticipating what he can do to help me.

Even though we have a very honest and communicative relationship and he’s well versed in the complexities of my past, he still has to read about them from time to time as I share them and as uncomfortable as it is for outsiders to read about some of the sordid details of my past, I know it’s harder for him. He never tells me to stop and he never tries to sensor what I write. He’s also been there in the darkest times, supporting me, loving me and helping me through sorting out how to heal, forgive and love as a survivor.

John’s knowledge about firearms, in general, astounds me.

He has a memory for all things firearms that I could only dream of and he is my first resource when I have a question or I’m confused about a make or model of anything with a trigger. He’s just as good with knives, training classes or anything else self defense related as well.

He’s pretty much the guy I hope I can one-day be… except I don’t really want to be a guy. You know what I mean.

John loves guns and training just as much as I do yet these days you won’t often see him at the same training events I’m attending. This isn’t because he doesn’t want to be there, it’s because he’s at home, taking care of our children so that I can attend. His sacrifices to take off work and stay home with the kids so that I can go and do something he would love to do always moves me and moves me deeply.

john4No sentiment on any card or any gift can ever show him how much I appreciate him for that. I could also go on about what a great Dad he is but that’s getting too personal. It should be said though because my comfort in leaving my children to train and instruct is only founded in a deep trust and confidence in who is caring for them. He has the hearts and respect of his children and wife and that says so much about the character of a man.

Most of all, the key to magic of our marriage is his patience with me. I’m erratic and a little too adventurous at times. I get ideas and want to act on them immediately and he neither hampers my creativity or lets me run too wild.

He understands passion but also restraint and he’s really good at gently helping me find balance between the two. He’s really good at grounding me or welcoming me home when I’ve been somewhere on cloud nine a little too long. He’s also really good at letting me go with a smile when I want another adventure, hobby or skill. He’s never judged me for who I am, what I want, how I feel or where I want to go.

Our honesty policy is unlike any relationship I’ve never experienced and that has made for a unique personal and working relationship. He’s never been afraid to tell me the hard things. He stands up for himself and never lets me make him feel bad for his honesty, even though I sometimes fight him on his opinions.

I think of myself as very independent. Sometimes, I want to believe a partnership was not for me at all. My honesty makes me admit, however, that I’d be a wreck without him because I desperately want a man like him in my life. And it’s the people you want in your life that you also seem to need the most.

For every gun under the Christmas tree; for every holster, knife, bag, or random piece of gear that showed up unexpected with my name on it; for every, “You need to register for this class,” “I’ll get off work so you can go,” and “Tell me how I can help you,” … Thank you, John.

I love you.

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Thank You, Kathy Jackson

Thank You, Kathy Jackson

I don’t remember the first time I heard of Kathy Jackson but I’m sure I know the context. When I started looking at the possibility of carrying a gun for self defense I joined a gun forum my husband frequented called Combat Carry (later morphed into Defensive Carry). Any woman who joins any gun forum could ask the color of the sky and as a response get, “Have you been to CorneredCat.com?”

Men, in an attempts to be helpful and sometimes feeling intimidated by the prospect of dealing with female issues routinely shoo women over to Kathy’s website and for good reason.

In addition to be the woman to literally wrote the book on concealed carry for women, she’s wise, articulate, and has the experience to back up her opinions.

Over the years, Kathy and I exchanged the occasional email and maybe ran across each other on forums but it wasn’t until 2014 that I really got to know this woman that I can now call my good friend.

In 2013 I had decided that I wanted to take all of this gun knowledge and training and do something with it. My goal shifted from being a consumer of training to a producer but I wasn’t sure how to do that and do it in a professional way. My husband pointed me toward Rangemaster and their programs and on the list of “must attend” events was a Rangemaster Tactical Conference. Kathy Jackson would be there and speaking on women’s issues.

Very selfishly, I determined I must get some one-on-one time with her. Weeks before the conference I emailed her asking for a dinner date. She agreed. I felt like I’d nabbed a coveted gold nugget and I’m pretty sure I annoyed my husband for the next few weeks leading up to the conference by dancing around the house and randomly breaking into song to the tune of “na-na-na-na-boo-boo” with lyrics like, “I’m having dinner with Kathy! I’m having dinner with Kathy.”

The conference arrived and less than a few minutes into it I met one of my many idols face to face. Not only was she adorable–dressed in the cutest hat, blazer and blouse, with a gentle, wise face and ready smile–but she was about my height! Instead of pressing her hand out for a traditional greeting, she wrapped her arms around me and pulled me in for a hug like an old friend who was truly happy to see me.

I loved this woman, immediately.

Then I sat in on her “What Women Want” lecture and whatever respect I already had for the woman multiplied itself by ten. I had honestly considered not attending her lecture because I thought, “Well, I’m a woman and I know what I want so do I really need to hear about it from Kathy?”

I’m so glad I sometimes don’t listen to myself.

Her lecture was exceptionally well-researched, direct and insightful. She drew parallels from other industries where women are commonly under-represented and the whole time I kept taking notes feeling a little creeped out that this woman got inside my head without so much as a phone call.

I was putting arrows next to her points that especially resonated with me until I realized my page was filling up with arrows!

That evening we met for barbeque and for the next two hours I felt honored to get to know her on a personal and professional level. She laid down some real practical steps for me to take on my journey to becoming a professional-level instructor and we parted ways as friends.

That conference and meeting changed our relationship and I am honored to call Kathy my friend.

We’ve spent hours and hours and hours (and hours) on the phone since that day and I always take notes. She’s a fountain of wisdom who is both understanding and kind but uplifting. She’s also a natural teacher who never lets me get away from a conversation without teaching me a lesson through a phrase that starts something like, “Now, Melody, let me ask you this…”

When I have a strange or interesting day teaching, she’s the first person I want to call because I know she’ll have been there before and can give me insight. When I’m not sure about a particular way I handled a student or staff of a range personnel, I find myself shooting a message to Kathy asking her opinion. Not only does she have the experience working those scenarios before but she has the experience working them as a woman. And we women instructors have some interesting hurtles even some male instructors may not understand.

On top of all of that, when I reached out to my fellow instructors for guidance on the Families With Firearms Conference she was one of the first to throw her full support behind it.

Her generosity with her wisdom, knowledge and time continue to touch me on an almost daily basis.

I cannot thank her enough and I will never be able to repay her. Which, when I told her as much, in her very honest and blunt way (which I LOVE) she said, “So pay it forward.

Yes, ma’am.

Melody Lauer

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