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Posted By Debra Shiveley Welch
Here in the Greater Columbus Area we have a woman called "The Church Lady Bandit," who has been robbing banks around the area for several years.  A woman has been arrested, but they are not confirming that she is The Church Lady Bandit.  Okay, that's the background for this wonderful (yes, I'm bragging) practical joke!
Well, my brother, a cop,  shows up around 9:00 a.m. To bring the gift cards Chris forgot the day after Christmas at Jeff's house and to pick up the uniform he lent us for the video Chris made.  He parked his cruiser behind our cars, blocking our driveway, which made this even more plausible - more....delicious.  Plus, Jeff stayed about an hour.
I knew that the neighborhood (oh, lord, they just mentioned The Church Lady Bandit on the news! LOLOL)  anyway, I knew that the neighborhood would be all agog and just waited until someone called.  I knew that someone would because that's the way we humans roll, right?
Finally a neighbor called and said, "Debra!  I saw a cruiser in front of your house, blocking your cars!  Is something wrong?"
Are you ready?
"Oh, not now.  They found out that Mark is The Church Lady Bandit and took him away, but Chris and I are okay."
"What?!!!!  But, but, The Church Lady Bandit is a Black Woman!"
"That's a disguise.  They found it under the back deck.  Remember that video they had of "her" walking away.  Didn't you see how she walked like a man...walked like Mark?"
"You know, now that you mention it....I did say something to my husband about that."

"Ummmmmm  have you had any coffee yet?"   That was my brother stopping by."


Budup bum!

Posted By Debra Shiveley Welch
Cedar Woman


Cedar Woman is finally out after two years of intensive research, and a lot of fun in the writing.  Launching a book is like raising a child in many ways: you have great hopes, are very proud, and worry about how it will survive out there in the big, wide world.

Paramount in my creating Cedar Woman was the wish to, not only write a book that my readers will enjoy reading again and again, but the desire to represent The People, the Lakota Sioux, with all respect, and with absolute truth to the best of my ability; to show that their customs, beliefs and desires are universal in many ways, and deserve the respect any people deserve.  To be able to write about these things intelligently, and with honor, I had to immerse myself into their culture as much as possible.

I traveled to powwows, where Native Americans of different tribes gather to celebrate their culture, dance and beliefs, with my sister, Julie Spotted Eagle Horse, or Spot as her friends call her.  Stepping into the arena to dance was very intimidating.  I don’t like being the center of attention, yet there I was, dancing unfamiliar steps, while at the same time, trying to show deep respect.  It was a good time, and I learned a lot.  I made many new friends with whom I remain in touch, experienced new foods, admired endless adorable babies, and witnessed the devotion the dancers have, not only for the dance they have chosen, but their regalia as well, which includes patterns and beading handed down for generations.

With Julie’s help, I also learned a lot of the Lakota language.  I’ve always loved listening to and learning new languages, and speak some Spanish and read a little French.  Now I was learning yet another, word-by-word, and enjoying the flavor of the words of the Lakota Plains Native American, or NdN as The People prefer.

Still, the heart of Cedar Woman is about Lena Cedar Woman Young Bear, her trials and sorrows, her triumphs and joys, and her ability to stand up to tragedy, move forward, and change the lives and fortunes of the people she loves.

It is, at heart, a romance: Cedar Woman’s love for her parents, her mentor, her career and her half-side – her true love.  I believe that I have instilled some sweetness, along with the strength that Cedar Woman possesses, and I know that I have proven that Mitakuye Oyasin: We Are All Related.

Posted By Debra Shiveley Welch

I awoke early, as was my habit on Christmas Day.  There was a lot to do to make sure that this Christmas, like those preceding it, would be special to all involved.  There was coffee to make, breakfast to prepare, the opening of gifts and the pillaging of Christmas stockings awaiting us before preparations for the evening’s open house could begin.

I tiptoed downstairs and then stopped.
   The aroma of fresh coffee drifted up the stairs, tempting me to proceed.  Of course, I thought to myself, Jo-Ann is here and has already begun the day.  I gratefully completed my descent of the stairs, following my nose as it were, walked to the breakfast counter and poured myself a cup of fragrant coffee. 

Jo-Ann had been blessing our house with her presence during Christmas for five years.  An only child, she was bereft of relatives, and had nowhere to go on this special day.  We were her family now, and welcomed her every holiday.

I met Jo-Ann ten years before when I bought the end unit of a four-condominium building.
  Mine was the last to sell and I felt lucky in finding the 90-year-old solid brick dwelling.  Jo-Ann owned the other end unit and we were soon fast friends.  She became my mentor, my friend, the big sister I never had.  I quickly began to realize that my luck did not lay in just mortar and brick, but in the 5’8” lanky body of an eccentric, colorful, loving person by the name of Jo-Ann.  She was always on my side, even when I was wrong.  Believe me, when I was wrong, she let me know, but she was on my side, and that is what counted.

Our friendship became very important to me, and I came to love her as if she were my own, true sister.
  I enjoyed living close to her for eight years until, in 1987, she preceded me down the isle as my Matron of Honor.

Enjoying my memories, I took a sip of my coffee, and cast a smile to Jo-Ann, I walked to where she stood, gazing out of our sliding doors on to the lake, as if mesmerized.
  “Look,” she whispered.





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Debra Shivel...
Central Ohio


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