Posted on Posted in Advocacy, Classes, Perspectives

It has been a while since I have written. Life has been very busy with students and projects. I have thought about what it means to be a strong person. I am sure your life has taken you down some rough roads the same way mine has and you have overcome the obstacles. Maybe, you are on the rough road now as you read this.

What I have learned is that every change starts with education. You can learn how your life can be different. You can learn how to be better. You can learn what other options are out there. While in an abusive relationship I thought for the longest time the abuse was my fault, somehow I was causing it. It was the library that saved my life: learning about boundaries, healthy relationships, emotional abuse made my life finally make sense. It was in those books I found a strength I didn’t know I possessed, a strength that came from hope for a better future, better life- a healthy one.

With education, I learned how to become healthier and how to leave.

On a lighter note, I recently started exercising for strength- again I turn to education to be effective. After reading books on women’s strength training and countless articles, I crafted a workout plan that I am putting into action. If the current plan fails, I have resources for backup plans and I have a program to graduate to once the current plan becomes easy.

Every change starts with education. We must KNOW what is possible to move towards it, education is the beginning catalyst of change. My journey into shooting started with education, it was through classes that I gained knowledge and confidence that led to me to here. Now I aim (ta da dum) to share that gift with others, providing the knowledge to increase their confidence and having fun in the process.

emPOWERed is the new motto for Live Love Load and Girlfriend Gun Party as it is ultimately the goal to empower others to better after education. It is my hope that all that visits Live Love Load and Girlfriend Gun Party will feel empowered.



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Class Package for Real Estate Professionals

Posted on Posted in Classes


The real estate profession comes with risks, an agent is placing themselves in unknown situations every day. While your office might have Safety Operations Procedures, you are still out there alone with the unknowns.


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Instead of being a headline, learn what you can do to keep yourself safe and take a proactive approach to your own safety. Waiting for help is not ideal when you have someone in front you wanting to harm you. With this trio of classes you can learn so much and how to apply it to your life. If you choose not to get your Concealed Weapons Permit, you can choose another class from our offerings to substitute.




Why Refuse To Be A Victim?

Posted on Posted in Classes, Perspectives

As soon as I saw the Refuse To Be A Victim course, I knew it was something I wanted to share with others! It is from the National Rifle Association, but has no firearms or physical training in the seminar, just solid, relevant information to help anyone formulate a personal safety plan for everywhere you go. Learning how to safeguard yourself from crime doesn’t mean you have to walk around afraid, but aware. Awareness is 90% of a proactive self-defense plan.

With this class, I learned so much about practical information my family and I can use in our home, our daily lives, and I came home and taught my kids a few things. The class changed my life and the way I view my daily life- I started changing my habits. Adopting new habits that if nothing else, made me feel safer and allowed me to be more confident in my life.

To live life with confidence? Sign me up, all day long! Take the information in this course and apply it to your life, and you too can have more confidence. Wishing you had a safety plan after experiencing crime is not having a plan to help prevent it in the first place. I hope you will give this seminar a chance and see for yourself.





Excitement & Fun!

Posted on Posted in Being A Woman, Classes



The excitement is spreading! Girlfriend Gun Party has been exactly what I hoped it would be. A great way to introduce firearms to more women, a way for friends to get together and have fun with a theme, and a very effective way to spread education about firearm safety. It is very rewarding to meet new people and share firearm safety and education with them and be a part of their inner circle for a little while.

When I started this, I hoped that other women would be just as excited as I am about it- and they are! You don’t have to have a large group of women to book a party, just you and three other friends, or even two. To ensure quality and individual attention, I limit the party to six women unless there are special circumstances. I love that instead of inviting women over to sell them a product, women can get together to learn & have fun without any intimidation or loud range.

When I started this, I hoped that other women would be just as excited as I am about it- and they are! You don’t have to have a large group of women to book a party, just you and three other friends, or even two. To ensure quality and individual attention, I limit the party to six women unless there are special circumstances. I love that instead of inviting women over to sell them a product, women can get together to learn & have fun without any intimidation or loud range.

Most women want to learn to shoot but never take the step to go to the range, that’s okay- I will bring the education and fun to you!

A Girlfriend Gun Party is perfect for:

  • Ladies Night
  • Baby Showers
  • Bridal Showers
  • Bachelorette Parties
  • Birthday parties
  • Family Reunions
  • Team-Building at the workplace
  • and more!

Anyplace you can have a small gathering, we can accommodate. For larger events we can give more of a portable laser range to entertain guests.

Ask questions if you have them!

Fear to Power

Posted on Posted in Classes, Perspectives

I could tell she was nervous when I first met her. I could see that she wasn’t sure what she had gotten herself into but was willing to try. As we talked about our past experiences, she shared how scared she was to hear gun shots fired at her next door neighbors home just a few months ago. She became visibly upset as she shared.

I was there to facilitate a Girlfriend Gun Party and show her and her friends how to safely handle firearms, how they work, and hopefully demystify their fears. Truly, education is knowledge and knowledge is power. She participated with everyone, did all the activities, and then it happened. She relaxed and had fun. She laughed. She enjoyed herself. After all the activities we talked about next steps for after our Girlfriend Gun Party.

The next step after a Girlfriend Gun Party is to go through a full basic class, either Basic Handgun or the NRA Basic Pistol class. Both provide a comprehensive understanding of shooting fundamentals and other practical knowledge new shooters need. As the ladies discussed whether or not they would take another class, she joined in saying she wanted to take another class. We then talked about the South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit, while others agreed they wanted theirs, she was apprehensive. No biggie, it is a personal choice I told her.

A few days after the Girlfriend Gun Party, I got a message that she was leading the other ladies to go to the range and buy a gun! Whether or not she ever decided to buy a gun was not the point. She moved from fear to education to knowledge to power! It is what I hoped the Girlfriend Gun Party would be! Talk about inspiring!

Observations From a Shooting Class

Posted on Posted in Classes, Stories, Training Notes

I completed another training class yesterday and I decided to write what I have learned from fellow classmates. At all times we are all novices and experienced – skills HAVE to be practiced to be sustained. We have a great mix of experience among our classmates and goals for taking the class.

Jason was quiet and unassuming, but easy going. Jason had been shooting only since December, he decided that he needed to learn how to defend himself and his wife and started taking classes. He has a twitching trigger finger, it wants to be in the trigger guard a little too quickly and a little too long. He did admit that he doesn’t practice often and that the last time he shot was the last class he took one month ago, which I also attended with him. He apologized to me for making me nervous, I responded that any with a live firearm would have me on alert.

Jason was the one I watched the most for muzzle control and safety issues. He caught me watching him a few times. He has only been shooting for 3 months and hasn’t found his confidence yet he is still grasping the fundamentals. Jason wants to learn, he wants to do well although he is a bit slow in mastering, I know he will get there. His steadfast desire to correct his mistakes and his awareness that I was uneasy a couple of times (with good reason), I have no doubt he will be successful as long as he practices in-between classes. I worry that he may get discouraged if he doesn’t practice the skills he learns in class.

I had been in class with Brian before as well. He was a bit more vocal this class then a previous, indicating he was feeling more comfortable. I recognized that he is a gun fan (aficionado) or however you wish to say it. Anyone who is aware of current happening in the firearm industry and watches YouTube videos, takes their hobby a bit more seriously than occasional shooters. His gear was all matching, neat and tidy, he had on new shooting pants. He brought his 1911 and a couple of different magazine capacities, including a few 30 rounders. I could tell he is genuinely interested in becoming better, and takes himself pretty seriously. He is a good shot and you could tell he has practiced and used the same gun for a while. In fact, there was a bit of discussion about using a 1911, and he said he has shot it for a year now.

Brian didn’t seem pleased when he was warned by our instructors that not using the safety on the 1911 could lead to a negligent discharge, especially when re-holstering. He was thrown a bit off by trying to engage and disengage the safety as he holstered his hammered tool. I recognized the importance of getting to know your firearm and practicing with it by watching him. I hope I am not describing him wrong, he didn’t have the cocky ego that some may have, I could tell he took the instructors’ comments seriously but he also quipped back that he didn’t want to use the safety even if it meant a higher chance of discharge. I noticed that he uses a weaver stance that has been practiced, his motions were smooth. He was applying what he was learning systematically and it was showing.

There was a husband and wife in the class together which made me wish my husband was with me. It was obvious that he has been shooting for a while or at least more comfortable with guns for a longer time than she was but she is gaining ground in shooting skill. Kelly was smooth with her presentation, solid in her stance and you could see she was locking her arm. At the beginning of the class we were shooting static and she was not doing well, as the class when on, she became very proficient with her shots. Her husband, Jet did the opposite. He did very well at the beginning of the class during static shooting and as the class progressed his shots weren’t making their aim. He was quiet throughout the class, seemed to be one to keep to his own. Seeing a couple together going through a skills class, it is a reminder to be supportive of your partner through the good and the bad. Kelly did exceptionally well towards the end of the class, she was shining bright. Jet went from being vocal to being reserved as the class proceeded throughout the day. He wasn’t moody just quiet. I could only imagine if my husband was there outperforming me, how that might feel.

Chuck, my last classmate, I had never met before. I learned in class that he had recently had foot surgery and in talking to him, he was only a week out from wearing a boot. He was walking great, I would never have guessed! His shooting skills were a bit rusty but he took it all in stride. Chuck is a bit older and I could tell he takes the class seriously as well. He was quiet throughout the class and he sat next to me. He had a few grip issues with his Glock, which indicated to me that he probably doesn’t practice much outside of class. With his foot, he probably didn’t go to the range but I wasn’t able to get a feel for if he would dry fire at home or not.

I have recently changed my everyday carry, and its sights. I recognized the value of using the same firearm for consistent training. There was a point in the class I couldn’t hit a target 10 yards away although I was consistently shooting well before that. I got over the crisis in confidence and started doing well. I haven’t had much chance to shoot while moving and was surprised how well I did. We had to walk through a path in the woods with steel targets hidden through out and eliminate the threats. Ping, ping, ping…what a beautiful sound. In the moment, you don’t have time to worry about how you’re doing, you are moving and shooting and focused on the front sight. No time for anything else. It felt like time was standing still while you are shooting at the targets, moving to the next after you hear the ping. Ducking and crouching around trees to shield yourself from the pretend enemies. There was a golf ball that I wanted to hit, after wasting 2 shots on it- I moved on. My instructor warned against wasting resources and time on a missed target, serve them all, he said.

While the instructors are teaching the class, I was also learning how they responded to our questions, how they encourage and correct us, and what they leave alone for the time being. This is my 5th class with these instructors, I am very comfortable with them, to the point of ribbing them when the opportunity arises. GRIN!

When others make a mistake, I find myself taking care not to make the same mistake. I made my own mistakes during the class, I forgot to scan and assess a few times, I got my shirt stuck in my holster as I was trying to re-holster, and each time I worked harder not to continue the mistake. It was a great class, we all had a good time and learned a lot. I look forward to seeing my classmates in another class soon!



Gifts from Taking a Class

Posted on Posted in Classes, Training Notes

When I started attending classes I was nervous. I wouldn’t be able to sleep well the night before, as I was excited and worried how the class would go. Would I be good enough? Am I making a bad decision? Who am I kidding?

I would wake up early and be in go mode until I got to the class. The nervous energy would continue until fifteen minutes into class and we’ve done introductions and the usual, why we are there. That cloud of comfort starts to descend upon us as we settle in to learn and the gifts begin!

Gift #1: COMMUNITY. You are taking a class with other people who have the same purpose for being there. You are learning the same material! You are not alone! You may even find a new shooting friend to meet at the range with.

Gift #2: FREEDOM TO MAKE MISTAKES. You are learning, you can make mistakes and learn from them. You may call a magazine a clip and you will learn to call it a magazine. If you are slapping your trigger, you may not be the only one.

Gift #3: SAME CLASS, DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE, EVERY TIME. Every class is a different experience no matter how many times you take the same class. Your experience in a class is largely dependent on the other people taking your class. Someone who makes a lot of mistakes will have more instruction and you may learn more than you would have if no one made a mistake. Questions asked in class will only improve everyone’s understanding. Best part, you may have something to contribute to the class and enhance it from your experiences! Always respect the instructor, there is a HUGE difference between sharing and teaching.

Personally, I have learned many military and law enforcement terms I wouldn’t have normally been exposed to. While this doesn’t necessarily enhance my learning of a subject, it does add to being able to relate to others and understand what they are saying.

Gift #4: FUNDAMENTALS. We all need the fundamentals, even someone who has gone down another learning path. A refresh in the fundamentals can help identify weak areas in your training. No matter how much of an expert you become, the fundamentals will always reign supreme.

Gift #5 LAUGHTER. Being in a group of people will allow for laughter which will lighten anyone taking themselves too seriously. A certain level of focus is demanded in firearms training but there is a point where you take yourself too seriously and become your own enemy. Group classes allow the environment to prevent this.

Gift #6 RESOURCES.  Your instructor will provide resources to teach the class that may be outside your budget, plus your fellow classmates will be bringing their own for the purpose of the class. A class is a great place to compare and contrast, learn a little more without being at a gun store. You may not know what to look for when buying your first handgun or your concealed carry firearm. In a class, not only do you have the instructor’s resources, you also have your fellow classmates. Resources can be anything from checking out someone else’s firearm, their ammunition choice, to where they shoot and what they have found works for them.

Each class I take provides a wealth of knowledge beyond the class description. Taking a class in a subject you have a passion about is a reciprocal gift, as you attend, you are being a gift to others as well. Is it worth the class fees? You betcha! Get out there and take a class today!

Inside a Girlfriend Gun Party

Posted on Posted in Being A Woman, Classes

I cannot tell you the excitement I felt as I put together the concept of a Girlfriend Gun Party- finally, a way to reach more women with fun and education. It is a way to expose women to firearms education without scaring them with live fire or loud ranges. When you gather with your friends, you are already in a comfortable, known situation- add the excitement of learning something new together, it is fun bonding time.

The idea stemmed from working at a local range, a group of five women came in to get private instruction as a group. The caveat was that they were only paying for an hour, and private instruction is $50 per person per hour. Let’s see that’s $50 x 5 =$250 plus additional range costs. As their instructor, I had to squeeze in as much information as I could and get them on the range to shoot within 60 minutes. I realized one hour was not sufficient, for the purpose of the individual women learning. I would rather provide personal quality instruction for more women than charge more per person.

As a woman who is trying to encourage other women to try firearms and learn to shoot, this experience felt impossible.

The alternative is another gun range that offers 40 minutes of a video, female instructor standing in front of a group demonstrating how to grip and load/unload with other general terms, then time on the range with a .22 revolver and .22 semi-automatic, shoot 50 rounds- here’s your t-shirt, thanks for coming for $30.  Again, not enough time, not enough instruction or one on one time. If all you want to do is show up to a range and shoot, just do that. If you want help, guidance, and someone to help you- that’s what I am here for.

We see the parties everywhere, ones for jewelry, clothing, make-up, skincare, etc. – why not one for private instruction? Why not have a little safe fun?

I arrived to meet Kim, she showed me the church building where we would be meeting and I started setting up. One by one, the other ladies arrived. We introduced ourselves and chatted while we waited for the remaining women to arrive. We put name tags on so I could get their names right, you’ll see why that is funny in a moment. We talked together about their firearm experience and fears. I explained that this ‘party’ is an introduction only, not intended to replace a formal firearms training class.


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We got started. First, we talked about the firearm safety rules and their meaning and reason. Next, I demonstrated how a firearm works and explained each components part and their proper name. Each woman held, cleared and manipulated a firearm as they learned.

Once everyone felt comfortable, we moved on to dominant eye practical exercises. Determining which dominant hand and dominant eye for each participant allows me to be able to tailor individual instruction in a small group setting. As I worked around with the ladies, I couldn’t see Julie’s name tag and I adopted the name Linda in my mind for her. Every time I went to say her name, it came out as Linda. There was not a Linda at the party. We laughed at this over and over again as I apologized over and over again.

Each woman got a chance to hold different firearms, to clear them, manipulate their controls and get familiar. We moved on to stance and then grip. Once the stance and grip were established we worked on sight alignment.

During these practical exercises, each woman received individual attention to check for consistency and to address any issues. Once they felt comfortable, we moved on to shooting one by one. This was a larger crowd, a group of seven, so the individual shots took longer. During each woman’s shot, they got instant feedback, what they are doing well and what to do improve on.

Once every one shot, it was time for the SHOOT-OUT! The ladies were fun, it was such a great time and it was amazing to see their confidence shine as they shot against each other. I asked for feedback about the party, we all hugged, thanked each other for a great time and left for home. I felt honored to be a part of their tribe for a moment in time, to be able to assist them in learning a new skill. I’m excited for the next Girlfriend Gun Party! Book yours today at http://liveloveload.com/training/girlfriend-gun-party/