I wake up every day in prison at 5:00 am. Breakfast is served at 5:30 and I like to start my day early. I have learned that going to bed early and getting up early makes for a healthier happier day. In fact, one of the first things I would suggest to a person dealing with depression would be to get up before the sun comes up and watch the sunrise, It is so peaceful in the morning even in prison. The next thing that I think almost anyone could benefit from would be to walk an hour a day. I started walking several miles a day on our track because I was sick and needed to clear my lungs. I have found great peace and time alone to communicate with my Father in Heaven out in that dirt field, it is a gift to be able to sit in nature even if it isn’t in the ideal outdoor setting.
Last night after dinner I decided to play basketball. I like to shoot around because it makes me feel close to my son Jackson. I so loved watching him play football and basketball, I’m his number one fan! All of a sudden the sky turned a beautiful shade of pink and the clouds were glowing. I looked around the compound and noticed a girl in the corner of the basketball court doing yoga and 3 other girls at the other corner of the court doing step aerobics. Not too far from me were two girls working on a dance routine. Then I looked a little further and saw a couple of women running together on the track, a little further and a group of inmates were attempting to play soccer in the weeds. A group of native women were having a pow-wow in another corner of the field. I felt a calm come over me, and thought that our Father in Heaven made the Heavens and the earth and in a very real way we are his children. We have unlimited potential and he loves us, we are daughters of God and we are strong and have a great opportunity to love and support each other here. We get to decide who we are, who we want to become. Without all the worldly distractions we get to choose to be women of integrity, I let the beauty of the moment soak in and enjoyed it.
This morning I got up early to go teach my photography class. I feel so blessed to be able to share one of my talents and greatest passions with women who need hope. I started today by sharing some of my experiences as a wedding photographer. I shared how blessed I was to be able to share in so many beautiful moments with others. One of the younger women in the group began to cry. She said, “Why would they take you away from your family? You’re a good person, you don’t belong here.” Another of my students said ,”Maybe you came here to help us? You have to have a purpose because God doesn’t make mistakes.” I told them all that I have no doubt that being here is part of my purpose on this earth. Then I put on an old wedding demo that a good friend of mine sent in and the women all lit up. One of the girls asked, “Why does everyone look so happy? Are those real people who are really married? Do those lives really exist?” I took the moment to share that people do get married and stay married. I said, “I have been married for 20 years and didn’t doubt for a minute that my husband would stand by my side.” I told them, “This has been hard for us, In fact the feds charged my husband because I wouldn’t plead guilty even though he was innocent. This has been a nightmare for us but we were married for time and all eternity and we take that covenant seriously. This experience will only make us stronger.” The girls all clapped and I felt very connected to all of them. I am grateful for these experiences and know that this time is sacred and I am grateful to have a so many incredible friends and neighbors on the outside to share it with