This week has been filled with memories, and emotions for me. I’ve been in prison for 2 years now, and Tuesday was my 20th wedding anniversary. It was a special week! Religious volunteers come to see me each week, and I greatly appreciate the time we have together. We had a good visit on Tuesday, but when I told them it was my anniversary I think they thought I might be sad. One of the volunteers said: “It’s just one day, you’ve been married for 20 years, so one day isn’t that important.” I smiled and said: “I think it is important. We’ve been married for 20 years which is an accomplishment; we’ve been through a lot, and have grown in ways that are impossible to describe, which is humbling! In my vulnerability and weaknesses, my husband has lifted me up; he never failed me! I know who he is in a deeper way because of this experience. Being in prison and having a husband that makes me feel like a queen is pretty special. I think ours is a great love story!” They smiled, and agreed that I am indeed blessed.
I am a better person today than I was the day I self surrendered 2 years ago, and that’s an accomplishment! I’ve walked through painful trauma, and faced my own mistakes and inadequacies. I’ve humbled myself, and do my best every day to live an upstanding life in the circumstances I am in. Some of the things I’ve been through have been unfair, but I have chosen to make the best of my situation anyway. I think making the best of wherever we’re at, at the moment, is the secret to a happy life. When we make the best of the circumstances we are currently in, our circumstances begin to change. I’ve worked hard the last 2 years to forgive myself, and I feel free in ways that I didn’t know I could. Today I am honest with myself and take responsibility for my life, and how I respond to what’s happening to me. These are accomplishments worth noting. I have a mission now: I want to live my life with integrity, purpose, and make a difference in the lives of others. I want to love and serve the people I come into contact with with enthusiasm, and testify that the best is yet to come when we choose a life of honor. I’ve made mistakes, but I never gave up! I am a living testimony that healing is possible no matter what you’ve done or been through.
Yesterday morning I got up early and went to the track to read my scriptures. As I sat on a bench surrounded by an electric fence, topped with razor wire, I realized how peaceful I felt, and how much joy and love I have in my heart. Then I remembered sitting on a beach with Chad years ago feeling the same way. My life was busy then; we had young kids, and my photography business was booming. It took me about a week on our vacation before I settled down enough to feel peace. I sat on a metal bench in Federal prison, and thought how profound it was that I felt such peace in the circumstances I am in now. I don’t need a beautiful beach to have joy or peace anymore! I felt so much love in my heart for my family that it hardly seemed possible that I am here. I thought back to specific moments with each of my children, and felt a powerful confirmation that my children are in the hands of a loving God; that I am indeed blessed to have so much good in my life. I was honored and humbled, and knew that the love I have for my family and loved ones is spiritual; that they can feel it even when I’m not in their presence. I know now that the things I do to show my children that I love them aren’t as important as who I am on the inside. Knowing who I am, and understanding my value makes it possible for me to love my children with so much more depth. In real estate we always said location was everything:) I carry my peace and joy with me now; the location isn’t important. I am doing my best in the circumstance I am in, and that is something I can be proud of.
For a long time I worried about worldly achievements, and accomplishments. You could say I was caught up in the thick of thin things! Now I know overcoming my weaknesses, and facing my challenges with honor is one of my greatest accomplishment! Maybe I had to come to prison to really find myself? We all face pain and challenges in life. My perspective has changed though, overcoming my weaknesses, and admitting my mistakes is cause for celebration! If you had a child who was lost wouldn’t you celebrate when they are found? When we change our lives, we become the change makers; the transition people that can have an impact for generations to come. These changes are sacred, and happen in the quiet chambers of our own heart. It is my hope to share the good news: that there is joy and happiness in any circumstance; our circumstances don’t define us, and the best is yet to come when we humble ourselves. Thank you all for following along:)