Sunday, March 22, 2015

#66 - Life on the Outs (Journal entires from March 2014)

In case you missed my special Wednesday post about the most asked question I get, here it is...


The best news all day was knowing I was leaving.  It was also the saddest news all day.  Is it strange that I'm so conflicted about leaving these girls?  This place?  This feeling of being in the protective palm of God's hand while I'm here?  Now I go back out into the world and adjust.  "I'm only in here 7 days," I tell myself.  It can't be that much of a shock to my system.  Yet every time... it just is.  Every time I think about those girls who have spent not days, but months and years behind bars and then are released to endure the shock.  I don't expect anyone else to understand that hasn't been here. 

Choosing anything in the whole store to feed my body - and feeling overwhelmed by those choices.
Carpet under my feet when I get out of bed in the morning.
Going from someone else taking care of my laundry, dishes, and cooking - to being in charge of those things for 5 other little humans counting on me.
The single flush of the toilet in the morning (who'd a thought that's so strange, but I laugh to myself for the first few mornings)
No more smells of coffee and bleach and no sound of the TV being on constantly
I will soon enjoy magazines that have all their pages still in tact, with color that hasn't been rubbed off. 
I won't have to wear flip-flops in the shower.
I won't miss the crunchy plastic pillows and scratchy wool blankets.

And then I will miss... The sounds of giggling after lights out - like some strange slumber party! 
I will miss... The contrast of Sunday visitors in their church clothes.  Soon I will be sitting in a pew at church with people all around me, dressed in their Sunday clothes.  It's such a bright sight after the black and white, the concrete and metal, and the language I hear hour-by-hour.  I never fully appreciated that sight until I sat behind glass to see my very own visitors file through in full color. 
I will miss... The girls, the conversations, the light I feel within me in here. 
I will miss... Feeling my purpose so distinctly. 
Most of all, I will miss my in-depth scripture study for hours and hours every day, including those times I get to read and explain so intimately with others to help them also progress. 

I have thought about the contrast of things in here and how it's helped me appreciate how good I have it on the outs.  I am thankful that God has given us opposites so we can see the good. 

Today one girl turned to her Bunkie and said, "Don't come home for a while, I'm poopin."  Of course "home" is considered her cell.  The rest of us would be paying for it soon enough as well in small quarters.   I just shook my head, counting down the hours until the guard would come get me. 


Tuck was sleeping while I packed up, so I decided to write her a letter.  I left it with my Bunkie to give to her when she woke up.  I also left several of my inspirational quotes and inspiring pictures in my locker, hoping they would be some sort of light to the next inmate to take over my space. 

I am so thankful to have gotten to know you!  I love your personality and sense of humor.  You have so many good traits.  You are always smiling, even when you are struggling or having a rough time. 

I hope you can feel how much Heavenly Father loves you.  Those that have hurt you will answer to Him.  For you, I know he has placed a strength in you strong enough to overcome these things.  Rise above them and be strong!  You got this!  It doesn't mean you don't cry to let it all out.  Just know that the tears are not forever. 

This week we met at every meal.  I would love to meet you in the temple someday.  There you can find relief, peace, and understanding and feel that unconditional, true, pure love that Heavenly Father has for you.  Until that time comes for you to go to the temple, I pray you can feel that love in your heart.

This picture I have kept as my bookmark in my scriptures, but I think you could use it.  The prophet says we should have a picture of the temple somewhere we can see it every day.  So find a place for it.

I love you Tuck and feel very blessed to be able to spend this time with you.  You have a special spirit and Heavenly Father has great confidence in you and a spot in Heaven waiting for you to make it.


I included a picture very similar to this one.
Photo Credit: Scott O. 

With that I packed my meager belongings into 1 grocery bag, my mail and 'souvenirs' for the kids into another grocery bag, and waited to be called.  A lot of the girls were sleeping, including Rachel, and I left quietly not knowing if they will be here when I come back for my last time.  With my Good Time approved and 5 days off my sentence for being a good inmate, it has worked out that I have one more week exactly to spend with the girls that God will have picked for me when I get back.   


Words cannot express home.  It makes me excited and tired all at the same time.  I can't sit close enough to Jason and our kids to hear about their week.  Their words can't reach my ears fast enough!  They were excited about their souveniers, but I warned them that they were 'jail-quality,' not to exceed any great expectations.  I gave Jason his friendship bracelette that matches my 'wedding ring' that I wear while I'm in.  The bracelette turned out to be too small so he tied it to his cell phone case as a reminder that I'm thinking of him.  Hunter loved his new beanie with the strings that hang down, just as he hoped for.  Sawyr is now sporting some crocheted fingerless gloves - easier to catch a football with.  Piper loved the matching friendship bracelettes for her, Bryer, and their baby dolls.  Walker got a lizard bookmark (which was a bigger hit than I thought) and a crochet teepee for his army guys.  Tuck teased me and laughed uncontrollably that the teepee didn't have a door - one of those things that's only funny in the moment.  Walker didn't mind. 
This is how you make gift bags in jail - and also why none of the magazines are complete
Some highlights from my month... Our family took on the "I Pray When..." challenge by thinking of times we pray and taking pictures to document. 
When there are so many things I feel like I missed out on, I am thankful that there are some things that don't change.  However simple (and kind of cheesy) my gifts were, they appreciated them.  Their faith is in tact.  Jason's mom has done an amazing job taking care of all the mom things while I have been gone.  I can't thank her enough.  It took Walker about 3 days to ask, "Mom, how many more days until you get to go back to jail?"  I laughed at his wording of 'get to.'  He said that's how many more days until he gets to go back to the D.I. with Grandma.  I'm glad this whole experience is positive in his eyes, even if it means I'm missing for 7 days out of the month.  I'll choose not to be offended.  :-) 
When I was out earlier this year Jason and I met with one of the leaders of our church.  We had met with our bishop several times, but this felt different.  A couple weeks before the meeting a well-meaning family member warned that my temple recommend better not be taken away.  Now 3 months later, it's funny that that still sticks in my head.  It really had a profound impact on me.
It got me thinking...
1 - What if... my temple recommend really was taken from me?!  I have heard of others who have gone through church discipline and had their recommend taken.  It's my ticket to the most peaceful place on earth.  Could I make it without it?  Where else can I go where I feel that degree of unconditional peace - that solace I crave between weeks in jail? 
2 - If the leader we are going to meet with is truly inspired, he will understand that I am paying a price for something that I did not do.  Right?  He receives inspiration and has the spirit of discernment.  Right? 
3 - If my temple recommend is taken, how will I react? 
I somehow felt that this sentence I am asked to bear has been set upon me by the 'world.'  It's a test.  I can pass a test of the world with flying colors if I understand my purpose in God's plan.  But what happens to a person when they are critiqued by the very church that has been such a strength?  What happens when the single most peaceful, healing place is taken away when I crave it the very most? 
It was a serious and prayerful week leading up to my meeting.  I worked things out in my heart and my mind that would have come no other way but through divine inspiration from God. 
Going into the meeting, I knew I was walking in with a clear conscience with what I was being accused of and serving a jail sentence for.  That has great power and brings with it a great confidence in the eyes of the Lord. 
I also knew that this man Jason and I were about to meet with carries church and Priesthood authority.  That being said, he is a man of flesh and blood.  He makes mistakes just like anyone else. 
I decided that if it came down to it and he were to ask for my temple recommend, that I wouldn't hold it against him, nor the church.  I have come too far and received too many confirming experiences of God's love to let one man's mistake stand in the way of my progression.  I'll say it again, because it really has had that big of an impact on me.  I have come too far and received too many confirming experiences of God's love to let one man's mistake stand in the way of my progression.  Being in a leadership position, I would fully accept what steps would need to be taken to receive my temple recommend again. 
Jason and I had a good meeting.  I was able to share some of the insights and experiences of jail that have strengthened my testimony.  He shared divine counsel with us and I felt that warm and fuzzy spirit as we both spoke and listened.
And then we walked out of his office.  With my recommend still in tact. 
I don't believe it was all for nothing that I sent through that process .  I needed to prepare myself and work things out in my heart to know where I stand.  Where I stand. 
Today, I went to the temple.!  It was glorious and beautiful and peaceful just like I needed so badly.   
After my time inside, I took a trip around the outside, which is not usually my routine.  I found a unique perspective.  I wouldn't have noticed it before.  Looking through the bars at the most sacred place on this earth to me I wondered about the placement of the bars that reminded me so much of jail. 
Then I came to this open gate, inviting people in right from the street to walk the temple grounds.  The symbolism I took from it was not to keep people out - but to invite them in.  The metal fence is to keep the world out.  That same peaceful feeling I receive to recharge is there because it's different than what the world offers. 

Just as many of the girls have connected jail to being their safe place, the temple is mine.  In jail they are kept from (or protected from) their temptations.  They count on being fed, having housing, and are taken care of.  They are not really free though.  They can't come and go as they please.  They don't have agency to choose. 

The temple opens possibilities up.  By living the standards that make it possible to hold a temple recommend, I'm given more agency.  Like the song says, "Keep the commandments..... In this there is safety.  In this there is peace." 

While I was in the temple today I put names of my new friends on the temple prayer roll.  That means that hundreds of people that come through the temple will be praying over those names.  Individual daughters of God in this journey back to him.  Rachel.  Tuck.  Robin.  Dani.  Pam.  Netty.  These girls that He desperately misses having a connection to, are now being prayed for within the walls of the temple.  I know He will answer those prayers on behalf of those girls.  I can only hope they are ready to receive those answers and blessings. 


  1. Your post have touched my heart. It is easy to love you. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Mona! It was seriously so good to meet you in real life! Hugs!

    2. I just found this. 💞.
      There are great people living amongst us (as you so elequently explained in your blog). It's a joy to have accidently met you & Briar in person. What a delightful surprise that was.

  2. Wow, I have devoured your blog in the last few days. So inspiring! I want to be better because of your example. What a beautiful life you have created. Thank you for sharing it In so many ways.

    1. Jenn, your comment has made me think more than you know. I have thought about it all week - "What a beautiful life you have created." It may need another whole blog post just for that itself and what feelings it stirred in me. Thank you for reading, and for inspiring me right back!