Some days in prison are harder than others. I could tell you all the reasons that prison is hard, but that probably goes without saying.  I’ve put together 2 weeks of hard days now, and sometimes it feels like there’s no end in sight.  I’ve done everything I can think of to move past the feelings of discouragement, with no avail! I fast every week, and have done so for months.  I pray continually, and spend several hours a day reading scriptures.  I figure that I have read the Book of Mormon once a month for the last year and half, as well as the Bible, and many other good books. I do my best to be honest, kind, and compassionate, and when I make mistakes I admit fault quickly; but, at the end of the day the discouragement isn’t ever very far away.  I’ve had peaceful moments in the last 2 weeks, moments where things make sense; they usually come after I surrender everything to my Father in Heaven, but those moments have been fleeting. I told my husband recently that I cant go on, I just can’t do it anymore! I miss my kids too much and something inside of me is breaking. I told him that, “The justice system has let me down, and I’m tired of fighting this battle.” He said, “Maybe you should quite fighting?” I know he is right, but I don’t know how to do that. As I walked around the track this morning I pulled out my mission statement and read:  I am a beloved daughter of God, and I will decide my future. I’m not a victim of circumstance, I take responsibility for my happiness, and recognize that I always have a choice! It helps me to recognize that my happiness doesn’t have to be dependent on my situation, the decisions of others don’t have power over my happiness. I can’t control the actions of others, and sometimes I can’t even control my own feelings, but I can control how I respond to both; maybe in this situation all I can do is humble myself and be willing to suffer with dignity? About 100 times a day I say the words: I serve God, He is my Father in Heaven! I don’t know if I’m saying those words to remind myself of that, or if I want whatever power of darkness I feel is attacking me to know in whom I trust? I just know that it helps me to say it out loud.

I wish I had something inspirational to share with you. I’m so grateful for the love, and support you all provide. These last few weeks I have been so broken hearted and the thought of writing seemed impossible! But writing has been such a blessing for me, It’s given me a reason to keep going when I didn’t think I could.  I told the lawyer that came to Dublin to talk to me about filing my legal motion that I was scared to move forward. He said, “What do you have to lose?” I told him, “I have my peace to lose! I don’t want to put myself in a position where the government or judge can hurt me again! I’ve been through some terrifying experiences at the hands of our justice system. Why should I trust this process will be any different?” I decided to move forward anyway, but as expected it hasn’t been an easy process. I wish I would have known it could take months just to get a hearing scheduled? If I would have known it would take so long I would have had Chad and the kids come visit me, I need to hold my children! Each week it’s the same thing, my kids ask when we will know something, and I say, “Probably this week?” It’s been pretty discouraging!

I am grateful that I get to take pictures and teach classes here, it’s been my only reprieve! Our committee had a meeting to discuss some new classes we will be offering, and I talked about the “Explaining Your Conviction” curriculum. I told our group how important it is that we help women see their true value. I said, “We’ve all been through so much! Weather it was by our own doing, or a justice system that is without mercy, each one of us has been condemned! We need to forgive ourselves, we need to forgive others, and we need to love and support each other; If we do that I know we can leave prison amazing people!” The women got excited, and one of them said, “I love your Passion Portia. Prison is so structured, so many are without hope! We have so many years still in front of us, and it’s hard to believe things will ever get better.” I realized that many are without hope, being in that meeting made me feel less alone. After our meeting I decided I need to try harder to inspire others; I know happiness comes when we are in the service of others, when we forget our own problems. I was studying the words of Joseph Smith in a Sunday school manual this morning and these words jumped out at me. “No tongue can tell what inexpressible joy it gives a man(or woman), after having been enclosed in the walls of a prison, to see the face of one who has been a friend. It seems to me that my heart will always be more tender after this that ever it was before.” You are all my friends, and I thank you for following along! I’m grateful to serve an all powerful God, and I have faith that this too shall pass!