Recently I applied for a transfer to a prison camp.  After weighing the benefits of staying here, and praying about the decision, I decided that it was right for me to move on. I struggled mightily with the choice because I really love the women here; but it felt right when I finally made the decision.  This institution approved my transfer request  to a camp in Texas.  The process was fairly easy because my security level is low and I don’t have any violations. I told Chad, “My transfer is approved by Waseca, so I’m just waiting for the date.  The paperwork went to region for approval , but once it’s approved at the institution level it’s 98% likely that I will be transferred.” He asked why I didn’t tell him it was only 98%?  We better not get our hopes up because you’re the exception to every rule.  Last week I was informed that the BOP had raised my security level, and took away my camp status, so I would be staying at this institution. When I asked why, I was told: “It’s very unusual for this to happen but because of what happened with you at Dublin they won’t let you go.” There was no additional clarification, but I was transferred from Dublin because of my blog, so I assume that’s what they were talking about? I went to my room after I got the news, and sat by the window for a while thinking. Some of the things going through my mind were: “How can they just raise my security level, I didn’t do anything wrong? I’m doing the right things, why don’t things just work out the way they are supposed to? I’m tired of being disappointed, I’m just tired.” Sonia came in and asked how I was doing, and I told her: “I’m a little bit sad, and a little bit mad, but I’ll be okay.”

When Chad got the news he sent me a message saying that It’s okay to be sad.  The last few weeks have been very emotional for you, and things didn’t end the way we expected they would. So be sad, and be amazing, and when you’re not sad anymore you’ll just be amazing, and don’t forget that you’ll always be sexy!  He’s pretty awesome:) When I told the women in our support group what happened, one of them said that It’s hard for her to be disappointed because we are the beneficiaries of you staying here.  She was sorry things worked out the way they did, but reminded me that  my work here isn’t done yet.  Another member of our group, who happens to be an attorney, said, “I think you should file an appeal because it’s ridiculous that they would raise your security level! You didn’t do anything wrong, and you certainly aren’t a threat; you need to fight this.”  My good friend Heidi said, “We love you Portia, and your influence is felt by all of us. You can fight this, and we will support you, but you should decide first if that’s how you want to spend your energy. Whatever you put your energy into will grow, so choose wisely.” After our meeting I said a prayer and told my Father in Heaven that I was sad, and I didn’t really understand why things went the way they did. I said: “Father, please help me be deliberate in how I respond to what is happening right now. I have faith that all of this can be for my good, and I want to see the right course. I don’t want to be resentful, or wallow in self pity, I really need your help.” I told a religious volunteer yesterday that my perspective has changed. When I prayed about leaving it seemed like the right thing to do. Maybe I needed to go through the process of choosing to leave, and have faith when it didn’t happen. Maybe that’s what I needed to learn?” I’m happier now, and have more hope; I have a better understanding of my purpose, and feel closer to my family. Maybe I needed another lesson in how important my response is, and how empowering it is when I trust in my Father in Heaven? I am learning that I don’t have to depend on outside circumstances to create my future; I have the power inside of me!

When women are released from prison we have to check in with probation officers every week for several years. many women come back to prison because they violate their probation, and from what I’ve seen those violations can be pretty minor? I met a woman in visiting a while ago that made a strong impression on me. I took her pictures with her 3 little boys, and all of them were very sweet and respectful. Her husband watched with pride, and when I was done the woman asked me if I would take a picture of her with her husband. When I went to pose the two of them, she threw her arms around her husband, and said: “I just love you so much. Is it possible to love someone as much as I love you!” It was pretty sweet, and I felt blessed to witness such a tender moment. I saw the woman on the compound a few days later, and stopped her to tell her how impressed I was with her family. I told her she has a beautiful family, and asked her how much time she has left in prison. She smiled, and said: “I’m only here on a violation, so I don’t have much time left. This has only made us stronger, it doesn’t matter what they do, it only makes us stronger. We are happy!” I thought: “You’re an amazing woman, you’re response is giving you the power to decide how this ends for you.” I know that if I make the best of the circumstances I am in, and choose my responses wisely, my future will be amazing! I always have the power to choose. I love you guys, thanks for following along:)