This Christmas has been so tender for me, I hope I can share how beautiful it has been. I was on a video visit with my family this morning and told Chad this is probably the most spiritual Christmas I have ever had, with maybe one exception. Prison is so simple.  There are no distractions, no cell phones, no stores, no advertising, it is a simple life.  I was talking to Alondra today and asked her if she appreciated things as much in the free world as she does here and she said, “No, I don’t think I did.  I took so much for granted.  I think God loved me enough to put me in here so that I could appreciate a sunset, the love of my daughter, and the feeling of peace.”  I asked her if she ever gets mad at the government for the injustice in her case, because I consider her case much more unjust than mine.  She smiled and said, “Yes, I am very unhappy with the government. The next time I see them I’m going to give them a piece of my mind.”  I laughed and said, “We have them right where we want them don’t we, this is not going to end good for them in the end.”  Then she laughed and said, “It’s such a beautiful day Louder, let’s enjoy every minute of it.”  What an angel she is:)

This morning as I walked down to breakfast my sweet friend Orianna came up to me and gave me a big hug and said, “Look Portia, you can still see the full moon and It’s beautiful!  Aren’t we blessed today to see that. It’s a gift from God to see a full moon on this Christmas morning.”  She had tears in her eyes, and I felt such a sweet spirit of love for my dear friend.  Yesterday morning I walked the track in silence.  Before the sun came up, I saw the North Star and said a simple prayer, “Heavenly Father, these are sacred experiences. I feel so close to my family right now, thank you for this gift of peace.”  My roommates made a great sacrifice and bought me a present from commissary that really touched me. I know it cost more than they could afford and the happiness it seemed to give them to surprise me with it was priceless. I am a blessed woman to have these spiritual experiences. To be given this perspective and love for others at Christmas time is invaluable. My sweet friend Patti gave me a present that she worked very hard on to get just right. Patti has been my friend from the beginning.  She protects me in every way and she stands strong in her beliefs and for truth.  She isn’t the kind of person that cares what other people think, she stands up for her convictions in every situation. I admire her strength so much!

I wrote a letter to each of my children, and as I put my feelings down I was very emotional. I was blessed with a glimpse of the majesty of their spirits, and was given a look at them in all of of their potential and glory and I’m humbled to be their Mother.  I know that I must be a special person to be called as a Mother to these children. Chad did a great job getting the kids something for Christmas and tried to carry on with some of our family traditions. Our daughter wanted lasagna on Christmas eve so Chad went to the extra trouble of making it the way I do from scratch. All the kids were over and when Chad took the lasagna out of the oven and cut into it he realized the noodles weren’t done. Instead of the pre-cooked noodles he bought the ones that you have to boil and didn’t boil them. He seemed pretty distraught by the whole ordeal, but I thought it was cute. The kids got by fine with their dinner and we will always remember the year Dad made the lasagna but forgot to cook the noodles:).  I am told that the Christmas morning, peach French toast was much better:)  We are so blessed! We have so much to be grateful for and I pray that we might all have the opportunity to slow down and simplify.  I think Satan would try to distract us, to keep us busy so we can’t see and feel the glory and majesty of our Father in Heaven.

I love you all so much. I love my Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ and feel blessed to be here right now. I pray that we might all Be kind to each other, and look for the good in others this holiday season. I promise if we do that we will find the best in ourselves. Merry Christmas good friends.