It’s Easter morning, and I’m filled with gratitude. So many things in my life are good; I have so much to be grateful for! I have tender feelings as I contemplate the divine truth of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As one who has been healed by the power of His Atonement I testify that He lives! I have felt the grace, and sublime love that only He can give, and know His mercy extends to all.  His light resides in each of us, and when we reach out to Him in plain humility a mighty miracle will take place. There is no greater gift! I am filled with love today, and want to wrap my arms around all of you!

Yesterday a young girl from my unit asked me if she could sit with me at lunch. I told her: “Of course you can sweet girl, you know I always love to see you.” When she sat down she said: “You love me don’t you Portia?” I smiled and said: “I do love you, you are an amazing girl, and have so much good inside of you, so much to fight for!” She told me: “I know you love me because I can feel it whenever I see you.” I got to know this beautiful young lady in a class we recently took together, and was able to take pictures of her with her little girl in visiting last week. While we were at lunch she asked me about my blog.  She said, “Maybe I could write on a blog some day, I think I would like that.” I told her, “I think you would be a great blogger; you are young, and have such a bright future in front of you; your story needs to be told.” She smiled and said: “Your young too Portia; you’re young where it matters most, inside your heart.” Sometimes I think it’s an honor to be in Federal prison.

I have a lot of peace today. The love I have for my family is indescribable.  Chad and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this week, what a special time for us! Sometimes I wonder how I ever landed him, but I already know the answer to that question. He is my soul mate, and we are bound by a power that is stronger than anything earthly that could divide us. He is my best friend, and one of the best people I know because he’s selfless, trustworthy, and kind, and that’s just for starters. We are blessed to have the love that we share!  Jace and Sarah were married during our legal troubles and handled the challenge like champions! I was distraught with worry at that time, but Sarah and her family were exemplary; they did what needed to be done, and treated us with dignity, and love. We are blessed to have Sarah as our daughter in law. Shelby and Dallin were married not long before I was put in jail for a mental evaluation. It was a traumatic time for our family, and Shelby came to the rescue with Dallin by her side.  She is beautiful, strong, talented and kind; she is a joy to have as a daughter.  She leaves for work early and gets CJ ready for school every day! Jackson is  handsome, funny and has a will of iron.  For good or bad, he won’t be pushed into anything that he doesn’t want to do! I think he got that from his mother:)  His love for me through this experience is tender; there just aren’t words! Sadie is a little rock star! Her beauty and energy light up every room she walks into, just thinking about Sadie makes my heart soar! I’m pretty sure little CJ walks with the angels. That little girl sent me a message last week that said: “You are the most special mom in the whole world. You are braver than other moms because you have to live without your husband and children. Nothing will ever come between us mom because I always feel your heart right next to mine.” She’s only 9 years old? How I love my family!

I got an email from Chad today that really touched me, and decided I wanted to share some of it with you. It said: “Easter is such a beautiful day! It’s the culminating event of Christ’s mission on the earth. The only one to go through this mortal life without a misstep.  Persecuted and eventually killed by His government leaders; friends turned their backs on Him in His darkest hours. He felt as if His own Father had forgotten Him in His greatest time of need. Yet, through it all He remained true to His faith and His mission on this earth, thus redeeming all mankind, even you and I! It’s a truly remarkable, sacred event that Easter represents. We just returned from church and Sacrament meeting. The talks were great, being there I felt the Spirit testify to the truthfulness of the Gospel, and the Plan of Salvation. This life is such an important test that is the blink of an eye in comparison to eternity. Yet, it’s next to impossible to keep it in the correct perspective all the time.   When I do life becomes way more simple and manageable.  And that contradicts everything we’re bombarded with daily: to have more, do more, be more beautiful, more more. He’s done it all so we don’t have to do more!”

I want you all to know how much we love and appreciate you. Our lives have been touched by so many of you in small and simple ways:  a comment on my blog at exactly the right time, a book sent in the mail, or a kind note. Your simple acts of kindness have lifted us, and carried us through difficult times. Thank you for sharing your love with us, and pray you will feel the healing power of our Savior Jesus Christ on this sacred day. Thank you for following along:)