I made it through my first year in Federal prison! On April 22, 2015 I said goodbye to my family and walked into FCI Dublin prison scared and broken.  I didn’t think that I could make it through my first night and a year was impossible to imagine! I looked out the window of my cell, sick and broken hearted.  Over and over again, I imagined the look on my children’s faces when I had to say goodbye, I was devastated!  The trauma I experienced at a county jail left me vulnerable and fearful and those feelings turned to anger quickly.  It is a miracle that I have gotten through this year and it is my testimony that adversity and pain can be our greatest character builders.  Truly, the struggle is the miracle!  I have found service to be the key to overcoming trauma in my live.   I have also found great hope for myself and others here and I think that I might look back someday and say that coming to prison was one of my greatest accomplishments. That might sound strange, but every day that I wake up in prison and fight through another day keeping my physical and mental health is a great accomplishment.

This week I got my first shot.  A shot is a violation in prison that goes on your record and has certain punishments attached to it depending on the violation. When I was called to the Lieutenant’s office I expected to be talking to the captain about one of my blog posts as that has become a  regular occurrence.  I was surprised to learn that I had missed an appointment and consequently a shot had been written. I told him that I had checked the schedule and didn’t have an appointment. He said, “Then you have nothing to worry about.” As soon as I got back to the unit I asked to see the old schedule and was told that they already thrown it away.  I dug the old schedule out of the trash because I was sure there had been a mistake but when I found the schedule and cleaned it off I found my name about half way down the page.  I couldn’t believe it!  I knew I had checked the schedule and that my name wasn’t on it? I felt really bad that I missed the appointment, the staff member that I missed the appointment with really went out of her way to find me so that she wouldn’t have to write me the shot. I pride myself on being responsible, and value the trust I have with staff and inmates in prison, the whole thing literally made me sick to my stomach!  The inmates were shocked that I got a shot and assumed that the prison was retaliating against me because they don’t like my blog?  I didn’t think that was the case, nevertheless it became a big to do.

The next day I was called to a case manager and counselors office for a disciplinary hearing and was asked if I was guilty. I told them I took full responsibility for missing the appointment, that I thought I had checked the schedule but apparently had not checked carefully enough. Both of them told me they didn’t want to have to discipline me but had no choice. I was concerned they would take my email or phone away but thankfully they took commissary for 45 days, a much easier loss for me.  The case worker told me to be sure to check the schedule for tomorrow because she was scheduling me for an appointment in the morning. Later that day when I went to check the schedule I noticed that my name wasn’t on it.  I asked the woman next to me if she saw my name on the schedule and she said that she didn’t see it either.  I told the woman that she was my witness that I had checked the schedule and my name wasn’t on it.  A couple of hours later the same woman came up to me and said, “I just saw your name on the schedule.  I guess a new inmate is changing the schedule now at a much later time than normal so we were looking at the previous days schedule.”  The puzzle was solved and I realized what had happened! I missed the appointment the previous day not because I was negligent but because they changed the schedule later than the appointed time and I had been looking at the old schedule.

In the end the violation wasn’t that big of a deal, but it made me think about my legal case. I know that I made mistakes investing in real estate, but the banks, mortgage brokers, title companies, etc. were fully aware of all the details of the transactions and for that reason and many others I always felt like a jury trial was the only way to get to the bottom of what actually happened. Just like the missed appointment, I may have done something wrong, but the details surrounding the missed appointment, or real estate transaction, are an important part of getting to the truth.  As for an update on my legal case, the governments response to my motion is due May 2nd, of course I will keep you all posted on what they say. I know that no matter what happens with my legal case this time will become a blessing to me and my family, but it is my hope that I will be given the right to go to trial.  I have learned that I don’t have any control over what other people do and that especially goes for the Federal government:) But I get to decide how I will respond, and that makes all the difference! I decided to share a letter with you that I recently wrote to Chad for our anniversary. I have found so much love and support through sharing the feelings of my heart with all of you on my blog, poor Chad should be used to this by now:)

Sweet Chad,
I’ve been thinking about you all day, trying to come up with words that would convey the love I have for you. There aren’t words strong enough! I adore you, everything about you. I’ve told you this before but you really do represent everything good and right in this world to me. So many good years, so many perfect moments, so much to look forward to. I love you Chad, always have, always will. I still remember the night you walked into my parents house with the bluest eyes and the sweetest smile I have ever seen. You were good then, you are amazing now! I felt so beneath you, and I probably was. I was so broken, and some how you saw past my many mistakes. Here we are now, some would think this has been a bad bargain for you:) But like I always say I’m an investment, I will be worth more someday. I know you’ve been waiting a while for that day:) The hard times have brought us to a closeness that very few ever experience. Sometimes I lay in my cell and think about moments we’ve had in disbelief. The love I have for you, and the closeness I feel to you is so far above anything this world could ever offer. You are the best of me, you truly make me a better person, a whole person. I admire you so much, the way you do the right thing just because you’re good, if only it came that easy for me. You’re loyal, kind, trustworthy, and my favorite person in the whole world. You’ve walked with me through darkness very few ever experience! I know the best is ahead of us:) Just know that every day all day you sweep me off my feet and make me feel like a queen. I loved you before I even knew you, you are everything to me.
Love Portia
Although coming to prison has been the most painful thing I have ever experiences, there are rich rewards for being willing to walk through the hard stuff and keeping a tender heart.

To all of you, I love you, and thank you for caring enough to follow along