I was able to go to church with my family today and the outpouring of love that was extended to us was overwhelming. Thank you for welcoming me home.

I wrote a letter to a friend who is still in prison recently and wanted to share some of that with all of you:

My Dear Friend:

It was great to hear from you. I was disappointed to find out that you wouldn’t be able to go to the camp but if it’s any consolation there were a lot of things that I liked better about being at a FCI (Federal Correctional Institution). I ended up serving an extra 3 months at the camp. My case worker called me into her office 2 days before I was told I would leave and explained to me that I would be staying without an explanation as to why. It was heart breaking for me and my family but it was also an opportunity for me to decide that no matter what, I wasn’t going to leave prison a victim. Chad and I agree that the last 3 months was the hardest time that we’ve had to do. We grew a lot, and we were blessed with the strength required to get through it.

I didn’t think that I would get close to the girls at the Camp. I was so close to all of you when I left MN that I didn’t think that I wanted to make new friends. Turns out that I met more amazing women and my heart was even fuller.

I live at the half way home now and working a job as a photographer. I have to have a “w2” job in order to get to home confinement and should be able to go home later this month. I take pictures of school children and they are so dang cute! A few days ago I had a girl jump off the stool and give me a hug after I took her picture. When I asked a 3rd grader to say, “girls” to make him smile, he leaned forward on the stool, raised his eyebrows and said” “I’m a chick magnet”. I love kids!

When I run into people that know me, they give me a hug and welcome me home. Many people seem genuinely interested in hearing about my experiences. I’ve been asked if I’m interested in speaking publicly about it. I will probably start doing that in the future.

I want you to know what a special person that I think you are. Your honesty and strength of character made a positive impact on me. My daughter CJ turned 12 recently and told me, “Mom you’re a whole new person now. It was worth it”. What we did in prison was important, who we become can change generations. You will be home soon and the struggles and challenges you are going through now are preparing you for what comes next. you are brave and you get to decide how your story ends. An amazing ending makes the story worth all you’ve been through. I love you friend and believe that the best is ahead. Praying for you until we meet again.

Love, Miss Portia

Seriously, I am overwhelmed with joy by the love and support you all have shown me. We need each other to get through this life. I have met incredible people everywhere and prison is no exception. I appreciate all of you for being part of my story.