Bible Study

Embracing God’s Testing: A Path to Spiritual Growth

When faced with trials and challenges in our spiritual journey, it is natural to attribute them solely to the devil’s influence. However, we often overlook the fact that God allows testing in our lives to strengthen our faith and deepen our spiritual foundation. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of God’s testing in our spiritual growth and delve into relevant Bible scripture that sheds light on this topic.

  1. Understanding the Purpose of Testing: Rather than viewing testing as a negative experience, we should embrace it as an opportunity for growth. God’s testing refines us, purifies our hearts, and strengthens our character. Just as gold is tested through fire, our faith is refined through trials (1 Peter 1:7). These challenges shape us into stronger individuals who are better equipped to navigate life’s obstacles.
  2. Building Trust and Dependence on God: When we face trials, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and question God’s presence in our lives. However, these moments of testing are opportunities for us to develop unwavering trust and reliance on God. In the face of adversity, we can learn to surrender our burdens to Him, knowing that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). God desires to draw us closer to Him and deepen our relationship through these testing periods.
  3. Strengthening Our Faith: Faith that has not been tested remains shallow and fragile. Just as physical exercise strengthens our muscles, testing fortifies our faith. James 1:3-4 reminds us that testing produces endurance and matures our faith, making us complete and lacking in nothing. By facing and overcoming trials, we become witnesses to God’s faithfulness, which bolsters our confidence in Him.
  4. Discovering Hidden Strengths: God’s testing often reveals untapped potential within us. When we encounter challenges, we are pushed out of our comfort zones, enabling us to discover inner strengths we may not have realized we possessed. As we face trials, we can rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and tap into our God-given abilities to overcome obstacles and achieve personal growth.
  5. Embracing Growth in Humility: Testing also teaches us humility, reminding us that we are not self-sufficient but dependent on God’s grace and provision. It humbles us to acknowledge our limitations and rely on His strength. Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us that God disciplines those He loves, just as a loving parent corrects their child. Through testing, God molds us into humble and obedient servants.

When faced with spiritual warfare, we must shift our perspective on testing. Instead of blaming the devil for every trial, let us embrace the truth that God uses these challenges to refine our faith, deepen our relationship with Him, and strengthen our spiritual foundation. By studying and applying relevant scriptures, we can gain a better understanding of God’s purpose in testing and grow in our ability to navigate the trials we face. May we approach these moments with faith, knowing that God’s testing is a pathway to spiritual growth and transformation.

Photo by Pixabay:

#spiritual warfare, #Testing Faith, #Armor of God

Journey of Faith

Overcoming the Hurdles: The Challenges of Felon Reentry and Accessing Essential Resources

The journey of reentry after incarceration is riddled with obstacles, as individuals with criminal records face a myriad of challenges when attempting to rebuild their lives. Among the most pressing difficulties are finding stable housing, securing employment opportunities, and accessing everyday resources. I want to delve into the significant challenges that felons encounter and explore potential solutions to support their successful reintegration into society.

  1. Finding Housing:

One of the foremost challenges for individuals with criminal records is finding suitable housing. Many landlords and property management companies employ strict background check policies, making it arduous for felons to secure safe and stable accommodations. Unfortunately, returning “home” isn’t always possible. The parole board and staff can tell you that you can’t live in the same county you used to live in, you can’t live with a certain person because they were a co-defendant, or they feel that the environment is a potential for you to re-offend. This is an area that many inmates and families are shocked by when they receive the news they’ve been paroled. Then there is the stigma associated with past convictions often results in housing discrimination, limiting options, and perpetuating the cycle of instability. Alternative housing options, such as transitional housing programs or collaborations with nonprofits, can offer supportive environments during the reentry process.

  1. Securing Employment:

Employment plays a pivotal role in successful reentry, yet felons frequently encounter significant barriers when seeking job opportunities. Employers often conduct background checks, leading to biased hiring practices and reduced chances for individuals with criminal records. Overcoming this challenge requires a multifaceted approach, including education and advocacy campaigns to promote fair hiring practices, the implementation of ban-the-box policies, and the creation of job training and entrepreneurial programs specifically tailored for formerly incarcerated individuals. Families aren’t prepared for this and expect their loved ones to get a job immediately upon coming home. Inmates are not only now faced with the thought of letting down their loved ones, or getting in trouble with parole staff for not having employment, but also dealing with adjusting to “outside life” again. Remember, some of these folks might not have been free for several years and the world is not the same when they entered. Many families don’t have additional funding to endlessly support someone else. Again, while this person may have been part of the family unit at one time, there’s an adjustment now to having another mouth to feed and care for.

  1. Accessing Everyday Resources:

Beyond housing and employment, felons face hurdles when accessing everyday resources necessary for a smooth reentry. Basic necessities such as healthcare, transportation, financial services, and public assistance can become elusive due to restrictive policies or societal biases. Collaborative efforts among government agencies, nonprofits, and community organizations are crucial to ensuring that individuals have access to these essential resources, fostering their stability and facilitating successful reintegration. When you leave prison, you are signed up for State Welfare Insurance. This is the only option at this point that you may have a spouse that can add you onto their insurance or you might be lucky enough to obtain a job and receive insurance on day one. A large majority of folks are on “Obama Care” because many employers have stopped offering insurance or it’s overly expensive. Folks get upset because people are on welfare when they come home, but consider this: Each year in the state of PA, it costs the state over $42,000 a year to house an inmate. That money is coming from the tax payer’s pockets along the line too.

  1. Social Stigma and Support Systems:

Felons often encounter social stigma and isolation, making it challenging to establish supportive networks that are vital for successful reentry. Negative public perceptions, limited social acceptance, and strained personal relationships can hinder the process of rebuilding one’s life. Promoting public education and awareness campaigns to challenge stigmatizing narratives, as well as creating mentorship and support programs, can help foster a supportive environment that encourages second chances and facilitates reintegration.

The challenges that felons face with reentry and accessing vital resources are complex and multifaceted. Overcoming these obstacles requires a comprehensive approach involving legislative reforms, advocacy efforts, community collaborations, and public education. By addressing housing and employment discrimination, expanding access to essential resources, and promoting social acceptance, we can create a more inclusive society that supports successful reentry for individuals with criminal records. Together, let us work towards a future where everyone has an opportunity to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to their communities. #prison, #prisonreentry,

Photo by Pixabay:

Journey of Faith

Walking in Faith

As Christians, we are called to walk by faith, not by sight. This means that even when things seem dark and uncertain, we can trust in God’s promises. Psalm 91:11 is a powerful reminder that God’s protection is always available to us, as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him. I love the story of the disciples in the boat during the storm. They were freaking out and Jesus was just snoozing away. They thought that he was going to let them all die. What they forgot was that they kept their eyes on the storm and not on him. I’ve been tested in about any way imaginable, and one thing was certain was that no matter what, I had to keep my eyes on the Lord. It’s very easy to blame him or think “Why have you forsaken me?” Even King David and Jesus himself cried out to God asking this very question. “Oh Lord, why have you forsaken me?” 1. Psalm 22:1 – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” 2. Matthew 27:46 – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In both cases, the speaker – King David in Psalm 22 and Jesus on the cross in Matthew 27 – expresses his feelings of loneliness, despair, and abandonment to God. However, both passages also demonstrate that even in the depths of despair, the speakers continue to turn to God in faith, holding onto the hope that God will ultimately deliver them. I know that it’s hard to see that during difficult times, but trust me. God is always there for us. Trust in him always!

Photo by nappy:

#Bible, #Trust In The Lord, #Faith, #God, #Jesus, #God Why Have You Forsaken Me, #Psalms 91

Journey of Faith

Saying Goodbye

I was told once to never say goodbye, just say “so long”. The idea was that if you say “so long”, you will see them again. Today, I am saying, “so long” to a friend I’ve known since kindergarten. Growing up, there wasn’t a lot of kids in my neighborhood. Once I got to school, I started making friends and quickly became friends with a girl living down the street. We had a lot in common. Her first and middle name was the same as mine. Our dads were the same age difference as our moms. Our dads both served in the Air Force. I was born the day before Valentine’s Day and she was born on April Fool’s Day. We spent endless weekends together, and when I wasn’t at her house then she was coming to mine to hang out. As we got older, we hung out together with our high school boyfriends and later she became my maid of honor. We grew apart as time passed. I moved away to West Virginia, then Maryland. Time just got away from both of us. I would see her every now and then and I even stopped by the jewelry store that she owned once or twice. I’m grateful that I was able to message her just the other week to see how she was doing. I knew that she had breast cancer and that it wasn’t good. I had hoped and prayed that any treatments that she was taking would make it all go away. I don’t know why some people beat cancer, and then other people seem to fight with all the strength that they have and can’t win. Cancer sucks! You would think by now there would be a cure. Maybe there is and they just aren’t telling us. Growing up and going through elementary school, junior high, and high school with my friend, I saw how everyone either wanted to be her, be like her, or be with her. They never got to see the same side that I would see when we would have sleepovers and giggle all hours of the night. Once almost eating the Scrabble game piece instead of the popcorn we were snacking on. We spent the night together when my parents went away and woke up early in the morning to watch Live Aid together on MTV. I remember one Christmas she called and told me to come down, that her parents had bought her the very first game system. We played Donkey Kong and Frogger for hours. A video game system now sat in the room that was formerly known as “the toy room” when we were younger and played Barbie dolls. We would sew dresses for them and had Barbie stuff from one side of the room to the other. To this day, I can’t eat black raspberry ice cream because we put peanut butter on it and I ended up getting sick to my stomach. It had nothing to do with the ice cream or peanut butter, but we ate too much junk food. I remember getting new records or new tapes and later cd’s that I would rush to her house to play. We would sing until we learned every word of the songs. I remember several times almost missing the school bus because she would go rewash her hair and start over because something didn’t look right. She’d change her clothes multiple times and clothing would be thrown around the room like a hurricane just hit. Still, every day I walked from my house to hers to wait for the same routine and same frantic scurry of trying to look perfect just to go to school. As younger kids, we discovered an older lady who was hosting bible school out of her house. We spent hours and hours at Grandma Royer’s house listening to bible stories and both accepting the Lord as our Savior. So again, it’s not goodbye my friend. It’s so long until we meet again. I know you are with our Lord and I will see you again.

Photo by Kat Smith:

Journey of Faith

Seasons Change

It’s strange being home and getting to experience the full range of seasons that I didn’t really get to enjoy before. When you live near Erie, it’s like living in a snow globe. I would constantly feel like someone was shaking it for kicks. It would be Spring, Winter, and Summer sometimes all in the same day. I’m not kidding. I think that our lives go through that sometimes as well. We all go through different seasons and each one brings some kind of change and growth into our lives. I’ve learned to try to roll with the punches, because there isn’t much that I can do about somethings that happen. I just need to fully rely on God, and pray that he can guide me through the rough spots and remember to praise and bless him always. Regardless if it’s a rough season or a good one.

King Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. It’s a vision into human life. If you haven’t read the entire book, I definitely recommend it. It’s a good read, and maybe even reading it more than once. It will give you some perspective that recognizes the rule and reign of God in the world. This is a great book for men and women who have seen more than their fair share of pain and instability in life but who still cling to their hope in God. Our life is a journey and no matter what happens, God remains constant in our life. Even when injustice and uncertainty threaten to overwhelm us, we can trust Him and follow after Him. (Ecc. 12:13-14

Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes shows us a person who lived through this process and came out on the other side with a wiser, more seasoned perspective. King Solomon had everything in life that a person could ever want and NONE of it made him happy. It was all meaningless he said. I think that sometimes we focus on the wrong things and worry about the wrong things. We take too much pride in “things”. When you’re stripped of everything, and everything you own fits in a few small boxes you understand that “stuff” means nothing. It’s the people around you, that love you and care about you. It’s God and his love for you, and the faith that you have, day in and day out praising him. If we would take as much pride in our faith and in God as we do “stuff”, maybe the world wouldn’t be as messed up as it is right now.

Photo by Inna Lesyk:’

#Bible, #God, #KingSolomon, #Faith, #Hope, #Pride, #SeasonsOfLife

Fun and Just Because

Purple Rain

We all have that one song that just transports us back in time. I’m sitting here deciding what to write and listening to 80’s rock ballads. I wonder why I torture myself. It’s just a reminder that I’m getting older. The days of my youth and the days of my older years and sitting right in the middle. I guess that’s why they call any age over 50 “over the hill”. You’ve officially left that spot where being in between the two is no longer. I’m 52, so I’ve just barely crested the top of the hill. I remember so many fun, amazing, and beautiful moments when these songs come on. I remember being a teenager in junior high when Prince came onto the scene. They were just starting to offer dances on Friday or Saturday nights. It was great because they were actually at the middle school in the front lobby area strangely enough. They would hire a DJ to come in and the entire front of the school was transformed into this magic dance club for all of us to enjoy. These were the days when we would meet our crushes, got to learn how to slow dance for the first time, and maybe even got to steal our first kisses in some dark corner where a teacher or chaperone wasn’t lurking around. All of us girls came dressed in our mini skirts and over-teased, aqua net sprayed hair. The guys were sporting their windbreaker pants and van sneakers. We can’t forget the tons of black stretchy bracelets so that we could imitate Madonna. Most of us girls wore our china doll shoes or jelly shoes. Our moms would take turns picking, and dropping us off. Sometimes there would be sleepovers, or you were left to go home and just lay in bed trying to calm down from the amount of fun that just transpired. These dances didn’t seem to last long until they stopped hosting them. We all moved on to high school and then got to participate in Jr/Sr prom. Homecoming dances and just being able to hang out with our friends on the weekends. The town close to where I grew up had a section of road that we all called “the circuit”. It was a stretch of road that was maybe 5 miles long around. It was one day, you would drive down through the city with your car windows down and radios blasting. You proceed to the end of the stretch where you could turn left and go back up the opposite street which was also a one-way. You did this over and over again until you got bored or another opportunity was presented. Sometimes, you would run into friends while driving, scream out the windows and plan to meet to discuss plans. See there weren’t any cell phones back then so calling each other wasn’t an option. We figured it out though. You could be sure that 80’s hair bands was the music blasting out of the cars though. Most of the time it was guys driving around to show off their cool rides. I remember one time we had an assignment for school that involved caring for a raw egg. They didn’t have those mechanical babies that they do now that cry. We had raw eggs that we decorated to look like kids. We each created a basket or box to carry them in. The goal was to record what we did with them, and most of all keep them “alive”. Some of us had “husbands” assigned to us, and others were single parents. I was assigned a “husband”. Well one Saturday evening, my assigned husband took our egg son to the circuit to ride around for the evening. At least he was taking the assignment seriously. We both received 100%, so I guess we did pretty good. I don’t know if kids today still drive the circuit. I believe the police and city have tried everything possible to end that tradition. I also, don’t know if it would be as cool today as it was then. Things have changed, the music has changed. This simple thing would probably be boring to kids today. The simple task of just driving around and looking cool. We weren’t bothering anyone, we weren’t drinking, we weren’t trying to cause problems. We were just entertaining ourselves. They say that each generation has their own moments that will stand the test of time. I think that the music of the 80’s is ours, and there will never be anything else like it.

Photo by rikka ameboshi:

Bible Study

Is God taking you to the next level?

Before God takes you to the next level, he needs to separate you! Do you ever wonder why you “don’t fit in” or “why you were put in a situation you never ask for”? God is calling you to do something great. I know it doesn’t look like it right now, but he needs you to be focused on him and not the noise around you. He needs you to rely solely on him. He needs you to hear his voice and not the voice of everyone around you. God separates us for three reasons! (Isaiah 41:10) He wants to give us the tools for our destiny. 1. You’re not alone, you’ve been separated! 2. He wants you to clearly know his voice. (Proverbs 3:5-6) He wants to put us in a season where he can teach us now to know his voice and hear it. 3. To mold us in his image. When you make wine, you first need to crush the grapes. You crush those grapes and press them, but by doing so you are changing them into something totally different than what they started out as. God does that to us. He will press us and send us into intense situations to mold us into his image. Paul tells in Romans 5:1-5 that, “we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance. Perserverance builds character, and character builds hope. , character; and character, hope.”

Some of us have lost touch with the Fruit’s of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23 there is a list of 9 Fruit’s of the Holy Spirit that each of us were given:

Fruit of the Spirit list:

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Patience
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness
  8. Gentleness
  9. Self-control

When I was sent to prison, I learned that I needed to work on a few of these on the list. Other items on the list, I was able to show other’s and what it looked like to be kind, gentle and have joy and love in their lives. I had a roommate once tell me that she was jealous because I had so many people that truly loved and cared about me. She didn’t know what that felt like. It made me so sad because that is the same sentiment that many people in prison have. They are so far detached from their family, friends and loved ones that people have stopped caring all together once they end up in a place like that. People would ask me why I was always so happy. I heard the expression before that “sometimes people don’t like you because your gifts and calling agitate their demons.” I can say I believe that to be 100% true. People will purposely try to tick you off or rain on your parade to see you miserable. Rebuke that noise in Jesus name and send it back where it came from! You have every right to be happy and at peace. As God starts to elevate you, you will start to see these fruits grow inside of you. You’re going to want to spend more time with him, you’re going to want to please him. You are going to start to see your interests change. There are going to be friends that you’ve had for years that are no longer going to be able to be in this new season of your life. There is a song by Hillsong that explains about the grapes to wine and how God will press us into something better. Are you willing to allow God to use you and make new wine out of you?

New Wine

Words and Music by Brooke Ligertwood

In the crushing
In the pressing
You are making new wine
In the soil I now surrender
You are breaking new ground

So I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don’t need to understand

Make me Your vessel
Make me an offering
Make me whatever You want me to be
I came here with nothing
But all You have given me
Jesus bring new wine out of me

In the crushing
In the pressing
You are making new wine
In the soil I now surrender
You are breaking new ground

You are breaking new ground

Where there is new wine
There is new power
There is new freedom
The Kingdom is here
I lay down my old flames
To carry Your new fire today


#Hillsong, #HillsongWorship, #NewWine, #Trials, #TrustinGod, #Pressure

Journey of Faith


I recall when it was about to become the year 2020, everyone was saying that was the year for vision. As in seeing. 20/20. I can’t even recall the last time I was able to actually see that well, lol. Spiritually, however my vision has become a lot clearer. It’s been a rough couple of months since having to have two eye surgeries and not being able to properly see to read my bible. I don’t know that my corrected vision will ever be the same unfortunately. When we stay in God’s word and focus on him, the Holy Spirit leads us on the right path that we need to be taking. Psalm 119:105 tell us that “the word is a lamp onto my feet and a light onto my path.” When we stay in God’s word, it definitely keeps us on the right path and away from the devil.

The most recent eye surgery that I had, has left the vision in my right eye blurring but manageable. I’m very disappointed in the outcome and feel that I wasn’t told everything that could possibly happen. Otherwise, I may have chosen a different type of surgery to undergo to fix it. Before Thanksgiving, I had the oil removed in my eye that was inserted to fix the retinal detachment. I noticed immediately that things appeared to be hazy. I could see what looked like bubbles still floating around. I mentioned this several times to my surgeon, but he didn’t seem to be concerned. I finally took it upon myself to google, “hazy vision after oil removed from vitrectomy”. Wow, I was shocked to see a few things actually pop up. According to the website that I found, it all made perfect sense. Years ago, when I had my first retinal detachment, I had to then have cataract surgery. They implanted a lens. My guess is that they implanted a silicon lens, but I am not sure about that. What happens when they injected the oil into my eye for this last surgery, there is no guarantee to remove 100% of it. On top of this, the oil is known to adhere to the lens in cataract patients. Essentially, I am now walking around with a dirty lens. I saw the regular eye doctor 2 weeks ago and he confirmed my suspicions. I went back to re-read the article I read because he wasn’t sure what the plan of action would be to fix it. It was disheartening to read that they could “possibly” flush the eye, or I could end up having to have a lens replacement. The problem though is that if they don’t get the oil out 100%, this would just happen again. My eye Dr’s fear was that no other doctor would be willing to even try to replace the lens because of my history. I too think that it would be risky because if they removed the oil, there could be a displacement of fluid and then cause the retina to pull away again because of shrinkage. Lovely huh? Currently the best he was able to get my vision was 20/40. Even then, I struggle with very small print, and also some details. Certain letters, I mistake for another. For example, D look like O’s, R’s and P’s can be tricky. I now have to learn how to adjust my world around my new vision. I’m thankful to the Lord that I can still see and I’m not 100% blind. Had this all occurred in prison, I can assure you that I would be blind. Again, praise the Lord for bringing me home.

I can rely on the doctors to guide me to what happens next in my physical vision journey, I trust in the true healer and physician for my sight.

Photo by Pixabay:

#SpiritualVision, #Vision, #EyeSurgery, #TrustInTheLord, #TheHealer

Bible Study

The Devil’s Gateway

I have been sickened the last few weeks watching highlights of the Grammy’s, the Super Bowl half time show, as well as other highlights from various concerts and shows. I shouldn’t be surprised, but then again, I wasn’t as mature in my faith before as I am today in order to understand what I am seeing. Let me explain.

Our bodies are a fortress and belong to God. Like any fortress, we need to put gates up to close access to the enemy (or Satan) from being able to gain access. A gate protects. So what entrance ways am I referring to? There are the eyes, nose, mouth, touch, ears. We can do simple things to protect these areas like, walking away from gossip, choosing to not watch a certain show or listen to a certain broadcast, etc. These seem easy enough, but Satan knows that, so he finds ways to infiltrate in a way that we don’t easily notice. I’m going to refer you to another site: where you can read more about what I’m trying to explain here. I strongly encourage you to do your own research as well to be better informed.

When I was in prison, I had a roommate start to tell me about how many of the stars, actors, actresses and musicians belong to the Illuminati. I thought she was joking. I had heard about them before, in the news, on the History Channel and after reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Now that I’m home, this is all that I am hearing about. These people are coming out on stage to accept awards, sing and perform and the first thing they do is make this triangle sign with their two hands lifting it up above their heads. (You can see some more demonic symbolism here: I had not watched the Grammy’s this year but was horrified to see people I enjoy listening to dressed like demons and just being blatant about it. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, Sam Smith’s performance was nuts. ( I have recently seen videos of a concert by The Weeknd subliminally flashed the word SATAN during a concert in 2017. So, Rhianna’s Super Bowl half time show didn’t surprise me when she came out decked in all red and flashed the illuminating sign prior to signing. Even her eye looked filled with evil. I like Rhianna’s music and the Holy Spirit convicted me so much that I couldn’t watch it. Perhaps people either chose to not see what’s happening now, or maybe as a society we have grown callus and insensitive. Why has this become so normal that they can just waltz out on stage and perform a satanic ritual in front of the world? Ironically, there was a commercial that playing during the Super Bowl that was in reference to Jesus. That received a LOT of backlash. (ps:// So, if we want to believe that everyone can worship who they want, then why the fuss about this ad? Why the acceptance of these performers worshiping Satan? You can’t have it both ways!

We as a society have pushed God so far out of our lives, out of everything we do that we can’t be surprised when he doesn’t rush to our aid. We have made him second fiddle and only call on him when we need him. Our country was founded on trusting in him, and yet we’ve allowed him to be removed from everything. It only seems fitting that Satan would use music to entice us to him. Many don’t realize that Lucifer was the angel of music.

Photo by Mo Eid:

#Satan, #SatanicWorship, #2023SuperBowl, #Grammys

Journey of Faith

June 16, 2015

I don’t like this date and I wish it never happened. Unfortunately, none of us were given the power to go back in time and change things. We can only move forward as best as we can and hope not only us, but others learn from our mistakes. They never said goodbye. Every time they ever left our house, they would tell us goodbye. Today, they didn’t do that. They left and never said a word. Never told us they were leaving, Nothing. It was a little after 6:00 pm when our youngest son told us they left. SH’s dad called and told him he had to get home to do chores and feed their dog. He wanted to know what was taking them so long, and SH told him that they needed to help get NA home because he drank too much. Drank without asking permission, drank by stealing something that wasn’t his. They all trespassed after leaving several times and not having permission to return. They left NA’s parents’ house after his mom, dad and sister were with them. DG drove them back to our house to get their cars. He let them leave to drive home. CH was with them and let them leave to go home. We saw them. All of us from 4:00 pm until a little after 6pm saw them and no one was drinking during that time frame. Remember SH, CH and our youngest son without our permission was at a convenience store. The clerk there and anyone else who might have seen them didn’t report them being intoxicated. My guess is that they did go there though to throw away trash they had at our house because there were no signs of anything when we or NA’s dad were there earlier. From the point that they left our house, we were told that they reached out to NM’s parents to see if he could go to SH’s house for dinner that night. After several requests my lawyer did NOT request phone records from NM’s phone or his parent’s phones. We were told NM called, but we have some family members or told us that they actually stopped at the house that day to ask permission. The stepdad was asked this question during the premilitary hearing and the mom was seen mouthing, “say no” as he testified on the stand. I asked to get copies of the video recording in the court room that day, but that was ignored too. My requests were ignored and thought irrelevant, I guess. Two people saw her mouth these words. So did they stop at their house and by doing so then would have shifted the blame off us and onto them. Hmmm. My phone rang at about 7:30pm. It was SH’s mom. I couldn’t understand her, she was crying. She asked me who was in SH’s car when they left our house. I told her I only knew of NM. She thought my older son was with them as well as NA because their book bags were thrown on the street and found. I kept asking her what happened. She said there was an accident. No one would tell me anything. Some lady got on the phone, and I gave her NM’s parents information to call them. Why wasn’t anyone telling me what happened? I went online to where you can look up 911 calls. There it was. A single vehicle accident on the road 1 minute from where SH lives. My knees buckled, county 50 had been called. County 50 is the coroner’s office. Please God, tell me that this is wrong. Later, NM’s mom called to tell me what happened. My poor baby boy was there. I don’t think he was every really the same after this day. How do you spend a whole day with people that are now no longer here? Just like that? How do you explain that to a 10-year-old? How am I going to call my older son and tell him? He’s at camp hours away. I was asked to go pick her daughter at work. I called DG’s mom and told her what happened so she could tell DG. I asked if she would go with me to get LM, NM’s sister from work. Do you know how difficult it is to drive 30 minutes in a car with a girl asking questions that you had answers to but couldn’t tell her? That was her parent’s place to tell her. We pulled in the driveway, and she ran inside. We all stood outside and waiting. Me, my husband, my youngest son, DG and his mom. I can’t get the scream out of my head. I wanted to puke, I wanted to run upstairs and grab her and hug her. Why did this happen? How? They weren’t drinking. They weren’t drunk. We stayed the rest of the night until very late. Other relatives were already there. We would spend the next several days with the families. All of us just wanted to be together and to try to make sense of this. How do you wreck a car on a road that you have lived off of your entire life? How do you wreck a car on a road one minute from your house? How do you drive almost 40 minutes from our house to this location and wreck? If you were drinking, they could’ve wrecked the car way before this. During one of many visits to SH’s house, the dad told me that apparently, they stopped at a convenience store down close to where they live. A friend of theirs saw SH and talked to him there. This never was investigated so again, no evidence now for us. No one wanted to question the parents or people associated with them. It was wrong to question them and make them look like they were at fault. Apparently, juries don’t like that. I was told anyway. Apparently, a red truck was seen speeding away from the scene. I can bring this up later in another post. It was brought up in court that they were text and snap chatting during the time of the accident. The 911 call went in at 7:11pm. They were text and snap chatting to a girl right up to the time of the accident. She wanted to testify. It was argued on side bar for almost an hour. Anything that pointed away from us, from me was argued. The judge would agree on the DA’s side. This was an unfortunate accident, but according to the DA someone had to pay. That someone became me.

Photo by Kat Smith: