Journey of Faith

December 2014

So according to my discovery packet, the police claim that they based their investigation to starting in December 2014. That this was where things started to go sideways. I have to disagree, as well as many others who know us personally and some casually. Moving into our new home, my husband decided that he wanted to fill our basement with all the things that most men want to fill their basement with. Our basement was the entire width and length of our house, including the garage, which is usual. The first item he decided to purchase was a pool table. I remember this day like it was yesterday. He found the table on craigslist, talked to the person on the phone, and looked at several photos. The pool table was used, but it was in great condition. The folks selling it were moving and needed it gone. I can’t recall the exact price we paid, but we also then hired a pool table mover to go get it. We never saw the table in person but relied on the professional mover we hired to give us his honest opinion. He arrived and said that the table was in great shape, and he would be able to move it with no problems. We sent the owners of the table and the mover payment via Pay Pal. I never knew what went into moving a table like this, but the task was tedious. It was a slate top table that had to be disassembled, carefully packed and then was moved from Maryland to our home in Pennsylvania. The mover told my husband that it would be several hours for him to break the table down, pack it and then drive to our house and have it reassembled. He wasn’t kidding. This process took from early one afternoon and he never completed setting it up in our home until 4am the next day. I think my husband ended up calling off work because he wasn’t expecting it to take that long. Once it was set up and completed, it sat in the middle of our basement for everyone to admire like the leg lamp in The Christmas Story movie. The kids were given instructions on the felt top and the slate under it. It was “FRAGILE”. We didn’t want to put in the expense yet of carpet and drywall in the basement yet because when we bought the home there was some dampness issues that cost us a pretty penny to fix. We had to have a French drain put in, extra sump pump and have the grading around the house redone. Once that was completed, we were assured that the dampness and water issues were resolved. (Which we found to be true). Rather than risk it though, we decided to paint the floor and put those paint chip flecks down. We painted the cinder block walls and put an area rug down to make it cozy. We had no plans to proceed any further than that because there was no egress out of the basement. So, any additional construction was tabled. We would use it “as is” and enjoy it for what it was. We decided to allow this to be a space where my sons could go and hang out with their friends rather than hanging out in their bedrooms. The house we had was a rancher, and the only good place for them to gather was in the basement. It just wasn’t a great idea for them to have friends in their rooms because the rooms weren’t super big and also to me, they were “private” spaces. There is an age difference of just about 5 years between our oldest and youngest. They had a shared bathroom, and it just didn’t seem far for one or other to have to put up with someone else’s friends encroaching on their private space. My kids both were already huge Xbox fans, so my husband then decided to buy a big tv to keep in the basement to not only watch movies, but to play their games on. We didn’t run cable down there, but it was available for streaming movies and at that time we were still using DVD players. Streaming was just starting to get big and Netflix coming into play. This area was going to be a place where all of us could potentially enjoy just hanging out and relaxing. I have a big family and was hoping to be able to have my family over for gatherings where we could all sit comfortably in one room. Unfortunately, that never happened. We also, decided to set up a stereo system down there, a workout area. My son was working out on a regular basis because of football, as well as some of his football buddies. We had good intentions of also starting to work out, but the only exercise we got was buying the equipment and having it set up. Like most equipment, it sat in the basement and just “looked good”. During these winter months, it was cold, it was starting to snow, and the roads were getting icy at night. The slightest bit of moisture during the day, then turned into black ice once the sun went down. I can’t recall if I mentioned this before, but the area that we lived in was rural. Most of the friends that our son had lived on back roads and even to drive from their house to the school on a good day could take 20-30 mins. This was depending on how far down into the far reaches of the school district that you lived. I never realized how far some of the houses were in the district until we started dropping off and picking up our kids and their friends to their respective houses. We lived in a district that tended to offer 1–2-hour delays regularly because of the back road conditions and the fact that many would drift closed if the wind blew the right way after a storm. There were a few times when they guys would stop over to see our older son and it would start to snow. I recall one of the first times this happened, I was NOT comfortable with them trying to drive home. These were all kids that I considered to be decent drivers but had not yet driven in the ice or snow. I remember asking them to call their parents to see if it was ok if they stayed and headed out the following morning when it wasn’t icy. We had plenty of room for them to all sleep in the basement. We had sofas, and the floor. There was plenty to do, and I knew they wouldn’t be driving in the dark on icy roads. Some of the friends weren’t able to stay because it was wrestling season. There were if I recall, at least 2 friends that wrestled on a regular basis. They were wrestling with the Senior High now and therefore traveling to schools’ way outside our district to matches. For some of the matches, they would even go further outside the area to wrestle kids throughout the state depending on how far the school made it. I remember asking my son at one point about certain friends because I hadn’t seen them around lately. He had told me that (I’m going to use initials) DG and CS were wresting and unable to come over to hang out. When I say hangout, that didn’t mean spending the night always either. These friends would stop in to say hi to our son, they would stop in to see if he’d want to go with them to other places. So, by asking about them it was just because I hadn’t seen them at all and wanted to know if they were ok. You know how kids get mad at someone and stop talking so I was curious to see if something like that had occurred. Eventually, he told me that they stopped hanging out with CS. I said, “why?” He told me that he and the guys found out that CS was using pot and wanted nothing to do with him. They didn’t want their names being associated with him because of football. They had strict rules about codes of conduct, etc. and so by CS smoking, or whatever else he was doing with weed they didn’t want any parts of it. This made us very proud as his parents that they made this decision. I noticed that this kid no longer really played on the team, and I guess decided to strictly stick to wrestling. I’m not sure, because once he stopped coming around, he was no longer on my radar. I also had asked about another friends SH, and why I didn’t see too much of him. My son explained it to me this way, “SH has seasonal friends. When he plays baseball, he has baseball friends. When he wrestles, he has wrestling friends. When he plays football, he has football friends. I guess he doesn’t want to hang out with us when those other sports are going on”. I figured, if he was ok with it what could I say about it. I personally don’t care for rainy day friends. There did seem to be a core group of friends that he hung out with. They were SH, NM, NA, CH and DG. Anyone else, I couldn’t tell you who they were and if they stopped by it was once and not memorable. You know how you see maybe a friend of your kids once and then might never see them again. I figured maybe my kid decided they weren’t the kind of person they wanted to be friends with, maybe they were ok to hang out with in school and that was it. I didn’t ask. You can’t possibly know every person that your kid associates with. I can see if they are coming over to your house or if your kid was asking to spend the night there. If that wasn’t happening, then how would I know anything about them. Also, them spending one time at the house didn’t put them on our radar to ask why they never returned. I hope that doesn’t sound callus but once you don’t just think about. The kid I asked about was coming often, I had met his parents at football banquets and noticed when I didn’t see him again. We weren’t friends with that kids’ parents, and the extend of our conversations were if they ever dropped him off or if we would see them at games. Most of us were Facebook friends, to be able to share football posts and that sort of thing. Before CS stopped coming around though, we did decide to take the boys all to the cabin. I can’t recall the exact time when we took all of them, but I know that there was a time when you couldn’t even reach the cabin because the mud and muck was so bad that the road was impassable. We thought if we could convince our older son to come back to the cabin again that he’d change his mind and want to start coming with us again. We wanted him to see that we installed the internet now, there was a phone. We installed a TV antenna and was getting almost 30 channels not including the Roku to stream. We were still having the handymen up there doing some work for us. We were in the process of looking into replacing the roof to a metal one so it would no longer rot. One of the other silly but necessary tasks that these guys would do for us was they would refill our water tanks. There was no running water at the cabin. They had built these water holding tanks for us. One was to use at the shower, and one was to use at the sink in the kitchen. They would pump water into a tank they had on their trucks and then empty it by repumping it into our tank to fill them. The cost for this service? A case of beer or bottom shelf vodka. (I’m not joking). My husband and I weren’t (and still aren’t) big drinkers. We kept a small supply of wine cooler type drinks, a few beers and that was about it on hand in the fridge. There was even a time when my husband said to me about stopping this because it seemed to him that friends that we were having come stay were drinking it more than we were. He didn’t mean that to be ignorant, but it wasn’t benefiting us to buy it and keep it there. The beer that was there we ended up telling our handymen to take with them the next time they let themselves in to do work. Eventually there was some remaining cans that I gave to our one friend who went up to do some clean out after the crap hit the fan. We weren’t allowed to have any alcohol once we ended up on probation. My one friend and her husband went up because they lived relatively close to get that and some food we had up there. Back to having the guys to the cabin, I remember the day that we left and were packing up the vehicles for the trip up there. We loaded my car, which ended up not having a ton of room. We had our 2 dogs, my husbands, my youngest sons and my clothing, bedding, food, and dog food. We had bought my older son a truck because he was in the process of getting his license. He couldn’t drive but we allowed his friend DG to drive the truck that weekend. It was DG, our son, CH, CS and I think that was it. SH, NM, and NA couldn’t go because they had other plans with family, etc. CS going along, I’m pretty sure was before we knew about him playing Cheech and Chong. They guys loaded the bed of the truck up with their stuff. I told them to put the stuff in trash bags or totes in case it rained since the truck didn’t have a cap on it. I didn’t go through their stuff and inventory it before it was loaded. If you’re a parent or say that you would have, I call BS. That’s not something normal people do. What reason did I have to inventory their belongings? When we got to the cabin that Friday night, it was customary for us to go to a local pizza joint. To this day, we love this place. The food is delicious, and the prices are reasonable. We all went and ate at the restaurant. Before we left, I told my husband that we needed to pick up a case of beer for the handymen because they filled the water tanks for us. I preferred to get the beer because the closest liquor store wasn’t close at all. I also, didn’t want to be driving from our house there with booze. Here’s the first area where I messed up! We were leaving the restaurant and my husband was using the restroom before we left. (We owned an outhouse, so he wanted to go before we got back). I have bad knees and problems with my hip. I’ve mentioned this a few times in my posts. When I was walking out, I made the mistake of not only asking my older son to carry the case of beer but then we decided to take a quick picture of everyone outside the restaurant. It was one of those, “hurry up and get over here, I winna take a pic of all of you”. Well, they were belly aching about hurrying up and by this time my husband comes out and jumps in the back of the pic. My son was still holding the case of beer. Who would have thought that this would come back to haunt me?

Photo by Muffin Creatives:

#Teenagers, #ParentingMistakes #Parenting #HighSchoolSports #HighSchoolFootball #TeenKids

Journey of Faith

Brady v. Maryland

According to Wikipedia: Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that established that the prosecution must turn over all evidence that might exonerate the defendant (exculpatory evidence) to the defense.[1]: 4  The prosecution failed to do so for Brady, and he was convicted. Brady challenged his conviction, arguing it had been contrary to the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[2][3]

So how often does this actually happen; and how honest is everyone when it comes to having such evidence? How many times has police or prosecutors waited until the 11th hour when the statute of limitations is about to expire to file charges? I can assure you that both happened in my case. (They had I believe it was 2 years to file charges, which would have been in June 2017. They waited until May!) When this occurs, it then becomes even more difficult for the defense to go back to obtain certain pieces of evidence because so much time has elapsed. (For example: we tried to go back to obtain copies of video camera footage from convenience stores, etc. and unfortunately most stores only keep their video items for a certain amount of time). So, that begs to question on whether or not that this is a common tactic used by prosecution to delay bringing charges to a certain point, knowing that certain evidence won’t be able to be found. Evidence disappears, people move away, scenery changes, people’s memories change. Hmmm. Along with video now being unattainable, time has passed allowing accounts to be deleted, posts from social media to be altered or removed. There is no preservation of evidence because at that time the only people who knows there MIGHT be a case is the police and the DA’s office. (Isn’t that convenient). One might presume that you could rely on witnesses, however there is not always a lot of witnesses or people involved in a case. Therefore, witnesses are often called by the prosecution and then the only way to question them is through cross examination. In the instance for my case, people were being called into the DA’s office to be interviewed. When they arrived, they were seated in a conference room with the DA and the arresting officer. I don’t know if anyone else was there besides them. I know this because my son’s friends who had to appear and his girlfriend at the time came back and told him what took place. My son’s girlfriend’s father was angry during this meeting. He said that they were asked a series of questions and whenever they didn’t get the answers, they were looking for they felt brow beaten and felt like they were being pressured to try to say what it was they wanted. There was a point when the father stood up to the DA and confronted him head on about some of the questions. He also started to tell him things that he knew to be different than what was being asked. He said that they got so red faced and upset that the meeting was ended abruptly. They don’t want to know the truth. They want their version of the truth. I don’t know how one decides to become a prosecutor. I don’t know how one decides to become a defense attorney. Either side of this fence leaves you either ruthlessly trying to put someone behind bars to make everyone in town happy (Yah! crime is down and being taken care of) or you’re stuck defending someone that possibly did something, and you need to prove they didn’t. (So, how do you separate yourself from that if you feel in your heart that they did?) It’s tough. What I don’t agree with though is using these cases for political agendas, self-promotion, and to get your vengeance for the years you were bullied in school in your past. (Yes, I said it. I think many times people are on a power trip to avenge something that happened in their past). You can be passionate about something, but there comes a time when you need to be able to reflect on both sides of the coin. When you decide to get up every day and willfully manipulate things so that someone can’t properly present a case in their defense-well there’s a verse in the Bible about all that.

The laws of the land and the courts say that we have a right to confront our accusers. I call BS. I am going to walk through this process with you, so that you can understand how messed up things actually are. I want you to understand that this is NOT easy, and they don’t even try to make it easy. Many just give up and plead guilty because the cost to defend themselves and prove their innocence is unaffordable. Even those with money, still can’t get the proper defense. If you do, they have so many loops and hoops to jump through and each one cost more and more. It’s like playing nickel slots at the casino. You know your chances of winning are slim to none but, I have as much chance as anyone else right? So, you keep plugging the nickels into the machine until your bucket is empty and what do have to show for it? NOTHING! A smaller bank account, you still have charges and you’re still facing fines, court fees, and jail time. The only people that win is the court and the lawyers. (I can’t tell you the amount of people involved in the system have told me and people I know that “You were just a money maker for them”) I pray that I can keep you all interested as I try to explain our “injustice” system as I saw it unfold for me. I’m not a lawyer, I have no law degree. I’m just a Christian woman, wife, mother, parolee, who made a mistake and found out the hard way. Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Photo by RODNAE Productions:

#BradyVMaryland #Injustice #CriminalJustice #BradyLaw #PrisonReform #CriminalJusticeReform #Corruption #CorruptLegalSystem

Journey of Faith

Freedom of Speech

Should the press, cameras and any sort of media be allowed inside the courtroom? According to our The Constitution of the United States our 1st Amendment right is as follows:

First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I am asking this question, because after being part of a jury trial myself and having been found guilty I have different feelings towards this issue. I will point you to the 6th Amendment as follows:

Sixth Amendment:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

So obviously we’ve all seen court cases throughout the news, the newspapers, social media, etc. I am just as nosey as the next person that wants to know what’s going on. What I didn’t realize though was how it can affect a court case. There’s not much you can do about it either because of the 1st Amendment right. However, what I can tell you is that be allowing the media, newspapers, reports, etc. to constantly post about cases, write tweets about it throughout the trial, etc. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not you are infringing upon that person’s 6th Amendment right. The right to an impartial jury! Most of the time during trial cases, the jury goes home at the end of the day and then returns the next morning. The judge can instruct them to not read the paper, talk to anyone about the case, to not read social media, etc. Who’s policing them though? Sequestering a jury is rare. Asking for a change in venue is next to impossible. The prosecution will use the media as leverage for their case. They have crime reporters who are begging to get the next top story. Everyone is trying to get another notch on their career belt to move up the ladder of success. It doesn’t matter how they get there. The prosecutor in my case was going to be running for judge and so my case was something that was going to help bring him attention and if it meant that getting it at any cost meant me going to jail for his good name then that was what was going to occur. During my case, there was one reporter that was so hell bent on getting her story that she barged into the attorney/client rooms located outside the court room. After, I was sentenced and remanded to custody one of the bailiff’s asked my husband, sister, brother-in-law and a few others wanted to sit in there to collect themselves. Next thing they knew, the door flew open and this reporter storms in pushing. One of the sheriffs at the courthouse had to remove her and she was lucky to not be charged. When my family then left the courtroom, she was waiting outside and pushed herself up under my husband’s umbrella. Where is the sense in this? This biggest shocker to everyone was that there are clear instructions on the courthouse website stating the following:

Prohibited Items in Judicial Center

  • Cell phones
  • Pagers
  • Knives or any type of cutting instrument (scissors)
  • Pepper spray or mace
  • Cameras: However, cameras may be allowed for adoption hearings and certain ceremonial events.
  • Firearms, ammunition, or black powder
  • Any type of recording device
  • Radios and cd players
  • Electronic games
  • Tools of any kind
  • Stun guns
  • Handcuff keys
  • No food or drink (food and drinks for infants and Jurors are allowed).

This particular reporter who sat directly behind the defense table the entire 2 weeks of my trial Tweeted a play by play of the entire hearing. You could go home that evening or at lunch get a recap of what was playing out in the court room. I had friends and family who saw it, so you know that the jury and their families saw it too. She was posting items in the newspaper along with a collogue. Once, my husband called the newspaper to have a story revised because it was totally false. We had proof from a police officer who called the DA’s office to tell them the accusations weren’t true. My husband was told, “People don’t want to know the truth”. So, if you don’t want to know the truth or report it, why read the papers? Doesn’t that then make anything they post questionable? There are people, and I’ve found that many times it’s the older generation that believe everything they read. If it’s in writing, then it must be true. Do you ever happen to notice that some cases get more attention than others? I mean what makes one person’s murder, one person’s robbery, or another person’s dui case any different than the one with less media? If you take a deeper look, there’s normally an agenda behind it. Who’s trying to move up the corporate ladder? So, are they in a sense glorifying your tragedy for their professional gain? It’s sickening when you think of it that way. As a victim, all of this makes you happy because it’s the equivalent of a town hanging. I get it. It’s not a good scenario for anyone. The other problem that I started to have with publishing everything before the final outcome, was “aren’t we supposed to be innocent before being proven guilty?” According to the headlines, they have people guilty, sentenced and put in jail before all the facts come to light. They do this on purpose to get a pulse on how people feel about the case. The DA’s office, the Defense and everyone involved is reading the papers, your comments and for reactions. So, while we do have a first amendment right, at what cost are we willing to allow it to affect the right to a fair trial?

Photo by Ekrulila:

#CriminalJustice #RightToFairTrial #FirstAmendment #SixthAmendment #FreeSpeech #PrisonReform #CriminalJustticeReform

Journey of Faith

Does Chrisley Know Best?

While I was incarcerated, one of the ways to pass time was to watch TV. I tried to fill my time with other more constructive things to do. I learned to crochet, I at one point was enrolled in business classes, I worked, and I attended Bible Studies and Church. I had seen “Chrisley Knows Best” maybe one time before, but I didn’t really become a fan until this point. It was nice watching a Christian family poke fun at each other, Nanny Faye’s antics, Todd’s southern sass, and Julie to doting mom. It cracked me up how they always seemed to put Chase in charge of Nanny Faye. That was like the fox watching the hen house. Together, they were bound to get in trouble. When I started to hear about their legal troubles, I was shocked but yet I wasn’t. It seems like when you have that much money, something is bound to happen. I don’t know all of the details regarding the taxes they did or didn’t pay. That’s not the intent of my post. I have actually now started to follow Savannah’s podcase on Spotify called “Unlocked with Savannah”. Listening, to her stories each week I can relate to the pain and terror that I hear in not only her voice but her mom and siblings. She has touched on some points that were brought up by family/friends as we were dealing with these same issues. It has made me feel better to know that we weren’t the other people feeling and thinking this way during this process. I don’t think anyone can comprehend the ins and outs of the legal system until you are thrown into it. Being an armchair lawyer during episodes of Law and Order isn’t real court. Before Savannah brought up this particular issue during her podcast, I picked up on it just watching and listening as it unfolded in the news. There are many things that I am seeing and hearing with their case that resonated with me. I won’t touch on all of them in this post, but I do want to talk about a main point. What’s the first thing that anyone does when they are charged with a crime? They have to hire a lawyer. The court pretty much tells you that you can’t show up to court without one. Whether they are court appointed or you paid for them yourself, you need a lawyer. I feel pretty safe to say that most of us would have no idea what to say or do inside a court room without one present. Representing yourself doesn’t seem like a wise idea either. Your lawyer will advise you on certain things to do or not to do. One of the first things they are going to tell you to do is not talk about the case with others, and they will also eventually tell you if they feel it’s a good idea or not to testify on your own behalf. What’s happened to Todd and Julie is something that came up in my case as well and that is the fact that apparently their silence has been looked at by the court as being “entitled” or “being arrogant to the facts of the case”. This then was part of the determination of how they were then sentenced. I feel that this is NOT the way that a sentencing should be determined. It should not even be part of that conversation. Don’t get me wrong, if you are someone who is in court for murdering someone and you are laughing and giving no care to human life that is entirely different. You are then a safety concern and not mentally stable. However, when you are sitting in a court room and are told by your legal counsel to do or not do certain things, you listen to them. That’s what you’re paying them for right? So, how does a judge then look at that person and during sentencing bring this up? The newspapers are sitting in the courtroom right behind the defense table. Therefore, anytime your lawyer tries to talk to you they can practically hear what’s going on. That in itself is wrong! To me that broke attorney/client privilege. During my case, my family Dr. had given me medication to settle my nerves because, well they were shot. I was either being seen as emotionless, or if I was crying it was because I was crying for myself and not what was happening. You get accused of taking your case to trial because you “feel entitled”. Todd and Julie are going through the same things. I hear things like, “the judge gave them a harsher sentence because of how nonchalant they were about the charges”. Best believe that when you are charged with a crime, you do not feel nonchalant. A lot of that is fear and just trying to hold yourself together. When I hear statements like this and know firsthand because of hearing them myself, you know that “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t exist. It seems to me that they want everyone to come to court and throw themselves at their mercy. So, then I must ask, “Who is actually the one that feels entitled?”


#ChrisleyKnowsBest #SavannahChrisley #Chrisley #Court #CriminalJusticeReform #PrisonReform

Journey of Faith

Friday Night Lights

I was having a hard time sleeping last night. I haven’t been feeling the greatest after returning from Thanksgiving break with my family. The Doctor says that I’ve tested negative for Covid and the flu, which is a plus, but I do have an upper respiratory infection. I knew that prednisone and antibiotics were going to be prescribed. I don’t know if it was a combination of all of that or if the Lord felt that we needed some alone time, but I spent half the night talking to him and praising him for all of my blessings over the last year. One of the things that I talked to him about was some things that I’ve wanted to blog about here. I sort of left you all hanging after I was paroled and ended up moving with my Great Aunt, and now my permanent home back with my husband and son. I heard the Lord say to me, “Friday Night Lights”. I knew what he was referring to. I prayed about it some more, and it’s not the first time that this subject came up between him and I. So, what does this have to do with anything? I’ll take you back to when my oldest son was just starting to be old enough to register for rec sports team. My husband’s passion his entire childhood was baseball. His dad was the coach, he played on teams whose fathers were Orioles players. He was a pretty good player himself at one time. He had it pictured in his mind that if we had son’s they would play baseball. As soon as our oldest could sit up he was throwing him a toy baseball, when he was walking, he was showing him how to bat. The unfortunate thing was that by the time he was old enough to enroll in a rec team, the only sport available at pre-kindergarten was soccer. What the heck, we’ll try it out. We were excited, bought him the gear, shin protectors. All the gadgets needed to make a pre-k soccer player look official. We attended practice and then came the big day. His first game. I invited my mom to come watch. Our son was not as enthusiastic about this sport as we hoped. Apparently, when his teammates were at the other end of the field scoring a goal, he decided it was more entertaining to put the sideline cone on his head and start singing “Happy Birthday”. Oh, if we only had cell phone cameras then! We often reminisce that if we had video, we might have won America’s Funniest Videos. Obviously, this was not the sport for our son. He eventually went on to play T-ball, Baseball, and even had a few seasons of wrestling under his belt. All of which he seemed to enjoy, until he didn’t. They just weren’t his cup of tea. He came to us then one day with a flyer asking to sign up for Youth Football through the school. Neither of us knew anything about Football, other than watching it on TV as a spectator. My husband wasn’t going to get his chance at coaching, but as parents we became #1 fans. Rain, shine, cold, warm, we were sitting outside in our bag chairs yelling like we were rooting for the NFL. Our son excelled at this sport. Well beyond what we could have imagined. By the time he was starting Junior High, the coaches were watching him and moving him to advanced levels. The older kids weren’t too happy when he was able to barrel them over during practice drills. They soon got over it though, realizing that he was eventually going to part of the larger team that would take them to winning games. We definitely went through a lot of bumps, bruises, sprains, and breaks. This is not a sport for the faint at heart. As a mom, I needed to learn to sit on the sidelines and know that the coaches and staff were there to coach and protect the players. I was a fan and a mom at that point. The biggest change was when he had to make a decision. He was asked in 8th grade to go play with the 9th grade Jr Football team. He was one of I believe 5 that was asked. Only one of the boys took the offer as the remainder of the boys wanted to remain behind knowing that they could come together in the next season and come out undefeated. They did exactly that! I never saw so much whooping and hollering from the parents and locals. Yes, there were locals that would come out and keep an eye on the up-and-coming players. These boys were making a name for themselves, and they knew that this was the team that was going to take the High School to districts finally. So, imagine being a parent and from the time they were in Elementary school you were told that you had something exceptional that you were raising. I mean, after a while, you start to wonder if you need to plan for college scouts. When the time came and he entered into High School, he never played for the Jr team. He went straight to Varsity. A new coach was hired and had created a new culture for the players and the parents. He called it FAMILY. It was an acronym that stood for Forget About Me I Love You. Yes, it’s cheesy, but what it stood for was that your actions not only affect you but the entire team. You are the team and together all of us were there to support each other. You started to feel yourself being sucked into this idea. “Yeah, that sounds like a great plan! We’re family and do stuff together on and off the field. They were “Brothers”.” I find that if you were never part of something like this, it might be hard to understand how easy it was to buy into all of this. The coaches were telling us as parents, “Yeah, your kid is a superstar. They can end up being looked at by college scouts.” The staff was putting together film clips of their best plays and posting them on a website for scouts to look at. We were getting calls from companies that promised this and that (we didn’t buy into that mess). Let’s just say that as a parent, it gets you excited. You’re starting to apply to colleges, the teams at those colleges are looking to see if they want to add them to their rosters. I’m just looking for someone to help foot the bill. My son is saying that anything less than a D1, maybe D2 college isn’t worth it. Now, we’re tampering down his expectations that he’s not going to end up in the NFL. What doesn’t help that there was a guy that graduated from his school, that we all knew and were friends with the parents that was scouted to the Detroit Lions. We spent the evening at their home during the draft waiting. He was eventually contacted, went to camp and then was cut before things got started. It put that extra spark in everyone’s eye for a moment that this can really happen in small town USA. Again, on the surface this “FAMILY” concept sounded good. We started having some of the teammates over here and there for pizza nights, game nights and occasionally sleep overs. This was something that took place throughout several of the players homes. One oversite that we failed as parents to consider, was that OUR son wasn’t the same age as his teammates. Remember, he was in 9th grade going into 10th grade. The majority of the players, being Varsity were Juniors or Seniors. We never took into account the amount of peer pressure that was being put on him. Trying to prove himself on and off the field. My husband and I both grew up fairly secluded from some of things that kids these days are up to. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us were saints. We just weren’t the kind of kids that caused our parents any problems. I, speaking only for myself became very naive. I raised a good kid, the teachers, coaches, etc. told me that he was a great student, athlete, person. He was on the honor roll, achieved the Presidential Education Award. As parents, we felt successful in raising a decent, good human being. He’s still an outstanding person to this day! Kids don’t come with instruction manuals. We learn from our parents, who learned from their parent’s, and we try to build upon those lessons. You want to see your kids succeed, excel and heck maybe even live vicariously through them. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. He had no business hanging out with kids that were Jr’s and Sr’s when he was only in 9th grade. While the age difference isn’t huge, the thoughts and things they were doing was entirely different. In 9th grade, you’re still watching WWE Wrestling and still are relying on Mom’s taxi to take you everywhere. In 11th and 12th grade, you either have a car or at least your license. You’ve had a girlfriend or two and may have even started messing around. If you are put into a situation as a 9th grader and expected to perform at a Sr. level, you are forced to grow up and act a certain way in order to fit in. No one wants to be a dork. As a parent, we do at the time what we feel is the best decision for our kids. We give them leeway to be able to spread their wings and grow. There comes a time when we hope that things, we’ve taught them to this point has been enough. It’s never enough, because even today at my sons being 19 and 23, they are still seeking guidance from us. Heck, we seek it from them as well. It’s part of being a healthy family. Why? We respect each other’s opinions and those opinions matter. I can’t go back and have a re-do. If I could, I’d probably still allow him to move up because we were relying on the advice of a coach who saw potential. What I regret is buying into the FAMILY manta and actually thinking that we can treat the fellow teammates as our own. That we could allow them into our lives and into our homes. Our private sanctuary. Oh how wrong we were.

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur:

#FridayNightLights #FootballParent #Family #Parenting #Parent #HighSchoolFootball

Bible Study

Spiritual Blindness

Growing up in the 80’s everyone wanted a Nissan Pulsar w/ the flip up lights. They were cool and futuristic. As time went on, people noticed a design flaw with the headlamps. They were the ones that would flip up when you turned them on. Over time, one would unfortunately remain stuck in the upright position. You drove around town with these cars essentially “winking” at you. This flashback came to mind yesterday after traveling to my sister and brothers-in-law’s home for Thanksgiving. I recently had eye surgery, AGAIN. I’ve lost count of the number of surgeries that I’ve had in my eyes from detached retina’s, cataract surgery, scar tissue removal, oil bubble removal. A habit that I’ve started because of these surgeries is closing my one eye, essentially using my “one good eye” to look at things. People notice that I squint or only have the one open. I’m walking around looking like a Nissan Pulsar, unknowingly winking at people. I’m really just trying to see out of whichever eye is working at the moment. One the trip here, and after asking several times if it was ok to fly, my surgeon assured that I would be fine. We boarded our flight out of Baltimore and after reaching maximum altitude it happened. I knew immediately my eye pressure was not right. When you have the problems that I’ve had, you know a thing or two about eyes. The feelings I was having, the feeling not only in my eye but the cold, clammy sweats. I was going to be sick. I didn’t want to do it, but if I did, I would probably feel better. I leaned forward, looking down and resting my head against the seat in front of me. It was all I could think of to do. A posture I had to do after my first detachment surgery, lying face down. I thought, maybe this would relieve some of the pressure. My wonderful husband was trying to comfort me, bringing me cold rags. I did essentially get sick, and I don’t know if that made me feel better, the leaning forward, or that we were descending by this time for landing. I was just happy to be feeling better and putting feet on the ground. During this time, I was also doing a lot of praying. “Lord, please protect my eye, get us there safely. Help relieve this pain.”

The Lord put this one my heart to share with all of you because as I suffer through temporary blindness, I can’t help but hurt for those who walk around spiritually blind every day. It reminded me of the story of Paul before he became Paul on the road to Damascus. If you’re unfamiliar with this story, you can read the full story in Acts 9. Saul was against Christianity and was persecuting early Christians. He had gone to the high priest asking for permission to arrest anyone to bring back to Jerusalem. The Lord shined a bright light down from Heaven asking him why he was persecuting him. Saul and his men just stood there astonished, hearing a voice but seeing no one. When he stood up and opened his eyes he couldn’t see. The Lord had told him to go, and he would tell him what he needed to do. The Lord had made Saul (Paul) blind. Ananias ended up restoring Saul’s sight, filling him with the Holy Spirit and converting him.

Again, you can read the entire story in Acts 9. I read and heard this story many times, but it wasn’t until now that I could put it into context. Whether Paul was literally or not, it doesn’t matter when it comes down to the meaning of the story. Paul might not have been able to physically see with his eye, but his heart was blind. He didn’t want to believe in the Lord. Sometimes, it takes a circumstance in our life to enlighten us. The Lord everyday uses any way possible to bring us closer to him. To fully rely on him. He doesn’t want us to be spiritually blind and wander aimlessly. The Lord lights a path onto feet. Go to him, lean on him and let him open your eyes.

Photo by Monica Turlui:

Journey of Faith

Fed up!

When I became incarcerated, I vowed that I would bring to light misconceptions about the criminal justice system as well as incarceration. Once, I came home I joined different groups and follow different people on social media to become even more aware. It’s obvious that as I watch and listen, that many are FED UP! People are starting to realize that regardless of whatever crime you committed that you’re still a human being. You can be punished for a crime and still be treated humanely. One of my guilty pleasures is watching Tik Tok. I came across a vlogger recently @djwhatchusaid360. What caught my attention was that he was employed at the Beaver County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania. He was a Corrections Officer who while employed there, tried numerous times to report abuse, neglect, corruption by staff to no avail. The result of his persistence let to his dismissal from his job because he was unwilling to “play by their rules”. The way he explained it was that staff fit into categories. You cared but didn’t want to bring attention to yourself because you had a family and needed the job, or you were just holding on until retirement so you could cash in on your pension. You could also be one of the ones that neither cared one way or another and got off on being given the “authority” to do whatever you wanted to inmates because there would be no consequences for doing it. Who was going to tell? Admittingly, the cameras didn’t record. The only “eyes in the sky” was another officer who sat in the control booth, who could look away when necessary. Regardless of how someone might feel about an individual for a crime they committed doesn’t give us permission as society to allow the mistreatment of them at will. We can’t be in shock in awe on one side, but then consider it to be ok on this end. How doesn’t that even make sense? Have we lost all of our compassion or care for life in general? One of the things that was also shocking to me when I became incarcerated was the amount of people with mental disabilities being housed there. Many mental hospitals were closed many years ago because the abuse, neglect and illegal testing done on the patients. This left those needing special housing to go into group homes, back to family or if they were criminally insane-they’d be locked up in a prison. I can tell you that a prison facility has no care or ability to correctly care for these patients. Most of the time they can’t live with others because of safety concerns. Certain medications cannot be prescribed because of the risk of the meds leaking out into the prison population. Staff is not properly trained to handle these inmates. Many times, these inmates end up in the hole because of acting out or not being compliant. Even, those who aren’t a danger and can live with general population struggle. Their needs are different than other inmates. Unfortunately, they end up getting stuck there because they are viewed as a problem inmate. They aren’t so much as a “problem” as they aren’t able to cope or understand so they act out. They aren’t medicated properly, nor receiving the right care. Ironically, the men’s facilities in PA have specific prisons for those with mental disabilities. The women’s facilities have specific “units” for those needing different housing. While this might look good on the surface, I again assure you that it’s just for show. I applaud this gentleman for speaking his truth. There are many good corrections officer’s out there who realize that they can make a difference. They realize that part of their job is to be a mentor and to encourage those incarcerated to do better. They can either help or be part of the problem. Like I mentioned in my last post, what’s done in the dark does come to the light. People are fed up and speaking out, I pray the right people listen.

Photo by Anna Shvets:

Bible Study

Your Inner Voice

1 John 2:20-27 But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things.

Some call it a gut feeling, intuition. Call it whatever you want, but I say it’s the Holy Spirit giving me unction to make a choice. Last night I taught an online Bible study and one of the things we talked about was choices. In fact, that was the theme. Making good choices. How do we know we’re making good choices or not? The first question I had to ask myself when preparing this Bible study, was, “who am I to be instructing someone how to make good choices when I didn’t do it myself?” The Holy Spirit quickly told me that I am the perfect person to teach others about making better choices. Sometimes we allow other things to influence our decisions. We don’t want to let someone down, we don’t want to look like a loser, or it quite frankly might be an easy out. Whatever our reason is, we should be consulting the Lord before we consult anyone else. Eventually, the decisions that we make will affect us now or later. It’ll just depend on who’s voice your listening to when you make it.

Luke 12:3

Bible Study

Happy Halloween

Halloween is a controversial holiday between Christians. I was raised that it was about having fun, trick or treating and that was about it. We never looked into any deeper meaning than what it was at face value. The history of Halloween goes back to ancient Ireland according the The History Channel (read more here: Halloween or All Hallows Eve was a festival to ward off evil spirits. I’m not sure where it came into play that it was a holiday to worship satan and his minions. We all do know, however that there are cults that so practice this as part of their beliefs. As Christians we sometimes get too caught up in details such as Halloween but fail to look around us at the satanic symbolism being put right out in the open. Even some of the phrases used every day, have roots in the occult. What we must ask ourselves, is this an accident or is there a more sinister reason that these symbols keep appearing. I want to share some with you, and you be the judge.

Diva: Maria Carey, Whitney Houston, and female artists of all genres have been called a DIVA. We should NOT be calling women or anyone a diva. I have read what I’m about to tell you many times, but I’ll reference “The Power of the Pen” – for further reading. Diva in Latin means “Deus”, which means devil. Diva is short for divination. You are asking to be worshipped and the Lord has specifically told us not to place any other gods before him.

So, you are probably thinking, “why do I need to know this?” The Bible tells us that we need to know who we are dealing with. In Mark 5:9- Jesus came across a demon and specifically asked it, “What is your name? The demon responded, I am Legion, for we are many.” In Luke, Chapter 11 we are introduced to “the strongman”. ( So, if we are to know who we are dealing with, and if we are to know their name, then shouldn’t we know who’s on the hitlist? If a specific person was bothering you, you would tell them, “Hey so and so, you’re bugging me-get away from me!”. We need to do the same thing when satan is attacking us, our loved ones, and our property. A book that I highly recommend is by John Eckhardt, “The Demon Hitlist”. You can pick up a copy on Amazon or your local bookstore. (I’ve read the hard copy, but I found this here: Dr. Jerry and Carol Robeson, also wrote a book called, “Strongman’s his name, what is his game”. ( Here is another book from John Eckhardt (file:///C:/Users/Jodie/Downloads/Prayers-That-Rout-Demons-John-Eckhardt-Christiandiet.com_.ng_.pdf).

I Corinthians 12:1 tells us not to be ignorant of spiritual things. 2 Corinthians 2:11 also tells us to not be ignorant of satan’s schemes so that he can’t have any advantage over us. I know this isn’t a subject people like to discuss. The world is getting uglier and uglier. As Christians, we need to be on guard and put on our full armor. I pray that each of you reading this will take the time to read the links that I’ve shared. Investigate on your own. Pray Psalms 91 over you and your loved ones daily. Be wise to the schemes of the enemy.

Photo by Alexa Popovich:

Journey of Faith

Trust and Obey

Growing up I remember a song that we used to sing in Sunday school. It was called “Trust and Obey”. The lyrics went something like, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus is to trust and obey”. When life hits you sideways like it did for me, that was the only choice that I saw. I needed to completely trust in my Lord and Savior, as well as obey what he was instructing me to do. Romans 4:20 tell us “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.” When the Lord repeatedly showed me and told me that I was coming home, I had to be obedient in believing that what I was hearing was from the Lord. He does deserve all of the glory for everything good in my life. I sometimes look in the mirror, hard to believe that I’m actually home. Living in MY HOME. In the book of Hebrews 12:11 says, “For the moment, discipline seems painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” I believe that to be true, at least in my case. The Lord has put a calling on my life. I definitely wasn’t meant to “fit in”. If everything that I have been through in my life has been for his glory, well I’m ok with that. If every day that I get up, I can be an example to everyone that I encounter, then I’m ok with that too. I can only hope that others will then be their own examples to others, knowing that you never know who might be watching. Ask the Lord today, what his purpose is for your life and how he can use you to advance his Kingdom.

Photo by Kevin Malik: