Hello out there,
Well, it’s been a while since my last posting, which just means not much of anything has taken place. And yes, I am still awaiting a decision from our honorable Governor. They say that, ‘no news is good news,’ but at some point it has to come, and I just continue to pray it will come in the form of good news. Keep me and the situation in your prayers.
At any rate, I thought I would share with you my second ‘outside’ Kairos experience. Last year was the first, and that was with my sweet Aunt Delores. We had the best time ever with each other, too. For those who don’t know what Kairos is, it’s a Christian-based organization (accepting of all faiths). I had heard about it some time ago back when I was on the row but had never experienced it firsthand. When I was taken off the row in ’11 and I arrived at Warren CI my Aunt Angie reminded me of Kairos and told me to get in it if I could. Because of how the prison did its selections, though, it wasn’t until the following year that I was able to get selected. So I ended up going through and graduated in ’13. I really enjoyed the experience. I found out about outside Kairos when I came here to Marion CI. It’s a unique experience in that it’s the only prison in the state that has this. Actually, one other prison (North Central Prison next door) started it last year. And basically what it entails is allowing any female (e.g., mom, sister, cousin, daughter, auntie, wife) who is on your approved visitors list to come in and have an incredible experience. They fellowship with other real women, sharing in some of their stories and loving on one another. They also get to spend time with us – those who nominated them. It’s a cost-free weekend filled with love and appreciation. They are treated like queens during that weekend, and they love it. The first day (Friday) they come into the prison not knowing what to expect, and to their surprise they got to be greeted by us. We even had a dance and song routine planned for them, which they absolutely loved. That day we only got to spend about 30 minutes with them. It was really to just break the ice and help them feel comfortable since most of them had never been so far inside a prison before. It was held in the chapel. On Saturday we didn’t see them at all – the day was specific to them and Kairos. They engaged in fellowship, forgiveness exercises, singing, good food (everyday was a different theme -from Italian, birthday, western, I believe). It wasn’t until Sunday that we got to see and hangout with them. We attended their grad ceremony, ate with them, and enjoyed ourselves out back on the garden pavilion. It was a blessing, the whole thing (weekend). Am happy I was able to do this for them. Now that the initial entry into Kairos is complete, they get to attend three more reunions with us (July, December, February) which I’m looking forward to. My Aunt Delores will get to attend also since she went through Kairos graduation already. Should be a lot of fun.
Also just recently attended a birthday celebration for a beautiful, very active 94 year old woman. I don’t know her personally, as I was there by invitation from a friend of mine who actually put it all together (he was on the row with me once upon a time). He asked me to paint a portrait of her when she was younger, which I was honored to do. Luckily when he called me up on stage to present her with it she loved it. Everyone did actually. Even days after I’m receiving compliments about it. I was in the commissary just today and someone who was there gave me much praise, so I was relieved it went well. I got me a big ole squeeze and some birthday suga from the birthday girl 🙂 She received lots of gifts and love that evening, and was quite overwhelmed by it. A great evening for a more than deserving person. She has been active in the service of others her whole life and has not allowed age to slow her down one bit. She actually reminded me of my own grandma who was in her 90’s at the time of her passing. She was every bit as feisty, too. Ms. Davis made sure we knew that she just renewed her driver’s license up till 2019. She said she didn’t have time to be waiting on someone to be picking her up (laugh). She was a real joy, and I feel fortunate to have been able to help celebrate this beautiful woman of 94 years of age.
Only at Marion does this happen. Kudos to the administration, Jason Bunting (Warden) included, because they make it all possible.
Same can be said for the garden program I’m a part of now. Yes, while I have been away from my blog I have been working my way into the position of being allowed to be a volunteer gardener for the community garden. We provide fresh vegetables and fruits to three local food banks for free. I don’t know about you but I think this program is amazing. It allows us the opportunity to engage in something extremely productive and worthwhile; contributing to the outside community. As I said, we don’t get paid for any of it either. We simply find meaning in giving back to the community and making a difference in other people’s lives. I have to say, too, that I never would have thought I’d be in a position to make such a difference. God is good, though, and he’s clearly not done with me yet 🙂 lets continue to pray he will open these doors for me once and for all so that I may live to my full potential. Am looking for a great harvest to come — both with the garden and with the governors decision. Will keep you posted.
For now I will close. I thank you all for hanging in there with me and keeping me in your prayers. It means a great deal to me. As always, continue taking special care out there and enjoy the little things in life. Don’t allow it (life) to pass u by. Till next time, my friends. God bless!