Week Twelve

More Classes, Walking, Friends & The System

12 weeks are over! 84 days are over! Almost 3 months are over!

I started a couple of new classes in the last two weeks.  The first one, Threshold, is a nationwide class to help you get ready to go back into the “real world”, spiritually & mentally.  It is normally a 6 month program, but since our chaplain is leaving the end of the year, she is doing a 3 month express version.  We are not missing anything, just double the learning each week & double the work.  Lots of homework for this class, which is good, it gives me time to think about everything and reflect during the week.  The other class, that I am really excited about, because I wanted to take it on the outside, is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  The hard thing is, I can’t start applying it until I get home, but at least I will be ready.  We meet weekly and watch his DVDs and have a very nice workbook to go with it.  The only thing they don’t supply is his book that goes along with the course, but thanks to mom and Amazon, the book is on its way.

I have been walking every night, and it has really become my time of quiet and reflection.  I have the Christian station on in the background and take the time to look at the clouds and the sunset.  I have seen more rainbows here in the last 12 weeks than I have seen in the last couple of years.  I don’t know if there are more out here since we are in the country, or if I just haven’t taken the time to notice them.  Last night there was a cloud formation that took up the entire western sky.  It truly looked like a great big angel looking down on us.  The wings were perfect and the sun was in a position behind the head that it looked like a halo shining behind it.  It was really amazing to look at.  I was sad when the clouds moved and my angel went away.  The back side of our track has woods about 100 feet away from it.  There are couple of raccoons that hang out at the edge of the woods.  There is also a herd of wild pigs (do pigs run in herds?) that come out and play in the retention pond behind the housing units.  There are about 30 of them and quite a site when they are all out there.  The other night, there was a kitten sitting on the edge of the woods.  Little guy couldn’t have been more than 4 months old.  A couple of us stopped on the track to see him, one person was trying to call him over (was not happening).  I looked up and one of the girls around me had tears in her eyes.  I asked her what she was crying for, and she told me she had been locked up for 6 years and that was the first kitten she had seen the entire time.  She used to volunteer at a cat rescue and loves cats.  About a minute later the kitten decided he had seen enough of us and took off back into the woods.  It is the little things that you don’t think about missing until you actually miss them.

I told my mom that I have met some pretty amazing people here.  There are a lot of people here that will do things for you, out of the kindness of their hearts (there are some others that will do it, as long as you pay them). For example, when our laundry bags come back, they are sorted on the tables in the activity room based on the letter on the bag (all bags have a letter A-D and a number), and then we come through and grab our bags.  One lady, will take the time to look at the list to see what bag belongs to what person, and delivers them to our cubes.  She does this for no reason except to be nice.  Most people here really seem to care.  We have our little family of 100 and although I don’t sit and talk to all of them, they all make sure to say Hi when they walk by.  I had someone come to my cube the other night that I really have not talked to much and said she just wanted to see my bulletin board, because someone had told her how adorable my children were.  We spent 10 minutes talking about kids.  I felt so sorry for her, because this weekend, her son was getting married, and she of course could not be there.

I had another disappointing time with our “system” this week, or maybe it is just the employees hired and the time they have to complete their jobs.  For the second time now, on Tuesday, I was told he would do his best to have a visit form approved by Friday.  On Thursday, I went to look for him to see if it would happen, only to find out he was on vacation until Tuesday of next week.  Really?  This is a form that was sent in over a month ago, and just sat until I asked about it (just like last time), and then still did not make it in time.  There needs to be a better system.  I have talked to so many people who have had the same disappointment.  I am lucky, my visitors are only an hour away, and have been able to reschedule, one of my friends had someone coming from South Carolina, that is not as easy to schedule.  We are told that they encourage visits and want us to keep our family and friends close, but then we are not able to get the visits because of issues on this end.  On a good note, and this needs lots and lots of prayers, there was an issue with the halfway house packages sent out and they are resubmitting all of them for 2017.  This means there is a chance that I may get an earlier date to get out of here.  So everyone reading this, please pray.  My kids need me, my family needs me, my job needs me and my dogs need me.  Please pray for my parents too.  They are going through so much helping take care of my 3 year old and my dogs.  I wish the person that publicly announced in the newspaper that he would continue to support my family during this time, would follow through with it.  I know it was just a way to make himself look good in the paper, since nothing had happened to that point for him to continue, but it would be nice for them to get some support.

I have a bunch of letters I need to write.  I ran out of stamps and the commissary was closed for a week. I appreciate all of the notes, puzzles and prayers I have been receiving.  I love hearing from people I thought forgot about me, and people I have not heard from in a very long time.  Keep sending the notes and keep praying!

Have a great week!

Julie

20 more chicken days
9 more visit weekends
5 more blanket exchanges

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