Saturday, April 28, 2018

What am I getting myself into?

Hello, World.

As an employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at Telford Prison, I am not supposed to talk about things that may or may not go on inside the facility. What happens there, should stay there.

But, I will say this:

My academy "pre-service training" has opened my eyes to a lot. I listen to stories from current employees there about experiences that they have had. I listen to stories about things I might have to go through. I listen to stories about what people do and how they act in a crisis.

After taking a tour of the facility with my fellow trainees, I came away humbled. The people I will be working with, when my training is complete, are nothing less than heroes. I stated to a fellow trainee, very humbly, that I only hope that when I have to face such a crisis, I can be as brave and courageous as I have heard about.

As my late stepmother once said, and my fellow trainee pointed out in response, "You aren't going to know how you are going to act until you get there. No one can."

She was right. It's easy to want to be a hero. It's a whole other thing when the opportunity presents itself. Anyone can talk the talk -- but it's the walk that matters.

After my tour the other day during class, I came home and did some really hard thinking and praying about what I was getting myself into with my new job. Do I really want to put my life on the line every single day. I mean, that is what I will be doing -- flipping a coin every day to see if I get to come home safe and whole at the end of the day.

No wonder the benefits are so great.

I prayed.

Am I really fit for this? Can I do the job if faced with a situation I have never been in that requires defending myself or a co-worker or another inmate?

Clearly, I need work.

After thinking and praying about this, I asked myself:

Is this why God put me here? Is this something I need to do for some greater job He has for me in the future? And, if so, what do I need to do in order to do it right?

God spoke to me in my heart and said that I should not fear, He would be with me.

Isaiah 41:13
“For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”

I don't have kids to come home to, or a family at home that is depending on me the way many of my co-workers do. I can afford to put all I have into my job. If I died tomorrow in the line of duty, my children are grown and can fend for themselves.

And, I really do need to get into better shape.

This morning, I watched some training videos. I think I'm going to start practicing at home -- and do more situps and push ups each day. Maybe this job is because God doesn't like how I look right now...and wants me to lose weight. Maybe I'm fixing to have my house broke into and I need to defend myself and my property. Maybe there is an inmate who needs to be counseled in the Word. Maybe there is a co-worker who needs my support.

I came to the conclusion that I am there for a reason. I need to have the courage to stay. I need to Buck up and move forward and do what I am called to do, no matter what the cost may or may not be.

That's what Christians are called to do every day. I guess God is putting me to the test.

I intend to pass.

May 7-11 is Correctional Officer appreciation week. If you see one at your local convenient store or restaurant, don't forget to shake their hand and tell them you appreciate them. You have no idea what they go through to keep the public safe. Your encouragement might be the reason they need to show up for work tomorrow.

It actually takes courage just to walk through the doors each morning.

I pray that I have sufficient courage when I need it.

And, I thank God for these heroes I will be working with.

The Mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is to Provide public safety, Promote positive change in offender behavior, Reintegrate offenders back into society and Assist Victims of Crime.

Our motto is: Motivation, Determination, Dedication, Teamwork. Training sets the pace. People are our business.

My class is The Great 38

Our class motto is Get it right or wear white!

(Our inmates are dressed in white, not orange).

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

No Longer Slaves

Good Morning, World!

Today I am going to take what I cooked in the slow-cooker over to some friends of mine, who are not able to buy groceries right now, to share. It turned out REALLY good. But, I can't eat much of it. My gallbladder told me it didn't like it last night.

It's a shame, too. I liked it. I wanted more...

Maybe this is God's way of keeping my weight down.

Speaking of...

John 8:36
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Elisabeth Fritzl was locked up for 24 years. She was raped and tortured by her father. She bore him 7 children. Her mother and sister had no idea she was still the basement.

Why didn't God intervene on her behalf?

This is a hard question. One that deserves an answer.

1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verse 12 speaks of us "looking through a glass darkly" in this life. Paul goes on to explain that we don't understand the ways of God right now, or why He allows the things that he allows or does the things He does or doesn't do. But, we have to hold on to our faith. We have to KNOW that when we finally meet God face to face, we will understand everything.

2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us to walk by faith, not by site. The here and now is not what is important. It's where we have faith that we will end up that is important. This earth is not our home. It is temporary.

In Luke Chapter 7 verses 40-43, Jesus illustrates to Simon how one who has the most to be forgiven for is the one who loves the most.

Perhaps God also uses this to illustrate other things. Elisabeth spent 24 years without freedom. She was tortured. She had her babies taken from her. She had to watch them tortured. They had to watch their mother tortured.

When she was freed, how do you think she felt?

Grateful. Relieved. Joyous.

Let's go a step further:


Yes, she has a lot of healing to go through. I'm sure she also feels:

Angry. Betrayed. Hurt. Vengeful.

And, those of us who lived our lives every day not knowing what was going on half a world away down in a basement now sympathize with her plight and:

We ask "Why?". We are angry for her. We want justice.

Some of us blame God.

There were slaves in Egypt before Moses came along and, with God's help, freed them. They were slaves, not for 24 years, but for 400 years. Don't you think that some of them were murdered? Beaten? Raped? Starved? Had their children taken from them? Had to watch their children suffer?

Moses, himself, was a product of that time. The Pharoah had said that all male children were to be killed to cut down on the Israilite population. He was only saved because his sister placed him in a basket and sent him down the river, only to have GOD intervene and be found by the daughter of the Pharoah who raised him as his own.

Here in the United States of America, slavery also existed. Same scenario. When the U.S. slaves were freed after the Civil War, they sung hymns of Praise to God. Who do you think sung greater hymns of Praise that day? The former slave-owner who came to Christ? Or, the former slave?

Steal Away
Roll Jordan Roll
Wade in the Water

And one of my favorites:

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

The slaves, even while they were slaves wrote and sang many famous spirituals that are alive and well today, sung among those of us who know what it is like to be a slave to sin, finding ourselves redeemed and freed. As a true child of God, slavery is not the physical chains that bind us, or the oppression that we have to endure from other men. Slavery is the chains we endure in our minds and hearts as we live in sin, knowing that our doom is eminent. Jesus loosens those chains, unbinds the ties that bind us, and frees us from the eternal consequences of sin.

So why does God allow these things to happen?

Why did God allow me to live five years in an abusive relationship?

In order for us to understand forgiveness, we must have to be forgiven. In order for us to understand sympathy, we must understand loneliness and pain. In order for us to understand how to be grateful, we must understand deprivation. In order for us to understand loyalty, we must know what it means to be betrayed.

We can't know those things without suffering.

Then, when we learn them, God rewards us with the blessings that cause us to praise Him.

Sure, God could make our lives perfect if He wanted to. But, we would not understand or appreciate our freedom to worship Him. He doesn't want robots to praise Him. That would make Him as bad as the father of Elisabeth Fritzl, who forced her to obey -- whose children knew nothing else, and will forever fight the demons he taught them was "normal".

Why didn't God intervene on Elisabeth Fritzl's behalf?

He did. Today she is FREE.

Further Bible Reading:

Galatians 3:28
Romans 6:20
Ephesians 6:5
Colossians 3:22
1 Timothy 6:1
1 Peter 2:18

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Getting Ready to Conquer the World Around Me

It's been a busy day for me. I woke up, took a shower, got dressed and then went to the Library to print out my information packets from my place of employment. Getting prepared for my new job is a big job.

Then, I went to Walmart and bought socks, t-shirts, long-sleeved shirt with a collar, and a few other things I might need. Then, I went to the mall because I was looking for some new sweat pants and walmart did not have what I was looking for. I ended up going to JC Penny to get a hair cut.

I was looking for shoes, also. Still couldn't find the sweats I was looking for...

Went to Nelson's and got a pair that cost me over $100. Sigh...

Then went to Academy for my sweats. Does NO ONE make cotton sweats anymore? I don't like the ones I had to get.

Then, I went to my mom's to show her my new haircut. She liked it.

Then, on the way home, I saw my friends Fred and Gary walking on the side of the road. I stopped and gave them a ride to where they were going, then back to their apartment.

Then, I came home and went through my information packets and filled out the paperwork.

I'm done. I'm resting now.

Still anxious about tomorrow, though.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Whom shall I fear?

Today was a big day for me. I got notified that the job I was seeking came through.

I will be a correctional officer at a prison. I start training next week.

Look. Learn. This is what God can do!

10 years ago I was homeless.

6 years ago I was living with an abusive drug addict who took everything I made. I couldn't even wash clothes.

5 years ago I married Jesus.

I was broke, had no car, was behind on rent. had no clothes, had a part time minimum wage job, had no food....

God gave me a better job, helped me get a car, sent angels with food, clothes, and anything else I needed.

And today I have just acquired one of the highest paying jobs in the area, with outstanding benefits! I want for nothing!

God is so GOOD!

I've received a lot of support from my friends during all of this; though, not without a lot of warnings:

"Be careful"
"It's a rough place"
"Are you sure you want to work around degenerates like that?"
"It's dangerous"
"You could get killed, or worse."
"The pay is so high because of the (stuff) you have to deal with"

Yes. I've heard it all. And, I believe every bit of it is true. However, that doesn't deter me.

God would not have given me the job unless there was something there He wanted me to experience. Good, or bad, whatever doesn't kill me will make me stronger in my walk with the Lord, and as a light in this world. It might cost me my life, but I've already given my life to Him.

Someone in there needs me. My employers, the inmates, my co-workers, the lady who works in the kitchen, or the office...It doesn't matter who. SOMEONE is the reason I am going there. Maybe more than one person. Maybe all of them.

As long as God is with me and clears the way before me, I have to go.

It might be a week. It might be a few months. It might be a couple of years. I hope I retire from there...but even if I don't, I have to go.

Tonight I celebrated with my friends by going to eat at Golden Corral. WHAT A CELEBRATION! I made sure to give my testimony to the server.

Isaiah Chapter 43

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Paying it forward...

Good morning, World!

Today, I am helping my friends move into their new home.

It is an exciting day!

One they have waited on for a long time!

I am so proud for them!

I feel so blessed. I just watched my friend's faces when they walked into their new apartment for the first time. The Apartment manager even helped them out by giving them dishes, blankets and an extra bed to sleep on (because there are two of them) and a couch and love seat and coffee table and kitchen table.

I cannot imagine the happiness they feel inside. I see it on their faces, and that is worth it all!

No more sleeping in a wet and moldy tent at a homeless camp. Now they will be warm and comfortable. They are already making plans for the future.

I'm so happy for them I could just bust.

I remember what it was like for me, when I was once where they are. God sent me help...I'm just paying it forward. And, I think I have two great friends for life. I thank God for that experience. It's the reason I felt so blessed today.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Employment and The Cloud

Hello, World.

I had a dream last night. A really weird dream.

In the waking world, I know enough on the computer to push a button and make something work. But, my knowledge of HOW it works, or why it works like that is lost. I have a website, and I know some basic HTML, but get me into CSS and whatnot, I have no idea what you are talking about...even though I know I use some of it without knowing how, when, or what it entails.

I guess you can say that God takes over my fingers on the keyboard sometimes.

Last night, I dreamed that everything I did ended up in "The Cloud."

I've heard of The Cloud. Never understood it. Didn't really know what it was. Wasn't aware that Google Drive (where I store a lot of my work in Word and Excel) was part of The Cloud.

My dream basically gave me the idea that a lot of my advertising campaigns could be done via the Cloud. Everything ended up in The Cloud was the message I was getting.

So, this morning, after I woke up and stirred around a bit and finallly got settled...I went on Bing and did some research into "What is the Cloud".

I was amazed at what I found out. And, the ideas it gave me...and the conspiracy theories.


Last night, one of my friends had a great idea. If I fail to get this job, or it doesn't work out for me, I could always go to the Social Security Administration and fill out the paperwork to become his caretaker.

That wouldn't be a bad idea.

It isn't like he isn't eligible for one.


Something for me to stew over...

I firmly believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason. These two stepped in mine at just the right time, on more than one occasion. Either for me, or for them.

Whatever, I am trusting God's plan.

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Bleak Horizon

Hello, World!

I just went and picked up my last paycheck at Denny's, came home and attempted to do some push ups and sit ups. Seem more out of breath today than usual...

I was going to go to Flower Acres to get some more produce...but I have decided to hold off. I have enough food for awhile -- and I may be moving soon. I don't know what is going to happen in the next month or so. So, I don't need to bring in anymore than I need to.

We recently changed owners at the apartments where I live. Now they want us to pay a "convenience fee" of $17 just to pay our rent online, and won't accept it otherwise. They also want us to pay our own electricity. All of my neighbors are moving away. I've counted 7 apartments emptied out just in the past few days. It's got me worried. PLUS, I am told that starting in June, I will have to pay 1/26th of the water bill. Not happy about that, either.

Yep, I can see that I probably won't be here very much longer, no matter what happens. But, first, I have to know what I have to work with.

I haven't heard anything yet about my job application. I won't know anything about it until Monday. May is secured, I think.

And, I've lost another 5 lbs.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Leaning on Me...

Hello, World.

I finally carried out my trash today. I have a small leak or something coming from the bottom of my refrigerator, and my towels are wet. My neighbors are all moving away...

I am trying to help my friends to get an apartment here, but the apartment manager acts like she doesn't care about them, just their money. They have enough, but they won't have it if they don't get an apartment right now. They have to live until the next check.

So, I took them to my old apartment complex yesterday to see if they could get in. It looks more promising (and a whole lot cheaper).

In the meantime, I told them they were welcome to use my shower and do their laundry if they need it here.

Life sucks sometimes. I am thankful for what God has given me.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Did you have a good Easter? I did!

Did you have a great Easter? I did. I have some homeless friends that came over for a visit, and I took them with me to my mom's camp site, where the family was gathering for a fish fry and Easter Egg hunt for the kiddos. It was exciting. 

​Mom offered to give $5.00 to the child who found the most eggs. That's Mom. She's always trying to make things exciting for the family. 

My friends really enjoyed themselves. 

Afterward, we came back to my place and watched almost all of the first season of Game of Thrones on my computer.  They don't have access to a TV or Computer in the tent where they live, so it was a treat for all of us: They got to relax and do something they don't normally get to do, and I had company to enjoy Easter with. 

I invited them to Church with me on Wednesday night. I hope they come.