Little Victories

 

1/27/14

One need not always trust in the 'large' things -  Isaiah 31  King James Version (KJV) 31 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!

One need not always trust in the ‘large’ things –
Isaiah 31
King James Version (KJV)
31 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!

I’m reading your letter to be about how you feel imprisoned, somewhat like  I am experiencing, although our prisons are different. No matter what either of us does, we can’t escape. This is God, working on our outer selves, which is essential to allow God’s Spirit to be released. Praise God for how you’ve been able to surrender to this discipline, and for learning patience with our children. I’m so glad to hear the boys are branching out, and aren’t so afraid to do their own things. I’m so proud of their growth amid all of the things they’ve been through. I just pray they see how loved they are by God, and are being taught by Him in so many ways. God is working on Nate so he can learn to discern who his real friends are, and to not feel ashamed for speaking out against injustice at school. God is using my suffering to teach them, to reach others, as well who need to realize the anguish and injustice in their own backyards.

I have to admit, I’ve been under attack now for over a week. I’ve not been happy with what God is allowing to happen in my life. I stay confused and blocked from understanding what is happening to me. I know I have to work through it, and am battling this selfish outer man. You have been so encouraging throughout this whole ordeal, and  know your love for me is real. I just feel so weakened and alone lately, and have to just give it to God…

I’ve noticed my eyes become blurry after reading awhile.  I have to pull the book or paper away from my face to be able to ready clearly. I used to have 20-15 vision, but only God knows what being in isolation has done…

I’m watching 60 minutes and listening to how there is such a shortage of psych0logists and therapists across the nati0n; and stories like what you’ve been through recently with our boys. Then they talked about how there are lack of beds in the institutions for the extreme behavior needs like what we experienced with my two children that led us to end up like this, due to not having adequate care in the mental health fields. If you can google this, maybe you will find some support sites so you have other people to talk to, and can maybe even get some help with our case. Isn’t it amazing how much has to happen before things like this come to the light?

Speaking of lights, this crew tonight is the one that often leaves our lights on until midnight, which was the main reason I wrote the grievance about not having any relief from the lighting. Tonight, though, they went out at 10:38 p.m., which is so wonderful! Even the little things feel like big victories!

 

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I’m starting to feel more value and worth…

1/24/14

They posted here recently that if any inmate is found with extra clothing, he will be subject to disciplinary action.

So my request has gotten some attention along with your past emails.

The heat has also been adjusted now to be more comfortable, I’m not currently freezing.

So, God is moving these people to do more right for us. But, I had to put my extra clothes in the dirty clothes pickup, so as not to get a false ‘charge’, except for my extra sheets. This is yet another form of God getting me to further trust Him for all of my needs. As I’m writing, I’m only in boxers and a t-shirt. That is a first here for the winter. I did take a shower, and I feel fine, even though it is supposed to get down to 5 degrees tonight. Normally the cold would be unbearable.

I received your letter today, and I rejoice in the Lord for all that He has done, using you to help so many of us here through your letters and blog posts. I’ve continued to struggle to work out, and am up to 3 sets of 35 pushups, squats, 75 toe touches, crunches, leg lifts, and some planks. I used to do so much more, but it is a start; even 3 months later, but praise God! The biggest thing is the jump from numbness to sharp pains and back, even below the bend in my leg all the way up to my groin. I’ve written a grievance, but nothing is done. They don’t care…what are you spraying on these letters, it’s driving me crazy! I can’t wait to hold you in my arms again. I miss your cooking…I want to hold you so badly…My heart longs for you day and night…why won’t you write me some of your poetry, you are so good at putting your heart into words on the page?

Thank you so much again for the SAT prep black book. It’s so full of wonderful help. Giving me a better understanding keeps me from being so scared. All my life I’ve been scared of taking tests. Mostly because I never could grasp concepts the teachers were teaching. I wasn’t favored by any of my teachers in either middle or high school. I guess I just assumed I didn’t have the brains to be in school. It kept me fearful of further education;  I just worked with my hands. The hands-on learning gave me better understanding of concepts that I’m currently learning. For the first time I’m excited to have this chance to learn, and to start a new chapter in my life. Maybe this will help my children to see the importance of continuing their education if I can be successful. Image

It is good to see the sun, even if it is too cold here to feel it

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1/6/14
It has been a difficult day; so cold that I had to wear 3 pairs of socks, 3 each of shirt jackets and undershirts, and 1 pr of pants.

It’s going to perhaps even get to 0 degrees F tonight. I have written grievances to the Sgt, Unit Manager, the Cpt. and to the assistant superintendent. It is a request for a work order for the heat to be fixed. I know nothing will be done, but it does give you a path when writing an injunction against the treatment in isolation.

I have been working on my letter to CPS and I’ve gone through 100 sheets of paper trying to hand write this grievance, but I can’t get it right. I only have two sheets of paper left now, and one has a stain on it.

I’m so hungry. I think from being so cold that my body has used all of its resources to stay warm. I haven’t had any coffee today, either. It’s pretty bad. I’m having a lot of back pain too, and had to take some naproxen for it. Does your back hurt lately? I am so tuned in to you still that I can feel your different body aches and pains.

1/8/14

I saw the psychologist lady again today; she is no help whatsoever. All she asks is, “How can I help you?”, and then she interrupts you before you finish, and she interrupts saying she can’t do that. I told her again that I wanted a psychological eval and she says that there isn’t any evidence to suggest that I need one. Her response is, ” You should have stayed out of trouble so you wouldn’t be put in isolation,” as if she could stand the heat from being locked in a cell with no moving air in August. It’s no wonder the people go crazy – there is no rationale in a place like this. The lack of compassion by those who work here is alarming, as we are seen than less than human. She ended the ‘visit’ saying that if I needed her to let her know. Wow; as if she has done anything so far.   I told her that I would have to get my wife to call Raleigh to get any help, and she answered, “You just do that”.  Such is the attitude here in general.

The nurse came by to have me sign for a new diet that  I asked for, which should include wheat bread, and more fruit instead of all of the straight starch we are forced to eat now. There may actually be some ‘real’ meat.

It is nice to see the sun on the wall, at least, even if it is too cold to warm my room.  I am doing my best to surrender to the fact that God is in control, and it’s been so hard to let go of that need to fix things on my own. I try to be content and not look to man to meet my needs. The lessons are becoming easier to understand, but I must still the drive to want more.

I will be strictly monitored on this new diet that took several months of requesting to get on; my canteen – once I can order from it again, my weight will be checked each month and if I gain any weight I will be taken off of it, as well. It is not practical but I will try to earn this better grade of food.

The lights have been staying on past 11 or even 11:30 p.m., but 10 p.m. is the policy, even though they have the lame excuse that the lights are on so the men can shave, some times until 12 a.m.? We didn’t even get showers tonight, when there’s no reason not to, other than they don’t follow their own policies, yet expect us to. The Sgt. says there’s no policy in seg about turning off the lights, as long as the guards are working on things for the men. I find this very hard to believe.

I waited until 2 a.m. for grievance forms about this, but none came, so I finally laid down. I know I need to stand up for these things as long as it isn’t about pride, as I want to do things for God’s glory. When we delay obedience to God, by doing things on my own, it makes it more difficult to receive further instructions. The more our faith grows the easier it becomes to wait on God’s timing.

They say 2 hours of sleep is normal if you don’t exercise (111 days in isolation)

I have started to scare myself with how much joy I have now for God.
You are such a harbor me; through all of these trials you’ve never wavered.
I feel our hearts are together always, even through these walls of cement.

They came today for the sick call I wrote ten days ago.
They also answered my request forms saying they won’t give me copies of my medical records.
I have to write to Raleigh’s Department of Corrections, so if you can do that, maybe they will give them to you. They took my blood work on November 19th. I can’t get through to them how much pain this is, and they will do nothing but just tell me to expect pain, to work out, like I haven’t been trying. No one actually does anything. But, I will try to hang on in faith, and give God my burdens.

Praise God! He is moving mountains through you, Rochelle! On our limited canteen list it was now offering for us to purchase multi-vitamins and glucosamine! We were never allowed to get vitamins until now! He is working mightily through you. I wrote to the unit manager giving thanks and asking if they could please allow us to get fish oil.

12/20/13

I was the psychologist today for about 15 minutes. I explained about the sleep deprivation and the lighting, and the extreme cold and she said that 2 hours of sleep at a time was normal without any strenuous activity. Even after I explained my depression, bouts of crying and hopelessness, she said that she couldn’t help and that it didn’t warrant a full psychological evaluation.

She said that things would be better once I’m out of isolation. REALLY? I only have about 90 more days.

The only way to get any version of ‘help’ is if I try to hurt myself or others. Great.

We went outside this morning. IT was so great to finally get outside. I could smell wood burning! It was so homey and reminded me of the fires we would burn sometimes. The leaves and wood smelled so real! I’ve not smelled that in three years now.

12/22/13

I see the importance of celebrating the birth of our Lord now. Before it was more selfish in nature, but this is much bigger; it’s about showing love to others to spread God’s unending love to all. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and may His love fill your hearts as He has mine.

You have brought me out of a pit

12/19/13
I feel God’s presence even more, as I work to get past feelings of negativity and doom.
I now see things in a different light. There is a new perspective and a way of looking
at what is sightly to God, not my own selfishness.

I will start a draft for the CPS complaint you told me to write so they are forced to see
the results of their falsified and incomplete findings. Guilford County must be made to rectify their illegal and unconstitutional decisions. They just say whatever they like on reports and then alter the truth to meet their own agendas of increasing their bonuses and trying to justify their funding, instead of looking fully at what is happening in the entire picture. They are never forced to see the repercussions caused by their mistakes and lack of training, even altering what they report to make themselves seem in a better light, while other children are receiving no help that they so sorely need.

They actually gave us a Christmas bad today – with ramen noodles, some chips, a rice krispy treat, a Snickers bar, and a Slim Jim type stick, as well as a granola bar. To some this would seem laughable, but to those in isolation who are not allowed to purchase ANY extra food items, it’s a huge treat!

I got your card today, and it reaffirmed what my humanness needed – a confirmation of love. I ask your forgiveness, you’ve been so strong! Please forgive my unbelief, how could I ever doubt? Your cards and letters have brought me out of a pit where I continue to throw myself and hide. My whole heart melted reading your card! With God’s strength I will build my self worth.
I thank God for a wife such as you! Even as they’ve torn the whole back off of the envelope due to your colorful stickers of angels on it.

Being indigent, I have to make my meals draw out longer, and I try to win as many stamps as I can, and hopefully they will give me a pair of shower shoes. Oh, and I have to send home most of my court papers and old mail as I am toting around so much stuff, and I can get in trouble. Just put the mail up, and get it out as you wish to write a book about all of this. It would make a great romance novel!

God’s plan may not make sense right now…

12/12/13
We are more connected now beyond what most can understand.
Reading your last letter put me there with you and our boys.
I could feel Nate’s pain through each word you wrote.
I wept so hard for him, as I felt his pain.
It never gets easier to bear. But, you and I truly did our best.
If nothing else, it was mostly my fault. I felt so bad because we’d had no choice but to send DJ back to that hellhole with his mother. We just couldn’t get any help from the mental health system.
There is never enough to go around for these kids(kids with special needs), as the funding is always cut to line someone else’s pockets further up the chain.

I was just blinded by wanting to show Daniel Jr. love; I needed him to see that I cared for him. I was so excited about being a project manager, having a job ‘back home’ after being up north for that time away from Southern people and family; it felt like a new start.
I also didn’t want him to feel the way that my dad made me feel, that I was nothing, worthless…
When we moved back to North Carolina, I had hoped that perhaps we could start over, maybe do family therapy, try again to get some help and find out what exactly had been going on. We just didn’t know.
There was so much confusion, and Carolyn always kept the older kids riled up and starting things at home; it was hard to keep things calm.
Nothing I can say will change what happened, I just pray to God, for it all.

I pray, for all of my children to receive healing. There is nothing I can do in here, but pray, the hurt is so strong knowing that we just weren’t fully aware of the extent of the damage that was occurring. God forgive DJ for doing those acts, and I pray Veronica, Nate and Alex will learn to lean on the Lord to give them hope. Their faith will grow as ours has, and even though God’s plan may not make sense right now, it will in time, according to His purpose. Nothing I can say, as a man can make anything right. My love has become so much stronger knowing Jesus’ love is so much more than we can understand. I wish I could hold all of them, my children, and give them comfort where there is none, and let them feel their daddy’s love again. May they feel God’s love around them, giving them comfort.

They are still tearing off the holiday stickers that you put on my envelopes. But, at least they aren’t marking out the bible verses you write on them. I am listening to the Christmas shoe song. It always makes me cry to hear that. I miss my mom so much. She never had much, but she always tried to give more than she had. Those little gifts meant so much to her to be able to give to her children and grandchildren. It wasn’t the toy that mattered, it was what was in her heart. She was so giving!
helping-others

I wonder if they miss us

I truly miss our family. Even with all of the problems.

I had a dream last night that I was out of seg and had a visitor.

I entered the busy visitation room with all of the noise and bustle, and looked all around for you.

Then I heard, “Daddy”! I turned around and there she was, even though I knew immediately.

She had that same squeal just as she used to when I came home from work.

It seemed so real to see her, and she had brought a young man with her, as well.

I wonder if she was thinking about me; if she and my other two sons miss all of the things we used to do as a family, all of the trips and soccer games and wrestling with her brothers and riding her horse, the trips to the beach you’d save up for so we could all go, the times we’d drive to the mountains of NC and cut down our own Christmas tree and drink hot cider and spend the night. It all seems so far away and dreamlike, now.

I miss my children, Shel. All of them. Even after all of the trouble, hurt and pain they have caused; they have been through so much. When I would throw them all around in the pool, she would do the same thing.

It is so hard to be in this position, of hurt, anger and love, and then the misery of being here, the alienation of it all. I wonder if the nightmare will ever end.

I got a copy of the two grievances you wrote and posted to each of the administrative emails, as well as the governor today.

I know I have to keep writing these sick calls, and these requests for my long johns, but it feels so hopeless. The requests never go anywhere. I can’t even have a chair, for Pete’s sake. Would that be so hard to do? I am not violent. The throbbing doesn’t ever go fully away, and the pain is still too sharp after I start to stretch or do any exercise. And, now, in addition to all of my clothes I am lying under seven sheets and 2 blankets. I still haven’t gotten any help with the sick call from November 14th. So, they say I must write another request. I filled out another 490 for the long johns.

Well, later they led me out of here in hand cuffs, a belly chain and foot shackles to medical tonight just before 10 p.m. They took my blood pressure through 2 shirt jackets, 3 shirts, and I wonder how accurate that will be! The lead nurse started asking questions about my level of pain, which I said changes depending on whether or not I try to move. All they do is have me to lie down and mash a little around the now closed incision, and tell me that I am fine. They are doing no internal diagnostics.

I couldn’t believe they were doing anything at all, so I asked if they were seeing me because of a letter that had been written on my behalf. Of course they say, ‘no’.  If so, why was I being seen this late at night, and not by the regular day shift? I asked to see my blood work results, but all they say is that it was ‘fine’.  I asked how I could still be this cold, but they never have and answer.

It’s obvious that your calls and letters/emails are making them very uncomfortable. I just want you to know that what you are doing is great. Don’t lose heart…

Good morning. Well, I was taken once more to medical, at 9 a.m. and they wouldn’t allow me to wear my shirt jackets to walk through the prison. Another new, arbitrary rule to keep us confused, I guess. My temperature is again below normal, 97.5. I told the doctor that I still had odd swelling, and he says I could have issues for up to six months. This makes no sense. I told him that it was nothing like this before, and the pain seems to be coming from all over.

I asked him for help with the long johns, as medical has to write them up, and he said there would not be any coming from medical. I looked at the nurse who knew that she had just told you recently that the 490 had to be written from medical and then the doctor said medical was not in the business of handing out thermals. I guess this is retaliation for your writing the medical grievance. Even the CO couldn’t believe it. So, here I am, back in my cell, cold, and there are other inmates with 490s for thermals.

Well, I didn’t get my package so   tried to sleep, but couldn’t. The guys were all opening their food packages, and the ones that didn’t have them were trying to trade with the others.  I received your card and letters. They make me cry. It’s been s hard to be away from you. I have been so emotional. You have been such a blessing.