Sami, our 13 year old said to me. “Dad is so lucky to be in prison.” I was quite taken aback by that statement. Then she explained that God put him there and he is lucky he is being used by God, that she wants to be used by God also. This from Samantha Selah. Our second youngest. She has often had insight that amazes me. She always has. I think part of it has to do with the name her daddy gave her. Samantha-listener of God, Selah-pause and reflect.
She just wrote her dad a letter. Telling him how much she misses him, and filling him in on the message we heard at church that she had taken notes on. She told him she found a quote that “no one is too broken for Gods grace. ” She let him know she is praying for him and the other inmates.
I have to wonder why prison has been on the back of my mind for most of my adult life. I have confided in friends and Kent for years that I was always afraid I was going to prison. I don’t know right now why God gave me that insight. I don’t know if it was a warning, or will end up where I will serve the Lord in ministry. I just find it quite mind boggling at this time. I wish I had surrendered so much earlier in my life.
Sometime soon I will be having an insightful study with my kids. I need them to understand that we truly are in this situation because we choose not to follow Gods will for a period of time in our lives. Yes, God can use this situation and help others. But, if we had turned our hearts towards him sooner we could have avoided the heartbreak we are currently going through. Instead we ran and made things worse, for we just wanted to escape the trials we were going through.
At this time I am accepting that God has put Kent at Chicago, MCC. I can’t share exactly why I believe he is there right now, I will as things are brought from the darkness into light. I am continuing all legal avenues to have him moved to a more suitable designation for the remainder of his sentence. I had to get some things cleared up on his report that the judge added to make Kent go to the place he went to. Judge Pratt tried using something that Kent had never been tried and convicted of from when he was a teenager to have him placed at this maximum security rather than a camp a typical first time white collar offender would have been placed at. It should scare everyone that you can get in trouble as a teen, never be tried or convicted and have it affect your sentence as an adult.
It was and is retribution for the work Kent did to unseat three unlawful Supreme Court Justices and unseat a current Supreme Court Justices wife. Retribution is all he has, its not going to undo the work Kent did to get rid our state of the Black Robe Masters. Hopefully it won’t be long before I can give some more insight on the goings on from the inside. Until then I keep quoting:
James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter trials.
While reaching out to an old classmate of Kent’s today that had been a correctional officer in the federal system, I have been reassured Kent will not be starved to death. It would take awhile to starve my hubby. It still breaks my heart not being able to provide healthy, nutritious meals for him. After being married for over 27 years I know what to feed the man. It is kinda nice to just have the kids to cook for, because they have to eat what I make just because I say so…but I would do anything to have him here to cook for.
Last night our 15 year old son had a couple friends spend the night. Remember I said I was trying to get motivated to clean the house up a bit? I decided to start with the oven. It has a self clean cycle that is different than ovens I’ve had before. Its supposed to steam the oven and loosen all the debris. I’ve used it before and it works so so, but I let the oven get dirtier than I usually do. I ran that cycle, I don’t think one morsel was loosened this time. So I turned to you tube. Video after video said, make a paste out of baking soda and water. “I say that with a high pitched voice, spread that over the oven and leave over night.” I did that. I told the kids, ” DON’T USE THE OVEN!!” Noah decided that at 4 a.m. mom didn’t mean “DON’T USE THE OVEN.” So…I awoke to an awful smell and knew exactly what was going on. I mean what else do teenage boys turn the oven on except for pizza rolls. The crap they have to buy themselves and sneak into the kitchen because this mama won’t get it for them.
So you ask, “did the paste work?” No, it did not. I resorted to oven cleaner. I don’t think I have bought that in years. My self clean cycle always worked like a charm, but not this new steam clean crap. No thank you. Scrub, scrub scrub. That’s what its going to take to get that oven clean. I will work on it again tomorrow after church. We will just use the crock pot to eat tomorrow I guess.
I want to address the very few nasty messages I get. The ones that say I don’t feel sorry for you or you’re getting what you deserve, rot in hell. Maybe I shouldn’t address them at all, but I just want to let you know because I won’t address you individually that the hate and disdain you feel against me or Kent or our family isn’t harmful to us. I couldn’t be honest and transparent about what we are going through if I cared what people thought about us. That hate has to be eating away at you. Its permeating every part of you. Until you learn to give that up and rely on our creator you will be miserable. Me and I’m sure others who read about what you have to say about us will pray for you. I pray you can find peace in your life, because I know causing pain to others is just a release for you and I hope you can be an over comer like we have. We have overcome so much in our lives and will continue to do so. I will continue to post whats going on in my and the kids life while Kent is away. I will also post what I find out is going on with Kent and the other inmates. I’m excited to see how God is going to work all this for his glory.
I’ve been trying to find the words to write since Kent left early Tuesday morning. I heard from him fairly quickly. I’m assuming this is because the place he is at is designated as a pass through facility, because we had been told I may not hear from him for several weeks. We took the week off school not just because of spring break, but to try to regroup and see what this life without Kent is supposed to look like. Its actually been pretty hard. Yesterday, the girls were gone babysitting so I had the day to myself which I was looking forward to. I tried motivating myself to do some cleaning that desperately needs done to no avail. I thought I would go see a movie, but ended up falling asleep for a long needed nap.
Kent has been able to email me throughout the day. The things he is telling me are really hard to hear and really break my heart for him and others who are there. He has been threatened to keep silent about the conditions he wrote to me about. The assistant warden said he was going to get his privileges taken away if he continued so we will see if I continue to hear from him. So here is what he had to say today.
As I write this its well past midnight, in fact I think it could be closer to 2am. I have no way of knowing. That has to be one of the more frustrating things to deal with. The time and days are already running together with no clocks or calendars readily available. There’s one clock on the floor, but after 10pm I am unable to see it.
At 10pm we have our final standing count which means you stand next to your bunk waiting for two guards to walk by and physically count you. Then typically by 10:30 the lights go out. As I write this I am hunched over at t he foot of my bunk trying to get enough light to write my thoughts down. I am so thankful that someone loaned me a pen so I can accomplish this.
To be honest as I write this I am thinking about how when I was in the legislature I was viewing things and making decisions through the filters of our good little life. I had no understanding of the life that people in a facility like this lived. While society would look down on many of the people I’m serving time with. I have a different perspective and view them quite differently. Some of the names would sound like something out of a fiction novel to the average small town Iowan. Names like New York, Whiz, Tuck, Cookie and King. On our floor we have people that many average small town folks would walk across the road to avoid.
I am seeing a different side of them, like the transvestite who worked as a prostitute on the outside. He was the first one to show me good will by giving me a few packets of coffee when I first got got here. When he did that I didn’t realize the sacrifice he made because I was just arriving and had no idea what to expect. The guards for the most part are friendly. There’s a few bad eggs, but I am able to get along with just about anyone. They say respect is the most important thing in prison…I am sure many people who may read this would say that about being on the outside, but it is even more important here because a man or woman doing time has been stripped of most basic things.
When I first arrived here I was checked in and went through the process of being strip searched and asked to bend over and cough. I understand that they are trying to ensure the safety of both the inmates and guards. What I don’t understand is how they take someone that has never been to prison before and just throw them on a unit or cell block and not give them simple things or explain how to get them. You have to just figure it out. It took me two days to get a piece of paper and I have yet to get a pen, so last night an inmate that sleeps a bunk over loaned me a pen.
I am amazed at how the inmates take care of each other and help each other. I don’t believe the officers or guards are to blame for this. It is a much bigger problem. I find that so many of them are not able to help you with tasks on how to fill out forms or how to maneuver through processes because they are not trained or they are understaffed. That is only part of the problems here.
For dinner last night we were given a small spoonful of chicken and noodles, small spoonful of mashed potatoes and a tablespoon of mixed vegetables. People are going through the trays as people bring them back looking for more food. It is abundantly clear that Chicago has a gang problem and many are locked up here. But here I see them sharing apples and kool-aid with everyone . Bread and butter are a premium because its easier to get full on them. When I was checked in I was given underwear that were three sizes to big and I am still trying to get a clean pair after five days. We didn’t tie our laundry bag properly so our clothes didn’t get washed.
I have learned so much about the character of people and the hearts of individuals in the short time I have been here. I am able to see past the hard exterior and see the softer side of the people I am serving time with.
As I begin writing this I am hours away from leaving the most important thing on this planet to me… My family. I am not even sure where to start. As I look over the next 15 months I realize how many important things I will miss. My mother will turn 77 just seven days after I leave. Just the other day she called me frantic that she had locked her keys in her car. I rushed to her as quickly as possible to open it for her. We lost my dad 2 1/2 years ago and I am concerned about not being there for her and I also do not want to be away from her for the next few months because at this time in her life everyday is important to me.
While looking at my kids and grand kids I am filled with grief over what I will miss out on. My son Noah will turn sixteen.. this is possibly his most formative and crucial years for him to grow into a young man and I will not be with him physically. Maddie will be graduating and turning 18. I am sickened that I will not be here with her to celebrate her accomplishment. Sami will be turning fourteen and I was excited at the thought of teaching her to drive, but I will have to help her finish up those lessons. Our youngest Chloe will becoming a teenager turning 13 which has always been a bit of a right of passage in our house. I am saddend that I won’t be here to sing happy birthday to her. My son Kent jr just bought a jeep and will be fixing it up, I wish I could be there for that. My oldest daughter, Makala, has been going through a difficult time and we have grown closer. I am truly struggling at the idea of getting into the car Tuesday morning and leaving them behind.
Today was dedicated to family time. I shared a lot of memories, played games, had a lot of laughter and shared some tears. I wouldn’t trade the time I had with them today for anything. I was sitting and looking at them when I had this thought of doing this in 15 months knowing that this terrible time had finally passed. For a brief moment I imagined myself in the future, I had this feeling of joy and peace come over me. This is just for a season.
One of the toughest things I have been dealing with, is the thought that I will have to go 15 months without having my wife in my arms or being able to gaze into her beautiful blue eyes. We have been through so much as a couple I know we can persevere through this and we will come out on the other side stronger in our relationship with God and with each other. I have decided I am going to do my best to dedicate my time to getting to know God on a more personal level. I am going to spend every waking moment developing a prayerful life, a lifestyle that’s filled with knowing Him better than ever before. I feel this will make me a better husband, father, grandfather, son and brother to the ones I am leaving behind.
I have been very open about the mistakes I have made. I truly believe the sentence I received was unjust. The judge was politically motivated, his wife is an activist for the liberal movement and donated to my opponent. I can see how if I focused on this injustice I can rob myself of this amazing opportunity to know God as I never have before. I cannot alow space for bitterness in my heart. I need to fill myself with the love of Christ to ensure there is no space for sin to take root again in my life. Please pray for me in this area.
I am hopful that people will come along beside my family and help us bare each others burdens. I know we can’t do this alone, but I am confident God will provide the people we need to fufill His purpose. We are truly living like the scripture that describes the birds of the air that do not know where thier next meal will come from.
While I will be in the goverments eyes, inmate 15000-030, I know that Christ actually determines who I am. Thank GOD.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
P.S.Thank you Mom, Becky, Makala, Kent jr, Angela, Maddie, Noah, Sami, Chloe, Oliver, Remington, Brantlee and my beautiful wife Shawnee for making today wonderful. I love you all very much. We will always be a family!
I believe we wouldn’t be going through this if we had passed trials of the past five years. We get a big fat F for that trial. But, like my title says we will keep our heads high and keep on keeping on. We are determined to surrender all and not fail this trial. This trial is going to be the one to bring us to victory. I think sometimes we have to surrender moment by moment and not look to anything but today. What are you struggling with today? Is it a struggle to submit to your spouse or your boss? Or is it food or pornography? Are you being judgmental, angry and hurtful towards someone inwardly or outwardly holding on to some resentment? Are you lusting after someone or something. I have found that lust is so prevalent. And not even in the sexual sense. For us women I think it starts with having the perfect pinterest clean and organized home. I could sit for hours looking at pinterest just wasting away my day. Where is that going to get me in the whole scheme of things? It has helped me escape things I didn’t want to deal with, which has gotten me in a whole lot of mess. But, it could have been prevented if I just would have surrendered all those years ago. I hear people talk about everything is okay in balance. I think our scales need to be tipped towards God not balanced with everything else we do in life. He has to be truly first. Everyone has to work out their own salvation. So what does that look like for you? For me, right now I have found someone to be accountable to. I am committing to attending church two times a week and doing a Bible study with a friend. I’m on overkill filling myself up with the word if there is such a thing. If I don’t I’d be a hermit that would find a cabin in the mountain and never come out. But, I believe living out and working out my salvation requires a community of God loving and fearing people around me. I have to seek those people out. It took me awhile to figure out God wouldn’t just drop them in the middle of my living room like I thought he should. I guess I have to do some of the work.
As my new mentor said the other day, I am to be my hubbies help mate. I’ve been a fairly good helpmate if I do say so myself. LOL! Now I get to help the hubs be the best prison inmate he can be. Not sure there is anything I can read about doing that. Maybe I can help someone else be a good helpmate to their prisoner spouse. As I make light of this right now, our hearts are heavy with a friend whose spouse has been diagnosed with a ALS. She has maybe three years to live. What would I do with those last three years? How would I live differently? I think it sure helps show us what is important.
Like with me, I think to myself how Kent and I love to do things around our house. No matter how broke we are I find something he can improve around our house for free or with junk laying around the property. Its hard spending time looking at the instagram photos and pinterest or my own lists of things I want to do around here and think, will we even be able to stay in our house?
My priorities instantly change to okay I can live without this or that I just want to be able to stay here with the kids, the home they have known for the past six years and a place for Kent to come home to. Those pictures and projects don’t seem so important, in fact, they don’t matter to me at all.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you
Today ended up being a whirlwind of a day. Started out going to the gym for two swim classes. I injured my knee back in September and have hardly moved. I decided it was about time I did something so I joined some swim exercise classes at the local Y. Our two youngest girls have had the pleasure of being formally tortured by me as I make them attend “the old people classes” at the Y. Half the fun of the class is watching my 12 and 13 year old making fun of me and the rest of the class. In which I would be the youngest if I didn’t force them to go.
After some errands I had a long conversation with my daughter in law in which I ended up being overwhelmed with emotion so I dropped the girls off and went to my dads house. I figured I needed someone who could cheer me up and I needed to run to Des Moines anyway. The visit went as expected, my dad is a follower of our savior and he pointed me right to him. I hope I was able to do the same as I have come across a new resource for studying the Bible that looks really exciting. It is verse by verse international.org The Pastor goes through the bible just like it says verse by verse. You can listen to his sermons and follow along with his outlines. This is awesome as Kent won’t have access to sermons, but I can print these out and send them to him.
This is so hard for me as a wife to see the one person I love more than anyone or anything in the world to go through. I’m staying behind while he is gone. I can still go to the gym and get what I need there. I can go to church and get what I need there. I have all the resources at my fingertips. But, my other half and I would say the one that has made me a better person in this life doesn’t have the same privileges. My heart breaks for him missing out on this next year. While I am looking forward to this next chapter in our lives and what I can do to improve myself and my relationships with the kids and growing in my relationship with God he will be alone. And while he is physically alone, he will not be alone. I will be with him in his heart. I hope he will surrender more and more each day to the creator of this universe. I hope he will grow into what God has intended for him in this life, because he is an amazing man raised by an amazing family. And I have faith that the best is yet to come.
“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Shortly after we found out Kent was going to prison for 15 months we made a list of things we needed to do. We put together a list. We knew a short list of things that just needed to be done. We also tried to think of what mine and the kids needs would be for the next 15 months in order to take care of our home and them. We’ve made lists of things Kent could do with each of the kids before he left. Trying to pour into each of them, so they would know how important they each are to their dad.
We waited nearly a month before being told where and when Kent would go. Even though we were told he would have that information within days. That first month was just unbelief and waiting for the dreaded letter to come.
Then nearly three weeks ago the letter arrived. Another blow, expecting to go to a white collar camp with other minimum security inmates wasn’t going to happen. He was going to what I think is best described as an over crowded county jail in the heart of Chicago that houses all security prisoners ran by the federal government. People awaiting pretrial, people awaiting a bed at another prison. Not meant for a 15 month stay.
So the unbelief haunted several days although Kent continued to go to work each day. That seems to help the waiting time go by. When he gets home from work we try desperately to make each moment count. Working on those lists. Spending time with each of our kids. Having family dinners. Those lists have gotten harder and harder to work on no matter how important it seems that those things get done.
We did request an extension of three weeks, but of course it was denied by the same Judge that gave him this sentence. Just asking for that extension was emotional. Each and every step is high and low. Trusting God to work all things together for us. Practicing with the kids writing to their dad with our family therapist. Making therapy appointments knowing tomorrow will be our last appointment before Kent leaves and not making an appointment for the next week because I’m not sure how we all will be feeling.
Even when life is making no sense, we will submit to the Lord.
James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
We will persevere for the glory of our Lord,