January 17, 2015

I felt like writing about my day today.  I had a GREAT day!  I woke up this morning at abut 5:30 a.m., wide awake. I slept great last night.  Then I just laid in bed and listened to some music.  Then I went to breakfast to enjoy some very tasty french toast.  I will have to give it to Marion– their french toast is off the charts.  We don’t get it often, but when we do, I enjoy every last bite. Then I came back to my room.  I did my daily devotional and then they turned the lights out.

After my devotional, I decided to take a little morning nap.  I woke up just in time to go outside.  I haven’t been outside in 2 weeks.  Since I started school, I missed Yard time every day.  I decided to go out today and boy was it chilly! However, the fresh air was wonderful.  I walked around the perimeter the whole time.  As I walked, I listened to Christian music and took in the beautiful scenery around me.  I ignored the barbed wire fences and took in the beauty of the mountains.  Even though the trees are bare, the beauty of everything together is beautiful!  It was clear and sunny!  I did some speed walking and worked up a sweat.  I came back in, frozen to the bone.  But the heat felt so good.

I went to my room and snuggled in my newly made, warm bed and read The Soul Harvest, the 4th book in the Left Behind series.  I laid there in my nice, heated room (yes, they fixed the heat), under my blankets, reading a great book.  It was so far, an amazing day.  I stopped reading for a moment and smiled and praised God; for this day has been awesome.  Just everything about it was good.  Fresh air, sun, walking, listening to Christian music, snuggling in blankets and sheets and reading a great book about how awesome God is… what more can you ask for?

All of this, while I am in prison.  It was a good day!  Then we went to lunch and had a good lunch. I came back and read some more and eventually finished the book.  It left me hanging so I can’t wait to get the 5th book.  I will be doing a blog about the series in a couple of weeks.  There might be multiple blogs.  Even though it is Christian fiction, it references the Bible a lot and has really opened my eyes about some things.  I decided to dig into my Bible some more and did some study on “Hope”.  The Chaplain had mentioned putting your Hope in God, which I knew and understood.  But was I good at putting all my hope in God.  I can’t say that I am.  So I decided to search scriptures.

Putting all your hope and trust in God is not easy.  That will be another blog.  I surely don’t put my whole hope and trust in God.  I have work to do in that area.  Then we went to dinner and had what they call Turkey Noodle Casserole.  It reminds me of Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie, but with turkey.  It is so good!  People not from Pennsylvania probably think I am talking about pie, but I am not.  I know it’s weird.  We had that with peas, green beans, cornbread and Lemon Cake with butter cream icing.  Great meal!  We often don’t get great meals like that.  It is rare.  Cake at a meal is rare.  haha!

I came back to my room and did some more Bible searching.  Then I laid in my bed and listened to Christian music.  As I was laying there, I couldn’t help but think of my choir friend, Jason.  He is going through a lot of pain and emotion that I have experienced.  I feel his pain and I prayed for him at choir practice last night.  However, he is still on my mind. I am going to write a separate blog about that.  One more thing.  Be thankful for what you have and praise God for everything.  No matter where you are.

God is good!  All the time!

The “Real” Christian – Jan 12, 2015

This last Sunday I went to church and sang with the choir for the first time.  What an awesome feeling it was to be part of a group of guys that loved to praise God through singing.  The first part of the service went well and then it was tie for the message by Rev. McDaniel.  His topic was about being a “real” Christian.  I am writing about it, because I thought it was worth sharing.

He talked about how so many Christians put on a show.  They go to church every Sunday, they go to Sunday School, they tithe, they carry their Bible around, they serve at church and so on.  Then they go home, they put the Bible down until next Sunday.  Or they go to work and talk trash about other people.  Or they cuss up a storm.  The list goes on.  Then people as them if they are a Christian.  They say “Yes” and they laugh.  This is why so many Christians are called hypocrites.  We go through the motions of being a Christian.  This is really a problem in prison.  Inmates are the worst at this.  They attend church, go to Bible studies and choir, but when they go back to the block, they are different.  They are cussing, arguing, judging others, gambling and the list goes on.

Other inmates see them come back and are like “Aren’t you a Christian?”  and it turns people away.  I came back to my room and the first thing I did was open this devotional book to the first devotion.  The title of the devotion was “Whose Am I?” At the beginning, it quoted John 14:7 “Jesus said, ‘If you really know me, you will know my father as well.’”  I continued to read and it talked about a 4 year old son and his father.  They were building a playhouse and the son imitated everything his father did.  Then the author says, “As I think of the way this son imitates his father, I wonder if my actions, habits, and preferences reflect my heavenly father.”

I also received a letter from my Mom today.  She said “Live a life glorifying God.”  It sounds easy, but it isn’t easy.  If you do live a life glorifying God and imitating Him, you will indeed have peace, joy and complete salvation.

I leave you with some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do my words and actions show the influence of the Holy Spirit in my life?
  • Does my life reflect the teachings of Jesus?
  • Am I faithful, patient, and loving – not just on a good day, but every day? And finally
  • Can you reflect your father to the people around you?

Read Galations 5: 22-25

First Fight of 2015 – Jan 20, 2015

Last night they called a “Code 4” at about 9:45 p.m.  “Code 4” means there is a fight.  They lock down everyone in the prison so they can send as many officers as they can to the block where it is happening.  We were locked down for the rest of the night.  An officer came into our block and an inmate asked what happened.  The officer told him that 14 men jumped one guy.  That is the only information we got.

When we woke up the next morning, we got called to chow late and some blocks and units were still locked down.  I went to chow and word got around about this fight.  Apparently one of the officers in F Unit took something from an inmate and an argument started between the officer and inmate.  The inmate was in a gang and his 13 other gang members in the block joined him in beating the living daylights out of him.  All morning all of F Unit is locked down and probably for a couple of days.  All education activities are cancelled, and there is no Yard as of now.  Since they think it was gang related, the prison is taking safety precautions.  This is the story I heard, and I don’t know if it is 100% true, but most of it is true.  I am in H Unit, the most laid back unit.  I am blessed.

God is good.  All the time.  All the time.  God is good.

Love,
Eddie

American Idol XIV – Jan 15, 2015

I was so excited to see American Idol tonight because Adam Lambert was a guest judge.  Out of all the American Idols, he is my favorite of all of them.  I have a picture signed by him, and I know pretty much every song of his.  He sang with my favorite classic rock group, Queen.  He was amazing! He has a true gift, one of the best vocalists of our time.  He is an awesome performer as well.  I was watching and Ryan said that he was on Season 8.  For some reason I thought he was on Season 9.  I cannot believe that was 6 years ago!  I have been very pleased with his success.  He has only had 2 hits on the radio, but he just loves to sing and be artistic.

He doesn’t care how many hits he has.  He just cares about loving what he sings.  The auditions have been pretty good so far this season.  The new judges are actually pretty good.  I think they work well together. My favorite singer of the night was the girl named Jax.  Her dad was a New York Firefighter.  She had blonde hair, a tattoo by her eye, hat and sparkly shirt.  She sat down at the piano and disappeared into the music.  All she cared about at that moment was the song, music and lyrics.  It was one of the best artistic, emotional auditions I have ever heard on the show.  Her voice was so pure and captivating.  I could have listened to her all night.  She put her own Adele-style spin on the song, “I want to hold your hand.”  The whole time she sang, I had goosebumps.  I believe she will be the one to look out for in this competition.  I could be wrong, but the judges agreed with her talent.  No one sounded like her.

Then J Lo and Harry asked Adam to repeat his audition.  They showed Adam’s original audition, and he said he had been watching the show for 8 years.  That would mean it was Season 9.  Don’t quote me on that.  Anyway, he sounded amazing then and now.  It was awesome!  It made my night.  They put a lot of focus on him and played his one song, “For Your Entertainment”.  I couldn’t help but to sing along.  It was a great episode.  I am surprised the show has lasted this long.  Go Jax!!

#Jax #AmericanIdol #AdamLambert

First Church Service at Marion – Jan 4, 2015

Today I got to experience my first church service at Marion.  The had two guitarists, one bass player and a drummer.  They had a choir of about 20 inmates who sang the praise and worship songs.  The first song they did was like an older song, but it sounded like classic rock.  The second song, they had an acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass and drums.  It sounded like mountain bluegrass music.

Then they did “My Savior, My God” by Aaron Shust and then “Revelation Song.”  All the words were on the screen and they had a nice sound system for a prison.  The had choir mic’s, a nice mixing board, electronic drums, nice microphones and great Carvin speakers.  I was actually quite impressed with the service.  I have put in a request to be in the choir and on the worship team.  I should start next week.  I am so excited.  The pastor was very enthusiastic and good.  I am very pleased with the religious services so far.  They said they need a keyboard player.  We will see what happens.

Jason – Jan. 17, 2015

I normally don’t write about particular people, but I have felt led to write this blog.  When I got here, I was in H2 South block, and I met some great guys quickly.  The second or third day I was playing rummy with the guys.  This other guy came out that I had not seen around.  He sat down near us and asked if he could play the next round.  Come to find out he hardly ever came out of his room.  He joined us the next game and it was really hard to play with 5 people.  I volunteered to leave the game.  That way, he could play.  I had already played a game, and I was fine.

Over the next couple of days I started eating with Jason.  And the next day he was in his room.  One of the usual players was playing cards with another group, so I went to Jason’s room and invited him to play.  He was hesitant but came out and played.  We got to talking, and I found out he was in choir.  We started talking about it, and he talked to the Chaplain.  I went to choir the following Friday and sat next to Jason.  I was no longer in H2 South block.  I had been moved to H1 South block.  It took me some time to adjust because the guys were more direct and not as laid back.

It was good to see Jason and over the past 2 1/2 weeks I have started to form a friendship with him. Not the “How is your day friendship?” but a deeper friendship.  We were at choir yesterday and at the end, we get into groups to pray.  I joined up with Jason and David.  David has known Jason for a little longer.  Well, the Chaplain talked about putting your full trust and hope in God.  He also brought up a counseling session about a woman who discovered the little girl in her and told the little girl that she would be there for her.  She had some damage from the past that was blocking her from moving on in her adult life.  I identified with this, because my counselor did the same thing with me.  I have a big fear of abandonment.  It is better now, but I still struggle with it.  I was crying my eyes out after this, it was so emotional.

Anyway, so we are in our prayer group, and Jason brought up the inner child.  He struggled with this bad and has huge trust issues, and fear of abandonment.  He said that sometimes he doesn’t see the point in living.  He has always dealt with bullying, abuse, and not trusting people.  People often left him without letting him know why as well. We prayed for him, and he cried to God to help him to comfort the inner child in him.  He started crying, weeping in the middle of the prayer.  I started crying too.

It was so powerful.  Ever since that moment I can’t stop thinking about being there for him.  He is a great guy.  I have prayed for him numerous times.  I know his struggle.  I understand.  There are a lot of people out there that struggle with something similar.  It is hard to do, but you have to start discovering and facing your past.  Then you have to let it go and move forward with your life.  Also don’t blame your past for who you are.  But understand your past.  Take responsibility for you and your choices.  YOU make the choices you make, not anyone else.

I would ask that you all pray for Jason.  That he will be able to cure his wounds and understand his story.

Thank you!

Love,
Eddie

H1 South Revisited – Jan 17, 2015

I know that my initial post about my new block wasn’t so positive.  This is an update to that blog post. Things are going much better in this block.  Like I said in my post “January 17, 2015,” the day just got better.  I was invited to play monopoly with 2 younger guys.  The one guy has given me a little hard time, but that is just him.  He has known nothing but jail.  He is 21, but has been in since he was 17.  He gets out in 2016.  I am guessing he is in close custody because of his gang affiliation or he messed up and got some disciplinary write-ups.

I passed up the game because I wanted to watch the movie, “Whitney” which was about Whitney Houston.  It was an excellent movie.  She was amazing!  Truly an awesome singer who will be missed.

Then we had lockdown and after lockdown the guys asked me to play again.  It was Kenny and Tony.  Kenny is the 21 year old I talked about and Tony is this real cool black guy.  Yesterday Kenny joked about my shirt being too tight.  I disagreed with him. He wears his clothes super baggy.  Tony was like “Don’t listen to him, he wishes he was as muscular as you in the shoulders.  Your shirt fits fine!”  Tony is cool.  Real nice guy.

Along with these guys, I have made a few more friends in the block.  Mike and Mike are in choir, and I like hanging with them.  Then there is Buck Norris.  Haha!  His name is Burk and he looks like Chuck Norris.  We talk all the time. He is fun and a good God-centered man.  Then there is Josh, who Mike and I are trying to get to join the choir.  He is cool too.  Then there is Cory.  He reminds me of a short caveman, outdoors man. He has the primitive beard, and he is laid back.  So things are going much better in H1 South. Plus, the heat is working now!  They only complain about my snoring.  Apparently this new CPAP isn’t working well.  Only the guy next to me can hear me. They just mess with me.  They know I can’t help it.  I feel bad for them.  The mask doesn’t stay on my face.  I have tried everything to get it to stay on.  My Dad should be sending my CPAP machine, I hope.  Things are going much better.  I feel more comfortable!

Note from Mom:  Praise the Lord!  When your son is in prison, having a stomach ache from worry is an everyday occurrence.  Thank you my Lord and Savior for protecting my son.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. – Psalm 91:7