First Visit – Feb 21, 2015

I had my first visit today in 3 months and it was Great!  My Step-Mom and Sister came up from Greenville and it was great.  I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to come, because we were supposed to get bad weather. For the last 2 days I prayed that we wouldn’t get bad weather so that they could come.  God heard my prayers because the storm shifted and barely missed us.  Haha!

Surrounding counties were getting snow, but not us.  When they called my name, I was so excited.  I got down to the Visitation area and didn’t know what to do.  I finally figured it out with the help of an Officer.  I walked in and sat down.  It was so great to visit face-to-face with family and to be able to talk more than 15 minutes.  Ha!  It is not the same as sitting in a house and having freedom, however, it is better than nothing.  I have learned to appreciate things more since I have been in here.

The visit went well and 2 hours flew by quickly.  However, it was great to get caught up, and hear good news.  Although my Dad couldn’t make it, I was happy to hear that he hasn’t smoked in 7 weeks.  That is awesome!  I am so proud of him.  Skye is about to graduate high school in a few months and go to college.  I already knew this, but I was able to get the details.  And Michele is getting an awesome, new job.

They also gave me some good news about my wife and boys.  I will continue to pray for them.  The visit was great but sad at the end.  That is the only problem.  I am happy, but sad.  Then I tell myself that I will see them again.  It may take a few months to get used to the new normal.  However, I am so extremely blessed to have family support.  When I looked in the Visitation room and saw only 20 inmates, I realized how blessed I am.  A lot of inmates don’t have visitors, ever.

They messed up, and their family abandoned them or they are old and don’t have family.  Even to get mail is a blessing.  I just want to say “Thank you!” to all my family and church friends for your support.  Besides God, you help to keep my spirits high and I can’t thank you all enough!  I Love you all!




Shoulders – Feb 17, 2015

Do you remember when your Daddy used to carry you on his shoulders?  The time when you couldn’t see something or how about the time you were tired of walking?  I believe at some point in our young lives, we were carried on Daddy’s shoulders.  If you haven’t had that experience, you’re not too late or too old to experience this.

If you call on your heavenly Daddy during times of trouble, sickness, or depression or when you feel like you can’t walk no more… HE will carry you on his shoulders.  God is the Father to the fatherless as well. In times of need, trials and tribulations, HE is there.

The song “Shoulders” by for King & Country tells us how He helps and rescues us.  They sing “You help me, you res-rescue me, you carry my sickness, my weakness, my brokenness, all on your shoulders.”  The next time you experience any storm, allow God to carry you on His shoulders.  Also remember that Jesus died for your sins.  You ARE a Child of God!  He Loves You!

Buck’s Swoll – Feb 17, 2015


6 Maruchan Chili flavored Ramen noodle
2 – 3 oz Summer sausages
3/4 cup of Cheez Whiz or some type of squeezable cheese
1 can of Hormel Chili (no meat) – We have Bear Creek bag chili w/Beans
1 Jumbo dill pickle
1 bag of Beans and Rice dry mix
1/4 cup of Pasta Sauce (Traditional) – Prego or something with spices works best
4 – 5 cups of near boiling water.
1 – 2 packs of tortilla wraps
2 cheap, unscented trash bags (small size)  Can also use empty chip bags


1  Crush up Ramen noodles by throwing them on the floor like a bag of ice (not joking)

2.  Cut/dice up summer sausage.  If you live in PA, Garlic ring bologna would be perfect.

3.  Dice up pickle

4.  Put all ingredients in the bag, even Ramen noodle seasoning.  Only put 1/2 c of Cheez Whiz and half the pasta sauce in.

5.  Tie the bag up, put it in another trash bag filled with water, and wrap in a towel.  Let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes.

6.  Before you wrap it, in towel, mix up ingredients by moving them around with your hands in the bag.

7.  After 15 — 20 minutes, put into a serving dish.  Take tortilla, put some Cheez Whiz and pasta sauce on it, spread it around, then put some of the mix down the center of the tortilla and eat like a taco.

Next recipe will be “Jail Pizza”

I hope you enjoy it!

Side note:  You can use any Ramen noodle.  I recommend something spicy or beef.

*Also, you can add other things to it, like onions, green peppers, etc.  If you want an authentic “Swoll”, make Buck’s exactly as given.  You might need less water as well.  Start off with a small amount and see.  Add as needed.

Learning to Cook – Feb 17, 2015

A couple of months ago, I talked about Cooking in Prison.  While I was at CP (Central Prison), I cooked with a guy and it was terrible.  I wanted to throw up.  I threw it away after 2 bites.  Since I have been at Marion Correctional, I have seen everything.  A lot of different combinations of stuff you can buy at the Canteen (Jail Store).  Most of it isn’t healthy at all.  Every once in a while, however, you need to get something or cook something, because lunch or dinner is just not good.  Some people don’t go to Chow at all. They just cook.  You can cook for pretty cheap.

There is this one guy in my block who loves to cook.  The other night, he said, “Hey Ed, you want to cook?” I said “Sure!”  So what you do is you split the ingredients evenly by # of items and money.  I paid $3.25 and he paid about the same within a few cents.  We cooked a “Swoll”.  It sounds gross, but the way Buck cooks, it is amazing.  I am going to put a recipe in this blog as well.  You can try it at home.  We spent $7.00 and it ended up feeding 7 people.  Everyone was full and happy!  They call them “Swolls” because they swell up in the bag. Close custody prisons don’t have microwaves.

One thing we do have is near boiling water.  It is an attachment onto our water fountains. The water is super hot, and almost boiling.  They sell cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, meatball subs, Philly Cheesesteaks, beef stew and Chili with Beans at the Canteen.  All of these are heated up by putting them in an unused trash bag, hot water, and closing the bag.  You keep the items in the sealed package.  Warms up real good.  It is amazing.  Now the great thing about a “Swoll” is there are many different things people put in their “Swolls” but Ramen noodle is a must have, or it isn’t a “Swoll”.

List of Ingredients (* = required)

* Ramen noodle (Chili, Beef, or Spicy)
* Rice and beans dry mix; or
* Chili (wet) with beans    (one of the above two is required)
– Squeeze cheese (aka Cheese Whiz)
– Pasta sauce (marinara)
– Summer sausage
– Pickle
– Cheese crackers
– Tuna
– Canned/bag fish (mackeral, fish steaks, etc.)
– Mayo
– Mustard
– Ketchup
– Tortilla wraps
– Onions
– Green peppers
– Block of cheese
– Pulled pork
– Chicken
– Bacon

The “Swoll” is the most popular, but there are other things people cook, such as: Pizza, Burritos, State Cakes, Enchiladas, Nachos, and simple tuna salad.  Nachos are real easy.  Doritos, wet chili, and Cheese Whiz.  I have seen some very complex enchiladas and nachos however.  I an going to put a “recipe” for Buck’s Swoll in a blog.  Try it out!  Measurements will be approximate because we don’t have measuring cups.  Haha!

How He loves us – Feb 14, 2014

I was lying in bed, listening to the Christian music and the song “Oh How He Loves Us” came on.  It brought up a lot of good memories from my very first mission trip in Nashville, TN.  At the beginning of this trip, my attitude was sour.  We had to walk a good 2 miles back to the church every time we parked the van.  It was hot in the middle of July.  I was so out of shape and probably at the highest weight I had ever been.  I had a great group of students, and we had to help out at a youth summer sports camp.  I am not the sports type, so I wasn’t happy!

We went and all we did was played sports with the kids.  I didn’t understand how this was a mission, and was really negative and mad.  After the first day, I went and talked to the mission director and asked him about this mission.  He told me that it may not seem like you are doing much, but you are.  Yes, you’re not feeding the homeless or packaging relief packages.  That is what I thought a mission was, and that’s not what I was doing.  I was playing sports with happy kids.  Then the director told me a little about the kids and their backgrounds.  He told me that they just want to be loved.  They want to feel like someone cares about them.  These kids came from rough homes, single parents homes, and most of them didn’t have a Dad.  When he told me that, it touched my heart.

I had a different attitude the rest of the week.  We sang the song “Oh How He Loves Us” every night.  It wasn’t until months later and now, that this song really touches me.  On April 27, 2014 I gave my life to Christ and repented of my sins.  This was a week after the investigation started on my case.  After I laid down my sins at the cross, this song played, and I bowed my head in my hands and wept.  I thought to myself, “How can anyone forgive me and still love me after what I did?” Now when I hear this song it reminds me of God’s love for us.  God loves us no matter what we have done.  He is a Father to the fatherless.  He is a God of love!

Read 1 John 4: 7-12, 16

Seeds – Feb 11, 2014

Tonight I was reading my Bible after evening devotional.  I am reading all 4 gospels as a challenge made by the Chaplain.  Now I have read the Gospels before, but the second time is even better.  I was reading Luke 8: 1-15, the Parable of the Sower.  A different, slightly different, version is told in Matthew 13: 2-23 and Mark 4: 1-20.  I have read all versions and for some odd reason, the Luke 8: 4-15 version spoke to me.

I stopped reading and thought about these verses.  I asked myself “Which seed am I?” I came to the thought that though I am in prison, I still long for food.  I love ice cream and food.  It is a pleasure in this life.  Also I still worry about a lot of things.  So naturally I can identify with the seed among thorns.  Luke 8:14 says “The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures and they do not mature.”  

Sometimes I feel like life’s worries and pleasure keep me from maturing in my faith and spiritual journey.  I have made it a personal goal to become the “seed on good soil.”  What seed are you?

Read Luke 8: 4-15

Day by Day – Feb 14, 2015

A few days ago I received a book from my dear friend, Lonnie.  Lonnie and I met on the men’s rafting trip with the Seacoast Men’s group.  Lonnie is a Master of Survival, and I was going to learn from him. Then I got locked up.  I told him what happened, and we have been keeping in touch through letters.  He sent me the devotional “Morning & Evening” by Charles Spurgeon.  He was a very well known baptist preacher in the mid to late 1800s.  He died in 1892.  The version I have is the KJV edition.

I love this devotional! It is in the authentic English-speaking language of the 1800’s.  I was reading the morning devotional for today (Feb 14, 2015) and it touched me.  I was going to put his message in my own words, but instead I decided to just copy the whole devotional on paper, word for word, because I felt like I couldn’t do justice. Please take the time to read this message by Charles Spurgeon.

“And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of he King, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.”  –2 Kings 25:30.

“”Jehoiachin was not sent away from the King’s palace with a store to last him for months, but his provision was given him as a daily pension.  Herein he well pictures the happy position of all the Lord’s people. A daily portion is all that a man really wants.  We do not need tomorrow’s supplies; that day has not yet dawned, and its wants are as yet unborn.  The thirst which we may suffer in the month of June does not need to be quenched in February, for we do not feel it yet; if we have enough for each day as the days arrive, we shall never know want.  Sufficient for the day is all that we can enjoy.  We can not eat or drink or wear more than the day’s supply of food and raiment; the surplus gives us the care of storing it, and the anxiety of watching against a thief.  One staff aids a traveler, but a bundle of staves is a heavy burden.  Enough is not only as good as a feast, but it is all that the veriest glutton an truly enjoy.  This is all that we should expect; a craving for more than this is ungrateful.  When our Father does not give us more, we should be content with his daily allowance.  Jehoiachin’s case is ours.  We have a sure portion, a portion given us of the King, a gracious portion and a perpetual portion.  Here is surely ground for thankfulness.

Beloved Christian Reader, in matters of grace you need a daily supply.  You have no store of strength.  Day by Day must you seek help from above.  It is a very sweet assurance that a daily portion is provided for you.  In the word, through the ministry, by meditation, in prayer, and waiting upon God you shall receive renewed strength.  In Jesus all needful things are laid up for you.  Then enjoy your continual allowance.  Never go hungry while the daily bread of grace is on the table of mercy.”

— Charles Spurgeon

Read 2 Kings 25: 27-30

Note from Mom:  This is amazing.  I read this article today:   (and told my husband about it)