Saturday, December 11, 2010


My favorite time of the year has always been Thanksgiving to me its some of the best family time.  During the almost three years I was incarcerated I went through three Christmas seasons, each year I was bound and determined to send a Christmas letter, as was my way in the free world.  So I made up a letter and hand wrote it about 20 times....then sent it to my friends and family that were writing me while I was locked up.  The first couple years I decorated the ruled notebook paper it was written on with little paintings of holly and candles.  We were not allowed colored pens or markers so using water I melted the color off of candies such as Skittles, M&M's and Fireballs, then used a toothbrush and the tip of pens as a paint brush.  It was fun, and kept my mood festive while I did my big project.

I want to share with you the three letters I wrote, you will see my journey and my determination to stay positive and keep my chin up:

CHRISTMAS 2007 (my trial was in September of 2007):
Dear Family & Friends,
     As I reflect on the past year, what I see is there is nothing more important than God, family, friends and the memories we create for ourselves and loved ones through our relationships.  Certainly my own experiences over the year have brought me to question my faith, the validity of an archaic justice system (one driven by money and power) and the ability to trust my fellow human beings.  Ultimately, it is my faith that allows me to move on and to believe that God, and only God, can cause my false accusers to come to justice, and for me to understand it may not happen in my time or even become a part of my knowledge.
     I am so proud of Nathan and Brandon [my two sons].  In their own ways, each of them stood up for me and their beliefs in what was right during the days of my trial and sentencing.  The Judge admonished me "on record" for dragging them into the process.  [Actually I did NOT want to but my attorney insisted.]  Once I finally had time to reflect following the trial and consider what the judge said I realized that their involvement could actually prove to be a milestone in their lives.  Learning to speak up and in Nate's case to show up, to be there for a loved one and to stand up for what is right even in the face of an unfair system are all tremendous lessons.  Likewise, Ron [my husband] and his constant love and dedication has kept the boys and I going under these difficult circumstances.  There are always blessings hidden in the worst of times, available for the plucking if we choose.
     Living in gratitude changes our experiences in life and polishes our own humanity, the very core of our being.  Nobody can take that away from any of us.
     Years ago I heard told a story....and included it in some of my public speaking from time to time.  I want to share it again here.  There was a small poem found carved in a rock in Europe following World War II.  It goes like this:

           I believe in the sun.....
               even when it does not shine.
          I believe in love.....
               even when I do not feel it.
          I believe in God.....
               even when I do not see Him.

     Powerful words to live by. Beliefs are everything.  They truly mold our existence.  Have a great holiday season and best wishes in the New Year.  
                                                With Love,  Audrey

Dear Friends and Family,
     Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  As I strive to understand what has transpired in my life over the past five years I am encouraged by my favorite Bible verse:

          1 Corinthians 13:13  Three things will last forever
               faith, hope and love
               and the greatest of these is love.

     Thank you for being in my life.
                                    With Love,  Audrey

Dear Friends & Family,
     Welcome to my world.  Just for one minute of your Christmas season.  The world inside - not the free world as you know it.  But, a world defined by locks, bars, heavy metal doors, counts every couple hours, rules and regulations for every breath taken.  Nothing private, no ownership, permission required for every step of the way.  Women grieving - loss of their life, loss of what they once dreamed their life could be, loss of their children, loss of their husband or boyfriend, family as we know it.
     But in the midst of tears, the haze from psych drugs so freely given and the paralyzing fear of authority gone out of control....there is a reaching out for some human comfort, some connect to another person, something greater than each one by ourselves.  Thus creating a giant dysfunctional family - nonetheless - some similance of a family.  We decorate our doors and walls of the day room for the holiday season....knowing there will be no material gifts, no happy children dancing under the tree, no Christmas parties, no Christmas lights, no Christmas candles, no Christmas shopping.
     We attend as many services and Bible studies as we can, hoping for acceptance from an outside volunteer and praying for God to hear our cries for freedom.  And, if not freedom - then, at least, the safety and health of our loved ones - never forgotten - always held close to our hearts, even as we sit here in our invisible world being invisible people to society.
     Those in charge cannot strip us of our souls, our spiritual matter how many humiliating strip searches they do.  They cannot shatter our matter how much they bully us or lie about us.  Ultimately we find we are in charge of our own happiness, our attitudes, our own well-being as we forge through a system that does not want rehabilitation but depends on recidivism for the funding of their paychecks and the maintenance and growth of their fortresses.
     It is God, the reading of His word and speaking to Him daily through prayers which insures our sanity.  And when one of us goes astray through depression or anger, the others pull that person back in and together we walk down the long, empty, cold hallways to the next service or Bible class...and we learn...therein lies the greatest gift of all...the gift of everlasting life....John 3:16.
     Merry Christmas & Best wishes in the New Year...from inside....
                                     Love,  Audrey


  1. I remember these letters.... and the beautiful drawings in the margins - done by M&M and Skittle colors, etc.
    Everyone needs to read these letters ...

    I'm kind of speechless right now. (imagine that)

    Love you, Audrey.

  2. Thanks for sharing those! I remember my mom showing me your Christmas letter last year. It's really moving.

    "God, and only God, can cause my false accusers to come to justice, and for me to understand it may not happen in my time or even become a part of my knowledge." <-- i like that.