Christmas is the time of year for remembering.
I feel my mom all around me because Christmas was my mom’s favorite time of the year. She is the spirit of Christmas to me.
I’m not sure why it was her favorite because it was also her hardest time of year, with my dad drinking and crazy and hating Christmas.
But, it was and she always made sure…somehow, someway, that there were a few presents and a lot of love surrounding her kids. I will always remember rolling hundreds of Italian Cookies with her, every year.
Sometimes we had family over for the holiday dinner. I always considered their presence a Christmas miracle because Dad would stop his ranting and raving for just a few hours. He would smile and talk like a normal person and it always amazed me how he could turn it off and on.
I guess he must have known the insane screaming was wrong. Why else would he have stopped the moment people came into our house?
Yes, Christmas is a time for remembering and as I move on from my childhood memories, I remember my own babies and how I felt like a child myself when they were young.
I try not to think of where I fell short.
I try to remember where I succeeded.
I miss them. I miss those babies who grew up before I was ready to let them go.
Pampers and pacifiers, Cabbage Patch dolls and Lego’s. Hot Wheels and Strawberry Shortcake. Little hands rolling Italian Christmas cookies growing into teenagers hanging KISS posters.
Far to soon, my children were in the driver’s seat, grand-babies and weddings and great-grandchildren.
My best chance to be what they needed has been dissolved by time, time I thought was mine.
If you have babies and children still at home, remember that Christmas is a time for remembering.
Create the good memories now, not next year. Next year is not promised.
As the snow is falling outside your windows, and the Christmas lights are blinking on every porch, live the day you’d like them to remember.
When you look back to now from someday in your future, you’ll smile and your heart will be filled with joy instead of tears and regrets.
Christmas is the time of year for remembering.
You have to wear a bra!
You’re too young to shave your legs and I don’t care if all the other girls your age are doing it!
I read your diary. We need to talk.
Yes, there are microphones hidden in your barrettes!
If you didn’t take my green eye shadow, then why are your eyelids green?
I’m gonna kill you!
I’m your mother and your father!
Take down those rock posters or I’ll tear them down!
I don’t believe you.
Never let your husband see you without your make-up on or your hair a mess!
Don’t ever let him see you in the green face mask!
You have to try harder and look better, after you’re married.
Cook him a big breakfast and have his supper ready when he comes in from work.
Are you gonna let him get up and make his own coffee?
Tough luck, life isn’t fair!
THINGS I WISH I’D SAID EVERYDAY
I love you.
Let’s all go out and play.
I don’t care if you make a mess!
Go to college and get a degree, before you have kids.
August 23, 2016
I sat on the front porch of a sober-living house this morning, doing morning group meditation with amens for everyone and everything.
I was surrounded by grateful, sober-living women. I am so proud of each one of these miracle walkers.
As I sat there today, I was reliving throwing my hands up to the sky in complete surrender and handing my daughter to God, so many times, but most of all of the day I started to plan her funeral as she lay unconscious in a bathtub in a dope house, 2,000 miles away, being held under the water in an attempt to either kill her or to revive her from an overdose.
That day, I wept with earth shattering grief as I felt the extreme reality of the pain that her loss would deliver.
And still…I was afraid that he would not save her anymore, because of all the miracles that he had already delivered to her and to me, but God does not give up, he does not falter, he does not say, “Oh no, my child! You blew it last time!”
My heart was so heavy and for the very first time, I was afraid to ask for yet another miracle, but I stuffed my pride and on my knees, I raised my hands to him.
“Not my daughter, not my daughter,” I sobbed.
I asked, I begged and I pleaded, sending my legions of angels to lift her from the tub.
Called my sisters so that they could send out their angels and prayers too.
God was waiting patiently for the exact moment to lift my daughter from the water, to fill her lungs with air, to stand her on her feet, to restore her life, to teach her how to walk again.
The same way I taught her to walk when she was a year old, one step at a time.
I could not save her but he could and he did.
I am extremely grateful for my daughter’s life, for the fact that she is one of these sober-living women, so very grateful for her sobriety, so very grateful that I dragged up the strength and the courage to hand it to him once more when all I wanted to do was jump on a plane and race to save her.
She would have been dead before I could have even packed a suitcase.
I am so very proud of you my daughter for grabbing on to his hands as he lifted you from the water and for holding on to his miracle with all your might.
So very grateful for the woman who obeyed God’s call to open sober-living homes and walked into the prison a few weeks later and shouted, “Where is Jodie Tiger?”
The very next day, she took my daughter’s hand (with the judge’s permission) and led Jodie to this sober-living house.
Thank you God, from the depths of this mother’s heart and God, I pray that you have a blessed day today too.
Love, Jeanne Marie
When I look in my mirror, I remind me of you.
I see the pain you couldn’t hide.
I see the weariness in your soft brown eyes.
I see your careworn face beneath my disguise.
I see your strength as you faced each day.
I see the sadness that colored your ways.
I see the exact same streaks of greying hair.
I see your courage even though I’m aware
of times when your load was so heavy,
it was far to much for you to bear.
I see your wrinkles, I see your lines.
I see your shadow behind my eyes.
When I look in my mirror I remind me of you.
Many of you read my article about my daughter, Jodie Lynne, getting out of prison, The Big Picture, last week.
I said, “I am asking all of you who believe to pray for us. She is walking out the prison gates with nothing but the clothes on her back, a faith that God loves her, a belief that He will help her survive and a very strong desire to not return to prison.”
You responded with encouragement, support and promises of prayers…thank you so much.
I am thrilled to report that we got our miracle. One of many in Jodie’s Journey.
Her ex-husband, currently sober, has used his recovery connections to help her get into a recovery house for women. A very structured program designed to teach women to take responsibility for their own lives, while giving them a safe place to live. This is a big deal, definitely in the miracle category, because I have called recovery programs in the area and Jodie has already burned so many bridges that most of them wouldn’t even call me back.
When she is released, she will be taking a daylong bus ride back to Tulsa and as soon as she arrives, she will be going to the house for her interview. They have two openings and all she has to do is show up sober and say she is willing to follow the program’s rules. She will be accepted into the house that very night. She will not spend even one day or one night wandering the streets, looking for shelter.
She started crying when I told her. She had planned to leave prison with a list of shelters for the homeless and now she has a bed waiting for her.
If she wants to stay straight and stay out of jail, God has given her the opportunity. It won’t be easy, but it will be possible.
She has been calling me the last few weeks full of anxiety and nearly hysterical. I kept telling her that God had a place for her, we just didn’t know where it was yet and I believed that with all my heart, but nothing I could say calmed her down. I understood her fear, but this precious girl has helped me learn to trust God, so when I could tell her that I knew where her place was, my heart was overflowing with gratitude. I told her that I believed for her when she couldn’t and I reminded her that she has done the same for me.
Again, thank you for your encouragement, support and prayers,
Hi! I haven’t been around my blog very much lately because I am in the middle of packing up my house in Florida and moving to New Hampshire.
Crazy as it sounds, I would rather be cold than hot and I am from New England.
I do have other reasons for moving. Still, I’m either insane or very brave considering the snow they had there last year.
So, the day that I close on my house in Florida is the same day that my daughter, Jodie Lynne, walks out of prison in Oklahoma.
I am asking all of you who believe to pray for us. She is walking out the prison gates with nothing but the clothes on her back, a faith that God loves her, a belief that He will help her survive and a very strong desire to not go back to prison.
I can’t go to Oklahoma on that day and I think God wants me to let her sort this one out because the timing means that I have to be here in Florida and not there with her.
Her dad and I have set aside some money so she can get an apartment, but not many landlords decide to rent to a felon, a felon without a job.
In spite of that, I am praying that God already has a safe place picked out for her. He can do that…I can’t.
Jodie and I are writing a book about how hard it is to make it and stay clean when you walk out of prison.
It’s almost impossible to start over when you have been stripped of everything but your life. Your children, dignity, self-worth, confidence and possessions, gone, and now you owe thousands and thousands of dollars in fines.
It used to be that you’d go to prison and work off your fines but now they not only add them on to your bill, they charge you for the services you require to stay free.
She has to pay to see her parole officer and she has to pay for frequent urine tests.
She owes $50,000 in child support and as soon as she gets a job they garnish her wages.
I will never defend the choices that landed my daughter in jail, but I will say this, people do horrendous things and walk away every day. All you need to walk away is money for a good lawyer.
She has no crimes against people, no violent offenses, just a bunch of petty crimes that added up to doing time as a habitual criminal.
Plus, Oklahoma has more women in prison than any other state and it’s not because they have the highest crime rate.
I make no excuses for my daughter, but as we have traveled the prison system together over the last eight years, I have realized that the women and girls who come out of prison are setup to fail.
I don’t know how anyone could come out owing about $70,000 and make it, excepting for a big miracle or a few medium size miracles.
My daughter is a beautiful woman, inside and out and when she is straight, she is my best friend in the world. When she is not straight, she is my biggest heartache.
I would like you to pray with me that she finds the strength and the courage to walk out of prison and stay sober, that she will find a job allowing her to pay her child support and fines, at least enough to stay out of jail. She doesn’t have a driver’s license because she owes child support, so her job options are very limited, confined to the area where she finds an apartment.
I never did understand how losing your license because you didn’t pay child support would help get child support from you. How do you get to work without a license?
And as for me, please pray that I stay strong as I pack about a hundred boxes, while trying to get rid of everything that I don’t care about because it costs too much to move it all and even some things I do care about.
I have to remember that in the big picture, possessions really don’t mean anything, people do.
I am moving for many complicated reasons, reasons that are far more important than fine china or knickknacks.
I care deeply about my writing, my books and my computers and even most of the books I own could go.
I’ve already gotten rid of hundreds of books and I pray for the strength and the stamina to make this move.
I am praying for the courage to allow my daughter to walk out of prison and stand on her own two feet.
My daughter and I are also writing about how going to prison damages the families of the prisoners, the parents and the grandparents, siblings and family members, anyone who loves them, moms who like me, never give up hoping and believing because they love their child.
Please pray that God and the angels cover our backs as we each struggle to do what needs to be done to change our lives for the better and please pray that we continue to move forward in faith despite the enormous odds that we have against us.
Amen and XO, Jeanne Marie