Self-Destruct

I ran into a summer life
I tried it on
I tasted it
I loved it
I lost it
and I ran back to snow.
Why I didn’t keep on
tasting
loving
finding
I’ll never know.
Fear grabbed the wheel
drove me quite mad.
Panic navigated, flying
through mountains
sliding across icy roads,
dumped me back here
freezing in the bitter snow.
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Spirit Eyes

My spirit eyes can see my flowers.
When I look out across my snow covered yard, I see the bulbs.
I see the roots longing to break ground, aching to push the tender,
green sprouts up through the dirt and into the light of day.
They are patiently waiting, hibernating beneath the snow.
They are not gone. They are not dead.
They are just hidden from view… alive and strong just like me.
 My spirit eyes can see my flowers.

There’s A Blizzard Coming

Well, the weather lady said there’s a blizzard coming tomorrow. She promised from 5 to 10 inches of snow, so I figured I’d better get out to the store and stock up.
I also figured I might need some fresh air before the snow came and locked me in the house for another two or three days.
My husband and I went to Rite-Aid and l picked out some stuff on clearance. Coffee cups, coffee jars for my sisters and a pretty rug for the kitchen floor. A New Hampshire Live Free or Die tee-shirt for my daughter and a big wash pail for the garage.
Okay, so what else did I need before the big blizzard hits up here in the White Mountains?
We saw some vitamins on clearance and after a lively conversation about who had the worst memory, we picked out two bottles of DHA 600. According to the label, it’s necessary for optimal brain function and we totally agreed we each had room for improvement.

Last, I picked up 2 packs of Marlboros even though I’ve gotten myself down to less than a half a pack a day. You just never know how long you’re going to be stuck in the house after a blizzard.
Our trip’s Grand Finale was a meal at McDonald’s, the only fast food available for miles around and I had a breakfast sandwich for supper.
Luckily, it was delicious, because complaining about your food can be a big problem in a little town.
In fact, I was hoping that the girl didn’t remember me from the last time we went there.
I had ordered a grilled chicken sandwich that I took one bite out of and very quickly returned to the counter girl. I declared it a piece of manufactured something that could not possibly be chicken, politely, but I also shuddered as I declined the offer of replacing it with anything else.
I think the same girl waited on me today and I have to say, she was sweet as anything.
She even brought our food over to the table and made sure my coffee was just right.
So now we are home all tucked in and getting ready to watch a movie.
We didn’t realize until the dogs started to bark at us that we had forgotten to get dog food and an onion for the corned beef dinner that we’re going to cook tomorrow. (We did have enough dog food for tonight.)
Even worse, we forgot Marshmallow. That’s my new addiction and I’m almost out.
I’m not going to say who ate half of it, but that is the person who is going to get dressed tomorrow and go to the store during the blizzard.
He’s very sweet about things like that anyway, maybe because he eats so much Marshmallow.

The Big Picture…

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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

Snowed-Out

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Okay, I have been taking flak from my family all winter because I live in Florida… Well, it’s time to set the record straight.
Yes, I live in the only warm, perfect little piece of the United States.
Yes, I have year-round sunshine, plenty of rain for my flowers and just a few cool nights when all the plants have to come in the house.
Yes, I have a yard full of tropical flowers that are gorgeous and there are no gardening limits beyond my imagination.
Yes, we have flowering hibiscus trees in every color. Yes, the blooms are as big as a salad plate.

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Yes, we just planted a Pink Puff tree. (I sat and watched the puffs open today.)

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Yes, I have a pool that now has a solar heater so I that I can swim year-round because I am NOT getting into 60 degree water!
Never mind that I swam in the ocean in New Hampshire with water that had permanent icicles for thirty-six years.
Never mind that my sister and I once streaked naked through that ocean in November. My body has changed and it does not like cold.
Still, I would stand beside you all, stand right by your snow drifts with you, if I could.

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With all that said, let me tell you what I have been through this winter.
I have been snowed-out while you are all complaining about being snowed-in. I have been kept out. I have been kept out of Maine, New Hampshire and Oklahoma. I have been stopped from visiting my sisters and their families, my son and his wife and their new baby, my brother, my granddaughter and her baby boy, my newly found niece and my daughter.
I have been trapped in this sunshine and it hurts and I don’t want to hear no more hoo-haa about living in the land of sunshine while you are a living in the land of six-foot snow banks and having to put your kids out in the parking spaces with cones on their heads to save your parking spaces after you shovel.
No, I don’t have to shovel but I have to sit here and miss everybody and I am snowed-out.
You know, we have problems here in Florida too. We are expecting a cold front tomorrow, record lows in the 70’s.
So, the next someone says squat when I post my pictures of flowers glowing in the sunshine, they are going to get a smack upside the head because I miss you, my family and I am snowed-out.
It’s not my fault. I tried to move back to New England. I sold my house. I put a contract on a house in Laconia, NH. Both deals fell through. I would have been moving January 31st, just in time for the first big snow storm, but God said, “No, you just stay right where you are little Missy,” and that’s the way it happened…
Family, I love you, I miss you and I would love to be snowed in with you instead of being snowed out, I promise.
So please shut up.

 

…and I would throw snowballs at your bedroom window at midnight…

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I wish I lived in a little New England farmhouse with the wood stove burning and a fire in the fireplace. Beans would be cooking on the wood stove, snow would be falling outside my window and you, living right down the street.
I would sneak over and I would throw snowballs at your bedroom window at midnight so you would come out to see who it was and then I would dance in the snow under the moonlight and it wouldn’t hurt because the cold snow would make my foot pain better, and you would shiver in your doorway and say, “Get in here, you idiot!”
I would grab two icicles from your front window and dance into your warm kitchen and we would have hot chocolate with pink marshmallows and we would laugh.
We would talk for hours like when we were little girls and we would forget that we are not little girls anymore because when we are together we are just sisters. We are not old, we are not crippled, we are not grandmothers, we are not great-grandmothers (me) and we are not old ladies.
Because when we are together, we are young girls again with our future in front of us and we laugh…and I would throw snowballs at your bedroom window at midnight…