Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

I love you son....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kennedy Loves The Ranch!

Rusty' s Tree

We planted this tree in memory of  Rusty, he loved Blue Spruces and it has grown quite a bit in 4 years!  

Hip Hip Hooray!

Dear Lance, 

I have finally posted your letters and pictures on your blog to Kennedy, now that the Christmas Season is here things have started to slow down a bit.  I am able to send you some great pictures of Kennedy too!  I can't wait for you to see his you tube channel, it cracks me up, he is a total ham!  I decorated for the first time since Rusty died, it felt weird and good at the same time, when I opened the keepsake box of all collected ornaments through the years I found your first baby ornament and I cried like a baby...No mother wants her son to be in prison for Christmas especially with Kennedy at this age - so excited about everything Christmas!  He sits in his car seat and shrieks with delight at all of the lights...I bought him some great toys but the best thing is a play yard for their backyard-that kid loves to goooooo.  We have also found a nanny that comes to the house and watches Emma and Kennedy and I love her, she loves the kids and they love her.  

Please know that I love you, I pray for you, I believe in you, I cherish you, and I can't wait for you to come home - a changed man, wiser, older, and ready to face responsibilities....

Love Mom

Thursday, November 10, 2011

October 10, 2011 Dear Son

Dear Son,

I have not written on the blog in some time, I do apologize for this; I have been working so hard at the office, when someone takes a vacation, is sick, or has surgery we are spread so thin!  This economy has hit everyone so hard…I know you are in there feeling lonely and maybe left out, but please remember that out here people are working harder than they have worked before to save what they have built up, with some still losing everything…

I loved our visit!  You look so good and your choices you are making are fabulous.  Choosing to become an adult and all that comes with – parenting, being a good example, being of service, working on relationships, being honest, healthy lifestyle choices with diet and exercise, so hard but believe me, worth it….I absolutely love that when I wake up each morning there are no feelings of – failure, defeat, worthlessness, guilt (well almost every morning) I feel free from all of that bondage.  I ask God every morning to help me do his will and then I thank God for all of the good in my life. 

Sorry that the Yoga was not for you, but maybe in time you will see what I see….I kind of go overboard when I like something and want everyone to experience it too.  I am working on Kennedy’s blog this Saturday and I will send it to you when I am done. 

I love you so much, Mom

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Words to live by...

The way to gain a good reputation
 is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fifth Limb-Pratyahara-Control of the Senses

Pratyahara means drawing back or retreat. The word ahara means "nourishment"; pratyahara translates as "to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses."  It means our senses stop living off the things that stimulate; the senses no longer depend on these stimulants and are not fed by them any more.

Pratyahara occurs almost automatically when we meditate because we are so absorbed in the object of meditation. Precisely because the mind is so focused, the senses follow it; it is not happening the other way around.

Much of our emotional imbalance are our own creation. A person who is influenced by outside events and sensations can never achieve the inner peace and tranquility. This is because he or she will waste much mental and physical energy in trying to suppress unwanted sensations and to heighten other sensations. This will eventually result in a physical or mental imbalance, and will, in most instances, result in illness.

Patanjali says that the above process is at the root of human unhappiness and uneasiness. When people seek out yoga, hoping to find that inner peace which is so evasive, they find that it was theirs all along. In a sense, yoga is nothing more than a process which enables us to stop and look at the processes of our own minds; only in this way can we understand the nature of happiness and unhappiness, and thus transcend them both.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dear Son, August 13, 2011

Before I send the fourth limb of Yoga I wanted to explain why this is so important to me.  Your last letter asked "why I was sending you a yoga book"?

Here is why I want you to open your mind to Yoga...

After Rusty died I was kind of wondering aimlessly, and for an alcoholic, wondering aimlessly  is not good!!!  I had a friend  ask if I wanted to go with her to Yoga, why not?  I thought....So the next night there I was, scared, embarrassed, and feeling so stupid....I followed my friend, borrowed a mat and went in to the studio....First of all as I walked in I felt an incredible sensce of peace and acceptance...I felt like I belonged and that is not a feeling that comes to me very often....The doing of the yoga was actually very strenuous so thinking was out of the question!  So one hour went by and I was not thinking of my sadness or grief, and I thought,  What A Miracle!  Besides my Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and friends and of course Kennedy, nothing had helped me so much!  After each session there is a short meditation with music, and every single time they started the music tears came down my cheeks, a continual flow that I could not stop nor did I want to - more healing than therapy this was for me.

There is so much to learn in Yoga as there are so many different practices....I want you to know that Yoga has given me....

a sense of well being
an outlet for grief, anger, sadness 
more chances to sit still and just listen
a way to put my troubles to the side for a bit 
a wonderful place to be 

Please read the book, I love you...Mom

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dear Son, August 22, 2011

I was up early this morning and noticing that the season is already changing
Before long Autumn will be here...

It occurred to me that I have not noticed the seasons changing in quite some time, about the time Rusty started chemo is about the time that my road seemed full of ruts, had big potholes with dark curtains on either side...Survival I'm sure it's called!  All of energy to see outside my grief and the "cancer journey"  was zapped from me...For the past several years birthdays, holidays,  and the changes of seasons were, for me, just another day to get through..

Yesterday in the store I noticed Autumn things going up, pumpkins, scarecrows, orange leaves, and I looked, really looked and felt a jolt of happiness...I feel like I may even be able to decorate a Christmas Tree this year, I have not had one up since Rusty died, and as you know I raise Christmas Trees....

What I am saying is things change, they really do!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Found these photos of you!

This picture is of Rusty and I before Reef was born, Rusty's first look at the cabin!

Dear Son, August 11, 2011

Kennedy is turning 2 on Sunday!
  I know you are feeling down at missing another birthday...As I get older I see things so much different, I have always been told that wisdom comes with age. My advise to you is...

Work from the inside out...

It really is non of your business what others think of you...

Knowledge is power! keep reading, keep learning...

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation-some fact of my life -unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake!

You are young - I know your prison time seems like a lifetime...It is and isn't, use this time to change, read the yoga book I sent you even if you don't want to, read your big book...Believe that God has a plan for you and if you are quiet, really quiet, you just might hear it!

Love Mom

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fourth Limb - Pranayama - Breath Control

       Pranayama is the measuring, control, and directing of the breath. Pranayama controls the energy (prana) within the organism, in order to restore and maintain health and to promote evolution. When the in-flowing breath is neutralized or joined with the out-flowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of body activities are realized. In yoga, we are concerned with balancing the flows of vital forces, then directing them inward to the chakra system and upward to the crown chakra.
        Pranayama, or breathing technique, is very important in yoga. It goes hand in hand with the asana or pose. In the Yoga Sutra, the practices of pranayama and asana are considered to be the highest form of purification and self discipline for the mind and the body, respectively. The practices produce the actual physical sensation of heat, called tapas, or the inner fire of purification. It is taught that this heat is part of the process of purifying the nadis, or subtle nerve channels of the body. This allows a more healthful state to be experienced and allows the mind to become more calm.x As the yogi follows the proper rhythmic patterns of slow deep breathing "the patterns strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce craving. As desires and cravings diminish, the mind is set free and becomes a fit vehicle for concentration.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Third Limb - Asanas - Body postures

Asana is the practice of physical postures. It is the most commonly known aspect of yoga for those unfamiliar with the other seven limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. The practice of moving the body into postures has widespread benefits; of these the most underlying are improved health, strength, balance and flexibility. On a deeper level the practice of asana, which means "staying" or "abiding" in Sanskrit, is used as a tool to calm the mind and move into the inner essence of being. The challenge of poses offers the practitioner the opportunity to explore and control all aspects of their emotions, concentration, intent, faith, and unity between the physical and the ethereal body. Indeed, using asanas to challenge and open the physical body acts as a binding agent to bring one in harmony with all the unseen elements of their being, the forces that shape our lives through our responses to the physical world. Asana then becomes a way of exploring our mental attitudes and strengthening our will as we learn to release and move into the state of grace that comes from creating balance between our material world and spiritual experience.
        As one practices asana it fosters a quieting of the mind, thus it becomes both a preparation for meditation and a meditation sufficient in and of itself. Releasing to the flow and inner strength that one develops brings about a profound grounding spirituality in the body. The physicality of the yoga postures becomes a vehicle to expand the consciousness that pervades our every aspect of our body. The key to fostering this expansion of awareness and consciousness begins with the control of breath, the fourth limb – Pranayama. Patanjali suggests that the asana and the pranayama practices will bring about the desired state of health; the control of breath and bodily posture will harmonize the flow of energy in the organism, thus creating a fertile field for the evolution of the spirit. "This down-to-earth, flesh-and-bones practice is simply one of the most direct and expedient ways to meet yourself. … 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Second Limb - Niyama

Personal Observances
Niyama means "rules" or "laws."  These are the rules prescribed for personal observance. Like the yamas, the five niyamas are not exercises or actions to be simply studied. They represent far more than an attitude. Compared with the yamas, the niyamas are more intimate and personal. They refer to the attitude we adopt toward ourselves as we create a code for living soulfully

1. Sauca - Purity 
The first niyama is sauca, meaning purity and cleanliness. Sauca has both an inner and an outer aspect. Outer cleanliness simply means keeping ourselves clean. Inner cleanliness has as much to do with the healthy, free functioning of our bodily organs as with the clarity of our mind. Asanas tones the entire body and removes toxins while pranayama cleanses our lungs, oxygenates our blood and purifies our nerves. "But more important than the physical cleansing of the body is the cleansing of the mind of its disturbing emotions like hatred, passion, anger, lust, greed, delusion and pride." 

2. Santosa - Contentment 
Another niyama is santosa, modesty and the feeling of being content with what we have. To be at peace within and content with one's lifestyle finding contentment even while experiencing life’s difficulties for life becomes a process of growth through all kinds of circumstances. 

3. Tapas – Disciplined use of our energy 
Tapas refers to the activity of keeping the body fit or to confront and handle the inner urges without outer show. Literally it means to heat the body and, by so doing, to cleanse it.  Tapas helps us burn up all the desires that stand in our way of this goal.  Another form of tapas is paying attention to what we eat. Attention to body posture, attention to eating habits, attention to breathing patterns - these are all tapas.

4. Svadhyaya – Self study 
The fourth niyama is svadhyaya. Sva means "self' adhyaya means "inquiry" or "examination". Any activity that cultivates self-reflective consciousness can be considered svadhyaya. It means to intentionally find self-awareness in all our activities and efforts, even to the point of welcoming and accepting our limitations. It teaches us to be centered and non-reactive to the dualities, to burn out unwanted and self-destructive tendencies.

5. Isvarapranidhana - Celebration of the Spiritual 
Isvarapranidhana means "to lay all your actions at the feet of God." It is the contemplation on God (Isvara) in order to become attuned to god and god's will. It is the recognition that the spiritual suffuses everything and through our attention and care we can attune ourselves with our role as part of the Creator. The practice requires that we set aside some time each day to recognize that there is some omnipresent force larger than ourselves that is guiding and directing the course of our lives. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

First Limb ....Yamas

The Yamas are broken down into five "wise characteristics." Rather than a list of dos and don’ts, "they tell us that our fundamental nature is compassionate, generous, honest and peaceful.

(Universal Morality)

 Ahimsa – Compassion for all living things

 Satya – Commitment to Truthfulness 

   Asteya - Non-stealing

 Brahmacharya - Sense control 

Aparigraha  Neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard wealth 

The Yoga Sutra describes what happens when these five behaviors outlined above become part of a person's daily life. Thus, the yamas are the moral virtues which, if attended to, purify human nature and contribute to health and happiness of society.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dear Son, July 21, 2011

Dear Lance, I am learning so much!!  I love that about life, at every corner, at every door there are new lessons - new beginnings, a new you and a new me....I am going to send you a book of Yoga, keep an open mind - as keeping your mind open is how new information will get in

The Eight Limbs , The Core of Yoga
  1. Yama :  Universal morality
  2. Niyama :  Personal observances
  3. Asanas :  Body postures
  4. Pranayama :  Breathing exercises, and control of prana
  5. Pratyahara :  Control of the senses
  6. Dharana :  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
  7. Dhyana :  Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
  8. Samadhi :  Union with the Divine

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wow! What a concept!

New House Rule....
Not to do anything that might ALARM Children or Animals

I love that!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13, 2011 Dear Son,

Dear Son,

I got your letter and I am sorry you are so depressed, I really can’t imagine what is must be like in there  
In the darkest of times is when I found that God truly does carry us! 
  I pray for light, strength, and courage for you 
The Footsteps prayer has always been a wonderful comfort to me 

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed 
he was walking along the beach with the LORD. 

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. 
For each scene he noticed two sets of 
footprints in the sand: one belonging 
to him, and the other to the LORD. 

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, 
he looked back at the footprints in the sand. 
He noticed that many times along the path of 
his life there was only one set of footprints. 

He also noticed that it happened at the very 
lowest and saddest times in his life. 

This really bothered him and he 
questioned the LORD about it: 

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow 
you, you'd walk with me all the way. 
But I have noticed that during the most 
troublesome times in my life, 
there is only one set of footprints. 
I don't understand why when 
I needed you most you would leave me." 
The LORD replied: 

"My son, my precious child, 
I love you and I would never leave you. 
During your times of trial and suffering, 
when you see only one set of footprints, 
it was then that I carried you." 

I love you....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I am so weary! It is time for me to rest!

“If you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”  
Brian Koslow
Dear Son,
I have never worked so hard in my life, it feels so good to accomplish and see results but this economy is hard core!  It feels like I am pushing a cart full of rocks uphill!   It is time for me to rest then maybe I will get the cart up the hill... I love you, mom

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What you say could stay for a lifetime

  Little "offhanded" remarks like

You look like you've gained some wight
Too bad you didn't get an A
Maybe next time you will hit the ball
We don't have enough money
Your acne is bad maybe you should wash your face more

Turn your words around 

You are beautiful!
Way to go on that test!
I am so glad you are playing ball!
We are rich in family!
You are beautiful just the way you are!

Words have Power - use them for the good!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Own Your Truth

If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything
  ~Mark Twain ~

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 11, 2011 Dear Son

My friend has Cancer
Reminding me once again how precious our lives are

Taking me back to my own journey with Cancer
 - the sadness - the joy – the love – the help – the tears and the helplessness 

Putting me into action of what I can do to help
Pray -Shop for groceries -Offer to do laundry -
Shop for soft comfortable anythings -Bring foods that she craves - 

with Rusty it was tapioca that Bobbie Jean made 

As my friend begins her “Cancer Journey” 
I will ask for prayers - I will send prayers - I will ask “what can I do?” 
I will answer the phone when it rings….

I love you Son....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Calmness, Peacefulness, Serenity...
The tendency to try to accommodate rather than argue.  
The understanding that differences are seldom resolved through conflict and that meanness in others is an indication of their problem or insecurity and thus of their need for your understanding.  
The ability to understand how others feel rather than simply reacting to them 
Control Of Temper

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011 Dear Son,

I have just finished your first post to Kennedy!  
The "wish" poem
Wow! My heart soars to be able to share your writings.   
Someday Kennedy will see that we are a family of change, a family of survivors, a family who loves deep and honors our children
I am proud of the action I take today to change the cycles that have ran our lives for way too long
With love and prayer I honor you, my son, ~ a father who is beautiful~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25, 2011 Dear Son,

Today I started your blog for Kennedy!
 It feels so good to take action, make a change, be a change,
 to have faith in the future!  
What a miracle ~

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A letter from prison

Dear Lance, I was able to convert your beautiful letter and post here!  Ended up getting sick in Flagstaff, even went to the Doctor, Antibiotics too the rescue, Bronchitis -so much better now...I love you 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011 Dear Son

Your cousin, Hannah is graduating from NAU!  She will be the first one of us to graduate from a University! Mom and I are leaving in the morning - driving to Flagstaff to be there for her walk...What a miracle it is and how proud I am of her.

When your Uncle Micheal died, leaving a young widow and three small children, not to mention the hardship and grief that comes with losing someone so tragically, who would have guessed that the young,  brown eyed two year old would turn out so beautiful and talented?  Her art work is astounding!  She has worked so hard studying and working to help pay for college...

Your Aunt Wendy, a beautiful woman with unbelievable True Grit!  Raising three kids like a pro, working full time, staying single and focused on the kids!   Thank God for her mom, whom I will always be grateful for, who - throughout the years, off and on would stay with them and help!   
So in this you will see...
 Hard work really does pay off
 Pay now or pay later with your kids
Family is a Strong word
 That children who lose parents at a young age can Thrive!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 Dear Son,

I woke early this morning to the birds singing and chirping, you would not believe how many humming birds we have now ~ there are 7 feeders out and when I looked this morning every feeder was full with drunk hummers!  

I am so grateful for my life, I wake up excited, full of energy and knowing that God is in charge!   Grateful that I am free from drugs and alcohol, free from having to chase WHATEVER it was, that I thought I had to have to function, to be happy, and best of all ~ free to just be...

Tomorrow is Mothers Day!  I love celebrating this day as I have pride in the choices, the hard work and dedication to changing my life, not only for me but for my children, and my children's children!  I am picking up Kennedy after work today and he will spend the night then in the morning we will go have breakfast with mom in Oak Glen.  I will be thinking of you all day and sending prayers and love.  

I love you Lance, I will love you forever, you were born from me, you are Gods child - a miracle!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Amazing Grace

While visiting my son in prison, we came up with an idea for him to keep in touch with his son ...We are going to start a blog for Kennedy!  Lance is so excited about this, giving him hope, faith, purpose, and a way to express his love for his son whom he will not have much contact with for at least 8 more years...God is so good, my heart sings with JOY...There is much to be grateful for - Have you found your gratitude today?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prison Road

What an adventure!  It took 9 hours to get to Folsom and I found out that my cousin lives 6 miles from the prison!  She graciously offered us dinner and a bed we gladly accepted. Had fun catching up and getting a glimpse of some wonderful, warm hearts...

Early next morning, Easter Sunday I called the prison visitor hot line and they were NOT on lock down, we were going in!  Folsom is a beautiful area with lush greenery,  lakes, waterfalls and wild turkeys!.... We arrived, parked in a huge parking lot that was not crowded. Easter is not a big visiting day?  The prison itself - large grey sprawling buildings - we find the visitor processing building, fill out our forms for visiting and check in...They have many rules of what you can wear and what you can bring in...Will's Levis being something you can not wear in!  Luckily they have a place called "family house"  where you can trade your clothes for something that works...Also had to trade his steel toe boots for slippers!! Now we are ready to go in - you take coats, shoes off  and place everything on a trey and go thru the detector, just like at the airport -  well I could not get through without it going off.  They tell you not to wear bras with wire, which I did not, but for whatever reason this bra was not going to work and they were not letting me in!  I was starting to panic, I have driven all this way to see my son and I might not see him... I remembered I had another sports bra in the car, I went out again got it and traded, this bra worked!  We were led now to a bus and taken to about 4 stops Lance's "bunker" C - we get off bus to go thru another processing room!!!  Finally led to a large cafeteria looking room with small tables and chairs...Vending machines everywhere!!  Normal diet there has no sugar or when you visit the inmates they love to have vending food!  It took Lance awhile to come out but he did....With tears streaming down my face we hugged long and hard...he looks good, thin....we talked and talked...So many people sent hugs and prayers for me to give him, one of my favorite friends, who has known lance for many years asked me to send her love and to ask Lance what his wildest dream is, to hold it, think about it with no need to share it....I delivered this message with great joy in my heart! we ate from vending machines, laughed and it was so good!!!  At 2:00 visiting hours are over and we had to say goodbye... I am so glad we made the trip it is so important for me to show my son that I have not given up and that I  love him....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

on my way

Dear Son,

I called the prison they are not on lockdown!  I am on my way, think it will take about 8 hours, stay in a hotel near the prison and go in - visiting hours are 9:30-2:30 - God is with me, right here!  As our good friend Karen has reminded me, see you soon....

I love you,


Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011 Dear Son,

I am getting ready to visit - Sacramento State Prison!  I am scared, excited, and giving the journey to God! Easter Sunday I will be waiting in line to see my beautiful Son....  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love this!

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Christopher Columbus

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011 Dear Son

Your Dad

The circle of life is an amazing thing....When I am with your son he reminds me so much of when you were a baby...Such a beautiful baby with those big brown eyes and crooked smile!  I find myself  thinking allot of your dad and how much he is missing, not getting to know Kennedy  - he does not know he is a grandfather!  I was thinking I never really told you the good of him.

When I  met your dad we instantly connected, he was very good looking, with large grey eyes, very tall and broad of shoulder... I was young - 17 or 18 not out of high school yet and he was 21 or 22.   He lived in his moms house in San Bernardino, a nice house - Spanish style with a great yard!   His mom and dad had divorced when he was young and he never saw his dad...His mom was living in Greece they were Greek, your dads grandma lived down the street and loved your dad - she called him Johny and kind of mothered him.  She and I became good friends and when you were born, oh she just loved you so much - you called her ya ya...Your dad worked construction and he liked it...He loved food, long drives, movies, reading the paper, and books, he was smart, liked to figure things out...Even though we were young and dysfunctional we had some pretty good times...I think when things became to overwhelming he ran like his father did.  I want you to know that he was and is a good man...You do not have to repeat this cycle!  Try not to think of how much you are missing or the thoughts of failing.  I know the Man you are, I see the Father you will be...I loved your dad and when I hold Kennedy I am so grateful for those two young dysfunctional kids who tripped into parenthood with you!

Love Mom