Where Were You…..

9 11

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day? Alan Jackson. 

 Many of you were probably on your way to work, or taking your kids to school. Some of you could have been just rolling out of bed or eating breakfast. And others were getting a cup of coffee at Starbucks, or finishing up your morning workout. The world was going on as usual until the worst terrorist attack in history occurred.

On September 11, 2001 I was a senior at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, driving from my off-campus apartment to my first hour class when the local radio station was interrupted with breaking news. I was shocked when I heard that an airplane struck the World Trade Center, but didn’t think anything of it. Shortly after, when I heard that a second plane had just struck the other tower of the World Trade Center, I knew immediately that something big was going down. As soon as I arrived at campus and entered the building, there was an eerie silence. No one was in the halls. I passed a lounge and noticed the amount of people gathered around the television. With the volume turned up and the news being shown, no one said a word. Everyone was in a state of shock. I, too, found my way to the television and watched in silence as the horrific event unfolded before our eyes.

Where were you on that day? Were you scared, confused, or angry? Did you want immediate retaliation and revenge? Or were you forgiving? That moment in history changed our country at the time for the better. We left our differences and divisions in religion, race, and politics behind. We put others first and lent a hand when it was needed. More people started reading the Bible again, going to church, and bringing God back into their lives. We became united as one nation, under God again. Yes, it was a country that was grieving and hurting, but brought us together.

Although it was such a horrific event, I long for that day when families, friends, and community can all become close again. God does work His good in everything. Since that day sixteen years ago, our nation has once again become divided. Sin has been running rampant among households and the streets. Violence has overtaken the hearts and minds of many people. I know this from experience with the overcrowding and addition of prisons across the United States. This is not what God wants!

Ephesians 4:32 says it best: “Be kind and compassion to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.” Are you forgiving those who have wronged you? God wants us to bring Him back into our lives and back into our nation again. It shouldn’t take a catastrophic event to make this happen. September 11, 2001 is a day that we’ll never forget. It’s a reminder of how evil this world can be. But it also should be a reminder that we need God in our lives, from this day forward. Don’t wait. Bring Him back into your life today and go make a difference in our nation and in your sphere of influence.


It’s Football Time!


The temperatures are starting to turn cooler. The leaves will start changing colors soon. And jeans and sweatshirts will be pulled out of hibernation to be worn on a daily basis. We’re in the month of September and it’s almost the season of Fall. You know what that means. DOWN! SET! HIKE! It’s Football Time!

In prison, time is not broken down into months or even the seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter. Instead, it is broken down into football, basketball and baseball seasons. Sports are huge in prison, especially football season, both college and NFL. Everyone has their team or teams they cheer for. My college team is the University of Missouri, even though they haven’t been the greatest the last few years. But I’m not giving up on them.

And my NFL team is …um…..does St. Louis even have a football team anymore? HA! I guess that answers that question. So I’ll have to go with the Green Bay Packers these days. No, they haven’t always been my team. The St. Louis Rams were. But since the Rams moved to Los Angeles I guess I jumped on the bandwagon after living in Wisconsin for over years and adopted the Packers. You can say it’s always nice to cheer on a consistently good team year after year.

I do love the hype and build-up of the National Championship and the Super Bowl that occurs throughout the regular season games. There are always the favorite teams that blow out their opponents. There are always the underdogs that squeak by with an unprecedented win. Records are broken and set. Season-ending, even career-ending injuries unfortunately occur. And an unknown team becomes someone’s newly favorite team.

Fans go all out and dress up for their team while attending games; some even like to go shirtless in zero degree temperatures while painting their chests. Let’s not forget about the tailgating junkies who set their tents up and bring their party vans out five hours before the game, grilling steaks, burgers, and brats while drinking their favorite adult beverage. Nothing beats a field with freshly covered snow where yardage markers can barely be seen. The bundling up in coats and coveralls, thermals, and hats are part of watching a football game outside. (And shouldn’t football be played outside?) Yes, it’s the joy of football.

I never played football as a kid. Soccer was the fall sport in our family. But I do enjoy watching football. It’s not as fun watching a game in prison without the closeness of friends and family around and stuffing your face with pizza and chicken wings, shrimp platters and beer. Although the atmosphere is not ideal, the screaming and fist pumping still occur in prison, and a friendly wager of push-ups over the big games is a given. On Super Bowl Sunday the lights are turned off in our unit and all eight televisions are tuned into the game. We make the experience as best as we can.

Someday soon, I’ll be surrounded by my loved ones once again, eating chips and salsa, sipping on a coke, while enjoying a football game on a big screen high definition television. I’m really looking forward to that. It’s all for the love of a football game!