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A Life Revised

By Margie Stone

Margie&babyWhen I accepted the task of writing this entry for the blog, I was faced with attempting to write about the changes in my life without feeling like I was bragging. As I sat at my laptop and attempted the writing, I figured out that there was no way for me to complete it without bragging. So as you read this, forgive me if it sounds like I am bragging! A life revised is exactly what it says: my life has been revised, by the grace of God and the people He placed in my life — from the organizations that touched my life both inside and outside of prison to the profession that I am currently striving to succeed in and the family bonds that have been strengthened.

 

First, I would like to write about the organizations that touched me seven and a half years ago. That’s right, this is how long ago I was in prison. The few organizations that come to prison facilities do so in hopes of helping people like me find their way back to productive lives in society. I am here to say thank you for giving me a new set of eyes to those that were placed in the GEO Lockhart Unit.

Truth Be Told was one of those organizations. Through the understanding of the 4-Cs (communications, community, creativity, and self-care) and the continued care of the Beyond Bars Program, I have been able to find my way to a meaningful relationship with society. I am in a place where I am able to give back what they gave to me — support, understanding, respectful listening, and most of all a nonjudgmental attitude. I enjoy being able to return to the prison facilities with Truth Be Told as a graduate in support of others and to plant those seeds of hope for their own lives to be fruitful.

It was through my relationship with Truth Be Told that I was introduced to Conspire Theatre and their work in the criminal justice system. In July 2013, I was invited to participate in a workshop. Without realizing this was to be a performance, I accepted. It was probably the most rewarding event I ever participated in. The event grew into a yearlong series of requested performances for the citizens of Austin, and from that stemmed a public television special about incarcerated women. I have been fortunate and blessed with the task of planting the seeds of hope for people with loved ones struggling with addiction issues or incarcerated due to those issues.

Margie&lineupI have been successful in maintaining my sobriety, and I am proud of the five and a half years of living life on life’s terms. I completed an associate’s degree and received a license from the Texas Department of State and Health Services to practice as a Counselor Intern. As of this writing, I have completed the 4000 required hours of the internship, and I am studying to take the state board exam to become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. I hope to be able to reenroll into college in January to continue my education towards a bachelor’s degree in social work.

I currently work in the system that incarcerated me. I am a Substance Abuse Counselor Intern at a Substance Abuse Treatment Felony Punishment Facility for probationers that are in court-ordered treatment. The environment is a tough place to work, but I truly love my job. Working in this environment with this population inspires me to grow as much as the people I work with.

Margie&lineupThe bonds have always been intact with my family, but the trust was destroyed by the time I went to prison. Today, I can say I am accepted by my family as a person of my word. The trust has been restored, not by me telling them I changed but by living life as an example that I have changed.

I was able to spend the last living days with my dad and grandmother, may they rest in peace.

I am able to be here for my mom since she is alone.

I am able to spend time with my beautiful granddaughters and have been blessed with a handsome grandson who is two months old. I am the grandmother of 11, but I do not have the pleasure of spending time with all of them due to the miles between us. But I love them all!

Life sometimes throws a curve ball, but how one copes with what is thrown defines their character. My 28-year-old son was placed in prison this past summer. It broke my heart, but I will do the best I can to support him through the journey God has selected for him.

I have the opportunity to practice self-care. I was diagnosed with lower back issues and a pinched sciatic nerve that is causing paralysis in my left leg. I am able to understand the limitations of my body’s abilities, and I am receiving medical care. I refuse to believe that I am unable to continue the mission of spreading the seeds of hope to others. I will overcome.

This is the testimony of a life revised by the grace of God and the organizations that I have been blessed to be a part of. It is being able to be a part of those organizations that will continue to inspire me to live life on life’s terms.

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About MaryAnn Reynolds

Offering bodywork in the Austin, Texas, area at maryannreynolds.com. Blogging about wellness at The Well: bodymindheartspirit. Serving as a volunteer editor for the Truth Be Told Community blog.

6 responses »

  1. Margie, what an inspiring story! Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Reply
  2. Cara Lionberger

    Margie, you are ever so eloquent. You have all the bragging rights in the world! I am proud to call you a sister warrior. You have done amazing things and I am blessed to have been able to watch some of these transpire. You have set goals for yourself and you are achieving them! Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  3. you sweet woman are definitely my inspiration…..i love you and am blessed to have you in my life

    Reply
  4. So good, Margie. I’m printing this out and sharing it with the women in my class tomorrow. Your words demonstrate that real change is possible. You are an inspiration. Thank you for all you have done and will do!

    Reply
  5. I love this article and I love that I have been blessed to be on this journey with Margie. You inspire me.

    Reply

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