Thursday, December 3, 2009


As I was touring Alcatraz with you yesterday...and thinking of the bleak and hopeless life that was lived out by many in that desolate place...I thought of another inmate closer to home. He had never been to Alcatraz...but he has seen the inside of a good many Canadian prisons. He has also sat in my kitchen...and eaten at my table.

And he made me this lovely tea chest...which I treasure and have used often on a beverage table. Let me introduce Brian...we go back over a dozen years.

My husband was approached on many occasions to see if he would consider becoming involved in the M2 prison ministry (a man-to-man prison visitation program). He was on several boards and committees at that time and was busy on the farm...and really couldn't fit one more thing into his agenda. In February of 1995 we were in a serious motor vehicle accident. He spent several weeks in hospital in Vancouver...and returned home in a body cast...with lots of time to contemplate life and stare at the ceiling! Physical work would be out of the question for a long while...and it was at this time that he decided to volunteer to visit someone in prison. He was paired up with Brian...who was serving time in a medium security prison not far from here...and went to visit him on a regular basis.

As time unfolded he got to know Brian's story...not a pretty one. He was much my age...had a lousy childhood...and eased right into a life of crime. With over fifty convictions...he had spent a good part of his adult life in and out of our penitentiaries. By this stage of his life...he was totally cut off from any family...and had no friends on the outside...and so my hubby was his one and only visitor. I would on occasion go along...for a Christmas party or a special event. I liked Brian...he was easy to visit with and seemed quite harmless. Oh...and he liked to play Scrabble with me! But we really never knew if he was being honest and open...or a 'con'. For ten years, hubby visited him in different facilities...Brian was transferred from one to another and eventually checked them all out. He was up for parole a few times...and was denied. I was quite OK with that...but knew that one day he would be on the outside and then what? Hubby was his only friend. The day came...he was a free man...and he settled in our community. A 'circle of support' was set up to help him make a life on the outside...and they met with Brian on a regular basis. He came to our farm...even worked a little...met some of the family...and came to our home on several occasions. Let's just say that it was easier to visit Brian behind bars...than to be his friend once he was a free man.

After awhile, Brian was re-connected with his sister on the Canadian prairies and decided to move to be near her. A group of people stepped in to help him start a new life in a new community...wonderful people who are still supporting him to this day. We stopped by to see him on one of our treks to Manitoba...and he was so thrilled to show us his neat and tidy little house. We went out for supper...and met his sister...and left feeling he was in a good place. That was two years ago. Last week he called...and hubby had a nice chat with him. Brian just wanted to say thank-you for being his friend. He now has a job, a house, a Ford truck...and a good circle of friends. He goes to church regularly and has made a decision to live his life differently...and his life is now good.

It's the Christmas season. Maybe the best gift we can give someone is our time...and our friendship. It costs more than money...but it also has lasting rewards. Think about it.

Have a great day...


  1. What a wonderful story!! It brought tears to my eyes.

  2. At 7:00 AM I read the story aloud .. .as we are drinking our coffee. . .feeling a little teary .. .very proud to say we are related to such good and wonderful people. What an inspiration you both are. This is something that I think we would both find very challenging. But.. .never say never.
    You must be so encouraged to know that the wheat did not fall into the chaff .. .I PTL for such a good phone call.

    The tea chest is a wonderful reminder for you. . .it really is a small treasure chest.

  3. What a great story to share at this time of year...we need to always encourage each other to take the extra step...I love that chest...natural looking.
    For a minute I thought you were sharing Brian M's story.
    Have a wonderful day with the Easterly winds blowing my way this morning.

  4. What a wonderful story of hope. May God continue to bless him with love and stability in his life. That tea chest he made is very pretty. I also recognize that lovely Royal Albert shape on the tea pot, etc. Blessings...

  5. Thank you for the wonderful story! I am amazed at what can happen when we obey God. All it takes is a little faith, and the sacrifice of our time.

  6. There are times that what we give is a sacrifice of our time, our comfort, and even the security that we feel we should be giving to our family. We may prayerfully make our best decision. And in our short-sighted view we often wonder if our decision really was the best one. Thanks for sharing a story that shows that in the short time we often gve up our peace of mind but God truly is in control of the outcome! Nice tea chest!

  7. I am so glad that it worked out for him. I am sure it's very hard to turn your life around if it's been a twisted one.

    You did a good thing ... and got a lovely tea chest too.

  8. What a thankfully wonderful story and I love happy endings...
    Brian has a lot to be thankful for, don't you think?

  9. This is a beautiful story, and very encouraging to me just now as we have a young man living with us for a few months. Not someone from prison, but someone without family and without faith. It's not easy, but your story gives me hope that perhaps we can be an encouragement to him.
    Thank you. I needed this.

  10. That story made my day!
    I hope the local paper writes it up someday...good news like that should be share more often.

  11. What a wonderful story you tell, Judy. Brian was truly blessed to have your husband and you befriend him. I am glad to hear that he has been able to turn his life around. Your story is so inspiring especially at this time of year.

  12. You continually bless me with your interesting and informative posts. This was truly one of the best posts that I ever read. What a story and what a God we serve. The fact that you and your husband invested so much time and care into Brian's life,is a gift with real value. I love success stories like this one, and I thank God for people like you and your husband. Thank you so much for sharing this story. It made my day and brought joy to my heart.

  13. One more thing, I really do like your new banner picture! It is the perfect Christmas photo! I just sat here and stared.

  14. what a wonderful friend your husband is. glad that story has had a happy ending!

  15. Powerful life story of real religion. I love it! Your front porch looks marvelous by the way.

  16. I'm babysitting my grandson tonight but I'm glad I had a chance to come back and read this story Judy. I unfortunately do not have a good experience with an inmate but that is a long and sad story. It is good to know that some are able to turn their life around. God bless you and your husbnad.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson