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The week before my Mother passed, I was sitting next to her in the living room. She had been on morphine so her state of mind was a little off sometimes. She had been asleep for awhile and when she had awakened, she sat up and her exact words were “Jesus told me you need to take your name off your cards.” Exact words. I sat there puzzled for a minute. We hadn’t even talked about them. My Dad happened to be near and was like no, that’s what helps people see the video of Jesus. I obviously didn’t know if it was the morphine talking or Mom had actually spoken with Jesus. I knew her time was near but I sat there puzzled. Dad quickly reassured me that my cards were fine. So, fast forward to last week. Attending church on Thursday night and met a man who ministers to men and women in jail. Now, I have always wanted to donate these cards to that type of ministry. I believe a little faith can’t hurt nobody. So, I approached this man asking if I could donate my Jesus cards but I’ll take my name/website off the card. Just Jesus and a prayer. As I was removing my website off the original design I stopped in that moment and remembered what Mom said. One of those “Ah ha!” moments in life. I felt the tears begin to flow and realized Mom was right. I didn’t know it at the time but she knew down the road it would happen. Sometimes when you pour your heart and soul into something, you want to hold on to it. Having my website on the cards wasn’t a bad thing but it was also me clinging onto my work. It’s not suppose to be about me or the art. It’s about the message. I realized it was time for me to remove myself and let it only be about Jesus. Seeing the new cards made my heart so happy. I’m excited that I ordered 500 and it’s only the beginning! I write this with tears and gratitude. To everyone who’s helped spread the love on this journey, thank you. True faith is letting go and trusting God to do the rest. ❤️

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The first time I ever mentioned going to Leavenworth, Kansas.. I immediately got the blank stare and response of “You do know it’s known for its Federal prison.” Of course, not knowing ANY of this, I quickly Google searched my Airbnb to see where it was in location to the prison. So, yea, truthful moment… my Airbnb was borderline directly across from the prison. Ok, so maybe not exactly across the street, but I could see barbwire fence. And now thinking back on it, probably explains why my room was relatively cheaper than the others! Ha!! But I definitely wasn’t going to let that put a damper on my trip. Was I a little uneasy, eh, maybe but then I realized I lived in Huntsville, Texas and we had 5 prisons! So yes, let’s move on.

Leavenworth may be known for its Federal Prison but did you know that it was the first city of Kansas in 1854! As history would have it, they had the choice of having the first university or first federal prison. Apparently the prison was a much popular vote back in the day. Just a fun fact for you!

But please let me continue on with this adventure. At my time of arrival to this lovely town, it was nearly 8:30pm. I had driven 11 hours from Houston. Part of me was delirious and the other part needed an adult beverage to realize what I had just done. Ha! As I quickly checked into my Airbnb, managing to throw myself together to go grab a bite to eat, I remember looking in the mirror and saying these exact words, “I’m going to meet some great people here” ... I smiled back at myself and out the door I went!

Right down the road was a little place called “The Suburban.” Let’s just say, this is where it all started. For the Universe allowed me to meet two fabulous women in this lovely little place. Sabrina and Theresa. Whom would soon become like family within an hour of meeting! One day, when I decide to write a book, I’ll go more into the details of this adventure but for now you’re going to have to settle for the cliff note version. The only version that got me through high school! Ha!

The night ended up with drinks at the local dive bar, called Ross’s where I thoroughly enjoyed putting all my cash into the jukebox til midnight. But the real kicker was joking that if there was karaoke, I’d definitely rock out some Melissa Etheridge. Of course, the very SECOND I mention this, Theresa, Sabrina, Glenn and Jack, all threw their hands up as if I had won the golden ticket! They all yelled with joy that Melissa was from Leavenworth. I mean, come on… THAT was not a coincidence. I could immediately insert the feeling of “serendipity” for I knew in that very moment I was exactly where I was meant to be.

Leavenworth is just special. It’s more than the Federal prison, that surprisingly is beautiful to observe when lit up at night. If you’re ever so lucky to get on post at Fort Leavenworth, it’s probably one of the most picturesque bases you’ll ever witness. Downtown is full of old buildings and all the historic feels you can imagine. And you can’t miss the Missouri River that borders this little town! It completely soothes your soul with just a glance. But most importantly, it’s the people. Genuine, loving people. God love Sabrina for commenting on my purse that started all of this. For “Mother” Theresa being the genuine, loving soul she is and nonstop working realtor. Glenn, who claims to have the best cannolis on this side of New York with his local bakery. Jack with his fun Irish pub called Bailey’s in which he named after his beloved dog. Candace and her eclectic Modern Muse store and being my twin flame sister the night we met. Lou being a local instructor on base filling me in on all the history of Leavenworth. Ted for sharing his passion on his career as a musician and song writer. To Shelby, Jori, Anna and Stephanie for their kindness in serving fabulous food and drinks while visiting! This was only the beginning of where my adventure started.

There is so much more to write though I will save for a rainy day when writing my chapter of “Leavenworth.” I will let my photography speak for the rest of me. To the beautiful souls who touched my heart, I thank you. Your generosity is more than appreciated. God bless Kansas and the city of Leavenworth.

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