Hope at the Penitentiary

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Author: Chara Donahue
Out of all the invitations you receive in life, a handful entice with the potential for redemption; sometimes these requests show up in the form of a Facebook event. To truly taste these sweetened moments – the call for obedience must be heeded, or in other words, “Going” clicked. The opportunity to attend the Faith and Culture Writers Connection Prison Outreach Essay Presentation seemed to have these hints of the holy lingering in the background. I decided to explore by taking the first step, securing childcare.
I talked to my husband about the possibility of attending the event at the men’s high-security penitentiary, and after he said things like, “Let me pray about it. Are you sure this is safe?” I responded “Jesus said ‘I was in prison and you came to me.'” Then we agreed that he would watch our brood of four while I attended the event, words in hand.
Words that I had been pondering, polishing, and praying would speak to hearts.

Hope in the Morning's Choice

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Author: Chara Donahue


Before I Rise

I must make the choice. It's on me.
What to believe? What to negate?
Today I ask, which voice will it be?

Live in the light determined to see,
or let depravity poison today's fate?
I must make the choice, It's on me.

 Passively cower? An internal absentee?
 Will truth employed set lies straight?
 Today I ask, which voice will it be?

Deciding in the morning hour is key.
What will my life communicate?
I must make the choice. It's on me.

Resist  and make dark thoughts flee.
Leave behind these chains, this weight.
Again I asked, which voice would it be?

From accusation and doubt, an escapee.
With mind renewed I celebrate.
I will make the choice to live; be free.
Today I declare: His voice it will be.


"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.'"~Isaiah 6:8


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Readers: Do you think about what you are thinking about? Is it important for us to watch our thoughts? Why?

Hope in Remembrance

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A Mother Never Forgets

Chara is over at Portland Moms Blog today, sharing her story of pregnancy loss.

"The sun still rose. It was one of those days when it felt like an accomplishment to even wake up. September 11, 2001 had finally come. I thought maybe my mourning would finally be complete.


I turned on the television and began my sunrise routine. There was a breaking news update: a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings. It was 6 a.m. where I was, but 9 a.m. in New York. People were already at work there; at home, I was shouting for my mom. I was grateful to have a place of refuge after the divorce; even if it meant sleeping on the couch. We stared at the TV together, in desperate disbelief. My younger brother walked into the room – he had never seen a plane crash into a building either. So much death. I wondered how many people were on that plane, on those floors. I had to get ready; I still had class at 8:00.
I wondered if my child would have been one of those babies born on the due date. Would I have held my baby for the first time on this very day? Would I have already brought my sweetheart home? Would I have still been at my old place? Would haves wouldn’t do me any good, it was what it was. I had lost my baby to miscarriage. They say it happens 10-20% of the time. People also say you’re safer in the car than on a plane… not that day." ...continue reading here.


Hope for When We Hear of Another Mass Shooting

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"I live in Oregon, the land of tree huggers and bearded hipsters. Marijuana is legal here, local organic produce is in abundant supply, and yes, Portland is weird. One might think that the Oregon variety of severely disturbed would skew toward the überpeaceful type, but we have recently been home to three gruesome public shootings. One at a mall down the street from where I delivered my son. It happened in Clackamas on December 11, 2012 less than a week before the Sandy Hook Massacre. Another, at Reynolds High School in Troutdale on June 10, 2014, and now, just days ago, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.
I want to ask “When will it stop?”, but that question has no answer. For I live in a fallen world.
I was a senior in high school the year the Columbine tragedy shocked the nation and infected people with a new brand of fear..." continue reading here.