Claudia…Then and Now

Early morning on October 7, 2016, I found myself yet again at another cross road in my life. I had just been released from Potter County Detention Center, my time there pending my only arrest record, a day I will never forget August 1, 2016. I will never forget this day for many reasons, not only the humiliation of being arrested, but the ironic relief it brought me. Being incarcerated for the first time, of course I was terrified, worried, ashamed, uncertain, lost, sad, and utterly empty inside. I found solace in reading books and attending bible study once a week, I didn’t know it at first but attending those bible studies would soon impact my future in the greatest way possible, see those amazing Godly women that taught those bible studies were from a Christian organization called Sharing Hope Ministry. I requested my own Life Recovery Bible and workbook which is the first bible I have ever read from that incorporated the 12 steps of AA. I found the bible easy to understand and the way the footnotes entailed how to translate the verbiage into working through the recovery steps deeply beneficial. Forming a small group of three in my pod, we met two times a day and worked through our workbook and 12 Steps together. It is during this time period I found myself at my lowest point in my life and crying out to God in complete surrender for help.

Unbeknown to me, not only did God hear my cries for help but He had already set in motion His plans for my future. After one of our bible studies, I approached one of the Godly women and expressed my fear of being released from the detention center and going back to the vicious cycle of addiction I was in before, I explained that I had no family whom resided in Amarillo, TX and I would have no choice but to turn to the only people I knew in Amarillo, and unfortunately they were all living in their addiction. I wanted to do better with my life, I wanted to be the person I was before I moved to Amarillo, TX before meth was ever introduced to me. A person my children could be proud of again. She then started to tell me about a Christian Transitional Home called Patsy’s Place that she herself taught a class there called Become a Better Me, and even more amazing Patsy’s Place was a part of Sharing Hope Ministry, they were one in the same organization. I received an application along with detailed requirements of Patsy’s Place and within a month received an acceptance letter.

Forward to early morning on October 7, 2016, walking into Sharing Hope Ministry/Patsy’s Place, feeling absolutely sick to my stomach with so many mixed thoughts and feelings of anxiety, pain, rejection, embarrassment, and fear. I was greeted by Ms. Ersela Demerson the Director of Patsy’s Place whom had a very calming effect on me, her tone of voice very compassionate and understanding. We gathered in her office, and as she welcomed me, I felt safe but on guard. I anticipated dreaded questions of my past, my addiction, why I was selfish and stupid enough to lose my children, did I learn my lesson, and many more questions such as this. Instead in my amazement Ms. Ersela, as I call her now, did not ask me one question of my past, although she did ask me “Is there anything you would like me to know about you?” My candid response even surprised me, considering I was always on guard with my walls up, as I replied, “I don’t believe I have ever been happy my entire life, I had a hard childhood followed by an abusive marriage that lasted seventeen years, my only happiness comes from my children.”  Ms. Ersela’s response was “Well we will have to work on that.” Then she explained the program to me and asked if I needed anything, took inventory of my belongings I brought in with me (which sadly was the clothes on my back and a purse full of nothing important), then introduced me to the other women who would be my new roommates. We took a tour of the home, my first thought was it was beautiful and homey. I then got a choice of a bedroom in which would become my sanctuary for the next twelve months.

As I am entering my ninth month of being blessed to be here at Patsy’s Place, I find myself with a renewed mind in Christ, a sense of peace within I have never known, full of love and joy that only comes from experiencing Jesus Christ in my own life. I have never been accepted nor fully embraced the way I have here at Patsy’s Place/Sharing Hope Ministry, not only by the staff who I am so grateful for they encompass so much love, understanding, acceptance, and much needed encouragement and prayer, but also the amazing Godly women who volunteer their time and teach us life-changing skills in their prepared classes, the volunteers who sacrificially put so much of their time and hearts into each of us girls, and of course the Pearls the amazing Godly women who not only do the same but also make us feel like a “diamond in the ruff” as they prepare us special events catered to every women who calls Patsy’s Place home. I have been transformed not only by the Patsy’s Place Program in itself but also I have had the privilege of having Freedom Sessions with Mrs. Dixie Fulton which have been life-altering for me it is in these sessions that Jesus speaks to me and heals me by showing me He has always been with me even in incidences that caused me the most pain and resentments. I also have been blessed with an amazing women of God for a Mentor, Ms. Tammie that Ms. Ersela matched me to perfectly who motivates and keeps me accountable for my actions and all of my future goals through prayer. I also have a much needed financial coach Ms. DeLynn who keeps me accountable with my finances and future financial goals, which include purchasing a vehicle and home for me in my children before graduating from Patsy’s Place.   I am now immensely blessed for God has restored my children and I, along with other friendships that mean so much to me, I truly love myself (the first time in my life) and the women I have become in Christ. In retrospect to my first day here at Patsy’s Place and my response to Ms. Ersela about me never being truly happy, I can honestly say wholeheartedly and gratefully, through Patsty’s Place/Sharing Hope Ministry I have found myself again, I am restored, I found the peace, love, and joy I have been searching for my whole life.

The Center for Advancement, and the HOPE it will bring.

By Brittani S.

I’ve been here at Patsy’s Place for almost two months now. When I arrived, the Lucille and Leo Caiafa, Jr. Center For Advancement building was at the foundation level. It has really come up fast in the time that I’ve been here. How awesome is the love of God and His people to give such an amazing gift that will touch so many lives! The building is going to meet so many needs. It will have a 12 person computer lab. Right now we only have two computers, so this will be a huge help! The counseling rooms will give us more space to meet our mentors, financial coaches, and family that visit us on the weekends. We were in major need of a larger educational room for classes. This new building will also have a clothing closet and food pantry. I’m really excited to see the finished product. I pray that God sends women that will fill the rooms at Patsy’s Place and receive the unconditional love that will be lavished on them. Like they say, “If you build it they will come!”  I look forward to making use of this wonderful gift.

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Gardening Season is Here!

by Brittany B.

Here at Patsy’s Place we are coming into the growing season. Just outside of our home we have a wonderful community garden that we get to be apart of. It is called the 7th Street Garden of Hope. I have never been a gardener so I am loving the challenge. I’m so excited to plant our veggies, watch them grow, harvest them, and then eat them! It is a great learning tool because we are learning responsibility and how to work with each other as a team. There is a saying I have heard, “many hands lighten the load”, and it is so true. When we all are working together as a team we feel united and it makes our job fun. I love it here and God’s presence guides us in all we do. Come by and check out the garden sometime, and think about all the women at Patsy’s Place who have played a part in making what it is today.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Below are some scriptures Claudia found that she wanted to share with everyone for this thanksgiving season!

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. -Psalm 9:1

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. -1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:18

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Happy ONE YEAR Charlie May!

So, last month little Miss Charlie May celebrated ONE YEAR at Patsy’s Place! Here is what MacKenzie has learned about Charlie since she has arrived at Patsy’s Place:

Hello to all! My name is MacKenzie and God has placed on my heart to tell you a little about one of our most cherished members of Patsy’s Place. Her name is Charlie May! She is a terrier mix and is around 3 years of age. In doggy years that’s 21 so she is in her prime! God knew what he was doing when he placed her here at Patsy’s Place. She like many of the women here at Patsy’s Place was severely abused and is working with God on her problems just like we are! She also is like many of us here and is resistant to change. So when someone new comes, resident or volunteer, she has a little trouble warming up to you, but like us all if you show her unconditional love and patience she opens up and begins to show her funny side. I can really relate to her because I too don’t like change, but to get better I must accept change as a part of life! She is a dog after my own heart. She loves food as much as I do, and both of us love it a little too much! She also loves her bones! Someone can give her a bone, she will bury it for a couple of days in the backyard, and then digs it up and enjoys eating it! She also loves to sun bathe in the back yard! Well, again, I just wanted to share a little bit about Charlie May. So, when you come to Patsy’s Place if she barks and acts a little tough, don’t let that fool you. Just know that she is much like the women here and is working on herself too!

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Education Matters!

My Favorite Class

by Jennifer

We are able to take some really good classes as part of our first phase requirements to help us succeed at life after graduation. We take classes such as cognitive thinking, finance, bondage breaker, life 101, jobs for life, precepts studies, becoming a better me, computer classes at Goodwill, and the many AA meetings we go to. Although AA probably is not considered a class I love going and I learn so much! Picking a favorite class is really hard, each one has so much to offer and I love going to all of them! If I had to pick just one I think I would go with Jobs for life. Getting and having a good career that I enjoy going to, I think, is one of the main foundations to a better life. I believe in the saying that says “you’ll never work a day in your life if you love your job!”