Well, I finally did it. I know this won’t be a typical telephone conversation so I thought I would take the opportunity to put this day in writing and tell you what a relief it is to finally have at least one portion of “my responsibilities” taken care of.
I know the Judge signed the order sometime in November that allowed me to get our guns back but it has taken me till today to finally have the courage to walk in that dreaded place. I find it ironic that Brian was called so quickly once I filed the official complaint. You and I both know damn well that they were hoping to never return them.
Three times during the month of December I tried to find it in me to take care of this. I drove to the station and couldn’t even get out of the car. The first time I stopped although I am not even sure you could call it an official stop, I pulled into the parallel parking across the street and pulled back out before I even put the car in park. I think I knew halfway there that I wasn’t going to be able to go in.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I, of all people could be controlled by irrational fear. The irrational part is what really got me. Heart beating out of control. Everything getting extremely tight inside my chest and my throat. The uncontrollable emotions that spin so wildly and so quickly. Being so confused as I wasn’t sure if I was going to cry, scream or just run. And then not being able to comprehend what in the heck was actually causing it. Don’t get me wrong, I know from a psychological perspective, but from an “in the moment” perspective, I could only compare it to being afraid of the monster under the bed as a child but as an adult, your brain wants to identify the monster. I couldn’t wrap my head around the “who” or the “what” because I knew that I typically fear no man and rarely fear situations enough to stop my direction. I just knew that walking into that building was not a possibility.
The second and third time I tried to stop I deserve kudos because I did sit in their parking lot giving myself a pep talk to no avail. Possibly 5 minutes on try 2 and at least 10 minutes on try 3. In my defense, it was the holidays and I already had too much to deal with, so I probably gave up the fight a little too easily. (Haha – I can’t believe I just used the word “easily”. There has been nothing easy about this!)
The interaction today did end up being pleasant. The officers who went through the inventory were kind and respectful. I couldn’t talk myself into going alone and I brought both Janelle and Nate with me for emotional support. Two trips had to be made and as the kids brought the first load back to the house, I stayed behind in the Police garage with both officers and they were so kind to keep the conversation going without one ounce of discomfort. My heart was pounding the whole time and I could feel my anxiety wanting to rear its ugly head a few times but I made sure that no-one could tell. You know me, “Most likely to die with a smile on her face!” The second load was very quick and I was so relieved to get back in the car and leave knowing that I would never have to come back again. The didn’t give me my cell phone that they promised but I don’t think I can put myself through that again so I guess they are keeping it.
It didn’t take the three of us long to put everything away and I did laugh after I sent the photo to your Dad. Now there is permanent record that I put everything away in the wrong place. 😂🤣I’m certain that you would have done it completely different but at least they are now all safe and back where they should be.
I can’t even begin to tell you what it felt like to see my Dad’s guns again. I know it sounds so stupid because I’m not a gun person, but they are literally the only thing I have of his. I was devastated when I found out that they took my Dad’s guns. DEVESTATED! I told you then and I still can’t comprehend how they were able to do this to me. I had nothing to do with any of this and they came into my life and stole the only thing I had left of my Dad. That was and still is so difficult to get through but I am now so happy that I have them back.
Now I am going to be my typical mind reading self and tell you that I know what you are saying and thinking. You are reading and wanting to tell me that you are sorry. I will say it again – DON’T YOU DARE EVER BE SORRY FOR ANY OF THIS!!! Always feel free to tell me that you are sorry the EPD have put us through this but I will never blame you for this.
So much has happened that I believe is unconstitutional and it is only a matter of time before someone with the ability to not only recognize it but with the ability to hold people accountable will join this fight!
Putting this behind me has lifted a weight. I knew it was heavy, but I absolutely did not realize exactly how heavy it was and it feels so wonderful now that it is complete. I feel accomplished! Ready to continue to the next endeavor. So don’t say sorry, say “GOOD JOB!”
I love you Mr. Ivie. Always have, always will!
I can’t wait to see you tomorrow and I’ll spend every week looking forward to my weekends with you!
Hi Babe. ❤
As always, it was so nice to see you over the weekend and Monday night for our weekly video visit. I can’t tell you enough how wonderful you look. I continue to be so amazed and motivated by your positive attitude. Not surprised, just amazed. I wouldn’t expect anything different from you and I thank God everyday for having the opportunity to share your life.
I still can’t believe that you have not yet received one of my letters. It makes me wonder if you are going to get them all at once when they finally decide you are worthy of them or if the postal service is to blame and they are all just flowing through the mail system making their way to you one delayed letter at a time. You know this means that I won’t have a clue what letter you are talking about once you finally get them. 😊
I am still a little distraught over their 4 weeks per month visitation rule since the December Friday’s count for #5. It honestly doesn’t make any sense to me other than it being their way to force their Alpha around. It’s not like they close the whole place down for the two extra weeks per year. Those extra weeks mean nothing to them but they are heart wrenching to me. I look forward to having your energy refuel my spirit and those 14 days between visits are going to be painful. And I know what you are saying – “You did it for months on end, take a deep breath and relax.” 😆🤣 – Ok babe, I will.
I hope you know how much your sarcastic sense of humor gets me through my days. I love your wit and I am so grateful that you haven’t lost it. Sometimes I get the impression that you end up laughing at yourself in a “Wow! That was actually funny!” moment when the majority of your day is basically void of any type of joy. It makes me think that you too are grateful that you haven’t lost your edge. I would love to know if you do the same for those around you?
I am also so proud of you for being someone who refuses to allow one second in there to be wasted. I’d love to know if you broke a record for job placement. Hahaha. I just hope they find every way they can to utilize your skills so your crazy intelligent brain doesn’t get bored. It might sound strange, but I do get some kind of consolation knowing that you stand out in there. I guarantee you that who you are and how you act gives my narrative of this story so much credibility to anyone on your side of the fence who hears it. That’s why you are so easy to fight for!
I can only imagine how easy it is for you to tell yourself that the fight is over and that those of us out here may have ran out of steam but that could be the furthest from the truth. I am still very certain that I will find that one person who has the ability bring everything to light. I am certain that countless people within the judicial circles have read the hundreds and hundreds of letters that I still painstakingly send without hesitation. Your name will be known! This insane nightmare will be acknowledged! I will continue to climb every mountain I have to climb for you.
I love you with all of my heart and soul!
Forever & Always
Good morning Babe,
Can you believe it is already November? I have never been so happy to have time fly so quickly. I am so grateful that we get to talk so often once again. I can’t even begin to explain what it does for me when I see you come up on the caller id. My phone has become my lifeline. I also look so forward to our video calls. I was so happy that Mom was able to show you a clearer picture of Brynlee but I still put the picture in this letter so you can see them even better. I made sure to fit all of your grandkids and their Halloween costumes in a collage so you can hang it up. You just have too many grandkids to fit on 1 page so you got 2. 😊
I am going to admit to you that keeping up with your holiday rule is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I just want to go to sleep and wake up sometime in January. Hahaha. But, for you and for these kids, I will do my best. ❤ It helps knowing that I have scheduled our in person visits near each holiday. If I had my way, I would check myself in with you. Happily!
I know I have told you over the phone but I want to put it in this letter so you can read it over and over on those days that you need to remind yourself. Dan’s visit with you was so wonderful. I know it was so hard to support him knowing your options were limited but I want to remind you that his tears had so many different meanings. He was so impressed with the man who held him so tightly. He went on and on about how strong you were. He was so happy to see the man that he knew you to be standing there, against all odds, being you. Yes, we had a conversation about how he knew you had lost your will to fight after the arrest and throughout the entire two years before you chose to allow your legal team to convince you to take a plea. And yes, he wished as I did that you could have chosen to fight but you need to understand that even he, as your youngest child empathized with why you did what you did. He too completely understood that you, even in your darkest depression still found the ability to protect your family. He was so compassionate with the understanding that the odds were completely against you given the mentality of our chosen community. He seems to be absolutely content with your choice given your mental state for all of that time but you do need to hear that he was so confident when he stated, “No-one could have forced him to take a plea today because he has his fight back.”
I don’t tell you this to make you regret your decision, I tell you this so you can feel completely vindicated when you look back over the past couple of years. What has happened to you should be criminal against those who manipulated the system. You were a victim of 6 very violent criminals and you were a victim of unfathomable circumstances. Very few in your situation would have had the ability to work so hard over the two years you were given to prepare your entire family for the hardships that would follow during your potential incarceration. As I look back now, knowing how deeply depressed you were, you still went out there and worked like a dog for us. You didn’t lay down to lick your wounds and you were able to hide the majority of your fears away from nearly everyone. Not one time did it appear that you were thinking of anyone but your family! As Dan sat in that room with you, having the ability to look into your eyes for the first time in more than 5 months, he saw that “his Dad was back!” He saw your strength in every color imaginable.
I tell you all of this so you can find peace in knowing that you may have made the correct decision. You were told you had severe PTSD. You did and you still do but you were probably not, at that time, able to fight as it would have been required of you. Dan made another comment that has been eating me alive. I will have to admit that I know why it is eating me alive today and that is because I knew it back then but like many other situations, I didn’t greet it head on as I should have. You and I had many simple conversations about it but I think I allowed myself to believe that you and I were on the same page. Now I tell you what I should have made a point to discuss with you over and over as you were struggling so dreadfully for so long.
You and I have been through difficult times with each of our children in one way or another. Some of these times of difficulty never made us question “our parenting” skills. Those were the easy issues because we were always able to step in and “help” those situations with clarity and compassion. You and I both know that there have been other “difficult times” where we did question every single move. Every step we took was met with caution and sometimes conflict. But!!!..... I believe we came together as a team and kicked butt!!!! “Proof is in the pudding!”
I know that during the two years we waited and were so excited for trial, I may have been looking at things a little differently than you did because I was not involved in the actual event. I did not go through what you went through and did not have the trauma that you faced. Dan said that “he knew the reason you lost your fight was because you felt guilty for being the one to take the gun outside and that you blamed yourself for the situation that your son was in because you allowed the opposite side to manipulate your thoughts.”
His comment floored me because for the first time, I allowed myself to admit that I had always known this. I allowed myself to believe that I could fight for you. I sat there for two years believing that I would be able to sit on that stand for you and tell your story with the compassion that I still tell it today. I was living in a fairytale land. What I should have done instead of allowing you “time” to decompress as you refused to talk about anything is forced you to face everything just like I did the night you told me that you were going to agree with your attorneys and allow them to write up your plea with the DA. That night was the first time I saw some of your fight back but it was too late because your legal team had already decided “you couldn’t mentally or physically be the witness they needed”. But I NEED you to remember that not one of them knew the real you. They were introduced to the “broken” you from day one.
You did not create, nor did you contribute to the events of that night. Our son took his part and even that was not your fault. Nor was it my fault. You were thrown into a situation that NEVER happens. It just doesn’t! No matter how you choose to spin the events of that night, you had no hand in our son’s participation in bringing these 6 to our home just as the parents of these 6 had no hand in them being at our home. That is ridiculous! Free will exists and it was alive and well that fateful night! As a parent, you were spot on! 6 men! 6 men! That says it all. You want to feel guilty for handing your son a gun? Why, because you feel that you shouldn’t have brought it out? SERIOUSLY!!!! 6 men! You know damn well what they would have done to you if you hadn’t have had that gun for the 4 ½ minutes you were holding it demanding that they leave. They were not intimidated by the gun. Do you really believe they would have been intimidated by just you? I know you don’t believe that. I know you know exactly what would have happened. I know you also know what would have happened if you had not jumped in to stop another attack. They had already proven that they were not willing to leave until both of you could no longer get back up. Your lack of choices that night were not your fault! The fault lies with the criminals that would not leave! Each and every one of them would have done the exact same thing our son did once they got their hands on the gun. Every single one of them. That does not mean you did not have the right to utilize our years and years of preparation for self defense for a situation exactly like this! I pray every day and every night that you gain the strength to deny any guilt that continues. I continue to be grateful for every action you did because I believe that it saved our sons life. I will always be grateful for your courage and your sacrifice.
I love you!!!!
Well, it’s now been close to two days since I have heard from you. I am praying that is because you are in the middle of being transferred to your “home prison”. That also means that I will not be sending this letter until I get confirmation.
I know you know me well enough to have been feeling discomfort on my behalf because yes, you told me to prepare for the silence, but I am not doing very well with it. I was grateful to be able to check with K so I knew that you had reached out on Tuesday. This is a new emotion. The sheer fact that I know if I didn’t hear from you for weeks, I would have absolutely no way to find out why. There is no-one to call. The prison system isn’t much for transparency. Horrific thoughts go through my mind knowing that you could be in the hospital, extremely ill or as imagination goes, worst case scenario, dead and I would be at the mercy of information that could take weeks to make it to me. I am literally laughing at myself considering all of the training I have had regarding mental health and irrational thoughts but let me tell you…… no matter what your mind continues to debate, the anxiety that fills your chest with an uncontrollable heart flutter that leaves a continuous uneasy sensation is to say the least ANNOYING! ☹
I will however continue to try and look on the bright side. I keep telling myself that this silence is a good thing. It may mean that I will be one day closer to a personal visit. One day closer to a more concrete schedule where I won’t keep my phone at my side every second of every day so I won’t miss your 1 opportunity to call. One day closer to not being stuck in the middle of processing for months on end.
Have I told you lately how much I miss you! 😊 Here is something that we haven’t really talked about. As I told you, I am so excited to have Maegan flying in on Monday. I am not sure where she will be sleeping as she obviously has a few choices, but as I was wondering if she would want to bunk with me last night, I looked over at your pillows and your side of the bed. It is almost like there is an imaginary wall preventing me from moving over to your side in the middle of the night. Each and every morning when I get up, the bed is completely untouched on your side. The pillows have not moved and the sheets and comforter are crisp and flat. Even though Duke tends to lay on your side, there isn’t even an indent that can be seen on the top to show that my feet even swayed past the center of the bed. I wonder why that is? We both know that when you were physically there, the boundaries did not exist. I miss your late night whisper, “Babe, I’m moving my arm and am turning over.” As you gently kissed my forehead as you were asking me to move from your chest to my pillow. I swear that was a nightly ritual. Anyway – I’m pretty sure if she decides to bunk with me that she will not be disturbed. ❤💕💖
You are my world and I know God hears my prayers. I also know that he probably thinks of me as a spoiled two year old toddler as I react to his current “No’s”. 🤣😂I trust in his plan and I am honored to believe. I find comfort as I am confident that our future is BRIGHT!!! Please never lose faith that the battle I fight is worth every tear, every obstacle, every dark shadow. We will prevail!!!
~Your Faithful Soldier
What a week. I am so sorry that there has been such a distance between letters. I’m grateful that work has been so chaotic under the circumstances. You know me and the extra time is a blessing but it prevented me from sending you these letters to make sure you know exactly what you mean to me. I don’t know what I would do without your daily phone calls.
I wanted to touch base on something you had written to Cara in your story. You asked me if anything you had written was “new” to me and I told you no. I read the entire 18 pages and felt like I was living it right there with you. But, there was one paragraph that just took me by complete surprise and left me heart broken. As I read your account of this specific moment, the tears began to fall and I found myself trying to reach back into my memory of the day you came home after your bond release. For the life of me, it is all just a blur of activity. I couldn’t even tell you who was there. I want to believe that every single one of us here in PA were waiting for you in the driveway but my memories are just very sparse of those few hours.
I do remember being on the phone with the bail bondsman over and over for a few hours. I remember how devastated I was that I would not be allowed to be in the room the moment of your release as the bail bondsman would be the only one allowed at the jail. I remember feeling so helpless as I wanted so badly for my face to be the first face you saw. It was so important for me that you would have been able to lock eyes with me so you would know that you were safe. I knew you would have needed my arms at that very moment and being told that this would not and could not happen left me frozen in time as I waited for what seemed like an eternity.
The bondsman seemed to understand our frustration and he made sure he was available by telephone all day long. He took our calls and called us constantly. As we all waited in anticipation, we knew the exact moment you were in his presence because the communication stopped abruptly. He had given us a heads up on how those couple of hours would go down and we knew when he didn’t answer our phone calls that you were in his presence, and he would be concentrating on you. I can remember feeling excited the moment our call went to his voicemail. This was the first time in my life that an unanswered phone call was such a positive thing.
Again, my memories after this missed phone call become very erratic. Some come in slow motion and some come so fleeting that I’m not sure in which order they belong. I do however remember the moment we saw the bondsman’s vehicle pull up in front of the home. I remember running out the front door, being the first person outside and then I become confused over my memory of stopping on the front walk. I have no idea why I didn’t run down the driveway and open your door? I look back now and find it so odd not to have done what I typically would have done? The only thing I can think of is that the bondsman must have given us very specific instructions but I cannot remember what they would have been. I just remember myself standing there, still 30 or 40 feet away from you with my hands clenched so tightly in a frozen state. I remember staring at you while you sat in that vehicle, in front of our house for what seemed like 10 or 15 minutes. I remember feeling like a bulldog on a chain. The imaginary chain holding me back as I went as far out the front door as it would allow. Not able to advance one more inch. I’m sure you were not in that vehicle as long as it seemed, but after reading your account, I think I now know why it took you so long to get out.
This is the paragraph that I am referring to in your account:
“I was released late in the day (I am not sure what the date was) by the bondsman. He was a very decent person and treated me very well on the ride home. I did not know what to expect when I got home. I wasn’t sure if family members were blaming me for what happened, and I was terrified that they would turn their back on me. You would think the ride home would be relieving after all I had just been through, but it was just as terrifying. When I arrived home, it was such an emotional thing to see my family all waiting to wrap their arms around me and make sure that I knew how loved I was and that they were all there standing by my side. They could not wait for me to get in the house. The all came rushing out of the house and wrapped their arms around me. It was so emotional for me. I could hardly even speak. I am pretty sure that I broke down in tears especially when I saw my parents were there all the way from Utah.”
In your entire 18 page account, this was the only time I was shocked. I knew you were exhausted and still somewhat in shock but I assumed it was all because of how our local justice system failed you. The anger I feel for every single individual involved from Ephrata and Lancaster County blinded me from understanding that you were sitting in jail for 4 days without contact from us. Without the ability to see or hear what we had been doing on your behalf. I’m looking back now recognizing that you may not have understood that we were prevented from seeing or talking to you. This is how they were able to ensure their one sided BS as they were working to intentionally omit every aspect of the fact that we were the victims of their 6 so called victims who came to our home with the proven intent for violence towards us! As I read your thoughts, I was devastated for you.
I want to believe that you are now aware that your family will never turn our backs on you. I would have sat in that jail cell with you if I were allowed. Your Mom would have been right there with me. To be honest, I think both of us were in there with you. It explains the complete void of concrete memories for the majority of those days. Our souls never left your side. The insanity of everything that has taken place has awakened a sleeping monster in both of us that started before you even got home and will continue until we once again get you home.
You are the type of man that is deserved in so many families but is not present in most. You earned every ounce of loyalty from this family over years and years of sacrifice to us. We are not the kind of family who would turn our backs and we didn’t. I am so proud to see our teachings within this family come to fruition! You did that! We did that! You should not be where you are and each and everyone of us who are fighting this fight will not back down. We do this because of the man that you are. It’s easy because of the man that you are.
I am going to say it again because you mentioned that you might be “blamed” by this family. You did not invite these 6 violent men to our home. You had no control over them showing up in our front yard at 1:40 in the morning. You had every right to protect your family with the threat of a violent mob! You did everything that your education of self defense told you to do until the threat forced you to cross that line. If you hadn’t crossed that line, I firmly believe that my son could have died. I believe that with every being of my soul. The lesser consequence would be that they would have beaten him to brain injury which could have been just as devastating. You already know that I believe he may already have brain injury. You watched your son lay unconscious and unresponsive as this stranger continued to pound his head into the pavement with no ability to block any of his blows. You witnessed this angry mob’s refusal to leave when the homeowner demanded they leave. You were forced into a rare situation and I am proud of the way you worked through it. What I saw on that video made me proud of your restraint towards violent criminals. I saw a man who had two obvious choices under the violent circumstances. What your son did is what I have found through thousands of comments on my TikTok videos is what the majority would have done in your situation and yet, you my sweet husband made a choice to endanger your own life because you refused to use that gun. I do not blame you for the violence the 6 brought to my home. I blame the mentality of our current social system that allowed these 6 to commit their violence with no thought of consequence. They were 100% correct in their assumptions which is what fuels this current social class and it disgusts me.
I love you so much Mark. I miss you more than I can explain and I am waiting so impatiently for the system to class you and move you to your home prison so I can once again feel your embrace.
I wanted to let you know that I got your letter on Tuesday. Just seeing your handwriting on the outside of the envelope made my heart skip a beat. I couldn’t wait to get upstairs to read it. You inspire me in ways I could never explain.
You are correct, on a couple of things. Yes, I intended to take my holiday and I even shut my alarm off the night before but low and behold, the dogs alarms could not be muted. Duke was ready bright and early and since I was already up and my mind had already started to spin, I gave in to my desire to ease the pain by heading straight into work. I am so blessed that I work in a profession that demands 100% focus on the numbers. It is the only way as of today that gives me the rest I need. I’m still working on a solution though.
You were correct on another very important detail. It was even that more hilarious after I read your theory of our demise together – hahaha – I was literally having to wipe the tears away from my eyes in order to keep reading. It was a bit of a struggle as my focus kept being interrupted by another laughing outburst that required me to take off my glasses and wipe away the cheerful tears as I got to your last sentence….. “There’s that laugh I love so much!”
This is the inspiration that I speak of so often. There you are, in your own HELL and you still crack jokes. It surprises me that I have not been tempted to give up or give in as this battle can sometimes feel in vain but I know the reason I don’t is because of this inspiration.
I was talking to a coworker this week about a story that I remember reading years and years ago about a triathlon trainee. It inspired me back then and I find it even that more important now. She explained how her greatest fear was giving up. Giving in to those voices inside her head that tell her it is okay to slow down. It is okay stop when it feels uncomfortable and try again tomorrow. As a way to ensure her success in the training which would ultimately be her success in the race, she would start to swim out into the ocean. She wouldn’t turn around to swim back until her body and mind told her she could no longer go one more inch. At this point, she would turn around and look at the beach that seemed a million miles away. At this point, literally out of breath and exhausted she would be faced with a very clear, black and white choice. Swim or drown. She went on to describe what then took place emotionally and spiritually as her mind, body and spirit burst into survival mode. It was a type of adrenaline rush that can rarely be described. One second, all hope seems lost and the next, it was almost like a superhero power took hold with an explosion of energy that catapulted her towards the shoreline. The exhaustion was still there of course but she always had the endurance to LIVE! She did this over and over through her training and probably still does to this day if she is still competing.
So, my dear husband, the moral of my recount of her story is I will not give up. I will always push myself harder today than I did yesterday and I will push even harder tomorrow. I will be here with you throughout this entire ordeal and both of us will be stronger for it. I will continue to tell this story regardless of how many or how few choose to listen. “IT ONLY TAKES ONE!!!!!”
Here is a little tidbit of information that should make you smile. It has been about 3 weeks since I sent the last letter to the Governors office with my request that they not waste their paper on their automatic, pre-written template since I now had 7 identical responses from them. Most of the dates of their automatic letters were within 4 to 5 days of my dates. I have not received their letter template this time. The fact that they didn’t reply means nothing to me. The fact that my request for them to save their paper means that my letter was read. 😊 I’m good with that.
Although I pray for miracles, I don’t demand them and I respect God’s timing. You and I will endure as this has also got to be his plan?
You also need to know that I too have plans on treating you as my King for the rest of our lives together. You are the kindest, most sincere man I have ever met in my life and you are worth every second. It’s difficult to breathe out here without you but I don’t feel intimidated or defeated. I have been blessed with the ability to see our future as clearly as I see today. I feel it. With every fiber in my body – I feel it. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and Wow! I find myself thanking God for everything I have been through in my past that has prepared me for today. I also thank him for bringing me to you as he allowed me to feel what true love and devotion is. Most people only dream of meeting their Prince Charming. I actually have him! I have not lost him to a twisted judicial system, he is only outside of my grasp for the time being.
I love you Mark Ivie! I love everything about you! I say again, Thank You for everything you did that fateful night. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG and I will keep shouting this from the rooftops! I am so grateful that you have always protected me, our children and our rights to live free of violence. Please don’t ever forget that they came to our home. They came to commit violence against our son. They did this. You were only keeping your family safe. The recent threat towards Janelle proves who they are and what they were capable of. We do not have control over the evil in this world but we do have control to keep it out of our lives and that is exactly what you were doing and God knows it!!!
I am so excited that we are getting closer and closer to personal visits. I am so looking forward to your embrace. I am so exhausted that it won’t surprise me if I just pass out in your arms. 😊Just make sure and wake me up because I don’t want to miss any second!
I pray that today will be a happy day for you. I pray that my letters give you strength as yours do to me. Even knowing that your journals represent your letters to me gives me strength. I love you so much!!!
Your devoted wife,
Good Morning Babe,
I had the most wonderful conversation with Mom and Dad yesterday. They love you so much and it gives me such inspiration! The family reunion was Saturday and everyone was so supportive and has sent you their love. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had given an update so I know I kept them on the phone much longer than they had probably anticipated. Wow for me right?!? 😊 I told them how your letter was going to be delayed and they are excited to get it.
I was driving to work today and was surprised to see most of the corn had been processes over the weekend. I knew we were close to fall but I am actually a bit excited that time is passing so quickly. That just means that you will be in my arms that much sooner.
I hope my last letter made you smile as I go through some memories. I know that keeping these memories in my mind has helped me in ways that I could not have imagined. I was thinking of the few weeks after we first met and the text messages that were shared between you and I. This was a topic of conversation this weekend with the kids as I teased them all of “spell check” and abbreviations. I think Nate got my jokes and my story a little bit more than the rest because he was the one living with me at the time and remembered a little of who I used to be.
Do you remember how I told you that your words in these texts cemented my appeal for you. LOL. You know I have never been much of a “phone” person. I still laugh to myself as I hear you say, “You know, the phone goes with you!” as I find myself sitting in one place imagining that my phone is still attached to the wall requiring me to be trapped in one spot until the phone call is over. Hahaha. Your willingness to communicate via text at that time was crucial and you didn’t even know it. I found myself so enamored by your complete sentences. Your accuracy of punctuation. I was communicating with a man who actually used verbs and adjectives so precisely. LOL!
Everyone at the table was laughing as I told the story but Nate was awkwardly laughing as he was rolling his eyes. He is the only one who had to live with the same thing I had to endure as my Mom and Dad would always correct our grammar with each and every sentence. I sarcastically teased him as he rolled his eyes because I too knew how lucky he and I both are that “our parents” forced us to be educated in proper English. Hahaha – I’m guessing you had the same lessons in your upbringing.
This brings me to my conversation with your Mom and Dad regarding how you must stand out in so many ways where you are. This should make you proud! Please don’t ever let your time in there extinguish your pride! “If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck!” That’s “their” motto. Well, if it looks like an Eagle and soars like an Eagle, THEN IT MUST BE AN EAGLE!!!!! There was a time in our Justice system where this meant something and just because our local system is misguided and finds themselves fighting the wrong fight, it does mean something in the overall scheme and this is something I don’t want you to ever forget. I continue to pray that your wings are stronger than ever when you leave that place. I’m actually counting on it!
You are, have always been and will always be a person that people look up to. Someone that people follow with absolute confidence. Your line of work forced you and your intellect to be a catalyst in life saving systems and those who worked with you relied on this. Your soul and energy created a feeling of trust within anyone who found themselves in your presence. I hope you know how unique that is. I have watched you for years proving your merit for this trust which is admirable because it just came natural to you, but I need you to know that from what I have always witnessed, the way you lived your life just maintained the trust. You were a leader because you didn’t have to generate the trust by recruiting. The recruits always found you by droves and you sustained, nurtured and strengthened it! This is a type of greatness that is a gift from God and you have it. Your honesty and integrity will endure no matter where you are. Use it. Cultivate it. Preserve it no matter who tries to take it away from you.
The respect I have for you is immeasurable. The pride I have in being your wife is constant. You do not deserve to be where you are and yet, you inspire me in the way you persevere. Although I find it so difficult to breath out here without you, I continue and it is because of you. I believe with every ounce of my being that it is only a matter of time before someone with the ability to make this right falls upon our story. It will be your history that will stand out impenetrable just as it should have in the beginning. I have complete faith in this. The man you have always been will work in your favor as it always has.
Thank you for always making me smile. Thank you for always showing me the best me. Thank you for always binging out the best in our children. Thank you for being the man that our children want to make proud. Thank you for always teaching our family real morals and always guiding them towards a path of decency in all they do. You are the absolute definition of a great man.
I love you!!!!
This entire family cannot wait for our next video call tomorrow. We are always so excited to get to see you in person. I am so grateful that this option is available to us!!!
Fall is here! The mornings and evenings are now brisk again and typically require a jacket even though the days can still get hot. We’re going to be closing the pool this weekend and your instruction videos are going to come in handy. Rest assured that we will follow every single step!
We don’t really have much going on for the holiday weekend. I’m sure we’ll have a nice sit down family dinner in the dining room on one of the nights. The whole family is heading to Costco this afternoon so we’ll have a chance to have something on the menu for everyone. I know that everyone, including me will be missing your cooking. You’d think that this whole household would be losing weight all over the place because we lost your cooking. But I for one am not. 😊 I think it is because most of my dinners consist of a bag of chips and a diet Dr. Pepper. My body is not going to know what to do once you start cooking again! One thing I do know now is that you are going to have to enter your recipes into Mom’s cookbook. Nate is always trying to get all of us to remember how you made everything.
You should know that your Mom loves you so much! She and your Dad are going through some of the same emotions that I am but they don’t have these beautiful babies to help them re-center. They too are fighting this fight each and every day. I know it is going to help once she is able to get approved to join in our video visits. I can’t wait until they can see your positive attitude for themselves.
I do hope your “basketball” black eye isn’t as visible as you say it is for tomorrow’s visit. Hahaha – I don’t want the kids to see anything like that. But, if it is, I’m sure you’ll have them laughing about it very quickly.
We didn’t get Stella’s release document from the State in order to get her approved to visit JR so I think we are going to change up the visitor list for our in person visit on the 10th. I’m hoping we can make arrangements for Dan & Nate to go together. JR would like that so much! I wish we had the ability to go see him more than once per month but it just isn’t possible. I plan on making sure to visit you weekly if they allow it but the group visits usually have a lot of schedule conflicts and it would just be way to expensive to take the whole family that much.
I can’t believe you still have not received any of the books I ordered. I followed their instructions to the tee and since I know they were delivered to the facility nearly 3 weeks ago I am so nervous that they have decided to reject them and send them back to the company. I haven’t seen a refund yet so to my knowledge, they still have them there. The calendars blow my mind if they deny these. I made sure that they didn’t have spiral binding and if they deny due to the staples, I don’t even know where I would find a calendar that doesn’t have one. Thank goodness I also ordered a 2023 since it might take that long for you to receive them. 😊
I have had a lot of time on my hands to just sit and think. A constant thought lately has been of the day we first met.. I think my main attraction with you at first was how you reacted with your children and how they reacted with you. I had my share of being around children that really got on my nerves but from the very moment I saw all of you, I found myself smiling. After I realized that you were also interested in me, I got butterflies. You weren’t the typical guy who was trying to pick me up. Each and everytime I caught you looking my way, I found your eyes to be so calming. I don’t think I had ever encountered such a shy person before. And then….. standing in line as our children were so excited to have their turn on the tilt-a-whirl, you said “Hi”. That was it, one word. Just “Hi.” I remember saying hello back with my typical, “Hi, how are you today.” not sure how brief your answer would be. Your voice was just incredible. I remember sitting in that car with my kids, you sitting with yours. The Tilt-A-Whirl has always been one of my favorite rides and as Mo and I did our best to get the car to tilt in your direction, I found you staring directly at me with every spin. The way you would quickly turn away was so adorable! It actually started to make me think that I may have been incorrect about the mutual feelings. But it happened everytime our cars would spin towards each other. Mo kept encouraging me each time. I know I have told you so many times, but when the ride was over and you started in your direction, which was the opposite of ours and you turned around like you did and waved, I fell hard! Thank goodness Mo was there to force me to chase you down. 😊 I sit here now reliving over and over the next 30 minutes of that encounter that changed my life and I smile. You weren’t as shy as I had assumed. You were just quiet and extremely respectful. Very unique in my book. A giant teddy bear. I try over and over to remember the conversation as our children were forced to go up and down that slide. I think it was the dumbest ride at Lagoon but they were all such good sports. I cannot remember the topic. I can only remember what your voice did to me that day and I laugh thinking how lucky I am that your voice still does that to me now.
There was not one thing about you that day that became different once we got to know each other. I was certain that day that you were one of a kind. Softly spoken, incredibly sweet, extremely romantic and very, very wise. I found a dying breed. Your sense of humor has just became a huge BONUS for me!!! I think most people would find it difficult to believe just how wonderful our relationship is. I am not sure that many marriages can say that they are married to their best friend. And it’s not just that I believe you are my best friend, I also believe with every beat of my heart that you look at me as your best friend. Not having to compete for that title is the absolute best!!
I miss having you open my doors. I miss running to your arms every day for our ritual embrace. I will never get tired of kissing you but I miss the hug more. I miss having you hold my hand everywhere we went and I even miss you consistently telling me to stop holding on so tight because you knew my social anxiety was getting the best of me. The jokes you would make about my irrational thoughts that would make me subconsciously tighten up would have me uncontrollably laughing within moments. Believe it or not, it is those jokes that I still hear in my head that force me to do all of this on my own. You are hilarious and you have always been a blessing to me. Don’t you ever forget that! You will always be my blessing just like you are a blessing to countless others.
I love you so very much and this family loves you!!!!! Always remember that!
Your 4-Ever Wife,
Good Morning Babe,
It was so wonderful again to have you in our living room last night. I am so sorry that it was so chaotic and messy but I’m sure you smiled watching us entertain your beautiful grand daughter. Can you believe how much Stella has changed in only a week! Each and every day, I see more and more of Nate in her. She is the most perfect combination of both of them. I can’t wait for you to be able to hold her and you can tell by the way Ariana wants your attention so badly that we probably won’t be able to get her out of your arms once she is able to be held by you again. You have to admit it is the most adorable thing how she believes your wedding ring is hers. 😊
I cannot wait to get your story! I am so surprised how giddy I am just knowing I will have to wait so long for Mr/Mrs Postman to help it arrive. I know how difficult it was for you and I am so proud of you for taking care of it so quickly. Your story deserves to be told by you!
Poor Morgan…. Everything that could have happened this week in her home happened. First, her microwave died and then her fridge died. She had no idea how she was going to replace either of them. The microwave was the “over the stove” kind and we both know how expensive those are. The fridge that they had was just the typical freezer over fridge and it wasn’t very big but today’s prices are not kind to any budget. She decided to go onto Facebook Marketplace just in case there was something there available and she found both appliances for around $300.00 and the best part…. The fridge had been in the garage of a retired couple that was trying to downsize so they got an unexpected upgrade! I hope I convinced her to sign up for a home warranty plan as this is probably just the beginning. Ross actually took care of installing both and he had to actually raise the cupboard over the fridge just like you did since it was so much bigger than what the home was built for. I am so hopeful that they can remain best friends through this all. The boys deserve it.
Connor started middle school leaving Ry in charge of the 2 new kindergarteners. I’ll bet he is going to do the best job of “Big Brother In Charge”! All of the boys are getting so big. Mo continues to send so many photos and it makes me smile. I know this doesn’t surprise you, but it is difficult to tell the difference between the 3 little ones. They are literally the same size. Actually, the way to tell which one is Mason is to look for the bigger one. LOL I can’t wait to be in their presence again.
Bentley is doing great in school. She is in a regular size class and her Momma Bear is doing an amazing job making sure she is confident and comfortable! You would be so proud of her. I don’t think I will ever get tired of being proud of the Mother she is!!!!
Kelsey posted a whole bunch of pictures of Brynlee and for her 9 month photo shoot. She is so adorable! Her smile just melts my heart!
I was laughing at myself yesterday as I was talking with Jess as she checked in. I told her that I was doing 75/25 and was grateful that the 75% was on the positive side. She stated that she was proud of me and encouraged me telling me that I was so strong. With that, I replied how surprised I was regarding my emotions because I honestly thought that my bad days would be filled with tears and depression but instead, I find myself contemplating an exorcism due to the extreme anger that I sometimes feel. 🤣Hahaha. Anger is absolutely new to me. But I tell you now as I have told you a thousand times… it is never anger aimed at you! I will never feel anything but gratitude for what you did for our family on that fateful night. I also have such gratitude for what you didn’t do. The gratitude for that I give directly to God.
I know that our family is constantly talking about praying for miracles during this fight and although I do continue with this request, I want you to know that there is not one single day where I don’t speak directly to God and thank him for the miracles that we have already seen. I know that we have never been left alone and I see proof of this fact each and every day. I promise you that I know this and I promise you that God knows I know it. My Faith has only grown stronger with the passing of each and every day.
I do find myself consistently asking for forgiveness for the darkness and I know I own the darkness. I recognize it with each and every prayer and I continuously ask to be forgiven for my “terrible two’s” temper tantrums that only he and I actually know about. It is difficult not to feel this way given my belief of such an inconceivable injustice. I honestly want to turn this anger into a force that can help other people who are in your similar situation. I want to change laws that allow law enforcement to stack charges upon charges with the intent of system manipulation that coerce the innocent to take pleas like you did to protect their family. I want to change laws that require more definitive evidence against the accused. Our story can help! My belief is still that their burden of proof was not met under the current laws but in our case, it didn’t matter because they were able to bully you into your plea. This injustice needs to be corrected!!!!!
I sincerely cannot wait for the system to classify you so you can move to your home prison where I can physically visit you like we do with JR. I need to feel your presence in ways I could not describe. I need to feel your energy. I need it to refuel me. I need it to refuel all of us! I think the boys need it as badly as I do. Your absence has left an overwhelming empty space that will only be filled once you return home to us. Although we all try, your place in this home is only for you.
I love you so much Mr. Ivie! I love everything about you! Forever and always!!!!!!!
Your loyal wife,
Good Morning Babe,
As always, it was so nice to talk to you last night. I don’t think I will ever get used to the short time frame and the constant time wasted asking you to repeat yourself over and over because it is so hard to hear you. I’m always curious if it is just as difficult to hear me? I’m glad I have a sense of humor though. You would laugh if you knew what I hear half of the time as I ask you to repeat yourself. Sometimes my mind creates the most hilarious visions as I hear a completely different language and I hold back my sarcasm. Or I hear something completely different and I think, “WTH?” did he just say that? Then you repeat yourself and I find myself giggling with a “OH – THANK GOD!” reaction once I hear it correctly. 🤣😂
Kelsey was happy to hear that you got her message. I am so sorry that not everyone has figured out the system yet. They will. It isn’t the most user friendly program and it does cost each one of them money to set it up and their system is very strict on what type of cards can be used so that is an obstacle in itself. I can’t wait until you get classified and registered with your home prison so you can get a tablet so you don’t have to stand at the kiosk and try to read everyone’s messages within a 30 second time frame. I have told everyone to treat it as a text message for now since you would never have time enough to read a complete letter on there.
I was on my way to work this morning listening to my playlist and one of my favorite songs came on again. The most wonderful thing happened. I find myself preoccupied with every single song that comes on and if it doesn’t pertain to you and our situation, I subconsciously forward it to the next. This is what I do on my “alone time” to and from work with the music blasting to lift my spirits. This morning, a song came on that I always listen to. It was the Rascal Flats song, “I Won’t Let Go.” Countless times I play it over and over and I beam as I listen to the words because it has been my anthem towards you. Every verse seemed to speak to my loyalty to you and it has always given me fuel to keep up the fight. But, for some strange reason when I was listening to it today, my eyes teared up. My though process flipped as I heard every verse as if it were coming from you. This was not a coincidence. You know how I feel about these things and I knew that at that moment, a higher power was making sure that I knew you were in there fighting for me as well. I have never doubted this fact, but to be honest, it is not something I have really thought of a lot.
Last night when you called, you asked in the most sincere way, “How are you doing babe?”. Before I could completely respond, you reiterated with a softer and more loving tone, “Really, How are you doing?”. “Are you staying strong in the ways we discussed?”. And of course, you already knew the answer so your question was not really a question as much as it was a pep talk. You are in there, locked up like a dog because of politics and you have not once, ever shown any type of irrational emotion. I have never heard one second of selfishness. Instead, your concerns have always been for your family and you have continued to focus on making sure that your morals, principles and guidance continue to build us up.
The way you continue to help us curb our anger by always addressing it even when we try to hide it from you is so inspiring. Granted, I typically leave the family meetings with an unspoken, “HE’S FULL OF SHIT! 😊SCREW THOSE WHO HAVE PLACED HIM THERE!” – but within minutes of seeing everyone’s faces as they too have to admit to themselves that you are correct in your requests for all of us to force the harmful thoughts out of our minds in order to keep ourselves healthy, I become softer and my soul is given needed relief. I wish it lasted, but I am not sure if we are all as strong as you, but I can promise you that we are trying. Having your face in our living room during the video chats vs hearing your voice on the phone has made a big difference and I know that once we are allowed to be in your physical presence, we will become even stronger.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that I am grateful that we are all in this together. We continue to fight for you and you continue to fight for us. God prepares us for every battle we need to face. More times than not, we don’t even recognize that we are training until we are right in the middle of the storm finding ourselves praising his knowledge as we kneel to say, “Wow! Now I understand! Thank you Lord!” I have done that a lot lately. You fostered this family to make it through this battle. You encouraged each and every one of us to be who we are without even understanding that our family bond would be the most essential tool in our arsenal.
I can’t remember if I sent you the lyrics to this song in one of the physical letters I have sent there or if it was on the secures app??? So, I do want you to have the words so you can know what I was listening to.
"Separate page with the lyrics"
So, it’s Friday and this means that I have to prepare for my typical difficult weekend. It’s easier to cope when I sit in my office for 12 hours a day. THAT’S 24 HOURS THAT I HAVE TO FIGURE OUT and I still have difficulty with that. Your schedule for Saturday and Sunday are early morning and late evening. Go figure! That’s a huge gap for me – for a weekend. 😒I have a company picnic at the Owner’s home on Saturday so I promise you I will force myself to attend. As you know, God put me with these people and there is not one single employee that I am not honored to be around. The company is doing the picnic for employees and their entire families, including parents and grandparents. Isn’t that incredible! Good Food! Amazing People! 100% Complete Spiritual Motivation! I am honestly looking forward to it so I am going to keep reminding myself of this as my “not so strong” side tries to talk me out of it. Hahaha! YOU SHOULD BE AT ALL OF THESE EVENTS WITH ME!!!! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬They are all looking forward to meeting you and always tell me they are praying for you!
I love you Mark Ivie! I love everything about you!
Your Forever Loving Wife,