The requests are coming in for Christmas cards. No one asked for Halloween cards this year (they were a hot commodity at the prison a few years ago) but the push is on for Thanksgiving and Christmas cards. I managed to pick up a few dozen at a local Catholic supply store back in the summer.
But now! I've put a special collection bag right by my front door so when I pick up my mail, I can put all those wonderful cards into the bag. What cards? you ask. Why all those charities who want my money and send me half a dozen cards at a time. In just a few weeks, I have managed to stockpile almost a hundred cards. And I'm finding more around my house all the time. I think those fall under the "Stash Them Now. Use Them Later" rule. Except I usually forget exactly where I have stashed such treasures and come across them in July or some other unwieldy time.
This year, my disorganization is not so bad.
I've been finding all sorts of postcards too. Postcards are great to use in jail for getting messages to people. I try to make a point of having colorful postcards to send around. There is so little color inside the jail. A photo of earth shot by NASA. Stone circles in Ireland. A view of the city skyline. Anything with some color on it brightens up the cells, believe me.
Then there are the bookmarks. Bookstores are a great place to pick up bookmarks. I hope I'm giving someone an idea of where to go when she's released from jail--a bookstore! a library! a place where there are stories just like yours and NOT just like yours.
When I run out of bookmarks, I make my own. Interesting bits of wisdom. Scripture stories to ponder. A bit of poetry. At a gathering of jail chaplains in September, I had them write down their favorite sayings or Scripture passages on bright yellow cards. Now those cards go out in the packets of devotionals or other things people have asked for.
The weather has turned. It is more grey and there's more rain. Inside the jail, there's limited chance to see the outside--too many of the windows are frosted, not with frost, but with the type of stuff you just want to peel away. Whatever color we can bring inside, it's needed, no matter how small a bit it is.