Tagged: circumstances

155 Days of Good Time Restored

 

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Remember my NA series and all those NA Meetings I attended? Well they just now paid off in the form of good time. My release date has been adjusted from 8-9-32 to 3-7-32. I haven’t done the math, but according to DOC, that’s 155 days!

Upon receiving this good news I was also informed that I will be getting back an additional 90 days at my next review in August. All I gotta do is remain infraction free, stay in The Dog Program, and receive positive evaluations.

It feels good to be going the other way. To be earning good time rather than loosing it. To be living in harmony rather than conflict. To be progressing rather than regressing. To be making friends rather than enemies. To be focusing on the positive rather than the negative.

For almost 23 years my environment hasn’t changed. PRISON! It’s still full of misfits and misconduct. But what has changed is my attitude, perspective, outlook, and priorities. During my quest to seek knowledge and understanding I’ve learned that the mind is like a garden. Either you can intelligently Cultivate it, or neglect it and let it run wild. That’s why its crucial for me to constantly cultivate my mind by weeding out all the wrong, useless, destructive, impure thoughts. And nurturing my mind with right, useful, constructive, positive thoughts.

By constantly pursuing this process of mind evolution, I am starting to reap the rewards. Such as: I found my beautiful soulmate in Suzie, I made it to The Honor Unit, I got accepted into the dog program, I’ve met new people and have devolved new friendships, I’m no longer getting in fights or hurting people, and I’m earning back good time. Just to name a few.

For years I allowed my mind to run wild. The results were devastating! For more on the devastation you can read my ebook titled, STONE CITY : LIFE IN THE PENITENTIARY.

I was oblivious to the fact that a deeper level of consciousness existed. I was mindlessly wandering through life, and inappropriately reacting to everything life threw at me. With a neglected mind, I didn’t stand a chance. But with a new and improved cultivated mind, I have so much hope and excitement for today and the rest of my life.

If you had the power to be happier, to change your environment, and to have better relationships with friends and family, would you use that power?

Of course you would!
So why don’t you?
The power is within you.

Take the first step and read : “AS A MAN THINKETH” by James Allen. This book will teach you LAWS OF THOUGHT that cannot error. By reading this quick little 55 page book, you’ll be taking a crucial step towards intelligently cultivating your mind. I hope you feel inspired.

 

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Steven Jennings

Take The Initiative To Express Love

 

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What’s better than love? NOTHING…that’s what! So why not take the initiative to express love? Everyday. To your spouse. Your children. Your friends. To mankind.

I’m shocked by all the men who take their women for granted. No wonder divorce rates are at an all time high. I understand that every couple will have their differences. It happens. I’m going through it with my wife, Suzie, right now.

It would be so easy to lose my composure and say something stupid. But what good would that do? I love this woman. Therefore, it’s my duty to soothe and comfort as we work through our conflict in a respectful, loving manner.

How do I do that? By drawing on the knowledge I learned from a book by Don Miguel Ruiz called, The Four Agreements. The first agreement is: BE IMPECCABLE WITH MY WORDS. This means, speak kindly to the woman I love. Always. No matter what. Under no circumstances is it okay for me to allow my emotions to dictate a tone of voice that operates outside the realms of love.

I must admit, in the past, I have been guilty of that. I recognized it. I didn’t like it. I fixed it! And it wasn’t really all that difficult to fix. Especially when you consider the beneficiary…my wife, the woman I love, my marriage.

If I have something to say, and it involves negative feelings, I find a way to say it as nicely as possible. Because I love Suzie, and I am committed to giving her my best at all times. She is such a sweet sensitive soul and she deserves so much more than I can give.

The least I can do is love her with all my mind, body, and soul…with all my power and strength focused on loving her the way God intended for a man to love his wife.

The way I simply talk to my wife makes all the difference in the world. Words are powerful! So why not use them in the direction of truth and love? If you are in conflict with someone you love, take the initiative to express love.

 

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flair. Proverbs 15:1

 

Please Keep Us In Your Prayers

 

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Steven Jennings

Uniquely Unlocked

 

I am so grateful for my wife and all that she does. I wish I could be out there helping her right by her side. I love and appreciate her with all my heart. She truly is a blessing.

Suzie M. Jennings

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I had such a sheltered and spoiled background. I breezed through my childhood so fast that it’s hard to remember it. I wanted so badly to grow up and be an adult, a wife, and a mother.

I had a pretty awesome upbringing with loving parents, a big wholesome family, a kind religious community, and I was even a Girl Scout. But is it possible that sometimes things can be too perfect that you miss out on living and experiencing?

I have Stone City Blog on my mind right now. It is a collection of blogs written by men in prison, which I manage. Honestly, I’ve struggled with putting in all those hours helping men who couldn’t give me much in return.

I help men in prison share their voice with the world. At first, I choked on my own voice when telling people this. It wasn’t something I wanted to brag…

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Prison & Occupational Therapy

 

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I recently received an email from Sandra Rogers. She is a faculty member in the School of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Pacific University. In part, this is how the email read:

 

Dear Steven,

My name is Sandra Rogers, I am a faculty member in the School of OT at Pacific University. I am writing to request help with a project I am working on. I work and mentor a group of occupational therapists who work in criminal justice (prison, jail, and community corrections) throughout the US. Occupational therapists believe that engaging in meaningful activities is important no matter your circumstances. In correctional facilities OT’s work with those incarcerated to help them develop and practice skills that lead to engagement in healthy lifestyles, like work that you enjoy, leisure interests that are fulfilling (and do not harm others), taking care of children or families, having relationships that are meaningful and healthy. We term the lack of engagement in meaningful activities occupational deprivation. I think you are a very good example of how engaging in meaningful activities, even while incarcerated, can really help you maintain health. I have read your blog and book, your wonderful relationship with your wife, and have been reading your adventures with Yahoo. I am wondering if you would be willing to talk to me about your experience of engaging in these activities and how they have helped you. IF you are willing I would love to videotape or share your written comments with the group of OT’s I mentor, and use your comments in a presentation I am doing. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts from a lived perspective, of having to deal with the consequences of the crime, and still trying to do good in the world. I think it would be helpful for the audience to understand how you personally were affected by occupational deprivation.

~Sandra Rogers

 

How awesome is that? I share this because IT in itself is “meaningful activity” to me. She and I have exchanged emails about working together and I am super excited about all of this. She’ll be interviewing me via email, phone calls, and video visitations. And I will be sure to blog this experience here for you all to read.

This blog is “meaningful activity” and has enriched my life tremendously.

I look forward to working with Sandra. This experience will be both educational and healing. It’ll also give me the opportunity to acquire new tools to help myself and others.

After reading her first email I learned the term “meaningful activities” and the crucial role they play in a healthy lifestyle. I am so excited about this learning journey I’m about to embark upon. Nothing gets me more excited, except for my wife and our upcoming EFV’s! 🙂

Already, Sandra has inspired deep, intellectual, soul searching thought. As a result, I have decided to write an ongoing blog series based solely on the food-for-thought which she inspires. The following three titles were derived from the very words she wrote in her initial email to me. I will kick start this series with:

 

#1) HOW I WAS AFFECTED BY OCCUPATIONAL DEPRIVATION

#2) CONSEQUENCES OF MY CRIME INSPIRE GREAT CHANGE

#3) ENGAGING IN MEANINGFUL ACTIVITIES IS CRUCIAL TO A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

 

It is my greatest hope that this blog will plant seeds that will somehow reach your incarcerated loved one (or anyone else for that matter) and inspire positive change in those lives.

 

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Steven Jennings

 

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My 6th NA Meeting

 

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I took a seat in the back. I shook a few hands as people filed in. Then, I just sat there and listened as people read from chapter 10 in the big blue NA book. This is what I got from it:

“We are often amazed at how things work out for us. We are recovering in the here and now and the future becomes an exciting journey.” (pg. 106)

This is so true! My journey has taken me all over the place. Yet, I physically remain in prison.

However, the mental landscape changes dramatically…because my thoughts & actions
create my circumstances & environment. I can do easy time or hard time. I can focus on the positive or the negative. It’s my choice.

Case in point: I choose to improve myself. Therefore, I am able to improve my circumstances and my environment. Within the confines of prison!

I’ve been trying to get into the Dog Program since 2009. They kept denying me. I felt I was ready, but they felt I wasn’t. My past infractions had them very skeptical. Then in 2011, I was attacked and I defended myself (How I Lost My EFV’s For 5 Years). That was a huge setback.

My journey has taught me that you don’t get what you hope and pray for. You get what you justly earn. Wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with propper thoughts and actions.

I have finally been accepted into the Dog Program. It took me over 6 years, but I did it!

This proves that I AM THE MAKER OF MYSELF and the SHAPER AND AUTHOR OF MY ENVIRONMENT.

For years I wanted to improve my comfort level and living conditions. But I was unwilling to improve myself. And even after I was willing, I struggled to find effective ways. Therefore, I remained bound. I was constantly getting in my own way. I continued to seek effective ways to change myself. Seek and ye shall find!

I found a strong desire to change.

I found influential books, such as: The Bible, The Science of Mind, and As A Man Thinketh…just to name a few.

But most importantly, I found love. I found Suzie. Her love & support fuels me in a way I’ve never known.

“We become increasingly open-minded and open to new ideas in all areas of our lives. Through active listening, we hear things that work for us. This ability to listen is a gift and grows as we grow spiritually. Life takes on new meaning when we open ourselves to this gift. In order to recieve, we must be willing to give.” (pg. 106-107)

NA has given me cause for deeper thought. I read and listen to these words and it’s like planting seeds throughout my mind. These seeds take root and produce. They blossom sooner or later into action. I believe this concept as fact because it has transformed my life.

I love NA because it is now a colorful pillar that aids in my understanding, growth, and rehabilitation. NA is truly broadening my perspective.

 

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Steven Jennings

Cultivate Your World

 

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If you want a happier life filled with more love & joy, you can have it! Simply nurture your mind with material that will guide you in the direction you want to go.

Yes, the world is a violent place.
But it is also a very peaceful place.

The difference is in your perspective.

If you are able to only see love, joy, and harmony, then these things will be YOUR reality. Focus on them. Keep them in your mind, body, and soul and they WILL manifest in your life.

A lot of people believe the world is a bad place. That is their belief. Therefore that is their reality. For these people, their thoughts are very troubling. Their troubling thoughts cause them pain & suffering to some degree.

Your thoughts are your own personal problem, they are not a cosmic problem. Otherwise EVERYONE would suffer. And that is simply not the case.

Understand the “Law of Attraction” and “Cause and Effect.”

Use these principals daily, no matter what your experience level may be. The results will inspire you to expand your knowledge as your perception of the world gradually changes.

You will find new ways, new methods, and a new approach to the issues that were once perceived as everyday problems.

Skepticism may be holding you back. Don’t let it!

Love the world and everyone you come in contact with, and watch your conditions/environment dramatically change for the better.

Peace, love, and harmony can be yours…regardless of your current circumstances.

Cultivate your world by filling your mind with positive, loving, and nurturing thoughts. You will see & feel the change.

My life is my testimony. This stuff works!

 

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Steven Jennings

Call For Action

 

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My wife and I made a goal to get 50,000 followers by the end of 2015. We currently have 3,390 followers. THAT’S GOOD!!! I am very pleased with that. I appreciate every one of you. Thank you. Here’s my humble request:

Will you pretty please try to get 10 of your Facebook friends to follow my blog?

Also, how can I make this blog better? Because if you’re asking people to follow, it’s my responsibility to give the absolute BEST content I can. I owe that to all of you. So please feel free to guide me. I will try my best to post a variety of topics for you guys.

You know, I was told by a dear friend that I was being TOO AMBITOUS because I told him I wanted 500,000 followers by the end of this year. He said that would mean I need to get 13,000 new followers per day.

I said, “Too ambitious! What’s that mean? It’s like too much money…no such thing!”

What if……….just what if, all 3,390 of YOU got 100 of your Facebook friends to follow my blog?

OMG!!!!! That would be AWESOME!!! Do you have any idea how much this vision EXCITES me???

Please dear friends, help make this vision a reality. I’ll cut this short so you can act NOW.

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Thank you sooo much!

 

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Steven Jennings

 

PS – I’d like to say Thank You to my readers for all the comments. I appreciate your patience in my replies. I’d love to reply to everyone immediately. But due to my circumstances, that would be a little beyond practical. So thank you for being patient. I will get back to you.

Day 9 In The Hole

Journal entry 12-5-08 at 8PM:

Where there’s a will there’s a way. I’m a very strong believer in that. My goal is to find a way to get released in June of 2025. I’d be 51 years and 11 months old. The only way to achieve this is to stay out of trouble and earn back all my goodtime. I’m also hoping the law will change in a way that will allow me to earn a little more goodtime.

Meanwhile, I will focus on accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. I will enjoy and appreciate all my blessings. Such as my family, friends, good health, and the fact that I will get out with plenty of life left.

No matter the situation, life is what we make of it. A strong mind can thrive and be positive through any situation. It’s all about choice. I have the power to choose my thoughts and how to respond to situations.

I have a vision of the man I want to become. That vision will dictate the choices I make from now on.

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As I reflect back to this 6 years later, I realize what a journey it’s been. For years I’ve had a strong desire to do what’s right. But if my mind is not 100% right, there’s no way my actions will be 100% right.

I see so many men conform to this prison environment. I used to be one of them. But now, through trials and tribulations, I realize that I am a creative power in my life. I have the power to create situations out of which circumstances evolve.

I remember sitting in that cold cell 24/7…thinking! Thinking of all the changes I need to make in my life.
With thought comes action. I have slowly evolved and progressed.

That “hole time” was a spiritual lesson for me. I believe these lessons can be found in any circumstance. As one circumstance fades into the next, I focus on applying past lessons to the present.

It feels good to defeat unwanted character flaws. It’s a constant challenge that takes great focus and mental fortitude.

For years I tried to improve my circumstances. I failed time and time again because I was unwilling to improve myself, my thoughts, and my character.

Now that I’m willing to fix my defects, I am experiencing much progress as I rapidly pass through a succession of vicissitudes.

To all my family and friends…I love you! I will continue to strive towards redemption. I will continue to be the best I can be.

Thank you for all your love & support.

MORAL: Do not fight against circumstances. Fight against flawed thinking. When your thinking improves, so will your circumstances.

Peace,
Steven Jennings

The Hole

The mind must be attended to. The choices are simple, you can intelligently cultivate your mind. Or you can neglect it and allow it to run wild. Your overall circumstances in life will clearly show whether you cultivate or neglect.

Through my own actions it has been proven to me, with great accuracy, that my thought process is solely responsible for the shaping of my character, circumstances, and destiny. Thought and character are one. My thoughts actually discovered my character through my environment and circumstances. It’s all relevant. My outer appearance reflected my inner state.

My point is, everyone is where they are because of the thoughts they keep.

Let’s journey back to when I started my 7 month sanction in segregation (the hole) for getting caught with a cell phone. My thought process is responsible for this.

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My 1st journal entry:

On 11-26-08 @ 3:15 pm I got caught with my beloved cell phone. I’m not nearly as sad as I should be. I mean after all, I went from the pent house to the shit house in the blink of an eye. Oh well, we live and learn. I just keep thinking about what I should’ve done. I should’ve went with my gut feeling and sold that damn thing. Someone offered me $1,000 for it. I knew my run was coming to an end! I should’ve sold it!

Yesterday I wrote 14 letters to all my girlfriends I met online. I guess now I’ll see who’s serious about keeping in touch now that I lost my cell phone.

It’s come to my attention that I’ve only taken one shower since 11-22-08. And I still smell good. Bird baths and Speed Sticks baby!

Time is going by fast in here. I’m reading 3 books. One is about football, the other is about zoology, and the 3rd is about the history of Black America. 24/7 lockdown! Nothing but books, paper, and two pencils that get dull super-fast.

I can see out my window. Some holes sandblast the windows so inmates can’t see out. Some holes don’t even have windows.

Right now it’s snowing. My cell is freezing! Since I’ve been in the hole, my feet, nose, and ears stay cold. That’s why I refuse my showers. It’s too cold! The water pressure is weak. The water is lukewarm, and the air is burrrr! But other than that, this is a lovely place.

Quote of the day, “Just tell the truth. It’ll save you every time.”