Blogging is such a great tool for rehabilitation. That is one reason why Suzie and I created Stone City Blog. We want all inmates to have access to this new and effective rehabilitative tool.
I’d like to encourage everyone who reads Stone City Blog, to reach out to the bloggers, and prompt them. Ask them critical questions that will inspire deeper thought and self reflection. By doing so, you could be that one thing that inspires great change within an inmate and his rehabilitative efforts. Stone City Blog gives you access to over 1,000 posts written by over 100 inmates. All of these inmates can be contacted via email (JPay).
In this post I will respond to THREE PROMPTS from Sandra Rogers.
PROMPT #1) How will you achieve a balance between redemption and rehabilitation?
This prompt is awesome. It brings a whole new dimension to my thought process. Until now, I’ve never ever even considered such a question. Redemption and rehabilitation go hand in hand. For me personally, I can’t achieve one without the other.
My rehabilitation efforts are a daily process. Everyday I’m focused on love, compassion, and understanding as I live in an environment full of hate, conflict, and turmoil. It’s my job to rehabilitate myself while in the belly of the beast surrounded by demons. I do not react to negativity with negativity. Instead, I remain focused on my goals and dreams as I use my energy in a positive productive manner.
On a scale of 1-10, if my Rehabilitation is at a 8, well then my Redemption has to be at least a 4. Because Rehabilitation is Redemption to some degree. 4 and 8 is not balanced. Therefore, I need to get my Redemption up by at least 4 points. I can do so by contributing to society in a positive way. Such as saving dogs and doing volunteer work. Hey, I do that.
PROMPT #2) How will you find a balance between Selflessness and Selfishness?
By keeping in close contact with mentors I trust and respect. Such as Suzie, Alana, Sandra, and maybe even professional counselors. They will help show me the way and keep me focused. They will prompt me to a deeper level of consciousness and self awareness.
If it is brought to my attention that a segment of my life is unbalanced, then I will do whatever it takes to balance it out. To simply answer this question: I will seek the advice of all those who are educated, and those who have great perspective and insight.
Meanwhile, in here I enjoy great balance between working out, eating healthy, watching football, and reading & writing. (Selfishness)
And then (Selflessness), helping others, sharing, and volunteering.
PROMPT #3) What are the markers of the above mentioned kind of balance?
Happiness. The ultimate marker is happiness. When my life is truly balanced, I’m at my happiest. Regardless of my environment. When aspects of my life fall out of balance, my happiness is the first to suffer.
Another great marker is the opinions and perspectives of my mentors and the people I love, and how THEY view me. If they are happy with me and proud of me, that is a great indication that I’m achieving a high degree of balance in my life.
Thank you Sandra for such thought provoking prompts. The insight and self analyzation that it takes in order to answer these questions are very valuable. Your on-going prompts have taught me more about life and myself. They invoke deep thinking and self reflection that is critical to any type of rehabilitation.
It is my prayer and hope that everyone can recognize the significant value that is hidden within inmate bloggers and critical thought-provoking prompts.
I got up in front of the class and spoke at this meeting. I overcame my fear of public speaking and just did it.
I started off my NA speech by saying, “The only reason why I’m here is because I was assigned 6 months of NA by my counselor in order to earn back some goodtime that I lost 20 years ago for smoking weed.” I mentioned my blog and how I post after every NA meeting. Then I shared the following posts: My 1st NA Meeting, and My 2nd NA Meeting.
As I read, I’d periodically look up and scan the room. I was surprised to see that I had everyone’s attention. There was no side talk or aimless doodling… all eyes were on me. It felt good. I concluded by expressing my desire to “pay it forward”. I’m talking about the gift of blogging.
It is my sincere hope that writing and sharing will help others the way it has helped me.
Here are 8 questions from Sandra Rogers, PhD, OTR/L. Please click on each one to read my answers.
Real Love Letters: Falling in love through writing. The connection. The journey. The romance.
How could a vibrant, intelligent woman fall in love with a man in prison? To most people, it makes no sense. I don’t even fully understand it. Yet, I’m referring to my situation. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? That is the question a lot of people ask. And if they don’t ask it, they’re thinking it! The answer is better SHOWN, rather than told.
I invite you to follow our blog: Real Love Letters. It shows how a shy, introvert, Mormon girl falls in love with an outspoken, extrovert…who just so happens to be a convict serving 43 years in prison.
My wife, Suzie, and I know we have something special and unique. A powerful love unlike anything we’ve ever known. And now we have decided to share it with the world. We share our back and forth dialogue that started with a Prison Pen-Pal Ad, and continues all the way through falling in love and getting married.
I feel truly blessed that such an amazing and wholesome woman entered my life.
Real Love Letters is a testimony that true love knows no boundaries.
I haven’t seen my wife since October 19, 2015. I miss her. I miss her touch. I miss her smell. I miss her face!
We get our first EFV (Extended Family Visit) in March of next year. That’s very exciting for me to think about. I like to think about things like that. It takes my focus away from the fact…I MISS HER!
I also like to write her love letters and poems. Because when I’m writing her, I feel like I am with her. I wrote the following poem for her. It was inspired by love & Psalm 23.
My Wife Is My Strength
My wife is my strength, with her I lack nothing. With her by my side, I am strong enough to overcome anything.
She lays me down in the finest linen, cloaked with elegant perfume. She floats me down quiet streams, and restores my soul.
She guides me down paths of righteousness with her love & compassion.
Her sweet name is a soft reminder of all things good in my life.
Even though I walk through the valley of death and self-destruction, I fear no evil. For she is always with me, providing me a shield of love.
Her love has built within my soul a shield made up of truth & understanding. This shield repels the deeds of negative action, rendering my enemies ineffective.
She anoints my heart with a powerful love thats strong enough to transform coal into gold.
With her love, my cup overflows.
Her beauty and love will guide me for the rest of my days.
I will forever dwell in the midst of her love & compassion as I honor and cherish all the beauties she has created in my world.
I will forever LOVE my wife with all my heart…for she truly is my most treasured blessing in this world.
Thank you, Suzie…I love you!
Until next time, love with all your strength and enjoy the beautiful rewards.
Thanks to all who take the time to read the many blogs here on this site.
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Stone City Blog
The following journal entry was written as I was doing seven months in the hole for getting caught with a cell phone.
Yesterday the grievance got resolved. They gave me back $5.10 for the cost of shipping out that cotton blanket. They said the rest of the items were justifiable. Whatever! At least I got back $5.10.
I’ve been keeping myself very busy. I’m currently reading 3 books:
- Angels of Death
- Anne Frank
- Memoirs of a Geisha
All 3 are biographies. They inspire me to write my biography. I like the style and format of Angels of Death. Since I’ve been in Seg., I’ve been checking out lots of bio and autobiographies just to learn the different styles and formats.
I’m very excited about my project. I just know it’ll do well and make millions!
When I’m not reading, I’m writing. Today I’ve already written 10 pages.
I read the Everett Herald everyday for up to 3 hours. Then I write the columnist, asking if they want to get involved in a multi-million dollar project. I always end my letters with a quote, “Listen carefully…opportunity knocks softly.”
Today is almost 6 years later. No columnist ever did reply to my letters. And I’ve yet to make millions. But the journey is far from over. I’ll never give up! I’ll continue to chase my dreams. And one day it will happen.
In order to see how far someone has come, you must first realize where they started.
My dear readers, I warn you, my book “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary” is violent, graphic, and raw. The content will be disturbing to many. To this day, I am very disturbed by it. However, I feel it’s necessary to share. I held nothing back while writing this book. And at times, it was hard for me to speak the truth. The truth hurts.
In order for me to heal & forgive myself, I had to confront the ugly truth head on. Stone City is the result of that confrontation. As I wrote the pages of this book from my prison cell, it taught me a lot about myself. It mainly taught me how I was and how I don’t want to be.
Today, I continue to work hard on redemption and on changing my ways.
Here’s a little glimpse of my book, Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary.
“…Please understand I love you all, but when people f**k with me, kill ‘em all.” Those were the last words I wrote in my journal before I did a crime that got me 43 years in prison…” (chapter 1)
“…I wanted to convince these people they had f**ked with the wrong person. In my sick mind, everyone must acknowledge my superiority and treat me with respect. If they didn’t, it could cost them their lives…” (chapter 1)
“…everyone else was huddled together, backed into a corner…the screams got loud as I pointed the gun toward them and pulled back the hammer…” (chapter 1)
“…As I walked into the chow hall for the very first time, I looked around at all the people and I asked myself, “Alright mother-f**kers, who’s first? Which one of you a**holes am I going to make an example of…” (chapter 2)
“…As I let him up, he was a mess. Blood mixed with tears rolled down his face from both his bright red eyes, both sides of his upper face were already starting to swell, and he had two gashes on his left cheek, one from my top set and one from my bottom set of teeth…” (chapter 2)
“…Even in prison, life consists largely of choices. When will I start making the right decisions? Will prison make me worse, or will I find a motivation, or inspiration, or strength, and genuinely change?…” (chapter 2)
I am sharing the journal I kept while I did 7 months in the hole.
Journal entry from 12/22/08:
I’m a little overwhelmed right now. I’ve started writing my first book, “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary”. But as I write, I’m not sure how to structure it. I need to check out more books so I can find a format I can follow. Until then, I’ll put my writing on hold.
Today a Case Manager came to my door. He said they found some PS2 games in my property and I need to send them out. I asked if I could come see him next Monday when I get out. Because I want to go through my property and send out other items too. To my surprise, he said yes.
I want to send out my little see-through digital clock. Why? Because its time to get a new one. This one you can’t see in the dark and it sucks. But it sure would make a nice gift.
The real reason why I wanted to send out my clock is because that’s where I hid a tiny memory card that had over 300 pictures on it. The clock was see-through. So you could see inside it and you could clearly see the memory card. But I had it placed in such a way that it looked like a natural component on the small circuit board.
Sometimes the best hiding spots are in plain view. Although I was confident that no one would find it, I wanted to hurry up and send it out just so I could breathe a sigh of relief.
Being sneaky and manipulative takes its toll. Especially when my conscience is constantly telling me to stop being bad and start doing the right thing.