Posts tagged ‘healthy lifestyle’

July 20, 2013

MY TIME – Column by Melissa Vanover

 

Before my incarceration, I was not very educated. I dropped out of school in the eighth grade to give birth to my daughter. After that, my life eventually spiraled out of control and into a life of organized crime: fast cars and even faster men.

All I had wanted was a better life for my children than I had at that time. I seemed to make all the wrong choices. I put myself and my children in dangerous situations. I simply wasn’t thinking! I was too caught up in the “good life,” the life of the world. That world ended up being not so good afterall. It was a lifestyle that led me to prison to serve a sentence of 25-years to life.

Since my incarceration, I have grown up a lot in these past 15 years. I finally earned my G.E.D. and completed several group programs to help better understand myself; these programs included topics and experiences covering “Who am I,” depression, self-discipline, victim’s awareness, eating disorders, “Cage of Rage,” and “Thinking for a Change.”

I have also increased my occupational skills. Although not licensed, I have become quite the “handywoman.” I have done plumbing and general maintenance, such as building things and repairing just about anything, painting, and laying tile. I can drive a forklift and I can weld.

For the past year and a half, I’ve had on-the-job training as an electrician, which is something I absolutely love. My crew saved the state of Ohio thousands of dollars by taking on the project of wiring and putting up security cameras in all the housing units. It has been great experiences to have under my belt.

I can also operate a ‘scissor lift’ and I have had the exhausting opportunity of using a jack hammer when tearing up and replacing a concrete step. Doing all this hard work has humbled me.

I attended church at home years ago. But I was never serious about it. Again, as I’ve written before, I had my spiritual breakthrough in 2001. Now, I’m serious about my salvation, and I know I’m not perfect and I do fall short sometimes. I fight it, but God knows I’m worth it. And I’m so thankful that He will never give up on me. I just need to learn to be more like Him and less like “myself,” and that I should never give up on Him.

July 30, 2012

HEARTBEAT

Something awesome happened to me very recently.

It began with this remark: “Karyn, I could feel your heart beating so fast!”

What a comment!  How many of us are close enough to someone who could have that said?

How many of us can feel another person’s heartbeat?

If given the chance, who would you choose to  “feel” your heartbeat?

I was at dance class.  I agreed to do a spotlight with my teacher. A spotlight is when the entire studio stops dancing, everyone sits down, and only you, the dancer, are on stage.

Gulp!  For a chicken like me, this is a big deal.

My teacher led me to the floor. All eyes were on us. My heart began to beat quickly. My mind was racing. I was thinking about the potential for dance calamity.

Jeff offered his left hand. I took it. We entered our “frame.”  Arms wide, chest meeting chest, my hips joined to his thigh.

Tango! Off we went, around the floor.

“Huh!”  It’s a loud grunt Jeff makes to punctuate the staccato of the move. Heads tilted back, angled body movements, we made it.  No calamity.  Applause from the crowd; we bowed and gracefully moved from the floor.

Jeff hugged me and said, “Karyn, I could feel your heart beating so fast.”

I got home and thought it so remarkable that we were close enough in movement to feel one another’s heartbeat.
I thought about the Bible scripture in Psalm 37: 4 in which God tells us, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your “heart.” It seemed awesome that, if God offers this great gift, He must know what is beating in our hearts.  I thought it beautiful, just like the dance, that our God would hold me close enough to feel and understand my heart beat.

Take a dance lesson with the Lord. Do a spotlight and allow Him to feel your heartbeat.

Tango!

Karyn Alexander
Executive Director, Winfield House
Winfieldhouse.org
Winfield House brings the good news of Jesus in a practical way, giving hope to God’s people.
Voice of the Nations:  Rev.5:9 “With your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe, people, language and nation.”

May 25, 2011

Viewpoint by Calvin E. Nunley III

Prayer, faith, works – Freedom, Plan, Action.

These words that I have written are in two separate sequences. While either set of words may be viewed as having little to any relationship, they may also be bound to one another to work in conjunction for a great cause and to great effect.

Society has been long overdue for a make-over. As such, in a contribution to a cause, I am more than ready and willing to give great efforts. Not only will my effort be given to changing my previous courses of action, but I have begun to take some inventory or necessary changes to my community – changes in the direction of values.

By first monitoring and evaluating my own children’s and relatives’ level of awareness with input and feedback, I could then lead more children and young adults in a more positive direction.

I am more than certain that prayer, faith, and works will be very essential to freedom, plans, and action.

Calvin E. Nunley III is incarcerated in Lewiston, California.

Mr. Nunley’s short essay is a part of RED!’s “Action Words” section, which consists of writing and art by incarcerated individuals internationally.

May 25, 2011

How Can a Changed ‘Me’ Help My Family and Society? – by David Jennings, Jr.

I’ve been incarcerated 36 months and I have a month-and-a-half remaining. During the onset of this term, I realized that, with this being my first time in prison, a door had been opened up for a return into this system multiple times, or a permanent residence in this system.

I was 26-years old at that time and I knew from Day One that this wasn’t something I wanted to make a lifestyle out of: prison. I’m the father of three boys, ages 3, 4, and 5, the youngest of whom I haven’t even had the chance to hold in my arms – because of the error in my thinking – in order to tell him that he has a father who loves him. He was born while I was fighting my case.

I have two uncles who went through the system before me. I wondered if I was in the same cell or walking the same yard they had experienced. It hit me that one or all of my sons could wonder the same thing about me when they grow to be the age one reaches when one could be put behind bars; if they would be in the same cell in which I had been; or walking the same yard I walked; or might have any of the experiences I’ve had while going through the system. I thought about those things, and I didn’t want that for them. I knew I had to change my thinking.

When I lost my freedom, the mother of my children promised me that she would wait for me. That lasted about a year. We wrote back and forth, speaking about how much we loved each other, how much we missed each other, and what we were going to do for each other when we were reunited. Then came a period of unanswered silence. I would write her, begging her to write back – but, no answer, which lead me to curse her out in letters. And still no answer. I didn’t want to accept that she moved on. Well, I got a letter in which she told me that she, in fact, had moved on.

I felt victimized. How could she lie to me? How could she do me the way she was doing me? Then I realized that I had done it to myself. I used to be real selfish on the streets. And I was continuing my selfish thinking in prison. I acknowledged that negative thinking, and I have taken responsibility for my actions. I got myself locked up. I’ve taken myself away from my family. Through my selfish actions, I caused her to need someone to be there with her to take care of her needs, as well as the needs of my children. This is in no way, shape, or form meant to be a sob story. But, to be honest, this is an example of the error in my thinking.

My point is that my personal experiences have taught me so much. Accepting the responsibility of my actions has truly been an eye-opening experience. The consequences of one’s actions run deeper than what appears on the surface. When I saw how much I was responsible for, I realized that I was changing, because I made the choice to discontinue pointing the finger elsewhere. No longer thinking selfishly as a child does, I’ve grown into a man. Now, as a man, I pray to God for my family to be restored. I pray that I can be the leader my sons and their mother need. I pray to continue growing. I pray for success.

I’ve put my faith in God and He’s the one who has changed my thinking. All I did was listen to what he’s been saying to me through my experiences. I have faith that He’s going to restore my family. If it happens, then there is nothing He can’t do. All of the people around me will hear of what He’s done for me. For I will always proclaim His goodness toward someone who didn’t deserve it: me.  Amen.

David Jennings, Jr. is incarcerated in Lewiston, California.