by Steven Dybvad

Monday, August 13, 2012

 Michael’s big day! Today is the day that Michael Santos has been waiting for, for over 25 years. He finally gets released. I can only imagine how he must feel right now. I’ll get that he hasn’t been able to sleep lately. I have no doubt that Michael will find success, love and happiness in every aspect of his life.

 It’s been a year and a half since I’ve seen my precious little boy Taylor. My parents are bringing Taylor here to visit me. I’m so excited and nervous at the same time. I just hope that this place doesn’t traumatize my baby boy. Every time I think to myself this is how I have to see him for 3 1/2 more years it makes me sick. I can only imagine how this is going to affect my soon-to-be 16-year-old daughter Caitlin. I’ve only seen her one time since I was arrested in March of 2011. I can’t wait for the day that I get to see her too, but the thought of it makes me equally emotional. This is no way for a father to show his children how to live and love.

by Steven Dybvad

Sunday, August 12, 2012

 Today my family returns from Gatlinburg Tennessee. I’m sure that they all had a wonderful time together; I pray for their safe return home, I look forward to talking to my parents tonight to get some highlights of their vacation. One day I’ll be on these vacations with my family where I should be now. This is just another good reminder of why I’m striving for successful and permanent life.

 It’s becoming more and more difficult for me to find things to write about in my daily Journal. Not that I’m stuck in some kind of a rut, because I still complete my daily goals of working out, reading work assignments and taking notes, but there’s a lot more time in the day. As a result the monotony sets in and gives the illusion of today feeling like yesterday and the day before and so on and so forth.

by Steven Dybvad

Saturday, August 11, 2012

 I am very pleased to have a bunky with attitude toward life that is similar to mine. He’s the one who has been reading Michael’s books with me. He is very charged up about this program and is ready and willing to start working the straight a program with me. I’ve already shown him the workbook and given him his first assignment on how to become an active member. Helping others is a part of the healing process for me. I must say it’s invigorating.


My parents ordered me a Webster’s collegiate dictionary and I just got it today. I can finally look up words that I’m not sure how to spell, what the meaning is and how to use it in a sentence. I look forward to expanding my vocabulary every day. Thanks mom and dad.

by Steven Dybvad

Friday, August 10, 2012

I just got a new bunky today. He is a man that I spent the latter part of the year with in the County jail, he has been trying to get a move to my cell approved by unit staff and today is the day. I’m not going to talk about my bunky that just moved out of here, but all I can say that my only social friend in this prison moving into the cell with me is very welcome.

by Steven Dybvad

Thursday, August 9, 2012

 Michael’s workbook helps me look at my life in ways I never did before. Each time I reenter the values questions, my answers get deeper, more thought-out, from a more responsible and growing point of view. It really helps me see how much I’ve grown over the months.

 I’ve been reading a magazine called the week. This magazine has opened my eyes to politics. I always was interested in becoming more knowledgeable about such important issues that affect us and our nation, but it always seem like a second language that I just couldn’t figure out. Now I can understand and formulate my own opinion on political subjects.

by Steven Dybvad

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

 I really enjoyed working out of the straight a guide workbook. It helps me dissect every part of me, single them out and create more specific goals. Reading how Michael has overcome so many different obstacles in his journey through prisons all over the nation has also helped me a great deal. Right now I’m reading his book earning freedom. It’s very enlightening and does great at lifting my spirits and gives me more hope. You can get my thoughts and opinions in further detail as I write a book report each time I finish reading one and before I move on to reading the next book.

 Regardless of how much I enjoyed working on my workbook, this heat makes it almost impossible to absolutely do anything other than sit completely still in attempts not to get any hotter. I’ve never in my entire life felt so hopeless and disgusted about the weather.

by Steven Dybvad

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

 I’m really enjoying the work that I’ve been completing in my workbook and the books and book reports help me keep moving forward. I’m no longer stagnant, falling into the depths of the prison machine. “Onward through the fog “, as my father would say. It feels so good to make substantial accomplishments to better my future for reasons none other than self-improvement for myself and family.

by Steven Dybvad

Monday, August 6, 2012

 Finally the humidity gave us a break today. I’m so desperately waiting for a day of not sweating constantly all over my bed and everything else that I touch.

 My children are with my parents in Gatlinburg Tennessee. I sure hope they’re having a good time. These are the kinds of reminders that I welcome, to stay focused on my life’s success for the future.

by Steven Dybvad

Book Report – 7-30-2012

“Triumph” by Michael G Santos

This book is the first book that I have picked up to read in my first month at Lebanon Penitentiary.I chose to read this book first because the words on the cover caught my attention; “Conquering imprisonment and preparing prisoners for reentry”.  Naturally these words spoke to me.

I learned a great deal from this book.  It has helped me better understand how to work the Straight A Guide program more successfully.  I read about many different men with many different backgrounds and cultures from life’s better and worse.  I learned how each of these men made a conscious decision to prevail when the entire system around them was doing the exact opposite; and that’s trying to bring them down, ensuring that they return to the very system that wants them to come back.  Michael wrote clear and specific instructions
on how to implement each of the seven attributes that help make this program work.  Attitude, Aspiration, Action,
Accountability, Awareness, Achievement and Appreciation.  Each of these words holds meaning and substance, enriching our lives in this great journey to success.  A 100% commitment to using each of these attributes is necessary to ensure the life improvements that we are striving for.

Embracing and living by an empowering attitude positions one’s self to thrive.  Better understanding the nature of our adversity, the more capable and affective we can be at mastering our attitudes in return helping us overcome our struggles.  Good choices start with a good attitude.  Triumph begins with an empowering attitude.

For great aspirations, we depend upon our attitude.  With a great attitude we aspire to live as productive, contributing members of society.
Aspirations to build a new improved life requires 100% commitment to such aspirations turning them into reality. They should synchronize with ones values.

By proving worthy of the network that supports and sponsors me, I must take action.  Any prisoner can say that they want to succeed.  By taking action we make a daily commitment to this program.  We know what we must do each day and we do
it.  We must cut the chains that try to keep us down and we rise toward becoming the best man we can become.  Michael Santos says that with daily action steps, we can transcend the prison experience by preparing ourselves to leave stronger, wiser, happier, living for our family rather than suspending our thoughts.  Meaningful growth doesn’t materialize by accident.

Accountability is a gauge and an invaluable tool.  Keeping a log of our improvement on our goals holds us accountable and keeps us grounded on course.  Accountability logs are maps to success.

Prison dulls our senses, but all of these tools provided sharpen our awareness.  By taking action and holding ourselves accountable, we heighten our awareness to seize opportunities.

When fully involving our mind, our heart and our will in every aspect of our life, we achieve.  We celebrate every achievement, no matter how small, because progress is never made easily.  There will always be rough spots and setbacks with obstacles which make every achievement worthy of praise.

So we celebrate, but we must also show appreciation for the blessings that we receive along the way.  I appreciate my family, for I never could have made it this far without their loving help and resources.  Michael states that if we embrace the Straight-A-Guide and appreciate our achievements, we strengthen ourselves, we begin to climb out. We must apply ourselves fully, with positive attitudes and a 100% commitment to strategic, incremental actions and steps. Together we offer an unmistakable proof that if we follow the steps that
the Straight-A-Guide has laid out for us, we undoubtedly have a future of success ahead of us.

This entire book will contribute to the success upon my release from prison.  Triumph taught me how to more thoroughly implement my tools and knowledge of the Straight-A-Guide.  Because of this book I have already created and activated more detailed goals that help keep me focused on the prize ahead; the life of success and sustaining that success with a 100% commitment to walk out of prison as a strong and honorable man who can stand on my own two feet, living as a role model for my family and community.

by Steven Dybvad

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I’ve never wanted the summer to be over so badly.  It’s a lot different when you’re outside, under the sun, catching a tan, drinking an ice cold drink.  In this cell all I can do is sweat all day and night long.  I have to hand washed my sheets every other day.  The heat that radiates from my body has created a rash that probably won’t go away until summer is over.

For anyone reading this that might be on the wrong path in life, let me tell you that absolutely nothing on this Earth is worth prison, unless you’re protecting the life of a loved one.

by Steven Dybvad

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I just learned that the yard closes at the end of the month and it won’t open back up until May of next year.  That’s four months on the yard, eight months stuck inside.  This is the only prison in Ohio that does this.  I just started an awesome jogging schedule, now I’m going to have to learn to start jogging in place like Michael Santos did during his trips to the hole.

I’m going to try and get what they call a hardship approval to a better prison, with better education programs.  It was only six months of no hold shots, or tickets that would gain the approval of hardship, but now it was just recently changed to twelve months.  No matter, this is just a bump in the road.  I will stop at nothing to ensure a better future for me and my family.

by Steven Dybvad

Friday, August 3, 2012

Today has been another scorcher.  It’s extremely hot and extremely humid in this sauna for a cell.  Days like today makes it difficult even to write when I’m sticking to the paper and dripping sweat from my forehead onto it, thus disabling my pen from functioning correctly because sweat and wet paper stops the ink from working.

Copyright 2019 The Michael G. Santos Foundation