by Steven Dybvad

6/21/2014

Kurt and I take our meditation hour very seriously each day. We both understand the importance of having clarity of the mind and spirit. Each morning after working out and showering, we both chose to read spiritual guidance books, while playing soft sounds of meditational music from our JP4 players, we go into our separate worlds, finding peace and this is a strict part of our daily routine, no matter what else is going on in the day. This is something I never could have been able to do with another celly. Even in prison I can find the many blessings in my life and be grateful.

by Steven Dybvad

6/20/2014

For quite some time now I’ve stuck to a personal commitment to better health and it continues to pay off in many ways. I continue to stay away from any bread and all types of sugar, eating red meat only once or twice a week, supplementing with soy in the chow hall. I haven’t had a ramen noodle in almost two years and I always look into the nutritional value of everything else I eat. Doing so has affected my energy level, brain function and of course my body is responding in a way that blows my mind. I can run five to ten miles a day without stopping and even knock out a few hundred pushups when I’m finished. When I first started focusing on fitness I couldn’t run one lap around the track without getting so winded I thought I was going to die, but I kept on pushing myself to do a little more each day. Now here I am, almost a hundred pounds lighter, stronger then I’ve ever felt in my life. Just yesterday another inmate commented on my six pack abs, remembering that not too long ago I was overweight commending me on my hard work. I certainly don’t need encouragement from others to work hard, but I must admit that it feels great to be acknowledged by others.

by Steven Dybvad

6/17/2014

I signed up for a money smart program almost an entire year ago, so long I almost forgot I signed up for such a thing. Now just today I saw that I’m in the list to attend the course tonight and every Monday night for the next twelve weeks. Not that I mind taking the class, because I’m happy to do it. It’s just that it seems like all these classes are coming on all at once, leaving me extremely busy which is good, but I’m just starting to feel a little overwhelmed. With running, strength training, yoga, spiritual readings, meditation, focus group, guitar practice and horticulture getting ready to start which is five days a week it makes it hard to manage time for other things like painting, soap carving, or card making for family birthdays and occasions, maintaining my blog, responding to emails and many other things. This really makes me think about how difficult it’s going to be in society when I have to add a full time job, paying bills, maintaining a house and quality time with family and children. At the end of the day I’m happy to be busy all the time, its better preparation for the real world.

by Steven Dybvad

6/13/2014

After months and months of worrying about making it into the horticulture class, I can finally set my mind at ease. I made it in! The teacher finally walked me down to his office to look me up on his computer. Only twenty inmates make the list each year, my number is 17 in the list. No matter how far down, I still made the cut and I couldn’t be more excited. This was my one and only chance to get an education in horticulture while in prison. The class is twelve months long, making this my final opportunity. I can’t wait to get started, learning all that I can to prepare myself for the big test at the end of the year. This test will allow me a chance for a master certification, one that can be utilized in the real world. There are four separate certifications and four separate tests for each one, all of which are a necessary key for professionals in these fields in society. Whether it is a landscape designer, agricultural farming, or spraying chemicals and pesticides on plants and grass, etc., etc. No matter the case, I know I will give this class 110% of my efforts in exceeding in every aspect.

by Steven Dybvad

6/8/2014

NEW PERSONAL RECORD!!!
Today I surpassed my previous record of 7.5 miles by almost another mile. I finished running 8.25 miles in 1 hour and 18 minutes, that’s thirty three laps around the track at an average of 9-10 minutes per mile. I can’t remember exactly what kilometers to miles are, but I do know that’s pretty close to or over a 10K run. I have no doubt that I will achieve my goal of running ten miles a day by the end of the summer. I’m very proud of the accomplishments I’m making in here, because I’ve worked very hard to get where I’m at and my dedication continues to pay off for me. This is the hardest that I’ve ever worked at anything in my life; I’ve taken huge steps forward in securing my health and future. Going further and further on the track just another way of seeing how far I can go in reference to the rest of my life when it comes to working hard and never giving up.

by Steven Dybvad

6/4/2014

Kurt and I have a very similar daily routine. What’s really nice is that we both go to bed at the same time, no longer having to worry about the door being open and unlocked while I’m sleeping. Often Kurt and I talk before going to sleep, saying goodnight. It sounds a little weird typing this in my blog, but the reason I say this is because something as simple as saying goodnight to someone while in prison brings back so many feelings of being free, at home, in the presence of love ones. I haven’t said something as human as goodnight to another person in over three years. So much time goes by, where one can feel so disconnected from life. Prison is just so dehumanizing to the point where you have to create callousness for things in order to cope with the day to day in here. Having a cellmate that I care enough about to converse with, confide in and say goodnight to just make me feel a little more human again.
Kurt and I sat down for a couple hours, talking about life, addiction, and the poor decisions of our past, family, a few war stories and on and on we talked. I haven’t been so open with another person in many years. This is another great step forward in my recovery, attempting to act like a normal functioning human without the use of substances in my life, thus preparing for a successful life upon release from prison.

by Steven Dybvad

6/3/2014

A man I know in here has been in prison the last thirty years for murder. In just a few short months he’s going up to the parole board in an attempt to be released. He hasn’t been in any major trouble in over ten years, but much of his early years in here consisted of gang involvement, drugs, weapons, beatings, etc., you name it, this man was probably involved in it. Well for some reason, because he hasn’t been in any trouble these last ten or so years he believes he has a chance of being released by the parole board. That all changed not too long ago. Apparently he got into a conflict with our case worker about an issue of transfer. This man has extreme anger problems and a long history of violence, so they threw him in the hole for fear of what he might do. Now that he screwed up any possible chance of parole, he really has nothing to lose, so retaliation is a good possibility, one that the staff here isn’t willing to risk and I surely don’t blame them. Now, from what I hear they are going to raise his security level and send him to another prison from the hole. Of course I don’t wish bad things on anybody, but from my interaction with many inmates, I truly believe that some prisoners deserve a second chance at freedom and others should never again see the light of day. I have no doubt that certain individuals are just evil and would surely rape and kill again if given the chance.

by Steven Dybvad

6/1/2014

Today is my son, Taylors’ ninth birthday. I was fortunate enough to call both him and my daughter, Caitlin from my parents’ house yesterday. My mother and father had a birthday pool party for Taylor at their house, enabling me to call and wish him a happy birthday. I really hate myself for missing yet another one of my children’s’ birthdays, but at least I know that I’ll never be missing another single special occasion with any of my children after my release from prison and for the rest of our lives. Only death itself can stop me from being depended on by my family.
For more than a week now I’ve had a really bad stomach ache. All week I’ve tried to rest and take it easy and nothing has changed my stomach pains only increased. Yesterday I decided to start fasting in order to expel whatever is causing me so much pain. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this. I haven’t had a single bite to eat since Friday night. After tonight I will have fasted for 48 hours without food. A whole lot of water and some powdered protein drink mixes are all that I’ve had. Yesterday I was starving, but today it’s not as bad, only mental. I’ve been feeling a funny kind of euphoria from not eating, maybe it’s just my body’s’ way of coping without food. The most important thing is that today I’m finally starting to feel better, no more stomach pains. Mission accomplished. Tomorrow morning I’ll be going to breakfast, back to eating well, running the track and working out hard.

by Steven Dybvad

5/28/2014

Yes!! Finally, my good friend, Kurt moved into my cell with me. Life just got a little easier now that I have someone I trust and get along with sleeping in the bed above me. Having Kurt as a celly makes so many things in prison life easier to deal with. I no longer have to worry about my belongings being rummaged through or taken from me; I no longer have to worry about contraband, or illegal substances being brought into our cell, no more searching for suspicious smells coming from an unhygienic individual, etc. Kurt and I have many things in common, our daily routine matches up perfectly and we both share a goal that is centered on creating a better, drug free life and successful future after release from prison. Kurt just moved in here a few short hours ago, so it all really hasn’t set in yet. To an outside reader, this might not sound like a big deal, but living with a good, or bad cell mate can either make living in prison tolerable, or a living hell.

by Steven Dybvad

While in the county jail, begging my parents to get me a good lawyer, and rescue me from my own self-destruction again, instead they searched and searched for other options, a way to help me help myself and save my own life. That’s when they discovered the Michael Santos Foundation, and the Straight A Guide To Success. This is when my entire life began to change. I was already starting to wake up from a drug induced stupidity, desperate for a change, willing to try anything that could possibly change the outcome of my future. My parents gave me Justin Papernys’ phone number, a representative of the Straight A program, publisher, and close friend to Michael Santos. After talking with Justin, assessing whether or not my desire to change was genuine, he decided to take me on as a client, sending me books and assignments, urging me to create a daily blog to hold myself accountable to, keeping a record of my journey through prison, showing my family and possible future employers documented proof of the changes I made throughout my journey, setting minds at ease and giving myself a fighting chance at a successful future. Since that first conversation with Justin, almost three years ago, I’ve held up my commitment to change, completing every task assigned by Justin, maintaining a personal blog and account of my life in prison, every single day, holding myself to a much higher standard of living, with my future in mind, in every decision I make, big or small. I made a promise not just to my family, but more importantly to myself, to a sober life, free of any addictive substances, and now I have three awesome years of sobriety. I told myself and my family that I would stay far away from getting any tattoos, joining any gangs, or for that matter breaking any rules made by prison and by law and I’ve held up to that promise. Living everyday sober, with my future after release always in mind has strengthened and improved the ethics, morals and values that my parents worked so hard to raise me with. Now I have so many ambitions and aspirations for my future that I find myself having to write them down on paper just to keep track. Living this way every day strengthens my ability to live sober, healthy and goal oriented, thus ensuring the success of my future outside of prison. Prison has saved my life.

by Steven Dybvad

Just yesterday I drained my ear again, for the fourth time. Again I woke up in the middle of the night, with a throbbing ear; I reached up to feel my ear again to find that it was already swollen with fluid again. Constantly cutting my ear open in the same spot is taking its tole on me, but more so is the swelling. I’m always concerned about my health; I just wish the doctors here in prison felt the same. I continue to work out each day, sweating hard, but I wonder if I’m contributing to my ear problem?

by Steven Dybvad

My mother ordered me a book last week that I’m really enjoying, it’s called Meditations from the Mat, it’s a daily reflections book that’s centered on the path of yoga, but more than that, it really touches many subjects that pertain to daily life and makes simple suggestions to straighten our path. I really enjoy it because the author takes bits and pieces from many great things, like the bible and Depak Chopra; even today he quoted methods used in Alcoholics Anonymous. Daily devotionals like this are very helpful for me in here, they give me something to focus on each day, something to reflect on and something to motivate attaining goals I already have set in place.
A dear friend of my family and of course friend of me has also ordered me a daily devotional book, this one is the bible that’s apparently broken down into 365 entries, one for every day of the year to reflect on. I haven’t received this book yet, but I look forward to reading it also and making it another part of my daily reading, meditation and prayer.

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