Words That Sustain Me: We’ll Fly Away – differences in death row experiences

“And maybe most importantly, it is a book that invites readers to ask the question: do I believe a person can ever be beyond redemption? My hope is that, after reading We’ll Fly Away, the only answer can be ‘no’.” — Bryan Bliss. September’s book, We’ll Fly Away (WFA) by Bryan Bliss is a special ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: The Poet X

The book that we feature for the month of August is, ” The Poet X” by Elisabeth Acevedo. This gem of a book is written in verse making for a quick read, an is my book club collaborator Ali’s pick. This story is about a first – generation American fifteen year old girl whose family ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Peace Like a River

This month’s book, “Peace Like A River” by Leif Enger, is a fantastic book. In it, the author spins a rich, old-fashioned yarn about brotherhood, family, faith and the cosmic battle of good versus evil. As one reviewer put it, “it’s a tale fill of magical plot twists and supernatural flights of fancy.” This book ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Reflections on “Tattoos on the Heart” – part 3

Chapter 5. Slow Work. This chapter is opened by the story of Omar and his asking how many homies has G buried? Father Greg replied, “Seventy-five, son.” (Today the number would be one hundred and sixty-eight.) To which Omar replied, “Damn G, when’s it gonna end?” And G replied, “Mijo, it will end the minute ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Reflections on “Tattoos on the Heart” – part 2

Chapter 2. Dis-Grace. This chapter was a tuff one. Much to my shame, I have been the one who has mistaken another’s suffering for an interruption. And I have been like Carmen, a disgrace to the people who loved me the most. I was a disgrace to my parents, most especially, for living a life ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Reflections on “Tattoos on the Heart” – part 1

READ!!! READ!!! READ SOME MORE!!! “With That Moon Language” Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.” Of course you do not do this out loud Otherwise, Someone would call the cops. Still though, think about this, This great pull in us to connect. Why not become the one Who lives with ... Read More

Faith Based Program Graduation Reflection

“You are here moving in our midst we worship you, we worship you. You are here working in this place we worship you, we worship you. Way maker miracle worker light in the darkness my God that is who you are.” — “Way maker”, song sung on the Faith Based Program Texas death row. On ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: A Man Called Ove Discussion Questions

A Man Called Ove is a beloved book club selection: a heartwarming tale about a grumpy old man that is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on many others. “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish-blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down” ... Read More

Faith Based Program Graduation!

Eighteen months ago, I began a journey as part of the first ever class of the faith based program on Texas death row. When we began this walk no one knew what to expect and the adventure we would go on to experience would be amazing. For me, it changed my life. I wanted and ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: My Elevator Ride – Part 2

  In this post, Charlie continues his imagining of his own Elevator ride, inspired by our April book club book “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds.  Please be sure to read Part 1 here. THIRD FLOOR. As the elevator doors slide open I see my brother Juan Elias, and he appears as he did when ... Read More