Wednesday 20th November 2019
Song: “Texas” by Chris REA.
“ You reap what you sow. Life is like a boomerang. Our actions, our deeds return to us sooner or later. We must give more to get more. We must give more of ourselves, our love, our time, our attention, to reap a beautiful harvest.” Unknown.
When I do not intentionally take time to stop and notice what happens during my day, it can slide by so quickly and before you know it, it’s gone. Two, three or more days can flash by like that, if I am not careful. Life for a person in solitary confinement is like this. 99% of our life is spent in a 60 square feet cell, alone with your own thoughts, so in fact we exist within our minds. And therein lies the true battle. Have a structured life, a schedule, and goals on what you want to achieve any given day will keep you focused to do what you need to do, not just what you want to do. I’m really focused on that right now. I have lost too many days in the Bermuda triangle that my mind and emotions can be, that I need to make up for lost time. And that’s a good thing, a good way to feel, because the time to prepare for complete success is now. The time to put into practice the plan we have is now. It won’t be easy or done quickly, but that’s OK. Anything that is worth doing always takes hard work and dedication.
The seasons are changing and now it’s time to shake off the mis-steps, the mistakes, the impulsive decisions that have caused grief and heartache. And make sure the seeds I sow are good, positive, and loving, so we get that back 100%. The year 2020 is around the corner and I got a feeling things will come with it and I’ll be ready.
Saturday 23rd November 2019
Song: “Play that funky Music” by WILD CHERRY
“Nobody is responsible for your happiness but yourself”_ Will SMITH
Last night it finally cooled down and the heat and humidity went away. I can focus and get more done when it’s cool. This morning, Reinaldo and I went outside for recreation and it was cool: 45°F (7,22°Celsius) and I loved it. We talked and laughed and comforted each other, because that’s what real friends do. I even got him to do Sun Salutations with me. It was a good morning, no doubt.
Now it’s afternoon and I move on to the next task at had. I’m working on Christmas mail and that is always good for my soul. I focus on the gratitude I have for friends and supporters. And when we do that, our perception on what we’re going through in life changes and we heal ourselves. I’m healing and it feels amazing! Back from a visit with Linda and I am feeling great! There is nothing better than getting a visit in this place, and for me it’s like going to the free world. All this insane/nonsense prison mess is forgotten. No thoughts of how you did not get a shower or recreation that day. No thoughts about how all your meals are cold when you get them or that our mail is not passed out till midnight. All that insanity is forgotten and my spirit is free. I think of things outside this death row world. I live there even if for a few moments and it gets no better than that. Now the task is to take that positive wave of energy and ride it for as long as possible and live in a positive and gratitude mindset day in day out!
Sunday 24th November 2019
Song: “Something to believe in” by POISON
“The ultimate source of happiness is simply a healthy body and a warm heart” _ Dalai Lama
Up this morning with my mind focused on what I need to do. Got a little “things to do list” in my head, and will chip away at that. Really thinking about the above quote and ask myself how do I maintain a healthy body? For me, it’s some exercise every day and try to eat as healthy as I can in this situation. I’ve been doing that since May consistently and I feel better. Warm heart. How do we maintain a warm heart? For me, it’s giving away lots of love to friends, family, whoever I come in contact with. And living in gratitude. I am really focused on that and the upcoming Christmas season has me thinking about that. Because you cannot be sad and depressed when you live in gratitude. Don’t believe me? Try it. Make a list of things you are grateful for, big and small, every day and for a little while each morning (or whenever you have time) and focus on that. In two weeks you will see and feel the difference. I feel a big shift of perception within me, that has come from working on my Christmas mail. When I ordered my Christmas cards in August I had no idea that sending them out would help me so much! Now I’ll start 2020 great. And that strong start is mandatory in my life. I must do my part because 2020 is going to be my year. I can feel it in my bones. So today will be a good day and I will enjoy it and all the tasks I get done in it. And that feels like something I can look forward to!
Tuesday 26th November 2019_ 9 am
Song: “Lean on me” by Bill WITHERS
“The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have”_ Unknown
It’s been a mad dash for me here to get as much mail as possible by this morning at 5 am, when the guard picks up our outgoing mail. I put it in the prison mail system today and it should go out into the USPS mail system and fly to its destination. This is our Thanksgiving week, so this place will shut down for the rest of the week. I am feeling good and positive, keeping my focus on what I am in control of, and on what I can act. Some days it’s easy, other days it’s very difficult and that’s just how life is. No one even promised us life would be easy but I’ll tell you it’s worth your best efforts!
Wednesday 27th November 2019_ 12 (noon)
Song: “Reminiscing” by The Little River Band
“It’s always better to ask questions than to make assumptions, because assumptions set us up for suffering”. _ Unknown
Taking a day to rest and read some. No more mail is leaving this dump until Monday morning. And visit was for 2 hours today! Never mind the fact they take an hour to get you out to visit. But I digress. None of that matters to me or affects my life, and concerning myself about things I cannot control is not healthy. Healthy is being focused, aware, and loving, living in gratitude. Singing and dancing through this thing called life. And today I’m singing and dancing. I was blessed with a surprise visit with my superhero attorney Gretchen. It had been too long since I saw her and right now, this second, her presence in my life is what I am most grateful for.
Thursday 28th November 2019 _ 6pm_ Thanksgiving day.
Song: “You lost that lovin’ feeling” by Daryl Hall & John Oates_ The Righteous Brothers
“To have more, you must genuinely thank more”_ Maddy Malhotra.
Thanksgiving day lunch served to Texas death row prisoners; Hot tray: Large slice of turkey, baked chicken legs + thigh quarter, celery stick, 1 large biscuit, 1 serving of green beans, corn, pinto beans. Cold tray: small piece of vanilla cake with white icing, 1 piece of pumpkin pie, 1 piece of chocolate chips cookie/cake, 1 spoon of cranberry sauce.
This thanksgiving day morning I began with listening to three hours of 1960’s golden oldies played non-stop by a local radio station. True oldies are glorious to me, and I think it’s my favorite music genre. I absolutely love it! Listening to non-stop oldies is a special treat for me as there is no oldies radio station around. For me, it is something to be thankful for. I have kept my focus on all that. I am grateful for things great and small. From the very good thanksgiving dinner we we given this year, to my great legal team who has done so much to win my freedom. From the friendships I have here with guys wherever I go on Texas death row, to the amazing forever friends and supporters I have in the free world. I am a very blessed soul and I know it. And this is why our special day of Thanksgiving is a huge event for me and why I am always determined to live in gratitude, just a little extra this time of year. We got our Thanksgiving meal and it was great and very filling. Thanksgiving dinner is a tradition even in prison and on death row in Texas. And I am grateful for that. And this year and every year I am very grateful to all the caring souls who know about my fight for life and freedom, and who stand alongside with me. You make me strong and I am thankful to all of you!
Friday 29th November 2019_ 10pm.
Song: “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley
“When we recall past Christmases, we usually find the simplest things_ not the greatest occasions_ give off the greatest glow of happiness”. Boo Hope.
Here I sit in my cell thinking of what Christmas meant to me. I was blessed my parents showed me unconditional love, and one of my favorite times of the year when my parents were alive and together was the Christmas holidays. I remember the Christmas tree, the decorations all around our home and the gifts that were always under the tree for every one. But when I think of it now, it was the sense of family love that we shared. And that’s one of the reasons why I love Christmas time. I choose to remember these grand memories and I am thankful for them. Now that my parents are gone, I am grateful for the love I was given. I know that many people never experienced such things and that makes them even more precious. And now I think about my friends who are my family. I am grateful for every one that has been in my life whether it was “for a season” or “for a reason”. We’ve all been connected by the Universe for a specific purpose and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn life’s lessons.
And now, despite the odds, I have passed another test and I am stronger than ever, set to enjoy another Christmas season in 2019. Many men on death row cannot say that. They are gone from this world, and that’s something I’ll never forget, and live my life even harder for. For me, there is no other way to do it.
Saturday 30th November 2019 _ 10 am
Song: “Disco lady” by Johnny Taylor
“At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable.” Christopher Reeve.
Today is a busy day for me. I woke up listening to “The classics”, music from the 60s and 70s on “Magic” 102,1 FM and that’s a great way to start my day. Got my Holiday Season Essay rough draft written and that feels great! Sometimes, writing is easy for me and other times it just refuses to flow. And this morning it was easy and that was good for me. It’s also and indicator of my mental health condition. I’m in a very good place right now. I have some really exciting college/university football games I will listen to as I work on my Christmas mail through the day. It’s very hot and humid in this place today. It’s been like that for a week now and I can’t wait until it cools off.
Sunday 1st December 2019_ 12:00 (noon)
Song: “Pretty brown eyes” By MINT CONDITION
“The joy that you give others is the joy that comes back to you”. _ John Greenleaf Whittier.
Lunch break as I sit and finish this page to mail out. Another good day and it has cooled off at last. I am very grateful for that. Edited my essay this morning and the next task is to type up a final draft to be sent out with these journal pages. It feels good to set goals and reach them as the week slides by. Will get the rest of my Christmas mail done over the next two days and that will feel good, completing that important task. It’s work, but satisfying and that’s where the magic lies: doing something that takes a lot of time and effort but gives back a sense of satisfaction and a job well done.
2 thoughts on “Journal – November 20th 2019”
Really enjoy reading this….great positive attitude which isn’t easy for any of us to maintain. Reminds me of an interview with Travis Runnels I listened to last night… I wonder if they are friends. I always enjoy seeing Charles at visits when I am in TX. Huge smile and big waves…. priceless!
Thank you Betty! Season’s greetings!