Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness

Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness

Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness

Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness


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Prisoners and their families will appreciate these heartfelt and supportive stories and will feel part of a wider community of people striving to improve and reach their personal best. Hope, healing, forgiveness, and even a few laughs are delivered in the form of these personal and revealing stories.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623610968
Publisher: Backlist, LLC - a unit of Chicken Soup of the Soul Publishing LLC
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Series: Chicken Soup for the Soul Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 49,090
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jack Canfield is co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, which includes forty New York Times bestsellers, and coauthor of The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. He is a leader in the field of personal transformation and peak performance and is currently CEO of the Canfield Training Group and Founder and Chairman of the Board of The Foundation for Self-Esteem. An internationally renowned corporate trainer and keynote speaker, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Mark Victor Hansen is a co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul.


Santa Barbara, California

Date of Birth:

August 19, 1944

Place of Birth:

Fort Worth, Texas


B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973

Read an Excerpt

The Sunray Catcher

Today, in the prison chow hall, I overheard a young female officer talking to another officer. She was talking about her special little girl. Seems this little girl was standing on the front seat of her car the other day, grabbing at the sunrays as they reflected off the windshield. When her mother asked her what she was doing, the little girl said she was trying to catch a sunray for her mom as a present. Both officers agreed on how special moments like that were. The other officer then asked if this mother got to spend time with her special little girl.

"No, but when my career gets back on track, I'll have more time to spend with her, when she is older," said the young mother. I wanted to scream and tell her that mother to spend every single second she possibly can with her child, but I couldn't. Maybe after you read what follows, you will better understand.

It's the awful truth, as it happened to me. It starts with an unwritten letter -- a letter I can never send:

Dear Kent,

As I look at you, I see your hair is nicely combed. I remember the hours and gallons of water we used, trying to train your hair. It always seemed to have a mind of its own. I can see that scar on your lip; hardly shows now, too. We were worried about that. You were such a brave little man when I took you to Dr. Nordquist to get those three stitches in it. I was the one who almost fainted when they started sticking you with that needle. The nurse even made me leave the room.

On the way home, I told you that you could have any treat you wanted, for being so brave. You wanted a cup of coffee, "Like big men drink," you said. My five-year-old little brave man, drinking coffee in the Rainbow Restaurant, just like big men. It was our secret; lucky Mom never found out, huh?

You have grown tall and nice looking. Grandpa always said you were going to be a big man. Guess what I'm proudest of in you? It's your kindness to all things. When we found out that your little dog, Porkchop, was epileptic, you were so happy that you cried. You had seen Porkchop have fits many times, and we were sure he would die. For three years after that, you faithfully gave Porkchop his pill every day.

I remember the day you helped me fix my pickup. We sure got greasy -- Mom wouldn't even let us in the house for lunch, but we fooled her. We went to the store and got a pizza, then lipped off to Mom and your two brothers, while eating it, still dirty. Yes, that was fun. We laughed a lot that day. I found out later that you did save a piece of pizza for your little brother; it was our secret too.

I've always been proud of you for so many reasons, Kent. Your silent kindness and strength, your loyalty, your soft heart, and secrets you shared with me. I remember how you used to lay across my lap with your shirt pulled up, exposing your bare back. I would trace my fingers lightly over your skin; it seemed to almost hypnotize you. I had done it many times when you were a baby, to get you to sleep when you weren't feeling good. Guess you just never grew out of liking it. I liked it too.

I remember the day I came to tell you that I was going away for a long time -- going to prison. You stood silently, listening with your head bowed and tears in your eyes, asking why. You hugged me and ran up into the woods, to your secret fort, crying. I cried too that day, Kent. I was ashamed of myself, and of breaking your heart.

You did write me and sent the colored pictures you drew in school. I had them on my cell wall for years, and yes, I bragged about them to my friends. I have lain awake many nights wondering who was teaching you to drive, who was your first girlfriend, and how I would tease you about her, as if I were right there with you. I'm sorry for missing so much of you, Kent.



As I stood looking at my special little boy, in a light gray coffin, I was dressed in bright orange coveralls. Prison guards were beside me. I wanted to reach out and touch him just once more, but the chains on my wrists wouldn't allow it.

It took a mortician to cover that cut on Kent's lip and get his hair to lay down. I'm so awfully sorry for missing the last eight years of Kent's life. If only I could have another chance to be the daddy he wanted me to be -- the daddy he deserved. If I could just tickle Kent's back once more, or share some secret with him, or tease him and hold him for just a few minutes. God, I would gladly die for the chance.

Kent was killed when he was crushed under a tractor in an accident near Kelso, Washington. He is buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, near the only tree there. So, if you are ever near that cemetery, and see a six-foot, five-inch, two hundred and seventy-pound beatup old man on his knees beside that grave, praying to God in shame, you will know why.

Hopefully you will better understand why I wish he could have read this letter, while he was alive. There are so many things I should have told him. So much time I should have spent with him.

If you have a special child in your life, please don't, for any reason, miss one single second with that child. Don't let what happened to me happen to you. Those moments are so awfully important.

To the lady officer, with the special little sunray catcher -- please believe me when I say, "For God's sake, spend every single precious moment with your child, now! This could be your last chance, because sometimes very special children don't get any older."

Ken "Duke" Monse'Broten

Reprinted by permission of Ken "Duke" Monse'Broten ¬1996. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Tom Lagana. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street,
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

Table of Contents

How This Book Came to Be xv

Introduction xxi

1 On Family

Even the Strong Have a Soft Spot Robert Fuentes 2

The Sunray Catcher Ken "Duke" Monse' Broten 6

Light Came and Went and Came Again Willie B. Raborn 10

Being a "Souper" Parent Thomas Ann Hines 14

A Convict's Letter to His Son Lou Torok 18

Beautiful Music Kimberly Raymer 21

Mom's Final Act R L. Todd 24

The Promised Visit Ron Ambrosia 28

Unsung "Sheroes" George Castillo 30

Putting on the Mask Linda Reeves 33

Where There's Faith G. Ashanti Witherspoon 36

Mail Call John M. Reynolds 38

Envy Ken "Duke" Monse' Broten 39

Just a Touch Ken "Duke" Monse' Broten 40

A Father's Prayer John W. Gillette Jr. 44

2 On Change

Bringing the Outside to the Inside Christine Money 49

My Best Friend Jack George M. Roth 51

Another Gold Nugget R. Troy Bridges 55

So Can You! Jack Canfield Mark Victor Hansen 58

A Lot of Bread Lucy Serna Killebrew 61

Thirty-Seven Years in the Wilderness: A Letter to God Kenneth L. Bonner 64

Brainwashed Dan Millstein 67

Brother Harry Dan Millstein 69

Days of Diamonds, Days of Stones Rod Carter 73

The Great Escape Jerry Gillies 77

Change Is Possible Gordon Graham 80

A Simple Witness Chaplain Dick Swan 82

The Lion and the Mouse Judge Bob Downing 84

Writing Can Change the World Tony Webb 87

A Magic Touch Toni Carter 90

My Defining Moment Colleen Fiant 93

Beneath the Layers of Filth Douglas Burgess 97

3 On Faith

Ivy's Cookies Candy Abbott 102

Dead Man Walking Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ 108

A Wise Old Man Andre T. Jackson 110

Never Second Guess God's Ways Charles W. Colson 113

One Day Outside My Prison Window Efrain Frank Hernandez 115

Christmas in Jail (A Strange Place to Find Peace on Earth) Lou Torok 116

Perfect Freedom Charles W. Colson 120

I Was in Prison Curt Boudreaux 122

A Hug in Prison Yitta Mandelbaum 126

A Sunday at San Quentin Mike Robinson 128

Prayer for the Perpetrator Marianne Williamson 132

One Cup at a Time Steven Dodrill 133

Etched in My Mind Brian Brookheart 138

4 On Forgiveness

God Works in Mysterious Ways Mary Rachelski 142

If You Will Welcome Me Billy Graham 145

Celebrating Forgiveness Afshin Valinejad 147

Strangers Behind Glass Ken "Duke" Monse' Broten 150

I'm Sorry, Dad Dale Gaudet 155

The Gift of Forgiveness Kim Book 157

Bringing Dignity Jane Davis 160

5 On Kindness

The Gift of Friendship Diane Harshman 166

You Never Know Who's Listening James Malinchak 170

Chicken Soup Geraldine Nagy, Ph.D 174

Its Rightful Owner David Smith 179

Bittersweet Journey Nonnandie Fallon 181

A Few Kind Words A. Douglas Rowley 184

Who Is the Tutor? Who Is the Student? Nancy Waller 186

Impress Me! Mary Rachelski 189

Walking Tall in Toastmasters Rex Moore Jr. 192

The Gift of Music Brandon Lagana 197

My Bag-Lady Friend and Me Jay Cocuzzo 200

Your Best Shot Laura Lagana 203

August 25 Gail Valla 207

Christmas Eve Behind Bars Nanci McGraw 210

6 On Love

Love and Compassion in Maximum Security Bob Kennington 214

Reunited Douglas Paul Blankenship 217

The Healing Touch Dale Gaudet 219

How Do I Love Thee? Cecilia Thomasson Baker 222

Serving Others While Serving Time Jerry Gillies 225

A Letter from Mother Teresa Lou Torok 229

The Life … of Death Jane Davis 232

The Waiting Game Perry Arledge 236

Meet Me at the Bridge Nancy Muhammad 239

A Mother's Comfort Felixa Miller 242

Through the Years Standing by You Virginia Pool 244

7 Overcoming Obstacles

Releasing the Prisoner Within Judi Weisbart 249

The Writing on the Wall Radames Rios 252

An Attitude of Gratitude Judy Worthen 254

Memories Ken "Duke" Monse' Broten 257

Choices, Decisions, Consequences Daniel Bayse 261

It's What's Inside That Matters! Robert C. Perks 264

Wake Up to Life Kevin Scott Rodriguez 267

Teachers of Peace Dan Millstein 271

Focus Your Energy Jack Canfield Mark Victor Hansen 273

The List Marcia Reynolds 275

The Feeling of Success Tekla Dennison Miller 278

8 On Wisdom

The Unmaking of a Man Marion Boykin 283

Punishment Michael G. Santos 287

The Power of One Gary K. Farlow 290

While You Were Out Toni K Cyan-Brock 292

Happy Holidays Daryl D. Foley 294

The Wisdom of Jesse Jesse Garcia 297

Looking for Good Clifford G. Angeroth 299

The Law of Compensation Sid Madwed 301

World Without Violence Aran Gandhi 302

Success-Who Can Judge? Tom Lagana 304

Not a Mistake Juan Jose (Johnny) Galvan 307

Wasted Time Dave LeFave 309

Time-Out Sandra Keller 311

Who Is Jack Canfield? 315

Who Is Mark Victor Hansen? 316

Who Is Tom Lagana? 317

Contributors 319

Permissions 331

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