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From Behind Bars to Beyond Bars: Dream Big

Introduction: Truth Be Told facilitators met Karen in 2010 at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville. She enrolled in the two classes Truth Be Told offered at that prison, Talk to Me–Circle and Talk to Me–Speaking, multiple times, and then she served as an excellent class mentor.

Karen used to say how much she loved the women in white [the uniform at Gatesville], and she was the mother wisdom of love, acceptance, and appreciation for her classmates.

Karen was released in October 2014 and has stayed in touch through our Beyond Bars program. She loves to express herself and her big dreams through writing and drawing.

By Karen

Truth Be Told came to me by way of a huge miracle against all odds. I came into the prison system desperate and broken. Fear, bad choices, and booze trapped me long before a prison cell. Little did I know that God had already forged a plan, and that faith, hope, and love would set me free.

The TBT facilitators, Carol and Nathalie, taught me to never give up, that I had my own story to tell, and that I had a vision and a special purpose on this earth. I had to let go of the idea that I could have had a different past. I began to believe that what the enemy meant for harm, God was causing to work out for my good.

TBT is a safe and trusted community that taught us to use our voices and experiences to inspire a healing power of restoration in body, mind, and spirit. I am convinced that we overcome by telling and owning our own stories; the good and the bad are interwoven to make us who we are. TBT is living out loud: building integrity and character with expression of genuine heartfelt experiences using words, body language, respectful listening, arts, music, and dance, but most of all our voices.

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Daring to be true, to speak and believe the truth, says it all for me. Life and Death are in the power of the tongue. TBT has taught me a better way of making decisions and to use my talents and abilities to bless others, to make a difference in our world today. I especially love when we combine our creative gifts to inspire and encourage and set a standard of excellence that states that the little things are big things. Both behind and beyond bars, the moments are unforgettable!

There are no limits or boundaries to what we can accomplish together. TBT brought light and love into a dark place, and the light shone so vividly and gloriously that it changed my life forever. I knew for the first time that there was still good in the world and that I should prepare to win because I was in the midst of winners! God put the perfect people in my life.

I am determined to make the most of the opportunities I’ve been given and to capture the dream that the Lord planted in my mind and heart. TBT pays it forward by letting us know that are not forgotten with the most profound love and generosity. The untamed gratitude I feel spills over into every area of my world, making the destination well worth the journey. The transforming truth we tell allows us to savor life’s sweet moments and to rise above the bitter ones with grace and power. We embrace this new beginning as brave and courageous Princess Warriors with a fearless passion that is bold and beautiful.

It’s your day to do something powerful! To Connect, To Relax, To Learn, To Experience, To Grow, To Create, To Enjoy, To Celebrate, To Love! The extraordinary inspiration and TBT are very good medicine.

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About MaryAnn Reynolds

Offering bodywork in the Austin, Texas, area at maryannreynolds.com. Blogging about wellness at The Well: bodymindheartspirit. Serving as a volunteer editor for the Truth Be Told Community blog.

4 responses »

  1. Karen, I am so moved and inspired by your attitude and words. You have probably already discovered that putting positive energy into the world brings it back many times over. It’s one of those amazing and wonderful surprises that life offers. Thanks for sharing your insights!

    Reply
    • I will never thank you even for changing my life forever. YOU taught me the deep chore values and gave me treasures hidden in the darkness. YOU brought a glorious bright light into a very dark place and it shone so vividly and it’s facets grow more stunning w/each new beginning…..Thank you for believing in me and instilling in me that I had purpose and value. I can still see you and Carol acting out the Old Croons, and it is one of my favorite memories in the whole universe. Thank you bringing the gifts/abilities that we didn’t even know existed into exquisite creation, and dissolved the fears that kept us bound in heavy chains. I’m so blessed beyond my wildest dreams that God put us on this earth @ exactly the same time. I will forever love and appreciate the work of TBT and you for always being Bold, Brilliant, and Beautiful! The untamed gratitude is indescribable and you bring the word to life…What very good medicine TBT is behind and beyond bars. All my love to you forever! Karen

      Reply
  2. Dearest Karen,
    In spite of the physical distance between us at the moment, I could feel the warmth of your light transmitted through each and every word. Your artwork is another reflection of your incredible clarity. May you continue to share your sunshine and inspire others to follow where you lead!

    Reply
    • My dearest Emily, How wonderful to hear from you. YOU have been missed and deeply loved from this great distance. I have a HUGE SMILE as I picture YOU telling the most intriguing stories and entertaining us w/intoxicating tells that took us far far away into a great dream and out of the darkness that had suffocated the light and had paralyzed us binding anything true and pure. Thank you for some of the most wonderful semesters and the adventures of a lifetime……. All my love to you! Karen

      Reply

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