Have you ever wondered what men in prison think about? Their monotonous days are long and empty. Their lives seem hopeless and void of meaning. And sometimes they start to question their own sanity.

DISCOVERY by Rick and Jan Sikes is full of poetry, musings, and drawings completed while inside the walls of Leavenworth Prison as Rick served a sentence for bank robbery. But, not all are his. Jan included the ones she wrote over the years while she waited, always hopeful that one day they’d release the man she loved.

It’s very difficult to stay positive in such a depressing environment. Some don’t even bother to look for a bright side that doesn’t appear to exist.

After a time of anger and frustration, Rick realized that he couldn’t change prison and it couldn’t change him. He began to examine himself and find the man he really was buried deep inside. As a popular Texas musician and performing night after night, week after week, he’d lost the person he was. Being locked away forced Rick to face himself and see where he needed lots of work.

There’s despair in these pages, but there’s also a lot of humor and positive reinforcement.

One poem that is really profound to me is Discovery which became the title of the book. The incident that sparked the writing of this poem was the turning point for Rick. Anger burned inside, eating him alive. He was like a lit fuse and one day finally exploded. The guards threw him in the hole (solitary confinement.) He lay on the floor, weeping, and finally went to sleep. A beautiful angel appeared in a dream, telling him that he was not alone and that she would help him get through this horrible time. But he had to try.

From then on, Rick became a changed man. He looked for the positives and turned to bettering himself, doing something constructive instead of destructive. He found he was very creative with his hands and designed pottery, painted, did beautiful bead work, and played his music again.

Rick had some pretty vivid dreams that he wrote poems about in this book. Dreams offered escape from the horror and loneliness. He could fly through the iron bars and over the high walls to freedom if only for a little while.

Willie Nelson’s ex-wife, Connie Nelson, wrote the beautiful forward and says what this poetry book means to her.



Here’s a snippet from the poem Discovery:


Through life’s wilderness I wandered aimlessly seeking my way

Seldom looking up to see the light of day

Stumbling blindly, ’til so weary, I could go no more

In total exhaustion I fell to the earthen floor

My eyes focused upon a wounded but lovely thing

Seemingly an angel felled with a broken wing

Said I, “Stranger, what will be your name?”

A voice spoke softly, “Yours, for our names are the same.”

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Click HERE to purchase the book!

Jan would like to hear from you – http://www.jansikes.com/

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So take a journey through a convict’s mind and listen to the Breathings Of His Heart. You might be surprised to find yourself in that cell with him.

Have you ever reached a time in your life when you needed something to get you through? I’m giving away one hardback copy so leave a comment.


Jan Sikes: DISCOVERY — 26 Comments

  1. Luke’s and Darlina’s (Jan’s and Rick’s) love and life journey truly touched my heart in soul in her 4 books she wrote about their lives. It’s still one of my all time favorite series I’ve ever read. When I became sober in 2000 that was a very turbulent and unstable time in my life. But my faith in our Dear Lord was what kept me on the right path and has kept me sober to this day. I give all my thanks to God & Jesus Christ because they were my rock and stability when daily life struggles tried to drive me back to alcohol. I believe that we all have our own special Angel watching over us.

    • Oh, Tonya. You have now brought tears to my eyes. I did not know of your struggle and am so proud of you for remaining sober. Sometimes life has to kick us in the seat of the pants to get our attention and that is what happened to Rick. Even though he was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, he always said if he hadn’t gotten locked up in an iron cage, he’d never have taken time to find out who and what he really was. Your support and kind words mean the world to me! And, yes! We all have beautiful Angels and Guides watching over and trying to help us at all times. Have a wonderful day!

      • Jan- you are so right, sometimes it takes us going to rock bottom and then Rising up on our own to realize who we truly are inside and out, it brings us face-to-face with our problems and fears and it also helps us see our real faith.

    • Hi Tonya……Sometimes we stumble and miss the path and God has to get us back on it, often through tough love. There isn’t a person who hasn’t made mistakes. We all do and sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we start to climb. Your testimony is always uplifting. You’re a special woman and I love you very much.

  2. Oh how sad and beautiful all at the same time I have got to read this one sounds like a life changer

    • Thank you, Glenda. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. I just know you’d treasure this poetry and art book. It is from the heart.

    • Hi Glenda…..Thank you for coming. Through these poems you really get to know the man. He bares his soul and reveals everything inside. I think it’s truly a book that can change you.

      Love you, lady!

  3. What an extraordinary poem! And, I loved the image of the angel in Rick’s dream… I’m looking forward to reading your latest book, Jan. I know it will be a blessing.

    • Thank you for stopping by my sister’s blog, Gwen! I am honored. I am so proud of this book because it is Rick’s work – his heart and soul are poured into the art and the poems. It is my belief that may will find hope and inspiration from it.

    • Hi Gwen…..Thank you so much for coming over. Great to have you. Rick often dreamed of angels and also of being outside the prison walls. He has some remarkable experiences.

      Have a great day and look for blessings around you.

    • Thank you, John! You #RRBC authors are awesome with your support! I truly appreciate it and I am thrilled that you own a copy of the book!

    • Hi John…..Thank you for coming. I hope you enjoy the book. Please leave a review on Amazon after you finish. Those are much appreciated.

  4. I had goosebumps (the good kind) reading this post and especially the snippet of poetry. Jan, you’ve done something amazing in putting this today and preserving Rick’s writings and drawings. I have one book to finish reading and then I am onto book two, The Convict and the Rose in your series. I almost fear reading it because I know it will reflect the low point in Rick’s life, but I know there is redemption there too!

    And sending a “Hello” to Linda, too! 🙂

    • Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mae! I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. 🙂 I promise that even though The Convict and the Rose is the low point in Rick’s life, it is also the peak in that he managed to turn himself into a positive person through a dark and negative situation. 🙂 I think you will enjoy how the story unfolds. Thanks again for stopping in and leaving a comment!

    • Hi Mae! I’m so glad to see you. Thank you for coming! I get goosebumps too when I read these poems. But like I said, not all are sad. I found it very interesting and inspiring. They’re something that can help others along their life’s journey. We can be strong under any circumstances! You’ll enjoy The Convict and the Rose. It’s not what you might think and the clear message that we are the master of our fate comes through loud and clear. We can choose the path we want–even behind bars.

      Big hugs!

    • Hi Natalie…..Thank you so much for coming! This book is a such a beautiful legacy to share. Jan did an amazing job of putting it together. She’s an inspiration to me, both as a sister and a fellow writer. No mountain is too high. No valley too low. She just blazes on, showing me the way.

      Big hugs and blessings for you day!

    • Hi John……Thank you so much for coming! I really enjoyed hosting Jan. I believe in her and I believe very strongly in this book. I’m glad you enjoyed Home at Last. Jan poured out her heart in that one. So many trials to overcome. Such an inspiration!

      Have a wonderful day!

  5. You are so right and I loved this post. There are times we all have to hit rock bottom before we come through. There have been several times that I needed something to get me through. My husband just lost his job again so we will make it through again. It has happened before for both of us, I am just keep thinking that something will come up for him again but his age is hurting him now. We will get through this I am sure.

    • Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Quilt Lady. I am so sorry to hear that your husband has lost his job. Times sure can get tough for us, but somehow we always manage to keep going. Prayers for you and him as you go through this trial. Keep your heads up and try to stay positive!

    • Hi Quilt Lady……Bless your heart. I’m so sorry. I’ll pray that a job comes along and this scary time will be past you.

      Tender hugs, my friend!