Update from Adrian

Adrian asked that we bring you up to date on what’s happening in his life, via this short note.

First, an updated version of his book, The Walls Talk, is now available on Amazon. It includes a study guide at the end of each chapter, thanks to his friend Bill Moore, pastor. These study guides are pointed toward Scripture, and deeper thought about the character of God. The updated version also includes a couple of extra blogs. The book is also available as a kindle edition.

Second, he received his Associate of Arts (AA) degree in Business Management in September, 2018. He graduated with High Honors, achieving a grade point average of 3.85. He’s taking several other college courses, working toward his BA.

He asks for prayer, as his days are very full. Besides school, he is employed as a tutor in the Education Department at Mule Creek. He has an active role in the Spanish church as well.

He thanks all of you for your continued interest and support, giving all the praise and glory to His Savior, Yeshua the Messiah.


Bar Work

I was foolishly determined to “do” some bar work. I gripped the pull-up bar with full confidence. I took a deep breath. Every muscle in my body was ready. In my head I counted down, ” … three … two … and ONE! Pull, pull, pull,” my head ordered my body and arms. But … but in truth, I only rose two inches.

Not wanting to believe that I was too weak (you know, because I’m a manly man), I convinced myself that I had the wrong grip on the bar. So yes, I tried again. (Foolish, I know.)

New grip in place. Muscles ready. A few deep breaths. “Three … two … and ONE!” With my eyes tightly shut and my arms pulling with all their might, I just knew I would easily do 50 or 60 pull ups.

Sadly, I moved up even less this time. I let the bar go, looked around to see if anyone was looking (there was), and walked away with my manly man tail tucked between my legs. I was highly embarrassed. My non-existing arm muscles could not even pull up this chubby man once. So sad.

As I walked away, a regular to the bar workout yard said, “All you need is a spotter to take a hold of your ankles, it helps with the heaviness of the weight.”

At first I was a bit offended that he was calling me “heavy,” but that only lasted for a few seconds because I actually agreed with him. So I turned right around and asked him to spot me. I grabbed the bar as he grabbed my ankles. With ease I was able to do 15 pull ups. My ego was restored. I walked away feeling good. All smiles.

A few days later I found myself foolishly struggling with another issue. Being human and not a robot, sometimes my emotions take control of my thinking. This particular day I woke up with a deep desire to hug my children. Everything I did reminded me of my children: a TV commercial, a story in a book, a song on the radio.

Each passing hour only increased the heaviness of this lonely desire to hug my children. I tried walking to get my mind off the loneliness. I tried taking naps. I tried reading a magazine.

No matter what I tried I could not take the weight of this loneliness off. The loneliness, and the frustration that was coming with it, was wearing me out. That same day, late in the afternoon, I knew I had to study up for the next day’s Bible study.

Not feeling like it, I sheepishly opened my Bible with little effort. I flipped the pages to the right a few times, then to the left even more. I switched from Old to New Testament. I wasn’t reading much, just going back and forth to see if something caught my attention.

I flipped over to the book of Matthew and felt a deep impression to stop flipping and start reading. The verse my eyes fell on said the following: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28.)

As I read this my mind understood the words, but my heart was telling me, “I, Jesus Christ, am your spotter. Come to me and give me your heaviness.” Instantly I closed my eyes and prayed:

“Abba Father, forgive me for trying to bear this burden all on my own. Not once did I go to You today. My manly-man heart thought I could deal with the heaviness of this lonely feeling. Father, I need a spotter. I need someone who can take this load from me. Please take this heavy heart from me. Thank you, Father. In Your Son’s name, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.”

After praying, I picked my Bible back up and studied for the next day’s Bible study. My heart was no longer feeling heavy or lonely. No. It now felt light and filled with joy. I was sure Father had taken my heavy and lonely feelings and placed them on Jesus.

Later that night mail was passed out. One was for me. The letter was from a wonderful person who knows my children. The short letter was filled with beautiful updates about them. It was God’s way of sending me that hug I so desired.

I haven’t been back to the bar workout yard, but I am planning to return. I have been back – plenty of times – to Father’s throne for spot checks. It’s easier to serve Him with a light heart than with a heavy one.

Are you currently living with a heavy heart? Turn it over to the Heavenly Spotter, and He will give you rest.

A manly man for God…

Adrian G. Torres


This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**


Do overs. We all wish we could do things over when we mess up. Pressing a button, going back in time and doing it right. I find myself wanting a do-over all the time

During lock down, the prison grants us one shower opportunity every three days. In between we bathe in our cells. We fill up our sink, pick everything off the floor, hang some sheets up to block the nakedness from our cell mate, and bathe away. It makes a great big mess on the floor but there’s no other option. A bird bath (that’s what we call it) is not great, but it takes the funk off.

It was Tuesday morning and I woke up with the exciting thought that “today I would get a real shower!” My towel, sandals, soap, and wash rag were all set to go.

Today I would get a full shower without having to pick the slimy soap water off the floor. Today I would get clean and actually dry off without having to break a sweat cleaning the cell back up.

Today I would get a shower!

It was about 9:30 am and the anticipation was growing. I could hear cell doors down the hall open and close, indicating that my turn was coming up.

Sure enough, my door magically opened and my cell mate and I walked out and headed toward the showers.

“Torres!” came the shout from the officer in the control booth. “Your cellie can shower. You, on the other hand, are being called to Medical. Go get dressed and go to Medical.”

“Come on.” I protested. “Let me get a quick shower. It’ll be quick, I promise.”


“You suck.” I said with an attitude. “You have no compassion.” I returned to my cell and got dressed. I even took my time, just to make a point. What point was that? Who knows? You know how it is when you’re mad for no reason.

On the way out the officer stopped me. “What’s wrong with you, Torres? I never said I would not give you a shower when you returned from Medical.”

Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment. My heart felt like it had stopped. My stomach was feeling ill. Why did I react so stupidly? I wished I could have a do-over.

The call to go to Medical was actually the call to go out for another toe surgery. This meant getting chained up – legs, waist, hands – and being transported to the Central Medical Facility a few miles away.

The trip, the wait, the procedure, and all that it entailed allowed me the time to pray and talk to God. I confessed my stupidity and my actions. Asked for forgiveness. And begged Him for a do-over. “God, Daddy, please allow me to be tested again. I’ll show You that I’ve learned my lesson. Please, please, please, Abba, you know that that person this morning was not me. Not the one You know.”

My heart was greatly bothered. During the surgery even the doctor noticed I was not doing well (in comparison to the other surgeries he had performed on me). He thought maybe I needed more local pain medication. So he injected more.

After the procedure was over and the pain medicine started to wear off, my thoughts on that morning’s failure slowly left, and the thought of “PAIN, PAIN, PAIN, my toe is in pain!” rushed in. For whatever reason, this surgery left me in more pain than I could ever remember.

I was uncomfortable. The ortho strap-on shoe they gave me felt too tight. The crutches felt too high. The leg chains felt cruel. The waist chains felt heavy. The pain amplified everything.

The time came that the transportation unit arrived to take me back. As I struggled to the van, I could hear one of the officers complain to the other. “I don’t even know why pieces of s?!* inmates get the right to a surgery. It’s my tax money.”

The other officer didn’t respond. I kept hobbling toward the van – in great pain. As I reached the van the nice officer (or as I will identify him here) pulled down the steps. The other officer’s hate was now growing.

“Don’t help him up!” he said this to the nice officer. “Let him fall and crack his head open. One less piece of s?!* I have to deal with.”

A that point I had had enough. I took my foot off the step. I turned around and was about to give him a piece of my mind. But just as I was going to give him a piece of my mind, I felt – yes, felt – a small voice say to me “do-over.”

Instantly, instead of giving him a piece of my mind, I gave him a piece of my heart. “You know Mr. officer, God loves you. I do not know the reason for your hate. But whatever the reason, God can solve it; matter of fact, He can take it away. You might not like me, because I’m an inmate, but that’s okay. I like you. And I appreciate the work you do. Did I mention that God loves you?”

I turned back around and managed to get up the steps. The two-mile ride back was quick, but in total silence.

Back at my facility I silently rejoiced for two reasons. The first is because God granted me a do-over. And second, Because I was given the shower I was looking forward to.

I’m so glad we have a loving Father that is not just a God of second chances, but the God of do-overs, too.

…learning lessons every day…

Adrian G. Torres

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Sin & Baby Gophers

The handwritten sign on the wall caught my eye:

“Baby gophers for trade; $2 in Top Ramen; Beef-flavored only; See Big Chato.” 

My cell mate had already told me about the sign, but I just could not believe Big Chato was selling his baby gophers.

“I think it would be fun to have a baby pet gopher in the cell,” my cell mate shared with me as we both saw a sad pet adoption commercial on our TVs.
I didn’t answer because I didn’t think he was serious. Plus, the sad commercial filled with sad puppy faces was making me cry a little bit.

I guess my silence was mistaken for agreement, because he then asked me to let him borrow $2 in beef-flavored Top Ramen. My cell mate doesn’t speak English very well, and can’t read it either, so I answered, “Sure, I’ll let you borrow the soups, but can you also give a note to Big Chato for me?”

He thought nothing of the request and agreed. Before going to work I pulled out the $2 in soups and wrote the note.

When I came back from work I was positive I would not be returning to a baby pet gopher. Why? Because in the note I wrote, “Big Chato, it’s me, Pastor Adrian. If you give the baby gopher to my cell mate, I’ll accidently forget to share some KFC with you when it comes in.”

Big Chato is, well, big. And he loves food. And I knew he would not dare pass up a piece of chicken, especially from KFC. So when I got back to the cell, my cell mate shared with me that Big Chato had already pre-sold all the baby gophers. I’ve yet to tell him that it was my note that got in the way.

You might be thinking that I did a bad or mean thing, but I would beg to differ. Having a baby gopher was just not good or safe for us. The harmless-looking animal will one day be grown. And grown gophers, outside of their natural environments, can be very dangerous.

My cell mate’s desire to have a baby pet gopher just wasn’t good for us. As believers, you and I desire things at times that are just not good for us. That little “no-one-will-ever-know” sin. That secret indulgence. That thing that looks harmless.

We take it into our lives. We feed it with our time. We secretly indulge it. And before we know it, we have a fully gown, hard-to-give-up, habitual sin biting at our heels. It started as a cute harmless-looking sin, but turned into an uncontrollable dark, ugly, transgression.

I wrote the note to Big Chato to avoid any headaches down the road, with an uncontrollable, ugly, grown gopher. We must do the same with harmless-looking sins. We must not let even one into our lives, to avoid something uglier down the road.

If you’ve already let one into your life, it’s time to get rid of it. No questions asked.

…..perfectly happy with my Pet-rock….

Adrian G. Torres

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**


“The labels came off these.”

The store manager held up two cans of roast beef. “They are not old or expired. The labels came off, that’s all.”

I was a bit suspicious, but I only had $8 to spend (my monthly earnings for working 150 hours) and I wasn’t going to debate the person who knew her product. “Okay, I’ll take them,” I said to her. I also added two packs of Peanut M&Ms and a bag of refried beans (dehydrated.)

I walked off excited, thinking about the wonderful roast beef I would be enjoying that night. And to go with it, a nice-sized helping of beans. For dessert, M&Ms.

At night I took out one of the unlabeled cans and heated it up in my hot pot. I prepared the beans by adding 3 jalapenos (sliced in wheels) and 7 yellow hot chilies. (What? I’m Mexican.) I opened a pack of M&Ms as I waited.

About 15 minutes later I removed the very hot can out of the boiling water and prepared it to be opened. My mouth watered just thinking about the delicious roast beef that waited inside.

I took the can opener and clamped it onto the lip of the can. My mouth now watered even more. The can opener’s one claw pierced violently into the lid, causing it to bleed out the juices that were trapped inside.

Seeing the juices bleed onto my fingers brought of tsunami of saliva in my mouth. I felt rabid. Animal-like. Very Fred Flintsone-ish. So I cranked the can opener even harder. Even more hot juices majestically flowed down my fingers. Such a beautiful mess.

Too much of the can’s nectar was on my fingers, so I paused the cranking to lick them.

Strange. It didn’t taste like roast beef juice. So I took another – but slower – taste. Yup, it wasn’t roast beef but beef stew. My mouth went dry.

I finished opening the can and confirmed what my taste buds were telling me. What a letdown.

I don’t dislike beef stew; it’s just that I had my heart set on enjoying roast beef. I still ate the beef stew with thanksgiving, but it wasn’t the same. Even my heat-packed beans felt bland.

Labels on cans are important. I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll never buy unlabeled cans again.

Labels are good for many things, like for organizations. Clothing. Gas or diesel. Men’s and Women’s restrooms. Labels are good, but not on people. Labeling people is very hurtful.

When we label, we judge, and make ourselves better than those we label. If the label is ugly enough, it causes the “labelee” to be boxed in.

As an inmate I have been labeled many things by staff – by other inmates – by society – and even by my own family. The worst label, however, is that which is placed on inmates the minute they are sentenced. Murderer. Molester. Rapist. Thief. This is the label you are known by from that day forward. A label one can’t remove. This is the label other inmates use to judge who you are. Eventually this label causes separation, hate, depression, and violence. This is one of the reasons prisons are so full of hate – because some crimes – sins – are viewed more favorably than others.

The night of my Mystery-can Surprise, after eating my beef stew, I sat on my bunk (yes, while eating my second pack of M&Ms) thinking how Jesus hung around a whole bunch of labeled people. He purposely befriended tax collectors and sinners, two groups with the ugliest and lowest labels in His day. Yet He publicly was seen with them and never really cared what others thought.

The Pharisees did their best to discredit Yeshua by pointing out how He hung out and ate with them. But what the Pharisees didn’t care to understand was that Yeshua left heaven to find, and dine with, the lost – the labeled. It wasn’t a surprise to Him. Yeshua knew and expected others to judge Him for his actions. Yet He continued anyway.

He wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with the outcasts. He purposely embraced them to change their labels from “Sinners” to “Saved.”

I wonder how many of us are purposely staying away from the labeled? Not wanting to be affiliated with the outcasts? Shying away for the sake of our reputations? If we are to be like Jesus, and are His disciples, why aren’t we seeking the labeled?

You probably know someone, or have heard of, a labeled person to whom you could actively reach out, yet you don’t. Why not? Are you better than he is?

Let’s not forget that we too had the “Sinner” label on us. Yet Yeshua tore it off and graced us with a new label, sealed by His Holy Spirit, that reads “Saved.”

There are many labeled souls out there who are waiting for your non-judgmental love.

… sticking to cans with labels …
Adrian G. Torres



This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Kites, Virgins & Failure


Kites are notes written on small pieces of paper.

They are intentionally small so that they can’t be easily detected by the authorities.

Today a kite flew under my door. At first I didn’t know who sent it, but in truth it really didn’t matter. What mattered was what the message said inside:

Adrian, how are you homie? Since you are a man of the cloth, I know you will be able to answer my questions. First, if I become a Christian, do you think the man upstairs will get me out of prison? And second, if I start reading the Bible, what parts do I need to read to make the the big man love me?

The note was signed, “With deep respect, El Loco.” I wasn’t sure if I knew the guy, but I was certain it was one of the new guys that arrived seven days ago. El Loco lived in another building, which made the note even more interesting because he had gone through a lot of effort to make sure the kite arrived at my cell.

I’ve had other inmates ask me similar questions in the past. It’s actually a pretty common misunderstanding. Some think that if they become a Christian, God will automatically swing open the doors for them. But as you and I know, it’s not that simple.

God forgives our sins, and makes us whole again, but we must still reap what we once sowed while we lived in that sin. If becoming a Christian would swing the prison gates open just like that, then everyone in prison would be instant believers. There wouldn’t be any more people in prison. But it’s not that simple.

It’s always hard to answer this kind of question. Like I said above, if I answer yes to his first question, then everyone would falsely become a Christian hoping the gate will fly open for them. But if I would answer no, then the interested man might begin to doubt the power and love of God.

So how did I respond? I found him on the yard the next day and tried my best to explain the Gospel and what it truly meant to be a Christian. Sadly, he wasn’t interested in the God of the Bible. What he was looking for was a genie in a bottle.

Weeks later I ran into him in the chapel. I noticed he was walking out of an Islamic service. “Hey, Loco, how are you?”

“Oh, hey homie, I’m doing good. I’m now a Muslim. They couldn’t promise me Allah would open the doors, but they said, as a Muslim, I now have a boat load of virgins waiting for me in heaven. So cool, huh?” He actually said this with a convincing smile..

I knew it was a lost cause to try to correct him there and then. I decided it would be best to talk to him when he wasn’t surrounded by 20 other Muslim men that were big enough to rip my head off with one strike.

I’ve not yet been able to talk to him in depth. He’s been neck deep in scheduled prayers and learning to read the Koran. Sadly, I think he will never make the time to hear the truth.

It all started with a kite … and yet I believe I failed him. When he reached out for answers I failed to give him the direction he needed. Now he is traveling down the road that will not lead him to heaven or to a boat load of virgins, but to hell.

One of the worst feelings I’ve ever known is the feeling of failure. And in this case I failed Loco and I failed God.

Not a happy ending
Adrian G. Torres

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Hard to Like

“Do you get angry at your cat for scratching you at times?” My question surprised him. He didn’t know I, or anyone else, knew about his kitten.

“How you know?” he questioned me, but with a smile.

“Who told me is not important here. Just answer my question.” I wasn’t going to let him get off the subject. He had been complaining to me about his neighbor, not just today but for weeks now. And for weeks I had no wisdom or advice for him, until I found out about his cat.

His neighbor is like most in prison. Most were raised by the streets, not parents. Manners are void. Pride and selfishness are great. Loud is the only level they know. Caring about others is false and many times absent. In truth, most in prison act and live like beasts. It’s just in their fallen nature.

“No,” he answered my question, knowing I wasn’t going to give up my source that easily. My kitten doesn’t know any better. When we play around she gets a little rowdy at times, and scratches. It’s who she is and what she does. She is an animal, a wild prison-cat animal.”

“But do you get mad at her?” I asked again to make sure he would understand the point I was about to make.

“Can’t,” he said.

I used his explanation of the kitten’s natural rowdiness to make my point. An animal or beast knows only what it knows. It acts like an animal because it is an animal. His kitten scratches because it’s in her natural being to do so. And, even when his wild prison-kitten grows up, it will continue to be an animal.

Just because a street-raised man is now in prison doesn’t mean he now has manners. A dead soul doesn’t become alive just because his neighbor is a Christian. Their nature is who they are. And what they are is dead. Children of a dead, animal-like world. They can’t help being, and acting like, animals. It’s natural to them.

I reminded my cat-loving friend that he and I once were like his neighbor. Our animal, beast-like ways were part of our dead natures. Not only offensive to others around us, but most importantly, toward God. Our manners were void. Our pride and selfishness were great. Our sins were loud. And our care for others was empty. It was all about us and our desires to fulfill our lives with everything worldly. Shaking our fists toward our Creator and scratching at those He sent to show us the way.

We were beasts, animal-like. Dead. It was our nature. And yet, even with all our beastly ways, Abba Father still gave us His Son. Yeshua freely and willingly went out of His way to love us.

“So what you’re saying is for me to stop complaining and start loving my problem neighbor?” He knew the answer already. But he asked me anyway.

“Love him like you love your cat,” I answered, almost laughing. But he understood.

We all have our hard-to-like neighbors in our lives. They can be our bosses, co-workers, teammates, even our own family members. It’s easy to get mad at them, even trashing them by complaining to others. We reason and make excuses for our anger and frustration.

However, as children of the living God we are to love our hard-to-like neighbors as Yeshua did (and continues to do) for us. Our witness to them, by loving them, just might be the only gospel they will see and come to know.

“So,” my friend was burning to know. “Who told you about my kitten?”

“Duh!” I said with my eyes crossed. “You did!”


“Your arms are all scratched up. Your neck has scratches too. You now collect the state’s mystery lunch meat from everyone. You hate the meat. It was obvious, to me, you either had a cat or you had gone mad.”

He looked at his arms and said, “Oh, I see what you mean!!”

… thanking God for loving this animal …
Adrian G. Torres

(UPDATE: The very day I finished writing this story, my cat-loving’s hard-to-like neighbor was moved, by the officers, to another building and cell. Guess whose neighbor he is now? Mine. I guess I must practice what I preached.)

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**


Martho is viewed as a hero. The pride of our old Jurassic tier (hall of cells.) He knows he’s dearly loved, so he struts like a celebrity. It’s rare that one of us doesn’t offer him a meal at least once a day. Martho always openly accepts the meals with glee.

Martho doesn’t stay put for long; he is always  active, coming in and out of the building dozens of times a day. Even with a well-rounded belly (from all the free meals he eats), he still moves with light feet and acrobatic agility. I’m not sure when he sleeps because at all hours of the day Martho can be spotted roaming around.

About six months ago Martho was found all alone, in a dark corner, caring the best he could for his wounds. His friends and family had turned against him, attacked him, and left him for dead.

When Martho was found he was thin, shaking, and barely breathing. Martho was given simple first aid to clean the wounds, along with a good warm bath to clean every inch of him. And some very good food to give him nutrition. (Side note: when Martho was found, we thought he was a Martha … but quickly learned he was a Martho.)

Martho has been a key ally in the battle to control our rat problem. Almost daily Martho is seen with at least three rats in his mouth. Martho has a natural-born instinct to trap and kill rodents. It’s not a surprise to us for Martho is a cat; one of the many that live in the small, dark wrinkles of this aging prison.

I’m not sure why we all love Martho as much as we do. There are dozens of prison cats all over, so why Martho?

I think it’s because Martho’s story reminds us of ours. As inmates in a prison, it is obvious that somehow we each lost our way. In our lost journey we ended up in life’s dark corner, drowning in our sins. Trying to care for our oozing wounds, choking from the stench. Hopeless. Future-less.

Yet in that dark corner Abba Father reached down and rescued us from death. He gave us heavenly first aid and anointed us with His holy healing oil (the Spirit.) He washed us in Yeshua’s blood and cleansed our filthy rags, making them as white as snow. He saved us, adopted us into His family, and has been feeding us His Word.

When I see Martho, I take a quick second to thank God for saving me from death’s grip. If it were not for His love, grace, and sacrifice I’m not sure I would still be alive.

Have you taken the time to thank God for rescuing you from death’s grip? Life is so busy at times that we forget from where Father rescued us.

How about you thank Him now?

… proud of being a rescued one …
    Adrian G. Torres

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**