Friday, November 13, 2009

The Pair of Shoes That Changed My Life

The Pair of shoes that changed my life

Hello all, I hope you have been well. Today is just a little story on how God will do what is best for you no matter how much you resist, change your ways, or even HAVE SURGERIES to change your body and how it works.

Rewind to 1992, Nirvana and “Smells like Teen Spirit” owned the radio waves and MTV, and Bill Clinton was elected President.

My wife and I got married a bit early, I was 23 years old and she was 26. We only dated for about 10 months before a “surprise” happened and yes, before we were married, God gave us a son. When I was about 25 or so and year after we got married, another “surprise” happened, god gave us another son. And almost to the day when I turned 27, guess what? God gave me another son. SO, at the tender age of 27, I was married w/ 3 kids, all under the age of 5 and I felt like I was done having children and decided to get my tubes tied. Despite my wife’s objections, I went and got a vasectomy, I was now going to be free from worrying about any future “surprises”, or so I thought.

I will not paint the picture of our perfect little existence and happy life that it was all warm and fuzzy and “lovey-dovey” a lot. Matter of fact, it was the opposite at times, sad to say. We fought, sometimes a lot, sometimes not, sometimes about the lack of sleep, money, friends, etc. There was always an underlying “resentment” to my surgery I think. Or at least I interpreted it that way anyway. Don’t get me wrong, we had and still have great times, I am happy to report that my life and our marriage is on an upswing, big time. We are gellin’ like Magellan and we have the good Lord to thank for our blessings.

I believe the turning point for this was after a very sort of “gloomy day”, where I went for a car ride in the rain. My wife and I had gone head to head for a while and I was getting to the point where I just could not take the hot and cold of the relationship anymore. The stress was giving me chest pains and I felt suicidal at times.
I can vividly remember driving down the road and the repetitive motion of the wipers, and the pounding rain against the windshield was putting me into a trance-like state. I could have easily driven my little car into the oncoming traffic of 18 wheelers that were spraying water off the back of their rigs little salt shakers. I calmly pulled off to the road and said “God help me” and slowly turned the car around and headed back home.

As I pulled up the driveway, the winds were whipping the tree limbs like the devil and the rain was headed sideways like you read about. However, in the midst of the storm, I noticed a very small pair of baby shoes, sized super small. Now, all my kids are between 1 and 5 yet these shoes did not fit any of them. Why were they there? Who’s were they? When I looked closer at them, WHY DID THE SOUND IN MY EARS GO SILENT, WHY WERE THE SHOES COMPLETELY BONE DRY AND SHELTERED BY A LONE BRANCH COVERED WITH LEAVES AND WAS FIXED MOTIONLESS TO PROTECT IT AND KEEP IT DRY IN THE MIDDLE OF GAIL FORCE WINDS? Do you see what I see?

My heart skipped a beat, then another, and I caught my breath. The tears welled in my eyes, (as they are now as I write this), because that was the first time I had ever felt God had spoken to me. Maybe not in words like some people hear, but he SHOWED me what to do.

I walked into the house, very quietly, dragging my feet, wet from the rain and sat down on the couch. I must have looked like I saw a ghost or something because Michelle came over to me and was like, what is wrong? I looked at her with a very concerned look on my face and said, “I am ready to have another baby”.

She threw her arms around me, we cried for a while and sobbed and then it kinda hit us, uh,,,,I kinda had my tubes tied so how in world am I gonna pull this off?

Micro-surgery, that’s how. I will spare you the operating room details, but let’s just say that a very gifted surgeon performed on operation on me called a “vasovasectomy”. This is where they actually sew my tubes back together, from the inside out! They use micro thread 100 times thinner than a human hair and the difficulty of the procedure can be compared to sewing two pieces of wet spaghetti together, end to end.

This ain’t cheap and it is not covered by health insurance, nice. So I did what other self respecting home owner would do, I re-mortgaged my house to pay for it and took out some extra to finish the basement for more bedrooms.

Well, about 10 weeks had gone by and we paid a visit to the Dr for a follow up and he said that my sperm count was low. I asked a few questions, he said to “be patient, all it takes is one” and he was right.

A few weeks went by and my wife and I found out we were pregnant, God was to give me another child to watch over for him and I was accepting of this gift. This time though, he would give me a daughter, daddy’s little girl. Michelle and I had a deal that if it was a girl, I could name it, if it was a boy, she would name it.

I appropriately chose the name “Nevaeh”, which is Heaven spelled backwards. I did this to signify the backwards way in which the more we try to resist God’s Will and retreat, the more he will course correct us, no matter what we do.

Hope you enjoyed the read, god bless you all- Joshua

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bent but not broken

I am sure some of you can think back to when you a child, there may have certain things that helped “shape” who you are today.

Some of them may have been positive, like being the star player on the basketball team and shooting the winning basket for the championship, “He Shoots,,,,he SCORES and wins it for the Home Team, Hooo-Rah!”, you get the picture.

Or maybe you were the victim of abuse, neglect, or worse?

In any case, how you respond to these changes and situations that happened to you in your life will greatly have an impact on what choices you will make and your behaviors or quirkiness, and your attitude in general.

Well, grab a hot cup of Joe, (that’s coffee for all you non-New Englander’s), and read on, what I am about to share with you has only been vaguely talked about with my wife, (if she was listening, ha-ha). These are some true stories that happened to me when I lived in Hawaii as a child in the late 70’s for a few short but memorable years when I was about 11 yrs old.

I know, I know, this has to be a feel good story, right? I mean, come on, THIS IS HAWAII we are talking about, palm trees swaggering in the island breeze, Pina Colada’s, White Sandy Beaches. What on earth could go wrong in Hawaii? Everything.

May dad, my middle younger brother and I moved out to HI alone and left my mom and my youngest brother back in RI. They were due to come out with us about 6 months after we set up shop, got a house and got settled, etc.

My first real memory of when things maybe were not going in a positive direction is when we were living with my dad’s friends while we looked for a house and me, my brother and our friend Chris with whom we were staying with decided to venture out into the neighborhood and meet some other kids. In a matter of about 20 minutes, I was in a fight with a local kid, don’t remember his name, didn’t see him coming, but he beat the crap out of me, while my younger brother stood there defenseless. I must say for the record, I was a total puss at the time. I did not know how to fight or had a mean fighting type of personality. Blonde hair, blue eyed, and bambi-like innocent qualities.

When I sorta came to my senses, Chris picked me up and walked me back to his house and was kinda like, “welcome to Hawaii”,,,oh by the way, plan on getting beat up all the time by the local kids because you are white.” Hmmmmm, I don’t remember seeing that in those fancy books or brochures they let you read on the plane on the 15 hour flight over there from Boston. “Come to Hawaii, relax, enjoy, see the wonderful sights, and get ready for the can of whoop-ass that is coming your way Haole”, (this is the local term for white trash; think the “N” word and pronounced “How-Lee”)

It seems like Hawaii, (or back then anyway), had a sort of discrimination thing going on with white people. Not tourists mind you, but white people who came to Hawaii to live. They considered it an invasion and a take over to some extent. If I can find a pic of me in the school photo and upload it, you will not believe it, I am the only white kid on the school.

From that day forward and what would seem like an eternity, I got my butt whooped on the way to school, on the way home from school, on the weekends, in my own yard, in their yard, all over, almost every day. I mean they didn’t really take any days of from this, they stole from me and they took my toys. To elaborate on some of the things I was faced with I vividly remember skipping going to the playground one day when my friend Kiave call me up. That same friend called me later that day to tell me that my next door neighbor Patrick Borden, (white kid), was shot in the chest at close range w/a shotgun by a local kid Shane Johnson because of a scuffle turned bad. Patrick was 12 yrs old, looks like a picked a good day to stay home, Patrick was not so lucky.

I also remember walking home from school one day with my brother and two older teens drove up to us and stuck a gun in my eye socket and cursed at us and told us to make sure that when we saw them again, we moved out of their way. My brother was so scared he jumped into the ravine that was on the side of the road to hide while I yelled for him. We laugh about it now because we told my dad what had happened and we went to the local Police Dept to do a sketch of the guys and put out an APB. I could not remember what they looked like because the gun barrel was kinda blocking my view (ha-ha), but my brother took forever to draw his best recollection of the perpetrators, a smiley face, like this :-) “Attention all units, attention all units, please be on the look out for a 17 yr old male driving a late model powder blue Beetle and resembles a smiley face”, dang dude.

In some respect I felt like on of those battered dogs you see on TV in the PETA TV commercials. Bent but not broken. I would find myself very jumpy and ready to defend myself at nothing, like a shell shock war veteran. I had to go to therapy to work it out because I was wound so tight that I really had a hard time unwinding and still do to this day.

At the time, it hurt, a lot. And it changed something inside me for the good; it made me a fighter, tough, and against racism because I vowed at an early age to NEVER hate someone, fight, or otherwise based on their skin color. As I became a Christian later in life, I learned to love and love others, and that the love you have heals the sin no matter what.

I do know one thing though, My God Loves Me No Matter What. He created me, and in some respect, allowed this terrible thing to exist in my life to make me better, improve me, and alter me. He also delivered me from Evil.

In some ways, I am kind of like the Olive. The Olive in itself is OK; it tastes pretty good, maybe a bit salty on its own. But crush it, push it, kneed it, press it, and work it and the most wonderful oil comes out of it. So sought after back in JT, (Jesus’ Time), it was considered a rarity.

When you first meet me, I can be a bit harsh, salty, and sarcastic, but under this hard exterior is a decent guy who had some hard times as a kid, (more stories on that for another blog), and when you get to know me and connect with me, I ain’t that bad after all.

Don’t get me wrong about Hawaii, there were lots of wonderful times out there, it really is an amazing place filled wonderful nature and the fishing and surfing is A1 top notch.
I would love to go back to Hawaii some day to visit and catch up with a few of the guys to say hello. No chips on my shoulder, only forgiveness for all and to make peace with it, maybe then I will not be so jumpy and restless.

God Bless you all for listening- Joshua

I am linking this blog post up to the carnival over at Peter Pollock's place with a "remembering" theme. Make sure you head on over and check out all the other great blogs!

Thursday, October 29, 2009



You know it is kinda funny in how things happen to you in your life. One minute, you are a single, long-haired rock and roll guitar player, banging out massive power chords that would make the hair stand up on the back of your neck and send a river of fire and excitement pumping through your veins like gasoline. Think Van Halen’s “Unchained” and you get the picture. Turn up the volume on your PC and check it out on youtube. That was me, 20 years ago.

However, in what would seem like a blink of an eye, you are rushed through a blur of time-space continuum’s, zipping through space ala Captain Kirk in Star Trek, where he commands Lt. Zulu to grab the controls of the space craft and hit warp speed and jump forward to another place or time. Flash Forward to now.

Now I must admit that along the way, I have missed very few Milestones with my children. Although I have never missed a Birthday, Christmas or Thanksgiving, I am sure I have missed an Easter here or there, and DEFINITELY missed the last 15+ New Years Eve’s due to my job. It sucks, but it is a requirement that I am obligated to fulfill to my employer.

This week, I was present in what has become a Milestone for me as a father, and my oldest son Gunner. He is a very tall, athletic, smart and funny 17 year old who has now just gotten his drivers license. *WARNING TO ALL EASTERN CT DRIVERS, NEW 17 YR OLD DRIVER ON THE LOOSE.*

Now I do not mean to call him out on the internet, but I must say that Gunner and I are a lot alike. We BOTH thought we knew best when we were 16 and took the permit test too soon and FAILED. I was crushed when it happened to me, and I know Gunner was also crushed when it happened to him. However, the thought and humiliation both led us to study hard and pass the 2nd time, and we both did well on our road test.

Now, I ask the question, why did we both fail? Because we were stupid, or unprepared, maybe even cocky? Only God knows why and for whatever reason, it is what it is, but I have to tell you, that I ain’t asking why anymore.

It is so obvious to me that the reasons why God does what he does is for our and his best interest. I am sure that because I failed that test, it was to save me later. I can’t really explain it that well and there have been MANY instances in the cold New England winters that a little bit of extra time behind the wheel and preparing has paid off. I am sure that I have avoided MANY accidents just due to “timing” alone, right down to the second, let me explain.

A month or so ago I was off to work, (5:30a yuk!) and needed to stop by the Bank ATM for some money. For whatever reason, Bank of America had decided to change their ATM’s to the touch screen type and it was kinda like a PC screen now, and let me tell ya, this thing was dog-butt slow. I must have looked like a loon tapping the screen over and over as quick as possible, like that would make it work any faster. Think the guy touching the elevator button that is already “lit” and by him repeatedly hitting the button will make it come any faster, yes, I am that guy.

So, in a nutshell, this normal 20 second banking transaction turns into a minute or so, whatever, it took too long and I was miffed and sped off to work.

I am now working through traffic on the highway and finally find an open stretch of highway where I can break away from the pack, cruise at 64mph in my little “comb over” sports car, (that is what my wife Michelle calls it b/c it looks like the type of car middle aged balding men drive to compensate for a lack of something in their life. Did I mention earlier that my long blonde locks are now GONE and I now sport the Bruce Willis look?), and slide into work on time. This is where God’s timing is impeccable.

Through the dense morning October fog and out of the corner of my right eye, I barely see a 4 or 5 point buck, galloping at full speed, and coming within inches of jumping in front of my car. This buck was about 500+ lbs of shear muscle and headed my way, it happened so fast I did not have time to react, and for a 40 yr old with Spidey Senses, I have cat-like reactions when it comes to maneuvering vehicles and turning on a dime, motorcycles, cars, yes, I can drive.

However the timing of this was such that the buck just barely crossed the back of my car and I missed hitting him by the thickness of a piece of paper. I actually felt my car rear end shimmy side to side like a hula dancer as he passed right behind me and smelled deer poop from his rear end. He managed to safely cross the divided highway and jump into the woods on the other side. But all I know, is if I hit that buck head on with my little car, folks, I am dead, and ya’ll are eatin’ venison at my wake.

I slowly released the white knuckle death grip on my steering wheel and continued to stare wide eyed and bushy tailed down the lonesome foggy highway, 64 mph, my foot never left the gas pedal. I looked to the Lord and said, “Thank you God”.

Do you think that possibly God had orchestrated all this? I do. I think he does it all, everything, even when you fail, you win. You learn something. Maybe at the time you do not know you are winning or learning, but you will know, somewhere down the line the little, “ah-ha” moment will happen, recognizing the connection between your losing, then winning.

SO, I hope you enjoyed reading my rant today, I know I am not as well spoken as one of my blogging hero's Billy Coffey, and don’t have links to fancy scripture in my blog as I have seen some of the other wonderful blogger’s sites,(like my wifes), but I will get there eventually, so please be patient with me, I am still learning.

God Bless ya’ll, see you around- Joshua

Ps- Gunner, if you need to go the bank, go to the one on Main Street in downtown, and at all costs, avoid 395 Southbound between the hours of 5:30a-6:30am, there is a buck with my name on it for hunting season.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Your calling is calling

Well, have you ever been to one of those Church services where it was like the Pastor was talking directly to you, or more like, AT you?

The title of the new sermon our Pastor was to deliver this past Sunday was titled, "Hearing his Voice". Well, if you saw my post last week, I had been talking about how I haven't heard GOD's voice talk to me and I have been doing what I thought I was supposed to do and sort of, "awaiting further instruction" so to speak.

Ontop of all this, the Pastor was very vocal about the musicians in the band and how what a gift it is, and to not waste it,,,,you get the picture. So, I am like looking around for the Candid Camera crew to come rushing out or something like that.

In any case at the end of the service, he invited anyone down to the alter to talk to GOD and to ask about him and invite him back into your life, so I did. I prayed and asked for him to speak to me if he wanted me to do further be a voice for him, and if so, please give me some sort of sign,(insert Steve Martin's the man w/ 2 Brains moment here), about how he would want this, and just let me go.

So far, things have been quiet, but I think that something may be happening soon, I am going to start to be more involved in the Music Industry and do some home recording w/ the kids and get them involved and inspired as well.

I played the guitar the other day and pulled out a few good emotions and played a bit differently than I have previously so my mind is feeling free a bit which is good, (kinda had a "writers block" verison of guitar playing for while).

So, going to start writing some songs and feel the calling to start playing w/ like minded musicians again, that always seems to wake up any stale old musty vibes.

So, until next time, I hope you are all well and I have a heck of a project coming up in the backyard, clearing brush and trees, I love it.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Where's my voice?

I know it's been a while, no excuses, been busy, but here it goes,,,please excuse the spelling and grammer, I am new at this, but I am trying :-)

Where's my voice?

I don't mean, "dude, I yelled so loud @ the Van Halen show last night, I blew my voice out",,,that would have been 20+ yrs ago, time warp up to 2009 and I am trying to ask, "where is my voice in this world?".

I feel alot like Forest Gump sometimes, remember him?

He had many great things happen to him in his life, not planned, but they just happened,,,,,he met Elvis and tough him how to dance, he served in Vietnam and saved lives and was a hero, he was a top college football player, he owned the shrimp company, stock in Apple Computers, the list goes on and on,,,

Well, I kinda feel like him in a sense that I have done many things in my life, some at a very early age, and still to this day do good things too, but I feel like it is not enough, or, that the things that I am doing are not what I was "meant" to do.

Or better yet, what GOD want's me to do. Does this make any sense?

The reason I bring this up is that I have felt for many years that I was meant to do things, it feels right, only for it to turn out not to be. Most of these decisions I will admit, were dreams and would have never been the right thing to do, and I have often quit jobs and made choices for the wrong reasons.

The focus has always been providing a good home for my family so they feel safe, a roof over their heads, and food in their bellies.

So far I have,,,,,,played guitar, (still play), a Studio Recording Engineer, an Expert level Moto-Cross Racer, a very successful engine designer and rebuild expert for motorcycle racing engines, and most recently,(for the past 14 yrs), been a Supervisor in the Entertainment Dept for a local Casino.

I am doing well for myself, providing for my family, but I still feel like I am not doing what GOD has in store for me.

I mean, I have been blessed beyond belief with my family's health, I have had financial blessings fall in my lap when I needed it the most, you name it, it has happened to me.

But I still wonder what is yet to come, what else is out there for me, what challenges and tests does GOD want to put me through so I can call out to him when I should, (always), and most of all, how to better serve GOD with my voice in this world?

So today I pray,,,,GOD, thank you for my wonderfully healthy family,,,,thank you for trusting me with them, I will not let you down on this, they are safe with me. They will be clothed and warm with me, they will have full bellies at night and we are thankful for you and the blessings you have given us.

I still want to serve you more GOD, I want to be a voice for you, but feel like you have more for me, I am ready GOD. I have swept floors, worked in junkyards, and bloodied my hands doing the simple things, knowing that I must be able to handle the simple things before I can handle the great things.

Thanks for listening- Joshua

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Testing, 1, 2, 3,,,,,can you hear me in the back?

Well, today is my first official blog thingy or whatever it's called I guess. I dunno, I am new @ this so go easy on me and let me tell you a little about myself.

Disclaimer- be warned, I suffer from many an addiction that I will share and randomly place on this site. Some of it will be like, wow, this guy is whacked. But most of it is harmless.

First and foremost, I am a Christian man who is deeply routed in my faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, his power is awesome, I bear witness to this on a daily basis and will be sharing my stories, (I have many) from time to time and most of what I have learned is from falling flat on my face and screwing up. But it is OK, God loves me, he knows me, and believes in me. Most of my postings will be about glorifying his name, and helping people who may have had problems or can relate to the situation.

I am 39 yrs old,(40 in April, yuk!), I am married to my wonderful and most talented soul mate, Michelle for the past 17 years. We have 4 wicked awesome,(can you tell I live in New England?) kids, Gunner, 17, Hunter, 15, Ezra, 11, and my gorgeous daughter Nevaeh,(Heaven spelled backwards), age 6. I will be posting some pics of them and also pics of my wife.
But I will make sure that the pics I show of her are of course, the most flattering ones I can find, NOT! Be warned Michelle! Ha-ha!

In any case, I hope you enjoy my warped sense of humor and my stories, I hope to post as often as I can, but sometimes, I don't get to log on as much as I would like to.

God Bless- Joshua