Going Through Changes…

October 25, 2010

The last you heard from me, I was getting ready to participate in Coasting for Kids at Cedar Point for Give Kids The World.  I am happy to say that the event was a huge success!  Nationwide, the event raised over 40,000 dollars for this great organization!  For all of you that were able to donate, thank you so much!  I am looking forward to participating again next year!

Now I realize it’s been several months since I’ve posted.  If you’ve followed my blogging in the past, you will realize this is not surprising.  I am awful at keeping up with blogging, and with several changes that have been going on in my life, it’s been even more difficult to find time to put my thoughts on a screen.  But, that’s what brings me back here today.

To be honest, I am in the midst of the darkest season that I have faced in my relatively young life…  Growing up, we all have an idea of how we want things to turn out as our life progresses.  We may not have an exact idea of how things will turn out, but most of us tend to have a framework that we try to build our life upon.  Even if we don’t have a full knowledge of what will transpire, nearly everyone has specific things that they hope/believe will never happen to them.  These are the things that redden your eyes with tears, that keep you awake at night, and radically change the course of life that you have followed thus far.  These events have the potential to tear down all you have built so far, and leave you back at square one.  These events shake you to your very core, and make you question what could have possibly brought you to this place.  As devastating as these moments are, they also are pivotal in that they can either destroy you, or build you into a stronger, better person than you were before.

So that is where I stand right now… Facing one of the things that I never thought would ever happen to me.  This is my reality.  The frail hope that this is a very long bad dream has faded, and I am now just trying to figure out where to go from here.

Some of you reading this blog know what it is that I am facing, while others are completely clueless.  I am sorry that I am being vague right now, but I really don’t feel like publishing my entire personal life on the internet.  Rather, I look to process through some of the things I am feeling right now, and attempt to find healing through writing.  I have always loved writing, and find it to be very therapeutic, but I tend to ignore it until something like this happens.

I’m hoping to make this blog a place where I can process through the various feelings I am experiencing as I journey through this chapter of my life’s story.  Now don’t worry… I promise this blog is not going to become “Josh’s Inner Sanctum of Sadness.”  Hmm… Perhaps I will start that blog on another page (sarcasm).  While it is true that I am going through some very difficult things in life, it doesn’t mean that I am completely lacking any positive emotions.  In fact, sometimes in these dark times, you can find joy in places that you would never notice if you were just going about life as usual.

So if you pray, please pray for me.  If you don’t, at least send some positive thoughts my way.  If you don’t think any positive thoughts… well… then perhaps you should start an “inner sanctum of sadness” blog…

Thanks for your support during this difficult time, and hopefully I emerge from this a stronger, wiser person than when it started.


Live Like You’re Dying..

March 28, 2010

It’s been quite the roller coaster of a week… to say the least.

Kelly came home from visiting her parents on Tuesday.  I don’t know how many of you know this, but I am NOT a morning person.  Kelly’s train came in at 5 AM on Tuesday, and typically if I am awake at anytime before 8 AM I tend to be 3 parts zombie, to one part tapioca pudding.  Needless to say I was very tired at work on Tuesday…

Also this week, I have decided to jump back on the “health” wagon.  I didn’t post it on this blog (because I didn’t post anything here then) but last November or so, I began a weight loss attempt.  It was one of many I have had in my adult life, typically with minimal results.  I have been around the same weight since the start of college.  I fluctuate 10 pounds or so in either direction, but not much more (hence why clothes from my senior year of high school still fit me!).  When I do these “attempts” at weight loss, I will typically lose anywhere up to 20 lbs, plateau, get bored, and quit.  Then within a few months I am back at my weight where I have been for so long…. Anyway, back to November.  I am a sucker for infomercials (I own a Snuggie and a pack of ShamWows) and I had heard good things about P90X.  I had a friend who had seen a lot of success with it, and decided to give it a try myself.  I loaded up on the DVDs, Recovery Drink, Resistance Bands, a pull-up bar, the whole shebang.  For 30 days or so, things went great… I lost 10 lbs or so, was eating well, and then the holidays came… In addition to the holidays, Kelly and I had several life issues happen with jobs, cars, health, etc that even further disrupted my routine.  I tried to stay on track, but the workouts were getting more and more difficult, and I finally fell off the train.

Since then I’ve gained back about half the weight I lost, but feel worse about my body than I ever have before.  So I’m back.  This time I’m trying Power 90.  Think of it as P90X: Lite.  It still is a great workout, and I am 3 days in so far, and feeling good.  I have also gone back to eating healthy.  It’s amazing how much better you feel when you eat well and work out.  You feel so much more alive.  In addition to the Power 90, I’m also going to try out Shakeology from Beachbody.  I looked over all the ingredients and it looks like quite the healthy shake!  Hopefully that will aid in this whole “return to fitness” that I am attempting.

Despite the positive turn I have taken this week for my health, I have also had quite the upsetting health news.  I received a call from my dad yesterday letting me know that my stepmother, Estela, had taken a turn for the worse.  She has been fighting cancer for well over a year, and there have been victories and struggles.  Unfortunately, in the past few days she has taken a turn, and is not doing well.  Thankfully, she is resting comfortably at home, and Hospice has been available to help with any needs they have.  I am still praying, and keeping hopeful, but things do not look great.  If you pray, I would really appreciate your prayers for this situation.

With this recent news, I am reminded of how fragile life is.  I have always tried to live by the phrase  “No Day But Today” from the musical Rent.  Whether we have health or sickness, we never know what tomorrow holds.  We must live each day with the reality that it may be our last.  Love one another.  Live passionately.  Never take life for granted.  We can say that we will get to something “tomorrow”, but tomorrow may never come.  Excuses only delay us.  I want to live this life to the fullest, and I have to live that way everyday, every hour, every second, every breath until my last.

There’s only now, There’s only here
Give in to love, or live in fear
No other path, No other way
No Day But Today.

What I really mean to say is…

March 22, 2010

“last night I was
east with them
and west within
trying to be for you
what you want to see”

– Ben Folds – Best Imitation of Myself

Time for the rubber to hit the road, the pen to hit the paper… It’s time for me to finally spill some of these thoughts that I have been unable to put words to.  I have tried to share parts of this before, but I feel like it’s never come out in full.  My wife doesn’t even know some of these feelings.  Not because I’m hiding from her, but rather because I have not known how to explain… I’m going to do my best now.  I’m making this so public, because I feel like anyone who knows me/wants to know me/has known me should hear this.

I feel like a complete, total, utter fraud.

In this journey of life we so often search for the things that define us.  Whether that is a passion, a belief, a cause, or countless other  frivolous things.  We tend to take a collection of all these things, paste them on a canvas, and present them to the world as who we “are.”  For a time in my life, many years ago, if someone looked at those things on my canvas, they would see a passionate, sometimes radical, Christian, someone who always wanted deep conversation with others, someone who fought for the causes of those who were in need, and a spatter of other fun interests.  As college ended, I pasted up new images to try to add some color to my life palette.  Whether that was frequently going out to the bar, trying to seem like a more “progressive” Christian, loosening my morals a bit among some other nasty habits.  My collage became very crowded… Sometimes with things that even seemed to contradict each other.  Recently, I feel as though many of the things in this personality collage have dried up and fell off the canvas, leaving just some base level interests of roller coasters, music, weather, and technology behind, along with small traces of all the things that have been there before.  In between those remaining clippings, are blank, yellowed, spaces.  People close to me, mainly my wife, have tried to understand what lies in those spaces.  Where is the passion I once had?  Where is the spontaneity that once made me such a “fun” person?  Why is nothing sticking anymore?  As I have thought about this, I think the problem is the canvas itself… Me.

As I look at this tattered, confused work of art, I feel that I have always used the things I present to the world to cover up the things that I want to hide from the rest of the world.  As I drift from situation to situation, I adapt to the people I’m around and paste up some things that make me fit in with them.  Some of the things I show to others are things that really interest me, and others I really don’t care about at all.  The more I can put up, the less chance there is of them seeing me for who I really am.  So who is that person? 

I frequently feel: Insecure. Inadequate. Discontent. Scared. Stressed. Depressed. Desperate. Lost.

I know that sounds rather bleak, and it is, but don’t get me wrong, those aren’t the only things I feel. I still do find joys in life.  I don’t walk around all day feeling like a miserable zombie. It just seems at the end of the day, as I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling in the darkened room, I fight to keep those negative feelings at bay.  It’s those feelings I hide from so many, and it was those feelings tonight that brought me to the computer.  I am so afraid of rejection.  I desperately seek affirmation and admiration from others, sometimes in excess.  In my life, when I didn’t find those things, I have sought comfort in some very dark things.  Things in my past that disgust me to even think about…

So I’m sure if you have read this far, you probably are regretting reading this “buzz-kill” of a post.  On a positive note, the reality is I know that hope is out there.  I know that something has brought me this far.  I am just so damn tired of covering myself up with all of these things that aren’t connected to the core of me.  I want to have passions that really drive me.  I want to have confidence when someone asks me the terrifying question “Tell me about yourself.”  My wife has been wonderful.  She has seen the real me more than anyone, but not as much as she should.  She always tries to really find out the things that are bothering me.  She always tries to encourage me.  I am so thankful for that.  In these times when she is away (visiting family), I realize how much she really is a part of me.  I couldn’t imagine life without her, and I am so sorry for the times where I haven’t been able to “be myself” around her.

Here’s the reality.  I know very little about politics (even though I just tweeted about Health Care tonight).  I have danced around a stage, doing my best “Will Farrell” impression with the cowbell, when inside, I struggled with feeling self-conscious about my weight, and whether people laughed because I was funny, or because I looked like a complete fool.  I can think of many times I was performing in theatre productions where all I could think about was if people could see that I was sweating through my costume (I sweat a lot)… On the more serious side, my faith in Christ is so stale that I feel like a cliché every time I even speak the name of Jesus.  I donated money to an AIDS fund for several years, and never even knew that much about the disease.  I supported a child through Compassion International for those same years, and never even once bothered to write him (I’m so sorry Saitoti)

I just want to be real… I don’t even know if I know how to do that.  I suppose tonight was a good start.  I feel like I’ve done deep posts like this before, only to go back to the way things were.  I don’t want that to be the case.  I want change.  I am tired of hiding.

One thing I know for sure, is those of you who are my friends, I love you and care for you all very much.  I’m sorry for the times I have been fake around you (even if you didn’t know it at the time).  Even when my canvas looked like something a 2 year old tore up and put together, many of you still saw it as a beautiful work of art, even though it clearly was a mess.  You all mean so much to me, and you deserve the “real me”.  So that’s who is writing this tonight.  I have a lot of trash to clean up.  I need a clean canvas.  My faith tells me that God is always willing to give me that chance.  I ask the same of you.  I start tonight with a clean canvas.  I just pray that as I start over, that the work of art that is created is not one covered with items that hide, but rather things that truly exemplify who I am, for better or worse… I want my canvas to display things that are really impacting me, instead of those things that mask me.

Right now this canvas has some dark colors on it, and some clear signs of hurting.  In addition, some of the things on it aren’t very deep or intelligent (yes I am still a complete roller coaster nerd).  But it is me.  In addition, I believe in God… unapologetically… I can’t explain everything about my faith, and I certainly have my doubts, but it is a part of me that I don’t want to stuff away anymore. My faith may seem silly and frivolous to some, but it is an integral part of my life, and I want to start living my life in a way that shows that (talking to God again would be a good start).  I also need  to understand this whole health care thing more (almost 2000 pages of fun)… but yeah… Hi, I’m Josh Miser… nice to meet you (again).

Don’t Wake Me, I Plan On Sleeping In…

June 25, 2009

There is a problem that I have had for as long as I can remember, and I’m beginning to get fed up with it.

I NEVER feel rested after sleeping.

I can sleep for 4 or 5 hours, or I can sleep for 14 hours, and I still feel the same when I wake up.  Miserable (and no, my last name has nothing to do with that word).  I have always wondered why this is, and recently I’m beginning to wonder if it’s my attitude.  I’ll be honest, I’m a pessimistic person.  I often struggle to find the positive in things, and I attribute that to my over analyzing everything that happens on this earth.  My wife will often look at me and think I am upset, when really I am just thinking so hard that I have developed a perma-scowl on my face.  My mind is constantly racing, and often fails to enjoy the moment, but rather is constantly analyzing what is to come.  I really believe this does affect my waking up in the morning, as I have found on days that I am excited about what is to occur that day, I have a much easier time waking up.  On the flipside, I find weekdays are the worst.  That leads me to believe that  my job is contributing to my morning misery.  The reality is my job is not all that bad.  It pays well, is not overly stressful, and is a hell of a lot better than what most people have right now.  I should be thankful.  Unfortunately, even telling myself all these things never fixes the fact that when I wake up, I begin to think of anyway to stay in bed longer.  My attitude really does suck sometimes…

I honestly believe I need to stop worrying and analyzing so much (easier said than done), and begin enjoying the little things in life more.  I also need to just be more disciplined.  Like I said, this has always been an issue, and in college, my failure of getting up for classes had a huge negative effect on my grades.  Now, I do wake up, but it’s always in just enough time to get ready and get to work on time.  It really puts a cloud over the start of my day, and I know my wife would appreciate me joining her for breakfast from time to time.  Hopefully I can find a way around this issue.  Old habits are hard to break, but this is one that really needs to go.  If anyone has any tips on making the “wake-up” process a bit more pleasant, I would definitely appreciate hearing them.

Where to Start?

June 22, 2009

If blogging were my career, and I sat down for my review today, I would hear a few comments like these:

“Starts strong, but fails to follow through”
“Typically starts with a deep post, followed by a few random posts, followed by months of silence”
“Has potential, but lacks discipline”

So.  Here we go again.  My name is Josh and I am a fair weather blogaholic. (“Hi Josh“)

Since the last time you heard from me in mid-November, I have gotten married, have 3 kids, and a beautiful 2-story home with a white picket fence.  (I’m lying about the kids, the home, and picket fence)  We are adjusting to married life quite well, and Kelly and I have some awesome potential opportunities on the horizon (will discuss those more, when/if I am able to).  Married life offers all sorts of new challenges (sharing space, sharing resources,  sharing chores), but has incredible benefits that make it totally worth it (sharing life with my best friend).  On a personal front, I am faced with a few things lately that have been weighing on my mind, and that’s really what brought me back to this stagnant blog of mine.

I’ll come right out and be honest.  Kelly and I haven’t been to church in several months.  It isn’t because we don’t like the preaching.  It isn’t because we don’t like the people there.  We are just completely lacking Christian fellowship of others our age.  Our church is great, but the number of people between 20-30 is very low.  If they are there, they come to service and leave right after, just like we do.  Although preaching is nice, church is really about the fellowship, and when you don’t have that, it’s hard to go week after week.  In addition to all of that, I have been struggling lately with what Christianity should look like in our day and age.  I struggle with the relevance of the typical church format.  I don’t want to go sit in silence, save for a few songs.  I want to talk.  I want to discuss.  I want to challenge and be challenged. I believe the modern church should have much more room for dialog.  This is what builds my faith.  I have questions, and they aren’t basic questions like “does Jesus love me?” or “does God care about my finances?”.  They are deep, meaty, philosophical, theological, and metaphysical questions that could take some time to dig through, and I want to be able to do that with other Christians.  The questions may not even have answers, but I at least want a venue to discuss them.  In the words of Bono “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”…

As many of you know, I am an avid news reader/watcher.  I have become very interested with the conflict going on in Iran over the recent elections there.  I have been following a lot of the grassroots journalism over on Twitter and have become quite impassioned by a lot of what I have seen.  The graphic, yet eye-opening images of the violence there have raised a lot of questions in my mind.  Is it ok to show pictures and video of such horrific things?  What social responsibility do I have after seeing the things I have?  What role, if any, does America have in this conflict?  I have talked before about my disdain of the US having the “god-complex”, but at the same time when there is injustice, do we have an obligation to act on it?  Is it truly an injustice?  Do we blindly trust what we hear and see from the media?   One thing has definitely moved me though.  Many of those opposing the election results are my age, and seeing them risking their lives in the streets for something they truly believe in has been awe inspiring and challenging to me.  How many times in my day-to-day life do I stand boldly for the things that matter to me?  All things considered, I have far more questions than answers when it comes to this issue, but I do know that my prayers do go out to the people of Iran in this troubled time.

Kelly and I have had a lot of discussions recently as to where our future will take us.  We know one thing.  We don’t have a strong desire to stay in the Michiana area.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some good things about this area, but the rising crime rate in South Bend, mixed with the limited options in a city this size has us looking to move on.  Where and when that will be are still up in the air, however we want to make sure we are making the best decision possible.  There are a lot of  possibilities out there, and we are just waiting to see if things line up.  This chapter is definitely unfinished, and more will be added as time goes on.

To wrap things up, if I could describe my life in one word right now it would be “transition”.  Things are very shaky all around right now, but suprisingly I am ok with that.  I feel the winds of change, and that excites my soul.  Where the winds will lead is still to be determined, but I know that whatever direction they go, there will be lessons to be learned and experiences to be gained.  These things, my blog friends, along with a faith that is always under construction is what makes life worth living.

If you have read through my 922 word recap, I appreciate it.  I would give you a cookie if I had a cookie, and a digital way to transmit it to you.  I will try to keep future entries a bit more readible.

Yes We Can??

October 29, 2008

I’m currently blogging from bed, which is a first for me for a couple reasons.  First, I just recently got a nifty ASUS Eee PC 900 so I can blog on the go (which I will talk about at a later date), and secondly, this just couldn’t wait until morning.

So I’m lying here in bed watching some Jay Leno to wind down, when he does his “Jaywalking” segment in which he goes out on to the streets and asks people questions to normally prove how “stupid” they are.  Tonight’s segment quizzed the contestants about the upcoming election.  After watching the segment, I am thoroughly convinced that we need to have a standardized exam for those who want to vote in our elections.  I do not believe things have always been like this.  I believe there was a time where people were better educated and not spoon-fed by the media and the Internet, but clearly that time is long gone. If I had a reputable enough blog, and could fudge a few documents, and have some seemingly reputable sources, I could probably make a case that Obama is the son of Hugo Chavez and McCain is the son of a velociraptor.

You may wonder, “Gee Josh, why are you so upset?”.  Well let me explain…  Several of the people whom Jay interviewed tonight were actually wearing candidate t-shirts, and showing very vocal support of their respective choice.  Despite this, they couldn’t tell Jay who the vice-presidential candidates were, or even answer questions regarding the 3 branches of the United States government (one person believed that the Parliament was a part of the US Government).  Another interviewee had never heard the term POW, and another believed that Kennedy was in office for 4 or 5 terms, and was the predecessor to Harry Truman…  The fact of the matter is that one of these folks can walk in and vote just as easily as a well-educated political science professor from a prestigious university…  Some may see this as the beauty of the “freedoms” we have here in America.  I see it as scary.  Without going into too many of my personal political views, I will say that I believe that the next few years are going to be very important in American history, and I often wonder if I have enough insight to really make an informed decision in this election.  Then I see people like I saw tonight who are sold out to one candidate on the premise of popularity and hype only, and I wonder how many people really know the candidate they are voting for in November and the core values that person stands for…

So what do you all think?  Is the right to vote more important than ensuring that the voter is making an informed decision?  I’m split myself, but after seeing the ridiculous lack of knowledge tonight, I certainly question the precedent…

A matter of perspective…

September 11, 2008

When approaching a broad post to describe my life right now, I come to a fork in the road…  I could talk about the fact that my job is more stressful than ever, that wedding planning isn’t as joyous as I had hoped for, that I have more credit card debt than I was hoping for, and that I am still just as overweight as a year ago when I said I was going to get in shape…

Or… I could tell you that I have a wonderful fiancee, a job that is paying more than I was planning to make at this point in life, friends who care about me, and a church that values my involvement.  I have gotten to take some great trips this summer to amusement parks, and just this past weekend I got to go to the season opener at Notre Dame Stadium.

Tonight I was standing outside Kelly’s car talking to her about this matter of perspective.  As I talked to her, it started to rain.  In that moment, one of my many cheesy, yet introspective comparisons wafted through my tired mind….

It’s going to rain at some point.  And even when it stops… It will eventually rain again.  When it stops, do I complain and focus on the fact that I am wet, or do I relish in the fact that the rain has stopped and the sun is shining?  And when it does rain, do I instantly run for cover?  Or do I take time to take in what the rain offers in it’s own unique way?  In the same way, there will always be things going on in my life that bring me down.  And even if they stop for a time, they will still return.  So do I focus on the good, or the bad?  How often do I miss the good, because I’m too focused on the bad?  And how often do I miss a lesson from the bad, because I’m too busy complaining about it?

One thing I am thankful for is the fact that the clouds and rain do eventually go away… and through all the chaos and darkness, the sun was always shining.