The Rhythm Of Life…

February 15, 2011

I have always loved music.  Anyone who has spent any time of my 27 year existence with me knows this.  At any point in my life, I can find a song or band that has propelled me through that moment.  When finding words to describe my feelings fail me, music has always been there.

These past 6 months have been no different.  Unfortunately, due to life circumstances the music that has carried me through this time is certainly not the most uplifting, happy music you have ever heard.  In fact, it’s quite the contrary.  There have been plenty of minor chords and angst filled lyrics that have littered the road I have walked over the past half of a year.

I must admit that I feel bad for many of my Pittsburgh friends who have met, and got to know me over the past few months.  You have seen a very different person than I would like to present to the world.  I’m sure you may have found traits that you find enjoyable, or things we have in common, but to be honest, I haven’t felt like myself in a very long time.  I have used a lot of distractions to keep my mind off of the life I am facing.  Some have been harmless, but others have been a bit more detrimental.  Several mornings have come where the memories of the previous night were all but a blur.  It’s in these moments that I realize that these temporary fixes aren’t bringing me a permanent solution to the problem.  I have been searching for anything to numb the pain of the reality of starting life over.  While some of these methods may “work” for a time, the damage they cause under the surface is much greater. The heart begins to harden, and the vibrant personality that lives underneath it all becomes callous and mundane.

Many of you have asked me lately why I’m not around as much.  First, please know it’s not because I don’t care about you (yinz). You have all been so supportive of me through all of this, and I am so thankful to you all.  The reality is, for several months, I lost track of the “music” of life.  Life used to be a brilliant symphony for me… lately, it has fallen into the faint sound of a child banging on a piano, desperately trying to put together a melody of any kind.

Over the past 2 weeks, I have begun to feel a passion for a full life once again.  A life that breaks the status quo.  One where I can break the ritual of a 24 hour carbon copy day that looks just like the last.  A life that is exciting, and has more for me than I could have ever imagined.  It will certainly take time to find my “symphony” again, and I am only finding the melody a day at a time.  There are still so many parts and intricate harmony lines to be found.  Hopefully I can discover this life with all of you, whom I care about so much.  I certainly can’t do it alone.

Luckily, that’s the beauty of a symphony.  One instrument can not play the entire piece.  Every part plays an important role.  To be honest, my faith teaches this very same thing about how we should all live and work together for a more perfect love and a greater life, but there’s no need to worry, I’m not going to start preaching right now.  As opposed to preaching from a “pulpit”, I’d rather live my life as the “instrument” that I feel I should be in this time and in this moment.  Perhaps in the chaos of life, some of you have lost track of what it means to join in this symphony of life. Perhaps the hurts and pains that life has dealt you have left you feeling rusty and meaningless.  If that is the case, I can only hope that perhaps my brief rambling tonight will ignite a desire to clean up your instrument a bit and join the wonderful music we can all make together.

And if you don’t like analogies… then first, I apologize for having to read through this all, second, have you considered that you possibly hate music? And finally, let me put it to you this way:

Thank you all for loving and caring for me through this very, VERY, difficult time.  I couldn’t do it without all of you, and I can’t do life from this point without you all either.  I hope we can all continue to walk through life together… wherever it may lead us all.


Coasting for Kids

July 21, 2010

So, if you read my Twitter or my Facebook, you may be tired of hearing about this, but don’t worry… You only need to hear about it for 9 more days… I ask you to please take just a few minutes and read this…

What you see below you is the Gemini roller coaster at Cedar Point… Looks fun, eh?  When it opened in 1978 it was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world!

I have ridden this coaster countless times in my numerous visits to Cedar Point over the course of my life, and on July 29th, I will be riding this coaster many more times, but for a VERY different reason…  Let me show you something:

Doesn’t this place look amazing?  If you were a kid and were in the car with your parents driving through the Orlando, FL area, wouldn’t you nag them and cry until they would pull over so you could see what this place was all about?

This place is truly amazing… truly magic… but in a different way than most “attractions” in Central Florida.  This is Give Kids The World Village.  This village is a 70-acre resort complete with over 140 deluxe Villas, entertainment attractions, and whimsical venues.  However, what makes this resort unique is that it is specifically designed for children with special needs and life threatening illness.  This village is a haven and a joyful escape for these precious children and their families.  Since it’s beginnings, Give Kids The World has given over 100,000 children the chance to enjoy both the Village and the famous theme parks in the Orlando area.  No child in need has ever been turned away – and no child ever will…  What’s even more exciting is that you can be a part of making sure these special children continue to have a place to be treated like the princes and princesses that they truly are!

In just 9 days, I will be going to Cedar Point.  I will be riding the Gemini roller coaster for up to 10 hours (with meal and restroom breaks of course).  A lot of the people who have talked to me about the event want to talk about this coaster marathon.  To be completely honest, it was one of the reasons that I signed up for the event.  However, over the past several weeks of raising money for this event, I’ve come to realize that there really isn’t anything special about me sitting on a roller coaster for ten hours.  It’s a ride… It will go up, and it will go down…many many times.  I may get motion sick, I may even need to stop before the day is done.  The truth is I have ridden Gemini over a hundred times already, and simply sitting on it for 10 hours isn’t going to bring joy to a child who is suffering.  It’s what we do in these 9 days leading up to the event that will make it special…  What we do in these next 9 days can and will bring joy to children and their families who desperately needs it.

I am asking for donations to sponsor my involvement in the event.  I have set a goal to raise 1000.00 for Give Kids The World.  As of this writing, I have raised 590 dollars so far!  I am so thankful for those of you who have been able to donate!  Your generosity is so greatly appreciated.  I know we only have less than 9 days left, but I truly believe that we can still hit my goal of 1000.00.  I know money is tight for many these days, but if only 82 people would donate 5.00, I would hit my goal.  If you can give more, that’s great, but all I’m asking is that you give what you can…

It’s easy to donate… I have a secure site set up where you can make your donation.  The money goes directly to the charity and I never see a penny of it.  If you would prefer to give offline, please let me know and I can arrange that as well.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate asking. Give today!  PLEASE!! (yes, I’m begging – these kids deserve it)

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give” – Winston Churchill

Donate by clicking here:
http://www.firstgiving.com/joshmiser

More information on Give Kids The World:
http://www.gktw.org

Photo Tour of Give Kids The World Village:
http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Thread/57447.aspx?id=808543


Under Construction

July 19, 2010

As someone who is very picky about page design, please avert your eyes from the very plain banner at the top of this page… I will be updating this to a cool, slick custom header later this evening… Thanks for your understanding.


life carries on.

April 11, 2010

My wife encouraged me tonight to blog…  It’s been quite the hectic/difficult/busy week, so blogging wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind, but I thought it may be therapeutic to “blog it out”.  So, with my wife’s nudging, here are my thoughts for the current moment.

the heavier side of life:
As I stated in my last post, my stepmother (Estela) was not doing well.  I went to visit her and my family a week ago Friday.  It was a last minute trip, but I am thankful I was able to go there and see her, as she passed away on Sunday (Easter) morning.  I left Pittsburgh again on Tuesday morning to head back to Indiana/Michigan.  It has been a good several days, but very hectic and emotional at the same time.  I was able to see so many family members, and was able to spend several days with my father (something I haven’t done in a long time).  When I was young, my brother and I would go out to dinner frequently with my dad, as well as spend weekends at his home.  Although it was under sad circumstances, it was nice to be able to spend time with him like that again this week.  I hope we can do that more in the future.  The services for Estela were very nice, and seemed to be a fitting tribute to her life.  You may have noticed that I said “seemed” in the last sentence.  The reality is I was never incredibly close to Estela.  When parents divorce and remarry, it sometimes does not yield the strongest of relationships.  This reality for me saddened me this week.  Estela always seemed to be a cheerful woman… Passionate, Loving, and a very devoted mother to her 2 daughters.  In the past few years, she was lucky enough to gain 3 grandchildren, and it’s always been clear that was a great joy in her life as well.  All the memories I heard shared about Estela the past few days made it very clear that she was a special woman, loved by many… Especially my father.  I can honestly say that I wish I had made an effort to be closer in the time we had together…  Despite my regrets and wishes, life does carry on.  I cannot turn the hands of time back now, and I must try to make the most of the days that remain in front of me.  There are lessons to be learned from all this, but with the emotions still fresh, I am still processing this.  I am back in Pittsburgh now, and I have one last day before I head back to work.  Hopefully it will be a restful day where I can clear my mind a bit more before diving back into the daily grind again…

other random things:
Despite the sadness/busyness of the funeral, there have been some other things going on…

In order to be with my family through the recent events, I have been doing lots of driving.  I have put well over 1,800 miles on my car in the past week.  Luckily, the only battle scar my car took was a small rock to the windshield on the way back to Pittsburgh yesterday.  I was happy to find out that as long as it can be repaired that my insurance will cover the cost.

Kelly and I began “Spring Cleaning” around the apartment today.  For those of you that don’t know, I have always had a tendency to be a somewhat messy person, but I hate when things get too messy.  With the craziness of the past few weeks, our house had gotten out of hand.  Luckily, we were able to get things back under control today.  There is more to do (isn’t there always?) but the house is looking much, much, MUCH better than it was.

Construction in Pittsburgh is a very frustrating thing… This morning, Kelly and I tried to go to the 10 AM service at the new church we are attending.  We left 40 minutes early, and the drive should have only taken 25 minutes.  Well thanks to Parkway closures/construction, it took us nearly an hour.  However there was a blessing in disguise.  We discovered a diner called Kelly O’s near the church that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on Food Network.  We had a delicious breakfast there (a bit unhealthy), and then made it to church for the 11:15 service.

Lastly… the Pittsburgh Pirates…  I have committed to following and supporting this team this summer.  This city has plenty of Steelers and Penguins fans, and while I enjoy these teams, I have decided to be a devoted Pirates fan this baseball season.  This has already been quite the stressful endeavor.  While the first 2 wins were quite exciting, the next 2 losses were awful.  I was encouraged by the win last night, but then today the team gave up 13 runs in ONE inning…  That’s right… The Bucs gave up more runs in one inning than most teams give up in 2 games…  This could be a long summer. ::deep breath:: GOOO PIRATES!

I know this post has been all over the place and back, but that’s pretty much how life has been the past few weeks.  Hopefully things will begin to return to normal, and as a result my posts will be a bit easier to swallow.  Hope you all have a pleasant week.


A little more about me.

March 22, 2010

So after my rather bleak post last night, I figured I would take some time to share some more about who I am.  A lot of people tend to know little things about me, but not why I enjoy those things.  So here’s your chance to know a little bit more about Josh.

Weather:
One of the first things people know about me is that I am a huge weather nerd.  I can frequently be found checking computer models, staring at a radar for hours as a storm approaches, and even posting my thoughts at the AccuWeather Forums. Many people have asked me “why didn’t you study meteorology in college”.  The reality is I wanted to, but when it came time to decide on what college to go to, the fact that my mom wanted me to stay in Indiana, and the fact that I wanted to attend a Christian college limited my options.  In retrospect, I wish I would have had the option to study meteorology, but I still very much enjoy having it as a major hobby in my life.  One funny thing that a lot of people don’t know about me is I used to be terrified of thunderstorms.  All the way into middle school I would hide under the bed when storms would come, and would start crying if I even knew a thunderstorm was coming.  Now I tend to run out into the middle of the street when a storm is bearing down on the area…  I even have my own weather blog now 🙂

God:
My Christian life has been full of ups and downs to say the least.  I was raised as a charismatic Pentecostal at a very large church in Fort Wayne, IN.  Early in high school I became fairly complacent in my faith (as many do) and didn’t have any real passion about it.  The summer before my Junior year of High School, my youth pastor called and invited me to Church Camp.  I reluctantly agreed and it ended up being a spark that turned me into quite the radical Christian.  I returned to High School determined to “save the world”.  I was actively involved in playing music at church, attending Bible Studies at school, and witnessing whenever I had the chance.  I kept that fire up until the time I graduated from High School.  The church I had grown up in went through a very difficult split.  Because of the size of the church, it was a front page story on all of the local newspapers, and it shook me to the core.  As I started college at a Christian school, I actually began to fall back into complacency.  During college I tried numerous different types of Christianity, from a radical group that many called a cult, to even beginning to consider Catholicism.  After college, the ups and downs got to me, and I fell away from Christianity.  I never denied my faith, but my actions certainly appeared that way.  Ever since then, I have been trying to find where I fit in to the grand scheme of Christianity, and I still continue that search today…

Roller Coasters:
This is another interest of mine that most people know about right away.  It is another interest that used to terrify me.  Growing up, and  all the way until middle school, I was terrified at the idea of getting on any roller coaster bigger than a kiddie coaster.  That all changed when my brother bet me ten dollars that I wouldn’t ride the Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point.  I reluctantly worked my way up to it and ended up completely loving it.  What my brother didn’t realize is that moment single handedly started my coaster fanaticism.  Since then I have now rode over 100 roller coasters, and have even rode the Magnum more than 350 times…  I even worked at Cedar Point for 2 summers during college.  Although I am a huge fan, I’ve never really gotten into the various coaster clubs that are available.  I tend to just enjoy riding them, but not becoming a part of an organized club.

Politics:
As I stated last night, I certainly don’t know as much about politics as I have led on.  But here is what I can say.  I was raised under the assumption that being a Christian meant being a Republican.  In college, I began to feel like some of the things that Jesus taught were actually more closely aligned with the views of the Democratic Party.  There will still major issues I had with the Liberal side of things (Abortion), but I felt like I was more closely aligned with the views of Democrats than those of Republicans.  In the past few weeks, I have realized that I don’t know a whole lot about what goes on in Washington, and sadly I feel the majority of the general public is just as uninformed as I am.  We tend to take what we hear in the media or on talk radio and accept it as gospel.  I really hope to change this soon.  With the recent passage of Health Care reform, I really do hope to read the bill to understand what it entails.

Well, I will stop with those tonight.  There are certainly more topics I can cover, but I will save those for another day.  If you have any questions you want to ask me, feel free to use my new formspring.  It seems like a fun way to learn about each other.  You can find it here:

www.formspring.me/StormFreak

You can always ask more in the comments as well.  Hope everyone had a lovely Monday.  The better part of mine was spent with a migraine.  Luckily that is gone now, and Kelly will be coming back early tomorrow morning, so that’s two things that are reasons to be happy today.  Talk to yinz later.


On a Ben Folds kick…

September 18, 2008

In honor of the Ben Folds Five reunion concert tonight, I felt it appropriate to post a video of a vintage 1998 BFF performance of the song “The Last Polka”… Good Stuff!


Remembering a fantastic album…

September 17, 2008

It has been quite awhile since I have listened through the entire album “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner” by Ben Folds Five, but I am glad I brought it back off the shelf (or off the iTunes Library).  Being an avid Ben Folds fan, I enjoy all of his albums, but this one may be my favorite.  I remember when I first got the album (the day it came out), I was a bit dissapointed.  It wasn’t the same as the past releases by the ‘Five’, as it had alot of variance in the style from song to song.  It had more jazz influences, and a more mature sound from “Whatever and Ever Amen.”  However, as I continued to listen to the album, it grew on me more and more, and soon passed the previous BFF albums in my favorites list.  Listening to it again now, I am reminded of how fantastic it is.  It makes me sad that I can’t make the trip to North Carolina tomorrow night for the Ben Folds Five reunion concert where they will play this album from front to back.   If you only know Ben Folds for Brick, The Luckiest, or “Bitches Ain’t Shit”… I seriously recommend you pick up this album and give it a listen.

My favorite tracks:
Don’t Change Your Plans
Magic
Army
Jane