Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Do I GET Thankful?

The spirit of the holiday season moves many to give thanks for what they have and I am no different. I give thanks for the greatness in my life and the gifts that I've been blessed with. But do I actually GET thanks? I don't mean receiving thanks or feeling entitled to accolades either because that's wrong. We should do good things for no other reason than because it's the right thing to do. But it's more than that.What I mean is...

Do I really understand what it is to be thankful?
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• The other night I listened to a man bear his soul about his addiction and the losses he experienced because of his poor choices. I couldn't completely relate to him, but I definitely understood how that could've been me with one or two different choices. When I was younger, my heart and mind were in a frightening place filled with depression and anger. As a matter of fact, I dipped my toe in that pool of darkness and I could've easily walked a similar path to that brave man standing before me sharing his struggles with strangers. I understand how blessed I am to have made the right choices.

• I saw a man walking down the street, a three foot steel pole tapping intermittently at the space around him, warning him of any impending danger ahead. A telephone pole. A newspaper kiosk. A fire hydrant. A curb that lead to the street filled with drivers distracted by the radio or texting to say they'll be 5 minutes late instead of paying attention to the road. I understand that my sight is a gift. Every time I head into the infusion center at clinic and connect to that yellow bag of vitamins, I'm thankful that I'll be able to see my goddaughter's smiling face, my wife's beautiful eyes, my mother's charming smile or both of my best friend's heads thrown back in a fit of laughter over something their sons did that day. There's so much more I don't have the time or the space on this blog to mention. I get to SEE that for at least another week. 

• People call Facebook, Twitter and other social media time wasters that have no productive or positive aspects in our daily lives. I beg to differ. I have over a thousand friends on Facebook, many that I interact with every day and even more that read every ridiculous word I have to say. Do I have examples of my stupidity? Sure...here's one:

"On my bag of chips it says "enlarged to show texture." Today, I'm thankful that there are so many things that AREN'T enlarged to show texture. 

P.S. - I said "That's what she said." out loud to myself and laughed a lot. I need to get out more."


Or how about this status?...

"
Goodbye Hostess. 

I'll miss the spongy substances that you called baked goods and remind me of my childhood. The way that Wonder Bread would return to it's original form even after I squished it in my hand. The way you inadvertently planted the seed for the erotic cake industry by using a drawing of a Twinkie mascot wearing a cowboy hat, bandana, boots and nothing else while twirling a lasso.

Th
ere's a Hostess store a block away from my house. Today I'll buy and eat one last pack of TRUE Hostess Twinkies, sacrificing every vital organ in my body to process a "product" that has more preservatives and chemicals in it than Keith Richards of the Rollings Stones.

I presume that's how Keith is still alive...a diet of Twinkies that absorbs all the drugs."


You could read those statuses and think how lewd I am or how inappropriate those thoughts might be, but there's a method to my madness. First of all, I write those frivolous and inane comments because it makes me laugh and keeps me sane. But...more importantly, I'm exposed to so much sadness and anger on Facebook. Children who are sick, people who've lost their job or hate where they work, but have no choice but to keep punching in and out for their families and themselves. People who are unhappy in their lives. I mean, my god, someone dies on my Facebook page at least once a week from a myriad of struggles. And no, that's not an exaggeration. People are scared out there and they need a little levity to ease their hearts. I understand my role. If people read the stupid things that spew out of my mind or that happen to me on a almost daily basis and it makes them chuckle, then I'm doing something right. I understand how important laughter is and I give it freely to anyone who needs it. I'm not always funny, but I try to be true to myself.

• There are people in the world who hold on to anger far longer than they need to. It consumes their thoughts and impacts their present and future relationships...so much so that it stops them from achieving a truly peaceful existence. I understand that I am one of those people, but I've gotten so much better over the last few years because I've opened myself up to others. I'm no saint, that's for damn sure, but because of the people I've met from across the world and in my own community, I'm  more peaceful than I ever have been. I understand that the world is so much bigger than me and that no one can hurt me forever if I don't let them. There's no winning and losing too important. There's no blame game too intense. There's only love and peace if I let it in and IF I TRULY GET WHAT IT IS TO BE THANKFUL.

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On Thanksgiving and everyday, I challenge you to do more than just give thanks. To do more than just write it on your Facebook page, on your blog or say it aloud in front of others. I challenge you...like I challenge myself...to wake up and look around the place you call home. To examine the relationships you cherish and the experiences you've had and UNDERSTAND how quickly it could be gone. How quickly YOU or SOMEONE YOU LOVE could be gone from this earth. 

I challenge us all to GET THANKFUL so we can all GIVE THANKS far grander than we ever  have. 

Peaceful Things and Lots of Thankful Love To Everyone Always,

Josh

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Joshland Unfiltered Podcast: Episode 2 - Transitioning From Pediatric To Adult CF Care Teams


Well...it's here! The first REAL episode with our guest panelists, Emily and Kelsey as well as the music of CF rapper Bobby "B.Fos" Foster is uploaded for your listening pleasure. I'll let the episode about transitioning from the pediatric to the adult CF care team speak for itself. You can listen to it here, but it would really help if you subscribe to us on iTunes as well.





I also want to make sure you go to the Joshland Podcast here on Welcome to Joshland and consider donating a few bucks to purchase headphones for our guests. Listen to the podcast or read this link to see why...

ABOUT THE JOSHLAND PODCAST

Now...I wanted to talk for a moment about taping a podcast...

I give Emily, Kelsey and every future podcast guest a ton of credit for being on the show. Sitting in front of a microphone and sharing your thoughts isn't easy because when you're on a recorded podcast or a radio show, what you say is out there to be heard and critiqued forever. They're wonderful people and I'm proud to have them as guests on our first podcast. I applaud their bravery and honesty, therefore, I must be brave too. Here it goes...

When I speak in front of an audience, I have a rehearsed and well crafted speech. I'm never nervous in front of people and I think that's because it's a gift I've been given. It's something I was meant to do. Share my story and support others with my words. Not to sound arrogant, but when it comes to public speaking...I'm damn good at what I do.

A podcast is a different animal.

When anyone is asked a question on the spot or they're under a little pressure to come up with the right words, they use what are called "filler words"—umms, aaaahs, and ya knows—while they're trying to convey their thoughts. Because of my cerebral palsy I do this all the time...pressure or not. I tend to talk my thought process out loud and my true thoughts and or message gets discombobulated through my verbal vomit. I know I'm doing it while I'm doing it, but it's really hard to control. Sometimes I cry because I know what I want to say in my head, but it doesn't come out that way at all. Then the CF lung issues kick in and I sound like a hyperventilating imbecile.

That's why I waffled over whether or not to start this project. I'm not afraid to be honest and say what I think when needed because nothing I say is ever intentionally malicious or hurtful, but as I said before...this is out there forever. I can change what I say in a blog post, I can craft a response on Facebook or in a chat room, but not on a podcast. Would it hurt me as a public speaker? Would I say something that might ruffle some feathers? Would I say something that might upset parents who have kids that love Moganko? All because I can't control my words?

Then I thought about it a little more and I decided I can't worry about what others think of me. I have to be myself. Thanks to my friend and producer, Tim Grossklaus, I have the opportunity to give people a voice that haven't had the opportunity to share their story. I have the opportunity to grow as a person and face my challenge of cerebral palsy head on. To listen to Tim and learn patience, how to slow down and speak clearly to my audience and still be the fun-loving guy people expect me to be. We really are having a good time when we're recording. You can't fake laughter and fun and I hope that comes across in each episode. Thank you, Tim, for the opportunity.

I hope you'll tune in each and every podcast to learn about these people, their life with CF, their life beyond CF and to listen to me turn those umms and aaahs into beautifully crafted and conveyed thoughts over the coming months and hopefully years of this podcast. Beating CF and CP at the same time. Sounds good to me. Literally.

Don't forget to:


Like our Facebook Fanpage



Peaceful Things,

Josh

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Would You Save Me?"

I'm re-posting this blogpost that I wrote on August 17, 2010  because I believe, now more than ever, we must be good to one another despite our differences. Because guess what? The world is going to keep turning no matter what happens, so we need to figure out how to live in peace. Please...respect each other and our right to exist.  Love, Josh ~ 11/7/2012

What if the ground trembled and the earth opened up, sending everything down into a ravine of darkness, hate, and fear? What if you saw me hanging from my fingertips off the edge of that ravine? Would you save me?

What if - not five minutes beforehand - I told you something about me.....
What if I told you that I was a (Insert race, religious/non-religious belief, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, etc...here.) person? What if I told you that I don't agree with (Insert race, religious/non-religious belief, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, etc...here.) people? What if the thing I told you was against every moral fiber in your being? Would you still save me?

My Blogger Profile reads:

"I'm a young man who has seen so much and so little that I decided to record the events of my life - big and small. The stories in this blog are honest, true, and sometimes graphic in language and events. There is not a story posted on this blog that is intentionally malicious or hurtful. Please keep in mind that while I may refer to my Christian beliefs from time to time, I have learned so much from so many fantastic people with different beliefs than my own and I cherish those people and experiences."

I believe in the power of being good to others regardless of their beliefs, the way they live their lives, and their opinions on the "taboo" topics. As long as you are caring, helpful, respectful, and do not spread hate in the world, then you are good to go in my book.

I'm honored to have people from all different walks of life reading my stories. In my heart, I think it means maybe we ARE willing take the time to listen to each other. Even if we aren't convinced by someone else's opinion, MAYBE we can respectfully agree to disagree while learning a little bit ourselves and those around us.

Could we even develop a friendship despite those differences? GASP! How bizarre!

The gift of listening is priceless. Unfortunately, few give that gift unconditionally. But based on all the diversity of my readers, I still have hope. Call me an optimistic realist, but I just want the world to figure it out and get along. I know it's a long shot, but forgive me...I'm one of those "Shiny, Happy, People" that REM was singing about.

Because there is one thing that we all have in common regardless of our personal beliefs:

Our humanity.

So I ask you...

What if the ground trembled and the earth opened up, sending everything down into a ravine of darkness, hate, and fear? What if you saw me hanging from my fingertips off the edge of that ravine? Would you save me? What if - not five minutes beforehand - I told you something about me that was against every moral fiber in your being? Would you still save me?

Because I would save you.

But what do I know? I'm just a nerd who hangs around with a puppet.

Peaceful Things and LOTS of love,

Josh

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Appearance On Eric Marten's CF Pioneers Podcast

In all the chaos over the last few weeks, I haven't had a chance to post my most recent podcast appearance. I was on the CF Pioneers Podcast with host and fellow member of the CF Community, Eric Marten. We ended up talking for about 2.5 hours and covered a ton of different topics from Fathers of CF kids, suffering in silence with CF, depression and more. I encourage you to listen to not only my podcast(s) with Eric, but his previous podcasts as well. Here's why:

Eric's podcast has a very raw and honest feel to it. He asks thoughtful and interesting questions that travel into topics many would try to avoid. The truth is that CF is a hard and individual disease. People do their best to survive and thrive through it. Sometimes that means navigating over some bumps in the road by making personal choices others might not agree with. Promoting CF Awareness from all aspects and opinions is something I'm very interested in. I believe in supporting anyone who has a honest, powerful and positive message even if it might not be all "duckies and bunnies". CF is all about that gray area. The highs and lows that make up the unique people in the CF Community. It's a big reason I agreed to be on the podcast. Eric is using his talents to provide yet another avenue to the CF Community to get our story out there. I'm happy to be a part of that.  

I hope to take aspects of the CF Pioneers Podcast and incorporate them into the Joshland Unfiltered Podcast. I also hope that Eric with accept my invitation to come visit Joshland with Timmy G and I in the future. We just have to find the right topic.


FYI - Our conversation was so long Eric had to split it up into two parts. I'm sure he'll post the second part soon and I'll link to it on this blog post. It just goes to show you...if you put a mic in front of me, then I'll talk until the cows come home. Thanks for having me on, Eric. It was an honor, my friend.

Here's Part One:

Josh Mogren Part One - CF Pioneers Podcast

Peaceful Things,

Josh

What'd You Think?

One of my favorite things about my blog are the comments I receive on my posts. I am so thankful that you take the time to write them. I may not respond personally to everyone, but make no mistake...I read every single one.

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Peaceful Things ~ Josh
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