Crazy Little Thing Called Life

It’s been several months (ie, almost a year) since I had last posted on my website. In the meantime, incredible things have happened to me. The question is: Where should I start?

Late last year, as I was heading down a dark, loathing and bitter road, an old friend and I had rekindled our friendship. Not that it ever died, but she got married and we kept our distance. While we were reconnecting, she had ever-so-subtly nudged me in a direction that I needed to go. Instead of letting my heart continue to harden and freeze, she had ever-so-slightly reintroduced me to God, Christ and the Church. I started listening to her church’s podcasts, of my own volition and following whatever I could. Yes, it was an extremely drastic change in the direction I had been heading. For lack of a more succinct way of putting it, I finally saw the light.

Throughout our conversations, she would ask me some rather pointed questions, and I would answer truthfully and from the heart. Yes, to say the least, I realized that I still have feelings for her. Granted, it took a very, very long time for me to initially realize how I felt about her years ago, my feelings had still lingered on for her. Although she may not believe it, it’s certainly true. INCREDIBLY true.

After all the talk, I (or was it we? :-P) decided to pursue a relationship with her. While making this choice, I had to weigh many things in my mind. In particular, should I try to have her move to Owensboro, or should I move to Colorado Springs? After another long, fruitful, and helpful conversation with her, she had decided that she is NOT going to move for me, for many particular reasons that I agree with. After sitting and thinking for a long while (far longer than I like to admit), I had realized that there is nothing in Owensboro for me. Between family in-fighting, a derelict group of friends (aside from those that have stayed close to me, you guys know who you are), a job that just couldn’t pay my bills, and a dating scene that consisted of crazy women or gold diggers or both, I had finally decided that it’s time for me to move somewhere else. Colorado Springs it is!

In March, we had made it official, more or less. Yes, we are an item. A couple. We are dating. Suffice to say, I love this woman more than I could have ever imagined, and it’s not going to change. I have harbored my feelings for her for years, and even then, there were a few years that I wasn’t even aware of how I felt. Yes, this silly, raucous, strange man was oblivious to a woman who had been quite blatant (toward me) with her flirting and feelings. However, I am incredibly thankful that God didn’t put us together back then, because neither of us would appreciate the other like we do today.

Moving forward from March, I really started searching for a job in Colorado. Nibbles here, bits of opportunity there. Nothing seemed to come together, and I kept getting discouraged as the months went by. Despite this, and while trying to sell of things (including my house!), I started saving money for the move. It also would serve to point out that I was also wanting to take a vacation to visit her, but I was wary of spending the money and using the vacation time. Also despite this, my Aunt gave me the cash for a round-trip ticket (unexpectedly, mind you), and I flew out to spend a week with her on July 1st.

What an incredible, yet whirlwind of a week! Not only did I get to spend time with the woman I love, but I got to meet her parents all within the same trip (ps. they live in Vegas!). Spending time with her, and her parents, was not only enjoyable, but educational on many levels for myself and them. They got to meet me, learn who I am, and how I am, and I got to learn more about them. It was an excellent, informative, and enjoyable experience.

After returning to Kentucky from my vacation, I started hitting the job search harder than ever. The visit did nothing but light a fire under my tail. Not only does the woman I love live in Colorado Springs, but I felt at home immediately. I had never felt at home where I’ve been, all my life. Yes, even my “hometown”, I had never felt comfortable and at home. You could say I had become rather content (not happy) with where I was. Resigning myself to be ‘content’ with where I am is something I never should have done.

A week after returning, I had applied for a position at Focus on the Family. The next week, I had been contacted by a recruiter at Focus. After speaking for around fifteen minutes and being told that they were interested in speaking further with me about some positions that they will have open, we eventually scheduled an interview that happened to be on my birthday! Not only was the interview on my birthday, but it had been one of the few interviews where I came out of it feeling quite confident about it. A couple of weeks later (ie. a week and a half), I was given a second, TEAM interview via Skype. Once again, I had come out of an interview feeling very confident. Two days later, I had been offered the job!

The next two weeks had consisted of packing, finishing up my position at Audubon Area Community Services, and planning as much as I could. Sad to say, I’m quite disorganized, no matter how hard I try. On August 22nd, I walked out of Audubon as an employee, for the last time.

On Wednesday, August 27th, I picked my girl up from Nashville. She flew in to help me pack up my car, pets, and make the drive to Colorado! How can one not love this woman? She is so kind, wonderful, sweet, loving and devoted. Am I lucky? No, I can’t say that. I am BLESSED. God has provided so much, not just for me, but for both of us. Yes, He provided financial help, starting Christmas day when I had developed plumbing issues on my house. Yes, He provided more help when my mortgagor claimed I was $400 short on my escrow account (which was INCREDIBLY painful, financially). Yes, He provided a way to come out and visit with her. I couldn’t be more thankful. In the meantime, He provided her with a better job, with a better apartment. He provided her not only TWO raises, but an additional bonus at her new job. THAT is incredible. Finally, He provided me a way to be out here in Colorado Springs. He gave me a way to not only be here with her, but a way to help in the ministry. A veritable one-two stroke; two birds with one stone.

He, effectively told me, “Yes, you have given your all to be there with her. Now, I want you to give Me your all.” And I will. I have a lot of learning and growing to do, but I will.  After all that He has provided and cared for, how can I ignore Him? I can’t. She has been a Godsend, quite literally. Our history together is deep; she has been my best friend since college. Even when we were out of contact, she still knew me better than anyone else did, or does.

Yes, I thank God for everything I have. He has given me a lot, and now it’s time for me to try to give back in any way I can. I’m going to work as hard as I can to learn and further my work for Him. Yes, I’ve made a complete 180 degree turnaround, but I’m more than just thankful. I know I’m undeserving, but He blessed me with more than I could have imagined.

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Dreamhost!

I’ve been a Dreamhost user for several years now. I must say, I do recommend them. They’ve been prompt to help me fix issues. They’ve migrated my hosting to another server when the one I had been on was outdated and having connectivity issues for me, and everything. I plan on sticking with them for a while.

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YES!

I have a few naysayers around various parts of Kentucky that keep trying to put me down, and tell me that I’m not going to amount to anything. I’ve got some news for them. The last year, although it has been difficult due to a variety of things in my life, I have been quite successful in a lot of things. Point being: I’ve been doing concert photography for some internationally acclaimed and known bands. For example, last night. I photographed the English-based progressive rock outfit known as Yes. Want proof? Here you go: PROOF.

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Aether Realm – Hourglass

I love this song!

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2012 – In A Nutshell

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written here. I guess it’s time to start updating this more often, and I believe the best way to do that is to reflect upon 2012.

This past year has bee a tumultuous one, with many high points, and just as many lows to go along with it. However, such a reflection is best suited to start with the worst, first.

2012 started off with a slight bang in the ‘bad’ department. Late in January, my father had a heart attack. Granted, my father and I have never been excessively close as friends, let alone family, I still greatly care for him, and worry. Yes, we argue, and yes, we have had our own… physical altercations. That is in the past, and I still love him, and respect him, despite our hardships. With the revelation of his heart attack, I began to worry how my mother would cope with it, especially with her health having been an issue of the last five years. Thankfully, after it was all said and done, Dad is still doing well despite the heart attack.

Fast forward a couple of months, and one of the worst things to happen this year, occurred. My great-grandmother, whom I was very close to, passed away in April. Her passing was incredibly difficult for me, and I still have a hard time accepting the fact that she is gone. The wonderful woman helped keep my head about myself when it felt that all hope was gone. Still, I have no idea what I’m going to do without her.

June seemed as if things were on the up and up for me. Started talking to someone, and really enjoyed her company. However, things took and incredible and DRASTIC turn, and everything just fell apart. I’m not going to go into specifics here, all was said and done, and it’s over. No looking back.

These last few months have been stressful for me for a variety of reasons, which, once again I will not be going into detail over. Life happens, and you just have to move on.

Now to focus on the more positive aspects of life in 2012. For starters, I began my endeavor as a concert and event photographer. I have to thank Mr. Jonathan Newsome for giving me the chance to do this. It has been an absolute joy to go out to concerts and photograph bands as they are giving it their all on stage. Artists that I have been fortunate enough to photograph this year are: Lost River Cavemen, Sixth Floor, Gravel Switch, HURT, Undead Anna, Stellar Revival, Black Stone Cherry, Judgement, Stonecutters, Machine Head, Sylosis, Hatebreed, Lamb of God, and In Flames. Several of these bands are some of my personal favorites, which just makes the photography even more fun.

Not only to mention photography, but Mr. Newsome has also allowed me to write album reviews, and even interview artists for Unsung Melody. The site, despite the difficulties we had had a few months ago, seems to be doing well, and is on the up and up. I have to say that it has provided me some of the most fun I’ve had ALL year.

Another positive aspect of the year: I got a dog. Yes, she’s a boxer/labrador mix that I named Isis. She’s incredibly hard-headed, but she is definitely a loving dog. To top it off, the cat and dog both get along SO well! They are like sisters, in that they fight one minute, and cuddle and love each other the next.

I guess it’s time I start wrapping this post up, as I’ve got a lot to do before the end of 2012.

And with that, I bid adieu to 2012, and welcome the new of 2013. Happy new year, and I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe night!

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The Reason Why I (Am Starting To) Hate People

Seriously? I just received this email today from a coworker, that operates a facility I have to travel to on occasion:

To: Joshua Campbell
CC: <Boss of Name Removed>
From: <Name Removed>

Subject: Re: Fwd: <location removed> Computer in <room location removed>

What is the status of this helpdesk? I have asked the status before and still nothing done. The education staff are required to enter information into two different program on the internet. Classroom I can not do this on a consistent basis due to their computer not working. They have gone to other computers in the building, but they should not have to continue to work out a time to do this. The last time I asked about the status of this being taken care of the answer was IT was waiting on something else for Christian County. In my opinion we have waited long enough, actually too long. When is this going to be taken care of?

<Name Removed>

I, very quickly, replied to my coworker with the following:

To: <Name Removed>
CC: <Boss of Name Removed>
From: Joshua Campbell

Subject:  Re: Fwd: <location removed> Computer in <room location removed>

<Name Removed>,

I previously emailed you in regards to this helpdesk ticket on August 28, 2012. Since that time, nothing else has changed. Yes, I do have a replacement computer prepared for deployment. I have had other priorities that I could not change. However, at the moment I cannot do anything in regards to the help desk ticket until I am back in <Location Removed>. When I return, I will be installing the replacement PC. I will let you know when I will be heading to <Location Removed>.

Joshua R. Campbell

After that reply, she shot back another message:

To: Joshua Campbell
CC: <Boss of Name Removed>
From: <Name Removed>

Subject: Re: Fwd: <location removed> Computer in <room location removed>

In other words same answer as last time. What would you do in IT if your computer did not work? You would get a replacement a lot quicker than 5-6 weeks later. This is very frustrating for my staff and for me. I understand that you can only come if your supervisor says you can, but it is so unfair to the staff in the field to not have what they need to fulfill their job. Have a blessed afternoon!!!

<Name Removed>

What I want to know is, WHY would you carbon copy your supervisor, instead of just directly email me? I know exactly why, it’s because this person is TRYING to get me into trouble. This is the 4th go-round with this person. I am seriously considering filing a grievance in regards of harassment. This is just disgusting behavior on my coworker’s part.

Now, I love my job. I work very hard at my job. The amount of time spent at my job is inordinate as of late. I cannot complain. Generally, the people I work with are a pleasure to talk to, to work with, and to be around. What more could a person want from a job? It’s a great job, full of great people, and all. So, it begs to question WHY would someone be this way with me? This coworker obviously doesn’t deserve the RESPECT I give to them, but I’m not a disrespectful person. Why should I be? Point being, treat me, and others with respect.

To be honest, that’s not the first thing this week to piss me off about people. Last night, I got a message from someone whom I had spent a lot of time with, at one point, aiming for a possible relationship with her. Earlier in the summer, it had soured, and I didn’t hardly talk to her since then, for various reasons. She started off the conversation rather pleasantly, compared to what it could have been, then went off the deep end. She started griping at me, essentially claiming that I talk to her close friends more than her. Of course, explaining the fact to her that I DO NOT sit at the computer all day long on Facebook, waiting for her to log on so I can message her, did no good. I rarely text many people anymore, and I’m on Facebook at random times and intervals. I guess she was upset that I was talking to some of our mutual friends, and not her. I don’t know, but it’s petty, immature, and irritating for someone to behave that way. So, I think I’m done with talking to her, whatsoever. Frankly, I think I’m done talking to a lot of people. Not worth my time and effort.

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A Looking View In

Today, and yesterday, have proven to be achievements all upon themselves. To start off, I’ll talk about yesterday, July 6th. It was a year ago, yesterday, that I closed on my house and had moved in. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a homeowner for a year. It’s been hard during this past year, but I’ve made it so far, and shall continue. I’ve done a lot of work on the house so far, but I’m proud when I realize how far I’ve come.

The other ‘achievement’ is my mother’s 53rd birthday on July 7th. It’s hard to believe, for me, because we had almost lost her five years ago. I’m so thankful that she is still here. She’s one of my closest friends, and knows a lot more about me than most people. She’s my mother, and I don’t know what I would do without her. If it hadn’t been for her, I may not be here today.

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Mary Hazel Conrad – July 20, 1913 to April 2, 2012

I haven’t spoken about it much online, except in thanks to my friends and family whom have supported me via Facebook and Twitter. Last Monday, April 2, 2012, my great-grandmother, Mary Hazel Conrad, passed away. She was an amazing woman, who left a long legacy from her 98 years of life. Her life, riddled with wonderful memories, and hard times, was exceptional. She was never pessimistic, and always looking at the brighter side of life. She had personified love

Granny and I

for me, and many others in our family. Beautiful, inside and out. A heart of gold, that melted others with the softest of smiles.

Her final four years of her life were spent at Owensboro Place, a retirement facility. It pained me to see her in such a state that required 24 hour care, but the family had no choice. She seemed to enjoy her time there, mostly, except for the food. However, I do not think she realized where she had been living, since we always told her she was in a rehab center, or her apartment. If she was more aware, she would have had a nervous breakdown if she knew where she was.

I was always close to her, even when I was a small child. She shaped me to be the kind, and caring person I am today. These last four years, although painful, I spent as much time as I could with her. This last year, she had become incredibly difficult when it came time for her to eat. I would come out after work, and get her to eat. I was the ONLY person who could get her to eat. Despite the fact, she started to wither away; no longer the plump, yet jolly woman of my memories, but she retained her sharp wit and sarcasm. I would come out to see her after going to Hopkinsville for work, and tell her I went down there, only to have her retort, “You mean to tell me, they let you out of there?” in reference to Western State Hospital (psychiatric facility).

What can I say? I’m going to miss the woman. She was a pillar of love and influence in my life. Watching her lay in that bed and pass was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. Saying goodbye was the last thing I ever wanted to do to someone who has been such and important piece of my life. This last week, I’ve caught myself thinking, and wondering, what I am going to do now that she’s gone. I spent so much time with her, it’s unbelievable to think on. To have a great-grandparent that adored you, and told some of the wildest (and yet, TRUE!) stories from her past, was a privilege few receive.

One of the hardest things I had to deal with since her passing, was to go home from work yesterday afternoon, at the end of the day. I used to leave the office, hop in my car, and drive down to see her. Instead, I no longer had a reason to go to the nursing home, since she’s gone. I didn’t know what to think, or do. I felt lost, like a lost puppy. The drive home was excruciating for me. Thinking back on all of those days just seemed trivial until April the 2nd. After that, it feels like I’ve lost my purpose in life.

I miss her. Without a doubt, I miss that rascally old woman. She was one of the most wonderful people I have ever known, and will ever know. There’s an empty space in my heart, where she had been all my life. This loss hurts more than I ever imagined, despite I had accepted the fact that it was coming soon. However, no matter how much you prepare, you are NEVER prepared for it. I miss her, but I will never forget her, and the things she taught me. I just wish I could sit with her, play a game of cards (war), and just sit and talk for hours, like we used to. I miss that. I miss her.

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STOP the BULLYING

How many lives, lost and destroyed, will it take before the school officials and authority figures in McLean County start to take the effects of bullying seriously? They are allowing these children to destroy others, and in some cases, ENCOURAGE IT. How should I know? How about the fact that as a child, I was constantly bullied? How about the fact that some teachers PARTICIPATED in it? However, whether it was a ‘willing’ participation, or perhaps ‘circumstantial’, I don’t know, but I do know that I was affected by bullying as a child.

Bullying has become a major problem over the years, especially with the widespread adoption of the Internet. Children have been given a new outlet to make others lives a nightmare. Sites such as Topix.com has become an outlet. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and various social media have given them the ability to slander one’s name with their peers more easily, albeit not anonymously. These tools were originally created to connect people, and to spread news and information. With the good, comes the bad. It’s a fact of life.

So how could we go about fixing the problem of bullying? There are many ways that we really need to look at, and utilize them all at once to start creating a positive impact. For starters, parents should actually start doing the PARENTING that they should have been doing all along. Raise the children, teaching them that bullying is not only wrong, but it’s cruel and downright hateful. Schools need to start being more responsive in regards to bullying. I have heard, and experienced countless times, students going to a teacher or figure of authority to report bullying, be told that they will do something, and yet nothing ever happens. Misery just continues, nothing less.

Now it’s time for my to turn my attention to the ineptitude of McLean County schools and police officials. How can the SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT claim that they do not believe it was a case of BULLYING when the family found a NOTE WRITTEN BY SHAY?! I mean, really? You are literally given some of the most condemning and VERIFIABLE evidence, and you completely disregard it? This is a failure for the entire county. Is it not bad enough that drug use and production is at an all-time high (no pun intended) in McLean county, and yet, they can’t even use the most damning piece of evidence and open a case regarding bullying? I hate to say it, and stoop to this level of language, but it seems to be the most understood thing of all. FUCK YOU MCLEAN COUNTY OFFICIALS. You have done nothing but prove to me, and your entire populace, that you are a rotten, dirty, cruel and hateful county, and the only people who the officials care for are themselves and those that give them money.

Now I turn my attention to the school system. Is it not bad enough that you all ALLOWED HAZING TO HAPPEN LAST YEAR IN YOUR SCHOOL?! Is it not enough that it hurt the poor kid severely then, and yet, you all did next to nothing over it? You make me ASHAMED to call myself an alumni of McLean County High School. I am VERY ashamed. It’s disgusting. The hazing, and now this child’s SUICIDE does not bode well on you. There are signs teachers can be taught to recognize in students that are being victims of bullying. Signs such as the student becoming increasingly withdrawn in class. A student attempting to avoid another student, or shows a strong feeling of disdain toward another student or group of students. Even if the student is in proximity of the bully, you can notice it with both of them. The bully will focus efforts, and sometimes even attempt to be subtle, in how the bully will pick on their victim. The victim will attempt to avoid the bully, even by getting as far away as they can in a class. How can a teacher NOT notice these signs? Surely the student would have friends that would notify a teacher of a situation coming to a head. IF they were notified, why did they not act upon that information?

As you can see, this county is condemning itself. These words written here are not based on an opinion. They are based on fact. Sure, people will want to blame the parents, others would like to solely blame the school. I would like to lay the blame on ALL OF THE PARTIES INVOLVED. The parents should be doing their part, the schools should not be an enabler and allow this kind of thing to happen. Schools used to be a safe place… what happened to that?

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Nonstop Action Thriller

Wow. That’s the only word that I can truly use when in regards to this last month, let alone the last few months. Honestly, I’m not particularly sure where I should start. Perhaps I should just start with everything that has been happening this month. Perhaps, the starting point should on July 6th. That day has signified a huge, and distinctive change in my life. At 4:30 PM, I went to the Kamuf, Pace and Kamuf law offices and signed some very official paperwork. That paperwork was the contracts, loans, and paperwork for my own slice of heaven. My very OWN house. My home.

I could not be happier with the fact that I’m now living in my own place. Not an apartment, nor a condo, nor anything else being rented. It’s my OWN home. So now, I once again proved naysayers and others that I’m not a liar, and I had been looking for a house for well over a year and half. Funny how I take my time, and find exactly what I was looking for.

July 7, 2011, turned out to be a very interesting day. After just moving into the house on the 6th, I had to head to Lexington at 5 AM. This road trip had been pre-planned, to a degree. This trip was to take my best friend, his fiancee, the groomsmen, and the bridesmaids to Kings Island for a day of fun in the sun. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ride too many rides. I had developed a severe case of heat exhaustion and dehydration. As we were waiting in line to get aboard The Beast, the heat exhaustion hit me, and I had to leave in an immediate hurry. After that, I had been in a rather embarrassing situation the rest of the day. To put it simply, I had to get a change of clothes for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the illness didn’t pass until well after the weekend.

July 9, 2011. Matt’s wedding. I’m proud, and happy to say that I was part of such a momentous occasion in his life. I have been friends with him since the first day of our first semester at Murray State. That day in August 2003, we met at 8:30 AM in our Monday thru Friday Algebra and Trigonometry class. Suffice to say, we have been friends ever since. There is no possible way a friend could be more proud than to be involved in such a wondrous moment in one’s life. Despite being ill, I was more than willing to sacrifice my comfort so I could be there for him. After all, he let me move in with him for 4 months when I had been laid off from my previous job. For lack of better words, my friendship with him has been a Godsend. I would have done the same for him.

The time between those events, and recent days have been a total blur. Between work, and trying to find the energy to unpack, and visiting with family and Granny at the nursing home, I can’t discern many days apart. A few days have sufficiently stood out since then. July 16th, a friend of mine lost his life. He had been ill for months, and then he was suddenly gone. I miss him. I wish I got to know him better, but he was always a good friend through the time I had known him, and always had good advice, whether you were looking for it or not. May he rest in peace.

July 24th, I turned 26. As of that day, my age is now exactly half of my mother’s. I love her dearly, and am so glad that she is still with us today. To think that 4 years ago, we almost lost her. It’s still a difficult topic for me to think upon, let alone talk about, but there is one thing for certain; I’m very happy that she’s still here to listen to me when I need help or advice.

Well, although I have so much more rattling within my head, I just can’t seem to focus on a topic to continue writing on an elongated post. July has been an exciting month, as well as the last few months. Perhaps there will be time soon enough for relaxation, remembrance, and a good time.

Peace.

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