Friday, March 11, 2016


Well I will admit that there is a part me of that has wondered if I SHOULD have shared that Joe spent those couple of years in complete rebellion and put our family through the wringer??  But then I thought about it some more and decided yes, it is first of all part of who Joe is, but it also shows what can be done when someone puts their mind to it and works hard for what they want.  In many ways too of course it seems like soo long ago, and that's of course because it was.  Close to 25 years ago. So I guess what's done is done and I will move on here to some more of Joe's story.  I have to tell you a little bit about Joe's first wife.  Though again, it was a long, long time ago.  Right from the beginning I knew Joe was deeply in love and that things were very different with this girl.  I will admit that there was a time that I believed Joe was not capable of sticking with one girl and committing to a relationship, as truthfully he had WAY more then his fair share of girl friends.  But was I ever wrong.  Charisse and Joe were madly in love and anyone who ever saw them together knew it.  But right from the very beginning there were medical issues.  Charisse had a rare type of ovarian cancer at sixteen years of age, and after a couple of surgeries and some heavy chemotherapy she was in remission when she met Joe.  I cautioned Joe strongly when he first told me this, as I knew he was not aware just how serious this could be, or what he might be getting involved with. But it was already too late for Joe..he was already in 100 percent. She was only eighteen when they married, but much older then her years with all she had been through.  Not long after they were married the cancer was back and the fight began.  She went through soo much it was truly hard to watch.  But watching Joe at this season in his life let me know what he was really made of.  He did everything for her.  Slept many, MANY a night on the floor by her bed of whatever hospital she might be in, brought special food to entice her to eat, got her "special treats" when she tired and didn't want to go on, sat with her while she was sick and cleaned up everything after her.  Came home on his lunch breaks to sit and watch her soap operas with her though he had never watched one before in his life.  When she needed to move to get her blood flowing but was too weak to walk he put her on his feet and walked her all around their apartment.  It honestly would be hard to imagine any woman was ever as loved as she was.  They had six years together before she finally went home to be with Jesus and not all of it was spent with her being sick, but honestly quite a bit of it.  I personally believe that God gave Charisse Joe for those last few years of her life so she would truly know what it was like to be cherished.  Her home life had been such a disaster, that honestly I don't feel she really knew love until Joe.  She was a beautiful girl and loved children and wanted one of her own soo badly.  But of course it was never to happen.  But she loved Joe's daughter Annabel who spent most of her week-ends with them, and fussed over her and mothered her and loved her as her own.  After Charisse died needless to say Joe was truly devastated.  I hurt with him and for him of course and yet knew there was really precious little I could do but pray.  I begged Joe to move back home for a while,, but he felt he wanted to be on his own.  He threw himself more and more into his work and built his studio up more and more.  He took his own lessons back up and progressed to 3rd degree black belt.  There are parts of Joe that have never been the same as of course such thing is a life altering event.  But time passed and the pain lessened and eventually Joe began to date again.  4 years later he fell in love again and married Leah, and they too have been very happy together.  How grateful I was to God for bringing this incredible woman into his life.  She brought two little ones with her into the marriage. Six year old Evan, and Lindsey who was only a year old.  Lindsey didn't know her daddy at all, and Evan's relationship with him had been sketchy at best. After Joe and Leah married he disappeared altogether and has had nothing to do with them ever since.  Sad really, but not uncommon unfornately anymore. Joe stepped in and has raised both Evan and Lindsey as his own without a single misgiving.  His heart is big.  Together they added Jeffie [named after my hubby] and little Cody to complete their large family.  I must tell you a little bit about Annabel as well.  Her story is a LONG and hard one and not really mine to tell, so let me just say this much.  She lived her life [until the last 2 years when she has been on her own] living with her maternal grandparents.  Her mother pretty much disappeared from her life and she spent every other week-end and some holidays and summer breaks
with Joe.  Her grandparents are multi millionaires and threw thousands and thousands of dollars into the best lawyers they could find to keep guardianship of Annabel, and Joe fought long and hard to stop them without any lawyers at all.  But to no avail.  One of those things that NEVER made sense, NEVER was right, and  WAS ALWAYS a giant nightmare for us all.  But we loved her whenever we had her and our relationship was strong and connected.  She rebelled against her grandfather eventually and ran away from him.  He was and IS the biggest control freak ever to hit the earth...oh the stories I could tell.  For a while no one knew where she was.  Joe didn't stop looking though until he found her and brought her home.  She was close to eighteen when this happened and of course only wanted to be on her own, so she moved out and in with her boyfriend and has been going to college these last two years and doing REALLY well.  She is the one pregnant with little Sophia Rose.  Not exactly in her plan, but she is planning to be married this month and is doing really well. Joe is a great daddy.  He and Leah have a busy, busy life and schedule as she works full time as an office manager of a orthodontist office.  Her hours are early morning to late afternoon, and Joe's at the studio are late afternoon into the evening, and all day on Sat.  This means that Joe has had to care for the kids while she was at work which included getting them up, dressed, fed, lunches packed and to school, a HUGE undertaking if you knew Joe, lol.  Their youngest son Cody is mildly autistic so this has presented it's own set of issues and problems over the years as well. But Joe has again risen to the job at hand very, very well.  He has taken on several autistic children at his studio over the years and has had many parents singing his praises as he has managed to help them to succeed when they had not succeeded in many other areas previously. He has trained many champions to include, kids, teens and adults. He himself has progressed to 5th degree, and is now considered a Master. Joe is a Christian man and has a big BIG heart and continues to make me soo proud to be his mother, and soo glad he came along in my life. A lot of our family gatherings now happen at their house as they have a big, old fashioned farm house on an acre of land.  Plenty of room for the kids to run, play and a swimming pool to keep cool.  Joe is not perfect....he is not the easiest person by any means....but he is one of the best things that ever happened to me.  








  1. Dear girl, after reading about your son, and then finding, and reading the previous post I had missed, I am just so shocked at how much we have in common. No life if perfect. No family is perect. That is why my favorite saying is:
    We may not have it all together, but together, we have it all!
    Happy Friday my friend.
    xo Kris

  2. I was interrupted twice reading this post yesterday! I have just finished reading and will go back and read it through again for continuity. Joe has an amazing story and I am glad that he and his family are doing well. Anyone who loves and cares for the very ill is an incredible human being. What love and devotion! We all have these incredible stories and it just impresses on me once again the great mercy and love of God Who tenderly leads us along.

  3. So enjoyed finishing reading about your Joe. What a fine son you and your husband have raised. I need to ask you a question, Debbie, and I don't see a contact here on your blog. Please email me.
    Thanks. Hugs!

  4. Thanks for sharing the story about your son, Debbie...sounds like you had a "prodigal child", too, just like me. I can relate to much of what you wrote. We just have to keep praying and have faith that things will turn around and a beautiful testimony will result. I know you're proud of the man Joe has become.

  5. What a beautiful story of unconditional love, Debbie. Thank you for sharing. I think we all have stories like this that we could share and praise God, so many have happy endings. You are truly a blessed mom. And may I just say that all of your children have the most amazing eyes and radiant smiles.


I am so glad that you would take the time to comment on my thoughts and feelings, it is such a blessing to me!