Due to the popularity of the first "Caption This" post, I am posting another classic photo that is worth "captioning" :) Let's hear what you have to say.....
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Posted by Liza Pierce at 11:23 PM
One of the many great characteristics of Joey that I really like is his love for kids. He is just naturally comfortable around them and is so loving with the kids (just like his parents). Below is one of the photos from their (he and Rachel) trip.
“like little children” and says
“whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”
I was reading some posts on "Remembering Joey" group at Facebook and Debbie Ascraft's post stood out. "Taking to Joey", she said:
Things I've recently learned from you, Joey... Have fun and just go for it! Don't forget to hug everyone in sight! You can't have too many friends. You can't play too many instruments! Truly love and thank those closest to you often. When you travel, don't forget the duct tape! Honesty really is the best policy. Play a lot, laugh a lot, love a lot, stay close to God and live out loud! Mahalo Joey!! We all love you and miss you...
P.S. At your memorial there was the cutest little girl a couple rows in front of me and she was having a blast making a hat out of your service program. Her mom kept scolding her and I thought...you would so totally be making a hat right along with her! So, you also reminded me that the ultimate way to play with kids is to be one right along with them! Thanks
Speaking of kids, Joey is a wonderful "Unkie" to Chase, Bailey, Claire, Izzy and Aiden. Photos of them coming up. If you have any special memories of Unkie JJ and kids, or if you have a special photo you like of them, please e-mail them to me.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 2:01 AM
Friday, August 29, 2008
"In Your presence is abundant joy;
in Your right hand are eternal pleasures!"
Most professors and people live as if there were no Heaven;
or else as if Heaven were not worth a seeking, worth a desiring--
as if Heaven were a poor, despised, contemptible thing.
But ah, Christians!
be much in desiring and longing to get into that glorious city--
where streets, walls,and gates are all gold--
yes, where pearl is but as mire and dirt; and where are...
and that forever!
The word "forever" is a bottomless depth,
a conception without end;
it is a word which sweetens all the glory above,
and which indeed makes heaven to be Heaven!
"And so we will be with the Lord forever!"
1 Thess. 4:17
*originally posted on the comment section by Kevin and Shirley
Posted by Liza Pierce at 7:27 AM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Posted by Liza Pierce at 10:10 PM
Friday, August 22, 2008
* Note: I moved down 2 newer posts to keep this Karen's post on top for a few more days. Such an honoring post to Joey and to Jesus. To God be the glory!
I first suspected he was smart when he could rattle off all the names of African animals at 18 months...giraffe, warthog, zebra...he knew them all! He was highly verbal, especially for a boy and he loved to read. When he was in second grade, he was tested by our school district and was formally and officially inducted into the GATE program for Gifted and Talented students.
He got mostly A's with little effort, and he could "wing" his way through school projects, presentations, and even speeches with great success in spite of little preparation. One time he got an A on a speech about sharks, a speech he made up on the spot based on what he remembered from the movie "Jaws"! In sixth grade he was class president, student of the year, and he won the school oratorical contest for best memorized speech. He shone even as a kid.
After hormones hit, he was still an effortless A student. He graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA, taking mostly Advanced Placement classes. He was accepted to both UCLA and USC, but chose USC because of a scholarship to their exceptional business program. He flourished in college and became an open-minded person and a critical thinker. And being a well-rounded guy, he didn't merely focus on academics, he also absorbed everything he could about music, rock n' roll and guitar-playing. He was bright, talented and confident.
Once out of college, he started a brilliant career blending his business degree with his love of music. He worked for Universal Music Group, one of the biggest companies in the industry, learning the music biz from the inside. He left Universal to join Filter Magazine, a new music industry mag that promoted the art and artists. By all accounts, he was a brilliant marketer and a great promoter. Last year he started his own marketing division for a company called Sauce Design. He developed marketing strategies for the sports beverage, Red Bull, and was working on a deal with Nike up to his final day.
He got a fat paycheck for all his hard work and had acquired, by age 28, three houses, a nice stock portfolio, two retirement accounts, and a nearly perfect credit score of 815! He had been to Europe three times, to Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, and he'd taken a year-long van tour of North America, west coast to east coast, north to Alaska and south to Panama. He had his own music studio, tons of musical equipment and a half-finished cd of original songs.
He was a brilliant young man and had great success. His numerous achievements, though, couldn't prevent death and they couldn't give him eternal life. When his life was over, he stood before God and I don't think God was even slightly impressed by Joey's brains or his bank account, even if his mother was!
Looking back on his life, there was only one truly brilliant thing that Joey did on earth and that is the only one that matters now---he believed in Jesus Christ.
His childhood faith grew into an adolescent quest which grew into an adult conviction. He believed in Jesus, he believed that the cross of Christ covered his sins, and he believed he was going to meet his Maker one day and would be ready because of his faith.... and not because of anything that he had done or could do himself.
He lived in a very cool world in Hollywood, where Jesus and the concept of faith don't get much airplay, but he died with a Bible by his bedside, and a firm belief in the grace of God. That is paying off SO BIG right now. I like to think he entered Heaven, fell to his knees and thought to himself, "Wow! I am SO glad my parents dragged me to Sunday School!"
The smartest thing my genius son ever did was believe in Jesus. Now three months after going home to Heaven, surrounded by true riches, joy and music the likes of which we can only imagine, if he could he would tell everyone he loved to make sure they do the same. Be brilliant---believe in Jesus!
that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but
have everlasting life. - John 3:16
Posted by Liza Pierce at 12:38 AM
Thursday, August 21, 2008
It all began with a bus shelter ad.
Joe and I had just started dating, and were instantly bonded by the creepy, ominous presence of one man: El Cucuy. His huge face was everywhere: plastered around bus benches, bus shelters, and buses throughout the city (hmmm... what demographic do you think they were targeting?). His eyes were stark and vacant, his shirt bright yellow, and his smile psychotic. We couldn't help but stop and imitate every single one that crossed our paths, cracking up.
Eventually El Cucuy grew into so much more than a Mexican morning DJ. With the help of our overactive imaginations, he became a mythical beast - Cucuy, the prehistoric birdlike creature with blood on his beak. The story grew more and more elaborate - his origins, his nemeses, his temperament - and was often accompanied by bird cries and songs.
Cucuy was shorted to Cuy in the habit of nicknames, and adopted as a term of endearment. How an imaginary bloody-beaked creature became our sweetheart nickname is beyond me. But it did.
Cuys stood for something that we could only be with one another. It was a state of being. It stood for lovers, best friends, and partners in weirdness. Even in the roughest times (aka living in a van together), we had one rule: Cuys Never Die. To this, Karen (Joe's mom) has said "until they die and go to heaven." But I disagree. Cuys - in essence, in memory, in life experience, in depth, in love - Never Die.
*originally written by Rachel at FACEBOOK. If you have already commented there and would like to repeat the comment here, please feel free to do so.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 8:27 AM
Now, how many high school kid do you know
would visit an "older" friend in the hospital when she gives birth?
Not many, but Joey is among the few :)
Today is my 3rd month anniversary as Joey’s blogger. I thought it would be nice to tell you the story behind this “title”.
About two years ago, I started blogging to help me deal with a difficult situation I was in at that time. Blogging was a “cheap therapy” of some sort. Then blogging became an important part of my life, even an important part of my spiritual life.
About the same time, Joey and Rachel started a blog called Van Down By The River. And so the friendship that Joey and I had when he lived on
After the Van trip, Joey and Rachel came home to
“How’s my blogger doing?” That greeting meant a lot to me at that time. Joey could have said “hello, how are you” and it would have been sweet enough, but for him to say “how’s my blogger doing” was special because blogging held a very soft spot in my heart at that time. I felt that he “cared” and that he’s in tune with me. I appreciated him so much and can’t forget that little greeting that Sunday morning.
Little did we know that that endearing term “my blogger” would be literal years later as I started blogging for Joey in Johnson’s Maui Ohana, and therefore was called "Joey's blogger".
Joey was my encourager on blogging when I was just starting to blog. During his
The interesting thing is that if Joey is alive today, I don’t think you would see me and Joey hanging out together as friends (we would be friends, but not "buddies). No, we wouldn't be "buddies" but there would always be a friendship connection somehow. However, it seems like God had really connected the two of us on the few years and months before he passed away because God has a mission for me – and that is to encourage his mama and papa and all who loves Joey – and that would be achieved through the blog. There were several more instances before his passing that confirmed my “calling”. I had some some of those on my post here.
On the side note, my blogging for the Johnsons is also a good example of “sowing and reaping”. Karen, Joey’s mama, was among the first faithful reader of my blog. She would occasionally leave comments to let me know she’s reading it regularly. Karen sow love, she’s reaping love in return. I have faithfully blogged for them because I love them, and because I know God loves them so much that He wants me to “walk with them” in this time of grief.
And so that’s my story.
Stay tuned – tomorrow I will post something special. Tomorrow you will read about “CUY”- and you would not want to miss that one!
Posted by Liza Pierce at 1:18 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Trust in God; trust also in me.
In my Father's house are many rooms;
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
will come back and take you
to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 2:34 AM
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Did someone mention Karaoke? I don't think JJ ever passed up a chance to sing Karaoke...birthday or otherwise. He would always indulge me with a song - usually the "Mama's and the Papa's" duet. I wished I knew how to use the video on Facebook - I would sing a karaoke song for Joey on this birthday. We love you Joey. As you are singing praises to the King of Kings - send a little song our way on this special day. We miss you. Love Auntie Viv (this post is taken from Facebook Remembering Joey)
Here's one for Auntie Viv:
Here's one for Joey's Mama:
Here's one for Joey's Papa:
Here's one for JoAnne
Here's one for Jaime:
Here's one for Joey's Cuy
Here's for You Joey - Happy Birthday!
Posted by Liza Pierce at 1:59 AM
I was planning to learn how to post in this blog the slide show of JJ's Life that Rachel created, but I did not make it in time for Joey's b-day. so I encourage you to go to FACEBOOK and view it there. Click here for the link. You'll have to be a member of Facebook to view it.
Joe is leading the worship today at Hope Chapel - what a great way to celebrate Joey's birthday. I'd blog about it tonight :)
Posted by Liza Pierce at 1:30 AM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. . .
OK, it may not be the palm of Karen's hands, but Joey's name is now permanently tattooed in the forearm of Karen. She did this in honor and remembrance of Joey's 29th birthday (on August 17th)
The beautiful thing is, even if Karen forgets Joey (which we all know will NEVER HAPPEN), God will never forget us. What a great comfort and encouragement that is! I can just imagine my name tattooed in my Father's palm, God' palm no less.
Happy Birthday Joey - I am sure you're smiling at your mama's tat :)
Posted by Liza Pierce at 5:41 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I'll always remember the last time I saw Joey. It was this past Mother's Day, a Sunday and I was working security for TSA at the Kahului Airport. Joey was headed back to the mainland and was in line as he approached me from the side to have his ID and airline boarding pass checked. I didn't see him at first but recognized his voice as he said I wasn't going to bust him was I? We both laughed. He had his usual big smile on his face and was very happy that he could spend some time on Maui again with family and friends. The very last words I ever spoke to him are forever etched in me. "Joey, God bless and have a safe trip home." He did.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 8:17 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
This photo was taken at Joey's birthday party last year at Jaime and Drew's home. More posts on Joey's birthday coming up. Just want to remind everyone to keep the Johnson's in prayers. August 17 will be a hard day - pray for peace and comfort, and yes, pray for pockets of joy as they remember and celebrate Joey's wonderful life on earth.
* For insightful post on "a season of mourning", click here to go to Pastor Greg Laurie's blog. Some of you may not know, Pastor Greg Laurie's family are also mourning the recent sudden death of their son Christopher. It's a day by day, moment by moment journey....
Posted by Liza Pierce at 12:23 AM
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
2 in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.
4 Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O LORD.
8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, O LORD,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
13 He will spend his days in prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.
18 Look upon my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
19 See how my enemies have increased
and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 1:34 AM
Monday, August 11, 2008
We just got back from a relaxing weekend at Keanaea. Thank you Uncle Bill an Auntie Lu (the Keplers) for your generosity in sharing your precious Keanaea home with us. Joey also has a lot of wonderful memories there. While there, I spent some time reading his journal entries and took a shot of one of them:
I know he has many photos to go along with the many journal entries and memories. We will add more later. Here's a sample of some of them:
Posted by Liza Pierce at 2:24 AM
Friday, August 8, 2008
Your precious, baby boy.
We can’t take away the pain.
I wish we could.
We can only help you remember...
And oh how he LIVED
Joe, you said that’s the one thing
you can control -
to keep your memories...
You are homesick.
Yes, very, very homesick.
But your time here is not yet over.
You will find a special sense of solace
In this “foreign”, yet sweet, land.
And that those who love you,
Those who love Joey,
Will help you mourn
We continue to remember,
To reflect with you on...
Until we see him again,
Until you see him again,
What a joyous,
First moment of eternity that will be!
* This was originally posted on comment section at this post (Homesick)
** The photo above is taken by Rachel . She's Joey's CUY. Thank you Rachel for all the beautiful photos of Joey that you are sharing with us.
*** Rachel is hosting a "birthday remembrance" for Joey at FACEBOOK. Click here if you'd like to join - everyone is invited. More info on this to follow.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 2:42 AM
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name's sake
Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemes;
thou annointest my headwith oil;
my cup runneth over
Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life.
and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 7:35 AM
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Joey was a great kid… a great guy. But how do I relate this in a short period of time? What story is the quintessential one that will relate this? I have been praying about this and asking advice from my PK Bros about the opportunity to share and wanted to “do it right”
This is hard because Joey was the sum of many things that made him Joey.
He was a risk taker, as Bill has talked about. This was epitomized by the amazing 80 to 85 foot leap off the cliff at Ki’pahulu. (What is equally as amazing is the Karen watched him do it.) But he never made fun of you if you chose to hang back, and not take “the leap”.
He was very intelligent & smart. Two separate qualities that are not often found in the same person. But he didn’t take advantage of you if you weren’t in the same league as him… accept on the poker table or the Fantasy Football League. He would proudly take my cash whenever we played.
He had a rye sense of humor. This coupled with being intelligent & smart made him a very funny guy. He had the ability to point out the subtle obscurely funny things in life – and did it frequently. Times playing Balderdash at Keanae will live in infamy – Joey was the supreme player! Or if you read his and Rachael’s blog you can see this. But I never saw him make fun of someone at their expense – never being mean spirited.
He was passionate about his beliefs. He would debate those ideals that he felt strongly about. Things like Trojan Football, FF scoring, politics, and God were topics that we discussed. But he’d never go so far as to sacrifice the relationship to be “right.”
He had charisma. He was his father’s son… but he didn’t use it to manipulate.
Joey wasn’t perfect, no one is… but he asked for forgiveness when he needed to (a tribute to his up bringing) and one of the most difficult qualities to posses he had the ability to forgive. There was a time in our relationship that I had deeply offended him, and he forgave me. I believe that forgiveness is the most precious of all gifts that one can give. I am blessed that Joey gave that to me.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 8:58 AM
Monday, August 4, 2008
Note from the blogger: this post is a work in progress... new photos and sharing will be added here until Joey's birthday so check back. Thanks.
During the Memorial Service for Joey at Hope Chapel, Kathy Englert talked about the "Circle of Love" in Joey's life. If we look at the picture of her on the left, you will notice that she's holding a paper plate. That's where she wrote her notes for that sharing. She said it reminds her of the many circles of love that Joey has in his life here on earth.
When Joey was born, he was surrounded by people who loves Karen and Joe. They all fell in love with Joey the first time he came out of Karen's womb (actually even before that). It's a circle of love so special. Maybe someday we can watch together that DVD that Kay and Roger send the Johnsons. I believe that's the circle of love in Joey's infant and childhood days.
As Joey grew up, aside from the circle of love within his family, he's always blessed with the circle of love of friends. There's Kevin, his best friend. There's Kevin's family - all of them are like family to Joey.
When they moved to Maui, he once again had circle of love through the Hope Chapel family. There's the Youth Group where he formed many friendships. Also, at Baldwin High School - he's surrounded with friends who loved him.
Move to CA for college and once again circled by friends there (I will elaborate on this later).
After college, he became "an adult" :) - had to work for a living and even there there's a circle of love which surrounds him (will elaborate more later too).
When we got the news about Joey's passing, a circle of love came rushing to Joe and Karen's house; and we know that a circle of love were at LA the same time. Melissa was there with Joey and all their friends. Rachel was there with him.
I will come back and add more to this post and will add some photos. Feel free to leave a comment even if this post is half done :)
Dear Johnsons family - we are thinking of you today. Joey's birthday is coming soon and we know that is going to be a hard and difficult day for you. We're here to wrap our arms around you and once again surround you with that circle of love that you and Joey always have...
Posted by Liza Pierce at 8:22 AM
Sunday, August 3, 2008
The following "thoughts and message" was posted at the comment section when we first started this blog. I was reviewing the posts and comments tonight and this one stood out. Maybe this bring comfort today as it brought comfort that day it was posted. And I know that the encouragement which this post brings about will last and carry us through...
Only a few weeks ago Kay and I were enjoying a mini Bible Study reunion dinner at the Englert home; McMahons, Pattersons, Englerts, Whites and Johnsons, bantering about Study stories from 30 years ago. I sat across from Karen and Joe, who sat facing the wall so that Kay and I could enjoy a marvelous Maui sunset. Even in shadow their faces glowed. An unmistakable walk of joy and peace with the Lord: loving, selfless and sacrificial servants of His. Their capacity for reflecting Christ is amazing, both seen and unseen.
Discussions then centered on stories of the children. When Karen and Joe filled us in on Joey, my mind took me back so many years ago when the Johnsons lived nearby and we were able to enjoy seeing Joanne, Jamie and Joey grow.
Upon returning to California, I was prodded by the Lord to watch our old movies converted to video of those Bible Study years. There they were. Movie clips of Joey’s birth at the Berman’s birthing center. I haven’t watched our movies of the 70’s since they were converted more than 10 years ago. Well that’s easy to burn to a DVD for our friends. So a variety of clips from 1975 through 1979 filled up a DVD and off went copies to the “sunset dinner” families.
There was no way for me to know there was a heavenly purpose in that duty fulfilled. Karen and Joe sent a heartfelt thanks to me that the DVD was going to be so much fun to view with Joey when he returned to Maui for Joanne’s graduation and the Johnson family reunion. Karen reported that Joey saw the old sound movies of friends and family cheering his birth. Then the news. Tears. Heartache. More tears.
Why Joey? Why now? Why the Johnson’s?
Children are His, that in His love he grants us some days with them in our arms, loaning them to us that we might enjoy His gifts, learn about being parents and come to understand Him more wholly as our Father. His message is clear: His love is not to be confused with what we expect, or how we might grieve for what we could have had. It is ours. It is unconditional. And it is complete.
Now we weep and celebrate. We surrender to the pain of this loss. We love Christ back for Joey’s place in our hearts and his life on Earth. And love Him also for the assurance of Joey’s new home in paradise.
May God and His faithful carry you gently through this time, dear Johnson family.
We love you,
Roger and Kay White
Posted by Liza Pierce at 7:00 PM
Today Joe and Karen attended Josh and Heidi's Maui Reception. I thought their family and friends in the mainland will be glad to read this. Remember this post when we prayed for their "re-entry"?. They are being answered in a gentle way. This reception is one of the "safest" gathering or event I can think of for Karen and Joe to go to on their journey to the "new normal". All (or almost all) of us there are close with them - familiar faces, close friends, a safe group. They came with Aiden, their grandson. They stayed for a little while. It was so nice to see them there and I know Josh and Heidi felt love and honored that they came.
I am guessing Joe and Karen will be at church tomorrow...
Posted by Liza Pierce at 1:23 AM
Friday, August 1, 2008
Filter magazine honored Joe(y) with an article on their website. I heard it's also on this months' printed issue of the magazine (I'll have to double check that...). Here's an excerpt from the Filter Website:
The Filter family is very saddened to have recently lost one of our own, our dear friend Joseph Johnson.
Joe was a great friend, a creative soul, a genius marketing mind, an inspiring workmate, a wise and generous spirit, a seasoned traveller, a ukelele phenom and the life of many a party.Continue reading this post, including comments at Filter Magazine. Click here...
Posted by Liza Pierce at 11:46 PM
an emptiness that will never be replaced
a gap that will never be fixed
sadness that will refuse to be comforted
because a brother is missed.
In times sadness
when missing Joey surface,
remember Betsy ten Boom's words
to her sister Corrie:
"There is no pit too deep
that God isn't deeper still"*
* quote from "Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom.
Posted by Liza Pierce at 8:41 AM