Friday, August 22, 2008

My Son, The Genius

* 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!

Joey went home to be with the Lord three months ago today. In the time since he passed, we have heard over and over again what an amazing person he was. Not a few people have called him a genius, and I have to say we saw him that way ourselves. As his family, we were daily witnesses to his hilarious insights and penetrating analysis of life, culture and current events--- and WE were impressed by him! As his proud mother I actually tried not to boast about him too much! I guess nobody will mind if I do that now.

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!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but
have everlasting life. - John 3:16

That I may gain Christ and be found in Him,
not having my own righteousness,
but that which is thru faith in Christ. - Phil 3:8


Posted by Karen in loving memory of her son Joey


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,

How are you doing? Please let us know when you want to get together. Much love. ((((HUGS))))

Kim and Joe Finney

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen,

Amen!! Joey was all that and more.
He had a "tender" heart and loved the Lord and all those around him.

Joey - did well by the power of the Holy Spirit - in living out the 1st commandment "

Many yeas ago - when we were attending Grace Community Church - Pastor John MacArthur said a "key" life statement, which I have written in Romans 12.

He said, "IF - you are wrong about GOD and JESUS CHRIST - it does not matter what else you are right about...?"

Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore - I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

GOD's Comfort & Peace & Healing...

Love Always, Kevin & Shirley (TN)

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 1:7-9 (TLB)

" How does a man become wise? the first step is to honor and trust the Lord! Only fools refuse to be taught. Listen to your father and mother. What you learn from them will stand you in good stead; it will gain you many honors."

Proverbs 1:7-9(KJV)
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck".

Anonymous said...

I loved that, Mom! So true- Once we leave this earth nothing matters except for our choice regarding Jesus Christ. Because Joey chose to believe the Word of God, we, his family and friends, have so much comfort in the fact that we know he is safe in heaven just waiting for us to get there. I can't wait for that day, and my prayer is the same as yours, that everyone we know and love will make that wise choice, so we will all be together one day, in the presence and love of our Maker...

Love and Kisses to All,
Jo Anne

P.S. Be sure to blog your Van Gogh analogy soon. It is so good.

Heather said...

Such powerful words Karen. I wish that I could have talked more with him and had him "guide" me in so many ways. He made so much for a honest way...that's so hard to find now days. What a proud mama you are! Love you.
Heather in Cali

Anonymous said...

You couldn't have written a more beautiful and honoring tribute to your son Karen.
Our love and prayers continue to be with your entire family.

Anonymous said...

That was awesome! How insightful of you in your grief, to see the real "genius" in Joey! He was truly special and I know that you all miss him deeply. But what a comfort to know he is safe in the arms of Jesus!
Our hearts and prayers are with you! We love you!
Zautner Ohana

anjuli paschall said...

Thank you for writing that post. I never realized just how smart Joey was. How wonderful to read about his life again. I can't believe it has been three months. continually praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,

Your son, loved by us all. I just liked being around Joey. You have so eloquently helped be realize why. He was truly an incredible guy. I never tire of a mom's boasting about her son. You have good reason to do so.

Love you,
Toni Spence

Bill and Lu Kepler said...

Wow, I didn't know all those amazing things about Joey. Thanks for telling us about them, Karen. You writing is wonderful, Karen, so beautiful and thoughtful. Joey was lucky to have a Mom like you.
We love you,

Anonymous said...

Thank you Karen for sharing how wise Joey really was in receiving God's gift of eternal life through his son Jesus Christ.

As parents we all want our children to be smart, successful and brilliant...but most of all, as Christian parents, we want our children to love and receive Christ and to learn to walk with Him. Joey was walking that walk!

Because of that we will be spending eternity with him and the Lord. We look forward to the Lord's coming and the day when we will be rejoicing with Joey in Heaven.

Love - Viv

Anonymous said...

Thank you Karen for sharing how wise Joey really was in receiving God's gift of eternal life through his son Jesus Christ.

As parents we all want our children to be smart, successful and brilliant...but most of all, as Christian parents, we want our children to love and receive Christ and to learn to walk with Him. Joey was walking that walk!

Because of that we will be spending eternity with him and the Lord. We look forward to the Lord's coming and the day when we will be rejoicing with Joey in Heaven.

Love - Viv

Lee and Renee said...

It is great reading about Joey. You write so well and bring the truth of what life means, what really counts. We know this but sometimes the cares of this world seem to take our focus away from all that really matters and today I am so grateful for the reminder through all you shared. I am so glad that Joey knew it too and the peace that brings.
Lee and Renee

Patti Franks said...

Wow, Karen...what a great biography of sweet Joey. Just for the record, you are brilliant and wise yourself, you know!! I have been so richly blessed by knowing you. Thank you for your countless encouraging words! I'm still praying for you and your tender mother's heart...I can't even begin to imagine what this has been like for you. With love and hugs, Patti Franks

michael, ciara and mikaela said...

A beautiful tribute from his mama! I think he's a genius, because it's hereditary! (raise them up in the ways of the Lord, and when they are old they will not turn from it) Great Job, Joe and Karen! Our love and prayers are always with you!

Mackenzie said...


A beautiful post, a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person loved by a beautiful God. We are still praying and will continue to pray.

We miss you guys.

with love from the mainland,

Liza's Eyeview said...

It was nice being able to spend time with you (Karen Joe and Rachel) yesterday.

I moved this post up. It's been getting a lot of comments and I would like to readers who occasionally visits see this easily :).

This is a wonderful piece Karen, so honoring to Joey, so honoring to God.

Mele said...

Dear Karen,

Thank you for sharing that word. You touched my heart deeply as I know many others.

Always praying with love,


Anonymous said...

bobjuopI am sure many of us wish we had known Joey better.He was truly an exceptional young man.we are so thankful we had glimpses of the star qualities he possessed. Karen,as you and Joe were commemorating the 3rd.month anniversary of Joey's Homegoing,Jesse and I were celebrating our 55th anniversary on that very day and thanking God for keeping us together all these years on this earth.Now,that is a miracle indeed!May you two live long enough to celebrate this many years and more.You have so much to offer with your talents,love, and life experiences.Joyce and Jesse

Trish Garcia said...

Dear Karen,

Please keep "bragging" I want to read/hear every bit of it.

Love you,


Anonymous said...

Karen: I must tell you that I look everyday for an opportunity to share my faith and to use "My Son, The Genius".


Anonymous said...

That was so deserve more than anyone else I know to "brag" about your son, he was who he was because of you!!! (and Joe too! and also because of his choice to choose Jesus!) Thank you for reminding us that ultimately in the end the one thing that matters is our choice to love and follow Jesus....we are so thankful that Joey did! We love you and are continuing to keep you all in prayer daily! Big hugs, Lori and Wes
p.s. we miss you!!!

Anonymous said...

GOD KNEW...Our God knew exactly which two people in this world He could trust to be the parents of His precious Joey! He knew what a gifted boy he would be and what an inspiring, talented young man he'd become. God knew Joey's days would not be long here on earth and that he would need wise, godly, loving parents. He'd need parents who would nurture him in such a way that Joey could be completely free to be bright, so brilliant, so beautiful! Joey would need parents who would teach him in the way he should go so that his life would be FOREVER lived acknowledging God...

Well done good and faithful servants! You are amazing parents!

We love you! We miss you! We are all praying for you!