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Remembering Josh.......

on September 28, 2007 - 7:04pm

Dear Josh - The title of this e-letter sounds as if you had died, but I am VERY VERY CONFIDENT that you are still alive. What has died, however, is summertime in the US, and the wonderful tour that you blessed your fans with during these months of rest and relaxation.

Last Friday, the US marked the beginning of fall with the autumnal equinox. I do not think that you will be experiencing much of fall this year because I know that you will be doing a performance in Australia in a few short days. When we in the US marked the autumnal equinox, our "mates" down under marked the vernal equinox. Your "fall" tour in Australia is actually your "spring" tour for them. If I knew you for real, I would love to ask you how it felt to be in a location where spring was celebrated in October rather than in March. It's like you went from spring, summer,and then back to spring again. In the midst of your busy tour, I hope that you wil have some time to visit and enjoy Australia. I hear that it is beautiful there.

I wish that we could see some video clips of your overseas tours, but I guess your people can not do that. I do not know why. All I know is that when you are overseas, you temporarily "disappear" from your fans in the US. I know that we miss you, and we anxiously await for the day when you will come back to the good ole US of A.

In the meantime, we are eagerly awaiting the release of your long overdue Christmas album titled: NOEL. I am hearing rumors in Grobania that your initial pre-sale of NOEL has been phenonmenal. If these rumors are true, I am SO HAPPY for you. I know that I pre-ordered my copy as did many Grobies. As soon as I receive it and have had a chance to listen to it, I will write more about it either here or on the message boards. I am confident, however, that you will not disappoint. NOEL will be a beautiful album, and I am looking forward to listening to it throughout the Christmas season.

So I end this brief e-letter tonight feeling a bit nostalgic. I remember the AWAKE tour's arrival in Rochester,New York on March 10,2007. I remember Grobie-friend obtaining front row tickets to your performance in her hometown. I also remember the great gift that she received by personally connecting with you for a bit that evening.

I know that you must prefer the periods where you could escape into oblivion again. But you have made so many Grobies, like me, deliriously happy when you sacrificed your privacy so that we could have a moment of pleasure watching you perform. In my opinion, 2007 was the year dedicated to Josh. I do not want to see it end. I just want remember it and treasure it always.

My closing thoughts of this e-letter comes from a song called "I Will Remember You" by Amy Grant. Every time I listen to this song, I think of you and your AWAKE tour. If any other Grobies read this lame letter, I hope that the words of this song capture our longing to see you, Josh, ONE MORE TIME.

Now, "I Will Remember You" by Amy Grant:

I will be walking one day, down a street far away. And see a face in the crowd and smile.

Knowing how you made me laugh. Hearing sweet echoes of you from the past. I will remember you.

Look in my eyes while you're near. Tell me what's happpening here. See that I don't want to say: "GOOD-BYE"(emphasis mine)

Our love is frozen in time. I'll be your champion and you will be mine. I will remember, I will remember you.

Later on, when this fire is an ember. Later on, when the night is not so tender. Given time, though it is hard to remember darling, I will beholden; I'll still beholden to you. I will remember you.

So many years come and gone, and yet the memory is strong. One word we never could learn: "GOOD-BYE" (Emphasis mine)

True love is frozen in time. I'll be your champion and you will be mine. I will remember you. So please remember, I will remember you.... I will remember you.....I will remember you..........

Good night, Josh Groban, and always remember to take God as your spouse and your friend. Walk with Him continually. You wil not sin. You will learn to love, and the things that you MUST DO will work out PROSPEROUSLY for you. (St. John of the Cross)

Sincerely,

Ampatamia - the LEAST of all the Grobanites.

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The Pornification of the Culture in Grobania

on September 14, 2007 - 7:49pm

Dear Josh - Since you have been on tour this year, it has been fun to visit Grobania regularly and find pictures of you from various performances, or the occasional video of you doing something very funny and quite goofy. These little windows into your life help me to feel more connected to you even though I have to remind myself regularly that I will never meet you or have any real relationship with you in any way.

But I bet you that sometimes pictures get taken of you that are not appropriate. I wonder how you handle it. Do you get angry? Do you ignore them and pretend that they do not exist? Or do you just let your fans be fans because you know internally that you have no power over them when they flash a camera in your direction?

Recently, I came across some pictures of you on tour. Many of those pictures I truly enjoyed. I loved seeing your facial expressions as you sing. I love seeing how you closed your eyes and sang to the audience straight from your heart. I love seeing the goofy gesture and faces that you make in response to something initiated by someone in your audience.

But in these batch of pictures, Josh, there were a couple of pictures that I did not like. Whoever took these pictures decided to focus the camera on parts of your body that they should not have. These pictures were not immodest, lewd or licentious in any way. They were just NOT APPROPRIATE; especially for someone so gracious in front of a camera as you are. The photographer and the camera should have left what was private - PRIVATE. And that is all that I will say about the content of those pictures.

Some feelings ran through me as I saw these pictures. None of these feelings were sexual in any way, Josh. When I first saw them I felt very angry. I felt this tremendous desire to defend your purity or at least your right to have some purity in front of your audiences. Then when my Italian temper calmed down a bit, I just felt sad - very, very sad.

I love to listen to radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, and on her show, she is always talking about the "pornification of the culture" through media-based venues like the Internet or television. Those inappropriate pictures of you, Josh, were a small and somewhat benign example of the pornificiation of the culture here in Grobania.

Josh, I am the weirdest Grobanite in town. Life here is so relativistic The mantra of the day is always "If Josh is happy, we are happy.:-)" Well not me. If what makes you happy in life is something illegal or immoral, I AM NOT HAPPY IN THE LEAST! Whether I am in a real world or in a virtual world, like Grobania, there are moral absolutes that need to be heeded. As much as I want to praise you and love you all up for all the good that you do, I also want to challenge you to be a better person than many of your celebrity peers. I can not say that I truly love you in any meaningful way unless I do both.

I have written before about what a huge Donny Osmond fan I am. Over ten years ago, Donny and his sister Marie Osmond released their tell-all biographies, and the Osmond Brothers then produced a tell-all TV biography which I think was aired on ABC.

With the release of these biographies, Marie Osmond announced that she was a victim of sexual abuse while she was a teen-aged celebrity. Her brothers' reaction to this announcement was quite funny because they truly wondered how this could have happened in their presence. It happened because the Osmond Brothers were blinded by their own sexuality as young male celebrities.

For example,(and this is now public knowledge) when the Osmonds were on tour,like you are right now, two lovely ladies were anxiously waiting to meet Donny and his brothers after the show. They must have been beautiful girls because they caught the eye of Donny Osmond and his older brother Jay. So, without a BSP, they were allowed backstage because Donny and Jay invited them. After a brief introduction, Donny and Jay proceeded to "make-out" with these girls. Well, the girls wanted more. Donny and Jay resisted. Eventually the four of them were "caught" by their father George Osmond. The girls were promptly escorted out and branded as being "too forward" acquitting his sons of any guilt in the matter. Now, tell me how could Donny or Jay Osmond protect their sister from being sexually abused if they were too busy "making out" with strangers! Their pornification as celebrities blinded them from their sister's cry for help.

If the pornification of the culture were a religion, celebrities like yourself would be its high priests and priestesses. I am going to close this e-letter with the words of a song that is going to challenge what I just mentioned above. No, Josh, this song is not telling you any way how to live your life, it is just asking thw question: For WHOM do you live your life. The song is called Old Man's Rubble by Amy Grant. It is a song that challenges but ends on a VERY POSTIIVE NOTE. Its words will be my blessing to you evening .

So, here it is:

Are you living in an old man's rubble? Are you listening to the Father of Lies?

Are you walking with unnecessary burdens? Are you trying to take them upon yourself? If you are then you are living in bondage,and you know that's bad for your spiritual health.

And are you trying to live by your emotions? Are you putting your faith in what you feel and see? Then you are living just to satisfy your passions, and you better be careful because you are being decieved.

Are you living in an old man's rubble? Are you listening to the father of lies? If you are then you are headed for trouble. If you listen too long you will eventually die.

Are you living in an old mas's rubble? Are you listening to the father of lies? If you are then you are headed for trouble. If you listen too long you will eventually die.

Are you puzzled by the way that you are behaving? Do you wonder why you do the things you do? And are you troubled by your lack of resistance? Do you feel that something has a hold on you?

Deep within you there is a spiritual battle. There is a voice of the darkness and a voice of the light. And just by listening you have made a decision because the voice you hear is going to win the fight.

Are you living in an old man's rubble? Are you listening to the father of lies? If you are then you are headed for trouble. If you listen too long, you will eventually die.

If you are living as a NEW CREATION? If you are listening to the Father of Light? Then you are living in a MIGHTY FORTRESS, and you are going to be clothed in POWER AND MIGHT!(emphasis mine)

But are you living in an old man's rubble? Are you listening to the father of lies? If you are then you are headed for trouble. If you listen too long you will eventually die.

If your living as a NEW CREATION? If you are listening to the Father of Light? Then you are living in a MIGHTY FORTRESS and you are going to be clothed with POWER AND MIGHT!

Good night, Josh where ever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia -the Least of All the Grobanites.

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Remembering a Once- Living Saint.........

on September 6, 2007 - 6:31pm

Dear Josh - As I look at those smileys every time I write to you, I wish that you had smileys or not-so-smileys that portrayed the feelings of saddness or fatigue. This is what I am really feeling right now OK is too postive for my fragile emotions and sleepy or bored does not adequately describe my fatigue at this moment.

I am fatigued because I began a new school year today with 15 new preschoolers and I am feeling sad because I am emotionally and physically tired. It is a vicious circle I guess.

In the news these last couple of weeks, the world has been remembering the ten-year anniversary of the death of two world-renowned people. Princess Diana of Wales and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. At the end of their lives, these two amazing women did meet each other, and the world watched in disbelief when then they died within weaks of each other. I know that you perfomed at the memorial concert for Princess Diana around the Fourth of July. I tried to see it, but I chose to watch the NBC version, not the VH1 version, so I missed you. If I knew you better this e-letter could be a great dialogue because you could tell me about your impressions of Princess Diana and the mark she left on this world. But this e-letter is my imaginary monologue to you, so you are going to read my reflections on Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a once living saint.

I want to write about her because the press has been quite harshly critiquing her spiritual journey. It is claimed that she had a "secret-life" where deep down inside she did not feel God's presence in her life, and she may have possibly doubted His existence.

Now Josh, a few e-letters ago, I wrote about a possible patron saint for you - St. John of the Cross. I chose him as a patron saint because so often your music reflects images and themes that he wrote about in Spain during the 16th century.

St. John of the Cross wrote about the spiritual life. He wrote in both poetry and prose about how a soul falls in love with God, and embarks on a journey of deep intimacy with this God who is in His essence, pure mystery.

This intimacy comes in periods of deep dryness in prayer and darkness of soul. The Lover (God) is testing the Beloved (a human soul) to see if the Beloved loves the Lover, for the Lover itself or just for the "things" that the Beloved receives from the Lover. During these periods, the Beloved longs deeply for the Lover, but the Lover is no- where to be found. With great faith and in deep sorrow and anguish, the Beloved waits for the day when the Lover will return. The Lover always returns for the Beloved, but the length of time that the Beloved has to wait for the Lover's return can seem endless.

The "secret-life" of Mother Teresa was her deep longing for the Lover who touched her soul over thirty-five years ago. During this endless period of darkness and dryness, she NEVER STOPPED LOVING GOD OR BELIEVING IN GOD. If she did, she would have never been able to accomplish all that she had throughout the course of her life. But instead, her deep faith allowed her to be known world-wide as a living saint, and soon the Catholic Church will proclaim her to be one as well.

The dark night of the sense and the soul can be quite painful for the person who finds himself/herself immersed in it, but it usually does not last for 35 years consecutively. That is quite rare. Mother Teresa was receiving a special grace in the midst of this darkness. She was experiencing what it feels like to be abandoned so that she would have great mercy and love for the abandoned people that she so generously served.

So what does this have to do with you, Josh Groban? Why am I talking about Mother Teresa on YOUR WEBSITE? Well, Mother Teresa was a great humanitarian, and you are walking down a similar path.

As a Grobanite, I am proud and I will always be proud of the good that you do for others. I would like to see you continue to serve others as long as Almighty God provides the resources for you to do so. But I also want to challenge you a bit to look at why you are serving others. Whom are you doing it for - for the praise and glory of you or the praise and glory of someone greater than you? Remember Josh, life is short, but eternity is forever. Whom do you serve? It is something worth thinking about.

I am going to end this e-letter with the English words of Un Dia Llegara because the poetry in song does describe the spiritual journey of the Mother Teresa of Calcutta. So I dedicate this song to her, and Josh, may you take God for your spouse and friend and walk with Him continually. You will not sin, and you will learn to love, and the things that you must do will work out PROSPEROUSLY FOR YOU! (St. John of the Cross)

OK, now the song:

The dry leaves will fall
And when April arrives
You will touch my soul
You will approach...will come for me.
After so much solitude
I want to feel
To find my peace in you.

When the city sleeps
And the sun slips away
I will seek you again
Until reaching this illusion
I find you....and you love me like this.

And I will listen in the silence to the voice of the heart.
And the storm will abate in your arms.
Its worth it to expect your love.
Because one day, it will come.

I will find you...and you will love me like this

And I will listen in the silence to the voice of the heart. And the storm will abate in your arms. It's worth it to hope for your love tomorrow.

I will embrace you in the silence. All my life, I have waited for your love. And the arrival of the day when you come for me.

Take care Josh, wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia - the Least of All the Grobanites.

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Theotokos - Can this crazy word describe Josh?

on August 27, 2007 - 9:12am

Dear Josh - OK, this is the theological topic that I have been wanting to write about for a while, but I keep scraping it for other topics. I am nervous about writing this because it is rooted in Marian theology. I do not know if I know enough about Marian theology to do this well, but I am going to try.

The only "actual" person that I know who will read this is Grobie-friend, and since she is a very devout Protestant, I can almost hear the groans from her hometown in the Mid-West at this moment. If you actually read this e-letter, you probably would be groaning too. So bear with me. Here it goes.

I have been wanting to write about this topic since Mother's Day, but I chose to postpone it to the month of August because during this month, in the Catholic Church, we celebrate two important Marian Feasts - the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th, and the Queenship of Mary on August 22nd. They are high feasts for devout Catholics - important days to reflect upon the reality of Mary as the Mother of God.

Theotokos is a Greek word meaning "God-bearer." In the early Church, there was a theologian names Nestorius who challenged this long-held belief that Mary was the Mother of God. He recognized her as the mother of Jesus, but not the Mother of God because God is an eternal being with no beginning or end like humans. A Church Council was called(please forgive me, I can't remember the place or dates)to discuss the matter since Nestorius' understanding of the Virgin Mary was dividing the Church. At this council, it was decided that Mary was the Mother of God, and the title Theotokos was given to her to describe her relationship to God in salvation history.

The one thing that I believe that you and Grobie-friend do not understand about Marian theology is that when Catholics honor her with a title like Theotokos, we are actually acknowledging a reality that all Christians share with her as members of the universal Church. Yes, Josh Groban, we are all theotokoi or "God-bearers."

When I first began writing to Grobie-friend, I would allow the hurt and disappointment that I had towards you flare up uncontrolled. During that time, she became a theotokos for me when she would consistently respond to me with patience and with love. With each response, I began to believe once again that Grobania was not such a bad place to be after all. That is why it hurt so much for me, when I broke it off with her for awhile. She had had enough of my bitterness, and I did not know anymore if I could be the type of Grobie-friend that she really needed. But during that time of separation, I wondered who would be a theotokos for me in this strange online world. Surprisingly to me, forgiveness came quickly and soon the relationship was restored. I was grateful that God wanted her to continue to be a theotokos to me even though I was far from the perfect "Grobie-friend" that she deserved.

As for you, Josh Groban, I could probably write a book about the myriad of ways that you have been a theotokos to me and countless others during your musical career. The most vivid example of this reality for me is in the video for the song "You Are Loved." It opens with someone who appears to have bowed their heavy head in prayer. Then the video shows you, and you are like a messenger of God proclaiming that our deepest prayers have been heard. WE ARE LOVED, and as the camera shines on you as you sing, you become a theotokos, a "God-bearer" in that beautiful video. It is a powerful video to watch and meditate on.

Now, with such high praise, you are probably feeling dizzy on the pedestal that you think that I put you on. In reality, by saying that you are a theotokos, a God-bearer, I am actually leveling the playing field between you and I. We are now equals.

The inequality that separates us in this world is what fuels my darkness when you disappoint me. I want so badly to be on equal par with you. But in the eyes of the world, this will never be. You have spent at least eight years of your young life becoming the artist and musician that you are today. I have spent those same eight years teaching children and studying the ways of God. You and I will never know each other because our worlds will never collide. We will never be equals, and this reality saddens me deeply.

But when I reflect on the spiritual reality that lies in being theotokoi, the divisions between us cease. In God's world, we are equals and we always will be because God loved us first. The development of your musical talent and my theological knoweldge give glory, praise,and honor to the One who created us. We are brothers and sisters in the family of God, and that is all that matters. It is a wonderful gift to be a theotokos or God-bearer. Relish that reality, Josh, because it is at the heart of what God made you to be. A man who reflects God's love to the world.

No music to end this e-letter today, just the words of St. John of the Cross. Remember Josh to take God for your spouse and friend. Walk with Him continually. You will not sin and you will learn to love. And the things that you must do will work out PROSPERSOUSLY for you.

Take care Josh whereever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia - the Least of ALL the Grobanites

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Stay For Awhile......

on August 16, 2007 - 9:25am

Dear Josh - Someone once told me many years ago that there are no such things as "co-incidences" in life only "God-incidences." Well, since I last wrote you, I have had an interesting "God-incidence" and it has occurred righ here in Grobania.

At the end of my last e-letter, I stated that I hoped that you had gotten a chance to me Grobie-friend when you performed in her home town about a week and a half ago. Even though Grobie friend had front-row seats, I wondered a bit if you would get the chance to meet her because after all, there is only one of you, and THOUSANDS OF US at one of your performances. But, as fate would allow it - YOU DID MEET HER! YOU TALKED TO HER AND SHE GAVE YOU A HUG! I wish that I could have been a fly on the wall to see that!

When Grobie friend wrote me about this, I have to admit, I was jumping up and down in my seat. It thought that I would be really jealous of her good fortune, but in reality I was REALLY, REALLY HAPPY FOR HER! Because she was blessed with front-row seats, I think that she deserves a few extra momemts of once in a lifetime attention from you. A part of me wishes that I could have been there to share the moment with her.

The hardest part of being the Least of the Grobanites is that I will never meet you face to face, and I will never meet Grobie friend face to face. I am nothing but an impersonal blob behind a computer screen.

But God is good to even us "impersonal blobs." He answers my prayers by putting me in this "one-down" position (especially in relationship to you)so that I will live my life for HIS HONOR AND GLORY and not yours. I do not believe that God sees my affection towards you as "sin," but He is aware of how disordered this affection can become for me, if I am not grounded in reality. And reality here in Grobania means that I will never have any REAL relationship with you, and only a VERY LIMITED ONE with Grobie friend.

I had a theological topic to "bore" you with today, but I am going to scrap it for now. I have been thinking a lot about Grobie friend, and I am wondering if she is experiencing any "post-concert blues." I know that I had them for at least a month after you performed in Rochester, New York, and I did not even meet you! If I had Grobie-friend's experience, I would have been seriously depressed for about THREE MONTHS.

What would fuel this depression, you might wonder. For me, it is a strong desire to get to know you. To be a REAL FRIEND to you rather than an anonymous member of an online community of "Friends" associated in your name. When you have spoken about your "real friends" onstage like Angelique Kidjo (God, I hope that spelled her name right,) you like to mention how beautiful you think that their souls are. (And yes, Josh you do say it that way onstage.) Well, if you still have not figured it out by now, I am not a devoted Grobie because you are young, good-looking or have a beautiful voice. I am a devoted Grobie because you, Joshua Winslow Groban, have a beautiful soul. I know this sounds really stupid coming from a woman of my age, but I guess I want to see that same admiration for my soul reflected in your words and in your eyes. But the only person worthy enough to give me THAT kind of praise and THAT kind of love is my Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth. Being permanently and irrevocably separated from you keeps my eyes on Him, and that is the way it should be.

For me, being at your concerts and hearing your "deliciously flawless voice" with my own ears is a mountain-top experience. Your voice and your music point me to the beauty and grandeur of God. Even though I have only attended two of your concerts, I never want them to end. Like St. Peter, on the Mountain of Transifiguration, I want to say "Lord, it is SO GOOD for us to be here. Let us build a tent...(if you know the Scripture Josh, you can fill in the rest.) But eventually St. Peter and his companions had to come down from that mountain-top experience and so do I and so does Grobie friend. It is hard sometimes to live in reality when you have had THAT KIND of experience.

But, to my utter joy this week, I discovered that one my favorite Christian artist, Amy Grant, has released her music on Itunes. I downloaded an album of hers from Itunes that was SO PIVOTAL to me and my spirituality when I was in my twenties. The title of the album is Amy Grant: The Collection. I played this album A LOT during those painful years when I was in relationship with "Mary Lynn." The song that I want to close this incredibly long e-letter with is called Stay for Awhile. I always thought of her whenever I played this song. Now it makes me think of you and how I wish that I could be closer to you, but I can't. I dedicate the words of this song to Grobie friend if she is caught in the maelstorm of "post-concert blues."

But before I do that always remember Josh..."Take God for your spouse and your friend and walk with him continually. You will not sin and you will learn to love, and the things that you must do will work out PROSPEROUSLY for you." (St. John of the Cross)

Ok, enough theology, now the song....

Long time since I have seen your smile, but when I close my eyes, I remember....

You were no more than a child, but then so was I, young and tender....

Time carries on. I guess it always will. Deep inside my heart, time stands still.

Stay for a while; when it's good to see your smile and I love your company. Stay for a while, and remember the days gone by for a moment it can seem just the way it used to be.

Snow falls, phone calls, broken hearts, clear summer days warm and lazy. Long walks, long talks after dark. We vowed we would never forget, now its hazy.

Time takes its toll and time alters our view. It would be nice to spend some time with you....

Stay for a while; when it is good to see your smile, and I love your company. Stay for a while, and remember the days gone by. For a moment it can seem just the way it used to be.

Stay...please stay...stay, stay,stay...want to, want to...

Stay for a while; when it is good to see your smile, and I love your company. Stay for a while and remember the days gone by, just the way it used to be.

Stay for a while. Oh when it is good to see your smile and I love your company....won't you stay with me... for a while, and remember the days gone by...for a moment it can seem just the way it use to be.....

The way it used to be.....

Take care and God bless, Josh Groban, wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia - the Least of All the Grobanites.

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