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A Podcast Recommendation for Josh!?!

on August 8, 2007 - 8:47am

Dear Josh - Since I can not access ALL of my previous blogs, I do not remember if I ever "wrote to you" about this in the past. If I did, please bear with me for I am about to repeat it again.

On July 31, the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the Founder of the Jesuits. He is another one of my "favorite" saints because I really relate to his school of spirituality called Ignatian Spirituality. Over a decade ago, when I was about your age, I made a form of the Spiritual Exercises of St.Ignatius Loyola called the 19th Annotation or as some call it: "The Retreat in the Modern World." It was a 30 week retreat which was written by St. Ignatius himself. Needless to say, it was a life changing experience for me.

On that retreat, I learned a prayer exercise known as the Consciousness Examen. It is too long of a spiritual exercise to describe here. It would make this e-letter MORE BORING than normal so I am going to forgo its explanation for now. But if you are interested, you can find this exercise on the Internet on the website www.pray-as-you-go.org. This website was created by Jesuit Media Iniitiative, and it has a DAILY Scriptural Meditation based on the consciousness examen. You can download it into your Ipod via Itunes if you are so inclined (And I thought that I read somewhere that you DO have an IPOD - 80 GB, I think. Oh, someone in Grobania, please correct me if I am wrong.) Anyway, if you like podcasts, it is a GREAT ONE to subscribe to.

On July 31, when I was listening to that particular daily podcast, I thought a lot about you because the opening music for that particular meditation came from one of your favorite groups - and NO it is NOT Depeche Mode. The music for that particular meditation was selected from the works of LadySmith Black Mambazo. (Lord, I hope that I spelled that right) Actually, the Jesuit Media Initiatives like to use LadySmith Black Mambazo regularly on this podcast. I do not know the overall musical style of this group, but what is presented on this podcast is very well done, and SOLIDLY scriturally based. The songs from this group on this podcast are usually Scriptural verses that fit the spiritual theme of the day, and they ALWAYS sing it in a Native African Language. I have to admit that I enjoy it very much when the music of LadySmith Black Mambazo leads this podcast. Their music is a treat for the ears and very conducive to prayer. I have to admit, I am quite impressed.

Now I remember, on the Internet version of the AWAKE Album, you talk about how you are a BIG FAN of this group. I also remember busting your chops concerning that song "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode that you like so much. Well, as someone who is overly concerned about your spiritual formation, it is comforting to think that MAYBE you balance the inflammatory music of Depeche Mode with something MORE CONDUCIVE to your spiritual life like the African scripture music sung by LadySmith Black Mambazo. I will never know this for certain, but it is nice to pretend.

There may be a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel after all.

Anyway, I hope that you had fun performing at Grobie friend's home town. I hope that you got to meet her and her daughter because she had front-row seats. I am sure that I will hear more about it in the not-so distant future.

Again, Josh, I hope that the summer tour is going well for you and I am so touched that in Charlotte, North Carolina, you are going to develop an endowment for children in the performing arts. Thank you for using your money and fame to do something good in this "crazy" world.

So always remember Josh, take God as 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.

Take care and God Bless,

Ampatamia - the Least of All the Grobanites.

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So, Josh, you are a Winslow after all!

on July 30, 2007 - 12:13pm

Dear Josh - Whew! What an unbelievable week I have had! Early Thursday morning (12:15am)my brother-in-law, his wife, their eleven children,(Yes,you read correctly. I wrote eleven) and our eldest niece's fiance, arrived to spend about four days with us visiting family and friends. They are devout Messianic Jews who visit us every couple of years, and during their last visit two years ago, I discovered that they do enjoy your music.

Anna, the eldest niece who is engaged, transposed by ear on her clarinet, your mega hit "You Raise Me Up." Her parents wanted her to perform it for the family and Anna wanted me TO SING - YES,TO SING the vocals while she played the clarinet. Man, o man, I never realized how vocally high that song was. There was no way that my voice could reach the highest notes in the chorus. This gave me a deeper appreciation of how amazing your voice is. You sing this song so easily, deeply, or richly that I would have never guessed that the vocal score was pitched so high. Anyway, Anna had to present it as an instrumental only. I just could not sing it properly. Josiah, Anna's brother, suggested that we call you to see if you could fly down and sing this song while Anna played the clarinet. But we ultimately decided that you were probably too busy for us.

While they were visiting us, I received a email from Grobie friend that confirmed the question concerning your middle name. Yes, she said your middle name is Winslow. Joshua Winslow Groban. I have to admit, Josh that the more I say it, the more I like it. I think the name Joshua sounds better with the name Winslow than just plain Josh. I do not know if you will ever use it as a stage name, but right now, I love your stage name and I am beginning to like your birth name better. So I guess that your future use of your name is basically up to you.

You probably wondered why I thought Winslow would be your middle name. Well this is due to the next item that I want to address on my You Might Be a Grobanite If..... list. You might be a Grobanite if you want to name your future child or animal Josh, Winslow or Sweeney.

Well, Josh, for the last two years my HOG and I have been trying to adopt an infant because I am infertile. We have had no success. But if we ever do, I CAN NOT name him Joshua Winslow. My HOG will ABSOLUTELY KILL ME! He tolerates my starry-eyed affection for you, but he considers you serious competition even though you and I have no real relationship at all. So there will be no Joshua Winslow Woloszyn - even though that name does not sound that bad. But as an avid cat-owner and cat-lover, I would not mind naming a future cat Josh, Winslow, or Sweeney if I thought that the name fit the personality of the animal. Right now, my cat is named Dutchess and I have no intention to change it. So I wonder if Grobie friend or other Grobies have this desire. If anyone will be brave enough to share it with me, I would be more than happy to hear about it.

Well, that is all for now, my dearest Josh. I hope that all is going well for you on tour. I want to remind you once again Josh to take God as 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)

Take care, Josh, wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia - the Least of all the Grobanites.

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Oh my gosh - Patron Saints for Josh!?!

on July 24, 2007 - 9:28am

Dear Josh - I had to take a moment and listen to Un Dia Llegara to get the juices following so that I could write another imaginary e-letter to you.

I listened to the AWAKE album this morning as I exercised on my treadmill, and I swear your music captured my soul and sent it in flight on gossamer wings into the heavens. I have never felt so connected to your music as I did this morning, and that is why I knew that I had to return to my blog and write.

As I entered my blog, I guess that no one bit about my inquiry of what "mroof" means. (Maybe only Grobie friend reads my blog and she does not have the answer.) So, as the LEAST OF ALL THE GROBANITES, I guess that I am going to be left in the dark about this one. So for now I am going to detour back for a moment into my familiar world of Catholic theology and spirituality which I find embedded in your music.(Again, feel free to leave Josh, if this is too much for you.) I am still waiting for Grobie friend to give me the answer to the second item on my Grobanitie list....what is your middle name? I hope that she knows and I hope that it is not Winslow. Well, whatever it is, I will write about it next time and I will live with it because I LOVE YA JOSH!!!!

My head and my heart are very caught up today in the reality of the communion of the saints. On July 26, I will be celebrating a two saints that are very near and dear to my hearts - Sts. Anne and Joachim - the biological grandparents of my Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth. Now I know that this couple is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, so no Christian anywhere has to believe in the reality of their existence. But I do. I was named after Saint Anne and her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She and I have something in common - we are both women who struggle with infertility.

The story of Sts Anne and Joachim come from an ancient text called the Gospel of James. In the text, it speaks of how this couple was childless and how they thought that this was a curse from God. (I wrestle daily with the same reality.) Then after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell them that they would have a child. (Josh, where are those angels when you need them!?!) Anne promised to dedicate this child to God (much the way that Samuel was dedicated to God by his mother Hannah - another form of the name Anne- in 1 Kings.

Since I was a young child, July 26th has always been a special day for me. It is like having a second birtday. I look forward to it every year. I love the connection that my Catholic faith gives me to the communion of the saints.

Even, though you are not Catholic and I know that you never will be, I like to think that you have a couple of patron saints watching over you as you journey on the road of fame and fortune that God has laid out for you. "Who are these saints?" you might ask. Well, read on and you will find out.

Actually, I like to think that you have two patron saints - Sts. Cecilia and John of the Cross. Saint Cecilia is traditionally known to be the patroness of music because legend has it, that she either heard heavenly music when she was married or heavenly music was heard at her martyrdom. From my research, the former seems to be the case and not the latter. Anyway, she is represented in art with an organ or organ pipes in her hand. I like to think of her as your patron because so far your music (which includes your voice) seems to come from Heaven above. I hope that she is truly watching over you.

In my not so humble opinion, as THE LEAST OF ALL THE GROBANITES, I like to think of St. John of the Cross as the patron saint of the heart and soul of your music.

Unlike St. Cecila, St. John of the Cross is not the patron saint of music. In Catholicism, he is actually a MASTER in the spirtual life. And this is where I wish that you were Catholic and that you knew more about this amazing saint. So far, through your music, Josh, you have demonstrated an affinity towards LOVE in its most mystical sense. I do not now how you do it. Maybe you think that these songs are fantastic chick-magnet songs that they will sell, and that is why you record them. But in reality your soul will not bow down to this reality. Instead it screams-"NO, IN THIS CRAZY WORLD, I LONG FOR UNION WITH GOD!" and this is where I fell in love with you. You blow me away each and every time that I hear your soul say this.

When you allow the poetry in your music to proclaim your mystical longing for God, you use imagery that is very similar to the love poetry of St. John of the Cross. And since you are so young and a non-Catholic, this repetitive uncanny coincidence also blows me away.

I think that you would like St. John of the Cross. His poetry is some of the most beautiful love poetry ever written. He background is somewhat similar to yours. He was born in Spain in 1542. He was raised a Christian, but there may have been Judaism in his lineage. His parents, like yours, taught him the importance of self-sacrificing love.

His father gave up wealth, status and comfort when he married a weaver's daughter, and he was disowned by his noble family. His father died when he was a young child, and his mother kept the destitute family together as they wandered homeless in search of work. These experiences taught the young John to search for beauty and happiness, not in the world, but in God.

Eventually John entered the Carmelite Order where the great St. Teresa of Avila asked him to help her reform it. His religious community persecuted him greatly because of it. They even arrested him, placed him in solitary confinement, and beat him regularly. Yet, in that situation, his love and faith were like fire and light. He had nothing left but God and through that experience,God brought John his greatest joys,

You would think that this kind of experience would leave him a bitter cynic. Instead it gave birth to a compassionate mystic.

St. John of the Cross believed that someone who seeks happiness in the world is like "a famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air" He taught that by only breaking the rope of our desires could we fly up to God. Above all, he was concerned for those who suffered dryness or depression in their spiritual life and offered encouragement that God loved them and was leading them deeper into faith.

Josh, I know that you do not believe me and probably do not want to hear this, but these above-mentioned topics dear to St. John of the Cross are themes that have come through your music in ALL OF YOUR ALBUMS SO FAR. You may break that pattern after you read this, but that does not deny the reality of what your soul has proclaimed through your music. I hope and pray that some day, you will be able to hear it.

So in closing, I will leave you with the English words of Un Dia Llegara, a song whose images mimic those in the poetry of St. John of the Cross and a new farewell greeting from St. John of the Cross that I will introduce today. I hope that you will like it.

The dry leaves will fall
And when April arrives
You will touch my soul
You will approach....will come for me.
And 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 silence to the voice of the heart.
And the storm will abate in your arms.
It is 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 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 that you come to me.

Josh Groban - Take God as 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.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia - The Least of All the Grobanites.

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You Might Be A Grobanite If....... (Part 1)

on July 17, 2007 - 9:30am

Dear Josh - I know that the topics of many of my e-letters are too theological or too heady for the average Grobie. But as luck would have it, I am running out right now on topics concerning theological or faith related musings about you and your music. I still have a couple of ideas that I want to write about spinning in my head concerning this passion of mine, but I am going to save them for a later time. Instead I am going to focus on something more trivial and banal for the time being.

At the end of June, I found a thread on the message boards titled "You Might Be A Grobanite If..." and it contained a list of about 23 items that one might do if one was a Grobie. As I read the list, I have to admit that I am guilty of about half the items that are posted here. But since I am the LEAST OF ALL THE GROBANITES. there are many things on this list, I was not even aware of. So I thought that maybe you (ha-ha, yeah right) or another Grobie (if someone would be so kind.) could help me with the other half of the list that I am unaware of.

I will be running items from this list to Grobie friend. I know that she will try to help me. But this first item, she did not know. You might be a Grobanite if...you know what "mroof" means. OK, I do NOT have a clue what "mroof" means. I have seen it a million times on the message boards, but I usually just ignore it until it appeared on this list. So, Josh, what does it mean? Is it a noise you make at the end of your songs? If it is, I have never heard it. Is it a sound that you make while you sleep? Is it a sound that Sweeney makes when he is asleep? Is it a sound that you talked about in an interview that I have not read or seen? (And for me, concerning you, Josh, IGNORANCE IS BLISS - so I have not seen or read too many of your interviews.) Is it a secret word or sound that you and your brother share - although now it is not so secret any more. So whatever it is I really would like to know so if I read it again, I will know what the fellow Grobie means.

To make the items on this list last longer, I am going to write about one item at a time. This way, if anyone is interested in helping me out, they will only have one item to think about - not many as in my previous theological and philosopical e-letters. I hope that someone will feel more comfortable responding to this e-letter and help me get up to speed as a Grobanite.

Anyway, I hope that all is going well with you, and again I hope and pray that God will bless you abundantly, Josh Groban, wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia-The Least of all the Grobanites

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No Mere Matter of Sin.........

on July 8, 2007 - 4:54pm

Dear Josh - I probably should be writing this e-letter in silence, but my favorite Sunday program on EWTN is on called Sunday Night Live with Fr. Benedict Groeschel. I can watch it on my computer via webstreaming so I will be flip-flopping between you and him throughout this e-letter.

I would like you to be the first to know that X-Grobie friend are on the mend. She has read my previous e-letters and an apology e-card that I send, and she is willing to try again. I am too, but the reconciliation of this relationship has caused me to ponder the ethereal concepts of sin and salvation.

Yes, Josh, my goal is to make this a theologically dense letter, so if at any point you feel your head start to spin, feel fee to walk away from the computer and comback later. This e-letter will be here whenever you are ready to read it.

When I was a student in theology school, I came across a very big word that was hard for me to pronounce or even understand. This word is called soteriology. Soteriology is the study of salvation. After eight years of study, I hope that I can begin to understand and talk about this unusual topic.

I think that we probably all have our own particular soteriology. Some,like mine and X-Grobie friend's, is rooted in the Christian Tradition. Others may be New Age oriented, atheistically oriented or mystically oriented. We all have a soteriology because we all want to know what happens to us after we die.

Even within the Christian tradition, soterology can be different for different Christian groups. X-Grobie friend is a classic Protestant. She believes in salvation by faith alone and maybe the notion that once someone is saved, they are always saved. No sinful action on our part can take that away from us.

My Catholic understanding of soteriology screams against this. Catholics believe that we are saved by grace through faith, but our nature and our works play a significant role in this. In the area of salvation, our human nature is free to respond to God's love and our works, after we are saved, demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ. Catholics DO NOT BELIEVE that we are saved through our works, but we do believe that faith APART from works is dead. (James 2)

Because we believe that faith apart from works is dead, we also believe that a person can engage in certain actions that can cause the loss of our salvation. If you or any one else would like to know what those actions are, we can talk about it separate from this e-letter. So in order not to inflame too many Grobies, I will leave this discussion, for now, right here.

So, as a Catholic, I do believe that our sinfulness does bear consequences - some of those consequences, we may never be free of even though we are forgiven. We, in the theological world call it the temporal effects of sin.

I am thrilled that X-Grobie friend wants to try again, but I know that there will be an awkwardness between us when we talk about you. This is because the temporal effects of my Italian temper has left her feeling like she is walking on eggshells when we are Joshin'. Even though I am forgiven by Jesus and by her for my actions, I still have to clean up the mess I made, and for a while that will be VERY DIFFICULT. Hopefully, trust can be rebuilt, but I have to leave my Italian temper at the door if I am going to build it.

Josh, for me as Catholic, sin and salvation is not a "Me & Jesus" experience. It is a "We & Jesus" experience. Sin effects not only my relationship with my Lord and Savior. It also effects my relationship with others. Jesus may forgive me for my many sins, but his Sacred Heart still aches if my sin has irreparable damaged any of His children. Dealing directly and honestly with the temporal effects of sin is the only way that I can show my Savior and other Christians that I am truly sorry.

My very first Grobie friend named Aileen, sent me a picture of you with your blue glasses on. Under that picture was a phrase about "The First Church of Josh." As a Christian, that phrase makes me very uncomfortable. But if I want to be a die-hard fan, I guess that I do have some membership in this virtual church.

So what is the soteriology of the First Church of Josh? How about "Every life-line leads its own way to the Heavens." from the song MACHINE. Or this stanza from the song All'Improviso Amore on the CLOSER album:

"Suddenly love
Like the sea
Invades my heart and soul.
And it will save me
And it will be as natural as breathing.
The air in me will speak to me of you." (the Kaballah)

You did not know that you had it in you, Josh, but your music portrays a soul who has his own theology and soteriology. Congratulations Josh Groban, and welcome to my universe!

May God continue to bless you abundantly, Josh Groban, wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia - The Least of all the Grobanites.

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