This Is My Story

It was a hot July afternoon in Denver, Colorado when my mother handed me the letter.  The contents of that letter changed the course of my life.  As I stood there in the backyard, I read it twice; then a third time.  My emotions were running wild.

On the one hand, I was actually happy about it.  But, on the other hand, I was sad and disappointed, and then I started feeling guilty for feeling happy.  My life was about to change drastically, again.

Three years before, my life took a new and different course. I had left friends and family behind and joined the Catholic Seminary.  I wanted to be a priest.  So just what was it that made me choose that particular course for my life?

This Is My Story

Usually when Christians talk about their life they point out when they first “accepted Christ.”  I bring this up now because “accepting Christ” means different things to different people.  So, if that means when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and believed that God raised him from the dead, I really don’t know the exact day and time. I just know that I have.

Now, let me get back to the letter.

When Did It Start?

When I was growing up, many times my brother and I would spend several days with our grandmother, who we called, “Nana.”  She was the greatest cook who has ever lived – except maybe for your grandmother!

When we stayed with Nana, if one of those days happened to be a Sunday, then we walked to Church with her.  There was one priest in particular who I thought could really preach.  He was different.  He could really communicate.

I don’t even remember his name, but something clicked for me every time I heard him.  His preaching was the inspiration that led me to go to into the Seminary.  I never met him, and I didn’t understand it at the time, but his preaching had a deep impact on my life.

With an Italian background, becoming a priest was a really big deal.  Everyone in our family was so proud that there was now going to be a priest in the family.  But, halfway into my first year, I became disillusioned.

It’s hard to describe, and I have blocked a lot of it out of mind over the years.  All I know is that I did not feel fulfilled.  Something was missing.  Whatever it was that I was looking for was nowhere to be found.  If it had been there, I could have put up with anything, but it just wasn’t there for me.

And so after three years, during our short summer break, there I was standing in the backyard, reading a letter; a letter to my parents, requesting that I not return for my senior year.

I handed the letter back to my mom and she went inside.  I sat down on the grass and cried.  Even though I was happy that I was not going back, I felt worse than a failure; and then, I became scared of the consequences of being asked to leave.

You Better Not Quit!

During those three years in the seminary, we were told, on many occasions, that we were there because God called us to be there.  How often over the next several years would I hear it echo in my mind, “It is a calling!  You are here because it is a calling.  Don’t you ever quit and turn your back on God!”

Now, to make the point, we were told that if we ever did indeed quit, there would be dire ramifications.  And they gave us some specific examples of the consequences of some of those who had quit.

We were told that one young man lost both arms in a car accident less than four miles from the seminary the day he left.  Another, who wanted to be married and have children, had 4 successive children born dead.  Another ended up in a mental institution.  And on and on it went. And they would usually conclude by saying, “Go ahead, quit!”

Those stories were pretty scary to me. They were some pretty horrible images for us teenagers to hear.  But, hearing all of that on a regular basis did a pretty good job of keeping some of us from quitting.

I Had Failed God

But as I sat there on the grass in my backyard, I began to cry.  In my case, I wasn’t quitting; instead, I was asked to leave. I thought that if quitting was really bad, then getting asked to leave was probably worse.  I felt I had failed God. And my real passion that had been a big part of me going to seminary in the first place seemed all but gone.

And so, there I was, at the age of 17, carrying a load of guilt, condemnation and shame, having absolutely no confidence in God. My parents decided that I should finish my high school education at a parochial school instead of the public high school.  As a result, I only knew two other seniors, whom I had only just recently met.  Add to that, being sheltered from girls for three years, resulted in me having very few social skills with the opposite sex.

I was scared.  I needed a “cover story” or, as they call it today, a “spin.”  I simply told everyone I had been in California going to school out there.  I even made up a name:  Mission High.  That plan went over pretty well.  “Oh cool, California, huh?”   I hated the deception, but to me it was better than people finding out that I had been kicked out of the Seminary.

Surviving My Senior Year

During that senior year two things happened that began to once again fuel my passion.  First, I tried out for the school play and landed a really good role.  Performing for people seemed to give me a sense of satisfaction, just like being in the Speech Club in the seminary, although at the time I had no idea why.  I would find out years later.

Secondly, listening to the radio became my favorite pastime.  Yes, of course back then we all listened to the radio a lot, but I focused more on the announcers; what they were doing and how they were doing it.  This kind of communication seemed really cool to me.

Meanwhile, the guilt and condemnation hung over me like a cloud.  I got good at distracting myself, but it followed me everyday like a shadow, seeming to say over and over, “You failed God; you disappointed Him.”

For years I made countless promises to God to try and amend for my failure. I worked at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for about a year after graduating high school.  I worked on the ramp loading airplanes, and I can still remember driving the carts full of freight or luggage in the freezing cold, trying to make a deal with God.  I just wanted to get it right with Him; I wanted Him to forgive me but I just didn’t know how to go about it.

A year later I moved back to Denver to go to a broadcasting school.  I was so excited.  I wanted to be a DJ.  I wanted to talk to people.  Again, I didn’t fully understand why talking to people was so exciting to me.

My Radio Career Begins

About a year later, I landed my first full time radio job, in Carlsbad, New Mexico, at KBAD.  The pay was $400 a month.  I worked 6 days a week.  I was on the air from 9am to noon, and then took a lunch break.

After lunch I recorded commercials for the radio station.  When I finished those, it was nearly 6 o’clock, and I had another shift on the air, from 6 to 10pm.  At the end of that shift, I vacuumed, and emptied the trash, and locked the building and went home.

Now that might not sound very glamorous, but I loved it; just loved it.  I really didn’t understand why it felt so exciting and fulfilling to me.  I had no idea what “passion” was all about.  I was having fun and loving what I was doing.  But I would learn someday why doing what I was doing then was not only satisfying, but it was laying the foundation for other adventures.  There would be many.

I Was Still Hoping

Meanwhile, the guilt and condemnation would just not go away. I carried it with me every day for 8 long years.  Whenever I planned to go to Church, in hope of making things right between me and God, I had so much guilt that I just couldn’t go.  Then, one day at the radio station I was working on Sunday instead of Saturday.

On Sundays they had a preacher do a show from 2 to 3pm.  It was called, “Pecos Valley Hymn Time.”  Isn’t it funny how there are some things in your life that you can remember, and others that you can’t?  Over the years I was exposed to countless programs on many different radio stations that I have worked at.  But there are very, very few that I remember, and this was one of them.

I was at a point where I really needed some spiritual help.  I was so hoping that the preacher would reach out to me. Now you might be thinking, “Why didn’t you just go and ask someone for some help?”  Good question.  But you see, I had so much guilt and shame that I couldn’t even bring myself to go to Church, any Church!

The preacher brought his two daughters to the station, and I thought they were kind of cute.  Maybe they would reach out to me.  At that time, if anyone would have reached out to me, I would have gladly responded.  But sadly, neither the preacher nor his daughters had anything to do with me.

In fact, I even traded shifts for a number of weeks so that I could work on Sunday.  But I got the cold shoulder from all three of them.  I wondered if it was because I played rock and roll music.  Was it my hair? It was a little bit long, but certainly not long enough to be classified as a “hippie.”

I can still feel the coldness they displayed.  I felt judged. Even though they didn’t know me, even though they didn’t know how my heart ached to get it right with God, and even though they never said anything to me, there was an air of self righteousness that they displayed to me.

Religion can be so cruel at times.  Over the years on a number of occasions, I have seen and experienced a lack of love from those who profess to be Christians.  Thank God that I would learn later that God’s love and forgiveness was unconditional.  After a few weeks I stopped trading shifts and felt even farther from God than I ever had.

I Got Married

Inside, I was hoping that if I ever got married, my wife would help me get back to going to Church.  I met the woman of my dreams in the fall of 1970.  The following May, over the weekend, we drove to El Paso, Texas, and got married in the office of a justice of the peace.  It was that weekend that I bought, Kathy, my new bride, her very first “Big Mac” hamburger from McDonalds.  Yes, it was quite a simple honeymoon.

Kathy had no background with any Church. She had gone to a couple of camps with friends, but that was it.  Her dad one day sat all the kids down and gave them each a Bible.  He was not a Church goer; he had seen too much hypocrisy.

When Kathy’s little sister died several months after birth, a preacher came to call.  No, he didn’t come to comfort a grieving family.  He came to talk about how there must be sin in their lives.  I took careful note of that and asked myself the question, “Where is the love?  Where is the care?  Where is the concern?”  I saw once again first hand how cruel religion can be at times.

And so, Kathy and I didn’t attend any Church. But, on occasions, I did share with her some things that I knew about Jesus Christ. It felt really good to share those things with her.  In fact, it excited me and I still didn’t know why.  Then, when she told me that I was the first person who ever shared with her about Jesus Christ, it gave me great satisfaction and fulfillment.

I Was Searching For Answers

As time went on, my hungry heart began to search for answers, real answers. While some may pray, “God, if You’re out there…” I already knew He was out there, I just couldn’t figure out how to connect with Him.

I listened to some religious radio programs and most of them were a lot of “hell fire and brimstone.” That’s just what I needed, more threats of going to hell!  No thanks.

There was one program that I listened to every once in awhile that I found interesting.  It took a look at some of the meanings of the words in the Bible.  Another program I heard a few times was pretty legalistic, saying that it was a sin to eat pork.  To say the least, I was very perplexed.

My Insurance Policy For Judgment Day

By age 25 I had a lot of confusion concerning God.  And so, one day, I decided the best course of action was to just read the Bible all the way through; cover to cover.  The funny thing is that being in the seminary for three years we never, ever studied the Bible. So, I decided, strictly as an insurance policy for Judgment Day, to just read the whole Bible.

I didn’t succeed.  So much of it just did not make sense, nor seem relevant.  I mean, I was very happy for Noah; he built a boat and he and his family survived, but what does that have to do with me?  Should I keep some wood around, just in case?

Shortly after my attempt to read the whole Bible, sitting at a poker game in my kitchen, a co-worker of mine shared with me about a Bible class that he recently sat through. The other guy playing with us became a little irritated that we were talking about God in a poker game!

Jack and I both worked for a radio station in New Haven Connecticut, and his shift, 2 to 6am, followed my shift, which was 10pm to 2am.  He and I became good friends, and, Kathy and I decided to take the Bible class he recommended.

A Monumental Turning Point

This was a monumental turning point in my life and in Kathy’s life too.  For me, this class opened up the Scriptures like no one else ever had.  I wasn’t told to just take everything on faith, but rather, to read it for myself and then decide if I wanted to believe it or not.

But the really big news for me was that I found out that for the Christian believer “there is therefore now no condemnation,” that God has forgiven me, because Jesus paid for my sins.

I cannot put into words what that information did for my heart.  It was if I had been banging on the door for eight years, and suddenly the door opened, and God said, “Come on inside my son; the door was never locked!”

Jesus said it is the truth that shall set you free.  That truth set me free.  I was home; I belonged to God, and His love for me was unconditional and it would never end.

In a moment of time I was set free from 8 years of condemnation!

I learned so much about what Jesus Christ accomplished for me and how I could live a life of joy and abundance without being religious.  I had seen many overly pious, judgmental, super religious people in my life and I just didn’t want any part of that. I did not want to be hypocritical and phony.  If God can forgive me of all that I have done, and still love me, why should I not do the same to other people?

Learning And growing

I learned so many things over the next three years, especially about how I can absolutely have confidence in God and trust Him. This stuff sounded really good, but would it really work?  Could I really see some results in my life? I immediately put into action what I was learning.

My search for a better job had been going nowhere.  But when I applied what I learned, in a matter of two weeks I got a job on a radio station in Oklahoma City that I had actually been turned down for.

It does work!

Meanwhile, for Kathy, she had been diagnosed with meniere’s disease and was getting progressively worse.  She had already lost 70% of her hearing in one ear, and 30% in the other.  We were told by one of the top 5 ear doctors that there was no cure.

The only option we had left was for them to cut the nerve in her ear, which would leave her permanently deaf.  Doing that would end all the symptoms which included nausea, constant dizziness and constant ringing noises.  But, instead, she was prayed for and she received healing.

The Promises Of God Are Really True!

To say the least, we left New Haven headed for Oklahoma with a lot of confidence in God and joy in our hearts.  It was like our lives had been transformed and we were starting out fresh.  We were truly excited about God because for us, He was living and real.

After eight months in Oklahoma City, I was offered an even better job at a radio station in Phoenix, KRIZ, and so we moved again.  We both continued to be involved in small Bible fellowships held in homes, and after a year, began to have one in our home too.

Once again, that which was stirred in my heart back in Nana’s church was being fulfilled as I taught people from the Bible a couple of times a week in my home.  But, I wanted to do a better job.  I wanted more instruction so that I could do a better job of teaching.

After Paula, our first child was born, I left a very successful career in radio, and the three of us entered a Bible college designed for families.  It was an intensive three year program and Kathy and I graduated with our degrees in theology.   We were then invited to work full time for the ministry and we were first assigned to the state of Iowa to teach, and handle classes and outreach.

My Dream Job

For me this was my dream job.  And then a year later, I was invited to be ordained to the Christian ministry.

That was the greatest night of my life.  After so many years of living with guilt, thinking that I had turned my back on God, to now being invited to be ordained, this was truly special beyond words.

In the seminary, if you completed all the training then you would indeed be ordained as a priest.  At least, that’s how it was back then.  But this was different.  In this organization, you did not go through a specific curriculum and pass some tests and then automatic ordination.  Instead, you were invited to be ordained.

That night there was the most gorgeous sunset I have ever seen.  Since then, on occasion, I see sunsets that remind me of that night; none quite as magnificent, but they remind me nevertheless.

On August 11th, 1982 I was ordained as a Christian minister.  I was deeply humbled and felt a strong sense of responsibility.  I was very happy and excited; I felt that I was home.

And to add icing on the cake, a year later our son, Michael was born.  I now had a wonderful wife, a son and a daughter, and my life’s dream was fulfilled.  My life was now as complete as I could have ever imagined it.

But I never could have guessed what was looming on the horizon.

I must say, openly and honestly, that I hold absolutely no animosity toward anyone for the things that happened to the ministry that I loved.  I have purposefully left out the name of that world-wide organization so as to not cause someone to think badly of anyone associated with it, then, or now.

I will say that what happened was devastatingly sad, and many lives were shattered, and many of my fellow ministers were tremendously hurt.  Of course there were many things that led up to it, but suffice to say, a power struggle ensued, and in 1989, 75% of the leadership in the United States either left or were fired.

It Was Over

In my case, I heard a couple of months ahead of time that I was going to be fired.  So, I simply called and asked if it were true.  It was.  After the conversation, my wife and I decided to move to California from Minnesota where we had been serving for four years.

And so, after 8 years of dedicated service, we drove away, with hardly any belongings, wondering what we were going to do.  A few kind souls were kind and loving and gave us a little cash.  It’s a good thing they did, for it is what we used to get settled in Oceanside, California.

I was angry.  I was bitter.  I was devastated.  And then, despite all the various emotions that were consuming my mind, reality set in.  I needed to support my family.  I had been out of the job market for nearly 12 years.  I had become used to having my rent, utilities, gas, etc all paid for me by the ministry that I had worked for.

Now What?

I did all sorts of things, including telemarketing, washing windows, and eventually got back into radio announcing at a little station in Fallbrook.  My children never realized it, but it was some of the leanest times of my life.

After three years in Oceanside, we relocated again to Phoenix in the summer of 1992.  At first I was washing windows and working part time for KOOL-FM. Close to a year later, I became full time at that radio station.

By this time, my wife and I had been married for 21 years.  We had experienced quite a lot during that time.  In the early days of my radio career, we lived in Carlsbad, New Mexico.  After that, I got some additional schooling in Denver for a few months and then we ended up going all over the country, each time pursuing a better radio job than the last one.

Counting all the states, we lived in New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, Arkansas, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Arizona.  Then, with the ministry, we lived in Indiana, New York, Iowa, and Minnesota.  Now, after living in California, here we were, back in Arizona, doing something we definitely didn’t anticipate, starting over once again.

A New Adventure

But in reality, it wasn’t starting all over.  I mean you could look at it that way, but you could also look at it another way.  We were starting another new adventure.  Looking at it that way puts it into a positive, rather than a negative.  So, there we were in the summer of 1992, beginning yet another new adventure.

Through all of our adventures, God has been so very good and kind to us.  He has helped us and provided for us in some very unique and miraculous ways; the kind of ways that you know it could only come from Him.  After all, there are many promises of prosperity in the Bible.

Perhaps I could best sum it up this way:  I have seen, not only in my life but in many other people’s lives, that when you believe God, He will bring His Word to pass.  I have seen how God has brought blessings of healing, prosperity, relationships, etc. etc.

I have seen it time and time again, that when you have real confidence in God, He will bring His promises into reality for you and you will have great joy.

So here we were back in Phoenix starting another new adventure.  It wasn’t easy.  During the first ten months I was only working part time at the radio station on the weekends.  I managed to get a number of window cleaning accounts during the week.

Salaries at that particular radio station were traditionally low, so when I did get full time it was not a huge increase.  But it was enough to quit the window cleaning jobs.  Over the next 15 years the pay would gradually increase until I was making a decent wage.

The Passion And Desire Continues

I had not joined any Church, but continued to teach the Bible in my home.  From time to time I have been invited to teach or speak at various functions around the country, including family camps, conferences and special presentations.

I was finally beginning to really understand my passion and desire.  My passion is to communicate.  I love to share information with people.  It all began to make sense.  That is why I wanted to be a priest; to communicate to people. That was the reason I so enjoyed being in the speech club in high school as well as a part of the school play.  That is the reason I so loved being on the radio.

My passion is to communicate and my desire is to help people.

In early 2000 I began to produce some products.  I set up a digital studio on my computer in my home.  The learning curve was huge.  I had spent a lot of time over the years in radio stations recording, but that was on reel to reel tape. Digital recording was brand new to me.

Add to that I knew nothing about computers.  I spent many, many nights in my office learning how to use a computer and learning how to use recording software. I can remember one night, walking out of my office over to the family room and telling Kathy, “I feel like I’m in the first grade trying to learn all this stuff!”

My first project was to record a portion of the Bible, called The 7 Church Epistles.  This includes the books of Romans through Thessalonians, 9 books in all.  From my studies I knew how very important this particular section of Scripture is to born again Christians.

The project took me two years to complete in my spare time.  It took that long for a number of reasons.  For one, I was still learning how to use the computer as well as learning how to use the recording software.  Secondly, I was extremely concerned about the accuracy and quality of the recordings.   When finally finished, it was a 4 CD set that I began to sell.

To say the least, that project was a great learning experience for me.  But there really isn’t much of a market for a recording of a portion of the Bible.  I have since discontinued selling the physical product, but all of it is available to download to members of my web site, Enriching Your Life Now.

More Projects

Shortly after finishing that project, I began to voice and produce, Duke Clarke’s project, “Stories for Joshua,” a journey through the major Bible stories, as told by a grandfather to his grandson Joshua. I loved this project.

Years before, while working full time for the ministry, I would be on the road quite a bit.  It bothered me that I could not be at home to read to my daughter before she went to sleep.  So, one day, I recorded parts of the book of Acts for her.  I was very animated. I wish I still had those recordings.  Paula, after 27 years, still remembers them.

I also wrote a book, called, “Healing from God is Available.” During my time in Bible College, I did my thesis on the topic of receiving healing.  It has been, and continues to be a topic of interest to me.  The book came about in a very unique way.

I had been writing back and forth to someone I knew in Minnesota who was having some health issues, sharing with her about receiving healing from God.  About the same time, Kathy’s brother had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, and was given six months to live.

We brought him and his wife out to stay with us for around 8 or 10 days.  On the two weekends that he was with us, he sat through a Bible class.  During the week, in the mornings, I would share with him information on healing that I had been working on for some time.  Then, at the end of the week, I prayed for him.

That was around 6 years ago and he is doing fine.  Little did I know that what I was sharing with him turned out to be the first draft of the book.  I thought that since this information helped him as well as the lady in Minnesota, maybe I should type it up so I could share it with people who needed healing. Then I thought, “Why not just put it in book form?”

I wanted to write a simple book on healing.  I didn’t want a bunch of testimonials, or complicated theology.  I just wanted to simply present the truths from the Bible that healing from God is available.

I have sold many copies of that book and also recorded it.  The audio may be for sale some day, but right now, both the eBook as well as the audio are available to members of the Enriching Your Life Now site.

I later recorded a CD called, “Healing Words.” I did this specifically for people who are going through some health issues.  There is no commentary and no preaching.  It is simply a recoding of verses about healing, with beautiful music in the background.  It has been by far my most popular item to date.

Everything Was Going Quite Well

So things seemed to be rolling along very nicely.  At my radio job my ratings for my afternoon show were consistently in the top 3, and many times at #1.  Our station began providing great prices for group travel to exciting places. One of the personalities would then escort the group of forty people and our expenses would be covered.

As a result, Kathy and I were escorts on 7 different trips!  Kathy has always remembered the silly line I told her when we were dating:  “Stick with me baby, and I’ll show you the world!”  Yes, it was a silly line coming from a 20 year old in love with the prettiest girl he ever laid eyes on.  But a little over 20 years later, I was indeed showing her the world.  Isn’t God good!

One of the places we had only dreamed of going to some day was Italy and now we have been there 5 times.  Talk about a blessing!

And speaking of a blessing, there is something that happened on one of those trips that I just have to share with you.  It was October of 2001, and we were on a Mediterranean cruise.  We were once again escorting a group of around 40 people.

On the land tours we were with all the people all day every day, as we traveled on a tour bus.  But on the cruises there were people in our group that I didn’t see at all after we set sail.  That’s because a cruise ship is a bit larger than a tour bus!

But on this cruise, oddly enough, we kept running into Tom, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day.  Very unusual.  I wondered why this was happening.  I at first thought that maybe it was because God was leading me to him to share with him about God.  But there was simply no open door to share spiritual things with him.

Little did I know God was leading him to me to bless my life.

The World Series

One day, near the end of our trip, we found out the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team had made it into the World Series.  The first two games would be in Phoenix a couple of days after we returned home.

As I was walking, guess who spotted me and waved me to come over and join him for a cup of coffee?  It was Tom.  I told him I thought it was great that the Diamondbacks were in the World Series.  I then commented, “Yeah, it’ll be pretty hard to get tickets for that!”

Tom then causally said, “I have tickets.”

“How can you have tickets?” I asked, quite puzzled.  “We are here on the ship. How did you get tickets so fast?”

He told me that his company had season tickets.  He then asked me a question that almost stunned me.  “Would you like to go to a game?”

“Are you kidding me!” I exclaimed.  “I have always wanted to go to the World Series since I was a kid.”

It was all set up.  Kathy and I were going to game 2 of the 2001 World Series. But then, Kathy decided that she would give up her ticket so that I could go to the game with my son.  She is such a giver.  She knew how much Mike and I enjoyed going to the ballpark.

On the About page there is a picture of Mike and I at that game.  Our seats were six rows behind the Diamondback’s dugout.  What a wonderful and memorable blessing from God!

I Had A Plan

Meanwhile, in my spare time, I continued to enjoy my passion and desire – communicating information to people that would help them.  I knew that is what I wanted to do full time.  So, my plan was to develop my Internet products until I was generating enough income from that so that I could leave the radio station.

As I continued to learn about the possibilities on the Internet, I put up a membership site called, “Inspirational Pep Talks, in which I offered a 3 to 5 minute audio pep talk every Monday through Friday.  After a year of that, I reorganized those pep talks into 5 sets, and they are now packaged as, “Mike’s Pep Talks.”

In June of 2008, I launched a brand new membership site called, “Enriching Your Life Now!” That site gives the members almost all of the materials that I have produced. In addition, I add around 20 pieces of new content to that site every month, including audio, video, and text.

I was beginning to project that maybe in two years I might be able to leave commercial radio completely.  I didn’t expect my plan to be so drastically interrupted.  Yes, once again, after 16 and half years, we were starting on another new adventure.

My Plan Was Suddenly Interrupted

December of 2008 was going to be a very exciting month for me.  Counting vacation days, personal days, and, company holidays I was going to have around three weeks off, beginning December 13th.  Paula and her husband, Tyson, were coming in from Denver for Christmas, and Michael and his wife, Jacey, were going to be in town too.

In addition, I had been working on launching a blog site.  I had wanted to get it up and running a month before, but had run into some snags.  But now, I had plenty of time to get it done.  At least I thought I did.

On Friday, December 12th, shortly before 7pm, I finished my radio show.  I said my goodbyes, wished everyone a merry Christmas, and, promised to be back the first of January.  I lied; but not intentionally.

As I turned the microphone off, and unplugged my earphones, I looked up and saw my program director walking in. He was followed by the general manager, who was followed by our HR lady.

I looked at all three of them and said, “What’s this?”  They then informed me that I had just completed my last show.  After 16 and half years it was over.  Yes, I was surprised, but only because of the meeting I had attended two weeks prior.

I worked for CBS Radio, and the company had been going through layoffs across the country since February of 2008.  My contract was due to expire mid January, 2009.  But two weeks prior to my “last show,” I was invited to go to lunch with my program director and general manager.  They informed me at lunch that they could not renew my contract, but asked if I was willing to work without a contract.  Of course I agreed.

That’s why I was surprised when my three week vacation turned into a permanent vacation.  Beginning Saturday, December 13th, it was time to begin yet another new adventure.

Now if you have ever been through a layoff, you know your mind can go through a lot of different trips.  There are a million questions that can start racing through your mind.  Prior to my layoff I had offered my help and advice to others in that situation.

But here is the bottom line.  It is over.  You can ask all the, “Why?” and “How come?” questions you want to.  It will not change anything.  It will lead you into anger and bitterness.  None of it will help you move forward, and in that situation, you really do need to move forward.

Here’s something else that I was able to share with some people before my layoff:  All they can take away from you is your income.  Now that’s a big deal, trust me, I know.  But they can’t take away who you are.  All of your knowledge, your skills, your ability, your work ethic, all of that no one can ever take away from you.  You take all of that with you wherever you go.

I had given people some very good advice.  I had even had the chance to help people who had not been laid off but were afraid of being laid off.  Little did I know that all of that was forming a foundation for yet another adventure.

Now I Needed To Tell Myself All Those Things

For me, the hardest part was going home and telling Kathy.  I don’t know, maybe it was pride, maybe it’s that you hate to tell bad news to the one you love.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t want her to worry.  Maybe it’s because I knew this was going to be on our minds while trying to enjoy the holidays with our children.  Maybe it was a combination of all of those things.

Normally I would call her on my way home to tell her that I was on my way, but not this night.  After they helped me clean out my locker, I just sat in my truck for a few minutes, trying to absorb what had just happened.

I had to make sure, right then and there, that first of all I accepted that it was indeed over.  I knew that would be the first step in moving forward. I knew I had to do that because I had already asked them three questions back in the studio.  Those questions were really pointless.  The decision has been made.  It is over.

Now it is time to practice what I preach!  I need to have confidence in my God to take care of me.  He has taken care of me many times in many difficult situations.  Why would He not help me once again?

I also had to watch that I did not get caught up into getting angry over their decision.  God doesn’t want me to go around with anger and bitterness and resentment.  Besides, if I did, that would still give them power over my life.  And quite frankly, they have already moved on.  They moved on as soon as they made the decision to let me go.

So as I drove up the driveway, Kathy opened the door and poked her head into the garage.  She is so perceptive.  As I got out of my truck, she said, “How’s it going, honey?”  “Well,” I said, fighting back some emotion.  “I got laid off tonight.”

So Now What?

Because of what I have observed in the workplace over the last two years, I put together a special presentation for employees, called, “Reducing Stress At Work.”  I am offering this 55 minute presentation to companies so that I can speak to their employees.  It is designed to not only show them how to reduce stress at work, but also how to eliminate fear.

I am also pursuing motivational and inspirational speaking engagements around the country. If you would like more information about that, please send me an email.

And, in January of 2009 I finally started this blog, “Confidence and Joy,” in an effort to reach people with some great information that will be helpful and beneficial for those who don’t want to live their lives in fear.  I wanted to make available some really practical content that anyone can take advantage of.  I wanted to give people this information free of charge.

So, that’s my story.  I plan to update “This Is My Story” from time to time as my new adventure unfolds, and who knows, maybe even another new adventure!  But I thought you would find it helpful to read my story and learn a little bit more about me.

Will Everyone Like This Blog?

I am not trying to get as many Christians as I can to come to this site so that we can all sing, “Cumbya” together.  This site is not for everybody.

If you love God, but are tired of trying to be good enough to earn His love, then you will really enjoy being a part of “Confidence And Joy.”

If you want to enjoy the life God has given you to live, without having to act religious, you will really enjoy being a part of “Confidence And Joy.”

If you are tired of all the judging, criticizing, and condemning, and just want to have more confidence in God so that you can live your life with joy, instead of living with fear, then “Confidence And Joy” is for you.

There will be those who stop by every once in awhile to check it out.  Others, perhaps you, will see this site as a breath of “fresh air” and join the free subscription, either RSS, or email, so that you don’t miss a single post!

I can only share with you what I know and believe is true. As I learn more, I will share more.  If you stick around here for awhile, and apply what you learn, you will see results and learn to live your life without fear.

For me personally, my greatest satisfaction is for those who are a part of “Confidence And Joy” to feel at home.  So, kick your shoes off, relax, and enjoy the content on this site.  Welcome home!

Tell Me about You!

Well, now you know a little bit about me.  Just like you, I have had challenges and obstacles in my life. But I am just convinced that there is nothing too big or too hard for our God.

And, since you now know a little bit about me, why not send me an email and tell me a little bit about you.  And also, tell me what you’d like to see me include on this site.  What would you like to hear more about?

Mike Verdicchio
May 2009

This Is My Story Updates:
Update 1 – January 2010

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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17 thoughts on “This Is My Story

  1. Hi Mike,

    Just wanted to say that now that I really enjoyed reading your life story. You just never know where people have been or what they have been through! I did not know about you job situation, maybe it has changed by now but I wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you and Cathi in regard to this situation.

    That’s all for now…love you both!

  2. Hi Regina!
    Thanks for your comments, kind words, and prayers!
    Kathy and I are continuing to move forward on this new adventure, expecting great things from our loving God.
    Love to you, have a great week,

  3. Greetings, Mike – God Bless you and your family.

    we have a similar story, and my guess is we were both connected with the same outfit – ours was just a few years down the road, and we left this ministry in 2000 – realizing that we said good bye to every friend that we had. And of course, they really were just “associates,” because real friends don’t go anywhere.

    It is absolutely amazing what religion does to one’s psyche. I grew up Roman Catholic myself, and I know that outfit has cornered the market on guilt and shame. When I met my husband, he was affiliated with no religion – how nice it is that he doesn’t have to dryclean his head daily and “unlearn” what was driven into him as a child. I really do think God has His hand of protection on people like you and me – people who want answers, know that they are out there, and keep seeking until they uncover the truth. PRAISE God the truth is in His word, and that there are workmen who help us uncover it for ourselves.

    Thanks for your website – just found it a bit ago and will continue to surf!
    Catherine Gray

  4. Catherine, I’m glad you found my blog and I hope there is some information here that will be a blessing to you and your husband – God bless you!

  5. Mike – it’s always great to realize that you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water:)

    Loved your piece on prosperity – I have been trying to line up “God’s abundance” with “I just need enough to get by” for years, and never even thought of that fact that it is simply living in DENIAL. What a blessing it must be for those who don’t have any unlearning to do, but also what a blessing it is to have a resource like your website for visitors to learn the truth about God and His son! Thanks, Mike – God Bless You!

  6. Biblically, “prosperity,” means that you successfully accomplishing what you set out to do. God wants to help all His children to be prosperous. In addition to that, there are many promises of abundance. So, you are right, Catherine; just “getting by” is not what God wants for our lives.

  7. Hello sir Maybe you remember me. My name is Chuck Norton, you married my wife and I Julie in Iowa many years ago. I have often thought of your example over the years. So I just wanted to write and say thank you for your life of service and your wonderful heart for God.
    I am very blessed to see that your still in Love with God after all this time. Also I had never heard your testimony before thank you for sharing it. It is wonderful to see the deliverance that God had wrought in your life.

    Our God is faithful is he not? Agape to you and all your house.

    Chuck Norton

  8. Hi Michael I am a pastor and was looking for some information about Bishop K.C. Pillai. I belonged to a group called the Way International for a short while and purchased all three of his books and later learned that they had published some of his lectures with them.

    I wondered if you could help with information about the Bishop and was curious were you a part of the Way? I love the gentle spirit with which you write and the relational tone rather than religious spirit you write with.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    In Him,
    Phillip L. Hamilton