By Seth Williams
June 21, 2014
"I mostly want my kids to remember that I knew I was the Creator's. And that He is mine. Nothing trumps truth."
I've now known Joe for eleven years (one third of my life). We met when I was visiting San Diego in college and he was playing guitar for my friends' band, This Holiday Life. Then we grew even closer when I moved to San Diego and lived with him before we both married our beautiful wives. Joe was my best man in our wedding. He is an amazing man, an amazing friend, and an outstanding husband and father. He loves Jesus and it shows in the way he loves others. His rawness for life and Jesus has always inspired me. He's refreshing. He's one of those special friends that I'll love getting to know till we're old and gray, sitting on the beach, talking about how thankful we are for God and the families He's blessed us with. Joey shoots it straight. He loves Jesus and you'll know he does if you ever get the privilege of spending time with him. Till that day, I hope the stories below speak to your heart in a powerful way. I'm thankful God put this man in my life. Joe lives in San Diego with his wife, Jessica, daughter, Elliette, and son, Juniper.
What's your favorite album of all time?
It depends what week you ask me. I'm super phasey so I could confidently tell you this week that it's Paul Simon's Graceland only to text next week and let you know that it's changed to Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. I will say though, that the record that consistently gets the most spin time in my player is Bob Marley's Rastaman Vibration. I swear i've almost worn the grooves through on that piece of vinyl. It's so honest and full of praise. I mean, all of Bob's stuff is, but there's something about the positivity of this record specifically that put's my mind in the right place every time.
What's your favorite film of all time?
Wedding Crashers. Great one-liners. Absolutely nothing serious about it. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Done.
What's your favorite coffee shop in Encinitas/Carlsbad?
I worked in coffee shops for 8 years. And you'd think that all that experience and training would have made me super particular. But it's the opposite. I decided that coffee, like wine, undoubtedly has distinguishably different flavor profiles, but at the end of the day I don't drink it for the flavor. I drink it for the ritual. It's that constant that I can always depend on in any country, at any time of day. So I'd happily drink McDonalds, Denny's, Starbucks, instant, whatever. What endears me most to coffee shops is the ambiance. I choose Pannikin Coffee & Tea every day of the week.
What's your favorite surf spot in Encinitas/Carlsbad?
Pipes. It's a beach break and a slow wave so it's not the best 'surf'. But it's the best hang. So many good memories there. And so many more in the making thanks to kids.
What's the most important part of your life?
In mind it's God. In practice I think I honestly have to say it's a tie between work and family. I'm pretty bad at multi tasking so when I'm at work I'm 110% at work. And when I'm at home I'm 1100% interested in my family. God is surely somewhere in the middle of all that. My biggest sin is not acknowledging his presence there.
How does your faith in Jesus define who you are?
It's everything. From my moral compass to my peace of mind to my ultimate allegiance. I just wish I lived outwardly more the way I feel inside. If you read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis you'll meat the character Reepicheep - an overgrown rat who wants nothing more than to live, fight, and die for the love of Aslan. That's how I want my faith to live out but... well, that's what I was referring to before. My mind/heart is all Jesus but my flesh says otherwise more often than not.
I know you love music and web development. Has having a little boy and girl inspired you in new ways creatively? Has that helped you look at creativity in a new way?
I do love music. And I love programming. But what I love about both of those things is the creative problem solving. Music solves subjective problems of the soul. Programming solves logical problems of the world. Both are a bunch of little symbols logically arranged to make real life magic. Children are a whole other problem to solve. And I think it's mostly problems with myself. They pull out the very best and very worst of me - and then it's up to me to act on what they unearth or change it before it adversely affects them. So have they inspired me? Absolutely. More than any other muse.
How has your faith been challenged, grown, and strengthened since the birth of your little girl, Elliette, and your little boy, Juniper?
Elliette has tested my patience. She is the most inspiring, amazing human I have ever met. So strong willed and so beautiful but SO sassy. She's given me a tiny glimpse of the dichotomy that I imagine I present Jesus with. Juniper was dead when he was born. It took them 8 minutes to resuscitate him. Those 8 minutes rocked my world and I'm still working through that. I can't talk about it yet. But I can say that it has stretched, scarred, and strengthened me. And I'll stop there otherwise I'll start crying.
How did having children change the way you look at life and God? Becoming a father is a beautiful miracle and gift. Was there something specific that shifted in your heart when you were finally able to hold your son and daughter in your arms for the first time?
Sure there was. But for me, with both of my kids, I didn't started truly feeling like more than their protector and provider until about 8 months old. Yeah, I loved them and I felt like I would have died for them but I didn't really connect with them until the later part of their first years. We had 2 home births. My wife caught my daughter as she came out and the next time I caught my son. And touching them for the first time was undoubtedly amazing. But getting to know them as they grow into independent, free souls is what really ignites me.
How do you see your faith play out in the music and work you do?
That's a tough question for me. I could give you the textbook churchy answer - but I kind of hate textbook church. I really feel that my faith is so interwoven into my thought process that whether I'm conscience of it or not God's will is spilling in to everything I do, everything I touch, everything I create. All of the lyrics that I write are stitched with obvious bits of thanks and praise, but even if they weren't - even if all I sang about was sex and drinking I still think that there would be some Godly intention there. I think it's like childhood summers spent living in the neighbor's swimming pool; even when you get out you still reek of chlorine. No matter what you do there's that smell, and green hair that is evidence of where you spent your time. God's like that for me. I hope/think that everything I do reeks of Jah.
What's your greatest fear as a father?
Heights. I'm afraid of heights. As a man, as a son, as a father. That's my only fear. I took my kids on a ferris wheel last week. They were having so much fun and trying to hang over the edge. I was shitting my trousers the whole time. Other than that I'm not afraid of anything in fatherhood. It's hard, it's tricky, it's exhausting but to say it's scary is just the easy, obvious answer. I think it's an adventure!
What's your greatest dream as a father?
The only thing I want for my kids is for them to love Jesus more than life itself. I know that's cliche. But it's true. Every day when i get home from work we dance and sing praise to Jah. And every time we go to the beach we verbally remind each other of who made all the beauty that we get to enjoy. Every conversation we have is littered with the Father. That's all I care about for them. The rest will work itself out.
What in your life challenges and grows your faith the most?
Kids and marriage, of course.
How do you find time to spend with God? What does that look like for you?
This is gonna sound horrible but my time is on the pot. I go through spurts of morning devotionals and I listen to sermons when I run, but my real, focused time in the Word is usually spent on the toilet and the 5 to 10 minutes afterwards. It's peaceful, quiet - pretty much the only time I have to myself.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind for your children?
I think my kids will have money. I'm working hard to make that happen. But if they don't that's okay. I didn't have money and I'm fine. I want them to have memories of us dancing & singing, swimming, running, and making tents. They'll remember me singing them songs and playing them guitar. But I mostly want them to remember that I knew I was the Creator's. And that He is mine. Nothing trumps truth.
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