Article About Josiah’s Mom

Parenting inspiration from mom of American Idol contestant

I’ve gotten to be a big “American Idol” fan over the past couple years. I guess it goes back to being 8 or 9 years old singing songs I’d written into a hairbrush. What little kid hasn’t dreamed of being a rock star at some point?

I look at those contestants and remember what it felt like to wish I was up on a stage having people listen to my incredible voice. Problem is, I don’t have the incredible voice. So, I watch the show, really pulling for these people who do have musical talent and a shot at making a career out of it.

I got a chance to watch part of the first shows of the season and caught the audition of 18-year-old Josiah Leming from Morristown, Tenn. I loved his initial audition. I then watched his auditions in Hollywood, where despite being an early favorite of the judges, he was cut.

Not only was it disappointing because of his obvious talent — he sings, writes his own songs and plays keyboard and guitar — but also because of the story they aired of him living in his car, traveling the country, trying to live his dream of making music.

So, after he was cut, I thought it would be interesting to interview him and write about what he had been doing since being part of the show. It seems I wasn’t the only one interested in his story.

The day I tried reaching him, he appeared on “Ellen” and “Access Hollywood,” and had already been visited by a camera crew from MTV. He was out of town doing a radio show when I called.

I talked to his mom and asked about her large family. Josiah, or “Joey,” as he is called by family and friends, is the second oldest of nine children (five boys and four girls), ranging in age from 9 to 20.

She gushed about how “gussied up” he looked on “Ellen,” thanked me for being a fan and told me she was his “original fan.”

Being a mom, I was interested in hearing how she manages such a large family and decided to call her back and maybe get some material for this column on raising kids.

That call ended up being well more than an hour where she talked about her family, her kids’ musical talent and living with cancer. She said a lot of interesting and inspiring things, so I thought I’d dedicate a couple columns to the topic.

Sharon Leming, 40, has been battling a rare form of cancer for more than seven years. She was diagnosed in 2000 with ovarian leiomyosarcoma and has endured 16 surgeries, 45 radiation treatments and six cycles of chemotherapy.

According to her Web site,, it affects only four people out of a million and there is no cure.

As a mom of a large family, I immediately felt a connection to her, but the further the conversation went on, I learned more about what an amazing person she is.

Sharon married young and had three children. The marriage ended in divorce, but the second time around she found a wonderful man named Don.

Don adopted her two sons and one daughter, and they went on to adopt six children together, all kids they had taken in as foster children. Some of them have special needs and emotional issues from previous homes.

Sharon worked as an Internet programmer until her health deteriorated in 2004. The following year, she lost the use of her legs due to cancer and now spends much of her time in a wheelchair.

When we talked, she had just gotten bad news that an aggressive form of in-patient chemotherapy is her best option. She got that news just before seeing her son’s Hollywood Week audition on “American Idol,” from the hotel room near the hospital.

She was home the following day to watch him get cut from the show together as a family, including Josiah.

As you’re reading this column, she’ll be in a hospital room finishing up her round of chemotherapy.

I’ll share more on my conversation with Sharon Leming in my next column. You can find out more about Leming by reading her blog at You can hear Josiah’s music at

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. Carrie Steinweg, the mother of five, lives in Lansing. Her column alternates with that of Schererville mom Rebecca Bailey. She can be reached at

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  • Disclaimer

    This site is in no way shape or form affiliated with Josiah Leming. This is simply a fan site to show our dedication to the artist. All images, information etc. are credited and belong to their rightful owners.