Joel’s Clothing Brand

I am so proud of my husband Joel.  After hiking over 2,500 trails miles the past two years, he’s officially fallen in love…with hiking.  In the midst of incredible experiences and meeting amazing people from all over the world, he has captured his memories in clothes that he -and other hikers- can wear.  His thru-hiker lifestyle brand is called Out in the Wild and can be visited in the menu at the top.  Some of his shirts have hit the trail already or are about to with people who have inspired and entertained Joel via sharing their youtube hikes, pics on his instagram are on the right or below @joelreckless.  Check out the adventures of people’s lives online this year as thousands of people attempt to thru-hike both the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail.  We look forward to seeing you outdoors too!  Happy spring everybody!  Try something new!  outinthewild.life

p.s. We’re also excited for our first 50k race this coming weekend!  It’s our anniversary gift to each other and we’re looking forward to shuffling through the pain cave!  ShastaTrailRuns

 

A Life Worth Living

imageIt has been almost six months since we decided to move to the Middle East. Many have asked of how we ended up living and being involved in one of the most “difficult” and “hardest” regions on the planet. The simple answer is that it was all His idea. Both my wife and I have felt that our lives haven’t been our own for a long time. When you have this deep conviction it is easier saying yes. Our no has been Crucified with Him. We get people praising us for living what seems like selfless lives. The honest reality is that we are doing what makes us come alive. He has orchestrated our steps and has led us down the road of Love.

We have had the privilege of working with His persecuted Body. Our days and nights consist of hearing people’s journey of Faith. They have had loved ones killed and everything they have worked for destroyed all because of their unbreakable conviction of not bending their knees to fear. I honestly can say that  I complain a lot less since I have been here. In the face of so much loss and pain what can I complain about??? Our brothers and sisters have lost everything but the ability to love. The way they have welcomed us to their homes and families is truly humbling.

If your asking yourself what can you do to help or how can I make a difference  I say to you is that you CAN love. You can love fearlessly and fully. Start with those around you. Do not let yourself be filled or swayed with fear by the Media and ask your God what He thinks about the Refugees. Ask Him how He sees them and go from there.    -Joel

 

 

Remembering Our First Year

All God’s Done for Us in a Year

 

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My first anniversary ever is coming up next week and I wanted to take the time to remember what God’s done for me in a year.  Our Anniversary is April 15th.  Just a little over one year ago I was living on the island of Malta and Joel was headed my direction after us not seeing each other for a month and half, after we had known each other for just one month prior to that.  I was getting married in a week from now.  Joel had brought wedding clothes and a ring and I had bought my dress online in one day for a hundred dollars, his ring that same day, and two $5 veils online from the U.S. depending on the color matching and length.  I think it was this week that I picked up a pair of shoes for my dress for nine Euros in the Tuesday market outside our front door.
 
On a moment’s notice, wonderful people on the island helped make Joel and I’s wedding a reality.  That day we went to high cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean in front of a chapel older than the U.S. and said our extemporaneous vows, shared communion, and were wed.   The wind can be harsh on the cliff and although it was prior to the ceremony, afterwards it was light and playful and a Tasmanian man I had asked to play a song he had written at our wedding, took our camera and also happened to be a wonderful photographer, capturing our once in a lifetime moments.
 
Within the first month of our marriage, I participated in an art gathering in Morocco and Joel participated in a ministry event in England.  After that first month, my mother and sister joined Joel and I on the island and met my husband for the first time in person, ever.  They stayed a month and got to behold the breathtaking beauty of Malta and the surrounding waters.  Soon after they left, a couple on the island gifted Joel and I their waterfront apartment while they were away traveling for our remaining forty days on the island before a visa ending initiated our departure.
 
 
During the time in that apartment was when a door opened to our next adventure: the Middle East.  Flying through Turkey we arrived in Amman, Jordan, which would be our home in a desert land for the next three months.  We were extended an invitation by a wonderful German young woman that had come to the Middle East from Mexico, where she had been serving a church the year prior.  We stayed in the guest home of a church and got introduced to the Arab world, sharing our living space with young adults, and refugees, ministers, and all sorts of local people.
 
After getting to share life and visiting refugee communities and other churches, we made our departure at the end of November through the neighboring country of Israel.  Staying in a hostel in the old city, I got to revisit some favorites in the area with Joel beholding the sites for the first time, which after living on an island with thousand year old fortresses and then living in the Arab world, no longer seemed that spectacular to him.  But what was spectacular was meeting a new friend, who had already encouraged us along our way in taking risks.
 
Thanksgiving morning, we connected with a man named Andrew White from England who has been working in the Middle East for close to twenty years.  He invited us to come join him as he was moving some of his base out of Iraq and into Jordan.  We said yes.  And then we were off to England and Wales again for the transition back into the western world.  Fortunately our first host was Egyptian, understanding some of the cultural dynamics we were coming out of.  Then off to Wales for wonderful times with friends and then back to South Carolina.
 
 
We were just in South Carolina for about a week, where we connected with family, and new and old friends, before heading to Florida for a few days to connect with more family and friends.  Puerto Rico was wonderful in beauty and weather and surroundings.  I walked down Joel’s memory lanes and connected with his friends that now have become mine.  I experienced the holidays on this beautiful island place that truly has its own culture and with the wonderful people there.
 
After three weeks into the New Year we came back to South Carolina where Joel and I would depart across country, from coast to coast in a vehicle gifted to us by Joel’s amazing parents.  We drove into the wintry tundra of Ohio and remained with friends there for a time before departing again across the southern half of the United States in a snowy weather pattern that did not lift until we arrived at the sunny coast of southern California.
 
After staying with friends, attending fun ministry gatherings, and traveling up the coast we arrived to our final destination for our first year: Redding, California, where I have since finished the first-draft of my rewrite of my novel.
 
 
In the midst of all of this movement were spontaneous paintings, costly lessons, character growth, seeing the miraculous, lots of affection, new horizons coming into view, new lifelong friends being made and old friends being appreciated.  I forgot who I was and then remembered again.  I’ve experienced and enjoyed the process of sharing my life with someone who made it all too easy to do.  I’ve had to tolerate being celebrated and affirmed every day by my husband (note the sarcasm), who is tangible ministry of the holy spirit to my heart and mind.
 
Joel and I’s first year spanned seven countries, staying in thirty different homes, multiple hotels, visiting something like twenty different churches and connecting with so many amazing people.  The most fun for me, in addition, to experiencing life with my husband Joel is being around those courageous people who are redefining reality and breaking down boxes they’ve found their identity too confining to remain in; whether it’s church structures, business ideas, educational positions, or just people remaining faithful to be their authentic selves despite demands the world sometimes tries to put on them that would damper their passion or creativity or dreams.
 
I’ve felt so privileged to watch people turn great corners in their lives that require faith and risk great failure; where if God doesn’t show up, this is not going to be good.  But I’ve found when, it’s him that has placed that desire in people’s hearts, he always shows up.  He’s waiting to reveal himself through the areas in people’s lives where they’ve risked trusting him.
 
Another thing I’ve loved is kitchen table church.  Some of our most profound and encouraging conversations that feel like they are altering reality just because you’re having them—whether it’s that person’s life or country or culture—have happened over meals shared at a dining table.  Whether in a restaurant, bar, pub, café, airport, kiddie table, or card table, you name it, I have felt the joy of life being exchanged there and have loved it.
 
 
God promised me years ago, that he would always take care of me and he always has, no matter where he’s invited me to go.  This is also a thank you.   Thank you to those wonderful people who shared their food, their homes, their guest beds or couches, but most of all shared their hearts with us.  You are celebrated in the completion of our first year too.
 

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Frolicking with God in the Middle East

Joel and I have written ‘off the grid’ about our adventures in the Middle East for three months followed by spending the holidays in Puerto Rico and now we’re writing again to announce “We’re heading back!”

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GOING BACK        That’s right, in the midst of our goodbyes with a plan to return in our hearts, the Lord orchestrated an open door for us.  While spending our last day in the old city of Jerusalem on Thanksgiving, God had a date prepared for us with one of the most prevalent Christian influences in Iraq.  20141127_122857Unplanned, we spent our morning with a man known as the Vicar of Baghdad or Canon Andrew White.  After exchanging hearts, he extended an invitation to join him in his efforts towards peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.  In tandem with this effort is relief towards the poor, the displaced, and the suffering.  Andrew started an organization called Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East that focuses on providing food and medical care, while also meeting with leaders on all side of the divides that are alive in the Middle East, aimed at restoring the essence humanity in their midst; the compassion that enables peace.

Dome_of_Rock,_Temple_Mount,_JerusalemJoel and I are possibly going to be involved in Israel, Jordan, and Kurdistan region in Iraq but we will see what God has planned for us as the time nears and as we arrive back on the ground there.  All we know is that God is inviting us in the overflow of his heart towards a very hurt and defensive region that he loves so much.  His glory and his image covers the land, and everyone is invited to participate in the heaven that Christ embodies toward all of humanity.  God is not waiting for human dispute to end before continuing in his celebration of who he is and what he’s done; we get to participate in his rejoicing.  God is not worried, intimidated, or uncertain of the path towards peace.  His love is mature and patient without end towards a people who are hurting and have experienced much pain.  Freedom is free and available to all.  Hopefully we will get to be a part of highlighting the way to that peace.

20141021_155734OUR PLANS NOW      Joel and I have another three months in America before our return.  We will be traveling across the country in our sporty Montero with stops in Ohio, Paducah, Cairo, Missouri, and more, on our way to northern California for two months.  We have a return trip scheduled towards May through Oregon, Minnesota, and back to South Carolina.  We look forward to seeing friends and family, meeting new faces, and seeing some of God’s beautiful creation along the way.

OPPORTUNITIES     We’re inviting you to come with and join us along the way!  So many people have been so encouraging, supportive, and have believed in us!  Our hearts are forever entwined with yours as you’ve sowed into our adventures with God, and this glorious journey continues!  I’ve attached some more information to our happy giving page of how you can sow into God’s plans for our lives in this season if you like.  One way we always need is prayer!  Thank you so much for responding to the spirits leading in basking our journey in prayer.  We couldn’t do this without the Christ in you and we love having your blessing and strength along for the ride.  Prayer matters and changes reality, isn’t our partnership with God awesome!?

John-Crowder1Here’s another opportunity we’re going to post on our announcement:  Do you want to come join us for a week?  A mutual friend of ours John Crowder is hosting a trip to come and help the Syrian refugees and minister to the church and the lost in that place.  Never worry about finances.  Ever.  Only say yes to the desires God births within your heart and he will make a way.  I only say this because when its him doing it, its worked for me every time he’s sent me.  We’d love to have you.  We’re going to be ministering in a town that Joel and I have visited and we’re super excited to partner with the church there as well.  It will be the adventure of a life time to be a part of what God is doing on the ground in the Middle East.  The deadline to sign up is March 1st.  Here’s the link… see you there.

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With love and blessings always from us to you, thank you!