Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Katahdin- A Year Later

Katahdin is more than a mountain. From my couch it was a dream. From Georgia, it was a destination. For thousands of stinky, optimistic hikers, it was hope. From the morning of August 27, 2012, it was an accomplishment. As I look back on Katahdin, the day wasn't about the hike at hand- to take the final step on an epic adventure. It was about the journey. The first step. The millions of steps in between. The friends. The experience. It was the final episode of Seinfeld. Remember that one? The whole gang went out with a bang, but they took you through all those old clips to show you how they got there. 

The Appalachian Trail was life changing, but it was not life DEFINING. My life is defined by One much greater than myself, which is why I hiked in the first place- to make a difference in the lives of others. It impacted me as much as it did the hundreds who now have clean water in their villages in Africa. Looking back, I am greatly blessed with the friends I made on the trail and even more blessed to be able to stay in touch with them. I discovered that when I felt there were limits physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually, they helped push me to see that I was capable of much more. 

The truth is Katahdin seems like a distant memory. I still think of the adventure from time to time, but it doesn't consume me like it did. That joy I experienced a year ago was that first snow flake that would eventually snowball into a joyous avalanche. In God's perfect timing, I came home to the Cairn opening up, and an opportunity to work there. I wake up every day in love with life, my wife, my God, my job, and all the people around me. Sure I get tired and even grumpy from time to time, but overall it has just been too incredible a year. I walked up Katahdin with the humble offering of a rock that was carried from Georgia and left with a reminder to live each day with passion and to make a difference in the lives of people around me and to continually have joy in all things. That is what I have tried to carry with me this last year, and it has only made the journey sweeter. My hope and prayer is that you will not fear the Katahdin in your life, but approach it humbly, ready to learn the lessons it has for you, and embrace the joy that will overflow as you journey down.

Love, joy, and peace always,

The Flash

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Change is a word we are hearing a lot lately. It is posted all over because of the election.  You may already have in your head who you are voting for on Tuesday, and that is great. I, on the other hand, am still indecisive.  I am not a political person at all.  I am also smart enough to not buy into the promises of candidates to make me want to vote for them because I know that when your congress and House of Representatives is divided, change is hard to come by.  It has gotten ugly with all of the attack ads and last minute attempts to get a vote.  Someone will win, but at what costs? What good is it to gain the whole world, but lose your soul?

I have experienced a lot of personal change over the last year.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and onto the Appalachian Trail.  2184 miles later, my attitude, my confidence, my worldview, even my body, has changed.  Coming back into civilization was another hard change. Getting back into the habit of changing my underwear every day was also a change (and difficult too when they didn't fit anymore). My job has even changed...kinda. I went from a corporate coffee house setting to an independent coffee house.  Outside of myself, change is happening all over.  Our iPhones are getting longer while the ipad is getting smaller.  Change happens. It's a fact of life; sometimes bad, sometimes good. Change for the sake of change is a silly thing, but change with purpose behind it can change the world.

When I set out to hike the AT, I wanted to change the world, at least a small part of it.  I wanted to see people have a new lot on life.  I wanted to see children have hope to grow up.  I wanted to see moms be able to start a trade instead of spending all of their time walking to get dirty water. I wanted to see God do something incredible through me and sure enough, He did...and He still is.  When you get to the root of it all, the change is LOVE. I want to love the way that I have been loved. It's easy to say that we love, but it takes work to show love.  I can tell my wife I love her, but it speaks louder when I pitch in around the house, not because she nags me about it, but because I take initiative.

Love changes everything.  Love built 2 wells in Zambia thanks to us.  Love is going to impact the lives of hundreds of people because of this last year.  I have said many times that though my hike is over, my journey is not.  Now I seek to continue on bringing dignity, respect, and basic needs to others.  My friend Linsey has a heart for people who are caught up in slavery.  27 million people are caught up in the slave trade right now.  Women and girls are used sexually several times a day and thrown away.  Young children are forced into factories, possibly making some of the items we take advantage of every day. She recently had a chance to spend a week in Cambodia and see first hand the need for change in the lives of many.  She saw poverty in a way she had never imagined.  She saw local governments not doing anything about the problem because it would mean they wouldn't be able to earn a paycheck.  Change is needed.  Love is needed. I don't believe it is coincidence that the organization Active Water is also investing in communities in Cambodia, helping provide clean water and sanitation education where it's needed.  Love has a way of breaking through, and we allow it, it can move us to be agents of change.  Love people the way we want to be loved- thats an idea that could change the world.

Even though another long distance hike is out of the question right now, I am looking for a way to raise the funds to provide a well in Cambodia.  Change is possible.  In a dirty political season, love can win.  Be the change you want to see in the world.