Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Beauty of People

The media has it wrong... the fearful people in your life have it wrong... YOU may have it wrong...

There are more people out to do good 
than those who aim to do evil.

I must admit, last year around this time, I was freaking out. I looked forward to the adventure of seeing new places, but I was nervous as to who we would meet along the way. Would we run into people who would try to take advantage of us? Would we make new friends? Would we wake up to a missing vehicle? Would we run into problems because of the color of our skin? Oh the horror!! The mind is the devil's playground and he had a good ol' time nurturing my fears.

Joseph and I talked through my reservations and concluded the only way we would know the truth is to keep moving forward. The best way to get rid of a fear is to confront it and that is just what we did. August 1st will mark our 1 year anniversary of our nomadic travels and we can honestly say we have met so many wonderful people.

Our Good Samaritans 

While in Georgia, the guest home we were staying in needed to be vacated due to a pest problem. On our way to get a hotel room, one of the farm workers took it upon herself to take us in as family. She said there was no reason for us to drive 45 mins away for a hotel room when she had plenty of space at her home. She lived with her mother and they were both blessed to have children in the home. We stayed for a couple of days where we were welcomed to showers, the laundry room and to the table for breakfast and dinner. This woman asked nothing in return. Her only price was the company we provided. 
 Even though our work exchange outside of Austin, Texas was prearranged, our hosts went above and beyond. J's 8th birthday came around and the family was just as excited as we were. They provided a pinata as well as fireworks to celebrate. We had decorations, a special dinner and of course, a cake. When they opened their home to us, they also opened their hearts. When we left, they had sent us away with over $100 worth of premium meats and charcuterie. 
The owner of the cabin we rented in Leakey, Texas, added an extra 4 days without charge because "we seemed like a nice family."
Here in our apartment complex (Arizona), an older gentleman has adopted us as well. He checks up on us, shares his produce and meats from time to time, and he keeps us up to date with the latest local events. We also had our neighbors give us furniture they didn't want to haul to their next home; saying, "every little bit helps."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Where have we been?!

It has been almost a year since our last post... yeah we know...
 "bad Swift Family, bad."

Well, just as we all know, things never go according to plan. Our plan was to blog often; to give others a chance to walk with us on this journey. However, we realized life can, and will, bring many obstacles that will change your course and alter your plans. Which produces the question, "How are you going to handle the change?"

Our journey at a glance...

July 31, 2012, we made our way south to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit family and shed even more of our junk. What we believed to be a 2 weeks max stop, ended up being a 1 1/2 month stay. We believed we would only be in Raleigh for a short time before God would open the door for us to a different location but He had a better plan. Much needed time was shared, important conversations were had and lasting memories were made. We thank God for that time; however in our own minds, our idea of this journey was that we would be in a new place ever 2 to 4 weeks. After the first 4 weeks in NC we started to question if we heard God correctly; did we make the wrong decision?

 During our stay we were constantly sending out emails to farmers, house owners needing sitters, to employers for seasonal workers, etc... we were open to any option as long as it was new. Our 5th week, we received the email we had been waiting for. We were invited to work in exchange for housing on a farm outside of Athens, Georgia. We were ecstatic! We drove down to visit and moved to GA the week after.

Georgia brought on a new excitement. We were now caretakers for over 200 animals (horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, ostriches, emus, bison, llamas, alpacas, 4 types of cattle, water buffaloes, pigs, donkeys, guineas, peacocks, ducks, and a dog named Buddy) and over 300 acres of land. Farm life came natural to us. All we had was the outdoors and books to entertain us during the day and dvds at night. We were surrounded by Peace. There is something about working with your hands that brings a sense of duty and purpose. We stayed for 2 months and hope to own our own farm in the future.

Mid November we journeyed to Palm Bay, Florida to visit more family during the cold months and celebrate the holidays. We spent another 2 months exploring the west side of FL. We spent many days admiring the wildlife and the restless ocean. It was during this time we were made aware of the importance of our journey. We began to hear stories of how our stepping out on our faith had ignited a fire of "What can I do? How can I put more trust in God?" We received great encouragement to continue to go forward; to trust and be bold.

In January of 2013 we found another work exchange. This time it was on a bird farm outside of Austin, Texas. We were not sure what to expect. Our time in GA was mostly spent alone and secluded, but our time in TX was going to be different. We knew we would be staying in their home and working side by side with them; this was a brand new experience. We spent 1 month with this family and were sad to leave. We made such deep connections, as if they were long lost family members. We laughed, cried and worked hard together. Great memories were made and we hope to visit again.

With the winter season our opportunities were slim. So we decided to head to the hills of Texas for the month of February to relax, pray, continue our search, focus and take some time for ourselves. We had been active in our traveling for 6 months and needed time to spiritually breathe. We continued to search for our next adventure but by the end of the month we were faced with a new experience once again. Our time was up for the rental and we still didn't have an idea of where to go. So we headed West. We stopped for a week in Alamogordo, New Mexico to visit the White Sands National Monument (a must see!). We also were able to visit a childhood friend who saw on facebook we were in her city! We continued west to Sierra Vista, Arizona.
While in Sierra Vista, we sent an email to a few job postings for seasonal work. One of the employers called Joseph that night (it was a Wednesday), they had a great conversation and on Thursday we received an email saying Joseph had the job if he wanted it and to meet him that Saturday for training. Within 2 days our path changed again! We would now be in AZ for at least the season ('til the end of October). Joseph is learning the ins and outs of growing your own grapes and the wine making process; a job he has wanted since our time in Virginia. Although it is  hard work under the burning sun, he looks forward to each day. He is hungry to learn about the entire process and says being paid is merely a bonus.

So, how long? How long will we be in Arizona?
What we do know is that we have agreed to be here the whole season and we have signed a 1 year lease rental; however, from experience, we have learned to take it one day at a time. Our duration here in AZ is of the future, and we live in the now. So we will continue to enjoy where we are and trust our journey to God.

We leave you with this, something that continues to inspire and encourage us. May it do the same for you.

Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

*Please check out our photo albums on Facebook for additional pictures.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hey Have You Heard...

The time has come!

For those of you who are new followers, the Swift Family is finally taking off by the end of the month. We are embarking on a new journey of nomadic traveling; excited to explore the unknown and take a chance on life outside of the box.

You may be wondering... why?

Well first off, we believe God has called us to travel, to build new relationships and share His love with all He brings across our paths. We believe that when God speaks, you have a choice to act upon it. We have agreed to step out on our faith and put it to the test, to truly live by the Word.

We ought to attempt something so great for God 
that unless God intervenes, we are bound to fail. - Jim Elliot

Secondly, as photographers, we desire new subjects, new environments, new surroundings. We look forward to learning about new destinations and communities and the chance to capture something great through our lens.

Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lastly, why not? As a family, we light up at the chance to explore. We enjoy nature and spending time with new friends... so why wait for a "better" time to do what brings us joy? Do we expect bliss, no, we expect adventure and all the ups and downs it brings.

The person who says it cannot be done
should not interrupt the person doing it! - Chinese Proverb

So until next time, we leave you with this quote...

What you do everyday should contribute to giving your life meaning.  
If it doesn't, why are you doing it? - Don Hutcheson

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Under Construction

Thank you for visiting our page. Currently it is under construction. We will be adding posts soon enough.

In the meantime, here is a gift from us to you!! :)

Art Prints

Enjoy this day, for you can not change yesterday and you can only plan for tomorrow.