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Photographer: Neil Kremer

My mom could never get me to keep my shoes on as a kid in Hawaii. There was no sensation like soles to the earth. There was something so grounding about that direct connection to the big earth beneath my feet.

The other side of me as a kid was the bookworm who always told his friends he couldn’t come out to play because he was reading. This fascination with words found its fullest expression in the Christian faith, as I read and re-read the Bible for all its worth. By college, that book and Bible-loving kid had lost out to the more hedonistic, barefoot sport-loving athlete. I surfed, played beach volleyball, snowboarded, and flirted with the ladies. I had perfect health, a perfect body, good grades, money, and family. At 21, I remember wondering if my faith would be so strong if I was disabled in some way. Two weeks later, I was hit by a car while riding a moped. I became a paraplegic. My barefoot connection to the earth broken.

Oddly, my faith held firm. I understood that I had been living a dream and in reality life was a struggle—meant to refine and humble us. Coming to terms with it would take most of a decade.

Eventually I fell back on my love of the written word. I met my beautiful, resourceful wife and together we took it to the next level, opening the largest used and new bookstore in California. We had our first baby. Life as a paraplegic is often more trouble than it is good,  but it’s all from God.