Outer Banks Everyday Magic: Toys from God

Jordan's Favorite Discovered Wave

Jordan's Favorite Discovered Wave

The other day I posted a story about Outer Banks Everyday Magic, and I mentioned that I’m in the lucky position to get to read every story that is submitted. As I’m going through the stories, I’m amazed by the passion people feel for the Outer Banks, and many times I get goose bumps just reading the story.

Well, today we’re going to take the goose bumps to another level. I’m going to share an amazing story of Outer Banks Everyday Magic with you, but first I want to offer a bit of a lead-in.

I’ll preface this post by saying that it is a bit lengthy, but the story is awesome. So, get comfy and be prepared for goosebumps…or even more spontaneous emotion.

Last week I came across the below video and posted it on our Facebook page, adding that it is one of the best Outer Banks surfing videos I’ve seen.

The description of the video is what grabbed my attention. So,I decided to reach out to the videographer, Jordan, to see if he wanted to share his story. Lucky for us, he was eager to share.

The description of the video grabbed my attention because it described someone that had overcome a tremendous amount of obstacles in life and credited a lot of his success to the ocean, surfing and the Outer Banks. That seems pretty magical.

Without much background, I was immediately reminded of an awesome surf film I saw a year or so ago – possibly my favorite surf movie based on the pure love of surfing that comes through in the movie. The movie is Just Add Water, and it is a documentary-style film that follows Clay Marzo, a professional surfer that also happens to have Aspergers Syndrome – a form of autism. Clay is an amazing surfer, but beyond his surfing skills, I was moved by his love and single-minded focus on the ocean and the waves. I can relate.

This love and focus on the ocean is something that all ocean/beach lovers (and OBX lovers) can relate to, but we all need to make it a stronger focus to keep us happy and healthy, and to take care of our environment.

I recently read an awesome article in Outside magazine that discusses a marine biologist using neuroscience to demonstrate that the ocean makes us happier and healthier. He refers to this ocean-minded focus as the “Blue Mind,” and he recommends that “we live like we love the ocean.” Pretty great advice.

After I contacted Jordan, and he agreed to share his story, I mentioned Just Add Water, and this was his response:

“Just Add Water” is my favorite dvd, I watch it over and over and over. Even though I can’t surf like Clay, when I watch him on that dvd, how he acts, etc. I feel like I am watching myself.  I feel like it’s another me.”

Jordan then went on to pull out my favorite quote from the movie: As Clay Marzo says “waves are toys from God.”

I don’t think it could be said any better than that.

Let’s get to Jordan’s story of his Outer Banks Everyday Magic. As Jordan mentions in his story, he is becoming quite an artist, and he has graciously shared some of his work. Over the next week or so, I’ll share more of Jordan’s photos, paintings, drawings, and poems. Stay tuned. :)

Jordan, thanks for having such a strong “blue mind,” being such a strong person, and sharing your amazing story. Keep hunting those toys from God.

My name is Jordan. I was born April 22, 1984 on Easter morning in Warren, OH. 27 years later, I’m living my dream on the Outer Banks. Here’s my story of Outer Banks magic.

I was born cross-eyed with double vision, no depth perception and asthma. Since then, I have been diagnosed with Epilepsy (seizure disorder), Crohns Disease, ADHD, Asthma, Arthritis, Autism, and possibly MS.

In school, I wasn’t a bad kid, just disruptive and could not pay attention to anything. I would only do something if I was told not to do it.  I was gifted and special ed. at the same time, so I had to learn everything on my own.

Growing up, I loved sports (especially basketball), exploring nature, and most of all THE OCEAN! I played sports, but my health problems caused accidents, surgery, and sickness to ruin my future in those. The ocean became my focus.

Every year I would record “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel, and I would watch them over and over and over again, every single day.  My dream job was to be a marine biologist. I just always had a deep feeling of peace and home with the ocean.

Numerous summers we would go to Carolina Beach in Wilmington, but even though I loved the ocean there it is nothing compared to the Outer Banks to me.

The first time I saw the ocean all I can remember is running into it as fast as I could. Even as a young child I loved to play in the big waves. Seeing and being in those waves was so glorious to me. Every time we left the beach and went back to Ohio, I would become depressed and life would be sucked out of me until we returned to the ocean.  I just love water and especially waves.  As Clay Marzo says “waves are toys from God”

I graduated high school in 2003, and went on to college. I first attended Mount Vernon Nazarene University and played basketball.  After one year, I transferred to Youngstown State University majoring in Early Childhood Education.  I spent a lot of my school time in the hospital from my health problems and my immune system is weak, plus my health can’t withstand the cold weather conditions in Ohio.

I majored in Early Childhood Ed. because it was the only thing not boring to me. I am like a big kid, and I have a gift with children.

I was still in college when I moved to the Outer Banks. I would work on the OBX in the summer, go back to school in the fall, and return in the summer until I graduated in December of 2009. Then I moved to the Outer Banks permanently.

Before moving to the OBX, I was completely medicated for all my medical conditions, and the medications created deep depression because of the unbalanced chemicals in my brain.  Depression got so bad I planned suicide for years; one bullet in the clip.  Finally I took that step and shot myself. The bullet missed my pulmonary artery by splitting in half and going around it, saving me from instant death.

Although I shot myself, it’s not substantial considering I have almost died many times before and after that happened. Let’s just say being shot hurts a lot, and it is very scary when you’re laying there suffocating – all I could do was ask God to spare me, and He did.

One year later, in 2007, I moved to Avon to work and be where I love, on the ocean. I had never been to the Outer Banks until I came here in 2007. When I first came across the bridge it was exactly like a dream I used to have as a child going across that bridge. But I had never seen it before arriving in 2007.

I always told my parents I was going to live on an island one day. So when I was offered the chance to work for Ocean Atlantic Rentals, I took it. I chose Avon out of all the locations of OAR because it has the best waves.

I made the move to the Outer Banks on my own, without knowing anyone.  It was a very difficult move because change bothers the autistic man very much, but I was so happy to be free on the sea, and I never wanted to leave…and still don’t.

At one point early in my adventure, I was living in hammock in my friend’s back yard; my bedroom had become my friends yard.  In that hammock I was still happy. Even when my friends would come to wake me up during a rain to come sleep inside, I would be too out of it resting peacefully in the rain to even notice. My mom and dad will be the first to say that I can make any room a mess, and it’s funny how I could even make a yard messy. I’m happy to say I have my own apartment now.

After graduating, and moving to the Outer Banks permanently, I put my teacher certification to use and  worked with autistic children  at the elementary school,  but my health caused me to miss too many days; so now I just sub every now and then.

I love working with the kids though.  What I enjoy about teaching is being with innocent souls that are still fresh out of heaven and have no prejudices or judgments on you or others and do nothing but love and express themselves freely. Also, when they’re so young you have a chance to place something great and wonderful in the cornerstone of their being that can last their lifetime. This means you can make a difference to someone’s life by being a wonderful loving teacher to a child who may come from a rough background; it gives them belief and hope in life.  All my health conditions help me relate to all different children well. I have compassion and know how they feel and what they’re truly going through – it’s a gift and a curse.

I was engaged to a local Hatteras girl for a while, but I think I need to find a girl who is either autistic or loves the ocean…or both. When I say loves the ocean I mean REALLY loves the ocean.

These days, I substitute teach a little bit, but most of the time I spend exploring different lonely beaches and searching for good waves and surfing.

When I moved here I just fell in love with surfing. I paddle out when it’s flat or when it’s crazy….I just don’t care. I want to be within mother ocean’s waters.  She loosens up my joints, muscles, relieves my headaches, fixes my balance, and on goes the list.  Ever since I moved here I don’t spend time constantly in the hospital like I did in Ohio.  The hospital was my second home, much of my life has been there.  Now I surf.

I go to the beach everyday and even get in the water if there is no waves – it really is the only thing that physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc, makes me feel better. With my health now, walking and standing is very painful (which many don’t realize because I don’t complain), but in the water that pain drifts away like a fast moving front.  Feeling weightless just loosens up all my body, and I become one with the water. It is so amazing how healing mother ocean really is; her salty waters are a miracle, and my life is proof of this.

I feel so much better because I have a place where I can explore and constantly find new things every day.  The warm weather heals me – I almost died a few times in Ohio, I can’t withstand the environment there.  Also, the salt in the air and ocean are part of the healing.

I am stronger and in much better shape than when I was in Ohio. I am more active and soooo much happier.  I still struggle but compared to Ohio it’s night and day.

I am starting photography, finding out I can paint, writing poetry, and I really got into music when I moved here too – my favorite instrument to play is the harmonica.

My health has come to the point where I can’t work consistently, so now I’m in debt looking for a way I can be of use and support myself.  I am hoping someone will discover my art, poetry, and photography because I love doing those things, and they allow me a lot of time for my therapy – surfing!

I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing because I’m not making money, but I know there is some reason I have come as far as I have. Doing something with surfing is my dream job, but it’s not my dream job to make money for me. I want to be able to support myself and use all the rest to help others – mainly children.

There are people on the Outer Banks that I don’t even know that have helped me. My family has helped me but my family is not rich in money so it’s a constant worry, but God supports the birds and provides for them and they worry about nothing.  So I believe somehow, some way He will provide for me too.

All I can say is after all I have been through with my life it’s already been a long shot that I made it this far. I only made it this far because of my faith; people just don’t believe anymore and it’s what we all need to do.  All I’ve done is believe with all my heart and now here I am – enjoying toys from God.

Jordan, your stoke is infectious. I’m stoked just reading your story. Stay blue minded, and keep sending me your art so I can share it with the world.

I’d love to hear your story of Outer Banks Everyday Magic too. Please use the form below to share your story with me.

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Posted in Everyday Magic, Surfing
17 comments on “Outer Banks Everyday Magic: Toys from God
  1. [...] been sharing a lot of Outer Banks Everyday Magic stories recently, and here’s a great OBX story that wasn’t so magical…then again, [...]

  2. Kim Reedy says:

    Adam I agree this is a very heart touching story TOYS FROM GOD !!! I can definitley see God in his story as I see God in the OBX This young man is a true inspiration to all mankind . I’m so glad he shared and you shared and seen it was a heart stirring story .Many times people think their life is full of problems … I commend this young man for his story and his surfing skills an talent … and I see God in his life this as you said moves you emotionally and spiritually and gives definite goose bumps along w/ a tear in the eye … he definitley has TRIUMPHED OVER LIFES STRUGGLES !!! Thanks Clay for sharing I’m sure many will read and be amazed at you … God Bless You and I agree WAVES R TOYS FROM GOD !!! Adam thank you for seeing what’s precious in this young man and asking to share it !!! It has touched my heart greatly thanks Clay you ARE AN OVERCOMER !!! Kim in Va. : )

  3. Kim Reedy says:

    Jordan THANKS FOR YOUR STORY … SO SORRY I MEANT YOUR NAME … YOU HAVE TRIUMPHED OVER LIFE !!! MADE A MISTAKE … DOING TO MANY THINGS AT 1 TIME … MY APPOLOGIES … YOU R TO BE COMMENDED!!! Kim In Va. : )

  4. [...] week I posted one of my all time favorite blog posts: Outer Banks Everyday Magic: Toys from God. Goose bumps are an [...]

  5. [...] Here’s your daily dose of some amazing Outer Banks art from one of my favorite blog subjects, Jordan. [...]

  6. [...] the Toys from God post, Jordan discussed how he moved from Ohio to the Outer Banks without ever setting foot on the [...]

  7. [...] addition to snapping that fab pic, Jordan put together a fun video of some Toys from God; fun Outer Banks winter surf. Great song choice Jordan…and I love the description of the [...]

  8. [...] awesome to see how much the OBX motivates Jordan. When Jordan isn’t chasing Toys from God, he’s perfecting his new found love for art…and we are lucky enough to get a glimpse at [...]

  9. [...] Enjoy Jordan’s view of the Toys from God… [...]

  10. [...] I posted a slideshow of some wave “magic” captured by one of my favorite blog subjects, Jordan, and today Jordan is back with another awesome glimpse of the Toys from [...]

  11. [...] an awesome picture Jordan snapped while he was out hunting Toys from God. This is Avon Pier with a gorgeous [...]

  12. [...] stories of Outer Banks Everyday Magic over the past couple months, and my favorite Magic story is Toys from God about Jordan, who also happens to have autism. While I’m at it, let’s add another level [...]

  13. [...] week Jordan was out hunting Toys from God, and he shared a great picture of a gorgeous barrel at Avon Pier. When he sent that image to me, he [...]

  14. [...] the meantime, I want to share some great Blue Mind words of wisdom that Jordan passed along. Jordan titles the poem below as “Lines, Dimensions, Our Colors,” and it [...]

  15. [...] been out hunting Toys from God, and earlier this week, he sent me an update with some great pictures he snapped of his favorite [...]

  16. […] been sharing a lot of Outer Banks Everyday Magic stories recently, and here’s a great OBX story that wasn’t so magical…then again, […]

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