Sounds Good is the weekly podcast that hosts hopeful conversations with optimists and world-changers about the headlines we can be hopeful about — and how you can get involved and make a difference.

Bonnie Kate and Max Zoghbi

Bonnie Kate & Max Zoghbi — Redeeming Tragedy

About This Episode

In 2012, Bonnie Kate happened to be watching a movie in Aurora, Colorado when a gunman stormed into the theater and began shooting. Bonnie Kate was shot, but lived.

On this week’s episode of Sounds Good, Bonnie Kate Zoghbi and her now-husband Max share the beautiful and hopeful story of how they’ve redeemed such a terrible tragedy in their lives, how they fell in love, the experience of their story going viral online, making flower crowns, and what’s next for them. You'll also hear the origin story of Wildflower. You’re not going to want to miss this.

“So things are HARD, but we have a sure eternal hope, and a lot of sweet little joys mixed in along the way to hold over our home sickness till we are truly home.” — Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Related: How To Stop School Shootings — Statistics and Script

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Transcript

Branden Harvey

Hello. Hello, Branden Harvey here with this week's episode of Sounds Good, the podcast where every single Monday, I sit down with an inspiring person and talk about happiness, overcoming struggles and living a life of intentionality and wonder. Today, I'm so incredibly excited to introduce you to Bonnie Kate and Max Zoghbi. They're a sweet couple with a powerful story. In 2012, Bonnie Kate happened to be watching a movie in Aurora, Colorado, when a gunman stormed into the theater and began shooting. Bonnie Kate was shot, but she lived. And not only did she live, but she and Max have actually thrived since the shooting.


Branden Harvey

Despite the emotional and physical pain that comes with such a terrible experience. Their story is heavy, but these couple are so beautiful and positive and fun. And I know you're just going to love this, so let's just jump straight into the episode. Okay? I am here with Bonnie, Kate and Max in the studio. You guys, it's so fun to have you here.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It's so good to be here.


Max Zoghbi

Such an honor, man. Thank you so much, man.


Branden Harvey

Literally. Yesterday I was talking to Ruthie, who is podcast interview number three or something early on in the show, one of the most popular episodes is People love her.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

She's the best.


Branden Harvey

She's incredible.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I love her so much.


Branden Harvey

And she told me she was like, you have to meet my friends. They're in town. You'll love them. And she started sending me kind of some information on you guys and your story. And I was like, how do I not know these people already? I love how small the world is, how many different connections we all have. And so you guys are currently on a big road trip in an Airstream of sorts.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Okay, a big venture.


Branden Harvey

Where did you start? And where are you heading, or is there no end in sight?


Max Zoghbi

It's perpetual digital. Nomadding people have called it basically the Airstream thing has been full time since basically November. So almost a year.


Branden Harvey

Wow.


Max Zoghbi

And definitely stints. We're home back in Louisiana, and we'll park up and parents driveways for a few weeks. But for the most part, it's just been professionally galavanting around the country, gathering beautiful stories. Yeah. Gathering stories and doing freelance work and commercial work in between them to pay the bills. But yeah, what really is, I guess our why is really filling ourselves with things that fill our cup and matter. And oftentimes it's beautiful things. And sometimes that's hard things. But not unlike the nature in the heartbeat of this podcast.


Max Zoghbi

Our mission is to capture and share those stories. So our medium is film. That's what I do. Filmmaker and their stream whole deals called Adventure us. And so what it is now is us living in it, traveling. What it will be very soon is a YouTube channel.


Branden Harvey

Incredible.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

That's what we've been working towards is like gathering a bunch of content and stuff. So we're super excited to be launching that building up a good catalog, a good library.


Max Zoghbi

So when we do release, we can do so weekly and kind of stay on top of it.


Branden Harvey

That's so exciting.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It's really fun.


Branden Harvey

And when are people going to be able to see all this stuff?


Max Zoghbi

I think we'll have enough to launch, like, early September, late October on the break. It's really exciting in the home stretch. And we've been working really hard since, like, January, February. So it's a big dream actualized soon. So you're kind of on the diving board looking down. Is this going to be, like, a belly flop or no.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I think it's awesome.


Branden Harvey

What does it feel like to be in that place between launching this thing and creating this thing, you're almost in this middle ground.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. There's a weird tension there for sure. Probably for you, more than for me, because I see it. And I don't know, maybe I'm more of an optimist, but I don't know. I feel like really good things are about to happen. So I feel really excited. You probably feel the weight of, oh, it's not out yet.


Branden Harvey

Yeah.


Max Zoghbi

You have an idea. Especially probably like a bigger one, the medium to big one. And you think about it. And for us, we pray about it. And we're like, okay, what does this look like? How's this going to shake out? You start putting your head down, chipping away, and then things start to actualize and goals start to come to pass, and then you get a little bit more in them. And then there's a setback. And so for us, it's just been like a huge things have happened.


Max Zoghbi

But by nature of building up a catalog of work, it's just this potential. It's like at the breeze, like a damn like, oh, we just cannot wait to show people these stories and people and experiences we've had. And so it's exciting. But also as a creative and as the creator of this content, it's like, personally, just for me, totally. But also, more importantly, it's to really incite wonder and people to come along with us on our adventures in our little tiny home.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. And it came from a special place, too. Like, the whole idea and everything of it.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

So I feel like there's a lot of pressure because when you're a creative and you have all this stuff followed up inside, but two, like, there's so much heart and soul and dream that has gone into this. It's kind of bigger in a way than just sharing awesome content, too.


Branden Harvey

Let's absolutely talk about that. But let's bring it back a little bit.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah.


Branden Harvey

You guys are working together. You're doing incredible things. But how did you meet?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Oh, my goodness. That's a crazy story.


Max Zoghbi

Love story. How do we meet, Babe?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Oh, wow. We met at Church.


Branden Harvey

How old were you?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Well, technically, the first time we ever met, I was 15. So it was really funny, because.


Branden Harvey

And how old were you, man?


Max Zoghbi

Oh, man. 15. I must have been 20 at the time. Yeah.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

So she's 51 in College.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. There's obviously nothing there romantically, because that would have been what's it called. Oh, yeah. Illegal.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

No.


Max Zoghbi

But her family is a Church. And so I kind of just knew her family just by way of totally doing life at Church. Right. And fast forward a few years.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

You had your eye on me spanning 18.


Max Zoghbi

Just beautiful and definitely caught my eye. And so I asked her to kind of like a survey on missions course. Like a Church or something, like, really unassuming, like, totally a safe place.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I had no idea that he was at all interested in me at all.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. Because I didn't want to ask her out because I just wanted to start a friendship. I was like, this is a really safe, respectable way to do that. And it did. It was great. It was fun. And then ended up falling in love with her. Yeah. About one conversation, and I was done hook, line, sinker. And then we dated for three weeks.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Barely.


Max Zoghbi

Not even she moved to Haiti. I told her I loved her. She broke up with me.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I freaked out. I was like, oh, my God.


Branden Harvey

You came on too strong.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I was totally zero. It's crazy because that's what I love about you now. But then I was like, what is this? I've never had a serious boyfriend like this. And all of a sudden, it's like, Bam, I love you. And we're there. And I'm just like, who does that?


Max Zoghbi

Three weeks. We're dating for two weeks. She's 18. I'm, like, 23. I'm like, I love you. That's a good idea. Something to say. No.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

So I ran away as she should have.


Max Zoghbi

That's totally what any normal person would have done.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. And then it was pretty hard because I ended up getting really sick when I was in Haiti and had to be sent home. And it was really hard leaving Haiti because I loved it so much there what brought you to Haiti. I was doing mission work there. So I was working with an organization called Respire Haiti, and I just fell in love with the country and the people. And so leaving was really hard. And the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. It was really scary time I was in and out of the hospital having all these tests done because I was throwing up up to 100 times a day called gastroparesis.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

That's what they ended up diagnosing me with.


Max Zoghbi

The parasite induced.


Branden Harvey

It was like a temporary thing. You caught something.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Well, this is a crazy thing. So gastropresis is, like a chronic illness. You're supposed to have, like, basically, for the rest of your life, there's really no cure for it. And it was really bad, like, I was throwing up all the time 24/7. So I'd have to get IV foods all the time. And it was really miserable. And during that same time period, my friend Elizabeth was living in Seattle, and she was going to be moving back to Louisiana. And I committed to go on this road trip with her.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And my parents are amazing. And they're like, you know what? Even though you're really sick, you should still go. You need to get out, live, see some beautiful things, fill your gap, and you can find hospitals or places, get Ivy fluids on the way if you need. But just take a breath. Because I was really so discouraged having all this happen, like being taken away from Haiti and being so sick and confused and not knowing what's going on. It was really intense. And so I took this amazing road trip.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It was beautiful. We got to see so much of the country amazing. Yeah.


Branden Harvey

And you're going from Louisiana to.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Well, Seattle to Louisiana.


Branden Harvey

Okay.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

We spent some time in Seattle, and we went to Mount Rushmore. We went to Glacier National Park. We went to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. It was an amazing trip. And we ended up staying in a little town called Aura in Colorado. And we were supposed to go hiking, but there was a really bad drought. And so the waterfall was all dried up. And I'm, like, the biggest wildflower fan in the direwolf. I was really looking forward to seeing the Colorado wildflowers, but they're all, like, dried up sensors, really bad drops.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

So we ended up going to our hotel room early. And while we were there, we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. And the lady at the front desk was like, well, there's a movie theater right down the road if you want to go see a movie. And so we decided to go see the midnight premiere of Batman the Dark Night Rises. It gets pretty deep, but anyway, we went to Casino movie, and my life was really changed. That night I was shot in my left knee with an AR 15, which is like a high powered assault rifle.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And it's a miracle that I am still here. I didn't have a pulse on my leg anymore, and I lost a lot of blood and I had pulmonary aneurysm and stuff. So it was really intense. But God is so good and I'm still here. We made it through.


Branden Harvey

What did it feel like in that moment in the theater? Yeah.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I love getting to see this because it's not what you would expect. It was really dark, as you can imagine, with all the gunshots and people saying goodbye and tear gas. And it was confusing because the movie was still playing and alarms were going off. And so in the middle of all that, I reached and grabbed my friend Elizabeth's hand and pulled her down beside me and started praying like we were crouched behind the seats. And in the midst of that, I felt like a big bang in my leg that jolted my whole body.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And the thing that I experienced in that moment is not what you would expect. I was completely overwhelmed with peace, and I don't even know how to explain it, but it was just like God was so near to me and so real, like he just wrapped me up and I wasn't even scared. It was just this overwhelming sense of comfort and peace in the midst of literally the most horrific thing I can't even describe to you. It was really hard and I was hurting. I didn't think I was going to live.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I was bleeding a ton. But in that moment, I felt so much peace and God was just so real present. It really was overwhelming. And so I started praying out loud. And my friend Elizabeth didn't even realize that I had been shocked because I had this sense of calm about me. And it wasn't that I was in shock and didn't realize I had been shot. I was in a lot of pain, and I really didn't think I was going to make it out. But like I was saying, God was just holding me up in a way that I've never experienced.


Branden Harvey

Beautiful.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It was one of the most amazing things ever in the most unlikely paced place. You would never think that in the darkest night, in the most painful, horrible, tragic thing, I would have felt peace, like no other.


Branden Harvey

How did you get out of this?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

The theater?


Branden Harvey

Yeah. How did you get out of the theater?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

That's crazy, too. So I was laying on the ground whenever I was shot. And what happened was there was a pause in the shooting. James Holmes, the shooter's gun had jammed, and so everyone got up and was trying to run, and my friend Elizabeth ran, not knowing, of course, that I couldn't follow her. Like I tried to get up, and my knee just completely collapsed underneath me. So I was at that point, like, I'm not going to make it out. And then by God's kindness, this man, Chris Lakota, who is in another theater room, he's the only person that I know of that ran into the theater Besides the emergency person powerful.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. So he ran into the theater and he was going after James Holmes, the shooter, and he was going to try to take his gun and disarm and snap his neck or something like that. Intense. And I didn't realize this because I was facing the exit door. But James Holmes shooter was right behind me. Wow. And so Chris Lakota was going after him. And then he saw me on the ground, and he decided to help me up. And he said that his whole life prepared him for that one moment to make that decision, to help me.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I don't know if I would be here today if you wouldn't have. So he helped me up, carried me out. And I got down to the lobby, and Elizabeth met me. And then she saw us from the back. So she thought that I was helping him. She had no idea that I had been shot in, that he was actually helping me. And so it was intense. And we got outside and they laid me on the concrete and stuff and bound up my leg to try to stop some of the bleeding.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

But it was pretty intense. And then there weren't enough ambulances because there were so many people that were shot. So they started Loading up people into cop cars. And so they loaded me up into a cop car and, oh, my goodness. Like, on a pause and just say how incredible the policemen were that night. I would not be here if they would not have been so brave and heroic and sped me to the hospital. And then I got to the hospital, and they picked me up and laid me on instructor and wheeled me into the Er hallway.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And there were so many injured people, like, they didn't even have rooms. They were just lining us up all, like, on beds in the hallways and stuff. And it was really intense because I was in a lot of pain and shaking. But I still felt this, like, peace.



Wow.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And it was so wild, like there were a lot of people that were injured, and some of them weren't injured as severely as I was, but they didn't have that sort of peace or sort of comfort. So I was just, like, go help them. I really am okay. I was hurting. But I was okay in the weirdest way. That doesn't make sense. But I was and the sweet thing, too. When I was in hospital before I went into that first surgery. Of course, I didn't have my phone or anything like that.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

But someone in the Er gave me their phone, and I was able to call my parents and talk to them, and they prayed with me on the phone and read to me. One thing that stands out, it's really cool is for some reason my mom just randomly turned to think Matthew Six, where it talks about letting your light shine, which is kind of odd, but it was so relevant to the next couple weeks and months of my life because so many people kept being like, I don't understand.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

How are you smiling? You have so much light. And I was able to be like, let me tell you about light. It's not just me. Something inside of me. And I really felt like that.


Branden Harvey

So, Max, what was going on in your world that same night, what was happening?


Max Zoghbi

So the whole Haiti dating coming on strong, breaking up fiasco happened in March. And so this was in July. So about four months had gone by, hadn't really talked, not really doing life with any people from her family.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And we were really close, too. All my brothers and sisters loved him, and our family was tight.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. And so I hadn't really seen their family or spoken to them in months or her. And I was trying to go to sleep that night. It was a Thursday night, July 19. So nine of the 19th, 2012, and I just couldn't get to sleep, which is never an issue for me. I pretty much can false.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. I sleep like a bear.


Max Zoghbi

Like last night we were camping. I fell asleep in my truck instantly. And anyway, so that night I was pretty restless and got on Twitter and saw this hashtag about shooting in this theater. And at the time, sadly, it's not the case anymore. It seems like there's one of these every week now. But at the time, that was really the first shooting, if you remember since, like, Columbine, exactly. You know what I mean? It stands out. I mean, all of them, of course, stand out. And they're all horrible and tragic in their own right.


Max Zoghbi

But this one, just by nature of frequency, seemed to be like the first one in a long time.


Branden Harvey

Yeah.


Max Zoghbi

And so I'm like, wow, this is awful. This is Jeez. This is just terrible. Me and looking at the hashtag and just getting all the information on it and something in my mind recalled this Facebook post I had seen on my feed before. I was in my studio that afternoon of her friend Elizabeth, and she posted going to see Batman with Ponny Kate. We're in Colorado, and he just jumped to my brain. I was like, Well, Pat me. I said, Colorado, this is obviously not them, but my brain just started racing as it tends to do.


Max Zoghbi

And my imagination got the better of me. And so I texted Elizabeth, and I was like, hey, Elizabeth, I hope your road trip is going well. I just saw this on Twitter. I'm sorry. I know. It's like, one in the morning. This is really awkward, but I just want to make sure this wasn't y'all, and she didn't text me back, and I called her and she didn't answer. And I was like, so I texted Bobby Kate again. We were broken up, so it's pretty awkward thing to do and didn't answer, called her, didn't answer.


Max Zoghbi

And I was like, That's weird. So not Texas bonnecate's mom. I was like, hey, Miss Kathleen, I know it's 01:00 in the morning, so I'd wake you up, but I saw this on Twitter. I'm not trying to scare you. I know this isn't them, but I just wanted to check just to see just because my imagination is kind of getting the better of me. And then her mom called me and was like, actually, Bonnie Kate's been shot, and we don't really know she's going to make it through the night.


Max Zoghbi

It's pretty critical. We're planning on flying there as soon as we can. And what you see is what happened in that moment. It's just surreal if you're on that side of that kind of news, I think you're asking why initially mixed with shell shock. And then you're just like, you're thinking what's going to happen next. I really just found myself on my knees in that moment, being thankful she was alive. And so any heartbreak that was there by way of our short but deep relationship on my side was gone.


Max Zoghbi

I just was able to really move past that very quickly and be, like, life's too short to really hold grudges or to complain about being heartbroken, like, she's alive and she almost wasn't. And she might make it through the night. And so I just want to be thankful she's alive. Me and my roommates. We got up and we prayed, and I just felt a real strong, compelling. I felt very convicted that I needed to go to her parents house. And so I did at three in the morning and just was there with them.


Max Zoghbi

And with her.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I'm the oldest of seven.


Max Zoghbi

Wow.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. So all my siblings were really thankful to have them, like, back. And when my parents came to be with me in Colorado, Max was there the whole time we were.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. I just felt like I needed to be a friend. And so that was something I wasn't able to do. Our first time around. Dating obviously had my emotions led me astray and looking past a friendship, I wanted much more than that. But in this moment, I was just like, what would a friend do? A friend would show up. A friend would just be there and help Cook and say nothing or say the right thing or just exist in that space of being available. And so that's what I did for a few weeks.


Max Zoghbi

She was in Colorado after that for a while, and we didn't really talk. She wouldn't let me go visit her at the hospital.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

One thing, too, is like, the last time we had talked prior to the shooting prior to the shooting, it was really intense.


Max Zoghbi

I gave her the business.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It was really hard.


Max Zoghbi

I was like, you broke my heart.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I didn't understand because I was 18, and I was just like, Well, why can't you just be if you can't be friends with me? If it's too painful to be friends with me, just be friends with my brothers and sisters.


Max Zoghbi

Like, you live in the same house.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I can't go over there. It was just really intense conversation.


Max Zoghbi

That too, that really stuck out, because in that moment when her mom called me and I found she was shot, I was just like, wow, the last conversation I had with her could have potentially been awful. And so there's just really no time here, I think, on our for bitterness and for unkindness. That really shook me up. And so I've really made it a point almost maybe too much. But to really make sure that interactions I have with people, if it would be my last with them, to really that's my mom and we're talking and I by no means have perfected this or conquered this in a way, I hope to one day, but that stuff matters.


Max Zoghbi

I don't know who I'd be right now if that was the last conversation I had with Bond Cave. She had died in the theater that night. And the last conversation I had was me, just like, venting my broken heartedness because I was being ridiculous. I learned a lot in that moment of, like.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And I did, too. So after I got a shot, I was frustrated because I was like, oh, so now this big thing happens and he went through my friend again. I didn't. I was like, being silly and needed some space because I didn't really see where he was coming from. And the last time we talked was really intense comma.


Max Zoghbi

Also, she just got shy.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah, of course.


Max Zoghbi

You can't stay in a massacre. You can do whatever you want to come around. That's fine.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

But after he was consistently just loving all my family and being a friend to me, I was like, maybe we can be friends. And I remember seeing him like, I was in the hospital for, like, over a month. And so whenever I got home, it was a really big deal. When I came home and the first time I got home, he was there and I hadn't let him come to the hospital or anything. And I remember looking at him and saying, we need to talk. I love that.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

No, I said that you did. Well, I was thinking it.


Max Zoghbi

I kind of hugged around just, like, so bad you're alive. And this is important. But at some point, if you want to talk, we can. But there's really no rush. You have so much to deal with. She's like, right. She's like, learning how to walk NPT really? Yeah.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I had, like, seven surgery, heavy medication.


Max Zoghbi

It was hell there for a good year.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. But then you didn't talk to me for a while, but we talked. And I remember that first conversation was so healing and freeing and good because I was able to understand where he was coming from, and he was able to understand where I was coming from because I am such a people. Pleaser. I realized I did not communicate very well. Like, oh, you're coming on really strong. And I'm overwhelmed and kind of freaked out. I literally just freaked out and was like, I can't do this.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

So it was really good, like, just being able to talk and understand each other better. And then I was like, we can really be friends. And then that's whenever I slowly went from, like, I'm really thankful to have you as a friend and being like, oh, my goodness. I really like you.


Branden Harvey

You really.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And then one day, I think we're all sitting on the couch, and I was like, I really want to kiss you. And you know what he said? He said, no, you can't kiss me. And I was like, never kissed me. It was really funny.


Branden Harvey

Wow.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I felt really embarrassed.


Branden Harvey

Was that the first time you expressed that?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Oh, yeah, for sure.


Max Zoghbi

To a boy ever.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. So I was just, like, straight up, like, hey, I really like you, I want to kiss you or something.


Max Zoghbi

And I'm just, like, in this space of, like, you're alive. You just went through this tragically, horrific trauma, mentally and emotionally and spiritually and really just in this space of trying to really just be a friend. And I think when that's your mindset, it's really easy to push down or set aside, maybe desires that you'd have for more than friendship. That's where I was. It really was not a priority. It was like a distant prayer of, hey, man, you know what? If this worked out great so that's she's alive, I really just want to be as altruistic and as service oriented as I can be.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And that's what led me over no pressure, no pressure thing. Because before I was, like, so much pressure and then.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah, I was just glad she was alive. That near miss experience, that concept of, like, a near miss it shapes you in ways you can't really anticipate. So for me, it was a focus on friendship and service, which cultivated a safe place to become friends without really any expectations. And I'm talking about real friends. Not like kissing friends. Not like hanging out, going on date friends just like doing life together. Actual, like, catching, taking her home from PT friends or hanging out with brothers, family, friends. You know what I mean?


Max Zoghbi

Just true friendship. I think that's a really fertile ground for a dating relationship to be born and then eventually an engagement in marriage. So it's just interesting. Honestly, if the tragedy wouldn't have happened, she probably would have gone off to College somewhere. And I'd be definitely. I don't think we would be married to someone terrible. I would still be single. No one else is going to put up with me.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Be honest, that's not true.


Max Zoghbi

Just to be honest, I do live in an Airstream by myself and homeless video creative person.


Branden Harvey

To help me close this gap between your attempted first kiss where you were like, let's kiss and you say no to when your actual first kiss happened.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I've loved that first kiss. Okay.


Max Zoghbi

We had a really kit. I think we had held hands once in Haiti, but it was not well received.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I was freaking out. So I said that. And then a good bit of time went by, and I was like, oh, that's so awkward. But I do say that, but I definitely liked him. And I knew deep down that he liked me too. But I think he was just being really cautious and careful. Okay. So, MMA, my sister was rehearsing for this hymn thing.


Max Zoghbi

I think the choir practice.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And so I went with Max to go take her. And this is the best. So my great grandparents, whom I just adore. They are the sweetest couple in the entire world, have this beautiful little Southern home with gorgeous, big live Oaks in the front.


Max Zoghbi

So we dropped off that her great grandfather planted 80 years ago.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah, he lived to be 100, and they were married for a long time.


Max Zoghbi

He passed a few years back. She's still off.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

She's 99. But anyway, she's amazing. We went to their house and we are sitting on the front porch waiting for Emma's practice to be over. And it was beautiful, like, it was a full moon. And so the moonlight was dancing through the live Oak trees. And we're sitting on my great grandparents Wicker furniture on their front porch. And we were kind of sitting next to each other. And then Max said, hey, do you want to be my girlfriend? And I was like, yes, and does that mean I get to kiss you?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And he said, no. And I was like, what? I felt so embarrassed. I remember just, like, covering my hands with my face. And then he pulled me closer and he was like, But I get to kiss you. That was our first kiss. It was so magic.


Max Zoghbi

Great.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Forever. Go down in history is the best first kiss ever.


Max Zoghbi

Awesome. November 2012 yes.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And then we got married. May 2014.


Branden Harvey

Wow. A year and a half later, it's exciting.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It was so fun.


Branden Harvey

And tell me a little bit about the proposal because, oh, my goodness. So your proposal went viral.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It's very epic proposal over the top. See who Max is, though. Everything is to the Max over the top. Epic crazy, something that probably would go viral because it's Max.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. I was really just exploring the idea of, like, I understood at the time, understood, like the wedding and the season of engagement. And obviously, the wedding itself is more about the bride. I was like, but the engagement, that's the grim thing. And I really wanted that to be an expression of who I was or I am at the time and also something really honoring to her and special. So I was just exploring the idea of trying to redeem the space that she almost died in movie theater, which is also the space that potentially, if I continue in this career that I would maybe make a debut in someday.


Max Zoghbi

Right? It's kind of the pentaton of the filmmaker's goal is to have their work on the silver screen as it were. So, yeah, I really wanted to explore that. So I was saving up for a ring and talk to her parents, went to this film conference called Masters in Motion in Austin and had the workings, right? Had the kind of constellation pieces of an idea. And then the line started to connect. And then it kind of became more of a reality. After this conference, had some pretty crucial conversations with some key filmmakers I looked up to for a while.


Max Zoghbi

That kind of gave me the confidence I needed to try to execute this crazy idea. So I wrote this short film that essentially was a frame story for, like, a fake romantic comedy. So it was like a rom com type trailer that was about this guy who is helplessly in love with this girl and trying to plan this epic date for her. And it was just ridiculous and over the top. And I wanted to shoot it and then edit it and then premiere it as an actual trailer in a movie theater amidst other trailers.


Max Zoghbi

So it just felt very natural and then have it at the end of it. Have the main guy who, of course, was a caricature of me. Break the fourth wall.


Branden Harvey

What were the names of these people again?


Max Zoghbi

So I'm Max. And then the character is Mac. And then the girl was Katie. It was funny because the girl was Bonnie Kate. Our girl ended up casting looked so similar to Bonnie Kate.


Branden Harvey

Yeah, she did.


Max Zoghbi

Her name is Jory McDonald's. She's an incredible actress. And the guy who played me was a good buddy of mine, Bradley Cook, B. Scott Cook as he goes by. And so it was just kind of like, I remember just being a Starbucks or writing up the script. And I never done a short film before. And I was like, how am I going to do this? So I started, like, when you have an idea and no money, you start reaching for anyone and everybody assets. You're like, Can somebody help me do this?


Max Zoghbi

And so my buddies at contrast film Jordy Wax and Chase Smith, I was like, hey, guys, this is kind of what I want to do. And I'd love to knock it out. Mind you, this is like, the holidays, right? This is like, Christmas and New Year's. Everyone's out of town and busy and spend time with family. And they're like, yeah, we'll do it for free. So we shot for we shot for three days with, like, a full. And we had, like, a good 20 person crew and, like, wow, everyone worked for free.


Branden Harvey

Do you suspect anything? Bonnie?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Kate? No. I had no idea.


Max Zoghbi

I totally lost her.


Branden Harvey

Okay.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. I was like, they want me to work on this film and help Co direct it. I was like, It's weird. And then she's like, That's really cool. Can I come to set? And I was like, no, I didn't want her to recognize anything.



Totally.


Max Zoghbi

So literally. It's just crazy. We shy. At January 2, third and fifth. I edited it in, like, 36 hours, didn't sleep. And then I didn't realize that in order to premiere in a movie theater, you have to have it in a certain format. A certain movie file Kodak is what it's called. And so it's called DCP. And so that process typically takes, like, four weeks. What? So I have this whole plan, the whole theater plan. I got in touch with Cinemark, and they approved it and had all these moving parts, right?


Max Zoghbi

Like, the movie theaters and the restaurant, like, all these ideas. It was like, the whole film creative film to get to. Yes, proposal. I wanted it to be an adventure. I want it to be like, you're going to remember this forever. We're going to tell our kids about this, and we're going to video just so we can have it for our kids. I had really no intention of sharing it. I'll get to that in a second. So I'm editing it, and I get it to where I wanted the trailer where I think it looks believable, like, Jordy and Chase are amazing filmmakers and amazing cameras.


Max Zoghbi

And so it looked filmmaker.


Branden Harvey

It looks really good.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. It looked like a Rom com, like a low budget Indian rom com. And they're like, yeah, there's no way this is going to happen. I'm like, oh, my gosh. So basically, I talked to this guy, Ryan at this film house in Texas, and I'm like, hey, this fourth quarter, I need to work overtime. I need you to make this happen because you're going to do it, or I'm going to drive the taxes and make you do it. I'm a dude trying to do a thing, and I need your help, please.


Max Zoghbi

He was like, I'm in.


Branden Harvey

He's like, incredible.


Max Zoghbi

So long story short. Basically, I sent him all the movie files from my end. He converted them, sent them back to me on my end. The day, I'm proposing to her the day I get the movie files they finished downloading overnight. It's six different files from, like, Dropbox, Google Drive, every type of streaming service you could imagine you send it, get all six of them on a low flash drive drive to the theater. They plug it in. It works. I drive and go pick her up.


Branden Harvey

Wow.


Max Zoghbi

Zero margin for error, man. Zero margin for error.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And it was literally perfect.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah, I pick her up.


Branden Harvey

Were you suspecting anything?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

No. Well, okay. So I was actually so sad because I was expecting proposal, but they had faked that my sister had gone back to La, and I was like, He's not going to do it without my sister.


Max Zoghbi

So her next, Madeline, her next younger sister, was in town because she was living in Los Angeles. And so it was crucial that all her siblings were in town. So she was in town for the holidays and new years is done. So Madeline's moving back to La. And so Madeleine wakes up that morning at four. Catch up.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It was the coolest thing.


Max Zoghbi

She leaves. She comes and hangs out with me all day at my studio, and she's, like, Boniki has no idea.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I was crying on the way to the theater because I was, like, so sad. Little did I know that they were all hiding, waiting for me to get out of the theater. And they had, like, so anyway, that's fine. That's great.


Max Zoghbi

So Madeline made her flower Crown, and we went into the theater, and everyone was waiting for this big human tunnel afterwards. And so we're in the theater, and I have a couple of guys filming it for me while we're in there, and I have a microphone hidden on my lapel, and the whole thing happens. And it's just really redempted.


Branden Harvey

The video plays at one point because it's showing your reaction in the video that I watched you say, what is this? What is going through your mind?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I remember being like, this feels like, Max, this feels like Max made this. I remember saying at one point, like, Did you make this? And he was like, no, I wish I was like.


Max Zoghbi

Which wasn't entirely a lot, because there's a lot of people that made it. It was definitely a team effort.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I was very suspicious, especially because one of the dresses that were in it was one of my childhood dress up dresses. And I was like, there's no way. But then I was still in shock. I was just like, Is this really happening? Is this really for me? And then the camera directly goes. And it's like, Bonnie, Kate. And I think it's special.


Max Zoghbi

Too, because it was, like, all the cast and crew that helped me film it were in there.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

So everyone in the theater started cheering, and I was like.


Max Zoghbi

What is happening as well as a bunch of strangers going to see Hunger Games.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

We are going to see Hunger Games.


Max Zoghbi

They're all just, like, what's happening, what's going on? But it's really special in that moment to redeem that space where she almost died. I'll never forget it. Like we walked out and she got to go on this epic adventure.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. Because the proposal didn't stop there. That was only the beginning. Because then after that, he Max, hands me a letter and puts me in a car. And I'm like, Wait, where am I going?


Max Zoghbi

I would have proposed there. But I knew that she wanted the actual proposal to be alone. So that wasn't really a possibility in the theater. So I was like, you know what? Let's just own it. Let's just make it, like, an hour and a half adventure. So I was with her at the beginning. And then she kind of got to go and spend a moment with her brothers.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Which is important at our first state place.


Max Zoghbi

Which is kind of like a metaphorical goodbye to her brothers. And then with her sisters getting dressed.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

They help me get ready. And this is another side note. I always wanted to get to proposed to in a yellow dress, because my great grandmother, the one that we first had our first kiss on their front porch. She one time told me like, that Paw paw. My great grandfather fell in love with her when she was wearing yellow. And so I was like, I want to be wearing yellow whenever. So he flew in this beautiful floor length, yellow, perfect gown that fit like a glove or something.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And it was just, like, so magic. I got to get ready.


Max Zoghbi

And then I just wanted to give her time to be, like, time to process it. And soak in the moment, like, she's driving. And then she's with her brother.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And there's, like, little notes at each place that I go to. And, oh, it was so special, like, not getting to see you. And then we go to my afterMark got ready with my sisters. We went to my grandparents house, and all my parents were there, and I was like, oh, it's going to happen. And then it was really special.


Max Zoghbi

They prayed with her. And then she walked on her own to the back of the barn.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. And it was really sweet, because in that barn, that's where my grandfather proposed to my grandmother.


Branden Harvey

Wow.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And, yeah, it was magical perfect.


Max Zoghbi

And that, too, like, that part actually proposing of the things I said, I didn't want to share that.


Branden Harvey

I thought that was really cool. It cut out.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. I know a lot of people wanted to see that. But I was just like, that's our moment. And you get to see the before and after. But that actual moment was just for us.


Branden Harvey

You're an incredible filmmaker. And so you built this whole thing. And it was all about the most beautiful moment was you guys coming out of that experience. There's the build up. And then you know what happens in there, right? And then you come out. And that's where the relief comes. That's where the good feelings start to really bubble.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. I'm glad to hear that. I really struggle with that in the edit, because honestly, when you're making something, you're invariably thinking of who it's for, you're thinking about your target audience or audiences. And so as I was making it, I really was making it for us and our family and our friends. And I cut it together for our rehearsal dinner. So I proposed in January. We got married in May, so I had, like, four months to kind of piddle around with it. And I showed it at our rehearsal dinner.


Max Zoghbi

The initial cut, and everyone was like weeping.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

You have to share this online.


Max Zoghbi

And I was like, that moment was really I just felt like the first edit, like, people knew what happened anyways.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And it was special, too, because it was a vulnerable place for you because that was kind of your the whole proposal was in a way, Max, working through everything that happened and, like, reconciling it, trying to redeem a really intimate space. It was a really intimate piece and because it's our love story. But it ended up being really good, beautiful thing and hopefully has encouraged.


Max Zoghbi

I thought there's just this thing in the digital age where I'm always kind of thinking, like, in 50 years, when my Facebook is whatever. I don't know. Do you know what I'm saying?



Totally.


Max Zoghbi

Like, we're going to have this digital graveyard of sorts I really think about. Okay, well, my kids are having kids. I want them to be like, Ma'am, grandpa, I just wanted to leave something behind for them, and we don't have kids yet. So this could all be for nothing. But I just really wanted to leave something behind for them, because I'm always thinking in 100 year gaps, that's kind of how I think. And also, too, like Bonnie was saying, it was a bit of a Journal for me.


Max Zoghbi

I needed to do that for me as much for her. I wanted to honor her. But I also really wanted to try to get a bit of goodness back in that space at the theater and then just have fun and a fun scavenger Hunt because it's always fun.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It's pretty awesome.


Max Zoghbi

It was fun.


Branden Harvey

Yeah, that's beautiful. And you got married. And how long have you been married now?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Over two years.


Max Zoghbi

Two years. Two months.


Branden Harvey

What have you guys learned in the last few years? Nine months in on Monday.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yay. It's the most amazing and hard thing. I feel like we've had a really intense first two years of marriage just because there have been so many situationally hard things, like me dealing with chronic pain and having all these other weird illnesses and things that have come out of. I don't know if it's medication or surgery or whatever. It's just we've had a lot going on, and then I had to testify in court, and that was really intense, like seeing the guy who tried to kill me and there have been really intense situational things that have happened.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

So we've had kind of like a crash course of working things out and communicating and loving each other. Well, I think let's see some of the biggest things.


Max Zoghbi

This can easily be a third party.


Branden Harvey

Your phone?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. Well, he's holding up his phone.


Max Zoghbi

Yes. For those of you who can't see what's happening. Yeah. You can just easily spend 15 minutes, like, okay. Snapchat. Instagram. Instagram storyline Twitter Email it's like that can so easily be a numbing agent just to, like, not. And you miss an opportunity for intimacy, and you can easily justify it if you're creative as like, oh, I'm doing work or I'm replying to Tweets or I'm emailing you. Not just like looking at crap. So that's definitely been just, like, a constant, like, pursuing each other.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I feel like that's a big thing is taking time to celebrate each other and really focus on have romantic moments and special dates and also just like being friends and continuing to pursue each other and love each other and forgiveness. That is one of the most important things I think is like, we're all broken and hard to be around sometimes. And situationally things are going to be hard at times. So like putting aside your own feelings and emotions, giving the person you love the benefit of the doubt and really choosing to love them.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Like my mom always says that love starts with the letter S. She's like it's sacrifice, it's service, it's putting the other person before your own needs at times and then doing the same thing for you.


Max Zoghbi

I think something that's really interesting, too kind of in this space. So I think imagining some worst case scenarios for marriage is helpful because I think a lot of milestones that potentially shape the course of a marriage are often reactionary. So if you say, okay, let's just go through the scenario of, like, I'm diagnosed with the terminal. Let's go through the scenario. And it's not fun. These are really things. Let's just go through the scenario of, like, I'm injured and can't work and we're struggling with the scenario of infidelity.


Max Zoghbi

Let's put ourselves emotionally in that space to see how we might react, because I feel like if you're there and you can spend time with yourself and for us, like, with God there in that moment, even hypothetically if and when something like that would come to pass, you've kind of already been there. So you can really choose how to react. Like, if I were to really mess up in some crucial way and tell by any Kate that and then she just were, like, totally out and I would not feel safe to come in the future with something even bigger and scarier.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. It's important to give each other safe spaces to be honest and vulnerable, because even if it's painful at times, the most beautiful and freeing thing is like being completely honest and known and still loved. And that is so important. So just thinking with each other about everything. Hard things, big things, little things. Laughing.


Max Zoghbi

As simple as saying, like, hey, I need to say something hard, and I need you to give me Grace to try to get it out the right way. Maybe she's calling me out, or maybe I'm calling her out on something lovingly, right? Maybe we're confessing something that's just been going on. We're struggling with it's. Like, hey, I just need you to give me a safe space to enter into and communicate. I think just priming the pump with that request and praying beforehand can really be beneficial. The other side of that would be like coming home from work after a long day and you're like, we're fighting and then something triggers and do the dishes.


Max Zoghbi

We'll use this. You know what I mean? As opposed to like, hey, let's intentionally set aside 30 minutes or an hour or 2 hours and engage in this hard dialogue or just be together. Yeah. Even if it's not hard, that's really good. Yeah.


Branden Harvey

That's really good advice, you guys. And so you've taken this terrible moment. You've redeemed it and you're continuing to kind of redeem it by going on this adventure. You described this thing that you're doing as these films, you're making these people, you're meeting this content you're creating as things that fill your cup.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah.


Branden Harvey

Can you break down what filling your cup means?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah, I will.


Max Zoghbi

I think starting would be helpful to break down. Why you have the need to fill your cup. It's been four years.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

So I live day to day basis and have really intense chronic pain. It's constant and every day is really hard. Getting out of bed. Choosing to push through, choosing to walk, choosing to smile, put on my clothes and take a deep breath is like, hard. Everything kind of comes out of cost. And so it really does motivate me. And it's almost necessary in a lot of ways to focus on beautiful things and also things that fill my cup. Otherwise, I don't think I could keep doing it.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I couldn't do it for sure without Max, but also to having the ability to, I don't know, use our passions and the ways God's made us to work and somehow make a living and pursue that. That sort of dream is really good because it's hard not being able to do normalized things without, like, it's just really challenging. Like, I can't have a normal job. And so there's a lot of lot tied up into adventures and filling our cup because it's kind of necessary to me, like surviving and even more thriving.


Branden Harvey

The stakes are high.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah. Exactly. Rosemary little Airstream is literally like our silver lining. So the things that from my cup are number one, being with this guy, traveling, being in new places, new smells, food like making food for people or with people big conversation. Yeah. With cool folks and music. So it's so good to do for music.


Max Zoghbi

Nashville.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yeah.


Max Zoghbi

We've gotten so many, so much talent. It's insane.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It really is. Those are some things that really making. Yeah, making.


Max Zoghbi

You context. She said she's in chronic pain. I mean, like, you can hear if you're listening to her voice, how bright and bubbly she sounds. And she is. But beneath that, there's a lot, like when you see a duck gracefully going across a pond, like you don't see the feet underneath kicking really hard to swim, that's bonding cage, this Inna elegance and Grace about her. But it comes at a really hard cost, and I have a front row seat to that. And it's just a privilege and also a lot to carry as well.


Max Zoghbi

So seeing her hurdle at the time is extremely difficult, but kind of like diamond. It only comes from pressure. This hypercontextualized, ongoing trauma years after the news has died down, the shooting is not really thought about anymore. And Bonnie lives with this chronic pain, and we were exploring this idea of, like, okay, what can we do? What can we share as a vision as a husband wife? Because most people in my industry and by no means am I saying that I don't want to do this one day or it's wrong to do this, or I'm looking down on folks to do this at all.


Max Zoghbi

But most of it, it's like you're working with other filmmakers and you're traveling a lot. You're not home a lot. And so I just knew in our story that wasn't really a good option for buying cake because she's alone. It's hard because her pain kind of comes front.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

People help me push through because that can distract me from pain. It's really hard for me to be by myself because the pain is louder.


Max Zoghbi

If that makes sense. I was like, okay, well, Bonnie Kate can't work on her own just because of her knee and her pain. So how can we combine our gifts and our passions in our vision as a couple and do life and work together? And I think it's easier now than ever with how amazing and how available and how democratized making content is through the internet. So that's what we kind of started dreaming and praying about and started with that I stream.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Well, even before that, it all came about because of the proposal video that Max made because YouTube reached out to us and was like, hey, you guys should think about making a channel. Yeah. And it was really such an answer to prayer and perfect timing because we're like, we do not really want to settle in Baton Rouge yet.


Max Zoghbi

That's where we're from. Baton Rouge. Okay, love Baton Rouge. We just didn't want to settle there yet.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

We're not ready.


Max Zoghbi

Just got married, don't have kids yet. You don't want to bounce around.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And, like, what are we going to do? How do we make the most of this?


Max Zoghbi

So, yeah. So just kind of put it in one sentence. It's like fell in love. Broke up. Shooting happened, fell in love again for real. Both sides this time and ended up proposing film. The proposal. It took off. I did it as a Journal to myself, ended up offering it to the world. People seem to like it, which put us in a position to have a relationship with YouTube, which put us in a position to meet all sorts of cool folks like, we are here now with you.


Max Zoghbi

And amidst all that, Bonnie is dealing with chronic pain, which is always pushing us to seek light and beauty and all things. And then we get a phone call last January from the DA's office in Colorado that said, hey, Bonnie, Kate, you have to testify in court. You have to come to court. Tiny little courtroom. See James Holmes, see his parents, see other victims, see the judge and tell your story in person. Otherwise, legally, it's as if you weren't there. So we decided to do it.


Max Zoghbi

It was kind of this looming deadline on our calendar for, like, six months. And I said, you know what? We're going to buy an air stream and we're going to flip it and pour our guts into it and our anxiety into it.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

We're going to live in it and travel the world and make videos.


Max Zoghbi

It was very intangible.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

It was very vague before YouTube reached out.


Max Zoghbi

And so as that was happening, the trial was happening. The video has got wildflower. The video is taking off, and it kind of all just happened. And then we started kind of chiseling, and I guess a business model or a brand which became adventurous. And that's kind of how we got to where we are beautiful.


Branden Harvey

It's exciting.


Max Zoghbi

It is. Everything in the Airstream is, like repurposed.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

And then you have to come meet our Airstream. Her name's Rosemary.


Max Zoghbi

I love that.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

We love to host you.


Max Zoghbi

We just kind of, like, picked up pallets off the side of the road and took them apart and built with our palettes from goodwill.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

We've made it work. It's a special cozy.


Max Zoghbi

My good buddy Jacob Trish with Revival Supply Company out of Dallas. He came and built these amazing shells underneath, like, all the fancy would work. They're like, I couldn't do. But other than that, it was just like my dad and Google trying to figure out trips to Home Depot.


Branden Harvey

It's such an exciting journey to be on. I love that. I think that the redemptive and poetic part of that is so encouraging and refreshing. I love your intentionality that's gone into this.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Thanks, man. Thank you.


Branden Harvey

Excited to share it every episode. I love to ask my guests a few questions. And so I would love to just wrap up by asking you these. My first question is, how would you describe the kind of person that you most admire in the world.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I think someone who has been through a lot who is familiar with suffering and in pain and hardship, yet it's filled with joy and is other centered, makes people feel loved and encouraged. Someone who's, like, alive. I think that would be the person I would smile.


Max Zoghbi

It was beautiful, which is Bonnie Kate. That was my answer.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

That's not true.


Max Zoghbi

Trapped yourself. No, I really appreciate people who find a way to serve while actualizing a passion that's important to them. I think it's really important that if you're going to be following a lifestyle that's led by a passion, which is almost always I found some sort of creative lifestyle that it's outward, because if it's inward, that gets really old, really fast. And I think you can more than ever now see that because we're so connected. So I just really appreciate people who have this amazing genius or have this amazing set of skills or talents but are using it not only to make a living and support their families and practical brass tech stuff, but even bigger, like, have a service oriented narrative in this interconnected world that we all find ourselves in.


Max Zoghbi

So I think that's really important.


Branden Harvey

Beautiful. What are you consuming right now that you love?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

This is an odd thing. But children's books? Yes, I am the biggest. I love illustrations and colors and simplicity of children's books straight to the heart. Like simple, poetic, vulnerable and beautiful. Like, just like a child. I love children's bugs, like in the Airstream. We don't have a lot of space, so we have to be very resourceful and creative with all of our space somehow library. But, yeah, I still have a ton of children's books in history, so I'm constantly pulling one down and being inspired by whether it's the colors or the illustrations or just simple words of encouragement or beautiful.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

That's really for me.


Branden Harvey

I love children's books right now, too, really. And I don't plan on having kids anytime.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

No, me either.


Branden Harvey

And I have been collecting them. They're so incredible. So actually, the guy who did my album artwork for my podcast, Me with, like, a little cartoon of me is a guy named Victor Huckabee. And he illustrated a book, a children's book that Tony Hale, right?


Max Zoghbi

I love him, man.


Branden Harvey

He co wrote or he co created the children's book with Tony Hale from Arrested Development and the Best funniest guy on television. And it's called Archibald's Next Big Thing.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

No, we were there. Okay.


Max Zoghbi

Yes.


Branden Harvey

You know, about this victory.


Max Zoghbi

Said Archibald for a long time.


Branden Harvey

Yes.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Oh, I'm so excited. So you can buy it now.


Branden Harvey

You can buy it now. And it's incredible. And it's this beautiful story of contentedness and being present where you're at. And I think it's Tony Hale's story of being like, oh, what's the next big thing that I'm doing? And he's doing all these incredible things. But he's so focused on what's coming next. And when you do that, you miss out. It was the very first soldier's book I ever bought, and it got me hooked. I was like, I think I cried reading it.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I cry on a regular basis.


Max Zoghbi

It's such a simple truth. Yeah, such a medium. You can just really digest. That good for Victor. I'm glad I remember him telling me. I remember he had a little sketchbook, and he would like, he'd be in meetings, and so he'd be drawing. He's like, this is how I take notes. I was just like.


Branden Harvey

How he does it.


Max Zoghbi

He would meet with buddies and coffee shops and they'd draw together. I love that. Dude. I've seen him a long time.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

What are you consuming now?


Max Zoghbi

I've actually been consuming, which is a very strange thing. Some spoken word recently, really? Because we're actually doing a speaking tour in a month.


Branden Harvey

Incredible.


Max Zoghbi

For three and a half weeks.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Taking a little break from Adventures for a bit.


Max Zoghbi

And, like, a bus, like, not in the Airstream. And I'll be doing a spoken word piece. Wow. So that's very new for me. Who are some of your favorites right now, man. A lot of it is like, there's this guy named Anise.


Branden Harvey

Mojani Mojani.


Max Zoghbi

Thank you. We saw him like a tort love on his arms concert with John.


Branden Harvey

I know exactly that heavy and light to him.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

I love how he does his hands come into the shake the Dust.


Branden Harvey

Which is one of my all time favorite poems.


Max Zoghbi

So all relative stuff. I really love propaganda from my daughter.


Branden Harvey

I love propaganda. It's so talented, so talented.


Max Zoghbi

And then it's just a lot of, like, reading poetry. And honestly, it's just a lot of, like, Vimeo. I don't know the artists. I mean, I know there's this one called Carved in Mayhem by a filmmaker called Dan Deathalese. I'm trying to say his last name, but this guy's up in New York, and I know a couple of them loosely, but, yeah, there's just a lot of Vimeo videos I've been watching to ingest that and spend a lot of time in that space. So I found myself in College a lot, just like writing.


Max Zoghbi

And often it would just come in the form of either a Journal or just, like, notes on your iphone, like most people do, or even voice Memoing. Sometimes it was a song, even though I don't really sing or have the best voice. But there was something kind of shaking out and they need to come out, and it would just manifest itself. I don't think you would have a lot of control over that. And like I said, nine to five, and you kind of have to get it out and push it out, as opposed to let it kind of manifest itself.


Max Zoghbi

So I've been spending a lot of time in that space because I'm performing a spoken word piece on the speaking tour in the fall. That is a lot about the shooting, observing my wife in pain, my own struggle with anxiety and PTSD, fearing like being in a public place and fearing some sort of mass shooting. It's a really somber piece exploring the narrative of a near miss. I've been really ingesting a lot of spoken word lately, which I feel a little disingenuous saying that because this is not who I am, but it's a new hat.


Max Zoghbi

I'm excited to try on that's.


Branden Harvey

Really.


Max Zoghbi

We'll see if it's all received or not. It's a little scary to be honest, because I have so much respect for people who do it and have done it for a long time. And I'm a bit of an infant, but I guess you don't know till you try.


Branden Harvey

You got to start somewhere. The best thing you can do is you can step into the things that freak you out.


Max Zoghbi

Man, that's good now. And not yet. John Foreman writes a lot about that. That's where the grind is. So I'm very out of my comfort zone and very scared, which I think is important to vocalize because I think we're all that way when we're on the brink of something not even big, just something new, which could be big.


Branden Harvey

Yeah. My last question, based on the ways you've chosen to step out and live your life differently. What's one thing you'd encourage someone else to do in their own life today?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Take time to take flowers quite literally. Don't miss little things. It's so easy to get caught up in stress or for me, it's like more intense, like pain or something like that. But take time to enjoy a good meal or look up at the clouds or in just a beautiful sunset. Drink a really good cup of tea or laugh really hard. Don't skip the little things in life. And for me that's usually picking flowers.


Branden Harvey

And you're saying that with wildflowers in your hair.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Yes. I always had to have some sort of flowers in my hair.


Max Zoghbi

They bring me so much joy based on the lifestyle we found ourselves in which in large part has been our choice. But definitely, I think in a large part, things out of our control has shaped the narrative we're currently living. I would say a brass tacks tactical now, action on the next step. Thing that someone could do would be to if you haven't already get your head around your dream or idea, flush it out. Assuming you have done that, go to the worst case scenario. Literally write out all your worst fears, vomit out.


Max Zoghbi

Okay, well, if this doesn't happen or if the investors back out or if this happens or if that happens, like, literally vomit out every single inroad of the worst things that could happen. I think when you take a step back and do that, it's really not that bad. And I think if you spend some time in that space and be like, okay, you know what worst case scenario, I vocalize this goal of the world and doesn't come in the past, and I move on from it.


Max Zoghbi

And whatever. I think whatever the fears we have that hold us back from actualizing a dream are much bigger in our head than they are on paper. So I think getting them on paper puts them in perspective and frees you up to create and push and grind and get the thing done. That in all actuality will probably work and probably will be amazing and probably put a dent in the cultural narrative of whatever industry you find yourself in. So I would say vocalize those fears, put them on paper and then keep them in their place.


Max Zoghbi

Keep them on paper.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Keep going for your drink.


Max Zoghbi

Put them in a box in your closet when everything's really scary, open it up and be like, okay, this is the worst thing to happen, and it hasn't happened yet.


Branden Harvey

I love that you guys kind of have similar answers to that question. It's kind of two ends of the same thing. The idea of, like, pay attention to the little things, enjoy those moments. And then it's like, don't get overwhelmed by the big things because they're not that big and they're often not real. They're not real.


Max Zoghbi

They're often just in our head.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Sometimes they are real.


Max Zoghbi

They carry so much stock getting them out.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Especially even if it's just for yourself. But for other people, like putting people around your life, like saying, These are my fears or something a lot of time. It gives us so much perspective. There's been lots of times where we're like, what are we doing? This is crazy.


Max Zoghbi

How are you going to make a life on the road? What if our air stream wrecks tomorrow?


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

But it's really good. We've had so many amazing people, like, I'm thinking of my sister and my brother in law right now being like, no, go for this. You got this. These fears really aren't as big as maybe you feel like they are. And there's so much potential in you and go for it.


Max Zoghbi

Yeah. You need cheerleaders, man to keep you going. Whenever you doubt yourself, we all do it. We all die ourselves, being like, hey, bro, you are qualified.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

You are gifted, and I'm here for you too.


Max Zoghbi

I'm here for you. Don't give up. I'll be mad at you if you give up. Like, I'm not going to let you give up like, any people in your life. So I think, yeah, that's helpful.


Branden Harvey

If people want to follow along with what you guys are up to, if they want to keep in touch. If they want to tune in for your upcoming YouTube channel, where can they do all of that?


Max Zoghbi

Our YouTube channel is called Adventures, and so you can find it on YouTube. Adventure Us. Adventure space. US The Instagram for Adventures is be adventurous. So B. E. Adventure US. My personal Instagram Max is B like, the Fox. And then Bonnie Kate's is Bonnie Kate Z? Yeah. Bonnie Kate Z. Yeah. That's where you can find our stuff. We should be launching here soon.


Branden Harvey

And everything you guys share is so refreshing and beautiful. And it's exactly what this podcast is all about. So if you like this podcast.


Branden Harvey

You're going to love Bonnie Kate and Max.


Max Zoghbi

Thank you so much for having us. Man, this has been like such a spontaneous treat. This is amazing. So good. I appreciate you.


Branden Harvey

Thank you, guys.


Max Zoghbi

Thanks, bud.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Thank you.


Branden Harvey

Sounds Good with Branden Harvey is part of the Gradient Podcast Network and is created in collaboration between Me, Branden Harvey and Gradients. Check them out at Gradient dot is that Gradient dot eye ess.


Branden Harvey

How incredible was that story? Everyone, seriously, thank you so much to each of you who tuned into the podcast this week. If this is your first time listening subscribe to the show to get a new inspiring story downloaded straight to your phone next week, if you really connected with this episode, let's talk about it. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram with the username at Branden Harvey that's Brandon ended with an en.


Branden Harvey

And with that, that's a wrap for this week's podcast. I'll see you online and I'll talk to you next week when we get the opportunity to learn from another inspiring person.


Bonnie Kate Zoghbi

Sound good?


Episode Details

August 23, 2016

About Sounds Good

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Sounds Good is the weekly podcast that hosts hopeful conversations with optimists and world-changers about the headlines we can be hopeful about — and how you can get involved and make a difference.

Every week, Good Good Good founder Branden Harvey sits down with the people driving positive change against the world's greatest problems. Each episode will leave you with a sense of hope about the good in the world — and a sense of direction on how we can all be a part of that good. Episodes are released every Monday.

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