Podcast

Episode 49 – Joe & Jessica Honegger Valentine’s Day Special

Today on a very special Valentine’s Day episode, Jessica and Joe take us deep inside their marriage. From courtship to navigating marriage, kids, and business – Joe and Jessica are giving us the real, funny, and emotional story.

Joe and Jessica Honegger

Jessica: Hey, everyone. This is Jessica Honegger, founder of the socially conscious fashion brand, Noonday Collection. And this is the Going Scared podcast, where we cover all things social impact, entrepreneurship, and courage. Today’s a very special episode because I have my husband here with me. Hey, honey?

Joe: Hey, Jessica. It’s so great to be on the Going Scared Podcast.

Jessica: So, we’re actually sitting here in our house, if you hear a cute cat meowing in the background, that’s why, that’s our cat.

And I just get so many questions about my hubby, about our marriage, about our family life. I often get asked if my husband’s my business partner, which he’s not. So, we’re just gonna give you … we’re gonna dish it all today.

Joe: All of it?

Jessica: We’re dishing it, honey.

Joe: OK.

 

How Jessica Met Joe

Jessica: We are dishing it. So, babe, why don’t you, first of all, share the story of how we met?

Joe: OK. So, I’m from Indiana, I grew up Hoosier born and raised. I went to the University of Purdue. And through that experience, took a couple trips overseas in college on some mission trips. Went to Haiti a couple of times, got exposed to the third world and poverty for the first time.

And so, as I was graduating contemplating what I was gonna do next, I was researching different service opportunities, kinda had done some education and construction management, and felt like I was supposed to use that to serve the poor in some fashion. So, through that, I found Food for the Hungry International, and they had a position open, and they invited, went through the application process, and invited me out to a weeklong training to make sure I wasn’t crazy before they sent me overseas.

And so, I showed up in Phoenix, Arizona, in January of 2000. And then there was this beautiful blonde girl from Texas, who was also at this training, looking into Food for the Hungry, possibly going overseas. So, that’s when we met for the first time.

“I showed up in Phoenix, Arizona, in January of 2000. And then there was this beautiful blonde girl from Texas, who was also at this training, looking into Food for the Hungry, possibly going overseas. So, that’s when we met for the first time.” Joe Honegger

Jessica: That is where we met. And I have to say, I was immediately attracted. He had this really curly dark hair, and these beautiful green eyes. And I didn’t date a lot in college. But I was always attracted to the quiet brooding types, kinda the people in the background types.

And, so, funny story is, everyone was assigned dishes.

Joe: Yup.

Jessica: And everyone was just like randomly paired up. And we were paired up one night to do the dishes, and I saw it on the list, OK, dish duty, dish duty tonight. But then I started watching some video about community development in Guatemala, and I just kinda got a little distracted. And then I looked up, and I’m like, oh, my gosh. It was like 9:30, it was way past dinners. So, I like immediately got up, ran to the kitchen, and I’m like, "Joe, why didn’t you tell me?" And he just looked at me, and he said, "I just figured you were doing something more important than the dishes."

Joe: Yeah, there was a lot.

Jessica: It was…

Joe: But of course, it was all in that evening together.

Jessica: It was prophetic. How is that prophetic now?

Joe: How is that prophetic? Well, I tend to be the one who does the majority of the house chores. Not so much early on in our marriage, I think you felt a certain duty as a wife to do certain things. And over the years that’s kinda reshaped itself in our phases, you know, our roles have changed throughout our marriage, and so … But currently, I’m the one who does the majority of the housework.

Jessica: So let’s talk … Let’s, like, go there a little bit, because I think that’s what people can be fascinated by, is kind of our role dynamic. Also, we’re opposites.

Joe: It’s true.

Jessica: You’re Enneagram One, I’m a Seven. You’re an introvert, I’m an extrovert.

Joe: Yes.

Jessica: Joe always said that he could grow up or live like out in a tent.

Joe: Live by myself out in the woods, yeah.

Jessica: He actually did do that for a stint. He lived in a tent in his backyard for a little while before he met me. So that paints some sort of picture. OK, well, we should pick up where we left off. So that’s how we met.

Joe: Yeah.

Jessica: OK. And then I was … My job offer was in Bolivia, yours was in Guatemala. And so, funny story is, I had chosen to go away just for like three months, because I’m kinda thinking, this is prime marriage age, you know, at this point. And I’m like, I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s gonna be a lot of dudes out in the middle of nowhere in Bolivia. I was literally living in the middle of nowhere. So, I thought, OK, I’m gonna go scared, but I’m just going to commit to three months. Well, I meet Joe at this training, and there’s a second one.

Joe: Correct.

Jessica: That’s like a month long, like intensive. And you only get invited to go to that one if you have a longer-term commitment.

Joe: Correct. And I was planning on going for three years to the middle of Nowhere, Guatemala.

Jessica: Yeah. So, Joe’s like…

Joe: I was going to that training.

Jessica: Yeah. So, I didn’t get any "Joe was attracted to me" vibes at that first training.

Joe: No, probably held that pretty close to the chest.

Jessica: OK. So, I come home from this training, and I’m like, I’m really like, I think that guy, I was into him. I just saw something in him. You know, he was … I always noticed that he was the one serving people in the background, like he was the one that the kids were hanging on, he was the one that was cleaning up after people. He was also the one staying up late, like playing cards. He was … get up early in the mornings to play the guitar. And there was something, like, strong and gentle about him, and also extremely attractive.

So, I come back from this, and I’m like, I’m gonna change my commitment, so I can go to this training and hang out with this guy a little bit more. So, all I’m saying, ladies, is you know, you gotta go for it, OK? You got … none of this like, you know, beating around the bush, you gotta go for it.

So, I came home, and I change my commitment so that I can go back to this other training that’s really intense. It’s like Myers-Briggs tests. It’s, here’s how to survive living cross-culturally. And on that training, and it was out at this camp. What was it called?

Joe: I don’t remember the name of the camp. We were in Prescott, Arizona. But…

Jessica: Prescott, Arizona.

Joe: … there were about what, 20, 25 of us, together for a month, and basically, like, we couldn’t leave. We were like…

Jessica: Stuck.

Joe: Stuck together the whole time.

Jessica: And that is when we hung out a lot.

Joe: So, yeah, I would equate that to about a year’s worth of dating convinced, from our late-night hangouts that kinda ended up happening most of the time. So, yeah, definitely there was some attraction, I think, definitely happening. I just didn’t know what to do with it, like I’m looking to Guatemala, this girl’s going to Bolivia, like … And I’m from a unique church background, where, you kind of marry people from your church. And so, yeah, I just didn’t know what to do with this attraction or…

Jessica: So, you kinda…

Joe: So that’s normally when I’m quiet. I don’t express myself because I don’t know what to do with it.

 

Getting Serious and Getting Scared

Jessica: OK. So, we go home from this training, and we start emailing each other.

Joe: We did.

Jessica: And I’m literally about to…

Joe: This is 2000 folks, so there’s no Facetime.

Jessica: Right.

Joe: I don’t even think Skype was out yet. So, this like dial-up internet email time.

Jessica: 100%. No iPhones…

Joe: Long-distance phone calls.

Jessica: Right. And so, I go home, and we started emailing. And that’s when I started getting the vibe. But see, I also … I had not dated much, and part of me had never really been serious with a dude because I was always afraid of the breakup. And I thought, well, I never wanna experience heartache, so I’m just not gonna … I’m just gonna avoid commitment.

“I had not dated much, and part of me had never really been serious with a dude because I was always afraid of the breakup. And I thought, well, I never wanna experience heartache, so I’m just not gonna … I’m just gonna avoid commitment.” Jessica Honegger

Joe: Which now you understand as a Seven, you avoid pain.

Jessica: Now I know, guys. If only we would have had an Enneagram back then.

Joe: It was around, just nobody talked about it.

Jessica: Would we still have gotten married? Yes.

Joe: Yes.

Jessica: Sevens and Ones go really well together actually.

OK. So, I come home and then I’m getting the vibe. Well, I had had a plane ticket voucher from a previous trip for my grandma. Like, my grandma had had this voucher.

Joe: No, no, no.

Jessica: No?

Joe: No. I had a voucher.

Jessica: Oh, you, that’s right. OK. There was two trips.

Joe: Two trips. So, I had a voucher, and I’m just like, I gotta use this before I go to Guatemala or else it’s gonna expire. I don’t even remember where it was from. And so, at some point, you were like, well, “why don’t you come to Texas with that voucher?”

Jessica: Well, nonchalant. Like, well, I was just like I had a lot of guy friends, like really good guy friends, I always have my whole life. So, I’m like, it’s another guy friend, that I think is kinda really, really cute. And like, come swing on by Texas. You got an extra plane voucher.

Joe: Which, for me, it was like totally opposite. It’s like, this is very serious if I’m gonna fly to Texas to visit a girl, this is big-time serious.

Jessica: Yeah. So I get this email that’s like, "I don’t think you understand like, if I’m coming to Texas, this means something, I’ve talked to my parents about it. And I’m sure I was just like, oh, OK, yeah, he’s into me, but at the same time, like, still treating it pretty lightly.

Joe: Right.

Jessica: Because if I acknowledged the bigness of it, it would scare me.

Joe: Right. And what’s funny is my mom’s biggest fear about me going overseas for three years, was that I would be old and not find a wife and come home, or maybe I’d just stay in Guatemala, and never get married. Well, little did she know that I’d meet you through the whole process?

Jessica: Yeah, my mom, when I told her I was upping my commitment, she said, I wished I’d had another daughter. Now, she says to this day, that what she meant was an additional daughter, but that is not how I took it at the time.

OK. So, Joe flies down, and I’m in the middle of all my goodbyes because I’m about to leave. I’m headed off to Bolivia. I’m going to go live among the Quechua, out in the middle of nowhere. I’m like, I got my REI backpack, my hiking boots. And saying all of our goodbyes … Joe comes to my house, meets my parents, my grandma, who was alive at the time. It ended up being this magical night. He was a vegetarian, and he ate steak for me, for my dad.

Joe: I did, yeah. I had a brief stint as a vegetarian in college, which ended when I came to Texas.

Jessica: It did. So, that was the first moment of like…

Joe: Wait, I was moving to Guatemala. And I’m like, I’m gonna …We’ll be living with a family, and I’ll eat what I’m served. So, I was kind of on the…

Jessica: You were ready for the change to adapt.

Joe: Yeah, well prepared.

Jessica: You were ready to adapt to another culture, that’s what prepared you to marry a Texan.

Joe: Exactly, it’s whole another culture down here.

Jessica: It’s a little crazy. It is. It’s quite different.

So, we had this magical evening, and then we ended up holding hands that night. And then he was flying out to Houston, so we drove to Houston, stayed with my cousin, we ended up making out.

Joe: Mm-hmm, all night on the couch. We did.

Jessica: I wasn’t gonna tell everybody that. But it’s OK, that’s true.

Joe: That’s all that happened. We made out on the couch for a long time.

Jessica: We made out because we were like, this is it.

Joe: Because you were leaving like in what, two weeks or a week?

Jessica: A week, yeah. I was leaving. We were leaving and we had no plan.

Joe: Right.

Jessica: We had no plan. So, that was when it was like, OK, we are obviously really into each other. He leaves, he flies out, and we’re kinda like, OK. I mean, he has this three-year commitment. And we were being, kind of, hardcore, like we’re both going out to the boonies. I mean, I didn’t have electricity. And he leaves, and oh my gosh, we were just…

Joe: There was so sad goodbye.

Jessica: It was so sad. It was … oh, it was so sad. I think we both cried like…

Joe: Mm-hmm.

Jessica: …at the airport.

OK. So, then I had a wedding to go to a few days later. And I’m like, oh, my gosh, I finally have a guy that I wanna take to a wedding with me, like I finally have a date. And he’s off in Indiana. So then, that’s when I remember my grandma had this voucher.

Joe: Yes.

Jessica: So, I asked her, "Can you…" because you know, we’re broke, like we just graduated from college. So, then I called him, and I’m like "Can you please fly down?"And he flies down. He had to get a tux, y’all because we do things big in Texas. And that was the first sign to your mom that, oh my gosh, I’m not gonna lose my son to Guatemala. I’m going to lose him to Texas.

Joe: Something she had never anticipated.

Jessica: There might’ve been some tears.

Joe: Probably, probably.

Jessica: She loves me now, and we love each other. I’m so grateful for my in-laws.

OK. So then we have this other romantic weekend, a little bit happy of a goodbye. And then…

Joe: Well, I think when I got home from the first trip, I called up Food for the Hungry and said, "Hey, can I shorten my commitment?"

Jessica: Oh.

 

Big Commitments Over Long Distances

Joe: Because that’s when I started, like, this is serious, you’re gonna be gone for a year. I’m going for three years. So somewhere in that span, I shortened my commitment to a year and a half, from three years.

Jessica: So, you went from like…

Joe: Because like if I’m in, I’m all in.

Jessica: Right.

Joe: And this was like…

Jessica: He went all in, guys.

Joe: Yeah.

Jessica: He was like…

Joe: Because then I knew I was gonna marry you after that first trip to Texas.

“I knew I was gonna marry you after that first trip to Texas.” Joe Honegger

Jessica: And then I’m a little bit like … OK, I was into him, but that freaked me out.

Joe: Now you have to commit. Yeah, that’s…

Jessica: That was a little hard.

Joe: You don’t wanna be boxed in.

Jessica: Don’t box me in, I’m a Seven, don’t box me in. But he was all in. He was 110% in. I moved to Bolivia. Y’all, we had this crazy relationship, because I’m in Bolivia. For three weeks out of the month, I’m living in the middle of nowhere, where there’s no running water, no electricity, except for nighttime because of the … What are those called?

Joe: Solar panels?

Jessica: Solar panels.

Joe: With batteries.

Jessica: Yeah. And Joe would email me every single day that I was living out in the wilderness. And…

Joe: So, my first three months in Guatemala were in language school.

Jessica: Right.

Joe: I didn’t know like Spanish when I moved to Guatemala. So, I spent all day, every day, one-on-one Spanish instruction. But then in the evenings, I didn’t have anything to do. So, I would just go to the internet cafe and write you emails.

Jessica: So, we just, we should get back into the habit of doing this every now and then, Honey.

Joe: Emailing each other?

Jessica: Well, I mean, that’s how I got to know you, because I think as an introvert, it just like, you just were able to spill everything out. I mean, guys, these were like love letters, oh my gosh, so good, so juicy.

So, what happened is, I had someone back in the city that would print these emails out for me, and then when the supply truck would come out, I would get this packet of emails, and it was awesome. And then, there was a satellite phone, and somehow we would time it to where I would like hike to this satellite phone, and then try to catch you when you were wrapping up your day at the Food for the Hungry office.

Joe: Mm-hmm.

Jessica: And it was wild, it was wild. And then within seven months, he flew down. He flew down to Bolivia, visited me and some of my friends too, where they all came to visit. We hiked Machu Picchu. And at that point it was like, OK, we’re totally getting engaged.
“It was wild, it was wild. And then within seven months, he flew down. He flew down to Bolivia, visited me and some of my friends too, where they all came to visit. We hiked Machu Picchu. And at that point it was like, OK, we’re totally getting engaged.” Jessica Honegger

 

Going Scared and Going in Love to Guatemala

And then in the middle of that, one guy, Steve Corbett, who was the director of Latin America, he knew that we were serious and he said, "Jessica, I really just don’t advise you to marry a guy that you’ve never lived in the same city or country really with. So, I think you should consider a transfer to Guatemala. And let’s look for jobs for you there," which was really hard for me because I never wanted to be the girl that followed the boy. And here I was, the girl that was following the boy to another country.

So, I really wrestled with that, but at the end of the day decided to go for it. And they had a teaching job for me, which was a much better fit than me, like, walking around…

“I never wanted to be the girl that followed the boy. And here I was, the girl that was following the boy to another country. So, I really wrestled with that, but at the end of the day decided to go for it.” Jessica Honegger

Joe: Teaching midwifery and…

Jessica: Nursing. That’s not me at all. So, I was going to be put to better use. So, then I moved to Guatemala.

Joe: You did?

Jessica: I moved to Guatemala.

Joe: Yeah, you did.

Jessica: I still had not. At first, I hated it, because it was different than Bolivia. Then I fell in love. But then I still hadn’t met your parents.

Joe: No.

Jessica: And so, then Joe’s family flew down. I met them in Guatemala. We had a blast. All of your brothers. He has three brothers, which also explains a lot, guys, like…

Joe: I hardly knew anything about girls. I didn’t really …

Jessica: He really didn’t. He really did not. He did not. You know, looking back, I gave you a lot of credit, you know, for …  But you know, it was really good for me, because I had put up so much emphasis on physical, you know, my … I mean, I write about this in my book … body image stuff, and I mean, this is really vulnerable, but I had always wondered like, about guys being attracted to me, because that is how bad I felt about my own body image. I felt like I had the body of a football player. And he would like really be drawn to that. I didn’t know I was gonna say that out loud.

And Joe was super attracted to me. But also, you also were kinda like, you know, not … that wasn’t a thing for you, like it wasn’t about that. It was really the spiritual attraction, this vision that we had, this shared vision of really using our lives to impact those living in poverty.

“And Joe was super attracted to me. But …. that wasn’t a thing for you, like it wasn’t about that. It was really the spiritual attraction, this vision that we had, this shared vision of really using our lives to impact those living in poverty.” Jessica Honegger

Joe: Because we met at such a unique time in our lives. We were both pursuing this purpose that we feel called to. And it was very much like Food for the Hungry vision of community. And just like, yeah, it was just a unique…

Jessica: It’s a crazy unique way.

Joe: Unique way to get to know each other, and then lived our first … By the way, we got engaged about a month after my parents were in Guatemala.

Jessica: Right.

Joe: And so, we had nine months of engagement in Guatemala. And, yeah, just such a unique experience.

Jessica: It was. Like we were living in a village, no restaurants, we didn’t have TVs. It was very unique, which brings me to why it was so hard, our first couple of years of marriage.

 

Getting to Know Each Other Again (for the First Time)

So, we were, like, living in this magical phase of being in love, of living a very simple life. And then we decided to move back to Austin where I was from, because I still have college friends here. We had considered maybe doing like church planting or something. And I still was … I had some friends from church in Austin, but we really didn’t have a plan. And we got married, huge wedding. We come back, we’re living in Austin, no jobs. And that is when it hit us, like, Joe likes to watch football.

Joe: I do.

Jessica: And now he has a TV to watch football. I like to shop. You guys, when Joe met me, I was like in my camping gear base. I was like a boot-clad, backpacking girl.

Joe: Yeah. I thought I was marrying this REI girl.

Jessica: Oh, no.

Joe: It turns out she’s a Saks girl.

Jessica: Oh, yeah. He remembers my … he remembers the first credit card bill from Saks Fifth Avenue. He’s like, oh-oh. So, now we’re getting to know each other in this whole new context, the context that we’re actually gonna have to live our lives in.

“Now we’re getting to know each other in this whole new context, the context that we’re actually gonna have to live our lives in.” Jessica Honegger

Joe: Well, we thought we’d be back overseas.

Jessica: We did.

Joe: In a year or two, we were like, we’ll go home, we’ll get married.

Jessica: We’ll eventually go overseas.

Joe: We’d settle, we’d get back overseas doing something, like, three years tops we’ll be back overseas.

Jessica: But then we just, we didn’t, like…

Joe: No. Like we…

Jessica: And then you have to earn money, like you have to actually work to live.

Joe: We were no longer on support…

Jessica: Yeah.

Joe: … so we had to raise our own. We had to go out there and work.

 

Becoming a Noonday Ambassador!

Jessica: Hey, friends, I’m gonna interrupt this awesome conversation for a hot second. So, you guys know that I am the founder of the socially conscious fashion brand at Noonday Collection. And at Noonday, we are passionate about entrepreneurship that changes the world. So, we partner with Noonday Collection Ambassadors. Ambassadors launch their own social impact businesses, they earn an income, and they make a difference for the Artisan families that Noonday partners with all over the world.

And I have a Noonday Collection Ambassador with me right now. Katie, welcome to the show.

Katie: Thank you so much.

Jessica: So, Katie is a full-time child life specialist during the day. But I guess that wasn’t enough impact for her, because she also decided to launch her own business as a Noonday Collection Ambassador. And, Katie, I’m curious, why is it important to you to be able to do both?

Katie: Well, as a child life specialist, I get to help kids and families cope with the hospital. That looks a lot of different ways over the course of the week. But I was really missing that global impact part of it. I had been to Thailand. I’d heard about human trafficking and really the woes of poverty, and didn’t know how I was supposed to make an impact, until I went to a Noonday Collection Trunk Show. And that’s when I knew that I really needed to be part of this company to be able to make that global impact with the time that I have and the abilities that I have.

“I really needed to be part of this company to be able to make that global impact with the time that I have and the abilities that I have.” Katie on why she became a Noonday Ambassador

Jessica: So, tell me what your Ambassador business gives you that’s different from your day job?

Katie: Well, I have been able to travel with Noonday. I have been able to use my income to give back to organizations that I really care about. And I’ve been able to really make an impact globally. When I go to these countries with Noonday, I am able to see the impact that we’re making in communities.

But on top of that, I’ve really been so encouraged and blessed by the Ambassador community. And not only that, I’ve then been able to encourage other women to join us in this global impact. And that has just been an amazing, amazing opportunity.

Jessica: Well, I for one, I’m so glad that you said yes. And if you’re listening to this right now, and you’re thinking, oh, my gosh, I feel so similar to what Katie is feeling, and I wanna be a part of this, we want you to join us. Katie and I would love to have you in our Noonday Ambassador Sisterhood. So, head on over to goingscared.noondaycollection.com to see if this is a right fit for you. We would love to have you, so head on over. It’s goingscared.noondaycollection.com. Thank you so much, Katie, for joining us today. And back to the conversation.

 

Partners in All: Love, Business, Parenting … and Adoption

So, then Joe starts … Joe’s parents they had flipped their first home when they had first gotten married. So, they were really generous, and were like, "We could loan you some money in order to flip a house in Austin." And I think we bought our first house in Austin for $80,000, which was crazy, because that house is, you know, I could probably sell it for half a million.

And, you know, we just started … That’s when I realized, oh, I have that gift of seeing something that no one else sees. And instead of seeing what is, I see what’s possible. And really got into design, and really enjoyed that. And then you are an operator, like you are someone who comes in, and then just makes it all happen. So, it was definitely like the visionary-executor role. But our working dynamic was challenging.

Joe: It was challenging at times. Yes, it was.

Jessica: It was rough, guys. It was really … it was rough.

“It was definitely like the visionary-executor role. But our working dynamic was challenging….It was rough, guys. It was really … it was rough.” Jessica Honegger on working with Joe.

Joe: Yeah, different expectations. And you know, it’s like coming home from the day, and it’s like there’s your business partner, and you’re kind of mad at him. And it’s…

Jessica: Then we started having…

Joe: It’s not as funny.

Jessica: Then we added babies to the mix.

Joe: Yes, babies.

Jessica: And, oh my gosh, it was … Yeah, so things were challenging. So, then we had two babies, and then we decided to adopt.

Joe: We did. So, yeah, we, in the midst of that, you started selling real estate because we were flipping houses, and we were like, why are we paying this realtor? And so, you got your real estate license … well, I got mine first then you got yours. And so, we were doing both, we were flipping houses, and selling real estate, and…

Jessica: So, tell everyone about that, because I hear a lot from women, a lot of times, the woman, woman, woman is the one who is leading the way there. But kinda tell us the adoption story through your perspective. In fact, why don’t you just take it from here, like adoption all the way through the start of Noonday, through your perspective?

Joe: OK. Well, for adoption, we had … I think we’d always talked about having four kids, roughly, three or four kids, you know. And so we had two biologically. And you don’t like hospitals, so we had our children with midwives at home. And so, Holden, he was a big baby, almost 11 pounds. And so, after that experience, you’re like I’m not … I’m good, good with that, you know.

Jessica: Were you good with it? You were there for the whole thing.

Joe: Yeah. I mean, I think … And this was around the time where we were starting to hear more in our circles about adoption, and the orphan crisis. And so, there was like some, just … Yeah, it’s like, OK, there’s 143 million kids that need homes, and it’s like … So, you know, that’s … We just started getting educated on some things, and so … But definitely, yeah. I was kind of in the back seat. I think you started more seriously like, I think, moving forward with like pursuing adoption. And I was slowly, like just not knowing what that looks like, I always heard it’s really expensive financially. We were pretty…We were getting very tired because it’s, you know, 2009, end of 2009.

And so then there was an adoption conference at our church, just one Saturday, "Come Learn About Adoption." And so, we went to that. And for me, I was like, OK. It was all about balancing finances. So, it’s like foster to adopt, that’s just great. Like we can foster, and they’ll pay us money every month. And then assuming everything works out with the courts and everything else, and then so eventually we can adopt this child. This sounds great.

And so, at this point, I was like, coming along on the process. I still wasn’t like … I see a lot of things through a financial lens, and so that’s kind of where my mind was out on this, I’m like international adoption, that maybe it’s great, but that sounds … from what I understand, it’s crazy expensive. We can’t afford that.

And so, we get through this conference. And I don’t know where you were at with things, but I’m like, yeah, this foster adoption sounds like a good option, great. But then we had a trip planned a trip to Uganda, just like the next month. And there’s a friend who was working with the ministry there. And so, we were still traveling, so this was, I guess coming up on eight years into our marriage. And we were still…

Jessica: I sold the couch. I remember that I sold the couch to fund our plane tickets.

Joe: To Uganda, yeah. So, it’s like we would have no extra money, but we’d find ways to travel.

Jessica: We’d Craigslist our way around the world.

Joe: Because that’s what brought us, like we still had that. That was still in the core of who we are. It was like the bigger world, and the poor. And it’s like, if you just … If you don’t go experience it, every so often, then you kind of lose perspective on that. And so, we tried to travel, probably didn’t do it every year, but every other year we took some international trips.

So, we were going to Uganda. And during that experience, our friend’s ministry that we visited, they had a number of orphanages. And so, we visited, they had one orphanage with like a thousand kids. And we went over to another town and saw another orphanage. And so, it’s like we get back from that trip, and we’re just like, wow, we need to adopt from Africa. Like there’s obviously a problem here.

And, you know, it was on that trip, where we were hanging out with some of your friends from San Antonio, who introduced us to Jolly and Daniel. And so that’s when the whole, "Hey, we’ve got some artists and friends, we’ve shipped a bunch of stuff to San Antonio, why don’t you sell it, raise the money for your adoption?" And you were like, OK, whatever, yeah, sure, sounds great. You know, just kind of left that there.

So we get back from that trip, and we were like, OK, we’re full on. Like at this point, I was like full on, we’re in the international adoption.

Jessica: Once you made up your mind, it was like, I was probably still like, OK, really? And then you’re like … I remember, I remember one night, this was later on in the process, but I’ll forever remember it, because this is when we … Someday we’ll tell our full adoption story, we don’t have time today. But we changed our paperwork from, like, healthy young infant to an older kid. And it’s a crazy story. But I’ll forever remember when Joe looked at me, and said, with tears in his eyes, like, yeah, this is it. And when Joe makes up his mind, he just … he’s all in, his heart’s in, his soul’s in.

Joe: Right, because if I see it then I’m committed.

Jessica: Right.

Joe: And so, I’m very slow to come around and say something because, yeah, I’m committed, versus you can lead visionary, but then, like, maybe in the back of your head you’re not fully committed. So just how we’re different.

So, anyways, at this point, we get home from Uganda, started researching … And you were still spearheading everything, like you started researching on Ugandan adoption, and kind of realize that’s pretty messy at the time. And then I don’t know where you’ve heard of Rwandan adoption?

Jessica: Because Len, our friend…

Joe: Oh, yeah, was living.

Jessica: Yeah. We had a friend who was in the middle of a job interview for International Justice Mission in Rwanda, and he’d gotten wind that we were pursuing international adoption. He runs into someone in Rwanda named Jennifer. And Jennifer says, you know, "Hey, I’m helping Americans, you know, process their adoptions if you’re interested." In Rwanda, at the time, the government was doing everything. There was only one orphanage available. They were doing everything through this Sisters of Charity Orphanage. There was not corruption.

Joe: There were no agencies to work with.

Jessica: There were no agencies. It was just government-spearheaded. And the more we looked into that, the more we realized, OK, yeah, it’s Rwanda.

Joe: Yeah. So, we went full bore ahead with Rwanda. And, yeah, definitely we were like, we’re moving forward with the dossier, and the home study, and all of that. And then I think, we come … So that’s probably spring of 2010. And by the summertime, we’re realizing, you know, financially real estate’s not selling. The market’s dead. How are we gonna fund this adoption? And so that’s when you were like, "Well, I think, I guess I will go get that stuff from San Antonio, and see if I can sell it, and see where this goes."

 

The First Trunk Show and Founding Noonday

And so, I remember you set up the house in having the first big party, and everything going really well. And then from there, you were just kinda like, I think this has some legs. And so, at that point, I mean, we didn’t know what was happening, or what it would become. And so…But I was definitely there to help you, and support you in whatever way I could. And so that was the birth of Noonday, and…

“I remember you set up the house in having the first big party, and everything going really well. And then from there, you were just kinda like, I think this has some legs. …I was definitely there to help you, and support you in whatever way I could. And so that was the birth of Noonday.” Joe Honegger

Jessica: Whatever way you could, I mean, babe, what were you doing that whole first year at the business?

Joe: Well, just backend stuff. I mean, yes, accounting and setting up the business, and printing shipping labels in the morning, and we’d pack stuff on the sofa at night. And, you know, you’d be going to … You used to take every single product with you to trunk shows. So, it’d be like you’d load so much stuff into your car.

Jessica: And Joe would always load it for me.

Joe: And you would … You know, you went all over Texas, anywhere, anybody would have you. And, you know, so it’s like you were gone for a night, you know, that’s probably your first, like, work travel. Or my first experience would be in like, OK, this is going to involve some travel, I’m holding down the fort. And, obviously, we still did not have Jack, our third son from Rwanda yet, so we just had two other kids at home.

But, yeah, it was, you know, I think through that, and it wasn’t initially, but I mean, I think a few months in, you’re like, I think this has, you know, there’s something greater here. And it was just cool to see every experience that we had had through Food for the Hungry and then your different jobs since we were then married in Austin. And then it’s, kinda all coming together in this one unique artisan goods business being sold back here in Texas. And so just…

And I think, ultimately, you know, we really saw through development work that people need an income stream, like that really is a root of a lot of the issues, that’s just whether they didn’t have a job, and don’t get paid, or they just can’t find a job, or they are living off whatever crops they can grow. But if people can have a steady income, that could change their lives.

And so, it just came full circle with everything we learned through Food for the Hungry and that whole experience. And so, I’m just definitely all in on, supporting it, and seeing where it went.

Jessica: So, he’s all in, still doing real estate, but it wasn’t really bringing in anything still. I mean it was really Slim Pickens at the time. But then Noonday, we were, every little last drop was for the adoption. And then once we raised enough money for the adoption, it was all just going back into the business, because at that point it was like, OK, this is a business, like we’re not just stopping, like here is a fundraiser.

So, at that point I knew, OK, I need an investor, I need a partner, I need something, and that’s when I got my business partner, Travis, who we used to babysit swap, didn’t have enough money for babysitters, so we’d just swap with friends. And I was swapped with them one night, and I notice like a pile of excel sheets on his dining table. And I also knew he’d gotten an MBA from Wharton. And I thought, OK, maybe you know, I’m gonna see if Travis, you know, wants to meet.

So, we started meeting. And then unbeknownst to me, he’d been really talking with his wife and had always wanted to run a social business.

And so, at that point, he’s like, "Can we become full partners?" So, we did. We became full 50/50 partners, signed on the dotted line a few days before I go off to Africa, and you and I go get Jack.

Joe: Yeah.

Jessica: And then we came back. And Travis has converted our guest bedroom into to full-fledged warehouse. And we’ve got people running in and out of our house, college kids that are shipping for us. And now, we have three kids. One who is just fresh from Rwanda. And that was crazy.

Joe: It was a little crazy.

Jessica: And Joe is still full-on needing to work. Travis is living off of his savings, Joe’s still full-on trying to just bring in whatever he can through real estate, because, you know, we didn’t pay ourselves a salary in Noonday for years.

 

Joe Honegger: Partner in All

So let’s talk a little bit now about role stuff.

Joe: OK.

Jessica: Because that is…I don’t know, people are really curious about that. First of all, just, you know, I did … Joe did elude … It’s funny because I told the kids the other day, "Guys, like I used to mainly be the one that cooked for y’all." And Jack said, "Oh, mommy, that must have been way before you got me." And I was like, "No. This is not right." Like, I wasn’t … I grew up in a very traditional family with a stay-at-home mom. And so, the expectation was, you get married, and like you start packing lunch for your husband, and you’re the grocery shopper, and you’re doing all the stuff even though I didn’t like doing all that … And you didn’t put that on me at all.

“I grew up in a very traditional family with a stay-at-home mom. And so, the expectation was, you get married, and like you start packing lunch for your husband, and you’re the grocery shopper, and you’re doing all the stuff even though I didn’t like doing all that … And you didn’t put that on me at all.” Jessica Honegger

Because your mom raised four boys to be so incredibly independent. And you guys had a major chore list. I mean, oh my gosh, y’all … our kids go and spend time with Oma and Opa every summer and they come back, and they are trained. They like wash their hands before they eat. They pray before dinner. They brush their teeth without us asking them to. It’s amazing. We love Oma and Opa camp.

So, Joe’s mom ran a tight ship. And so, then I have this husband who’s kinda like, "Sure, you know, yeah, you can make me lunch," but it’s not, there’s not this strict rule.

Joe: Yeah. I think when we first got married, and you wanted to make me lunch, it was weird to me, like what would you like? OK, yeah.

Jessica: Yeah. But you were like, what are you doing? And then you were like, "Please don’t fold my clothes. You don’t know how to do it correctly."

Joe: That is true. I’m kinda, you know, about that.

Jessica: Socks, I had a certain way I did socks, and you were like, "Don’t mess with my socks. I know how to do my socks." I mean, y’all, my mom would pack for my dad. Like when we would go on trips growing up, it was like, that was my mom. She packed my dad. "Honey, is my suitcase ready?" I mean, it was just the way things were. And so, then here I am, that’s all I had known and seen. And then I’m with a super independent guy, who basically, I mean, it’s the family joke that if anything happens, hopefully, it happens to me, because I could not live without Joe, but Joe could get along just fine without me.

Joe: No, not at all.

Jessica: Well, you aren’t very self-proficient, or what’s that? Yeah, you got it together, OK?

So anyway, he … So then, now, I’m running this business, you’re bringing this, but we’re still needing some cash flows, so you’re doing the real estate thing. Not that you’ve ever been passionate about it, I mean, you love serving people, but it wasn’t like, “oh yeah, I want to be a realtor, and build up some real estate empire.”

Joe: Yeah, I know, I just kinda fell into it in 2008 when flipping houses wasn’t an option anymore. And you were busy, and we just had our second child, and so, yeah, yeah.

Jessica: So, then Noonday finally gets to this point where we’re profitable. We can pay ourselves a salary, and we can hire people to support the operational side of the business. And we have a couple of years of that under us after a very, very scary financial time for us. And we’re finally like, the business is stable. Like this is gonna be a long-term business for us. This is what we’re doing.

Joe: Right.

Jessica: You were still doing real estate. So, let’s fast forward to that.

Joe: So throughout those first few years, we did make room for in the budget for a nanny. So, for the first few years of Noonday, we had someone who was, took in, you know, because I was still working full-time real estate.

And so, fast forward to a couple of years ago, a couple of summers ago, and it’s kind of, our kids are older, they really just need to be picked up, and driven around, and toldto do their homework, and make sure it’s getting done. And our nanny had had a baby and she wasn’t coming back. So, we had this conversation, where it’s like maybe I should step away from real estate, and just come back into running the house because we don’t, you know, it’s … Our kids are at a much different stage.

Jessica: It’s like middle school and older elementary school.

Joe: And so, yeah, we decided to do that a couple of years ago. And so, I stepped out of real estate and started buying groceries and cooking dinner.

Jessica: So, tell us about that journey, because I had a friend the other day, and she is the primary breadwinner. And she expressed to me that, you know, her husband definitely gets side-eyed. He works, but he just makes a lot less than her, and they’re relying upon her income. And she asked about your manliness, she asked about how my parents feel about you … What is that like for you? Because you just seem, you’re very secure. You’re very secure in who you are, and I don’t really know how … if you’ve struggled.

Joe: Yeah. I think at one point, not through this process, but over the years with Noonday being successful and growing fast. And you know, at some point over the past few years. At one point, I was a co-owner in my real estate company, so it was like, well, Jessica’s growing this company, so I need to … I think I felt somehow competitive like I wanna grow my company, you know, that I was helping to run. And so, which real estate brokerage is not the best income stream. Anyways, long story short, that didn’t really go anywhere.

And then with the decision to step away from … I think I definitely put some value while I’m still paying myself a decent salary, while I’m doing real estate. And then to just kind of give that up completely, yeah, there’s been times where … I think it’s more so just how other people view you. And it’s like the comments you get, and different things like that, where even from women, who are mainly running their homes, and it’s like, you know, who ask me like, "What are you doing with all your free time now?" And I’m like, what are you doing with all of your free time? You know, so it’s just like…

Jessica: Oh my God. It’s so true.

Joe: So, it’s the, the perception of it. And then also, well, I’ve been remodeling our house. So, I feel like I’m getting plenty of my manliness construction side of things, is being well used over the past year.

Jessica: So, we’ve been … even we bought our house direct from the owners, kind of at an estate sale type situation like 10 years ago. And it’s a 1960s ranch, about 10 minutes from downtown. And we had done a quick remodel job, but we definitely weren’t like, “oh, this is our family home forever and ever.” And now we’ve got friends here. The cost of Austin real estate is through the roof. It just made more sense financially and just community-wise for us to just remodel our current home in Austin’s background.

So, last year, oh my God, last year was so crazy. Oh my gosh, y’all, I don’t know how Joe did it. He was remodeling our house, I was on a book tour. I think I went to four countries last year. And then we have these three kids. How do you do all that, babe?

Joe: Yeah, last fall the book tour, like it was more travel than normal. So, I think we were all feeling it by December. But then, yeah, we had our kids living in the living room, so things did not go as fast on the construction as I wanted it to go. But as long as we were all on the same page with that, and then it was all right, which we were for the most part, not completely at the end, but it got there.

And so, for me, I mean I was having a lot of, having stepped away from doing just many, sort of, manual work consistently for almost, I don’t know how many years it was, almost a decade. It’s just been … It was fun to get back into it and pull out my framing tools, and you know, doing the carpentry stuff that I like to do, and things like that. So, I was really enjoying that, and then balancing it with the kids like I said. As long as there was some buffer, things just shouldn’t have happened really fast, because when you’re working from 8:00 to 3:00, there’s only so much you can get done.

And then the travel, yeah, we’ve been, you know … I think the kids and I kinda have our routine when you travel, and we watched a lot of Heartland.

 

Loving Each Other Through the Beautiful Chaos

Jessica: So, Honey, what do you think are the things that are helping us? Like, obviously, we had some stress last year, like what happens to us when we’re under stress? Like what does our marriage look like under stress?

Joe: Well, we’re not fighters, typically, we’re more retreat within ourselves, and kind of, know that they’re there, but we’re avoiding each other, kind of, situation. So, you know, something that we implemented about what, four years ago, just kind of our weekly Friday morning, let’s check in, let’s pray together. And, you know, sometimes we’d be reading the book together, sometimes not. But just, obviously, with travel and whatnot, that didn’t happen every Friday. But just having something on the books, I think has really helped ground us over the last few years of where, you know, at least we’re getting at every week, even if, you know, your things are busy throughout the week, or whatever else.

And then, I think, we’ve also just learned how to resolve things a lot better, you know. Being an introvert, internal processor used to take me like two days to be able to find the words to tell you, like, “I’m sorry, and I know I hurt you for this or whatever else.” And now, hopefully, I can do that within an hour instead of two days. And so, I think just, understanding how we work. And I mean, even you mentioned anagram a number of times, that’s been super helpful for us, and just being like, "Oh, Jessica’s really being Seven right now. " That’s like, I’ll … That’s OK, she’s being who she is. And I know this will probably happen like this. And I can just let her go down her Seven bunny trail, and it’s all right, you know.

Jessica: It’s so amazing to me that you as a One, that I’ll be like, I’ll name like 10 things that we’re going to do on Saturday. And he just lets me. And it’s not that he sincerely listens, and is still really there with me, in that moment of me explaining all the things.

Joe: Oh, in the past, I would have argued with you, like there’s no way, we’re going to go do these 10 things. I don’t wanna do 9 of them in the first place. But I’ve learned to let you…

Jessica: Dream.

Joe: …let you dream.

“I’ve learned to … let you dream.” Joe Honegger to Jessica Honegger

Jessica: Live in the realm of possibility.

Joe: Yes, and you … and then maybe we’ll do one thing, maybe two.

Jessica: Which is good for you.

Joe: Maybe none of them.

Jessica: Maybe none. I do feel that tension still, of like, ah, “Joe just wants to be at home.” I mean, I like to be at home, especially, I mean, now, I do. When I had babies, and felt like my role was in the home, it was torture for me. Honestly, it felt like a prison. But now, I travel so much, and I’m on the go, that actually being at home brings me a lot of joy, which has been good for us in our marriage, because you really like being at home.

OK. So, we recently had our Shine Conference, 500 women. You were there.

Joe: Yeah.

Jessica: What was that like for you, babe? Because I’m off doing my thing, you’re there. Y’all, Joe is like, oh my gosh, y’all should see our text streams when I’m at Shine. He’s like, "Can I get you any water? How are you doing? Here’s where you’re supposed to be next." It’s like the wind beneath my wings.

Joe: Well, you’ve got Karen who’s really helping you out there. So, Shine, yeah, I think I missed, like, the first day of like the first like official Shine, like where you had a conference center. And then you, after that, you’re like, you’re never missing another day in Shine again. And so, it’s just become a commitment of we’re like, OK, I’m gonna to be there for Shine. This is a big deal. And obviously, as the numbers grow, it’s like a bigger deal. And so…

But, yeah, now being an introvert, it used to be pretty overwhelming. By the end of the third day, I would just wanna go crawl into a hole somewhere and be alone for a week. But now, it’s like through traveling on different Ambassador trips, I know a lot of the Ambassadors. And so, there’s friends that I’ve seen, and then there’s also a lot of new people, so it’s just kind of fun to see people that are experiencing Shine for the first time versus the fourth or fifth time, you know. And so, it’s still overwhelming. It’s still a lot of people, but it’s always fun to…

Jessica: What were some of your best moments of this one?

Joe: My best moments?

Jessica: Like your tearful moments. Joe is a crier.

Joe: Well, I mean, it’s fun having Jalia and Daniel both here, seeing them up on stage when you were talking to them, and just kind of seeing where, you know, we’re … In a lot of ways, we’re fairly similar couples in terms of our dynamics, and just kind of their story, and our story. And so, it was really cool that they were both here. They just left yesterday actually. So just seeing them on stage and they were in their element, they were having fun.

And then obviously hearing the other Artisan stories. And even Ana from Guatemala, I met her in 2013 for the first time. And she’s just like this firecracker of a lady. Not more than what, four feet, six inches tall maybe, but she’s like, she’s a powerhouse. And so, I saw that in her, you know, the first time I met her and just to see it grow, and it’s incredible. So yeah, it’s really cool. And then just seeing you, continue to grow into who you were made to be.

Jessica: Thanks, babe. I love you.

Joe: I love you.

Jessica: Nothing can ever happen to you.

Joe: No guarantees on that. But it’s been a fun journey.

Jessica: It has. And I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Joe: Yeah. I realized I was thinking the other day that decades are kind of big deals in our lives because, you know, we met in 2000, and 2010 we decided to adopt. And so, and then Noonday started. So, I don’t know what 2020 has in store, but it’s gonna be big.

“Decades are kind of big deals in our lives because, you know, we met in 2000, and 2010 we decided to adopt. And so, and then Noonday started. So, I don’t know what 2020 has in store, but it’s gonna be big.” Joe Honegger

Jessica: It is gonna be big. We feel it. We feel it.

All right, guys, thanks for tuning in to our intimate Valentine’s conversation, we’re in this Valentine’s week, which fun tradition that we started with our kids was, we do lobster dinner with our family on Valentine’s. And we get out the wedding China that, of course, I got because of my giant wedding, and we cook lobster, and we talk about what we’re thankful for. So, I’m looking forward to that.

Joe: Yes.

Jessica: Well, thanks for tuning in, guys to this very special episode of the Going Scared podcast. And I’d love to know like, do you guys have more questions? Find me on Instagram @JessicaHonegger. My husband does not have a social media footprint, so if you look … I set up his Instagram account, and he follows me, and he follows Noonday Collection. And that’s it. So, you’re not gonna to be able to find Joe.

But I’d love to hear what you learned from this episode. Maybe there’s more marriage tips that you want, especially if you’ve got a One/Seven dynamic in your marriage, come and DM me on Instagram and let me know. And make sure to leave a review for the Going Scared podcast. That’s how iTunes allows other people to discover us. I just left a review for the first time for a podcast I listen a lot last night because I realize I’m asking not to leave a review. I need to leave reviews. So, honestly, it takes maybe one minute. So, I would just really deeply appreciate it.

Thanks, babe.

Joe: Thank you.

Jessica: All right. Until next time, this podcast was produced by Eddie Kaufholz. And our wonderful music for today is by Ellie Holcomb. Until next time, guys, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.