All Caught Up

What a great feeling it is to be all caught up with our video projects—a feeling we rarely get to experience! We’ve been traveling, editing and hiking like crazy, and by God’s grace, we have delivered 11 videos to some awesome causes around the world. But before we share videos with you, we wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been up to since our last blogpost.

House Renovations

In July, our kitchen got fully demoed. Everything was ripped out so there was literally nothing in the kitchen anymore. No cabinets, no countertops, no kitchen sink, no appliances… literally just the walls were left. Actually some of the walls got taken out too! Needless to say, we haven’t been able to stay at our house for two months since there’s no way for us to cook or store or food (we even sold the refrigerator). While everything was ripped out, we enlisted the help of Jordan’s dad to help us paint (again). We painted the entire first level of the house— the kitchen, dining room and sunroom. Just after we purchased the house in March, the three of us painted the second and third levels— the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms, so at this point we’ve painted every square inch of the interior. Along with the ultra white paint on the sheetrock, knotty pine paneling and brick fireplace, we’ve had a lot of lights installed on the first level. These two things have done wonders to brighten up the once dark space, not to mention the super light-colored natural maple custom cabinets, white quartz countertops, and matching maple hardwood floors, which have all been installed in the last week, and we moved back in our house today! The only thing that remains is our white subway tile backsplash and our maple floating shelves and our kitchen renovation will finally be DONE! We cannot wait! Below are some before and almost after photos, which we have Cassie’s brother to thank for casting the vision for this renovation, which we could NOT have done without his incredible design talent.

Work & Travel

Thankfully, we’ve been traveling a good chunk of the time we’ve been kicked out of our house due to the ongoing renovations. We’ve made two trips to Pinehurst to do more filming for FirstHealth. One of the film trips was great timing too because it spanned over Cassie’s mom’s birthday, which meant we got to celebrate together with presents, a car wash, dinner and a movie. We enjoyed a long weekend in the mountains for Cassie’s family vacation where we got to escape the heat and enjoy lots of day trips hiking with the whole family. We had a project in the Czech Republic where we documented a Christian basketball camp in one of the least religious societies in Europe. The day after we got back from the Czech Republic, we bought a car and then two days later put it to the test for a two-day drive to Vermont so that we could thru-hike the Long Trail, which goes the entire length of Vermont from the Massachusetts border to the Canadian border. In the midst of the kitchen renovations and lots of traveling for film projects, this time alone (yet together) in the woods was so needed. When we finished the trail, we drove back feeling refreshed with a renewed creativity and incredible productivity to finish all the video projects that were once looming over our heads. We are quite proud of the stories we had the honor of capturing and we are so excited to share many of them with you in this update!

And finally, VIDEOS!

A Raleigh church member reflects on all that God has done in and through her on a humble mission trip to help with a local Christian church’s Vacation Bible School in Cartago, Costa Rica.

A Christian church in Cartago, Costa Rica works to revitalize faith in a Catholic society, transforming the lives of people, one soul at a time.

When the Independent Christian Church of Pelhřimov partnered with a Raleigh-based church, Providence Baptist Church, to bring a basketball camp to the town, it also opened a door to Christ in the Czech Republic, one of the least religious societies in Europe.

Three Americans, including a former UNC-Chapel Hill college basketball player, reflect on their mission trip to Pelhřimov, Czech Republic, where they help bring a basketball camp and Christ to the town.

And for those of you interested in our hike…

The Long Trail is 273 miles long and extends the entire length of Vermont. When we thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail last year from Maine to Georgia, we already did the 100-mile southern portion of the Long Trail where for the two trails become one and the same. When we were thru-hiking the AT and we saw the sign pointing to the part where the Long Trail splits away from the AT, we said to each other, “we should come back to finish that sometime soon.” (See photo below from last year)

One thing you may or may not know about us is, if we say something, we do it. We asked some Vermonters when the best time was to hike the Long Trail, and when they said August, the Long Trail was penciled into our calendar for 2019. For our thru-hike of the AT, we didn’t train at all, we figured we had four to five months of hiking to get us into shape. But for the LT in Vermont, we were only doing a 173 mile stretch of trail, which we planned on taking us 10 days or less. That didn’t leave us much time to get into shape, so we trained by hiking with our full pack weight on and by running. Sure it helped a little, but there are no mountains in Wilmington so when we hit the most rugged part of the Long Trail in the northern part of Vermont, each climb was a struggle. For one, the terrain was much more difficult than we expected. There were a lot of parts of trail that were unwalkable— meaning that we had to climb or use ladders and ropes to get up or down. There were lots of boulders and rocks (all so slippery), overgrown trail, roots and mud, but we experienced terrific weather with no rain (just a couple overnight rains that cleared up by morning). It was physically so hard, but we enjoyed the reward of each clear view we got of the Green Mountains. By God’s grace, we were able to hike 20 miles each day, completing the 173 miles in 8 and a half days. We went northbound, completing our thru-hike at a small monument that marks the Canadian border. A grass-cut firebreak is all that separates Vermont and Canada — the mountains continue but the Long Trail ends. And just like when we summited Springer Mountain in Georgia, our thru-hike was completed. But there’s always another trail, and the next one in our sights is the Mountains-to-Sea trail that goes the entire width of North Carolina, from Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey’s Ridge in the Outerbanks — winding 1,200 miles in all. We’ll save that one for next year, though.

For now, we’ll leave you with photos from our thru-hike completing the Long Trail in Vermont. Enjoy the tough journey without leaving your seat!

On the Horizon

Just as we’ve nearly finished our long-awaited renovation and are all caught up with projects, we are gearing up for back to back projects through the end of the month. We’ll be filming more videos in Pinehurst for FirstHealth and then head straight to the mountains of North Carolina to film New Wineskins’ Global Mission Conference where more than a thousand missional Anglicans serving around the world come together every three years – to celebrate, to reconnect, to learn and grow, and to hear God’s call afresh for their next season of ministry. We’re excited for the plethora of stateside projects we’ve had this year, and we are hoping to maybe even see the beginnings of fall foliage while we’re in the Blue Ridge Mountains to remind us of our southbound experience last year on the Appalachian Trail.