Feast or Famine

It always seems like time gets away from us. Even when our work was halted for six months because of Covid-19, we kept ourselves busy with projects. At first we spent time doing things that had been on our to-do list for months, neglected house projects we always talked about doing, like converting the solid wood door from our dining room to our sunroom into a full glass door and finally putting house numbers by our front door. Then we moved on to the neglected yard projects like graveling our driveway and putting in a paver walkway to the front door. Eventually our to-do list dwindled and we started doing things that we had never even thought about or had put on a to-do list like pressure washing the shed and making and installing an outdoor shower. Cassie even got so desperate for something to accomplish that she literally washed the mailbox. Jordan weeded and de-thatched the entire yard and I got a black eye from hanging the hammock. We worked tirelessly on home and yard improvements until we couldn’t think of anything else we wanted or needed to do (with the exception of cleaning out our garden shed, which we didn’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole), and our house and yard looked better than it ever had.

All along, we kept a positive perspective, never taking for granted the fact that we had a home during the “stay at home” order. We often thought about how perfect God’s plan was to bring us here, in a home of our own for this pandemic. If we had still been living out of our suitcases as we had for nearly five years, it would have been a strain on us and our families to live together for months on end. Despite not having work, we felt blessed. Each day, we trusted in the Lord to provide for us in His time as we’ve relied on Him to do for years. We knew work would come eventually, we just didn’t know when, but that’s always the nature of our work and God has never let us down. As spring came in full bloom and the cardinals nested in our blooming azalea bushes, we were comforted by God’s promise in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

By April, we had 20 cancelled flights, and many more to come. Our grueling spring and summer travel schedule to Philadelphia, five islands in Indonesia, Malaysia, Central Asia, Serbia, Greece, and beyond was no longer even a possibility. But we continued on with our to-do lists, getting to enjoy some of our neglected hobbies that give us much joy. Cassie scrapbooked years worth of photos, airline tickets, foreign currencies and other things from our travels, filling hundreds of plastic covered pages with memories dear to her heart. Jordan brewed beer upon beer as the seasons changed from his Pandemic Pale Ale and Leftovers IPA to his very tasty coffee blonde ale in late summer. We worked on creative personal projects too. Jordan is a talented songwriter and musician, so he wrote and recorded an entire album from fragments of songs that he’s had in his head for nearly a decade and some he conceived and brought to fruition in just one day. After recording his guitar and vocal parts, he then recorded his childhood best friend playing the drum parts on all the songs. The editing and perfecting of the songs (which is called mastering) took the longest, but their band, Scraps, digitally released the album, Decades, which is available to purchase on Bandcamp and iTunes and to stream on Spotify. Cassie started writing a book she never thought she’d have the time to write about our experience thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Writing a book is no joke and takes a LONG time, but she’s about halfway into it.

In July, we decided to escape to the solitude of the mountains, hiking and camping about a 300-mile section of the Mountains-to-Sea trail across North Carolina. The MST was the next trail on our bucket list of trails, and we had already knocked out over 200 miles in a section around Durham and Raleigh right before the pandemic really exploded in the U.S. This time, we started on the western end of the trail in the mountains and hiked east, passing Asheville and ending up past Boone. It is a beautiful part of the state, but we were having a hard time with the trail – not because of the difficulty of the terrain, but because we discovered that it basically follows the Blue Ridge Parkway. This meant we were usually hiking within earshot of the cars and motorcycles cruising along this beautifully scenic road, which we would have to really watch out for when the trail crossed over it several times each day and during stretches that included walking along the unprotected shoulder for miles. This also made finding campsites and water sources extremely difficult, since there is no camping allowed along the BRP, and it’s basically a ridge walk above most springs and rivers. There are many scenic lookout points with parking lots and bathrooms, but all the doors were locked and water fountains were turned off because of Covid. When one of Jordan’s friends joined us on the trail for a few days, it lifted our spirits, but by the end of the entire section we had decided this was not the trail for us. It’s really tough realizing that something you thought you wanted to do so badly is not what you thought it would be, and then swallowing your pride to call it off without finishing, but that’s exactly what we decided to do. When we completed the section and headed to the rental house that Cassie’s family had rented for the last week in July, we had come to peace with the decision and enjoyed a wonderful time with everyone, doing day hikes, playing in rivers, and celebrating past and future birthdays.

In August, we hadn’t worked in six months and we were seriously considering branching out into real estate photography and video when we finally got the call. The hospital in Cassie’s hometown wanted to hire us to do some video work for them – A LOT of video work. Then we got another call. The church that had hired us to film in four different countries this year (all now postponed) wanted us to do some video work for them in North Carolina – like 15 videos. The calls didn’t stop there – another organization in Raleigh wanted a video, Cassie’s sister’s church in Charlotte wanted a video – it was like God opened the floodgates and was letting his blessings flow. We are overwhelmed with gratitude and joy to be back to work, doing what we love and continue to feel called to do. So that’s where we are now – swimming upstream against the steady flow of video projects, in a cycle of shooting and editing with little down time. Good thing we got all that stuff done during quarantine. Are you ready to see some new videos?

For Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, we edited 15 testimonial videos of members who had gone on past mission trips, many of which we had documented in 2019, and we were able to use our previously shot footage to make new videos to promote missions and encourage others to go, give or pray.

For the Foundation of FirstHealth, we have finished editing 16 videos and counting since the end of August. Below are just a few of the stories we’ve finalized and can share with you. We’re working on a really cool series of Covid response videos showcasing some of the hidden healthcare heroes you wouldn’t necessarily think of when thinking about the pandemic. We look forward to sharing those with you when they’re released.

Stay tuned for more to come, including, perhaps, our FIRST international project of the YEAR!