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Category Archives: Inspiration

Joe Jencks at The Warehouse, originally uploaded by carlmc.

One way that I’m constantly stretched at Journey is the musical talent brought in from across the globe. I’d never heard of Joe Jencks before today, but what an introduction. He had the house in tears on this song below. He’s playing a concert there tonight, if you get a chance check him out, or at least visit his site and buy some of his music.

Love is the Reason

There was a time when all I ever needed
Was your smile to drive away my rain
But now it seems that hopeful light is hiding
Behind a cloud of anger and pain

I thought everything I was looking for
Was right here within my reach

I think it’s time we finally take our chances
And let our hearts speak louder than our fears
Because love is all I ever wanted
Love is the reason I’m still here

Well the sage said to the fisherman on the boat
Cast your nets on the other side
And with nothing short of astonishment on their faces
They said, don’t you think we’ve tried

And he said, what if everything you’re looking for
Is right there within your reach

I think it’s time we finally take our chances
And let our hearts speak louder than our fears
Because love is all I ever wanted
Love is the reason I’m still here

I don’t know where our story goes from here
Too many pages left unread
Or how to carve a pathway through this labyrinth we’ve built
With all that’s left unsaid
What if everything we’re looking for
Is right there within our reach

I think it’s time we finally take our chances
And let our hearts speak louder than our fears
Because love is all I ever wanted
Love is all you ever wanted
Love is all we ever wanted
Love is the reason
Love is the only reason
Love is the reason we’re still here

© 2008 Joe Jencks, Turtle Bear Music, ASCAP

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Aspen Grove Santa Fe New Mexico, originally uploaded by carlmc.

I’ve been a big fan of Ken Burns since the beginning, we are soul brothers of sorts. We are both intrigued with the Civil War and Baseball, and now nature. I’ve been patiently waiting and now his new series “The National Parks” begins this Sunday on most PBS stations.

I was reading local coverage in the Austin American Statesman today and was floored at the title of the first episode “The Scripture of Nature”. Brad Buchholz states in his article,

“…Burns sees the national parks in a spiritual realm….He explains the distinctly American notion, espoused by Emerson and Thoreau, of seeking and discovering God in nature.”

I doubt this to be a uniquely American experience, but I don’t argue the validity of the statement for myself and my brother Ken. I also like the following quote from a park ranger in the film,

What could be more cathedral in feel than the Grand Canyon or Yosemite Valley? When I think of Sequoia National Park, I think of a cathedral or a mosque, or a church, a place where you’re not necessarily worshiping the name of something, but the presence of something else. When you’re in a grove of giant sequoia, there’s no need for someone to remind you that there is something in this world that is larger than you are, because you can see it.

It is in these moments that I too find myself connecting with something larger than my ability to comprehend, but not too large for my soul to embrace. No words need be spoken, no thoughts entertained…
just to be in the moment. My brother Ken explains it better than I can,

The underlying theme of all (my) films is love. It’s an impossible word to actually enjoy in any intellectual discussion. But at the end of the day, what these people are — whether it’s Abraham Lincoln and his ultimate sacrifice; whether it’s Jackie Robinson and the load he carried; whether it was Louis Armstrong and the message he delivered; whether it’s John Muir and the ecstasy he described — at the heart of this is love. And every single person we interviewed — and many of the people we quote — always talk about the larger kinship. They say: You’re part of it all. You’re connected to everything and everything else. And that love is the ingredient of the universe. It’s so hard to talk about it, because love is (so often narrowly defined) as romantic love…or parental love…or sex. But love is all these other things. Love is the heart of religion. The Scripture of Nature: Is it not but the highest love there is?

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My friend Don Busby has a foundation supporting the fight against ALS here in central Texas and Austin. They have an upcoming event Flavors of the Town 2009

flavorsofthetown-org Picture 1THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

Help raise awareness & funds to support the fight against ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease

santa fe door 2

Painted, photographed, plastic, or real…doesn’t matter. Flowers are cool!!!!!!

I like this arrangement, don’t you think?

I took this picture during our recent visit to the Kennedy Space Center, and I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that a bunch of chain-smoking flight engineers landed a tin can on the moon using this equipment. My iPhone has more computing power than this entire room…

nasa control room lomo copyMy camera was too high-tech for this pic, so I had to mess with it to get it lookin’ old school. But, my point is not about technology, it’s about what technology has done to us, to our heroes, to our collective memory and to our future.

When Walter Cronkite reported this great triumph of man (not just America) landing on the moon 40 years ago on Monday; we as a planet witnessed something larger than ourselves and it drew us closer as humans, but at the same time it ushered in the quickening collapse of our shared humanity. The quickening pace of global communications and transportation over the last 40 years has created such granularity in our relationships that we are rendered incapable of recognizing our commonality.

Last night as I watched some of the remembrances of Mr Cronkite, Larry King gushed about the influence he had on us as a country and that we would never see this again because we have become too distracted by the noise of too many choices. He’s right, but more important than our method of media consumption is our lost focus on anybody or anything of substance. We no longer seem to care about any tough questions, we grasp onto our limited understanding of bigger issues because we’re too busy, too distracted, too self-absorbed to listen and learn about how we can live to not just to survive, but to thrive as humans. For all our advances we seem lost like a small capsule in a large expanse and sometimes I wonder how we’ll ever get where we need to go.

NASA Memorial, originally uploaded by carlmc.

I took this photo of the memorial to lost astronauts at Kennedy Space Center. As I was editing this tonight, I remembered the new movie Amelia coming out this year. I hope my daughter is never afraid to chase her dreams.

Courage is the price that life extracts for granting peace. The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things.
The soul that knows it not knows no release from little things.
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights, where bitter joy can hear
The sound of wings.

Amelia Earhart

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mixedseedsAlright all you church planters in Austin, I know you’re out there because you can’t pick up the Austin American Statesman without reading a story about a new church plant. What is your response to the genius that is Jon Birch? If you don’t subscribe to his blog, you need to because his no nonsense approach to questioning our perceptions about ourselves and the church is sorely needed in today’s world of churchianity.

I’m a visual learner, teach a visual medium, am bombarded by visual memories…

aspen_roadWe’re going back to the scene of the crime, 5 years ago we moved back to Austin after spending a tough but wonderful time in Aspen growing and learning who we needed to become in the next phase of our lives. We wouldn’t trade our experiences there for anything in the world, it has helped shape us into our present.

Every summer the kids beg us to go back, to see and experience what they can only vaguely remember. We tell the stories, they love the memories they don’t always possess…

So, this summer we’re going back. We’ll meander our way through the west Texas desert, up through the caverns, UFO’s, and adobe of New Mexico into…

the beauty of the San Juans‘s and our first love affair with Colorado in Telluride (I remember the cool evening of a July 4th watching the bombs burst over the canyon against the backdrop of Bridal Veil Falls) into…

Aspen to visit old friends and places including the ‘teacher’s ranch’ we lived on and the Woody Creek Tavern. The sprinklers downtown and the trails across the mountains will spring forth the memories and the stories and it’ll be good to remember who we were and what we learned in that place and from those people.

Then, we shall return home to resume our daily practices and for that I am grateful because we are where we need to be and not everybody is so fortunate…

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sunset_thru_trees, originally uploaded by carlmc.

Sunlight falls where it may
Shadows fall at will
Green springs forth and
Pathways lead us between

i thank you God for most this amazing…

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

–e.e. cummings

Suburban Sunflower, originally uploaded by carlmc.

I have a friend who is terribly sick with cancer and undergoing painful, exhausting treatments. He’s a fighter and so he fights…please think of him as you read this because even if you have no idea of the power and beauty that exists within you, that does not mean it is not real.

Beauty and grace can exist in the strangest of places, even in the cracks between the driveway and a fence in the suburbs of Austin. Nobody told this flower to bloom, nobody planted it here, it just happened and because it did the world is a more beautiful place.