Monday, December 31, 2007

Fighting a Different Kind of Terrorism

"More people have died as a consequence of hunger in the past 5 years than have been killed in all the wars, revolutions and murders in the past 150 years." - Bread For The World

Wow. That is just unreal, but apparently 16 million people die every year from hunger / malnutrition. I sit here, eating my apple, speaking of the virtues of eating locally (and organically), and others are simply without food.

I have come to realize that it doesn't have everything to do with us just having "enough" to give those in "need". There are systems, mechanisms, politics that would keep us from "alleviating poverty"...something that, at least in some ways, is a realistically possible idea.

I have never quite known what to do about this, what my part in the grand scheme of things ought to be, whether I should pray or give money or petition congress or support NGOs or what. I have tried all of those as well as relational redistribution, neighborliness. As a family (and now household), we continue to try to check out of the Industrial Food Machine which has left so many exploited and hungry. We have attempted to utilize the Fair Trade (or something like it) certification when we can. And I know this isn't perfect...sometimes these are merely new mechanisms that have their own hang-ups and downfalls.

I have tried living off less...but sometimes that can be hard to get behind philosophically. Still, I just ordered 3 cases of wine for the new year. What hypocrisy! or at least complexity. We use our LESS WITH MORE and EATING IN SEASON cookbooks that the Mennonites put together (and that friends gifted us). But it doesn't seem like enough.

But for most of us, we feel like we ought to do something, right? I would hope that some of us could put the same energy into helping our fellow man who is starving that we have perhaps misdirected at the generic word "terrorism". And I wonder if these two issues (poverty and terrorism) are not more closely related that we realize. We live in a world where 80% of the world's resources are consumed by 20% of the population...and I think we can all guess where that 20% is. Perhaps we could commit to a month at a time of a dietary shift...only local produce, no more shopping at Whole Foods (the Organic Industrial Food Face), only locally butchered meats from grassfed cows, grow your own herbs or veggies. In most instances this will cost more. Much more sometimes. Cheap food is an illusion. Someone pays for everything. I dunno, that's at least what will be on our radar if you stop in for a meal sometime.

What will you do in this new year?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Heart Movies

We have Netflix again. It's been lovely. Been able to rent films like ARMY OF DARKNESS and NACHO LIBRE and most recently HELVETICA.

The last title we just finished today during Pax's afternoon nap. It was a wonderful film about the subtle shifts in typology that informed (and were informed by) culture, both modern and post-modern (and other).

It reminded me of college, when I was really into David Carson. (One of Holly's first gifts to me was THE END OF PRINT. Brilliant book.) I worked closely with a friend to take the oh-so-traditional newspaper over and make it more like a RayGun magazine. I'd use fonts to cut up fonts, negative space next to a heap of improperly-kerned type. The grunge fonts then came along...and everything went to shit after Coke used the broken typewriter font in an ad. Then David Carson designed a Nike piece and we all knew the time was coming for this to end.

This was all before I even knew what the term "postmodern" would mean...or meant. Surely others were using the word, but I was in my own bubble. But I was still informed by those who used the language...I just didn't know that typology would correlate that closely to cultural and social shifts.

Now I know more.

You should definitely see this film. Rent it today.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Vacation Plans

Like I said previously, I booked our flight, rental car, and hotel for a trip to Kauai in May. Just me and the misses. Being that we'll be away from Pax for 4 nights / 5 days, we thought it'd be good to have some shorter trips away from him between now and then...especially seeing as how he's never been away from us except for a day.

So, in January we're taking a 1 night / 2 day trip up to Mendocino thanks to our housemates who got us a B&B gift certificate for Christmas. Mmm.

Then in February, we're planning a 2 night / 3 day trip out to the sierras for wine-tasting, property-scouting, and general relaxation.

All of these trips will be sans Pax. I love that kid...and I already kinda miss him as I type that he won't be with us on those trips. But still, I need my space. So does he.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

$15 iTunes GiftCard

I just bought the new Patti Griffin and 5 songs of the previous William Fitzsimmons record. Beautiful. And it's raining outside. And our projects are nearing completion. And we bought some nice wine. And the kid is asleep. And everything seems just fine.

Tragedy & Relief

First, tragedy. Did you hear about the tiger who got out of his cage at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day? Killed 1 guy and badly wounded 2 others. Oh, it makes me sick to my stomach, being that we go there about once a month with Pax. I am still a bit in shock, honestly.

Second, relief. We just booked a flight, hotel, and rental car for Kauai in May. We have wanted to get back there ever since we went for our honeymoon. We'll be there 5 days / 4 nights...and I can hardly wait. This vacation is long overdue.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Just got my free coffee at Peet's.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Three Babies in Three Days

Wow. Three friends/family members have brought a child a day into this world. It all started 3 days ago when I got the email from Glenn announcing the birth of his and Shatrine's first child, Audrey. Beautiful. Glenn and Shatrine have been great friends through the years, Glenn being one of the best business partners ever.

Yesterday I got a text from our former drummer, Stephen Caproni. His wife Teresa just gave birth to their first...a little boy named Tristan. Again, beautiful.

And then last night, Holly's mom called with news about her sister...Jess gave birth to her second boy...Joey. More here soon, I'm sure. Again, beautiful. Soon we'll be meeting him. He apparently doesn't look a thing like Sammy.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Three cheers to the advent season! A light breaking through the darkness. Clarity and grounding for the lost, confused, and tired. This is Kingdom Come.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where I've Been Lately

This has been a busy season for us...really, a busy year or so. Our lives stay at some pace of busy generally, but these last several months have been sped up considerably. I am amazed that I still have no gray hairs. The gods favor me I guess...or wait, perhaps they don't favor me and it's that I have no wisdom...anyway.

These last several months have had us very involved with a book project that some friends are writing. It's a provocative socio-political book dealing with the subversiveness of what it might mean to follow Jesus. The book is entitled JESUS FOR PRESIDENT: Politics for Ordinary Radicals. Chris and Shane work hard, distilling eons of rich Christian wisdom and tradition to help us find our way today.

The gist? Perhaps you cannot be a "good patriot" and a "good Christian". Perhaps the call of Christ is to somehow transcend (while even inhabiting more deeply?) the culture you are a part of. Leaving behind old definitions of family and tribe for newer, more expansive Kingdom language where we are all family and of one tribe.

The book is about ideals, ideologies, parties, nation-states, religions, etc.

Anyway, that's what the book is about. Our involvement was primarily translative and interpretive...and perhaps secondarily slightly editorial. We gave visual enhancement or richness. Color from black and white characters on a page. I'll eventually throw some of the designed pages up here, but I think it too soon for that.

It's been an amazing project to work on, albeit incredibly consuming. But all-consuming meaningful work has its own rewards.

And as it would turn out, Barnes & Noble are going to feature the book on a cardboard standalone thingie. Cool.

It's been amazing to work with friends as contributors...we ended up with a moving art piece of 368 pages. Wow. I cannot believe we pulled that off.

The book will be out in Spring '08 if I have my calculations correct. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.

The next several days will be full of edits, technicalities, and other such tasks. But as of January 4th, it's off to the printers...woo-hoo!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

SoCha Revisited

Last night was wonderful. Played 5 new songs and some standards as well. Good turnout, warm environment, and nice Zinfandel. Mmm.

Thanks to our housemate, Dan, for the pics.

If you missed this show, check us out here again in January (11th @ 8pm). Ciao.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Checking In

A few things...going to the Embarcadero Theatre tonight to see Sigur Ros' new film. It's one of (I believe) 6 screenings throughout the US...for one night only. Pretty exciting.

Playing a show at SoCha tomorrow night...8pm. If you're around, come should be fun...and we'll be playing some new songs.

We're just slammed with work, but the end of the year should have us in a much better place. Holding our breath until about the first week of January.

I feel like there was something else to mention, but I can't remember.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Holly Dun Kut It

The day after...

...and I'm still okay with it. Honestly, I was just done with the knots. You should have seen the knot-dred in the back of my head. Geez. It was keeping me up at night...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sabbath from Imagination

Today as I was trying to rest at least for part of the day, I found myself reaching for a book and having to swat one hand with the other and then grab the remote.

You see, I need a sabbath from imagination from time to time. A sabbath from creating, interacting with, and consuming ideas. A day of leisure.

So many of us live in a world where we are constantly productive. And a day free of production (like me typing these words in order to communicate) seems a waste to a great many of us.

Yet I have a creeping suspicion that we're in need of just that kind of sabbath. Hmm.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Help Me Out Here

Shae from the ReFINERY just posted (what I think is) a pretty fantastic live copy of Help Me Out Here. Click here...or go to his blog entry. Spread the love around.

Dean's Beans

One of the best things about living with another couple/family/person is sharing in their investigatory resources. For example, Dan has turned the household onto Dean's Beans and I'm grateful for it. Their Ring of Fire Blend is mas yummy.

I do still love me some yummy Café Mam and all the other brands we've tried at our co-op. But I do love me some Dean's Beans. I think I'll brew some now and try to wake up.

And who knew? This guy Dean wrote a book that sounds pretty cool.

Might make a great gift for a FAIR TRADE COFFEE enthusiast. (That is not a hint for me, by the way.)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Goin' to the Country

After grabbing some veggies and fruits for the week at the Alemany Farmer's Market (a weekly ritual), we'll head south to Santa Cruz for the weekend.

We're taking a retreat as a community down at the Dixon cabin in the mountains. It will be nice to get to catch up with everyone and dream.

Shabat Shalom.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Date Night

After a somewhat difficult couple weeks, we're gonna head out and catch a flick. Planning on seeing THE GOLDEN COMPASS.

Today I finished a large portion of large project that has been on my plate for a long time. Holly is still in the thick of book cover designs. Basically, we'll both be hitting it hard up until Christmas Eve...and then hoping that a good deal of January will be chill.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Swamped these days.

Daley posted some great pics from his trip here. Lisa also recollects the Christmas Tree Trip here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I Cannot Stand It

Listening to Bush or Edwards makes me sick. The others, too. Politicians dodging questions just frustrates the hell out of me. Honestly, how journalists and reporters can put up with it, I hardly understand.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Quite a Review

In Search of a Unified Theory just got reviewed at It was a wonderful review...I'll just post it here.

By Derek Blackmon

The Cobalt Season’s In Search of a Unified Theory hits the indie-folk full on with soft delicate instrumentation that is as lush as a corn-fed farm girl.

Opener “Begin Again” is quite simply one of the tastiest tracks of the year. “Help Me Out of Here” and “Family Tree” prove that if this talent is short-lived it is certainly not limited to one moment of splendor. Comparisons to Iron & Wine are warranted, but lyrically fewer people are killed than on the average Sam Beam single.

The overall beauty of the album is how each song seemingly floats into one another, blending as though each couldn’t exist without the other. An ecstasy-laced compilation, In Search of ... is the Golden Child the industry needs to promote in a Goliath-dominated world. Whether The Cobalt Season are willing to carry the slingshot matters little to those who prefer exposing their friends to the latest find.

Politically and socially, the lyrics toe the line of being preachy, making the obvious statements about the world around us vis-à-vis Dave Matthews, Coldplay et al. Where The Cobalt Season ultimately flaws is in their selfish desire to limit the album to only 12 tracks. Of course I’m willing to accept that I might be a glutton for expecting this CD to continue forever, however this review isn’t about my faults. And if it were, I could make a strong argument supporting my inability to make mistakes.

Buy it. If you don’t like it, have your hearing checked.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Home Made

Making my own homemade eggnog right now...with bourbon and rum and raw eggs (and sugar). Gonna let it ferment at room temp until Christmas...then try to enjoy in moderation with some extra ingredients.

Also working on making some hard cider for January and February. Bought the Apple Juice at the Farmer's Mkt today. In fact, we had a trunk full of juice, apples, and other sorted fruits and veggies. It's nice to live in a big house with lots of people around. Expensive sometimes, but a joy to shop for!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christening the Neighborhood

We're playing a couple local shows in Dec and Jan. It'll be nice to hang a little closer to home for a few, work on some new material, try it out live.

Please join us for a show or two.

We're playing at a new café around the corner...literally like 300 ft from my front door. It's called SoCha. It opened just before we left. And they have Chimay on tap. Yes. And a yummy bakery and whatnot.

Would you join us on Wed, Dec 19th for a sort of HOMECOMING SHOW? 8pm. Free. Just drink and eat and be merry. Seriously...'tis the season.

More info on their website and myspace.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Geico Worked For Me

I actually did just save 30% for staying with Geico. And that's after saving about 15% or so when I switched from Progressive. Wow. Not bad.

Advent Conspiracy

I'm very happy that they used Unified Theory for this beautiful video. Enjoy and pass around.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Got a call from Apple this morning...they offered Holly yet another MacBook Pro. This time, we turned them down. We said it was time to go desktop. They told us of the pros and cons of the iMac versus the Mac Pro. We went with the end.

Got it set up with Leopard and everything. Seems to be running fine now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bethany Elfed Us

Check it out.

Rockin out with Dan &

Rockin out with Dan & Holly @ As i lay dying.

Going to our first metal

Going to our first metal show. Free and VIP.

Save The Date: New Year's Eve, 2007

Make plans to be at our house this Dec 31st to celebrate Holly's birthday and 2008's birthday. There will be barley wine, sangria, Spanish dancers and more.

Save the date. 18 Fair Ave, San Francisco, CA

BBQ @ 5pm
Party @ 7pm

This will be a moustache party...for ladies and men.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


It was nice to run a 5k's been years...honestly, it's been a long time since I have run for 32 minutes straight. Wow.

But it felt good to finish...not to walk...and to just do it.

If you haven't been able to tell, I have been texting to my blog from my cell phone...what a handy feature...but I still cannot upload photos/video that way. So it goes.

Okay, now for the rest of the day...

32 min

32 min

4k...heart tightening

4k...heart tightening

Crossing Stanyan.

Crossing Stanyan.

im the only one with

im the only one with no number...about to start...

Arriving to starting line. Were

Arriving to starting line. Were doing this guerilla style and not paying the entrance fee.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Geez. This morning, Holly awoke to this...

So after the farmer's market, Holly and I drove to the mall to the Apple store for–catch this–the 7th hard drive replacement on an Apple Computer in 24 months...the last 6 being in the last year...and this being the third replacement on this computer. Wow.

Dumb luck, we're told. I'll say. Oh, and it might take longer than 1 week for them to get a replacement hard drive. Oh Lord, again in the midst of our chaos.

One of the things I wanted to get upon re-arrival into SF was to get a desk for Holly and I to work at. I found one last night on Craigslist and couldn't turn it was just down the street.

So on BUY NOTHING DAY, I bought something. But Bethany says that because it was used, it's off the books. Sounds good.

Pax has been generally sick and fussy. Luckily my mom and sister and Dan and Bethany have been around to shoulder the burden.

Tomorrow we're gonna head to Golden Gate Park and run the WILD 5k or 10k...not sure which yet.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Time for a change of pace.

Buy Nothing Day

I was hoping that we'd have time to put something together for today in San Francisco (some sneaky subversion), but alas I ran out of time. We are home now, Pax is up early, and the house is still quiet. I found some cool links so I thought I'd pass them along if you're a Bay Area person.

The Really Free Market at Mission Dolores Park
Several Other Options Around the Bay


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Small Business Help

I have recently created an S-Corp (at the suggestion of a friend) for SharpSeven Design, our graphic / web design company. There are so many things that I'm clueless about and I'm trying to figure out some stuff by the end of this month. If you have any experience setting up an S-Corp and can help me troubleshoot some stuff, please contact me! Please.

Days 51-52: TX to CA

I finally arrived into Santa Cruz moments ago...about 1am PST.

Omnivore's Dilemma was such a good travel well as Josh, Emily and Amy, James, Troy and countless others.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers and conversations along the way.

And, of course, thanks to Natalie for summing up my feelings on these last couple months (or years)...

Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself

But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found

Taking the long way
Taking the long way around

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Andrew Bird Is genius.

Andrew Bird Is genius.

Thin blue flame might be

Thin blue flame might be my favorite song of all time.

The familiar smells of central

The familiar smells of central valley.

Bleary-eyed in Barstow.

Bleary-eyed in Barstow.

In California.

In California.

The wind is killing my

The wind is killing my gas mileage.

Just crossed the continental divide.

Just crossed the continental divide.

Driving through lava beds in

Driving through lava beds in new mexico.

Monday, November 19, 2007

And now its black.

And now its black.

Sunset in new mexico...ahh.

Sunset in new mexico...ahh.

Nearing New Mexico.

Nearing New Mexico.

This is where tornados land.

This is where tornados land.

Regretful that I ate that

Regretful that I ate that burger...amazing book.

Looking for a Whataburger...How hypocritical.

Looking for a Whataburger...How hypocritical.

Listening to Omnivores Dilemma in

Listening to Omnivores Dilemma in middle of nowhere Texas.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Should We Ever Lose Power

Days 49-50: Dallas

It has been so nice to be back with family for a couple days. We have caught up on some sleep, on some email, on mail and bills and whatnot.

Pax has enjoyed seeing his grandparents on this side...I'm sure Holly will be posting some photos and reflections on his site soon.

We got to see Laci as well and that was lovely. I am hopeful about the year ahead. I think some clarity is around the bend. And I'm grateful for that.

In other news, I happened upon an issue of Relevant Magazine today...and so I picked it up. I was hoping to be surprised, but I wasn't. It seems just like CCM for the 21st century. I had such high hopes for that magazine from the beginning. And I read over an article about Emergent and I just found it to be immature and unimaginative. That also made me sad.

Tomorrow I take Holly and Paxton to the airport...they'll embark on a 7-hour odyssey via El Paso and Phoenix to San Jose. I'll meet them in the Bay a few days later since I am driving it. I'm looking forward to some reflective time by well as a chance to listen to The Omnivore's Dilemma on my iPod. Oh, and I splurged on iTunes and bought The Swell Season, the new Sigur Ros (as well as the untitled album), the Over The Rhine Christmas record, and a band my sister recommended whose name evades me presently.

Should be nice.

Day 48: Austin

How have I fallen behind? Oh...perhaps it was because after we spent the day in Austin with the Carltons, sat in Friday afternoon traffic, set up and played an incredibly emotional show, hung out, conversed...then drove 3.5 hours to Dallas, arriving at 3am with a crying baby.

Yah, perhaps that's why.

But it was so nice the next morning to pass Paxton off to Grandma Berg (my mom) so that we could go back to sleep.

Austin was magical. It was a lovely show at Journey IFC. Grace Pettis opened. During the 15 minute break, about 40% of the folks bolted. I got up to play Begin Again and at the end, my cable shorted, resulting in a ridiculous hum-buzz combination.

We came off stage and just played acoustic. Everyone moved in closer and we ended up in a long conversation about family, hopes, ideals, and the Kingdom of God. It was beautiful. Tiring, for sure, but amazing.

I recalled the Gideon story of God thinning people until it was a small group. Perhaps it was appropriate for so many people to take off before we played. At least I'll think of it that way.

A wonderfully appropriate way to finish off the tour.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Is Information Transformational?

I wonder about this. I spoke with someone in Austin about this. He was saying that he wished that he could kind of download all the information that had helped him to think differently into another person, hoping that they might change as well. He, of course, recognized that this was impossible and egotistical.

I responded with my skepticism of information being transformational. I sit here watching the cooking channel with my parents and I wonder if people cook better in the 21st century now that we have access to the top chefs in the world thanks to our boob-tube. Or do we still cook the same stuff?

I began to think about how there is now this market for eating better, living better, more green, more fit, more spiritually insightful, more prosperous and responsible....resources after resources to fit into this market. And alot of us read this stuff, eat this stuff, watch this stuff. But are we changing? Or does this information actually keep us from changing, essentially guaranteeing that the market will never become obsolete?

It immediately feared what this means for my music and I pitching ideas–a way of life–to people that are fictional? What I mean is this: Is there any change happening because I help some people connect the dots of information and conviction? Or am I actually just keep that transformation at a distance in such a way as to necessitate me coming in once a year to talk about it again?

Do you see what I mean? If success looks like people realizing themselves and living into their truest self, then wouldn't I eventually be out of a job if that's what I'm helping them to do?

Friday, November 16, 2007


30 shows
30 states
10300 miles so far...12000 by the time we get home
48 days so far...53 when we get home

Day 47: to Baytown, TX

We drove from Loo-see-ana to Baytown (outskirts of Houston). It was mellow and short, with a stop-off in Beaumont, TX for some thrift-ing. Got a couple hip used t-shirts. Aw yee.

The evening in Baytown was lovely as ever. The Cottar Family were great hosts...really. And it was great to reconnect with some folks that we saw here 2 years ago. There is a cool energy to this place.

We head to Austin next...and then to Dallas...and then home to San Francisco. More to reflect on then. Now...a nap.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Up at the Crack

Pax woke us around 4am this morning and pretty much refused to go back to sleep. After pleading and pleading, we finally got up and took him for his first experience at a Waffle House. Mmm. Actually I'm feeling a little sick after the fried local seafood from last night and the coffee and whatnot from this morning. Time to leave the South.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 46: The Deep South

We took off rather early this morning...Pax woke up around 5.30 for good. Daylight Savings + One Time Zone (westward) = Pax waking early. So it goes.

We headed west from Mobile, grabbed some coffee at a local coffee shop, had some conversation and left. We stopped for lunch in Baton Rouge at a little co-op type place for some yummy chili and not-so-yummy root soup.

Pax slept two good naps...1:15 and 1:30. Nice. It's now 4.30 and we're trying to get him to take another nap...he's hating the idea.

This afternoon Pax and I went to the park near the lake. Oh, we're staying in Lake Charles, Louisiana this evening...heading to Houston area tomorrow. We had fun on the playground and with the water-jet-from-the-ground thingies.

Must get...

Support Samir's Efforts

There is a growing number of wonderfully hopeful Muslims, Jews, and Christians who believe (more deeply and passionately than extremists ever can) that their faith can be a source of wisdom and inspiration for turning the world around. But who is standing in their corner? Who is helping them? In times past, too many of us have been “peace wishers,” waiting for the world to change. It’s time to push back against the dark side of all religious traditions. Let’s find, protect, and support the peacemakers among “us,” and among “them.”

- from FAITHHOUSE blog

What Samir is suggesting through his community might just be a beautiful answer to moving beyond "mere co-existence" as I have talked about along this trip with people.

Begin Again @ The Bennetts

I've been meaning to post a few videos along the way to show our new performance techniques. Well here we are at the end of the tour and I'm still a long ways off...

But here's Begin Again all by my lonesome.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 45: Florida to Alabama

What a night of sleep! I went to bed around 8pm, Pax around 7pm, and Holly around 10pm. So needed. We were all so tired. We woke this morning, got some breakfast, did some work, slept again during Pax's morning nap...and then left the hotel, heading westward.

We had a wonderful stopover at Pensacola Beach (a small island off of Pensacola). It was lovely to sit in the white sand and breath deep. The colors were unreal. We'll post pics soon...and don't forget that Holly is posting pics way better than I over at Pax's blog.

We grabbed a nice seafood dinner...Pax enjoyed it as much as we did...and then headed to Mobile around sunset. We gained an hour due to time zone change...we'll see how that goes with Pax tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day 44: Heading West

We just arrived to our hotel in Tallahassee, Florida. It was sad to leave Kristi and Rick (and Gillian, Aeden, and Rhys) this morning. They are wonderful people really trying to make a good life together. God, it is hard.

So many of us take such great risks. We've leveraged our life-resources for this thing called the Kingdom. It is seldom profitable if done well. We all speak about "sustainability" but shy away from living some ways. I think of the line on Neon Bible: You're working for the church while your family dies. Stark. Wow.

But what are we to do? Just chuck our hopes and dreams for a better world and just "get with the program?" Don't think it's not tempting. Particularly for those who are beyond the 20-something hype / unlimited energy stage. Friends in their 40s and 50s that are still risking approach stuff in a different sort of way.

I have spent hours on this trip in silence, driving interstates, grieving and hoping inside for so many of our friends.

Sometimes I stare into the sky like it's a window to your eye
If clouds can bring the oceans, then how come they have not yet brought you?

- Troy Bronsink

The Long Return

We begin our long drive from Tampa, Florida back to San Francisco (by way of two shows in TX). If you live off / near I-10 between Florida and Texas...or know places to stop along the way, please let us know. It's always a bit of a "dead zone" for us in previous trips.

Prayers for safety and a sleeping baby would be appreciated.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 42-43: Tampa, Florida

We landed in Tampa after a 6 hour was a long one. We arrived at the Bennetts...a lovely 75 degrees outside. It was a nice change of pace. We played our second outdoor house show on this was a fun night of meeting some new folks and catching up with the Bennetts...and several others.

That was Saturday night...and Pax slept through most of the night...even sleeping in until 6.45am...and that is really sleeping in these days. Daylight Savings really threw him off...and tomorrow we begin our trek across the States, messing him up again and again with more and more time zone changes.

Sunday morning (today) we had the chance to play @ the Watermark Community in Tampa. Rick and Tommy set this up and it was a fun morning. Lots of good folks there.

This morning was our last east coast show on this trip. We head to TX for a few days and play our last 2 shows on this trip. Looking forward to it.

This has been such an amazing trip, but we are all ready to get home.

Day 41: Warner Robins, GA

After spending several wonderful days with the Bronsinks, we headed south to Warner Robins, a medium-sized city in southern Georgia. I was told upon arrival that the Air Force base in town employs more people than any other company / organization in all of Georgia. That's where we played.

The folks at First Presbyterian Church were very warm and kind, eager to hear our tales from the road and from home.

The concert gave way to some lively discussion from time to time...conversations about moving beyond "agreeing to disagree", society being out of whack, family and humanity. It was a fun evening.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Days 39-40: Atlanta

We're in Atlanta with the Bronsinks. It's been lovely to be them. They're playing with Pax this morning at a park nearby...hence the butt-load of posts.

Here's a shot of Troy playing with me backing him up...

And here's a video of me performing one of Troy's songs. It's one of my favorites called AMELIA ISLAND...

Now we're off to do a photo shoot with the legendary Daley Hake.

Videos from DC

I, Obstruction...

A snippet from a new song...

Pics from Baltimore

Here are some pics that Stacy snapped in Baltimore.

Day 38: Winston-Salem, NC

Amazing show. Best performance of the trip for sure...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Day 37: Rustburg, Virginia

It's impossible to keep up...

...with the people we've met along the way
...with the wine and beer we've been blessed by
...with the experiences (good and bad)

There's just so little time to post to this damn blog. I thought we'd keep a regular podcast as well. There I go again, disappointing myself.

I sit in the guest bedroom of Jaime and Scott Childress's home in Rustburg, VA (about 15 minutes from Lynchburg), enjoying a cup of coffee I just brewed. Counter Culture beans...Rwandan. Mmm. The smell of Bisquick muffins emanating from the other room.

Why do you do this? some folks have asked along the way. And that's a good question. It's good for us to keep asking and good for us to answer.

We do it in part to nurture the amazing friendships we have all across the land. I don't know if I knew how important that would be to us and to them. I think that a great many of us feel isolated, alone, sad, disappointed. Having friends around that help us remember the greater story and how the risks we take are for a greater grace (thanks Mike for that phrase) is important.

Part of our vocation on this trip (turns out) is to take the stories from town to in the olden days where the minstrels / apostles / whatever would connect people to the larger community by traveling to them. This has been evidently important.

I also feel that our message that we preach is a universal (yet contextual... :) ...) message. We all need to hear that there is a better way...and that our world is what we make of it. This is good stuff to be reminded of.

Today we'll head south by southeast thru the Blue Ridge Mountains down to Winston-Salem to play for some friends at Wake Forest. It should be a fun day / evening...if we can get some rest along the way.

Prayers for our rejuvenation and Pax's rest are coveted friends. We need to draw from a deeper well than just our own.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Day 36: Durham, North Carolina

It was sad to leave our friends up north in Baltimore and DC, but we left feeling very refreshed. And the 5+ hour drive south wasn't so bad. Still seeing beautiful colors along the freeway. I have a feeling that might change when we begin to head south from NC (but perhaps I'm wrong).

We joined Emmaus Way last night. It was really fun to work with Wade, Tim, and Dale Baker (the former drummer for Sixpence None The Richer). We performed Begin Again at their gathering, Dale and Wade adding some lovely spice. Then Holly and I did a concert afterwards that was really nice.

Pax woke this morning at 3am and screamed until 4.15am. Then he pretty much woke for good around 5.30am. Geez.

I'll say this: Mike mentioned the other day that "now I understand what you mean when Paxton screams. Wow." It feels nice to be understood. The kiddo has a will that is nearly unbendable. But I love him for that. It will take him places.

The Stavlunds put up some great pics here. I'll add to it later today / tonight / tomorrow / whenever. For now, we play a show in Rustburg, VA...near Liberty University. Eek!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Day 35: Baltimore

What a fun day / evening /night. It was really great. Seeing the Stavlunds and the Hartmans just reminds me of what great friends we have, how cared for we are, and how enchanted our life truly is.

We leave tomorrow to head south. No time to chat now.

Friday, November 02, 2007

But Tension is to be Loved When it is Like a Passing Note to a Beautiful Chord

A line from Sixpence's last (I think) album. It's been circling in my head all day.

Days 33-34: DC

Haven't had much time to blog. That is, we've chosen to hang with our friends Mike and Stacy and Ella and Matt and Dawn instead. Pax has had his first kiss, we have had some good quasi-local beer, some great food, good nights of sleep (plus a good morning of sleep this morning thanks to them). Tonight we're having a house show here @ Matt and Dawn's.

Tomorrow we head to Baltimore and then south from there. Tonight starts our stint of 9 shows in 10 days from here to Tampa, Florida (with a day off in Atlanta to see some friends and so some S7 work). The Atlanta show should be fun because Troy is going to play some of his stuff and cover a Cobalt tune; we'll return the favor.

I breathe deep this autumn air
She waivers
Unsure whether to say
I am Autumn with a Summer wing
I am Autumn with a Winter wing
And I don't mind
I am breathing deep
And it's been forever

Check out Pax's blog as Holly has been updating it more frequently with photos...she just did a rather thorough entry a few minutes ago.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Reflect on this
Blinker on
Vicky's screaming in my ear
Hard Left Turn
I tried
I'm tired

Breath in for a full 5 seconds
Seems like forever
Forever since I breathed in deep
Chaos following me on this road of
Fall leaves
The death for life exchange

Rich, crisp air
I have little time to breathe you in
I'm sure you understand

40 psi
Tires are looking low still
Cold air burdens them
Along with earthly belongings
Packed like sardines
Too many CDs left after a month of driving
I wanted to lighten the load faster

So I drive faster
Get there sooner
Exit #4
Some bad coffee and a donut
Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks
On a bumper sticker

Affirm me
Tell me this is the good life
Buy me some validation

A break
Clouds part
Rain ceases
Hope that it begins elsewhere
Calls made
Strings plucked
Images scatter

The quiet
The screams
The tense muscles
The care being giv'n

And Vicky says
When possible, make a legal U-turn

Should I've?

Day 32: to DC

Happy Halloween. We're off to DC. We'll hope to get some pics up, catch up on emails and generally rest.

We got a good night's sleep last night in Camden. Paxton has reset himself a bit. Ah...sanctuary.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day 31: to Camden, New Jersey (by way of the Catskills and Philly)

We left the freezing air this morning to head to more moderate climates. When we woke it was almost freezing in Albany and when we arrived into Philly, it was nearly 70. Nice.

The foliage along the way was beautiful. Still peak season in some areas.

We're staying with Chris and Cassie this evening. Also visiting cousins this afternoon.

A wild turkey was crossing the freeway and nearly caused us to end up in the median. My deft driving skills pulled us out of a pinch again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Day 30: Albany, NY (via the Adirondaks)

The drive today was beautiful. What could have been a quick 2-hour journey on NY's fancy-schmancy toll road was derailed for something more inspired. We took some windy mountain highways up toward the foothills. It was lovely. Got down to 34 degrees outside...but it felt nice.

A wild turkey was crossing the road and we had to dodge it. It spooked us all.

We made it into Albany, got some food downtown (according to our Healthy Highways book), and then headed to the Martinez home.

We just wrapped up the night. It was fun, but man, are we tired. This kid just won't sleep well. Please sleep well tonight. Time to go.

Tomorrow to Camden to see Chris and Cassie and then onto

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Day 29: Syracuse, NY

We made it back into the States. We laughed at how easy it was to get "back in"...we were anticipating an interrogation room with harsh lighting.

"Where were you when your supposed son was born?" a shadowy man would ask.

It was a fun drive across the falls. It was beautiful, cold, and wonderful. Pax loved seeing the rushing water.

We got on the road late this morning and headed into Syracuse. Arrived around lunchtime, so we got some Northern Mexican food. It was actually quite yummy. Took naps (since Pax didn't sleep too well last night).

Tonight we played at Syracuse University. It was a warm group to be with on this chilly night. Word on the street is that we might have snow tonight. It was in the 30s for part of our drive today. Now Pax is asleep and we're getting ready for dinner with Jennifer and Harrison (and Chase).

Photos and laundry someday soon.

Niagara Falls

We're about to take off and head to Niagara Falls. I've never been least I don't think I have.

My throat is sore. Pax slept poorly. Here's hoping that things look up...and that we pass immigration and return to the States A-Okay.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Maday! Mayday! We cannot view The Office in Canada! End the embargo!

Day 28: Canada, ey

We're in St. Catharine, on the shore of Lake Ontario. It was an interesting entrance into Canada earlier today. We had to step inside of immigration to prove that Paxton actually belonged to us. We had no paperwork (like a birth certificate or passport), so we had to do a song and dance to help them see he is my son. That was troubling...but we passed.

We've arrived at our destination for the night...on our way between Ann Arbor, Michigan and Syracuse, New York. It was a lovely drive...for the most part.

We thought we'd treat ourselves to a steak dinner (I'm about to leave to pick it up), a bottle of Sierra-made Zinfandel wine, and the latest episode of The Office. It should be a nice, quiet evening.

Holly and I both have a throat thing going on. I guess you just pick these things up while on the road.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 27: to Ann Arbor

Today we head about 20 minutes west to Ann Arbor...possibly my favorite city in the state of Michigan (sorry, Randy). We'll get there in time to have lunch with Wendy and spend the day in town. Tonight we play at Wendy's recently-opened new coffee shop. Very excited.

Last night was an intimate evening with friends old-ish and new-ish. Schyler (pronounced Skyler) and Maggie showed up with some friends in tow. It was the 4 of them plus our hosts...and us. I have a hunch that the clear day caused people to flake. You see, in San Diego, if it rained, people would flake. Perhaps in Detroit, if it's a nice day people flake? I dunno. C'est la vie. It made for a warm, unplugged sort of night.

It is so fascinating to me how many of us know each other. Within a few minutes, we can partake of some sort of common memory, shared experience, or at least a familiar name. There's a comfort in that.

I had a conversation with a new friend (Doug) the other night about all the emerging / neo-monastic / whatnot communities across the US. He wondered aloud if there was not some sort of catalogue that described each one or whatever. I couldn't think of one. But it did get me thinking that, with all the travel we're hoping to do, it might be fun to sort of do some interviews and whatnot along the way. Then perhaps we can all take a look at what is unifying (and defining uniquely) each of these communities.

Would that be helpful to you? Would it be interesting to hear their stories? Their early formative process? The books that shaped them? Curious.

Oh, here are a couple shots that people have sent me...

This is from Solomon's Porch. Thanks to Douglas.

And this is one from the other night in Columbus. Thanks to Brandon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day 26: to Detriot

We're headed north today...up to Michigan. The morning was brisk and dry. Thank you, God. It was a beautiful drive thus far. We have stopped for a moment or two in Bowling Green, Ohio for some lunch and a little stretch time for all 3 of us.

Tonight we're just outside of Detroit and tomorrow we're in Ann Arbor. Really looking forward to these shows.

Drive time has been much better lately. Shorter drives, longer naps for Pax. It's all better. And it's allowed me some time to think and dream about the years ahead. It's been a very good thing.

Much love and thanks to all of you who petitioned for a better Pax. Holly just reported our treatment for his ear infection here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day 25: Kentucky to Ohio (Columbus, that is)

We packed up the car (again, in the rain) and left for Columbus to meet friends of friends. Jason and Brooke Evans set up this connection for, of course, it was enchanted.

We arrived into town and headed for a hidden café downtown called the Benevolence Café. Pax tried his first "kid's plate" that we have ever bought him. That is, this is the first time we have bought him something off a menu at a restaurant. Non-chicken sticks. They were breaded tofu. He also loved Holly's minestrone soup and all the homemade breads.

We played a house show along with Blake Skidmore. We also learned a great deal about the Landing Place community (of which we were a part of tonight).

It was a meaningful night of conversation and connection for a great many of us.

Also, Paula Boehm drove a whopping 2 hours so that we could catch up and see each other face to face. That was really cool.

We pray and hope that this rain will head southwest to Southern California and southeast to North Carolina.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 24: Louisville to Berea to Lexington

Holly's napping. So is Pax. You'd know that this is good news if you read this. It's been a hard few days. We've just been "off". Perhaps it's the rain that won't seem to let up long enough. Perhaps Pax has an ear infection. Perhaps 3 weeks in the car is beginning to catch up. Who knows?

It was fun to be at Daniel's house last night and meet his Louisville friends. We discovered a yummy wine called Cono Sur. It's a Chilean Cab-Carmenere blend. Wow. A great $10 wine!

The show had nice energy. It was the last show on this tour with Adam and Daniel. That was a bummer. But it also feels like we're re-launching the tour a bit now. We take off tomorrow for our Ohio-Michigan-New York part of the trip. Should be fun. We'll be in places we've never played before and that's always exciting.

We made a jaunt down to Berea this morning. Got to play some handmade dulcimers, banjos and guitars...and we got to see some beautiful leaves on the ground. Lunch @ the Main Street Café was eh. C'est la vie. We're hoping to meet up with the Kenneys late this afternoon and then hopefully get some time in with the Samsons before getting to bed early. The Samson's continue to be great hosts. We're lucky to have friends like these scattered around.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Day 23: Louisville (pronounced Loo-uh-vull), KY

It poured rain on us for most of the afternoon. Beautiful green hills made greener.

After driving for 3 hours, searching for 4 Washington Mutuals, we finally gave up and arrived into Louisville from Lexington (what should have been about an hour drive).

We now sit in a hip coffee shop in the neighborhood near Dan's house. Dan rents a house about three times the size of our old one...for about 1/6 the rent. Wow.

Some photos from the last several performances...

Dan has joined us for the last 3 shows...and the songs have felt more alive and full. He's also played a couple songs from his newest record, MY WORK IS LOVING THE WORLD.

Adam continues to woo audiences across the world with his provocative poetry.

We played a few times in Minneapolis. This shot (and the one below) are from a room where the projector was far enough back that it covered the whole wall and ceiling. Pretty amazing visually.

Most everything continues to move well. Pax has been in a sort of sour mood for about 4-5 days now. I don't know if it's the road or teething or what. Doesn't seem to matter if we're in the car or not...he's just that way sometimes...even when we were back home.

We continue to be grateful for the connections we make along the way, the friendships we get to nourish (little by little), and a trip that few will get to experience.

We wonder aloud about doing another full year on the road at some point...probably when he's a bit older. Travel full time at a much less rapid pace...perhaps even get a small RV again. We'll see.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 22: Communality in Lexington

Today was a day of rest, community and summer breezes. And now, we're enjoying some wine after the show.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day 21: Indianapolis to Lexington, KY (via Louisville for lunch)

We made it to Lexington.

[Big sigh.]

We're all so beat. Bad sleep and whatnot. Tonight we are just going to watch the latest Office and drop dead on our beds. We're here for a few days in KY.

Man, I have seen some crazy billboards these last few days. The truth is stranger than fiction.

HEAVEN // HELL // You decide.



Wow. Yes, those are real and not embellished at all. Wow.

Last night was fun in Indy. Sarah and Ryan Notton (as well as several other locals) showed us a good time around town, hosted us for (what I felt was) our best performance yet. There was a tightness to the evening...a good tight. We we're all "on". Stayed up a little too late and woke a little too early.

This morning, Joel Vestal (Emma, can you believe that we finally met in person?) cooked us breakfast and we chatted. It was nice to meet after having chatted over the phone and internet for 3 or so years.

There is a great underground network of subversives...people living off-the-grid so to speak...but doing life engaged with the world. Much inspiration along the way.

Holly posted some great pics of Pax from Minneapolis (link here). I'll plan on getting some other pics/videos up soon here. Stay tuned.

For now, The Office, dinner, and sleep. Night, night.

Bush on Zombies

I have my bro-in-law to thank for this link.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Day 20: To Indy

Oh my God. That might have been the worst night of sleep this whole trip. Our air mattress pump is dead, so we slept on the floor...or at least laid there. Pax hardly slept. We are fried and at a coffee shop early...too early. Oh my God.

On a happier note, last night was really fun. Daniel Dixon joined us (and stays joined to us for a couple more days) and Adam is still with us (also for a few more days). So that made it special. And there was just a good energy.

I'll get some photos up sometime soon...soon we'll leave this coffee shop, pack the car, and head on south (around Chicago) to Indianapolis.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Day 19: Leaving Minneapolis for Milwaukee

Man, oh man. What a beautiful drive. From St. Paul almost all the way to Lake Michigan, we experienced the fall colors we had been looking for. Deep, rich maroons. Vibrant golds. Translucent greens. Dark trunks with glowing leaves. The muted sky made for great contrast.

The drive was fine. Adam chilled with Pax in the backseat...and for the most part, it all went well. He did cry (Pax, not Adam) for about 20 minutes after lunch. Correction: He screamed for 20 minutes. It was really loud...really.

But other than that it was great. We stopped by the Wisconsin Dells along the way (as recommended by Healthy Highways) to check out the Cheese Factory (or something that) where we had wonderful food. All local and yummified. Paxton even tried some of my beer-cheese soup. He loved it.

Yesterday, Shelley took us to a great Indian place in Minneapolis and he tried some curry there. He loved/hated it. He kept asking for more and more, but every time he was surprised how hot it was and let out a yelp. Funny little man.

Tonight we play for some folks in Milwaukee. Should be fun.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Day 18: Minneapolis

We're still here...and it's still wonderful outside. It stopped raining for a bit, but it's still cool outside.

This morning Holly and I and Pax had coffee with Marcus and Abby and Selah. It was good to see them. Then I went to vacuum the car. Man, there were oat-ios and puffed corn and rice cakes and banana chips smashed into the ground and littering the seats. It was nice to get the car cleaned a bit.

We play a show tonight and then take off tomorrow morning to Milwaukee with Adam. There is such little space that it will be interesting [read: challenging] to get all the bags to fit. It will happen though. It will.

I am grateful for fall and friends...this has been a wonderful few days.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Reflections on the Gathering

It was a lovely year in northern New Mexico. Holly and I were part of the planning team this year (which was both wonderful and challenging), so we arrived Monday early afternoon (just after we had dropped off her laptop to Apple for another hard drive). Slowly other planning team folks trickled in: the Bronsinks, Laci, the Buists in their hot Ford Mustang, the Toys, the Stavlunds, the Hartmans, the ReImagine crew, Damien, Daley, and a few others. It was a wonderful reunion.

Troy helped me pack my pipe for the first time. We smoked it together outside on the porch swing while Pax napped inside. He told me of his experiences this last year with church and family and vocation.

It is for this reason that we go each year: to catch up and commiserate and hope with each other.

We were trying some new things this year. We thought we'd try to act a little more organized, helping integrate new folks into the flow of things. There were schedules printed, a meeting room decorated, meals planned, etc. This was all new to me. In years past, it seemed like things "just happened" but certainly there were always people at work behind the scenes.

I participated in a few discussions: Creativity as Incarnation, Transformation and Artifact with Holly and Troy and a discussion with Adam about Wilbur's Spiral.

The first of those discussions was really great (the second was also a good experience / discussion). Our group of 30 was quite diverse, considering who was in attendance at this Gathering. Church folks, artists, pastors, musicians, off-the-grid hippies and some pragmatists.

We talked for a bit about the role of art in our world and our faith communities. Troy offered a few approaches to understanding their relationship: The people of God as art, The work of the people of God as art, The people of God as curators of the world's art, The work of the people of God as cultural / missional artifact.

By "people of God" I don't necessarily mean "Christians" or "religious folks" but something like "people seeking to live in the way of God, knowing or unknowing".

We talked about the relationship that artists have with the community from which they are a part of. No art happens in vacuums, so how does the artist tell the future and speak her truth while staying connected to the greater community. Another way to ask it is In a world where we move beyond naive notions of autonomy, how does the artist act responsibly to the greater community? This whole conversation started over the worship music debate of whether or not people should write original worship songs or play the songs that the community likes. It was lively.

Holly talked of the creative process as prayer and how this last series has been transformative. The creation of the artifact was transformative for her...and the displaying of the pieces in our home was (at least hopefully) transformative for others.

I am reminded of the Rilke quote I shared:

You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness that you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. Just wait for the hour, the birth of new clarity.

- Ranier Maria Rilke

I think that is good advice for all of us. Let the spark be nourished by rich oxygen. Speak your truth. Live out loud. Create your art.

The leaves were green...which was a disappointment, but the air was crisp and 72', so I cannot complain too much. I was sick the whole week, but managed to stay interacting. We shared some songs, had a great dinner with the Fishers, introduced Paxton to Ella, extended our family again, and drank great piñon coffee. Mmm.

The trip to Ojo was magical. That place must have a residual memory of some great energy or something. It is just a transformative spot. It really is.

It was a great week for us. Having missed last year (we were giving birth to Paxton), it was all the more meaningful to be back.

Day 17: Minneapolis

We're still here. It's still dark and beautiful outside. We had an undercooked breakfast, but other than that, it's all high praise.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Attention Minneapolis Folks

Wanted to remind you / let you know that we are playing 2 shows in Minneapolis this week.

Tues 10/16/07 8pm Casa de Van Steenwyk (House Show) $5
Wed 10/17/07 7pm Abbey Way Covenant Church $5

Maps on the cobalt season dot com.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Day 16: Minneapolis

Ahh. It's like a breath of fresh air to be see old friends (some whom we hardly know, but have some deep connection with; some we've known for a while).

The drive up was uneventful...thank God. I had a flashback from a trip I took here in college. When we were driving back from Minneapolis to CA on that trip, it was raining very hard. At one point, I passed a Tahoe on the left and it spun me out into the median, deep in water. I remember Glenn Krake getting out of the car, standing knee-deep in muck, and pushing the car while I spun the tires with the accelerator pedal.

I remembered that today as it rained on us in Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota. It freaked me out.

But we arrived safe and sound...and very happy. Opened the doors to fall leaves, 55' evening weather, and friends. It was magical. Lovely.

We are so lucky to be on this trip. We are so lucky to have friends spread out across the US. What could seem a curse (if you never travel) is a great blessing to us.

We play 2 shows in Minneapolis this week...Tuesday night @ the Van Steenwyks and Wednesday @ Abbey Way Covenant Church. Check out the cobalt season dot com for more info about the shows.

It's doubtful that you'll read this in time...but they are streaming the service live right now...perhaps you'll catch a song or two of ours!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Day 15: Omaha...somewhere in Middle America

I love that song. I just love the Counting Crows.

We drove through the rain to get here tonight. The first half of Kansas was dry and we got the highest miles per gallon (I'm a dork, I know) the whole trip. The northern part of Kansas was hit by a storm that sent out lightning spikes in every which direction. I was certain that we would die.

We saw flipped cars in medians, skidded out cars in grassy pastures, broken glass and bent steel. And that was on a 100-mile stretch. Ouch. I was scared.

But we made it...even with time to stop and get some diapers and coffee.

Tonight was unusual in that we had never met the host of the show. These things tend to be relational (and of course it was after the evening was done), but tonight was a bit of a blind date. It was quite fun though.

There are some inspired, curious folks in Omaha. I guess it's just like any other city in that way. But they have a slow charm to them, and the oxygen seems rich.

Tomorrow will be a long stretch for us...yesterday was a 4 1/2 hour drive, today a 5 hour drive, and tomorrow a 5 1/2 hour drive. Ouch. But then we'll chill for 4 nights in Minneapolis. [Selah]...oh, and we'll get to meet our friends' daughter, Selah.

It's getting closer to midnight than I had imagined, so it's time to sleep.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Day 14: Dallas to Wichita, Kansas (via Norman, OK)

Who knew? Norman, Oklahoma, home of OU, was a pretty cool place. We at at the vibey, tasty EARTH CAFÉ. Mmm. Walked the campus a bit. It was quite nice.

We continued north under the strange Kansas sky. I couldn't help but think that a tornado would soon be upon us, sirens blaring and such. It's probably similar to tourists in San Francisco thinking they might experience "The Big One" at any minute.

Had dinner with the Kirks, et al (including their daughter Esther). It was great to see them in their new environs.

Tomorrow we head to Omaha for a house show...then up to Minneapolis, one of our favorite cities.

Stats so far:

3500 MILES (of 11,000 total for the trip)

I really do plan to do some reflecting on this year's Gathering and some of the content/conversations, but I'm just dead tired, so I'm gonna say goodnight for now. Perhaps we'll make some time in Minneapolis.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Day 13: San Antonio to Dallas (again, via Waco)

Waco. Geez. Interesting place. Emma, I cannot believe you spent so many years here. A single foot step into their TRUETT SEMINARY and I was well aware that this was not home.

Anyway, the show at the Soupisets was lovely. What stellar, gracious hosts. And what an enchanted evening.

We left after Paul made us some pancakes...headed north on I-35. Mark sat with Pax in the back as Pax bemoaned his belted-down existence for about 30 minutes. Then we all enjoyed some silence on our 4+ hour drive north toward Irving for our show at The Hatch at my home church, Irving Bible.

It was another great evening. My mom watched over Pax as he slept and Holly and I sang our hearts out, accompanied by Russ and Shannon and 2 screens worth of KOYANNASQUATSI. Shawn O'Reilly read a few poems: One he had written, two from Wendell, and a cut-to-the-heart piece of Thoreau. Russ captured several great shots here.

Tomorrow we head north. We stop in/around Wichita, KS tomorrow night for an evening of rest. Saturday we'll head to Omaha for a house show. We finally pause for a few days in Minneapolis as of Sunday. Ahh....cooler weather!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Day 12: San Antonio, TX

We arrived into San Antonio just before Pax's first nap...that is, he refused to sleep in the car.

He took a long nap and then Holly and I went to visit my grandmother and great aunt who live nearby. We just put Pax down for his afternoon nap.

I sit inside the Soupiset's ranch-style house, listening to the cicadas (or are they locusts?) outside. I had a Dr. Pepper this afternoon. Holly said, "So, you're claiming your birthright are you?" Yip, I am. I seldom drink soda, but it's a hot Texas day, so why the heck not.

Two years ago, we played here at the Soupisets. It was a nervous evening for me, I remember. It was still early into the trip and we were still figuring out our message...we still are. But I remember sitting on the floor with Holly and Paul and Amy until 1am or so, dreaming of a world of authentically experienced and exchanged spirituality.

But now Paxton screams in the other room, so it's time to get. I guess the second nap didn't take.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Day 11: Austin, TX (by way of Waco)

We left Dallas with Mark and headed south toward the Oak Grove Abbey. The trip was nice. Pax slept for about an hour or so on the front end...and we ended up in Waco for lunch. We asked the GPS what BBQ places she recommended and we followed directions...we ended up here. It was very super top yummy. Mmm.

Pax even had his first go at BBQ. Mmm.

We dawdled around Waco, passing in and out of the Dr. Pepper Museum. We hopped back in the car and left to Austin.

It was warm, but cooler and slightly less humid than Dallas. The Oak Grove Abbey is very warm and homey and it was nice to see old friends like Greg, Jolie, Sean, Melissa, Chris, Stephen (and others) and to make some new friends like Dave, Michael, Ryan (and others).

There was good energy to the evening. It felt like we were back in the saddle again.

Following something of a similar path as 2 years ago, I am reminded of our questions then about intentional community, deliberate living, subverting the empire. I live in a new context of parenthood with 2 years more experience than then, but I still have similar questions about how we are formed, how we live well in our world, how do we exchange ideas and creative energy, etc.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Day 10: Dallas, Texas

We arrived this morning at 7am, after 10 hours of driving. Honestly, last night is one of the best nights of sleep Pax has had on this entire trip. He slept straight from

My mom graciously watched Pax this morning and we went back to sleep until about 2pm. We're still dragging, but picking up speed.

Tonight we play a concert at Journey in Dallas. If you're around, please join for dinner and the show...around 7pm.

We have several pics to upload...perhaps we'll catch up on that tomorrow. For now, just enjoying Daley's few photos. Geez Daley, put more up! :)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Day 9: Ojo Caliente (and then we're off to Texas...)

Tonight we leave this high desert wonderland and drive the longest single stretch of this entire trip...from here to Dallas, Texas...about 666 miles total. Should I fear the number? Nah.

But seriously, tonight will be a challenge. Thoughts and prayers would be lovely, as we're hoping Paxton can sleep the whole 10-11 hours in the car...and then tomorrow we're hoping that Holly and I can catch up on some sleep before our show tomorrow night.

This last week has been (as expected) magical. Being at Ojo has certainly helped slow my pace, center my person, and heal my body (almost). This must be a residual memory in this place that is full of healing and goodness.

Time to pack the car and prep to leave. Love to you all.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Day 8: Ojo Caliente

We just arrived to Ojo. We'll be here today and tomorrow, relaxing. I might not be able to write much between now and Tuesday or so, when we'll be in TX. Check back then.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Day 7: Glorieta to Alburquerque to Glorieta

I got a call from Apple saying that indeed Holly's hard drive was bad. Big surprise. So I drove down to pick the computer up.

The drive was just plain

Still have a head cold...I'm going to find me some Nyquil here soon. I'll be able to spend some time reflecting in the days ahead, but for now, I must get back to Glorieta.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Day 6: Glorieta, New Mexico

Still trying to kick this head cold thing. Pax is feeling better. That's good.

I am reminded how lucky we are to know such amazing people...

Today we're leading a discussion called CREATIVITY AS INCARNATION, TRANSFORMATION, and ARTIFACT. We'll be exploring what it means to be creative in our world...doing art more than simply for "art's sake" and also for more than coercing people into something or inviting them to a place [read: a church].

I have been wondering alot about this...both in my mind and out loud with others: I think
creativity offers us a chance to tap into the Source, to articulate it through our lens, and help people see the inbreaking of the Kingdom of Love. It'll be interesting to discuss with the group here.

The air is crisp, the piñon coffee amazing, the connections deep and profound. I am grateful...even amidst this damn sore throat and runny nose.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Day 5: Glorieta, New Mexico

We slept like crap last night...Pax woke for 4 feedings...and we're all feeling a little under the weather. We're popping the cold pills and homeopathy and Emergen-c.

I woke early with Pax this morning...we walked outside and just looked at the aspens as they are transitioning into their fall colors...and the clouds were backlit by the sun that hadn't quite crested the summit of the Sangre de Cristos that were in front of us.

Truly this is a holy place. I am reminded of the serenity of nature, high altitudes, and clean air. We busy ourselves below, remembering moments like these.

Okay, being Head of Hospitality this week, I should probably get back to glad-handing. Ciao.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Day 4: Glorieta, New Mexico

We made it. Paxton was so happy to be out of the car and back to playing in the dirt. We're all trying to fight off this minor-cold-thing. Okay, time for sleepy.........

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Day 3: Needles, CA to Gallup, NM (via Flagstaff)

I am at our favorite little coffee house, Macy's, in Flagstaff. It is such a quaint little place...European to the core. Talking with some guys who are biking northern AZ.

Fall is in the's not ridiculously noticeable, but you can see it in the subtleties lying on the ground. And the crisp air tells the truth as well.

Pax did catch a little cold or something which has left him with a runny nose...not much else. He is also breaking in some bottom teeth, so that's been a joy. Gone back to 2 feedings at night. Ouch.

We stop about every 2 hours to let him (and us) stretch and walk. He loves to pretend that he can drive.

We had a little bit of a scare today as I got very, very, very close to running out of gas in the middle of the desert. By the grace of God we made it to an affordable gas station just before puttering out.

Okay, he's nearly ready for his nap, so it's time to get....ciao.