To be Found

In the beginning we have the story of the garden. We see Adam and Eve choose to eat from the forbidden tree. In that moment the heart of God broke. They hid from God, and believed themselves hidden. As if two people could hide themselves from God behind a few trees. When God calls out creation itself was torn apart. “Where are you?” reverberated from the edges of the cosmos and back again an untold number of times. It’s a scream through the void from brokenness and grieving love. A voice that grieved to know why those he loves are fearfully hiding.

Sunrise near Paris

Early Easter morning before dawn, the women arrived at the tomb. The stone was rolled away and their hearts broke again. Their unsettled grief pierced their bodies again. The disciple Magdalene ran for help and returned she again to the tomb – now alone. She fought a real fear. Fear that those in power had destroyed the body. Fear that they were hunting down his disciples to meet the same fate. She chose to be next as she ran back to the tomb. In the tomb she saw the angels and she shared her broken hearted fear between tears – “they have taken my Lord away”.

A man appeared at the entrance and she demanded of him – “where have you put him, I am taking him back.” Her broken heart ready to tear apart creation to be back with the broken body of Jesus. With love in his eyes the man stood in front of her waiting. Waiting to catch her eye. He knew her. He tenderly called to her. Just above a whisper Jesus said her name – “Mary”.

She ran to him. She embraced him to never let go. Jesus was not taken. He was not missing. He was not hiding. He was waiting for her to see him. In joy they wept. They embraced. They stood there as Jesus’ love washed over her. Mary’s love washed over him. After a time Jesus told Mary that she needed to let go. That a forever together is coming, but that would have to wait. Return to the locked upper room. Tell the others. I will see you again soon.

Hope replaced the piercing grief. All she knew was grief since she helplessly watched Jesus drown in his own blood upon a cross.

Indescribable grief into an endless hope at the calling of her name.

He is risen.
He is risen indeed.

Today may we be like the tower of faith, Mary Magdalene. Raw in her emotion and brokenness, she would stop at nothing to embrace her Lord again. Help me Jesus to be like her, and learn from her.


Recording Remote Video Podcast Interviews on Mac

I’m in the process of relaunching the Nonprofit Coffee Break and really want to be able to hold interviews and conversations with people. The technical question arose about how to go about doing this. For the audio portion of the podcast having separate tracks of the guest and myself would be nice, but not a deal breaker. However for the video production side of things I really wanted to have a high-resolution file of myself, and as high-resolution of each guest as possible. There is not an obvious way to achieve this.

First attempt: Camtasia for Mac.

So we already have this software to use for creating screen cast videos for other parts of Fresh Vine. It works really well to record yourself, and the screen as you walk through something. This software is used to create nearly every instructional video we’ve produced for Fresh Vine. Whenever you start a new recording it allows you to record the webcam, and all/portion of the screen. This seemed like the obvious solution except for one major issue. It records everything into their own proprietary file format. This means that after ever interview I would need to export out each video/audio track pair from Camtasia into something I could use in my video & audio editing software (Adobe Premier and Audition). Furthermore it wasn’t clear that I was actually getting separate audio tracks.

Second Attempt: Quicktime with some magic

You might not know this, but quick time allows you to record your screen, webcam, and audio. Even more it allows you to choose input devices for audio and video. This means that I can choose to record my webcam with my dedicated microphone and get nothing else. I could then record the screen and only capture the…. audio? Except there was no option to capture the audio from my mac with the screen capture (None, Internal Microphone, or my Yeti Stereo Microphone). These options would leave me with a video without any audio from my guest.

Enter the magic of Soundflower. This is a super basic free kernel extension that allows you to create a virtualized audio device. The most recent release is a beta release from 2014 that still works. After installing the extension (which you will likely need to give explicit permission to install in your System Preferences -> Security & Privacy settings) I followed the instructions on their page to create a new multi-output device. This allowed the audio to still pass through my speakers/headphones AND it would output to the newly available Soundflower (2ch) ‘microphone’.

Now for this to work for recording you need to set the volume you want your speakers at, and then switch your computers ‘sound output’ to use the new Multi-output device. Once you make this change you cannot adjust the volume of your internal speakers/headphones. Tip: In your sound preferences you can enable the ability to switch output devices from the menubar making this easier to manage.

Now when I go to prep the recording of the screen I choose to use the Soundflower (2ch) input. This will give me stereo input along with any screen captured video I record. In testing this out we found that none of my audio from my microphone appeared on the screen captured video. The ‘Movie Recording’ only included my audio and video.

When I’m done with my session I just need to switch my audio Output Device back to the standard ‘Internal Speakers’.

Hope this was helpful to someone else as well.


My Heart is Weak

My heart is weak. Yesterday a man overcome by evil killed scores with a truck in Nice, France. I’ve grown tired of being surprised, shocked, or acting as though the attack was unexpected. This is a sad reality of our world today. That a 24-hour news cycle hunts for tragedies affecting a group of people to grab daily attention, and that they have no trouble finding them.

bastille-day-eiffel-towerAs I stood watching the fireworks cascade off the Eiffel Tower last night for Bastille Day I was struck in a new way that I really live here. That the millions of people in Paris are closer to me now than the family I grew up with. I felt pride for the French, and love that I am here with them. I left the park with over a hundred thousand others making our way to the metro to head home. Once home we saw what happened in Nice and waited for more news to trickle in before heading to bed. [Read more…]


Being Molded by my Home


The only home I remember as a child stood firm on a winding cul-de-sac. When I was old enough to care I found out it was bought from the developer who was living in it at the time. It turns out his money had been tied up in the different homes on our street and so he found himself living there until my dad bought it. He was sick with cancer and glad to sell the last house he built to end his life well. If the legend was to be believed it was purchased while my mom was on bedrest with my younger brother, without her knowing.

Since before anything I can recall, I lived in that blue house on the small creek leading to the Minnesota river. [Read more…]