Friday, April 28, 2006

Dan really gets plugged in to Southern Gospel music. After driving about 5 hours or so, this is a normal Dan expression.
Darrell Stewart, the pianist for the Florida Boys, is not only a Gospel music legend, but an extremely funny man. The comments that he mutters to the other groups as he walks on and off the stage are hilarious. He's a nice guy who has a penchant for wearing red socks.

Another Southern Gospel legend, Ed McNeill and the Dixie Melody Boys.

Great Western Quartet Convention

Here are a few pictures of us on the stage last evening. They aren't the clearest in the world. Diane got as close as she could without blocking someone's view, but still had to zoom in quite a bit. With the lights going everywhere it was hard to get a good shot. We had a great time!

We started off with a beautiful worship song, "We Seek Your Presence". We also did 2 more songs off of our album "Do You Know Him?", both written by Phil Cross.

I have been confused more times in the last 12 hours with Phil Cross. I guess people have trouble seeing more physical features than hair (or lack thereof). I finally quit trying to explain that I wasn't Phil. I'd just go with the flow and answer as if I was Phil. Claude Hopper walked up and said "Phil, do you know where the elevator is?" I started to explain that I wasn't Phil, but then said why not? "I think it's down that way, Claude".

When we got done with our songs, Royce said "That song was just written by our new tenor, Phil Cross." Anything to get a good laugh. When I walked off the stage, Phil was waiting for me. He said, "Hi, Phil. My name's Phil. Good to meet you."

We closed with an upbeat song "Good Time in the Lord". That song has a joyful tune with some great lyrics. The crowd responded to the message and came to their feet in praise.

People have been extremely friendly. Two groups that I have enjoyed hanging out with are Legacy V and the Beene Family. Frank Seamonds, the tenor for Legacy V, is one of the most genuinely friendly guys I've met. Just a great guy! Roger Bennett was able to make it to this trip and it's been a privilege to be with him. If you have never heard of, or checked out, The Beene Family you need to ( They are sincere about their ministry and God is using them in a great way. They are a bunch of great guys, as well.

We're having a great time, so far. It's been a blast to hang out with Dad and Bobby. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I don't know if I'll have a chance to update my blog in the next couple of days. Man, it's been crazy around here. Besides promoting the Brian Free & Assurance concert that will be at our church on May 16, I've been working on a myriad of other tasks. Today, my employed form of relaxation consisted of mowing the yard. Pathetic.

Tomorrow night Liberty takes off for Fresno, CA and the "Great Western Southern Gospel Fan Festival" ( I'm looking forward to singing there and seeing many of the friends I've made in the last few weeks. My brother, Bob, and Dad are flying in from Indy for the weekend to hang out with me. I know we're going to have a good time.

I'm going to take my camera with me, but as often is the case, I forget the camera when those Kodak moments are there for the taking. I'll try to update the blog from our hotel. We'll see.

Weighty Matters

I have had several inquiries about my weight loss quest, the most recent being from Brenda Pardoe (check out her blog at; I especially like the picture on the April 04 post entitled: "Clinical Experience for Today"). I have done reasonably well, to answer all the critics (most of whom possess corpulent physiques) who scoffed contemptuously at my endeavor. While I have yet to invest in a new scale (our electronic scale is not to be trusted) I have drastically changed my eating habits. I used to snack frequently between meals, and my snacks were high in fat and cholesterol. I consumed a lot of soda, junk food, and candy. Now I am eating (mostly) three times a day and the quality of what I swill has improved dramatically. I am drinking water almost all of the time. In the past month I have had soda just 8 times. Not bad for a guy who drank 3 cans of pop a day. I am also (at the advice of nutrition expert, Marc Taylor) imbibing on fruit when I feel the need to snack. I have started to eat other green vegetables besides green beans, which before has never happened. I'm actually getting to where I can eat broccoli without the gag reflex. It has made a difference. I don't think I've lost tons of weight, but I do have a little more room in my clothes.

I haven't done that well on the exercise side of things, however. I have to make time for it, and so far that hasn't happened. Doran joined a gym and I'm considering doing the same thing. I'm just afraid I'll waste (or waist) the money. I don't know...

When I get the scale I'll let you know where I am. I have no pride.


Below you'll find some pictures from our trip to Nevada. We had a fantastic time. We had the privilege of witnessing 13 individuals give their hearts to Christ during the weekend. Awesome! Along the way, we managed to see the sights of Reno and have a little fun. I haven't had the chance to feature Dan Gilbert in many of my posts. Now, you can see what we put up with. The guy's a convivial crack-up! He definitely keeps things loose on the road.

These pictures were taken shortly before our detours (see post below). Royce spends a lot of time assuming this posture when Doran is behind the wheel. When I drive, all three group members are on their knees in prayer.
Some pictures don't need captions.

They say that baby elephants are quite unprepossessing and awkward until adulthood (as you can see in this rare sighting of a baby and it's mother).
There was an outdoor beach volleyball game being televised outside one of the casinos. The temperature had to be in the low 50s. It was very chilly. I actually felt sorry for the contestants. They don't wear enough clothes anyway and when you compound that fact with the cold weather, it made for some very unhappy faces. Dan, in this picture, is attempting to explain to the rest of us how the volleyball members signal to each other. While we didn't quite comprehend his description, we got a kick out of the visual.

Getting His Just Desserts

I caught Dan spending some time at his favorite section of the buffet: the dessert bar. For Donna's sake, I'm not going to mention what he consumed.

Dan and I took time to pose in downtown Reno. I love the expression on the face of the guy passing Dan. Trust me, if his gut is sticking out like that, then there's another part of his body (appropriately edited) that is going the other direction. Hence, the passerby's look of horrified disgust.

Randy's Rig

We enjoyed checking out Randy Travis's ride in Reno. I love our Eagle, but his bus is out of this world. Dan was casting envious glances at the coach.

Here's one more pic of the star hanging out with some of her fans. Trey and Kassady were impressed with Ashley's performance. Especially Kassady. She enjoyed getting into the clapping part.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I have to mention the accomplishment of another Grace Teen member. Ashley Taylor played at a recital Friday night and did an outstanding job (according to Lori). She played "Long, Long Ago" as a solo piece and then she played "Skyboat"with the group.

Marc and I were privileged to hang out with Tony, Abby, and the kids on Wednesday before our plane flew out. Britton had to show off his jumpshot. He's the man. He and Kaitlyn are posing above. I have to tell you about Kaitlyn. At the age of 6 God called her to be a missionary. 2 years later at a huge kids camp in Indiana, she went in front of the congregation (this isn't like her; she is extremely shy) and told them that God was still calling her to the mission field. She's 11 now, but hasn't changed her future plans at all. She knows what God has called her to! That's awesome! I'm glad they're part of my family.

This is what I used to think of when I heard the acronym IHC. I've never seen this happen, but the reports of the past are legendary. From what I hear everything went well this year. People have been telling me that Leonard Sankey delivered a masterpiece on Wednesday evening. It was great getting back. IHC is the closest thing I have to Mecca.

It was also cool to be with one of my Grace Teens members, Tosha.

It was nice to know that Ray brought a little of Idaho with him. He has a llama in his backyard. I promise! Tina is in the 'hood.

It was a blast being with Ray and Lenea again. In the top picture, Ray was explaining his extensive knowledge about HVAC systems to a couple of rookies, Marc and Brian. Ray is really into the mechanical side of things. Someone captured this pic of Lenea as she listened with rapt attention to my philosophies of interior design. My theory took about 12 seconds.

The Update

Man, it's been forever since I posted some of my witty commentary. Now, perhaps witty isn't what comes to mind for many of you, I don't know. Well, the fact is, I just haven't got around to updating my blog much.

I've had a great week. Monday, Marc Taylor and I flew out to Dayton, OH for the AYC board meeting. I had a great time hangin' out with the guys. Fortunately, I had a few hours to run over to IHC at the Convention Center. It was awesome to be able to touch base with a lot of friends who I haven't seen for quite a while. Marc and I spent the night with Ray and Lenea at their new home in Richmond, IN. Things are going extremely well with their ministry in Centerville. God has blessed them with a wonderful congregation who loves them dearly. I was thrilled to see what God was doing at their church.

It was a thrill to get home late Wednesday evening, though. Unfortunately, I was only around for a few hours. Liberty had to jump on the bus and head to a concert in Boise Thursday evening. We were privileged to share the stage with Sandy Rios a conservative news correspondent for Fox News. She has also served as a co-host for Crossfire and a contributor to many of the major news networks and newspapers. She eloquently shared her passion for Christ and the importance of developing a biblical worldview.

Early Friday we started for Hawthorne, NV. Well, we kind of started for Hawthorne. We stopped to grab some breakfast and while we were waiting on the food, I happened to ask Royce if we had ever been to the church in Hawthorne. He gave me a puzzled look, like, what are you talking about? He said, "We're not going to Hawthorne tonight. We're going to Eureka Springs." I said, "I don't think so, Royce. We're supposed to be in Hawthorne." As usual, he wouldn't take my word for it, so he had to confirm with our logistics man, Dan. He said, "Dan, where are we supposed to be tonight?" Dan said, "Hawthorne". Royce buried his head in his arms then looked up and said, "I've just driven 2 hours in the wrong direction!" we got back on the bus and began hurtling down the highway at a high rate of speed. According to our GPS we could still make it a 1/2 hour before service. We spent the rest of the day and the afternoon traveling at speeds a little higher than the posted mph. Doran drove the last leg of the trip. He discovered the new SG station on XM satellite radio, so we were listening intently to a recap of the 2005 Singing News fan awards. In fact, Doran was listening so intently that he missed his exit. We drove on past the place about 30 miles before we could find a road that would take us back. To make a long story short we pulled up to the church about 5 minutes after the concert was to start. Fortunately, the people were as flexible and as good-natured as could be. We had about 30 guys that helped us unload our equipment. It took us 9 minutes to set up our sound system. That has to be an all-time record!

We had a fantastic concert! In fact, 9 people gave their hearts to Christ Friday night. It makes me think that Satan didn't want us there.

Yesterday, we made our way to Reno where we spent some time strolling downtown. Reno, NV is the most unchurched city in the US. 95% of the cities residents do not go to church. It's a sad statistic. We were able to walk up to the Randy Travis bus. He was inside getting ready for a concert that evening, so we didn't have the chance to meet him. Last night we were at the South Reno Baptist Church. Pastor Joe is one of the coolest guys I've met. His passion for God and his humor are evident as soon as you meet him. When he moved to this church 13 years ago, they were averaging 42 people a service. They are now running over 600. But he won't let us church get above 600 or 700. As soon as it does, he takes 100 people and plants a new church in Reno. He has planted 5 or 6 churches in the last 10 years. It's incredible what God is doing through his ministry!

We're going to be at his church again this morning for a couple of services. Well, I'm going to post some pics above. Enjoy and I'll touch base later.