Friday, December 14, 2007

Santa RIP

Speaking of Santa...sorry kids. Thanks, Ellen. That's hilarious!

Trey's first grade class presented a puppet show/musical version of the Christmas story on Wednesday morning in chapel. I got a kick out of watching the kids strain to lift their puppets above the puppet window. Trey's character was Joseph and halfway through one of the songs, Joseph apparently got tired. The puppet slowly started to descend until you could only see its head, then its eyes, then nothing. You could hear the stage whispers of one of the helpers trying to get him to make Joseph visible again (talk about reminding me of FCA dramas). Finally, Joseph slowly made his way back up. Classic material. I wish I would have brought my video camera.

After that, a guest speaker got up to speak about Christmas (I guess). I'm not real sure what the point of his sermon was. He started out by saying that truth is only found in God's Word. Truth is not found in traditions, blah, blah, blah. He then viciously vilified the Magi, calling them magicians and witches and reciting a litany of things they supposedly were involved in (and I'm thinking, "Now that's not in the Bible; how do we know that's true?"). He poked fun at their studying of the stars, once again indicating that the only truth was found in the Bible, which don't get me wrong I believe to be inerrant, the written word of God. He obviously hasn't figured out that there's a difference between astrology and astronomy. And he overlooked the fact that there was a star that directed the wise men to Jesus (that is in the Bible). It seemed that his main intent was to paint the wise men as evil, bad guys. The more I listened, the more frustrated I became at this guy's mischaracterization. These kids are sitting there listening to a person in authority tell them all this, and probably some of them believed what he was saying. You know, when you're speaking to kids, keep it as positive as possible. It just ticked me off. And, then the last thing that sent me over the edge was his leaning down and talking to the little kids about the fact that "we don't believe in all of these Christmas fairy tales, now, do we?" You know, let the parents of the 5 and 6-year-olds determine what they let them believe in. Is it really so bad that a 5-year-old believes in Santa Claus or Rudolph? Is that going to harm them in any way? I don't think so. In fact, just recently on Focus on the Family's radio broadcast (I think it was on 12/10 or 11) they were talking about how fantasy and imagination is a big part of a child's life and specifically mentioned that believing in Santa Claus wasn't a bad thing.

You know, I want my kids to know the real reason we celebrate Christmas (and they do). But, I also want them to enjoy many of the Christmas traditions. We don't tell our kids that Santa is real, but neither do we discourage them from believing in the old fella. Some of us just need to lighten up. Enjoy all parts of this wonderful season!

OK, I'm now getting off the soapbox.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

12 Days of Christmas

OK, this is awesome! This Indiana University chorus brings it on this Christmas classic. You're going to love this one.


By the way, for those of you who just don't want to pay the money for Microsoft Office, I have the solution: Open Office. It actually does a good job and best of all it's free. It has an alternative to Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Access,and a couple of other programs. Probably everyone but me knew this existed. Hat tip to my good buddy, Aaron Smith.

Dylan hams it up

For those of you who know my brother Bobby, this video features his son Dylan in his school Christmas program. Bobby told me that when they pulled up to the auditorium, Dylan jumped out of the car, stretched his arms into the air, and said "Showtime!" before sauntering inside.

He gets it honest.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Songs I Love to Hate

Speaking of music, are there any songs that you dislike with a passion?

Here's my list:

I'm Pressing (Dad led this song way too much back in the day)
Achy Break Heart (try to get that song out of your head the rest of the day)
Don't Worry, Be Happy
B-I-N-G-O (thanks to my kids' insatiable desire to sing it again)
Louie, Louie (by the Kingsmen, not the Kingsmen that you are thinking of)
I Wonder as I Wander (the most dreary song of the season)
...and anything by Michael Jackson

What's your list?

Faith in the Bearded One

Last night, Lori and I took Trey and Kassady over to Karcher Mall to see Santa Claus. It was a family tradition when I was a young kid to get my picture taken with the big man. So, I thought the kids might like it.

Now, you have to understand my children's personalities. Trey is a literalist. Everything exists in black and white. It's either true or it isn't. There is no in-between. He examines everything from a logical viewpoint. Kassady, on the other hand, has a raging imagination that never stops. Today, she was arguing with an imaginary friend. Lori told her that if she was going to have an imaginary friend they had to play nice together. That seemed kind of funny to me, like telling the (real) kids to settle down. Anyway, Kassady firmly believes in the existence of Santa Claus while Trey is an avowed skeptic. In fact, Trey has been making it a point to disprove intellectually the belief that his friends hold in the jolly saint. The other night we were over at Dustin and Angie Mori's house and we were talking about all the Christmas traditions that we experienced growing up. I asked if Noah (their son and one of Trey's best buddies) believed in Santa. Angie said, "He did until we had Trey ride home with us tonight!" That's my son.

Anyway, the being of Santa has been a huge argument in our house for the last few weeks. When we walked around the corner and saw Santa, Kassady punched Trey in the arm and said defiantly, "See...I told you he was real!"

Taste Evolution of a Non-Heathen Music Connoisseur

I'm fast becoming a pawn shop junkie, thanks in no small part to my singing buddy Dan Gilbert. There is so much treasure just waiting to be discovered. Especially in the music department.

Growing up I was pretty sheltered musically, which is not all a bad thing, and not something I'm complaining about. However, if it wasn't Sinatra or the Kingsmen (or some variant of those musical styles), it wasn't played in the Waggoner household. As a result, today, I have a great love and appreciation for Southern Gospel and crooners such as ol' blue eyes. I do have to say, though, that I missed out on some fantastic music being produced within other genres. I did get into the whole CCM thing back in the early 90s, but eventually got bored with the sameness of the bubble-gum pop music being mass produced by the mainline labels such as Sparrow, Word, and Benson. Then, I was introduced to Christian groups like Jars of Clay, PFR, and Third Day, groups I still enjoy today, and my taste switched to a more progressive sound. Sitting through Rodney Sones' Music Hit. and Lit. classes at GBS I developed a fascination for classical music of most periods. I never did get into the whole Renaissance movement, but the rest of it intrigued me. I identified more with the music of the Romantic period as well as more contemporary works by Copland, Ives, and their peers. The angry sounds of Wagner's compositions intrigued me as did the weird expressionist music written by Arnold Schoenberg and John Cage. I then started listening to the scores of Hans Zimmer and John Williams appreciating their creativity and ability to enhance the senses with their arrangements. My tastes broadened as I discovered jazz music. Thanks to the Marsalis brothers, Sanborn, Harry Connick, Jr., and Spiro Gyra I found myself listening to music looking for its possibilities. Lately, I've been discovering the great wealth of music in the classic rock, blues, and country genres. Obviously, I don't condone or listen to ungodly lyrics. And, sometimes the image presented by the performer irritates me. However, I have found that there are often positive, thought-provoking lyrics that accompany musical virtuosity in the afore-mentioned styles. I have been enjoying the works of Johnny Lang, U2, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Josh Turner, and Rodney Atkins in the past few weeks.

Much of this music has been found for $1.49 at my local pawn shop. I don't mind taking a gamble on an unfamiliar artist when I'm only paying $1.49. More often than not, I've been delighted with my purchase. And, if not, there's always eBay to help get rid of it.

No, I'm not a heathen, I promise. But neither am I so close-minded to think that the only "good" music is produced by "Christian" artists. In fact, I wish that Christian groups in many instances would step up their level of artistry lyrically and musically. We have been rightly shunned as insignificant and inferior because of a lack of commitment to quality. There are groups that "get it". Those groups include:

Casting Crowns, David Crowder Band, Brent Vernon (great songwriter; he can write with anyone), Steven Curtis Chapman, Crossway, the Perrys (they rarely record a song that doesn't have significant lyrics), and the Booth Brothers.

We (Liberty) are getting there. We have a new recording that is coming out next year that takes a step forward in the lyrical strength department. It's tough and time-consuming to write songs that matter to individuals who while possessing the hope of heaven face the realities of day-to-day life. It's even harder for a group who doesn't sell 25,000 units of a title to find those songs from songwriters outside the group. We're blessed that Doran is continuing to evolve as a songwriter. He's not settling for the "easy" lyric and simple melody. His songs are evolving into A-list quality. You guys will like his new material.

Anyway, that's where I am these days. While I will always primarily listen to and have a preference for good ol' Southern Gospel music I'm continuing to broaden my horizons, experiencing the wealth of artistic talent that God has blessed our world with.

So, thanks Dan. I like to experience that wealth as cheaply as possible (grin).

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Studio work

Liberty just finished recording vocals for a new album. Well, it's kind of new. New in the sense that we're creating fresh arrangements for familiar songs. This recording has 10 cover songs, 1 re-written song (by Royce), and 1 new song (by Doran). The track list includes (in no certain order):

Temporary Home
Still Feelin' Fine
Light at the End of the Darkness
Ride That Glory Train
I'd Like to Say It Again
Bus Driver
The Eastern Gate
I Can See the Hand
I'll Tell It Wherever I Go
The Lighthouse
I'll Tell It Wherever I Go
Baritone Whine

The name of the project is "Say It Again" and should be ready sometime in January. I think it's going to be a fun recording.

Trey's highlight reel

Trey shows off his soccer moves.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


One of my all-time heroes in Southern Gospel has passed away. Jim Hamill captured my imagination and instilled a love for the genre with his exciting emcee work for the Kingsmen. I recently posted a comment on a thread about Hamill not too long ago:

Big Jim is the golden standard by which all emcees should be measured. My first Southern Gospel concert (as a 4-year-old) featured the Kingsmen in Kokomo, IN. I can still vividly remember how Hamill interacted with the crowd and made fun of Little Ernie. It captivated me, even as a hyper kid. I was privileged to see Jim and the mighty Kingsmen many times after that and he never failed to bring the house down with his superb emceeing. There was an element of anticipation, of wondering, “where’s he going next?” at every Kingsmen concert.

My favorite group has and will always be the Cathedrals, but I have yet to see a SG group who could come close to entertaining a crowd like the Hamill-era Kingsmen.

He had some of the best one-liners in the business. One of my favorite quotes from Hamill came from the "Live in Mississippi" album. He said: "Everybody is talking about holes in the ozone layer these days. I'll tell you what, when God calls me home, I'll knock a hole in the ozone layer big enough you can drive a bus through!"

Jim, I'll be right behind you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CNN/YouTube Republican debate

I really enjoyed the Republican debate this evening. For those of you who missed it, I have the entire transcipt below.

Part 1
Part 2

It's worth reading. One of the most entertaining and insightful segments came in response to the following question:

Joseph: I am Joseph. I am from Dallas, Texas, and how you answer this question will tell us everything we need to know about you. Do you believe every word of this book (holding up the Bible)? Specifically, this book that I am holding in my hand, do you believe this book?

Cooper: I think we've got a question.
Mayor Giuliani?

Huckabee: Do I need to help you out, Mayor, on this one?

Giuliani: Wait a second, you're the minister. You're going to help me out on this one.

Huckabee: I'm trying to help you out.

Giuliani: OK. The reality is, I believe it, but I don't believe it's necessarily literally true in every single respect. I think there are parts of the Bible that are interpretive. I think there are parts of the Bible that are allegorical. I think there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be interpreted in a modern context.
So, yes, I believe it. I think it's the great book ever written. I read it frequently. I read it very frequently when I've gone through the bigger crises in my life, and I find great wisdom in it, and it does define to a very large extent my faith. But I don't believe every single thing in the literal sense of Jonah being in the belly of the whale, or, you know, there are some things in it that I think were put there as allegorical.

Cooper: Governor Romney?

Romney: I believe the Bible is the word of God, absolutely. And I try...
... I try to live by it as well as I can, but I miss in a lot of ways. But it's a guide for my life and for hundreds of millions, billions of people around the world. I believe in the Bible.

Cooper: Does that mean you believe every word?

Romney: You know -- yes, I believe it's the word of God, the Bible is the word of God.
The Bible is the word of God. I mean, I might interpret the word differently than you interpret the word, but I read the Bible and I believe the Bible is the word of God. I don't disagree with the Bible. I try to live by it.

Cooper: Governor Huckabee?

Huckabee: Sure. I believe the Bible is exactly what it is. It's the word of revelation to us from God himself.
And the fact is that when people ask do we believe all of it, you either believe it or you don't believe it. But in the greater sense, I think what the question tried to make us feel like was that, well, if you believe the part that says "Go and pluck out your eye," well, none of us believe that we ought to go pluck out our eye. That obviously is allegorical.
But the Bible has some messages that nobody really can confuse and really not left up to interpretation. "Love your neighbor as yourself."
And as much as you've done it to the least of these brethren, you've done it unto me. Until we get those simple, real easy things right, I'm not sure we ought to spend a whole lot of time fighting over the other parts that are a little bit complicated.
And as the only person here on the stage with a theology degree, there are parts of it I don't fully comprehend and understand, because the Bible is a revelation of an infinite god, and no finite person is ever going to fully understand it. If they do, their god is too small.

I've never heard so much stammering as when Romney was pressed on whether he believed all of the Bible was true. I laughed out loud.

Friday, November 23, 2007


OK, admittedly I've done a lousy job of posting recently, except for the two videos featuring Jon Plank and Allegiance. So let me keep up my lazy efforts by offering this from my favorite radio talk-show host, Glenn Beck:

If there's one thing I've learned from politicians it's that when you're out of good things to say about yourself, just start bashing your opponents. So now that my book has been released (and I'm out of things to say about it), it's time to take down my competitors. As I write this, An Inconvenient Book sits at #6 on the Amazon bestseller list. Here's a look at the drivel ahead of us:

#1 - You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual For Extending Your Warranty (You) by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz There are a few big problems with this book. First, this book has two colons and three versions of the word "you" in the title alone. It sounds like it was written by a fourth grader. Second, isn't Mehmet Oz the doctor on Oprah who inexplicably shows up to her TV studio wearing hospital scrubs, like he's about to perform an emergency appendectomy? You want advice from that guy? Here's my pledge to you: no more than one colon, and no surgical scrubs. Ever.

#2 - The Pillars of the Earth (Deluxe Edition) (Oprah's Book Club) by Ken Follett It's 973 pages. 973. Did you hear me? NINE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THREE!

#3 - Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld Here's a "simple secret" to get your kids to eat vegetables: make them. I just saved you $14.97.

#4 - The Birds in My Life by The Supreme Master Ching Hai I can actually relate to this one because I have a bird in my life too; it's called a turkey. And it's delicious. But beyond that, I cannot fathom how an out of stock book about birds is beating me. I'm solving global warming, poverty and illegal immigration, yet people still care more about Polly wanting a freakin' cracker?? Is it because the author is a "Supreme Master" and I'm not? Because if that's all it takes then I'm enrolling in Supreme Mastering class Monday morning and I'll stamp "Supremer Master Glenn Beck" right on the cover of the paperback.

#5 - The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet Where have I heard about this book before? Oh yea, it's already on the list! Hey Follet—do you really need to hog two spots? And Oprah--if you want your fans to still have enough time to watch your show, send them my way instead. I've got 100% more solutions than Follet in just 1/3 of the pages. In summary, if you buy all of the books in front of mine then you'd learn how to make you a better you, how to communicate with birds, and how to secretly feed your kids vegetables—but what good is any of that if Islamic extremists kill us all because my book is stuck at #6??

Please, I don't want to sound overdramatic, but (and you need your best "Hereos" voiceover impression here):
Buy my book; save the world. Sincerely, (And not at all bitter or jealous) Glenn Beck

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Great Day

The American premiere of my most-recorded song.

Allegiance takes the stage

This was an awkward moment back in the day. We were huge as you can detect from the wild crowd reaction.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


A great quote that was pointed out by a good friend:

"Legalism smothers spiritual vitality. It stultifies spiritual growth. It robs life of spontaneity. It produces neurotic personality. It engenders spiritual pride. It leads to despair and defeatism.

Libertarianism chokes off the stream of spiritual power. It corrodes spiritual development. It walks a thin path bordering on spiritual collapse. It points to a freedom that may end in bondage.

Classic biblical principles of relaxed self-discipline and humble dependence on God provides an atmosphere where vital spiritual growth occurs."

Metz, Donald S. (1994). Some Crucial Issues in the Church of the Nazarene. Wesleyan Heritage Press.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Lori

Happy Birthday, Lori

Blast from the Past

Check out some of these old pictures from back in the day. This is for those of you who aren't members of facebook.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Where's Waldo?

By the way, where is Doran? He has exactly 6 posts since he entered the blogosphere, 5 of which allude to me in some way. He's obsessed. I really was hoping his creativity would find an outlet, but apparently that will be stifled. Such is life.

Boise, Broncos, and Birthdays

I had a great afternoon hanging out with Trey. I picked him up from school and we took off for the celestial city (also known in Idaho as Boise). Our first stop was at Taco Bell Arena on the Boise State campus. I had to pick up tickets for tomorrow night's Mannheim Steamroller concert. Oh yeah! I will be there. Anyway, we were close to the BSU football stadium and since Trey had never seen the field we decided to see if we could peek through a gate or something. Well, it was locked up pretty tight and we were getting ready to walk back over to our car, when I noticed that a light was on in the BSU Hall of Fame building. I went to the door and the man working in the office motioned me in. I asked if there was anyway we could get close to the field. He looked out the window and said that if the team wasn't out there practicing we could go out on the field. So, out on the field we went. Trey took off running in the end zone. He was in awe! He said, "man, this is so cool. I almost feel like Ian Johnson". I took a few pics and walked around on the blue turf myself. It was pretty incredible. After we had been out there for a few minutes the team started trickling out on the field. Trey kept looking for Ian, but we didn't see him. On our way out the door, the guy who was kind enough to let us on the field, stopped Trey and gave him a set of 2008 BSU Bronco football cards. He's been on cloud nine ever since. Enjoy the pictures:

Our real reason for traveling to Boise was shopping for my beautiful wife who celebrates her birthday. I'd tell you her age, but I'd probably die. So...

We bought her gifts and chowed down at Arbys. It was a great night. There's nothing I'd rather do than spend time with my family. To be honest, out of everything I do on a daily basis (my ministry, my work, whatever) it's my time spent with Lori, Trey, and Kassady that is most valuable to me. I'm blessed.

The Booth's booth

We're such good friends with the Booth Brothers that they wanted Dan and I to pose with them at NQC. Check it out. You'll have to scroll to picture #5.

Hat tip to Jonathan Walden (former famous lead singer with Singing Friends).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I'm sorry. I forgot to add the link for Facebook. You'll have to sign up and then do a search for my name.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Hey, I'm now on Facebook. I'm having a great time. Look me up.


OK, this is funny. I'm not Baptist, so I probably shouldn't share this. But, I do have so many good friends that are that I just have to. I stole this from Perry Noble:

Top 12 Things to Never Say to a Baptist

#12 - Lottie who?
#11 - What is a covered dish and why must everyone who gets sick in our church have to have some sort of casserole?
#10 - I love it when my wife has her own opinion!
#9 - For God so loved the world that He did not send a COMMITTEE!
#8 - “We're either going to Disney or Vegas for vacation this year…”
#7 - SHE did an incredible job with the message today.
#6 - Why do you keep calling me “brother?”
#5 - “Got a light?” Unless, of course, you are a deacon…then this is a perfectly valid question.
#4 - Can we please sing the third verse!!!
#3 - Hold my beer.
#2 - May I have this dance?
#1 - Ante up!

Monday, November 12, 2007


While probably everyone has already been introduced to the wonderful comedy of Brian Regan, this is one clip that I can watch over and over. This past April at the Fresno Fan Fest I asked Jeff Allen (comedian who often appears on Gaither videos) who his favorite comedian was. He immediately replied, "Brian Regan. In fact, the majority of the comedians I work with will tell you the same thing. He's THE best comedian going right now, and has been for years." Pretty high praise. Once you watch this clip, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Dining with Dan

Watching Dan eat can only be compared to witnessing a contest between Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut (watch video below).

Royce can't help but watch Dan eat.

At work

If our A/C goes out, you can be assured that it's happening in 90 degree (or above) temperatures. Sure enough, on our Arizona tour it went out. Fortunately, we have the secret weapon that can conquer (is it just me or is that a hard word to spell?) all mechanical woes: (drumroll) Dan Gilbert. Yep, Dan came to the rescue again.

Welcome to Do-Dos World

This is a common sight on the bus: Doran sleeping. Dan told me that they didn't ever see Doran the first 3 months he was with Liberty. He would head for the bunk, climb in, and not come out for the rest of the trip. It's not quite that bad, now. He occasionally will emerge to get a movie, pretzels, or the Perry's new CD to take back to his cubbyhole. Every once in a great while, he'll nap in the front lounge. Poor little guy needs his rest!

Our hosts in Benson, AZ had a seat prepared for Doran when we walked in for our meal.


This has been a long 3 weeks. I've been home about 4 days during that period. I'm exhausted and ready for somewhat of a break. The bus pulled in about 4:45 this morning. I was fumbling around in the dark, trying to find my shoes. I slipped them on without tying the laces and stumbled out to the truck. I walked in the front door, kicked off the shoes, and headed up to bed. I got up to take Trey to school, walked down to the living room where light was beginning to filter between the blinds and realized that I had actually put on one of my shoes and one of Dan's.

So, you could say this week has got off on the wrong foot.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Subliminal Images

Below you will find a few miscellaneous pictures from an August trip to a submarine somewhere in Michigan. As you can see, it was just another day in the life of Liberty Quartet.

Royce a.k.a "Big Gun" Mitchell goes to work.

I felt very...subtle. Notice how that workout program is reshaping my love handles.

The closest Royce will ever get to water-skiing. Shortly after this picture, Royce was escorted off of the sub.

Oh, and I should mention that the above sign was just under the pylons Royce clambered upon.

Our very own bird of prey

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Youth Challenge continued

So, anyway, about my Youth Challenge trip...

I have to give some kudos to Jonathan Heath for the most impressive backdrop yet. The theme was "What if" and the graphic design guru (Jon something-or-other) used the ebay ad as inspiration (using the multi-colored it). Jonathan then took the concept and came up with the prop idea. Very nice. By the way, I shamelessly stole the picture from Tara's blog (good to see you, Derek).

I was only able to make it to two sessions: Randy Brown on Friday night, and Matt and Dorcas Hallam on Saturday morning. Randy rang the bell. The dude preached an hour, but could have gone on another hour and still had the crowd paying attention. Fantastic! I went to school with Randy way back in the day and it's incredible to see how God is using him. Matt and Dorcas rang the bell with their presentation of the ministry that they're involved in. Dorcas felt led of God to start a school in the inner-city of Cincinnati, geared specifically to the street kids that they work with in a mission. It's awesome to see how God is blessing their efforts. They brought up several kids who gave testimonies of what God is doing in their lives. Very moving.

Randy Brown gave an invitation on Friday night and scores of kids came forward. I was behind the curtain separating the musicians from the crowd and when I saw that the altar was full I decided to help out by moving a few folding chairs that would free up some space. I reached down for a chair, just your typical average motion that you don't think anything about, and BAM, out of nowhere I felt the worst pain that I have ever experienced. Seriously. I've had my ankle run over by a car, I've had my appendix taken out, I've broken bones, but I've never had pain like this. I staggered about two feet over to the edge of the curtain and fell on top of a large speaker (uh, a sound speaker, not Randy Brown or any of the other convention speakers; the clarification is probably not needed, but just in case, now you know). Jonathan Bender and Steve Shipman happened to be close enough to see that something was wrong, so they quickly ran over and helped me shuffle to some chairs. It was actually more like they dragged me over to the chairs. I couldn't sit down, I couldn't stand up, it was terrible. Finally, they put several chairs together and helped me lay down. This didn't do a lot to stop the back spasms. I was having trouble even speaking the pain was so intense. Finally, Gumby (for those of you who know Nathan), the convention drummer, remembered that there was a clinical massage therapist in attendance and ran off to find her. In the meantime, several people were stopping by to offer their condolences, such as, "yeah, I know what you're going through. I did that and never walked again" or "well, good luck with that; but that pain doesn't compare to the ulcer I had last spring". Very uplifting. I felt much better. The massage therapist finally showed up. I'm here to tell you that Kathy Sheppard was a Godsend. She is actually the cook at UBC, but is a licensed therapist as well. She worked on my back and legs for an hour. My legs were in bad shape. In fact, when she was attempt to work on my leg, just above my knee, I thought I was going to lose it. It hurt so bad. Well, she never did get the nerve to release, but she did a lot of good. About 20 minutes after she left, I was finally able to roll off the chairs, and with the help of a couple of guys get on my feet. I staggered to my room, where Jon Plank and Jonathan Bender amused themselves at my expense. Actually, they did tie my shoes for me. Fortunately, on Saturday I was privileged to fly all the way to Oregon (a total of 6 hours in an uncomfortable seat). There were times I wanted drugs.

By the way, there was a picture taken of my massage. My supportive family, namely Tony and Abby McCrary stopped by to sympathize with me. No, it was more like laugh at me. Abby snapped a picture of Kathy working me over. I would post it, but she hasn't sent it to me yet. Which probably means that it will soon show up on Doran's blog.

I am still in serious pain. I went to see the chiropractor and he informed me that it's going to take a while to get over this. He also mentioned something about bending my knees when I lift. It has made what I do challenging. I don't move near as much on-stage as I normally do.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Same story

We're on the road again. "This is my story, this is my song..." and it will continue to be for the next week or so. There has been a lot that has happened since I last posted.

First of all, for those who pressure me to post pictures immediately or right after some special event I'm part of, forget it. I'm one of those bloggers who doesn't feel obligated to post something everyday. I post whenever I feel like it and that's just the way it is. So, Mom, give me some space! OK, OK, it's not Mom. I was just talking to a fellow blogger this past weekend who said that he feels that he owes it to his reading public to get something up everyday. You know, you don't want to lose the massive audience who oohs and aahhs over all your pictures. That just ain't me.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to hang out with my buddies at Youth Challenge last weekend. I was able to fly in on Friday afternoon, direct the choir and the worship that night, and then fly out to meet the quartet on Saturday. I stepped down from the Youth Challenge board this past January, which by the way was a gut-wrenching decision, but the right one nevertheless. So, the rest of the board honored my years with the organization Friday night (along with Troy Keaton, who also stepped down). It made my night! They presented me with a beautiful plaque and John Manley said some kind words. I'm going to miss being a part of YC.

We're pulling up to the church in Benson, AZ so the rest of this will have to wait. There is some good stuff coming up.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Huckabee Jam Session

The man can even play a little bass guitar. I think he could probably find someone else to do the vocals. Maybe that's what I'll go for.

I Like Mike

I just watched Glenn Beck interview Mike Huckabee on his program tonight. Huckabee is the man! It's refreshing to hear a candidate give straight answers instead of the carefully calculated responses we're used to hearing (can you say Mitt?). Glenn shot some rapid-fire questions at him and Mike answered them substantively without having to think through who he might offend. He's a man of convictions and someone I believe could make a difference in the Oval Office. For the first time, I'm going to volunteer for a presidential candidate. I can at least pass out stickers.

Kassady the Athlete

I will probably never have to worry about Kassady being a star athlete. This was her first year of soccer and she loved it. Well, at least she loved running around the field, all the while looking at the sidelines to see if we were watching. As aggressive as she is at home with her brother, I figured she wouldn't have any trouble at all mixing it up in the game. But, no, she would rather hang around the fringes or at the other end of the field. It is so much fun to watch her, though.

Kassady has scored a total of 3 goals this season, 1 in the opponents goal. My favorite goal that didn't count, though, came on an out-of-bounds play. She ran over to the ball, picked it up, carried it over and set it in front of the goal, and then kicked it in. After this she threw her arms up in the air like she had made a big score! I was on the road, so Lori called to tell me about it. I couldn't stop laughing at the visual.

Kassady on the attack!

Kicking off and throwing the ball inbounds are Kassady's favorite part of soccer. She can care less about the rest of it. She just jogs and grins, with nary a care in the world.

As you can see, we face an uphill battle when it comes to teaching Kass how to score.

We did have to call security on some rowdy fans in the section. The young man spent most of the game yelling smart-aleck remarks at his sister.

Trey and William

A few days ago, Trey and I ambled over to South Middle School to watch William Keep play quarterback for his flag football team. William and Trey are good buds and Trey had been bugging me for a while to go watch a game. William's team the Broncos are coached by our very own Pastor Dave. It was a good game that went down to the wire. The opposing team scored the go-ahead touchdown with just seconds left in the game and the Broncos had one more chance to to win the game. On the last play, their running back broke free and for a second looked like he was going to go all the way. They finally "tackled" him past midfield. I was standing up, shouting, like I was at a BSU game, or something. I'm surprised Pastor Dave was able to speak on Sunday after all of his yelling.

Coach Keep (in red sweatshirt) gets the team fired up.

Trey poses with the Bronco's star quarterback, William

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Tonight I overheard Trey telling William Keep that his favorite color was "camouflage"

The Fam

I love having some time off, so I can hang out with my family. Trey, Kassady, and I played several hard-fought, highly competitive games of Candyland, Sorry, and Hi-Ho Cherrio the other day.

Just being transparent, the hardest part of my job is being away from my kids and wife. The other day one of my buddies was talking about traveling with Liberty and he said, "I just don't see how you and Doran can do what you do, having young kids, not being with your family on Sunday." I replied, "Not to sound pious or overly spiritual, but that's when you have to know that you're called to do what you do." And I am called. In fact, my family is called to this ministry. That's why they understand when I leave on the weekend (or for the week). We have explained from day one to the kids why I do what I do. And, the amazing thing is that they get it! It's something I thank the Lord for everyday.

I will say, though, if it ever comes down to my job or my family, I'll choose family every time.

Budding Photographers

Trey showing off his photography chops, caught me in an introspective moment.

Kassady, not to be outdone, took this lovely shot of father and son. I'm not real sure where Trey has picked up the Texas Longhorn symbol (I hope) or the Ozzy Ozborne sign (I hope not). I asked him about and he said that he made it up.

My princess

Kassady informed me that this is her "princess look". Today she told me that she "wants to grow up, marry a prince, become a princess, and play the violin." She knows where she's going.

Caramel Apples

Lori made some caramel apples for a family night. Wow, were they good! I'm a lucky man. Here's some pics of the action:

One word: Delicious!

Lori rarely allows me to take her picture. Or, if I do, it's one of those covert shots perfected by such papparazzi as Jon Plank. The scarcity of these pictures of Lori make this particular one extremely valuable (such as a Honus Wagner baseball card or a Loch Ness monster sighting...uh, not that Lori has any resemblance to Honus or Nessie).

Trey and I go for the big bite! I picked caramel out of my teeth all night, but oh was it worth it.

Mad Hatter

I found startling similarities between a picture Doran posted of me on his blog and one of him from a concert in Wyoming last month. Fortunately, I grew out of the hat phase. Doran, on the other hand...


This game of "tag" that has been popping up on blogs usually results in minutiae that no one really cares about. However, I just happened across Sarah's answers. yesterday and truly enjoyed them (as will anyone who knew Sarah in high school or college). Sarah was one of my great friends in college and married another good friend of mine, David.

By the way, Sarah, astute move on giving up on the whole Victorian thing.

Doran's Posting Again

It's so good to see that Doran has awakened from his stupor and posted something. Obviously, he has so little going on in his own personal life that he's had to dredge up pictures from my past. The beauty of it all is that I have some wonderful pictures from Penn View days that I've been holding on to. I'm trying to figure out when and how to reveal the "real" Doran. Now, I don't have any pictures of Doran in his youth. He wasn't allowed to be photographed. It's an Amish tradition, I figure. He stepped out on the wild side once he went to Penn View Bible Institute and really threw off the convictions of his past. You'll see...

By the way, where did you guys even find those pictures? I'm impressed! I haven't even seen them. O, the friends I have! For those of you who haven't seen them, you owe yourself the favor of rushing over to his blog to view the award-winning photography.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

GBS antique

Here's a vintage item. I wonder if it really helped the sale to put God's Bible School in the description...


Interesting article about GBS from the New York Times archives .

The Early Years

There are times that I put my job at risk when blogging. Be that as it may, I feel that I have a journalistic responsibility, nay, an obligation to share these archived photos with my faithful readers. Just think, at one point Royce sang the soprano part.

The picture on the right shows Royce during his rebellious years. He was really into contemporary Christian music. Wild stuff like "Blessed Assurance", "Amazing Grace", and songs written during that era. I love to listen to him tell about the times he sang revivals with Ira Sankey and played trombone in the first Salvation Army Band with William and Catherine Booth. It really is amazing how far he has come!

"Where is Doran?" is the question asked by the masses

I see all is quiet from the Ritchey blog. I was just starting to enjoy the bantering. It's sad to see someone give up blogging so quickly. I suppose the witty raillery eventually did him in.

He's a keeper

Isaiah Grant Keep made a grand entrance this afternoon to very proud parents Dave and Julia. Congrats! I think I'm going to dub him Ike. I'm sure Julia will be impressed.

By the way, I have to give Pastor Dave some props. He is doing a fantastic job at Grace Bible Church. I had last weekend off, so I was privileged to be home for our Sunday services. He flat tore it up! He's doing an October series on the family and it is powerful. You can listen here.

It's awesome to see the numerical growth (there were probably 25-30 new people that have been coming regularly that I didn't recognize), but even more incredible to hear the life-changing testimonies and witness the spiritual growth of our congregation. God is working.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hand 2 i no more

There are those times in life when we are all hit with the realization that we aren't the best at doing a certain activity. I remember when I learned that I wasn't the best basketball player, when I found out I didn't have the best arm in baseball, when it sunk in that I didn't have the best voice. In spite of all of our shortcomings, we learn how to cope, to compensate. We find some measure of self-worth in being all that we can be in performing those certain activities.

Tonight, though, I am crushed. Crushed beyond what my fragile psyche can overcome. Since purchasing my XBox in 2002, I have claimed rights to the title Videogamer Supreme within the Waggoner fiefdom, especially when it comes to sports games. Tonight, I was blown away by my 5-year-old at Street Basketball, Vol. 2. Not just once, but three games in a row. I stepped up my intensity on the last two games, but couldn't overcome his out-of-this-world three-point shooting. It was like Larry Glass on speed (for all you Frankfort gamers from back in the day)! I knew there would come a time when he would be competitive. I just didn't know it would be so soon.
And...he talks smack! I just can't take it.

#17 Kentucky 43 #1 LSU 37

This is probably the only time I've cheered for Kentucky. Go blue!

I love college sports!

Friday, October 12, 2007


This is a comment I left on Carrie's blog. Carrie, who happens to be my cousin and a very good friend, is debating whether to vote Republican or Democat in the upcoming presidential election. I feel her frustration, too. Based on what I've heard so far from the candidates from both parties, it's a little bleak. If only Mike Huckabee would take off. That guy is awesome! Just for the record, I don't believe that the Republicans are God's hand-selected political party. But, they manage to come closer to my personal stance on various issues than the Democrats. However, I will have you know that I have voted for Democrats in the past, good people who took a hard position on issues that I was passionate about. Anyway, here's what I had to say in Carrie's hypothesis that all the candidates on the ballot are pro-choice (feel free to share your thoughts on my post or on Carrie's post):

The reality is that we very well could have two pro-choice candidates on
the ticket this year. Mitt Romney conveniently changed his stance shortly before
making his presidential bid, so who know what he really thinks. I do know that
he used to be pro-choice. I don't vote just on moral issues,
though they are very, very important to me. I vote based on where I think the
individual will take our country, state, or city (based on the election). What
are their positions on those issues that I deem important? What's their voting
record like (if applicable)? What leadership experience are they bringing to the
table? I don't like voting for a "name" or a public persona generated by a media
blitz. I am sick and tired of the media trying to influence what I think and how
I vote(and, yes, this includes Fox News). Partisan politics drive me crazy.
Let's start thinking about what's good for America and not what's good for the
Republicans or Democrats. Our problem is that we don't research before we vote.
We blindly cast our ballot for whoever our friend likes, or who Rush Limbaugh
promotes, or who our spouse votes for. It's intellectual apathy. Let's think for

(Cough) Ahem, has anyone tried the hor d'oeuvres? They're

Under the Big Top

Last week, Lori and I took Trey and Kassady to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus in Nampa. We met up with Marc, Talisha, Emme, and Addison. Highlights of the 1-ring circus (we're not big enough for the 3 or 5-ring variety) included the amazing dogs who pulled off some incredible tricks, the acrobats who did everythingfrom walking the tightrope to riding a bike on the tightrope to sitting in 2 chairs on the tightrope all the while holding another brave soul, and a Mr. Bean-type clown. Very funny. Trey really enjoyed the clown, especially the skit involving a "baby" who sang hip-hop and expressed its displeasure by wetting the crowd. I have to admit that I laughed, too. I have now figured out what Royce should do once he retires. I, of course, forgot to bring my camera, so many thanks to Marc and Talisha for their stunning photography.

Addison (the little head to the left), Kassady (the tyke in green), Emme (of striped shirt), and Trey (jean jacket) get jiggy wid' it with the dancers.

My kids really know how to pose. They always look so natural. I love 'em!

Trey and Emme, show off their bulbous clown schnozzes.

The elephant pulled off some impressive tricks. I never could get my dog to do this. I'm thinking that animal training isn't for me.

I'll leave you with this gem of a picture that Marc snapped. Timing really is everything.

Babblings of a Beleaguered Blogger (Doran)

Well, it seems as though the media hacks are at it again. Namely, Doran Ritchey. He can't leave well enough alone. He is once again going after me with acrimonious accusations. His virulent approach to blogging leaves much to be desired. Just to let you know, Doran isn't exactly savvy when it comes to, well, even checking his email, much less posting on my blog. I'm so glad that he's married to Diane who helps compensate his obvious deficiencies. If Doran could figure out how to check his email he would realize that the picture he references in his caustic post was sent to him early yesterday, before it was even posted on my blog. After all I do for that boy, to see him respond with such antagonism is disappointing to say the least.

Uh-oh, better go. Kassady is having flu issues...not a pretty sight! It's very similar to what you'll find over at Doran's blog.

And for the record, of all the things I could be greedy over, it most definitely would not be pictures of Doran.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An Unnecessary Attack

I have tried to keep keithinside a positive place. A cyber destination that will make you smile with appreciation or chuckle at my gentle humor. Folks from around the world have come to know this blog as an idyllic refuge from the harshness of today's society. This Eden exists no longer. Doran Ritchey has thrown the first salvo at this bastion of grace, love, and overall sensitivity. So, I have no other option but to go on the offensive. I will admit that I have occasionally stung Doran with a post such as this or this but have never intentionally tried to denigrate him in anyway. In fact, those are the only "bad" photos I've posted of Doran in the last year (don't believe me, check out the older posts). However, he has made this personal, very personal. In fact, he has begun blogging just so he can try to make me look bad, going so far as to solicit pictures from my past. Doran, all you have to do is look at my blog. I'll provide you with plenty of pics (I mean, who could forget the foot?).

But, if he wants to play this game, bring it on. So, here we go:

Liberty's own urban pianist poses in more natural surroundings. Raised on the streets of Amish country and the Virginia backwoods, Doran finds solace in the quietude of the concrete jungle.

Doran pulled off his cover of Michael Jackson's "moonwalk" this past week to the great enjoyment of Dan.
The "funky chicken" has become one of Doran's signature moves. KFC is seriously considering sponsoring our next tour.

OK, enough's enough. All that sarcasm just feels wrong. I can't live like Doran lives. That does nothing but to lend itself to bitterness. Now, see, if this was Royce; yeah, I could understand that. He has just naturally posed for pictures that lend themselves to a funny caption. But, Doran? My son, my son...I never knew thee!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I like to give credit where credit is due. LaRona Ezell who does much of the writing for the Grace website listed this for Friday's game night:

You Got Game?
Can you take a RISK without becoming FLUSTERED? Does the age
old BATTLE OF THE SEXES leave you BOGGLED? Are you SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER? Here's UNO CLUE: you won't know the answers to these questions unless you put your busy LIFE on hold and bring your CRANIUM prepared to challenge any ROOKies who would dare to PIT themselves against you. It isn't hard to BREAK THE ICE in a rousing MASTERPIECE of SEQUENCE, and you will be making a fun MEMORY as well. There will be everything from APPLES (cider) TO APPLES (juice), but please bring your most fattening TABOO snack to share with your fellow players. You won't be SORRY!

Clever, clever, clever. Besides Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and MLK, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, this is the only other thing I wish was attributed to me.

Just for the record, the last time we played "Battle of the Sexes" with a group of friends, the guys won, thanks to LaRona. A question was posed to the guys asking the French name for a new fashion. LaRona asked (out loud, mind you) Lori if it had something to do with haut. That's all I needed. Out of my bank of useless information I pulled out "haut couture" and we won the game. The look on LaRona's face was priceless, one I hope to see again on Friday evening when, once again, the guys prove to be victorious.

Worth 1000 words

Monday, October 08, 2007

Our Tribute to Royce

Tribute to Royce

Grace online

Another new destination for you browsing curiosity seekers is the new Grace Bible Church website. It's been up for about a week or so. I've been working quite a bit on the site. Enjoy!


My buddy, Doran, now has a blog. Stop by and say hi. Maybe he'll update his a little more frequently than I do mine, but I doubt it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Covington, KY

We had to leave early for Covington on Monday morning. Dave Frederick, my esteemed brother-in-law, promoted the concert and he was scared to death. You just have to know Dave. He's not a glass half-empty type of guy; he's more like an empty glass person. He did a fantastic job at promoting the concert, but told me that he wasn't sure if anyone would show up. When he arrived, I asked him if he had worn his brown pants. He told me that he hadn't been sleeping well and that his blood pressure was sky-rocketing. There was definitely some stress going on! It was quickly relieved, though, as people started showing up. We ended up having a great crowd. I knew that Dave would make it happen, and he did.

Assurance, an old GBS quartet, opened up for us and sounded great. Martha Miller, my esteemed piano teacher, played for them and did a wonderful job. Dan helped the guys get a sound check and came out to the bus shaking his head. "These guys are great! They're definitely the best group that's ever opened for us." I used to work with Brandon Mills and Mike Mater in one of their quartets when I was still at GBS. They have done so well. I was proud of them!

We had a lot of fun singing! We debuted some new songs off of our new recording "Timeless, Treasured Hymns, Vol.2". I think the album is going to be a best-seller for us. We did a mix of old and new songs and just thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

Jack Hooker, my former boss at GBS, was the emcee for the concert. He needs to do that more often. He's good. It was great to see him again. Speaking of bosses, Ray McCrary and his fam: Lenea, Marissa, and two of the incredible Grace Teens, Tosh and Darnelle, showed up. Doran and I both worked with Ray at Grace Bible Church. We're cousins, but more like brothers.

There were so many friends at the concert that night, that I'm going to get in trouble if I start naming all the names. I do have to shout out to all my old Immanuel Church of the Nazarene friends, John, Carolyn, Ernie, Cathy, Charlie, Cathy, Emmett, Kathy (a lot of Cathys at the church), Webb, Kate, and everybody else. Also, one of my mentors came to hear us; my youth pastor, Monte Stetler. There are few people who have had more of an influence in my life than Monte and Connie. It was so good to see him again. The dude never ages! Then, Bryan Potteiger, my old Allegiance buddy was there. I didn't even see him until after the concert was over. I would have pulled him up on stage to sing "Great Day" with us. That was the old Allegiance foot-stomper.

Of course, I enjoyed being with Dave, Char, David, Ank, Alicia, and Christy. I've been blessed with the greatest in-laws. We actually like to be together! Go figure!

Once again, I forgot to bring in my camera. However, my faithful sister-in-law, Char, was supposed to send me some pics that she took. I'm still waiting...Anyway, here are just a few pictures from the evening:

I had fun shooting the breeze with Jack and Jane Hooker. Usually, when Jack and I are together there's a lot of hot air blowing around.
I stole this picture from Char's blog. She won't send them to me, so I have to do what I can to provide you with the latest in Liberty pictures. She could have refrained from posting this one, though.

It's so nice to be able to pose for pictures with famous people, such as Char. I stand in awe of you, Charlotte.

Dad, Ray, Darnelle, Lenea, Marissa, and Tosh pose while Cathy, Jim, and I lean in.

Notice how I'm showing up in every picture? Jeremy Leach, Nathan Dahler, Liz Charlton (soon to be Dahler), Dan, me, Brandon Hilligoss, Nathan Gumbiner, and Emilie Leach (from right, clockwise).

Doran and Trish and Jonathan Makcen. Unfortunately, I missed this photo op.

But I made it to this one, along with Doran's in-laws, Cathy and Jim.

I just wonder what is going through Jonathan's mind right here. This was after Royce had the bean soup and Frisco sandwich. That can't be pretty.