Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Cheer

I found this over at Burke's Brainwork and just had to share. Enjoy Dennis Murphy's (drummer for Kingdom Heirs) rendition of Grandma Got Run Over By a Raindeer.


By the way, I just noticed that I went over 1000 posts for keithinside. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ramsey in the Valley

"If you will live like no one else, later you can LIVE like no one else."

Attention, Treasure Valley dwellers: Dave Ramsey is now on 580AM KIDO from 6-8 PM. You'll love the show. I am now a rabid listener (yeah, I got bit by a squirrel).

MAF Concert

Well, our concert went fairly well yesterday morning, lack of sleep notwithstanding. While it's never easy to sing in the morning, I am here to tell you that singing tenor at 8:00 AM should be outlawed. Fortunately, Philip took the high part on most of the songs so by the end of the morning he looked like a purple raisin and sounded like Oscar the Grouch. Poor guy. After a four day trip I normally take 3 days off before I even think of singing. So, my voice was in rare form, let me tell you. We sing a cover of GVB's Yes I Know and we've rearranged it a little to fit our style. Well, I have the solo part on the last verse and I started to go up like Penrod does at the end of the phrase and in the milliseconds of my initial ascent it hit me that I might not hit the note. So, I decided to improvise and make up a new part. Well, there's only so much you can do in a limited amount of time, not to mention jumping ship on a melody line that's going up. The end result was what would happen if you threw in a line from Jingle Bell Rock while singing Joy to the World. It didn't come close. My interesting new melody line wasn't even in the key. Embarrassing to say the least. I'm not a perfectionist, per se, but I do get irritated when something is that far off. It took me about 5 songs to get over that one. Due to the holidays, Dave and Julia's trip, Philip's work schedule, and Liberty's travel we were only able to practice twice. That the concert went well, was nothing short of a miracle.

The rest of the guys did an awesome job. Julia tore it up, as usual. And we even talked Dave into singing a song with his wife. Overall, a great concert. Thanks to all you Grace folks that showed up. It's a privilege to be part of such an incredible church!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I crave sleep

Anytime I know I have to be up early, insomnia sets in. What's up with that?!! If we have an early leave time for a weekend or something like that I lay in bed wide awake, all sorts of creative ideas and a to-do list running through my head. Last night was no different. This morning my "other" group (from Grace with Philip, Matt, and Julia)are singing at a Mission Aviation Fellowship chapel. I have to be there at 7:30. To make sure my voice is awake, I planned on waking up at 5:30 AM. I didn't get to sleep until after 12:30. Talk about frustrating! But the more I would think about getting up early, the more wide awake I would be. So, I finally got up and got some work done and collapsed from sheer exhaustion.

This concert ought to be real exciting. Who knows what I'm going to end up saying or doing.

By the way, there have been nearly 71,000,000 Google searches recently for the phrase "can't sleep". Something I learned.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm thankful for...

I know I've been deluging you with videos lately, but with this being Thanksgiving and all, this one tops the list of things I'm thankful for. Thanks to Matt for letting me know that Il Divo performed this.

We're continuing our Idaho Thanksgiving tradition of having dinner with Marc, Talisha, and the kids. It's nice to have adopted family. Then, Dad, Mom, and Lynn are flying in Thanksgiving evening and will spend the weekend with us. Also, Lori and I are going to the final Boise State game of the season against Fresno State. I'm hoping we can close out the regular season undefeated. So, this corner of the world will probably be silent for the next few days.

I hope you guys have a wonderful day with friends and family.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shout to Darlene

Perry at Hillsong Church from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Over the last couple of years, I've been reading the blog of Perry Noble, a pastor in Anderson, SC. This dude is on fire for God and I've enjoyed his words of wisdom. I try to catch some of his services online when I get a chance. He's one cool guy, even if he is a Clemson fan. Anyway, he recently had the chance to speak at Hillsong in Australia. His chance sighting of Darlene Zschech cracked me up.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Big 4-0

My beautiful wife turned 40 yesterday. And, what a day it was. I'd been waiting for Nov. 20, 2008 for several years. I had threatened Lori with throwing her a big ol' embarrassing party to celebrate this momentous milestone. She would threaten me in turn with all sorts of bodily harm, informing me that such an action on my part could be potentially fatal. For those of you who know Lori, she loves parties, but hates being the one feted. Well, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (especially for this dead man walking) so I decided to do it anyway. Lori takes pride in the fact that she is never surprised by anything. She always has things figured out way in advance.

Her (formerly) good friends Julia, Amelia, and Talisha helped me pull off the big surprise. The only real potential slip-up was my cleaning the house 2 days in a row. I came up with a logical explanation which for once she bought. My parents are coming out for Thanksgiving next week and I told her that I wanted to go the extra mile for her on her birthday so she wouldn't have to clean as much over the weekend. Julia and Amelia had already purchased all the decorations and Talisha had taken care of the food for the party. My biggest challenge was finding a legitimate reason for coming back to the house. So, here's what I did:

I dropped the kids off at Julia's house before Lori and I left for a date. I intentionally "forgot" my phone at home and then made a big production out of locking the door from the house to the garage, which normally I never do. I made sure that Lori watched me do it. So, we dropped the kids off at Julia's and ran over to do some Christmas shopping per Lori's request. Forget those romantic dates...gotta get that shopping done. Meanwhile, I had given Julia our garage code and the girls got inside to decorate and set up the food. At sporadic instances throughout the even, I made comments about how I couldn't believe I had left my phone on the desk. After we took advantage of some good deals, we went over to Olive Garden for dinner. I had told Lori that I really wanted to see the new Bond movie, Quantam Solace. So, I asked the waitress if we could get our food ASAP because of the movie start time. They did a wonderful job of getting our food right out. I had asked Julia to call Lori's cell phone at 6:30 asking to take the kids over to our house due to a meeting Dave was having. Julia pulled it off perfectly. Lori, remembering that I had locked the house door apologized to Julia for not being able to just give her the garage code and told her that we would have to meet them somewhere to give her our house keys. I knew that's what she would do. So, I piped in that I would like to pick up my cell phone anyway. And, that did it. Lori had absolutely no clue. So, we got to the house and Julia was sitting in the Suburban with all the kids inside. Lori did notice that someone had switched the outdoor light off. She kept on saying what happened to that light? I know it was on. I made up some excuse to get something out of the trunk and told Lori to unlock the door for Julia. Well, someone had unlocked the door, too. And just as Lori put the key in she said, "Hey! This door's unlocked!" She opened the door, the lights went on, and everyone yelled "Surprise!" She was shocked! Oh, it was awesome.

We had a blast! So many of our friends showed up for the party. I'm not going to comment on all the pictures below, but let me just say our house was packed. It was the best party I've been to. Thanks to Talisha, Julia, and Amelia for helping me pull this off. Lori did admit it was a happy birthday. That's all I wanted.

The shock is written all over her face.

Julia and one of her willing conspirators, Katie.

The other Liberty wives.

Amelia built Lori 2.0. She needed some lotion on those cheeks (not Amelia, Lori 2.0).

Now, I'm confused.

Matt, Mindy, and Amelia with Lori 2.0.

I'm not sure who these guys are, but they ate all the food. The middle guy kept on giving that creepy smile.

Sheila has trained Ashley well.

Donna apparently didn't want her picture taken with Lori and Tammy.

Kassady was pretty sure that the party was in some way thrown in her honor, too.

Bernie found the best seat in the house.

This is pretty much what Dave and Marc did all night.

Lori won't let me post pictures of her presents.

Josh and Amelia, great friends of ours. Josh was worried that with Lori being pregnant and all she wouldn't have the emotional stability required for a 40th birthday party. He kept on telling Amelia to take it easy on Lori.

And, a fun time was had by all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just do it

Some great advice for Detroit...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On a lighter note...

This is hilarious! Sent in response to my UFO post by my friend Steve Hafen of KVIP in Redding, CA. This is a tribute to the great film score composer John Williams.

The Waggoner Times

There's been a lot going on in Waggonerville.

Saturday, Liberty did a video shoot for "An Idaho Family Christmas" which airs annually on NBC's local affiliate. That was a lot of fun. We had to go around caroling to different houses on the set. Unfortunately, we didn't have any say in the song selection process. So, the song they picked out, while familiar, was about 2 notes above my tenor range. Not a fan. Our families were able to be part of the taping, so you'll get to see their faces along with a few other extras. Trey begrudgingly smiled for the cameras, while Kassady twirled, skipped, and laughed and pretty much stole the show. She loves being in the spotlight and hearing "camera, lights, action".

After we were done with the video shoot we went over to Marc and Talisha's to watch the Boise State vs. Idaho game. Fortunately, we ended up blowing them out, but the first half was ugly. I love BSU, but we are ranked too high. I'm afraid we're going to get destroyed if we somehow make it into a BCS game.

Then, on Saturday night, Donna Gilbert through a surprise birthday party for Dan. His 50th birthday is on the first weekend of December. He had no clue! Which was good, because at our concert Thursday a lady came up to him and said "I hear you're having a big birthday on Saturday". He just looked at her like she was crazy and said, "I don't know who you're talking to, but my birthday isn't until December". Fortunately, he just thought she was a nutcase. Anyway, he got the usual old people gifts.

Speaking of birthdays, Lori has one coming up. I won't go into great detail, but it's one of those big ones, if you know what I mean.

I have been obsessed with learning Flash and Dreamweaver the last few days. I'm fairly competent in Photoshop, but don't know a lot about hands-on web design. The cool thing is that I actually learned quite a bit. Definitely enough to get a website up and going. I'm working on a site now for Ritchey Music Group. Bet you can't figure out who owns that company. Anyway, thanks for Bart and Jon for their pearls of wisdom.

Speaking of pearls of wisdom, I'm almost finished with Winning with People by John Maxwell. I'll be sharing some highlights in the next few days. Investing in people is one of the most significant activities we'll ever engage in. It takes time, energy, and patience. But, I'm convinced it's worth it.

So many people are telling me I have to read The Shack. It's on my short list of books to get to.

By the way, did you know that unhappy people watch more TV? I just came across this article on Drudge Report. I think it's kind of funny how we heartily embrace studies that fit within our personal framework while scoffing at scientific results that somehow don't fit within our worldview. So, in saying that, I tend to agree with the results.

I'm very fearful concerning IU's basketball team this year. But, I'm very happy that Tom Crean is coach. Good days are ahead.

God is definitely working in our church. While I'm rarely at Grace on Sunday, Liberty had this past Sunday off and so I had the chance to worship at my home church. I had trouble finding a seat. It was very cool to talk to several of the new people who have given their hearts to Christ just in the last 2 or 3 months. Dave brought it in his message Sunday morning. What keeps us from being holy? What robs us of our joy? What keeps the blood pressure up? Self-centeredness (Philippians 2:1-10). One part that really stood out to me was Dave's sharing of the difference between "serving" and "being a servant". When you serve you do it on your own time, work it in around your personal schedule (and Dave wasn't knocking that; we need people who will serve). However, being a servant is on a whole 'nother level: it's being available 24/7 to minister to whoever, wherever. People know they can come to a servant in their darkest time and they'll be there for them. It goes beyond just being a friend. Good stuff.

I've really been enjoying YouVersion. It is one of the coolest devotional sites I've come across. Thanks to Shane for sharing the link.

I'm gearing up for the Christmas season. We're going to try to get some Christmas shopping done in the next couple weeks. Actually, Lori informed me that she wants to do this one her birthday (Thursday). I'm not the kind of guy that enjoys getting up the day after Thanksgiving to fight traffic and violent shoppers for a $30 discount. So, I enjoy getting mine done good and early. Well, Mom and Dad are coming out to our place for Thanksgiving, but won't be able to be out here for Christmas, so gift-giving is coming early. Trey has already let it be known that he wants just one present: a Ninteno Wii. That sounds kinda cool to me, too. So, maybe he and I can pool our resources, exchange the various packs of socks and underwear, and end up with a Wii. We'll see.

Tonight we're going over to hear Legacy Five in concert. Love those guys.

Our CD Amazed is selling like crazy. We've never had a project sell like this. It's pretty cool, actually. There's no doubt that this is our best recording yet. Literally, every week we're hearing from someone who has been profoundly impacted by one of the songs on the project. God is good!

By the way, Decemberadio is one of my new favorite Christian rock groups. Like them a lot.

Well, I have work to do, so for long.

Friday, November 07, 2008


So, last night Doran, Royce, and I are sitting in the lounge area watching a movie while Dan handled the bus driving duties. We were on US 93 S. toward Las Vegas. All of a sudden Dan shouts out, "You've gotta be kidding me! I just saw a UFO!" Doran and I went running up to the front of the bus to see what he was talking about. He explained that a semicircle of orange lights appeared in the sky, moved smoothly, and then all of a sudden disappeared. We didn't see anything so we went back to the lounge. About 15 minutes later Dan yells "They're back!" I ran up to the jump seat and sure enough, just to the southwest there was a semicircle of bright orange lights hovering and then slowly moving through the sky. After about a minute of so, it just disappeared. Talk about cold chills! This happened a few more times. Interestingly enough, though, the lights separated and became individual entities. It was the strangest thing I've witnessed.

I went online and found out that that stretch of road happens to be near an experimental aircraft test site. It is the real Area 51. Weird stuff. But, I saw this with my own eyes. I'm a believer (cue X-files theme).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Words of Wisdom

This was uploaded several days before the election, but the message hasn't lost its impact. John Piper is a thought-provoking author and speaker as you can tell from this interview.

Go South Young Man

Not to rub it in or anything, but I'm off for Arizona. Sunny skies and 77 degree temperatures. WOW!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Face

OK, I realize that probably only family will appreciate this, but here's the face of the newest Waggoner. He's gonna be a winner, I can already tell. I'm already a proud Daddy, three times over. God is good!

The big 5-0

Well, it's finally here: Royce's 50th birthday! As you can tell from the picture above, aging has taken it's toll. The arthritic hands, the bird legs, the protruding hip all point to the fact that he doesn't have that 21-year-old body anymore. We often find him wandering the bus looking for his Metamucil or at least some granola. It's actually kind of sad. He doesn't remember our names anymore, can't hear when we talk about him, and can't see that the GPS is taking him in the totally wrong direction. But, he's our Royce and we love him!

OK, ok. Enough with the schtick. Yes, he is 50, but he can probably still outrun me. Royce is a former Oregon state champion in track and field. At the expense of sounding like I'm delivering a eulogy, let me say a few things about our fearless leader. I've never worked with a man or woman who had more faith in God than Royce. I have seen Royce operate in the worst of times, literally. Times like when the bus has a major emergency and the funds aren't there to pay salaries and the mechanic. He'd call all of us and tell us that it was time to go to prayer. We would, and miraculously God would provide. This has happened time and time again. It has strengthened my faith in the process. Royce is passionate about his calling. If there was ever a person called to Southern Gospel music, it's Royce. People travel in this industry for a variety of reasons. Royce travels because this is what God wants him to do. He loves this music and can sing it as well as anyone. He has the smoothest bass voice in Southern Gospel. I'm proud of this guy and the accolades he's finally starting to receive from the broader Southern Gospel community. But, that's not what it's about. When I had my first interview with Royce, he shared with me his passion for the quartet to be more than just another performing group. While there are few emcees who can come close to Royce's comedic delivery, he has made sure that our concerts are more than just a laugh-fest, and always builds to an invitation. This isn't just something to make us feel good about ourselves and allow us to pat ourselves on the back; it's the real thing. And as a result, we've seen hundreds of people saved. One of the coolest things that we experience as a group is coming back to a church and having someone tell us how they gave their heart to Christ at one of our concerts, sharing with us the difference that Christ has made in their life. That's awesome! And, this all is part of Royce's heart for ministry. I know that people are often skeptical of Southern Gospel quartets and often for good reasons. Let me assure you that Royce is all about traveling for the right reasons. This is his calling and he is passionately pursuing it.

There are a few things I've learned about Royce in the last 3 years:
  • His mind works in ways simply unexplainable.
  • If you tell him that you absolutely can't sing a song, he'll cue it up.

  • If you put a gun to his head, he still couldn't figure out how to save an emailed picture.
  • Somewhere inside of him, there's a 7-year-old struggling to get out (the first trip I took with the guys, he took off running, skipping, and jumping through a mall shouting "whoo-hoo, look at me guys!"; I spent some time asking God if I'd made the right choice).
  • He hates the GPS but can't bring himself to drive in an opposite direction.
  • His political views are strong and will not be shaken.
  • He bleeds blue and orange.
  • If the bus stops so we can get to sleep, he'll wake up and start driving at a high rate of speed (ensuring that we can't sleep).
  • He absolutely hates to be late to anything.
  • He'd give you the shirt off his back, which Dan has often taken due to forgetting his own T-shirts on a trip. Dan has more of Royce's clothes than Royce does.
  • He hates to be left out of anything exciting or fun (this goes back to the 7-year-old kid).
  • His heroes are George Younce and Glen Payne.
  • He can't help but sing bass along with a praise and worship team. Think "Better Is One Day" with a booming bass.
  • He isn't at all inhibited when meeting new people. The jokes start immediately.
  • And, just because I could keep this going for a while, let me end with...he's a friend. One of the best friends I have.
I'm pretty sure he has another 50 in him.


An interesting article on the treatment of President Bush. I agree wholeheartedly. I don't remember ever seeing and hearing such blatant disrespect for a president, from the right and the left. Yeah, he's made some mistakes along the way, but what president hasn't. I have a feeling that in the next few years we'll be hearing from people who are starting to long for the leeks and garlics in Egypt. If it's change you want then it's change you'll get.

Have some respect, people!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The deed is done

Election 2008

It's election day. And, this year I have seen more doubt and fear in my acquaintances than ever before. In all honesty, I don't get it. Yes, I want John McCain to be our next president, but if it doesn't happen I'm not just going to lay down and die. Ain't gonna happen!

As I was shaving my gleaming dome this morning, I was pondering this whole "scare" factor that is just obsessing so many people. While I was thinking about this I found myself humming a tune to a hymn. Now, this may sound weird to you guys out there, but a lot of times I find myself unconsciously humming, whistling, or singing a song that relates to what's going through my mind at the time. God often gives me a song during the most stressful of situations. This happens all the time to me. When I realized I was humming this morning, I stopped to figure out what the song was. Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1
O God our Help in ages past
Our Hope for years to come
Our Shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal Home

Verse 2
Under the shadow of Thy throne
Still may we dwell secure
Sufficient is Thine arm alone
And our defense is sure

Verse 3
Before the hills in order stood
Or earth received her frame
From everlasting Thou art God
To endless years the same

Verse 4
A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun

Verse 5
Time like an ever rolling stream
Bears all its sons away
They fly forgotten as a dream
Dies at the op'ning day

Verse 6
O God our Help in ages past
Our Hope for years to come
Be Thou my Guide while life shall last
And our eternal Home

Just what I needed to be reminded of. Later this morning, I found myself singing a Twila Paris lyric, "God Is In Control", the same song that I was humming unconsciously on 9/11/2001:

Chorus 1
God is in control
We believe that His children
Will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember
And never be shaken
There is no power above
Or beside Him we know
Oh God is in control
Oh God is in control

Verse 1
This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith
And determination
Don't lose the vision here
Carried away by the motion
Hold on to all
That you hide in your heart
There is one thing
That has always been true
It holds the world together

Verse 2
History marches on
There is a bottom line
Drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing
That has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let you down
Why start to worry now
Why start to worry now
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me
Watching over you
Watching over me
Watching over ev'rything
Watching over you
Watching over me
Ev'ry little sparrow ev'ry little king
Oh, oh, ev'ry little king, oh

Daniel 2:21 says that God "sets up kings and deposes them". If you need to be reminded of the fact that God truly is in control read Colossians 1:15-23. Am I going to be disappointed if McCain isn't elected? Absolutely! But, I won't be devastated or defeated.

God is in control.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New Liberty Quartet Member

There will be an official press release forthcoming in the next month or so, but Liberty Quartet has added a new member, Jordan Cragun. Jordan is a fantastic vocalist and will be singing the baritone part for Liberty. Now, not to worry Liberty fans; Doran's not going anywhere. He'll still be singing occasionally, but wants to focus more on piano. For those of you who don't know Jordan, he's got a fantastic musical heritage (actually a wonderful heritage, music notwithstanding). His dad, Ray, sang bass with the Celebration Quartet for many years, the best quartet that most people never heard. His aunts include Kim Collingsworth, Julia Keep, and Sandy Adams; all incredible musicians in their own right. This is his first-ever song with Liberty, sung Friday night at the PGMA Music Festival in Eugene, OR. Special thanks to Ellen Gerig for the video. Jordan will start traveling with us full-time in January of 2009.

Jordan's solo on "He's Been There Too"...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shocking Campaign Signs

Now THIS is funny.

Trunk Or Treat

Last night was Trunk or Treat at Grace. Last year they had it on a weekend so I had to miss it. It was loads of fun! I helped Lori in the kids service by being a puppeteer, a first for me. LaRona gave me just enough instruction to keep me from making a fool of myself...well, let me take that back. She gave me enough rope to hang myself. It's harder than it looks. Anyway, then I passed out candy to kids from the back of my festive-looking Explorer. I enjoyed giving candy to the first-timers, kids who have never been trunk-or-treating. They had this puzzled expression that said, "Why are people giving me all this candy? Is this Heaven?" I even grilled a couple of hotdogs over at Mindy Ritchey's fire pit. A good time was had by all.

I spent quite a bit of time stuffing straw down my pants. Now, I wasn't wearing the pants at the time. Kassady thought it was pretty funny and took a picture. My stuffed man didn't turn out so good as you can see below. I've done better.

The back of the Waggonermobile, strawman and all. I have about one hundred little cuts on my hands from all that straw. I'll use gloves next time.

Trey was Joseph. Lori made his technicolor dreamcoat. He was sufficiently impressed. He got loads (and I mean LOADS) of candy. It will last him, in all seriousness, until next October.

Kassady was Queen Esther. She posed with one of her angelic friends, Taylor. This was the only time they weren't on a sugar high the rest of the evening.

The kids paraded in front of the adults during the midweek service. Thunderous applause greeted them.

Lots of kids, everywhere!

Katie Keep was Jezebel, but fortunately she had a little angel tugging at her trying to turn her in the right direction.

Allen dressed up as, well, himself. It was very realistic. They have the cutest baby girl! She wasn't that dazzled by my camera action. In fact, if babies can glare, I'm pretty sure one was cast my direction.

Lori gave an object lesson involving a pumpkin. The part where the pumpkin innards splashed all over her wasn't planned. The kids liked it, though.

Trey went over to the dark side of special ops, led there by his little green friend Noah.

Lori and I dressed for the occasion. I wore my Bubba teeth. They were a big hit with the 8-year-olds. We thought about dressing up like Abraham and Sarah, with this whole pregnancy and everything. Sarah decided not to.

Traveling Live

***If you get the Liberty Quartet newsletter, just ignore the text and skip to the pictures. I'm using some of the same material...

Liberty's last trip out was special, no doubt about it. We kicked off the tour at Post Falls Nazarene on Thursday. Lonnie and Melanie Capps (along with the rest of their hard workin' crew) did a fantastic job on the concert promotion. We had a phenomenal evening of worship. And, each of us ended up with a copy of Lonnie's cookbook, chock-full of delicious recipes culled from his years in the Marines. Visit out his website to get your own copy.

After a stay in the beautiful Coeur d' Alene Resort we left for Kimberly, British Columbia Friday morning. It's been a while since we've taken a trip featuring so much gorgeous scenery. Since moving to Idaho I have missed the changing of the leaves that I so often took for granted while living back east. There was plenty of leaf-changing to be seen on this trip. I spent good portions of the trip with my nose pressed up the window looking out over God's incredible handiwork. Awesome! And that was just a precursor to the Nazarene Laymen's Retreat up in Kimberly. This had to be one of the most relaxing weekends I've had since joining Liberty. The location coupled with the wonderful people we were with made for a fun three days. Kudos go out to retreat director Carrie Hoogstad and her wonderful committee. They ensured that the retreat came off without a hitch. It was a privilege to be with Pastor Kent Conrad, pastor of Nampa, ID First Nazarene. His challenges were insightful, direct, and inspiring. He had us memorize Psalm 139:23-24: "Search me, O God and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and leave me in the way everlasting." This should the prayer of every person who is continually pursuing holiness. Kent and his wife Kay are some of God's finest and we enjoyed our time together. I am just a little jealous of that big ol' Harley-Davidson that he rides. Kent's one wild hog! I'm more like Dudley.

We left the retreat Sunday morning after the closing service with 300 miles to drive. The destination was Clarkston, WA and the Living Heritage Methodist Church. This long trip was an aberration from our normal Sunday afternoon traveling schedule, but we made it with time to spare. We had a phenomenal concert! And, of course, our friends from Kings Heirs showed up. They even sang a couple of songs with us, much to the crowd's delight. After the concert we went over to Ernie Haverman's house for a mouthwatering meal of shepherd's pie, salad, bread, and rum cake. Of course, Ernie, Bob, Bill, and Pinky had to tell their stories from the road. And they have plenty after 30 years of traveling: the same 4 guys all 30 years.

After that, we hopped on the bus for what we assumed was going to be a fairly short trip home. Those of you who have kept up with my blog for a while know that Royce hates our Garmin GPS (the Garminator) with a passion, while Dan believes that it's almost infallible. There's some enjoyable irony to be found in the fact that it was Royce who followed the GPS on a course over some of the worst terrain ever. As we were heading out of town, I was sitting up in the shotgun seat and saw a sign that said next fuel station 77 miles. I looked at the guage, then at Royce and asked if he thought this was a good idea. "Oh yeah, we can get to LaGrande if we have too", he replied with all the confidence he could muster. I don't know what was going on in that little GPS brain, but we went over one of the craziest mountain passes it could have chosen. I'm not sure what kind of fuel mileage we got, but it couldn't have been that great. By the time we got over the mountain our fuel was almost gone. Royce finally saw a gas station that sold diesel, but when we pulled up it was closed. So, we shut 'er down and spent the night waiting for the station to open. When Dan walked in after fueling up the next morning the clerk said, "You came over that?", pointing in the direction of the mountain pass. When Dan nodded in affirmation she said, "I know a lot of people who won't go over that pass in cars!" Oh well, all's well that ends well. Royce has threatened various acts of violence against the Garminator. I'm pretty sure we're going to get on the bus one weekend and stumble over a crime of passion.

Anyway, here are some pictures:

Royce tried to remember all of the songs that the current version of Liberty Quartet (6.1, I believe) knows. It's somewhere around a hundred or so. The rest of the weekend we kept adding songs to the list. He wrote out the list with a Sharpie and lays it on the floor in front of the monitor. He pulls out a fresh lineup every night. We have no clue what's coming next. Who does he think he is? Hamill?

Doran was trying to practice during soundcheck. He has this weird idea that if he has headphones on and can't hear us, then we can't hear him. We had to get him to shut up so we could set vocals. He's over there humming away...loudly!

Diane went with us on this trip. Unfortunately, her presence did little to alter Doran's hyperactive state of being. She helped Doran lead the worship at the retreat and then sang a song at each of the other concerts.

Dan calling the front desk at the Coeur d'Alene Resort...just because he could. This was the nicest place that we've stayed. At least, since I've been with Liberty. On Friday morning, I had already showered and was doing a little reading with Dan came bursting into the room with his morning cup of coffee (the man has a terrible addiction). He said that they had an awesome pool/sauna/hot tub area downstairs. Well, it sounded good to me so I changed into a Tshirt and swimming trunks and headed off. Dan told me that he had found a shortcut we could take. Well, following Dan is somewhat like trusting the GPS. He headed out a door and I walked right out behind him...into the freezing cold of the outside. It was below 32 degrees outside and by the time it hit me and I reached for the door it had shut and automatically locked. It was one of those doors that doesn't allow you to go back in. So, Dan puts on a confident face and says, "I think it's just around the corner." We end up walking down by the docks, all around the hotel in the frigid weather. People were bundled up in heavy coats, hats, and gloves and they looked at us like we were insane walking around in shorts and T-shirts. We walked for about 8-10 minutes before we got around to the resort's main entrance. Dan's laughing like a hyena and I'm in the introductory stages of hypothermia by the time we get inside. It was one of those moments. I will say that hot tub never felt so good.

Why do people keep requesting this song? The only standing ovation we got all weekend was for our bluegrass number, "The Gospel Plow".

Carrie Hoogstad was the director of the retreat and did a wonderful job of keeping it moving. She even joined Dan and I in a few dance moves on "Bus Driver".

It was a privilege to hang out with Kent and Kay Conrad. Kay is about as spunky a woman as you're going to find anywhere. She cracked me up. I enjoyed the time we spent bouncing ministry ideas/stories off of each other. She has a heart for outreach. It's pretty cool to see and hear what God is doing at Nampa First and to share what He's doing at Grace. All in all, a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rah, rah, Phillies

Way to go Phillies. My wife and in laws are all ecstatic. Dave, being the Philadelphia native that he is, tipped over the coffee table in the living room and streaked through the house in his BVDs since he couldn't join the hoodlums down on Market Street who are celebrating this momentous event by stealing big-screen TVs and setting police cars on fire. Is it just me, though, or has the World Series just been boring the last few years? Yawn...

I guess if the Reds ever get back I'll get excited too.

Cellphone Candids

Here are some indiscriminate pictures taken on my Blackberry phone. The camera is pathetic, the only Blackberry feature I'm not fond of. I happened to remember today that I have a 1gig camera card in my phone, so I downloaded the following. Enjoy!

I think I took this right after I shaved my head for the first time. Lori was away at AYC and I wanted to prep her so she didn't slap me in the airport terminal. She slapped me anyway...

The beautiful women in my life. When we go to a restaurant, it's the chics on one side of the table...

...and dudes on the other side. My main man, Trey.

I must have been having a Daughtry moment during a soundcheck in Oregon.

In case you can't tell, these two together spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Taylor (Ritchey) and Trey, otherwise known as TnT.

I just bought the ice cream for the kids. Diane was the one that had to clean Taylor's face.

One of the highlights of Trey's young life: going to his first-ever Boise State football game. The Broncos won, of course. Incidentally, we're now #11 in the BCS standings.

Lori's face when she saw my freshly-shorn head for the first time.

Every time Lori or I have the opportunity to eat at Skyline Chili without the other, we take a picture and text it just to rub it in. This was taken at a Skyline in Louisville, KY where Doran and I introduced Brandon Beene of the Beene Family to just the best restaurant in the world! Lori texted back and said that she hoped I got diarrhea.

The Liberty guys got tickets to the New York Giants-St. Louis Rams game in St. Louis, MO. They were $100 seats and we got them for $10. My first NFL game. Eli Manning was on fire.

A blurred man deep in thought as the alien spaceships hover just outside.

We don't allow our children to have beverages on long road-trips. As a result, these parched little guys often collapse from thirst (before you call the authorities, just kidding...I just couldn't think of a caption).

Trey and his beloved GBS yo-yo (thanks to Jessica Smith). He was in the introductory phase of his "walk-the-dog" demonstration at the time.

Kassady taking a break from her soccer game. It was about 40 degrees at this particular game. She wasn't impressed.

My little princess. Trey hates this picture.

Royce and Dan with some of our fans, Megan and Jayden. Actually, their dad (Jeff) sings with Solid Ground, a Southern Gospel trio from the Sacramento area.

Spreading love and peace around Caldwell...

This was taken on my birthday at a Mexican restaurant somewhere in Klamath Falls, OR. The Spanish version of the Happy Birthday song is a beautiful thing to listen to. Those treats were tasty. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me keep the sombrero. I tried.

Dan, our own little manga character. Coming soon to a TV station near you!