Thursday, January 31, 2013

Through the Night - When Lyrics Speak

It has always amazed me how that God gives groups songs even before they knew they needed them. Two examples that come to mind immediately are the Bowling Family with "A Miracle Today" and the Greenes with "When God Has Another Plan." The message of these songs always meant something to these artists, but the songs meant even more after God had these artists go through specific trials. The latest example that has come to mind is the Perrys with "Through the Night."

I'll admit "Through the Night" was not one of the immediate stand out tracks to me on the Perrys' new album of the same name. However, after learning of Tracy's stroke last week, it's the one that I immediately thought of playing.

The message of the song is one that speaks of going through a trial that doesn't really make sense, but praising God through all of it. Praising God through tears and through questions. I'm amazed at the faith that Libbi has shown through every update she has sent out. Despite going through, no doubt, one of the toughest storms of life, she is giving praise and glory to God through it all. It's one thing to sing about this, but now the Perrys are living this.

Thankfully, we are seeing God work through this situation. The news of an improved CT scan yesterday and no new bleeding shows that God is still in the healing business, and we can believe that He will continue to work and heal Tracy. We can praise God for what He is doing through this for their testimony and ministry and what He will continue to do. Libbi mentioned in one update recently that there have been four people saved from hearing their story.  And I can't wait to see how even more incredible the ministry of the Perrys will be when God brings them all through this.

I love the line that says "You were never less than faithful, though Your hand is not in sight." We don't always see Him working, but He is always faithful and always there. Whatever you are going through, remember that there is always a reason to praise Him during a storm. Even though we don't understand, we have to trust that He will see us through the night.

Read all of Libbi's posts on the CaringBridge site

Help encourage Tracy and Libbi!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Heart of Worship - 11th Hour Concert Recap

I had the privilege of seeing 11th Hour on Friday night in Quitman, Ark. This was my first time to see the group, but was familiar with some of their music. I was looking forward to seeing them for the first time in person. It wasn't any ordinary gospel concert, but truly a night of worship. From the first song, "Heart of Worship," it was evident that the group was not about entertainment, but truly worshiping with the audience.

Here's a breakdown of the songs:
  • "Heart of Worship" - The concert started with this worship song, and Amber on the keyboard singing. This song really set the tone of the night.
  • "My Heart's Door"
  • "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus" - People were standing from the first note of this song. The audience was very responsive all night to 11th Hour. It was clear how much they were enjoying the concert. For most of the fast songs, people stood from beginning to end. It was during this song that it really struck me that the combination of Amber Eppinnette and Candice Jordan was very reminiscent of Joyce and Judy Martin.
  • "Example" - The was Candice's feature of the night. Great song and great voice!
  • "Farther Along"
  • "Gather 'Round"  - This was the first time we really got to hear Ethan Allen's voice. He normally plays bass with the group.
  • Amber made the introductions next. She announced that Justin Morphis is leaving 11th Hour to take time to concentrate on his family. Ethan was filling in for the weekend and only had a week to prepare.  I think he did a great job with so little time to prepare. 
  • "He Sees What We Don't" - This was my first time to hear this song, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was written by Amber and Joseph Habedank. Amber conveyed the message of this song beautifully.
  • "I Like the Promise"
  • "Sounds Like Angels" - The group had several a cappella encores of this song, and they were amazing. The vocals were absolutely incredible. One man from the audience said, "Well that will wind your clock!" Haha!
  • "Grip of Grace" - Ethan was featured on this Perrys tune.
  • "When I Knelt" - Candice took the first verse, and Amber the second. Beautiful rendition of this song!
Brief intermission and offering
  • "Steppin' Out" - This was the song I was most familiar with of the group's. It has definitely has made its way up the charts recently.
  • "Bloodline"
  • "God's Still God" - Another uptempo song that brought the audience to its feet.
  • "Revelation Song" - This song was a pure invitation to worship. Everyone was standing, joining in singing in praise to God. Amber played along, keyboard only, no tracks.
  • "Room With a View"
  • "Adam's Fall"
  • "Daystar" - Great song to end on. Amber played this one on the keyboard as well and sang. 
If you get the chance, definitely go see 11th Hour. It will be interesting to see the future of this group once they get a new vocalist with Justin leaving. I mentioned this earlier but the combination of Amber and Candice reminded me so much through the night of Joyce and Judy Martin. Both talented vocalists individually and dynamite together.

One thing that really stood out to me about this group besides their vocal abilities was their hearts and their intent with the music. They truly made it about glorifying God and not just putting on a show. It wasn't a concert, but they really made it a worship service. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

NQC 2013 Schedule

The National Quartet Convention recently released its 2013 schedule. While there has been debate about some groups that were added and others that were missing, it should be a great final year in Louisville.

NQC is always the biggest event of the year for southern gospel music. So here's my question for you, if you had to pick only one night to attend, which night would you go? (Keep scrolling for the 2013 schedule.)

Here's a breakdown of the nights:


Booth Brothers
Collingsworth Family
Greater Vision
The Hoppers
Providence Quartet
Squire Parsons
Triumphant Quartet


Brian Free & Assurance
Dixie Melody Boys
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Gold City
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Karen Peck & New River
The Kingdom Heirs
Legacy Five
Tribute Quartet


Brian Free & Assurance
Dixie Echoes
Dixie Melody Boys
Gold City
Keepers of the Faith
The Kingdom Heirs
The LeFevre Quartet
Legacy Five
Mark Trammell Quartet
Old Paths
Soul'd Out Quartet
Tribute Quartet
Triumphant Quartet


Booth Brothers
Collingsworth Family
Dixie Echoes
Greater Vision
The Hoppers
Jason Crabb
Mark Bishop
Triumphant Quartet
Wilburn & Wilburn


Booth Brothers
Gaither Vocal Band
Gold City
Greater Vision
The Hoppers
The Isaacs
Ivan Parker
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Karen Peck & New River
Mark Trammell Quartet
Rick Webb Family


11th Hour
Collingsworth Family
Crist Family
The Kingdom Heirs
Legacy Five
Mark Trammell Quartet
Tribute Quartet
Voices of Lee

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Update on Tracy Stuffle (The Perrys) - Stroke

Tracy and Libbi Stuffle - Stroke
I decided to start a new page for updates on Tracy Stuffle of the Perrys, since the first one was getting so long. He suffered a stroke on Monday night, Jan. 21, and is still in the hospital in serious condition. Please keep praying for a miraculous healing from God for Tracy and for Libbi, Jared and the Perrys.

Update on Tracy Stuffle from Libbi at 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 9:

Tracy's had a lot of movement w/ his left side & slight movement on right side. Trying to talk, can't because of trach. Opened eyes twice.

Update on Tracy Stuffle from Libbi at 8:50 a.m. on Feb. 9:

WELL GLORY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tracy just opened his eyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Prettiest sight I've ever seen!!!!!!!!!! Thank You sweet Jesus for another miracle!!!!!! GO GOD GO!!!!!!!! About to have a shoutin fit right here in this ICU room!!!!!!!!

Update on Tracy Stuffle from Libbi at 8:55 a.m. on Feb. 8:

Just saw the lady neuro dr and she's excited that she seen movement this morning from Tracy squeezing her hand on command, moving his arm. Moving his left leg and wait for it.......his right leg! It's a little weaker but it moved! She said he is working really hard on opening his eyes! Her words were, KEEP PRAYING!!!! And she was smiling from ear to ear!! I said oh, we are still praying and not giving up!!!

When I was straightening his fingers out on right hand just now, he moved that hand! So, GO GOD GO!!!!!!!!!

Blood pressure is still being controlled with med and hoping at some point to be able to take him off, but it's still too high for that right now! Preliminary blood cultures came back no growth in any of the cultures that were taken including the brain!!!! GO GOD GO!!!!!

Update from Joseph at 2 a.m. on Feb. 8:

Quick Tracy update: I talked with Libbi briefly tonight. Tracy has had a tough time with his blood pressure fluctuating today, so if you would pray for that in particular, I'm sure she would appreciate it. Outside of that, things are about the same and he seems to still be coming off of the sedation medication. Thank you all, AGAIN, for all your prayers. Keep em coming!

Update from Libbi at 3:50 p.m. on Feb. 7:

Tracy's blood pressure is still running high. Has been running a temp again after being down for almost 24 hrs. 3 steps forward, 1 step back. But, this too shall pass! In the Precious Name of Jesus!!

Update from Libbi at 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 7:

Wow, I am so wound up I don't know where to begin! Tracy was taken totally off all sedation meds Weds about lunch. I have stayed in his room just about all day to see if he would show signs of waking up. I started noticing some movement under his eyelids. Then he started yawning. I would sing to him and he would scrunch his forehead up and would move his mouth for a bit. I went to clean up at motel this evening and came back and started putting up his 91 cards he got today. After my sister Debra and I finished hanging the cards we started talking to him. I lifted his eyelid and he looked over to where I was. Then, I ask him to hold my hand or squeeze it. He squeezed it pretty good. He also moved his left foot and leg on command! I am sitting here by his bed watching his hand move!!! I will take this miracle!!!

Thank You Sweet Jesus!!!!!! All praise, glory and honor belongs to Him!!!!!

I will take these small miracles any day!! Even tho small they will add up!

Need to try to sleep, but I'm afraid I will miss something!! Will update later?


Update from Libbi at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6:

Tracy is doing good this morning other than having a little issue with his blood pressure wanting to go up. They have taken him down a little more on his sedation this morning. Temp has been down to 99 all night. PTL!!! The trach he has is gonna have to be replaced due to a leak in it. He's getting the oxygen he needs, but it's making awful sound.

Nurses and Drs are amazed at the cards he has received! Even more amazed when I tell them I couldn't get them all up!
The love that has been shown to my family during this time has been incredible!!! My heart along with my family is grateful and thankful!!!!! Please know this!!!!!!!! This is day 16 and God is Good!!!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

Thinking on God's mercy, grace and love today!!! He's the lifter of my head!!!!!


Update from Libbi at 12 a.m. on Feb. 6:

Doctors have begun to wean Tracy off sedation. Today was the first day and vitals stayed within normal range all day. When I returned from motel cleaning up tonight his blood pressure was a little elevated. Don't know if they will turn back sedation again tomorrow or not. Guess it will depend on vitals in the morning. I will update in the morning.

Thank you to my brother Randy and sister in love Mary Brown Perry for being here this past week! Gonna sleep now! Please join me in praying for a new day of miracles!!!!


Update from Libbi at 10:37 a.m. on Feb. 5:

The neuro team gave a thumbs up for the sedation to be decreased gradually. As of an hour ago the first turn back began! They will watch all his vitals and cranial pressure to make for sure nothing gets out of whack.

Will update again tonight.


Update from Libbi at 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 4:

Today was another good day. Rather quiet, but good. Tracy had another CT scan today and I will know the results in the morning. If everything looks good and his cranial pressure looks good, they will gradually bring him out of coma. I am trusting God for a miracle! That Tracy's mental and physical capacities will return 100%! Please pray and believe this with me!

The wound care team came in today and treated spots with skin breakdown and spots of severe yeast infection. Hoping all this clears up by the time Tracy wakes up totally! This stuff looks painful, I can only imagine how it feels!! :(

The group will have the new "Team Tracy" t-shirts with them on the road this weekend!! I posted pic of the shirt on FB and have had an overwhelming response of people wanting to order them. If you would like to order, send money to:

Team Tracy
1774 Shagbark Way
Gallatin, TN - 37066.

Cost of shirts are
$15 ea. S,M,L,XL,XXL
$17 ea. 3X, 4X, 5X & 6X
No kids available.

Include $3 shipping & handling for up to 2 shirts. Each additional shirt add $1. All monies will go to help pay hospital and medical expenses. There is a photo on the the front of shirt, with green ribbon "Pray For Tracy" on back of shirt.

Thank you all for all your prayers!!! I just can't say that enough!!!!!!

Looking for tomorrow to be a New Day, New Mercies and New Miracles!! In Jesus' Name, amen!!!

Love you all!

Update from Libbi at 1:26 a.m. on Feb. 4:

Today has been a pretty quiet day. Praise The Lord!! We've just took the past couple of days to let Tracy rest without any visitors. I even stayed in waiting room most of time, except in the morning hours. Everything has pretty well been stable all day. His temp has these crazy spells of going up, but most time will come down with Tylenol. Drainage from his brain is beginning to be more clear, which is a good thing! As soon as his cranial pressure drops some more they will start slowly trying to wake him up some. Praying that comes this week! I sure do miss looking into his eyes!!

I spent time tonight trying to get out Thank you cards to those who have sent love gifts. I am really trying to remember everyone!!! If you have sent or given us a love gift and don't receive a thank you card, please don't be offended, I can't remember all names. So, let me say here, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!!

Also, thank you LaDonna Ann Busler for all the great food you brought yesterday!!! Loved everything, but really enjoyed the chocolate covered strawberries!!! We love u!!!

For those worried about me getting rest, I am!! ;0) I've learned to sleep during day when he's doing good. So, I am doing better!

Speaking of sleep!!! Thank You God for a great day of life. Thank You for giving Tracy another good day! Thank You for this valley, for it's in the valley You restore my soul! I love You Sweet Jesus!

Update from Libbi at 8:50 a.m. on Feb. 2:

A new obstacle this morning! I have to leave Tracy's ICU room from 6 to 8 am & pm. I came back in Tracy's room at 8 am. Nurses were bathing him. The nurse tells me that Tracy is having some skin break down, mainly on his right side. She then shows me and I am shocked. Mainly under his arm and on his hip on right side. Then another place under his arm on left side. We do NOT need this in the Name of Jesus, God's Son be gone!!!!

Haven't seen the doctor yet to see what the plan of attack is. Blood pressure started elevating about 5am, which seems to be a pattern. Giving him Meds for that. Temp is still rocking between 99.8 to 101.8. Can I just say I am holding on to faith, but my brain and mind are worn out!!! Praying today will bring new mercies and new miracles, in the name of Jesus Christ, God's son!!

Update from Libbi at 7:10 p.m. on Feb. 1:

What a day! Been a day of mixed emotions. We knew Tracy was gonna have to have the trach inserted so they could remove the breathing tube through the mouth. Early afternoon I was told that the drainage cath. going into his brain was stopped up and wasn't draining. I had to sign the papers to ok for the Neuro Surgeon to replace the old drainage cath with a new one. With that, you have the risk of a new bleed, infection and other severe things. We prayed and then Randy (my brother) and I had prayer with the surgeon. Yes, the surgeon is a Christian and welcomed the prayer. Tracy's neuro surgeon is Dr. Arthur Ulm. God has undoubtable placed him in our pathway for this appointed time!!!!! The surgery was a success!!! The minute the new drain was in place it started draining!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!! The cranial pressure in the brain started dropping, which is what we needed to happen!

Shortly after the replacement of the drainage cath, Dr. Wilcox removed breathing tube from mouth and put a trach in. Everything with that procedure went good.

Earlier in the day they put a Peg feeding tube into Tracy's stomach. So needless to say, it's been a very busy and stressful day, but God is so good and we praise Him for His grace and mercies !!! Tracy has had one of the sweetest, Godly nurses the past three days!! Her name is Ms Kay! She has rejoiced with us and cried with us. Today after the drainage tube was in place and working properly sweet Ms Kay raised her hands toward heaven with tears in her eyes and said ohhh, Thank You Jesus!!!!! It was truly a moment!!!!! Now, they will let Tracy rest over the weekend and next week if all goes well, will start slowly weaning him off the sedation to wake him up. This will be a very slow process, as to not raise the blood pressure.

We request that he has no visitors this weekend except immediate family members only so his body and brain can rest and heal.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for my Sweet T!!! I will never, ever be able to thank you enough for standing with me and my family during this journey that God has chosen for us to travel. I wish I could take my heart out and show you my gratitude for everything that has been done for the past week and a half!!! Please DON'T stop praying!!!!!

I love you all!!!

Update on drainage cath from Debra (Libbi's sister):

Cath replacement for Tracy was a success!!! Now that's my GOD!!!!!!! Randy said you should have seen the pressure dropping when they inserted the new cath!! Libbi and one of the nurses, who has came out and heard them sing, about had a shouting spell right there in that room!!! There's shouting on the hills of glory cause the Lord just gave the devil a black eye!!

Update from Libbi at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 1:

Urgent Prayer: Tracy's drainage cath in the brain is not putting out like it should be, so they are wanting to remove drain and replace with new one. Thinking the one that is in is stopped up. With this procedure we risk another bleed as it did with the present drainage cath. They will be doing this in the next few minutes. Please pray!!!!!!!

Update from Libbi at 2:15 a.m. on Feb. 1:

The past couple of days and nights have been really good days for Tracy. Praise The Lord!!!!! He seems to be resting really well. He's off all medication except for IV fluids and sedation medicine. His vitals seem to be staying stable.

His results from lung culture showed no signs of MRSA!!! Another Praise The Lord!!!! All he has is staph pneumonia in lungs. Please pray that will completely heal! Also, the preliminary results of infection in brain came back negative!! The final report should be back in about 4 days. Triple Praise The Lord!!! 

Here's where I need you to help me prayer! Today 2/1/13 at 3 p.m. CST, Tracy's air tube in his mouth will be removed and a temporary trach will replace it. Please pray:
1: The doctor (Dr. Wilcox) will trace God's hands during this surgery to place the trach in without any complications.
2: He will tolerate the surgery which will be done bedside in the ICU room.
3. Pray there will be NO complications afterwards!

Thanks again to everyone who have brought hot meals, care baskets, gift cards, motel rooms and love gifts! I have been so overwhelmed and grateful for your out pouring of love toward Tracy Stuffle! I have always been a giver and times like this is hard for me, because someone else is being the giver and we are the receivers. Thank you all for loving us!!!

For those wanting to send cards to Tracy, please send to:
Tracy Stuffle / 1774 Shagbark Way / Gallatin, TN / 37066

Gotta get some sleep now!! Don't forget the special prayer request above!!

Love ya!!!

Update from Libbi at 7:23 p.m. on Jan. 30:

I want to first apologize for not updating sooner. I had all intentions to do it this afternoon and I fell asleep in the waiting room and slept for 2 hours!!!

The CT scan showed no new bleeds and the brain shows signs of healing! Whoop, whoop!!! Praise The Lord. The blood that is coming thru the drainage cath has turned dark red which is a sign of old blood. So it's on it's way to clearing up. Praise The Lord!!!

They will be inserting a temporary trach so they can remove air vent from the mouth. When this is done, they will be able to start waking him up gradually. At this point we will be able to see how he responds.

Lungs: the culture from the lungs came back and it showed there's staph/pneumonia. We will know tomorrow if its MRSA. He's been on 2 different antibiotics, so we will be a little ahead of the game.

Temp is staying around 100 to 101. Blood pressure has been stable all day!!! Praise The Lord again!!!!

Please, stop right now and just Praise God and give Him all the glory for this HE has done!!! I am closer to getting to see those beautiful green eyes that I fell in love with over 25 yrs ago!!!!!!!

Update from Randy Perry, Libbi's brother on Jan. 30:

CT scan NO new bleeds!!! Brain showing signs of beginning to heal!! Thank God for all of you Prayer Warriors that have been lifting up Tracy Stuffle! Long way to go but a Victory worth shouting about today!!! So please help us fight on!!

Update from Libbi at 7:34 a.m. on Jan. 29:

Tracy had a pretty good night last night. Temp stayed between 99 & 100. Blood pressure stayed stable. Looking for new miracles today!! No matter the size we will take them!! 

Thank you to Matt Hagee, Aaron & Amanda Crabb, Jeff LaBorg for coming and praying over Sweet T!!! Means more than you will know!! Thank you to Candy Christmas, Linda DeVault, Alisa Grubb, Norman Holland, Carolyn Minick, and Jamie & Kristi Jamie Bramlett , Mike Gibson for food, snacks and drinks!! You'll never know how much we appreciate it!!! 

 Also, thank you to everyone who has paid for nights at the motel near the hospital where I go to every evening between 6-8 pm to clean up!! This such a blessing, because that's the only time I leave the hospital. Thanks a million times a million!!!! 

I will try to do another update sometime today. I have been so sleepy at night, I haven't done any updates at night in the past couple nights. I will to get better. 

Thank You Sweet Jesus for a New Day, New Mercies and New Miracles!!!!!

Update from Libbi at 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 28:

Tracy had a good night and half day yesterday. Yesterday afternoon temp started creeping back up. Then the blood pressure started elevating. As of right now nothing has changed. Temp is still 100.1. They have ice packs and fan on him. Looks as tho he may have start of pneumonia. It's a roller coaster ride, but with this type of brain injury and trauma, this stuff goes with the territory. Dr said yesterday, it's just gonna take time. I am taking just one day at a time. I am looking for the smallest of miracles and blessings in the day! 

I will report that 4 people have been saved as result of all of this!!! Praise The Lord!!!!!! So, how do you like that devil???? We never know why God allows things to happen! I know I have been able to shine a light to his nurses and doctors by simply talking about God, miracles and prayer!! Some like it, others look weird at you! I am weird!!! I am in this world, but not of this world!! I am more determined to share God's love and promises. I am more determined to try to get more people to Christ!!! Some one commented about a post I made on John 3:16 and being saved. They said it was more than just asking, believing and confessing. Maybe so, but salvation and being saved is not complicated. Sometimes I think we make it seem complicated and it turns the lost people away. This is just my opinion! Not giving up! Still fighting! Who's fighting with me?

Update from Libbi at 6:23 a.m. on Jan. 27:

Yesterday was a rough day for Tracy. Last night his blood pressure and temp started rising. From 6 to 8 am & pm we have to leave ICU. I take the evening time to go to motel to shower and get refreshed. I admit I was a little down, well truth is a lot down! Before we left the motel to come back to hospital, my family gathered around me and prayed. When finished, I sat there for a few minutes gathering myself off the floor. When I stood up I said let's go fight! All the way to the hospital something was rising up inside me! Walked into Tracy's ICU room and all his vital signs were good. TaRanda Greene has been a great support to me the past couple days. We were texting and somewhere out of the blue it hit me like lightning!! The devil has got to turn loose of Tracy's body and turn loose from trying to defeat us in our minds! I put my foot down and declared war on the devil! We are warriors!! We have the greatest ammo on earth and it's called prayer! I texted all of my family that "war was declared on satan!" I told them to suit up and let's fight! I got permission from Tracy's nurse to have all my family members who were at the hospital to come into his room and have a old fashion "come to Jesus prayer meeting!" I told them what things we were gonna pray about and told them if anyone in that room had any doubts to leave the room. No one left! I can't tell you everything that happened, but God was in the room!! We prayed and sang!! That's been almost 11 hours ago, all of Tracy's vitals have been sitting on normal!!! Most of these without any help medically! I read healing scriptures over him and prayed over every area of his body!!! No, it's not about what did, but it's about what God did!! I am expecting a great miracle to take place!!! This is war!! Put on the whole Armour of God, and let's send the devil packing back to hell where he came from!!!!! And in the mean time I want to kick his teeth clear out of his body and bruise his ole lying, no truth in him's head!!!!!!!! If you don't believe or agree with this, step away! 

Update from Joseph on Facebook at 11 p.m. on Jan. 26:

Tracy had another rough day today. Blood pressure spiked & his fever got up to around 102° at one point, BUT Libbi got around his bed, started praying and he seems to be doing much better tonight. His fever is back down and his blood pressure is also (with meds). Also, his blood work came back and there is no infection in his blood so they think it could be in his chest. Thank you all so much for praying! Please continue to do so. We love you all very much!

Update as of 5:53 p.m. on Jan. 26:

Tracy's blood pressure is spiking and his temp is 102. They have ice packs around him and cooling blanket on him. Blood cultures preliminary came back that there was no infection in the blood. Doctor seems to think it's coming from lungs.

Update as of 6:35 a.m. on Jan 26:

Tracy did good through the night. Was off the blood pressure medicine all night! And his blood pressure stayed in area of 117 / 64. They turned it back on just now because it went up while they were changing his sheets and bathing him. Temp is 101. Praise God, Praise God, Thank You Jesus!!!

Waiting on blood culture results to come back on infection. Chest X-ray showed chest congestion & fluid. Gave him lasiks to remove fluid. They have him almost fully sedated in order to let his body and brain rest from yesterday morning being so bad.

And I was able to sleep 4 hrs!!! Plan on slipping in some cat naps through out the day!!!

Thank you to TaRanda Greene for being there for me yesterday!!

Please know I cherish every prayer you pray for us!!!!!!!!!! Will update again later on.

Love y'all! Lib

See previous updates

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Tracy Stuffle Chainsaw

It's been a busy time in the southern gospel world. In the past week and a half, there have been a number of group change announcements. And of course, the news Monday night that Tracy Stuffle had a stroke and is still in ICU.

So today's Fun Clip Friday is in honor of the Perrys. It's the classic chainsaw impersonation from Tracy! :) Enjoy, and keep praying for the Stuffles/ Perrys!

And don't forget that I'm hoping to get as much from this online "community" as possible to write in to encourage them! Here's the link - Encouraging Tracy and Libbi

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Let's Encourage the Perrys

Since Jan. 21, I, like many of you I'm sure, have had the Stuffles/ Perrys on my mind. Our past few days have been filled with prayer for Tracy. Praying for healing and a miracle from God. Praying for Libbi, Jared and their family as well as Joseph and Bryan for God to help them and strengthen them during this time.

While prayer is probably the most important thing we can do for them, I still want to do something more. I think it's important for us as fellow believers, friends and fans to encourage them during this time. It's been amazing to see the outpouring of love that has been shown to them on social media and their Caring Bridge website. We live in such an electronic world and it's been great to receive news and updates quickly, but at the same time I think it would great for them to receive something tangible that shows how much they are loved and being prayed for.

Here's what I would like to do: Make a book to give to them of letters, emails and notes of encouragement (how much you are praying for them, what their ministry means to you, get well soon messages, etc.). I would love for as many people as possible to participate, so please share, Facebook, retweet and spread the word, because we want to shower them with love and encouragement. I'm sure some of you many have already done this personally, but I would love for you to participate in this as well. We don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future. In the days ahead, they need to be reminded of how much they mean to us and are being prayed for. Let's encourage this family!

To send me your message, comment below or email me at If you would prefer to send in something handwritten, email me, and I'll respond with an address to send it. If you've already sent a message or left one on Facebook or the Caring Bridge site, I would still love to include it in this! I want this to be an overwhelming sign of our love and encouragement for them! I'll take letters and emails through Friday, Feb. 8!

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up...." - 1 Thess. 5:11

"Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you." - 2 Cor. 13:11

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mike Bowling Collection - Mike Bowling - CD Review

Mike Bowling Collection
Mike Bowling released a solo CD, Mike Bowling Collection, at the end of 2012. While most of the songs are previously released songs, for Mike Bowling fans it's a CD you'll want to add to your collection.

I'll confess I am not as familiar with Mike's solo projects as I am his most recent releases with the Bowling Family, but I've always been a huge fan of Mike's voice. I think he's one of the top male vocalists in the genre and has one of the most recognizable voices as well. So even though many of the songs were earlier releases, I was not familiar with some of them. I wouldn't necessarily consider it a "best of" project because you have some fan favorites and his most well-known songs that are missing, "Thank God for the Preacher" and "The Call" just to mention a couple.

While I'm confessing to you, I'll also be honest that on several "listen throughs" I was distracted trying to figure out who some of the background vocalists were. Still not sure if I could figure them out! :)

The new song on the project is "God in All Things." This song has a more worship feel for me, which I really enjoyed. Great addition to the CD to offer something new for listeners.

"He Loved Me Through It All" - Stylistically this one is a little different to me from others on the project. This is one of my favorites. I love the message of the song, and Mike does such a great job conveying the lyrics of this song. It can be easier to communicate lyrics on a ballad, but Mike does it just as well on this more uptempo track.

"I'll Be Alright as Soon as I Touch Calvary" - This one is actually being release to radio as a single for the Bowling Family. The strong country flavor of this song suites Mike perfectly. Kelly and Terah join Mike on the chorus for some great family harmonies.

 I wasn't familiar "Don't You Doubt" at all, in fact, I had to research to see if it was a previously recorded song or not. It was included on Mike's The Call project. Great song and one of my favorites. Another uptempo standout for me is "Tell It All."

Album Rating - 3.75 stars - I'm torn about song selection on this project. On one hand, I like that it's not the predictable "best of" Mike Bowling. It doesn't include his most well-known hits as a solo artist. But I also miss those songs a little bit on this project. However, I am glad that some songs I was not as familiar with got some extra attention and a new listen with this project. It's a definite one you'll want to pick up if you are a Mike Bowling fan. Also, for those who love country gospel, you will not want to miss it!

Song list:

1. "He'll Send a Miracle"
2. "Something Out of Nothing" **
3. "He Loved Me Through It All" **
4. "I'll Be Alright as Soon as I Touch Calvary" **
5. "Don't You Doubt" **
6. "From Heaven's Glory"
7. "Tell It All" **
8. "For My Good" **
9. "Homesick to Go"
10. "All That I Am"
11. "God In All Things" **

** Personal Favorites

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Eric Phillips Leaving Mark Trammell Quartet

Mark Trammell Quartet
Eric Phillips is stepping down as tenor of the Mark Trammell Quartet. He has been with the group since Dec. 2011. He was with the Mark Trammell Trio before leaving the road to be a police officer, which is the job he is returning to. His last date with the group is on Feb. 10 in Jacksonville, Fla. Pray for both Eric and his family and MTQ as they transition into another chapter of life and ministry.

Mark Trammell shares, "Eric Phillips is one of the finest tenor singers in our industry today and he will be sorely missed. We wish nothing but the best for Eric, Lauren, Carli, and Blake. Our love and prayers go with them."

With this unexpected change the quartet will now begin the process of finding the right man to fill the tenor position. For those who are interested, please send a demo CD of no more than 2 songs, a photo, and a brief resume to Mark Trammell Quartet, PO Box 588, Gadsden, AL 35907. Auditions will begin as early as next week.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Prayers for Tracy Stuffle - Tracy Stuffle Suffers a Stroke

Libbi Perry Stuffle of the Perrys posted on social media on Monday night that she was at the ERwith Tracy. Tracy suffered a stroke on Monday night while driving. He's in a hospital in Nashville in ICU. Please keep Tracy, Libbi, their family and the Perrys in your prayers.

Learn how you can support the Perrys!

Here's the latest update:

Update at 9:05 a.m. on Jan. 25:

Temp is down to 99.3 from 103.5, but they are doing a chest ex ray to check lungs. They seem to think there is bacteria somewhere. But even their highest acting antibiotics have not worked. His vitals are a little higher than has been. But, this could be happening due to the part of brain that controls the body temp being effected from bleed out! Just don't know right now.

Update at 5:28 a.m. on Jan. 25:

Urgent prayers needed!!!! Tracy has a 103 degree Neurological infection/fever!!! They have ice on him in areas and they are putting a cooling blanket under him.

Update on from Libbi on Facebook at 9:15 a.m. on Jan. 24:

Tracy's numbers are staying where they are suppose to be. Blood pressure still fluctuates especially when they have to suction. He's still sedated. He's having a little more movement on his left side, but nothing on the right side. But, the neuro doctor said it's still early in the game.

I spent most of the night holding his hand. When I hold his hand he will rub his fingers against mine and squeeze and he tries to turn my wedding ring around. He opened his eyes a couple times last night for a few seconds. I sang to him and played some quiet time hymns songs.

I will update daily at 9 a.m. after I see his doctor and he gives me his updates on him. I will also update in the afternoon or evening. I didn't last night because I was really tired. Also, these updates will be on his page. They will also notify you when a update has been posted.

I want to thank Linda DeVault, Carolyn Minick, Candy Christmas, Alisa Grubb, Tim Duncan and his wife for bringing care packages for the family! We really appreciate everything! Also want to thank all of his friends that have came! A special thank you to Dr. Phil Hoskins and Dr. Joe Arthur! These are some of Tracy's favorite preacher buddies!

A big thank you to my sweet nephew Barrett Devault for the hotel room through Sunday for me to shower and some of our out of town family to stay in. You will never know how much I deeply appreciate this! I love you Bear!

Thanks again for all the prayers, text messages, phone calls and emails!!! They truly lift my spirits!!!

I love you all!
Romans 8:18

Update from Joseph Habedank at 1 a.m. on Jan. 24:

I was at the hospital for a few hours this morning and I was able to spend a couple hours in Tracy's room with Libbi tonight. He seems to be sleeping soundly and his color looks much better as well. Also, his temperature has gone down a little and he no longer has a fever, to my knowledge. Please continue to (obviously) pray for Tracy, but also pray for Libbi, that The Lord will give her strength, as she is living on very little sleep since Sunday and pray for Jared too, if you would.. They all need it. We love you all!

Update from Libbi's Facebook at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23:

I ask Tracy to squeeze my hand if he wanted me to stay with him and he grabbed my hand and wouldn't let go!!! He's having a little more movement on his good side. This made me happy, happy, happy!!!

Update from Jared on Twitter at 2 p.m. on Jan. 23:

No big difference today in dad, they do have him half way awake so he has been doing his "I'm ready to get out of here" leg shake

Update from Libbi on Facebook as of 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 23:
Not a lot of changes through the night other than temp is normal! PTL

They have had to up his blood pressure med. It's having a hard time staying down where they need it even with added meds. His nurse said this morning that if the BP goes too high and he has another bleed out, his life as he knew it would be done! They are being VERY adamant about LESS visitors today and absolutely no talking and stimulation from the few visitors that they will allow today! I have been lectured twice on this in the last nine or ten hours! They said they took by all the visitors he had yesterday and last night that he was a very loved and thought of person. But, the live is gonna have to wait til he's out of the woods.

No CT scan will be done today, maybe tomorrow. Still allowing time for blood in the fluid cavities to drain off.

I will update later if any changes are made.

Thanks for all the overwhelming amount of prayers, text messages, phone calls and emails!!!! You will never ever know how much it means to our family!

Also one other thing: the guys Joseph and Bryan will be filling all dates this weekend! Ms Leah Melissa Page will be filling in for me. Leah is a very incredible singer and I requested her to step in to fill my place. I ask that you will continue to support the group during this time. I know if Tracy could speak he would tell you this would be a big support to him and for him. I feel my place is to be here during these crucial days. I beg you to please understand. I love you all more than you will ever know! 


Update from Libbi on Facebook at 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 23:

Ok I forgot that I have not posted any thing since drainage cath was put in. Which I've been almost 40 hrs with no sleep. Can't eat or sleep until I know my Sweet T is out of the woods! Yes, I know I have to take care of myself too, and I am.

Drainage cath was placed into brain to drain off blood from bleed out. The blood in the fluid cavities is draining off! We noticed movement about 30 minutes later. They now have Tracy sedated so all of his pressures can rest. He also needed a mouth inserted trach to open up his air way, which is a breathing machine, not a vent! They've had to strap his left arm down due to him trying to pull tubes out.

As of right now, he is running a temp of 100. Sometimes this common because the brain controls the temp. But, gonna keep an eye on it to make sure there's not a infection somewhere.

They should be doing another CT scan Wednesday. I will update if they do.

I am sooooo overwhelmed at the out pouring of love that has been shown Tracy! He would never believe it! He sometimes feels like no one really cared about his part in the group. Well, I can't wait for him to see all of you alls FB pages! I have set here beside him crying looking at pics, prayer request posting, kind and generous remarks about him!! Trust me I will show him as soon as he's out of the woods! I don't even know the correct words to use to express my gratitude and thanks for every prayer that has been lifted on his behalf! I love you all sooooooo much!! Please keep praying for my Sweet T!

Update from Jared on Twitter at 6:45 p.m.:

Last time a few went in dad was wiggling his toes and moving his shoulder on his right side so hopefully he is getting some of it back!

Update from Jared on Twitter at 4:50 p.m.:

Tube is in and draining blood off dad's brain which is good, they have him knocked out right now but hopefully we will get to talk tonight.

Updated from the Perrys' Facebook 1:50 p.m.:

I just saw the neurosurgeon. The second bleed out in Tracy's brain is filling up the fluid cavities in his brain. Basically this is like having a stopped up sink with the water still running. The blood left in there is gonna cause pressure on the brain. So the dr is fixin to put a drainage cath in his brain to let the fluids drain out of the fluid cavities. This will only take about 15 mins and is done bedside. Problems that could happen: once in the brain could cause another bleed. 2nd is infection setting up which could go straight to the brain. If this is not done, he will continue to get sleepier and sleepier until he falls into a coma. He's almost been weaned off meds to lower his blood pressure. He is stable on the blood pressure. 

At 7 pm eastern time 6 cst a mass of churches across the United States are gathering to have a prayer vigil on Tracy's behalf. We ould be so honored to have you join with them and my family. Thank you to everyone who has and is praying!!!!

 Update from Singing News at 1:20 p.m. CST:

Bill Bailey, spokesman for The Perrys, has announced that The Perrys intend to fulfill their personal appearances that are scheduled for this upcoming weekend. "Joseph Habedank and Bryan Walker be carrying on the tradition of great Southern Gospel music that Tracy and Libbi have become known for. Libbi will be staying at Tracy's side while talented friends will fill in for the time being. I want to encourage all of the friends of The Perrys—as well as all Southern Gospel fans—to come out and support The Perrys at their concerts and services this weekend in Maryville, Tennessee/Thomasville, North Carolina/Yakinville, North Carolina/Monroe, North Carolina."

Update from the Perrys' Facebook as of 8:33 am CST:

New CT scan showed increased bleeding. Concerned they may have to put him on vent if this starts effecting his breathing. Dr will be in in a little bit to update me more. His blood pressure is down by medicine.

Update from Libbi's Facebook  at 4 a.m. CST:

Update on my precious Sweet Tracy. He has had a stroke. It's not from a clot but from bleeding. He has no movement on the right side. His speech you cannot understand. He however does understand us. He's in ICU and will be here several days. He will have another CT this morning around 8am or a little after. Here's what I am BEGGING you to help me pray: that the bleeding stops and his brain doesn't swell any more than what it is. He has minimal swelling now. And pray God will restore him 100%. 

Tracy had just dropped me off at hospital so I could stay the night with our friend Nancy who had breast cancer surgery today. He got about a mile from hospital and whatever this is happened and he wrecked. Thank The Lord he was only a mile from the hospital. He tried to call EMTs himself, but somehow call Bill Bailey. Friends, I am really trying to stay strong I really am, but I really need a whole bunch of God's strength right now!!! All I know is to be totally honest with you! I am standing on God's Word that by HIS stripes we ARE healed, in the precious name of Jesus!!! Lib

Please keep them in your prayers. I'll try to update this post as soon as I hear anything else.

How Far Will You Drive?

I love seeing as many concerts as I can. Despite Arkansas being in the South, it's really not a state a lot of artists frequent. So the question was raised recently what I was willing to drive for a concert. And now I would love to hear from you. How long are you willing to drive?

I understand some of this depends on the group, but let's assume it's a group you really enjoy hearing. Also, I'm not talking about big events with more than one artist and multiple days. The question is just for concerts with one group. I'm interested in seeing how you respond!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Madison and Shannon Easter

Happy Friday to everyone!! Anyone have big plans this weekend? I'm hoping to be able to attend a concert this weekend, but my plans still aren't concrete right now. I'll definitely have a recap for you if I do!

For today's Fun Clip Friday post, Madison and Shannon Easter (son and daughter-in-law of Jeff and Sheri Easter) shared a music video yesterday of a song they have written and will be on a CD they are releasing. I've heard Madison sing occasionally with his parents and it's no doubt he got the music genes, but I was really impressed with him singing on Morgan's solo project. I got to hear Shannon fill in for Morgan last spring, and thought she had a great voice. She handled the soprano harmonies really well and was featured on "Hold Me While I Cry" that really showcased the talent she has.

Not only are the song and vocals great, but I was really surprised with the quality of the video work. See what you think!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jordan Cragun Leaving the Liberty Quartet

Jordan Cragun is leaving the Liberty Quartet. He has been with the group since 2009 as their baritone. He will be stepping down effective January 20, 2013 to pursue other music opportunities with his wife, Elena.

Jordan said in his resignation letter - "I believe with all my heart that God brought Liberty to where it is today, and will lead them to even greater heights in the future."

Liberty Quartet wishes Jordan the best in the future. The group will announce its new baritone singer in the near future.

Changes for the Crist Family

Breana Crist has announced that she is leaving the Crist Family's group (Hat tip, Daniel Mount). Valerie Crist will replace her in the lineup. Breana got married in 2012 and is leaving follow God's leading in this next stage of her life with her husband. Valerie will start singing with her family in February. Breana's last date with the group is February 26.

Below is a portion of Breana's farewell letter. The entire letter is on the Crist Family's website.

I am so thankful for who God has helped me to be through the lessons I’ve learned in this ministry and from my family. I thank God for the journey and adventure it has been for me sing and travel all over the country and different parts of the world. I have met so many people who have loved me and encouraged me through the years. Now, as my husband and I go a new direction, I go with a full heart knowing that I am loved by my family and by you. I go with courage knowing that God is watching over us. I go with confidence that even though we may not always have everything we want, God will always provide us with what we truly need. I go expecting that He will continue to change me and grow me into the woman of God He knit me together to be. And I go with urgency believing that He is coming back soon.

Lastly, I have been so blessed by each of you. Even though I’m very excited about what God has for me in the future, it is still very hard for me to say goodbye. You have become more than a friend, you have become like family to me. To all of you who have fed me, clothed me, treated me to Starbucks, bought me computers, remembered me on my birthdays and at Christmas, taught me about mutual funds, prayed for me and loved me I thank you will all of my heart. I will never forget the memories we’ve shared together over the last eight years. I love you all!

The Hoppers and TaRanda Greene

This weekend I caught most of the Hoppers' concert online from Lake Gibson Church. It was a great concert. Connie was not there due to some regular doctor's checkups, but TaRanda Greene filled in for her. I am such a fan of hers, and I love hearing her and Kim sing together. I don't think any of us will forget "There Is a Fountain" anytime soon.

It seems that she has been traveling some with them lately adding a sixth vocalist to their group, not just filling in Connie's part. I am not in a hurry to see Claude and Connie retire anytime soon. But I do think adding TaRanda to the group brings an interesting dynamic. The combination of her and Kim brings two of the genre's powerhouse vocalists together in one group.  Kim even made the comment Saturday night that she enjoyed having TaRanda with them and trading off the high parts on songs.

Here's a clip of their concert below. I wish I could find one that had TaRanda singing with the entire group instead of filling in for Connie, so if you find one, I would love the link. What do you think? Would you like to see TaRanda join the Hoppers if not permanently at least more frequently?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Come on Home CD Review - The Nelons

The Nelons released Come on Home in early 2012. However, I just got my hands on a copy at the end of 2012 and found out that I had been missing out by not having this project sooner!

First of all, I love projects that have more than your traditional 10 songs, and this one has 15 tracks. Most of the songs are Gaither-influenced with Bill or Gloria or both being a writer on many of the songs. Bill has a guest vocalist spot on the first song, "I Have Seen the Children." He along with Jason produced the album. And Jason Clark also wrote two of the songs, "Jesus, I Just Want to Say I'm Sorry" and "The Little Brown Church."

"Come to the River" is definitely a stand-out song on the project. It features a great blend of all three vocalists. Another song that jumped out at me was "Down to the River." Even though this song has been covered a lot, the Nelons' version is not one to be missed. It's a great a cappella arrangement of the song, and this group really shines on a cappella numbers. They really show off their strong harmonies on both of these songs.

Most of the songs have a strong acoustic feel. It's a great easy-listening CD with most of the songs being a slower tempo. However, the uptempo songs do stand out and are among my favorite songs on the project, especially "The Diff'rence Is in Me."

I love that they went back and covered "The Sun's Coming Up", and Kelly is incredible on this song. However, my favorite of her features on this album is "Somebody's Praying." Beautiful song!

My favorite of Jason's features is "Excuse Me Are You Jesus." It's a new one from Bill and Gloria Gaither and Larry Gatlin that has a message we all need to be reminded of again. I also really enjoyed Jason's performance on the more uptempo "I Choose the Lord."

Amber absolutely shines on "Morning Has Broken." Her voice soars to the high notes of the song beautifully. Amber also has the feature on one of the song's Jason wrote, "Jesus, I Just Want to Say I'm Sorry," which proves she can take lyrics that sound like they should come from someone older and produce a very convincing vocal. This song also shows off Jason's writing ability, very touching, heartfelt lyrics.

Album Rating - 4.25 stars - Despite the lack of original songs, the song selection for the project overall is strong. The arrangements and vocal performances show that the Nelons can take a song and make it their own. I love the acoustic feel to the project that gets down to the roots of the songs. It's definitely one that you'll want to add to your collection!

Song List:
1. "I Have Seen the Children" **
2. "Come on Home"
3. "Come to the River" **
4. "Somebody's Praying" **
5. "Down the River" **
6. "The Diff'rence Is in Me" **
7. Excuse Me Are You Jesus?" **
8. "Handful of Dust"
9. "Morning Has Broken" **
10. "When He Talked About His Home"
11. "The Sun's Coming Up"
12. "I Choose the Lord"
13. "I Heard It First on the Radio"
14. "Jesus, I Just Wanna Say I'm Sorry" **
15. "The Little Brown Church"

** Personal favorites

Review copy provided

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lily Weatherford to Retire

Lily Fern Weatherford issued this statement on the Singing News website on Saturday. She will retire May 2013 after 65 years.

January 12, 2013- After much prayer and thought, my years of traveling with the Weatherfords will be coming to a close at the end of May, 2013. I turned 84 this past November, and have just celebrated my 70th year in full time ministry. I will be making our annual Florida tour that will last through February as well as one more tour to California and once that is completed at the end of May, I will be retiring. I have sold my home in Paoli, OK and will be moving to Broken Arrow, OK, where my daughter, Susan, and her husband Tim are living.

I feel that this is what the Lord wants for my life at this time. Over the past several years, there have been so many changes in the economy and and state of the country that it has become financially unfeasible for me to continue on in the same manner of ministry. Churches and pastors have changed their way of ministry and are not supporting the Southern Gospel groups as they have in the past. The Weatherfords have always depended on the church and free will love offerings to keep us going. Fuel prices are outrageous as well as other costs of keeping on the road. All these things have caused me to come to this decision.

Steve is planning to continue in some form. He will be making announcements as to the future of the Weatherfords. Steve has been faithful to the Weatherfords for 37 years and he wishes to carry on. I would appreciate it if you would support him as you have supported us with your love and prayers. You can contact him through his website at

Please come out to these final dates and see us if you possible can. Our schedule is at I will be putting updates on my website, as well as on my Facebook page.

Lily Fern Weatherford

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Melody Boys Quartet

I had the privilege of going to the Melody Boys Quartet's final concert on Dec. 31. You can read the full recap here. So for today's Fun Clip Friday post, here's the final song of that concert. Excuse the shakiness of the camera, the entire audience was on its feet at the end for the Melody Boys Quartet. Standing up while holding a camera still is not a skill I have learned yet! :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One Year Blog Anniversary

Today marks one year since my first post on the blog. Thank you all for bearing with me during this first year. I've learned a lot and still have a lot to learn about the music and about blogging.

Thanks to all of my readers. The fact that you read what I write means so much. Thanks to all who have encouraged me in blogging. You'll never know how much I appreciate it.

I've really enjoyed this first year. I've gotten the chance to meet a lot of great people through the blog. Thanks to the artists who have given me a CD to review, promoted the blog on social media or simply taken the time to say a few kind words at the product table. I'm so glad that I've had the opportunity to meet you all.

Thanks to other bloggers for your encouragement and comments this first year. I feel blessed to be a part of this online community!

Thanks again for reading, and I'm looking forward to what the second year of blogging brings!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Played in a Band - When Lyrics Speak

On their album A Tribute to the Songs of Bill and Gloria Gaither, the Booth Brothers had a couple of new Gaither tunes. One of those was "I Played in a Band." The song is a fun uptempo song that normally includes a few encores live. Sometimes I overlook the message of the faster songs, but I love the reminder that this song brings. You can listen to the full song in the clip below.

Bill Gaither and Larry Gatlin wrote this tune together after Bill got the hook from a letter he received. The letter writer felt that all he did was play in a band, write a few songs and in a choir, nothing spectacular. But that's not what Bill thought.

So many times we focus on being known and wanting to make our mark by being a leader or stepping out in the spotlight. However, sometimes we make the greatest impact just simply by serving God in whatever position we are called to. It takes a great deal more followers than leaders to make the world. 

"For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." - 1 Corinthians 12:14-18

We're all called to different roles. God has equipped each of us with different strengths to be able to serve Him in different areas. Just because God's not calling you to step out in front and minister to a crowd of thousands, doesn't mean He will use you any less. Sometimes it's just us going through the "simple" things, playing in a band, writing a couple of songs or singing in the church choir, that God will use the most.

What can we do where God has us to serve Him to the best of our ability? What's God calling you to do for Him? You don't have to be the "big dog" to show Christ to others or to make a difference for His kingdom. Whether you preach to 100s of people, sing a solo to an auditorium full or play in the band, it all matters to Him.

"...Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31

Monday, January 7, 2013

Melody Boys Quartet Final Concert

The Melody Boys Quartet said goodbye after 63 years on Monday, Dec. 31. It was a night full of great quartet singing with more than 15 Melody Boys Quartet members and former members there. Throughout the night they showed pictures of all members who had sung with the quartet. They also included pictures of several people who had worked in different capacities with their ministry.

They also played special video messages from individuals who wanted to pay tribute to Gerald Williams and the Melody Boys. Some of these included messages from Ryan Seaton, Bob Brumley and Bill Gaither.

I really hope I'm not leaving anyone out, but here is a list of all the members/ former members who were there:

Gerald Williams sings as Mike Franklin, Jonathan Sawrie
and Jeremy Raines look on. 
  • Gerald Williams
  • Scott Baker
  • Doug Boydston
  • Gary Bullock
  • Mike Franklin
  • Alan Kendall
  • Doug Kramer
  • Caleb Matheny
  • Dean Porter
  • Jeremy Raines
  • Terry Robertson
  • Jonathan Sawrie
  • Jason Tapley
  • Chris Walton
  • Steve Williams
  • Tim Williams

The guys sang for more than 4 hours right up until midnight, so I'm just going to hit the highlights:

The concert started with the arrangement of the Melody Boys Quartet who were together the longest, Mike Franklin, Doug Kramer, Jonathan Sawrie and Gerald Williams. They sang "God Is Great, Good and Merciful" and "Happy Rhythm." They knew how to get the concert started off on the right foot. They also sang "Sing Me a Song About Jesus" after the first intermission that was another favorite song during the night.

Jeremy Raines was featured on "The Lighthouse," and it was definitely a highlight of the concert. He is one of my favorite people to hear sing this song.  He sang along with Mike, Jonathan and Gerald "Check It Out." I still say this is my favorite lineup of the Melody Boys Quartet. Jonathan was featured "The Robe of Calvary" which was amazing and another highlight!! They also sang "It Is No Secret" together and halfway through Gerald's son, Steve Williams, joined them. He took over for a little bit to give Gerald a break. The other positions had plenty of people to rotate in and out, but since Gerald was the bass singer for 63 years, he didn't have that option!

Caleb Matheny sings with Tim Williams, Chris Walton
and Gerald Williams
Alan Kendall sang with Steve, Tim Williams and Caleb Matheny and was featured on "Then I Met the Master." This lineup with Gerald also sang "Hide Thou Me" that featured Tim.

Mike, Chris and Dean Porter sang an uptempo arrangement of "Are You Washed in the Blood?" that was another highlight.

They sang several patriotic songs in the middle of the concert including "One Nation Under God," "Welcome Home" and "American Christian." Chris Walton sang the last one and had the audience on its feet clapping along. He announced during the concert that he would be joining the group Restore. In fact, throughout the concert, several of the guys mentioned what they are doing now. Most of them are still in music ministry whether they are singing with a group or serving at a church.

Gerald got to sing with all three of his children during the concert which was a really sweet moment and a great tribute to the legacy he has made.

The last portion of the concert had all members of the Melody Boys coming to the stage for an all-sing. It was by far the best part of the concert, seeing and hearing all of them together. Here's what they sang:

  • "Antioch Church Choir" - featured Jason Tapley
  • "Jesus Is With Me"
  • "Pray"
  • "I've Got That Feeling"
  • "Sinner's Plea"
  • "On the Jericho Road" - Gerald Williams was amazing on this one, rattling the pews he went so low. His voice has not diminished at all.
  • "Somewhere, Someday"
  • "Give the World a Smile" - Classic Melody Boys song and a great way to end. And the audience was on its feet through most of it to show their appreciation for a great group and a great night!
I've got a couple of videos from the night on YouTube and have a couple more that I will get uploaded soon!

With more than 15 singers there, I was really impressed by how well the transitions of different group arrangements went. It was organized very well, and the entire concert went very smoothly.

It was a great tribute to the Melody Boys Quartet and to Gerald Williams who have exited after 63 years of singing gospel music.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Libbi Perry Stuffle

The first Friday of 2013 is here. I hope that 2013 has gotten off to a good start for you!

Today's Fun Clip Friday features Libbi Perry Stuffle of the Perrys. Dinana caught a great moment at a recent Perrys concert where Libbi went into the audience to sing with her mom. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Changes for LeFevre Quartet and Gold City

The new year is bringing about a couple of changes for two popular quartets.

Randy Byrd is joining the LeFevre Quartet as its bass singer. Randy was most recently with the Anchorman where he followed Paul Harkey and is interestingly enough doing that again with this position. He moved from Tennessee to North Carolina for his position with the Anchormen, but with all his family in Tennessee felt the need to move back after prayer when this position with the LeFevre Quartet came open. It was announced last week that Thomas Nalley is joining the group as tenor to replace Harold Reed. Look forward to seeing this new lineup!

Also, Dan Keeton is leaving Gold City. Dan issued this open letter last night:

"Many of you know my testimony of child abuse, the divorce of my parents, and my daddy’s alcoholism. I have recently been given an opportunity to start a non-profit organization using music and arts to inspire child victims of abuse. I am so excited but also heavy-hearted. Opening this door means I will have to leave Gold City. I can honestly say I love the Rileys so much. Tim and Danny are like family to me. Chuck, Bryan, and Jerry are so easy going and fun to be around that I will dearly miss being on the bus with such fine Christian gentlemen. I will always be grateful for my time here, and ask everyone to pray that Gold City finds the best replacement possible and that the transition is a smooth one."

Best wishes for Dan in the future, he will be missed! But you definitely have to admire his reasoning and the work that he will be doing.

Daniel Riley provided this quote about Dan on Facebook last night:

"We support Dan 100 percent in this new chapter of his life. We believe God has given him this opportunity to go into this new ministry. Dan has personally dealt with child abuse, and we believe his passion is for helping others in this area. He has our blessing and prayers as he leaves to encourage and enrich the lives of others in this special calling. Dan has agreed to stay on with Gold City and continue his role as our tenor until a replacement can be found."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wrapping Up 2012

I just thought I would share the top posts and articles on the blog from 2012, what readers have viewed the most. Looking at the blog's statistics from 2012, here are the posts that have been read the most:

Concert Reviews
1. Mark Trammell Quartet - Testimonies (Thanks to Daniel for sharing this one on your blog.)
2. Bowling Family
3. Southern Gospel Picnic Day Five (Matt Fouch's first night with Legacy Five)

Album Reviews 
1. Love Won - The Talleys
2. Canton Junction - Canton Junction
3. Most Requested Live - Greater Vision

When Lyrics Speak
1. "Your Cries Have Awoken the Master"
2. "When God Has Another Plan"
3. "If I Can Help Somebody"

News/ Misc. Posts
1. Stephen Hill Passes Away
2. Amber Nelon Thomspon on American Idol
3. Paul Harkey Joins LeFevre Quartet (kinda a surprise that this one had more than him joining Signature Sound)

Matt Baker Joins Promise Trio

Promise announced yesterday that Matt Baker is joining their group as the baritone singer. Michael Helwig was previously at the position. Here's the release:

Promise is thrilled to announce the addition of Matt Baker to their ministry. Matt is from Lenoir, North Carolina, has a lovely wife, and a beautiful baby girl. They are also expecting their second child next summer. Matt will be filling the baritone position, as well as bringing his piano playing skills into the mix.

“When Matt first stepped on stage with us, something clicked” says David Mann. “His pleasing voice and great personality make him a joy to have with us. And we found out that he’s not a bad piano player either!”

TJ Evans states, “We’re gaining both a great singer and a good friend in Matt. We’ve gotten to know him well over the last few months. He’ll bring a lot to our concert experience, and we’re very excited to see what the future holds.”

David Mann, current baritone, will move to lead, and T.J. Evans, who was at lead, will move to the tenor position.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to you all!! Hoping that 2013 will be the best year yet! I don't know about you, but I usually make several resolutions at the beginning of each year. This doesn't mean I keep them all, but I definitely try. So this year, I've also made a few resolutions for this blog.

1. Continue blogging several times a week - Sounds easy enough, but I want to make sure I stay consistent. I'm not promising every day, but at least three times a week!

2. Establish a rating system for CD reviews - When I first started, I wasn't sure how to handle CD reviews. I couldn't decide on how to rate them, so this year my reviews are going to include some sort of rating system. I'm still figuring out exactly what that is.

3. Work on new series of blog posts - I've got some ideas, but nothing concrete yet.

4. Continue going to as many concerts as my schedule allows - I feel like I was pretty blessed last year to be able to go to a lot of concerts throughout the year. This year, I hope I can keep up that pace (about one a month).

We'll see how well I do at keeping these resolutions. Right now I just have a bunch of ideas, but hopefully I'll be able to actually put them into action!