Monday, April 29, 2013

David Ragan Leaves the Inspirations

David Ragan has left the Inspirations. His last day was Friday, April 26, hat tip, Aaron Swain.

Ragan was the lead singer with the group for four and a half years. He and his wife recently welcomed a baby boy, just last week. He stated on his Facebook profile that he decided to leave the group because of some irreconcilable differences. He decided that it was in the best interest of him and his family, and you definitely can't blame him for that!

Best wishes to David and the Inspirations in the future.

The Allen Family - Names You Might Not Know Yet

Here's the second post in the series of "Names You Might Not Know Yet." This post highlights the Allen Family. I first saw this family at Skyline Baptist Church in Branson, which is where my family visits when we are in town. We didn't realize that they would be singing in the service that morning, but were really impressed by this family. Then, I got to see them again in Branson but at the Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City for a 30 minute concert.

The family consists of Todd and Michelle (mom and dad), Caleb, Gabrielle, Joshua, Jared, Danielle, Abigail, Zachariah and Christian. Enjoy learning a little bit more about this amazing family!

Question: When did you start singing as a family?

Allen Family: In 1995, we began on the road in full-time evangelistic ministry. Over the years, it has evolved into a family singing ministry. In recent years there has been a much greater emphasis on foreign missions. We now take annual mission trips to Uganda with the whole family.

Q: I understand that your family travels together in your bus 365 days a year. What's day to day life like when you are not singing? Do you have a home base or is that where the bus is parked?

Allen Family: Every day is different when you live on the road. We have learned to be very flexible. Some days we homeschool, some days we sing, some days we practice, some days we fellowship with friends or family in our path. Lots of days we drive from one place to the next. God has blessed us with many wonderful friends across the nation. We do have a ministry base, Branson, Missouri, where we do Christmas shows every year in November and December. But we do not have a home there, just a home church. Our mailing address is Branson.

Q: What's the one thing that you want people who walk away from your concerts to know about the Allen Family? 

Allen Family: We love Jesus. We want them to hear Him in our singing, see Him in the way we treat each other, and feel our passion to share His love with the world.

Q: Do you have a favorite song that you sing? And what song from another group has ministered to you?

Allen Family: That's a hard question to answer because we are so selective in the music we sing. We are very careful about the message and theology presented in a song. So we love just about every song we choose to sing. A lot of our songs are written by Todd (Dad) and our oldest son, Caleb. So those would probably be classified as our favorites. They are able to write songs that come from a perspective we have actually live, so those songs really minister to us personally.

Q: What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)?

Allen Family: Well as far as influence, that answer would probably differ for everyone in the family. But we have lots of friends in Southern Gospel groups who encourage us by their steadfast walk with God. Some of our dearest friends would be the guys in Triumphant, and The Whisnants.

Q: What new things are coming up for the Allen Family?

In May, we are doing two new CDs, one of which is an all hymn CD, and also a live DVD recording at Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo, Miss. We are so excited about this event because the Harrisburg Sanctuary Choir will be joining us on the recording. Then, June 5, the whole family is going to Uganda to do to two evangelistic crusades, two pastor's conferences, and to visit several Compassion Child Development Centers. We are very proud to partner with the ministry of Compassion International. One of the unique things about our advocacy for Compassion now is that all of the children we obtain sponsors for are from the area of Uganda where our family goes to work. So, we are able to personally meet these children and tell them we were there when they were chosen by their sponsor. While in Soroti, Uganda this year, we will also be blessing an entire village area of 200 families (8-15 people per family), with water filtration systems that need no electricity, for those who have to share watering holes with cattle, etc. These families will also be receiving seeds to plant food for their families, medical care, hygiene items, and gospel literature in their own heart language.

Thanks so much to the Allen Family for answering all my questions. For more information on the Allen family, visit their website at

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Update on Tracy Stuffle of the Perrys

The other post on Tracy Stuffle updates was getting so long, I decided to start a new one. For previous updates, you can see this post.

Tracy Stuffle of the Perrys suffered a massive stroke on January 21. He had a permanent shunt put in his brain. After 90 plus days in the ICU, he has been moved into a regular room and is now undergoing physical and speech therapy.

Please continue to pray for Tracy, Libbi, Jared and the Perrys.

Update at 3:40 p.m. on July 29:

The OT said Tracy is doing things great today that he couldn't do last week! He's showing them he IS the man, Superman that is!!! He's also faking like he's asleep if someone comes in that he doesn't want to see! LOL, yeah his sense of humor and personality is coming back!!! Praise The Lord!!!

He also had purée green beans, tomatoes and mashed banana for lunch and a three berry smoothie thickened with chia seeds for breakfast! He's loving being able to eat something's by mouth.

He just finished a CSS football game between Tennessee and Auburn where Auburn won the SEC! Long time ago. Hope he doesn't have to have his blood pressure checked anytime soon! ☺

Thank you to Archie Watkins and Smokey Mtn Reunion (Troy Burns, Marlin Shubert) for stopping in Friday to visit and sing for him!! We both grew up listening to the Inspirations!

To God be all the glory for all He has done!!!!

Update at 11 p.m. on July 25:

Everybody is messaging me wanting to know how the barium swallowing test went with Tracy today. Vanessa, his speech pathologist said it was a lot better than what she was expecting. He didn't handle the water consistency very well. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't a safe zone yet and we don't won't to compromise anything as good as things are going. The next stage to that is nectar and it was a little better, but still not safe enough for him. The honey consistency stage was good! She also tried him with puree veggies and he did great with that. Did puree meat and it was a little sticky and some of it kinda sit in a pocket. So, we know he's not quite ready for the puree meat. Vanessa will give me a game plan in the morning as to what she is gonna do next. She wanted to look over the test again to make sure she seen everything. She is very safe with what she wants for him and that makes me feel good. I don't care to wait a few more days if it keeps Tracy in a safe zone. She said he may have aspirated maybe 20 to 25%, which was better than she thought it would be. So, we will see in the morning what her plan is gonna be.

We were waiting for the wheel chair van to pick us up at the hospital after the test this afternoon and Tracy said my name is a sound a little above a whisper!! Then he said Jared's name. This is a start and will only get stronger as he progresses along. Made my day for sure!!!! Praise the Lord!!

Yesterday, he was able to stand 4 times with the therapist helping him. This was not in the standing frame, but them picking him up out of the chair and standing him. By the time he did the last one, his blood pressure dropped a little on him and they sit him down. They were thrilled that he was able to do that 4 times. He's coming along and it's exciting to see the progress that God is allowing him to make just in two weeks!!! He's really working hard and fighting to do his part.

Thank you to everyone who has sent cards to the rehab. Today when we returned from the hospital having the test done, we came in and found a whole big stack of cards. He just shook his head in disbelief. We opened and I read them to him and then I put them on the wall in front of his bed so he can see them every day. If you want to send a card to him the address is:

UMC-McFarland Campus Rehab 
500 Park Avenue 
Lebanon, TN 37087 
% Tracy Stuffle Room 251

Dear Lord, How can I ever thank You for the things that we have been able to witness the past two weeks while here at the rehab center? You are just working overtime on Tracy and I am forever grateful and thankful for it all!!!! You are true to Your Word!! I could spend a thousand life times and could never ever thank You enough for all the miracles You have given us over the past 6 months of this journey. Lord, I pray that You will continue to strengthen Tracy with Your strength!! I pray that You give him super endurance and fight!! We've already witness all of this already and we pray You continue to fill him each day with each one. I love You Jesus!!!!! You are the great Physician in whom we can trust and rely on!!!!

Update at 1:20 p.m. on July 23:

Tracy got to eat a mashed up banana this morning during speech!!! He loved it!!!! They will be doing a barium swallowing test on Thursday this week at 1:00pm. Barium swallowing test is a medical imaging procedure used to examine the upper GI (gastrointestinal) tract, which includes the esophagus and, to a lesser extent, the stomach. If everything looks good, this will allow him to start eating regular food and get rid of the feeding tube!! So, I am believing God for an excellent report!!!! Goooo GOD Goooo!!!!!!

Update at 1:25 p.m. on July 22:

Tracy is feeding himself mashed potatoes!!! He just closed his eyes as to savor the moment!!! Goooo God Goooo!!

Update at 9:30 p.m. on July 16:

I have one tired sweet husband tonight!! He's worked so hard the past couple of days!! The therapists all say, they expected him to be worse than what he's proving to be!! I told them all it's a God thing!!!! God is working in Tracy's life!!!

He was able to be off of all oxygen today for about 6 hours and did great. He could have went longer but respiratory therapist didn't won't to wear him out. Going to move down from a 6 trach to 4. The speech therapist gave him ice today and he loved it and swallowed great. She is thinking of giving him something like applesauce consistency with a tiny bit of food coloring to see how he does swallowing that. If he does good, they will send him for a swallowing over all test to see if he's ready to maybe start with some soft soft food. We will see how he does.

You can tell by looking in Tracy's eyes that he's fighting hard to get thru this chapter in his life. He knows what it's gonna take and he's trying to do his part!! I have been soooo proud of him. It's amazing at how in just two days how well he's done. I't s all God and His strength working in Tracy!!!! He did very well with balancing himself today on the mat. The therapist did very little to assist him for the most part. He is finding his center point and trying to stay centered, which is great!

Thank you all for every single prayer y'all have prayed for Tracy!!! It's working and has been working!!! I am forever grateful for every little or big thing that has been done for us. Y'all have sooo willingly given so much to us and I could never thank you for it all!!! You all have proven the verse about "bearing one another's burden!" My prayer is for God to richly bless each one of you more than you can contain!!!!! I love you all!!!!

God, Once again today as the other days before You have made Yourself known!!! I am so thankful for all You have done, You're doing and You are gonna do!!!! I praise Your name, because there is none other to be praised but You!!!! You are wonderful, almighty and faithful!!!! I love You with all my heart!!!!

Update at 10 p.m. on July 14:

We are settling in to the new Rehab facility. It reminds me a whole lot of Patricia Neal Stroke Rehab in Knoxville, TN where my mom went 13 yrs ago after suffering a massive stroke after having open heart surgery. The folks are soooo nice here. Saturday morning the speech therapist came in at 7:30am to evaluate Tracy. She worked with him on several different things for an hour. He followed every command! PTL!!! She has got several different things that she is gonna be doing with Tracy to try to get him talking. Since having the trach back in use and the cuff inflated again, he's not made any sounds, but he has been lipping words and you can actually read his lips of watch he's saying. He's been doing this for the past week, since the seizures. So, now we can communicate a little better and know what he wants or if he's hurting any where. PTL!!!! His speech session Monday (tomorrow) will begin at 7am!! That means early to bed and early to rise! He has a full day of work ahead of him, so I have let him sleep just about all day today.

He had his second shower yesterday and he seemed to love it. He always did love taking showers. Sometimes he would take 2 to 3 showers a day! He also has to wear street clothes here, NO HOSPITAL GOWNS!!! :0) This is gonna make him feel better too!

Thanks to one of Tracy's best buddies Eric Hall and his family for coming from Franklin, NC to encourage Tracy this weekend. Thank you to Jacob Young from Lebanon, TN here for an incredible gift basket of a little bit of everything in the world!! :0)

Lord willing, I will be in Jackson, TN this Thursday night at the Civic Center with the group and also Friday night in Springfield, TN at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Hope to see you a bunch of y'all at these places.

Please pray for God to strengthen Tracy this week and give him endurance and fight to do everything the therapists asks him to do. It's gonna be tough for him, but it's gonna make him stronger. Goooo GOD Gooooo!!!!!!! :0)

A lot of people are asking for the address to the rehab facility so they can send cards to Tracy. Here's the address:

UMC - McFarland Rehabilitation
McFarland Campus
500 Park Avenue
Lebanon, TN 37087
% Tracy Stuffle - Rm 251

Dear Jesus, Thank You for allowing Tracy to come to this rehab facility!! Thank You that this is gonna be a whole new chapter for Tracy and his recovery! We are trusting You as You work thru all of his therapists. Give them wisdom and knowledge to know what he needs and how to work him out! Give Tracy strength that only comes from You to endure and fight to get through this. Jesus, give me rest to keep up!

Please bless of our friends who have circled around us during the past almost 6 months. They have kept us encouraged to keep fighting on!!! I am forever grateful for everything everyone has done for us during this time!!! I love You Sweet Jesus!!!!!

Update at 1 a.m. on July 11:

Tracy just smiled at me and then smirked! PTL And he moved his mouth and said amen when I got done praying!

Woop, woop God is good!!! Thank U God for Your sweet blessings on me!!!! I love You!!!

Update at 6:15 p.m. on July 10:

Tracy has no blood clots in legs or left arm! PTL They think clot in right arm was caused from pick line so they removed it. The clot should dissolve itself because it's a superficial clot and not a deep one.

He's also off the ventilator and just on trach collar. Another step forward!

He's still in ICU. But if all goes well, will move to a regular room tomorrow.

Thanks for all the extra prayers today!!! God is still good and we are still trusting Him and His will.

Update at 1:07 p.m. on July 10 via Facebook:

Y'all pray for Tracy, he has a blood clot in the entire right arm and they are checking his left arm and both legs now. Can't give blood thinner due to previous bleeds in brain. Not sure what option will be. Will update as soon as I know more.

Update at 11:30 p.m. on July 7:

Things are quiet tonight. Have been all day. Things seem to be pretty stable. Blood pressure is still elevated on the bottom side. Dr is working on tweaking his Meds some more to get it more leveled out. Heart rate has been good. They are weaning him off the trach a little at a time. They don't won't to do it to quick. He has had 4 big bowel movements this evening after being given enemas. Not sure why Rehab center didn't do this a week and half ago! I have told them almost every day he hadn't had a movement. They gave him Meds but not enemas. Yep, this will be addressed when we get back. Tracy is very, very tired. He's been awake more this evening and moving more. But you can tell he is tired. We should be able to tell in the morning from new blood work how things are doing as far as number wise. Thanks to everyone who has texted, called and came by the hospital to check on us!!! Thanks for all the prayers!!!! Please keep praying!!! God has a plan for all of this and I still trust Him with all of it! God, thank You for a stabled day! Thank You for the progress we've seen today!! I am still trusting You!! It's Your plan and Your will!!! Give us grace and strength to stand no matter what!!! I love You Father!!

Update at noon on July 7:

Dr just came in and said Tracy has a touch of pneumonia on left side. No UTI. Blood cell count is down to 18,000 from 27,000. Feels like bowels being backed up threw everything out of whack. That made potassium high and electrolytes high. all this would bring on seizures. So they are loading him with enemas. He said everything seems to be slowly returning to normal. Taking him off vent here in a little bit. You can tell Tracy is very tired, but looks better this morning! Thanks prayer warriors for bombarding the throne room on Tracy's behalf!!!! Been a long night, but the Son is shining bright this morning!!! Once again Isaiah 41:10 comes to life!!! God, I still praise You and thank You for everything in our lives!!! I still trust You, regardless of our circumstances!!! You are worthy of ALL our praise and thanks!!!! I love You!!!

Update at 7:40 p.m. on July 6:

Here's the latest: Along with having 3 seizures, he also has a urinary tract infection. Which could have brought on the seizures. All this caused his heart rate to go up over 200 and potassium which messes with the heart. He's back on trach. He's on several drips and they have him sedated. Dr said, he's very sick!! They just moved him to ICU.

To those who want to throw at me, where's your God now? And say, I thought you said God was healing him. I still stand on God's Word regardless of what you may say to me!!!! God is still here, He still has His hands on Tracy!!!! No, I don't know what God's will or plan is, but I still choose to stand flat footed and trust Him!!! Whatever God's will is, He has us covered with His hands!!! He IS our strong tower and shelter in the storm!!! He has us under His wings and shielding us!!!!

Update at 6:40 p.m. on July 6:

Tracy's had 3 seizures. He's stable. They still won't let me go back. Don't know anything else. Will update when I find out more! It's all in God's hands and I am still trusting Him!!!

Update at 8:30 p.m. on June 29:

Tracy and I have had a great day!! I must confess I did something this morning that I haven't done in 5 months, I slept til 10am!! I couldn't believe it. I woke up at 8am and ate breakfast that they bring to the room and then went right back to sleep!!! You know what, it felt great!!!! Tracy was asleep too, so it was ok.

I did my regular morning routine when I finally did get up. I wash Tracy's face with a warm wash cloth, shave him, and spend the next 15 minutes cleaning his mouth & teeth and then I clean his trach. Speaking of his trach it is still capped off and has been since Thursday morning! He's done incredible with it being capped!! Praying they will be able to remove it Monday or Tuesday!!!

After I got Tracy and myself all cleaned up, we went outside and I pushed him to the building next door that has a big breeze way and steps. We sat there for about 2 hours. The breeze felt soooo good. Tracy seemed to enjoy every minute of it. He drifted off to sleep for a little bit and so I was checking FB and when I looked up he was awake and he winked at me twiced!!! Made me feel so good!!! He even kissed me several times!! He's still such a romantic person! I talked a lot to him about how far God had brought him and where we were 5 months ago. I told him that God left him here for a purpose and a reason and we just have to fight to get through this to see what that purpose is. We came in from the outside cause his oxygen tank was getting low. I brought him to the room and we watched the Atlanta Braves game. He's in bed now and we are watching RFD TV! Not much worth watching on regular tv.

Thank You God for blessing us with such a beautiful wonderful day!!!! Thank You for allowing us to be together another day. Thank You for the winks and kisses!!!! My heart just swells when Tracy does this and I think it is You doing this to encourage me to keep fighting and trusting You!!! I praise You for the miracle going on in Tracy's body and can't wait til it is completed!!! I love You Father!!!!

Update at 12:34 a.m. on June 28:

Wow, another great day for Tracy!!! Praise The Lord!! He had a good day in therapy. He was able to kick the ball on the floor in front of him not 2 times (which was his goal) but 4 times!!!! Whoop, whoop!!! He was raising his left hand and arm and holding it in up. He has been fist pumping! The therapist gave him a goal for tomorrow to kick the ball 8 times!! Well, I went to Walmart and bought him a ball to practice with. Tonight our Pastor and his wife, Mark and Alisa Grubb came over and we all worked with Tracy on kicking the ball 8 times. I am thrilled to report he kicked it 10 times!! Then Jeff Easter and Sheri Easter came by with the whole group to see Tracy and he kicked the ball for them!! And of course gave them all fist pumps! He loves his ole buddy Jeff! So, with all the practice tonight he should be able to whiz right through therapy tomorrow!!! I am soooooo thrilled for him!!!!!!!! He's had so much improvement in just a week.

Tracy also held his head up today without using a pillow behind him while sitting in his Broda chair!! He has not done this before while in the chair!!!! Another miracle y'all!!!!! Praise God!!!!

He did great today with the trach trial, so respiratory therapist has left the trach capped off all day and going all night!!!! So far......great!!! One step closer to getting it taken out Lord willing Monday or Tuesday!!! Praise Him!!!!!!

We have adopted the verse Phil 4:13 as Tracy's banner!!!! It's on his wall, he has a rubber bracelet with it on it and on the ball he uses to practice with! We know God has been the one who has given the progress and strength through this whole journey!!! I give Him ALL the praise, honor and glory!!!!

God, You are just awesome!!! You are mighty, You are our strength and grace!!!! We praise You for ALL things, all miracles and mercies!!! You are our Father and besides You there is none other!!!! I love You Father!!! Goooo God Goooo!!!!

Update at 12:30 p.m. on June 20:

Tracy has been back at rehab since Monday night and God's been good we've not had any issues!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Seems the new blood pressure meds are working good. Everything looks like it's stable again. Thank You Sweet Jesus!!! Secretions are hardly nothing now.

About 1:30pm today Lord willing, they will be getting him up and into his broda chair for a little bit. If it's not too hot outside I may take him outside for a few minutes. Just for a change of scenery of being cooped up in this room looking at four walls. I may take a picture of him and post it later if he gets to do this.

I am so blessed and thankful for our close friends who keep dropping in and encouraging Tracy. So far this week we've had The Martins (Jonathan Martin, Joyce Martin Sanders & Judy Hess). They even sang a couple of songs for him including one of our favorites, Out of His Great Love!! Then my adopted big brother Charlie Sexton and his love Lady Linda Foster, Jeff Easter & Sheri Easter, Rev. Johnny Minick (who prayed a very touching prayer!), The Dillmans, and a couple from Tracy's home church Manley Baptist in Morristown, TN - Edith and Paul Matthews. Tracy may not can talk, but you can see it in his eyes that he's glad to see them all. We are honored to call each one of you dear friends!!! We love you and appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to drop in for a quick visit!!

Let me say once again how grateful and deeply moved I am by all the out pouring of love you all have shown toward our family!!! My heart gets overwhelmed by the cards, texts, emails, letters, gift cards,love gifts, snack baskets, homemade prayer blankets, prayers and support!!! I know there's NO WAY I can ever repay you all for all you've done!! I just pray for God to richly bless you a 100 fold!!!!! We love you more than you could know!!

Father God in heaven, how blessed we are that You have surrounded us with such precious friends and family who is loving us through this season You have allowed us to travel THRU! Please, bless each one a 100 fold for all they have done!!! God we thank You for what is taking place in Tracy's body and life right now!!! I am thanking You in advance for the miracle that is gonna take place in Your time!! Thank You for what You have already done for him and our family!!! You are our shelter and provider!! You have NOT left us NOT one time!!! We honor You and lift Your name up! We praise You for who You are!!!!!!!! I love You Sweet Father!!!

Update at 2:18 p.m. on June 17:

Tracy will be heading back to Rehab here shortly!! Praying for nothing but progress from here on out!!! Blood pressure Meds tweaked again.

Update at 12 p.m. on June 15:

Tracy is better today. His Heart rate is back to normal. Blood pressure is good. Dr said she thinks what happened last night was medicine related. She said his heart sounded good and strong. They put him back on antibiotics to finish clearing out the small amount of pneumonia in the lungs. They will keep him here for another day or two.

Thank you to everyone who bombarded heaven for Tracy again last night and this morning!! The respiratory therapist came in and he almost immediately started praying over Tracy!! He turned and looked at me and said, this is just a attack of satan on your husband's life. He said, your husband is valuable to God just like all His children. He said, you keep believing and keep your faith!! He gave me great encouragement because I had just been talking to God before he came in and just telling Him how I didn't understand all of this. I really needed to hear from God and then this gentlemen comes in and says all of this. Saints, I refuse to give up!!! I plan on marching on toward the victory that is waiting out there !!! Tho the battle is hard, there is no room for retreat!!!! Press on sweet Saints, press on!!!!!!

Update on 9:40 a.m. on June 14:

It's all green lights to head back to rehab today for Tracy!!! Dr feels comfortable in letting him go today! All the blood counts look good and it's full steam ahead in Jesus' Name!!!! God is all powerful and merciful!!!! We praise Him from the rising of the sun til the going down of the same!!!! No wonder the angels cried, Holy, Holy, Holy worthy is the Lamb!!!!! Stop right now where you are at and give Him praise not only for what He's done for Tracy, but for everything He's done in your life !!! Good or bad He deserves the praise for it all!!!!

I love You Sweet Jesus and praise Your Holy, Wonderful name!!!! You are most high and there is NONE like You!!!!! Thank You for loving Tracy and our family!!!! Thank You will never be enough!!!!

Update on 10 a.m. on June 13:

Dr says everything looks good with Tracy. Gonna keep him til tomorrow (Fri) just for precautionary reasons. He doesn't won't to send Tracy back to rehab too soon. Whoop, whoop!!!! Goooo GOD Gooooo!!!!!

Thank you to Declaration (Kasey Kemp, Joshua Horrell & Dustin Leming) for coming by to visit and sing for Tracy!!! He loves y'all more than you know!!! Side note here: if you want a great group to come and sing in your church or concert, then you need to book these guys!!!!

For I The Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isa 41:13

Lord, I just want to praise You and worship Your name!!!!!! I love You and thank You for Your goodness, mercies and miracles!!!!!

Update on 10 a.m. on June 12:

What a difference a day makes! Tracy had a mucus plug yesterday while I was gone to auditions. My mother in love called me and said his oxygen stat fell to the 40s. 5 or 6 people were working on him trying to get his stat back up. About the same time we had about 30 something people who decided before the auditions started that they wanted to pray for Tracy. So JK and I stood in for him and you talk about praying!!!! It was on!!!! Little did we know what was happening back at the hospital! The respiratory therapist finally got him cleared out and settled back down. Since then he's done good! He had a pretty restful night and been resting good this morning. I think they've finally got his blood pressure Meds where they need to be because his blood pressure has been incredible the past 24 hrs. Heart rate has been sooo much better! Dr said if all his blood work comes back in the morning good, he may get to head back to rehab tomorrow. Dr he's had this week has been really good and on top of everything.

Thank you for all the extra prayers, text messages and emails of encouragement!! I can't respond to all of them due to so many, but know I DO read everyone of them!!! I pray God richly blesses each one of you for loving on us soooo much!!! It gets us thru the days!!!

Update at 8:30 a.m. on June 11:

Tracy was moved to a regular room last night about 8pm. He's done well with not having any bleeding other than some old blood.

I woke up at 3:30am this morning to the sounds of him struggling to breathe. He sounded full. I suctioned him really good and got him calmed back down. His heart rate went down also after that. They came in and did a chest X-ray and he has pneumonia in the upper left lobe of his left lung. So now with already having it in the lower part of both lungs now this. So they started him on another antibiotic. He had the pneumonia vaccine shot last week, but not sure it's helping. Please pray for him. His body is just worn out from all of the stuff it's went thru.

God, we still praise You thru another issue of the pneumonia, but know that You have allowed this to happen for a reason. You are all knowing and all seeing, so You know our needs before we ever pray. God, Your will be done. Holy Spirit take charge of our thoughts and keep us focused on God and His goodness!!! I love You and Praise Your Holy name!!

Update at 10 p.m. on June 9:

Ok here's the verdict.....hemorrhoids! CRAZY I know, but that's what the GI doctor told me. I couldn't believe it!! I didn't know they could bleed that much with clots. He hasn't bled since 5pm and if he doesn't by tomorrow they will move him to a reg room. They also have him on cardene drip for his blood pressure. His heart rate is elevated also. So much excitement for him!! Please pray for all of this to return to normal the way God intended it to be!!!

You know I am gonna have to use more hair color to cover all the grey that I have archived from the past 4 and half months! But, once we get past these hurdles it will be worth it!

God, Your plan may bum fuzzle us, but we know You make no mistakes! So, we will keep on trusting, praising and lifting Your name on high!!! Thank You merciful Father for Your love, grace and mercy!!! Thank You for Your miracles unending for us!!! Help us to stay focused on You and not the issues that so easily beset us!!! I love You Father God!!! You are worthy to be praised!!!

Update at 5 p.m. on June 9:

Tracy has been put back in ICU from complications of colonoscopy. He has been passing blood for the past 48 hrs. The GI Dr is gonna be doing another colonoscopy in his ICU room within the next hour to see what the problem is and to see if it's fixable. He's lost a fair amount of blood, but is not needing blood at this moment. Of course Tracy's blood pressure is high and it really needs to come down.

I will update as soon as I know something! Still trusting God that He's working all things for our good!!! NOT giving up nor giving in!!!

Update from Libbi at 3:25 p.m. on June 7:

Tracy will be heading back to Rehab in Lebanon this afternoon. He has MRSA in his secretions so he will be on antibiotics for a couple of weeks. Hoping we get back there before administrator leaves so I can get things handle with his Meds being given on time and gloves and gowns being worn. Pray this transition back will be trouble free!

Update from Libbi at 12:30 p.m. on June 5:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!!!!!!!! NO mass!!!! Nothing was there but a couple of polyps and the Dr removed those!!!!!!! Goooooo GOD Goooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wooohoooo!!!!!!! Praise Him Saints!!!!!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!!

Update from Libbi at 3:45 p.m. on June 5:

Tracy will be having a colonoscopy between 10 and 10:30am in the morning (Thursday). CT scan showed some abnormalities in bottom of colon.

Please pray for him! It's in God's hands and I am just gonna trust him for an excellent report!!!

Update from Libbi at 11:45 a.m. on June 5:

Dr just came in. CT scan on Tracy's stomach area shows either an infection at top of colon or a mass. GI dr will be by to look at CT and will decide what to do next. Probably be tomorrow before he can do camera images up in colon.

I choose to believe the report of The Lord!!!!!

Update from Libbi at 5:30 p.m. on June 4:

Infectious Disease Dr just came and said the brain and shunt look clean from infection. So he said they will be moving to the stomach area and doing a CT scan this evening of the stomach and gall bladder area. He said there was a little abnormality to one side of liver. He thinks it could be his gall bladder. We should know tonight or first thing in the morning.

Thanks for all the prayers and love!!!! God is totally in charge here and I am just gonna stand out of the way and let Him do His thing. I will praise Him in this storm just as I've done for the past 4 1/2 months. 

Update from Libbi at 11:30 a.m. on June 4:

Tracy was transported back to hospital late last night due to fever and white blood cell count being 27,000.

Well, so far not sure where infection is at that has caused Tracy's white blood cell count to be 27,000 last night. This morning they had dropped to 23,000. Lungs are fine, not a UTI and from the preliminary results of spinal fluid, it doesn't show infection in brain or shunt. But, it will take a couple days for cultures to grow anything. He's on broad spectrum antibiotics. He temp is 98. Blood pressure is still elevated some.

Right now once again, it's a waiting game.

I am still trusting God and know that none of this caught Him by surprise! Yes, I am worn out mentally and physically but I will still fight on and praise God in the process!! God is good!!

Update from Libbi at 1 p.m. on June 3:

The day so far has been good! Tracy had speech this morning. She gave him ice to chew and swallow and he did good with that. OT and PT came in and put him in a basket and put him in a Broda chair and took him to therapy. Now we are sitting outside!!!! First time to be outside in four and a half months!! Goooo GOD Goooo!!! We are listening to Pandora and one of our songs just came on! He seems to be relaxed out here. A great change of scenery for sure!!! Gonna get his sunglasses this evening from car and let him wear them next time we come out. We are under a cover so no need to worry about sun burn. I brought his Nashville Predators cap from home last night, so I will have him looking all cool!

Update from Libbi on June 2:

We moved Friday to the "Rehab Vacation Home." We are adjusting. Going into a new place is always scary. You have to start over learning new faces and names. Along with personalities! :0/ Some are not so pleasant. Also, new schedules to learn. If you think hospitals are understaffed then you need to be in a skilled nursing / rehab facility! Ugh!!! Meds that are suppose to be given at 6 is given around 8. I have already had to address this matter. Tracy's blood pressure has been a booger to control the past few days and has to have his Meds on time or his pressure is gonna be high. I can tell this is gonna be a issue to stay on top off! The blood pressure Meds are still needing some tweaking to get blood pressure down with bottoming out the heart rate. Please, help me pray that God will touch Tracy's blood pressure and make it normal the way God intended it to be.

OT has already worked with Tracy everyday since being here sitting him on edge of bed and other little stuff. He's looking a little stronger each time.

This week will be interesting to see how all the therapies will go. Praying they will take Tracy out of the bed and into the therapy rooms for a change of scenery for him. I think if this can happen, it will make Tracy feel like he's getting better and stronger.

I went home for a couple hours today to shower and do a load of laundry. First time to take a shower at our house since Jan 16!! Felt weird!! I almost felt like a visitor in my own home! LOL I will be making trips home about every other day now due to no shower in Tracy's room.

My three days with the group was good this past week. It was good to spend some extra time with JK! God I believe worked this out for me to be there for him during a tough time. I'm proud and thankful for the young Christian man he has become! I am working on some dates after June 18 to get back at least a couple dates a weekend with the group. This is gonna require a lot of planning and probably some flying!! Anybody got a plane! :0) I am really trying y'all to do more dates so hang with me!

Dear God, how gracious You are to give us soooo many blessings!!! We are undeserving, but You give them anyways!!! I love You and praise You for loving us and taking care of us daily!!! You are working all things for our good! God we pray this week will be a week of many miracles and progress in Tracy's life!!! We are still trusting You for and in all things!!! Thank You for everything You have done thus far and I am gonna thank You and praise You for the things to come!!! Bless all our friends and family tonight and give them all a very blessed week with blessings on every corner!!! In Jesus' Name! Amen!

Update from Libbi at 9:40 a.m. on May 30:

Didn't have much signal last night in Kansas, so I couldn't update. But, we had a great service and wonderful fellowship afterwards. Now, we are in Guymon, OK for tonight.

My In-Loves kept me updated on Tracy yesterday. He sat up in a special chair yesterday for 3 hrs and watched TV!!!!!! Goooo GOD Goooo!!!!!! He also wore the speaking valve all day!

I was able to FaceTime him when Randy got there to stay. Wonderful world of smart phones!! Today, the PT is suppose to try him sitting in a wheel chair!!! Praying this goes great too!!!! I hope I have enough signal to see it on FaceTime!!! I will try to update again tonight to let y'all know how it goes!

Keep praying and BELIEVING!!!! GOD is on the move!!!!

Thank You Jesus for all You have done and gonna do!!!! We praise You and lift Your name up!!! Holy, Holy, Holy Worthy is the Lamb!!!! I love You!!!!

Update from Libbi at 11 p.m. on May 28:

On the bus headed to Salina, KS. Very hard to leave Tracy tonight!!! I just pray he understands!!

He had a great day today. PT sat him on edge of bed for 30 minutes. Working on his balancing. You can tell he's getting a little stronger every day. PT said they will try sitting him in a wheel chair Thursday. This should be exciting! I won't be there, but I know my brother Randy WILL video it or FaceTime me! :0)

I will be flying back home Friday around lunch and then we will move him to Lebanon to the "vacation home!"

Please pray for me and Tracy both during these next few days. This is the first time of being away from him for this long in over 4 months! I miss him terribly already!!! But I know God will watch over both of us!

God is good!!! Give Him praise for all He's done and gonna do!!!!

Update from Libbi at 5:20 p.m. on May 26:

Sitting here in Tracy's room on this beautiful day. Watching my precious Sweet T as he sleeps. I am letting him sleep as much as he can, cause sleep is good for his brain and it's healing. He had speech a little bit ago and did good.

He will be transferred Friday afternoon to the new skilled nursing "vacation home" and rehab center. We choose to call it a "vacation home" because he is not old for one and he's not gonna stay there long! :0) Why do these places want to have names that only sound like it's for old people? We thought he would be moved this weekend or tomorrow, but forgot that it was a holiday weekend. And, I will be going out with the group Lord willing, Tuesday night and fly back home Friday morning. It's not at all what I want to do, but Leah has a graduation and the other fill ins I sometimes use already had things going. Thank God my brother Randy will be coming to stay with Tracy while I'm gone. He's as tough as I am with making sure things are done right.

Lord willing after the groups vacation in June, I will be trying to do more dates as I can. Some dates will require me to fly because I cannot be away for long periods of time until Tracy is able to talk for himself. I have gotten a couple of mean emails from some "so-called friends" on FB who think that I am staying with Tracy just because. I will not go into what they have said, but I have five words for them: My husband and not yours!! Yes, I am blessed to be in the position that I can stay with him. I have an incredible group Bryan, JK, Leah, Shawn and Joseph when he was here, that has worked very hard to keep things going until I can get back. They love Tracy and want to see him back. We have an incredible booking agency, Harper Agency that is working very hard to keep things rolling smoothly along with our long time friend, Rev. Bill Bailey! I have the most incredible family who have went above and beyond to do all they can to help me whenever they can!! I have a incredible niece Brittany Johnson DeVault who stays by my side almost daily after she gets off from work. I also have a incredible Pastor's wife, Alisa Grubb who has been traveling with me to the dates that I have been able to do. She is my accountability partner. God has surrounded Tracy and I with all these incredible people to help bear our burden! I'm sorry if me being off the road to be with my husband offends some people, but these people are the reason I can. I just hope and pray that those who are offended by my being off the road to be my husband's voice and advocate NEVER EVER have to walk this road!! Instead of giving me grief about what I should and should not be doing, YOU should be thanking God for all your blessings!!!! If we are breathing, we are BLESSED!!!!!!! stepping off of soap box and dragging it back to the closet!! :0)

Please keep Tracy in your prayers that the transfer to the new "vacation home" will be easy on him and trouble free. Also, pray God will continue to strengthen him with His supernatural strength.

From where I'm standing, Lord it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going, And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how, All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out In a world I can't control

When I'm lost in the mystery, To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there, You're already there
Standing at the end of my life, Waiting on the other side
And You're already there, You're already there

From where You're standing Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined, When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece Of Your picture perfect plan

One day I'll stand before You And look back on the life I've lived
I can't wait to enjoy the view And see how all the pieces fit
By: Mark Hall

Update from Libbi at 11:30 p.m. on May 22:

Tracy has had a great week so far. He's had a lot of visitors this week and that's good medicine for him!! His buddy Jeff Easter and Landon Smith came by Tuesday morning. You could see in Tracy's eyes that he was thrilled Jeff was there! He was moving his tongue and lips like he wanted to talk to Jeff. Then Jeff came back by Tuesday night with Jim Brady, Taylor Guffey, Troy Peach, Jared Stuffle, Landon and all of Declaration Trio. The room was full and then walked Mike Bowling in who was working as Respiratory therapist last night. We could have had our own NQC. Earlier that day Buck and Mae Rambo dropped by for a little bit. Matthew Holt stopped by Tuesday morning before heading to the new Gaither taping. Plus our dear friend, Bill Bailey was here also. So he was in hog heaven yesterday (Tuesday). Today he had several visitors also, our Pastor Mark Grubb and his wife Alisa Grubb, Deon Unthank and Pamela Cooper Unthank, Gary Casto and his brother by a different mother Tim Dillman. Thank all of y'all for loving my man so much to take time out of your busy schedules to come by and say hello and encourage him!!! I am forever grateful to you all!!!

I went today to search out a skilled nursing / rehab facility for Tracy to be moved to within the next few days. I think I found one in Lebanon, TN. Just waiting to see if they are able to accept him. I went to several and I just prayed for God to show me the one where He wanted Tracy to be. If this one takes him, I will be 15 miles closer to the house!! And this facility WILL let me stay with him at night some!!! PRAISE THE LORD!! So, help me pray they will accept him.

Tracy tonight has been making noises like he's trying to hum like. I told him he could talk if he wanted to! I think he's discovering that he can make noises. I am just waiting for the day he just takes off talking or singing!!! :0)

He has started winking at me!!! Yes, I bout shouted the first time he did it!! I have it on video. He's back to blinking twice for yes. Rubbing his lips together after putting chap stick on his lips. A lot of this we have not seen since the shunt was put in. The speech therapist has been impressed with his progress this week!! He is holding his head up better when the PT therapist sit him on the edge of bed. He tried to kick me again in the leg! :0) His fingers on the right hand have been moving some. Yeah, it's coming back!!!!!!!!!!! It may be slow, but it's happening!!! GOOOOOOO GOD GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Lord willing, I will be in Ringgold, GA this Friday night with the group. Also, Lord willing I will be with them next Wednesday in Salina, KS and Thursday in Guymon, OK. Leah my fill in has a graduation on Thursday night in Florida so she can't go the first two days. So if nothing happens, I will be with the group those two days and then I will fly back to Nashville on Friday morning. PLEASE, PLEASE PRAY FOR ME, because this will be the first time I will have been away from Tracy for this long. My heart hurts every time I think about it, but I know God will take care of both of us. My brother Randy will be staying with him during this time.

Remember to thank God for all your blessings tonight!!!! HE'S GOOD ALL THE TIME!!!!!

Update from Libbi at 5:27 p.m. on May 18:

YES, YES I know I haven't updated in a couple of days. Tracy is doing good. He's rested most of the day today, but that's what his brain needs to heal. THANKS TO RONNY AND DIANNE REID from S. Alabama for the healing player by Rev. John Hagee!! It's taped to the side of Tracy's bed and plays almost 24/7!! Great for Tracy, but also great for me and great for those that may not be believers!!!!! You will never know how much this means to us!!!

Last night I went to Huntsville, AL to sing with the group. My Pastor's wife Alisa Grubb went with me for company. I think she's gonna become my roadie when I have to drive to some of the dates!!! Eat and talk!!! Any ways, Tracy must have missed me pretty bad because his blood pressure stayed up from about 7pm to I got back to his room about 12:30 am. When I walked in and started talking to him, his heart rate went down immediately and then in just a few minutes his blood pressure went down. Made me feel good that he may have missed me!! :0)

Tracy will be moving from Kindred Hospital here to a Skilled Nursing/Rehab facility in the next couple of weeks. He will need more time for his brain to heal and be on the trach a little longer. With 5 bleeds, it just takes time. Not for sure yet which facility he will be going to yet. JK and I will be checking one out in Lebanon and one is Mt Juliet, TN on Monday. Only down side to this is I will not be able to stay with him at night! I wouldn't worry so much about him if he could talk. But, I pray God will give me a peace about it and Tracy too!!! Not sure how long he will be there, but probably for a little while. Please, pray for me during this transition!! I'm a protector!!!

Someone ask about my FB status from last night about fighting the devil all week. This has nothing to do with Tracy. Sometimes the devil shows up in our friends and those that are suppose to be closest to us. They will say things that you know come straight from the ole booger man himself!! They will try to discourage you with crazy thoughts that you know is just said to bring you down. They say things with their mouth, that their heart don't believe, just to look good and sound good. Well, if you want to listen to the devil, then go ahead and live a defeated, miserable life!!! I choose to believe God and trust Him. God will take care of everything!!!

Lord willing, I will be with the group again in the morning in Corinth, MS at Wheeler's Grove Baptist Church at 10 am. That means I will have to leave the hospital here at 5 am!!! Can we say, sleepy!!!! But, I am on a whole different schedule now than what I used to be!!! Please pray for us!!!

Lord, I love You with all my heart and soul!!! Nothing will happen to us that has not passed through Your hands for approval first! Guard us from those that choose to speak discouragement. Lord, touch their hearts and show them that YOU are who YOU say YOU are!!! KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS AND OUR SOON COMING KING!!!!!!!

Update from Libbi at 12:27 p.m. on May 15:

Tracy did good with the blood transfusion he received Monday night at midnight. Fever elevated tiny bit, but nothing major. He seems to be staying awake a little more off and on through the day and night. Yesterday evening he lifted his head off the pillow about 3 times and tried to turn his head. That's a great thing. PRAISE THE LORD.

Working on trying to get him on a schedule of some sort with his sleeping and staying awake so when the therapist come in he will stay awake for them. So far.......well I still have some tweaking to do! :0/ PT and I set him up on the edge of the bed again yesterday and he did well with holding his head up, but it just really tires him. He set up for about 15 mins with me holding his back. Therapist kinda got on to him because he felt like he wasn't really putting forth a lot of effort. Just praying that this will improve!!! He may be discouraged I don't know. I am trying everything I know to encourage him and cheer him on (even have pom poms)! :0)

He did great yesterday on the speaking valve. He was on it for probably 4 hours. He's already been on it for 2 hours today and still going. The doctor said his lungs sound soooo much better. The speech therapist is teaching me some more things to work with Tracy on being he responds more to me than them. We will see how this goes.

It was such a beautiful day yesterday with temp about 86 degrees. After Tracy had all his therapies I took my lawn chair and set outside for over an hours and it felt great!!! I think I really need some sun on my skin! :0) Hoping to do that again today. Just kinda gets me out and clears my head! I also went home last night to do some laundry since my In-Loves went home to KY last week. First time I have been home by myself since Jan 21. The other couple of times I went home someone was always there. Can I say I didn't like it!!! No Sport (our now deceased poodle) to greet me at the door!! No Tracy!!! JK was on his way back from MS so he wasn't there!! I looked in the dining room and there set Tracy's golf clubs (yes, for some reason he felt that was the best place for them), his on the road bag, his shoes, on the dresser was his belt, watch I got him for Christmas and in the bathroom all his stuff is out on the counter. I just looked at all of it and said, HE WILL BE BACK AND HE WILL USE THIS STUFF AGAIN!!! IN THE NAME OF JESUS!! GOD DO YOUR THANG!!!!!

I told JK we need to get us a puppy! We both miss Sport so much!! I think we both would love to have a labradoodle, but we will have to wait for a while. Miss that companionship of "Man's Best Friend!!"

As far as it looks now, Lord willing I will be in Huntsville, AL with the group this Friday night with The McKameys at Lee High School Auditorium. May possibly be in Corinth, MS this Sunday morning at Wheeler's Grove Baptist Church at 10am. If anything changes, I will post Friday morning. I am doing my best to get to the dates that are close and I don't have to be away from the hospital all day or all night. I pray everyone understands.

Please continue to pray for Tracy's strength, that it will improve each day! Pray for me to have patiences and not try to rush things that can't be rushed. Sometimes I am a pusher and want things to happen NOW!! I am learning, IN GOD'S TIME, things will happen!

Jesus, I love You and thank You for ALL things in my life!!! Without YOU I would be balled up in a corner in the fetal position with no hope!!! Thank You for loving us!!!!

Update from Libbi at 8 p.m. on May 13:

Today was a day of therapist assessing Tracy to see where they need to start at with his therapy. It's still a little bit of a task for them because he falls asleep toward the end of the therapies. The Speech therapist come in and tells me to get him awake and she will be back in a few minutes to work with him. I do get him awake and have to do jumping jacks to try to keep him awake. Then she comes in and she has to leave a couple more times to go get more of her stuff and by this time, he's back asleep. ugh!!! Speech therapy was mainly the therapist giving me a line up of things to do. He was on the speaking valve for 23 mins. without any issues. We are having to start over rebuilding him because of the pneumonia. The speech therapist here is so much different than the one at Baptist. She talks really loud and said she would sing a lot too! Tracy sometimes just stares at her like he's not sure about her.

The PT and OT's came in and Tracy was asleep when they came in. We had to get him awake. He wasn't about doing anything they asked him. I could ask him in a different tone or rewording the command and he would most of the time do it. The therapists said, he responds better to you than us. You need to work here! :0) They finally sat him on the edge of the bed and he kicked my leg with his left foot and kicked a little with his right foot. He held his head up so much better today and looked more alert and then he got sleepy again. It's just gonna take some time to get a little past the sleepy stage. He is awake more off and on during the day than what he used to be. That's something I am gonna start working on with him and that's gonna be "trying" to get him on more of schedule of nap times and awake times. But, I am gonna have to get with the schedule of the therapist to try to make this work.

He will be receiving a couple units of blood tonight. His blood is a little low, so they feel he needs a couple of units to bring him up to where he needs to be. He's never had a transfusion before, so I'm not real sure what to expect. I know they told me they would be taking his vitals more often through the night. They said, sometimes the only side effects they have is a fever. I pray he doesn't have any side effects. Please pray for him in the next couple of hours that this will go good!

Was sooooo excited this evening when Singing News Magazine released the Top 5 nominations for the Singing News Fan Awards and Tracy made the Top 5 Bass Singer nomination!!!!! I told him about it, but not sure if he understood it or not. He really doesn't show any emotions right now. So, I will just remind him every day. :0)

Dear Lord, Thank You for another beautiful day!!! Thank You that Tracy did as well as he did during therapy today. I pray that You will just keep strengthening him with Your strength!!! Give him the strength he needs to complete his day of improving!! Thank You for the love that we feel from all of our friends from around the world!!! You have blessed us with the greatest friends ever!!!! Please bless each one of them richly!!! Please, give Tracy a great night of rest with no side effects or issues from the blood transfusion!!! In Jesus' Name!! I love You!!!!

Update from Libbi at 7:02 p.m. on May 12:

Today has been a great day!!! Such a beautiful blessed day!!! I got up this morning and went to church with JK, my Mom, my sister Debra and Bro in law Chris. The nurse Tracy had this morning was soooo sweet and told me she would watch Tracy while I was gone if I wanted to go to church. Then, the cleaning lady came in and we started talking about going to church, being saved and stuff and she told me the same thing, that she would watch Tracy while I was gone to church. It was great being in my home church and able to worship with my family!!! My Pastor, Mark Grubb did some incredible preaching on End Times!!

When I got back to the hospital, I ask Tracy if he missed me and he blinked his eyes twice to tell me yes! :0) I missed him too!!! But, felt good to take a little break to go to church. Then all the family came to the hospital and brought food for Mother's Day lunch! It's always great when we can be together. JK brought me a Peanut Butter Pie, Amish Peanut Butter and bread from Blue Gate Amish Rest. in Shipshewana, IN!! My FAVORITE!!!!! And he brought me beautiful flowers! He's such a great son!!! Blessed to call him son!!

Tracy has got settled in now I think. He seems to be resting well. His secretions seems to be better. He's been awake a good bit today. I worked him out some when I got back from church. Talked to him a lot. I have about got his facial expressions figured out. He watched a little bit of Tiger Woods golfing and then fell asleep. It's amazing how watching golf does me the same way!!! :0)

Lord willing tomorrow he will begin his therapies here at Kindred. I am praying that God will gird him with a supernatural strength to do what he needs to do! I'm gonna get my pom poms out that someone sent me and cheer him on!!!

Please pray specifically this week for God to move Tracy toward a great progressive week!! Pray for strength that will totally amaze the doctors, nurses and therapists! I BELIEVE!!!!

If all goes well Friday and it's the Lord's will, I may be with the group in Huntsville, AL that night with The McKameys. I will update y'all closer to the date. I have to line up people I trust and that he knows to stay with Tracy that afternoon and that night til I would get back about 11pm.

Dear God, Thank You Father in Heaven for such a wonderful, blessed day with my beautiful family!!! Thank You for allowing me to go to church and be able to worship with not only my family, but my church family!!!! Thank You for a God fearing Pastor who just preaches the Word the way it should be. Thank You for giving me two of the greatest gifts ever in Tracy and JK!!! I am sooooo blessed and sooooo underserving of such great love!!! Lord, thank You for allowing us another year to be together on Mother's Day!!! Please go with Tracy this week and gird him with Your supernatural strength that will absolutely amaze the doctors, nurses and therapists!!!! I know You can and will because You said so in Isaiah 41:10!!!! I Love You Jesus!!!!!!! In Jesus' Name, Amen!!

Update from Libbi at 9:30 a.m. on May 11:

Good morning!!!! It's a great day to be a live!!!! A brand new day is here, filled with new mercies and new miracles!!!! I praise the Lord for ALL His goodness, grace, mercy and love!!!!! Hope you find the blessings, mercies and miracles throughout your whole day!!!!

Tracy is being moved back to Kindred sometime today. The doctors feel that he has improved greatly in the past couple of days and that he's ready to head back and start back on the road to recovery!!! And yes......I am trusting God and expecting nothing less than a full recovery, in God's time!!!! I know there's a lot of doubters out there who will say, I just don't know about that. Well, it's your choice to be a doubting Thomas!!!! I choose to BELIEVE AND TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD!!!! The world has always been filled with doubting Thomas' from the beginning of time and will be til the very end of time!! What a miserable life to live always doubting God. It's been a 111 days and we are still here, a live and breathing!!! That's a miracle within it's self!! I hope and pray that if you are a doubting Thomas, that God will show you just as he did Thomas himself, that HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS!!!! AND "NOTHING" IS TOO HARD FOR HIM OR IMPOSSIBLE!!! I've already experienced one major miracle this week that to man looked totally impossible, but to God it wasn't nothing!!!! Don't go through life always doubting, start trusting God and see how different life can be.

Thank you again to everyone who has prayed a prayer, sent an email, text, cards, love gifts, bought a motel room, hosted a benefit concert, requested prayer, had prayer vigils, have sent prayer cloths, prayer shawls, blankets, bought a lift chair and sooooo much more!!!!! I may not have been able to thank each one of you in person or personally, but I am doing it now, because I DO appreciate everything!!! I will be forever grateful for all the love, prayers and concern you all have shown our family over the past 111 days. My prayer is God will "richly" bless each one of you!!!!!

To all the Moms out there, let me take this time to say "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY" tomorrow!!!! I pray it is a very blessed day!!!! I am happy that my sweet mom is in town for the weekend!!! God has given me the greatest Mom ever!!!!

Isa 41:10

God, You are soooooo wonderful to Your children!!!!! We may have to walk "through" the valleys, but You are a "VERY" present help in our times of need!!! No wonder the angels cry, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY" to Your precious name!!! You are our Redeemer, our Strength, our Rock, our Hope, our Peace, our Joy, our Comforter, our Sustainer, our Refuge, our Strong Tower, our Shelter, our Healer, our Provider, our Deliverer and our "SOON COMING KING!!" Thank You Father for everything in our lives!!!! I love YOU!!!!!!

Update from Libbi at 5 p.m. on May 9:

Sorry I haven't updated in the past 24 hours but been waiting on test results and blood cultures to come back on Tracy's pneumonia and his latest CT scan this morning.

The CT scan this morning from Tracy's brain shows that the shunt is doing it's thing. The old blood from the ventricles from the last bleeds he had several weeks ago has decreased!! PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY!!!!! It will take several more weeks and maybe months for all the blood to dissolve. The little pocket of spinal fluid near the shunt is better! So, everything with the brain is improving! Gooooo GOD Goooooo!!!!!!

The pneumonia shows sign of clearing up. Tracy has been more awake today than he's been in several days. He's been trying to watch ESPN. Sometimes he just tires out and falls back to sleep. Dr. Ulm said anyone with pneumonia would be sleepy, tired and not feel good. He said give him time to get over this and we should see some progress. The secretions are not all yellow and green anymore, but a white color. So, we may be heading back to Kindred tomorrow. I just want him to be better before he goes anywhere!!

I need to give a big ole praise report for a situation that I had been praying and really seeking God's face about and this morning, He proved Isaiah 41:10 to me!!! FEAR NOT, FOR I AM WITH YOU. I AM YOUR GOD. I WILL STRENGTHEN YOU. I WILL HELP YOU. I WILL UPHOLD YOU WITH MY RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND!!! This verse during these past 109 days has always gotten into my day some how. Wether it was in my one of my many devotions, bible reading, text messages or emails. Last night I was really feeling overwhelmed with things and just very human!!!! YES......I AM HUMAN!!! :0) I was telling my niece Brittany as supper last night that for some reason this verse just gets in my days some how. Well, last night when I got back to the hospital, I was just really overwhelmed with some things and needed a confirmation from God that He was hearing me when I pray. I sat down to do a status update on Tracy on FB here and noticed I had an email. I opened the email and here's what it said:

Just want u to know we r still praying. I know our families don't know each other real well, but we respect u all greatly. Praying !!! Here is a verse The Lord clearly told me to give you, "Fear thou not; FOR I AM WITH THEE, be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10 KJV)
Becky & I love u guys.... Hang in there! CT

You wanna talk about bawling my eyes out!!!!! I just sat in my chair beside Tracy's bed and cried!! I knew God was telling me to just chill out and TRUST HIM!!!! HE'S GOT THIS!!!! This morning, God provided and showed me He's true to His Word!!! Some day I will tell you what the situation was, but for now , just help me PRAISE HIM for HIS goodness, mercy, grace and love!!!! People......HE IS TRUE TO HIS WORD!!!!!

To those who have ordered Team Tracy t-shirts in the last little bit, those should be to you by next week. I have been trying to get those and Thank You cards caught up this week. So sorry for the delay.

I will try to update again tomorrow if we get to go back to Kindred. Thanks to everyone who has prayed so hard for my Sweet T!!! Y'all have been so faithful to keep praying and lifting him up. I will never ever be able to thank y'all enough!!!!! I love y'all and y'all are the greatest friends ever!!!!! I pray God richly bless you all!!!!!!

Update from Libbi at 8:30 p.m. on May 7:

Well, Tracy was admitted back to the hospital last night after having CT scan and X-ray. He has pneumonia, which I found out this evening from Kindred where he was at, that he came there with pneumonia. Surprised me! No one told me anything about it! Ugh!!! So, they have him on 3 different kinds of antibiotics to make sure they have good coverage in case there's infection somewhere else. Should have cultures back in next 48 hrs.

CT scan showed a little pocket of fluid on the right side of brain, that was there after putting the shunt in had a little more fluid than 3 weeks ago on last CT scan. Not a significant amount, but more than before. Dr. Darice Spackmen (Dr. Ulm's PA) came in this evening and opened up the shunt pressure to let more fluid be released. He will have another CT scan done tomorrow to make sure it's doing the job.

Tracy's temp is back to normal tonight!!! Praise God!!!!

PT worked with him this morning by sitting him on edge of bed and he did very well considering him being tired from a long night of getting settled in. He even balanced for a few seconds on his own.

Speech and OT will be by to work with him tomorrow. Praying he has strength from God to do great!!

Don't have a clue as to how long we will be here, praying not long!! Ready to move forward in the name of Jesus!!!!

Thanks to everyone for praying extra hard for my sweet man!!!! I am forever grateful!!! Please keep it up!!!

None of this caught God by surprise!!! He is all knowing and all seeing!!! His Will be done, not mine. I just pray for more grace to keep fighting on this journey He has laid before us!

Thank You God for Your sustaining grace!!! I love You!!!

Update on May 6 at 10:30 p.m.:

CT scan showed the area where the little pocket of fluid was right after shunt was put in has gotten a tiny bit bigger, so Dr Ulm is going to program shunt to release more fluid in the morning. Dr Ulm said fluid is not really a concern. But he has pneumonia in the upper right lobe of lung, so he said it could cause him to act the way he has been past couple of days. So we will be here at the hospital a day or two to get all this fixed.

Please keep praying!!! Just a bump in the road!

Update on May 6 at 2:25 p.m.:

Today has been an ok day with Tracy. Not a lot going on. He's been awake off and on. Had echo cardiogram on his heart this morning. I guess I will know results when Dr comes around. PT and OT came in to access him. Speech therapist came in and did some small things, nothing too productive.

I will update later if anything changes.

Update on May 4 at 1 p.m.:

Well, we are settled in at Kindred in Nashville. Tracy seemed to have a good night last night. The people here are very kind. They gave Tracy a room with two beds, one for him and one for me, so I can stay with him at night! I am one blessed individual! I will stay with him at night for a couple of weeks to get him settled and adjusted and then I may try to go home for a night here and there. I haven't slept in our bed at home since January 15. I've only been home three times for a couple of hours each time. We will see how things go.

Tracy woke up with a little bit of a fever this morning. He's been coughing up secretions in a fair amount. Praying the fever goes away, in Jesus' Name!!!!

I was reading one of my devotions this morning written by Ms. Ruth Graham (late wife of Billy Graham) and the verse she used was Philippians 4:6 that says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Yesterday when we left the hospital I admit I was a little overwhelmed and anxious. I finally had to start praying in the car on the trip here to Kindred for God to calm me. It's HIS will and HIS plan. All I need to do is trust HIM in every situation of my life. I know this is a step forward in the right direction and I want my steps to be ordered by God. I know HE has a great plan for Tracy's life. This morning when I prayed, I just thanked HIM for where HE'S brought us from to where we are now!! I prayed for grace to only make it through this day, for tomorrow may not come. I thanked HIM for the smallest of miracles, even tho to some may not seem like much, but to me they are a big deal!!!! I prayed for forgiveness for the times that I didn't understand HIS plan or ways and became frustrated and confused. I am human, not a hero. I am a wife who loves her husband from the bottom of my heart. No, I've not always been perfect, but thank God HIS grace and mercy is sufficient!!!! It's hard and frustrating at times to see your loved ones suffer and not know the reason why. But, we have to remember this verse!!! Maybe, you are facing some unbelievable stuff in your life. Maybe, you have become angry with God or overwhelmed, confused and frustrated. DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING!!!! PRAY, GIVE THANKS and GIVE IT TO GOD!!!!!!!! I am preaching to myself here!! YOU CAN MAKE IT!!! IT DIDN'T COME TO STAY, BUT CAME TO PASS!!!! We are going THROUGH this trial! Just as HE told the disciples to get in the boat because they were going to THE OTHER SIDE!!! The storm came up and rocked the boat and the disciples became frightened, but they forgot the words that JESUS SPOKE, LET'S GO TO THE OTHER SIDE!!!!! There is "THE OTHER SIDE" of this trial!!! Thank YOU JESUS that YOU have NEVER left us, nor forsaken us EVER in our lives!! JESUS, I am going with YOU to "THE OTHER SIDE!!!" I love YOU Sweet JESUS, my SAVIOR & FRIEND!!!!

Update on May 2 at 11:30 p.m.:

Wow, where do I start this update at? Today has been filled with so many emotions on so many different levels!!

First off: Tracy will be going to a rehab/hospital facility tomorrow (Friday)!!! Yeah, this came about today. It's a acute rehab/hospital facility, so he won't be having to go to a nursing home. It's actually the place where Mike Bowling works some days when at home doing respiratory therapy. It's called Kindred Hospital. The majority of their patients have trachs, so they work toward weaning the patient off the trachs, while at the same time getting PT, OT and speech therapy. This move is a little bit overwhelming for me. I guess cause we've been here at Baptist for 103 days and it's been like our home. I am sooo happy for the progress and the step forward and thank God for it. I don't know how to explain it........kinda like getting married and moving away from home I guess. I hope you understand what I'm saying! But, any ways it's a big step forward!!! Kind of strange too that my motel room was paid up through today! So, I went and cleared everything out tonight. Thanks to Krista Watson and Zach Kennedy for the help packing my little Sadie Bell (my car) full of stuff from 3 months! I will be able to stay with Tracy at this facility at night or I will be a little closer to home and can just go home if I need to. For the first week or so I will stay there with him and then maybe go home some at night. I just hate leaving him!!! But, we will see what happens. Y'all pray that this transition will go great and we can both adjust to this next big step!

Tracy did GREAT in speech therapy today. He made the therapist cry!! She worked with him on word recognition to see if he was comprehending what we were saying. She wrote things on cards for him to do and held them up to him to read to see if he would do it. HE DID!!!!!!! Praise GOD!!!!! She put a straw in his hand and held up two pictures, one of a cup and the other a key. She ask him to point to the cup, HE DID!!!!! He answered every question right!!! The therapist started crying and said, he's in there!!! He's comprehending what we are saying. Just gonna take some time on the talking part. Gotta get all those muscles back to working. She also worked with him on swallowing again and he did good on that. He kept the speaking valve on for almost 45 minutes today. All the nurses came in the room and said, we heard he did great in speech today, that's all Joy (the therapist) was talking about!!! :0) AIN'T GOD SOOOOO GOOD?????? GOOOOOO GOD GOOOOO!!!!

The OT came in and worked with him on his arms and hands range of motion and we seen some movement on the right side again. Not, big movements but enough that we know it is there!! His OT is wanting to stay in touch because she wants to see his progress. She is the sweetest person ever!!!

We have sooooo much to be thankful for tonight!!!!!!! God has been answering prayers left and right!!!! Still got a long journey in front of us, but God is seeing us through it!!!!

Dear God in heaven, I don't know where to start with saying thank You for all that has happen today!!!!! I admit, I am a bit overwhelmed with leaving our security bubble here, but I know You will go with us from here to there!!! Thank You Father for the progress Tracy is making!!! I am still expecting nothing less than an excellent miracle for Tracy's total healing of his whole entire body!!! I am expecting it because You said in Your Word that I could ask ANYTHING in Your name, in faith believing and YOU would do it!!!! You don't lie, so I am expecting a 100% total healing from the top of Tracy's head to the tips of his toes and all the places in between!!!! Waiting on Your timing!!! I love You Sweet Father for everything in my life!!!!!

Update on May 1 at 5 p.m.:

Tracy has had a couple of semi quiet days. The speech therapist has work with Tracy every day this week so far and he's done really good. This morning his dad and mom got to be in the room while the therapist worked with him. It was exciting for them to see the improvements he's made. He has said my name each time. Yesterday he said it really well with mouth movements and all. He got to have a popsicle yesterday, which is good for tongue movement and exercise. Today, he was given a tart frozen lemon thing to help wake up his taste buds. Needless to say, he wasn't too fond of that stuff. JK came in and had his dad sticking his tongue out at him. A little each day......

The physical therapist worked with setting him up on the edge of the bed again this morning. He was able to sit 15 mins being assisted. The therapist was commenting on how much more Tracy looked alert and vibrant. He was holding his head up a little more today. He's coming a long, just gonna take some time and baby steps, BUT we will get there by the help and grace of GOD!!!!!

OT therapist is trying a thing with Tracy's hands and arms by taping them with this special kind of tape. It moves out swelling and it also helps promote movement. She put the tape on the right hand yesterday and today we have movement. It's not like the whole hand is moving, but it's more than what we have seen since the shunt was put in. He arms kinda looks like a blue spider man. :0)

I just pray every day when he starts to do his therapy that God will just give Tracy a supernatural strength to do what he needs to do. Since being off the muscle relaxer Baclofen he has been able to do much better! That stuff is for the birds!!! :0{ (My translation).

If everything goes well with Tracy, I may be with the group Sunday morning in Springfield, TN and Sunday night in Camden, TN. This is not a definite, as I will have to wait up til Sunday morning to see how he's doing. His dad and mom will be staying with him if I do decide that I can go. Both of these dates are close to home, so I think I will feel comfortable in doing them. I probably won't have a voice worth a flip to sing with, but it will be ok as long as I let God use me!

Thought for the day:
Acts 16:30-31
30: And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

God, thank You for Your great salvation plan so that I could have life everlasting in heaven!! Please, help those that do not know You to turn to You before it's everlasting too late! I thank You God for everything in my life!! I love You!!!

Update on April 29 at 6:30 p.m.:

Tracy did great in speech and physical therapy today!!! They worked together with him. He said my name faintly. He tried counting! They worked with him on smiling. He kept the speaking valve on for 35 mins! They had him picking up a Kleenex and wipe his mouth. Turning his head as much as he could. I was almost about to shout!!! 100 days and it's progress!!!! God is good!!!!!

Tracy Stuffle Update: 4/27/13 at 5:15 pm:

I figured I should give y'all an update being that I didn't do one yesterday. Yesterday was a very frustrating day and the night before. Tracy's oxygen level the night before kept getting below 90 and one time as low as 82. I would suction him out and it would come back up where it was suppose to, but then start going back down slowly. At one point he threw up cause the secretions were so thick he started gagging. So, I was up all night watching him to make sure he didn't throw up again and that he was suctioned out. I guess I ticked the night nurse off with trying to keep Tracy cleaned out and so the yesterday morning, they came in and changed his trach from a T collar to a trach collar. By doing this, I can't suction him, only the nurse or the respiratory therapist which up to this point only came in to change the water canister. The doctor came in to see what my concerns were and I told him and the charge nurse. He ordered that Tracy get a breathing treatment and suctioning every 4 hours if needed. This has made things better for Tracy.

Another issue we had was the dr had put Tracy on a muscle relaxer for his left hand and arm. Well, this absolutely knocked him out for almost two days. He would try waking up and might stay awake 5 mins and would be right back asleep. He was soooo out of it yesterday he couldn't even hardly function for physical therapy and speech. He would just have a blank stare when he was awake. I finally told the nurse that I did not want him on it anymore. We will deal with the hand and arm and work a little longer on getting the stiffness out. I woke up at 5:20am and Tracy was awake and stayed awake til about 1:30pm. My niece Krisi Pilling and I decided to leave the hospital being I haven't left since Monday morning to go eat lunch while he slept. After we left the tech came in and bathed him. He is now asleep again.

Needless to say, yesterday I didn't even get out of my pajamas!! I never even left the hospital room. I was really frustrated and didn't care who knew it. Yes, I am human and I DO have my moments. After 98 days of being here, I think I deserve at least one day of being allowed to get it all out!!!

Tracy was able to stay on the passy muir speaking valve for 20 minutes yesterday and was able to make some sounds!!! The therapist was impressed with him not laboring to breathe during those 20 minutes. He could have stayed on longer, but she had a meeting to go to. He wasn't given any thing to test his swallowing due to being so sleepy. Maybe Monday we can get back on track with making more progress on the swallowing and working toward getting the trach out!

It's great having my oldest niece Krisi in town this weekend and her two girls Mia and Jaida. It's been a while since she has been able to come up and visit. We have fun and laugh a lot when she's here. I love her and all of my family who have sacrificed to come and stay with me during this time!

The weekends are always quiet with not a lot going on. So, maybe I can catch up on sleep before Monday rolls around again.

The ICU nurses have been so great about coming or calling to check on us just about every day!!! That means so much to me. I miss seeing them, but I don't miss being in ICU! :0) Thanks, Chris, Ms. Kay and Dedrea for loving on us! I love y'all!!!

Dear Lord,
Thank You that we survived the past two days of frustrating circumstances. Forgive me if I was not a bright light like I should have been, I am sorry!!! Thank You Lord for today being a much better day and Tracy being awake more! I am grateful for all Your love, grace and mercy for I have needed it the past couple of days! You have never let me down or left me alone and for this my heart is forever thankful!!!!

Please, bless every single person richly who has prayed a prayer, sent emails, comments, cards, love gifts, food, blankets and prayer cloths! Also, those who have stepped out and hosted benefit concerts. We are forever grateful for everything, everybody has done to help make this journey a little more enduring. Lord, PLEASE bless them all!!!!!!
I love You Sweet Jesus!!!!!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Wes Hampton and Jeff Hawes

Happy Friday to everyone! After two weeks of having no concerts, I'm planning to see 11th Hour this weekend in Morrilton. If you're in the area, they will be there Friday and Saturday night.

Today's Fun Clip Friday post is a YouTube gem I found a while ago that was taken last summer in Sweden. Wes Hampton and Jeff Hawes of Karen Peck and New River join together for "It Is Well With My Soul." Watch below and enjoy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Glorious Day - Ernie Haase and Signature Sound - CD Review

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound released Glorious Day last month. While this project wasn't exactly what I was expecting from Signature Sound, it's a solid project that full of more traditional quartet singing.

When I saw the title for the project as Glorious Day with a song of the same name, it didn't even register with me that this could be the same as the popular praise and worship song. I love the version of this song by Casting Crowns and wasn't so sure about Signature Sound's version at first, but it definitely grew on me. I'll be honest, I wasn't really aware there were other gospel/hymn versions of this song. I know, southern gospel knowledge fail on my part.

This is the first album the group has released with bass singer Paul Harkey, and it seems to me that he's featured a lot throughout the album. Harkey has solos on "Scars in the Hands of Jesus" and "Two Coats." Harkey gives me a little bit of a Josh Turner vibe on "Two Coats" which has a strong country sound.

Producer Wayne Haun lends his vocals on "When Jesus Breaks the Morning." Wayne Haun as always produces such incredible work, and this album is just another example of it.

"That's Why" is a Devin McGlamery feature that is definitely one of my favorites on the project. The song was written by the dynamic team of Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun and Joel Lindsey. It's one of four songs written by those three on the project.

Another highlight of the project has to be the live acoustic version of "Sometimes I Wonder" as the last track. I love that they chose to add a live version, and I love Doug Anderson on this, but I wish it wasn't a song that was just released on their last project.

Ernie Haase gets the feature on "While I Was a Sinner." Love the message of this song!

"Water Walking God" and "Shh, Be Still" were two other personal favorites. "Water Walking God" is a fun, upbeat quartet song. "Shh, Be Still" grabs your attention with the loud "shh" at the beginning. It starts with a slower, a cappella chorus and then adds a simple instrumental arrangement that really showcases the vocals.

Album rating - 4.25 stars - This wasn't my favorite Signature Sound project, but it's solid. The lack of new songs hurts it for me, but all songs even the remakes are strong. It's a must buy for all-male quartet fans. Even though Ernie Haase and Signature Sound is known to stretch the bounds of traditional southern gospel, this project is on the whole pretty traditional sounding with plenty of great quartet songs.

Song List:
1. When the Saints Go Marching In
2. When Jesus Breaks the Morning
3. That's Why
4. Scars in the Hands of Jesus
5. Shh, Be Still
6. Water Walking God
7. Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord
8. Two Coats
9. While I Was a Sinner
10. Glorious Day
11. Sometimes I Wonder (Live Acoustic Version)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Names You Might Not Know Yet - Declaration

Today marks the beginning of the new series of posts - Names You Might Not Know Yet. It will focus on rising groups in the industry and let you get to know a little bit more about them. Some of these groups/ artists have been in the industry for a while, but are still considering an "up and coming" group or have been recently nominated in a "new" type category. Each artist has been kind enough to answer some questions about their ministry to allow you the chance to know more about them.

The first group highlighted is Declaration.  The group consists of Joshua Horrell, Kasey Kemp, Jake Sammons and Dustin Leming.

Question: When did you become interested in singing Southern Gospel music? What are some of your earliest memories of Southern Gospel?

Kasey: I grew up listening to this music. I was saved at the age of seven and it's true meaning has grown in my heart every day since. When I turned fourteen, being a student of music and living the message of these songs, I knew that singing Gospel music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Jake: My grandparents were all heavily involved in the Detroit gospel music scene which led to both of my parents singing gospel music. In fact, that's how they met! My parents showed me that the core of this music is about Christ and living through Him, onstage and off. For as long as I can remember I wanted to follow in their footsteps but more importantly in Christ's and share that with whoever the Lord allows me to.
Joshua: I grew up in a singing family. My earliest memories, from two years old, are watching them play and sing. I remember being called up as just a little guy and singing, "He's Still Working On Me."
Dustin: My great-grandfather was a preacher. He and my great-grandma used to get up and sing with the Phelps Brothers Quartet in Southern Illinois. He gave me his guitar and taught me how to play. Watching them and learning from them has inspired me to do this today.

Q: How did you get started as Declaration? How long have you been singing?

Declaration: We felt the Lord calling us and asked for advice from Michael Booth. He invited us to his home and met with us for about six hours! He was very clear about the struggles facing a new group and a new business but offered incredible support, mentorship and friendship that continues to this day. The Booth Brothers, after we decided on a direction, offered to take us on the road with them and that was an amazing opportunity. We registered our name on July 4, 2011.

Q: How did you come up with the name Declaration?

Declaration: Jake and his wife, Anjanette, were doing their daily devotions and read Job: "He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him. Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears. (Job 13:16, 17 KJV)" Jake called Kasey and told him about the name, "Declaration." Kasey had been studying in 1 John: "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5 KJV)" and had jotted down the name, "Declaration." I know it sounds strange but that's how it happened!

Q: Do you have a favorite song that you sing? And what song from another group has ministered to you?

Kasey: I love when we sing, "It Wasn't Me," a song written by Jake. It's a great perspective in Christ's sacrifice and work on the cross. A song that had ministered to me by another group is, "Boundless Love," by the Cathedrals. I loved thinking about how vast God's love is for us.
Jake: I appreciate the challenge of the words in, "To Count For Jesus," a song written by Lari Goss. If you don't mean it, don't sing it! A song that has ministered to me is, "Mended Wings," by The Ruppes. The second half of the second verse tears me up every time!
Joshua: "Blessed Assurance" is my favorite song to sing. I love to see how this great old lyric still ministers to people today. A song that has ministered to me is, "Through The Night," by the Perrys. Watching Mrs. Libbi walk through this dark time and then hearing her sing those words is a testimony to God's sustaining grace.
Dustin: "He Loves Me" written by our buddy, George Amon Webster. It's a great reminder that God loves each of us individually and completely.

Q: What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)?

Kasey: I grew up on the music of the Sego Brothers and Naomi as well as the classic quartets like the Statesmen and Cathedrals. The opportunity to travel with Mrs. Naomi for six years was a huge Spiritual influence as well as an opportunity to meet heroes like Jake Hess, George Younce, Glen Payne and more. Today I'm influenced by Greater Vision, the Booth Brothers and Bill Gaither. I aspire to be a strong Christian man by following the examples of all of these heroes.
Jake: My dad is my favorite singer, and my family influenced me incredibly. The Booth Brothers have been long-time friends, and I have grown to appreciate how they handle every aspect of what they do. Gerald Wolfe and Greater Vision have been heroes of mine since they much room do you need to fill?? Songwriters like Mosie Lister, Rodney Griffin, Bill and Gloria Gaither and even Larry Gatlin have challenged me as a writer and been people I look up to.
Joshua: My grandmother, Janice and both of my parents, Ricky and Cheryl, have been involved in Gospel Music their whole lives. I grew up watching them as well as my Uncle Biney English and his brother, Michael. Today I'd have to say that the Perrys influence me. Their true hearts for God and ear for great songs are inspiring.
Dustin: The Whisnants have been a blessing to me. I grew up listening to them and when I got to know them more personally they've been a big encouragement.

Q: What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry? Is there a certain concert that stands out to you?

Kasey: We were in a revival in Toledo last year and we saw, not only people saved but The Lord literally putting families back together at the altar. It was amazing.
Jake: My favorite memory so far has been sitting in a Bible Study during the Gaither Homecoming Christmas Tour last year. There was an awesome moving of the Holy Spirit and what was supposed to be a 20 minute lesson turned into a three-hour prayer meeting!
Joshua: Right after Mr. Tracy Stuffle suffered his brain bleed and was admitted to the hospital our home church, College Heights Baptist, held a prayer service for him. We were asked to sing along with Tribute, the Isaacs and folks from the church. It was great to see God move and His people come together like that for a man that means a lot to me.
Dustin: There are so many to choose from! God has really been doing amazing things in our ministry. It's exciting to see what He's going to do next, I expect it every night!

Q: What new things are coming up for Declaration?

Declaration: We just released a collection of hymns called, "Songs of Truth." It was produced by Nick Bruno. It's something we are quite proud of and love seeing how these timeless truths are still effective in people's lives today. We are beginning work on a brand new project. Jake is writing with some of the top writers in the industry including Joel Lindsey and Jim Brady to come up with new songs. We will also go back and find some older, maybe more familiar songs that are still effective.

Thanks so much to Declaration for your time and great answers! For more on Declaration, visit the group's website.

If you have a new group/artist that you would like to see featured in this series, feel free to contact me!