Maybe I can share something...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Taken from, "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswald Chambers

"Lord, I will follow You, but..." (Luke 9:61).

Suppose God tells you to do something that is an enormous test of your common sense, totally going against it. What will you do? Will you hold back? If you get into the habit of doing something physically, you will do it every time you are tested until you break the habit through sheer determination. And the same is true spiritually. Again and again you will come right up to what Jesus wants, but every time you will turn back at the true point of testing, until you are determined to abandon yourself to God in total surrender. Yet we tend to say, "Yes, but---suppose I do obey God in this matter, what about...?" Or we say, "Yes, I will obey God if what He asks of me doesn't go against my common sense, but don't ask me to take a step in the dark."

Jesus Christ demands the same unrestrained, adventurous spirit in those who have placed their trust in Him that the natural man exhibits. If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap into the dark. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says. Once you obey, you will immediately find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.

By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ's statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God. Trust completely in God, and when He brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis--only one out of an entire crowd is daring enough to invest his faith in the character of God.

Monday, May 28, 2007

11-Year Old Boy Bags Record Sized Wild Boar


Hogzilla is being made into a horror movie. But the sequel may be even bigger: Meet Monster Pig.

An 11-year-old Alabama boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog his father says weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. Think hams as big as car tires.

If the claims are accurate, Jamison Stone’s trophy boar would be bigger than Hogzilla, the famed wild hog that was killed in south Georgia in 2004.

Hogzilla originally was thought to weigh 1,000 pounds and measure 12 feet in length. National Geographic experts who unearthed its remains believe the animal actually weighed about 800 pounds and was 8 feet long.

Regardless of the comparison, Jamison is reveling in the attention over his pig, which has a Web site put up by his father -- -- that is generating Internet buzz.

“It feels really good," Jamison, of Pickensville, said. “It’s a good accomplishment. I probably won’t ever kill anything else that big."

Jamison, who killed his first deer at age 5, was hunting with father Mike Stone and two guides in east Alabama on May 3 when he bagged Hogzilla II. He said he shot the huge animal eight times with a .50-caliber revolver and chased it for three hours through hilly woods before finishing it off with a point-blank shot.

Through it all there was the fear that the animal would turn and charge them, as wild boars have a reputation of doing.

“I was a little bit scared, a little bit excited," said Jamison, who just finished the sixth grade on the honor roll at Christian Heritage Academy, a small, private school.

His father said that, just to be extra safe, he and the guides had high-powered rifles aimed and ready to fire in case the beast with 5-inch tusks decided to charge.

With the pig finally died in a creek bed on the 2,500-acre Lost Creek Plantation, a commercial hunting preserve in Delta, trees had to be cut down and a backhoe brought in to bring Jamison’s prize out of the woods.

It was hauled on a truck to the Clay County Farmers Exchange in Lineville, where Jeff Kinder said they used his scale, which was recently calibrated, to weigh the hog.

Kinder, who didn’t witness the weigh-in, said he was baffled to hear the reported weight of 1,051 pounds because his scale -- an old, manual style with sliding weights -- only measures to the nearest 10.

“I didn’t quite understand that," he said.

Mike Stone said the scale balanced one notch past the 1,050-pound mark, and he thought it meant a weight of 1,051 pounds.

“It probably weighed 1,060 pounds. We were just afraid to change it once the story was out," he said.

The hog’s head is now being mounted on an extra-large foam form by Jerry Cunningham of Jerry’s Taxidermy in Oxford. Cunningham said the animal measured 54 inches around the head, 74 inches around the shoulders and 11 inches from the eyes to the end of its snout.

“It’s huge," he said. “It’s just the biggest thing I’ve ever seen."

Mike Stone is having sausage made from the rest of the animal. “We’ll probably get 500 to 700 pounds," he said.

Jamison, meanwhile, has been offered a small part in “The Legend of Hogzilla," a small-time horror flick based on the tale of the Georgia boar. The movie is holding casting calls with plans to begin filming in Georgia.

Jamison is enjoying the newfound celebrity generated by the hog hunt, but he said he prefers hunting pheasants to monster pigs.

“They are a little less dangerous."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ultrasound #2, May 21, 2007

Today we went to the doctor for our second ultrasound. The doctor dated the baby at 7 weeks 4 days, and roughly 1.5 cm in length. We were able to detect a very strong heartbeat and could even see the flicker of the heart very clearly on the ultrasound!! How cool is that!?! At this point the doctor sees nothing out of the ordinary and is expecting a healthy pregnancy. Valerie is experiencing a slight amount of nausea thats commonly known as "morning sickness" but she seems to have things backwards and tends to feel more nauseous in the evenings. We're not scheduled to return to the doctor for another 4 weeks, which by then the baby should have doubled in size! I'll post new pics as I get them!

Estimated Due Date:
January 2, 2008!!

"Did It Have That, 'Deer In The Headlights' Look?"

This past weekend the Dixie Echoes found ourselves on a fairly long trip deep into "Yankee territory". We started out on Thursday night in Brunswick, Ohio at Brunswick United Methodist Church. We had a wonderful time with the folks there. In fact, if you'd like to read a concert review of this evening, Internet guru and southern gospel fan, Daniel Mount was in attendance and posted his thoughts of the night on his blog. Read the review HERE.

Then it was off to Holland, Michigan for another great concert. Just after the concert was over we learned that our friends the Dove Brothers were singing just 17 miles away. So naturally we gave 'em a call and were all able to meet up at the local Applebee's for a great time of food and fellowship. The Dove's are some of our dearest friends and we always enjoy getting to spend some time together. After we were done eating the Dove Brothers headed out to Goshen, Indiana and the Echoes headed over to Vassar, Michigan for a Saturday night concert at the high school.

Around midnight after being treated to a wonderful meal at a local restaurant the Dixie Echoes headed south to Fairfield, Illinois for a Sunday afternoon concert. The last two weekends we've had to travel in Randy's old motor home while he's been doing some extensive maintenance to the bus. Due to having to wait on parts to be shipped in we just haven't been able to get the bus road worthy just yet. As much as we missed the 'ol bus, we were thankful that we had the motor home available; it sure beats jumping into a van and trailer for the weekend!

While en route to Illinois we happened upon a small herd of deer. Now, we see thousands of deer on the sides of the road, grazing peacefully and thankfully leaving the roadway to the humans. But this night found some "not so bright" deer looking for grass in the middle of Interstate 69. Scoot was driving and said that they were lined up 3 across, standing nose-to-tail. There just wasn't any chance of swerving, or slamming on the brakes for this one! So we went head on with them and although we suffered quite a bit of damage the deer still lost this joust. We think that at least 2 of the three made it out, but one did find his way from the front bumper to the rear bumper taking a complete tour of the undercarriage on his way. One of the others it seems did ricochet down the drivers side as we were able to find a few scuff marks and minor dents in the bay door panels.

The majority of the damage was confined to the lower driver's side front bumper. It completely destroyed that entire corner and knocked the main bumper off of its mounts. So we spent nearly an hour on the side of I-69 at 3 a.m. getting the bus put back together with duct tape. We were able to get the bumper taped back on and the generator hood taped down when we realized that we were losing all of our air pressure. Of course as you know the air system is what controls our brakes. When the air pressure is too low the parking brake will not release, so you're stuck where you're at! So after some sleuthing we discovered that 'el Bambo busted an air line right behind the front headlight, and after some more work Randy was able to get the line reattached and everything back together enough to head down the road. We weren't sure what that air line serviced, but within a few minutes we found out! Out of nowhere the air horns on the roof of the bus started whaling as loud as they could! Apparently the deer busted off the regulator that controlled the air flow to the horns, and after repairing the line it was reattached directly since that regulator was destroyed. So after all of that repair we had to get a pair of vice grips and clamp that line shut to get the horns to stop. Naturally that brought some laughter to a very stressful situation. But thankfully we were able to get on the road and arrived in Fairfield, Illinois around 8 am Sunday morning.

The folks at the Community of Christ Church made a bunch of tired singers feel right at home. We were able to sing to a nearly full house of smiling folks who were really enjoying that old fashioned quartet singing. It was a long weekend, but God always knows which people to send to the concerts to charge our batteries and refresh our spirits. After we were treated to a great meal at a local restaurant we pointed the 'ol motor home toward Pensacola praying this leg of the trip would be as uneventful as possible, and other than a small traffic delay in Nashville we made it home to Pensacola around 6 am.

The black lines on the bumper is the duct tape. Thats all that was holding the bumper on. You'll notice a space of several inches between the bumper and the generator hood, there's not supposed to be any space there! Thankfully this was all the damage that was done, but its more than enough!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The BIG Announcement!!

Some of you already know about this, but for the rest of seems that Valerie and I are going to try our hand at this thing called parenting!! Pray!! Really, we're very excited!! So far everything is normal and on track. Today Valerie had her first ultrasound. Being only 6 weeks into the pregnancy he/she is still very small. But the doctor was able to detect a heartbeat! We'll go back on May 21st for another exam. Here's he/she's first picture!!

It's the little white dot just under the arrow in the upper left hand corner of the large black area.

Another Answer To Prayer

As some of you know my sister and brother-in-law have been trying to adopt another child, but have run into some amazing hurdles this time. We've been praying for sometime that God would allow this to happen and today we're one step closer!! In court this morning the judge signed off on the mother's voluntary relinquishment of parental rights. And also teminated on all the fathers (yes, plural)! The adoption process will now begin but can also be a lengthy process. Thank you to all who have been praying over the last 15 months. Please pray now that the adoption process will be smooth and swift!

Matthew with Uncle Tracy, Christmas 2006

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

IMPORTANT UPDATE(5/9) Dixie Echoes To Record Live Video at XM Radio's Live Performance Theatre

XM's Live Performance Theatre has seen its share of outstanding performances by some of the worlds greatest artists. The list of those who have recorded at XM's Live Studio include Kathy Matea, Melissa Etheridge, Joe Satriani, John Welton, Berlin, Jon Anderson, Paul McCartney, BB King, and many, many others. But on June 2, 2007 The Dixie Echoes will be the first gospel group to ever record a live video performance in the XM Live Performance Studio.

In December 2006 the Dixie Echoes had the opportunity to stop in and visit XM Headquarters in Washington, D.C. for the first time. We were greeted with a warm welcome by Enlighten 34's DJ's Marlin Taylor and Dan Dixon. During our brief tour of the XM facilities, we toured the XM Live Performance Theatre and simply fell in love with it. Almost immediately we began talking about how great it would be to record a live video there. I'm not sure who was more excited, us, or Marlin and Dan! Since then we've been working out the logistics of getting there and whether or not the studio would be available. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Marlin Taylor, Dan Dixon, and Stewart Varnado it's really going to happen!

The studio has very, very limited seating, roughly 40-50 seats will be available. This will provide a very intimate, yet exciting setting. If you live in the D.C. area and would be interested in being part of the live studio audience call 202-380-4000 to make your reservations. Admission is FREE!! Be watching for the video release of this LIVE concert later this year. Go to our website, and sign up for our FREE email newsletter and you'll be among the first to know when this video is released and available for purchase!

The Live Performance studio at XM features flawless acoustics and a half-million dollar control room — truly an ideal environment for a live performance. The studio can accommodate approximately 50 people, including an orchestra of up to 40 performers. The space is used for live performances, recording for record labels and XM shows, mixing, and remastering. It is also available for rental.

The performance space utilizes an assortment of acoustically diffusive and absorptive surfaces (glass, metal, ceramic, wood, and Fiberglass), spaced and angled according to precise mathematical calculations. The result is a warm signature sound, simulating a chamber concert hall. One wall features a ceiling-to-floor glass window that allows visitors to view working sessions. An extensive theatrical lighting system can be used for live television broadcasts as well. Like all XM studios, the performance suite has a suspended floor and floating walls, eliminating any bleeding of sound or transmission of digital artifacts from neighboring studios.

Visitors and employees can view the live performances through the glass wall.

The Dixie Echoes outside the XM Live Performance Studio with XM's EnLighten channel 34's DJ's Marlin Taylor and Dan Dixon. (L-R): Marlin, Randy "Scoot" Shelnut, Jr., Randy Shelnut, Stewart Varnado, Dallas Rogers, Tracy Crouch, and Dan Dixon.

UPDATE-5/9/07-From Marlin Taylor of XM Radio

XM Satellite Radio, America's no. 1 satellite radio service (featuring 68 commercial free music channels), is assembling a small audience of friends and fans of Dixie Echoes for a taping session with the artist on the afternoon of June 2, 2007 at XM's Washington, DC broadcast studios.

The seating for this special program is extremely limited and approximately 40 people will be chosen on a "first-come, first-served" basis determined by when their email is received at XM. If you are interested and are 100% confident that you can be in Washington, DC on the afternoon of June 2, 2007, please send an email complete with your full name and contact information to

Make sure to include "DIXIE ECHOES” in the subject line of your message to or your email will not be considered.

If you wish to come with a guest - one other person only - please include that person's name and contact information (email and cell phone nos. are important in case there is a change in schedule) as well. If you are selected to attend, you will receive an email with the exact time and further instructions. Only people who have received this email will be put on the guest list and will be able to attend.