Thanksgiving, Harry Potter and the Power of No


Happy Harry

Long time readers will know, I like to surprise my kids by saying “yes.” At least twice, I’ve written about the value of saying “yes” to your kids (here and here). Today I’d like to show a little love to good ol’ fashioned no.

Here in the U.S., we celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday. That got me thinking about gratitude vs. entitlement, which brought me around to Harry Potter: the fictional boy wizard that was raised by relatives who despised him. If you don’t remember, Harry Potter lived with his cousin Dudley.

Dudley’s parents (Harry’s aunt and uncle) mercilessly spoiled their son. They unreservedly said “yes” to Dudley, but to Harry, they only said “no.” Under their rearing, Harry developed kindness and generosity, gratitude and perseverance, while Dudley became truly horrible.

Anecdotally, we understand this phenomenon. But, every parent with an extra nickel must also apply the lesson. Sometimes we have to say no, only because it builds character. 

When my kids complain about the lack of cereal in the pantry, to me, they are saying, “Don’t buy cereal. You haven’t said “no” enough lately.” Similarly, if they complain about having to do the dishes, it means, they need to wash dishes more often.

In the short run, this means more pain for the parents: more complaining, more sullen brooding or outright tantrums. But in the long run, it means you get pleasant, respectful people to live and grow old with.  Those kids grow up to be respectful to their teachers and to their bosses and to the police. If your child is 12 years old and still does not help do dishes or fold laundry, do yourself (and the world) a favor and start saying no more often.

But, don’t make the same mistake I often do, saying “no” with an edge of discontent or dissatisfaction. Prepare yourself in prayer. Clothe yourself in humility before God, and with gratitude at the sacred task you’ve been given. Then, you can say “no” with joy, not as a punishment, but as a gift – with an eye on the long road ahead.  AND, your kids will feel that difference, because “the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.

Raising kids is incredibly challenging.  But now with an 8, 12 and 15 year old, I can testify that it gets easier as they grow – if you are willing to walk through the minefield of saying “yes” and “no” with prayerful care.

Final thought: Amy and I have been parenting this way for years, but we’ve only ever done it badly. We are hypocritical, inconsistent, and irresponsible failures much of the time. And yet, we’ve got great kids. So keep stumbling forward, receive God’s grace, and start fresh again today, with thanksgiving. That’s what we’re going to do.


Don’t miss the 20% off ALL MUSIC sale this weekend at – including the fan-favorite A Slugs & Bugs Christmas for only $8!



Hey Beautiful Girl (story and song)

Saturday was November 21st. My daughter and oldest child, Livi, turned 15!

That’s crazy for so many reasons, but in the context of this blog, it’s crazy because that means about 15 years ago, I wrote my first Slugs & Bugs song. I wrote the chorus to Beautiful Girl to the rhythm of my hand on her tiny back, trying to get her to burp halfway through her bottle.

We lived in a little 700 sq foot duplex. When it was my turn for a midnight feeding I would carry Livi to the far corner of the front room to give her a bottle, so Amy could stay asleep.

This year I carried Livi farther away than she’d even been – as she toured across the U.S. and through England and Wales with me all Spring, playing fiddle and singing and running the merch table. We had SO much fun, and great adventures like this epic trek along the cliffs of Wales from a lighthouse to a castle.

















































This past Saturday, our family went on a more local adventure as part of our day celebrating Livi. We hiked the 3 mile Gainer Ridge trail around Radnor Lake in Nashville. It was warm and sunny at the start, and got chilly and blustery by the middle. That’s when we took this picture…



Now here’s that song I wrote back in late 2000, for that tiny baby.  I never knew how much my parents loved me until I held her in my arms. My, how the years pass…

Beautiful Girl

I’ve got you swaddled and I’ve got your bottle
And you’re too loud to ignore.
Your mama is sleeping
The angels are keeping
So cry no more.

Hey beautiful girl,
Daddy loves you, he loves you.
Most beautiful girl in whole wide world.

The stars are all shining, the birds are reclining,
The squirrels are all nestled down.
The trees in the forest are joining the chorus,
And swaying to the sound.

Hey beautiful girl,
Daddy loves you, he loves you.
Most beautiful girl in whole wide world.

I know that moons rise, and time flies,
and sweet little girls get older.
But when your tooth aches or your heart breaks
will you still cry on my shoulder?

Hey beautiful girl,
Daddy loves you, he loves you.
Most beautiful girl in whole wide world.

The Valley of Vision

I benefit so much from this little book. My friends Tom and Rachael Hart from England (and Scotland) gave it to me when we left last May. The prayers reach back, deep into Puritan age faith-struggles, which, of course, are the same faith-struggles we have today.

Here is a prayer titled Deliverance that I have re-read many times. I prayed it again this morning. It always helps me (in more ways than one) to read it aloud.


Save me entirely from sin.
I know I am righteous through the righteousness of another,
but I pant and pine for likeness to thyself;

I am thy child and should bear thy image,
Enable me to recognize my death unto sin;
When it tempts me may I be deaf unto its voice.
Deliver me from the invasion as well as the dominion of sin.

Grant me to walk as Christ walked,
to live in the newness of his life,

the life of love, the life of faith, the life of holiness.

I abhor my body of death,
its indolence, envy, meanness, pride.

Forgive, and kill these vices,
have mercy on my unbelief, on my corrupt and wandering heart.

When thy blessings come, I begin to idolize them,
and set my affections on some beloved object –
children, friends, wealth, honor;

Cleanse this spiritual adultery and give me chastity;
close my heart to all but thee.

Sin is my greatest curse;
Let thy victory be apparent to my consciousness,
and be displayed in my life.

Help me to be always devoted, confident, obedient, resigned,
childlike in my trust of thee,
to love thee with soul, body, mind, strength,
to love my fellow-man as I love myself,
to be saved from unregenerate temper,
hard thoughts, slanderous words, meanness,
unkind manners,
to master my tongue and keep the door
of my lips.

Fill me with grace daily,
that my life be a fountain
of sweet water.

My Dove Awards Speech


Our trip to the Dove Awards was such a fun treat. Our nomination was such a surprise, that even though I did not take home a statue, I still felt like we won something.

The Slugs & Bugs “representatives” took up half a row of seats at Lipscomb’s Collins Auditorium.  Amy, my parents, and my second mom (Amy’s mom) sat to my right. And to my left sat my friends Laura Preston and Josh Peterson, both of whom play vital roles in the world of Slugs & Bugs. My only disappointment for the day was not getting the chance to publicly praise and thank them.

So that’s what this post is for. Here’s my “day after” speech…

It has been so fun to be nominated for a Dove Award. I am so grateful for the people who voted for Sing the Bible, and for the chance to thank my amazing, kind, tenacious, generous and loyal Slugs & Bugs Team. Thank you to my friend and brilliant producer Ben Shive. Sing the Bible could never have reached so many if it didn’t sound so awesome (because of you). Thank you to Brian and Emily from Turning Point Media for catching the Slugs & Bugs vision and sharing our story with so many. Thanks to Micah Watson for booking all my shows (so I can pay my bills), and for representing me so well. Thank you Josh Peterson for believing in me, for your tireless support and encouragement, and for helping me see a clear path on the business side of Slugs & Bugs.

Thank you to Laura Preston, my “Chief of Staff” and “Wearer of Many Hats.”  You do SO MUCH OH MY GOSH! (Insert audience laughter). But among all your different roles in the Slugs & Bugs Universe, your most valuable is the role of trusted friend. Thank you for your passion and commitment and love for me and for this calling.

Finally, thanks to my parents (all three of them, see 2nd paragraph) for your love and support for me in this strange calling. Thank you to my wife and best friend, Amy. You are my hilarious and beautiful rock. Thanks for loving me through it all.  And thanks to all the Slugs & Bugs families out there. Thank you for listening, for sharing your stories, for buying the CDs, and for coming to the concerts. You guys keep this train running!

I love what I do, and I love the people I get to do it with. I feel blessed beyond measure. Praise the Lord!


Randall Goodgame is the founder of Slugs & Bugs Family Music. Their latest CD Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs was nominated for Children’s Album of the Year at the 2015 Dove Awards.

To purchase our all-Scripture CD, Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs, (click here)

Back from the Shadows

The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.  – Psalm 41:3

Man, was I sick.

I had fever for 2 weeks. I didn’t even know that was possible!  Thank God for Advil, Tylenol, Alka Seltzer Cough and Cold, cherry cough drops, antibiotics and my patient family. 

After almost a month down, I’m now on the mend, trying to make up for lost time in the studio, while also trying to learn from the over-work routine that landed me wheezing and feverish for weeks in the sickbed.  I’ve still got a lingering cough, but the worst is over.

Thanks to my friend and producer, Ben Shive, the making of Sing the Bible Volume 2 continued even while I was down. Over the last week or so, we recorded more Nathan Duggar on electric guitar, and the beautiful vocals of my friend Nickie Conley. Last week we recorded a dramatic reading from Pastor Glenda Sutton from Nashville’s Family Affair Ministries, and some adorable kids, courtesy of their Peterson, Chaffer, Gullahorn, and Osenga parents.

This morning we recorded my friend Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station. That’s exciting because Ron is brilliant and a fun fellow, but also because Ron has played on every Slugs & Bugs CD. That’s his acoustic solo on “Bears,” his banjo on “Happy Birthday Jesus” and more recently, his banjo memorably kicks off “To You Oh Lord” – track #2 on on the original Sing the Bible.  Now, that same banjo brings a glorious lift to “Hear, O Israel,” played here with my wife and daughter (they also sing on the record).

Incidentally, Ron Block just released a PHENOMENAL instrumental bluegrass CD, called Hogan’s House of Music (named after his dad’s old music store). You can pick it up by clicking here if you like awesome things.

Now that I’m feeling better, I hope to return to the blog more often. Come back soon and see what else is new, and please pray for us as we make up for lost time with production, mixing, layout and design. We still hope to send have music by November!

Peace and thanks,


p.s. – Here’s a pic of Pastor Glenda in the studio, as well as a brief video of a Gullahorn, a Peterson and an Osenga rocking some background vocals.

Pastor Glenda Sutton
Pastor Glenda Sutton


Studio Update! (Sing the Bible Vol. 2 )

IMG_8024Today is Labor Day in the U.S., and many of our countrymen have the day off. However, Ben and I decided to work a few hours, just to stay on schedule.

Also, today may be our last chance to record my daughter, Livi Goodgame. Because of her high school class schedule, cross country schedule, and violin practice/lessons/fiddle group schedule, Livi can be hard to, well, schedule.

She has sung on every S&B CD, and she’s been a huge part of Slugs & Bugs this year, so we spent from 10 to 2 recording Livi and her mom, Amy (my harmoniously gifted wife).

They sang background vocals on Masterpiece and Hear, O Israel. Even though it was technically work on a holiday, we still had a great time. Here’s a few pics and a VERY brief video.



Deep Gratitude and a CD Cover Controversy!

Today marks the end of our third Kickstarter campaign. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and filled with excitement about it all: getting these particular scriptures in the hearts of my kids and yours, getting to make all this new music with excellence, and partnering with a wide and deep community of believers to do it all together.

Since we hit two stretch goals, we’ll be making 2 new animated videos, as well as hosting a Kickstarter Supporters Only live online concert later this year.

There are so many pieces to the puzzle in any recording project. We have completed the funding, we will be recording through mid-September, and we are now moving to artwork. Our illustrator, Zach Franzen, has begun drawing for the cover, while Roy Roper is designing it. And now there is controversy in the ranks at Slugs & Bugs,  as two possible (very similar) covers have risen to the top. Now it’s time for YOU to weigh in.

Which one is your favorite? Option 1 or Option 2?

Option 1
Option 1
Option 2
Option 2