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.

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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…

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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.

Back from the United Kingdom!

The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.
The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.

The Slugs & Bugs UK tour left a powerfully deep impression. But it was not from the concerts, even though they went spectacularly well. It was not from the castles or ancient cliffs of Wales. It was not the rolling fields of yellow oil seed flowers. It was not the delicious traditional Sunday Roast or hearty and satisfying Full English Breakfast. It was not Big Ben, not Harry Potter Studios, not the Van Gogh paintings hanging in the National Gallery, not even the moving visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, where I strained my neck from staring up to see ALLELVIA painted across the choir lofts, my eyes brimming with tears.

Of course, it was the people. We met and made fast friendships with scores of wonderful people like Grace Forsythe, who traveled 8 hours round-trip to retrieve us from Heathrow with a smile and served us two spectacular home-cooked meals in Liverpool because she loves Jesus.  I will remember Upney’s Pastor Johnny – with the quick lilt and humble confidence forged in the damp beauty of Northern Ireland. He’s funny. And he made us lasagna from scratch. I’ll remember Pastor Phil and his wife Monique – South African transplants to the Welsh seaside. Months earlier they saw us singing in our living room in Nashville through the magic of an online concert. Last week I sat in their living room in Wales and learned that I enjoy Rooibos tea, black, no sugar.

Then there was Ginger and Beth – our gracious and hardworking hosts at the American Air Force Base near Cambridge. Two enlisted women volunteered at the Slugs & Bugs merch table. They were so helpful and friendly with Livi. We arrived late to Winchelsea School in Dorset, but Tim (Assistant Head) and his staff didn’t even blink. They are used to improvising since it is a school for children with special needs. This concert was one of my favorites, again, because of the people.

I’m leaving many out, including my own kin (Grace and Michael Freeman – I’m looking at you), but the truth is, all our hosts went above and beyond to care for us, and none more than Tom and Rachael Hart. Tom is a associate pastor at a church in Dagenham, east of London. Tom and Rach contacted many churches about booking Slugs & Bugs, and because of their hustle and trusted reputation, we doubled our number of concerts. Then, they arranged details for every show – serving as the Slugs & Bugs “UK office.” Then, they decided it would be better for Livi and me if they provided the entire sound system for every show.  That means loading their PA, driving us all over the United Kingdom in their Honda CRV, setting up, running sound, and tearing down for every concert. 

Are you getting this? Did I mention they’ve got 2 girls under 4 years old? That means the grandparents pitched in as well, keeping the kids while Tom and Rach served us for two weeks. Add to all that, Tom and Rach are warm and hospitable companions, quick to laugh at my attempts at UK accents and even quicker to sound like Forrest Gump for laughs at their own expense. They deeply love Jesus and his gospel, and I’ll be forever grateful that Livi got to see them sacrifice with such joy and patience. I already liked the Harts before this trip. Now, for the Harts, I would fight a rabid badger to the death.

The point I’m finding in this post is, this tour was a massive effort, and many hands got dirty. The people of the Slugs & Bugs UK tour, are many. They are pastors and pastors wives, cooks and drivers, soldiers and missionaries, farmers, parents, grandparents, and cousins. People phoned newspapers, knitted spiders, painted backdrops and hung fliers. These people have kids and families and fiancés and some are in wheelchairs or they’ve recently lost loved ones. Some are battling depression, fatigue, or chronic pain. And they all came out and had a blast making much of Christ and little of ourselves. There is so much joy to be found among friends who take Jesus seriously, because that means they don’t take themselves very seriously at all.

I heard one British dad volunteer confess, “This is terrifying,” before launching into ‘I Wanna Help.’ In the end he wore a huge grin.

Thank you, people of the United Kingdom. Six months ago this tour was a dream. Now it is a memory as we’ve hit the U.S.A. ground running. Next week we launch a Kickstarter Campaign for Sing the Bible Vol. 2. But today I’m thinking of all those people we met in England and Wales. Many of them brought home Slugs & Bugs CDs. If they are tucking in kids tonight, they have a few new lullabies they can try.

Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be thy name...”

Here’s a few fun pics from our tour through the United Kingdom!  We’ll be back in 2016!

Slugs & Bugs on the Isle of Wight!
Slugs & Bugs on the Isle of Wight!
With the Harts at the National Gallery (off Trafalgar Square)
With the Harts at the National Gallery (off Trafalgar Square)

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Livi and our first new friend in the UK. Grace drove from Liverpool to Heathrow to pick us up, and she was delightful company for two jet lagged yankees.
Livi and our first new friend in the UK. Grace drove from Liverpool to Heathrow to pick us up, and she was delightful company for two jet lagged yankees.
Livi and Rachael on the seaside cliffs of Wales.
Livi and Rachael on the seaside cliffs of Wales.
This Anglican Church (St. George's) is over 1000 years old.
This Anglican Church (St. George’s) is over 1000 years old.
Scale model of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Scale model of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Vincent Van Gogh painted this painting. But that was a while ago...
Vincent Van Gogh painted this painting. But that was a while ago…
Amy and I on the tube, after a long,
Amy and I on the tube, after a long, “fab” day in London.
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A “proper” Sunday roast at a pub in Wales.
Saying goodbye to Harry Potter Studios
Saying goodbye to Harry Potter Studios
The only existing photo of the Harts setting up the sound system... this was concert #5, in Stowmarket.
The only existing photo of the Harts setting up the sound system… this was concert #5, in Stowmarket.
Pastor Tom Hart with daughter Jodie running sound in Dagenham.
Pastor Tom Hart with daughter Jodie running sound in Dagenham.
A few brave men, shaking off that infamous
A few brave men, shaking off that infamous “British reserve” for the kids…
Livi and my cousin Grace Freeman at the Henry VIII Hampton Court Palace
Livi and my cousin Grace Freeman at the Henry VIII Hampton Court Palace

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Looking for some awesome music to listen to with your family? Cool. We’ve got some. 

To purchase our word-for-word Scripture CD, Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs, click here.STBcover

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The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.
The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.

Slugs & Bugs is UK Bound!

london1Just a quick post today. Livi and I are minutes away from boarding our Virgin Atlantic flight to London.

Last night some dear friends called us and prayed for us over FaceTime. It was a caring gesture and was deeply meaningful for us. Our friends prayed that the gospel would take root in the hearts of those who hear us, and I’m writing this to ask if some of you would pray the same thing.

Many of our concert hosts in England are voices in the wilderness. In England and Wales, there are not churches on every corner, filled with people, like there are in Nashville and so many cities where we play in the US.  Please pray with us that our words would be made attractively peculiar by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit. Pray that the fun and silliness of Slugs & Bugs will reflect the peace and joy that comes from our rest in Christ, and that my words will be clear and true.

To paraphrase Tim Keller, Livi and I are carrying dynamite. Pray that we would handle it with care and that God would use our foolishness to make his wisdom known. Thanks so much. – Randall

Livi Goodgame’s Slugs & Bugs 101

As many of you know, my 14 year old daughter, Livi, is touring with me full time this January through May. She sings, plays fiddle, leads hand motions, trains the merchandise volunteers, helps load in and tear down and is always great company.  This is March, so we’re over halfway through this sweet season and I’m already bracing myself for when she goes to high school this Fall.

For now, though, Livi is neck deep in the Slugs & Bugs day-to-day. She likes helping me think about how to spread the word about Slugs & Bugs music, and a few weeks ago, she surprised me with this amazing video. (Kids these days! I didn’t even know she knew how to edit!)

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Looking for some awesome music to listen to with your family? Cool. We’ve got some. 

To purchase our word-for-word Scripture CD, Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs, click here.STBcover

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to our mailing list (to get discount coupon codes and FREE coloring pages!) (click here)

The Old Testament Video Challenge

Last week, we posted our Old Testament Video on the Slugs & Bugs facebook page, and it was a hit! This week, I thought it would be fun to post here (with the original ending) and see how quickly the Slugs & Bugs neighborhood could identify all the Old Testament references. Most of them are pretty obvious, but a few might make you flip open your Bibles!

Matt Cosby animated the song, and we had fun brainstorming and coming up with different scenes for the train cars. Leave a comment below identifying a reference, and on Wednesday (if all have been identified) we’ll pick one comment and send that person a free download of the video!

 

To purchase this song and the rest of Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs (click here)

Subscribe to our mailing list (get discount coupon codes and FREE coloring pages!) (click here)

Sing the Bible Volume 2 (needs you!)

Volume 2Ever since we released Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs, folks have been asking about a “Volume Two.” On that note, I’m happy to say I’ve been writing new scripture songs for many months, and now would be a wonderful time to hear Bible verse suggestions from you and your family.

The Slugs & Bugs community gave tons of great verse suggestions on facebook and this blog for Sing the Bible (Vol 1), and a handful of those suggestions became songs (Romans 8, Two Shirts, What is the Book, He Will Rejoice and others). So, I’m excited about this next step toward a “Volume Two.”

Here’s a few verses we have melodies for so far.

2 Peter 1:3-4

1 John 3:18-20

Psalm 90:14

Isaiah 41:10

Psalm 25:4-5

Matthew 6:25-26, 28-33

Isaiah 40:28-31

Please leave your Bible verse suggestions in a comment below. Ask your kids, ask your friends – spread this post around. It’s a big Bible, after all. Thanks so much, everyone!

My Utmost Notes – Jan. 8

January 8th
January 8th

‘It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar

How to “loosen the bands that hold back our lives.” – Oswald Chambers

This is a lightbulb moment in the life of many Christians, because identification with the death of Jesus can be a confusing trap. It confused Peter in Luke 22:33-34, and God “purified Abraham from this error” in Genesis 22. It confuses me often.

When I think “die every day” (1 Corinthians 15:31, Luke 9:23) means to give up stuff, I miss the mark, and fall in a  trap of hopelessness. Giving things up to try and please Jesus is as hopeless as the crucifixion without Sunday morning.

It’s what happens after the sacrifice that clarifies. Jesus reconciled us to himself through death, (Colossians 1:22), and afterwards he gave us the Holy Spirit. What happens after I give things up? New bad habits? Bitterness or guilt because I fall off the wagon? Not if my sacrifice is powered by its connection to the love of Jesus, and his death and new life for me.

In light of the love of Jesus, and the cross, and the forgiveness of my sin, daily sacrifice is joyful, and even the most difficult trials are not without sustaining hope.

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I’m spending this week sharing notes from my daily time in My Utmost for His Highest. If this is a benefit to you, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

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