Blessings in Abundance: Florida in Review

WE’RE CRUISING ACROSS TEXAS as this post formulates underneath my fingers. It’s unanimous: This is the most unique scenery we have ever traveled through on our tours. The flat, parched earth, black shrub trees, and coarse grass is a total contrast to the swampy, forested fields of Minnesota. Some of us like it, others do not.

This Texas adventure will probably end up in a post later, but now, I’m thinking about Florida. Nearly a month has passed since we said farewell to the sunshine state, but our experiences and the lessons they taught carry on with us today. Each trip has a share of stress and trial, but our 26 days to Florida and back were unlike any other.

For one thing, tours normally do not start with a funeral.

Four days before our departure, we stood around our grandfather’s casket, utterly broken with pain and grief. It was January 28, Ben’s birthday—the last “shared” with our beloved grandpa who tried to celebrate each of his grandkids’ birthdays with them.

It was a sorrow different from any we had encountered before. Jayme often says, “I know people think, ‘Oh, they just lost a grandpa, a dad’—but he wasn’t just a grandpa.” Grandpa Pete was more: our closest friend, our biggest fan, and the one person we spent the most time with over the past seven years. He was a—oh dear, I’m crying now: I can’t stand writing about Grandpa in past tense. Off come my silly computer glasses to wipe these teary eyes.

Anyway…

We said goodbye (truly, only a “see you later,” for we know he is with his precious Savior) to Grandpa a few short days before we left for Florida. The heaviness that blanketed our home as we packed was like trying to survive a terrible dream. We were surrounded by memories of Grandpa: the chair he last sat in (with his little white hairs still stuck in the material), the games he loved to play, his New Year cookies that he taught us to make, and especially, while we practiced, the songs Grandpa loved dearly.

We felt so empty, and couldn’t envision ministering when we had nothing to give. The thought of cancelling the whole tour crossed our minds, entered even our conversations.

For, on top of our deep grief, an awful virus began its cruel rounds in our family. The evening we left on our tour, Ben and Leesha were curled up on the motorhome couch, tired bodies racked with fevers. Caleb could barely talk, much less sing. It was unimaginable to think we had to sing the next day.

Never before had we been at such a low.

Since the month we set aside for practice and rejuvenation was spent loving on Grandpa in his final days, our music and voices felt at their weakest. New songs were left at home: last year’s program had to suffice. (That was, if we had healthy voices to carry it.)

When we arrived at our first date, Bar None Cowboy Church in Newton, Iowa, we were dejected and irritable. Though we knew we were among great friends, we felt like failures even before the sound equipment was loaded in.

But God had a different plan.

Every mile of our journey to Florida carried this single theme: God had a different plan. Our plans had been shattered since the beginning of 2017, so we clung to God’s sovereignty. We didn’t understand His plans, but literally went step by step relying on Him for guidance, for we did not where we were going. We couldn’t have, and in some ways, wouldn’t have arranged the details of our month like God did. But God had outlined a plan for His glory and His good.

That night at Bar None was exactly what we needed. It had seemed like the most logical date to cancel if we’d cancel anything, but God purposed that evening to uplift us for the journey ahead.

Each song, though shaky with our weary voices, was met with cheer by our friends. Mom shared the story of our final season with Grandpa and sang “Look for Me” while we stood behind her with tears streaming down our faces. Afterwards, many of our friends shared hugs and sympathy, encouraging us to go on and fulfill our ministry. Pastor Dave took time to pray with us; his message that evening—on that familiar, but so pertinent theme of trusting the Lord—set the focus for the trip ahead.

And so we went forth, bolstered by the family of God to continue on.

Our next stop was in Bowling Green, Kentucky. (No, we didn’t find any signs of the great massacre there!) Because Ben, Leesha, and Caleb’s voices were at their most compromised point, our program was a challenge to orchestrate. But we were able to rearrange the songs and pulled together as a team to get through the concert.

The familiar smell of burning brakes greeted us when arrived at the church. We chose to spend the night in the parking lot until we knew it was safe to proceed. After poking around the rig the next day (with a chance to play basketball!) and listening to the advice of some church members, we continued down the road.

Many long hours were spent watching the United States fly by. And playing the house game. (Ask us about it sometime!)

We made it to Florida on a Tuesday evening—just in time for the scare of the year. We settled the rig at a campground in Perry and were just about ready to eat walking tacos when our phones started beeping—loudly. Alerts flashed on our screens, and we couldn’t believe our eyes: Immediate Threat Extreme Tornado Warning. A TORNADO—in FEBRUARY?! Clouds had piled up in the west, so we thought a normal storm would pass over during the night…but a tornado?! The Nautilus started rocking—not from wind gusts, but from everyone running around and grabbing belongings.

We tracked the storm and were horrified to see it bearing down on Perry. Since the Nautilus isn’t exactly a stable place to wait out a tornado, we trooped to the campground’s shower houses, some lugging bags of personal belongings. For the next 45 minutes, we holed up in the humid men’s room, asking for prayer from family and friends and chatting with the other campers. The storm pounded the shower house with high winds and torrential rain, but eventually, the storm lessened and people drifted back to their motorhomes. We made our way around the ankle-deep puddles (well, some decided to go straight through them, but I won’t name names) to find the Nautilus intact—hallelujah! Later we learned the tornado touched land seven miles south of us—which, though completely too close for comfort, was perfectly fine with us.

Thus ended our Florida tornado experience. 🙂

We left Perry on Thursday, ready to sing again!

This is the boys’ superhero poses. I’ll spare you their other poses. 🙂

We three girls wanted a photo together. Simple task, right? You would think we could get a snapshot without any disturbances…

But no: Someone had to parade by swinging Spanish moss on a stick! (No worries, we sisters did find this humorous. 🙂 )

Best friends forever. 🙂

We were so excited to return to First Baptist Church in Oxford, Florida! Such sweet, sweet people! It was joy to catch up with these friends! By this time, though, Sam had lost his voice. He, and everyone who had compromised voices, did an amazing job enduring each concert.

These three loved looking at old pictures. 🙂

Concert four was at First Baptist Church in Zephyrhills, Florida! It was our first time there, and what a great evening we had! Dad had picked up the virus and he couldn’t speak above a whisper. He courageously managed to still emcee the concert, though!

Jayme provided another hilarious memory from the night: the man she chose to talk to before the concert turned out to be legendary Dr. Jerry Goff. She noticed he spoke with knowledge about Southern Gospel music, but since she didn’t recognize him, she asked, “I take it you are a Southern Gospel fan?” He replied with a slight smile, “Well, sort of.” We laughed so hard after the concert when she said that she asked Jerry Goff if he was a Southern Gospel fan!

A typical before-concert scenario. 🙂

It is always a privilege to be with the congregation of Faith Baptist in Sarasota! Pastor Dave’s sermons are so edifying, and we love these special people! We pulled in the night before to set up our equipment and enjoyed time to run through a couple songs.

After Sunday morning at Faith Baptist, we caught a Blackwood Brothers Quartet concert that night. What a blessing. There are almost no words to describe how much these four men ministered to our hearts. All the stresses and griefs of the past month were released as we cried through their songs and listened to their testimonies. It had been ages since we were so blessed at someone else’s concert. One of the last CDs we listened to with our grandpa was a Blackwood Brothers’ project, so the evening was doubly special to our family.

A quick shot with Billy Blackwood and Michael Helwig.

To our surprise, Duane Nicholson of the Couriers and his wife Jean Ann were also in the audience! We met Duane and Neil Enloe a couple years ago in Pennsylvania, so it was fun to reconnect with him! Also, it was a honor to meet the sweet Mae Rambo as well.

We could have listened to their stories all night!

After our eventful day, we pulled into a Walmart in Arcadia, ready to eat pizza rolls (our favorite splurge) and hit the sack. Dad parked the Nautilus, looked across way and said, “Guys, there’s a bus across from us that says The Inspirations on it.”

We couldn’t believe it.

Minnesota is a wasteland for Southern Gospel; a few groups trek to the northland only once a year. And they are usually just passing through anyway. You never see group busses parked at Walmarts in Minnesota.

We stared at that bus like we had never seen a bus before.

“We should go and meet them.” Ben broke the silence. His suggestion was immediately struck down. Sure, we all wanted to meet The Inspirations, but we knew what it’s like to hear a knock on the door in a Walmart parking lot (not fun). Someone suggested that they might be in Walmart picking up groceries. Guards were stationed by the front door to watch the Walmart entrance to see if any “inspirational” people would walk out. But Mom noticed activity out the windshield. “There are guys coming from a hotel…I bet that’s them!” We crowded in the cab and peered out. Sure enough, there were enough men walking across the parking lot to make a quartet—and they were heading for the bus.

Steeling our nerves with a now-or-never attitude, we beelined shuffled out of the Nautilus. By the time we got close, most of the guys had boarded the bus. Ben led the way to the last member outside, who turned out to be their bus driver Harold (aka Wheels). We chatted with him for a little bit, and then Wheels asked, “Do you want to meet the guys?” We looked at each other and said “Yes!” “Well, I’ll see if I can get them out,” he said. He hurried to the bus, threw open the door and called out, “Hey y’all!” Then the door closed.

The bus door reopened and out came The Inspirations.

What followed were several hours of fun conversations, swapping songs, and eating oranges out in that parking lot. Our smiles felt near to bursting as we listened to The Inspirations’ awesome quartet harmonies in a mini-concert! It was such an uplifting time together. No pun intended, we were incredibly inspired after meeting them; the fellowship we shared was probably the number one highlight our trip.

Since Caleb sings “The Wonder of Wonders”—a song they originally introduced—The Inspirations asked to hear it and recorded this video:

After our “inspirational” night in Arcadia, we located a quiet campground in Sebring to stay for the next three days. After settling the Nautilus, we learned the campground was actually an adult community—and some residents were not happy with the presence of young folks.

But, the next day, we discovered the overall community was incredibly friendly; they gladly taught us how to play “Holey Board” (a version of bean bag toss, but played with large metal washers) and we enjoyed conversing with our fellow campers. We invited folks to an outdoor practice session and many came and we even braved a brief rain storm together! It was a sad parting on Thursday as we waved goodbye to new friends who gathered to see us off

Look! Bamboo! (At least we were pretty sure this was bamboo…)

A “fierce” shuffleboard competition.

Our sixth concert was at Amazing Grace Lutheran in Oxford, and it was the first concert where we finally regained our voices! Because of the crazy stoplight system on Highway 27, we were extremely late and raced to set up our equipment in time. (Never again will we travel Florida’s Highway 27!) The evening was very special and the people so kind and encouraging. The congregation did an impressive job of organizing the concert and handling the parking situation.

We were supposed to sing on Friday night, but the church canceled because another concert was happening 20 miles away. We didn’t have anything else to do, so we trekked over to the concert that displaced ours—since it did happen to be The Kingdom Heirs (one of Caleb’s favorite groups) and The Guardians! It was night of fantastic quartet music and our hands felt swollen from clapping so much.

The last concert was held at Peace Lutheran Church in Okeechobee, and we loved being with this kind congregation and their visitors. Three of Mom’s classmates happened to be in the area and attended the service, so Mom had a mini class reunion afterwards!
We hauled our equipment in the night before and appreciated the time to practice—and have a little fun!
Listening to Dad’s suggestions for an arrangement.

Sam, our dependable drummer!

“How Great Thou Art” was a new addition to our program this year. Grandpa had asked us to sing it for his funeral, so we created a basic arrangement that we have come to love dearly. What a beautiful hymn of worship!

That Sunday evening we made one final stop: Lake Gibson Church of the Nazarene in Lakeland. When at home, we love to make popcorn and watch their live-streamed concerts. Last year we saw the Mark Trammell Quartet there and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Since we heard that Pastor Kirby was retiring, we decided to drop by one more time to say goodbye—and be blessed by The Perrys as well.

What we didn’t intend to do was open the program that night!

Pastor Kirby asked us to sing an a cappella song, to which at first we said “No, we came to be blessed!” But he, Marlin Nichols (the church’s piano player), and others in the congregation persisted. So, before the program, we followed Pastor Kirby up on the stage, sang “Come Unto Me” (despite being unable to hear ourselves well because of the sound situation!), and then got off. It was an amazingly fun experience.

It was so neat to visit with Libbi and Tracy Stuffle—what genuine people with such hearts for the Lord! We were very blessed by The Perrys’ ministry!

We had to get a picture with Pastor Kirby and his sweet wife Bess!

After so many (amazing) adventures in Florida, we more than eager to get home. 80 miles into our return journey on Monday, though, the naughty Nautilus broke down. 🙁 It was a huge bummer for our road-weary family.

For three days we were stuck at a repair shop in Dade City, searching and waiting for a replacement part. During that time, Jayme came down with another virus that was circulating around Florida. And it didn’t just stop with her either. The majority of us were stricken with fevers, colds, and, subsequently, laryngitis when we were able to travel again.

At the end of the trip, the weight of our trials crashed down on us, threatening to hide the ways God had indeed worked for and on us so faithfully. We had to chose either to shake our fists in frustration at God, or to let go and allow Him to work His plan. Admittedly, some days we were beyond discouraged—others we took a deep breath and said, “Not our will, but Yours.”

God revealed that we needed to trust Him on a deeper level, to accept our circumstances with gratitude. It’s not easy to do! But there is peace when we release our expectations and remember that God is in control.

It was a joyous occasion when we finally arrived home—there was even snow on the ground to greet us! We were so thankful to recuperate a couple days before our concert touring resumed in March.


Well! I’ve written nearly 3,000 words in this post! Summarizing 26 days took longer than I expected. 🙂 We hope you enjoy these peeks into our road life here on the blog—which has been silent for too long! We also truly look forward to the chance we can meet you! Please visit our schedule and see if we’ll be in your area—we would be honored to share our music and the hope of the Gospel with you!

God bless you all, and thank you for being part of this journey!

Taylor for TGF 

Photo Recap (Fall 2016 Tours)

 

Wow! It’s difficult to summarize these past months! We have traveled thousands of miles, sung to hundreds of wonderful people, experienced one break down, and have been blessed in more ways than we could tell! Here is a quick photo overview from our adventures in September, October, and November…

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Soundcheck time for Fall Senior Day at Camp Lebanon, Minnesota! We love singing for these dear friends!

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There is no description necessary for this picture…

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Some attendee came over-prepared! (I don’t think they used these after all. 🙂 )

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The Floyd Gospel Sing! It was held indoors this year because of the rain, wind and mosquitoes! The table spot we had on Friday was eventually overrun with people on Saturday—that building was packed! People love this sing in Floyd, Iowa! As always, it was great to catch up with friends (like Sam, Jayme, and Caleb’s pen pal, Devin!) and make new ones.

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The Reggie Saddler Family! Wow, they brought so much to the Floyd Gospel Sing! We were blessed by their music and Reggie’s testimonies.

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One of our many pit stops this fall. 🙂

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Gas stations are perfect for pick-up games.

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Our friends make sure we get our fill of “fruits and veggies”. (We definitely like their version of spinach! 😉 )

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Glenvale Church of God in Marysville, Pennsylvania—this was a HUGE highlight for us! After spending five days with these wonderful people last year, we were hoppin’ excited to return for a concert! Such a blessed time of sweet fellowship, hilarious fun, and marshmallow gun battles! I’ll spare you the details…

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We don’t often visit tourist sites while on tour. But, if we sing in Pennsylvania, there’s one place that we always try to make time for: Gettysburg. Since we have studied the battle and its soldiers for over 11 years, each visit is a thrilling chance to learn something new. (And a chance for Caleb to wear the jacket he “tailored” himself!)

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A hike up Big Round Top was requested for this visit! On the steep climb, we kept our eyes peeled for witness trees; Ben stopped and counted most of the rings on this one, and we determined that it had “witnessed” the battle.

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Caleb and Leesha (our Gettysburg gurus) taking in the heights of Big Round Top.

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Leesha posing by a monument to one of her favorite generals.

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The Garms Family’s resident Civil War Round Table!

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Dad and Mom.

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Devil’s Den is always a favorite spot to explore.

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Another highlight was singing at Dad’s cousin Otto’s church in Bluffton, Indiana. Some of us thought it was pretty neat to sing in a gym, and even shot some hoops after the concert. 🙂

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Sam, Jayme, and Caleb waiting for Ben to finish “ringing” the room.

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A rare picture of life while traveling down the road! Here Sam is doing algebra, with a couple of other students getting a head start on their high school careers. 🙂

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There’s nothing like the northland! As much as we love the Eastern and Southern states, we always cheer whenever we enter the fresh air and familiar scenery of the North!

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The Nautilus at a final pit stop before arriving home after the Eastern mini-tour. It survived two two-week tours this fall, but broke down after a weekend run in October. We’ll save that story for a later time. 🙂

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HOME!!!

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Somebody was happy when the Nautilus turned into the driveway. 🙂

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Laundry after a tour. In the end, this amounted to 20 loads. Big hurrah for our laundry professional, Mom!

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Gorgeousness! The view from our back “yard” when we arrived home, looking toward our neighbor’s pasture.

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A new sight at the Garms home: Practice and babysitting our grandson and nephew! He eventually fell asleep during this practice. 🙂

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We love the Midwest Quartet Convention! A friend picked up my camera while we were onstage and snapped a couple shots. 😀

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Caleb and Jayme with our good friend Tommy Bruce of Still Water. (Caleb tried to do bunny ears. 🙂 )

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While we treasure the fellowship with everyone during Midwest Quartet Convention, we especially treasured our grandparents this year! It was so good of them to come and enjoy the weekend with us.

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Let’s just say this gathering of Sam, Caleb, and Brad Kemp of 4 His Love made for some laugh-your-socks-off moments. Including an epic conversation about sidehill gadgers. Don’t ask.

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Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Bridgeton, Missouri: one of our 25 concerts this fall. What an unspeakable privilege to lift up Christ our Savior! What a joy to share and connect with wonderful people across the country!

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This concert at First Baptist Church in Kearney, Missouri was incredibly special. First, we got to sing with our dear, dear friends 4 His Love (we’re super bummed out that we didn’t get a picture together!) and the funny, talented Tim Lovelace. But even more than his humor, we appreciated his genuine heart for the Lord and people—such a rarity!

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We may or may not have stayed up too late on November 8th for various reasons. 🙂

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Photo from Facebook of our concert at Unity Missionary Baptist Church in DeWitt, Arkansas.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by the night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your work; at the works of Your hands I sing for joy.” (Psalm 92:1-4)

We look forward to seeing YOU down the road soon!

Blessings and joy in the journey,

Taylor for TGF

Fulfilling the call…once again

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Today we set out from our comfy home to a fresh adventure of many miles, many faces, and much music. This trip of three weeks has snuck up on us—and yet we are desirous to accomplish what the Lord has planned. As always, there has been the rush and stress of ensuring we have all the outfits, equipment, food and random essential items that we might need stuffed in the Nautilus. It’s an all-consuming task until we finally pull out of the driveway and wave goodbye to our house and cats. (Let’s hope Sam won’t forget his tennis shoes this time!)

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Our practices have been intense lately, with a focus on harmonies (wait till you hear what Leesha, Sam, Jayme and Caleb did with “My Heart is a Chapel”!), arrangements (you will never recognize the new “Boundless Love” arrangement), and fine-tuning intonation. When we step on stage at Bar None Cowboy Church this Thursday, all the elements of practice will (hopefully) flow into auto-pilot and the Message of Jesus will be the focus.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep our perspective on why we spend hours in practice, why we pack and leave our home for weeks on end. Sometimes—well, honestly, more times than we like to admit—we gripe about the inconvenience a practice session causes or shrink from living from one Walmart to the next. We get comfortable with being “normal” folk who only venture out to church or grocery shopping during the week.

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We need the reminders, like Dad praying before practice: “Even when no one else is listening, Lord, may You still get the glory.” We need to take a breath amid the mountainous stacks of clothes that there’s a reason for this: “…whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:17) We need to recall the purpose behind “The Garms Family”.

Our family isn’t setting out to bring joy to faces and hearts, find an outlet for our musical bents, or just because we want to see the sights across the country. The reason we go is because we have been called to go. We believe beyond any doubt that God has called us to utilize music for His glory and to draw people to Himself. There is no way we can deny His calling on our lives: We’ve come too far on this journey to not see the clear leading of the Lord these eight years.

So, tomorrow, when the last pair of socks is jammed into a drawer and the final bay on the rig is locked, we’ll be accomplishing a greater feat than successfully getting eight people packed for three weeks: We will be humbly fulfilling the calling to go once more—for the glory of God.

 

We have been called to be children of God,

Into the fellowship of His dear Son;

Chosen, adopted, and saved by His grace —

In Christ we are now a new creation.

 

CHORUS

We’re living the call, spreading the Word,

Sharing the Good News to those who have erred.

United in faith, to God we give all,

We have been chosen — we’re living the call.

 

In Jesus we have been redeemed by His blood;

Freed from our sinfulness, covered in love;

It is our joy now to call others too,

That hearts be encouraged with from hope above.

 

BRIDGE

Called by God, to be saved — our punishment has been waived.

We proclaim Jesus Christ, Whose life for us He sacrificed.

 

“LIVING THE CALL”
Words and music by Taylor Garms
Copyright © 2014 The Song Spot, BMI
From the album Arise to the Call

We gratefully appreciate your prayers and cannot wait to see y’all soon!

Stranded: The Stuck Brake Adventure

August 28th, 2013
Blaine, Minnesota
11:04 AM

Have I got a story to tell you!

If you follow our schedule, you probably noticed we sang at the Kalona Gospel Sing in Kalona, IA last weekend.  We left on Thursday and sang on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  It was a long and hot, but blessed and fun weekend.

When we left Des Moines, Iowa on Monday, August 26th, we fully expected to be home by suppertime that evening. It wasn’t an extremely long trip (only about five hours or so), and we didn’t have any commitments that night. We were highly anticipating a week at home after the Kalona Gospel Sing and before the Floyd Gospel Sing on September 6th, 7th, and 8th.

Yet, as I type on this beautiful Wednesday morning, we are still 45 miles away from home. Yes, Wednesday.

The trip home went smoothly; it was quiet and we made only one rest stop. We had no problems…that is, no problems until the we smelled the smell.

On Highway 169, just north of the Twin Cities, a peculiar aroma filled the Glory Bus. It was putrid, like something was burning. We thought it would pass (as most smells do while traveling) but as we continued, the smell lingered. Some of us smothered our faces in blankets and scarves as Dad decided to pull into his mom’s nearby townhome to check out the bus.

We are so grateful he did.

When Dad stopped the bus, we piled out and immediately choked on the smell, which was stronger than before. Running around the bus, we discovered to our horror the back left wheel well was billowing with smoke. PANIC! Imagine eight Garms racing about the poor old Glory Bus, unhitching the trailer, removing valuables from the bus (Bibles, schoolbooks, computers, cameras, pillows, etc. etc.), and trying to remember the combination to Grandma’s garage to get water and buckets. Ben was also seen by the smoking tires wondering how in the world the fire extinguisher in his hand worked.

The garage was soon opened and a brigade of amateur fire-fighters grabbed whatever bucket-shaped containers they could find and filled them with water. Dad doused the tires several times (the last time laying under the bus) until the smoke finally began to dissipate. We then realized the bus wasn’t going to immediately start on fire, so we loaded our valuables back on board.

Our dear grandma resides in an assisted-living (she had a stroke last year and has been unable to move back), so her townhome was vacant. After an exhaustive search, we eventually discovered a key while Dad called a local truck repair shop.

After Dad was off the phone, we realized we probably weren’t going to make it home that night.

Dad suspected the Glory Bus had a stuck brake, and the guy at the shop shared his suspicions. At first, Dad was told we wouldn’t be able to get the bus repaired that evening, but after another phone call, he learned the shop was open until midnight and could work on it.

We unloaded from the bus all our suitcases, sleeping bags, and other personal belongings and deposited them in Grandma’s house, preparing for an overnight stay. For the trip we had packed along some old microwave popcorn for our hotel stay, so I “made” popcorn, while Dad and Mom drove the Glory Bus to the repair shop.  When they arrived at the shop, they learned from a disgruntled mechanic that the building had just lost power.  (Just the news you want to hear when you bring a vehicle in for repairs, right?  Right.)  They walked two miles back in the blistering triple-digit heat (collecting a golf ball and old steel ball bearing on the way) while we kids enjoyed supper and listened to Classical MPR’s favorite film score countdown on Grandma’s old Magnavox. 🙂

And then, we waited.

Dad and Mom ate supper and we waited. We played a family game of Farkle and we waited. We organized our stuff and waited. We got ready for bed and we waited. We went to sleep and we waited. We woke the next morning…and we waited.

Farkle on Monday night!

Farkle on Monday night!

A call eventually came with an update. First, the power was back on in the shop, and yep, the brake was stuck. All the brakes’ slides seemed dry, so should they oil them? (Dad said yes.) Oh, and the wheels needed new studs and lugnuts too. Lovely.

The waiting continued throughout breakfast, and lunch, and come suppertime, we realized again we weren’t going to be home Tuesday night either. Dad kept calling periodically and each time there was a new complication (for example, they “couldn’t” find parts locally, so it was looking like they’d have to order them from Memphis, TN; Dad quickly informed them studs and lugnuts were available locally).

Our food from the weekend’s travels was almost gone, so we raided Grandma’s pantry with expired canned and boxed foods and had a dinner of old bacon, pork and beans, chow mien chicken, cornbread stuffing, salmon patties, asparagus, and hotdogs. (Thankfully, there was a gas station within walking distance, so we were able to pick up a few essentials, like eggs, butter, milk, and water.)

Ben and Sam doing dishes.

Ben and Sam doing dishes.

We enjoyed playing games with each other to help pass the time:

Leesha and Caleb engrossed in chess.

Leesha and Caleb engrossed in chess.

The epitome of boredom: Mom playing "Barrel of Monkeys".

The epitome of boredom: Mom playing “Barrel of Monkeys”.

Sam and Caleb deep in a Boogle competition.

Sam and Caleb deep in a Boggle competition.

It was so weird, yet so natural to be stuck at Grandma’s townhome. We had everything we needed to get by (even old food in the pantry!) and we had each other. We were safe, and extremely grateful the bus did not start on fire (which it might have if we had not stopped in time). Yet, here we were, stranded, with no way to get home. We kept wondering why God wanted us to be there, and why we couldn’t go home. It was an exceedingly odd situation.

Tuesday night passed, and some of us actually got some sleep that night.  🙂  Wednesday morning we received word that, surprise, surprise, a tire was flat on the bus.  (We don’t know how or why.)  It was sent across the street to a tire shop and though they couldn’t discover any damage (strangely) simply refilling the tire took all of Wednesday.

While we waited Wednesday, we took the opportunity to pull my keyboard out of our nearby parked trailer to examine and finish some of my original songs and work up another new song by a friend.  Exciting!

Taylor engrossed in songwriting.

Taylor engrossed in songwriting.

Around 5:00 that evening, we finally received word that the bus was ready to go.  Dad and Mom once again, braved the rush-hour traffic (on foot, mind you!) to pick up Old Glory while we kids cleaned Grandma’s home and prepared our belongings for moving out.  It was so thrilling to know we were actually going home.  When the old Glory Bus finally drove up, we were more than ready to climb aboard!

Thankfully, no other oddities occurred during the travel home, and it was grand to eat supper at our own house.

It was like we had lived in “limbo land” for a couple of days – as though we were caught in a time warp.  We don’t know why the Lord allowed this strange trial, other than to keep us reliant on Him. We were needing to reorder a new batch of our “Thank You, Lord” CDs, but this $1200 repair bill taught us our timing is not necessarily the Lord’s timing.  God likes to teach us to trust in Him in all things!

“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9, ESV)

Well, there is the promised adventure for you!  As we always say, “You never know what’s going to happen next on the Glory Bus!” 🙂

Signing off…for now.

-Taylor for TGF