Welcome

If this website feels aged or dated, then it has accomplished its purpose. The goal is not to “fit in” with the modern-day life style – but rather attempt to go back in time a bit and reflect on the simple days gone by, the simple faith, and the simple life.

Nostalgia, vintage, and rustic becoming fashionable once more let me know that I am not alone in sensing that I somehow do not belong in today’s society. There is a longing to once again feel the passion of deep-routed genuine love, grace, and contentment (I believe it was called old-time religion).

I find myself woolgathering about tent revivals, homecomings, and all-night Gospel singings – where you “dressed for the occasion” because you were going to God’s place. These folks knew something about taking your burdens to the Cross and leaving them there.

THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN! Really? With the preacher’s long finger always pointing upward, such a simple phrase would thunder through the canvas and bounce off of the metal poles of the old Gospel tent revivals. A simple phrase that would scare the living daylights out of me each and every time, as a child. Add that to a summer thunderstorm wind clanging the tie-down hooks against the metal poles and the dancing lightning were something right out of a Benjamin Franklin experiment.

I am no stranger to the hell-fire and brimstone way of life. This was my life. I, so well, remember my very tall dad carrying me in his arms across sawdust floors with my head grazing the flaps on the tent. This was faith in its simplest of forms to these folks. I can still recall some of the names of the tent evangelist greats: T.L. Lowery, H. Richard Hall, Rudy Teague, and John Todd. I know there were so many more, but these are the great revivalists that stand apart for me.

Open-air tent revivals were more of a spring/summer thing. Another great preacher in their day was W. Earl Armstrong who built the Armstrong Tabernacle to host many traveling evangelists at all other times of the year. The tabernacle was really a huge auditorium – complete with sloped flooring and a massive high stage. The “tabernacle” was an amazing structure for such a small town in the 1950’s and 60’s.

One of the above greats came to hold revival at the tabernacle. No set dates, as these could start out as a week event and go into two, three, or even four weeks depending on the leading of the Holy Spirit. Predictably my family was among the multitudes who found their way here night after night.

On this given night, when it came time for the evening offering, folks were asked to bring their offering and lay it on the platform. For those who could not reach the platform, a couple of tall men would take the offering and place it there for them.

Putting a few crumpled dollars in my hand, dad said, “Go, take this to the front.” Walking down the slanted floor, I became much smaller and the stage much bigger. Almost at the front, the evangelist stopped the music to a dead silence and calmly requested, “Pick her up and bring her to me.” One of the tall gentlemen did just that. With the offering over, I found myself in the arms of a slick-backed dark hair and black-suited stranger – face-to-face with the most comforting smile that I remember to this day.

I believe the evangelist was trying to make the point of “coming as a little child”. However, he needed to close the service and I am not sure that he knew what to do with me. The tall men were seated and dangling me from the high stage would seem a bit “off”. Still in his arms like a doll and still in the air, the evangelist asked of the congregation,

“Isn’t she cute?”

Within that same breath, he pitched me from the stage to land in the soft cushioned laps of three ladies sitting on the front row. From the pitch, to the cement floor, to the connecting metal chairs and all in between could have gone badly in so many ways. But, it didn’t. After the closing prayer, dad came down front and collected me from the ladies as if nothing had ever happened.

Many revivals and many years following, I literally grew up to standing eye-to-eye with this no longer scary evangelist. Still, to him and perhaps even to myself, I remained that little child.

From that little child, the transition from his arms to standing on a piano bench to sing somehow seemed natural. So deeply rooted in old time religion has served me well. The smell of sawdust, the prayer lines that lined the entire tent circle, the amazing, echoing sound of the Hammond B3 Organ (Donnie Warren, Herb Winegar, and Hank Amos), along with the Sunday river baptizings have all served to lay the foundation for who I am today. No matter where I go or to whom I go, my song is firmly grounded in the humble of yesterday.

Furthermore, I know something about a God in heaven. I know something about a place called Calvary. I know something about a Savior who gave his life for me. I know something about His walking with me day by day. I know something about travelling a life’s journey. I know something about that glorious day when Christ returns and all past is forever past.

My journey has certainly not been a bed of roses, but rather shady, green pastures where I find rest, peace, grace, and the courage to run the race that God has personally set before me. No two journeys and no two races are the same. Yes, we, all are on a journey. Oh, what a journey and oh, how it ends.

My journey has taken to me to the heights of beauty and grace, as well as to the depths of places that I am not sure that I could ever travel again. Down through the years and in the middle of so many long, dark nights; this is the place where each bitter tear arose into a hallelujah note.

My Journey, the song, is not just a song, but rather a life-story, lived. Just one of God’s countless gifts in penning music and writing after a weathered storm. Will be forever eternally grateful that God allowed this song to rest in the Cashbox/Southern Gospel Music charts top 100 for nine straight months.

This is what sharing the Gospel is all about. This is me. If there be any gifts, graces, or talents that God has bestowed to me; they are freely shared. My all is in Christ and Christ is my all. For your glory, I would do anything.

So, feel free to ask, be it music, writing, or whatever of me that proclaims Christ. Here I am. I’ll go.

THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN! Yes, really! And, He loves you and I more that we could ever know.

It is my prayer that some or all of this has been captured in my music, my writings, and my life. So, feel free to snuggle up, take your shoes off, and bring to mind your personal moment of remembrance from days gone by.

May you find your place of warmth and refuge here.

Appalachian Club Wonderland Hotel Elkmont Tennessee

 

ALL BOOKS ARE BY REQUEST. SIMPLY  Contact US FOR A PRINTED COPY.

SERMONS (FROM THE PEW CLOSEST TO HEAVEN) – Unordained sermon short stories reflecting non-fiction “very real life” events.

 

 

 

 

A SONG IN THE NIGHT – Where there is a breath, there is a song – especially in the darkest of nights.

 

 

 

 

GIFTED FAITH – Faith’s journey. With this book, I leave a prayer for the reader that your faith will soar so high as to reach the highest Heavens. Wish you gifted faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Feat Productions & Big Mama Records Then & Now – All human life has a then and now, some more or less poignant than others. Our thens and nows truly define who we are, where we have been and where we are going. Our thens and nows unfold our life story of what God’s mercy and grace has brought us through. However, there has been only one then and now that has altered lives down through all the ages. From the beginning to the end, from the first Hallelujah to the very last Amen, only One will forever reign as Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords. Christ’s then once took the form of a crown of thorns as he carried our shame up Calvary’s hill. A crown of thorns no more will my Savior wear. His now crown, adorned with the Holy Spirit, will forevermore grace the head of our Lord. When Christ returns there will be no mistaking him. We shall know him by his attire of purest white, his crown of life, and the still visible prints of his nail-scarred hands.

 

      I Choose To Believe - Deborah Baliles

Show Me, The Beauty Of The Cross, One Drop Of Blood, I Choose To Believe, I’ve Got To Reach Jesus, Lord Have Mercy, My Journey, There Is Peace, Holy Spirit Flow Down, All That Matters, I’ll See You At Home

WALK WITH ME -“Pursuing my own sort of search for some truth, painting. May your heart and your song, voice soaring, remain strong. Wish you light. And, for the coming year, the same.”  -Artist, Barry Gordon.These words, his paintings, and his memory will forever linger in my heart. Who, when his assignment on earth was done, took flight to join all of the other angels in Heaven. It was my honor to know you (Barry).
MYA – So simple. Just a twelve month journal/planner to remind all that Christ is with us every moment of our lives. He really does care about our every year, month, day, hour, and moment. “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Feat Productions – Our lives and days on earth are undefined. No one can predict their state of affairs on any given day. Be ever grateful for the days of abundant blessings. Give thanks for the days when life’s mountain is so close to Heaven you can almost see inside; the days of total contentment in being alive. And, for all of the other days, take heart. You are not alone and Jesus does love you more than you will ever know. His arms are outstretched out for that one that most needs a hug. Then, when you find yourself pulled once more from life’s storm, have a Gospel Brunch and Homecoming celebration…

 

      Goodbye World Goodbye
      The Anchor Holds
      Where No One Wants To Be - Baliles
      How Great Thou Art

I Cry Jesus/What A Lovely Name, Goodbye World Goodbye, The Anchor Holds, It’s About The Cross, Heaven Only Knows It’s About Time, Home In A Heartbeat, Is That The New Jerusalem, The Blood Is Still Flowing, Where No One Wants To Be, The Battle Is The Lord’s, Amazing Grace, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, How Great Thou Art, The Old Rugged Cross, I Have A New Song

Shelton Hensley Family Elkmont Tennessee 1912-1913 – Having a heritage of deep-rooted Mountain and Indian (most probably Melungeon), life’s survival was only through sustaining grace. A life’s story unfolds when you can see God…in everything and in every breath that you take. A life can be summed up by what you have survived and what you have learned from the past, what you appreciate and are eternally grateful for today, and what you hope for tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be a perfect life, just a perfectly designed one. This oxymoron for me is not to seem flippant, but brutally honest – “I know that I am a wretched soul, but I know to whom this wretched soul belongs”. One simply needs to scroll back their life to understand Amazing Grace.
WHAT DOES A HEATHEN KNOW ABOUT GOD’S SUSTAINING GRACE? MORE THAN YOU MIGHT IMAGINE -This is where it all started. And, this is my trail, my journey.

 

 

      Farther Along
Big Feat Productions – In laying bare my life story, I am a Christmas person. Everything about Christmas reminds me of Christ – it is right there in the name. Jesus was born, lived and died, and coming again all because of simple undeniable love. No one can fully comprehend Christmas without that warm comfort and peaceful expectancy of hope that only comes from our Heavenly Father.
      It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
      Silent Night
      What CHRISTmas Means - Baliles

The First Noel, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Away In A Manger, O Holy Night, Go Tell It On The Mountain, What CHRISTmas Means

 

Cades Cove Tennessee – A church does not have to anchor the city’s busiest corner or have the highest steeple. Church is where you find your personal place to spend precious moments in communication with Christ. For me, that is throwing back the top on my Jeep and bounding over a secluded mountain trail where the only distractions are the occasional wildlife, the wind in the trees, a rolling river, the roar of the muffler against the silence, and rocks keeping a beat as they ping off of the skid plate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1982 – I am taking back my name. My dad loved me dearly and always called me “Dobby Horse” for some strange reason. Eventually, the horse was dropped and my name became Dobby. Most folks never knew my other name(s). I moved away from the name not wanting others to think that I was an over zealous Harry Potter fan. Having never read a Harry Potter book, I was not familiar with the house elf character until I received a book and a sock as a Christmas gift. The gift lost a bit of its intention when the gifter had to explain it. There is a Jeep rolling around town with DOBBY across the windshield. Not mine. I suppose a real Harry Potter fan. However, the attached photo is from my first 78 record way back when. I am taking back the name my dad gave me…

 

DANNY WOODS – My friend: To say I miss you is an understatement. One can only imagine your rendition of Amazing Grace as it echos across the hills of Heaven.

 

 

 

 

Deborah “Dobby” Baliles – Author, Singer, Songwriter, & Publisher

Richard Putnam – Music, Arranger, & Producer

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