A Long Overdue Road Trip Adventure {Claremore Gordon Mote Concert}

Last night and in the wee hours of the morning, proposed opening sentences and other content for this blog post kept popping into my head soundbite style.

This morning, I got up, took care of a few odds and ends that needed to be completed before starting this post, lightly edited some photos, and opened a new post window.

And my mind promptly went completely blank.


I hate that!

Sometimes the really important posts just fly off my fingers.  Other times, they are the ones I struggle with most.  I want so much to get across what is in my heart that it completely paralyzes me.

That would be the case today. Sigh.

Here's what I posted on Facebook last night:

Spur of the moment road trip to see Gordon Mote in Claremore. Laughed until we couldn't breathe, cried a bit, and had some serious worship. Loved seeing the amazing Mrs. Shirley again, really enjoyed Sound Decision Quartet, and were blown away by Gordon Mote's music and message. It had been over a year since we'd done a real road trip, so we were way overdue.

My friend the Concert Fairy and I had talked months ago about going to this concert. As the time drew nearer, though, it just didn't seem there was any way it was going to work into either of our hectic schedules.  We regretfully decided that despite the fact that we really wanted to see Gordon Mote in person, we were just going to have to let this opportunity pass us by.

Then the phone call: "I know it's the last minute, but want to go to Claremore??"  Our road trip adventures often happen that way.  And almost quicker than you can say, "Gordon Mote at Claremore Naz", we were headed over the Garrison Avenue bridge.

It only took Jodie until we got to Sallisaw to ask, "OH! Do you have your camera battery??"  On this memorable trip to Claremore last year, with the promise of 2nd row seats to see Guy Penrod, I pulled out my camera to take a few shots of downtown Claremore and realized that my camera battery was charging away at my desk in Fort Smith.  I had been very careful to make sure that the battery was safely inside the camera, with the camera safely inside my bag, before leaving the house this time!

We chatted about first one thing and then another until we arrived at the Muskogee Turnpike McDonalds.  It's our standard Oklahoma roadtrip food-and-bathroom break stop.  The trip had been pretty uneventful to that point...as uneventful as things get for Jodie and I, anyway. :)

Things began to take a different turn at that point, however.

First, there was a little parking issue when Jodie tried to pull into this space:

(In case you can't tell from the odd angle of the photo, that's a walkway.  It's about 2/3 as wide as the car. I might have given her a teeny, tiny bit of a hard time about this. She insists that from her vantage point, it looked wider.  That's her story and she's sticking to it. :-D  She's one of the best drivers I know, though, so I'm mostly giving her the benefit of the doubt...along with the hard time. :))

By this time, the uncontrollable laughter had begun.  Once that starts, we're pretty much doomed.  All it takes is a glance and we can both be dissolved in laughter for no apparent reason to anyone but us.

And then came a little episode involving an alarm, hysterical laughter in the restroom, faucet (or faucet user) malfunction, and the sudden terrifying realization that we couldn't find the car keys.

I'm going to say that the alarm episode might not have gotten so out of control if we hadn't already hit the point of no return, although frankly, I can't be sure. Here's what's important to know from this part of the adventure:

  • We did nothing illegal, immoral, or otherwise wrong. 
  • We didn't get kicked out of the place, although we did get some funny looks from those around us. 
  • Jodie's keys were not locked in the car. Our hearts stopped for less than a minute before she finally found them. 
  • The remainder of the trip to Claremore was relatively uneventful.


We arrived in Claremore with plenty of time to spare, pulled into a parking space in front of the church, and I hopped out to take a picture or two while we were waiting.

I was once again amazed at the thought of the amazing concert ministry this unassuming little church has had for years.  It appears on the calendar of many of the Southern Gospel greats who regularly perform in much larger and more famous venues.  And yet it is obvious that they all love Claremore Naz and Mrs. Shirley, the amazing lady who has brought these concerts to Claremore all these years.

Then came the obligatory photo of the bus.  I don't know why, but I always have to get a picture of the bus.  As we said over and over again last night, it doesn't take much to excite us!

A stop by the product table, a quick word with Mrs. Shirley, and then we found our spots in the second row. Ready and waiting!

 We loved this verse during the pre-concert video.  How appropriate and timely!

We had an unexpected treat in the appearance of Sound Decision Quartet as the opening act.  I'm  a real sucker for good tight barbershop quartet harmony anyway, and these guys truly delivered!  Besides, how can you not like a group with such a fab sense of style?!  (Wish I'd gotten a better picture of the shoes, but maybe you can get an idea here. :))

And finally...Gordon Mote.  Jodie and I were practically having to pinch ourselves to believe that we were actually sitting 25ish feet away from this incredibly gifted pianist we'd watched so many times on Gaither dvds! 

He started off the concert with a tribute to the veterans, singing "I'm Proud to Be An American".  Intensely beautiful and emotional.  Here's my Veterans' Day Facebook cover photo with my thoughts:

"I started my Veterans' Day early last night when Gordon Mote opened his concert by singing/playing "I'm Proud to Be An American" as a tribute to the veterans. I would give anything to have a video.  Chills down my spine and tears in my eyes...it was amazing. Even more poignant sitting by my friend whose husband's cousin [the original said nephew...I'm operating on too little sleep and my fingers were moving faster than my brain. :)] was killed in action in Afghanistan last year, in a church in his hometown...brought it home in a whole new way.  Thankful for all those who have sacrificed much...both those who have served and serving, and their families."


"Don't Let Me Miss The Glory" was next.  I would have loved this song regardless...it's just my kind of song about the wonders of Creation and God's Glory.  But to hear it sung with such passion by a man who has never seen a bird or flower or fall color or sunset or the view from a mountaintop with his eyes...that was incredible.  I sat and thought about how much I depend on seeing God's glory in Creation, realizing that even if I could only hear, smell, and feel there would still be amazing evidence of it. Wow.   

I had no idea that in addition to his keyboard and vocal talent, Gordon is also a gifted song writer.  He shared that the song "I Want to Have Faith Like That" was inspired by friends who had lost a child.    Gave me goosebumps last night, and it has as I've listened over and over again today.

I want to have faith like that
Let it be who I am
I want to see the bigger picture 
And trust it's in God's hands
I want to have faith
I want to have faith like that
I want to walk the walk
Not just talk the talk
I want to make it who I am

I kept trying to get good pictures of his hands.  They were moving so fast it was a challenge, even from the second row!  

Other songs I loved (and which I plan to add to my playlist soon!):

Through It All (a wonderful old Andre Crouch fave)
Meanwhile Back at the Cross
The Sound a Dream Makes 


And then there was "God of Second Chances".  Wow.  Jodie and I have talked about the fact that every concert we go to, God seems to have a particular reason for us to be there...something specific He has for us in it that goes way above loving the music and worship.

I told her last night that as the concert was nearing a close, I had loved every bit, but I didn't feel like there had been that "Aha!" moment when I realized, "THIS is why God brought me here!"

Then came "God of Second Chances", Gordon's words that followed, and Pastor Mark Hiehle's prayer, all of which God used to hit me right between the eyes about something I least expected.  It was such a convicting jolt that I'm still processing through it...maybe I'll share a bit at some point.  There was no doubt in my mind that God had spoken to my heart in a huge way, and that we were supposed to be exactly where we were last night.

Here's a little taste of what Gordon said at the end of the concert.  (You'll be seeing more of this in another post to come soon...it went right along with a post that's been percolating for a while.  Since both Bro. Gary's sermon yesterday morning, and Gordon's words last night worked right into what I was already working on, I decided perhaps it's time to finish and post it. :))

The challenge is to take the love we feel right now and take it out into our community and love like JesusIf we loved better, maybe we wouldn't have to beg people to come to church...they might be beating down our doors.

As I've shared in the past about Guy Penrod, Gordon Mote is another whose love for the Lord and for people just radiates.  He stood and visited with every. single. person. who waited to meet with him last night, talking about kids, physical disabilities and healing, loss and grieving, and the Arkansas Razorbacks. :)

(Yes, that last conversation was with Yours Truly. Gordon is from Gadsden, AL, and is a die hard Crimson Tide fan.  I shared with him about coming home from the hospital in Birmingham as a newborn in my handknit Razorback sweater and booties the day after Arkansas beat Alabama in a bowl game. We had a good laugh about our respective sports loyalties. :))

There were about 6 people trying to get this photo.  I was not in a good spot, as you can see, but still thought it was fun. :)

I think this is my favorite shot of the whole night.  I love the expression on Mrs. Shirley's face as she is chatting with Gordon.  Seeing how much these musicians love and admire Mrs. Shirley is just a precious thing.  We have come to love her dearly in our brief encounters with her.  She has blessed so many in such huge ways in bringing these concerts to Claremore.  

We had to laugh when we came out to the car.  When we pulled in there before the concert, I had joked that Jodie would have to let everyone else parked on that side of the church leave before she would pull out of this spot.  We came out and immediately realized that we were almost the last people who weren't directly involved with working the concert to leave the church.  No worries about waiting for the traffic to clear!

(And the good news, for those who remember the story of our first Claremore road trip adventure, is that we did not drive around lost in Jenks, Oklahoma, in the dark of night for hours. ;-)) 

There is just no way to adequately express the blessing and ministry of concerts like last night's in words and pictures.  As Jodie always says, "You just have to be there."  And you do.  And if you ever get a chance, I encourage you to.

Huge, huge thanks to Jodie (aka Concert Fairy/Chauffeur/Chief Adventure Architect) for going with and driving last night. Her friendship is such a blessing! Another status from today says this:

Reminded today how richly blessed I am with friends. Had my monthly lunch date with one friend Friday, annual family bonfire with another on Saturday, and then the last minute road trip with another yesterday. So thankful for those and other iron-sharpens-iron, laughing, crying, praying friendships!

Huge thanks also to Mrs. Shirley for providing the opportunities for these concerts for so many who wouldn't be able to experience them otherwise.  

And more huge thanks to Billy and the kids, who are always as excited about these adventures as we are, and who held down the fort at home while we were gone!

Interested in reading more?  The concert/southern gospel posts are not only some of my favorites on the blog, but also some of the most-read of all time. 

More on previous Claremore Road Trip Adventures:

The Original Claremore Road Trip Adventure {Steve Ladd, Jonathan Martin, and Michael English}

Another Road Trip {Claremore Guy Penrod Concert}

Links to the Penrod Posts, All in One Place:

The Penrod Posts {Guy Penrod} 


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