Daddy’s Home

Home, where there is no night
Home, where the Son is the light
The place I’ve been dreaming of so long
Loved ones there to welcome me
But His sweet face will be the first I see
When my journey’s over
I am going Home

(c)1983 Charles Aaron Wilburn | Rusty Goodman | Tanya Goodman Sykes



Lonnie Myrick went Home to be with Jesus on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.  He was 80 yrs of age and had lived a long and full life.  We are so grateful to the Riemann Family and to the precious caregivers who walked with us through Dad’s end of life here.   Please share and comment on his Obituary page as you feel led.

Dad’s life here was filled with lots of love from his high school sweetheart and their family together, with all sorts of small town boy adventures, with world travels, with a bit of music and ministry success, and with his own very personal turmoils and strife.

Everyone who knew my Dad realized that he was a restless heart, eager to race towards his calling as a Gospel preacher.  Raised on a south Mississippi farm, Dad knew the value of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears.  He knew the hardships of the common man.  He knew from childhood that this life was filled with heartaches and sorrows, but that there was more to this life than just living and dying.  And, he was going to find his path somehow.

Dad answered the Call to Gospel ministry at the tender age of 19 yrs old.  He fell in love with Rosemary, his high school sweetheart, a country girl with amazing musical talents.  They married young, completed “some college”, started ministering the Gospel in rural churches, and soon after started their little family.

Fast foward ten years, and The Rosetones would be fully engaged in touring across South Mississippi and the Gulf Coast, recording Gospel music albums, and singing on stages with Southern Gospel Music’s most famous talents.

Lonnie would proceed to lead some of south Mississippi’s most dynamic evangelical churches, leading hundreds of souls to faith in Christ with his sometimes fiery salvation messages, calling lost souls to the altar for repentance and forgiveness.  He rallied young preachers alongside him in ministry, and built some of the Gulf Coast’s most evangelistic Baptist churches, reaching record numbers of converts in the 1970s and 80s.

But, with all that “hellfire-and-brimstone” conviction … there was also a tender mercy that spilled from Lonnie’s spirit, a Christ-like gentleness that caused the most weary of wanderers to know … maybe God loves even me.

Lonnie and Rose, and their boys, along with several renditions of The Rosetones, would eventually produce seven full-length vinyl records laced with top 40 Gospel favorites.  Their most stellar production was the 1983 Gloryland Gold album which featured Danny Myrick‘s top hits — the title track, along with I Know He’s Coming Back and the #1 hit song Jesus Is The Light, made famous by the award-winning Dixie Melody Boys Quartet, also known as DMB Band.

With great music and ministry sucess also came intense anxiety, leadership demands, and the neverending needs of growing churches, not to mention a touring family band.  Lonnie, by his own admission, was unable to cope with the demands without the relief of pain medications and therapy.  Eventually, Lonnie would succumb to narcotics abuse and addictions, which would end his public ministry and result in more than a decade of very difficult family struggles.

But, God had a greater plan.

Lonnie would find redemption, recovery, and restoration through dozens of addiction recovery programs and ministries, not the least of which was his successful graduation from Home of Grace in Vancleave, MS.  His dear friend and co-laborer in pastoral ministry, Bro. Bill Barton, would extend mercy and help Lonnie through the darkest years of his life.

For more than a decade, my Dad fought through addiction recovery, re-entry into ‘normal’ life, and was eventually able to find refuge and fellowship in the very churches where he had ministered as a much younger and healthier pastor.  God brought another prodigal son home!

As Dad and I tried to recover the ‘lost’ years, we discovered just how grueling the path of recovery can be for the addict.  And, for the family of the addict.  Somehow, God used Dad’s story, his testimony, and his witness of God’s amazing Grace, to help others who struggled with same or similar addictions.  Pastors who loved Dad back into the fold were invaluable to his recovery.  Church folks who showed overwhelming love, mercy, and compassion gave Dad the motivaiton he needed to simply … belong.

I was with Daddy that Tuesday evening before he went to be with Jesus forever.  His frail body was letting go of this life, and racing towards the glory of Heaven … which I’m certain he could see with his spiritual eyes.  I sang his favorite songs to him, cooled his brow, stroked his thick wavy grey hair, and told him how much I love him.  I told him he was a good Dad.  I told him what an amazing preacher he was.  I reminded him of the thousands of faces I see when I think of our travels and revival services.  I recalled our tours with all the great singing groups of the 70s and 80s who loved our family and supported our little band.

And, I told him once again … You are forgiven. You are loved. And you are valued. God loves you. We love you.  And, you can go HOME!  So, he did.  Tuesday night around 10:30pm … Daddy ran to jesus and the Father in Heaven.  The prodigal came HOME!

I’ll miss my Dad.  I’ll miss our talks about the good ole days.  I’ll miss our Waffle House meetings. I’ll miss having him ride along with me to a revival meeting, and sitting proudly in the congregation to support my music ministry.  And, yes … he always requested his favorite, I Know A Man Who Can.  Kirk Talley sang it so much better than me, but Daddy loved to hear me give it my best shot!

Daddy, I love you.  And, I’ll keep telling the Story, as long as folks will listen.

Jesus, thank you for loving my Daddy.  Thank you for Salvation.  Thank you for Grace.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit.  Thank you for paying the price for our sin.  Thank you for being our Friend.

I’ll tell everyone, everywhere, just like Daddy did … I know a Man who can.

The Little Blackbird and My Grace Awakening

“To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it …”  – Charles R. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening (c)1990 W Publishing Group

As a child of rural south Mississippi farmers who loved folk music, I grew up surrounded by gospel and bluegrass tunes of the 1950s and 60s, enjoyed childhood hunting and fishing on Grandaddy’s farm land, and of course, the good ole southern country cooking that comes with farm living.

I’m not sure exactly when I understood what grace really was, or what it meant, until one day when my brother and I took a little fishing trip with Dad, down the trail to Grandaddy’s pond.

It was probably summer, and we grabbed a couple of cane poles, a rod-n–reel, catalpa worms and crickets for bait, and Grandaddy’s .22-caliber single shot rifle, bolt-action, sorta like the cowboy heroes of 1950s TV land used.

Long story short, we were walking down the dirt trail from Grandaddy’s house to the pond just down the hill from the cow pasture.  We brought along the rifle to shoot at birds, squirrels, and tin cans for target practice.  At least, that’s what Dad and Grandaddy always said … target practice.  As we were walking along, humming and whistling familiar tunes with Dad, enjoying the sunny day that God had provided, I noticed a lone little blackbird perched on a tree limb along the trail.  It was a perfect target, in plain view, and not more than 20 yards ahead of us.

I hushed my brother and quickly asked Dad for the rifle.  He slowly and carefully loaded it and handed it off to me.  I slowly and carefully gripped the rifle in my best aim-to-shoot posture, just like Grandaddy had taught us.  Focused my little blackbird target in the sights on top of the gun barrel, took in a deep breath, slowly exhaled, gripped the trigger … and POW … my target flailed and flapped and fell to the ground.

WOOHOO!!  I did it!  I hit my target!!

I was only eleven or twelve years old at the time, but … I did it!  I shot my first “wild animal”, all by myself.  Dad and Danny celebrated with me for a moment, then we ran to bag our prey.  As we approached the little blackbird, I could see that it was still struggling to breathe, its wings flittering and flapping, its little body flopping randomly.

I vividly recall, even now, the rush of emotions I felt in that moment. The adrenaline rush of excitement over my first kill, and the country boy anticipation of ‘bagging’ my prey … was quickly reduced to a flooded moment of horror, panic, fear, and sadness.  I felt nauseous.  My heart raced and I felt short of breath.  I felt a sharp pain coming over my entire little body.  Just as that little blackbird must have been feeling as it lay dying under that lone oak tree on the trail to Grandaddy’s pond.

I looked on as that little blackbird took its final fleeting breaths.  I watched its eye darting to and fro as it desperately sought it’s final breath, under the bright blue sky and the warm sunshine near that lone oak tree on the trail to Grandaddy’s pond.

After a few somber moments, Dad gathered up the lifeless little blackbird, tucked it into my hunter’s backpack — the squirrel bag, as Grandaddy and Dad called it — and we proceeded to walk on down the trail to Grandaddy’s pond.

As we walked, I could feel the warmth of the little blackbird’s body in my backpack.  I had seen the bullet wound in it’s belly before Dad picked it up and I saw the blood spilled on his hands when he tucked it into my backpack.  I watched Dad wipe the blood off his hands with a sweaty cloth and on the pantleg of his trousers, an old pair of blue jeans, if I recall.  I could feel the warmth of the little blackbird’s body cooling with nearly every step as we proceeded down the trail to Grandaddy’s pond.

I took off the backpack at the pond, we baited our lines, and then we fished and caught bream and catfish for what seemed like a few hours.  Dad helped us string up the fish and tote them back to Grandaddy’s house, back up the trail, where we would pass by the lone oak on the trail to Grandaddy’s pond.  My heart sank, once again, as Dad carried the string of fish, and as I carried the backpack, with the now cooled and lifeless little blackbird tucked in, as we passed by the lone oak tree on the trail to Grandaddy’s pond.

We cleaned up all the fish, threw off our sweaty clothes, grabbed Mamaw’s garden hose and sprayed ourselves down after a fun-filled day of fishing … and my single gun shot at the little blackbird target.  Then we enjoyed a country boy’s dream of home-cooked fried fish with all the fixins at Mamaw and Grandaddy’s table.

Later, mom and Dad would tuck us in for bed, probably to the tune of a favorite gospel or bluegrass song, and probably a Bible verse or two.  And, I would try to sleep, but my little mind was ravaged by the scenes of my first kill.  Of that little blackbird.  Of the awful pain it felt.  Of the pain that I felt in my soul.

I continued to fish and hunt through my teenage years, and on into my adult life.  Admittedly, I have not fired a rifle for more than 30 years, not even at a firing range.  Probably, because I ‘see’ that little blackbird in the sights of the rifle, at least in my mind’s eye.

That day is forever etched in my memory.

I’ve never forgotten the pain I felt that day, amidst all the fun and laughter of fishing with Danny and Dad at Grandaddy’s pond.  I’ll never forget the Holy Spirit nudging me all day, to consider what Grace feels like.  To consider what life and death feels like.  To begin to understand what regret and shame feel like.  To try and sort out right and wrong.  To realize the power within my own little hands, to take life, for sport, because I could.  And, to feel the pain within my soul, once the deed was done.

I prayed to God that night to forgive me for taking that little blackbird’s life.  I asked God to please give that little blackbird a thousand trees in Heaven to enjoy.  i asked God to never, ever let me forget the life that little blackbird lived and the joy it probably brought its little blackbird family.  And I begged God to never, ever let me forget what it feels like to need forgiveness for taking something that — at that time — I felt did not belong to me.  And, I asked God to please forgive me, even though I felt I would never deserve it.

I have prayed that prayer again and again, many times over, and for countless other reasons.  I have asked God’s pardon, His Grace, a thousand times.  I have sought to understand His kindness and mercy, His undeserved favor, everyday.

And almost everyday, when I pray those prayers for Grace … I remember that little blackbird under that lone oak tree on the trail to Grandaddy’s pond.


Jana Maples Myrick Aust went Home … to Jesus, her Mama, and other loved ones in Heaven … early Tuesday morning.  She was one of the most beautiful people in this world.  And she shone brightly throughout her incredible lifetime here which ended way too soon.  Much before any of us would have expected.

Let me say at this point in the story … CANCER SUCKS!  It is a monster. It is evil. It is wicked. And, it is no match for the Savior. Jesus died on a cruel cross, was buried, then resurrected as KING … over cancer. HE wins. Therefore, WE win.  Hallelujah!  O praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!!

My beautiful Sheryl and Jana were childhood friends who grew up to fall in love with two brothers from this sleepy little town of Pascagoula.  Danny and I dated Jana and Sheryl through high school and college years, and then married our sweethearts, to then venture into our own respective journeys and careers.

Danny and Jana loved and lived big. They brought two incredibly talented and handsome boys into this earth who are their greatest pride and joy.

As life does, it threw a few curve balls at Danny and Jana. They divorced a few years ago; and eventually remarried loving new spouses who have brought even more joy, laughter, love, and beauty to our extended and blended family.

Jana touched thousands of people in her lifetime here. Her effervescent smile, radiant personality, and spitfire energy lit up any room she entered. Her children adored her and carry her spunky spirit in them.

In the blur of just 24-hours since her transition to Heaven, the expressions of love, sympathy, condolences and memories have flooded her social media page. It is obvious to all that Jana made her indelible mark on many. She lived fully. She loved as unconditionally as humanly possible. And she will never be forgotten.

We love you Jana. We miss you terribly.  Yet, we rejoice that you are Home, Healed, and more fully Alive than we can imagine.  We will cry many tears as we remember life with you, and now without you.  We will laugh at the charming memories you created for us all. We will deeply love one another more carefully because of the intense love you showed us all.

Jana, you were more like Jesus to us than you may have realized. You always showed kindness and generosity to others.  You took the mess that life sometimes creates, and recreated new life and new love from the mess.  You chose to overcome darkness with light.  You demonstrated heroic faith and courage in the face of the monster disease that we all have come to utterly detest.  You beat the monster. You are the champion.

We celebrate you, Jana.  And, we will see you again dear sister.

Thank you Jesus, for our beautiful sweet Jana.  We celebrate her and now entrust her to Your sovereign care … until we meet again at that Glad Reunion Day.