Softly And Tenderly
Amy Grant

Welcome to my blog, updated whenever something of interest happens in my life (for the most part). Complete with pictures and video, you're sure to have a great time (although I can't promise you that). Anyway, thanks for visiting!


George Mason & College Basketball
April 1 , 2006

The biggest name in collge basketball right now is George Mason University. They're a relatively small school that have, against all odds, made it to the Final Four and are actually playing this evening. They likely won't get any further, but they've already proven everyone wrong by getting this far, so you never know!

Of more interest, however, is the fact that George Mason, the man the college is named after, is my Great Grandfather on my dad's side (a few Greats, of course). My grandmother's maiden name, in fact, is Phylis Mason. So, I have pretty goood reason to root for them. :-)

My dad sent me a fascinating article recently about George Mason that was published in Backwoods Home Magazine. The title of the article is pretty amazing ... "The Greatest American Who Was Never President." The article is lengthy, so I just chose different segments to put here on my blog.

The most fascinating testament to my grandfather George Mason is his contribution to Thomas Jefferson's phrase, "All men are created equal." Jefferson actually derived that from what George Mason wrote years earlier in the Virginia Declaration of Rights when he said:

"All men are by nature born equally free and independent."

Anyway, George Mason didn't sign the Constitution for many reason, one of which was because he felt it granted too much power to the government in too many ways. Really fascinating.

Anyway, excerpts are below. It's one fellow named John Silveira interviewing the publisher of the magazine, Dave Duffy (referred to as Mac), and I put interesting parts in bold.


"Hey, Mac, who do you think is the greatest American never to be president?" Dave asked.

Without hesitation he said, "George Mason."

Now Dave gave me the same who-in-the-world look I had given him moments before.

Dave asked, "In 30 words or less, who is he?"

Mac opened his mouth to say something, but he looked at me for a moment, then back at Dave. "He's a contemporary of Washington and Jefferson and you can thank him for the Bill of Rights-that's 17 words."

"I thought we had Jefferson or Madison to thank for the Bill of Rights," I said.

"No, Jefferson endorsed the concept, but he wasn't the originator. And Madison steered it through the Congress, but the ideas weren't his. As a matter of fact, the irony is that even though Madison honchoed the legislation through the Congress, he originally opposed including a bill of rights in the Constitution."

"Really?" Dave asked.


Dave thought a second. "George Mason, huh? What else can you tell me about him?"

"Do you guys want to get me started?" Mac asked.

"Is there a lot to say?" Dave asked.

"It depends on how much you want to know about him."

"How important was he?"

"I could make a short list and title it 'The most important Americans you never heard of,' and Mason's name would head it."

Dave drummed his fingers on his desk. I grabbed the World Almanac from the bookshelf.

"You won't find him in there," Mac said.

I looked anyway. He was right.

"You've got me interested," Dave finally said.

Mac began: "If any other man deserves to have his name mentioned in the same sentence as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, or any of the other Founding Fathers, it's Mason."

"Did Jefferson know who he was?" Dave asked.

"He knew him personally. So did Washington, Madison, Paine, Henry, the Adamses, and the others. Mason was a Virginian. He was about 18 years older than Jefferson and had a profound influence on him. Jefferson never made a secret of the fact that he revered him. He called him the wisest man of his generation. Even Madison, who is generally credited with framing the Bill of Rights, and who became the fourth President, considered Mason one of the most profound and penetrating thinkers of his time. And he was right. Washington himself called upon him many times. In fact, many of the Founding Fathers, whose names nowadays roll off the tongues of school children, knew who he was, were influenced by him, and sought his advice."


"Mason's fellow Virginians, and this included the lawyers, deferred to him with the acknowledgement that no one else in the colony knew the colonial laws as well as he. It was also a tacit acknowledgement of his capabilities and honesty. In a six week period, during May and June of 1776, he wrote the state's constitution and its bill of rights, called the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

The Declaration of Rights was adopted in June, three weeks before the Declaration of Independence was signed at the Continental Congress. In it he held that 'All men are by nature born equally free and independent' and 'that all power was originally lodged in, and consequently derived from, the people.'"

"Those words sound familiar," I said.

"Of course they do. Jefferson paraphrased them in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence."

"Did Jefferson give Mason credit?"

"The others at the Continental Congress knew where the words came from. Mason's Declaration had been copied and sent to the other colonies. Up and down the Atlantic seaboard it was read aloud in public places, printed in newspapers, considered, debated, and admired. There wasn't a man at the Congress who hadn't seen the Declaration or knew who its author was. And one after another, first Pennsylvania, then Maryland, then Delaware, then North Carolina and others took most or all of the Declaration of Rights and either made them amendments to their own constitutions or incorporated them directly into their constitutions."

"Did Mason realize this?" Dave asked.

"Of course he did, as did others like Washington, Jefferson, and Madison.

"Even the French used it as a model when they wrote their Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen in 1789."

"Then he made a big impression in his day," I said.

"He did, but not all of it was favorable. Quite a few of his contemporaries took exception to his words that 'all men are created equally free and independent.' At issue was slavery and quite a few people felt those words written by Mason could inspire slaves to revolt.

"But Mason, though a slave owner, had come to find slavery reprehensible and morally indefensible. Furthermore, he questioned its economic principles and said it actually hurt the economy of the southern states. Economists have since pointed out that he was right."


"Only Madison had had a greater input into the new Constitution than Mason, and during the Convention Mason, though older than most of the delegates, proved himself to still be a master debater and able politician.

"But with the Convention drawing to a close and the other delegates wanting to go home, it's ironic that the man who hated public service, who was always late and often absent from meetings of government, wanted the Convention to go on. And if not continue, he wanted another Convention scheduled for later. He felt there were matters that still had to be addressed. He still felt the federal government, including the Presidency, was too strong and would be a sleeping monster that would eventually crush the people. But foremost was his concern that the delegates had neglected to include a declaration of rights. He offered to the Convention a list of his objections beginning with the words, 'There is no Declaration of Rights...' But in the end, the other delegates spurned his suggestions."


For instance, he didn't want a standing army. He wanted a militia that would be called up in time of war. But he did not want Congress to control the militia; he wanted that to remain in the hands of the people and the states. This was just one of the problems he felt was unresolved by the delegates.

"Why was he opposed to the existence of a standing army?" Dave asked.

"It entices foreign adventures-the European armies were constantly busy-and eventually it would be used as a police force.

"He also felt the Constitution was unnecessarily vague in its wording. Among other things, he objected to inclusion of the words to 'promote the general welfare' as part of the preamble, seeing it as a catchall clause that provides an opportunity for abuse by the government, particularly in the absence of a Bill of Rights.

"He also regretted the compromise position the Congress took on slavery. Even as a slave owner, he wanted a way to rid the country of the institution.

"He didn't like the provision that allows treaties, which are enacted by the President and two thirds of the Senate, to become the law of the land without first being reviewed by people's representatives in the House.

"He would have been a believer in term limits. He believed those who served in government should serve, then return to the position of private citizens to live under the laws and policies they had created."


"He wanted and got provisions to allow the impeachment of a corrupt President. He also wanted the power to declare war to rest with the Congress, not the President. Military adventures should be the will of the people, not the government."

"But today Presidents can get us involved in conflicts without declaring war," I said.

"Mason's probably whirling in his grave like a dervish," Mac said.

"How did the other delegates feel about these things?" I asked.

"More often than not, he wasn't the only delegate who called for all of these measures, but he was often the most vocal and persuasive and he had a single motive: More than anything he wanted a strong government that expressed the will of the people, and allowed the individual maximum freedom.

"But he also didn't want a government that allowed the tyranny of the majority, either. Among other things he wanted a provision that commercial laws could not be passed without two thirds majority in both the House and Senate to pass them. What he feared was that the populous northern states would engage in economic tyranny of the majority over the less populous southern states.


"Madison, running for Congress against another future President, James Monroe, was now forced to take up the baton and campaign on the promise that Congress should enact a bill of rights. He told his fellow congressmen they should act on this while the glow of the Revolution was still upon them, that if it wasn't done soon the urgency would eventually become cold and a bill of rights would never pass."

"So now he was one of the most ardent advocates for a bill of rights," Dave said.

"Yes, and the amendments to the new Constitution that he presented to the Congress were culled from Mason's Declaration.

"It's ironic that Madison is now remembered as the prime creator of the Bill of Rights when he in fact initially opposed it and only supported it when forced to.

"It's also ironic that Mason, if remembered at all, is remembered only as one of the three Convention delegates who refused to sign the Constitution, when he had, in fact, more to do with shaping the good aspects of it than anyone but Madison.

"It is because of Mason that the First Ten Amendments now exist. Without him I doubt there would have been a Bill of Rights."


"Not long after he died Mason was forgotten by his countrymen and history. There was a county in Kentucky named in his honor, and George Mason University was founded in 1957 in Fairfax, Virginia, but not much else. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is usually as the cantankerous old man who opposed the ratification of the Constitution, but few know why. For years he lay in an unmarked grave at Gunston Hall.

"Only recently have Americans rediscovered him, though the number who have is still damned few. Here and there you can find people who know he wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Fewer still know he was the force behind the Bill of Rights-the First Ten Amendments of the United States Constitution. And even fewer realize that he influenced the Constitutions of most of the states, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Jefferson's own words, Mason was 'of the first order of greatness,' and he was right.

"There haven't been many documents in history, such as the Virginia Declararion of Rights, that have had such a huge impact on mankind, but where the author received so little recognition. It's like Christians knowing what the Bible is and who the Apostles were, but not knowing who Christ was."


"How different would this country be had he never lived?" Dave asked.

"I will state flatly that even if there had never been a Jefferson, there would still have been a Declaration of Independence; had Washington never been born, American troops would still have won the Revolutionary War-perhaps quicker. But, though others called for a bill of rights, were it not for George Mason, there simply would not have been one.

"In my opinion, he was the greatest American never to be President."


Book of Being Clip
March 28, 2006

All righty, here's a first debute scene from the film ... Moria (me) as he struggles over the snowy mountains. This clip appears darker than the original because it's been rendered as a WMV.

Oh, and I just got off the phone with the Lawrence Video, and Canon says they can repair the viewfinder for $95.00! The Lord is good. My fears imagined a price much higher. I am thankful!

Anyway, that's all for now. Take care everyone.

Moria Scene


Fun With Kalea
March 22, 2006

Just got some cute video of Kalea earlier today that I thought you might enjoy. :-)

Fun With Kalea


Volatile Viewfinder
March 19, 2006

In whatever you endeavor to accomplish, you'll always be met with setbacks. Below shows one of those setbacks that occured a few weeks ago. Needless to say, my life flashed before my eyes when it happened. I was taking the camera off the tripod in my room when it fell forward and hit the ground pretty hard. The result, a separated viewfinder. Could have been worse. The lens could have cracked, or something internally could have jarred. Amazingly, the viewfinder still works, but broke off from the camera itself. I took it into Springfield last week, and the store sent it in to Canon, and I'm waiting to hear back as to how much it will cost to fix. I'm praying that it will be $200 or less. I can't imagine it would be more, as it still works, and it's really just the outer shell that just needs replacing, but you never know.

If it's more than $200, I'm probably just gonna tape it up, with the result of a cheesy looking camera. Cheesiness isn't all bad, though, is it? Personally, I like cheese.


March Musings
March 14, 2006

Life continues on in the Ozarks. Jonathan Drake comes around the first of April for a few weeks, so that should be fun. Hopefully it will be warm enough to get the wave-runners out and have some high-speed thrills out on the lake. I don't think there's anything I enjoy more than gliding across the water at 60mph.

Kalea and I on my b-day.

Now that is a Voeller smile. So cute.

Not much else for now. Thanks for stopping by.


New Website
March 11, 2006

Just wanted to let everyone know the new website for our film is up and available at:

I made a new main page. The site of course is still under construction. Those who use I.E. and Netscape should be able to hear music.

Bye for now.


Birthday Blessings
March 9, 2006

Celebrated my 24th birthday yesterday, and it was great. Jeremy fixed my favorite meal for lunch, Cajun Chicken Pasta, and then I opened presents. Got some nice golf shoes, golf glove, money (my favorite ;-), some books, a computer game, and an audio drama. We then head off to play our weekly basketball in Ava which had about 13 guys show up. A lot of fun, and I shot pretty well if I do say so myself. :-) We then came back and had an AWESOME dessert at Jer's (Bryers vanilla ice cream, alongside carmel ice cream, mixed with peanut-butter cookies and an ice cream sandwich! Whoa!!! I had to sign a waver before eating it in case I didn't live through it. Anyway, then we watched "Finding Neverland" on Jeremy's projector that shoots off a big white sheet. A very good movie. Johnny Depp is just too good of an actor it makes me sick.

The day before my birthday we had a couple friends over, and Mrs. Schrader (mother of Marcus) made me an insane cake. Chocolate with chocolate pudding in the middle, topped with cherries, yogurt, and butterscotch cookies. Whoa!!! Man if I don't get sick after this week I ain't ever gonna get sick.

All righty thanks for stopping by.


The Liberal Highway
March 2, 2006

I've been thinking lately about old times and old friends ... how things are changing and have changed. It seems that many of those I knew growing up have become more and more liberal and accepting of the world's culture and ways. Dress, music, church standards, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, respect for parents, etc. Obviously I'm not going to name names, nor am I gonna go on and on about this ... it's just disappointing for me. In a time when I'm having to reflect on my own standards and morals and choices that lay before me in life, it doesn't help for me to look to many of those who I knew, or even still know. What's happening to us? Why, if anything, are we not becoming more conservative in our ways? I don't believe I'm being legalistic here. Recently I've tossed aside my oftentimes sissy and people-pleasing self to instead start calling things the way I see them, and this is what I see.

In turning this leaf, I'm starting to see myself for who I really am, and what my values really are. I find that I myself don't hold as tightly to the ways and beliefs that I once held to in times past. Why? When you grow older, you grow more independent, and in many ways sin doesn't seem so evil anymore ... so dangerous, so deceitful. After all, we're grown up, and we can handle ourselves, our lives, our values.

Maybe getting away from California has helped me see this, I don't know. What I do know is that everything isn't what it used to be, and people have changed. We have begun to walk a small path of accepting small sins that is leading us to a highway of accepting that which we never would have imagined we would tolerate just ten years ago.

I pray I don't take that highway, and if I'm already on it, that I veer, even if it results in a disastrous crash that, though injuring me for a short time, is to my ultimate survival in the end.


Web Site
February 27, 2006

Hey everybody. Same ol' same ol' around here. Been working on our film website, which will eventually have its own WWW. But for now you can view the progress by clicking below.

Locksley & RedJack Productions

Ta ta for now.


Luke Warm - Moria Wallpaper
February 14, 2006

The most miserable position a person can be in is when he or she has one foot in the world, and one reaching for heaven. Such a state of Luke warmness, as Revelation says, God detests, and is something He will spew out of His mouth. I find myself in this position too often, and more so lately than I would like to admit. Thank you for your prayers.

Played golf with the family on this Valentine's day in 60 degree weather. Very beautiful.

Here's the very first official Moria (my character in the film) wallpaper. No, actually not official yet, but it will suffice for now. We did most of my filming a couple miles from here where there are lots of pines, granting a much more northern, mountainy feeling. Pleased with how it came out.

Thanks for stopping by.


Final February Filming
February 10 , 2006

Oh man, what a hectic two weeks. I am SOOO glad we're done filming for awhile, and yet it was loads of fun. Filming will once again resume in June, with Jonathan Drake accompanying us. In the days ahead I'll probably post a few more short clips of the film, but I don't want to spoil our trailer, so will have to keep it minimal. :-)

Here's a picture Nathan took of me today during our last few hours of shooting. Don't ask how I got up there. It was as high as it looks (although maybe you don't think that's very high ... it is when you're up there!). What's that in my hand? Yes, our camera, the Canon XL2. Boys and girls, don't try that at home.

Thanks for stopping by.


Film Clip
February 3 , 2006

Busy week out on the field! Just a small clip showing yours truly ... same shot shown twice, the second with some color adjustment. Amazing what you can do in post production, giving it more of that dark, medieval look. All is going pretty well, and the Lord has blessed us with good weather.

Film Clip

Oh, and I gave Nathan a little surprise when he arrived at the Springfield airport. Dressed up in a wig, glasses, pink shirt, dress shoes, and sported a goat-tee. I put the camera under a phone book. I love his double-take. :-)

At The Airport

Take care.


Sneak Preview
January 26, 2006

Welp, think I've got my costume all finished and ready for the film. Here's a sneak preview shot of yours truly for all my fans ... err ... fan ... err ... just you guys.

Thanks for stopping by.


Facial Hair - New Film - Narnia
January 24, 2006

Today we celebrated my dad's 58th. Wow, that's getting up there.

Haven't shaved in about 11 days. Getting a decent goat, and we begin filming this next week, God willing.

Gonna go see Narnia again on Saturday with Nathan. It will be my 3rd time. I seriously like watching movies the second, third, and fourth time even better than the first. I catch more of the dialogue and notice the little things that I miss.

Oh, and a new film just released.

Saving Private Spears

Anyway, ta ta for now.


Of Wigs & Weirdness
January 15, 2006

Don't have much to write again. I procured a certain wig for our film, and just thought I'd share with you a wonderful picture of myself that I am so proud of. Believe me, I'm cutting it shorter. Anyway, I've always had dreams of becoming the next Yanni, and I think this will help jumpstart my career.

Hope you're all well.



New Year Nothings
January 10, 2006

Not a whole lot to report, other than we've been preparing for our film quite a bit. Nathan Daher comes on the 28th of January. Jonathan Drake may come in February or March. Then, Lord willing, they'll both come in June to finish filming. Although at times it's been a nightmare, all the preparation has taught me a lot.

Here's a funny video I took of Kalea dancing the other day.

Kalea Crocodile Rock

I think that's about it for now. Sorry for the boring blog. That's how life in the sticks is ... boring, with sudden peaks of excitment. Take care.