Following the Call

By Kevin Tankersley

The Morrison Family

Pictured: Photographs by Marlo Collins,

Iheir four children attend Live Oak Classical School, which Kim calls Waco’s “sweet little jewel,” and their oldest will be one of the five students to have attended the school from kindergarten through high school when he graduates in 2017.

Randy is the editor-in-chief of Baylor Magazine and director of alumni communications. Previously, he was art director of the magazine. He’s originally from Weatherford, Oklahoma.

Kim is the admissions coordinator at Live Oak and worked in development for the school prior to that. Before she got into education, she was a registered nurse and was also a stay-at-home mom for “years and years and years,” she said. She’s from Fort Worth.

Kim and Randy both graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University, which is where they met.

They are parents to Luke, 16; Grace, 14; Grant, 12; and Micah, 10. With all four children in attendance, Live Oak is obviously a big part of their lives, professionally and socially.

Wacoan writer Kevin Tankersley talked with Randy and Kim and their children one recent morning in their home in Castle Heights, one of their favorite areas of Waco.

WACOAN: All of your kids are at Live Oak, right?

Kim: Luke was a charter member.

Randy: He was in the first kindergarten class. There were 36 students.

WACOAN: Thirty-six students in how many grades?

Randy: Kindergarten through fifth. We added a grade each year.

WACOAN: Was enrolling Luke in kindergarten at a brand-new school a leap of faith?

Kim: It was. I heard Alison Moffatt [head of school] standing in the hall at church telling people about her new school, and I just invited myself to stand and listen. I listened to her talk and said, ‘Randy would [produce] a brochure for tuition.’ She considers that divine intervention because that’s exactly what they needed — somebody to help them get publications out, get the word out, get a look and get a brand.

WACOAN: In which church did that conversation take place?

Kim: Highland [Baptist Church].

WACOAN: And was it that conversation hall that convinced you to take a chance on Live Oak?

Kim: That was my first introduction to what Live Oak was. I had already been reading about classical school. A friend had given me a book about classical homeschool. It was all just coming together for me. So whatever she said in the hall got me excited.

WACOAN: How big is the school now? It goes from junior kindergarten through —

Randy and Kim: Twelfth grade.

Kim: Three-hundred and seventy-three students.

WACOAN: And Luke is in what grade?

Kim: Tenth grade, what we call Rhetoric I.

WACOAN: Will he be part of the first graduating class?

Kim: No. We’ve graduated four classes.

Randy: When he started in kindergarten, there were already fifth graders, so they’ve already graduated.

WACOAN: But he’ll be in the first class to have gone all the way through, right?

Kim: That’s right.

WACOAN: How many other students started with him and are now graduating?

Kim: I think there are about five. There were only eight in that first class.

WACOAN: If Live Oak had not come into your lives when it did, where would Luke have gone to school?

Kim: I might have homeschooled him. A lot of my friends homeschooled. Except I was due with Micah in September. We would have started in August, and I knew I was having my fourth.

Homeschooling sounded a little hard. I don’t know what I would have done. I’ve often, often thanked the Lord that Live Oak is the door that opened for us.

WACOAN: What kept you at Live Oak after Luke started?

Kim: The community of people is really, really delightful. But then, the rigorous education. You get excited to see them get excited about school. It’s always been a fun thing for us.

Randy: It’s a different type of education. The classical style of teaching is very different from what you get in a public school or most private schools. It’s got a great integration of faith elements as well. We’re excited about the Christian part, but also the way it teaches. It starts in the grammar school, then continues on in to logic school and then rhetoric school.

It all kind of connects. The things they cover in, say, history and literature in the grammar school will come back around in the logic school but at a different level. Where they might just learn facts and information in the grammar school, then in the logic school they’ll take those facts and be able to formulate arguments and further information. Then in the rhetoric school, that’s where they take all that information and are really able to re-speak it, talk about the pros and cons of it, discuss it, argue it from a different level. It’s not just facts.

And it really creates a love of learning. They enjoy the learning part of it, the process of learning. That translates really well, our students who have graduated have told us, into college. They’re very well prepared.

WACOAN: Where is Luke headed after high school?

Kim: He doesn’t know.

Randy: I don’t think we’ve settled on that yet.

WACOAN: What would he like to study?

Kim: He might like to teach English or history.

Randy: He’s really good at teaching. When he gets the opportunity to present in class, they say he just steps up a notch and becomes entertaining. He was on the mock trial team as well. Live Oak’s team won the Region 12 [competition] this year and went on to compete in state and did really well there.

Kim: He’s been the youngest member for two years. He’s been the only freshman and the only sophomore. He made both sides of the team.

Randy: We joke that he would make a good lawyer, but I don’t know if that’s his real interest, but he’s good at preparing and speaking, even though he’s very quiet normally.

WACOAN: Kim, tell me more about your job in admissions.

Kim: I primarily give tours all the time. I test the prospective students as they come in, and then I walk them through the admissions process.

Randy: She’s a good advocate for the school and knows pretty much everybody in the school. All the kids. All the parents.

WACOAN: Randy, what does your job at Baylor University entail?

Randy: The title is editor-in-chief, but it’s a little bit of a misnomer because I’m also the lead designer. I have a senior designer, Scott Toby, who works with me, so he and I both design and lay out the magazine. As far as the team I’m on, I have a managing editor, Brenda Tacker, and writers, Lane Murphy, Derek Smith. And Larry Little has just joined our staff.

I’m not a traditional editor. My background is art and graphic design. I came on as more of a vision-casting [person] and helping cultivate story ideas, as in, ‘Is this the right message?’ I provide that type of direction and strategic thinking and planning. I’m not a grammar expert. I’m not the red-pen [editing] guy. I take the red pen marks and incorporate them into the design after we’ve laid it out. I’m not really a typical editor as much as I am a director and creative director.

I do contribute to stories sometimes. I do help rewrite things. I write headlines sometimes because that’s a creative twist rather than a straightforward newspaper-style headline. That’s primarily what I do for the magazine.

Our group also works on alumni projects, like homecoming communication, homecoming publicity, the sports network. We’re working with [Baylor’s division for] Constituent Engagement to support materials [for those outreach efforts].

WACOAN: Your office is now in Clifton Robinson Tower, across Interstate 35 from campus. Do you like your office being there, or did you prefer it when you were in Pat Neff Hall?

Randy: I liked being on campus because it gave us a little more connection. We could walk around and see what was going on, on campus. It was easier to get over to the hubs where students were, and we could hear things, or we could walk over to a faculty member’s office. But our offices in the tower are really nice. We’ve got nice views, and we’re all together. It brought together all the different parts that were spread around campus.

And the group has just grown so much. When I first came, there were very few writers, and there were two graphic designers. Now in our division there are five or six designers, maybe half a dozen or more writers. But we also have a photography team, we have videography, we have media relations, Lori Fogleman and all her team. It’s a large group. There are over 40 people in our division, so we couldn’t have done that in Pat Neff. We love being in the tower.

WACOAN: What do you like about Waco?

Kim: We do love Waco. We just feel blessed all the time. We feel thankful.

I love the size. I love that I am close to everything. No traffic. I think Live Oak is a sweet little jewel that we have. The people — friendly, kind. Close location to my family.

strong>Randy: To her, it’s smaller. To me, it’s a big city. Weatherford was small, and Shawnee, [Oklahoma, where Oklahoma Baptist University, OBU, is located] was not much bigger.

Kim: I love that it’s a big small town. I love it when OU [the University of Oklahoma] plays Baylor, and the whole town shuts down. I just love that. And you can really know people in the community.

Randy: And I love Baylor. I love what Baylor stands for and the mission and what it has to offer. I went to OBU to go into the ministry but really found more of my giftings in graphic design and publication and communications. I feel like I’m fulfilling what might have been an obscure call to preach that may not have been really that. But it was a call to help further the kingdom in a different way.

That’s why I feel staying at Baylor is a fulfillment of that. It is furthering the kingdom. Baylor, while it’s not a church, is sending out people who have been trained to be leaders and trained to be Christian leaders who have been trained to impact the world in a positive way and take the gospel with them wherever they go, whether it’s business or education or medicine. To me, my part of that is telling the story, raising support, building friends, furthering the university’s cause in that way.

WACOAN: How did y’all meet at OBU?

Kim: Mutual friends. He dated a girl [and] after they broke up, she became my best friend my freshman year. We were friends all the way through, but then he and I didn’t date until my senior year. It wasn’t awkward between my friend and I.

Randy: OBU is really small, and we were both involved in Baptist Student Union [BSU], is what it was called then. BSU was a small subgroup in a small college. She was on a leadership team, and I had already graduated but was on staff as a Mission Service Corps volunteer, being paid very little. But that’s really where our relationship started. She was a student, but I was already a graduate, just a year out. It was a delicate line to tread. We didn’t officially start dating until she was off of the leadership team. We got engaged shortly after that. She was a senior, and I was two years out.

WACOAN: What did you do on your first official date?

Kim and Randy: ‘Star Trek’ movie.

WACOAN: Are you still ‘Star Trek’ fans?

Randy: Eh, some. I think we were trying to find a way to have a date because we had had this friendship for so long. It just happened to be a ‘Star Trek’ movie that night.

Kim: It was just a movie playing.

Randy: Then we were engaged in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on a mission trip. I took the ring with me.

Kim: The top of Sandia Peak.

WACOAN: Kim, did you know it was coming?

Kim: No. Noooo. Not at all. I thought he was going to break up with me.

WACOAN: Why did you think that?

Kim: We had a little spat on the long drive there, this little tiff in the van after the long hours. He didn’t think it was a big deal.

WACOAN: What was it about?

Kim: It was a whole van of kids, and he kind of snapped, and I took it like, ‘Oh, that’s it. He’s going to break up.’

Randy: I can remember the details, if you really want the details.

WACOAN: Yes, I want the details.

Randy: There was something in Oklahoma City called ‘Night of Praise.’ I’m not an extreme worshiper, with hands raised. I had made a comment about that at some point, that that’s not my thing, the ‘Night of Praise.’ As I’m driving the van with 18 or so college students, the conversation was something about the ‘Night of Praise,’ and she answered and said, ‘Oh, he doesn’t really like that.’ I said, ‘What? Why are you answering for me?’

Kim: He said, ‘Don’t speak for me.’

Randy: ‘Don’t speak for me,’ something like that. I don’t remember exactly.

Kim: So it wasn’t that big a deal.

Randy: We had only been dating for about five months at that point. But I already had the ring in hand. I didn’t have the details worked out. But she was expecting me to break up with her.

WACOAN: So, Kim, you thought he was taking you to the top of —

Kim: They told me we were going to the top of the peak to see if it was a picnic site for [the group]. He said we had permission to have lunch up there, and we can see if we want to bring everybody else, if it was worth the $4 for the tram.

Randy: This was my plan. We dropped everybody else off to do yard work, and she and I —

Kim: My friend said, ‘Why do you look cute?’ ‘Cause they were all going to work in the yard.

Randy: She and I rode the tram up to the top of the mountain and then had a picnic.

Kim: It was really fun. We spent the whole day together. The rest of the group was in a restaurant when we came down. We got to yell to all of our friends, ‘We’re engaged!’

Randy: By the time we got there, everybody else knew something was going on.

Kim: The kids in the BSU [said], ‘I didn’t even know they were dating.’

WACOAN: When did you get married?

Kim: October of ’95.

WACOAN: Where did you get married?

Kim: Fort Worth.

WACOAN: When did you know you were going to get married?

Kim: He said it on our second date. We kind of started talking like that pretty early. We were good friends.

Randy: I was not a suave dater. Not extremely skilled.

Kim: I would say it was still pretty early in our dating.

WACOAN: Why do you say you weren’t very suave?

Randy: Well, what was that expression that girl said? ‘I could count on bunny ears the number of real relationships I’d had.’ I’d had one other dating relationship —

WACOAN: Her friend.

Kim: Uh huh.

Randy: And it was only three months. There were two or three years before we dated. I didn’t exactly know the proper way to court other than friendship and getting to know each other and finding common interests and pursuits and passions.

WACOAN: When did you know?

Randy: She’s still not sure.

Kim: Probably pretty early.

WACOAN: How long have you been in this house?

Randy: We’ve been here about three years. We were on campus in faculty housing for about five years. A lot longer than we intended.

WACOAN: Where did you live on campus?

Randy: We were in Fort Faculty. Our house isn’t there anymore.

[Editor’s Note: Fort Faculty was a small neighborhood of homes that were owned or rented by faculty and executive-level staff members of Baylor. The neighborhood was razed a few years ago to make way for the East Village Residential Community and the new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation].

Kim: We loved it there … We lived on campus from 2007-2013. That little neighborhood was like stepping back in time. Few cars ever drove by, and kids played in the yard all afternoon while the moms talked on the sidewalks. We often took walks in the evenings with our kids and neighbors, sometimes just ‘taking a turn’ around the circle, as we called it, or longer walks around campus. In the summer we enjoyed biking around the library and the strip between the [McLane Student Life Center, the SLC] and the science building. Before we lived on campus, Randy and I didn’t take walks together. I only walked with friends as a way to exercise.

But that changed in our time living there. He started asking me to take a turn around the circle, and we found it to be a great time to talk together. I can even mark major decisions made on those walks.

WACOAN: You said you lived on campus for longer than you had intended. Why?

Randy: We had sold our house and thought we would wait a year and find out where to land and look around.

WACOAN: What kept you on campus for five years?

Randy: It was a nice little community. New faculty would move in. They would have kids the same age as our kids. There were a lot of families we connected with. It was just so convenient to be able to walk to the cafeteria or to the [SLC] to work out. I could walk to work. At the time I was in Pat Neff Hall, so it was pretty easy to get to work.

Kim: Moms would stand in the street and talk in the afternoon while kids played, and they really could play in the street because there was nobody driving by.

WACOAN: Everybody who lived there worked at Baylor, so nobody would have to drive to work.

Randy: There was no traffic.

Kim: It was a sweet gig.

WACOAN: Were you forced out of Fort Faculty as development was about to begin?

Randy: Our timeline accelerated.

Kim: We were never promised a certain amount of time.

Randy: We knew we would have to get out eventually. But then it jump-started our search.

Kim: And Baylor was very fair.

Randy: We knew it was temporary.

WACOAN: What drew you to this neighborhood?

Randy: We’ve always liked Castle Heights.

Kim: We love being close to everything in Waco. I love being three minutes from everything.

Randy: It’s pretty much a straight shot to [Live Oak]. We love the beauty of the neighborhood. We love the trees. When we lived on Colcord, I used to drive [to Castle Heights] to walk here. We walk it quite a bit now.

Kim: We renovated this house from top to bottom.

WACOAN: What all have you done?

Randy: Pretty much every surface. The kitchen was gutted and redone. Walls were taken out.

Kim: Almost everything was original to 1954.

Randy: New bathrooms. Steve Willis [of Willis Design Group] really helped us. He’s done a lot of houses in this neighborhood. And we converted the garage into a game room.

Kim: That was the major redo, converting the garage.

WACOAN: What else do I need to know about the house?

Kim: [Randy] builds furniture. That’s what really keeps him busy. He just really never stops. He’s very, very crafty.

WACOAN: What kind of furniture do you build?

Randy: In our game room, we have what you would call a mud room set up, lockers with shoe storage underneath. In our bedroom I built a chest of drawers with cabinets above that holds the TV. It’s a built-in, not just a piece of furniture. I just built a side table. It was more of a practice piece for my aunt who wants something for her house. It’s a table that has leaves that fold up. It’s where I have my computer set up now.

Kim: It’s very impressive. He built that completely from scratch. Built the legs. Did the finish. He’s amazing.

Randy: That’s a little bit of a release sometimes.

WACOAN: How did you learn to do that?

Randy: A lot of trial and error. And Time-Life books, to be honest. Our first house, our Colcord house, we renovated that one, and I did all the cabinets. Did most of the Sheetrock. Did the wiring. I didn’t do the plumbing, but a lot of the stuff I did, I literally had the Time-Life book there and figured it out that way.

And our table, it’s made out of fresh pine 2-by-4s, but I saw some theater guys up at Baylor take a picnic table and turn it into a weathered, old picnic table. I asked them how they did that and used their technique. I don’t know if it’s top secret or not, but they had some steps they used to make a fresh piece of wood look really old, so I just imitated that. [The table] looks like it was made from reclaimed wood, but it’s fairly new. If I had access to reclaimed wood, I would use it, but it was just easier to figure out how to make it look like that.

Kim: Randy also makes a delicious, from-scratch breakfast almost every morning for the kids. He makes scones, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, crepes, muffins. It is very helpful as I’m trying to get ready for work. His breakfasts are a big part of our routine and how we get out of the door every morning.

WACOAN: Earlier you mentioned Highland Baptist Church. How long have y’all been at Highland?

Randy: Since we moved here, so about 15 years.

WACOAN: What keeps you at Highland? There has been some pastoral turnover.

Randy: Yeah, but we’ve been very involved at Highland. We’ve taught young marrieds Sunday school. We’ve led life groups. We’ve been teaching sixth grade Sunday school for about seven years. We’re real involved in that level of things.

It’s always been our community. Even though we’ve had friends who have come and gone, but it’s always been community.

Kim: I don’t say it flippantly, but the Lord has not called us anywhere else. That is where the Lord has called us. So when things were not always as we would like them to be, we really struggled with why we go to church. Not because we want our needs to be met or because we want to be happy, but we go out of obedience. That’s why we’ve been there.

Randy: We feel called there, and that hasn’t changed.

WACOAN: How do you juggle everybody’s schedules in your family?

Kim: Randy is a huge, huge, huge help. We are totally working together all the time. We don’t divide up. Nobody’s driving yet at our house, and it helps that we’re all going the same way.

A big piece is that I have to work in exercise. I was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson’s disease in December. So exercising —

Randy: Is just part of the routine.

Kim: It’s like breathing for me. I go to the Yoga Bar. I go to Zumba. That’s always a part of the afternoon. Then [Randy] can always swing by and get [one of the kids] if they’re on a different schedule. I take all the kids in the morning, so it’s pretty easy.

And we just don’t do a whole lot of everything else. All of our sports are Live Oak-related right now. There might be a few basketball games or track meets or things, but we don’t do piano or karate or dance or all of those extra things right now. That keeps us where our evenings aren’t just heinous.

Randy: Some of that is intentional, and some of it’s just that Live Oak is pretty busy. There are things within Live Oak. There’s a history night. There’s a school concert, a school play. Even in the grammar school, they have athletics. They’ll play against another school in town or inner-squad [games]. Those things have limited club sports.

Kim: And we have so many neighbors who are in school with us, too. We had to go to Houston on Monday for my doctor’s appointment, and we left at 6 in the morning. So a sweet neighbor picked up all four kids, got them all there on time, and two neighbors brought them home at different times. We have a wonderful, wonderful community of people.

WACOAN: What can you tell me about Young-Onset Parkinson’s?

Randy: [The actor] Michael J. Fox. He’s had it for longer.

WACOAN: Were you showing symptoms?

Kim: I was. I’ve had two surgeries, thinking it was shoulder issues, but it was likely Parkinson’s, and I probably didn’t need all those surgeries. It started six years ago.

Randy: Pain and tightness, and it just increased.

Kim: Difficulty using my hand.

Randy: Finally, there was some foot-dragging or discoordination with her foot, and that’s what really sent us to a neurologist in Houston. They quickly said, ‘Oh, this is Parkinson’s.’

WACOAN: How does exercise help?

Kim: It keeps my strength. I will get tight and eventually not move. Exercise helps prolong that, helps stave that off. When you think of Parkinson’s, you think of the shuffling. That’s eventually what happens. As long as I exercise, I should be able to keep that further at bay.

WACOAN: You said that Live Oak keeps you pretty busy. What do you like to do when you’re not doing school or church things?

Kim: We are homebodies.

Randy: We are. We are home a lot. And the kids like to read. We play a lot of family games. We like movies. The kids like movies. We don’t have cable, so we’re limited to what we can watch.

Kim: We don’t have any network TV. We have Netflix and Apple TV, and the kids are only allowed to watch on the weekend. We’ve tried to make that a minor part of our lives.

WACOAN: What do the kids like to read?

Randy: They’ve all done the fantasy genre.

Kim: Rick Riordan —

Randy: [Who wrote] the ‘Percy Jackson’ series. The ‘Harry Potter’ [series by J.K. Rowling]. Grant likes the ‘Brotherband Chronicles’ [by John Flanagan]. It’s another fantasy series.

Kim: The youngest will only read anything with a dragon at the moment.

Randy: It’s interesting at night. We used to read to them at night, as a group, all of them together. Now it has evolved to where Luke reads to them. He’ll go into the younger boys’ room and sit in there and read until they fall asleep.

Grant is in the process of writing his novel. It’s a fantasy style as well.

Kim: Lots of swords.

Randy: They’re really into Legos.

Kim: A few of them are into art things because of Randy. Occasionally, they’ll get out all their stuff and sketch and work on things. They have his art genes.

WACOAN: Are you reading anything good right now?

Kim: I’m reading ‘A Place of Healing’ by Joni Eareckson Tada. ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ [by Marie Kondo]. And … ‘Anne of Green Gables’ [by L.M. Montgomery].

WACOAN: You kind of whispered that last one.

Kim: ‘Cause I haven’t read it yet. I’m embarrassed that I’m 42 and I haven’t read ‘Anne of Green Gables’ yet. I’m on the third one [in the series].

Randy: I’m not reading much. The book I was in the middle of is Timothy Keller’s ‘The Reason for God.’ I haven’t gotten very far into it.

Kim: And I’m reading ‘It Starts With Food,’ the Whole30 book [by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig]. I’m having to change the way I eat to feel better.

WACOAN: How are you having to change?

Kim: I’m already gluten-intolerant. Now I’m having almost no grains, no high-fructose corn syrup, no corn, very little dairy, very little sugar.

WACOAN: What does dinner for you look like?

Randy: Different from the rest of us.

Kim: Meat and vegetables, yeah. Salads. Eggs.

WACOAN: Do y’all have to prepare two different meals?

Kim: Yes. I often make my own little portion or just set aside something for me. Chicken and vegetables is good. And we just joined The Home Grown Farm [a CSA run out of a family farm in Gholson], so we’re feeling all local and hip. Responsible.

Randy: We got our first shipment.

WACOAN: What was in your first shipment?

Kim: Cabbage, kale, onions, eggs, strawberries and broccoli.

WACOAN: There’s nothing in that list that’s obscure.

Kim: You get to choose. You get to shop. It’s a really great deal.

WACOAN: You said Grant is writing a book. What are the other kids into?

Kim: Grace is into sports and sketching. She just figured out she can sketch. She’s really crafty. She can do a lot. She’s really talented. Micah is sporty. He’s into ninjas.

Randy: We will hear things from the living room when we’re in here [in the dining room] finishing dinner, and it’s him fighting somebody that we can’t see, flipping onto the couch.

Kim: They all four have Airsoft. Grace, of course, does a lot of guy stuff. They’re all into Legos. I think we have more Legos than Target.

WACOAN: Does anyone have a cellphone yet?

Kim: Yes. Luke and Grace.

WACOAN: How do you handle those and other screen time?

Randy: We’ve made some efforts, but there’s supposed to be no gaming on the devices during the week. But that doesn’t necessarily always happen. Not all of them are into it. Grace isn’t that much into it. But with all the boys, it’s hard to figure out, ‘Where are they?’ And they’re somewhere with headphones, playing a game.

Kim: We try to limit it to two shows on the weekend and things like that. Of course, all homework has to be done. It’s hard to figure out. You can’t predict all the situations they’re going to get into with the electronics. We keep finding ourselves navigating as we go. We have not mastered that. I’m always wanting to put [the devices] away.

Randy: There are things that the youngest is getting to do that the others will remind us that they didn’t get to do at that age. It’s never fair, never just.

Kim: And Grant, I’m learning, really does do better with headphones. With music playing, his homework is better, and that’s taken some getting used to for me.

WACOAN: What does he listen to when he’s doing homework?

Randy: We utilize Pandora, and they have their own stations, but he likes Imagine Dragons and Coldplay.

Kim: What’s the other one that I hate?

Randy: Owl City. It’s probably too mature for him.

Now the 10-year-old, he’s done this a few times — he’ll come home with a note card with a to-do list on it, front and back.

WACOAN: Does he create his own to-do list?

Kim: Yes. We call him our oldest child.

Randy: It’s got, ‘4 o’clock. Read for 30 minutes.’ He had one that had, in the morning, ‘Set alarm for 5. Get dressed and make lunch until 5:30. Then read from 5:30 to 6. Then play with Luke.’ He and Luke are best buds. They play together all the time, the oldest and the youngest.

Kim: He’s a little planner. He sets his alarm [at 5 a.m.] and gets up.

Randy: Some days he’ll come out with his headphones on singing Coldplay, which I’m not exactly fond of, and be making his lunch while I’m making breakfast.

Kim: He checks things off [his list] once he does them.

Randy: I make lists, but I never finish them.

WACOAN: If you were going to introduce your kids to your music, what would you have them listen to?

Kim: We listen to Christian music, for the most part. I want to be careful about what they listen to. We listen to Air1 [Christian radio] a lot.

WACOAN: Is that like K-Love?

Kim: Yes, except more hip. It’s less of the praise music.

WACOAN: That Randy is not a fan of, but I’m not going to speak for him.

Randy: And I try to monitor the radio when I’m driving. I’ve got two presets that are Christian, then I’ve got ESPN radio, and the rest of them are where we get our Taylor Swift and Owl City and whatever else comes in.

Kim: I don’t even know much about what’s out there. I don’t follow anybody. But it’s hard to monitor because most of it’s bad. I’m often saying, ‘Raunchy, raunchy. Off.’

Randy: We often sing our own words to songs.

Kim: I know what we do — we do a lot of [Radio] Disney in the kitchen. My dream Saturday night is everyone in the kitchen working together, and occasionally that happens, and we turn on Disney radio, or ‘Phineas and Ferb’ radio, and we all sing.

WACOAN: I love ‘Phineas and Ferb’ [animated Disney TV show]. I didn’t know there was a ‘Phineas and Ferb’ radio station.

Randy: There’s quite a bit of singing in ‘Phineas and Ferb,’ so it has all their songs from the episodes.

Kim: They’re ‘Avengers’ fans.

Randy: And we’re learning to be ‘Avengers’ fans.

Kim: And, of course, ‘Star Wars.’

[Editor’s Note: Luke, Grace, Grant and Micah join the conversation for a few minutes.]

WACOAN: Luke, what is your favorite thing about Live Oak?

Luke: Probably the teachers. I like that they’re very personal with the students. We have really good teachers. I like how they let us do things and they give us fun assignments. That’s probably my favorite thing.

WACOAN: Is it kind of cool to be in the first class that has gone all the way through?

Luke: Yes, it’s very exciting.

WACOAN: Grace, what’s your favorite thing about Live Oak?

Grace: I really like the tight community where you can be friends with everyone and nobody feels left out or anything. Also, like Luke said, the relationships between the teachers and the students is really close.

WACOAN: Grant, are you writing a book?

Grant: Kind of.

WACOAN: What do you mean, kind of? You’re either writing a book or you’re not.

Grant: Yes, I am.

WACOAN: OK. What’s your book about?

Grant: It’s about these kids that run away because they’re bored and get entangled in a big government plot or whatever. It’s in a medieval world.

WACOAN: How long have you been working on your book?

Grant: I started writing a book in third grade, but it was really bad. I was two pages in, but this one, I started in October of fifth grade, in 2013. I’ve changed a lot of it over the years.

WACOAN: How long is your book so far?

Grant: It’s 109 pages. I’ve got a lot of editing and changing to do.

WACOAN: How close are you to finishing your book?

Grant: About a quarter of the way done but not with editing and everything. My outline was four pages, and I’m one page through.

WACOAN: So this could be a 400-page book?

Grant: Probably. Maybe.

WACOAN: When do you think you’ll be through?

Grant: Two years. I don’t know.

Kim: He’s got the map ready. He’s made a map for the book.

WACOAN: What do you like about Live Oak, Grant?

Grant: That we can get into one topic at one point and then end up having a whole discussion about it in one of our classes. We had a track meet last Thursday and then spent the rest of the day at school. We read and wrote for two hours.

WACOAN: Micah, what do you like about school?

Micah: Probably getting to see my friends every day.

WACOAN: Does every book you read have a dragon in it?

Micah: Probably.

WACOAN: What do you like about dragons?

Micah: Well, there are multiple reasons, but I like to draw dragons and reading about dragons. I’ve just always liked them.

WACOAN: If you were going to fight a dragon, would you rather be a knight in armor or a ninja?

Micah: A ninja.


Micah: Because if you’re a knight, most of the time you’re wearing heavy armor, so you wouldn’t be able to move fast. But if you’re a ninja, you would be able to move very fast and dodge.

WACOAN: If you could fight a dragon with a sword or with nunchucks, which would you prefer?

Micah: A sword.

WACOAN: So you would be a ninja with a sword?

Micah: Yeah.

WACOAN: That would be awesome.

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