December 18, 2014

DonB! Ministries on Facebook

DonB! Ministries is on Facebook.

If you don't like reading long blog posts, or just want to know snippets of what goes on in the life of a performer, you can easily follow DonB! Ministries on Facebook, and receive very irregular updates there.  This is the link:

HINT: I update the Facebook site more often than I update this one.


January 16, 2014

2013 in Review - DonB! Ministries

Large Photo: Dale and his cousin in California
Inset Photo: The Bursells, making "grass angels" for our friends back in Minnesota

2014 is well under way, and I realized it has been a while since my last writing here.  I've been keeping up with the activities of DonB! Ministries by writing on Facebook, as well as sending out an email newsletter, but I also realize that not everyone is on Facebook, so I wanted to drop by and let you know what's happening.

January 2013 was a busy month.  Deb & I began attending a new church, New Hope Community Church, in Cambridge, Minnesota.  I performed my 10th show for the "Delta Pilots for Kids Program" at St. Joseph's Shelter in St. Paul. I took a winter trip to Texas to perform and teach at the Joey to the World Clown Conference for 4 days. I did my 50th & 52nd show for Camp Lebanon in Bertram, Minnesota, including a test run of mid-air fishing (magically catching live fish on a pole) and gave a couple of other new routines a test run.  Deb, Deanna and I continued working with the junior high youth group at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

February was a slower month, but I did a couple of human mannequin gigs for Mannequin in Motion, including Bobby & Steve's BIG party at the Hilton in Minneapolis.

March started the Upward Sports season, and I travelled around Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois performing for players and their families.  I also has opportunity to play 2 fun nights of music (I play bass guitar) with musicians from around Minnesota, and our main gig was at Emma's Pizza right here in Mora, and almost 80 people showed up for pizza and music. We repeated the event once again at New Beginnings Church in Cambridge, Minnesota, on April 21st.

April was the month that I started sending out an email newsletter, the DonB! Irregular Newsletter.  If you do not receive it, please let me know and I'll add your email to my growing list of friends around the world. April 21st is when I started playing bass guitar on the worship team at our new church. I performed for an 80-year-old's birthday party, and performed at St. Canice Catholic Church in Kilkenny, Minnesota, and there were more people at my program than there were on the town's population sign!

On May 1st I took my first flight of the year to Nashville, Tennessee (I took 2 more throughout the year) to perform for Katie Harris's surprise birthday party.  Katie is the wife of Harris III, the illusionist I travel with every so often. The Dontar Machine had its first gig of the year at Hamline University. The last week was spent performing and teaching at Fun Camp, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where performers of different specialties get together and learn from each other.

June brought some warmth, as well as shows for Morristown Dam Days (yes, it's really called that), an overnight Grad party in North St. Paul, and an all day event for employees of Delta Airlines at the MSP airport. I flew to Pocola, Oklahoma, and performed with Harris III, at a casino, owned by Christians that want to use the venue as an outreach tool.  How's THAT for "outside the box" thinking?

On June 23rd, our family left to drive to Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, Maryland, for 6 weeks. Each week there I did 2 shows, M.C'd the morning Brown Bag Devotions (of which I'm still working on the book about) and performed strolling entertainment throughout the weeks.  Deb & I were invited to take an all-day trip on Goldwing motorcycles through the mountains of Pennsylvania, and it was incredibly scenic. I also started shaving my head during the 2nd week of camp, and I've chosen to leave it that way.  "Bald is beautiful", or at least that's what my wife says.

My new hairstyle

Even though we were in Maryland for the summer, on July 18th I flew back to Minnesota to perform at Sonshine Music Fest in Wallmar, MN, on the invite of Randy Christensen.  I closed off my time there by watching the night time concert from Skillet, complete with fireworks! While in Maryland, Deb & I took an all-day trip to the ocean with our friends, the Weavers. It had been at least 2 years since I had done any swimming in an ocean, and it was fun.

In August, I performed at the Little Falls County Fair, and also performed at libraries around Minnesota for their summer reading program. On July 21st I went on the road with Randy Christensen and his son, Ben, and presented the L.O.L. Show in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Canada. On the 31st, I competed in my 2nd disc golf tournament in Brainerd, MN, and returned for the 30-somethinkth time to Trout Lake Camp, to perform for their family weekend.

In September I did 3 shows in South Dakota, and then flew down to Marshall, Missouri, to perform with Harris III and Bubba Dowling, presenting the "Bamboozled" Show. September 18th I performed for (at least the 20th year in a row) Faith Community Church in Hudson, Wisconsin, opening up their year of AWANA programs for families. The next day I drove into the upper peninsula of Michigan for 2 shows in Nagaunee and Ishpiming. Things then quieted down a bit for the last 12 days of September.

Dontar at Mayo Clinic
However, October came in like a lion, albeit a small lion, with a Dontar Event at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, another Dontar gig for a private corporate party, and then the usual stilt-walking gig I've been doing now for 8 years for Halloween in Coon Rapids, MN. I finished out the month at New Life Church in Princeton, MN., on Halloween night, presenting 2 shows there.

DonB, on New Year's Eve. Franklin, TN

November started with only 3 scheduled shows, but somehow became a busy month of teaching, and meetings, and travels.  Probably the rest I really needed?

December showed only 5 gigs at the beginning of the month, but by the end of the month, I had performed in Minnesota, California and Tennessee, entailing some really last minute additional shows. One of the highlights of December was being able to travel to California to see friends and relatives that we've not seen in years.  It was warm there. 
On our way to California

Throughout the year I've been playing disc golf more and more, especially when I visit the warmer areas of the United States. I have also been spending the last year helping to sell an entire collection of magic books on eBay, owned by a friend of mine. Some are modern, and some are from the late 1800s.

New Magic Books
Very Old Magic Books

Well, what can I say?  I've been blessed with a life that I don't deserve.  I type this as I sit by our new fireplace, with a roof over my head, with friends and family all around me.  I'll close by sharing some fun photos from the year.

One of my favorite Christmas photos
Our disc gold group in CA

We first loved Rita's in Maryland, but
now they have them in California too!


April 26, 2013

Entertaining Angels

Recently, while performing for a private party to celebrate the life of an 80 year old, I performed what I would consider one of my "standard" shows.  To me, it went just like all of the other times I've performed it.

However, 2 days later I received an email from the daughter of the 80 year old "birthday girl", explaining  a little "something" that happened during the program.  Here is her email:

"Thank you for the wonderful show you performed at my mothers 80th birthday party. I want to tell you how God used you in a miracle during the show. Taylor, the second little girl that helped with your act, has been in therapy for Autism for the last 2 years. She apparently bonded with you, and felt comfortable enough to be in front of all those people. We were all shocked. She has never done anything like that before. Praise be to God. Thank you for being his servant !!!!!!!" -Lynn S.

Wow!  To me, the girl acted and performed like every other kid volunteer I've ever invited onstage.  But to some of the family, it was a side of her that they had never seen, and rejoiced over it.
I'm glad I could be there, to help just one person that particular day, see that little glimmer of hope, or renewed potential, in a kid that was considered "different".

Autism covers such a broad spectrum of things, but inside each kid, there is that piece just waiting to get out, to shine in a new way, and for the window of their life to be opened once again.  I'm glad I could be there for it, even unaware of what was happening.

Is there a window that could be opened for YOU? What is something that you've always wanted to do, but never have?  What's on your "bucket list"?  And what's stopping you from actually taking the time to go and do it?  Don't wait until it's too late, and then find yourself saying, "Oh, I wish I would have done (fill in the blank).

Today is the day.  And honestly, what's stopping you?  Huh?


January 31, 2013

DonB! tours with the new show, "Bamboozled"

Here are a couple of videos of the upcoming tour I will be traveling with.  Three full-time professional performer/speakers, and a variety show resembling the old vaudeville shows.

And to know more about the performers involved, this video was just released:

Now be honest, this looks like a lot of fun.  And it is!

So please pass this information on to your pastor, or church staff, and please consider hosting the Bamboozled Show at your church, in your community.


January 30, 2013

New Artwork for DonB!

In my work as a strolling magician, I am always looking for new cards to perform with.  I came across a deck, The Vaudeville Deck, and purchased one for my work.

I really liked the style of artwork, so I searched around a bit and found the artist's name, Nemanja Jovanovic, from Montenegro.

After explaining to him in an email how I found him, and what I was interested in, he provided some basic ideas, and they looked great!  I waited about 2 weeks, and then started receiving some hints of how it would look finished, and I got excited.  The lettering style was cool. The ideas of juggling and the unicycle were great.

Well, just this last weekend I received the finished artwork, and here it is:

Now that's pretty amazing, eh?

If you are interested in having some incredible artwork done for you, feel free to contact the artist at

April 4, 2012

New appearances of DonB!

While looking for some items on the internet, I randomly came across a photo of me, and then proceeded to Google Search for myself.  I found myself in places I never knew I existed.  Here are a few:

On a website, and a featured performer on their "Magician" Homepage:

On an athletic website, a photo of my plate-spinning routine (used with permission):

On my stilts during the National Anthem at the 19th Annual Twin Cities Polo Classic:

Radio Station 104.5 FM from a 2011 show in Ohio:

Muskegon Entertainment:

Eating at Ruby Tuesday's:

Magician Norm Barnhart's Entertainer's Blog:

Where have YOU been lately?

And that's it for now.  I guess I've really gotten around.


January 17, 2012

Happy New Year! - A Resolution

Can it be true?!?  Is it really 2012 already?!?  It's incredible how time flies.

It's that time of year when people have made "new year's resolutions".  It's also about this time of year when most people forget about their resolution and eat those extra chocolate chip cookies anyway.  I know I did.

Well, it's a new year in different ways.  My home church here in Mora, Emmanuel Baptist Church, is heading into the new year, with goals about individual growth, as well as growth within our community.  Our senior pastor, Mike Herzog, presented what his message, "The State of the Unity" last weekend, and told how possible it is to have a "new beginning" as a church.  Instead of looking back and saying, "that's not how we used to do it", he encouraged the entire church to look forward, to what can be accomplished as a healthy group of Christians work together, instead of divided.  This is one resolution that I hope grows strong and happens the way it has the potential to.

As for me, I look into the new year and see how many shows I have, the places I will be traveling, and look forward to the people I can work alongside of, and those I can perform for.  My calendar is filling fast, and that's wonderful!

Our daughter, Deanna, finished up her first semester of college at North Central University, and is transferring over to Bethel university in 2 weeks.  She likes college, but it's weird not having her around all the time.

Dale, our son, is 15 years old, and has his fingers in all sorts of projects.  He loves remote controlled vehicles (he assembled one really nice one from various kits), is working on a large robotics program at Mora high School, and is going nuts hoping for enough snow to go snowboarding.  Minnesota hasn't received much snow this winter.  Yet.

Debbie is in her 9th year as a paraprofessional at Mora Junior High School, and still loves it.  She's awesome.

As for me, I'm just trying to better my life day by day.  I love to hear people's stories, and asked for anyone on Facebook to tell me about something that has made a big difference in their life.  I like to know what people are doing to bring more meaning to their relationships.  Even our Bible study group talked about how important relationships are to keep people connected and healthy.

What about your year coming up?  What do you have planned?  Did you make a new year's resolution, and have you kept it?

December 5, 2011

More Dontar Pictures

If you haven't seen some of the 35 characters we have for our new "Dontar" machine, here are some photos of a few of them.

"Asylum S.K.P." - the crazy character

Craig Carlson, as "Dontar"

"Is it real?"  Many people ask that throughout the night

People are naturally drawn to "Dontar", because it is so unique

One of our female characters, "Grandma Bea's Pearls of Wisdom"

The female Gypsy Girl

"The Pirate"

"Solomon's Wisdom", a character we created for churches

"The Wizard" character
Other characters that we've created are a "Cheerleader", created for a special event through G.L. Berg, that took place at the University of Minnesota.

"Dontar" in action

A short video from the Vita.MN event we performed for at EPIC Nightclub in downtown Minneapolis.

The "Dontar" character is played by my good friend, Craig Carlson.


October 28, 2011

New DonB! T-Shirts Are Here

I've been using this design for about 4 years, and finally got the new shirt designs in today.

For women's styles and colors you can purchase them HERE
Women's Heather Sapphire 
Women's Heather Maroon

For men's styles and colors you can purchase them HERE

Men's Heather Royal

Men's Heather Maroon
All $$$ goes directly back into DonB! Ministries to cover travel costs, hotels, etc.

Thanks for looking.


September 24, 2011

NOTE: This is a post that I thought I posted back in the Spring, but found just now.  -DonB!

Greetings all!

Spring is sprung, and I had some time to research some topics. Here is the first one:

Many Christians claim to be "Calvinists," and others claim to be "Arminians". Well what does that mean?

Calvinists say that some basics of the Christian faith fall under the acronym, TULIP. Each letter stands for a basic "stance" as a Christian:

T - total depravity
U - unconditional election
L - limited atonement
I - irresistible grace
P - perseverance of the saints

If this acronym uses such big words that it seems like a foreign language to you, trust me; it does to many people.

But that is why I enjoy studying these things. Is it enough to become a Christian and then stop learning anything else about Christianity? My thought is absolutely not!

So, here is a short, and well written article explaining how the Arminian and Calvinistic viewpoints differ:

Take a read of the article and let me know what you think.


Why Outreach?

I've now been performing for 33 years, and 22 years have been primarily as ministry work.  I currently have 3 different shows, each one designed for a different purpose.

One of the distinctions I've tried to make, to churches interested in hiring my services, has been the difference between "outreach" and "evangelism".  I don't really consider myself to be an evangelist, though I've had the privilege on many occasions to lead people to Christ through, and after, my programs.

To me, evangelism is done with the intent to not only explain the Gospel, but take people to a time of decision for themselves.  Outreach, on the other hand, is a time to share my personal faith as a Christian, more as an inspiration to others that are either 1) not a Christian or 2) are Christians, but are having a tough time in life.  Outreach is the easiest to do.  For me.

In the 22 years of ministry shows that I've done, I've had pastors and others that hire me say, "Well, what good is it to have visitors in my church if we're not going to share the Gospel with them?"  And before I give you my answer, think about it yourself: what would you answer to that question?

Here are my thoughts:

One of the biggest barriers to sharing the Gospel, if it going to happen in a church building, is getting people inside the walls of the church, without them feeling "pounced upon".  I've seen MANY visitors sit in the back, near the door, for the security of being able to run out of there if need be.  Safety is a factor.

How many times have you gone someplace that you felt uncomfortable being, and felt the need to just get out?  I can think of many times that has happened in my own life.  I didn't want to feel "trapped".  Nobody does.

Second, outreach doesn't have to happen inside the church walls.  Others should be able to see that you have a strong hope, even though life can deal you some tough hits at times. (1 Peter 3:15)  If I've learned one BIG thing over my years as a Christian, it is this: Don't TELL people what it means to be a Christian, SHOW them.

I've explained all of this to tell you how an outreach event furthered God's kingdom.  Here it is:

I was asked to do a show for a small church in Minnesota.  When I arrived there were only about 25 people there.  In my head I felt disappointed that there weren't more.  I set-up my show, and started on time.  During the show, the audience filled to approximately 50 people.

Within the show, I told my version of Jonah & the Whale (many of you have seen it), and gave a simple summary, that God really does have a plan for every person's life, but each of us has to choose if we will go on the journey God has set before us.

At the end of the program, I simply encouraged people, no matter how young or old, no mater how rich or poor, no matter what your life is like right now, God wants to begin a relationship with you, and you can come just as you are.  Don't think that you have to clean up your messes and THEN come to God.  He wants you just as you are, even with all of the baggage you may carry.

The show ended, and as I was packing, the church was testing out a new drummer, letting him try the songs they would be doing tomorrow in the Sunday service.  The drummer did great.

Afterward, while talking with the pastor, he explained something neat.  When I asked if the guy was a new drummer, the pastor said, "Yes, and before today's show, I had never met the guy.  He said he received a flyer on his door about today's event, and brought his family over.  He came to the show, heard the simple message and asked if he could come to our church, and use his drum talents to play with our music team."

And so the relationship begins.  Outreach, the way it is intended. No one questioned this guy's credentials (his past, whether he drinks or smokes, his mistakes).  They simply said "Yes", when he asked to be a part of what was happening here at this church.  Outreach.

My question to any Christians that read this is this: Do not worry that you've never shared the Gospel with anyone.  Do not think you are any less worthy than the pastor that sees personal decisions happen regularly.  Ephesians 4:11 says that SOME are evangelists, SOME are teachers, SOME are apostles...  You can share the Gospel by the way you live your life. Matthew 5:16 says,

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (NIV)

Does your church do outreach?  Have YOU done any outreach? Try reaching out sometime, and see where it takes you.  See how it affects people.  See how it changes lives.


July 18, 2011

Maryland is beautiful

Maryland has been beautiful for our family.  The scenery is amazing.  The place we are working at, Sandy Cove Ministries, is an amazing place for families to get together and worship, play, and relax.

Here are a few notes from our time here so far:

Dale & I drove out here, stopping to visit friends, and seeing what weird places we could find to stretch our legs at.  How about a fireworks tent?

$1400 fireworks kit.  We did NOT buy it!

The trip out here was uneventful, except for one trailer tire malfunction.

Trailer tire repair

Trailer tire Uh-Oh
Upon arriving in Maryland, one of our favorite places to eat is Rita's.
First stop upon our arrival
Dale & I explored Sandy Cove on our unicycles.
Dale on the Sandy Cove Pier

Then we all explored Elk Neck State Park, near Sandy Cove, with our friend Beth-Anne.
Deanna, Deb & Beth-Anne, our friend.

Collecting driftwood for the craft shop
While visiting with our best friends, the Pribulicks, we played in a river, and did a family tradition of Deb's family: damming up a stream.
Damming up the stream

Sandy Cove has so much to offer the guests here, so we took advantage of much of it during the week before guests arrived, including a 9-hole disc golf course.
Deb, on the 7th hole of disc golf

 We decided to check out the premier of the final Harry Potter movie, but DIDN'T go opening night.  When we DID go, however, we purchased the 3D glasses, and it was very cool.
Don, Chris, Deb, Deanna & Dale (camera) at the HP Premier
One of the craft shop projects we put together was a giant spin-art machine.  Craigslist put us in touch with the barn fan, and with a couple of hours time, we had a fully functioning spin art machine.
Building a spin-art machine out of a barn fan

Finished project, after 2 weeks of use.

Then we took a one day trip to Washington DC, and the Smithsonian Institute.

Part of the Berlin Wall

The original Charlie McCarthy

Deanna, Deb, Don, Dale and Beth-Anne at the Lincoln Memorial

The Korean War Memorial: Somber and amazing.

The Korean War Memorial, with me reflected among the faces.

Me, as a goofy looking tourist

A view of the (under construction) reflecting pool

Original Song of the South marquee poster
While introducing ourselves before the evening session, I realized I was sitting right next to 2 pioneers of Christian music, and very pro-family ministers.  They are super people.
Speakers this week: Steve & Annie Chapman. Me, looking giddy.
We are now in our 3rd week of time here, and each week has been a great experience.  This week there is even a family from Minnesota here.

Until next time...