November 29, 2007

DonB! Partial Itinerary

These are some confirmed dates so far:

1/19 Central Bi-Products Christmas Party
1/25 Mannequin in Motion (MIM) Event
1/27-2/2 KLove Friends and Family Cruise
2/14 Groves Academy School shows
2/16 Trinity Lutheran - Minneapolsi
2/24 Cub Scout Pack 042 - Bloomington, MN
2/26 MIM Event - Mille Lacs, MN
2/27 Upward Event - Minooka, IL
2/29 Upward Event - Bloomer, WI
3/8 Upward EVent - Pace, FL
3/9 Pace Assembly - Pace FL
3/19 Bethel Church - Owatonna, MN
3/23 Good News Church - Mosinee, WI

A sure sign that you live in Minnesota.

Some sad news. Some joyous news.

For all of you in newsletter land that have read the last few postings of this online newsletter, I have some sad news.

Althea Kilber, after fighting 2 good fights with that creepy thing called "cancer", passed away last Sunday. The funeral service was yesterday (Wednesday) at Grace Church in Champlin, MN. It was a short, but very good service. It was very hard for my family to participate in the funeral. For me, as a pallbearer, I felt close to the Kilbers, even though I only saw them once a month or less. Bruce has been a friend in the magic community, and Althea was the world's best garage-saler. If there was a bargain in the Twin Cities in some one's sale, Althea would find it. It was also difficult for our family, because it really put in front of us the thought about, "What if we were losing our own Mom?" It really puts you in a compassionate mode, even barely knowing the grief that a family can face in times like this.

The good news is that Althea loved Christ, and devoted herself to sharing love with everyone she met. Whether it was with the kids at the daycare she worked at, or with adults at church, she showed what "love with skin on" looks like. She now gets to share her love, along with her big smile, with Christ himself, as she begins her own eternity in Heaven. How cool is that?!?

The Kilbers didn't seem to live a fancy life. They spent their summers camping as a family. They actually were given an award for having camped in ALL of the Minnesota state parks. That's a lot of camping, and a lot of family time. But family has always been their first priority. They went to magic conventions around the country as a family, and there are not too many wives and kids that would do that!

Please pray for the Kilbers, as they move into this new, and probably difficult phase of life.

At the Fun-raiser that I participated in, a family picture was taken of Bruce, Althea and the kids. Sadly, it was to be their last picture of all 4 of them. To see their family photo, please go the Caring Bridge site that Althea regularly posted at HERE

I leave you with this great 3 verse poem printed in her funeral bulletin:

God saw that she was getting tired
And a cure was not to be
So He put His arms around her
And He whispered, "Come with me."
With tearful eyes we watched her suffer
And slowly fade away
Although we loved her dearly,
We could not make her stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands to rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us
He only takes the best.

November 22, 2007

Back online...after 2 weeks off.

Greetings everyone. It is so nice to be back online. My Internet connection was not working for almost 3 full weeks, but thanks to my 11-year-old son, Dale, playing with the ActiveX controls and the Add-Ons menu, it's working again. Yay!!

On 11/8, I did a Character-Building Show for the Title 1 Program at Trailview School in Mora. There were 65 kids and 75 adults in attendance. It was a great opportunity for our hometown school to get the word out about what Title 1 Enrichment is and how it can benefit the kids that really need it.

On 11/11, my illusionist friend, Toby Travis, asked me if I would help out at a show at the historic Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I met his crew there at 8:30AM, and helped load all of his equipment into the theatre. We (there were 7 of us) spent the next 5-1/2 hours setting up the show, including his very extensive lighting system. He did 2 shows, one at 3 PM and one at 7:30 PM. My parents came out to see the 3 PM show, and some other magicians from the Twin Cities came to the 7 PM show.

The shows were a lot of fun. Nick Sharpe, from here in Minnesota opened each show with his "Street Performing" character presenting card manipulations and finding a signed card in a lemon! It was great, as he was able to really warm up the audience and get them into "show mood". Toby carried the rest of the show by performing his illusions, as well as some smaller mind benders such as linking rings and a very cool dancing handkerchief routine.

I performed a 12-15 set in the 2nd half with my ring juggling, Headmover illusion, Bowling ball juggling and finished with the Unicycle Medley. The audiences were both great, and they set me up for some funny moments of improvisation. Thanks Toby.

What I learned while in St. Cloud is that these 2 shows were the last BIG illusions shows Toby will be doing for some years. With his main female assistants (his daughters) growing up and doing their own things, Toby has decided to pursue more of his overseas ministry work, utilizing mostly props and routines that can more easily fly to the locations. Please pray that direction from God will be clear for Toby and MAGI Ministries, and that many more doors will be opened to share the Gospel in the countries where he ministers.

On 11/16 and 11/17, I had the wonderful privilege of watching our daughter, Deanna, act and dance in the Mora High School musical, Hello Dolly, here in Mora. She was great, as was the entire show, including all of the choreography (done by my wife, Deb). Wow, what a talented family!!!

The FUN-raiser that I have previously mentioned for Althea Kilber took place on November 17th. There were games for kids, a bakery sale, hot dogs, cotton candy, pop, a HUGE silent auction and a variety show featuring many different magic talents from across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Norm Barnhart, the organizer of the show, asked me to be the closing act. Once again, thanks to the great acts that performed before me, the audience was roaring with laughter and having a good time. So my part was even easier. I finished with the unicycles, and my son, Dale, rode his unicycle off the edge of the stage (on purpose), and successfully bounced all the way back up the steps to the stage again. The audience loved it, and I am a very proud Papa.

And, I have to say, for all of you that were not able to make it to the event, Althea looked great! Even with cancer throughout her body, it obviously has not hurt her spirit. Her smile was an uplift to all in attendance. There were so many people there, it was wonderful. I don't know the exact amount the event raised, but it was around $5000.00. Very cool. Please continue to pray for the Kilber family as they continue the struggle with the uncomprehedible thing called cancer.

Tuesday, the 20th, I did my first human statue event for Mannequin in Motion. I was made up to look like a marble statue, and stood on a platform in the middle of the room at a party for the big $$$ contributors to the St. Cloud Hospital. Some big names were there, but the one we had the most fun with was "Aunt" Mable Coborn, the founder of Coborns grocery stores. Debbie was there as my "spotter", making sure no one messed around with the statue too much. Other than a cramp in my left leg, it was quite an experience.

Well, let me finish by reminding all of you to take some time today, and give thanks to God above for the many blessings He has brought into your lives. If I had to list all of mine, we'd be here for an eternity. Even in the hard times, remember to give thanks.

I'll leave you with this verse:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you
in Christ Jesus.
-I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, from DonB! and the whole Bursell family.


----that's my beautiful wife, Debbie

November 3, 2007

Last week was very busy

Starting on Thursday, Dale & I drove down to Grace Church in Roseville, MN, to attend a workshop by a friend, Steve Kissell. He talked about adding small things into your shows to make them more exciting, more fast-paced and more fun, especially for kids. It was great to see him again.

Then on Friday, I had the privilege of going back to Maple Grove Free Church for 2 shows during their Fall Frolic. It was the first time I had ever been in their new sanctuary, and what a beauty it is. I thought my first show, with "Homer", was going to be the best one, but with all of the people packed into the sanctuary for the 2nd one (the DonB! Variety Show) the house was rockin'! Everything was "on" during that show. All the jokes were funny, the kid volunteers were great, the energy level that I put out was 110%, and the message went really well. I even met up with some friends that I hadn't seen for a long time. I met Dale & Lynn Sorbel (7 years), Ingrid ??? (3 years, whom I used to work the State Fair at Dodge with) and Keith Newberry (25 years) and his family. These programs are becoming like little reunions for me. That's cool.

On Saturday, I walked stilts in Coon Rapids for an outdoor Halloween event for kids. My stilt friend, Dave Braddock, and I have been doing this event for 5 years now, and we already have it booked for next year too. Nothing so good as repeat business.

Then I drove down to Chanhassen, MN, where I set up the DonB! Variety Show again and performed for 500 kids and adults in the community center. As my show ended, I introduced Jonathan Bryce, a magician from Minnesota, that was trying to set a new world record by performing 24 escapes, in 24 hours in 24 different cities. He looked a little tired, but he managed to escape the chains that held him to a bed of nails. Weird, but exciting for him.

Sunday Dale & I drove up to Melrose, MN, and did an outreach program for St. Paul's Lutheran Church. They had games for the kids, treats for everyone and finished up the party with my show. I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with about 275 community people in the show, and received some great feedback from the pastor afterwards.

Dale performed his newest unicycle trick: he free mounted his 4-foot giraffe without any assistance. Proud Papa moment. (If you'd like to see the first time he ever made the free mount, click HERE to watch it on

On Wednesday, I drove over to Port Edwards, WI, to do a community outreach event in the local shopping mall Christian Life Fellowship. Games lined the hallways of the mall, and the stage was set-up directly in line with the hallway. So, when I started my programs (I did 3 of them), the music started and everybody's head turned to see what was happening. They then came and filled the seats up. The chairs were almost all full for all three programs.

My thoughts: I've heard and read many things about churches getting/not getting involved with the Halloween "season". Of the six events that I did, 4 of them were put together by churches. What I saw was the opportunity for each of these churches to reach out and "get in touch" with community members, most of whom would probably not step foot into a church building for any other event. Were the guests happy with the church's events? Absolutely. Kids were smiling, adults were talking to each other, and there was nothing anti-Christian about any of the events. I simply see this as the church taking advantage of the "season" to make connections with the families in their neighborhoods. After all, it was the invite of 2 of my friends that got me into a church that I first heard the Gospel in a way that I could respond personally to. Should October be any different than May or December for outreach? Hmmm...

Christmas is obviously the best time to tie in our Christian messages with the season, but it's not the only one we can take advantage of. We're not promoting the dark side of Halloween. We also don't have to try and make Halloween into a Christian holiday, but we can use it to reach people, make connections and share the Gospel.

I have a difficult time believing Christ would shun us from doing that. I would love to hear your comments on the subject. Drop me an email at .

Now, let us look forward to Thanksgiving. There is plenty to celebrate there.