January 28, 2011

DonB! has many hobbies

As if I needed other things to fill my spare time, I do have a hobby. Actually, I have too many hobbies.

How do I define a "hobby"?  Well, according to Sports & Leisure, it is

A specialized pursuit (as stamp collecting, painting) that is outside one's regular occupation and that one finds particularly interesting as a source of leisure-time relaxation.

All of my hobbies are exactly that: things to do when I want to relax.

Well, what are my hobbies then?  Let me see if I can remember them all...

Stamp Collecting.  But not just any stamps.  I collect postage stamps with themes that relate to my own work interests, such as CIRCUS, JUGGLING, UNICYCLES, STILT WALKING, CLOWNING and MAGIC & MAGICIANS.  I have about 300 various stamps and stamp sets that fit into the above categories.  Ask me to see them sometime.  I'd love to show you.

Cross Necklace making.  About 4 years ago, while working one of the music cruises, I met a comedian, Lanny Moody.  He showed me how he makes cross necklaces and either gives them away as gifts, or sells them to raise money for his ministry work.  With his permission, I began making them, and now have made and sold over 1000 of them in the last 4 years.  If you would like a handmade cross, made by me, please feel free to go HERE and order one.  Or two.  Or more.  Every dollar spent goes right back into our ministry work.

Origami.  I have always been interested in origami, but even more so once I started working the cruise ships.  There are many times each day that a financial tip can be given to someone.  My choice is to either hand them a bill, just as it comes, or to give them one that I have made into something interesting, such as a dog, an elephant, a swan, a Minnesota loon, a shirt & pants set, or about 15 other designs that I have taken the time to learn.

I also have chosen to concentrate on various sorts of origami boxes and containers, of all shapes and sizes. 

Decorative Knotting.  Because of my off-center interest in almost all things math related, knot tying caught my eye about 3 months ago.  I was merely looking for a way to embellish the lanyard part of my cross necklaces, and came across some information on the internet.  Well, now I'm hooked on it.  The things I've made are nothing too special at this point, but it sure has been fun learning it all.

Playing the Cello.  I never really knew what the term "bucket list" meant, until I looked into cello lessons.  The guy that leased me the cello asked if I was learning in order to cross something off of my "bucket list", so I asked him what that meant.  He explained that we all desire to do things during our life, such as sky-diving, swimming with stingrays, bungy jumping, or even just traveling to a particular foreign land.  It is as if we have many things stored up in our "bucket", and hope to accomplish each of them before we die someday.  For me, I have always loved the sound of the cello, and figured, "I'm not getting any younger,", so let me give it a try.

Right here in Mora, we have a new music teacher at the elementary school, and on a whim, we bumped into her in the grocery store and asked her if she had ever taught cello.  She said, "Yes", and we hired her on the spot.  In exchange for giving me lessons for one year, I paid for the rental of her cello.

Am I any good at it?  Not really.  Have I enjoyed the learning process?  Absolutely!  I still love the sound of the cello, but it really does take a lot of practice to bring out the mellow sound it is known for.

Photoshop.  May times I have paid good money for pieces of ministry advertising that wasn't as good as I had hoped for.  Well, having a friend, Romulus Portwood, that worked for Adobe at one time, he was able to hook me up with an older version of Photoshop.  Once again, I am hooked.  The program is capable of doing so many things that I sit down to work on something, and it ends up (usually) looking even better than I had hoped for.  I've done two of my own posters now, as well as postcard design for other performers, as well as some posters for my brother's band, Juan Roberto & the Bubble Bakery Orchestra.  I love the creativity that Photoshop has opened up in me.  I love seeing the final product, and thinking, "Wow, I created that myself."

Bass Guitar.  When my friend, Mike, suggested I learn to play bass guitar so that he could utilize all of his other instruments at church, I figured "why not"?  With some beginning help from him, and a lot of time on my own, I have now been playing with our church's worship team for almost a year.  And I love it!  Am I ready for a concert?  Probably not.  But it sure is fun playing with other musicians at church.

 A Cajon Drum

Percussion.  When I was a kid, I was labeled "hyperactive".  One of the signs that brought that title upon me was how I was always beating on my legs, or my desk at school, imagining I was in some famous band, and of course I was the drummer.  Well, as more and more times I saw that our worship team could use percussion instruments to enhance some of the songs, I decided to give it a try.  

I first played the congas about 8 years ago.  The added shakers and a few other percussive items.  Now, I own a cajon box drum that I am hoping to begin using again at church sometime soon.

I found one in this lion's mouth

Geocaching.  Are you aware, that right now, around the world, there are over 1,000,000 hidden containers, placed in public places, waiting to be found?  Geocaching (GEO-earth, CACHING-container) utilizes a handheld GPS to locate coordinates all over the place, that containers are hidden at.  What kind of containers?  Ranging in size from tiny (pencil eraser-sized) to very large (ammunition cans, garbage cans), each one contains at minimum a logbook for you to sign in on when you have found it.  Some of them contain prizes, or toys, that you are encouraged to exchange for something that you may have brought.  Dale, my son, has found new Hotwheels cars in them before, as well as golf balls, a Caribou Coffee gift card worth $5.00, a coin from Russia, and other weird, sometimes junky things that NOBODY would EVER want.

If you want to look into geocaching, go HERE and take a look at the site.  A basic membership is free, and you could soon be on your way into the woods to look for cammo-covered peanut butter jars filled with prizes.

The fun in geocaching is getting outside, discovering parks and areas that you would never visit otherwise, and ending with the reward of saying that you found "such and such geocache, way out in the middle of nowhere".  Now doesn't that sound like fun?!?!

Close-up magic on the ship

Close-up Magic.  If you were to walk into my office and look at my bookshelves, you would see about 400 books, mostly related to close-up magic.  Coin tricks, card tricks, rope tricks, mind reading tricks, ball tricks, silk tricks, dollar bill tricks, pencil tricks, paper tricks, napkin tricks, and on and on and on.  I hate to even think about how many tricks and routines I've learned over the years that I have forgotten.  I would guess it would number in the 1000s, if not more.  But performing magic tricks, especially when I perform them right up close, with YOU watching like a hawk, is such a fun hobby, I could not imagine me enjoying anything more.  Close-up magic is what started me performing over 30 years ago, and I still love it today.

Well, that's probably enough hobbies for one week.  Who knows what I might add to my list in the future?  Sky diving?  Demolition derby racing?  You never know!


January 21, 2011

DonB! does graphic art? Sort of.

Wow, I'm on a roll lately: 4 postings in 5 days.  I almost broke a sweat getting there too.

Well, here is another piece of fun info for ya'll.

My brother, Bob, plays in a folk band, Juan Roberto and the Bubble Bakery Orchestra, or "JRBBO" for short.  On February 12th, down in Albert Lea, Minnesota, they will be playing a special concert.  It is called "Mission to the Balkans", a fundraiser for missions work in the Balkans (Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo, Serbia, & Croatia).  JRBBO will play a full set, along with two special guests.

The first is a solo singer, "Lauryn", from Maple Grove, and the other is former lead singer of "4th Man in the Fire", Pastor G., also known in real life as Pastor George Marin, of Grace Christian Church in Albert Lea.  Pastor G will be joining JRBBO onstage, performing some of the hits from the 4th Man days when John, George and Bob were a group in Albert Lea.

It should be a great time, and a freewill offering will be taken at the door for the Balkan missions.

Oh yeah, how do I tie in?  I designed the poster for the event.


Lifepoint Church: Inspiring!

Last summer, while my wife, Debbie, and son, Dale, were working and ministering in North East, Maryland, we had the opportunity to attend church 3 times at a church that seemed buried way out in the countryside, Lifepoint Church.

Our first sunday there, Senior Pastor Joe Duke spoke a message titled, "Judge Knot", as the 3rd part in a series titled "There's an App for That", making reference to the iPhone's "app", short for "application".  It was a great message, helping to decipher when, and if, it is appropriate to judge someone on their actions, choices, etc.  It really was a great sermon.

Later in the summer we had the opportunity to attend Lifepoint again, and they were into the 7th sermon of the APP series, titled "Change4Good", referring to the proper discipline all Christians should live under.

Well, summer came to an end and we returned back to our home in Minnesota, thinking that our time with the Lifepoint sermon series was over.  Not quite.

When challenged by a friend from our home church to lead an in-home small group Bible study, I felt at a loss of what to do.  I find that I don't have a lot of discipline in arranging my schedule throughout the week to organize a lesson, and felt ready to back out of the deal. Well, not quite.

David Pribulick. He's cool!

Our Maryland friends, the Pribulicks, sent us a small gift.  It seems that at the end of the sermon series at Lifepoint Church, everyone that finished the series was given a mini iPhone look-a-like item, featuring all of the sermons and accompanying verses form the series.  My answer had arrived.

Our nifty "iPhone" Lifepoint APP souvenir

Our small group could use this exact sermon series as a jumping off point for our weekly study. An answer to prayer, in more ways than one.

So, here we are, 7 weeks into our get togethers, and we're doing well.  Each sermon deals with one part of the importance that "hearing is not the same as doing; we hear the message, understand it, and maybe even agree with it, but what do we do about it?"

I say all this to inspire you to download the free podcasts from this series.  Each message is only 28-38 minutes in length, and they all have been really good!  The most recent one, "RiskIt", challenges all of us to take what we know about our faith and get out there and do something with it: RiskIt, by telling others.

If you are interested in looking for a great, free podcast, go HERE and download some episodes to your iTunes, and listen to them.  They are inspiring.  Maybe you'll be challenged like our group has been.

And I have found out that we will be spending a little time in Maryland this summer, so we'll be attending Lifepoint once again, even if only for a short time.



January 16, 2011

Camp Lebanon Audience Photo

To celebrate my 51st show for Camp Lebanon, I remembered to grab my camera and take a picture of the audience.  They were great.  See if you can find yourself...

And, YES, they DID decorate the entire chapel to look like the inside of a circus tent!

DonB! & the L.O.L. Show in Brainerd, MN

On February 25th I will be performing in the L.O.L. Show (Laugh Out Loud) with Randy & Ben Christensen in Brainerd, Minnesota, as part of "Kids' Mission Experience".

This conference is open to anybody that would like to bring your church kids, but make sure you contact them with your reservation.
Feel free to come join us on Friday evening for a great show, for a great cause, with a whole church filled with great kids.

See you there?


January 12, 2011

DonB! will be cruising again in 2011

Hey folks,

I am happy to report that I have been asked back as an entertainer on two music cruises in 2011. And I am excited!!!

Premier Christian Cruises has asked me back to perform on the K-Love Friends & Family Music Cruise in February...

and the Music Boat 2011 Cruise in November, onboard the Carnival Imagination Ship: 

Contact Premier Christian Cruises:

Call us today! 1-800-889-5265

Get a tentative reservation in TODAY.  Cabins fill up fast, but I would love to have all of you join me on board some of the greatest cruise experiences you'll ever be a part of.

Let me bait your hook with these names: Newsboys, Chris Tomlin, MercyMe, Brandon Heath, KJ-52, Salvador, Sanctus Real, Sidewalk Prophets and me.  Wow, what a line-up!

If you have any questions about going on these cruises, don't hesitate to contact me or Premier directly.  I would love to have even more friends on board with me this year.  And that means YOU!

Take care,


Dual Citizenship? Minnesota & Maryland

Hey folks,

I, along with my family, have been invited back to Sandy Cove ministries for the summer of 2011. We worked and ministered there last summer and had a great time, and look forward to doing it again this year.  Just think: 102 degrees, countryside motorcycle rides, flying trapeze...

It seems that we have begun living summers in Maryland and winters in Minnesota.  That seems so backward.

Please pray that all details can be worked out for our entire family.  It would be a lot of fun to see our East Coast friends again, as well as all of the great people that work and stay at Sandy Cove.

See you then...

Overlooking Chesapeake Bay

 Deb's sign she made for the craft shop

Typical Maryland Bug

Meeting Michael Card

Giant butterflies

Our favorite eating spot: Rita's Ice

A few of the crazy people you meet in Maryland.


January 9, 2011

DonB! Art

While at Camp Lebanon last night, I met a young girl, Lauren, after the show, and noticed that she had a sketch book with her.  We talked for a few minutes, and I asked her if she had drawn any pictures of my show. I don't remember her exact words, but she (or someone in the group) said "You move too fast to draw."

Well, today a nice surprise arrived in my email: a sketch from Lauren.  I love it!

Lauren has been sketching for many years, and her artwork of all styles and media can be found by clicking HERE, where Lauren says, "I try to be a Christian influence to those also on the site" Please check out her artwork, in order to support and encourage her.

Lauren, you are an amazing young lady.  I hope that your artistic talents can be used to inspire many other people throughout your life.

Thank you so much for sending this.  I love it.


Camp Lebanon has DonB! for the 50th Time!

I remember a time, back in 1989, when my wife, Debbie, and I decided that we were going to start utilizing our entertainment programs as outreach tools for churches and Christian organizations.  We made some phone calls, and ran straight ahead...

Well here we are 22 years later, and we've been all over the world. We've now performed in almost all of the United States, plus Canada, India, Ukraine, Amsterdam, England, Mexico and Germany.  I've also performed in the Bahamas 3 times, as well as "out on the sea" on 6 cruise ships (I've got 2 more cruise trips in 2011).

All of this to say that in 1989, we prayed that the right people would see our programs and find the value it could bring to their church or organization. Back then we were known as "Circus Unique".

"Bobber" Bill Abeler, from Camp Lebanon, in Upsala, Minnesota, called and invited us to come up for a family camp that year.  I have now performed at Camp Lebanon every year since then (with a 1 year exception), and last night I presented my 50th show there for the MEGA-Overnight Event.  

Camp Lebanon has grown so much, as well as DonB! Ministries, and Bill still calls us "Circus Unique", a name that I still love to hear.

Next Friday I will go back to Camp Lebanon and present show #51, and Bobber Bill will still laugh at my jokes and  he'll still guffaw when Homer appears. There is no better sound than laughter.

Thanks Bill, and Camp Lebanon, for so many years of ministry. God is good, all the time.