Archive for the ‘conference’ Category

Whew, I just got back from Mobile, AL. I was teaching and working at a one-day puppetry event, Summerfest, which One Way Street hosts during the summer only (good name!) For those of you who know the puppet festival format, there are a few differences. Like I said, it’s Saturday only instead of Friday night and Saturday. Summerfests are usually smaller- in areas where OWS is trying to build up their base. And they don’t give awards for competition, except for a People’s Choice award. However, the winning team does get $50 worth of merchandise- so that’s not bad. Since the Sumerfests are smaller, so is the staff. This weekend, there were 225 attendees and we had 4 staff plus the hostess and her team. We worked mighty hard to keep everything going.

I taught three workshops:

Puppet Team Devotions- how to put ministry at the heart of your team

Children’s Church for the Klutz- oh, I love this workshop- even with its crazy name. It’s not a resources or how-to-do-Children’s-Church workshop; but rather, how to lay a biblical, spiritual, worshipful foundation in raising children up through Children’s Church.

Blacklight Puppetry- not my favorite because I have to drag a lot of stuff with me- but puppet teams need to know how to do it!

I also judged the competition. I like to judge competitions, but sometimes they can get a bit boring if there are a lot of “bronze medal” level performances. However, at this festival, one of the songs was one of the best songs I have seen in a long time. It was performed by a small, mostly family team from Mobile, Alabama. The song they did was “Jesus Is Still Alright” by DC Talk. A 16 year old boy on their team choreographed it, made all the props and even made a moving mouth puppet out of foam noodles. I told them they should be very proud of their efforts- because it was a great performance. I loved it…and I would love to grab hold of that puppeteer!

I also had to open the conference with a devotion that I didn’t know I was doing until during the trip down there via a message on my cell phone!

On Friday before I traveled down to  Mobile, I had a two hour committee meeting for another ministry in which I am involved; then I drove the 6 hours to Mobile and stayed up late printing handouts for my workshops and planning the morning devotion. By the time the whole thing was done about 5 PM central time, I could not drive all the way home. I drove to Montgomery, approximately 3 hours and spent the night. I was almost sick by the time I got there- just worn out, you know. The next morning I got up in time to drive to Atlanta (remembering the change from Central to Eastern time!) and then met Darrell at the Fox Theatre to see Shrek the Third at the Fox Family Film Festival. It was fun. I only slept through about a third of it, which for me, is typical, regardless of driving 12 hours in two days and working a 10 hour festival! After we got home from the movie, I took about a two hour nap, was up for about three hours and then got a good night’s sleep. So, I felt almost normal today!

Anyway, once again….there’s no place like home!!


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On television, it was the end of some TV shows: Dance Fever, The A Team, Remington Steele, Fraggle Rock and Welcome to Pooh Corner all went off the air in 1987. Oh well.

On the other hand, TV exec’s had some new shows to introduce in 1987: TeenAge Mutant Ninja Turtles, Colby’s Clubhouse and Ducktales were some of them.

But most notably, in my mind, anyway, 1987 is the year Live with Regis and Kathie Lee went nationwide. Not long after, I became a “hooked” viewer and have basically watched it ever since- especially since we’ve had TiVO! Of course, Kathie Lee left the show after 15 years. I absolutely hated it when she did. However, her replacement Kelly, has been great- and I love her on the show as well. I kind of enjoyed Kathie Lee a little better. She and I are more in the same age group- and she is a believer- but Kelly is funny and down-to-earth. The glue that holds it all together anyway, is Regis.  As long as he is there, any co-host will shine! The big news is that as part of the 20 year anniversary, Kathie Lee will return as a guest on September 14. I’m really excited- it will be fun to see her with Regis again. Plus, starting September 4, Live with Regis and Kelly is giving away 20 mini-vans in 20 days as part of the 20 Year celebration. Not bad!

Here are some pictures of Regis (and his lovely wife, Joy):


However, there is a bigger 20 year anniversary than Live with Regis and Kelly. It’s the 20 year anniversary of the M&M Puppeteers!! You’ve not heard of them, you say? Well, this is a team of people with a common goal of expanding God’s Kingdom using puppets. And have we done that! It’s been a long, fruitful and fun 20 years. And we’re celebrating with a reunion dinner as well as an anniversary performance at the Atlanta Puppet Festival. Check here  for more info.

Hey, we’re not giving away 20 minivans- but everyone who gets involved will for sure get some M&Ms! Here’s some M&Ms fun for you right now!!


This is an M&M commercial from about 20 years ago. It’s a good thing they’ve hired some new ad designers, don’t you think?

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Here’s what I’m working on right now:

Concepts 21 Kids Club (see Square Peg Ministries tab above)- this is the last week of Superbook Olympics. We’ve been studying the book of Mark. We’re only going to finish through Chapter 5. However, we did learn a lot of Bible stories and where to find them. Most importantly, we learned how kids can tap into the same Jesus of the Bible stories to help in their own everyday lives. Tomorrow, we’re going to end this season with ice cream sundaes. Yum!

Royal Family Kids Camp– the three of us who are starting the Cherokee County camp next summer are e-mailing back and forth with follow-up details from our meeting last week. We’re working towards an Open House/Informational Reception next month for folks we hope will be interested in joining this ministry next year.

M&M Puppeteers’ 20th Anniversary Reunion/Performance: It’s hard to believe we’ve been in ministry for 20 years- but we’ve got the videos and the hairstyles to prove it! We’re planning to do an anniversary performance at the Atlanta Puppet Festival next month. Sooo, we’ve been meeting and planning for two weeks already. Working practices begin next Tuesday. Seven more weeks to go!! We’ve identified approximately 75+ people who have served on the puppet team through the years!

N. GA Church of God Children’s Leaders’ Committee: Since I fulfilled my 12 years of service on the national team, the local group asked me to join them to help put on the annual North Georgia conference. I am helping find and contact exhibitors for the conference. We’re beginning to get some response. However, the event is only 5 weeks away- so we’re hoping and praying for the best.

Atlanta Puppet Festival: I mentioned the M&M Puppeteers performance- but on top of that, there’s an entire festival to put together! We’re expecting 700 people. This year we’re hosting it at Crabapple First Baptist Church. The festival is an exciting ministry training event- but it’s a lot of work. However, the benefits of rubbing shoulders with like-minded people and the resources we receive make it worth the effort.

Square Peg Ministries: putting together an effective board to help govern the direction of the ministry. ‘Nuf said on that one. Getting out our newsletter with details about fall: school-year Kids Club format begins, middle school Bible Study and activities, we’re starting a new Hispanic puppet team, Homework Help/Tutoring begins after Labor Day, Open House/Sign Ups for our ministry programs. Getting our Compassion In Action project together. It’s a bunch of stuff to think about and do!

Summerfest/Mobile, AL: I’ll be teaching at this one day ministry training event. However, I’m driving to it- so it becomes at least a two day event. And I’ve got to prepare my workshops pretty soon. It’s next week!

Camp Rocks (see tab above): I know it’s done, but I’ve still got thank yous to get out. No small task!

Trying to keep up a blog: mixed results! Yikes!!!

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My TV Shows

Before we had TiVo, I barely watched TV- like for about 10 years. But since, TiVo; oh my goodness, I have my fave shows. And I hate when this time of year comes around, because all of my shows are ending!!

Survivor:I was just screaming at Yau-man tonight to use that Immunity Idol…and he did!!! Whew, that was a close one. It took him forever to stand up and reveal it! I want Yau to win!!! He’s is one of the best characters on Survivor ever: filled with integrity, listens more than he talks, is kind and loyal and he’s really cute in a turtle-ish sort of way!

Amazing Race: why won’t they call me?? I’ve applied twice! I didn’t strongly care who won this time- but when it came right down to it, I was happy that Eric and Danielle made it. Eric was soooo close the first time he raced. It would have been extremely difficult for him to lose again after getting into the top three a second time. ( I was really glad the hippies won on Eric’s other season though.) Just a side note- The Orange Conference I was at this week…Blake from Season 2 was there as a vendor, promoting his new shoe line; Tom’s Shoes. For each pair sold, he gives a pair to needy children in 3rd world countries. Click here for a link to a moving video that tells his story.

Lost!!!!!!!! Oh man- I don’t know what to say. Click on my daughter’s blog for her recap. She and I talked about this at length today because both of our husbands were asleep during the show last night and we had to talk about it with someone! The whole Jacob scene was so scary, I couldn’t even rewind and watch it again. Typically, when there are really intense scenes on Lost, I go back over them frame by frame with my TiVo remote. But I was too “scared” last night. So, tonight when both Darrell and I were home, we watched it in slo-mo together!

After last night’s episode, I did really begin to think through the idea that all the characters who have come to the island after the Dharma Initiative people arrived, with the exception of those who have been recruited/brought to the island by Ben and the Others are actually dead- off the island. For example, the Flight 815 crash victims are actually dead. Desmond actually died on his sailboat and just drifted onto the island. Naomi, the parachute girl did actually die. AND THEN, these dead people come back to life when they somehow touch the island. Here’s the thing though, if they somehow were able to leave the island, they would not contine to live. In other words, the only life they can now have is on the island. Is that why Locke blew up the submarine? He knew Jack would actually die if he got into the sub and they began moving away from the island? Hmmmm……maybe.

I can imagine a final scene in one of the upcoming seasons:

We see a small dinghy bobbing on the horizon of the ocean. The camera pans in closer to the boat, high above the deck. As the camera zooms into the deck- who do we see but Michael and Walt. Both dead because they left the island. Of course, that’s why Ben let them go- because he knew they weren’t going too far!

I don’t know, there’s probably holes in that theory too- but it kind of makes sense. I’m hoping that within the parameters of TVLand/Lost-reality, that the life-giving properties of the island revive and heal Locke. BECAUSE I CANNOT IMAGINE LOST WITHOUT LOCKE!!!!!

24: Just a couple more hours and this day will be done. I don’t mind it as much this season- but watching 24 does make for an interesting Monday night.

Well, I guess I’ll just have to take up reading again when all my shows are on hiatus!

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I have been blessed for a lot of years to work only about 6 miles from my job at church. I have not had to deal with a real commute for 23 years. Although, sometimes it does take 30 minutes to travel those 6 miles, depending on what time of day it is!

But this week- wow! I mentioned I was attending The Orange Conference which was taking place at the Cobb Galleria here in Atlanta. According to Mapquest, it is 25 miles and should take 37 minutes to drive. However, both mornings on my way to the conference, it took one and a half hours to get there!

My heart really goes out to drivers making their daily commute of 30 minutes, one hour and more- just to provide for their families. It made me sad to think about the cumulative hours spent away from families, hobbies and rest in just commuting to and from jobs. But you know, as I was driving, I was grateful to the Lord that no matter where I am- He is there with me. And actually, my little bubble driving down the road amidst news and traffic reports was filled with thoughts, praises, music and prayers directed to God. The time did go by pretty quickly and it was actually good to have focused quiet time… for the most part.

But thank you Lord for taking care of that detail in my life…keeping me out of the traffic!

 Gotta go! “Lost” is about 20 minutes into the episode. Perfect time to start watching on TiVo!

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On my way to The Orange Conference today. Thanks Elaine and Mountain West Church!

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I mentioned that there was a very important detail in which I saw God’s hand at work when Staci and I were at the NCLA conference this past weekend.

It was the final service of the weekend ending with a time of prayer. A conference attendee came up to me during the prayer time, very moved in her heart that the Lord told her to tell me something. She was quite hesitant to share with me what she felt like God had put on her heart. However, what she told me was just the kind of detail I really needed to hear from the Lord. After a couple of preface comments which I can’t really remember, she finished by saying: And the Lord says not to fear about what’s coming up, because the future will greater than the former.

You see, God has blessed me over these past 27 years to have a lot of success in ministry. We have done big things for God. At times, He has enabled me and my ministry teams beyond what I thought was possible. So, in stepping out away from the “former” ministry successes- I have kind of wondered if it was possible to do big things for God again. Please understand what I mean by “big.” Not flashy. Not expensive. Not always the coolest, most cutting-edge (whatever that is- sometimes that edge is too sharp and it hurts!) But ministry that has been real, that has stood that test of time, that has produced fruit that has remained in the lives of kids and workers alike. Big; meaning deep, and wide, and good and sometimes amazing.

So when my friend at the conference spoke God’s word to me, I was humbled and awed. Because this stepping out on faith thing is not such an easy task. So, as I have allowed that word to sink into my brain and my spirit over the last couple of days, God has reminded me of a few Scriptures that the word he spoke to me on Saturday might refer to. I already linked one above. Do you hear what the Lord is saying in that verse? I will not do anything without announcing to you what I’m doing. So you see, there is no fear in me when I know the Lord is going before me- announcing to me the new things He is doing. I have confidence is this venture of His (not mine!)

Here are a few other Scriptures that God’s Word through my conference friend might also relate:

Haggai2:9 The thing about this verse that speaks greatly to me is that the glory of the new work God has called me and our team to will bring greater glory to God (not to us and our new ministry) than previously. That is my whole point of serving God- to point people to Him and His glory. And again, God spoke this to me through the word at the conference.

Job 42:12 This verse is perfect for me and I so appreciate the Lord telling me this. Job went through, shall we say H-E-double hockey sticks. But when that “former” stuff was over, God blessed him significantly beyond that first part of his life. And that’s what I am depending on God to do with me. We’ve had a great 27 years- but God bless these next years of work and ministry beyond what the former part even was.

Well, well, well….I hope you could stick with me to the end of today’s blog!!! Because God is no respecter of persons. The blessing He gives me is for you too. And whatever He blesses you with- I want it too!!

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