Archive for the ‘One Way Street’ Category

I’ve been at the Indianapolis Puppet Festival for the last couple of days. It was a good weekend of sharing, teaching and inspiration- rubbing shoulders with people who are serving God with creative means mostly with puppets. I judged two competitions, taught three workshops, helped to close the conference with a devotional thought and prayer time and worked the sales table in between. It’s always good to see and re-connect with puppetry and ministry friends at the festivals!

Right now I’m sitting in the Indianapolis airport. It’s early in the morning and it’s just starting to come alive. In watching people come and go, the interesting thing this entire weekend- and today in the airport is no exception- is the Future Farmers of America. Their annual conference or gathering of some sort was also this weekend in Indianapolis; causing us to have to stay in an out of the way hotel that was not exactly my top choice of lodging- because their group had practically sold out the entire city. They said 60,000 people gathered here this weekend for this event. I didn’t kow FFA was such a big thing! Anyway, from what I’ve observed, an FFA member can be readily identified by their patch-laden, embroidered, navy blue codouroy, bomber-style jacket- worn by both males and females. Also for boys, cowboy boots seems to be the footwear of choice. Interestingly, however, is the wholesome, down-to-earth persona the kids exude. It kind of makes me hopeful about America if the FFA kids represent the heartland, the mainstream of America.

 Traveling is good. It allows you to see and experience something outside your normal view and remember that it’s a great big world out there.

In the meantime, though, I can’t wait to get home….

I just searched out FFA online- and I am impressed by their standards, their organization and the leadership possibilities for kids. However, their dress code is kind of quaint. I guess that’s why they stand out in a crowd, literally!


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There were so many good parts of our M&M Puppeteers 20 year reunion last week. Here are a few of my favorites:

M&Ms oldthe dinner and the cute M&M memorabilia

M&Ms oldwatching old videos of puppeteers in action

M&Ms oldour awesome performance (which we didn’t video…however, five different groups came to me afterwards and said they did and would send it to me. If they do, I’ll post parts of it.)

M&Ms oldformer puppeteers (now adults)and parents attending our performance

M&Ms oldthe standing ovation by the crowd at the end of the performance….not because we were so awesome, but in acknowledgment of 20 years of ministry.

DSC09605.jpg Our Standing Ovation! picture by mmpuppeteers

M&Ms oldthe commitment of our reunion team

There’s lots more. But this event and everything surrounding it will be one of my lifetime treasured memories. Thank you everyone who participated in any way. You’re the best.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures in no particular order:

Some of our awards and certificates through the years.

Cute M&M table setting, thanks to our dinner committee!

Some of the dinner committee!

Dale VonSeggen (and me.)

DSC09474.jpg Julie & Jeana filming for the performance. picture by mmpuppeteers

The Doublemint Twins: Julie and Jeana shooting one of our video segments.

DSC09568.jpg Jason & Michael. Still the same after all these years... picture by mmpuppeteers


DSC09580.jpg Vicki's myspace pic. picture by mmpuppeteers

Vicki: the host and star of our show!


Some behind-the-stage shots:

DSC09587.jpg Bob & Vicki picture by mmpuppeteers

DSC09601.jpg Stage Left Puppeteers! picture by mmpuppeteers

DSC09603.jpg Awesome God picture by mmpuppeteers

Some of our former puppeteers, all grown up with their children!

DSC09606.jpg Moms & Babies! picture by mmpuppeteers

This is a cute one to end on! Kristen, also part of the dinner committee, is tickled and horrified at seeing her 7th grade puppeteer self on a video! Isn’t she cute??

DSC09621.jpg kristen laughing at herself on a video picture by mmpuppeteers

I loved it all!

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Once upon a time, there was a team called the M&M Puppeteers. We traveled, we ministered, we competed at Puppet Festival competitions, we served in Children’s Church, local community outreach centers and even on missions trips to foreign countries. And we started all of that 20 YEARS AGO! This season, we decided to put together an M&M Puppeteer 20 Year Anniversary Reunion event that turned out to be just the best!

We first met at the end of July this year to see if we had enough former and current puppeteers interested in getting back together to do this special event. Once we did, we began inviting the 80+ people who have served on this team over the past twenty years. See our MySpace for some details and pictures. Then, we began practicing, weekly for 8 weeks to get a fun, M&M-elicious, 25 minute program together for the One Way Street Atlanta Puppet Festival. Here are a couple of practice photos:

As you can see, you must nearly be a contortionist to perform as a good puppeteer. In these photos, we were videotaping a scene for a segment between two of our puppet songs.

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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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I love traveling in the Midwest. I just love the wide open spaces, the farmland and the prairies. I think it’s really pretty and it’s also very soothing to me. Something about being able to see so far. Here are just a couple of shots around Bourbonnais where I-Fest was held:


I noticed some very interesting church and school signs in the Bourbannais area as well:

Don’t you just want to visit there this Sunday?

Just in case it’s not clear, this is the sign for the Catholic elementary school in Bourbonnais. The full name is actually Maternity Blessed Virgin Mother Catholic Elementary. It is directly next door to the Maternity B.V.M. Catholic Church, which is conveniently situated across the steet from the Maternity B.V.M. Catholic Credit Union. What a name!

Back to I-Fest. The International Festival of Christian Puppetry and Ventriloquism is truly international. There were many international attendees at the conference. Here are a few:

This is a couple from Japan who do puppetry, ventriloquism and drama.

This is Andrew and Violet Goh from Thailand. Andrew is a “balloonatic” who is demonstrating how the Gospel is spreading throughout Thailand among the children.

Here is a quick shot of a song that a Taiwanese team was presenting. Notice their signs.

God is busy all over the world. This week allowed us just a glimpse!

PS- I fell asleep posting the previous I-Fest article. I straightened it all out and added a bit to it in case you’re interested!


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