Archive for September, 2006

TURTLES – NOT THE CHOCOLATE ONES

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

I have a real affinity for turtles. Cindy and I saw this one of the side of the road that leads up to our house. He was right across the road from the lake, obviously heading that direction. Turtles have great intentions and move through life with tremendous gusto. They just don’t have the speed to always get to where they’re going very fast. And on today’s dangerous roadways, a turtle in the street is likely to get run over. Whenever we see a turtle on the side of the road, Cindy and I stop and carry it to the other side. We talked to a veterinarian about this and they said you must ALWAYS take them in the direction they were facing. Turtles have a keen sense of direction and once they set their sight on something, that’s where they’re headed. If you take them the wrong direction, they’ll just turn around and head back the way they were going.

There’s something to be said for that kind of vision and determination. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m easily sidetracked by diversions. I try to stay very focused on my goals but that means I need to have clarity before I begin the journey. And the turtle might not get there as quickly as someone else but he does get there…and, perhaps, enjoys the journey a bit more as well.

We have a philosophy about life – It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not about getting somewhere as quickly as possible. It’s about enjoying the journey. God has so many incredible lessons He can teach us if we take the time to learn them. Life is all about learning…for the rest of our lives.

STATESBORO, GA

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

We knew driving down that Statesboro was going to be an interesting show. We were scheduled to be here last year but they cancelled/rescheduled the performance at the last minute. The reason? The organization in charge of the event had “dropped the ball” and not advertised the show. We rescheduled so they would have an opportunity to pull their act together and do a good job the next time around.

Was this year any different? Perhaps slightly. The show was reallly fun, thanks to an incredible crew and staff at the Performing Arts Center. And the venue is beautiful! But what we learned prior to the performance was that the organization that had scheduled the event was, for all practical purposes, no longer in existence and was being directed by a part-time employee/graduate student. I’m sure he was doing the best he could given his other responsibilities and class schedule. However, the result of all of this was reflected in the advance ticket sales.

In spite of the low numbers, we had a relaxed day with the crew working with us – a combination of the PAC crew and the local IATSE union crew from Savannah. Thanks to the advance preparation of Pete Davis (TD) and the rest of the guys, the show went up very quickly.

I was scheduled to do a radio interview on 98.7 The River/WTKS-AM 1920 in Savannah and, once we finished the details of the show, I did a couple of very quick personal appearances on the campus of Georgia Southern University. We wanted to increase our attendance at the evening performance and these last minute marketing ideas were our last hope.

The crowd wasn’t a huge one but they were excited to be there. And the marketing efforts worked – we more than doubled our expected attendance!

Comments after the show were very positive and a few people took the time to visit our website and drop us an email. Here’s one of those:

We had a real good time at the show last night. Four of us, three girls and one guy. We laughed at the jokes and thought the acts were well done. I’ve not been to many of these types of shows, but I truly liked the entire show. I only wish more people could have taken advantage of this venue. Please don’t write off the Savannah area for future shows. We had only heard of the show on Thursday from WTKS-AM 1290 in Savannah, Georgia. Good wishes for future success!!! We all enjoyed the show!!!

Thanks to all of you who supported us in Statesboro!

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

What ever happened to customer service? Maybe you don’t notice it as much as we do because we’re on the road and experience it on a broader level every day. What happened to “Thank you” or “Have a nice day” when you order at the drive thru window? What happened to eye contact and attentiveness at the check out lane in a grocery or retain store?

Today, you barely get noticed when you go through a line. People are more concerned about talking with their co-workers than they are making their customers feel important. And, I don’t know about you, but when was the last time they actually got your food order correct at a drive thru window.

Yesterday afternoon, I had one of those experiences at a MacDonald’s in Statesboro, GA located inside the local Walmart. Everything in the place was so automated for “efficiency” that the “human” element had been forgotten or, at the very least, overlooked. Customer after customer placed their order only to be told “The ice cream machine is empty.” or “The shake machine is broken.” One lady brought back her lemonade because it tasted like “water.” So, instead of checking the drink machine, they just gave her another of the same thing! When she looked at them like they were crazy, the girl said to the manager,“The lemonade is coming out like water.” To which the manager replied, “I guess the machine is empty.” No one bothered to refill the lemonade, the ice cream or the shake machine! So, what do they get paid to do these days?

If Customer Service continues to have this much importance with businesses, then automation is definitely the future. At least you get a little attention from a robot!

Even in the area of “customer service” I believe the Bible has words of wisdom for us all. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:16-17 (The Message):

“Instruct and direct one another using good common sense…Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”

When we consider every detail in our life – even the smallest thing – should be done with an attitude of thankfulness, it changes the perspective on how we deal with one another – even at MacDonalds!

INTERSTATE 85

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

We left home just as it started to rain a bit. By the time we made it to the North Carolina border, it was really raining hard. All along Interstate 85, we saw several cars that were going too fast and, as a result, lost control in the standing water and hydroplaned into the ditch. There were cops and ambulances, tow trucks and emergency vehicles every few miles trying to rescue these drivers.

We made it a few hours down the road, pulled over for a quiet night. Today we continue the drive to Statesboro, GA for a performance there on Thursday night. This one is going to be interesting. I’ll keep you posted.

HOME FOR 36 HOURS

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

David and I returned from several meetings in Little Rock on Sunday. Today, all of us head out for performances in Georgia. Sometimes it’s easier to stay on the road than it is to come home for only a few hours. In spite of the brief amount of time we were here, we were able to accomplish quite a bit…and there’s no place like home!

Fall has definitely come to Virginia. The humidity is all but vanished and the temperatures give the air a crispness that you can feel and smell. The leaves have not yet begun to change colors – the invitation for thousands and thousands of people to come to Virginia and experience autumn.

I have a feeling the fall will go quickly and, before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving!

JUNIPER – THE BAND

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

On Good Morning Arkansas, I was featured with a band called Juniper. They performed in the Pavilion in downtown Little Rock – early in the morning – and they sang brilliantly! They are an amazing worship band from Edmond, OK so I was really surprised to see them on a regional television program. But they were doing a concert last night at one of the local Christian Coffeehouses.

They gave me a copy of their CD. It’s really great. If you like contemporary Christian music, you should really check them out – www.JuniperWorship.com

TELEVISION TODAY

Friday, September 15th, 2006

The appearance on Good Morning Arkansas went really well – FAST! It’s amazing how quickly three minutes flies by on these programs. Steve and Melinda – the hosts – were fun and easy to talk with. AND they mastered their magic tricks very well!

We had the chance to talk about the new production on the road this year as well as the Healing of Magic program. Overall, I’m really pleased with the way things came off and had a great time.

Yesterday was a really productive day for me…and I got to have lunch with my Mom, Dad and sister, Tammy. We went to a very cool like place at the River Market in downtown Little Rock.

Okay, gotta run – off to some important meetings!

GOOD MORNING ARKANSAS

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

David and I arrived in Little Rock today for a series of meetings. We flew in from Lynchburg in the rain with a connection in Charlotte where it was also raining really bad. It caused a delay in our departure from Charlotte but we finally got off the ground. We arrived in Little Rock about 30 minutes late but that was okay – weather is beautiful!

Once we got checked into the hotel and started to unpack our clothes, they were soaked! It was like the ground crew left our suitcases out on the runway in the rain! So we have clothes hanging up all around the room.

Tonight we went to the Clinton Presidential Library. Honestly, I wasn’t that excited about going there but it is an amazing place. There are some pretty cool displays, including a full scale replica of the White House Oval Office. I wanted so badly to sit in his chair but there was a big security guard who was doing his job very well.

After the Library, we took a trip down the Arkansas River on the Arkansas Queen, a riverboat. Weather was excellent, temperatures perfect and it was a nice evening with some friends. I’m just back in the room now and it’s about 1am CDT (2am at home – I should be in bed).

Later today (Thursday), I’ll be having lunch my mom and dad. I’m really excited to see them.

Just an FYI that I’ll be appearing on Channel 7, ABC’s “Good Morning Arkansas” on Friday, September 15 at 9am. For those of you in the Little Rock area, please watch!

MOMENTS OF SILENCE

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

The defining moment of our generation will be the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Many older Americans remember the assassination of JFK and believed that nothing could be more horrific than the tragic death of a President. But our generation will always remember The World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania – a morning filled with unfathomable grief. Today, we remeber with moments of silence.

There is no doubt. We are at war – an ideological struggle that defines freedom as oppression and teaches intolerance and hatred as its virtures. A gaping hole in lower Manhattan and memorials in DC and PA – the death of thousands of innocents – this is only a small reminder of the events of that day. May we never forget, in our souls, that we are at war.

LONG BEACH, CA

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

I’ve had a very busy past few days in Long Beach. The area has improved so much since the last time I was here in 2003. There are great restaurants and stores all around that didn’t exist before. My meetings have gone extremely well and I’ve made some new friends in the process. The weather has been beautiful but it’s rarely not nice in Southern California!

I had to make one trip up to Burbank for a meeting with a friend and consultant to our production. As I made the drive, I realized – once again – how completely superficial much of this area really is. The entertainment industry has created a existence that is far from reality. Now, that’s not to say that everyone here has bought into that reality but, clearly, many of them have.

Much of what I do in the show is challenge the concept of reality and illusion through the effects that we create on stage. So, I’m very familiar with the methods of misdirection that can easily draw our attention to things that are essentially unimportant in our personal existence. There is this war out here, not just in Los Angeles but in the realms of our personal reality, that is very real – a battle for our time, energies, focus, commitments. Basically, it’s a war for our lives. So many of us become self-absored with little regard for others and we adopt and attitude,”It’s all about me.”

But it’s not all about me – or you. Depending on your personal faith, it can be about a lot of other things. As a Christ-follower, I find it incredibly interesting that the Bible puts it this way, “All things were made by Him; and all things were made for Him.” I’ve been created BY God and, as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also been created FOR Him. So then it becomes about the choices we make that fashion our reality – our concept of ourselves and God and how they relate to that purpose.

I believe each one of us was designed to worship. We all do it, everyday. Some choose to worship God while others choose a myriad of other things. But we all worship – it’s what we were designed and created to do. Think of it like this – “worship” is really nothing more than acknowledging what you value most in your life. In essence it says, “This is the person, thing, experience, career or whatever that matters the most to me.” For a lot of people in the entertainment industry, it’s about status, position, career – fame. Whatever it is that we value the most, it drives and fuels our actions. Follow the path of your time, energy, money and allegiance and you’ll find the altar to the god of your reality.

I think it’s interesting then that, if we were created BY God FOR God, how many of us have decided to give our allegiance and energies – our “worship” – to something that was actually created rather than to the Creator. I believe each one of us has something unique to give to God that no one else can – our affection.

One writer put it this way:

“You and I are going to spend our lives declaring the worth of something. As a result, we’ve got to make sure the thing we declare to be of greatest value is really worthy of it. It’s imperative that you find an object worthy of your affection. It’s essential that you find a God worthy of your life’s devotion. You only have one life. And you only have one life of worship. You have one brief opportunity in time to declare your allegiance, to unleash your affection, to exalt something or someone above all else. To choose well doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate things of beauty and style. It’s certainly not wrong to deeply love another. Nor is it wrong to value a great job or enjoy an amazing destination. But when we elevate any of these things to the highest place in our hearts, we’ve gone too far.”

There is a war our there, battling for our energies and attention. Who wins is determined by our choices. It’s something to think about….