Juggling Ice

I ordered some silicone molds that make perfect ice spheres about the size of a baseball. I put them in the freezer and out came the ice balls for juggling. I went outside and tried them out.

I was able to do it – and of course my hands got very cold! The balls began to melt and in turn got slippery. But I could still maintain the juggle for about a minute or so. Maybe my next trick should involve some sort of mix of juggling these with fire torches. The fire and ice show. What do you think?IMG_6177.JPG

I can see some good teaching opportunities here too, such as the nature of water and how it can take on different properties. And how the hands are very warm and have the potential to melt ice fairly quickly.

How to Balance a Hat on Your Face

Enjoy this new video I just posted on balancing a hat on your face. Always remember two main things:

  1. Keep your eyes fixed on the highest point possible on the object you’re balancing.
  2. Tilt your head back farther than you think you should.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Teaching Kids About Street Performing

I performed for a small group of three to five year-olds at my daughter’s school today. They were studying about Europe, so I figured I would teach them about Europe’s rich tradition of busking (another term for street performing). I showed them a picture of a busker at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland as an example of Europe’s street performing scene.

But I wanted to take the lesson a bit further. I concocted a social experiment that I have never before tried (or heard of anyone doing). I counted out fifteen pennies per child and set the money on each child’s carpet square before they entered the room. When they came in, I told them to count their money (an opportunity to practice math) and that the money is now theirs.

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Each child started with fifteen pennies. It was my job to perform and try to earn some of those pennies in my hat. They could keep and take home what they didn’t spend.

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I then instructed them that I was going to perform for them and lay a hat out in front of me. I explained the tradition of paying street performers if you like their tricks and think they’re funny. I emphasized that they can certainly keep their money if they choose. If they didn’t like my show or thought I wasn’t funny, then there is no need to give me any money. In fact, even if they like my show, they still don’t have to give me money. But I as the street performer will respectfully ask that they put something in the hat if they like the show. It’s all voluntary.

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Some of the equipment I used to try to earn some pennies today.

So I turned on the music, picked up my juggling things, and went to work. I was actually performing for seven little children and two adult teachers just hoping that I would earn some pennies for my hard work. I was surprised at how seriously I took it.

After a few tricks, low and behold, they started coming. The children and the teachers began to trickle up towards my hat and drop pennies in at various times when I would do tricks. It certainly warmed my heart to know that they liked what I was doing.

Some kids held most or all of their money back. And that was totally fine. Enough children were voluntarily showing me their appreciation through pennies that it didn’t bother me. In fact, as a street performer, I should still do my work with excellence whether people throw money or not. As street performers, we are always putting ourselves out there and making ourselves vulnerable to the fate of the audience’s appreciation or lack thereof. It is a risk we are willing to take. And if it means no pay, then that’s life and we will go out and try harder the next day.

Thankfully, these kids were generous with their penny throwing and at the end of the day, I counted up exactly one hundred pennies. It was a buck hard earned.

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Here is some of my pay. More pennies came in after I took this shot.

The header image at the top of this post features Kezzie learning to put money in the busker’s basket when she was only one. This gentleman was happily playing his accordion for us in Malaga, Spain while we were on a family vacation.

The “How to Juggle” Trilogy

Today, I posted a short video on how to juggle five balls. That completes the “trilogy” of instructional videos on three, four, and five ball juggling. Here are all three (in order of three, four, and five). Let me know what you think!

Not Your Ordinary Vacation Bible School

Starting tomorrow, I get to share at the “Not Your Ordinary VBS” at the First United Methodist Church in Monroe, LA. My family is able to join me for this trip as well! Please come if you’re anywhere near central Louisiana. Programs are in the evenings for the next few nights and start at 6:30pm. Thanks for all your prayers and have a great rest of your summer.

 

Juggling Down a Zipline

The Upward Show When My Luggage Didn’t Arrive

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn nearly 15 years of doing shows, there have been two times where my luggage did not arrive in time for the show.

The first time was on Easter weekend about five years ago. My flight was diverted (due to weather, I think) to a different city than originally planned. I rented a car and drove to my show. My luggage was still lost somewhere in airlinedom. So I did what any sensible juggler would do: I went to Walmart at 2am and bought over $200 worth of machetes, baseball bats, plates, tennis rackets, fishing nets, extendable poles (for balancing), various types of fruit, and whatever else I thought was juggle-able. I did my show the next morning and then gave all my stuff away (including the machetes) to any kid who could recite the memory verse of the day to me. It was a thrill. Delta ended up paying me back for my Walmart bill!

The second time I lost my luggage before a show was last week in Mississippi. This time, though, I did not have time to do my Walmart thing. My flight got me to Memphis, TN and my luggage went to Tupelo, MS (the mix up was also weather related). And I was going to just barely make it for the show. The only problem was that I was an hour and a half from my show and my host was not able to come that far because they were setting up for the Upward program. So I called my friend Jason Blackburn (the man who knows everyone in northern Mississippi). He of course knew a guy who was commuting from near the airport to where I needed to go. So Ricky pulled up at the airport a few minutes later and told me to hop in. Southern hospitality is not dead, folks.

But that was only half the battle. My show was coming up fast, and I had none of my luggage. Nearly a thousand people were filling into the Bull Ring in Pontotoc, MS waiting for a juggling show. Meanwhile, I was rummaging through the Children’s Ministry closet of my host church, grabbing balls, stuffed animals, a ladder, some hula hoops, and whatever else I could juggle.

We rushed into the Bull Ring and I set my stuff up on two flatbed trailers before a sea of people ready for the show. They showed their league highlights video and then introduced me. I somewhat nervously began and then proceeded to have a great time presenting a show and message to a crowd that had no idea I lost my luggage. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. That was the case for this show as I tossed around things that I had never laid my hands on before. It challenged me to press on and just do my best with what I have. God was in control, and I pray that His Word was presented clearly. That is the most important part of my show anyway, and juggling equipment is not necessary for God’s Word to spread, just the power of His Holy Spirit.