Tuesday, December 26, 2006


In our teenage years, my brother and sister and I had trouble looking, well, good on Christmas day. The first attempt was genuine, but the following years, though genuinely bed ruffled, had a little ham in them.

This year I was in a play on Christmas Eve, Babes In Toyland, so I still had make-up on. I look like a little maharaja. Ike's hair is especially poofed. Hey, there's Opie!

Unable to control myself, I kind of messed this one up with a faked sleepy face. But of course, Annie looks as cute as always.

We're together again this year, so perhaps we'll see another Chrisface soon!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

If I Could Give You More

"If I could give you more
I`d fill the house with flowers
Let you sleep for hours
Throw open the windows and unlock the doors
If I could give you more"

You never ask for more. In the quiet of the night you say, "I have everything I want!" Oh I find that hard to believe. There are so many things I wish I could give you that would give you a better life.

"If I could give you more
I`d make the streets safe
For every homeless waif
That wanders alone to a foreign shore
If I could give you more"

Because of all you give to me, I want to give you more every day. Yet still you smile and endure difficult times, a difficult world, and difficult me.

"See that you are sainted
Remain true and pure
So that you never get lost
No matter what you may endure"

Saints and Poets will forever wonder at the gifts given them and insist they are unworthy. They try to give back and it's always a feeble gift compared to the grace they've been given. So I look at the gift of you and with a desire to repay God, I present these simple words: "I Love You"

If only I could print them in the sky for all to see forever.

"If I could give you more
I`d hand the world a phrase
That could not be erased
And tells of a love that`s never been before
Oh, I will give you more"

- If I Could Give You More by Harry Connick Jr.

Happy Dozen Years my love, my desire, my sweet.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Chatsworth Aftermath

It was a tough night last night. The wind was so strong, the house was rocking. I got up this morning and took a walk around the mobile home park to see what happened.

Even now, huge gusts are battering our home and the noise is unnerving. I'm sure it'll be another tough one tonight.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Earth Has No Sorrow Heaven Can't Heal

Pray for Helen.

I went to a ministry to take pictures of children receiving food from Children's Hunger Fund. There I met Helen. She's 74 years old and the primary caretaker of her two ailing, adult children. Her daughter Diana has severe fibromyalgia leaving her in pain all day and unable to work. Helen's son David is suffering from a heart disease that keeps him in bed. David isn't expected to live long. Helen herself has severe valve problems in her heart and, with a smile through tears, said, "I'm making it."

She comes to the church to receive free groceries and encouragement from God's Word.

Helen said, "When I was young, I prayed that God would let me live long enough to raise my children, so they could make it on their own. Now, I pray that he will let me live long enough to comfort them through their pain."

Helen reminded me of a woman Dreefee and I met in Belarus. She was the sole caretaker of her mentally handicapped granddaughter, Dascha. The woman had severe cancer and knew she would die soon. She begged us to take sweet Dascha with us to Amercia so she wouldn't be put into a Soviet era institution upon her death. Only then, could she die in peace knowing Dascha was lovingly cared for.

Helen's story is unique and yet so common. Each of us has a world of sorrow to fight through and endure. And for many, the hope for heaven's healing is the only hope they have.

Pray for Helen. Hope for heaven.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Knott So Bad

Although we do have a real gripe with the pirates at Knott's Berry Farm, I can't help but love their authentic (though shabby at times) attempts at recreating a Ghost Town of the 1800s. This man, the Marshall of Ghost Town, has done everything in his power to keep Ghost Town authentic and appealing to pioneers of all ages since 1982. In fact, in recent years he campaigned to open up the famed gambling hall ("Me think someone cheat") to visitors. It now doubles as his Marshall's office where he keeps a cool collection of period guns, lawman badges and wanted posters.

He even reopened up the long shuttered schoolhouse, a real pioneer schoolhouse moved to California from Kansas, where kids can sit in the desks and experience a few moments of schooling from an authentic school marm. TallGirl probably could have been expelled for the length of her skirts, but they let her off with a warning.

This path behind Ghost Town to Boot Hill still remains as it was when I was a boy. And yes, there is still one grave that you can feel the heart of it's resident corpse beating eternally.

Of all the "Old Time Adventures" at Knott's, my favorite is still the first and greatest log flume in the world, The Timber Mountain Log Ride. The taxidermal animals and pitch black first drop make this the only thing I never miss. It's wonderful to see my little adventurers enjoying it as much as I did.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pirate Mission

On a secret mission that will live in infamy, El Chindo, that's me, and TallGirl and Deet did set sail to Knøtt's Beπy Farm to carry out the Captain's orders. You've never seen a more determined lot.

So with our long boat ashore, and our orders clear, we snuck our way past their battlements and into their lair to see if the rumors of stolen treasure were true.

A great mountain of booty was there to be had and our hosts, unsuspecting of our alliances, were generous and gladly shared a bit of their own treasure with us, your most humblest of pirates.

Though well fed and cheered by the loot, we were still determined to blend in, crocodile grins and all, in the hopes that they would let slip and show us the treasure we suspect were stolen from out o' our own beloved Captain's locked and guarded cache.

And then...

How, in Neptune's name, could this be true? It be far too horrid a tale to be believed?

We sat stunned, in sad disbelief. Yet we'd seen it with our own good eye...

Snøøpy is a pirate.

It was a sad crew what set sail fer home that night. And though we're known fer a bit o' pirating ourselves, we'd hoped these bedtime tales of stolen treasure would have never had to come true.

Yer mate,

El Chindo

To find out more about the world's greatest Pirate Rock Band, travel thissaway to meet Captain Bogg and Salty.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Weekend of the Gone Girls

Guest Poster - Deet, Age 5

Hi. My name is Deet. Last weekend my Mom and my sister were at Big Bear, so me and my Dad had fun adventures til midnight!

Me and my dad went on a really really really long drive that I got annoyed with.

My dad couldn't catch the pictures I was taking cause he was driving. So I just took pictures all day.

He drove me on a really long trip. and I wanted to go home, and I was all, "nothing could keep me from wanting to go home except Chuck E. Cheeses."

I really wanted to go home until I saw that he was taking me to Disneyland, then I was all, "nothing could stop me from going to Disneyland. Not even Chuck E. Cheeses."

I love going to Disneyland with my dad... alone. Can you keep that a secret?

We went on Pirates of the Caribbean 2 times!! And we got stuck in a video game called Buzz Lightyear. And we shot into a black hole for reeeeeals. Well not for reals, but it was just Space Mountain. And we went to the guns thing at Adventureland. I don't usually shoot things but this time I got the rabbit hole and the light sign. {whistle whistle whistle}

We stayed til midnight. I was tired but I lasted.

The next day, gramma took us to a pumpkin patch.

I bungee jumped so high that I could almost see the beach! It was cool.

Then, I saw the most spookiest really spooky spooky haunted house. I cried cried I mean cried the whole time. The people said it was a "Not Very Scary" Haunted House. Just because they told us it was fake doesn't mean it's not scary. My Dad said that they should tell people it IS scary.

My Dad told me he was sorry that he took me in that haunted house. I said, "It's okay." Just never take me to that haunted house Again. Ever.

We had lunch at Flooky's. The one that's close. You know the one you sing Jingle Bells in? Aw, just kidding. The food was good. Really good french fries and hot dogs.

Then, we went to the most coolest car show. I thought it was gonna be a cool show where the cars did tricks and stuff, but they just bring their cars there to show off.

One guy, my Dad's cousin Ben, took us for a ride in a really cool car. when I say cool I mean really cool.

We went and got milkshakes at Del Taco.

Then we went to see the model airplanes fly at the model airplane park. One was like a rocket. It did stunts. It went close to the ground. If I had an arrow on this blog to show you how close to the ground it went I would show you that it went all the way to the bottom of the screen. Well, not touching. Sorta.

After that we went to see real airplanes fly at, what's it called? The 94th Aerosquadron at the Van Nuys Airport. We saw only a couple planes. Not stunts. Just landing.

There was a big blown up wall there. And there was a little thing where they put a little flower at. And there was jeeps, really cool ones. Army jeeps. I sat in one. And there were cannons.

Then we took dinner to Verns house. I played drums. Isn't that cool?

I never played drums except for that one time.

At night we slept in the same bed. We watched a couple Strongbad cartoons the second night.

The girls came home. I still like spending time with my Dad AND the girls because they're my family.

tha tha tha tha that's all for now folks.



Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Diners and Dogs

"One more life that I could touch in some small simple way
Or one more light that I could shine
To show someone the way
Or one more sure word of encouragement
To say to one more soul
Oh Lord please won't you save me one
One more day
- The Lost Dogs

My Dad is going to have open heart surgery tomorrow to replace a valve. He's tired, and a little nervous (I think), but he's ready.

It's unusual for my Dad to just hang out with the guys. He's usually out encouraging the sick, or sharing a kind word, or shining the lighthouse of God's love, or resting his heart in preparation for another funeral, or loving on my Mom. So, he usually replies, "I'd love to, but I think I'd better stay. You boys have a good time."

But a couple weeks ago, he said yes. Me and my dear friends Jeff and Bryan took him to see our favorite group, The Lost Dogs. We had a pre-concert snack of onion rings and cheeseburger minis at a diner. Then we stayed out late, rockin' Pasadena.

I know it was tough keeping up with us, bad heart and all, but I'm glad my Dad came with us.

"Fat on the bacon
Wool on the lamb
Flies in the ointment
Murder in the ham
Hardened hearts and arteries
Salt block in the Spam
Lord save us all from this Bad Indigestion"
- The Lost Dogs

It's a good thing he's having heart surgery tomorrow. Those cheeseburgers were lethal.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Cousin Mickey

Hey Y'all. Here's your introduction to my cousin Mickey.

She can take a joke.

She can sing.

She loves family like no one else.

It's amazing to me that, although we see each other so rarely, she acts like we've lived next door all our lives.

It was great to see you and your family again this weekend Mickey. My family looks forward to staying in your slice of heaven when we're out Texas way.

God bless you.

The Martin Family Song

A tribute in blue.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

There For Us

My Father loves his children; always has, always will.

And as we give him more and more grandchildren, his love has more places to go and grow.

What A Nut

Here's my Dad in some of his most outrageous moments.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fisher Of Men

My Dad has had the unique experience of doing God's work his entire life. See here how he has risen to the challenge and accepted the call to fish for the souls of men.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Long Life of Love

This is a tribute to the romance that has characterized my parents' marriage for more than 36 years.

California Son

The first in a series of slideshows from my tribute to my Dad, Fred Martin, on his 60th birthday.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Der VolksWagen Beetle Turns 60

Sitting at a restaurant table in Munich in the summer of 1932, Adolf Hitler designed the prototype for what would become the immensely successful Beetle design for Volkswagen (literally, the "car of the people"). In an era where only the most economic elite possessed cars, Hitler believed that all people should be able to own a car and additionally thought that a smart design could allow for reliability, enjoyment, and vacation travel.

Hitler gave his design to the head of Daimler-Benz, Jakob Werlin, and stressed its importance. "Take it with you and speak with people who understand more about it than I do. But don't forget it. I want to hear from you soon, about the technical details. You know what will happen to you if you don't."

The Führer in a KdF-Wagen in 1944, near the Wolfsschanze, East Prussia.

A handful of civilian-specific cars were produced, primarily for the Nazi elite, in the years 1940–1945, but production figures were small. A total of 669 wartime Kommandeurwagens were produced until 1945, when all production was halted due to heavy damage sustained in Allied air raids on the factory.

After the war, British army officer Major Ivan Hirst was ordered to take control of the heavily bombed factory, which the Americans had captured. His first task was to remove the unexploded bomb which had fallen through the roof and lodged itself between some pieces of irreplaceable production equipment; if the bomb had exploded, the VolksWagen's fate would have been sealed. Hirst persuaded the British military to order 20,000 of the cars, and in August 1946 the factory began producing 1,000 cars, now dubbed 'Beetles', a month.

Production of the beetle grew dramatically over the years, with the one-millionth car coming off the assembly line by 1954. The Beetle had superior performance in its category with a top speed of 72mph and 0-60mph in 27.5 seconds. The engine fired up immediately without a choke and could only be heard in the car when idling. It had excellent road-handling for a small car. It was economical to maintain and, for many, a joy to drive.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, innovative advertising campaigns and a glowing reputation for reliability and sturdiness helped production figures to surpass the levels of the previous record holder, the Ford Model T, when Beetle No. 15,007,034 was produced on September 18, 1971. By 2002 there had been over 21 million produced.

The Beetle has been regarded as something of a "cult" car since its 1960s association with the hippie movement; and the obvious attributes of its unique and quirky design. From 1968 to 2005, a pearl white 1963 fabric sunroof Beetle with racing number "53" and red, white, and blue stripes named "Herbie" played a starring role in Disney's The Love Bug series.

To this day, in it's 60th year, the Beetle is regarded as one of the world's most beloved and respected automobiles. Very few 60 year-olds have had such a rich history and endured to the level of the beetle without losing their broad appeal. 60 year-olds around the world dream of inspiring in the youth of today with whimsy, caring and good old-fashioned reliability like the classic beetle. It is a rare 60 year-old who can give so much joy to so many people, remaining tough in the face of difficult times and taking little back in return.

If that 60 year old exists, I'd like to meet him.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Twins

Though she may be often staring down the barrel of trouble and mischief,

and he down the barrel of a box of bon-bons,

Though he often cares for the sick,

and she steals their fruit,

they are never dull, and never duplicated!

Happy Birthday Double Trouble!