Friday, December 28, 2007

Uncle Freddy

Last Christmas, the children of my siblings totaled 3, and oh what fun we had. A couple months ago, my brother and his wife welcomed a little girl. Yesterday, my sister and her husband brought a new little boy into the world.

I look forward to the sweet day when all 5 of them can join me on the couch for a little bit of quality cartoon-time.

Thank you JDM and TMF. I love you very much.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Traveling Together

"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land."
- Proverbs 25:25

God has given you to me to be my traveling partners.

Though we are apart these few days, we travel still together. I will be thinking of you each day, anxiously waiting to hear the good news you have that will refresh my tired soul.

I look forward to the day when we travel side by side again.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Plus One

Last year, my Dad turned 60. We all went to Catalina Island to celebrate.

Now he's 61 so we'll celebrate by remembering Catalina. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Still Just

In 1970, they drove away into their future together, remnants of their old lives dragging behind.

At 37 years, they are still "Just Married" and act like it more and more.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

Share the memories, but keep the details to yourself.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Moving Forward

"We're moving forward!"

These are the encouraging words I hear almost daily from my partner and dear friend, JJ. He finds himself up against resistance, walls, or unexplainable stalls from people who are apparently on board with our projects (least of all me) and he still has his eyes set at the big goal beyond.

Thanks J for moving us forward even when we wanted to stop.

Happy birthday from your fellow CAACONAA child,

- The Chindo

Monday, June 25, 2007

You Must Have Been

"You must have been a beautiful baby
You must have been a wonderful child
When you were only starting to go to kindergarten
I bet you drove the little boys wild."
- Bing Crosby

Wife. Mother. Friend. Child of God.

Happy Birthday!

"You must've been a beautiful baby
'Cause baby look at you now."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Gateway To Glory

"I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones."
Isaiah 54:12

There are myriad sights in this world that would astound us unto uncontrollable praise if we would only let them. When I saw this odd, optical delight in Quito, Ecuador I was tickled, afraid, awed, and sad all at once. Had I been a prophet, I may have mistaken it for a vision.

"The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald..."
- Revelation 21:18,19

Having trouble making it out? You're not the first. Why not guess what it is in the comments section below? It is best viewed at full size so click on it to enlarge.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Pit

Welcome to the pit, The Pit Of Hell!

These were the words that echoed back to us the night we first entered the water drainage tunnels beneath Orange County.

When you're pushing 20, you don't have a girlfriend, school is out, and you aren't heading off to war, you come up with lots of ways to entertain yourself and your friends. In the summer of nineteen hundred ninety, I, along with my friends Jeff (Fox Fortress), Loren (The Hoss), and Derek (Dude), found many ways to keep our idle hands out of the devil's toolbox. We used my car for dirt clod target practice. We fashioned broadswords out of hardware shop leftovers and battled one another on windy nights. We found new, not quite rule-abiding, ways to enjoy amusement parks.

But the diversion we enjoyed the most was to find an accessible underground waterway and spelunk it to our hearts' content. Don't faint away quite yet, dear reader. Remember, we were in Southern California in the summer time. Never was there more than a 4 inch trickle of water at our feet so the danger of drowning in a torrential flood was quite remote. Still, there were abundant dangers at every turn.

We lit small candles or cracked glow sticks for a little light. Flashlights were never allowed. At times, we would even limit ourselves to 3 matches each just to make it interesting. We dodged homeless squatters and police helicopters. We raced through the dark on skateboards and a homemade go-cart called The Gutter Chariot.

One night we found ourselves in a wet and soggy tunnel. It was a bit breezy there so we knew we were near some sort of exit. Candles were flickering out quick and often. We decided to walk on in the dark until we really needed light. There was a crunchy, sticky feeling beneath our shoes like walking on hard-boiled Easter eggs. Flashes of imagined (or was it) movement at our feet made us quickly light one of our last matches to find that we were shoelace deep in hundreds of writhing crawdads.

Another night, Jeff, Loren and I found a construction site and ducked down into the brand new tunnels before the streets were even laid. As soon as we were deep enough to lose our sense of direction, we doused our lights. Just then, an unearthly BOOM shook the tube around us. A gunshot?! Our only instinct was to run back the way we came. The echoes there go on for minutes at a time so this horrid sound chased us through the tunnel. Then another bone cracking BOOM crashed above us, behind us, around us. Cave in?! Then another BOOM! Then another!

We found the exit, an open tube at the bottom of a freshly dug trench. Loren started climbing the dirt wall first, and fast. Then me, with Jeff behind, but not for long. At the sound of another BOOM, I felt a heavy hand crash down on my shoulder. I tried to grip the dirt wall but began to fall back. Another hand gripped my shoulder and then my face pressed into the mud. Jeff was climbing over my body to escape the tunnel and that horrendous BOOM! He got to the rim above and reached down to pull me up. Thanks buddy. We ran and hid in the brush and watched for a sign that the danger had come to an end.

That's when we saw him. A dark figure with something large in its hand was coming toward us in the moonlight. No more booms, but what was that sound? Was it laughter? Yes. This stranger coming toward us was laughing at us. We readied ourselves for a fight or a good, fast run. Then we recognized the Maui & Sons t-shirt. Derek had followed us down to the tunnels and waited for us to get inside. When he was sure we were good and deep, he had slammed a piece of plywood down on the open manholes with all his might. Terror gave way to more laughter, and the memory was cemented.

"You don't want to go in there! It's so scary, you'll poo your pants!", we'd say to those who asked to join us. "Shine that! I'm not going in there!", we'd say to one another at the entrance to a demonically grafittied tube. We never knew what we'd find and we never knew exactly how we would get back out.

Though I'd probably never do it again (my wife and kids need me too much I think), I still dream of returning to experience the adventure, the terror, and the brotherhood found in the Pit Of Hell!*

*The situations described here are real. However, any resemblance to the real "Hell" or any of its subsidiaries or agents are purely coincidental. Use of the phrase "Pit Of Hell" is solely for the descriptive purposes of the author and does not in any way imply that the author has been to Hell or wants any part of it.

"Hell" remains the eternal trademark of The Devil and his angels.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Beautiful Sister, Wonderful Mother

Why would my little sister become anything less than a beautiful mother?

At 10, she was anxious to show us how much she could do and be. At 20, she adored and influenced my own sweet daughter. Now at 30, she is showing herself to be a mother of grace and intuition.

Happy birthday sweet flower. Sister mother.

Sculpted For His Glory

"Alexander - When will you finish Campaspe?
Apelles - Never finish: for always in absolute beauty there is somewhat above art."
- Lyly's Campaspe

At this point in her life I still hold one of the main sculptor roles. One day I will be positioned to sculpt a lot less.

But if I began sculpting more today and more every day after that, I could never make her any more than her creator, the master sculptor, has planned.

My daughter is 12. May God never finish the beautiful work he began in her before the foundations of the world.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

There She Is

There she is.

The God focused Mother I'm privileged to spend my life with. Though she humbly shrinks from the praise I give her, she leads my children with strength and guides them in the truth of God's Word.

May her joy be full this day.

50th post by the way. Not that you were counting.


Like a Rook partner who's ready for bed, my blog has been a boring visit of late.

Please forgive and put The Chindo back among your favorites. I will endeavor to make this a fun destination once again.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Sense A Pattern

Although he wasn't as consumed with fishing as he is now, my brother is surely describing the fish he almost caught in Rock Creek (aka "The C&L Ambush 10) while I was away in California, imagining myself the star of a John Hughes film, for summer vacation.

It's the same even today.

Although we are different now, he's less interested in impressing his older brother (though no less enthusiastic when he does) and I'm slightly less interested in impressing everyone else (though no less pleased with myself when I do), we still yearn to share our lives in deeper and more meaningful ways.

Happy Birthday Laughter!

Now, look back at the picture. We are in the Portland airport. I've been away to visit our families in Southern California and I'm just returning. The outfit speaks of that pitiful time in adolescence when one cannot see himself in a mirror quite clearly enough to realize his wretched attempts at style. I am wholly impressed with myself. My brother is dying to tell me all the cool owl pellets, beaver lodges and possible forts he found in the 2 acre woods by our house. I'm trying not to be impressed. I have, after all, seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off and he hasn't. Though the more he tells me about it, the more I want to change into camos and let him take me there. Our sister, unfortunately, is not registering on our radar. We don't intend to leave her out, but it's like natural or something y'know? Mom let her go to the airport in dolphin shorts. Dolphin shorts, Mom? Are those geometric mystery shapes on her dolphin shorts, Mom? Sorry sis. It was Mom, not the brothers that did that to you. Fortunately for Mom, she took the picture so I can't mention her denim jumper or crocheted peach and green cottage vest. Dad is having a tough day. Although he was excited to go and get his first born after a month away (he probably took the family to a waffle shop on the way over to the airport), he's not impressed with his son's newfound impression of his favorite girl cousin. Aloofness and snobbery never struck him as endearing qualities. If I don't give him "the joy of being back with the family" that he expected soon, we're gonna skip the trip to the Bonneville Dam to see the sturgeon.

Note the banner behind Isaac's head fortelling his future home away from home.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Church Doing What It Does Best

I made this video to share my experiences in Central America last week.

This little boy is at a church in Guatemala City. Poverty cripples the city and leaves orphans every day. I met children worse off than "Carlito", living in garbage dumps and eating what they find.

Carlito's story represents the stories of thousands of children who are served by the local church throughout Guatemala. Children's Hunger Fund is privileged to be able to supply the church with resources to serve needy children across America and around the world.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Be Mine Blizzard®

My mom and I are both ENFPs. If you're not hip to the whole personality test culture, that means we're the same. We communicate in much the same ways, and we respond the same way to the attitudes and actions of others.

On her blog, she wrote about how she reacted to, and how her personality was moulded by, the actions of others during the Valentine's Days of her youth. The cruelty or forgetfulness of others caused her to need the romance and generosity of her husband on Valentine's Day like a tortoise need it's shell. It also caused her to become a regular and generous gift giver to the people she loves.

This is the story of one such Valentine's gift.

I wasn't much of a ladies man in high school (vis the picture above). In fact, I had a pretty serious self esteem problem. My Grandmother tells me of a time when I was a little boy and she said to me, "Oh Freddy! You're so handsome." As she recalls it, I replied, "Thank you Grandma, but that's okay. I know I'm ugly." Pretty pitiful, eh?

I desired to be liked by girls and to get the same attention from them that I perceived other boys were receiving. That's why when a bouquet of balloons, tied to a package of chocolates, and addressed to me appeared in the drive-thru window of the Dairy Queen where I worked, I thought I had finally become a ladies' man.

The note attached read:

"Dear Fred,

I love you!

Your Secret Admirer"

Oh the joy! Oh the sweet terror! Oh the flush of blood, dear reader, that filled every corpuscle in my face, neck and head! Some red-blooded (hopefully pretty) teenage girl admired me secretly! I couldn't be expected to make sundaes or mix Blizzards®! We would soon be together. We would hold our perspiring hands. Within days, even hours, of her mylar advance, we would share our first kiss!

But who is she? Is she Maya, the soccer playing cheerleader who works beside me making shakes and cones? She discovered the package. Nah. She hates me. Seriously, she does. What about Carrie from youth group? I think she might like me. But she lives in Washington. You wouldn't know her. And she doesn't have a license so she couldn't have come all the way down here for this. What about Angela? or Jenna?

Ho, but I was frustrated. My joy was turning to anger as I began to imagine that this was some kind of trick! It was probably brought by one of my buddies as a joke, or by one of mine enemies to torture and humiliate me. And the girls at the DQ kept asking, "Who is it, Fred? Who is your girlfriend?"

I was beginning to hate this bloody valentine! I dragged it home with me that night, despising the sound the balloons made as they thrashed one another in the wind. When I got home, I ripped the candy off the strings and let the balloons float to the ceiling in our split level entryway, and retreated to my bedroom to brood.

The next morning I heard my sister bubbling with excitement over the Valentine's balloons floating in the entryway. "Who are they for? Are they from a GIIIIRRRRELLLLL?" I crashed up the stairs where my mother and sister were waiting, grins grinning, waiting to hear my explanation.

I reached over the railing and grabbed the strings. I quickly pulled each balloon to my chest and clumsily burst them all. "It's just a stupid trick," I raged. "No girl likes me."

That's when I saw the look of hurt, not pity, flash across my mother's face.

To this day, I'm not very concerned with Valentine's Day. My wife isn't either. We may make a date to a restaurant during that week and one of us may pick up a card if it's convenient. We have our own little romantic events that we revere, but February 14th is just not that important to us.

But my Mom still sends Valentine's cards. She brings gifts for my kids. And each time we meet, she lets me know how much she loves me.

My mother may never again pretend to be my secret admirer. I guess that is what caused all the confusion in the first place. You see, I already knew she admired me. That was NEVER a secret.

Happy belated Valentine's Day.

The Chindo

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Scallywag Sketches

I was blessed with the opportunity to be one of 2 artists chosen to create images for the premiere pirate rock band, Captain Bogg and Salty. Below are some of the sketches that didn't quite make the cut and some that did. By the way, if you think that because we're in league with pirates, you can freely steal these images, you're wrong. We are neck deep in copyrights and lawsuit successes so don't even try it.

I love this guy. Stuck out at sea for months at a time, a pirate dreams of simple luxuries like fresh fruit. This mate found himself a quiet perch in the riggings to enjoy this most rare of delicacy. By the way, I did draw this before Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean showed Captain Barbossa longing for a juicy bite of apple. Cutting edge indeed.

When your ship is blown to smithereens by a Commodore of the Realm, it's best to make do with what you have to
help you get away. Hang peg!

This poor fellow was left to fend for himself when he broke with the pirate code. Though a cruel piece of pirate justice, being left to drift on the open sea may not be so final when they've let you take along a few necessities, like limes for the scurvy.

"Treasure maps and goldy rings will fill your heart with glee. Apple cores and limey fruits will keep you from scurvy. Powder kegs and cannon balls will save your neck mate. But what makes a pirate glad he's alive? PIECES OF 8IGHT!"

Click here to watch the hilarious video for the song that inspired this sketch. Incidentally, this one made it into the album cover.

What happens if the only pirate who knows where the treasure is buried takes his final voyage down to Davy Jones? The spit of an island it was buried on gets swallowed by the sea and the treasure is lost forever. This sorry bloke entombed with the treasure is a grim reminder of the dangers of living a pirate's life. This too made it into the sleeve.

He may greet you in the street with a smile and a bow, but behind your back he's plotting your ruin for his gain. Note the artist's sorry mistake. This greasy chap was drawn with two right hands. Oops.

Superstition guides much of a sailor's days, so when a real life sea serpant gives you a ride on her back, you drink to her health and pray never to see her again.

If you'd like to join the crew, you can buy the album below.

You can also purchase them song by song at itunes here (of course you can't see all the album art if you don't buy the cd above).
Pegleg Tango or Bedtime Stories For Pirates

Monday, January 22, 2007

Especially In That Sunshine

"I stare to gain her stare, and still I'm making no sense.
Raise the curtain. Ease the focus.
Even the naked have their moments."
- Circe's Smile

We had our genius. We had our problems.

I'm not sure if it ever made sense, but we made some interesting music and loved the pretty lights.

We were a rock band. We were Circe's Smile.


GOD will you keep her safe from the thunder storm
When the day is cold, will you keep her warm
When darkness falls, will you please shine her the way
GOD will you let her know that I love her so
When there's no one there, that she's not alone
Just close her eyes and let her know
that my heart is beating with hers.

- Devotion

This woman I love has given me so much. I owe her much more than I can give.

This week I was given the opportunity to serve her as she underwent and recovers from surgery. Though the pain in her body and our heart is great, her smile and strength fills my heart. My joy is full.