Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ripley's aquarium

What a great fun time we had

Blake the harpist

From Wonderworks in Gatlinburg

2 jeeps and a car

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 10 favorite sacred Christmas songs

OK when I say sacred I mean a song that speaks of the true meaning of Christmas - the coming of the Savior Jesus into the world in some way.

10. Silent Night - can you have Christmas without singing this?

9. Heirlooms by Amy Grant - I know I am a sentimental sap

8. Little Drummer Boy by Go Fish - modern and fun version

8. God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen by Reliant K - hard rockin Christmas!

7. Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant

6. The Gift by Jim Brickman and Susan Ashton

5. Christmas with a Capital C by Go fish - preach it brothers!

4. Happy Birthday Jesus - by the Brooklyn Tabernacle kids choir - so to the point

3. Who Would Imagine a King? - by Whitney Houston (her voice is 2nd to only my wife's)

2. Mary did You Know? by Michael English

1. Oh Holy Night - Patsy would prefer Josh Groban or Celine Dion by my favorite version is by Patsy Martin.

Sorry no winner on this contest!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top 10 favorite secular Christmas songs

For a chance to win $5 Starbucks card guess my number one favorite secular Christmas song (sacred will follow later).
10. All I really want for Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman. It will make you want to adopt a child today!
9. Sleigh Ride by Reliant K
8. Feliz Navidad by Jaci Velasquez
7. I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Galya Peevey (and the Jonas Brothers)
6. The Chimpunk Christmas Song by the Chipmunks "me I want a hula hoop" has a special family memory
5. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole - what a vioice!
4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - the Boss Bruce Springstein
3. Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley
2. All I want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey
1. Something about Christmas Time by Bryan Adams
Several guessed right but Rachle was the first! Do they have Starbucks in South Korea?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Word cloud

I created a word cloud based on all the words I have used so far in my blog this year. Kind of a fun thing to do. the bigger words represent the greatest usage. The smaller words represent lesser use. This word cloud is the top 250 words (out of several thousand used). You can make your own word cloud at!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Sometimes our kids help us realize how important the love of family can be. Blake had an assignment to write a short essay on a a member of his family so he chose David: David

David is my little brother and some times naughty but loveable.

He’s not vary tall kind of round. His vocabulary is all ways growing. He has brown hair and brown eyes a bit of a brownie.

David is stubborn he just refuses to do what you tell him. After he had a sucker he feels sticky he taste sticky he looks sticky he smells sticky.

Although he is loud, chaotic and a bit of a pain I love him all the same.

What a fun and great thing to read as a dad.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

top 10 favorite things about Thanksgiving

Here is your chance to win a $5 McDonalds gift certificate!! Can you guess my number one favorite thing about Thanksgiving

10. I'm off work

9. Sweet potato souffle

8. Macy's parade

7. Pumpkin pancakes

6. Green bean casserole

5. Are u ready for some football!?!

4. Pumpkin pie

3. Dark meat turkey

2. Family time

1.Tryptophan - The stuff in turkey that makes you sleepy - over 250 views since I put this up! Guess McDonalds isn't the popular place!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This has been a difficult week for the Martin family as we found out that there is a very high chance that Brendan will be leaving us sometime in early 2009 to live with his biological mother's cousin who lives out of state. She is married and has some girls and they are a good Christian family, so we feel comforted on that level.
We have had Brendan in our home since last February, and we had secretly hoped and prayed my sister and her family would be able to adopt him. They really wanted to. In the end they still feel that God may be calling them to open their home to another child. We feel peace that God has Brendan in His perfect hands, but it is still sad to think we may not see him again this side of heaven!
BTW - Bubba is our nickname for him.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What I have learned by being a foster parent

We are coming up on two years of foster parenting three different boys. We have seen lots of court dates, social workers, doctor visits, official documents, judges, casa volunteers, biological families, guardian ad litums, lawyers, etc.. For the most part these people have been positive to work with. At times the system was confusing and tedious, but we expected that. We realize our experience is limited to small children and the Roanoke County.

We will be adopting two of these boys and letting one go. So what have I learned through all of this? I can't totally speak for Patsy but I think we have come out of this experience with one overall theme that I feel compelled to share. This is not for one person in particular but rather for Christians as a whole.

So many times I have heard good people say "I don't think I could ever be a foster parent. I would have such a hard time letting them go." While I understand the line of thinking, let me plead with you a couple of points. First of all, these kids will be in the system for a given time and they need kind, loving, christian people who will give them a safe place for however long that may be. This option is always better than a group home or foster home sans the love and Christianity.

Secondly foster parenting is not about you or me or better said, the adult. We don't go into foster parenting thinking I want some to love me or someone I can hold onto for ever. In fact no good parents should think this way. In short this is for the kids. It is a ministry. Adoption is not the goal in most cases but that does not change the fact that these kids need someone in the here and now to be Christ-like to them. Thousands of kids do.

So what have I learned? I hope in some small measure Christ has shown me how to be a little more like him. To think less of myself and my own needs and hurts and to think more of others. The ultimate act of love is to let yourself be hurt in order to minister love to another. Is that not what Christ is all about?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My thoughts on the election

The election is over. To tell you the truth about a week ago I knew it would be an Obama win. So in my opinion what does an Obama win mean? It is so hard to tell. He says he wants to unify us and govern "from the center". If this is true it will be apparent within the first few months. In fact we will get some idea of his governing style as he puts together his cabinet. Here are five things that will show me he his intent in the first year.

1. The Freedom of Choice Act - Obama said he would sign this as one of his first acts. This would make abortion a federal right and do away with any restrictions on abortion. This could include parental notification laws and the ban on partial birth abortions and saving the life of a child born as a result of a botched abortion. For any of you who do not know what a partial birth abortion is let me say this is a savage and gruesome way of killing a full-term baby that only those with the darkest of hearts can support. It also denies so many of our citizens their basic rights - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No one governing from the center will try and shove this bill down our throats.

2. Employee Free Choice Act - pending legislation that would strip 140 million American workers of their right to secret-ballot elections. Speaking about the Employee Free Choice Act, Senator Orrin Hatch called the Democratic bill a vehicle to put American workers on the road to forced unionization. Utahan Scott Parson, president and CEO of Ogden-based Staker-Parson Companies, also spoke against the legislation. The bill would replace the secret ballot with a Card Check, which empowers unions to organize workers by getting a simple majority of employees to sign a card. It opens the door to intimidation or coercion of employees who do not want to unionize, the senator said. This bill would erode away one of our basic rights as citizens the right to vote without fear of retribution.
No one governing from the center would attempt to pull this sort of power grab.

3. Fairness Doctrine -Legislation currently is before Congress that would reinstate a federal communications policy known as the "fairness doctrine." The legislation, entitled the "Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993," is sponsored in the Senate (S. 333) by Ernest Hollings, the South Carolina Democrat, and in the House (H.R. 1985) by Bill Hefner, the North Carolina Democrat. It would codify a 1949 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation that once required broadcasters to "afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance." The fairness doctrine was overturned by the FCC in 1987. The FCC discarded the rule because, contrary to its purpose, it failed to encourage the discussion of more controversial issues. There were also concerns that it was in violation of First Amendment free speech principles. The legislation now before Congress would enshrine the fairness doctrine into law.

The reason for this bill is because in the free marketplace of ideas liberal radio talk shows have failed. There is plenty of liberal idea sharing on TV and in print but on the radio the "right rules." So this is an attempt to "correct that." The problem is that it tramples on our first amendment rights. And one day this doctrine could/will be applied to Christian radio stations on issues such as homosexuality and other moral issues, perhaps even to the point where a station that shared the gospel would have to give equal time to all religions. Once again how can you lead from the center and support this bill?

4. Legislative, far-left federal judges - From the supreme court on down the president appoints many judges who have to be confirmed by the senate (which is now extremely left leaning). This is back-door policy making the left is so famous for. Obama can say he is not for gay-marriages or strict gun-control and then just appoint far-left judges who are activist judges and will actively now start legislating from the bench and strip away rights. Everything from gay marriages, homeschooling rights, national security issues, school choice, freedom of speech , freedom to assemble peacefully and host of other issues. Look at the California courts and their weird decisions to get a picture of what I am talking about. In the end these judges slowly erode our religious freedoms as well and even mandate subtle persecution of people of faith. It could become less subtle. We will be able to tell if President Obama is governing from the center by his choices of federal judges.

5. Use and funding of our military. This one hits close to home for me with a family member in the military. Will we continue to fund our military to help them stay safe in hostile situations? Also will America keep control over our military or will our military be tools for the UN to use in fights that have little bearing on American interests? A centrist knows the importance of a strong AMERICAN military and intelligence apparatus. Watch Black Hawk Down.

Finally one of my other concerns may be silly. Actually I hope it is but here me out. Have you noticed how many people put their hope and trust in this MAN. The whole world is rejoicing. women were crying, at rallies they scream O-Bama, O-Bama (at other rallies they chant U-S-A). Obama himself has seems to have some sort of Messianic complex. People he is not a savior and we need to cut that thinking our right now.

My fear is that a man who came from such obscurity and rises so fast and then has such praise and adulation will not be able to part from power easily. I hope I am off base here, but at times I get the creeps watching all these throng almost worshipping the man (IE Grant Park). I know not everyone there falls into this category but LOTS of them do.

So what is a person to do. Here is what I am doing:

1. Pray - pray for our country, our military and our president and congress. God can change people. Obama and his family need our prayers. I do fear for him because there are people who hate him. This is not the answer. The fact that we elected our first minority president is a good thing. It is remarkable!

2. Trust - God is still sovereign. He is not surprised. He will take care of us. This life is but a moment in eternity and the picture is so much bigger than the here and now. Remember like Israel who had bad kings, God was still at work and moving in the land.

3. Share - in the end people who put their hope in a person will be disappointed at some point. We can point them to a God who is worthy of worship and can bring about the change that matters - the change our the inner person.

4. Have faith - this doesn't have to spell the end of freedom as we know it. If we stay active and engaged as citizens freedom loving people will come around. the truth always comes to the surface. the more you try to suppress the more truth shines brightly!!

5. Rejoice - you are a blessed child of God! In every circumstance you can find joy in Him!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trunk or Treat

This is the second year children's ministries has sponsored a trunk or treat at Parkway. We moved it inside last night because it was cold and very windy (up on the top of the mountain!). Last year we estimated about 600 children and adults were part of trunk or treat, while this year we estimate we doubled that. Beyond the numbers there were lots more "non-Parkway" people here, which is in-line with what we are hoping to accomplish. Our goals for this event can be summed into three lines.

1. to reach out to our community and give our church members an easy event to invite people to.

2. To promote an event where families can do something fun together at church.

3. to offer an all-church event where lots of people can have fun together who do not see each other during a normal church week.

I felt like the mission was accomplished.

Why did it grow so much from last year. Here are my thoughts:

  • 2nd year activities are always bigger if the first year is successful

  • We have a digital sign on Orange Ave. that we advertised on

  • We did not do this event on Halloween so people could do this and be in their neighborhoods.

Next year I would like to provide families with full color hand-outs to give their neighbors during trick or treat which highlights our children's ministry at Parkway.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

City of Ember movie review

My review for the City of Ember movie is now online at You can find it here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Top 10 list week 5

This week's top 10 is the top 10 reasons why I am not cool anymore.

I admit it I am not even aware of what people use in place of cool today. Our student ministries pastor tells me it could be the word light. So perhaps the top 10 reasons I am not light would be a better title. But then the list would be populated with things like Oreos, popcorn and fried food.
10. I have a cheap MP3 player and not an ipod
9. My hairstyle is called “wash-n-wear”

8. Been there done that

7. My primary shopping destination is Walmart
6. My shoe brand is Dr. Scholls (bet you didn’t know they made shoes!)
5. I prefer to be in bed by 10:00 p.m.
4. I like music from the 1980s and 90s and can’t really tell you who is in the top 10 right now
3. While I may look better in contacts glasses are so much easier for me so comfort over style
2. I don’t own a Mac
1. I really don't want to be cool anymore. Maybe I am cool though becasue I dont' care!

No one won the $5 Starbucks card for getting this one right. Nice guesses though!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

City of Ember book review

The City of Ember movie is coming out and we recently read the book and I thought it would be good to review it here. I will be reviewing the movie for Kidology this weekend.

Blake - 3 Stars "It was interesting, engaging, mystifying and made you wonder what was going to happen next.
Tanner - 5 stars "I was on the edge of my seat to find out what was going to happen.
Marty - 3.5 stars "A good book, but there were times I was concerned if the author was making a statement about faith in chiding the 'believers' or does she have a greater purpose for them in the second book?
Patsy - 3.5 stars "The development of the characters was a little disappointing, but it still kept me interested."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Our Cubbies

I have officially decided what I would do if I could travel back in time. I would go to the year 1945 and ring that sinking goat's neck before his owner tried to sneak him into Wrigley Field. Who brings a goat into a major league baseball stadium anyhow? I first became a fan of the Cubs in 1984, the first year they broke my heart. I can remember very starting player that year: Jody Davis, Leon Durham, Ryne Sandberg, Larry Bowa, Ron Cey, Keith Moreland, Bobby Dernier, Gary Matthews, Rick Sutcliffe, Dennis Eckersley, Steve Trout, Scott Sanderson and Lee Smith!

They broke my heart again in 1989, 1998, 2003 (5 more outs!) and 2007. But this year could be the worst. Six players with 20 or more home runs, solid pitching from the top five starters, middle relief and the closer and a wonderful bench. UUUGH.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Cubbie

David has graduated up to the Cubbies in Awana and he gets his own uniform and book. I have never seen a little boy so proud of this. He loves being a Cubbie if you can't tell.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Top ten list week 4

Wow it has been a busy week. So much I have wanted to put on the blog but no time. I wanted to put another top 10 list on. No winner last week so let's see if we can make an easy one. My top top 10 favorite national parks (those I have visited).

10. Assateague National Seashore - camping on the beach was so fun

9. Shenandoah National Park - so close to Roanoke and no here has ever been. Beautiful views and where I spotted my first bear.

8. Mt. Rainer National Park - my wife though it was a little too high up

7. Sequoia National Park - Really big trees

6. Smoky Mountains National Park - Nature and really old churches and graveyards

5. Glacier National Park - huge snow walls in June and crystal clear lakes

4. Badlands National Park - very unusual formations

3. Yosemite National Park - if you ever been no need to ask

2. Yellowstone National Park - the grandaddy with huge amounts of wildlife

1. Yes it is Grand Canyon National Park!

Rachel will have to wait a couple of years to claim her prize!

Sorry Becky but all prizes are non-transferrable. Read the fine print!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top 10 list week 3

OK I am so confidant about this list that I am offering a $5 gift card to Starbucks! I am going to list my top 10 favorite professional athletes of all time. Keep in mind that I usually look for character, heart and teamwork to compliment ability when I cheer a particular athlete. Of course playing for a favorite team also helps.

10. Tom Waddle - never a big numbers guy, but this Bears receiver had heart and guts

9. Michael Jordan - Greatest NBA star but weak on the character side

8. Brian Urlacher - I love his intensity and sense of humor, but his choice of Paris slides him down this list

7. Scottie Pippen - Handled the term side kick so well and played great defense

6. Derrek Lee - just a class act who can hit and play first base as well as anyone

5. Mike Singletary - Samurai Mike is a strong believer

4. Mike Ditka - I know Da Coach is a caricature of himself but he is Da Coach and he was a great tight end. He played and coached with everything in him.

3. Andre Dawson - why the Hawk is not in the hall of fame is a mystery, but he was so talented and is such a great guy.

2. Ryne Sandberg - Ryno played the game with dignity and is my generation's Mr. Cub

1. Walter Payton - Sweetness was no bigger than me yet he retired the number one rusher of all time and he never dodged a tackle by runnign out of bounds. I cried when he died - ask my wife.

Honorable mention - Gale Sayers, Dan Hapmton, David Robinson, Reggie White, Tom Laandry, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Robin Ventura, Mark Beuhrle and Rick Sutlcliffe.

No winners this week -sorry

Monday, September 15, 2008

Williamsburg with the Moberlys

My sister Becky and her family came in for a week and we all took advantage of home school days at Colonial Williamsburg - cheap tickets!

Also they got to spend some one on one time with Brendan. For those of you who are not aware please be in prayer over Brendan's possible future in my sister's family. You can read some of what my sister wrote about it on her blog (link to the right). Anyway we all had a good time seeing the "city" and camping.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

No way

Possible electoral map - could be disaster. Let's hope not!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Weekly top 10 contest - TV shows

This week's contest will be for $10 in Wendy's Bucks. I am counting down my favorite currently running televisions series. A few caveats. These are adult shows and not all are recommended for children (my kids don't watch some of these). Secondly I am not talking about news programs (The Factor) or sports (MNF). So guess away!

10. Destroyed in Seconds - who doesn't like to see things get blown up?

9. McBride - a show from the Hallmark channel? I could me a metro-sexual after all!

8. Flip that house - 2nd career anyone?

7. Law and Order of Criminal Intent - not as good since it moved over to USA, but looking forward to Jeff Godlbloom joining the cast.

6. Heroes - Hiro is my hero but Skyler creeps me out

5. Mythbusters -Adam and Jaimie make feel like it is cool to be a nerd!

4. The Closer - Kyra Sedgwick and company keep you riveted every show.

3. Monk - We all have a little OCD in us!

2. Chuck - once again nerds are cool and rule!

1. Psych - I love the Guster

Give it your best shot for a thick chocolate frosty! Had a reqeust for a hint - How about ebony and ivory. The winner is Ken and or Judy Davis

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hero Homecoming

One of the pioneers of modern children's ministry has went home to his reward. Harold Davis, who most recently was serving as a consultant, has been a Children's pastor long before most Churches new what one was. According to his website:
"Over the past two decades, Harold Davis has traveled the world training ministers, consulting churches, and ministering to children. He has equipped and motivated countless workers to better reach people with the Gospel. It is his passion. It all began in 1981 when Harold became the children's pastor in Sand Springs, at Oklahoma's Word of Life Fellowship. Since then he has had the opportunity to lead crusades and minister internationally to thousands of children and ministers. Harold also worked 2 years with Faith Christian Family Church in Eureka Springs, Arkansas where he worked with helps and children’s ministry. He served 7 years at Church on the Move as the Elementary children’s pastor and is currently consulting and coaching churches, and holding training conferences."

I am not sure if he invented the "fire Bible" or not, but the first time I saw this was maybe 15 years ago and he did it and I ordered it from his table. It was at a CPC. I still have this Bible and every time I use it - which isn't too often these days, I get a wow from the kids. Maybe I will use it next Sunday in honor of this great servant of Christ.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My first Top 10 list

This week I am introducing a new feature on the blog - a weekly top 10. As you may know I love lists. So I am always thinking of my own top 10 lists. Border-line mental case I know. But I am adding a twist. In a shameless effort to boost blog traffic I am going to give a prize to whoever can guess the number 1 on my list each week! The catch is you only have 48 hours to guess and then the contest closes. I will even mail the prize to you! Sometimes the prize will be new and sometimes mildly used (like a book or DVD)! You need to guess by leaving a message on the blog here. the first person to guess the correct answer this week will win a made 2 praise DVD by Uncle Charlie (brand new!)- perfect for home or at church with your kids or middle school students.

This week's list is the Top 10 most influential people in the American children's ministry movement (in My opinion)

10. Johnny Rogers Creative force behind and co-founder of KidMo curriculum

9. Willie George - the original Gospel Bill, his vision for a church that puts children's ministry first - Church on the Move - still influences the movement today

8.David Wakerley - The lead children's guy at Hillsong he is the not even an American and still made the list. Why - their children's worship DVDS!

7. Michael Chanley newcomer to the national scene he is the founder of cmconnect and CP at Southeast Christian Church

6.Christine Yount Jones - lone female on list - (sorry) she is the executive editor of widely-read Children's Ministry Magazine and website

5. Ryan Frank creator of both new K Magazine and kidzmatter website

4. Jim Wideman a true veteran of children's ministry the former CP at Church on the Move, has written many books and articles and also runs the Club with monthly podcasts for Children's pastors.

3. Karl Bastian the one person on here I know personally (I have met some of the others), he runs the premiere children's ministry website Kidology.

2. Mike Johnson - children's Pastor at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX where the best children's church curriculum is made - Elevate

1. Reggie Joiner - former family life pastor at Northpoint Church near Atlanta, and now the director of the reThink group and the Orange Conference, God has used Reggie as a catalyst in moving children's ministry to be more family ministry and helping fuse children's and youth ministry into more cohesive ministries across the country.
Honorable mention: Craig Jutila, Sue Miller, Roger Fields, Jana Alyara, Go Fish, Harold Davis, Phil Visher, Bruce Barry, Judy Comstock, Kurt Jarvis and Mike Nawrocki.
The winner is Ninja Pastor - whoever you are send me an e-mail with where to send the DVD and congrats!
Thanks for those who guessed me - yeah right!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Totally jazzed

Patsy and I are so excited about McCain's choice for VP. I had her tops on my hopeful list followed by Pawlenty, Romney, Huckabee and Kay Bailey Hutchinson. She is a true social and fiscal conservative, she is young, intelligent, personable and a Washington outsider and she offers a chance for The GOP to offer an historical candidacy. She is the perfect balance toMcCain the sometimes crotchety war-hero. And yes she is a fallible human being who has an imperfect family which we can all relate too! We are ready to put our full support behind McCain-Palin.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

bob in plane

Blake got a stop-motion animation kit for his 11th birthday and has been playing around with it ever since learning how to make better movies each time. He lately has been using this character bob (Blake has an aversion for capital letters) in putting him in his short films. See bob in movie and bob in spiders. Blake and Tanner hope to become film makers some day. They already have some shows planned like Blake and Tanner, Karate Masters and Ripmon. Don't ask me to go into what they are all about! Anyhow, maybe we have the start of something here!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to School

With school starting back up and education on everyone's mind I thought it would be a great idea to post this video produced by Kidology as reminder that as important as education is, there are deeper issues in a child's life with infinite more importance attached to them. Remember everyone we are in this for eternity's sake!