Saturday, December 18, 2010

Movie review - Voyage of the Dawn Treader

One of my birthday presents my family gave me was to take me to see the newest Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

I became a fan of this series as a young boy and have been thrilled with the undertaking of turning the books into big-budget movies. Of course as a life-long fan I have tried to adjust my expectations of the story-telling of these books. The first one was fabulous and Walden Media and Disney did an amazing job with putting the story to film. I knew the next two in the series would be harder to bring to the big screen because the stories do not follow as straight of a story line, so I had a bit of "realistic" look at how the movies were going to come out.

That said I was happier with the way they treated the story line of the Dawn Treader than they did Prince Caspian. The only objection I had was that each island felt rushed and quick, but in the end I suspect a two or two and half hour movie would have put it way over budget. As it is the making of the fourth book, the Silver Chair, is in doubt due to budget concerns and the monetary performance of the Dawn Treader. So as fans we have to put up with small parts for interesting characters in the book because this is Hollywood after all and big budget entertainment is the goal, not minor character development. Still, a little more of the Dufflepuds would have given the film some more comic relief, in my humble opinion.

I really appreciated the makers of the movie brought out the Christian themes that were in the book. In fact they were more direct than the subtle CS Lewis put in the book. I especially loved the pointed lessons Lucy learned on appreciating who God made you to be, and not envying others and who God made them to be.

All in all I encourage you to
go and see this movie and to take your kids (our four year old was great with the movie). The more people who go an
d see the movie, the more likely they will bring the fourth one unto the big screen!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy birthday Patsy!

So today is my lovely wife's birthday. Let me just say that I have a wonderful and amazing wife! Generally speaking she is the cautious and careful one, while I am the adventurous and cavalier one in our marriage. Yet she still prayerfully goes along with my ideas for our life, which are sometimes harebrained! I will say that she has taught me to plan, pray and consider much more than I am naturally inclined to. She also has a wonder for life that adds such a dimension to our non-conformist way of living! God knew what He was doing when He brought us together.

We have so many wonderful experiences in life as we have blended our strengths together. Celebrating her birthday in an RV is our newest one! What fun this will be as we party in Howard! No I am not baking her cake, I am buying her one. But this is no different than I have ever done. The one thing I wish I could give her this year that I can't - a nice hot and quiet bath all to herself. You know "Calgon take me away." I guess she'll have to enjoy the hot, quiet shower this year.
This picture we took yesterday at the Fort Worth Water Gardens. She is pretty amazing girl, more beautiful with every passing day.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The 39 Clues book series review

This year we started reading the 39 Clues series and recently finished the 10th and last book. We actually got the 2nd book first on CD and listened to it on the Christmas trip from Ontario to Rockford. We liked the CD so much we went back and read the first book and the rest is history.
Hope our reviews help you decide whether to read the books or not. Once again the review is based on a 5 star rating system.

Marty - 4.5 stars - These books are not only interesting and captivating, but they will also help teach your kids geography, history, chemistry, science, archeology, literature, world cultures and a bunch of other good things. These are not written from a Christian perspective, but they do offer some good lessons in morality.

Tanner - 4.5 stars - Basically these books are great. I didn't like the love story with Ian and Amy. The best thing about the books are Dan and his ridiculous jokes.

Patsy - 5 stars - Not only is there a lot of history in it, but by the end of the series it teaches forgiveness and the importance of family relationships.

Blake - 5 stars - This was a very entertaining series. It was full of mystery, action and I liked the characters.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

the final end battle.wmv

This is another one of Blake's stop motion videos. He is getting pretty good at this, when he takes his time and slows down. Try to overlook his spelling though.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Go Fish concert

Our family had a blast at this free outdoor Go Fish concert in Shannon, Illinois!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Forester Sunseeker tour inside

The inside of Howard our RV. Howard is a derivative of the acronym HOW (Home On Wheels)! We named it Saturday.

Forester Sunseeker tour outside

This is our new RV - can't believe we finally have it! Be sure to check out the inside tour.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marital bliss

Marriage gets some pretty rough treatment these days. Either people don't want to get married, they try to change God's definition of marriage, or they forsake marriage all together! We were watching the Closer the other night and Lt. Flynn was trying to tell Lt. Provenza that getting married leads to murder!!

Well as I celebrate 15 years of marriage I can tell you that marriage rocks. I love being married! Maybe I am one of the fortunate ones though, I was blessed with an amazing wife! Yes we get on each other's nerves from time to time and we even fight, but I could never imagine life without my wife Patsy. So in that spirit and my affection for top 10 lists I am presenting the top 10 best things about getting married (Warning this may be rated PG 13).

10. Two minds are better than one - when you have a problem another perspective and set of eyes can really help you solve it!

9. So much warmer on cold nights to snuggle with your hunny!

8. More earning power. Whether it be taxes or income or the ability to save money, two people can earn more than one. Yes the expenses are higher, but not in proportion.

7. A happily married couple makes for the best greenhouse to raise well-adjusted kids. Stats continue to overwhelmingly bear this out despite what you might see in popular culture.

6. Face it married people have way more sex than single people, even for those who have no morals!

5. A three-prong cord can never be broken, husband, wife and God together can do the impossible.

4. There is always someone who is on your side. Even when they have to help you see the other side's point of view.

3. When you're sick, you have someone to make you soup and let you sleep.

2. Marriage is one of God's best ways to sharpen us and mold us into His image, if we let Him, of course. Marriage serves as a mirror into our soul, if we are willing to look there. A good marriage should bring us closer to the point of the death of our self.

1. God created marriage before the parenthood, the church, and all other institutions. Marriage was here before taxes, football, Walt Disney World, the Bible, sin, death, pain, the United Nations and is a fixture of every culture in the world. It is one of His greatest gifts to humans, and it helps us become less selfish and self-centered, if we let it change us. It is a picture of God's relationship with His people.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Creation video

Blake. with some help from Tanner with the clay models, made this video as their first school project of the year. Their little brothers have been studying Creation through My Father's World Creation, so this was their part in helping their little brothers help learn about the Creation account in Genesis.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Whole Nother Story

It's been awhile, but it is time for another Martin family book review. This time we look at a quirky title, A Whole Nother Story, by a quirky author, Dr. Cuthbert Soup. Once again these are based on a five star rating. Be sure to check out other reviews (look at the labels to the right or at the bottom of this post for Martin Family book reviews).

Tanner 5 stars. It was absolutely hilarious.

Blake 4 stars. I laughed a ton, but there were some places that were depressing

Patsy 4.5 stars. The only thing that was funnier than the story was the unsolicited advice at the end of each chapter.

Marty 4 stars. Be careful when you read this if you are drinking milk. You might squirt some through your nose you'll laugh so hard! Parents of the Christian faith might need to talk through a couple of elements with their kids, like a psychic dog and a fortune teller. Otherwise the message is very positive!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shaving cream homeschool b

In homeschooling you can also quickly and nimbly adapt to a child's learning styles (like if one finds shaving cream messy on his hands).

Shaving cream homeschool

One of the beauties of homeschooling is that if a child is struggling with a concept you can revisit that concept over and over again and find different ways to teach that same concept until it sinks in! You can also move on quickly with concepts that are quickly learned, not lingering too long on something so the child bores of school.

Psalm 24:1

Since I first started in children's ministry I have wholeheartedly embraced the concept of Bible verse memory for kids (its great for adults too, learn with your kids!). How much more dynamic is that concept when it is initiated by dad? There is a power in fatherhood that is so often untapped. Combined with the power of God's word and it is explosive!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A little slice of Americana

There are lots of things I love about living in a little town like Cambridge. Sure you have to drive 15 minutes to a Walmart or to see a movie or to go to a nice restaurant (We do have a Subway and Dollar General in Cambridge though!). Yes sometimes the locals are a little suspicious of you, but here in Cambridge that is really not a big issue, unlike the city 1o miles to the north.

But all that is more than worth the trade off for me. I love sitting on the back porch working and hearing nothing but the cicadas and a dog barking somewhere in the distance while my kids play in the sprinkler (it is what I am doing now). I love how you can see so many stars at night and how you can tell your kids they can ride their bike or walk to the town park. I love how we have tons of flat sidewalk on our street to teach our youngest guys to ride without training wheels. I love how when you walk in the evening down the road the people you pass give you the pointer finger wave (almost a salute from the forehead).I love the small town newspaper that has a picture of your kid in it about a dozen times a year (I used to be the editor of this paper many years ago).

Today was another example of what I love about small towns. Today we went to "downtown" Cambridge for the Antique tractor show. We walked while the little guys rode in the wagon. We saw the old tractors and semi trailers and antique small engines (one of them was making "wooden nickels that some of the boys got to keep.) The three youngest sons got to participate in the pedal tractor obstacle course, where they each won a ribbon some animal crackers and a toy! There was face painting, a used everything sale and of course my wife had to stop by the library for the used book sale (she got 20 for $2). Besides the book the only real money we spent was for some ice cream and a couple of items we bought at the used whatever sale (some organization things we will use in the RV).

Everyone should live in a small town at least once in their life. It's a slice of what has made America a great nation and in some ways we all need to recapture as a nation some of the simpler things that help bring people together.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sunset the albino ball python

Tanner got his wish of a snake for his 11th birthday! His Aunt Sue had nursed back to health an albino ball python and gave it to him! It is a lot bigger than Slidey, his old corn snake (it escaped at the hands of a little brother a couple of years ago). Now we have special clips for Sunset the python's home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Food, Glorious Food" by the Emineminems

Julia and Noah, Blake and Tanner, and Avery created and rehearsed this masterpiece in the van, then performed for us in the parking lot of America's Incredible Pizza Co in Davenport, IA

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Big Announcement

This is something I have waited to talk about for months. In fact I have waited so long that a few of you have have gotten the scoop early, just couldn't wait to tell a few folks! God never cease to amaze me, and here is another example of how amazing He is.

If you read this blog or follow my facebook page at all, you know that a few months ago we decided to pursue another path of ministry. At that time I was feeling I needed to take an extended break from the "daily grind" of children's ministry in a local church. Yet I still wanted to be involved in children's ministry in some way, most likely in a para-church ministry, doing some speaking and training. At the same time we prayed and really felt it was time to pursue a lifelong dream of taking a year or two or three traveling the country (or continent) in an RV before my family got too old for me to see this dream become a reality.

As you may know I spoke to a few friends and family about this, to get some insight and advice and ask for prayer. Well one of those friends was the Kidologist, Karl Bastian, founder of What I did not know was at the same time Karl had been praying for an extension of the Kidology ministry that would take the ministry into the local churches across the US. Wow, could this have a coincidence. Not with God!

Of course we did not jump in without more prayer and time to let God redirect, but God continued to confirm He was leading in this direction. If you are familiar with children's ministry at all then you understand how humbled I am to be able to work for the premiere children's ministry website and a visionary leader like Karl Bastian. For more information on the

Kidology to Go ministry please click this link for the website with videos, booking info, schedules and eventually a webcam of our journeys, plus much more!

Friday, July 09, 2010

A teen in the house

So here I am on the eve of teenagerdom in my home. Thirteen years ago I never dreamed this day would come. I mean really how could that little purple ball of cooing flesh turn into a smelly hormone enraged walking moodiness with skin problems?
Well things aren't going to change overnight with Blake. Granted he already has demonstrated some changes, like not wanting to hug his dad too often and wanting to sleep in. But overall he is pretty decent for a 13 year old.

So my main goal for the next 7 years as a father of a teenager. To keep the communication lines open and to stay connected to my son's heart! I'm sure it will be a ride full of ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns, but I look forward to each and every one of them. Soon Tanner will
join him in the realm of teenagerdom. When Tanner turns 20, Chase will turn 13. So I have the next 16 years to look forward to dealing with at least one teenager in the house. I guess I should buckle up and by a gross of Speedstick!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Top 10 things I’ll miss about Canada.

10. Gravy on your fries.
9. Ice Capps from Tim Hortons especially in the summer!
8. Crabby Joes - Kids eat free on Sundays.
7. Niagara Falls – it’s like the Pigeon Forge of the North.
6. Canada’s Worst Handyman – a Canada Discovery Channel show. Makes me feel better about my own skills
5. Moose Winooski’s! Pie in the face and moose helmet on your birthday. Sweet.
4. Really cheap cookies and fabric softener.
3. Learning French on the back of food cartons and labels.
2. The toonie and the loonie. How nice is it to get the change out of your ashtray and realize you have like $20!
1. Timbits!!!

Of course the real number one thing we will miss is the great people we have met and Forward Church and its staff and members! God bless.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My book - Imagine - Creating Memorable Characters for Kids' Church, is finally available for purchase!

You can get it (click here) or at Barnes and (click here)

I hope you order it and enjoy it!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear Commercial (circa 1983)

hilarious that they made a fake commercial!!

Toy Story Legacy

Isn't it funny how some movies become a part of the fabric of a culture, a family or a person. Movies like Star Wars and Indiana Jones have become that for our family. Yesterday, as we watched Toy Story 3, I was also reminded of how the Toy Story movies have woven a trail of memories through the tapestry of our family history. We love all the Pixar movies, even Ratatouille, but the Toy Story series holds a unique sway over our families sub-consciousness.

How so?
Well where to begin? Toy Story came out the year we were married. I remember watching it and thinking how great it would be to have a little boy to play cowboys and space man with. If I only knew!! I even welled up a little on this movie (but I did not full out cry). Andy reminded me of myself as a kid. Not every kid has an imagination to take a toy or two and create a whole story , or even a whole universe, from it. I did this sort of thing all the time. Three out of our five sons have had (or still do have) this sort of well-developed imagination. The other two have been greatly influenced by the "imaginative three".

Next came Toy Story 2.
This was Tanner's first real movie at a theater (not including falling asleep in the drive-in to Star Wars the Phantom Menace). He was enraptured through the whole thing.

In 2001 Blake and Tanner dressed as Buzz and Woody for Halloween. Some remnants of those costumes still remain in the "dress up bin", and Chase can be seen almost daily in Woody's hat, although it is a bit chewed up. Several TS phrases have been a regular part of our family's lingo, such as "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz Light year to rescue!" , "You are a toy!", "You can't rush art". Now Chase, who has a penchant for mixing up words, has added another - "Empeder Zurb." I can't forget about the several WDW pictures with Buzz Lightyear himself~


So as I sat watching Toy Story 3 yesterday, keeping in mind my oldest is a few weeks away from 13, I couldn't help crying like a baby. For me I felt like our family has grown up with Andy, like he was one of our kids, and he was saying goodbye to his childhood. Blake is right on the heels of Andy, and Tanner not far behind him. This movie captured the fleeting nature of childhood in such a unique way, through the eyes of a boy's childhood toys. When Andy let the little girl have all his toys, but could barely part with Woody, well it still makes me weepy. I guess this just shows me that no matter how old I get, there will always be a part of me that is a little boy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Aunt Connie

In memory of my Aunt Connie who passed away last Saturday. She was a wonderful aunt who, as my mom put it, had a heart of gold. She was always giving and looking out for others. We will never forget how she cared so much for my mom in her last days! Our boys will always remember her as "Grandma Connie" with her cool bird Bob! We look forward to seeing her again one in Heaven! She had a strong faith in Christ.
This is her obituary from the Rockford Register Star:

CONNIE SUE MARCH, 57 LOVING DAUGHTER, MOTHER, SISTER, GRANDMOTHER, AUNT AND FRIEND LOVES PARK - Connie Sue March, 57, went home to be with the Lord at 11:02 a.m. Saturday, June 12, 2010, in Loves Park. Born Dec. 30, 1952, in Rockford, the daughter of Chester and Berniece March. Connie enjoyed fishing and spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. Connie was a very generous and compassionate person, she didn't know a stranger. She was the one to call if you needed a bumper wired up, boxes delivered to school for packing or a rabbit hutch built. She was the rescuer and will be dearly missed. Connie was employed by Corporate Services which she loved dearly. Survived by mother, Berniece March; daughters, Lori (Rob) Romero, Lisa (Keith) Eggleston and Shandra (Jim) Ankar; brothers, Steve (Linda) March and Kevin March; grandchildren, Bobby and Jayden Romero and Annabelle Olson; daughters in kind and spirit, Rebekah Biles and Latisha Bryant; several foster grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. Predeceased by father, Chester March; sisters, Sharon Stohl and Donna Martin; and grandson, Nathaniel Romero. Service at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 19, in Honquest Family Funeral Home, Rockford Chapel, 4311 N. Mulford Road, with visitation from 11 a.m. to time of service.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Brendan is officially a Martin!

What a journey it has been. Two and half years ago I received a call from Roanoke County Social Services that they had a little boy they wanted to place with us! Keep in mind they had already placed two other little boys with us. My first reaction was "are you crazy?", but something stuck in my gut. As soon as we met him, we knew we had to give this little guy a place to stay. Brendan came to live with us the first time on February 8, 2008.

At that time my sister Becky and her husband Joe were considering adopting. When it looked like Brendan was going to come up for adoption, we all prayed and felt like maybe God was leading the Moberlys to adopt him. But then some family members of Brendan stepped forward and were willing to adopt Brendan. This was a mixture of sadness and happiness for our family. The Moberlys also had to grow in God's sufficient grace for that moment! In April of 2009 Brendan left our family to go and live with his biological mother's cousin and her family in the Midwest. This was a sad moment for us, but once again we had a peace and were thankful to be part of Brendan's life if only for a short time.

As time progressed with his new family, it became more and more apparent that Brendan was not adjusting well to the new situation. He was almost out of control and seemed to long for the one family he considered his own, us. We stayed in contact with his new family, hoping to give them some insight into how they could help Brendan adjust. It soon became apparent however that he was not going to adjust. At this point we had moved to Canada. We didn't know if it could be done, but we felt since Brendan had bonded with us so strongly, we were his best chance to have a stable and solid childhood and a loving family. We opened our home to him to come back and live with us as his forever family. About this time my sister Becky found out she was pregnant with her fourth child, proving once again in this story that God gives and takes away, blessed be His name!

So after some amazing work done by both the Roanoke County Social Services and the Waterloo Region Social Services in Canada, they brought Brendan up to Ontario to be reunited with us on October 17th of last year. After months of visitations and paper work, today we got the email from our social worker that Brendan Dayne is now a Martin and will forever be a treasured member of our family. Another Gotcha Day in our home!

You can follow this story about clicking on the links in this post to various other blog posts that fall in the timeline.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You are doing what??

So now that it is out there – our future plans that is – it gives me a chance to write about the whys of what we are doing. First off let me tell you about our Napkin Dreams. A few months back our entire family (OK the little boys lasted about 3 minutes through the discussion) sat down and talked over the idea of doing an extended cross country RV trip. We talked about our dreams and fears of what a trip like this would be for our family.

We wrote down our dreams on two kitchen napkins (yes it took two napkins). This is where we got the idea of napkin dreams from. Napkins are very temporal and easily destroyed, like our dreams so often are. So we have to do more than just write these down but we have to commit them into our hearts. But I want to put aside our little dreams for this post and talk about dreams in the bigger sense. Joel 2:28 says "Then after I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.

I know this isn’t the best hermeneutics, but humor me for a moment. Have you noticed how many people have dreams that they never pursue. Especially in tough economic times, people love to play it safe. In fact we cry out to our government to keep us safe! I don’t think God is about playing things safe. If that were true why would He give people visions and dreams? They always call us to live life closer to the edge, closer to relying completely on Him. The prophet Joel here lets us know that as history draws closer to the final wrap-up, God’s Spirit will call His people to even more dreaming and visioneering and future seeing! Kinda exciting to think about.

In my heart I like to buck the status quo. I don’t like the same things everyone else likes when it comes to pop culture fashion etc. This has made it easier at times for me to choose paths that are not well tread. There have been tons of decisions that people have asked me if I was sure about that. Becoming a pastor, becoming a children’s pastor, living in Mexico for a year, being part of a church plant, adopting three little boys, moving to Canada, marrying an older woman, going to a little known Bible College, homeschooling our kids and a host of other decisions have been off the expected highway to success and societal normalcy. The road less traveled.
This two-year (or more) RV road trip is one of the strangest yet though. I know. But I know God is in this. What lies around the corner, well that I’m not sure of. I’ve been surprised by God’s designs and His “whys” many times before. Most of the time it has more to do with shaping His character in me than it does me being a mover and shaker in the world. So I try not cling to the things this world sees as stability. A steady job, a house, a diversified financial portfolio, a solid retirement plan. Most of those things have been proven to be unreliable anyhow.

I do try cling to what is stable in the midst of it. God and His Word. The family He has given me. Who He made me. Where He is leading us as a family.
For those who have asked and are wondering, I will be blogging about our family’s adventures! Not here on Kid Kove though. Not sure if I will keep up the Kid Kove blog, retire it or just lay it down for a long nap during our travels. Stay tuned for more info on our travel blog and our plans here and on our Facebook page.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chase turns 4 pin the tie on Pablo

Happy birthday to our youngest! He had a great "Back the yargagins" birthday.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seasons of change

I took the big plunge earlier this month and officially gave my resignation as the Children's and Family Pastor at Forward Baptist. I am reading a statement to the the church on Sunday. Here is my statement (in blue):

A year and half ago my wife and I had come to a place in our former church where we were spiritually, physically and emotionally exhausted. One could even say “burnt out.” We both felt a change of scenery would be a tremendous help for us. At first it was. We felt a burst of energy and a rush of adrenaline as we came and jumped in with a flurry of activity and some pretty big changes too.
Then we both hit a wall sometime last fall. At about the same time Patsy and I both said we didn’t want to be a pastor/pastor’s wife anymore. We prayed about it and prayed about it and spoke with family and friends. I even spent some time with a pastoral counsellor. We also spoke with our pastor Steve Adams, so that he was in the loop as to what was going inside of our hearts. Thank-you Pastor Steve for your gracious attitude and prayerful support.
We also shared with a couple of ministry friends what was going on in our hearts and asked for prayer and guidance. One friend asked us what we would be doing if we could do anything we wanted. I know this sounds crazy to some of you, but we said we wanted to take a couple of years and travel around North America helping and encouraging churches and seeing the continent while calling an RV our home. This friend is the founder and director of a prominent non-profit ministry. He got excited about that idea and wanted to partner with us if we decided to go that route.
After another season of prayer and seeking advice, we both felt we did not have the passion and emotional energy to give to the position of Children’s Pastor at Forward. On May 11th, I offered my resignation to Pastor Steve. This was done with both great sadness for such a short stay at Forward but with tremendous relief in our hearts, feeling we can have a time of recharging and looking forward to a different adventure. After 18 years of being a pastor, this will be an entirely new experience for us, but we are trusting God to guide and lead and provide for both our family and Forward Baptist Church.

My last official day will be June 30th. We are then going to go and live at my sister's vacant house (her family is are living on military bases right now - my brother-in-law is a chaplain in the army) for a couple of months to regroup and strategize and buy an RV

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hipster Christianity

Check out this video North Point put together. Someday soon I'll have to blog about where the church in general is sliding too, from one man's perspective (OK mine). Let me say this though, I am feeling that the church needs a helathy dose of Vitamin D (D for Doctrine). Is Christianity slowly being reduced to a mode or insitution to simply help people live nice lives and be cool in the process. Is it loosing its saltiness by becoming so generic and vanilla. Should Christianity cause you to either rejoice or repel?

I think these are some serious questions we need to be asking ourselves for the time and day we live in!

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Top 10 favorite WDW moments

I thought I would wrap up my vacation posts with my Top 10 favorite moments of my Disney World Vacation. These are not in any order, because it was so hard for me to put them one as more amazing than another! Here we go.

10. Watching my two oldest sons enter the Jedi Academy. Blake is just on the oldest end of being a part of this cool feature at Disney's Hollywood studios. They both enjoyed it so much and we look forward to a future visit where our little guys are old enough to become Padawans!

9. Patsy also blogged about this one. I loved watching David get so excited about the Pixar parade he was bouncing up an down watching it. I will also always remember my wife asking me to take a picture of Sully from Monsters Inc being helped out prior to the parade reaching us. I asked her why she wanted a picture of a beloved Disney character having a heat stroke?

8. I loved eating breakfast at Ohanas. It was family style so unlike Chef Mickey's you get the food brought to you and it was so yummy!

7. Our first day there as we rode Its a Small World and watching the eyes of my three youngest sons as they were glued to the singing animitronics.

6. Doing the new Team Possible experience at Epcot. It was so cool going around to the different countries getting clues and making some of the statues talk to us, getting a golf ball and then having it analyzed, etc.. Very cool family experience.

5. I loved that Epcot was holding the International Flower and Garden Festival. All the cool topiaries and the butterfly tent were a nice extra touch.

4. This is our first year for hunting down some Hidden Mickeys. We found a a few. To learn more about hidden mickeys go here.
3. Getting to spend everyday with my family. I think that is toughest thing to withdraw from for me. I am a family junkie!

2. The new Toy Story Mania ride was amazing!!

1. Being a part of all five boys doing the Pirates League at the Magic Kingdom. It was so fun and we felt like we were all kids again. Yes it cost extra, but I will treasure the memories forever!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Developing the hidden talents in your children

Wow , this subject is so important to parenting. Too often as parents we key in on things like academics, athletics, or even worse popularity and fashion styles, when trying to help our kids develop a good self esteem in who God created them to be. Of course the ultimate area of our children's' hearts we should be concerned with is their spiritual person, there is something very closely connected with that we often miss. It is subtle yet so important.

It is key for us as parents to try discover our child's natural bent or inclination to something and encourage that. We may at the moment feel like it is a trivial talent or a hobby that would never "bring in the big bucks", but as your child grows, I believe you need to put aside those thoughts and see where your child's interests are taking them. What makes your child unique, stand out, different from the rest of the kids?

If we admit it sometimes we don't want our kids to stand out, we want them to fit in. But this is not God's plan for any of us. Tanner is a great kid. Our second oldest struggles with some pretty major learning hindrances. He continues to to fight to overcome them. Homeschooling has been a lifesaver for him.

Growing up he has loved playdoh. He would play for hours with playdoh. He also liked silly putty, mud and anything else in this line of consistency. At one time he graduated up to modeling clay, which is where he is at now. At first he would just make tons of little blobs and pretend they were animals or TV characters or made-up characters. We bit our tongue. It seemed like a a big mess to us and a little strange. Then he started modeling for real, mixing colors and making real figures. Now he is asking mom to bake them and he and his brothers play with his characters! They are pretty awesome if you ask me - for a 10-year old they are stinking awesome!

So what does God have in mind for Tanner and this developing gift? I don't know, but God does. Isn't that exciting to know. God made him for a special and unique reason and we don't have to form him into any image the world would try to put him in.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another Pinewood Derby!

Just as Blake and Tanner grew out of the pinewood derby cars, our little guys have entered it. this year David and Brendan got to make cars and race them in their Tadpoles club at church. They both did ok. David had the third fastest car. Brendan's car wasn't the slowest, but it wasn't the fastest either. Of course the best part of the race is watching thier faces light up as the cars come down the big track. Neither of the boys shed even a tear when they did not get a trophy, whcih is what I was the proudest about!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We have gone Duggar crazy

I am not sure why but recently my wife and I have really gotten hooked on the Duggars TV program on TLC. We have been recording back-shows and watching them like crazy. Maybe it is because we have five kids and we like to pick up good ideas on how to parent a large family! Of course I realize they have a lot more kids - almost 4 times as many. Still I think some of the principles apply.
I have been challenged to be more positive. Jim Bob Duggar (you got to love that name!) is a very positive dad, always encouraging his family. Patsy says she is inspired by how Michelle Duggar is always talking so patiently and never yelling at her kids. They are also very organized. We have learned that with five boys you have to be organized. Patsy is great at this, laying out menus and grocery lists and smile charts and weekly school assignments for the boys. We have also had chore charts before.
Anyone else Duggar fans?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

He took the Whipping

This is a really old story I heard as a kid, but I still like it. My thought is the classics never go out of style.

He Took The Whipping
Author Unknown

In the mountains of Virginia, there once was a one-room school with students no teacher had been able to handle. Two or three teachers had been run off from this school in one year by the unruly students.

A young teacher heard about the school and applied for the job. The man interviewing him asked, "Do you not know what you are asking for? No one has been able to handle these students. You are just asking for a terrible beating."

After a few moments of silent prayer, the young man replied, "Sir, with your consent I accept the challenge. Just give me a trial basis."

The next morning the young man stood before the class. He said to the class, "Young people, I came here today to conduct school. But I realize I can't do it by myself. I must have your help." One big boy they called Big Tom, in the back of the room whispered to his buddies, "I'll not need any help. I can lick that little bird all by myself."

The young teacher told the class that if they were to have school, there would have to be some rules to go by. But he also added that he would allow the students to make up the rules, and that he would list them on the blackboard. This was certainly different, the students thought! One young man suggested "No stealing!" Another one shouted, "Be on time!" Pretty soon they had ten rules listed on the board.

The teacher then asked the class what the punishment should be for breaking the rules. "Rules are no good unless they are enforced," he said.

"Beat him across the back ten times without his coat on," was the decision of the boys.

"That is pretty severe, boys. Are you ready to stand by it?" inquired the teacher. Another yell, and the teacher said, "The rules stand. School comes to order!"

Everything went well for two or three days. Then Big Tom came in one day very upset. He declared that someone had stolen his lunch. After talking with the students, they came to the conclusion that little Timmy had stolen Big Tom's lunch. Someone had seen little Timmy with Big Tom's lunch! The teacher called little Timmy up to the front of the room. Little Timmy admitted he had taken Big Tom's lunch.

So the teacher asked him, "Do you know the punishment?"

Little Timmy nodded that he did.

"You must remove your coat, then," the teacher instructed. The little fellow had come with a great big coat on.

Little Timmy said to the teacher, "I am guilty, and I am willing to take my punishment, but please don't make me take off my coat."

The teacher reminded little Timmy of the rules and punishments and again told him he must remove his coat and take his punishment like a man. The little fellow started to unbutton hist old coat. As he did so, the teacher saw he did not have a shirt on under the coat. And even worse, he saw a frail and bony frame hidden beneath that coat. The teacher asked little Timmy why he had come to school without a shirt on.

Little Timmy replied, "My daddy's dead, and my mother is very poor. I don't have but one shirt, and my mother is washing it today. I wore my big brother's coat so's to keep warm."

That young teacher stood and looked at the frail back, the ribs sticking out, the spine protruding against the skin. He wondered how he could lay a rod on that little back and without even a shirt on. Still, he knew he must enforce the punishment or the children would not obey the rules. So he drew back to strike little Timmy.

Just then Big Tom stood up and came down the aisle. He asked, "Is there anything that says I can't take little Timmy's whipping for him?"

The teacher thought about it and answered, "The rule says what the punishment is for stealing, but it doesn't say who must take the punishment."

With that Big Tom ripped his coat off and stooped and stood over little Timmy at the desk. Hesitatingly, the teacher began to lay the rod on that big back. But for some strange reason, after only five licks that old rod just broke in half.

The young teacher buried his face in his hands and began to sob. He heard a commotion and looked up to find not even one dry eye in the room. Little Timmy had turned and grabbed Big Tom around the neck, apologizing to him for stealing his lunch, begging his forgiveness. He declared, "Tom, I am sorry I stole your lunch, but I was awful hungry. Tom, I'll love you till the day I die for taking my whipping for me. Yes, I'll love you forever!"

Friend, you have broken the rules and deserve eternal punishment! But Jesus Christ took your scourging for you; He died in your place and now offers to clothe you with His garments of salvation. Aren't you glad that He took the whipping for you?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. --Romans 6:23 (NIV)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why I am conservative part 3

I am firm believer in the Bill of Rights. If you know your history the Bill of Rights was added to the original Constitution after fears from local state governments. During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the American Revolution. They demanded a "bill of rights" that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.
Here are the Bill of Rights

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Yet these cornerstones of liberty that have inspired and spawned freedom movements across the globe are under constant attack here at home. While both sides of the political aisle have sought to undermine these guaranteed freedoms and have sought to centralize power in Washington DC, far away from the people, this has been the hallmark of progressive idealogy.
The Fairness Doctrine would seek to limit or abolish free speech. The freedom to express religious thought in the public square is more limited here that in Russia or most Communist states. Eminent domain laws have been abused and people in many cases have not received just compensation for personal property. Excessive fines imposed? What a joke! Sorry I cant even abide with warrantless wiretaps on US citizens, (no problem on others for me). The right to keep and bear arms continues to be under attack. The right to peaceably assemble? How many laws have been passed trying to make peaceful demonstrations illegal? A speedy trial, yeah right. How about Amendment X. This amendment once caused a civil war in our country. The Republican party was right on this issue, the states have no right to secede. Since then though the rise of power in the Federal Government and the seizure of power by the Feds from the people on a local level has gone unchecked.
As a conservative I know that sometimes freedom brings with it danger, discomfort and even the loss of services (gasp!), but freedom is too sweet to give up.
"Live Free or Die" is the official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, adopted by the state in 1945. It is possibly the best-known of all state mottos, partly because it speaks to an assertive independence historically found in American political philosophy, my philosophy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why I am a conservative part 2

Notice I say a conservative, not a Republican. There are many Republicans who do not hold to a conservative worldview. Also the term conservative is not a term I am big on. Conservative conveys clinging to the status quo. Progressive conveys new and creative. Two hundred years ago it was considered radical. In many other countries and civilizations this world view is considered new and creative. Also progressive thought has been around for just as long (if not longer) than the conservative view. Enough with the labels.

My worldview holds that a big part of the role of government is to protect the innocent and the weak, defending those who cannot defend themselves. Through our history the party of the conservatives have done a much better job at this than those on the progressive sides. All political parties have had corrupt elements that have taken advantage of the helpless though. Here are the five people groups that I see in our current culture (referring to the US, not the entire world) that need our help.
1. The pre-born. They have no voice, but they do have a soul. They cannot fight back but they can feel pain. The do no vote but they do count. Who is taking up the cause for the single most oppressed group in history. This is genocide at its worst.

2. Children. Every politician and any other kind of leader says they support children and they even pass supposed laws to help them. Once again many of these policies hurt them. In areas that are ruled by long term progressives, children linger in the foster care system for years. Families are penalized by taxes for staying married, having a parent stay home, trying to choose a school for their child that is safe and thriving or any other host of burden s thrust on parents by the government. Have you ever read Animal Farm by George Orwell? You may remember what the pigs did with the puppies? Governments always drift to the position that they can better train and rear children than parents can. My worldview sees the government as a terrible guardian for children.

3. Elderly. If you ever sit and listen to those in power positions in any organization, the elderly are always marginalized and their opinion counts for nothing. The prevailing thought is the elderly need to give their money and be quiet. “Your time has past.” We could learn something from Oriental culture on this matter.

4. Small businesses. Unfortunately neither party on the national level looks out for this group. Progressives tax and regulate business so much that no one could start a business under such a burden. Republicans (in general) give such breaks to the big corporations that enables them to squash smaller competition. The recent Health bill just gave a bunch of power to the big insurance companies while making it next to impossible for smaller companies to survive. With smaller businesses and entrepreneurs, and society will eventually crumble in on itself and decay.

5. Victims of crime. So often our society is so concerned with the criminal and the environment he or she grew up in and the roadblocks they faced that they legitimize their crimes against innocent people (often children and the elderly) who may have faced the very same roadblocks. I am also interested in protecting potential victim of crimes by being tough on true offenders. Now we want to let them vote? Yes I believe in eternal and personal forgiveness, but not societal forgiveness. It is simply not Biblical or moral or practical. I am also for the humane treatment of all humans. The original conservatives wrote it into the constitution!

So, to use a current buzz word, I am all about “social justice” when it comes to these harassed and forgotten people groups. Regardless of their race, sex or religion, they face discrimination and unfair practices at every turn. Now I am not for taking from innocent people, or even guilty people, to repair damages for these groups. I am for government protecting them from crimes, getting out of their way in their pursuit of happiness and guaranteeing their basic rights to life and liberty!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why I am a conservative part 1

It seems to me that the modern Christian movement (or post-modern “whatever”) has recently been using the conservative philosophy as a punching bag. What used to be the dominant worldview in not only churches but our country has now been vilified and shunned in a few dramatic years. So now I am a conservative in exile, but a conservative nonetheless.
You see I never adopted this world view because it is prominent. In fact in my relatively short lifespan the predominant world view has shifted back and forth but has been steadily shifting to the left or the progressive worldview. I am much better at writing than I am at debating (my ADHD kicks in and my mind goes two thousand directions and then has a meltdown). So I thought I would blog a series on why I hold this worldview.
For my first entry I hold this worldview because it is the one that has worked. Everyone gets so upset that the US has so much. This is most likely going to change very soon. But the reason the US has so much is that the concept of the USA has worked so well. That concept is that every person has the right and ability to work as hard as they see fit to succeed at what they have in their hearts and the government needs to do as little as possible to stand in their way. The government’s role is to help the citizen succeed by providing an climate in which hard work and honesty and compassion are rewarded, and laziness, dishonesty and greed are punished. Greed, as defined as not working hard but rather taking from others, is not an American value, or at least it wasn’t.
Yes the US has had its problems, but is one of the few systems where those problems have worked themselves out because the people put enough pressure on the government and their fellow citizens to make those changes. Our system is one of the few that has given equal protection to everyone. This is was a hallmark of the progressive worldview, yet so many with this mindset can acknowledge that the system our founders put in place is one of the few that has produced so much freedom for so many!
The conservative view also sees reliance for any person on government programs as soul snatching and dignity stealing. A hand-up makes a person grateful and feel part of the human race. A hand-out lulls a person into a pit of indentured servitude. Now many of my progressive friends would disagree with me here, but this is my firm belief. God created us to be creative, to work for something and not receive something for nothing over a lifetime.
Here is something that we as Christians do not want to admit. All the social programs, soup kitchens, food banks and even the work of the Salvation Army has never solved poverty. It has been nothing but a drug to ease the pain. Poverty has only been solved in a person’s life when they have been challenged and encouraged to lift themselves from that poverty. In fact sometimes our good intentions have done more long-term harm than they have good. In the west we have the life-long poor who in many cases struggle with obesity. A little different than in a third world country. In other words, they do not need to work, so why bother? If you are honest you know why. Their souls have been robbed from them.

If we do not add value through our efforts to society we become shells of who God created us to be. Our founders knew this. They knew that government should empower the people by rewarding hard work, not the lack thereof.
So the conservative in me sees a food bank and says, where are the money management classes and the job training seminars to help people never have to return here. A hand-up is a thousand times more valuable than a hand-out. This has been the American way and this view has helped even the least talented among our citizens such as myself live a prosperous life!

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." – Samuel Adams

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause." - Padme Amidala
No more to comment on!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Home is where the heart is

For the last 10 months we have rented a farm house from some people at church. It looks as if it has finally sold (they have been trying for almost three years to sell it), so we are moving into town. We have loved living on the farm and we thank God for such a amazing opportunity to live there. The horses, the llama, the barn, the 3,000+ square feet of living space, and the quiet of the country.
Our new home, at least for the next 6 months, is about half the size and is a townhome, sharing one side of the home with neighbors.

On the plus side it is super close to work and a newer home. We also welcome back with open arms a dishwasher, which we have lived without for the last 10 months. This will make house number seven since Patsy and I have been married. We celebrate 15 years together this August. This from a man who lived in the same house throughout childhood.

While we have lived in seven houses now, we have but one home. When you have moved around like we have, the saying home is where the heart is becomes an axiom to live by. For us our home is where our family is. As long as we are together, we are at home! As long as Christ is the center of our home, then we are truly grounded in love! It bring s new meaning to the saying "Home Sweet Home" for us!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Pats!!

Gotcha Day

Friday, March 12th, our family celebrated our first ever Gotcha Day. A year ago we officially adopted David and Chase. Even though they had been with us for two years prior to that day, we purposed in our hearts that March 12th was going to be a very special day in the Martin home. We have come to the conclusion that adoption is something to celebrate and not hide!

So first thing in the morning I ran to the hollowed Canadian chain, Tim Hortons, and bought some donuts! After breakfast we all sat down at the computer and looked at some photos of David and Chase when they were babies, with their biological mother and of the adoption day back in Roanoke. Then, after some school in the morning our entire family went to the most American of restaurants, Chuck E Cheese for lunch (homeschooling rocks!). I am happy to report that with a lot of of Parmesan and peppercorn, the pizza was passable!

Then we stopped by and elderly couple's house. Frank and Ruth Lawrence are from our church. they have been married over 60 years. Frank has been building a model railroad set-up in his basement for years and it is quite a display. He mentioned it to me and I asked him if I could bring my boys over to see it. They all loved it and were amazed by it's sheer size!

At the end of the day we had family video night and cuddled up the couch. What a great Gotcha Day we had.