About ME

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Mansfield, Texas, United States
Mr. E is a Christian, Husband, Father of 2, former Army Officer and Texas Rangers Baseball fan.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Who Exactly is Running for President Anyway?

OK, it's time to admit I'm a bit of a government and political nerd. I do not belong to any major (or minor for that matter) political party. In fact there are things I hate and like about both the Democrats and Republicans. I just like the political process and am fascinated with elections in particular. I memorized the Presidents of the United States when I was in 8th Grade and still know all of their first, middle, last names, and party affiliation. I am pretty accurate and stating their time served as well. NERD!

After watching the results of last night's Iowa Caucasus, it surprised me how many people have no idea who is actually running for President of the United States. So let me help you out a little bit. A couple of good web-sites to go to for some information are CNN's Election Center 2008 or Fox News' You Decide 2008. Both these sites give you a brief biography of each candidate, what their ideas are in some of the major issues and how many delegates towards nomination they have.

Now I present to you a list of all the candidates for the two major parties who are still in the race. Just click on their names to go directly to their official Presidential Campaign Site. Just to let you know Sen. Joseph Biden and Sen. Chris Dodd officially dropped out of the race after poor showings last night in Iowa.

First the Democrats

Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois

Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York

Former Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina

Gov. Bill Richardson, New Mexico

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio

Former Sen. Mike Gravel, Alaska

And now the Republicans

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Arkansas

Former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, New York

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, Massachusetts

Sen. John McCain, Arizona

Former Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee

Rep. Ron Paul, Texas

Rep. Duncan Hunter, California

Now I'm not endorsing any candidate at this point! I'm just presenting you the information so you can make an informed choice when you state goes to the polls soon for the party primaries. I strongly urge you to look at each candidate and see what their views and positions are, not only for President but for your Federal State Senate & House seats, as well as State and local candidates. Be an informed voter and choose wisely!

Update: Jan. 10, 2008 -- Democratic Candidate, Bill Richardson, has announced he is withdrawing from his bid to become President. (click here for official announcement)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

How Many More Days Until the Next Break?

Today everyone in my family returned to our normal routine of school and/or work. (Actually my wife returned to work yesterday.) The kids were glad to be able to see their friends again, but were sad they didn't have more time to spend with some of their new Christmas goodies. My wife said she had a good day at work yesterday and it felt good to be back in the swing of things.

As for me...I'm bored! As a teacher, I tend to have to return to work a couple of days before the students arrive in order to do lesson preparations. Me being "obsessive compulsive" I already had the majority of this done before I left for the holiday break. So after being at work for about 30 minutes, I have finished my lesson planning and am looking for something else to do. I think we have some student evaluation paperwork to do, but that will only take up another hour or two at the most. That leaves 6 hours today and another 8 hours tomorrow to sit around, be bored and look busy. I am going to pray (after I blog) that God leads me to something productive to do to help me be a better teacher and be better prepared for when the students arrive on Monday.

It's always tough to return to work after a long break. Now I'm just wondering How many more days until the next break. (I think it's the 21st, to celebrate MLK Jr.'s B-day!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Pains of Being Disciplined

One of the hardest things to do when you are a parent is to effectively discipline your children, and yourself on occasion. It's hard not to let emotions take over and ruin good teachable moments or take the focus of the lesson you want your children to learn. For example...

Near the end of last year our family changed our rules system in an attempt to be more fair and be more ordered in our approach to discipline. The rules we adopted are based upon a book called, FAMILY Rules: Positive Parenting with a Plan (Grades K-12) by: Matthew A. Johnson. As a part of this system, when a family rule is broken, the offender must pull a card, or cards depending on the rule broken, to try an re-enforce positive behaviors rather than the negative behaviors we chose to do. Even parents must pull cards when they break rules. I have had to pull more than anyone since we started the system. (I accidentally ran a red-light {10 cards}, I have cussed twice {3 cards each time}, I was sarcastic in my words three times {1 card for each offense}, I failed to have my part of the parent's room straight in a timely manner {1 card}, I failed on my one day of the week to feed the dog {1 card})

The hardest part is when your children must pull cards when they feel they were "justified" in what they did or they feel they did nothing wrong. It's not hard to make the decision to have them pull cards or to even explain why what they did was wrong. It is hard to see them, when they genuinely feel remorse and they have to struggle to do the "punishment/good behavior re-enforcer" the card tells them to do. It's hard not to run over to them and just hug them and forgive them of all wrong doing. It's hard not to "take back" the punishment to stop their hurt. But we can't!

We can't stop them from feeling remorse. It's the feeling of remorse that causes our "pride" to hurt. It is that kind of pain that causes us to look inside ourselves and seek what can truly stop all of our pain and suffering. It causes us to seek our Father, Our Creator. It causes us to see that what wrongs we have done not only hurts ourselves, but it also hurts others. Our wrongs hurts other family members, friends, and most importantly it hurts our God. When we finally come to grips with this fact. We can seek forgiveness and accept His grace for what it really is. Not just an excuse to keep doing our bad behaviors, but the freedom from having to do the bad things in the first place.

So we watch our children as they cry and attempt to sort through their budding new emotions and feelings. We watch them and attempt to guide their feelings in positive ways so they don't feel that they are "totally evil." We listen to them as they try their best to relate their feelings to you. Sometimes it comes in angry outburst. Sometimes it comes in confused bits of conversation or writings on paper. We do our best to be patient and understanding. We know, sort of, what they are going through because we were kids once ourselves. It's just hard.

So really the hard part is just watching them learn. It's hard and painful sometimes, but they will live through it. I hope I'm not just rambling on and on. I tried to make a point. Maybe I am still learning as well and need to just write a few minutes to sort through what I am feeling as well. After all I am still a child myself. I am a child of the King!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Dying to One's Self Is Not Easy

It seems the past few weeks or so I have been reading or hearing things that point to the need for Christians to "Die to their former selves and be reborn into their new life with Christ!" At first I was dismissing these "cues" as if to say, "I was baptized and I have repented of my sins. God loves me now and that is that!" I think God wanted me to hear more.

In my Sunday morning class at my church...we have been talking about how you must undergo a severe humbling process in order to turn your life fully over the the will of God. You must give up your own will, not only in mind, but in body, to the will of the Father. Even if the desires to continue in our sinful ways pull hard on our hearts, it's what the body does that shows the true desires of our hearts. We may confess all day long that we want to give up our sins, addictions, and selfish behaviors, but when we continue to choose to wallow in our hopelessness and choose not to act on our faith in God, we are showing that we are still giving in to the desire of our hearts to do what We want to do not what God wants us to do.

I have also been reading a book called "When Heaven Weeps" by Ted Dekker. In it the main character keeps referring to how Christians as a whole refuse to join Christ in His cruel and terrible death in order to show His love to others. He states we are perfectly fine to confess the love of Jesus, but we refuse to get our hands dirty to work to show that love. We say we love others, but if it means pain and suffering for ourselves, we will choose Self over Others every time.

God calls us to die our old self and join Christ in death. It is absolutely necessary to do this in order to fully understand, accept and act upon His Grace. There is a quote from the book that stands out..."Is the death of the will any less painful than the death of the body? Call it figurative if it makes you comfortable, but in reality the death of the will is far more traumatic than the death of the body." " In the death of the body the nerve endings soon stop feeling. In the death of the will the heart doesn't stop its bleeding so quickly."

Giving up our selfish will is hard to do. It's something I myself need to come face to face with. I am scared to death to do it. I have been a Christian for some time, but It's hard to show any tangible evidence of my faith as far as actively loving others is concerned. Recent events in my life have caused me to be much less judgemental when it comes to looking at the sins and actions of others, but I still have a hard time actively loving them.

My New Year's Resolution is to pray that God allows me to die to old self and be reborn a person who is fully capable of loving others the same way that He loves me. I am terrified of how God may choose to do this, but I know it will be the best thing for me. I am ready, I think. Pray for Me!