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.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Last Blog for 2008!

This will be my last blog for the year 2008! I just finished teaching a marriage education class to 8 couples in Tyler today and I am very glad this is my job. All my couples thanked me for taking the time to teach them some valuable communication, conflict resolution, budgeting and other skills they will need to get their marriages off to a great start. I even got a phone call during one of the breaks from the couple who completed my 8 hour class last Monday. (The one that lasted from 3:00-11:00 p.m.) They got married and they want to e-mail me some pictures of the wedding!

God has blessed me with a wonderful job. Not only do I teach these great skills to couples, both married, engaged or other, I also learn from them as well.

I hope God blesses me in 2009 so that I can help even more couples.

Happy New Year, See You in 2009! -- Mark English

Thursday, December 25, 2008

English Family Photo 2008!

Actually this picture was made in October of this year, but it was part of a series of family photos, made along with my sister and her daughter, we made to give to my parents as a Christmas gift. We really liked this one with the Flag flying in the background!

Merry Christmas 2008!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas - 2008

My wife Jamie and I have a tradition each year of buying each other 12 gifts for Christmas (not counting anything that fits in our stockings). Each gift must be $5.00 or less, not counting tax, and one gift can be up to $10.00. This is hard for me because their are not many things out there that are $5.00 or less. You have to be very creative sometimes. Here is what I got from my bride, Jamie this year.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 2 pairs of needed dress socks

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me: A Wine Tasting for Dummies Kit (includes a book about how to get to know the types of wines and 4 wine glasses) Sadly the day before I got a box of 4 wine glasses as part of the gift exchange at my work Christmas Party. Wine anyone?

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 2 pairs of needed dress socks

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a 4 pack of Starbucks Frappachinos (Mocha flavor)

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a wooden cross magnet that has a "secret Bible verse" engraved on it.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a Red "I'm a Christian Dad" T-shirt

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 2 pairs of needed dress socks (I am now good on dress socks for the next few years)

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: the movie "Patriot Games" on DVD. This was the movie we watched on our first "official" date. How Romantic! (Romantic that she remembered the movie, but not such a romantic movie to watch on a first date.)

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: A pair of Salt & Pepper Shakers that fit together like puzzle pieces (You have to have seen the movie: Fireproof, to appreciate this gift.)

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a set of metal brain-teaser puzzles.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a pair of nice shorts for next spring.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: A nice dress short sleeve shirt!

The strangest gift I received, so far, this year came from my mother. She got me a monogrammed silver toothpick holder! Ooohhh! Now I can finally reach that piece of popcorn that has been stuck back there for years.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Very Long Day

Today I am going to do something either very generous or very insane. I am about to teach a couple an 8 hour Marriage Education Class, starting at 3:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. This will put me home around 11:30 p.m. or so. To top is off I have been fighting a cold since last Thursday, and I am still coughing, sneezing and blowing my nose often. I hope my couple has lots of LYSOL.

This couple is getting married on Sunday the 28th and I was only person who was willing to teach them on short notice for that time of day. If they complete my class (and they better), they will get a certificate to save $60.00 when applying for their marriage license.

I am going in to work today at 12:00 noon, in order to flex some hours off and I am going to work at 9:00 tomorrow. I am flexing the rest of the overtime hours off on Wednesday so I can leave at 12:00 noon to spend Christmas Eve with my family.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bravo Obama, Bravo!

President Elect Barack Obama stunned the, "sinful side of the American Community" yesterday by announcing that Pastor Rick Warren will lead the invocation during the Presidential Inauguration! Of course, all the gay-rights, abortion rights, and other "mainstream American cultural groups" are throwing a hissy-fit. (I hope I spelled hissy right!)


I just hope Obama does not back down to the negative pressure to drop Warren and choose someone else.

Good choice Obama, now stick to your choice!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Learning the Voice of God

When God first called the great Prophet Samuel, Samuel did not immediately recognize the voice of God! Samuel had to get advice from his mentor, the priest Eli, on what do when he heard God's voice calling to him. Only after the third calling from God did Samuel answer. Why didn't Samuel recognize God's voice? Maybe it was because he was not actively searching for God and listening for His voice? Once Samuel did learn the voice of God, Samuel followed God the rest of his life.

Even the best of us Christians who are seeking God probably could not recognize the voice of God if He did speak to us. Why? It it because the noise of the world drowns out the quite still voice of God? It is because we don't have a relationship with God and therefore treat His voice as if it were the voice of a stranger?

Sheep have to learn the voice of their specific shepherd over all the other voices in the fields. Once they do, they will only respond to THEIR Shepherd, and them alone. Maybe as Christians we should do a better job of learning the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus the Christ? There are many voices in our world who claim to be shepherds or just voices who want to distract us from hearing the voice of God. We need to learn the voice of God, because His is the only voice that will lead us to safety, among a world full of wolves!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm Singing, I'm in an Outback and I'm Singing!

The Longview Wellness Center, my place of employment, is having their annual Christmas party tomorrow. They are providing a nice spread at Outback Steakhouse! I chose the ribs!

We are also doing a gift exchange. With about 80+ people, this should be fun.

They are also doing a Longview Wellness Center Idol Contest. At first I thought, there is no way they can make me sing, but then I found out there is a $100.00 cash prize and there were only 3 other people signed up. So I became the fourth Idol contestant. Hey, I think embarrassing myself is worth it for a 1 in 4 chance to win some cash. I am singing a song that I wrote, a cappella style. Maybe I will get points for bravery, by singing without the music?

I will let you know how I fared just as soon as I can. I know you can't wait to see if I become a star or not! (NOT!)

Update: Dec. 12, 2008 -- I finished 3rd out of 6 contestants! No prize for 3rd Place though. : (

Monday, December 8, 2008

Talk About Some Big Hair

Shortly before Thanksgiving, my daughter's science teacher, Mr. Haney, did an experiment with static electricity. Apparently Rachel's hair reacted just the way he wanted it to when she touched the big static electric ball. See for yourself. Cute!

That's my girl!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bye, Bye, BRATZ

There is celebrating in the streets in my neighborhood; well at least in my house. A federal judge has ordered MGA Entertainment to cease making the BRATZ line of dolls. Those big pouty lip, dolls that dress like "hookers" are going to be gone off the shelf after the New Year.















It seems MGA Entertainment ticked off Barbie's manufacturers, Mattel, by breaking some sort of copyright infringement. I guess you don't want to make Barbie mad! All BRATZ lines are to pulled off the shelf. This includes, Baby BRATZ, and their stupid little BRATZ Pets. I hope this includes all video games as well.

I was opposed to BRATZ from the beginning because I felt it encouraged a life-style that I did not approve of, that included the way they dressed. Plus they just gave me the creeps with those big ugly eyes and all. Freaky!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Playing Racquetball With God!

This afternoon, after work, I decided to go get a work out at my local gym; after all I am paying for a membership. Despite being the middle of the day, the treadmills and bicycle machines were full. Being prepared, I had my racquetball equipment with me. I found an empty court to play in and decided to just to hit the ball around some. Alas, it is not much fun playing by yourself! So, I challenged God to play with me.

We would play like a normal game, except you could choose to take a 2nd bounce on the initial serve. God agreed. I served first and the game was on. I served, then God returned, and then I hit and so on. It did make my boring practice a lot more fun. In the end HE beat me 21-14! At least I scored. God could have cheated and used His powers to crush me, but I guess He wanted to make it fair. It wasn't like wrestling with Jacob though. At least Jacob wrestled God to a draw (sort of!), and got a name change. I still have my name and God still reigns supreme.

At least no one could hear me talking to myself, "17 serving 15, God's Serve!" I may just have to invite God to do more activities with me. I think He would like that!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Need a Moment!

There are a few people I know who have had one or two "defining" moments in their life. A moment that profoundly changed the way they think or act. After looking long and hard into my past I am not sure I have had one of those moments.

Maybe I had one when I chose to be baptized into Christ; however, I was raised a Christian and the decision to follow Jesus came naturally. I have grown in my personal faith over the years, but sadly I don't think I have had the experience of "discovering Jesus" like those who found their personal faith in later years.

Maybe I had one when I got married. I had to learn to live with another person and learn to love Jamie as I loved myself; however, I don't think it radically changed my personal behavior until much later into the marriage. I was still selfish with what I desired and still tended lie about things more than I should.

Maybe I had one when my kids were born. Bringing new life into the world is a miracle, but I don't think it radically changed my behavior.

Maybe it was when my wife and I separated for a while in our 13th year of marriage. It was a major crisis of course. We had to work very hard to change both our behaviors. I did finally learn to love Jamie "unconditionally" and the experience did help me to stop judging others for their behaviors. It brought me to my knees in prayer and devotion, but this re-dedication to being in God's word and in prayer only lasted about a year. This maybe the closest I cam to a radical change of behavior or thinking.

You would think how I found out I had high blood pressure would have changed my behavior. After all the doctors thought I was having a stroke; however, I still do not eat as healthy as I should and I don't exercise like I should.

You would think joining the Army would have changed me, but alas all it did was get me in shape and give me some leadership skills.

I want a moment! I want a moment that will change my life. I know I need to be careful what I ask for! I really don't want that moment to be the death of a child, the end of my marriage or a crippling injury to myself or a loved one. I still want a moment. A moment I can look back on and say, "This moment changed my way of life forever!" Maybe I have already had those moments, and I am just unappreciative of them; after all the Israelites of the Bible had many "Big Moments" (the plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Laws from the mountain, and many others) but they still fell away from God from time to time.

Maybe I'm not meant for big changes all at once. My OCD would not like that at all, but maybe that's what I want. I want to scare my OCD right out of me. Until then, I will learn to look back on and love the smaller moments that created small changes that have improved me little by little.

Monday, December 1, 2008

These are NOT your Pirates of the Caribbean!

Argg, there be pirates on the oceans; however, these are not the romanticized version of pirates as presented by Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean. These pirates have machine guns and are literally terrorists on the oceans.

Apparently some pirates from Somalia are saying, "There is no one in the world who can stop them." If the rest of the world would let the United States, Britain or Russia use our Navies, we would show those pirates a thing or two.

Maybe we should sic our new Secretary of State in waiting, Hillary Clinton on them? I sure don't want to be on her bad sad.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is There Such a Thing as Food Porn?

As most men do (if they admit it or not), I struggle not to look a little to long at the over sexual advertisements that blanket the television airwaves. I have also hesitated a tad to long when about to delete that spam e-mail asking me to view the available women in the local area. Even though pornography is not one of my major struggles, I do know my limitations and I do my best to avoid looking at or supporting anything that has to do with the porn industry.

What I do struggle with is, the overwhelming number of food commercials out there. I may not be looking or seeking out naked women, but I am constantly tempted to eat the calorie friendly Subway Sandwiches, the Red Lobster shrimp specials, or the best pizza deals from Papa John's or Pizza Hut. Food can, and is, controlling a large part of my thoughts. If I am correct, isn't this gluttony? Gluttony is a sin right? How am I supposed to focus my energies on the bread of life, when I can't quit thinking about the delicious bread sticks at Olive Garden?

I think the food commercials are affecting me much like the half-naked Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders affect someone with a porn/sex addiction. I am going to have train myself to fast forward past food commercials when watching shows I have recorded. I am going to have to train myself to turn down the volume and look away from the television when the commercial for Burger King's Bacon, Mushroom and Swiss burger fills the screen. I do this when half-naked women appear in the commercials; why can't I do this when food comes on the commercials?

What about the billboards along the roads? When I see a billboard for a XXX place or a "Gentleman's Club" it almost makes me sick; yet, when I see a billboard for IHOP's latest monthly special, with those delicious looking syrupy pancakes, I "lust" for them.

I think I have stumbled across the answer to my food addiction. Treat food like I do pornography and I just may see things a little differently. Food Porn, that's what I'm calling it. It looks pleasing to the eyes, but it destroys your body and soul.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Greed of Others Kills a Man

I found this very disturbing story today while checking up on the news. Man Curshed to Death by Crowds at a Wal-Mart in New York. How greedy and self-absorbed do you have to be injure several people and crush a man to death, just to get a toy or other gift item because it's on sale? Even after police and others cleared a space around the man, the customers still shoved and jostled the rescure officers as they attempted to save the man.

If I owned that Wal-Mart I would have re-locked the doors, called in a massive police force, and charged every customer in the store with manslaughter or murder. I would have at least escorted every one of the them out of the store, without letting them purchase anything. I don't need money bad enough to let people get away with murder.

Our selfishness and greed is going to be the end of our nation. Just wait and see!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

WE ARE SPARTA!

Well, we aren't really Sparta, but it is my 300th Blog! My, my, how time flies when you are having fun.

Since I have started blogging, I have had 3 jobs, got a cat, and got a new, English Standard Version Study Bible. I have at least 4, maybe 5, loyal readers and at least 6 sometimes readers who will comment from time to time.

I have also discovered, Facebook! Thanks to Facebook, I have connected with some lost friends and have become addicted to a game called Mouse Hunt!

I have become a loyal subscriber to the Grocery Game, where the strategic use of coupons saves you lots of $ money $.

I have gained about 15 pounds, which I am now working to loose, and I have discovered I have High Blood Pressure! To try to improve my overall health, I did join a local gym.

My family and I have committed to using the principles of Financial Peace University; something I wish the U.S. Government would do!

I have seen the United States elect their first African-American President and watched as the U.S. Congress used our tax money to rescue the rich from becoming like the rest of us middle class Americans.

I have become big fans of the television shows, Ghost Hunters, Meerkat Manor, The Office, and Battlestar Galactica (2003 version).


My son, Caleb, also turned 13! I still think, I'm not old enough to have a teenage son.
So in honor of my 300th blog, I think I will take a week off from blogging and see you guys again next Sunday! As my old pal Tigger often says, "TTFN!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who Makes the Laws Around Here Anyway?

The Last time I read the U.S. Constitution, it was the Legislative Branch of Government's job to make laws or the people themselves by changing the Constitution through the Amendment Process. It is becoming increasingly clear; however, that the Judicial Branch of the United States is abusing its power to determine if a law is being enforced fairly or giving interpretation of the law as listed in the Constitution.

A prime example of this abuse of power is currently going on in California. The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case seeking to overturn the passing of a banning of same-sex marriages by the voters of California. By what authority does the Supreme Court have to even hear that case? The Supreme Courts of the U.S. are supposed to rule based on the current writings of their various State Constitutions. They cannot change the wording of such Constitutions, only rule based on what they say.

The people of California voted to change their Constitution to ban any further same-sex marriages in their state. The California Supreme Court may not like it but they must help enforce and rule in favor of the will of the people of California. (I do believe that any same-sex marriages that took place before the Amendment went into effect must be respected as being legal, thanks to the Ex Post Facto clause in the U.S. Constitution.) If the California Supreme Court rules that this Amendment is against the civil liberties of the people of their state, and they throw out the Amendment, they are setting a dangerous precedent. They are in effect going beyond their Constitutional powers as set aside in the U.S. Constitution. If the court systems of the United States can change the wording of the Constitutions of the U.S. and the 50 states at will, then they are making themselves the lawmakers of our government. That is not legal!

Even though I am a Christian and know that same-sex marriages are wrong in the eyes of God, I still believe that is a right to be determined by the individual state governments or the individuals of that state. The majority of the people in California, decided on that issue, and the Supreme Court of that state should and legally respect that decision until the voters repeal that amendment. They do not have the legal authority to overturn the will of the people.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Letter From and To General Motors

Yesterday I got this very sincere e-mail from the General Motors Corporation.

Dear Mark English,

You made the right choice when you put your confidence in General Motors, and we appreciate your past support. I want to assure you that we are making our best vehicles ever, and we have exciting plans for the future. But we need your help now. Simply put, we need you to join us to let Congress know that a bridge loan to help U.S. automakers also helps strengthen the U.S. economy and preserve millions of American jobs.

Despite what you may be hearing, we are not asking Congress for a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.

The U.S. economy is at a crossroads due to the worldwide credit crisis, and all Americans are feeling the effects of the worst economic downturn in 75 years. Despite our successful efforts to restructure, reduce costs and enhance liquidity, U.S. auto sales rely on access to credit, which is all but frozen through traditional channels.

The consequences of the domestic auto industry collapsing would far exceed the $25 billion loan needed to bridge the current crisis. According to a recent study by the Center for Automotive Research:
• One in 10 American jobs depends on U.S. automakers • Nearly 3 million jobs are at immediate risk • U.S. personal income could be reduced by $150 billion • The tax revenue lost over 3 years would be more than $156 billion

Discussions are now underway in Washington, D.C., concerning loans to support U.S. carmakers. I am asking for your support in this vital effort by contacting your state representatives.

Please take a few minutes to go to http://email.generalmotors.bfi0.com/W0RH007CA036CE6AEDAFC290A0D6E0, where we have made it easy for you to contact your U.S. senators and representatives. Just click on the "I'm a Concerned American" link under the "Mobilize Now" section, and enter your name and ZIP code to send a personalized e-mail stating your support for the U.S. automotive industry.

Let me assure you that General Motors has made dramatic improvements over the last 10 years. In fact, we are leading the industry with award-winning vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Buick Enclave, Pontiac G8, GMC Acadia, Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, Saturn AURA and more. We offer 18 models with an EPA estimated 30 MPG highway or better — more than Toyota or Honda. GM has 6 hybrids in market and 3 more by mid-2009. GM has closed the quality gap with the imports, and today we are putting our best quality vehicles on the road.

Please share this information with friends and family using the link on the site.

Thank you for helping keep our economy viable.

Sincerely,

Troy Clarke
Group Vice-President
President, GM North America

My response: Mr. Clarke,

I have always supported American made products over those produced by foreign companies, except when the quality and durability of the product far exceeds those of American products.

I do not; however, support the mismanagement of corporate dollars or the loaning of millions of my tax dollars to bail you out of debt, when I am working very hard to keep my own family out of debt. I did not support the bail out of the banking/credit system of the United States and I do not support loaning you money either. It is because of excessive misuse of credit by your company and authorized dealers that has led to this "crisis" in our economy in the first place.

If you really want to help our economy, lower the prices of your vehicles so that average Americans can buy them without having to sacrifice a kidney to get one. You could also help by making cars that are more fuel efficient, family safe and durable. Don't tell me you have been working on this for years. You and the other auto companies have had the capability to do this for years, you just haven't made it available to the American public yet.

I believe that in order for you to create a better GM, you must learn from your mistakes just like everyone else. I believe if you truly "suffer" in the short-run, you will learn and bounce back even stronger.

I regret that many Americans will loose their jobs because of the current crisis. I too have suffered during this time. I will pray for you and your company, but if I contact my Legislators, it will be to remind them, that I do not want any of my tax dollars going to help any business that is in financial trouble. If we help the large industries that are in trouble, then we need to help every other smaller industry that is competing with you in the same manner.

Thank you for contacting me regarding this matter. I hope you understand my position as well.

Mark English

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do You Know Your Spouse? A Quiz for You

I found this quiz from Scott's blog, Honey I Fed the Kids! I thought I would give it a try. Jamie, let me know how I did?

1. She's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen? She would be watching ICarly with the kids, a Lifetime Movie, The 70's show or The Office!

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does she get on her salad? None, she likes her salad naked! Hubba-Hubba.

3. What's one food she doesn't like? Sauerkraut (I cheated on this one, I just had lunch with her and I sort of brought it up in conversation.)

4. You go out to the bar. What does she order? A Margarita

5. Where did she go to high school? Howe High School in Howe, Texas (Go Bulldogs!)

6. What size shoe does she wear? I think a women's 8. I know I wear an 8 in men's and her foot is about my size.


7. If she was to collect anything, what would it be? She used to collect Coca-Cola stuff, and then she collected cows. Now she collects anything Beth Moore or hugs from our cat Scout.


8. What is her favorite type of sandwich? She is not much of a sandwich eater, but she does like a roasted-chicken breast sandwich at Subway!


9. What would she eat every day if he could? Chocolate, especially M&M's


10. What is her favorite cereal? Fiber-One or something else healthy. She used to love Fruity Pebbles in college.


11. What would she never wear? A "sexy" Halloween costume or any outfit that makes her look like a ... well you know!

12. What is her favorite sports team? She doesn't keep up with sports much, but she does like watching the Texas Rangers with me!

13. Who will she vote for? She would have voted for John Edwards or Hillary Clinton in the last election, but alas they did not get their party's nomination.

14. Who is her best friend? Other than Jesus or myself, I don't know if she has "ONE" best friend. Her best friend in high school was Sandra and in college it was Heather or Lisa.

15. What is something you do that she wishes you wouldn't do? Eat unhealthy things. She is worried I might not live to see our grand kids if I don't start eating better and working to improve my health. Another thing is to stop being so negative about things. It has a way of showing in the way I deal with my kids and my attitude towards work and life in general.

16. How many states has she lived in? Only in Texas (but in 14 different locations in Texas). She did get stuck in Arizona for a week when she was younger.

17. What is her heritage? Judging from her pale skin, I would say a lot of German. According to her family tree, she is a mix of English, French and German.


18. You bake her a cake for her birthday; what would it be? Anything Chocolate.


19. Did she play sports in high school? Only when forced by the P.E. teacher! Marching Band counts as a P.E. credit, does it count as a sport?

20. What could she spend hours doing? Sitting on the couch with me touching her feet and legs and cuddling with the cat. She could also spend time reading if she had a lot of extra time.


21. What's something cool about her? She loves me despite my flaws. She has a way of seeing the positive in all the things I see the negative in. She loves our kids and especially our cat Scout.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Things I Struggle With

Sometimes it is so easy to brag about yourself on a blog. I hope that I don't do that very often, especially to seek attention. I don't have enough loyal readers to get that much attention anyway.

Sometimes a fellow just needs to bring some things to the table and have his fellow men pray for him.

Guys (and my few lady readers), I am struggling.

I struggle with making time to spend with my God. I used to get up early every morning to do that, now I find myself "busy" doing other things in the mornings and not starting my day with God.

I find my self wanting things I don't need, especially when I don't have the money to buy it anyway. For example: I can't wait for The Dark Knight to come out on DVD. I really don't need any more movies to take up space at the house, but yet I want it anyway.

I am especially struggling with eating. I am not a heavy man by all means. 176 lbs currently. Still that puts me about 12 pounds over my healthy weight for a guy my age and height. Considering I am suffering from High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol, this may have something to do with it.
I have started to do cardio exercise at least three days a week. I hope this helps.

More than just adding a few pounds, I am becoming near obsessed with eating. I will finish my kids plates, I sneak in extra meals when I am out on the road. I think about how long it has been since I had a certain food and I make an extra effort to go and eat it. I need some help. I am currently reading a book, very similar to a 12 Step Book, that I think is starting to change my attitude about food. I will let you know how I do.

This is all I have time to confess about today, but I keep you posted on things as they pop up!
Pray for me guys, I need it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jury Duty

Tomorrow I am reporting to our local District Court for Jury Duty. I have been called to Jury Duty a total of six times, including this appearance. The last time I was called, I was actually chosen. It was in municipal court and a fellow was trying to fight a speeding ticket. The rest of the jury and I found him guilty and made him pay about half of the maximum fine allowed.

I realize not many people like to be called to serve on a jury. It never seems to fall at an convenient time, it's often boring, it can be confusing, you are away from your family (especially if you are a single parent or you are sequestered) and you have to miss work (which may be a good thing sometimes.) Most of the people I am called to report with are thinking of ways to get out of serving. This is a sad thing in my opinion.

Our forefathers had the insight to include in our Bill of Rights, the right to trial by jury, to protect us from a government who, at the time, could jail you or execute you without a trial at all. I think it is probably the most important civic duty a citizen of the United States could do, except vote!

Yes, it may be boring or inconvenient, but what if it were you on trial? Would you want a jury full of cranky people who hate YOU, the probably guilty person, for taking time out of their "busy" schedule or would you rather have a jury full of people who understand their sacred civic duty and believe it is the prosecution's job to prove you guilty? I hope that if I ever need a jury, those who serve on it can look past the time they have to spend there and that they truly seek to do what it right.

I am honored to serve my fellow citizens! I hope those who read this are as well.

Update: 11-17-2008: The jury panel I was selected to be on was dismissed after the fellow (who was charged with murder) struck a bargain with the D.A. for a lighter sentence.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembering Those Who Served

I would like to formally thank all the Veterans of the United States Military who served their country faithfully during the best and worst of times.

I would like to especially thank a few veterans who have served in my family.

My Uncle, Quincy served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. His ship, the U.S.S. Detroit (I think), was sank out from under him. I believe he told me his ship fired the most rounds of any ship serving in the Navy during the entire Korean War.

My Uncle, William served as a U.S. Marine during the time of the Korean War, but never saw combat. He was subject to call up when the war ended. He still was willing to put his life on the line for his country.

My Uncle, George, "Tiny", served in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam Conflict. He was drafted out of High School to serve in a war most Americans want to forget. He served just under a year before he was wounded in combat. He received the Purple Heart medal for his service to his country.

My Cousin, Cynthia, served in the U.S. Air Force during the first Gulf War, when the U.S. and other nations freed the nation of Kuwait from the occupying forces of Iraq. Although she served stateside, her reserve unit was instrumental in provided much needed support to the Air Force based they were called up to serve.

My Brother-in-Law, Phillip, also served in the U.S. Air Force. He, like myself, served near the end of the first Gulf War and retired before the start of the current War on Terrorism. Like my Uncle William, he never served in combat, but was willing to serve his country in time of war if called upon.

Because of the bravery of my Uncles, I joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1989. Two years later, my Uncles Quincy and George pinned my gold bars onto my uniform as I was commissioned an officer.

Despite my service to my country, I used to be ashamed to stand with other veterans who served in combat. They nearly paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, while I did my duty during a time of peace. One day a Veteran from my church caught me and told me, "Don't think for one minute you are not as important as those of us who served in combat. You signed on the dotted line and promised to lay down your life in defense of this nation just like the rest of us. Just be thankful you never had to do that." After that, I have have been proud to be included among those who served in our country's military.

Enjoy your freedoms? Then thank those who served to protect them!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hey Wal-Mart, Are You Skipping Thanksgiving?

I was in my local Wal-Mart yesterday and I heard Christmas music playing over their speakers. Christmas already? What about Thanksgiving? I know there is not a specific "Thanksgiving" music genre, but to already be killing our ears with Christmas music is a little premature in my opinion.

Now, I love the Christmas season, but too much Christmas music makes me grumpy instead of cheery. I'm sure Wal-Mart still has plenty of other musical selections to play until after Turkey Day right? They have an entire music department they could raid from.

No offense to the birth of Christ or Santa, but I would like to be thankful for my blessings God has given me first, before I engage in my generous (according to the economy) gift giving and the listening of Christmas music.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm an Official Book Reviewer

About a week ago I applied to be an official book review for Thomas Nelson Book Publishers. I was accepted. They sent me a list of books they would like reviewed and I got to pick one to be mailed to me free of charge. All I have to do is read the book and publish a review on my blog and on at least one other book site such as Amazon.com or Goodreads.com, etc....

The first book I chose to review is called...The Faith of Barack Obama. I figured if he is going to be my next President, I would like to more about his faith. So look for my review on Ombama's faith coming soon.


You to can apply to be a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson, just click on How to Become Thomas Nelson Book Blogger and apply.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations and Prayers for the New President Elect

Congratulations to Sen. Barack Obama & Sen. Joe Biden on their victory in the 2008 Presidential Elections. It is truly an historical event.

My prayers go out to Sen. Obama. The problems this nation are facing are daunting and I sincerely hope his promises of "Change" are changes for the better. I pray that his "faith" outweighs his commitment to the "party" and that he includes God in all of his decisions. I hope Obama does a great job as President, proving once and for all that a minority can hold the office of and perform the duties of President of the United States successfully.

My prayers go out to the family of Sen. Obama. It is very hard to be the wife or the child of the President of the United States. I pray that they work hard to keep God in their lives so that the pressures of office do not tear his family apart. I also pray for their safety. Their are many "crazy" people out their who will now set their focus on bringing harm to Obama and his family. I pray that God's power will keep them safe.

My prayers go out to Sen. McCain as well. I pray that his message of bi-partisanship continues as he now has to work with a Senate controlled by the opposite party. I pray that he genuinely works with President Obama to bring real and significant change to America.

God has a reason for Obama becoming President of the United States. God will use Obama and the Democratic Congress for His purposes, even if we have no clue what they are. Unlike many Americans, I am not afraid or scared. My faith that God is in control prevents that. It is that lack of faith that makes people afraid or scared.

I may or may not have voted for Barack Obama, but I will support him as my President, according to God's will. I hope all Americans will do the same.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Day Before the "08" Elections

The time has come. It's time for the undecided to become decided and make a choice. Tomorrow we vote for President, the entire House of Representatives and 1/3 of the U.S. Senate. The political direction for the United States for the next 4 years will be decided tomorrow.

If you have not already voted early...I encourage you to cast your ballot in one of the most historic and important elections in U.S. History.




I am not telling you who to vote for, nor am I telling you who I am voting for, I'm just telling you to vote.

My prediction by the way: The popular vote will be very close, I would say within 3 million votes of each other. The Electoral Vote will show a much more decided victory to Democrat Barack Obama. I think Obama will win by at least 35 Electoral Votes or more. The popular vote will once again show just how close the election really was. The Senate and the House of Representatives will remain in the hands of the Democrats.

This is just my prediction...let's see if the actual votes show otherwise.

If your looking for a little fun, try the Election Trivia page on CNN.com. Impress your friends with how much "knowledge you have about the upcoming election."

By the way, I first voted for President in 1988. I voted for Republican George H.W. Bush.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Two Good Books to Read

Recently I have read two books that have had a profound impact on my thoughts about "religion" and my relationship with the God of Universe!

The first books is called The Shack by William Young. This book challenges the traditional roles Christians seek to have in relation to God, as well as who God really is and what He expects from His children.







The second book is called Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith. This book also challenges what you believe about Heaven and a person's personal relationship with God.






Both books deal with the healing of the main character's broken relationship with God. Both books are fairly short in length and easy to read, yet powerful in their messages. I encourage you to read them. They could alter your way of thinking.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Web-Site to Occupy My Time

A few weeks ago my wife introduced me to a web-site called Goodreads.com. This web-site allows you to enter any books you have read in the past, are currently reading, or wish to read in the future, onto a list to share with other readers. By listing you reading interest, other readers can suggest new books for you to read, (like I need more books to read!) or chat with you about the books they have read.

Of course my OCD kicked in big time with this one, and I started entering books. I have entered over 3oo books I have read, 3 I am currently reading, and at over 10 books I wish to read. HELP ME!

Just in case you want to see my profile and list of books I have read...click here. I hope you enjoy the site and "Good Reading!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Romans 13: 1-7 (Submission to the Authorities)

In a highly charged election year, many of us are wondering who the best choice for President of the United States really is. Many of us have wondered, how can we get away without paying our taxes to a government that is not wisely spending our tax dollars. Many of us wonder are we really heading down a "Socialist" path of government. Obama or McCain?

I have an idea...Give God Control! You vote your conscience and then let God take control and work his will in our lives. Despite who wins the upcoming election, God gives us very clear instructions on how to live, in regards to our government situation. It is found in Romans 13: 1-7

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment to the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

This is why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." -- NIV

It doesn't matter who gets elected...If Obama or McCain turns out to be a great president and America prospers, then God is rewarding us for doing what is right. If we suffer as a nation, then God is just using the winner of the election to carry out his "wrath" on us for not being obedient to His will. God will put the person HE wants into the White House, and if we are obedient to God's will, then we will have nothing to fear. So go vote and trust that God has His best interest for us at heart.

Our Cat Scout Looses His Manhood

Our pet cat, Scout, aka: Fuzzball, had surgery today to "remove his manhood" and to get his front claws removed. Our dog, Schnitzel, should be happy that he and the cat will be on equal footing when it comes to their playful wrestling matches.

My poor wife, Jamie, has been very concerned about her "fuzzball." She and the cat have bonded in a way I thought they never would. She hates the fact the cat had to have the operation in the first place and she really doesn't like it that the cat has to stay overnight before we can pick him up.

The vet did call and let us know that Scout is awake and eating and everything looks "Great!" I will pick up the cat tomorrow after work and bring him home. Jamie, the kids and I will be so happy to have him back. I'm not so sure about what Schnitzel thinks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Response Letter from Sen. John Cornyn (R) Texas

This letter was written in response to A Letter to My Elected Officials about the government's plan to help the economy.

Dear Mr. English:

Thank you for contacting me about the current financial crisis. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this matter. I, like many Texans, am angry and frustrated that the United States is in the current financial crisis. As a strong supporter of the free market, I am opposed to unnecessary government intervention in the economy. As you know, the federal government has recently taken several steps to ensure that our financial system remains stable for the growth of our economy. Any actions by the federal government must be temporary and limited. Furthermore, any taxpayer money that is used to support our troubled economy must be subject to strict oversight and be repaid—in full—to the American people. Hard-working, financially responsible Texans should not have to pay for the irresponsible behavior of corporate executives who abused their positions. These executives must now be held fully accountable under the law.

The current financial crisis was caused, to a large extent, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two government sponsored enterprises that played a central role in the much maligned mortgage market by guaranteeing loans to individuals who could not pay them back. Together, these two agencies own or guarantee nearly half of the nation’s $12 trillion mortgage market. I have long advocated that Congress reform both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an effort to protect taxpayers. In 2006, I urged the Senate Majority Leader to bring reform legislation before the full Senate after reports that Fannie Mae intentionally overstated its earnings by $10.6 billion. This reform legislation would have increased oversight and taken steps to protect taxpayers from the risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac posed to our economy. Regrettably, the Senate did not consider these reforms because special interest groups lobbied their Congressional allies to prevent this legislation from being debated.

Furthermore, risky business practices by irresponsible financial institutions have caused great stress on our credit market, limiting the amount of credit available to both individuals and businesses. America’s system of credit is the lifeblood of our economy as it affects thousands of purchases and investments made in our country each day. Without access to credit, small businesses cannot pay their employees and working families cannot receive the loans necessary to send their children to college or purchase a new home or car. It is critical for our economy that the financial crisis be prevented from spreading to families and businesses across Texas which would result in many Texans losing their jobs, diminished college funds for their children, and a loss of hard-earned retirement savings.

Finally, it is imperative that all parties associated with the current financial crisis are aggressively investigated and that any corporate executives found to be involved in criminal activities are swiftly prosecuted. I intend to ensure that a thorough criminal investigation is conducted and that those responsible for violating any criminal laws of the United States are held accountable. As such, I have called on the Attorney General to begin a criminal investigation of executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is because of their poor—and possibly criminal—business practices that American taxpayers and our nation’s economy are in jeopardy. Soon after the Attorney General received my request, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced an investigation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and multiple Wall Street financial firms.

I appreciate the opportunity to represent Texans in the United States Senate and you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind as the 110th Congress draws to a close. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Sincerely,
JOHN CORNYN
United States Senator517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2934Fax: (202) 228-2856
http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Here and Gone Again

Friday afternoon I returned from a business training at the WB Ranch in Whitney, TX. It was a great training. There were Elk, White-Tail Deer and Fallow Deer everywhere. The team I was on won the culinary challenge event. We made Stir-Fry Beef, Currey Chicken and a Vegetable Soup.

Saturday my family and I met my sister and my niece to take some pictures to give to my parents for Christmas. We had a good time walking around through the woods at a friend's place looking for perfect spots to take pictures of the kids.

The sad part about finally being home after three days, is that I have to leave again tonight to go to Arlington, TX for another three days of marriage curriculum training. As soon as I get home from church worship this afternoon, I have to mow my yard. Then around 5:00 I need go away from my family again. : (

An interesting part of this trip is that I will be staying at the same hotel Jamie and I stayed at on our Honeymoon, a little over 16 years ago. It won't be the same without Jamie though.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First of Two, Out of Town Trips

Today I am leaving for the WB Ranch in Whitney, TX for a three day "business retreat" with my fellow Twogether in Texas co-workers. We will be learning a new curriculum to teach in our marriage education classes.

The WB Ranch has several fun activities that we plan to work into our training schedule. We will go on an Exotic Animal Watch, Build Model Rockets, participate in a Culinary Challenge and a Initiative Challenge as well as learn about a marriage curriculum called "Couple Check Up!"

I will be away from the family until Friday evening! I am going to miss them, but I am sure I will have fun with the team.

See you Saturday sometime!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Taking a Day Off for God! -- A Sunday Shout Out!

I would like to salute at companies who take Sunday's off to allow their employees to worship the God they serve!

A Shout Out goes to Chick-fil-A: This fast food chain not only has the best chicken in town (sorry KFC) but they also support healthy marriage programs for their employees. It may be slightly more expensive to eat here with the family, but to help support a great company like this is worth it. Plus, they have have great Cow Calendars with money saving coupons inside.

A Shout Out goes to Roly Poly. This fast food chain serves great "wrap" sandwiches. They are affordable and very delicious.

A Shout Out goes to Hobby Lobby. This craft store chain, has many things to offer to those with the creative bug.

There are other stores out there: If you know of one let me know and I will give them a Sunday Shout Out as well.

Before I continue the Shout Outs to companies, I would like to give a Shout Out to the movie Fireproof. Despite opening on limited screens nation wide it has been a, "Surprise Hit, finishing as a Top 10 Movie for the past two weeks.

My last Shout Outs of the day go out to the Christian Books Stores; such as LifeWay, Family Christian Stores, The Scroll, and others, who provide Bibles, Christian books & music, and other Christian merchandise for believers everywhere.

If you know of other stores who close on Sunday's to honor God, let me know. I would love to give them a Shout Out as well!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trying to Sleep Late & Caleb's New Blog

During any weekday, my children are fairly easy to wake up! They will only complain a little when the 6:00 a.m. wake up call comes from Jamie or me. The biggest complaint about waking up is usually from me. I would like to sleep to at least 7:00 or until the sun comes up anyway.

So when Saturday rolls around, I usually try to sleep a little later, thus allowing the kids and Jamie, a little more sleep time; however, for some very strange reason my children cannot sleep late on a Saturday. This morning my daughter came into our room saying she woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. This was partly the cat's fault..."I tried to sleep late...but the CAT!" I thought it had to be at least 7:00, but when I rolled over the alarm clock said 5:45 a.m.! I told her to go watch television. A few minutes later, I hear my son get up. He never gets up before we make him get up at 6:00 or 6:15 for school. On the one day they can sleep late, they wake up earlier than any other day.

So hear I am, blogging at 6:15 and about to make pancakes for hungry family. Maybe they will let me take about an hour long nap this afternoon.

On a totally different note: My son has a new blog...it is called The Poll Place. He is doing his best to keep it up to date, unlike his last blog. In this blog he ask various questions for us to answer, then publishes the results and his thoughts about them. So encourage him to keep up his blog, and answer a few questions for him, and maybe leave an encouraging comment.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Response Letter from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) Texas

This letter was written in resonse to the letter I wrote to my elected officials in Washington.

Dear Mr. English:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.

On September 19, 2008, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced a plan by the Bush Administration to stabilize the financial services sector of the economy. This plan included broad authority for the Treasury Secretary to purchase troubled financial instruments with very limited oversight and few protections for taxpayers.

In July, I voted against a similar proposed bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because it did not provide taxpayer protection and limits on executive compensation for a government owned entity. For the same reasons, I was not willing to support the Administration’s initial proposal, and I encouraged my colleagues to continue work on a plan that would protect taxpayers, provide strict oversight, and place limits on the benefits to executives who accept taxpayer assistance.

In the days following the Treasury Secretary’s announcement, concerns about the danger to the broader economy deepened. The high-profile failure of numerous financial institutions caused the commercial lending market to accumulate and hold cash. The credit markets effectively froze, making it difficult for consumers to obtain loans for purchases such as homes and automobiles. The lack of lending in these areas began to place further pressure on the troubled housing market and threatened to spread deeper into the economy. Similarly, many small and mid-sized businesses were finding it difficult to obtain financing to meet their payroll obligations and purchase inventory. Many cities were entering the bond market and getting no bids, even with AAA ratings. The current liquidity crisis still poses a real potential for significant job losses. After consulting with numerous financial experts, small businesses, and bankers in Texas, it became clear to me that normal commercial lending activity would not resume without action by Congress.

Despite this realization, I was still not inclined to support the Paulson plan. After weeks of negotiation, however, a bi-partisan compromise was reached. While there are provisions in the bill that I do not favor and would not have drafted, overall the need for action to stabilize the market and to protect the retirement savings of millions of Americans weighed heavily on my mind. Ultimately, I supported the Senate bill along with 73 of my colleagues. The bill we passed was a major improvement over the initial plan announced by Secretary Paulson.

We increased the deposit insurance cap from $100,000 to $250,000 so that families will have added protection for savings and retirement accounts. While the initial proposal authorized up to $700 billion to purchase distressed assets, the measure we passed takes a more cautious approach, initially authorizing $250 billion and requiring the approval from Congress and the President for additional funding. Importantly, the bill we passed includes restrictions on the benefits received by executives whose companies are selling some of their distressed assets to the government. In return for purchasing the assets, taxpayers will obtain an ownership stake in the companies. Many leading economists believe that the real estate market will turn around in the foreseeable future and government owned properties and assets will be sold at a profit. A provision in this bill that I supported requires any profits realized to be placed in the nation’s treasury to reduce the deficit. If, however, after five years the government is facing a loss in the program, the President must submit a plan to Congress recommending how the money will be recouped from financial services companies. I believe that these protections are a dramatic improvement over the Administration’s initial proposal.

The bill passed by the Senate included an important package of tax policy provisions. One of these provisions is an extension of the state and local sales tax deduction, which is a matter of fairness for states like Texas that do not have a state income tax. The average Texan will save $520 when they file their federal income tax forms next year. We also shielded low and middle-income taxpayers from higher taxes associated with the flawed alternative minimum tax (AMT) and included tax incentives to spur energy production and innovation including the wind energy production tax credit and the research and development tax credit.

As Texans, we have learned to take responsibility for our actions and being asked to pay for the mistakes of others is something many, including myself, find deeply troubling. However, after careful deliberation, I believe that the risks associated with doing nothing outweighed the risk of passing a less than perfect bill that nevertheless includes important protections for taxpayers. Economic evidence clearly suggested the problems were spreading into the broader economy. That is why I voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.

I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any issue of concern to you.

Sincerely,

Kay Bailey Hutchison, United States Senator
284 Russell Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC 20510
202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)
http://hutchison.senate.gov

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama v. McCain -- Presidential Debate

With the fate of the 2008 Presidential Election at stake; Barack Obama and John McCain will square off in the 2nd and final debate between the two leading Presidential nominees. According to most of the major news agencies, this will not be a "nice-nice" debate as the last debate was. Both candidates are becoming increasingly aggressive in their campaigns against each other.

According to CNN polls, Obama has a slight edge over McCain in several of the "swing states", which gives Obama a clear Electoral College lead. For a quick look at the current projected Electoral College votes; see CNN's Electoral College Calculator.

As I said before, I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I vote for the person I think is the best candidate for the job. After reading my past few blogs, I think you know my opinion of the "bail out" bill passed by Congress; both Obama and McCain voted for the bill. This disappointed me greatly about both candidates. McCain especially disappointed me. McCain has been campaigning with the message that he would veto any law that came across his desk that had "PORK" attached to it. This bail-out bill passed by Congress had so much pork attached to it, it smelled like a bacon factory, and McCain voted for it.

At least my U.S. Congressman, Louie Gohmert voted against the bill both times.

So watch the debate tonight, pay attention to what these guys are saying, and pray hard that we choose the best person for the job, not the best party for the job.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Recent Trip to Houston

My family and I went to Houston last weekend to meet my wife's sister's family. My nephew and neice both have birthdays this month and they were going to watch the Indianapolis Colts play the Houston Texans in football. We met them on Saturday and we went to the Downtown Aquarium and a local "hands on" science place. The kids and we had a good time. We did see many buildings and signs that had damage from Hurricane Ike. I'm glad we don't live in Houston.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Forget the Economy and Let's Hear From Google, then Watch the Vice-Presidential Debate

Enough about the economy, the government is going to bail out the "loser" companies, it doesn't matter if the American public wants them to or not!

And now a word from Google, the wonderful web-based organization that sponsors the blogspot blogs we read every day:

The founder and CEO of Google.com publicly supports GAY MARRIAGES!

You heard me...want proof...Co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin calls California's efforts to make gay marriage illegal, "chilling and discriminatory." Still don't believe me, read Mr. Brin's (which happens to be Google's Official blog site.

Now, how does one react to this? Do I switch blog accounts? Do I write ugly letters? Do I blog about it? (that's what I did first), or Do we just continue to pray for God's children who are mislead by Satan and his warped version of relationships. (that's what I did next)

That being said, be sure to watch the Vice-Presidential Debate tonight on CNN at 9:00 pm EST. I'm interested in seeing how Gov. Palin holds her own against the seasoned political veteran Sen. Biden. Who knows it may be even better than Saturday Night Live!

Monday, September 29, 2008

...But the Cat

Our family has decided to write and illustrate a book together. It is a children's book, called "...But the Cat!"

It will have several little things that we would love to do but cannot because we own a cat; for example:

"I used to own a pretty fern...but the cat!" -- picture of the fern before and after the cat attacked it.

"I used to sleep until 7:00a.m. ... but the cat!" -- picture of the cat walking all over your face at 4:30a.m.

"I tried to finish my school art project early...but the cat!" -- picture of the cat playing with the art supplies and kitty paw-prints on the poster board.

"I used to have matching socks...but the cat!" -- picture of the cat sleeping under the couch with several non-matched socks.

You get the idea. We hope to have our book finished before Christmas, so we can give "unedited" and "raw" copies to relatives and friends. Maybe we can find a publisher and get the book in stores for you guys to read and enjoy yourself.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Response Letter From Rep. Louie Gohmert (District 1, TX)



September 26 in the Year of our Lord 2008

Mr. Mark English
1818 Clinton Street
Longview, TX 75604-2410
Dear Mr. English,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the financial bailout. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this issue. I am also quite grateful that you and I are so much in agreement over the problems with Secretary Paulson's proposal to create the biggest socialist extension of the United States government in it's entire history.

This is a very frustrating time here. Our capitalist, free market world is under attack by insiders who have acted out of unrestrained greed, and outsiders who want to have more government to dictate every aspect of our lives. I have sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke expressing my deep concerns over the increasing government bailouts of private sector companies. These bailouts have set a dangerous and unmistakable precedent for the federal government to always bailout the greedy or imprudent from the consequences of their own poor economic decisions. We must restore decency and consumer confidence in our market system by reinstating accountability and consequences for the officers of publicly traded corporations, by giving incentives to do the right thing, and the loss of improperly gained assets for doing the wrong things. Accountability is what keeps our markets free and makes our economy strong.

I have told Sec. Paulson that I will not accept a socialist solution to this crisis. Some of my solutions include having the mortgage-based securities packaged so that others than OPEC can buy them and service them. Also, requiring officers of the failed financial institutions to have their millions brought back to be part of the employee pension fund and to address indebtedness under circumstances in which they caused the insolvency I have considered. I have proposed giving banks the option of carrying FDIC insurance on its deposits of $100,000 or $1,000,000, at the bank's choice. Furthermore, I have thought about providing substantial tax incentives to purchase the mortgage-based securities so taxpayers don't have a new bureaucracy that does. Potentially, we could also have a form of FDIC type insurance on the security assets that are purchased by the private sector. There are other suggestions, but those are some of the basics.
You and so many other American taxpayers have made clear that you do not want to be bailing out Wall Street corporations. The thought of asking my constituents to pay for the gross improprieties of Wall Street corporations is abhorrent to me. Please be assured that I will continue to monitor this significant issue and will continue to work with my colleagues so that the housing and mortgage industry are more transparent, accountable, reliable and fair. If I can ever be of service, please do not hesitate to let me hear from you again. As frustrating as it may be, it never ceases to be a true honor to serve you in the United States House of Representatives.

With kindest regards, I am Very Truly Yours,
Hon. Louie Gohmert

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where can I Buy Some Delicious Activia Yogurt? + Marriage Enrichment

Jamie and I recently purchased several containers of Activia Yogurt. Inside the cardboard packages that hold the containers of yogurt, there is a series of Frequently Asked Questions. One of the questions was, "Where can I purchase Activia brand yogurt?"

Think about it....

The answer the box gave was, "Activia brand yogurts are sold in many food stores around the world, just go to the refrigerated section and look for the Activia brand."...or something like that.

The real answer is obvious, just go buy you some Activia yogurt and open the package and then you will know where to go! I just thought this was funny!

On a different note: My family and I are going to watch the movie Fireproof tonight! It is just one of the things Jamie and I are doing to strengthen our marriage. Jamie is also co-teaching a marriage enrichment class at our church as well. I am also attending the class. She is teaching the Five Love Languages by: Dr. Gary Chapman. I have also purchased the book The Love Dare, which is based on the movie Fireproof.

Jamie and I both place a strong emphasis on keeping our marriage strong, which is why I am so glad I work for the organization I work for!

One last thing...Check out this guy's Sidewalk Art it is incredible! VERY COOL!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What would you do with $700 Billion?

According to President Bush our nation is at a "financial crisis!" Even today he is planning to meet with Barack Obama, John McCain and other key Congressional leaders to attempt to hammer out a plan to "Rescue our Failing Economy!" Good Luck Guys!

Meanwhile, some non government people have come up with their own solution to our financial crisis. Here is how some people would rather see Congress spend 700 Billion Dollars! Not bad ideas in my opinion.

Just to let you know this will be my last blog about the current "crisis!" That is unless the government does something even more stupid that what it is about to do! In the meantime, it's time to buckle-up and take care of my own finances to provide for my family. We, as a nation, have survived this before, during the Great Depression, and we will do it again. Let's just hope we are still a democracy when we do.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is Congress and the President Doing What is Best for the County?

Congressional and Presidential support to limit severance pay of the executives of the failed financial institutions is growing despite the fact that the FBI is investigating these companies for possible mortgage fraud. What gets me is why the executive of these companies are getting any kind of severance package at all? When I left my job in Gilmer, after teaching 9 years and over 1,000 children, all I got was a coffee mug and a pat on the back. Actually, I didn't even get the pat on the back. These executives are going to get Millions of dollars for doing a lousy job of investing our money and possibly committing mortgage fraud or other crimes. Why?

At least some people are getting past the panic mode; Conservative members of Congress are asking the rest of the Congress to 'Take a Breather' before passing anything irrational. At least the Democrats want to limit or cut the severance pay before attempting to "bail out" these companies.

Despite the fact that over 85% of all Americans polled, in several polls, are against the "buy out" of these companies. Congress is pushing ahead with the plan to "rescue" these failed institutions. Are they really doing what is best for our nation or are they doing what is in their own best interest?

John McCain laid out his 5 Five Fixes in his recovery plan yesterday. Barack Obama is saying that "Middle Class tax-cuts are absolutely necessary and the taxpayers of our country must be protected."

Is there a legal way I can refuse to pay my taxes to a government who has lost its mind?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Letter to my Elected Officials

The following is a copy of a letter I mailed to my elected United States officials for my area of Texas; of course my letter was duly addressed to the specific person it was intended to go to:

Honorable Senator/U.S. Representative;

Please do not support the government buyout of the failing financial institutions across our nation!

Sir, if the government will not help a small business who is failing due to mismanagement or lack of proper income, how can you justify helping companies, who pay their executives in the millions of dollars, when they are failing? It seems to me this a great example of the rich helping the rich!

Sir, if the government of the United States itself cannot balance and live within a budget and creates a national debt of over 9 trillion dollars, how do you expect to, or even have the right to, buy out these financial institutions and expect them to function any better under government ownership?

Sir, if I were an ordinary investor I would never put my money into an agency or business who could not manage their money correctly; yet, I am forced to give my tax dollars to a government that is wasting my investment into the very nation I trust to protect my freedoms and liberties. This is not right!

Sir, if you vote for the buyout of these companies, then you are indicating to me that you continue to support the bad management practices that our government continues to follow. If this is the way you plan to spend my tax dollars, by rescuing the wealthy and letting the middle class or low income citizens suffer, then you will lose my vote in the upcoming election.

Sir, I am not a Democrat or a Republican, I cast my vote for the candidate that shows they have the best interest of their citizens at heart. I realize that you and the members of Congress are just as afraid of what might happen if these institutions go bankrupt, but isn't that what our free enterprise system of economics is all about. If these institutions fail, then isn't it time to let some of the smaller institutions step and lead, rather than continue to give my tax dollars to people who have proven they cannot spend it wisely.

Mark A. English


If you would like to write a similar letter to your elected officials in the U.S. Congress you can go to http://www.house.gov/ or http://www.senate.gov/ to find out the contact information for your elected officials. You can also contact the President via e-mail at comments@whitehouse.gov.

Huge Mistake! Big, Big Mistake! Shame on our Government!

The Government of the United States of America today is making one of the biggest mistakes in our short history! The Government is effectively taking over the banking industry of the United States. An Article in Time Magazine speaks volumes to their opinion about what is going on; they are calling us "The United States of France". News agencies are recording into history our stupid behaviors; CNN is calling it "The End of an Era", Fox News is even reporting the "Democratic Leaders of Congress are at odds over how to proceed."

In the most simple layman terms I can use, "This is an example of the Dumber leading the Dumb." How can the "People" of the United States believe that this plan to "bail out" or "rescue" our failing banking and savings institutions will work. The Government of the United States refuses to follow a budget, it prints money at will, and has misused our tax dollars to the tune of Trillions of dollars of National Debt. It has also allowed the Social Security System of the U.S. to go virtually bankrupt; and now WE THE PEOPLE are going to sit here and allow our government to take control of our largest banking and savings institutions. How stupid can our government be? I think people who cannot balance their own budget should not be telling people who cannot balance their own budgets how to balance their budgets!

According to The U.S. National Debt Clock the outstanding Public Debt as of 22 Sep 2008 at 01:49:43 PM GMT is: $9,671,385,256,340.11!
The estimated population of the United States is 304,774,222so each citizen's share of this debt is $31,732.95.
The National Debt has continued to increase an average of$1.84 billion per day since September 28, 2007!

How can our government afford to "rescue" these failing institutions when they can't even "rescue" themselves? President Bush and the Congress are planning on spending 700 Billion dollars to bail our these companies. This is absurd. Where is this money coming from? I'll tell you where, my tax dollars. Why should my tax dollars be spent to prevent the wealthy from becoming like me?

Another big question I have is, "How rich do you have to be, in order for the government to save you from going out of business?" If a smaller bank or business had this much mismanagement and started to fail, the government would let them, claiming fair competition under our free enterprise system of economics; but if you were already making, and apparently losing, billions of dollars then the government will "rescue" you! Talk about the rich taking care of the rich!

I encourage all of you to contact you U.S. Senators or Representatives and let them know what you think of their "rescue" efforts!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parting Ways with YTB

Jamie and I have decided to part ways with YTB Travel. Let's just say, we felt we were not being delt with in a totally honest way. Saying that, if you have any travel needs go to the more well known companies like: Hotels.com, Expedia.com, or Travelocity.com, among others.

Short and simple and this blog is done! See ya next time!

To Fat to Execute

The State of Ohio has a problem! It seems an inmate on death row is "too fat" to execute in a humane manner. Click Here to read more about it! I don't have much else to say about this, I just thought it was very interesting. If the fellow was unfortunate enough to be on death-row in Texas, we would probably kill him anyway.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Considering a Name Change

I just found out there is another blog out there (in the blogspot groups) called "Thoughts From Me" .... it has caused me to consider a name change for my blog. It is so hard to be original these days and coming up with a new name may pose a challenge for me. I might just stick to what I have. In the meantime I will roll a few different names around in my head. If you have any suggestions for a possible new name for my blog let me know, OK!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Day After Hurricane Ike

It's the day after Hurricane Ike and all is well at the English household. There is a big-big pile of tree limbs and branches in the front yard and State Farm insurance has issued us a claim number for our roof. We lost electricity for about 8 hours and our roof took a beating from falling limbs and high winds but other than that everyone is safe and sound.

To celebrate God's protection of our family we are going to watch a Christian music group called 33 Miles in concert tonight in Kilgore. They are an up and coming group and the one song I've heard from them on the radio sounds good.

On a different note: Rachel, my daughter, just found out she will playing percussion in the band. She is in her first year in band. Provided she likes band and sticks with it all through High School, this means I have to hear 7 years of drums banging around the house as she practices for her performances. Tylenol anyone? Caleb, my son, plays the trombone and his first Pep-Rally performance and football game performance is coming up on Thursday. I am very proud of him.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sitting in the Dark Because of IKE!

Even though IKE has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm; the eye of this storm is passing within 10 miles of us at this moment. Our electricity went off about 30 minutes ago and now we are in the dark. Limbs have blown out of our trees and are scattered all over our back and front yard. We are hearing thumps on our roof as the limbs are falling. (Maybe it will do enough damage to replace our roof?) It's an amazing site to watch the trees leaning over and our patio swing blowing across the yard.

Despite the 60 mph wind gusts, the kids and I went out into the storm to move some big limbs away from the house. It was fun getting blown around by the wind, until some smaller limbs fell and we decided it was best to go back in. We are even considering going to Sonic to eat, since we are afraid to open our refrigerator for a while.

Our poor Schnitzel is so nervous we had to drug him with Benadryl.

As Governor Perry suggested, we are hunkered down and riding out the storm. (Except for Sonic of course, if they are open!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Facing "Certain Death" with Hurricane Ike!

Texans along the coastline today were warned to leave or Face Certain Death! My family lives well away from the coastline, but we were warned to stock up on water and make sure have plenty of batteries and a generator handy in case of power losses. We are also expecting lots of rain and a some possible tornadoes, due to Ike's large size. Ike is almost as big as the entire state of Texas itself.

I may be crazy but I like stormy weather and I am not afraid. I know my God is with me and my family will be taken care of despite the weather. Yet, God did give me a brain, so before I go home today I may try to stop by Wal-Mart or Brookshires and pick up some extra batteries, food and water (if there is anything left).

What strikes me as funny is the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, told reporters that unless you live along the coast line, "It's just best if we just 'hunker' down and be prepared." What a great Texan! Ha-Ha.

Oh, well, it's time go prepare for "Certain Death!"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You on this date?

I borrowed the theme for this blog from my beautiful wife Jamie. (Where were you?)

Please feel free to share your own memories of these events, then leave me a comment so I can visit your blogs as well!

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster--28 January 1986--I was a student at Tyler Jr. College when this happened. I was a member of the Student Senate and we were starting to gather for our weekly meeting. The television was on in the Senate room and several of us were watching the launch live. We were anxious to see the first civilian teacher be launched into space. The launch seemed to be going normal, when I thought I heard someone call my name. I glanced away from the television for just a moment, when I heard a girl next to me say, "Oh, My God, did it just explode?" I turned back only to see the trails of the fuel tanks racing away from a massive fireball. I remember thinking, "Those people just died, live on television." I immediately felt bad for the families of all of the astronauts.

The Oklahoma City Bombing--19 April 1995--I was a teacher in Gilmer. I was teaching one of my 10th Grade Social Studies classes when another teacher told me to turn on the television in our room. I remember thinking, "Who could do something like this?" My wife was home with our one month old son, Caleb. Of course this took over the lessons for the day. The students got lessons on domestic terrorism the rest of the day, while we watched the horrible events live on television. The news reminded me this was the anniversary of the Branch Davidian raid from two years before, and I wondered if it was a former cult member who did it.

Princess Diana's Death--31 August 1997--To be perfectly honest, I don't remember what I was doing when this event happened. I just remember seeing the news reports later that day and thinking, "The crazy media and their desire for a story have done gone and killed somebody." It was only later I found out the driver had been drinking and that didn't help the situation. I did feel bad for her two children though.

Terrorist Attacks on the Twin Towers in NYC and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. --11 September 2001--I was just finished taking the attendance for my first 8th Grade US History class. We were about to start a lesson over the British Colonies when our Principal, Jim Heath, came over the intercom and informed the school that, "A terrible tragedy had just taken place," and those of us with televisions in our room might want to turn them one. A teacher next door, who had a television came into my room and started to tell me what was going on. I couldn't believe my ears. I quickly told my class that, "History was being made at this moment," and how I wanted them to see what was going on for themselves. We went down to the library where several other classes were already there watching the news. I was in shock as I watched replays of the first plane hitting the trade towers, then live before us all the second plane hit. I was thinking, "Oh, my gosh, how many people are in those buildings and how many people were on that plane." Being a history person, I also thought this is worse than Pearl Harbor. As teachers and students sat and watched these terrible events, many of us started to cry or get angry at who could have done this to us. Then the Towers started to fall, I couldn't help but cry and pray for all of those people who suddenly lost there lives. I called Jamie and home and told her to turn on the television. (To read what she thought click on her blog above.) I was surprised they did not cancel school. Then we heard about the Pentagon and the other plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I also remember thinking about the Elementary kids who don't quite understand replays of events, and how they are thinking there must be millions of planes, crashing into buildings all over the United States. We watched television in the library the rest of the day listening for information and watching footage of the tragedies. I was so glad to get home and hug my family. I just knew we were going to war with somebody!

Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster--1 February 2003-- This event happened, literally, over my head. The Space Shuttle Columbia came apart over North East Texas and pieces were falling to places just south of us. Some people claim pieces fell in Gilmer, where were living at the time. I was in the shower, when I thought I heard a booming sound, but I didn't think anything of it. My sister was outside with my parents, at their house, when they heard a loud boom as well. We just didn't know what it was. It was later that morning we knew what had happened. There were news people all over East Texas and many civilians and government officials were picking up the pieces of "everything" for the next few weeks.