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, November 5, 2010

50 Books I've Read in 2010

At the end of last year I found out I was one book shy of reading 50 books of 100 pages or more. This year I set a goal of reading at least 50! So far I have gone above and beyond. (Sadly it helps when you are only working part-time)

Books I’ve Read in 2010

1. Elyon (The Lost Books # 6) - Ted Dekker & Kaci Hill

2. Strange But True: Cats, 444 Weird Facts and Photos - Sweetwater Press

3. Green - Ted Dekker

4. Grand Theft Childhood: the Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do -- Lawrence Kutner + Cheryl K. Olson

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

6. Self-Coaching: the Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression - Joseph J. Luciani

7. Snakehead - Anthony Horowitz

8. A Ship Possessed - Alton Gansky

9. Leading With a Limp - Dan B. Allender

10. Seeking Spirits: the Lost Cases of the Atlantic Paranormal Society - Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson & Michael Jan Friedman

11. The Prisoner in the Third Cell - Gene Edwards

12. The Best Halloween Ever - Barbara Robinson

13. The Princess Bride - William Goldman

14. 90 Minutes in Heaven - Don Piper, w/ Cecil Murphy

15. Vanished - Alton Gansky

16. The Best School Year Ever - Barbara Robinson

17. Out of Time - Alton Gansky

18. The Tales of Beadle the Bard - J.K. Rowling

19. The Cat Whisperer: the Secret of How to Talk to Your Cat - Claire Bessant

20. Bone Man’s Daughters - Ted Dekker

21. 3 Seconds: The Power of Thinking Twice - Les Parrott

22. The Control Freak: Coping With Those Around You, Taming the One Within You - Dr. Les Parrott III

23. Dark Moon - Alton Gansky

24. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

25. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lighting Thief - Rick Riordan

26. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

27. The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing and Bench-Clearing Brawls; The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime - Jason Turbow, w/Michael Duca

28. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH -- Robert C. O’Brien

29. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck

30. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse -- Rick Riordan

31. The Love List: Eight Little Things That Make a Big Difference in Your Marriage -- Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

32. Bleachers - John Grisham

33. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: the Battle of the Labyrinth - Rick Riordan

34. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian - Rick Riordan

35. The Mormon Mirage: a Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today -- Latayne C. Scott

36. I Never Had It Made: The Autobiography of Jackie Robinson -- Jackie Robinson

37. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules -- Jeff Kinney

38. Casino Royale -- Ian Fleming

39. The entire Junie B. Jones series (books 1-27) -- Barbara Park

40. The Hound of the Baskervilles -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

41. Live and Let Die -- Ian Fleming

42. Why You Do The Things You Do: The Secret to Healthy Relationships -- Dr. Tim Clinton & Dr. Gary Sibcy

43. A Year Down Yonder -- Richard Peck

44. Moonraker -- Ian Fleming

45. Compelled to Control: Recovering Intimacy in Broken Relationships -- J. Keith Miller

46. Diamonds Are Forever -- Ian Fleming

47. Praying Dangerously: Daring Prayers For Meaningful Faith -- Gary Holloway

48. Lost in Tibet: The Untold Story of Five American Airmen, a Doomed Plane, and the Will to Survive -- Richard Starks & Miriam Murcutt

49. Dr. No -- Ian Fleming

50. The Cases That Haunt Us -- Mark Olshaker & John Douglas

51. Hood (King Raven Trilogy: Book 1) -- Stephen R. Lawhead

52. The Godfather -- Mario Puzo

53. The Book of Useless Information: Thousands of Things You Didn’t Think You Needed to Know…And Probably Don’t -- Noel Botham

54. Bigfoot Casebook updated: Sightings And Encounters from 1818 to 2004 -- Janet & Colin Bord

55. Goldfinger -- Ian Fleming

56. For Your Eyes Only -- Ian Fleming

57. My Life -- Bill Clinton

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Now What?

I finished my long-term teaching assignment (teaching Math) last week. Now what? I have drawn considerable interest from a couple of principals who want to hire me for next school year; so things are looking up for me starting in August (actually Sept., that's when the paychecks start for a full-time teaching gig). My concern now is for the summer months. I am trying to find some full-time summer work to keep an income flow until I start drawing a new full-time salary next school year.

Any suggestions?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Teaching Math

25 + years ago; I was staying up late most school nights crying, because I couldn't understand the Algebra homework I had assigned to me. I would go in during tutorials and beg for help, but I could not "get it." My Algebra I & II teacher, Mrs. Stewart would get so frustrated with me because I couldn't "get it." I was so worried I would fail for the year; after all I had already failed at least 2 Six Weeks. Somehow I made it through High School Algebra and even squeaked through a year of College Algebra. I graduated High School and a College Degree. I even became a teacher; just not a Math teacher.

About 2 years ago I was hired to teach GED Math at Kilgore College to students who were trying to obtain a GED Certificate. One of the subjects I had to teach was Math (Pre-Algebra-basic Trigonometry). I informed my new employer that Math was not my best subject. I was told, "You will learn it and you will be good a teaching it within 3 weeks." Skeptical, I embarked on trying to teach Math. Much to may amazement, about 3 weeks later, something clicked in my head. Suddenly, all of this math that had been driving me to tears for years started to make sense. It was literally like a light bulb went off in my head and it all made sense. My students told me that I was one of the best Math teachers they had ever had; that I was helping them understand math for the first time. I became so confident in teaching Math that I took the teacher certification test to teach it. I passed!

Today, I start a six week teaching assignment, teaching 8th Grade Pre-Algebra. So far I am loving it.

I wonder if Mrs. Stewart (my HS Algebra teacher) is proud of me, or rolling over in her grave in amazement?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

50 Books in a Year (Update)

In my goal to read 50 books in one year hear is how I'm doing so far...

In January I read...
1. Elyon: The Lost Books #6 by Ted Dekker
2. Strange But True: Cats. 444 Weird Facts and Photos by Sweetwater Press
3. Green by Ted Dekker
4. Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do by Lawrence Kutner & Cheryl K. Olson
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Self-Coaching: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression by Joseph J. Luciani
7. Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz
8. A Ship Possessed by Alton Gansky
9. Leading With a Limp by Dan B. Allender
10. The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards
11. Seeking Spirits: The Lost Cases of the Atlantic Paranormal Society by Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson & Jan Friedman
12. The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson
13. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
14. 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper, w/ Cecil Murphy

So Far in February I have read...

15. Vanished by Alton Gansky
16. The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson
17. Out of Time by Alton Gansky
18. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
19. The Cat Whisperer: The Secret of How to Talk to Your Cat by Claire Bessant
20. BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker

Currently Reading...

21. 3 Seconds: The Power of Thinking Twice by Dr. Les Parrott

My bride, Jamie, and I just went to see Dr. Les Parrott this past weekend. We bought several of his books at a discount; so expect to see several of his, and his wife's, books on the list soon. I also have a copy of Fireproof by Eric Wilson coming my way.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Love Dare

In an effort to reconnect with my bride, Jamie, I have started The Love Dare. I am praying that it changes our relationship for the better. With God's Help I know it will.

On a totally different note; Pitchers and Catchers reported to their Spring Training Camps today. Baseball is back!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fully Qualified and Incompetent

When I was an officer in the Army, I could give orders and make decisions that effected the lives of others. I could look at a problem and make a decision in a matter of moments. Granted I was blessed to never have the opportunity to do this in the middle of combat; however, my decisions had lasting impacts non the less.

When I was in the classroom as a teacher, I could create lesson plans for over 100 students a year. Plans that challenged my students and still adapted to state mandated modifications for the few that needed them. Plans that helped shape the academic future of 11 years worth of our future generations.

Yet, as a husband I feel incompetent as I would be if I were in charge of building a skyscraper. I have taken classes on communication, problem solving, budgeting, building healthy spiritual and prayer lives, and even read up on some sexual topics. I even taught classes on how to strengthen marriages, yet, I feel I am failing as a husband.

Some of you know that I am currently semi-unemployed. I am a substitute teacher needing a full-time teaching job. I am very hopeful that I will be under contract with a school district shortly after the end of this school year. In the meantime my lack of income is forcing my dear bride to work a full-time job and a couple of other "part-time" jobs to barely make ends meet for us financially. The stress, lack of time for family and for herself is taking a heavy toll on her. I mentioned in my previous blog, that this is also taking a toll on me as well. I feel very much like I am not being the man I need to be. It should be me working more and supporting my family. We have a budget, but due to our recent financial woes it has been modified to what we call, "the crappy budget." Even so we are having trouble making ends meet. I know it will change, but knowing it will change and waiting on it, are two different things. She tells me all the time how she feels like we are not connected like we should be. She feels distant and alone.

My wife and I have a prayer corner in our room. It has two folding chairs sitting on a rug. We have a lamp to give us some light. The chairs are facing each other so we can sit close, hold hands and lean on each other if we need to. Currently these chairs are filled with clothes that need to be put away or some old blankets. Papers, shoes and other items clutter the space on the rug. We haven't prayed together in some time. By the time she gets in from her jobs in the evening, she is so exhausted that she doesn't feel like praying. I haven't even been responsible enough to try and keep the corner clean and ready just in case we get a spare moment to pray. The lack of spiritual discipline at home has caused her to feel distant from God as well.

You would think a professional teacher, marriage educator and former Army officer would have some sort of a plan to address these problems. You would think I would be totally aware of what to do to rescue a struggling marriage; but, here I sit praying to God to give me wisdom to do what I need to do to be a man worthy of my wife's respect and for his guidance to do what I can to ensure that I am truly doing what I can to help support my family.

How is it that I am so blind to the attacks of the enemy (Satan)? Why can't I see what God is doing for us? Am I doing something wrong that God needs to "break me" into fully relying on Him? I try not to be selfish, I truly want to do HIS will not mine. Is there something I still need to learn about myself and my relationship with God before things will get better?

Despite all my qualifications it seems that I am failing as a husband. My wife deserves better.

Heavenly Father, Creator of all things, Lord God Almighty;
Please open my eyes so that I can see myself. Help me to pour out my soul and my will before your throne. Give me the wisdom, the strength and the courage to be a man of God to my wife, my children, my church family and to my employers. Take away my fears and my insecurities. Open my heart and my eyes to the needs of my wife. I do not want to disappoint her. I do not want to be any part of causing her to doubt You and Your love. I want to be a man worthy of her respect. I want to work full-time, O Lord. I am tired of struggling financially. I am tired of seeing my wife work herself "crazy" trying to make up for my failures (even if some of those were out of my control). I am not asking for wealth, I just want a job that helps us get out of debt and to have enough money to save for emergencies and retirement. I am tired not feeling connected with my wife. Please show me LORD what I need to do! I cast myself before your mercy and grace, because it is only through you we are surviving at all. I do not want my marriage to crumble because of this. Tell me what to do! Restore us.
Your Son, Mark

Monday, February 1, 2010

As I Sit Here

As I sit here and type this post, many things are running through my head. I wonder if I am a real man. My wife works 4 different jobs, while I am just substitute teaching. I know I will get a job teaching full-time next school year, but what do I do in the meantime? I will take over for a teacher who will go on maternity leave in March. I will teach her classes until the end of May. What about the summer? I don't feel I am supporting my family at all. My wife is working so much that she barely has one weekend a month to spend with her family. I try to keep busy around the house when I am not subbing (cleaning, laundry, some yard work), but that is not enough. It seems the more we try to get ahead, by paying off debts or get some things fixed around the house, the more we are getting behind. Right now I wonder if the family would be better off without me. It seems I am the one causing most of our family problems right now. I didn't ask to be laid off from my last full-time job. I didn't cut the budget that cost me my job. Yet, I feel responsible. I didn't have to leave my full-time teaching job two years ago. I could have hung on longer. God I know you are with us; however, I am human and I would just like to know what is going on with us. When will I get a job teaching again. How long must we suffer; scrapping by check by check? I hate it that my wife is working so hard to be the main bread winner for our family, that's my job. God I should be working full-time. Please protect us from financial ruin until things get better. Help my children feel safe and secure. Take my wife's burdens away or give her extra boost of Your Spirit to help her through it. Keep our sanity intact. Don't let me or my wife get so depressed we do stupid things. Help us to feel your love and your protection. Now as I get up to sweep the floors, put a smile on my face and help to realize that things could be much worse.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy New Year = Happy Reading

So far I have read 11 books this year (my goal is to reach 50+). I am currently reading two others that I may finish before the end of the month. Here are the books I have read so far...

1. Elyon: The Lost Books #6 by Ted Dekker
2. Strange But True: Cats. 444 Weird Facts and Photos by Sweetwater Press
3. Green by Ted Dekker
4. Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do by Lawrence Kutner & Cheryl K. Olson
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Self-Coaching: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression by Joseph J. Luciani
7. Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz
8. A Ship Possessed by Alton Gansky
9. Leading With a Limp by Dan B. Allender
10. The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards
11. Seeking Spirits: The Lost Cases of the Atlantic Paranormal Society by Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson & Jan Friedman

I am currently reading

12. The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson
13. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

I love reading!