My journey of balancing small business and small kids

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Working from a Children’s Hospital

The past few months have been to say the least extremely busy in my life. So much so my blog has taken an unwanted backseat.  Every time I have sat down to write my brain and body scream “get some rest and relax,” the unfortunate thing is that I listened.  One of the elements of the craziness over the past month has been my six year old daughter’s tummy pain.  After a few  visits to the doctor, a blood test, x-ray, ultrasound, and another blood test we were told she had pancreatitis.  Our family Doctor had us schedule an appointment with a gastrointestinal doc. The initial appointment was set three weeks out. My wife and I were not happy about waiting that long. Fortunately a few minutes later the Doctors office called back to say we could go in the next day, Friday. We showed up for the 8 am appointment and we didn’t wind up leaving till Monday.  The Friday appointment was pretty routine till the Doc said he wanted to do blood test and an MRI.  To take our daughters mind off it the impending needle, my wife and I danced around the exam room to the Happy Song. It was a great moment in parenting history like off of a sitcom. The great news about the MRI is that my daughter was able to watch the new Barbie and the Pony Tale movie. That movie isn’t even at our local RedBox yet. So next time you want to see a movie before it’s available for rent, might I suggest a $2,500 MRI because they beat Red Box.  Self employed insurance comes with a nice big deductible on top of the hefty monthly payment. For that kind of money you would at least expect a beer for the dads in the waiting room instead of watching a bad knock off of a Disney movie.  I could have definitely used a drink at that moment to calm my nerves. My wife was able to go back with my daughter and I had to wait solo while my little girl was undergoing a major medical test. Don’t tell me its not major because when it’s your kid a shot is major. My mind was racing with possibilities. I was trying to stay positive. I even went to my car to take a drive down Ocean Drive because I had an hour to spend. The phone rang as I got in my car. It was the Doctor from the morning appointment. He explained that her lipase levels had increased even higher and that they were admitting her into the hospital. I’m going to forgo the explanation of what pancreatitis is completely, lets just say its painful enough to make grown men cry. The only cure is fasting to keep the pancreas from producing lipase.

My wife and I handled the whole thing pretty well. We kept each other comforted and stayed positive and upbeat for our daughter. Inside we were more worried than Donald Sterling at a 50 Cent concert (was that a little to much, maybe). My wife rarely left my daughters side and I only went home to take care of my three year old one night. We gave each other food breaks so we wouldn’t eat or drink in front our precious fasting child. Confession, I snuck Baby Ruth’s while she was on potty breaks. Don’t judge, I had to keep my energy up. We couldn’t have made it through it with out the help of both of the grandmothers (lita and mimi) and my dad. My wife’s dad was a great support from Tennessee. We had some great friends and my brother and his family helped with food and visits. In addition we had a ton of people praying for her.  I don’t think I have ever prayed so hard in my life. I really do believe we prayed the pain from her. The doctors were astonished about the lack of pain she was in. It was earlier in the week that she was doubled over at night crying herself to sleep. That was tougher to watch than her in the hospital. A friend of mine prayed like have never heard anyone pray before on the phone with me. I was standing in the middle of Wal-Mart holding icecream dripping while we prayed. He encouraged me to go home and pray commanding prayers of her. I wasn’t sure what to do, but when it’s your child you do what you have to. I stood at her bedside with my hands on her stomach and prayed for the pain to go away. The next night was the first night she went to bed with out much pain.

So while my daughter is in the hospital I had to do a little work because as a Realtor where you are is your office. I negotiated a few deals and saved another. At 9 pm on a Saturday night I sat with my daughter in her hospital room watching Barbie movies and worked on contracts between her 6 trips to pee every hour. She went a lot because they were pumping her with fluids as fast as a hydraulic fracking operation.

As a dad it’s painful to see your child in the hospital. I literally wanted to switch places with her. It was tearing me apart to see her hooked up to an IV.  The first 5 am blood draw had me worried.  My little girl handled it like a champ. She learned to take deep breathes and focus. She sounded like a beginers lamas class.  she got through it.

The second morning when the doctor told her she had to stay another night was not so bad. The second day when she was told she had to stay for a third night was tough on her. She began to get hungry and frustrated. We did our best to keep her busy and distracted. The hospital staff was amazing as was the child life team.  She cried for a bit. A mommy’s hug was just what she needed.

The morning of the fourth day, Monday, she was cleared to eat a non-fat meal.  She had not eaten a real meal since Thursday night and only had a McDonald’s parfait at Friday at 10 am. She was so excited to have food.  I had to go back and forth to the hospital to take care of work responsibilities. I did the best I could, but I was so focused on her that it was tough to be my best.  I was able to make it in time to be there when the doctors cleared her to go home. She wept and wept. I had never seen her cry like that before. I asked her why and she said, “I’m so happy to be going home.”

That night when we were relaxing on the couch as a family we watch one of our favorite family shows, “America Ninja Warrior.”  I’m not really sure why the girls like it so much, but they do.  One of the guys on the show had been in the hospital and worked his way back from his death bed to compete. He told the announcer that after the hospital he had good perspective.  My daughter looked at me and said “Daddy, if I can beat the hospital, I can beat anything.”

That’s a phrase that I told myself as the administrator handed the first of several bills.  I can beat this. I am so proud of my little girl and the whole family. We pulled together and pulled through. I was definitely in full Fatherpreneur mode. Sleeping on the little fold out chair/bed that was designed by an Oompa-Lumpa for several nights, holding her during blood draws and the IV, negotiating deals with the phone in one hand and her hand in the other. It was the most stressful few days of my life. The health of my little girl trumps everything, however working helped keep me from getting to focused on negative thinking. The beauty of being and entrepreneur is that I didn’t have to ask permission to take off. It was a no brainer, I just did it. I worked with my clients to clear my schedule, I asked for help from my team and other than a few hours of work here and there I was more father than preneur.

I learned a lot from those for days, the most important things I learned is that my children are stronger than I think, my God is bigger than my situation, and if I can beat the hospital I can beat anything.



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5 Lesson I Learned During the Chaos that Was April

This past April was the beginning of a whirlwind for me with work and family. My real estate and building businesses both saw increases in customers and my wife’s business saw a dramatic increase as well.  The month literally flew by. Along with the increase in business we hosted our annual Easter Egg Hunt with approximately 100 kids in attendance and 2,500 eggs. My oldest daughter also turned six and had an amazing tea party birthday.  Looking back on April I am not sure how my wife and I made it, but we did and actually we are better for it.  Below are some lessons I learned and relearned during the past month. I say relearned because we all know the basics of what to do in life, we just don’t fully embrace the lessons until we truly need them.  

1. Eggs Don’t Stuff Themselves  – This simple lesson is ASK FOR HELP!

Last year my wife and I stuffed all the eggs for the Easter egg hunt, approximately 1,500. This year our schedules did not give us much time to get it done especially  with 2,500 eggs. Call in the moms.  My wife had some of her great friends stop by and they worked their little bunny tails off and did in a few hours what would have taken us a week of evenings. Don’t be afraid to reach for help. There is no shame in it. Ask for help with your business and family.  People are more willing to help than you may think. I will add this caveat, if you find yourself in constant need of help to sustain, then you may need to rethink some things in your schedule or what you are taking on. Enlisting additional help should get your through a period or advance you forward to where you can hire help.

2. Set it, focus on it, get it done – Short term goal achievement takes great effort.

My wife sells Thirty-One (cool hand bags and organizing equipment) www.mythirtyone.com/oakleycortez  She is really good at this business and is growing a great team. In April her team needed to sell over $15,000 worth of merchandise for Oakley to win a trip the Mexico.  I had never seen my wife so focused. She booked a ton of parties and sold a lot of merchandise and personally produced over a third of what was needed. She rallied her team of a dozen plus women. She reached the goal and will be heading to Mexico.  If you have a short-term goal you are working on, you must stay focused on it and do the hard work. It requires a sprint of effort and few other things (See lessons 3 and 4). Of course some-times it requires a half-marathon, wait for my next post.

3. Spousal Support Is a Must – Lean on each other when needed and push each other forward when needed.

Since we both are involved in the parentpreneurial journey my wife and I often have conflicting schedules and goals.  It’s not uncommon for her to have a party scheduled on an evening and for me to have a ton of paperwork to do or contracts to write etc.  No problem except for the little girls who kind of like us around and food with their meals.  If felt like there were several times I would come home and we would kiss each other in the doorway as she was heading out.  There was a lot of tag teaming going on. I knew that it was going to be a busy April for her. I just didn’t know mine was going to be as busy.  I was completely aware of her goal and had to make a commitment to support her in it.  I had to shift some more of my energies to focus on the house and kids. There were times where it was a struggle in my business and I got behind. That is part of the struggle with business and kids. If I got frustrated, I would remind myself of how much she has supported my efforts and that the chaos of the moment has a purpose (that last part is worth rereading).  When you get married you agree to support each other. It amazes me when I hear of marriages where the couples don’t really know whats going on with each other or even seem to care. I am extremely proud of my wife and feel great for doing my part. I must admit that in the midst of the chaos I wasn’t always so great. I’m glad she really loves me.

4. It’s okay if it doesn’t get done (at least right away) focus on the priorities.

Things are going to slip when you have a lot going on. Things are going to slip even more when your family has a lot going on.  In prep for the Easter Egg Hunt the house looked like the Easter Bunny had exploded in the living room.  During my wife’s and my tag team approach weeks the house was no better. We had an eminent threat of a tea party forcing us to get the house clean. I am a big fan of the eminent threat approach.   When you have no choice you get it done. We got  most of the house clean with the help of my wife’s parent who came in for the impending tea party.  After the tea party which was awesome it looked like a pink nuclear bomb exploded with girly fallout.  It has taken a while to recover. When you have a lot of major things to get done you have to put your energy into them. Get help on the small things and if they don’t get done then they can wait.  It’s not an excuse to forgo responsibilities. If it takes a few days to do dishes or if you have to eat out, it’s okay.  During spurts stuff happens. When a ship is in a storm the deck is not getting mopped.  Give yourself grace in the storms. Give your spouse and kids the same.  Not sure how, see next paragraph.

5. High Frustration Equals Low Patience and Visa Versa.  

There is not doubt that crazy schedules, lots of priorities, tiredness, hard work, and those delayed small things can add up to frustration.  During April my wife and I experienced the hangry thing several times. My love meter is at low when my frustration is high. It’s during these time that the kids usually tend not to listen, so I may have to speak a little louder than normal.  I really do my best to not push frustration on my family. It’s really hard sometimes. This is where grace towards one another is huge.  The antidote to frustration is love. I have to remind myself how much I love my family and they deserve the best of me.  I recently heard the acronym HALT. When you are Hungry Angry Lonely and Tired you need to halt or you may hurt those around you. During the chaos times take moments to gather yourself. Find a release that calms you down such as exercise, a nap, or reading.  My wife and I have a rule, only one of us can be frustrated at a time. This way we can relieve each other.  When the leadership in the family is all frustrated the kids have no one to turn to and instead they turn against both parents.  Find a way to fill your love meter up and lessen the frustration of the chaos. I did get to a point of asking myself why I was frustrated and then saying “is this really worth getting angry over?” More often than not the answer is no.

Busy times are part of the journey. Learning to get through them is essential. You will experience burnout if you can’t learn to manage these seasons.  The great thing is that with each season like this in my life I get better and managing them. Chaos strengthen character.


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Your Eternal Custom Home

One of my families two businesses is a home building company named Tandem Homes. We are small company that mainly focuses on building custom homes. There is a distinct difference between types of builders. There are large speculative or inventory builders who build homes to their own specs to sell on the open market. These are the most common types of builders who build multiples of the same floor plan in a subdivision. If you are lucky you will get to “customize” your house by choosing colors and some variations of design they have predetermined. These builders do a great job giving you choices from their expert selections. The Realtor part of me loves selling these new homes because the builders in most cases do a great job with clients during selections. They have great process and systems for customer management. Since they generally have a lot of customers the one on one time is limited. Some spec builders won’t even sell their homes until it’s almost finished in order to avoid having much interaction with customers during the build process.

Then there are true custom home builders. We are the group that specializes in helping people from the conception to the closing of the house. We often get involved at the outset with site selection and design where a blank sheet of paper begins to reflect someone’s dream. The customer and the builder are together every step of the way. The best part is that the customer has the ability to make almost every choice. The hardest part is that the customer has the ability to make almost every choice. This is where the separation is. Custom builders give the client what the clients wants and walks hand in hand with them through the whole process. It’s a time consuming and very involved process for builder and client. Our company is named Tandem because we work together with the customer for their dream.

From a real estate perspective both are great. Spec builders can efficiently build hundreds even thousands of homes a year, while a custom builder may only build a few. This is because a custom home takes much more time and effort. Working with your customer so closely requires getting to know them on a much deeper level.

This past Sunday at Easter service my Pastor Bil Cornelius began a new series, Heaven is for real. During the message which you can view using the link at the bottom of this post he spoke about John 14:2.

John 14:1-2

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Pastor Bil spoke about the fact that God is preparing a home for each one of us in Heaven. This may be the truest custom home of all. It’s built for you based on you and there you will experience constant joy. The homes my company builds are beautiful and serve you well, however they will never be perfect because you and  life is always changing. In Heaven your home and room are prepared specifically for you by your father for your lasting joy.

As a home builder I spend countless hours on a project and have hundreds of conversations with the home owner. I love seeing the process unfold and the house begin to take shape. When trim work and cabinets go in it’s my favorite part. It’s at this time that the colors chosen by the home owners will take this blank canvas and make it their own. At the end I love walking through the house right after it’s been detailed and cleaned. My partner and I do an extensive walk-thru to catch any missed items before the customers come in for their walk-thru. We want to present our best effort. 

Now imagine you were building a custom home for your children or a loved one. You picked every detail exactly like you know they would love it. The rooms are perfect and the backyard has everything they want. It’s like your personal Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Imagine that the process took a year and you labored and had hundreds of hours filled with sweat, blood and tears put into it. The day your call your kids to scream “move that bus” everyone of their friends and your friends is there to see them. Now imagine if they, your kids don’t show.

You would feel crushed. The party is there for them and the house is perfectly built.  It would be a shame to have them never move in. I know as a builder I would be sad if the houses we build were never lived in.

How much more is God saddened by his children not taking residence in their Heavenly house. During Easter we celebrate the master home builder’s gift. God sent his son Jesus to die for our sins so we can get the keys to our house in heaven.  No one in this world is perfect and we have all not lived up to the standards set by God. If you go through the 10 commandments and your anything like me you’ll find several that you broke today. That means we can’t get into heaven on our own because we have sinned against God. Jesus paid the price for our transgressions. That’s the good news everyone talk’s about. He paid the mortgage on your new home. 

In John 14 Jesus goes on to say starting in verse 3 –“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If you ask Jesus into your life you will experience unconditional love and forgiveness. Life won’t instantly get better and your problems won’t disappear. What will happen is the keys to your heavenly home will be delivered to the gates of Heaven with your name on them.  Your custom home is being built for you right now. Your eternal joy is a decision away. Don’t let that home go abandoned.

Check our Pastor Bils message using the below link.



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The Vagina Prayer

When I was a sixteen I didn’t pray much, but there is one prayer that I did pray, (it’s okay to breathe mom), I used to pray for a great wife. I’m not sure what you were thinking I was praying for.  Prayer answered, I have an amazing wife. Now that I have your full attention with a great opening I will explain the title. It’s not some story that is going to get published in the annals of the risqué times, but a story of pure cuteness. 

Part of the bed time routine with my daughters and wife is to pray. We sit on the floor in one of the girls rooms. Since we take turns putting them to bed the one I am not putting to bed sits in my lap and vice versa.  Prayer time is always interesting. Some nights the girls will behave like little angels folding there hands and singing a melody of prayers for their friends and the kitty.  Then other nights you’d swear that Tasmania unleashed it’s little fur balls upon us hopped up on caffeinated pixy stixs. Instead of sweet prayers it’s booty shaking and “I don’t want to pray” spouting from their pretty little faces. Truthfully we have a lot more great nights than bad. 

The greatest moments are when Ayla and Joss recite the most beautiful and outwardly thoughtful prayers. On a few occasions they have talked about being thankful for Jesus and excited that they get to go to heaven and pray for everyone to go.  In those moments I am thankful that they are learning to pray early on.  Though they are not perfectly behaved every prayer time we just want them to be comfortable and thankful they can converse with God. 

The most common request during their prayer time is “Lord, please help … insert “booboo”.  A few weeks ago Joss came down with a yeast infection in her, as I first used to refer to it when Ayla was born, her “area.”  Using the “V” word just didn’t sound right when speaking about a little girl.  There are all sorts of ways to refer to that part of the female anatomy such as privates, blossom, flower, hoo-ha, several involving animal names, shellfish, various food entrees and deserts. In fact if you research it you’ll never be the same.  My new personal favorite via the Big Bang Theory is the “neather yaya”, hey my first German word. So many options, because who really wants their three year old talking about their vagina.  I really just want to call it “that special place ain’t nobody gonna touch till you are married.” This is my new daily prayer, “Lord, please protect my girls from boys and help me develop a deeper intimidating voice, stronger, muscles, and a more accurate shot, AMEN.”

All this build up for Joss’ special prayer, “Dear Lord, please help my vagina feel better.” (we went anatomically correct in our house because they were referring to it as their bottom and it was confusing us parents.) It’s the sweetest and weirdest little prayer. She was healed up in no time, just a few days later with God’s help and modern medicine put together her “area” was back to normal. The problem is that every night for the past few weeks she prays the same prayer.  She is definitely thorough.   I don’t want to impede her prayer since she is so sincere.  I just roll with it.

I am so thankful that my girls are learning prayer early and that God will give you the desire’s of your heart when the align with his will. That’s the key as stated in 1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 

It has taken me a while to become a consistent praying man. I am constantly working on it. The innocence of a three year old praying is often what I miss in my selfish and stressed out prayers at times. I can learn a lesson from my little girl. When she prays she whole heartedly believes. I know there are times I do and I am fully connecting with God like a child and there I times when I pray with doubt creeping in because of my overthinking, overstressing adult ways.

Next time you pray remember the innocence of a child like faith. The world may be better with a little less Vagina Monologues and more Vagina Prayers.


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Be a pro during stressful times

Being a business owner can be extremely stressful at times. Okay, it’s stressful most of the time especially during the start-up, massive growth, transition, downsizing, or Monday through Friday. A small business owner is CEO, CFO, COO and DAD at the same time, which equals to lots of WINE (just occasionally).

Lets throw on top of that being in the real estate business where your clients are generally going through something considered second only to death in terms of stress, moving.  It’s my job and current life’s work to help people get from one place to another.  Handing the keys over to a first time buyer is a great feeling. Handing a check over to a couple who just sold their recently passed dad’s house is heartfelt.  This business is amazing. However it has it’s stresses with odd hours, weekends, late night phone calls. When the world is getting off at 5 pm after a normal business day your second half is often just beginning. Being successful in this business is tough and the rewards are great as well.

One of the most difficult aspects of business is working with your clients and other parties emotions.  People are going to handle stress a different way. It amazes me that I can have two clients going through similar situations in the same week and handle it completely opposite. One will get angry and frantic and the other will take it in stride and roll with it.  I have learned that both clients are right.  They have the right to feel what they feel.

I am a “roll with it” person and early in my career I let the angry folks really get to me.  Rolling with the punches doesn’t make me weak or less of a negotiator in fact composure makes me better. I have a philosophy that life happens and your part of it instead of things happening against you.  When you don’t see obstacles as personal it’s easier to deal with them. The buyer’s bank didn’t deny the loan at the last minute to cause the seller major stress on purpose. Things happen and it’s how we respond that is important.  “Don’t give a circumstance power over you” is something I tell myself often when things are going south with a deal.

My job is to be the calm in the midst of a storm. I can’t let their stress and anger affect my decision making and advice.  You would be amazed the kind of anger people get in a transaction.  I can tell when the agent on the other side is letting their client stress them out.  I have counseled crying agents through tough deals.

It took a long time to learn to stay calm and composed. It allows me to be a better negotiator and a better agent with real advice not emotion filled responses that just fuel the fire.  I once had a client remark that I was almost to calm.  I asked them how their experience would have been if I was upset and frantic when they called. They said, “oh, that makes sense.”  Composure is to be remained when with a client. I go to bat for my clients and make sure the other side is aware of what’s going on.  At home where I feel comfortable to let stress out I can get frustrated.  My wife knows when a client is upset or a deal is going bad. She knows the look in my face when I get the “deals dead” phone call. The “we just lost $8,000 in a few seconds” call. There are very few jobs in the world where you can spend 6 months working on a project and not get paid for it. There are also few jobs where you can meet someone and make $8,000 a few weeks later. I had to learn quickly to find ways to manage such stress at home. Just like my client’s stress isn’t my fault, my family shouldn’t get the blame for my work stress.

I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the tops agents in our city and frankly the state. I asked “how do you handle it all?” His response, “exercise, faith, and stress management. You can’t own their problems.”  That was great confirmation for me.  I had a problem early on of owning people’s problems.  People make choices that get them in situations and then because of the stress of the situation they can find fault with the people they hire to help them. This is true of doctors, lawyers, counselors, almost any business.    Trust me I go way above for my clients and offer great solutions to the problems.  A major life lesson is to always remember that how people respond to you or a situation is out of your control.

Learning to not own the problem has actually made me better at helping solve the problem. That’s what professionals do. Imagine a quarterback getting stressed out and frantic when the defense just gave up a touchdown with two minutes left and is now behind by 6.  We expect a champion to go out focused and composed to lead the charge. That’s what our customers expect from us. If you own their stress you can’t be a pro.  You can understand their stress, empathize, but you can not blame yourself for it.

It’s still a struggle daily. Like any muscle in life the staying calm muscle gets stronger with practice. Find a way to learn how to remain calm. My main weapons for handling stress are words. I have a few phrases that keep me calm. I remind myself the situation will often be over in a few days or weeks. I try to work my client through their stress by asking questions that lead them to find an answer to the real cause of stress.

My other weapons are exercise, prayer and chocolate. yes women, it works for men also.  Chocolate tends to beat out the exercise which is a whole other stress.  Ultimately experience and the ability to gather perspective will be your greatest strengths when dealing with stress. The better you can learn to handle stress the better you will be for your clients. Be a pro.

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Unclear Path

fog photo

My family and I were driving back from San Antonio to Corpus Christi this past weekend.  About half way through our two hour drive a light fog started to appear. Although an interstate highway the journey between the two cities is one of wide open spaces, occasional gas stations and sprouting oil rigs (which are more prevalent than ever).  Throw in 9 pm and the light fog was enough to raise concerns.  The fog going from a mile of visibility to hundreds of yards and then the concern meter rose quite a bit.

I knew two things, I must stay focused on the road in front of me and that the road I was on will get me to where I want to go.

Sometimes things in life will be unclear. You’ll have circumstances that don’t make sense. Your future will be clouded and uncertain.  It’s in these times that you must remain focused on the task at hand.  Focus on the steps you can take in this moment. Focus on what you can do today. If what you are working on is pointing towards your life’s vision and dreams a temporary fog can be overcome.  The thing about fog is that it’s temporary. When the air temperature rises the suspended water molecules that create the fog disappear like the XFL.

When life is foggy turn up the heat and focus on what you can do.  I began to focus on the line markers on the road to keep me going straight. I also looked for cars in front. Seeing tailights ahead gave me comfort that someone had just gone through what I am about to.  That’s a big key towards your dreams. Find the people who are and have driven the road to the success you are looking for. In our new business I am turning to other franchisees who have built strong businesses.

There are times on the drive where I would wind up passing the taillights I was following because they were driving to slow. My speed picked up with my comfort level.  I would find myself driving in the midst of the dense fog with no sight of anyone else around.   These moments were more fearful and stressful. I just stayed focused on the road ahead and remembering that soon I would be home. Those who can deal with uncertainty and persevere will taste success.

There came a moment when we came up to the Nueces river which is a marker that we had made it to Corpus Christi.  The great thing is as soon as we hit the river the fog lifted and it was crystal clear on the way home.   When you get close to your vision and dreams life will be come clearer because obstacles will seem as though they disappear due to laser focus.

During the last twenty miles of the drive home I become completely aware of how great clear skies are. I also became aware of all the distraction of billboards and other lights.  When I was driving in the fog I was focused and aware of the road. If you can take the focus and awareness of your path through the fog and keep it when clear skies are there you will hit your dreams. The distraction can keep you from achieving and reaching your dreams. Stay focused.

When life becomes unclear embrace it as an opportunity to learn how to focus and become fully aware of the path you need to take. These times are when the hard work is done and the payoff becomes closer.

The next time you hit a foggy patch in your career, relationships, finances etc. write down a plan to serve as your road and then read your life’s mission and vision statements. Those who focus through the fog are the ones who reach their dreams.

Focus on!!

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My 5 year old daughter said the “F” word

When you become a parent you know there are going to be milestone moments. The first word, first step, the first “I love you daddy,” the moments that melt your heart. You quickly become aware there are going to be the others, you know the one’s that you’ll laugh about later, just not in the moment because instead of your heart melting it’s exploding with anger, embarrassment, or fear.

I came home from a day of making changes in our office to unveil the new franchise we purchased for our real estate business. I was in a good mood and began playing with Joss, my three year old daughter. As I’m rolling around on the floor with little Joss my five year old daughter, Ayla, walked up to me. She then looked down at me and with a giant smile says “s#@t!” I hopped up with the skill of a retired ninja and looked for my wife. “Oak did she say what I think she just said.”

I was in the moment and thinking to myself don’t over react she doesn’t know what she said. Then my wife informed me that they had a long discussion earlier that afternoon about that very word because she had showed my wife her new found vocabulary.

I looked back at my daughter and didn’t see my sweet little girl anymore. I swear she was standing there with a high ball full of whiskey puffing a cigar doing her best Ron White tater salad face.

I may have gotten a little upset with her. I was more upset that she had disobeyed her mom and said it again.  I came out with the “that’s such an ugly word to come out of such a pretty face. That’s a word they can’t even say on TV.”  I tried to keep my voice down, but I’m dad, raising my voice at all is probably scary to them. I’m working on that one.  My wife and I shot disappointing looks her way and she ran to her room to cry in her embarrassment.

I asked my wife about the previous incident. She explained a kid at school had said it. We happen to know the boys mom. The big question was do we make the call.  My thinking was yes, call and let me listen. I was hoping that on the other end would be a repeat of the beating Schwartz received in a Christmas Story. I even contemplated looking for a bar of soap for my little “Ralphie.” My wife did speak with the boy’s mother the next day in person.

I calmed down and went and spoke to my little sailor.  I apologized for raising my voice and held her for a bit. I asked her where she heard the word. She explained that the boy had asked the teacher in front of the whole class if they could say it at school.  I told her that word is not one that smart people use and that it’s meant to shock people. There is really no good explanation other than don’t say it.

You may be asking “where is the ‘F’ word”?  The next night I was tucking Ayla into bed and she proceeded to tell me, “daddy I can’t get that word out of my head.”  Yet, another teachable moment for the Fatherpreneur.  “Sweetie, the good thing is that God has given us the ability to change our thoughts.  Try to think of something fun that makes you happy.”

“Okay daddy, I will think of the ‘F’ word,” she said in an innocent voice.  Holy “S” word ran through my head. “Who has this kid been hanging out with.”  I told myself to remain calm. “Ayla, what is the ‘F’ word?”

I turned my head not wanting to see her speak the word. “Family! I am going to think about you, mommy, and Joss.”

My heart began to beat again and I gave her a giant hug.  I left her room to look for a high ball full of scotch.

When raising a family and a business you are going to encounter moments that are less than fun.  You’ll have moments that shock you and test your patience.  It’s important to always learn from these moments. Each one that happens will make the next one easier to handle.  Calm, cool, collected is gained through trial by five year old.  Each day they grow, I grow.

My heart and my head are not always on the same page when it comes to moments like these.  Maybe there are times when they both need to take a backseat to my funny bone. The reality is that we all will have these moments to laugh at later.  To make them easier maybe we should laugh a little sooner and ease the pain of the moment. These are the moments that make life fun. Go hug your “F” word.