Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Episode 25 - Back-to-School Blues and Marriage Tune-Ups

First Day, 2014
Olivia and I talk about how it felt to send BOTH of our kids to middle school, and share three ways that the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaways have strengthened our marriage. They’re definitely not just for people who are struggling in marriage. We see them as preventive care for a healthy marriage.

Emma really squeezing my hand hard!
Liv’s question to me: What was my impression of dropping Emma and Jacob off on their first day of school? In other words, how were they different as we dropped them off.

My question to Liv: What are three ways you’ve seen our marriage strengthened by attending Weekend to Remember, and why should married couples attend one themselves?

Our question to you: We learned from our Pastor, Bil Cornelius, that we should annually take a vacation with the kids and a vacation without the kids. What types of preventive care do you infuse into your marriage to keep things healthy? What have you learned from others about healthy marriages that you’d like to share? Comment below.

Click here to subscribe and receive a free copy of Strength Revisited.

Strength Revisited, a free eBook download based on my TEDxCorpusChristi Talk about how we define strength in manhood.

You and your spouse are invited to attend a
Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.

BOGO Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway, August 25 - Sept. 15, 2014
Use the Group Name “Corpus Christi” when you register to attend a getaway. Corpus Christi will host Weekend to Remember on May 25-27, 2015!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Midlife Crisis? Reinvent Yourself!
I grew up knowing that I would one day join the U.S. Army and be a soldier. That was the life I was raised to embrace as an Army B.R.A.T. with a mother who said to me almost daily, “You have to go to school, get good grades, and become an officer.”

My favorite pastime wasn’t playing baseball like many of my friends would believe. It was pretending to be a soldier, playing war with my friends, playing war with G.I. Joe, watching war movies, etc.

As I creep up on midlife, I find myself taking inventory on where I am in the areas of my faith, family, fitness, finances, and my career. In the spirit of being open and real with you, I will say that I have been struggling with where I am financially and within my own career. Those two areas in particular have been frustrating. Why? It's because 11 years ago, I walked away from life in the Army. A year later, I received Jesus Christ as my Savior, but I never really embraced what that would mean for the rest of my life. 

So, here I am at 38 years old, and wondering where I go from here. Am I pursuing the path I was meant to go? What does that path look like? 
"Reinventing" and "renaming" are themes that have surrounded me in recent months. My church, Bay Area Fellowship, just changed its name to Church Unlimited and embraces its identity as a church that is unlimited in what it can do because of what God brings to the table. I learned of a businessman from Corpus Christi named Michael Johnson who decided to produce a movie called “The Identical” starring Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd. He just reinvented himself.

History is filled with people who reinvented themselves and found their success or purpose in the latter half of life.

  • Colonel Harland Sanders held many jobs and tried multiple businesses until he found his KFC success in his 60s!
  • Wells Fargo reinvented not only itself but how banking was done after the deregulation of banks in the 1980s. Read Good to Great by Jim Collins.
  • Apple shifted from just computers to handheld entertainment devices like iPod, iPad, and iPhone. 10 companies that completely reinvented themselves.
  • Stan Lee was 43 when he began drawing the superheroes that made him famous. In fact, he was born Stanley Martin Lieber, and served in the U.S. Army. Talk about reinventing oneself!
  • Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was 40 years old!

Our midlife can be a time of transition and transformation, or it can be a time of desperation and depression. I choose transformation.

Who am I?

Men's Conference in 2013
For me, it won’t be a Kaizan of my life. My transformation won’t be the buying of a sports car or throwing away my family for a younger woman.

Mostly, it will entail a reconciling of who I am with what I perceived I was supposed to be.

Knowing who you are is huge in knowing how you will reinvent yourself. I know that I am a man of God, a follower of Jesus Christ, a man dedicated to his wife and children. That won't change.

Where I really want to reinvent myself is in my career path, embracing where my gifts, talents, and passion really lies rather than trying to fulfill what other people have expected of me. It means embracing the fact that I am not a soldier any longer, that I hung that career path up when I chose my family over a military career.

What I needed to know was already in front of me. I enjoy writing, speaking, blogging, and teaching. Heck, I recently earned my Masters degree in Educational Technology. I am already doing what I enjoy doing! I guess I’m saying that my transition is in progress right now as I write this. I’m removing all my doubts. You haven’t heard about these doubts, but my closest friends and family have.

You’ll see more of me on this blog. You’ll hear more from my family in our podcast, Family Time Q&A, and you’ll see us promoting healthy marriages and healthy families in the years to come.

How will you reinvent yourself?

Click here to download a free copy of Strength Revisited based on the TEDxCorpusChristi Talk about redefining strength in manhood.

Related Articles

Reinvent Yourself from Psychology Today

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Episode 24 - A Father-Son Chat, School Sports, Favorite TV Shows, Strength Revisited

I can’t believe that my son is already turning 13 years old this week!

This kid...

Jacob, age 4. Photo courtesy of Sylvia Vega (aka "Grammies!")

…is now this kid!

August 2014, age 13-ish. Photo courtesy of
Olivia Dugan (aka "Mommy!")

Yes, Jacob is officially taller than I am by at least an inch now.

Awards assembly, May 2014.

Click here to subscribe and receive freebies like a copy of Strength Revisited, my Evernote Life Planning/Goal Setting Template, and email updates.

Question to Jacob: What sport do you look forward to most in the 2014-2015 school year?

Question to me: What is my favorite (all-time) TV show?

Our question to you: Jacob and I talk about Divergent, and I only named four of five factions. What is the one faction that I forgot to mention? Comment below, or email me at

Strength Revisited, a short eBook based on my TEDxCorpusChristi Talk about how we define strength in manhood. Download your copy now! Share this link with your family and friends, too.

Corpus Christi Harbor BridgeWalk is held on Sunday of the first full weekend of the month. The route begins from Heritage Park with a safety announcement and group photo. Once the 3.4-mile route is complete, participants can get a ticket punched (five walks gets you a free t-shirt), enjoy demonstrations from local fitness groups, and re-nourish your body with water and fruit. 

Run or Dye is coming to Corpus Christi November 15, 2014. I really need to get running to build up my endurance, and ultimately keep up with Jacob. That guy can really run.

Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway
Save $100/couple by using the Group Name “Corpus Christi” when you register to attend a getaway. Corpus Christi will host Weekend to Remember on May 25-27, 2015!

Monday, August 18, 2014

My First Kindle eBook Goes Global!

I ran a little experiment that produced better than expected results. Author Jeff Goins has talked about boosting awareness for an eBook with a Kindle Countdown Deal. He has even used it to launch a new eBook.

So, I ran a Kindle Countdown Deal in July for my first eBook, Use Your Smartphone to Lose Weight. The eBook was offered for free for one weekend only. I wanted to share with you the results of that experiment as well as how I set up the Kindle Countdown Deal for those who are new to self-publishing on Kindle.

3-Day July Kindle Countdown Deal Results:
  • 1160 copies were downloaded
  • Breakdown of downloads by country
    • U.S. - 1129 (downloads)
    • U.K. - 14
    • Germany - 2
    • France - 2
    • Japan - 1
    • Australia - 3
    • Canada - 5
    • India - 4
  • Royalties from new Kindle Unlimited program: $5.42
  • Rankings
    • #602 for "Free in Kindle Store"
    • #5 for "Kindle Short Reads: 90 Minutes (44-64 Pages) - Had no clue that was even a category, but I take wins wherever they come.
    • #6 for "Kindle eBooks...Healthy Living"

Day 2 metrics from the 3-day Kindle Countdown Deal.

For a guy who has never published anything before, this was fantastic!  The royalties from the new Kindle Unlimited loan program were icing on the cake. Even eBook was downloaded in a global market. Use Your Smartphone to Lose Weight went international! Woo hoo!

Running a Kindle Countdown Deal was about a learning experience for me and the Amazon platform, but it was also about getting my eBook into as many hands as possible. I want to help people with an idea.

Side note: commissions from the KU program are based on customers who download an eBook and read at least 10% of the book. I recommend anyone publishing eBooks through Amazon Kindle to enroll their product in the KU lending library. You can do this from choosing to allow lending for your eBook when choosing your rights and royalties options when you upload your eBook. You can always change your mind later.

How to set up a Kindle Countdown Deal
  1. Log in to your KDP account at
  2. If your eBook is not already enrolled in the KDP Select, do so. One requirement of KDP Select is that you only have your eBook for sale on
  3. With your eBook now enrolled in KDP Select, you can return to the Dashboard, click on “Manage Benefits” for your eBook.
  4. Click on the button that reads “Kindle Countdown Deal” and choose whether your deal will be a free giveaway or a discounted price. Your deal can last up to 7 days.
  5. Now, get the word out about your promotion through social media, email, etc.

Amazon also does a great job of getting the word out for specials that happen. In fact, the majority of the work was done by Amazon! Their system reminds its customers of deals, and targets those who have downloaded or viewed books similar to yours. Their marketing system is truly tailored to readers’ preferences.

Jeff Goins has a lot of resources to help you launch your next eBook and get it into the Top 100 list for your genre. Subscribe to his email list for those resources here.

Click here to download a free copy of Strength Revisited based on the TEDxCorpusChristi Talk about redefining strength in manhood.

Additional Resources

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Strength Revisited, Download this FREEBIE

Strength Revisited is based on my November 2013 TEDxCorpusChristi Talk about our need to redefine strength in manhood. In this book, you'll see how American society places "being strong" as a core characteristic to manhood, but a limited view of strength limits what men can do in relationships, business, and society.

Download your own free copy of Strength Revisited now, share this post with your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, social media followers, and anyone else I may have left out.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Episode 23 - A Game of "This or That" with My Daughter

Emma and I decided to play a game called "Would You Rather" in this episode asking each other a variety of eight rapid fire questions like, "Would you rather read a traditional paper printed book or an eBook?" with a short explanation of why after each one.
We also had random shout-outs to podcasts we enjoy such as Jared Easley from "Starve the Doubts" and Lou Mongello from "WDW Radio". We love your podcasts and look forward to new episodes every week!

You can catch show notes for all my podcast episodes by clicking here.

Our question to you: On a rainy day, would you rather stay home wrapped in a warm blanket or go outside and get wet?

Click here to subscribe and receive freebies like my Evernote Life Planning/Goal Setting Template.

Prayer Request: I humbly ask for your prayers, good thoughts, and well-wishes for a dear friend and mentor of mine, Joe, who is battling prostate cancer. Fortunately, he has been able to participate in a trial treatment which has allowed his access to care that he would otherwise not have because of how advance the tumor was.

Coming soon! Strength Revisited, a free eBook download based on my TEDxCorpusChristi Talk about reconsidering how we define strength in manhood.

Related post: Husband's Strength in Marriage.

MOOC - Massive Open Online Courses are just what the name implies. They are massive online courses that are offered for free from college professors. If you wanted to sit in on a course just for the information and don’t care much about certification or paying tuition then give one of these a try through programs like Coursera or iTunes University. I just completed a MOOC on Assessing and Teaching for 21st Century Skills through Coursera and the professors were from University of Melbourne.

Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway
Save $100/couple by using the Group Name “Corpus Christi” when you register to attend a getaway. Corpus Christi will host Weekend to Remember on May 29-31, 2015!

WDW Radio - Walt Disney World has so much to offer that it is you are only robbing yourself if you think you can explore the WDW parks without a clue. Lou Mongello shares his knowledge of trivia to help you make the most of your next (or first) Walt Disney World adventure.

Starve the Doubts - a podcast and blog about overcoming your own self-doubts hosted by Jared Easley.

Grav3yard Girl - a show that Emma and Olivia love to watch on YouTube. She does walk-throughs of Wal-Mart and Target for goofy products, and demonstrates "As Seen on TV" products in a segment of her vlog she calls "Does This Thing Really Work?!"

Click here to subscribe and receive freebies like my Evernote Life Planning/Goal Setting Template.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why I Won't Support Women's Football For Now

I like American Football. I played offensive guard through high school, and I was proud to see my son play the same position in 7th Grade.

There’s something about women playing football that bothers me, and it’s not the fact that women are playing football. It’s how we have women playing football.

Problem #1 - Women’s Football is Over-Sexualized
Legends Football League rose from the Lingerie Football League where women play the full-contact sport clad in shoulder pads, their jerseys are large enough to just cover the pads themselves. What’s available for all to see? Cleavage, midriffs and legs!

When reviewing the Home Page for LFL team L.A. Temptation, it’s easy to see that just the name alone is innuendo and the Home Page looks like a line up.

Homepage of LA Temptation, July 30, 2014

Compare this to the Oakland Raiders Home Page, and the focus is on understanding the players and their abilities. Know their stats, their skills, their accomplishments on and off the field. Meanwhile, the L.A. Temptation page is all about “LOOK at us!” They are faces without names. The team roster headshots are more like model agency headshots. You don’t see that kind of headshot for an NFL roster. With an NFL roster, you get names and no faces.

Oakland Raiders homepage, July 30, 2014

The way women’s football is presented does not say, “We respect your ability to play the sport.” Rather, it is a reinforcement of the notion that men only respect women’s breasts. “Respect” isn’t even the right word to use. This is demeaning to both men and women. 

Women are more than a pair of breasts. Men have more dynamic and depth than boob-seeking radars!

Problem #2 - Women’s Football is Not Equitable
I won’t even dive into pay equity scales because I’m sure that a women’s football league is not profitable enough in the first place to garner the kind of salaries we see from a typical NFL player.

I will talk about player safety.

Equipment & uniform comparison
between men and women.
There are some standard gear items that every full-contact football player can count on using without question:
  • Helmet with a metal face mask and mouth guard,
  • Shoulder pads sometimes with added rib and neck protection
  • Girdle protection (hip & tail bone pads)
  • Thigh pads and knee pads integrated into pants, knee-high socks.

Jerry, women don’t hit each other as hard as men do, therefore they don’t need the padding, right?

If that is the case, then why do we dress up our middle school and Pop Warner football players in full NFL-type gear? They do not hit as hard as NFL players do. They do not even hit as hard as high school players do, but they are afforded a full spread of protective equipment.

7th Graders playing football, October 2013.

A player is covered from head-to-toe to protect them even from scrapes against grass and artificial turf. Either women possess skin that is tougher than men, or we as a society value seeing women’s skin over protecting it. We will protect our boys and men playing a full-contact sport, however we will expose our women in the same game. 

It's not just in football where we see this discrepancy. Compare uniforms of boys baseball and girls softball, volleyball, tennis, and more. Yes, you can rebut with basketball, golf, and water polo, however I can still contend that women's football today is nothing more than a repackaged mud wrestling match.

That’s food for thought. In the meantime, for the sake of my son and daughter, and out of respect for both men and women, #NotBuyingIt.