Category Archives: Journey

And we all fall down…

A reintroduction…

For those of you curious as to what has been going on, things have been crazy in this household. It has been a period of five months now, and the family continues to work through a very complex recovery process. So, here’s the beginning to how I was injured, what resulted from the injury, and how we are pushing forward… back towards greatness.

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26 July 2015:

Much progress has been made with my team during this week’s training exercise. Everyone recieved some good training; several of the young leaders received some much needed mentorship; and we got to shoot the hell out of some machine guns—we were on fire and overall pleased with the outcome. It’s time to head home for an early birthday celebration, our boys are turning 8 and 11 this week!

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Happy early birthday, brudders! All they’ve wanted since we’ve moved here was a trampoline. (It took way too long to assemble and couldn’t be enjoyed that evening.)

The following morning at home, I was feeling great. I remember planning out the day in my head: do some yard-work, get some good breakfast, work on some fitness, and take the family out somewhere nice. Mission accomplished! That is, until the fitness part. Continue reading

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Progress

Hello everyone! Before we begin, we’d like to thank all of our new followers on Instagram. In case you didn’t know, we now have an Instagram account, and you can find us as @thewarriorfam.

Also, this is post that will likely cause a lot of mixed emotions. This is not a rant! This is more like an initial call to arms. I’m tired of seeing so many young hopefuls settling for mediocrity…we need to do better. Pass this on to your friends, share it with your parents. Let’s get the word out…let’s make progress!


Having recently visited our hometown of Houston, I feel there is a subject that needs some discussing. Now, this topic is applicable to pretty much everyone who reads this, but in this particular case, is geared towards anyone whose family has immigrated into the United States. The topic is progress, and how many of us are failing at achieving it.

I spent the past week having this discussion with several of my closest family members.

So, a little background about what brings this up…

My family is from a little country in Central America called El Salvador. If you know anything about its history, you will know that it is overwhelmed with poverty, corruption, and a failed government. Much of this is the result of a bloody civil war which took place in the 80’s, which in turn, led to my family making the long trip north to eventually settle in the United States.

Let’s put things into perspective…

Members of my family would travel by bus, foot, train, mule, whatever means possible; through several countries stretching a distance of thousands of miles; all to settle in a crowded apartment complex with several other immigrants – some of which were granted limited permissions, or asylum due to the conditions of war in the country of El Salvador. Now, having to live in these conditions, they would acquire some type of job. This could be anything: construction, janitorial work, dangerous forms of manual labor, all for a pay well below minimum wage. These individuals would collect money, send it back to their home country, all to fund the transport of their remaining family members.

Once stateside, due to a no-nonsense attitude, strict dedication, and a desire for progress, members of my family were able to land decent paying jobs. They would manage their money, invest it in homes, open up businesses, and raise a generation of young El Salvadorian/Americans who’d have unlimited potential.

But the strides that they made to get me to that point are those of GIANTS!

Now, this is where I find the issue. If we look back at the hardships that our fathers, mothers, and even grandmothers endured to provide us with the simplest of conveniences in life, we could say that the journey was long, and that they had achieved a lifetime of success. Well, where is the flame being carried now?

When I look around the city of Houston, and other cities like it, I see a generation of young men and women who have had an extraordinary example set before them, but choose not to follow in those footsteps. My parents didn’t care much about my grades in school, whether or not I had the best paying job; they were satisfied in knowing that we had a home, that I was able to attend school (the majority of my aunts and uncles never finished any academic program in its entirety), and that we had food on the table every day. But the strides that they made to get me to that point are those of GIANTS!

When my older brother described his journey, he said he would be on his hands and knees from complete exhaustion. He was a young boy. My grandmother did the same journey with her daughter, her grandson, and her youngest son (both were so young they had to be carried). This story is not as unique as it may sound. Many a family in the United States has roots of a few extraordinary individuals who sacrificed an entire lifestyle abroad, to live the simplest of lifestyles in the greatest nation on our planet.

If we as the next generation do not make the same effort to progress as our parents did, we are bringing shame to their sacrifices, to all of their losses they endured on their journey, and even more, those who lost their lives making that same trip.

If you don’t know, ask! How did your families get to where they are? You may be surprised to learn that though they seem to come from humble beginnings, the journey which brought them to where they are is hardly anything short of amazing.

Teach those who follow you that better is always possible! Mediocrity is a plague!

Bring honor to your family; bring honor to yourselves! Match or surpass their efforts, increase the intensity, and carry the torch so that you can light a bright path which future generations can follow, and come to achieve greatness.

Teach those who follow you that better is always possible! Mediocrity is a plaque! Especially when a person comes from a family so rich in influence, so rich in wisdom, and only lack in having ever been told that they too can become something great.

If you have younger siblings, reach out to them. I know some who will read this post have similar stories – share them. Show them that they have the ability to achieve greatness, just like those before them.

Make the effort, do your part. Fight to make your family better.
Fight on Friends! – The Warrior Family


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Time, Influence, and Free Chicken

Where have  you been?

 

If you have been following our blog, you may have noticed that it has been quite some time since our last post. No, we haven’t given up in our quest to impact the lives of others; we just needed to take some time to enjoy a great gift we were recently given – time.

For the past two years, I have been serving as Drill Sergeant in Fort Benning, Georgia. My team and I would take large groups of recruits from every walk of life, and transform them into a new, hardened version of themselves. This assignment would prove to be very taxing on myself, and my family; however, on the day that I was able to retire my campaign hat, I knew that what I was able to accomplish here made everything worth the struggle.

This hat will continue to shake the nerves of men for many years to come.

This hat will continue to shake the nerves of men for many years to come.

Free Chicken

This was definitely one of my proudest moments, and it was time to give them men of my company my last little bit of what I call “Free Chicken”. I had always thought about what I would say on this day, and I boiled it down to three things…here is my best effort to recall what was said that day:

 

Men, I have put on a good front for you. As I stand here in front of you, you may think that I am a big, bad-A**-mother f*****, but I’m not. In fact, everything that is good about me, all of my best qualities, are standing right behind me  – where they have always been. If it weren’t for those two gentlemen there, and that fine-looking lady, I wouldn’t be half the man I am today. Take care of your families, men. They’ll be the one’s suffering while you’re downrange with your brothers doing what you signed up to do. They’ll be the ones staying up late at night, wondering where you are, or what you’re doing. Go out there and F*** Sh*t up so that when you return, and lay your head down on that bed, you can feel confident that you gave it 110% – that all of that time you spent away was worth it.

 

I love them, they are my rock.

I love them, they are my rock.

 

My wife and kids were standing behind me during my speech. It was amazing to see just how happy they were to have me back, and it was a blessing to able to share this moment with my brothers in the back of the photo; however, it was time to go, and catch up on all that time lost. So, I left the men with this:

 

Before I leave, men, I want to ask you…who wants some free chicken?

 

“I do, Drill Sergeant!”

The room erupted, and man…I still get chills thinking about it.

Men, when you all leave outta here, know that though we may have made you feel otherwise, you, men, have a lot of power… more power than you may think. You have power in two big ways, men,  and I’ll share them with you today.

First, you all have the power of Influence.You are always influencing those around you – you do not have a choice. However, how you influence is where you get to make a choice. Choose wisely!

Second, you all have a great gift to give people, and that is the gift of time. Giving someone your time is one of the most sincere things you can do because it is something that you will never get back. So, when you leave here, make sure that you are giving your time to the right people, and that you don’t waste it on the phone, or playing video games. Bottom line, men, is don’t be a dirt bag.

 

And that was it. That was the last that they heard from me…they said goodbye to Drill Sergeant Airborne, and so did I.

The next month was spent getting used to being at home, taking the boys to their practices, and snuggling with my wife on the couch, giving them all what I couldn’t give them the past two years – my time. That, my friends, is what my focus will be until our next challenge, which I’m sure you all will hear about soon.

 

Quit Stalling! : Re-define success and regain your momentum

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

When we were growing up, we were always asked “What do you wanna be when you’re an adult?” A fireman, an astronaut, the President, an Army guy…we would come up with the most amazing dreams. We could easily visualize ourselves achieving these great feats when we were children. So, let me ask you, what are you now?

If your answer is different from what you remember dreaming about as a kid, this could be due to several reasons:

  1. Your interests have changed
  2. You don’t believe you can do it
  3. You let others talk you out of it
  4. You are no longer your priority
  5. You gave up

Yeah, I know that sounds rough, but it’s ok. I wanted to share these thoughts because, for a while, I felt the same way too. However, from spending so much time helping others grow, I realized that I needed to take a step back and give myself a hard look. I had to ask myself again, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” When I realized that I was no longer moving toward any of my previous goals, or toward any goal for that matter, I had to ask myself, why? After some hard self assessment, these are some of the answers I came up with, and at first glance, it seems I have failed to reach any level of success – but I was wrong.

Friends, for quite some time I have spent hours studying, analyzing, and discussing with others, what exactly qualifies as success? How do we get there? Here are some things that I have learned that have fired me up, and have put me back on the right path.

First, no great person achieved anything by merely thinking about it. Nor, is there such a thing as an overnight success. As with everything great in life, hard work is the answer. I remember telling my son that we should never be hungry for immediate gratification for what we do. The greatest achievements in life are earned through years of dedication, and devotion to ones passion. I used the example given by Thomas A. Edison when discussing the amount of time it took him to invent the light bulb. He stated,

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Would we say that he was unsuccessful?

Author, and former power lifter Chris Moore uses music to further explain this. In one of his podcast’s (check out the Barbell Buddha Podcast), he mentions that we often spend too much time focusing on the ending, the point of gratification. This would be the same as attending a concert, or listening to a song, just to hear the ending – it makes no sense! It is the sweet melodies, the notes, the rises and falls that make music beautiful, and exciting. Why would we not look at life this way? My interpretation of success made it easy for me so feel as if I had failed, when in fact, I had only scratched the surface. When I would see this failure, the desire to quit entirely would often become overwhelming, and I know this is the case for many others.

So, why do we fail to reach success?

One of the main reasons we fail to reach success is because, as I stated before, we treat it as an ending, instead of a process. Just because I’m not the President of my company today, doesn’t mean I won’t be there eventually. As long as I live each individual day to the fullest, keep the end in mind, but work and live in the present, I have succeeded that day! This, my friends, is progress.

Like I mentioned in our last post, you climb a mountain one step at a time. If you try to look up at the tippy-top the entire time, you can grow dizzy, and faint; but if you focus, and take one hard step at a time, you will eventually get to the top. Times will get hard, and you may lose ground from time to time, this is OK. Remember,

“Yesterday ended last night” – John C. Maxwell

When you get a chance at a new day, tackle it with more intensity, and focus – that will make it a successful day. In the future, those days will be viewed by others as your lifetime, so treat each one as if it were special.


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Break the Silence! : A simple way close the communication gap!

The cold shoulder

One of the hardest things to maintain, and usually one of the first things that falls apart in a relationship is communication. Whenever we get upset with someone, we are often quick to give the cold shoulder, and bed down next to each other without saying our routine “goodnight”, or the “I love you” – but why? Not speaking to the person we care about most is the exactopposite of what we should do when times are rough. However, if you’re like me, this can sometimes feel like one of the hardest things you could possibly do.

The TDY Backburner

In the military community, having to go on temporary duty status (TDY) usually causes several mixed emotions in the household. Much of this is because of how easy it is to lose focus when you are removed from what’s most important to you, and are required to perform exceptionally well for a school, job, or any other task that you can think of. Going on TDY usually involves you having to go out of town, staying for a period of a few days to a few weeks, and typically requires more than one person – so naturally, once the job is done, people are going to want to hang out, and talk about their experiences.
My most recent experience with going on TDY was attending the United States Army Drill Sergeant School, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t on my best behavior. After class was over, I’d study, do some exercise, and then go out to have dinner with my friends. Initially this was ok, until the dinner bill started stacking up; the phone calls home were less frequent; and what should have been my main priority (my wife and kids) had been placed on the TDY back burner. This, my friends, was no Bueno!
The end result was a very cold atmosphere to say the least. Conversations were awkward, car rides were often too quiet, and I had a hard time enjoying my family, mainly because I felt like such a dirt-bag for treating them this way. This was especially true when I could see just how much my boys had missed me, THEY WERE ALL OVER ME! My wife, however, was not the happiest.

Why she is better than me

The awkwardness continued for a few more days, and we eventually hit somewhat of a breaking point. That is when my wife did something that probably saved our relationship, and showed me exactly how dedicated she was to me as a wife.

In the past, we have been blessed with the opportunity to attend many marriage seminars at the expense of the military. My wife and I would volunteer to go to these as often as we could – we both seemed to understand the importance of educating yourself of how to keep a marriage strong. One of the tools that we picked up at these seminars was shared to us by another couple. Whenever these two would have problems communicating, they would buy a card at the store, and write a message to their spouse stating why they loved them that day. When they were done, they would hide the card somewhere creative so that at some point throughout the day, the other person would find it, and be reminded of how the other felt about them. This would do several things:

• It opened lines of communication between the couple
• It would brighten up the persons day
• It shows that the person leaving the message is actually WILLING to put forth some effort toward strengthening the relationship

Often times, that little bit of extra effort is all that your relationship needs!

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”- unknown

We actually kept this card to use as a reminder of how bad things can get, and that with dedication, even the TOUGHESTof times can be worked through! (We’ll post an update with a photo for you in the future)
Try it!

So, if you’re in a similar situation, and want to open lines of communication again, give this a try! The initial message can state how the card is supposed to work, followed by your first entry – why you love your spouse that day. BE CREATIVE! Hide the card in their gym bag, their favorite book, underwear drawer, or sneak out and tape it to their steering wheel. Remember, in the end, it’s the effort the two of you put into fixing the communication issue that will make your relationship stronger than it was before. I know in my case, when we see things getting unnecessarily awkward, we are much quicker to talk things out than we were before. Plus, sometimes, it’s just something nice to do for the one that matters most to you.

Guidelines on Character, and tips to help teach Character

 

What is Character?

 

Character is the essence of a person, their inner truth, what they they actually are. A person’s character is based on their mental and moral qualities – who they are behind closed doors. A person can be successful in many areas in their life but without sound character, much like a home which has a cracked foundation, you will eventually crumble from the stresses of everyday life.

Character is not something that happens, it is something which is developed over a lifetime. To develop this in ourselves and our families, we have to take an honest look at what motivates us. Is it our values and beliefs or is it our desire to live up to a certain reputation? On that note, lets talk about the difference of character, and reputation. Abraham Lincoln gives a fitting example for this, “Character is like a tree, and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing”. We should make sure that what we truly value in life, our core beliefs, are what guide us in our decision making process and not reputation – reputation is merely a product of our character.

Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; character is what the angels say about you before the throne of God.” – William Hersey Davis

 

Here are some helpful guidelines on character that I have recently read about and had a brief discussion about with my sons. Now, I can confidently say that I am a man of moral character; however, it is important to me that I continue to approach life with an open mind and to continue to improve myself as well as my family.

 

Have integrity

Things like common decency are not as common as we’d like them to be. The lack of integrity in today’s world is a crutch that we must remove. But what is integrity? Integrity is being honest to others, being honest to and about yourself, both inside, and outside.

Teaching integrity to our kids is best done by setting the example. However, there will come a time where you must sit your kids down, and have a long discussion on the subject. Author John C. Maxwell provides us with good questions to help measure your integrity. Ask yourself (or your kids):

1. How well do I treat people from whom I can gain nothing?

2. Do I role-play based on the person(s) I am with?

3. Do I quickly admit wrongdoing without being pressed to do so?

4. When I have something to say about people, do I talk to them or about them?

Using these questions could help you guide your discussion with your child. Recently, I had an evaluation of my own integrity. These questions brought to light several things which I would like to work on, and which I would like to share with my children.

 

Be accountable for your actions (character)

It is important that we understand that your actions, your integrity, and your character should not be guided by your circumstances. No matter what walk of life we come from, we have the freedom to make the decision whether we want to do right by others, or do wrong by others.

 

“Your circumstances are responsible for your character as a mirror is for your looks”. -John C Maxwell

 

Pay your dues by helping others

Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell said it best, “The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for room on this earth.” The bottom line is this: if we are not ready to render service to others, why should anyone (life itself) render service to us. The more positive effort we put forth in our life, the more likely we will experience positive outcomes.

Do what you should before you do what you want!

Part of being a person with sound character is having a good work ethic. Often times, we get caught up in the daily grind we call life. You’ll find that if you put first things first, you will achieve success in life. Zig Ziglar had a good outlook on this topic, “When you do the things you have to do when you have to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”

In our earlier posts, we discussed how to improve focus, and minimize distractions so we can improve our quality of life. Part of this is making sure that we prioritize our lives, and make sure we take care of the needs first, so that we can fully enjoy our wants!

We hope that this information has been insightful. If you would like more posts like this, leave us a comment! We’d be happy to share anything that we can with you!

 

Some material from this post can also be found in the book: Becoming a Person of Influence by John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. Maxwell Motivation Inc., California (1997). 

 

 

Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better. This is what we’re all about.

Fight on Friends! – The Warrior Family

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If you like what you read, add us on Google+, share us on Facebook, and like us on twitter @thewarriorfam.

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Breakfast is for Champions!

A good man by the name of Chris Moore recently taught me a good life lesson… Slow down, and enjoy your morning coffee.

This is something that I have always done on my way to work, but recently I have been given a unique opportunity. For the past two weeks I have been attending a fitness course provided by the Army, which has left my mornings free up until 0800. So, one thing that I take great enjoyment in is actually cooking a meal for my kids.

I remember growing up, I’d have a nutter butter chocolate wafer bar, and a cup of coffee for breakfast (this was back in the fifth grade!). About half way through the day, I’d be falling asleep during class, and would have very little energy or desire to do anything afterward. Looking back, I was clearly not getting the right food in my body.

My two boys are far more active than I was as a kid. After school, they have run club, followed by a short break, and then it’s off to MMA/Jiu Jitsu. By the time they get home, they have burned a ridiculous amount of calories.

So, if I’m going to preach to them about training hard, doing their best, and living like a champion, I have to feed them like one.

Not only does this get them all of the nutrients they need to energize their bodies during the day, but it serves sort of a rejuvenating purpose for me as well.

It brings me great pride to provide for my family, but to feed them does just a little more for me. And, the whole time, I’m sipping on that nice cup o’ joe, straight Barbell Buddah style (check out his awesome Podcast ).

Try it for yourself!

So, if you get the chance during the week, or if you have to wait until the weekend, take the time and cook for your kids. Take the opportunity to show them how to provide for their future families, and to catch up on what’s going on in both of your busy lives!

If mom is the primary one doing the AM cooking, GIVE HER A BREAK! You’ll be surprised at how pleasant this, and the residual effect can be…#happywifehappylife #thewarriorfamily

 

 

To be a beast, you eat like a beast!

 

Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better. This is what we’re all about.

Fight on Friends! – The Warrior Family

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If you like what you read, add us on Google+, share us on Facebook, and like us on twitter @thewarriorfam.

Leave a Comment, Folks!

Doing Warrior Family type stuff? Post pictures on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and add #thewarriorfamily !

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