"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
— John Lennon
For a while now, my wife Lina—and others—have been urging me to publish a blog post chronicling my adventures as a Stay-at-Home Dad. The paragraphs that follow are my acquiescence to these requests.
Country music legend, Garth Brooks, famously sings: "Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." Over the course of the past year or so, I've experienced a lot of God's greatest "gifts." One such gift came disguised in the form of a stalled career. This camouflaged present of Providence has afforded me the unique opportunity of being a Stay-at-Home Dad for a time.
I confess that my current station is not a place I ever envisioned myself being at this point in my life. Nevertheless, over time I have come to recognize that this trial and adventure is worth its weight in gold for the blessings it is bringing into the life of my family and me.
This blog post contains TWO (2) parts. PART 1: It All Began With Failure, provides background information and details surrounding the entrepreneurial failures that led to my becoming a Stay-at-Home Dad. PART 2: Dad Quixote, recounts some of the specific challenges, opportunities, and blessings that have accompanied my journey as a Stay-at-Home Dad.
Part 1: It All Began with Failure
My opportunity to be a Stay-at-Home Dad was rooted in my many failures as an entrepreneur. In sharing my journey of failure, keep in mind that failure is only a permanent state if you choose to give up. As such, I wish to make clear up front that I do not view myself as a failure; far from it. I have, however, experienced a great deal of temporary failure in my personal and professional life. And in the words of Michael Jordan, "that is why I succeed." Therefore, when you hear me speak about failure in the pages that follow, keep in mind that I am referring to temporary conditions that are, in fact, the seedbeds of important learning and future successes. And now, in the words of Maria from The Sound of Music, "Let's start at the very beginning..."
I am an entrepreneur.
For the past 13 years of my life, I have been on one, long, continual journey to build a professional training company called, Freedom Focused. Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on how you look at it), I have not been particularly successful in doing so—at least not in any measurable sense of earned revenue.
My perpetual failure to get Freedom Focused off the ground has led to many career diversions over the years, including forays into a variety of glamorous positions of employ and activity, such as: product packaging, drying washed cars, groundskeeping, nannying, substitute teaching, full-time classroom teaching, and a doctoral sabbatical.
In the process, I have learned a great deal of humility, and discovered first-hand the great truth that there is dignity in any work honestly undertaken and diligently engaged that provides meaningful and needed service to others. I have also learned how bad it sucks to fail over and over and over again in a pursuit that is near and dear to your heart.
|Clowning around with my kids|
This adventure/blessing/crucible has been one of the most difficult, yet valuable and rewarding experiences of my life. Aside from being humbled to the dust yet again in the ongoing pursuit of my perpetually elusive entrepreneurial vision, humility is not the only virtue I have gained from this unexpected career tangent. While I'll confess there are days when I feel as though I'm teetering on the delicate precipice of my own sanity, I have also grown by leaps and bounds in my own capacity for courage, compassion, conviction, empathy, faith, patience, and respect.
|The Jensen Family circa 1982|
I am the three-year old on my Dad's lap
This blog post is a confession of sorts. In the pages that follow, I will touch on the ecstasies and elations of entrepreneurialism—while highlighting its difficulties, dilemmas, and doldrums that led me into the world of Daddy-Day-Caring. Afterward, I will recount the blisses and misses, the joys and noise, and the pains and gains of being a daddy-day-care bumbler-turned-semi-specialist over the course of completing parental boot camp, which, over the course of the past nine months, I have just barely survived.
A few days ago, my two children and I dropped off my beautiful wife (and their beautiful mother), Lina, at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where she caught a plane to Miami and then another to Guyana, South America, for a work trip. Tonight, I will strap my two little darlings into their carseats once again for a return trip to the airport to pick Mommy up. The three days in between were a bit lonely (and I've allowed the house to be a bit messier) without the heart and soul of our family in our midst. Nevertheless, with a couple of dinner appointments bummed off of friends, a 3-hour preschool stint for Tucker, and a 4.5 hour childcare stint with a neighborhood friend, somehow we will survive, and I will still manage to meet a professional writing deadline I face today.
|Lina sailing the "Miss Ginger" on the Gulf of Mexico|
earlier this year on a work trip
Since 2009, Lina has worked for ExxonMobil Corporation, the largest energy company in the United States, and a Fortune 2 corporation. Only Wal-Mart generates more annual revenue than EM.
Ten (10) years ago — almost to the day — I met Lina in Atlanta, Georgia. She was a sophomore in college and was attending the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech — a top-5 engineering school) studying mechanical engineering on a scholarship. At the outset of her collegiate career, her impressive academic resume already included the title of Salutatorian in conjunction with a better-than-perfect GPA and a nearly perfect SAT score.
|Lina doing homework at Georgia Tech —|
And well on her way to eclipsing my
pay grade many times over
When I met Lina in 2006, I was living in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, where I was working as a stay-at-home "Manny" (male nanny) caring for my cousin's two sons, whose family I lived with at the time. Little did I know at the time the foreshadowing this challenging 5-month experience was providing for my future!
|So SHE's saying|
I've got a chance???!!!
Later, shortly before Lina and I started dating, I resigned from my "Manny" position to become a substitute teacher in a local school district. I admit that such seeming relegations proved underwhelming to even the lowest expectations I had held for my life and career. It was also a stroke of pure karma for the way I had once treated a poor substitute teacher when I myself was an immature 8th grader.
In an "apples-to-apples" comparison, there is no doubt about it: Lina Tucker was way, Way, WAY out of my league. The good news for me was that for some reason, she didn't seem to know it. And in light of her intellectual capacity, it surely must have been one of the only things she didn't know.
Realistically, it was less a matter of intellectual hiccuping and more a result of her Godly capacity to look past one's outward appearance and station and into one's mind and heart.  But then again, I am probably giving myself too much credit in making this assumption. A more likely scenario is that she was merely suffering from a momentary delusion; I just happened to be the lucky fool on the other side of her misguided mirage.
Whatever her deal was, as for myself, I had made a conscious and determined decision years earlier that I would never see myself on the outside of any woman's "league." In light of my resume and head shot, this was an admittedly brazen conclusion to settle upon. And considering I was rejected 130 times by 80 different women before I met Lina—many of whom must have surely believed I was way out of their league—my resolve was perhaps as delusional as it was obstinate. Nonetheless, the matter was decidedly resolved upon in my own mind, and no one on the planet was going to persuade me otherwise. Thus it was that I strived to keep all doors wide open—or at least a bit cracked—until I decided to shut it myself, or until a woman from the other side opted to slam it in my face.
I had stars in my eyes—and a lot less weight
on my bones—dating Lina Tucker
Nevertheless, I remained immovable in my resolve to never settle for anyone less than the very best—for me. And it didn't take my little brain very long to begin recognizing that Lina was indeed a "best" one for me. Thus it was that our concurrent conclusions, or delusions, or the merciful Grace of God, or a combination of the three, produced a spark of mutual attraction at just the right moments in time, thus paving the way for a very sweet romance to commence, blossom, and eventually mature.
|Sir Winston Churchill|
Winston Churchill, who was arguably the most inspirational and famous orator of the 20th century, once remarked that the greatest speech he ever gave was the one he delivered to his beloved "Clemmie" (Clementine), in making an impassioned appeal for her hand in marriage. Winston was clearly a greater man than I; thus it was that winning Lina's hand and heart required my greatest speech"es" (plural). Indeed, the journey was long and the road was hard, and included two breakups and one failed proposal before her heart was prepared to take the ultimate leap of faith into a future with me by her side.
|Come what may in my career, I am already a wealthy man|
Four-and-a-half years later, our son Tucker was born. Two years after that, our little Kara graced our home from Heaven above. Less than a year later, I became a Stay-at-Home Dad.
Before I move on to the details of this extraordinary, yet ordinary life adventure of Daddy-Day Caring, I must share some of the details of my entrepreneurial failures, without which, my unique foray into full-time fatherhooding would have never come to pass.
|My Uncle, Hyrum W. Smith|
Co-Founder of FranklinCovey
Seventeen (17) years ago, I left home to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. During my two year, voluntary mission service in Alberta, Canada, I discovered that I derived enormous pleasure, satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy from teaching and speaking publicly.
Thirteen (13) years ago — almost to the day — I began building a professional training business of my own—a FranklinCovey of sorts for the 21st century. I called my company Freedom Focus, and later changed the name to Freedom Focused. I was inspired in part by my Uncle's work with FranklinCovey as well as the influence that the writings of Stephen R. Covey had personally had on my life.
I was further inspired by a profound existential dilemma I faced, which was personified by a profound lack of interest in doing anything other than building my own company around the development of my own, original material. After I had returned from my mission, my older sister Jody vocally animated this dilemma before I even began building Freedom Focused when she wondered aloud: "What are you going to do with your life now, Jordan? You know it's hard to just walk into a company and become its CEO." We both chuckled at her comment, but we also both understood that she had made her point only half jokingly, while concurrently capturing both the desire of my heart and the reality of my dilemma.
Thirteen years after founding Freedom Focused, and after a lot of highs and even more lows, I am still trying to get my business off the ground. As such, I remain the CEO of a company of one—well, two if you count my brilliant and beautiful CFO (Lina). Before delving further into the details of Dad-dom, I must further describe how I got there within a framework of my entrepreneurial failures.
My initial attempts to build Freedom Focused began in the fall of 2003 in Marietta, Georgia, when I began developing content for a personal leadership seminar designed for high school students. Utilizing a personal contact, I was able to meet with and persuade an assistant principal at a local high school (Lassiter) to let me teach a couple of my brand-new seminars for FREE to some small student groups with the agreement that if they liked my content and presentation style they would invite me back to do a paid assembly with 500 students.
I taught my two seminars; they didn't invite me back.
|Failure may the other side of success;|
but that doesn't make it fun.
In an effort to get my writing career off the ground at this same time, I submitted three articles for publication to a magazine; all three were rejected.
Shortly thereafter, in the late winter of 2004, I moved back to Utah from Georgia. I was broke as a joke, but managed to find some cheap housing and obtained temporary work doing a variety of menial labor in conjunction with a job serving food in a Mexican restaurant. In my spare time, I continued to eagerly develop my personal leadership seminars.
Around this time, I got a job working as an assistant to Dr. Bruce H. Jackson, the Director of The Center for the Advancement of Leadership, at my alma mater—Utah Valley University. Though it paid pennies ($7.72 per hour with a cap of 30 hours per week), it was worth its time in gold because of the knowledge and experience I gained being personally mentored by Dr. Jackson—an unusually educated and impressive professional, not to mention a generous human being.
Not yet six months into the position, I began to grow restless, a feeling which drove me back to work on my original seminars in my spare time. By January of 2005, I was lining up dozens of pro bono seminars at high schools throughout the State of Utah.
By April of 2005, I had grown too restless to think about or do much of anything that wasn't related to building Freedom Focused. Moving in with my mom and acquiring several sizable loans from family members, I went to work with great passion, vigor, and energy. My efforts included legally incorporating my business, producing a professional website, writing my first book, continuing to teach pro bono seminars, mailing out nearly 5,000 marketing brochures advertising my seminar services to high schools in all 50 States, and making in-person marketing trips to several cities around the country, including San Antonio, Houston, Chicago, and Atlanta.
|Georgia on my Mind|
In April of 2006, my first book, I Am Sovereign: The Power of Personal Leadership, rolled off a self-publishing press in South Carolina. I immediately began shipping out copies of my book to my network and potential clients. Despite mailing out nearly 100 copies, selling several hundred more, and generating my first few paid speaking engagements in California, Colorado, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana, I had gotten in over my head in debt with no means of immediate extrication on my horizon.
While I was successful in securing a literary agent, unfortunately, every effort to sell my self-published manuscript to a major New York house failed. We finally found a smaller publishing house located in the Western United States that was willing to sign a contract to publish my book. However, shortly after signing the contract, the publisher lamely and unethically reneged on the deal, leaving me in a lurch after having spent many hours revising my original manuscript. To this day, that updated I Am Sovereign manuscript, which was meant to become a second book for teens entitled, Leaders for Life, continues to gather dust in the deep recesses of my computer backup files.
|For half-a-year in 2007,|
I labored as a professional
groundskeeper on this property
in Sandy Springs, GA
Desperate to find some kind of stable employment, I got a job as a groundskeeper for my church. It paid $11 per hour—not bad compared to other positions of employ I had previously occupied, but rather pathetic pay for a college graduate with professional training experience.
Around this same time, while attending an employment fair at my church, I learned about the contract training industry and became greatly intrigued by it. After a little research and effort on my part, I soon secured a phone interview, followed by an in-person audition with a contract training company called Fred Pryor. The audition was held in Kansas City. Virtually broke, I drove my car from Atlanta and stayed overnight at rest stops. Once in Kansas City, my church helped me find a place to stay with one of their members for a couple of additional nights.
Fortunately, my audition was successful, and in October 2007, I began teaching professional seminars for Fred Pryor on a variety of different business soft skills. As a result, I was able to forego pursuing a backup plan I had begun to formulate, which involved enlisting in the Armed Forces in pursuit of an officer's commission.
For the next year-and-a-half, I traveled around the United States teaching as many as 15 seminars per month. For the first time in my life I was making a wage that, while nothing to brag about, was at least decent for a college graduate—a first for me.
|Our Wedding Day: 8/8/08|
Nevertheless, I remained deeply in debt and badly scarred from the horrors of failure I had already encountered. These wounds were sufficiently deep that it took several years for me to heal sufficiently to stomach pursuing my entrepreneurial dreams again.
After the Great Recession hit, all my contract training work dried up, and I went from getting 10-15 seminars per month to only getting one-to-two. I resumed my work as a substitute teacher at this time. I also began the process of becoming certified to teach high school English in the State of Texas—where Lina's job with ExxonMobil was located.
After moving to Houston following Lina's college graduation in May 2009, I began the challenging undertaking of securing a teaching job. After numerous virtual efforts and personally visiting every high school in the school district where we lived (Cypress-Fairbanks), I managed to land three interviews. My first interviewer (Principal) hired me almost immediately, and my adventures as a high school English teacher began. Talk to any first-year teacher and they will fill your ears with the tales of terror that often accompany serving in that precarious, inexperienced position—even in the best of circumstances. It was no different for me; that year of teaching was one of the most difficult professional tasks I had ever undertaken.
|Hebron top sides; the offshore oil project Lina has|
worked on for most of her career, which will
begin operation in 2017 off the coast of Newfoundland.
My doctoral work, which was in education, reignited my desire to resume building Freedom Focused. It also provided me with an opportunity to lend greater credibility to my message by strengthening its academic moorings and bolstering its theoretical rigor.
The Self-Action Leadership Model, which I had begun developing in my book for teenagers, was expanded in my 1,149-page dissertation to include a theory and philosophy—all of which was rooted extensively in qualitative, autoethnographic research conducted on my own life's unique, self-leadership journey.
|2013 Edition of Self-Action Leadership|
|Through personal or work travel, I have visited all|
48 of the continental States.
In 2013, I began contracting with SkillPath Seminars instead of Fred Pryor. My training work thrived once again. In all, I had opportunities to train in 47 U.S. States and territories, 9 Counties of the United Kingdom, and 5 Provinces of Canada. I led public seminars as well as on-site corporate seminars for small, medium, and large organizations including five branches of the U.S Military, the U.S. and Canadian Governments, and several Fortune 500 companies. In total, I trained over 20,000 professionals on a variety of different topics spanning 50 different seminars in 600 day-long courses. It was excellent experience and robustly built my resume.
|2015 Edition of Self-Action Leadership|
In addition to the newest version of my book, Lina—also my company's CTO—helped me revamp my website in 2015 to reflect added offerings of a dozen or so typical, in-demand soft-skill seminars, similar to those I had taught for Fred Pryor and SkillPath the previous eight years. I also started publishing weekly blog posts again in the fall of 2014. Since then, I have published 158 articles and received nearly 40,000 hits. While several of these posts included chapters from my book, over 100 were original articles that had never been published elsewhere, like this one. The problem is that none of these efforts have generated any tangible business.
|Good ideas sometimes seem less so|
when no one else thinks that they are
In a return letter to one of the few individuals who did extend such a courtesy, I confided the following: "In most cases, I would rather be rejected than ignored." As distasteful and unpleasant as rejection can be, there is something extra deflating when someone fails to acknowledge your existence, much less what you might have accomplished that might be worthy of his/her attention.
In describing these failures, and the pain they have caused me, I do not wish to elicit pity; nor do I desire my readers to feel sorry for me. I take complete responsibility for the pathway I have taken in my life and career, and feel grateful for the freedom and opportunity I have had to pursue the goals of my choice.
The cold, hard, and often harsh reality is that entrepreneurial pathways of all kinds are often laden with rejection, disappointment, disillusionment, and failure; that is just often the way it is. I recently contributed some case and other teacher notes to a new entrepreneurship textbook that SAGE is publishing next year. In the 16-chapter manuscript, an entire chapter was dedicated to "Failure." In this chapter, it reads: "The reality is that many startups fail; therefore it is important to include the topic of failure when discussing entrepreneurship."  Statistically, the vast majority of entrepreneurial startups (over 90%) fail—at least initially. While there is no question it hurts to be a statistic, I am motivated by eventually evolving into one of the 10% instead of the 90%; I'm just not quite there yet.
|Whatever your past successes or present blessings, it is|
still possible to feel at times like you are drowning
in a sea of difficulty and failure.
Two-and-a-half months after the publication of my latest book — Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom — I received an e-mail from an academic colleague of mine with a notice about a job opening to teach business management courses at The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Frustrated and discouraged that I was not finding more successful in my efforts to market my book and seminars, and aware of the virtues and value of taking a more measured and conservative approach to my career (in light of my many past failings), I thought perhaps this was a sign worth paying attention to that might just take me in a different, more temporarily productive direction. Furthermore, as an American patriot who takes great interest in military history, I began dreaming of the opportunities a West Point faculty job might present.
|For the past 13 years,|
rejection has been my
continual career companion
In the months that followed, I applied for 100 different positions at 75 different colleges and universities throughout the nation and world. Nine months later, my rejection/ignore rate has been 100%.
One of the reasons I have not had any success in higher education is because my doctoral degree is in Education, but my professional expertise is in leadership and management. Despite my wealth of experience training on leadership and management topics, business schools are looking for MBAs and DBAs, not Ed.Ds like me. On the other hand, education schools are mostly looking for classroom educators and school administrators, not professional leadership and management guys like me.
When I communicated to my older brother my frustration at being a round peg vainly trying to fit into a square hole, his reply to me was: "Maybe you are an octagonal peg who needs to find an octagonal hole."
His insight intrigued me, and I forthwith contacted a couple of university Presidents I had communicated with before in an effort to negotiate an octagonal opportunity that doesn't currently exist. Neither executive bothered to even respond to my letter.
Feeling increasingly desperate, I recently turned my attention back to the high school market. Several weeks ago, I sent e-mails to principals in schools throughout several neighboring school districts communicating my availability to teach English and coach cross-country and track beginning the 2017-2018 school year. To my surprise, I secured two interviews the very next week. Unfortunately, for fortunately—depending on how you look at it—I did not land either job.
Thus it is that I am back to square one with the only opportunity I presently possess: my entrepreneurial vision of building Freedom Focused by promoting the Self-Action Leadership Theory, Model, and Philosophy.
|My Un-illustrious Entreprenurial Jousting Career|
Part 2: Dad Quixote
As I doggedly pursue the daily pathways of business-building — which for the past 13 years has been a lot like jousting with windmills — I often grow frustrated, and even a bit discouraged in my perpetual pursuit of what sometimes seems like "The Impossible Dream."
"To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
|To dream the impossible dream:|
Don Quixote jousting with windmills
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star." 
Click HERE to watch a video clip of this timeless musical number from the famous musical, Man of La Mancha, which tells the story of Don Quixote, the eponymous hero of Miguel Cervantes' greatest novel.
This past January, right as I began making applications to teach in higher education, I decided to terminate my contract training work. I was no longer growing in the position; nor was the pay, opportunity, or contribution commensurate to the sacrifice that my family and I had been making by spending so much time apart.
Thus my latest round of entrepreneurial failures has opened up the unique opportunity of being a Stay-at-Home Dad until I finally figure out a way to get my fledgling business off the ground.
|Parenting can be the means of|
great mental stress and duress
On the other hand, and I'm not going to sugar coat this part, being a Stay-at-Home Dad—while concurrently dealing with deep professional challenges and other trials, some of which are too personal and private to publish—has been one of the most difficult, stressful, and anxiety producing life experiences I've ever had, and has stretched my patience and sanity like never before.
I'm not entirely sure what constitutes a nervous breakdown, but if lying face down on the floor of a dark closet, screaming and crying like a baby, and pounding my fists on the floor like a toddler for short intervals from time-to-time come anywhere near the clinical definition, then I'm pretty sure I've lived through at least two or three miniature nervous breakdowns in 2016. I don't mean to sound overdramatic, nor am I exaggerating in my explanations of these occasional experiences. And while I'm sure it sounds sad and pathetic, I feel the need to be honest in retelling the realities of this challenge, and the truth is that there have been times in the recent past when I found myself feeling that desperate and low.
|One of our trips to local fire stations|
The memories we've created together over the course of these, and other, adventures are priceless beyond measure, and the pictures I've snapped along the way virtually chronicle and preserve them for generations to come.
I'd like to think I'm an okay, and perhaps even a good Dad; but I'm far from being anywhere near Super. I certainly can't hold a candle to the wonders performed by their multi-talented mother. Indeed, the experience has illustrated for me in real time the extent to which God endowed women with special nurturing capacities and other virtues that men simply don't possess to the same degree or extent, especially as it relates to small children.
|Lina working her magic|
with our little ones
I admit to taking naps from time-to-time, and perhaps more often than I should. Nevertheless, I think I'd probably die without these blessed therapeutic escapes from consciousness, and am thankful for Little Einstein's (Netflix), Kara's nap schedule, and my wife's I-pad for making such desperately needed personal power charges possible.
|My little Darling and my Diet Soda|
My growing need to self-medicate with eatables and drinkables has greatly expanded (pun intended) my empathy for stay-at-home moms who gain weight (sometimes a lot of it) after having kids. I now understand the perfect storm for weight gain that stay-at-home parenting provokes. And speaking of girth, my own has grown to an all-time high. I recently broke #200 for the first time in my life. I was #155 when I got married. I ideally should weigh in at around #175. As a former runner, my saving grace lies in setting a half marathon in my sights five or six months down the road and striving to gradually train for it. But that will have to wait until I've healed up from undergoing a foot surgery three weeks ago, which has left me on crutches or a severe limp ever since.
|Saying hello to the live lobsters at Kroger|
As I reflect back on a hellish and horrifying, yet in its own way, heavenly, year, I cannot forget the agony and angst of my mind, the harrowing grate of failure that burned in my heart with regards to my career crucibles, or the knifing grief born of constant professional rejection that too often soured my soul day-after-day. At the same time, I cannot help but reflect on the countless joyous moments, precious glimpses, and sweet, sweet sights and sounds of a young lad's laughter, a little girl's giggle, and the buoyant bouncing of fresh legs attached to little bodies as they mirthfully glide along carpet and tile—giddy in their freedom of joy and the joy of freedom.
Similarly, I will never forget the warmth of little arms thrown round about me in a tender hug, or the sweet, but painful pathos of those occasional crocodile tears that well up from time-to-time in priceless innocence in a child's guileless eyes before spilling over and down their fresh-faced, ruddy cheeks.
Perhaps the best thing of all is that special feeling that swells up in my heart and soul to realize that there are TWO pure, precious, and adorable little darlings that are both sincere and firm in their conviction that I am the greatest and coolest person in the entire world.
|Daddy Kangaroo & his little Kara Joey|
I confess that such childlike attention makes me feel like a million bucks. Indeed, it does wonders for my self-esteem to know that at least in the eyes of a couple of the world's children, the party is pretty much right where I am at—much of the time. Such moments cause me to regularly gather them up in my arms, frustrations and all, give them both a big squeeze, and exclaim out loud with all the authenticity and exuberance I can muster: "Oh, how I love my kids!"
And with all my heart, I mean it.
One day, earlier this year, we decided to visit the Aquarium in downtown Houston. At one point while riding the ferris wheel, we found ourselves stopped at the very top of the 100-foot high ride. There we were, just Kara, Tucker, and Daddy, on top of the world together looking down on the sprawling metropolis below. To our right was the I-45/I-10 interchange. To the left was the beautiful downtown Houston skyline. In front of us we could see the famous Houston Medical Center, Midtown, and the Galleria. Had we inspected closely, we no doubt could have seen the sprawling energy corridor, including the Memorial Hermann hospital tower where Tucker was born back in March 2013. There were no seat belts on the ride, causing me to hold my little darlings extra close as we dangled there together at such an angst-inducing height. It was one of those tender, sweet, and precious moments I shall reflect back on fondly for as long as I live in this world—and forever afterward.
Despite the sometimes dire difficulties of this Daddy gig, I can't help but bask in the pure sweetness of such moments—which have not been uncommon occurrences the past 9 months. I strive at such times to take conscious mental pictures that I can store away and then forever reflect back upon as foundation stones of the deathless love I have for my dear, sweet kids.
At some future date, when Freedom Focused has finally taken off I am am at long last consistently busy, perennially successful, and likely traveling again more often than I would like to, I will call up such pictures from the dusty recesses of my memory, where they will forever serve as a source of joy, remembrance, and perhaps most of all, of gratitude to God for loving me enough to hurt me, and for caring for me enough to prevent me from succeeding as quickly as I have so deeply desired throughout my careworn life.
|Somehow, someway, someday, it's gonna happen!|
Despite investing untold thousands of dollars and hours building Freedom Focused, most of which seems like a huge waste when measured only in tangible receipts, I firmly believe that no good-faith effort to learn, grow, serve, and contribute meaningfully to others ever goes un-utilized or un-compensated in the end. Thus will the law of compensation eventually compensate me and my company wholly with our due in due time.
My day will come; Freedom Focused's day will arrive; and someday the agonizing challenges of the past will seem more like a distant memory than a clear and present demon of my mind, heart, and soul. And when that long-awaited day finally arrives, other, different trials and challenges will be there to replace them! Such is life and the nature of this mortal existence. Thank God that there are brighter days ahead, not only in this world, but more importantly and lastingly, in other realms beyond this "vale of sorrow," which we currently inhabit. 
|Lina with Kara & Tucker|
I'd also like to pay tribute to Lindsey Law, Misty Meng, Meilene Shumway, Ramsey Weaver, Sarah Gessel, and others who have provided part-time child care, pre-schooling, or occasional babysitting services to us along this journey. When you consider how much help I've had, it makes the extent of my difficulties look more pathetic than they probably already do; nevertheless, it is important to remember Viktor Frankl's words about the relativity of suffering when we feel tempted to judge another in his/her circumstances.
“A man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the ‘size’ of human suffering is absolutely relative.” 
If, on the other hand, you'd like to see me continue to enjoy the challenges and blessings of being a Stay-at-Home Dad, then kindly save your money and spend it at McDonald's, or better yet, at Dairy Queen, on your own spouse and kids. And take comfort in knowing that whatever you decide, you'll be helping me out.
Click HERE to buy a copy of Self-Action Leadership.
The Textbook of Authenticism
Unlike any training program that has ever preceded it, Self-Action Leadership provides a single vehicle wherewith individual self-leaders can discover—and then act—upon the great truth that HOLISTIC personal development and growth spanning the mental, moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, social, and financial elements of our individual natures is within the grasp of each one of us.
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1. A reference to 1 Samuel 16:7 in the Old Testament
2. Entrepreneuring: A Practice-Based Approach, by Christopher P. Neck, Ph.D., Heidi Neck, Ph.D., & Emma Murray, BA, H. Dip. 2017. SAGE
3. From his book, Think & Grow Rich
4. From his book, Acres of Diamonds
5. Lyrics from Man of La Mancha (the words of the lead character, Don Quixote)
6. Alma 37:45 (The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ)
7. From his book, Man's Search for Meaning