Mother’s Day

As another Mother’s Day approaches I wanted to take a moment and honor the women that play such a huge role in the lives of our families today.  As many of you know, my mom passed away in 1990 and as I now go into my 22nd year without her, I know her spirit lives on through me and my kids.  I’m also lucky enough to be married to a woman that also shares a lot of the same qualities my mom had growing up.

For Julianne, you are totally appreciated and at least I know I don’t tell you that enough.  You are loved by me and your kids even though at times it may not feel like it.  You are beautiful and each day I find myself appreciating how lucky I am to have you at my side.  So thank you…thank you for all you do and for you who you are.  I know that for at least this family, having you a part of this Reyes clan has been a blessing to Gina, Joshua, Jessica, Luke and me (even the dog, cat and fish)!

For the rest of you moms, Scott Stratten shared this on Twitter tonight and I just had to share it.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!  Enjoy your day!

P.S. I’m glad I’m a “real man”…check out the video and see what I mean. 🙂



How are you leading?

This is one of my favorite pictures.  Julianne snapped it this weekend with her iPhone and through the magic of Instagram, you get a picture of me surrounded by 5 and 6 year old boys at their last soccer game of the season.  First things first.  I absolutely LOVED coaching.  It helped that Joshua loved playing and enjoyed “having Daddy coach!”  To me, that was where I found the joy.  I was able to watch 12 kindergarten boys learn the game of soccer, enjoy geting to know each other, and improve as the season went on.  I also think the fact that I am as passionate about soccer as I am social media had a thing to do with me enjoying it!

As I looked at this picture, I began to think about leadership.  As a boss or leader, what is your style?  If I were to look at how I coached 5 and 6 year olds this past spring, I focused on the following characteristics.  Could that translate from the soccer field into successful leadership in the office?

  • ENCOURAGEMENT – Keep trying even if you missed the goal!
  • HUMILITY – Stay humble after scoring goals!  The game isn’t over.
  • TEAMWORK – Pass the ball.
  • DISCIPLINE – Take charge when you need to.  5 and 6 year olds don’t always behave!
  • FUN – Keep them laughing.  Do things to mix it up at practice that are enjoyable so they excel during the games!
As I look at this list, it seems like this could be a recipe for success on a team.  It applies to fathers, coaches, business leaders.  So I say “YES”, when I finally get a chance to lead a team, these will be some of the principles that I’ll use.  I’ll continually ask the questions:
  • Is there improvement and growth?
  • Are they working together?
  • Are they learning?
  • Are they having fun?
If the answer is “yes” to all of the questions, then it feels like I’ve done my job but will continue to find ways to motivate and challenge.  Am I oversimplifying things by limiting leadership to this list?  Not having extensive leadership experience, I pose this question to you: what are some other characteristics you look for in leadership?

Happy Birthday, Gina!

Gina Fe Reyes - 2007 (age 4)

My how time flies!  8 years ago today, Julianne and I were sitting in a delivery room at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan with a 9 pound 12 ounce baby girl named Gina Fe Reyes.  What I distinctly remember is being woken up at 6am when the nurse brought Gina into our room from the nursery and said, “she is hungry and needs to be fed.”  Um…what?  Now Julianne and I took all of the parenting classes needed before Gina was born but you are never really prepared for having a precious life to care for until you are sitting in that seat!  We were able to successfully get Gina fed…thankfully God instills parenting skills we never knew we had and they just kicked in!

Gina is now 8 years old.  I can’t believe it.

What I do know is that my time with my children is precious.  I loved the post that my friend Justin Brackett did last week on my By Dads For Dads series.  The purest form of discipleship is the way we love our children.  I said this before but it’s worth repeating.  Many of us talk about change and making our society better.  If you’re a parent, look to your immediate circle of influence…your family and children.  Change the world by raising children that learn to love and care for others.  That is the best way to pay it forward and be a catalyst for change.

Happy birthday, Gina.  Mommy and Daddy love you bunches!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today we celebrate the moms!  Happy Mother’s Day to all the women out there that take care of children, husbands and homes.  You do so much more that it’s impossible to put it all down here.  For  Julianne, you are amazing and I am so blessed to have you as my wife and the mother of our four beautiful kids.  You have done a tremendous job with our family and the time that you spend with Gina, Joshua, Jessica and Luke.  Thank you and we all love you!

A Hopeful Change For The Better

I’m finally on my way home from Las Vegas after being here for 5 days.  That is just way too long to be here.  As excited as I was to go to CES 2011, I’m even more excited to be going home to Julianne and the kids.  I miss my family, my bed and my friends and am looking forward to life resuming to normalcy when I land in Detroit.

But that’s not what I’m writing about as I wait for my plane.  What I’m writing about is a decision that I made right after the new year.  I decided to give up alcohol.  Big deal, right?  Well for me it was.  I thought and prayed about it for a while and ultimately decided this was exactly what I wanted to do especially because I knew I was going to Las Vegas the following week.

You may ask, “Why?”.  Well let me share those reasons with you.  First, I began to not like how I felt the day after.  To that you might say, “Well, don’t drink so much!”  I actually don’t drink that much anymore.  I just started noticing that even after 1 or 2 beers, I still felt miserable the following day.  That started to get my attention and get the thought process rolling.

I think the most important reason was something that I’ve been processing for a while.  As Christians, we are in a daily battle for our soul.  I believe it’s spiritual in nature and attacks you when and where you are weakest.  If you’re not careful or not paying attention, the things we struggle with can rise up and and take over.  I recently read the following verse from 1 Peter 5:8:

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

This idea of “lion looking for someone to devour” was so true especially here in Las Vegas.  We all know the saying, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”  Well, I didn’t want to have any regrets after my time here and in order for me to be able to do that, I needed to be “of sober mind.”  Mission accomplished and honestly, it wasn’t that difficult to do.  I was still able to have fun without the influence of alcohol.  I was able to get up early and work out in the morning, which I needed to do especially with all the GREAT food I ate this week.

I was overwhelmed at the support I received from my friends and family when I told them what I decided.  Many asked why I decided to do this and that was actually difficult to answer in a short conversation so that drove the inspiration for this post.  Hopefully I answered the question for you.  If not, let me know in the comments below and I can try and dive deeper.

By the way, please send encouragement to my friend Dave Murray who has made a similar decision!  Good luck, Dave!  You know you have my support!

10 People / Things I’m Thankful For

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without all of us thinking about the things in life that we are thankful for.  Sometimes life gets so busy that we often forget to take a moment and reflect on our lives and truly appreciate all that we have.  This last year has been an awesome opportunity to learn about myself and what matters the most.  With that, here is my list.

  1. God.  This will always be numero uno in my book.  I always go back to Luke 1:37…”For nothing is impossible with God.”
  2. Julianne.  She puts up with a lot from me and still stands by my side and is so supportive.
  3. Gina.  My firstborn who has such a passionate heart.
  4. Joshua.  My son who has the same determination and focus as I do.
  5. Jessica.  My princess who has eyes and a smile that will melt anyone.
  6. Luke.  My little boy who is not afraid of anything and keeps Julianne and I on our toes.
  7. My dad.  Quite simply, he is my hero and who I strive to be as a father each day.
  8. Kensington Community Church.  This place has allowed me to grow in my faith by connecting with great people and great leaders.
  9. Bryan Willmert.  Yes it’s a little sappy but Bryan and I have become really good friends through our passion for Christ and the social web.
  10. The social web.  The number of quality and intelligent people that I’ve met through Facebook, Twitter and blogs is amazing.  Special shout out to Gini Dietrich because she represents the benefits of what Twitter can do for people.

There you have it.  By the way, numbers 3 – 6 are all equal just in case you were wondering.  As you gather this week for your Thanksgiving meals, take a moment and appreciate the people and things in your life and let them know it.

What are you thankful for?

Don’t Forget to Celebrate!

On Sunday, we celebrated the 7th birthday of my oldest daughter, but we made it bigger than just Sunday.  Credit to Julianne in making this more than just a one day event.  It was a joy to see Gina’s face as she opened gifts throughout the weekend.  It started with her soccer game on Saturday to the gifts she opened on Sunday.  Highlight of yesterday was when she found out there was a trampoline in the back of my car (I use “highlight” only in relation to her…I had to put the thing together)!  The birthday culminates this Friday as 10-12 first graders will be at our house for a sleep over…I wonder if Julianne will notice if I leave?????

Birthdays are celebrations of individuals and it was a proud moment for me as a dad to see the smile that was brought to my daughter’s face when people showed their love and care for her.

Once the craziness subsided, I reflected a little bit on this.  Do we take the time to celebrate the big and small victories in life?  Sometimes I think we run so fast and only focus on the “emergency of the moment” that we forget what really needs our focus are the good things in life.  More than anything, we need to celebrate people.  I believe people have the innate need for reinforcement and encouragement.  As a parent, I witness this first hand with my 4 kids.  When they get positive reinforcement from me, I can see their eyes light up and see their confidence grow.

How do you bring this to business?  Employees and customers all need to feel a level of acceptance.  Relationships need to be built and cultivated.  For me, it always will be about people more than a product.

Your turn…what do you think?  Let me know in the comments below!