12 Years Ago I Nearly Lost My Daughters

As many know, we have identical twin girls. Born 12 years ago today in Arlington, Texas.

Little did we know how serious it was that we nearly lost them both and it’s a miracle that today we celebrate 12 amazing years with them by our side. Here is what happened:

We had a gyno visit and our doctor (yes I said “we” and “our” doctor…he was AWESOME!) in which he found something alarming. The girls were at 32 weeks and Chloe appeared to have stopped growing. Sidney was getting larger and Chloe wasn’t. Something wasn’t right.

He sent us over to a specialist we called “Dr. Scary” who ended up being a life saver, literally. Our doctor reassured us things were fine,  and we carelessly went about life waiting on this visit.

After spending an hour in a dark room at Dr. Scary’s office with him quietly looking them over he suddenly told us “I want you to go to the hospital right now so these girls can be monitored. We are going to have to go and get them this weekend. Don’t go home, just go right there and I will have someone waiting on you.”

After ignoring him and going home to get our stuff, we showed up Arlington Memorial an hour or so later with family right behind us.

It was then that we first heard about TTTS. Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Our girls had it and in many cases TTTS claims the lives of both twins. By the time the doctors become aware or discover it, they are usually gone or too far gone to save.

TTTS is when, for many unknown reasons, one baby begins to starve because of not getting enough nutrients and the other drowns because of getting too much. For many one day the babies just stop moving. Forever. And it’s usually well into the pregnancy too. Totally traumatic.

Friday night, August 19th was one of the longest nights of my life because I now knew the trouble our girls were in. I slept on the floor with their heart monitor machine blinking right in my face. Every few minutes I would see a pause and would nearly jump ready to get the nurses. They wanted us there so they could do emergency C-sections within minutes before it was too late if they needed too. I was on watch 24/7 for two days.

The day they were born I will never forget as along as I live. Chloe was pulled out first, pale, frail, small and not moving. Not a sound. For the first time our doctor looked scared too. Then Sidney came out, looked nearly twice her size. Red and swollen…but crying.

The seconds seemed like hours as the nurses tried to get Chloe to respond. I stood there behind Julie with video camera in hand in shock and awe at everything taking place. One daughter being footprinted and crying the other practically being beat to death to stir to life. As I write this fresh feelings come back and tears well up in my eyes again.

Doctor made several eye communications with his nurses. He was very concerned and he never, ever got very concerned about anything. My Lord, he offered me a cola right before we walked in to scrub!

Finally, I heard movement from that side of the room. It wasn’t much but our little fighter was hanging with us. They quickly whisked her away to the NICU along with Sidney. I followed them out and immediately wrapped my arms around my mom and dad.

We just didn’t know what the day would hold.

What seems like centuries later, the doctor came in and said they both were stable but would be in NICU for some time. The joy and tears at that moment were the result of seeing a miracle take place that day.

God was good and I still have the most amazing little girls on the planet.

I made this for them years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfI8_ePdit8&index=6&list=PLBCE331A0B49CEDF2

 

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Not Sure What to Say

Summer is over and fall is around the corner. Football is back on the field and the Rangers and Astros are working their way into the playoffs. Business is moving forward and family is overall, good.

Yet, it’s not as rosy as it might look. The kids are about to start another year of being homeschooled and Zane has started his first year at Smith for pre-k, so we are back to dropping a child off everyday there, which frankly brings back lots of memories.

Business as a flipper and investor has been really good lately, but has had it’s challenges and big disappointments, as it always does. Was super tough to watch a years long friendship (or what I thought was) end with two people I cared so much for turning their backs on me, but frankly, it’s the price you pay when you do things the right way. Luckily, I have so many more that have stepped up to stand with us during these years. Our suit against those that threw us under the bus is well on the way now and we are seeking to make the damages done equal at the minimum.

But dad’s passing certainly is the biggest change of them all. I really have wanted to talk to him these last few days…and I have had to realize I never will again. I know where he is in Heaven waiting on the rest of us, but it still makes it hard. Mom is stronger than I ever thought she would be and I have had to be too. But, times alone which I have alot of driving around I wonder how he is, what’s going on up there and wished I could just have one more lunch with him at Pizza Inn. He was my dad. The only one I will ever have.

I am so thankful this summer was good. Business finally got some momentum and we got some great family time together down in Galveston. God blessed us with that week with my dad. He knew in a matter of days afterwords he would be gone. I was down there last week and it was hard to be there again, yet healing too. Mom has already been back too as my niece and her husband now are Islanders.

I’ve spent a lot of time going to places dad loved to eat with Ben or alone. El Fenix. El Chico. Whataburger….I have a few more left and there are a few others closed and gone forever, like Harvey’s BBQ.

I wished he could see what’s going on now yet I know he can.

I have big shoes to fill, and some shackles to be free of, but I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. I have a family to feed, a mom and grandma to watch over and others to help. That’s the mission.

Let’s do this. Bring on Fall 2017. I am very ready for it.

The Legacy of My Dad

Every life that is lived is followed by a legacy that remains. It can’t be voided and it can’t be erased. It’s there forever for all to see.

In his 71 years, CJ Speers left a legacy few even realized and most won’t be able to repeat. He was born in Dallas to my grandparents, Jack and Kathrine Speers. He was the oldest of four, sisters Sudie and Janet, and brother Troy. After graduating from Grand Prairie High School, he was the first in the family to graduate from college after attending Letourneau University where he eventually ran into a beautiful young woman named Fern. They fell in love over some King’s Pizza and soon got married and she later became my mom. The groundwork of his legacy was laid…and as Paul Harvey, one of his favorites used to say, soon you will “know the rest of the story”.

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My dad probably never spent one second thinking about the word “legacy”. I know he didn’t sit down and right out annual goals or even consciously think about how he could improve on his legacy each and every day. He just wasn’t that kind of person.

Rather, he simply went out there each day and treated people with kindness, gentleness, and love with a caring, servants’ heart. He did what came naturally and tried to be like Christ to everyone he came across.

If I took the time to write out all of the amazing things my dad did for people and what he meant to them, I’d probably be writing until my own memorial service was being planned. He was just that kind of man and touched so many lives, the way Jesus said to…one at a time.

I can’t tell you how many times he left at the drop of a hat to go help someone fix something, move something, or install something. He was the handyman of all handymen. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t repair, build or do. He managed and led an engineering department, fixed cars at night and at one point nearly single handedly built a church building from the ground up. He was a true servant. Most don’t even know he played the organ for multiple churches, ran the sound system at another, mowed the grounds and did anything and everything he could to repair things and keep the buildings in order. He visited many in the hospital and didn’t hesitate to stop and pray with mom and about anyone that needed it. This was all on top of being a husband and a father giving my sister and I one of the greatest childhoods anyone has ever had.

He was dad to me. He was daddy to my sister. He was “poppy” to my kids and “poppy” to hers. He was just CJ to many and he was “Honey” to just one. But there is no doubt he will forever be a hero to us all.

There are so many things I will forever cherish about my father. The times watching the Cowboys on Sundays after church. The dozens of times he took me across Houston to watch the Astros play and driving home late listening to Milo Hamilton call the game when we left early. He wasn’t the sports fanatic I am but he did it because he loved me. The times we ate lunch together at Wyatt’s Cafeteria, Harvey’s BBQ, or Pizza Inn. The times we worked on cars together at night after work. The times we drove to work together in the summer of 1989 listening to Paul Harvey and getting me hooked forever on talk radio.

He introduced me to conservative politics and sports. He was my biggest cheerleader along with mom and countless times helped me in business when times were tough. And of course he was also just a phone call away when it came to something I needed to figure out or do around house. Lately we talked nearly every day and now I wish I could have just one more. In many ways he was still my security blanket even as I had my own family and myself closing in on 50 years old.

These last few years dad got weaker and weaker but his faith never wavered. He knew what mattered most and we talked about it a few times as it became reality that his life here would be coming to an end. He gave me incredible advice on loving my wife and charged me to take care of both my mom and my grandma. I was honored and I will. His last words to me were “Love you Brady” as I walked out of his hospital room not knowing the next morning he would be in Glory. Oh how blessed I was.

The biggest legacy my dad left us all was making sure my sister and I knew Jesus. He made it possible and was the biggest example of God’s love a kid could ever have. He wasn’t a Jesus freak either. He was just CJ…real, honest and genuine.

In his last words to my kids, he told them, as he struggled to stay awake and breathe….”the most important thing is your relationship to Jesus”.

When it is all said and done, none of the things the world tells us creates a legacy are true. In 100 years, everyone reading this will be dead and gone and none of this worldly pain, suffering, drama or violence will even matter. We will all soon find ourselves facing our own mortality and being asked this one most important question; What did you do with Jesus?

See everyone reading this has a relationship with Jesus. Everyone. You are either his adversary or you are his ally. You either believe in him or you don’t. The Bible says in Philippians 2:10-11 that every knee will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. That means me. That means you and it has nothing to do with whether you believe or not.

Dad wanted everyone to know God. He knew that knowing and living for Jesus was the best legacy a man could ever give his family.

You might think just going to church here and there or just saying you believe in Jesus makes you a Christian and gives you assurance of being in heaven when you die. But it doesn’t and I want you to hear this loud and clear. The Bible says that you must do three simple things to be saved.

  1. You must recognize that you aren’t perfect and that you have sinned.
  2. You must recognize that you need a savior to make you holy so you can enter into heaven and
  3. Finally, you must pray with words from your mouth…to God …that you believe Jesus died for your sins, rose from the dead and ask him into your heart.

Romans 10:9 makes it clear… “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

It’s not just about believing this in your head. It is about knowing it in your heart.

It would sound something like this: “Jesus, I know that I have screwed up and I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead for me. Please come into my life and save me. I believe in you. Amen.”

It’s that simple. So do it. Now. Do it…for yourself, your family and for my dad.

If there was anything my dad would ask of each of you it would be to make sure you too can one day enter into heaven so he can see you again.

Now that’s a legacy we all can celebrate.

(Dad, it’s all I can do to stop the tears. I miss you. I always will. But thank you so much for making sure I knew Jesus. Tell Papa and the others I said hi. I will see you soon!)

Summer of Transition – My Why is My What

Life has its ups and downs. No doubt about that. Try working for yourself for three decades and you’ll know real fast. There is time of plenty and time of want. We have experienced both and this summer is proving to be another exciting time of facing such challenges head on in faith.

Last fall, after years of dealing with a professional battle of tremendous proportions, I made the decision for a career change. The battle I had waged wasn’t over, but I was done fighting it out in that arena. As an entrepreneur I had learned long ago that my career would likely follow the path of the many others before and like me. One thing would lead to another, and then another, and maybe another…and then one day it would finally land me where I needed to be.

For me, I believe I am living in that moment now.

Because of the egregious acts of a company I contracted with as an independent agent called Conestoga Trust, led by the scandalous likes of executives Hector DeLeon and Michael McDermott, I was basically forced out of business without much choice to go on. (I am not even at liberty to share all the goodies publicly, but buy me a beer and I promise you one heck of story of Hollywood proportions).

After two years of prayer and debate, my former business partner and I, long time friends, decided to go on the offensive and drop a huge ass lawsuit on their front door just a few weeks ago. (If only I could have been a fly on the wall as they were served those papers.) God knows what the result will be, but my name was ruined, my career taken from me and my livelihood and finances turned completely upside down. They misled me, then threw me under the bus and me and my family paid for it dearly. It’s time they pay us back and what a relief it was to make that decision! I am thankful God brought us an amazing attorney to help us proceed at the least cost possible too.

I wish I could say my self-employment career has been a straight line of success. But for most like me, the journey is one that includes many twists, turns, betrayals, bankruptcies, and more losses than wins. I’m not ashamed of it either. Most people take the path of least resistance and work for another and I get that. Trust me. There are times when I ask myself why in the hell I didn’t. I’m tired of getting the rug pulled out from under me.

But the strength of us entrepreneurs is we rise up and carry on.  And so are we.

Our 4th child, and second adopted son, Zane, has been home now for 8 months and for the last 6 months of that time frame I have been working like a mad man on something new. Something that is more me than anything ever before. Something Julie and I can do together, that can create a lasting legacy for those I love financially and professionally. I have never been more excited in my entire life. I have started and run businesses since I was in my teens. Many have failed and some have been pretty darn successful – at one point I had a business that had 60+ employees and revenues of about $5,000,000 a year. But like many entrepreneurs I made some bad decisions and in the end didn’t have much to show for it.

I have had to borrow money from family. Friends have stepped in a supported us.

It has been hell at times. Pure hell.

But God always has a plan and I certainly have my “why”.

I recently got to spend 2 solid days in Phoenix, AZ, with a room full of very successful and experienced men and women in the real estate investing world. Some were making well into seven figures and most others were running their REI business full time. I was beyond excited, having launched into this arena myself at the end of 2016, to be around people really doing it day in and day out. No internet hype. No sales pitch. No gimmicks. Real people, making real money doing something that frankly is REALLY hard.

The very first speaker of the summit, Kent Clothier, told us frankly that money better not be the reason for seeking success. It better be about something bigger than yourself. He too had at one time seen success and watched it fall nearly over night. He asked us to consider our “why”. Define it. Know it. Study it. Think about it. Pray about it.

Why were we all entrepreneurs? Why were we ok with getting kicked in the groin time and time again only to stand back up and go back at it? Why had we decided to jump into one of the most hotly competitive business worlds ever, real estate? Why?

I came home and chewed on that for days. Sure money…being able to pay the bills….was important. Having enough to enjoy a Disney trip or Vegas trip here and there would be fantastic, and having enough to give extra to our church is vital, and having enough to attend my Cowboys games each fall was practically top of the list.

But in the end none of that will do. Motivation lasts for a moment. A real why lasts forever and I needed to pin that down. The why becomes the what and the what leads to the how. A+B=C.

Legacy. That’s my why. And legacy starts with my family…my wife and my kids. Taking care of my parents and those I love means more to me than anything I could go buy or do. Seeing the joy on their faces as we walk along the beach, or walk through the streets of Seoul in a future homecoming trip just light my world.

Memories are an investment all to their own. I am blessed beyond words to have already had many great ones both as a kid thanks to my parents and as an adult with my family. But I want more. I want my legacy to be more about what we did, who we helped and the lives we touched than anything else.

Real Estate investing (wholesaling, wholetaling and flipping homes) is WAY harder than you ever see on TV or hear on the radio. As a matter of fact, it is nothing like that at all. It is by far the hardest business I have ever started from the ground up. The amount of stuff you need to know, do and put in place is unreal.

Especially when it’s basically you doing it all. Mailers, data mining, creating direct mailers, website content, Facebook and Google advertising, education, documentation, answering calls, follow up systems, working with title companies and attorneys, dealing with lien issues, mortgage companies and emotional family members, negotiating with sellers, finding buyers, analyzing comps, repair estimates, and rehab profit potentials, KIPs and reporting, call tracking software, setting up and training virtual assistants. raising capital (yea, try asking people to invest with you when you have never had to before…that’s real fun), networking and building relationships with others…..and I better stop there. I think you get it. You really want to do this now? It’s no TV show.

So my why better be big. It better get me up in the morning  keep me moving throughout the day.

God gives us opportunities. He will make the path in front of us clear, if we seek Him and ask Him to. But He isn’t gonna walk us down the path to victory. He will walk with us…but not for us.

I started this year with Proverbs 16:3 as my verse for the year. I have given this to Him completely. And yes there have been times when I have taken it back and gotten scared, worried, and felt completely powerless and overwhelmed. But overall, He has led me into the discovery of amazing things, not only about this business, but about who He is and what He wants from me. I have a long way to go on both fronts.

I do believe I will look back one day, on that perfect day, standing on the balcony at a Disney World resort preparing for a day of amazing fun with the family, and humbly smile at how God did what He always seems to do. Take something bad and turn it into something good.

I know I can do this. This is me. It’s hard yet it’s fun. It’s fast paced, intense, and competitive. You better be good at everything – reporting, marketing, negotiations, sales, business management and administration. If you aren’t the odds are stacked against you.

But one day I will stand on that balcony with my why’s in hand and others will be running the show for me. I will have arrived and I will be fully devoted to that legacy.

I may be 47 closing in on turn #4 on the way to 50. But, many successful business men hit their stride about then too. I’m not done yet. And my why’s make the what alot easier.

Now I get why the why is so important. Let’s go do this.

#timeisnow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurs Are Their Own Breed

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 25 years now. It’s not easy. It’s late nights of planning, taking risks, putting it all on the line, with no assurance of success.

Many people get stuck in the rut of working 9-5 for someone else and sometimes even I have to admit I wonder if I had just taken that road if life might have been a little less complicated. Let someone else take the risk, spend the money, deal with attorneys and mean people, and stay up at night worrying.

But I wouldn’t trade it.

I might not be rich financially, but the time I have had to spend with my loved ones and enjoy the journey of life as a business owner has made it all worth it.

If you are on your own small business journey, hand in there. It can happen and if you let go and let God take control (Proverbs 16:3) you can find success too!

Tony Romo or Dak Prescott?

In a year that has seen the Cubs win the World Series and Donald J Trump become our next President, it’s only fitting that Jerry Jones would once again strike gold with the accidental find of new rookie QB Dak Prescott.

Mid way point in the year and and  he is 7-1 and has the team in first place in the NFC as he took over at the start of the season for often injured Tony Romo.  He is confident, poised, skilled and smart. He plays better than most veteran NFL quarterbacks….as a rookie. DakAttack. TouchDak. Dak to the Future…I could go on and on. He’s grabbed everyone’s heart and support.

In a recent Facebook poll, most of my friends made it clear – Dak or Romo? Dak. No doubt about it.

Now there is no doubt I have been an avid Romo supporter his entire career and would love to see what he could do if fully healthy with THIS team. But most importantly, I have been a Cowboys team fan since I was a kid. QBs will come and go but the team will always remain and the magic taking place with this team right now simply cannot be messed with.

Combined with amazing rookie running back Zeke Elliott, veteran Jason Witten, star Dez Bryant and the rest things are looking up for my team finally.

It’s our year and maybe Dak will be the first rookie quarterback to take his team to the SuperBowl and win it all?

No need for mojo here. I’m calling it.

Go Cowboys.

Is This the Next Generation of Cowboys?

It’s been an amazing start to the year for my Dallas Cowboys. Romo got hurt in pre-season and I worried it was already over before it started.

But over the last five weeks we have gotten to taste what Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott are going to bring to the table and man does it look at taste good!

I have been a huge Romo fan forever, and still am, but sitting here at 5-1, without Romo and even without Dez Bryant, I am starting to think that the new era may have already begun. What these two are doing behind this amazing offensive line is unreal.

Jerry Jones has a huge decision to make. Romo appears ready to roll and rumor is he is looking awesome in practice. But how do you stop what’s going on now to get him back in there?

I believe Romo deserves his chance at a ring and his chance to pay with a team like this. Zeke is unreal and this offensive line finally has it figured out.

Once Dez comes back here in a few weeks, we could be seeing the beginning of the next wave of Boys to cheer on; Dak, Dez and Zeke. Dak broke Tom Brady’s no-interceptions to start a career NFL record last year and Zeke broke the NFL rookie rushing record of five games with 100+ yards last week at well.

This is gonna be fun…but is it over for Romo?

Either way, it’s an amazing problem to have that Jerry Jones accidently walked into by drafting Dak!

Zane’s Two Week Report

Everything will be a first for our family from this point forward. Family of six and Zane is a superhero. That’s how I would describe the first two weeks home in simple terms. Everything we feared, and I mean everything, was taken care of by the Lord. It has been amazing.

In his first two weeks, he has met nearly everyone and seems to be a real people person. He has played like mad outside with the local kids and even been to his group at church and school co-op. It’s like he just took over the “slot” in the family destined for him. He has had his moments of sadness to be expected, but he has been happy, talkative and downright fun! We got an email from his foster mom too which was exciting.

We have gone out to eat a bunch, been shopping, gone to his first Rangers game, met his Grandma Kat,  started taking baths and brushing his teeth, watched his first Cowboys game, been to the State Fair, and life has been pretty normal. He slept with us for a while but now he is sleeping upstairs already with his brother. He has gotten into eating some new things, learning some English and enjoying some Pororo time on YouTube too. He’s really an easy kid and listens well too. We have set some boundaries he has likely never had and it has been fantastic. He is a joy!

He turned four and we had our first birthday bash too and that was fun. We are quickly become a true family. He has even bonded well with me and the kids and starting to come around with Julie too. It’s just been amazing!

Zane Turns 4!

Though we wished we had gotten him home before his 3rd birthday a year ago, we are very thankful the delay didn’t push it past his fourth!

Family came over as we had a small celebration for our first birthday with him as his forever family. He was all smiles and had a blast opening his presents and playing with his bubble machine among other things. We even had a family give us a motorized car for him and he really loved that!

He is fitting it perfectly and we are all adjusting. He is a such a cute, loving child too. Makes it all easy.

Happy 4th birthday Zane!

Brady Speers new adopted son turns 4!

Brady Speers new adopted son turns 4!