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Home 2018-01-19T11:38:59+00:00

When Moments Matter

This soft Sunday morning on the back porch sees a deep and thick fog covering intense backlight from the rising sun, creating a tunnel like those in a movie scene where they “walk into the light.” Color is absent; the yard is reduced to shades of gray. Distant gnarled and twisted oak branches are silhouetted and are lighter in the distance, darker and bigger as they come close. This morning would be a good painter’s lesson on perspective, atmosphere, and values (the scale of light to dark).

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The Recipe for a Great Life At Work and Beyond Work

A warm orange glow dances across the blades of grass and lights up the trunks of my oak trees on this crisp morning. The warming sun and my hot coffee have removed the chill here on the back porch. I’m wondering if spring has begun or if it’s only a teaser before the cold Arctic blasts return. I’m hopeful it will be an early spring, not uncommon here in Austin, and a great time to paint fields of blue and orange when the Texas bluebonnet season arrives.

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The Baby Steps to Giant Dreams

Purple-gray hills are peeking over the tops of the trees of my very rough, unkempt, natural backyard, which is filled with gnarly live oak trees, prehistoric limestone rocks, sage-colored prickly pear cactus, and dusty orange and rich green cedar trees.

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The Art Barriers We Create

My palms were sweating. Should I go in, should I not? Do I belong here? “Maybe this is only for special people,” I was thinking. The sounds of noisy Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale were silenced as the glass doors slowly closed behind me. Immediately I was overwhelmed, seeing walls and walls of shimmering gold-framed paintings that matched any in a museum. This art was different from any I had found in a gallery before, and though I had an untrained eye, I could tell it was somehow better, higher quality than anything I had seen.

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The Suffering Artist

The dark, narrow spiral stairway was so tight that my shoulders rubbed against the walls as I climbed. The surrounding walls were gray, with crumbling plaster that hadn’t been painted for over a hundred years. The thump of my feet on the worn wooden steps echoed against the walls. Looking up, I could see a small landing, an old wooden door cracked barely open, and a blinding light streaming through the crack.

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The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Last week I talked about the stories we live … then I saw this Monday Morning Memo written by my friend Roy Williams, which was worth sharing. Listen I am, by profession, an ad writer. I tell stories about people and products and services. You do, too. But because I get paid for it, I spend a lot of time considering — and measuring ­— the impact of stories. Some of the stories I’ve told have made people an enormous amount of money. But the most important stories I tell, by far, are the stories I tell about myself, to myself. Those stories are the source of my identity and the foundation of my purpose in life. But we’ve talked enough about me. I see something good in you and I’m calling it out. Is it okay for me to do that? Let us stare together into the eyes of the truth: Whether good or bad, your current circumstances are temporary. Success is temporary. Failure is temporary. Your future depends on your choices. Your choices depend on what you believe. What you believe is not determined by what you see and hear, but by how you interpret what you see and

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Misguided Resolutions

The horizon in the distance looks as though bags of large and small marshmallows have been dumped out in piles, while being lit from the side by an orange-pink light. Shadows of purple, the absence of light, make up their underside. These soft, billowing clouds line the edge of the still, mirror-like ocean and make their way up to the sky, which shows a greenish-yellow glow, something only an artist truly notices. Silhouettes of palm trees pop up in the distance, and a couple of hundred mega yachts surround me in the marina that has been my home for the past 10 days during our Florida visit.

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The Christmas Truce

A thin mist is in the morning air as fog hovers over the shimmering water. Distant pine trees are lined up perfectly like proud tin soldiers, though their usual green color appears as a muted bluish gray. In the distance, beyond the trees, the sun is gradually peeking through over the Atlantic Ocean as its pink rays reach out in all directions, as though a chorus of “Hallelujah” is about to be played at the moment of sunrise this Christmas Eve morning.

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Wag More, Bark Less

Fog has softened the sage-colored live oaks in the backyard to a slight purplish tone as they fade into the distance, where the view of the mountain is nothing more than a white cloud.

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Something’s Knocking at My Brain

A tattered and worn sweatshirt that should have been thrown away years ago is warming me on this crisp morning. Though there are newer and nicer sweatshirts in the closet, there is extra cozy comfort in something old, worn, and tied to a memory. I can’t remember ever being so cold as I was that morning painting at Asilomar Beach in Monterey, California, where I bought the sweatshirt. It warmed me then as it does today.

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Life Boiled Down to Two Words

Fog has kissed the long, winding driveway, wet from the dew. Yellow light saturates the giant oaks as the morning sun streaks across the low fog lingering atop the grass, making an eerie effect of yellow light hitting slightly lavender-colored fog. I’m wishing I had a camera about now because I know it won’t last long enough for me to run, get my easel, and set up to paint it. I’ll have to rely on my memory for another time. Mornings make for great paintings.

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Eric Rhoads
Entrepreneur, writer, artist, marketer, and speaker.
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