Anger Consumed Me

A warm breeze kisses my skin as I am at last able to return to the old porch without the need for a blanket or a jacket. Brightly colored purple blossoms ignite the spring trees, and tiny buds indicate soon-to-return Texas bluebonnets that will carpet the ground in blue. Spring is here, finally.  I’m blessed that we have a short and usually mild winter here in the center of the Lone Star State, only a couple of freezes and one massive ice storm to deal with so far. And though winter is my least favorite, I love living in a place where seasonal change occurs. Being able to open the windows and sleep with fresh air, no heat or AC, is among my favorite things. Sum-Sum-Summertime Of course, summertime is the ultimate. So many summer memories occupy space in my gray matter. Each summer my grandparents would hop in their new Chevrolet (my grandfather traded his in every year) and we would make the full-day drive to Tennessee. They always packed a picnic, and we often stopped to visit other family members along the way. Get in the Car Now! At first, I was resistant when they would ask me


Accidental Dreams

A beautiful brown buck, with a giant rack atop his head, gracefully feasts on the downed tree branches left over from the big ice storm a couple of weeks back. The remaining trees sway to and fro, and dim light with a slight touch of pink fills the sky over the distant hills, which I can see even better since the storm cleared some branches out of the view.  I sit here in this soon-to-be-warm moment reflecting on my past, deeply grateful for each experience, including those that did not work out as I had hoped.  Reinventing Radio In 1998 I wrote an article in Radio Ink, my radio industry trade magazine, predicting that one day consumers would get their radio and TV online. The feedback on the article was negative; in fact, I just about got laughed out of the radio industry. Yet for some reason, I had the ability to see down the road. I was so consumed by this concept that I started a radio industry conference about the future of the Internet and its impact on the industry. Though it was successful because people wanted to know more about these new things called websites, they could


Which Side of the Battery Are You?

Glowing pink is radiating up to the gray and purple morning sky, against the silhouette of distant rolling hills. The morning sun signals hope for the day. Gray-green broken branches fill the ground, in piles the size of houses, left over from last week's ice storm. A brisk breeze shakes the trees as if to test the strength of the remaining branches.The sound of a flight to who-knows-where tumbles in the sky above for a brief moment.  Each day when I awaken, I start with hope. I hope it's a good day. I hope I do good work. I hope I’m productive. I hope I am a good example to others. When I open my eyes, usually at the request of the whining dog in the crate on the other side of the room, I place my bare feet on the ground and I rub them back and forth. It's a routine I’ve done for decades, and to me it’s like revving my engine. It builds my energy and sets the tone for the day. It launches me! Don’t Worry, Be Happy Last week a friend commented to me, “You’re always happy. What’s your secret? Life can’t be that perfect.”


Are You a Groundhog?

Branches dipped in ice decorate this heavily treed rural property like a winter wonderland Christmas card. Tall, crystalized weeds shine like thousands of sequins on a New Year’s Eve dress. Like dancing lace, crystals reflect the dim gray light. Sheets of ice transform my deck into a skating rink, and there are thunderous cracks as overloaded branches fall to the ground, wreaking havoc, destroying dozens of trees, and turning my yard into a war zone of fallen wooden soldiers. This freak winter ice storm will soon pass, but weeks will be needed to remove the splintered wood and thousands of downed branches. Frozen in Time Sometimes we, like the branches, become frozen in time, the crystals of stability and success holding us back. Then suddenly, the crack, as the weight breaks off our branches, leaving us exposed and broken. Nature is a beautiful thing. Stability and predictability are cozy, comfortable, and easy, but there is deep value in being broken, though we fear the unknown. Never in our prayers for needs to be met, for life to be stable and easy, do we think about what comes next. Rarely do we pray for discomfort, conflict, pain, or change. Yet these


At Your Service

Fog and mist fill the bright, colorless morning sky and soften the edges of treetops in the distance. Softness in the air even covers the trunks of gnarled and twisted scrub oaks. The weeds and grass are glistening with water droplets, and the long deck that runs the length of the house is wet where the roof offers no cover. The red Adirondack chairs placed in a circle around the fire pit are reflecting the light from above and are glowing. As I let the dogs out this morning, they sniff in circles, tracking bustling creatures from last night.It’s Cozy TimeSometimes a cozy morning like this calls for a couch, a blanket, the sounds of silence, and a good book. I begin my morning routine before I dip my fingers into the cesspool of social media. A daily chapter of the old family Bible has proven to offer perspective and to impact every daily decision. Almost every day it feels like it was written just for me, addressing today’s specific issues or concerns. It eliminates my fears and anxiety and gives me wisdom.Long DaysThe past five days were 12-hour work days away from my office, prepping and hosting our annual online


Nuclear Reactions

Little leaves on tiny stems sparkle like jewels as the brilliant morning light makes streaks in the sky, kissing the trees and illuminating their rough bark with a reddish orange glow. Lavenders, purples, and light blues fill the long shadows as they stretch like rubber bands pulled as far as they can go, all pointing out from the sun, inspiring what could be a painting from where I sit on the long wooden Texas porch. Feeders for the birds sway in unison, to and fro, as a light breeze tickles the leaves, and squirrels jump from branch to branch trying to get to the feeders like thieves scrambling to get into a bank vault of treasure.  Here I’ve sat through hundreds of sunrises like a moviegoer, each screen with its own plot and colorful action. My hand rapidly scribbles thoughts or images into my sketchbook, which is my closest companion, always close by when I need a friend. A Lifetime of Journals  Opening the cabinet, I see them standing side by side like little soldiers, numbered and stored for years. I can return to any of the last dozen years, pick a date, and page through these journals for my


Your Biggest Breakthrough Ever

There is no better feeling than walking outside in my fuzzy flannel PJs, feeling the texture of the wooden porch on my bare feet and not having the hair stand up on my arms from cold weather.  I squint my eyes in the brilliant orange light coming up from the purple mountain range in the distance, with pastel-like purples and greens in the sky. It’s a perfect morning. An Unexpected Problem When I was a kid, my dad bought his first really nice car. It was a celery-colored Lincoln Continental. My friends used to call it the Queen Mary because it was like a boat. My grandparents were upset when my dad bought it because, as they said, “We’re not showy people.” In our little town, it was the most expensive car you could buy — we certainly did not know about Mercedes or Rolls or Bentley.  A Moment of Shame I was in about seventh grade, and one day my mom dropped me off at Harrison Hill Elementary. She was driving the Lincoln, and when I got out of the car all the kids started mocking me. “Spoiled rich kid,” they would call me. I wanted to crawl into


The Purpose of Christmas

Lying in bed, fast asleep, I’m startled awake by a thump on the roof. And then I hear some distant bells. Quickly I leap out of bed and run down the hall to our family room. It’s pitch black. No one is awake. There on the family table, the cookie tray has only crumbs and the milk has been consumed. Santa was clearly here! And then a glance at the tree, a sea of wrapped presents — including a gold Schwinn bike with my name on it. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. I want to wake everyone up, but a glance at the clock says it’s only 5 am. “My parents will kill me if I wake them up,” I’m thinking. So I go back to my bed, anxious, ready to wait it out. And I fall fast asleep again, only to be awakened by my brother, who woke up and experienced the same thing at about 7 am. So we make a lot of noise until our parents happen to wake up. And Christmas arrives. The wonder of Christmases past will live on in my great memories forever. One of my favorite things has been the


My Favorite Christmas Decorations

The smell of Christmas cookies is still in the air, combined with the scent of pine from our new Christmas tree. As I make my way out to the porch on this balmy Texas morning, sticky pine needles stick to my bare feet. Here I sit, staring out over a fresh morning, cuppa in hand, awaiting the last moments of peace as the hectic Christmas week is about to begin. Big Muscles Though I love to work, I’m looking forward to some time off. Like a muscle that is flexed constantly, your brain needs a break once in a while, a distraction, to open up to new possibilities. Christmas is the ending and the beginning.  Year-Round Christmas When I was a kid, my father would insist we get our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. He loved the feel of Christmas, and in the last two years of his life, he left his Christmas tree up the whole time because he loved it so much and it brought so many memories.\ The Old Church My Grandmother Luella was fun to visit at Christmas because she had bubble lights on her tree, which were probably from the 1940s. They were


My Favorite Thing

Like the song, I have a peaceful, easy feeling today. Everything around me is quiet, like a Sunday morning should be. No road noise, just the flutter of bird wings, an occasional tweet, and the sound of some leaves lightly brushing against the house. We all need peaceful moments for those times when we’re looking for a life preserver during stormy times, difficult family challenges, or facing a crazy world. My least favorite thing in life is going to the mall for obligatory Christmas shopping. I try to only go once a year, and the last two years I’ve avoided it. Why run around like crazy trying to buy something for someone they probably don’t want anyway? Perhaps that’s a bit skeptical, but, though I love the holiday season, the pressure to perform can be a bit overwhelming. Yet with some downtime or peace, I can face anything, even shopping. Maturity Works The gift of maturity is another form of peace. The old, younger me used to get worked up, tense, bothered, and worried. The new me, the last decade or so, takes most of it in stride, and avoids getting worked up till there is truly a reason to


The Best Advice I Ever Received

In the middle of a deep sleep and a wonderful dream, suddenly the quiet is harshly interrupted by the sound of the whining that wakes me up. As I let the dogs out for the morning, the brisk cold air hits my skin and rapidly awakens my otherwise sleepy state of mind as a perfect, richly colored orange glow sits at the horizon and its light bathes the trees in color. I may have preferred to sleep in, but when the dogs get me up early, I always get to see the sun come up. It’s a beautiful sight I never tire of seeing. The other day a friend asked me, “What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?” I paused, thought deeply, and said, “I’ll have to get back to you on that. It’s a tall order.” And it is, because I’ve been blessed with so many people in my life to offer advice. My dad always offered amazing advice and ideas on business, as did a few of my mentors.  I’ve been thinking about this topic all week, because it’s not easy to determine what was the best advice ever. What about you? What is the best


Number One

My tradition each Thanksgiving weekend, following Turkey Day, is to paint the fiery red tree across the street. Some years it’s freezing cold and I’m out there in my warmest clothes, and some years I’ve painted in shorts. This year, the tree is dead. No color. I’m not sure why. I’m not certain yet if I’ll paint it anyway. But after all, traditions are traditions, right? One of my traditions, triggered by the holidays, is to start thinking about next year. I remember telling my team in January, “We have lots to get done, and before you know it, it will be July.” This time it feels like my year went by even faster than normal, maybe because I’m traveling again. In any case, I missed getting everything done. But because there is time to reflect, especially as things tend to slow down, I try to ask myself these questions. Perhaps they will be questions you want to ask yourself. If I could accomplish only one thing in the next 12 months, what would that one thing be? Why is it important? Is there anything else that will get in the way of that one thing? Here’s the skinny: I