The Time is Now for Legacy

The Time Is Now for Legacy Warmth is the first thing I feel as I step out to the long covered back deck of this Texas ranch house. Sun is blasting my eyes, throwing hot orange against the tree trunks, and the tall blades of grass are casting long shadows. But it won’t last long and will be gone before I finish. It's been a while since I’ve come to you with something fresh and new. Thanks to my team for setting up the repeats to fill in during a brief illness. Happily, I’m 150% back, filled with energy, and my brain is on fire with all the things I want to do in ’22. Two Weeks Straight I often suggest two-week vacations to my team members. Some like to do that, others like to take a week at a time. In my own case, it takes me a week to relax, and then that second week is to play while relaxed. The same thing happens if you’re stuck in bed. You lose the stress and see your mind open up. Ali, my very overqualified assistant, will tell you the conversation after every time I take some time off. “I’m


What’s Your Resolution?

Startled out of bed, I awakened shocked to the sound of a giant fireworks BOOM! It’s been happening all night, even though the New Year celebration is supposedly long over. I drag myself up, tired from a long night of firework alarm clocks, and start my day because of my resolution to get up earlier.My resolutions:Up by 7Read a passage in the Bible before I check e-mail or social mediaOne hour workout, five days a week (two days a week with a trainer)Gym owners will tell you that 80% of their signups happen the first week of the new year, and that most people show up for the first 30 days and don’t come back. But keeping their membership active makes them feel like they are doing something.Did you make resolutions? Have you broken them yet?The moment you break a resolution, it’s over. So make sure you are committed.And, if it's goal-related, like weight loss, you’ll need a process or a plan to follow. Just saying you’ll lose weight is like saying you’ll show up in Hawaii without getting on an airplane. List out the specific steps to be followed. Be specific (such as limit to X calories a day, exercise


Absorbing The Moment

My feet are crunching across the floor, covered with crinkled wrapping paper and bows. Pine needles not only scent the air, but the now-dry tree is shedding them where I step, en route to the smell of a fresh pot of coffee. Yesterday, I barely left my spot on the modern blue couch in our living room. I pick that spot because I can see everyone as they open their gifts and can get a good angle for photographs. I always take more pictures than I need, because I love remembering Christmases past, and this too will become a memory. Christmas Eve As a child, visiting my grandparents for Christmas Eve, I’d stand on the stairs in the small living room and read the story of Christmas from the Bible. We carry that tradition forward, always remembering the reason we’re here before we terrorize the gifts under the tree. And to make it last, we open one at a time, taking turns so we can all pay attention to the person opening. Then we all hang out together all day, eating cookies and snacks, playing with our new gifts, and just enjoying yet another wonderful Christmas. A Sweet Farewell Tears


Christmas is Saturday

How to Control Your Brain to Get What You Want in Life Ahhhh, it’s beginning to look a lot like ... Hawaii. The morning air is warm and humid, and the only things missing are the ocean, surfers, palm trees, and grass skirts. I’m happy to be in Texas, where life is about as normal as it can be and freedom is a priority. And with weather like this, I don’t need to escape to stay warm. Let's hope it lasts. Guns and Horses I’m not much of a TV guy, but my wife and I started binge-watching Yellowstone, and I think I’ve had this lifetime childhood fantasy about being a cowboy. I love the rough and tough life, wearing a six-shooter on my hip, spending my days on a horse under my big broad cowboy hat. We love the scenes with horses and cattle stampedes. People think those of us in Texas live that life. Well, some do. We don’t, and though it sounds romantic, I’m guessing my back would be pretty cranky after days on a horse. I used to get sore when riding as a kid. My Bad Day on a Horse Years ago someone had the


Speaking When You’re Gone

Groggy and walking out of my dark bedroom, I’m wondering if I awoke in the middle of the night. A glance at my watch tells me it’s morning, but the sky is dim and dark, as if the light is hiding out under a curtain of dark clouds, waiting to go onstage. The air is thick and muggy, like a wet rag ready to be wrung out. The good news is the cloud cover is providing a deafening silence, as though my ears are stuffed with cotton. Though I love the spirit of heavenly sunshine, days like this slow me down, make me want to curl up on the couch with a book or a sketch pad and take some much-deserved time for myself. If we don’t build rest into our lives, nature will build it for us. Today is a great example. Powerful Words This morning I read a line in the Bible that I had never heard: “though he died, he still speaks.” (Hebrews 11). Here I am reading a story about something a man did 2,500 years ago, and that man is still speaking. It got me thinking. Who is speaking in my life, though she or


Instant Change

It’s the perfect day. Not hot, not cool. A slight breeze, just enough to make the leaves sway. Fall color of deep burnt orange, with some slight green and red edges, has filled the big tree across the road. It’s something I paint annually. I’m hopeful I’ll get around to it before the leaves carpet the ground below. I can remember one late fall, right about this time, my dad brought us the greatest Christmas gift of all … a baby mountain lion. This occasion marked a change in my father’s life, after hunting every fall or winter. Boom He had been in Cody, Wyoming, where he shot a mountain lion up in a tree. Instead of celebrating, as hunters often do, tears welled up in his eyes as he discovered he had killed the mother of a cub. He could not leave the cub there to die, so he brought it home and we raised it in our garage. That was the moment he swore off hunting for good. Zookeeper Our lion had two names. We started with Lionel, like the trains, but later we named him Blinkie. He had the most beautiful eyes and long lashes. He became


Happy No-Drama Thanksgiving!

Awakening on a holiday is a special feeling, with the anticipation of seeing family and friends. The smell of baked goods is in the air from last night, and soon the smell of turkey, gravy, and all of our favorite dishes will permeate the air. What permeates the air matters. What is in the air at your Thanksgiving gathering? Will it be harmony or strife? Joy or anger? During the Civil War, families were divided by their beliefs in what was or was not right. Brothers fought brothers. Some families lost all of their sons to the war. Tough Holidays Though I have fond memories, Thanksgiving in our house was occasionally unpleasant. Someone would speak up and criticize the ideals of others, and the joy-filled gathering we’d all looked forward to would be turned into a day we could not wait to be over. Because we were together, sometimes after not seeing one another for months, it became the time for people to express their passionate ideals and to be critical of others with whom they disagreed. Rarely did it end well. Someone would throw a fit, walk out early, or act out in anger. Blowing My Cool How did


Become as Big as Possible

I feel so blessed to stare out my window this morning and see the brilliance of color splashed on the trees in the back of the property, the distant gray-blue hills, and the twinkle of light kissing the slightly moving leaves. Sleepily I shuffle across the porch, hot coffee in hand, shoeless, and my ears are treated to the sounds of Sunday morning as I open the door. A distant lawnmower from a neighbor, the faraway harmony of a train horn, and the sounds of notes coming from tiny beaks. But how do tiny beaks become big birds? How do we as mere mortals become mega-mortals, or giants? How does one become the top in one’s field? How do people become wealthy or highly accomplished? There is no easy answer, but I can share some clues. It starts with work ethic. No one I’ve ever met that at the top had it easy. Outworking everyone else is the starting point. You have to be willing to do everything, and work harder than anyone you know, and have the ability to sustain a high level of work for decades, even after your success begins. Next on the list is passion, desire,


Finding Yourself Through Others

In the distance, as I sit on this old porch, I can hear the hum of a train whistle, a million miles away. It is barely audible, yet there is something so soothing about that sound. Somehow it brings me back to a better time, a time when I was a kid, and we would actually take locomotives to Chicago. In fact, trains became a part of my life in many ways. We always had a train set around the Christmas tree (still do), and my best friend was a “railfan” who had his entire basement filled with a giant train town, with multiple tracks. We would put our puffy striped train hats on and play with his trains for hours. Once we had our driver’s licenses, we would drive to intersections at certain times to watch trains pass, and we would walk tracks just to be closer to the train world. Clackity-Clack One day, my friend Charlie called and said, “Let’s go, we’re going up to the train in Angola,” which was about an hour north of us. He had been part of a team that found an old train in Tennessee and managed to ship it to Indiana,


Overcoming Your Self-Talk

Cool breezes and the sounds of distant birds flow through my open windows as I awaken, looking out the window at the orange sun splashing the twisted oaks. Late October here is what I always refer to as “California Weather,” meaning darned near perfect. Early Sunday mornings are a gift, as few are on the roads and the quiet is refreshing. All I hear is the sputter of a small airplane overhead. I love airplanes. I suppose it goes back to when I was a small child. My mom would take us to Baer Field to watch airplanes land or take off, usually when my dad was traveling. We always went to the airport to see him off. Dad became a pilot at 14 and would take us kids to airports to hang out with his pilot friends, so I have a special feeling when I go to small airports. Up in the Sky All Alone Following in my dad’s footsteps, I learned to fly and did my first solos at age 19, but I had a mild mishap on landing one time. I was coming in for a landing when the wind shifted direction by 180 degrees and started


The Secret to All Success

As I sit on the red cushions of the old wicker couch on this long Texas porch, the heat of the cushions feels great on my travel-weary back. My sleepy eyes are squinting at the intensity of the morning light, which is casting a yellow glow on the side of my art studio in the back of the property. The dogs keep jumping up on my lap, then leaping off to chase squirrels. I’m happy to be home after four months away in the Adirondacks. Life of Regret Recently I had a discussion with a friend who has lived a life of regret. In fact, he was sad and pathetic because every time we meet, he tells me about all the things he could have done but was too afraid to do. He was tremendously talented, but his fear of failure destroyed his life. Instead of using his amazing talents in Hollywood, he locked himself in his house for 30 years after he did not get a job he felt he deserved. Stuck in the Mud We all have experiences we regret, and many of us struggle with clinical depression, but every time I talked with my friend over many



Little ThingsIf I listen closely, I can hear an orchestra of a million small raindrops falling on the leaves of the deep green forest behind me. A small drizzle makes a huge impact when multiplied.These forests are rejuvenated with tens of thousands of massive trees, reaching into the sky, too high for me to reach and certainly to climb, yet our ancestors here had cleared these forests just a hundred years before.Small seeds falling in big winds replanted over a million bare acres of beauty, now preserved forever wild in this Adirondack park. Little Can Be BigWhether seedlings, small winds, or tiny droplets, small things can make a big difference. A giant ship in a hurricane-force wind among huge waves can change course to a new direction with a captain's slight touch on a small wheel controlling the rudder. A small board can lift a large load with a fulcrum in the right place. A large load is lifted by a small pulley system. Huge forest fires are started by small sparks.Where in your life have small things made a big impact?For me, small words motivated massive action, resulting in a lifetime career. When I asked my 14-year-old self what I