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Road Noise - Life one mile at a time with business owner, author, and professional artist, Michael Blackston

A life journal podcast from the viewpoint of a Christian husband, father, author, professional artist, and business owner. Topics range from opinions about every day family value issues and spirituality to helpful tactics that help make life easier and beyond. Michael is a southern story teller and cherishes the opportunity to help others through their struggles by sharing his own experiences. You're invited to come on along and join him in learning to live life one mile at a time.
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Now displaying: January, 2017

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Jan 20, 2017
It's Okay To Ask For Help - RN 067

We don’t always like to ask for help when we need it and I’m no exception. You can name any number of reasons, but it usually boils down to one thing and one thing only – stubbornness.

For someone like me, a person who tends more toward the creative side of things instead of analytical, it can be doubly problematic because I have a visual in my head that represents exactly what the end game should look like. And because I trust very few people to be able to bring about my vision the way I’d like it, I end up just doing everything myself.

In some cases, it’s just not possible to handle everything alone, such as when putting up a set for a live performance. I like BIG. I like FLASHY, I like DETAIL. There’s just not enough time in the day to accomplish my goals and also handle my responsibilities on the job or at home. So in these cases, I have a crew to help. Unfortunately, I can’t keep my hands out of their business and I do mental (and sometimes physical) harm to myself by trying to be involved with everything.

This happened when I was doing a set for a musical revue my wife and I were directing. I designed a platform with a series of levels that had to be both large and structurally sound. Because I prefer to build sets in the wee hours of the night when there is less “world” to compete with, I found myself building this set piece alone, supporting major platform sections by balancing them on my back and stretching my arms to secure them in place with the screws. The result was fantastic and I couldn’t wait to get the pats on my sore back that I assumed I would receive. Instead, I got berated for doing it alone and they were right. It was dangerous and I was lucky nothing bad happened. It wasn’t until much later, doing work on another prop for another play that I paid a price that would finally persuade me to get help when it’s needed.

Stupidity and physical pain have been a constant in my journey in learning to accept help.

Several years ago, I was asked by my Grandmother to retrieve a riding lawn mower from someone who she had loaned it to. They had moved and left the mower, so Grandma wanted it back and she warned me to get help putting it up on the truck. Did I listen? Nooooooo. I felt like I was man enough to do it alone and two days after the failed attempt, I found myself in the middle of the living room floor, writhing like a snake that has been run over in the road. It took months to recover. But did I learn my lesson? Nooooooo.

My eureka moment came from being pinned under a piano.

Bye Bye Birdie is one of my favorite stage shows. We were directing it and I wanted a great prop piano for the first scene. There was an ancient, tall, upright Steinway in the pit that was unusable and the management had mentioned that they’d like it removed, but couldn’t figure out how. I offered to take it apart and rebuild it, minus the heavy soundboard, onstage so that there would be a fantastic prop piano for future use. The idea was met with much glee and merriment. In my mind, I could hear the powers that be singing, “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” in party hats in my honor and I was eager to get started. The instrument needed to be on its back to start the work and two members of the cast, strong men of valor, agreed to help me lay it down. But when the day came to do it, my help, both of them, had to cancel. It wasn’t their fault, but I wanted to get to work, and so I decided I could do it myself.

I tested the weight and felt confident that I could make it happen, even if I had to let it drop to the concrete at some point. As I lowered it, I got it about a foot above the floor and realized it was going to either be me or the piano.

I dropped it.

On my two big toes.

The pain was intense and I was certain the toes were crushed. After managing to shimmy my feet from under the weight of the piano, I found my toes to be intact, but black and blue and I decided right then to ask for help, receive the help, and wait for it to get there before I tried anything so stupid again.

I think there are questions we need to ask in the event we’re confused about whether or not we should be asking for help. They are as follows:

Is there an offer of help on the table?

Is there the potential of harm if I go it alone?

Is help available to ask for?

Can the project actually wait until help arrives?

Will you or others benefit from the experience?

How much time, your most valuable resource, will it save to get help?

How much will having help ease your stress?

The answers to these questions will aid you in your decision and I’d venture to say that nine times out of ten, if you had to ask them at all, your conclusion will be that you do, indeed, require help.

___________________________________________________

My Patreon page has launched now if you fell you’d like to help me pay the bills that come with doing this show. Go to PATREON.COM and search for Road Noise Podcast.

This week’s Positive Review:

Auphonic.com

Jan 13, 2017
Health Journey 2017 - RN 066

My doctor told me that for my frame and height, I needed to be weighing in at around 160 lbs. At this writing, I'm 30 lbs over that, so I've decided to make some lasting changes in my life in regards to my health.

There are plenty of sound reasons for getting healthy, and so I've developed the following list of changes as a plan to get down to 160 lbs by May 1, 2017.

I will:

Seriously, (but not completely) lower my intake of carbohydrates

Cut as much sugar as possible

Drink primarily water (occasionally seasoned with sugar-free flavoring)

Allow a "cheat" day on Sundays

Eat plenty of proteins

Consume the proper amount of fruits and veggies (supplemented by low sodium V8 twice a day)

Cut out salt as much as possible

Pray for God's guidance and strength

Incorporate daily exercise

Say "NO" to cravings

Hold myself accountable to others

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In attempting to create the best environment for sound in my hotel room, I devised this setup to counteract any echoes, using the furniture around me and the bed spread. I thought it was funny and so did a bunch of people on a Facebook podcasting group I'm a member of. I promised to show my sound dampening creativity, so here it is fror you to enjoy:

Impromtu sound dampening for the hotel room

This week's Positive Review: Muscle Milk protein drink

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Jan 6, 2017
Coincidence? I Think Not. RN 065

I believe everyone has experiences in their lives that could either be viewed as coincidental or acts of fate. I like to think that certain of these experiences are more like Divine Appointments and here I tell a couple of those stories.

My wife and I had a couple of “near misses” before we met each other that might seem like simply coincidence and they probably were. We were in NYC on the same day as teens and saw the same production of Phantom Of The Opera ON THE SAME NIGHT. Yeah, I suppose those are easily enough passed off as coincidence, but after a gift we recently received with an astounding bit of detail, (A framed collage of items from that very same tour of Phantom, including ticket stubs from the same week Kayla and I were there) from dear friends who knew nothing of the story, we had to scratch our heads.

Then there was the answered prayer in the middle of the night on the darkest country road EVER. A silent angel appeared at the perfect moment and got me out of a jam in the most inexplicable way.

I know there are stories out there that people could share and I want to hear yours. Email me your COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT story or call it in to the voicemail line:

feedback@michaelblackston.com or 706-408-7456

This week’s Positive Review:

CoolMaterial.com

Jan 1, 2017
My 2016 Year In Review - RN 064

It's 2017 and looking back on the past year, my life has had both blessings and bumps in the road. Here is my look at 2016 in review:

 Highlights:

Finished my comedy play, Friends Like You

Wrote the first draft of a novel, Mr. Long Said Nothing

Played Gomez in The Addams Family musical

Went to Disney World with my family

Went to (and fell in love with) Savannah and Tybee Island with Kayla

Bought a new keyboard and digital studio

Made strides in my battle with pornography

Got a little farther out of debt

 Hard pills to swallow:

Mom was diagnosed with cancer

My skin cancer treatments

Bad tooth extraction experience

The Buick gave out

My high blood pressure diagnosis

 

My plans for 2017:

Get 1 to 2 ebooks ready for market

Finish the final draft of dialogue and lyrics for The Right Song

Launch the Everything Arts podcast

Set up a studio and rebrand my business to Everything Arts

 

This week’s Positive Review:

Shure SM58 microphone

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