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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Aug 20, 2016
Be Excellent - RN 045

Life's too short to spend it in mediocrity. The theme of episode 45 is excellence.

In everything you do and everything you are, Be Excellent.

This week's Positive Review: The CLOSE 5 app

Aug 12, 2016
How To Battle Normal Depression And Anxiety - RN 044

 Everyone has bad days when everything just seems to go wrong all at once. Sometimes bad news follows more bad news, followed by more bad news.

 How do you change, or at least lessen, the negative vibes and bad mojo you’re feeling?

 The truth is, many times it just has to pass. The sun has to dawn a new day. But there are some steps you can take to try and add a little silver lining to the gloom.

 The first step is always recognizing that it’s just a bad day and it WILL pass.

 Get your head around the fact that this is not the norm and tomorrow can be better. (By the way, if it IS the norm, take my advice and see a professional about it. There may be a clinical issue that can be resolved and change your life for the better.)

 So what can you do while you wait for the next sunrise and all the loveliness it shall bring?

 You need to get your mind off the negative stuff. Thinking about the negative stuff only makes it worse.

 You could:

            Talk to someone about it. A spouse, a close friend or relative who is a good listener is a huge help when you’re feeling “BLAH”. I emphasize that it needs to be someone who is a Good Listener. Get it off your chest and out into the air where all the negative Ju-Ju can dissipate.

            Take the rest of the day off and do something you like, if possible. I run my own company and have that option. Two or three times in the last ten years, I’ve found it necessary to call it a day early and goof off because the day is just sucking and I Can. I often go see a movie when I’m out of town and away from the family because I get lonely and I know that sitting in a dark theatre with a good story, a HUGE bucket of butter-slathered popcorn, and a soda the size of a water tower will help me take my mind off the boring hotel room.

            Listen to a positive podcast. There are tons of great podcasts that are geared not only to lift you up, but there are so many to choose from that you can really fine tune them to your particular interests.

            Write someone an inspiring letter. I have found that when I am really down, I can sit and write an encouraging letter to someone I know who is have a difficult time. I tell them how I’m thinking and praying for them, how I am always there for them and how I am sure things are going to get better. Before you know it, you’ve not only created some correspondence that may meet a great need in someone’s life, but you’ve lifted your own self up through your encouraging words.

            If it fits your life, pray. As a Christian, one of the most rewarding things I can do is spend personal time with God. I can read my bible and feel better, but especially when I pray, I find my spirit healing and many times moving from a mood of sorrow to a mood of rejoicing.

            Read a good book. Again, you’re taking yourself out of the world around you that stinks and into a fantasy world where you can witness amazing and wonderful things. Even if it’s not necessarily an uplifting tale, at least it’s somebody else’s problems and yours are tucked neatly away for a time in the back of your mind.

            Take a nap. You might just need a good rest.

 The point is to take yourself out of the stuff that’s got you down. I’m not telling you to ignore your problems, but problems are something we all have and you can face them much better with a positive outlook.

 This week’s positive review: The literary works of Nicholas Sparks

Aug 5, 2016
Dealing With Divorce - RN 043

There's nothing easy about divorce. I should know - I was a child of divorce. And even though my parents treated me and my sister right and saw to it that the process did as little damage as possible, there are still scars.

Here I will tell you my story as I remember it and I'll give you some do's and don'ts in case divorce is unavoidable. And I'll do it from the perspective of a child.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts:


See if there is a way to fix whatever went wrong in your marriage. Don’t just give up.

            Seek the love that got you to the altar

            Get counseling

            Communicate honestly and without arguing or being defensive

Consider those around you who WILL be affected




Make it amiable

Take the High Road

Be Fair

Be positive about the other parent in front of children

Give attention to children during this very difficult time



Don’t “Poor mouth” the other parent in front of children

Don’t take the Low Road

Don’t let children think they are responsible (a common issue of divorce)

Don’t deny access to the children from the other parent (unless it is for their safety)

Don’t argue in front of children

Don’t refuse to provide child support

Don’t divorce the kids just because you’re divorcing the other parent


Keep these things in mind when children are involved.

            Children need the following:



            TO FEEL SAFE



            A STABLE HOME

This week's positive review: Chip Ingram's ministry, Living On the Edge at

Jul 29, 2016
Permission To Rest - RN 042

The topic is simple. Many of us go non-stop and don't allow ourselves time to recharge. I'm giving you the permission you won't give yourself ... the permission to rest.

There are no bullet points here, no lists. There is only one goal and it's up to you to achieve it if you're feeling drained. You're no good to yourself or anyone else without keeping fuel in your tank and giving yourself some time to cool down.

So take my advice (I'm preaching to the choir) and get some rest every day. You'll feel better, perform better, and you'll thank me for it.

This week's Positive Review: The ROADIE app

Jul 22, 2016
Court Your Spouse - RN 041

Marriage has its good times and its bad. It's called living life. I have over two decades of marriage experience to share and I know first hand what it's like to be in a marriage rut. There are pitfalls, but the good news is I have some advice on how to avoid them. And the better news is ... if you've already fallen into one or more of them, you can always climb out.

Pitfalls to avoid:

Avoid being lazy (Appearance, Attitude, Home Ethic)

Avoid getting bored

Avoid getting complacent

Avoid getting selfish


How to avoid the pitfalls:

Get intentional

Get excited

Get creative

Get physical in a non-sexual way (Loving touches, hugs, kisses, holding hands)

Get listening

Get back to dating (Set a night you never miss if possible)


This week’s Positive Review: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Jul 15, 2016
Six Ways To Earn Extra Income From Home - RN 040

6 Ways To Earn Extra Money From Home

If you’re like me, you know what it’s like to have too much month left at the end of your money. It’s one of the things that drives my entrepreneur minded life.

There are things you can do from home to help ease the burden and bring a little extra money into your life. Most of them won’t make you rich unless you get really lucky, but they are legitimate income streams.

These six ideas can be categorized as either “active” or “passive”. The first two are active and the second four are passive.

Active/Passive Definition:

Active – More work is required after initial release for sale, i.e., shipping, production.

Passive – Little or no work is required after initial release for sale. Most work is done on the front end. For instance, Digital or downloadable products or products available through a second party drop shipping arrangement.

  1. Sell art or photography prints on sites like or
  2. Sell services you can perform from home on sites like
  3. Sell art or photography prints on sites like
  4. Write an ebook and sell it online on sites like Amazon KDP
  5. Create an online course in something you’re experienced in (usually a video format) that you can sell as a digital download
  6. Create an online how-to guide (usually in a text format) you can sell as a digital download

No matter what you decide to do on the side for extra income, there will always be some work, especially continued marketing, that you will need to do in order to make it viable. But if you’re willing to put that work in, whether on the front end or over the course of the sale, you may be able to find something that will help ease that financial burden.

This week’s Positive Review:

Jul 11, 2016
How To Write The Book That Is Inside Of You - RN 039

I sincerely believe that every person has a book inside of them. I believe we all have an interesting story to tell. With a heart that yearns for more art in the world and the preservation of literature, I hope you’ll consider sharing your story. If you don’t care to, that’s okay. However, many wish that not only could they write a book before they die, but also that their story might live on. Their only drawback is that they don’t believe they have it in them to pull something off as lofty as writing a book.

If you’ve ever wanted to do that, then here’s a little inspiration and the “How-To” of writing that book.

1. Just get your story down in the first draft. Sculpt in the second draft, and finish it off in the final draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect at first. In the past, my biggest obstacle and what made me burn out the quickest when I tried to write something was that I thought every line needed to perfect in the first draft. Don’t worry about that. Just get the story down, then worry about sculpting later.

2. All it takes is a pen or pencil and a sheet of paper to get started. You don’t need a computer or an agent or a publisher. Those things are great for aspiring professional writers, but even then, the only thing ANYONE needs to get started is paper and something to write with.

3. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling at first. That’s what editors are for.

4. Use your true voice. Write like you’re speaking to a friend. Be authentic.

5. I didn’t mention this in the show, but never think you’re too old. Some of the best works have been penned by people in their elder years. Just write it down.

My suggestion for work flow is this:

First Draft – Just get the story down (No one reads it. It belongs to you alone at this point)

Second Draft – You sculpt your story until it resembles something you think you like (Now you can let “Beta” or “Test” readers see it {if you choose} to give you advise about anything that needs to be fixed that you might not have noticed)

Final Draft – You take the advice from your test readers if you like what they have to say – and it’s okay if you don’t because it’s your story – and you make a finalized manuscript.

 From this point on, what you do with it is up to you. You may choose to have one copy only professionally bound and put in a safe place for future generations or you may want to publish it. If you'd like to see it published or even if you plan to self-publish, it will be smart to have it worked over by an editor. There are many avenues to choose from this point on and I will happily converse with you on those options if you want to contact me about it.

This weeks Positive Review: Six Flags Theme Parks

Jul 1, 2016
Disney Hacks - 15 Ways To Make The Mouse More Magical - RN 038

During our trip to Walt Disney World, we learned a few tricks to enhance the experience.

Disney Hacks


  1. Take a cooler. The largest size cooler you may bring is 24” x 15” x 18”. No alcohol and no glass containers.
  2. Hold on to your cups and water bottles to refill them at water fountains without spending money every time you want water.
  3. Ask a cafeteria for a cup of ice. You may get it free and they may even fill it with water for you.
  4. The Starbucks at Hollywood Studios gave me a cup of ice water when I asked and it was free.
  5. Get a small fan that hangs around your neck for the hot season and avoid buying the expensive water spritzing fan bottle they sell at the parks. It keeps you hands free and saves money. (Unless you just want a water spritzing fan bottle. Then buy one somewhere else and bring it with you.)
  6. Go in January. Great deals are available during this time and it’s the slowest time of the year in terms of attendance.
  7. If you’re going with a large group, rent a house instead of staying in hotels. You can get a nice house for a few days at a fraction of the cost when you break down the fee between everybody.
  8. Use the My Disney Experience app.
  9. If a member of your party would benefit from a wheel chair, rent one. This give special access to your party at SOME attractions. (Shorter wait times.)
  10. Use online resources to plan your trip. You’ll find special offers and even more tips and tricks to make it better.
  11. Watch diapered children closely for diaper rash, especially during the hot season.
  12. Save phone battery. Bring a time occupier that will fit in a pocket like a book, small sketch book, crosswords, sudoku, etc.) If you desire to use your smart phone to pass the time in the long wait lines, carry a mobile recharger. (Don’t forget the cord.)
  13. Buy your souvenirs on the way out. It allows you to view everything before you decide what to buy and you don’t have to lug all that stuff around all day.
  14. Ride popular rides during the fireworks and light shows. Most folks are up front watching the show and the wait lines for rides are far shorter. (This tip is best observed if you have two days in that park. We watched the fireworks the first night, then rode rides during that time on the second night.)
  15. Get there when the park opens. You might be surprised how empty the parks are immediately after they open. Then schedule your fast passes on the most popular rides for busier times of the day.

Positive Review: Poddy Break (Podcast) - with Tim Hawkins

Jun 27, 2016
Our Trip To Disney World - RN 037

Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a magical experience. Here's the run down of our four days in the parks:

Day 1: Magic Kingdom

Not as hot as I had expected a June trip to mid-Florida would be

Waited for 30-45 minutes to get on the ferry. The monorail, which is faster, was not going at the time

As soon as we got into the park, Merida got to meet Snow White. I wanted to get intros from park cast members, but was afraid it might get them in trouble

Next, we waited in line to meet Merida, the princess our daughter was named after

Then we caught the Festival of Fantasy Parade

Carousel – Kayla laid down on a shady part of the pavement like a hobo

It’s A Small World - Merida slept through the whole thing

Waited in long lines all during the day to meet various characters

Noah insisted on riding Splash Mountain with me and Evan in the hopes of getting soaked - barely got sprinkled

Met back with family for the light parade, then headed to the castle for the fireworks show. Merida peed on me.

We lost Evan, but got to see the laser show on the castle while we searched for him

Merida said, “Daddy, I don’t want to leave.”


Day 2: EPCOT

Again, not as hot as expected

At this recording, parking at all parks is $20 for a regular car

First was Spaceship Earth

Next, Me, Noah, Evan, and Mike (AKA PA-PA) rode Mission Space 

Next was the World Showcase. I wanted to eat at the Mexican restaurant in the Aztec temple because I remembered loving the food there 9 years ago. The restaurant was closed to change over to dinner service. We went to the pick-up window Mexican restaurant next door for lunch. Noah hated his food. Kayla and I loved our empanadas.

More waiting in line to meet characters and princesses

Kayla, Noah, Evan, and I split off from everyone else to walk around the World Showcase and that took the rest of the day. It was too hot to really spend much time in one place and our feet were killing us, so we did the express version.

Merida looked up at me with those blue eyes and said, “Daddy, I don’t want to leave.”

We ate a late supper at Denny’s afterward. Merida peed on me.


 Day 3: Hollywood Studios

Dear God, it feels like we’re melting outside. That’s the heat we were expecting.

Didn’t take any audio at Hollywood Studios because there was so much to get done. Our half of the family left out a little earlier than the rest. We met up after deciding that my mom needed to have a wheelchair. The past two days had nearly killed her.

Lots more line waiting to meet characters

Epcot had not had as many people, but Hollywood Studios was elbow to elbow

Star Tours was first in the Star Wars area of the park because my wife is a Star Wars fanatic and this was what she was there to experience

Main attractions we wanted to experience were the FROZEN show, DISNEY JR show, the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST show, the TOWER OF TERROR, ROCKIN' ROLLER COASTER, and FANTASMIC (the light show).

Nothing disappointed. However, the FROZEN show stood out to me above all of them. It is a CAN’T MISS if you go to Hollywood Studios. The combination of live performance, video, and effects partnered with the sing-along aspect is simply the purest form of Disney magic

On a negative note about our FROZEN experience, Noah’s phone slipped out of his pocket and was nowhere to be found when we went back to look.

On a positive note, the cast member who found it, turned it in and we were able to get it back at the end of the night.

Merida turned her angel face toward me and said, “Daddy, I don’t want to leave.”


Day 4: The Magic Kingdom (Part 2)

A prayer to start the day: Dear Heavenly Father … please forgive us for whatever we did that sent us to the firey depths of hell. The sun is actually baking my eyeballs through my shades.

Carousel of Progress was first

Space Mountain: We had fast passes for four of us to ride twice. Kayla determined after the first go-round that roller coasters are now off the menu for her. She didn’t attend the second ride. Here’s a clip from Space Mountain.

More long waiting lines to meet characters

We watched the Festival of Fantasy parade again, then headed to the Peter Pan ride. We weren’t overly impressed with that one. However, coming out of Peter Pan, Merida needed a change.

Merida, Noah, and I rode Dumbo

Then we were off to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction

We ended our final night at Disney World with Aladdin’s Carpet ride and the Jungle Cruise

We were afraid Merida would not want to leave, but we got lucky and she fell asleep on the way out



We’ve decided that not only will Kayla and I take a romantic trip back to Disney World hopefully in January, but that we would like to come back every couple of years if possible … Just not when it’s so infernally hot

 NOTES:            Lizards


                        And Frogs … oh my!

Jun 17, 2016
Let's Talk Skin Cancer - RN 036

Skin cancer is no laughing matter. While it feels good to wear as little as possible in the heat of the summer, the truth is that the sun does more than warm us. Prolonged exposure to the sun introduces harmful radiation that can be bad for your skin. Fair skinned people are especially susceptible to the dangers and I am living proof. Having had four skin cancers removed from my back and another one biopsied and found to be a Basal cell carcinoma in June (2016), I can attest to the problem.

If you are going to be under direct sunlight for a prolonged period of time, here are three things you might consider:

1. Clothing specially designed to provide SPF protection

2. Additives that give SPF protection to your laundry

3. Sunblock with an SPF of 75 or higher

It may not seem like the "cool" thing to do (See what I did there?), but for me, skin care and hopefully the prevention of future cancers trumps having a tan.


Jun 14, 2016
Recurring Dreams - RN 035

I have four recurring dreams that seem to be common among many of us.

1. Snakes - May represent fear

2. Tornados - May represent a volitile situation

3. Tidal Waves - May represent overwhelming negative emotions or positively, it may represent the cleansing of a bad habit and the start of something new

4. Teeth Falling Out - May represent the regret of something said

* Interpretations drawn from

This week's Positive Review: Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Jun 3, 2016
A Conversation With My Son - RN 034

There was no traveling for work this week, so my son and I jumped into the car and headed to Anderson, SC for a little thrift store treasure hunting. On the way, we decided to recorin d our conversation talking about our plans for the summer.

One of the activities we mention is GEOCACHING. Geocaching is a family friendly treasure hunt using GPS technology and can be done around most towns or in rugged terrain. To find out all about this fantastic hobby, visit the official website at:


May 27, 2016
14 Work Hacks To Make Life Better - RN 033

I worked in an office environment for years and I know how crazy it can get when there's so much to organize and so little space. My home office space is the same way. So when I learn a new trick to make life easier, I like to try and put it to the test. Here are 14 hacks I found that I thought might be useful in the work environment.

1. Binder clips can be used in lots of neat ways

2. How to reset empty ink cartridges to get more use out of them

3. How to make a template to hand a power bus like a boss

4. How to aim the direction of your wi-fi signal

5. Avoid spill disaster with Drinklip

6. Raise your computer screen to eye level for neck and back relief

7. Get work done while on the treadmill

8. Add character to your space with googly eyes

9. A lamp for added warmth in a chilly space

10. Spray paint bricks or large rocks for bookends

11. Use T-pins to organize

12. Self-decorated coffee mugs

13. Get a small dorm fridge for personal use

14. Put legos to good use as cord organizers

This week's Positive Review: The Most Useful Podcast Ever

May 20, 2016
Defragging Your Life - RN 032

Life is messy. After you've figured out who your real friends are and kicked the unnecessary stuff in your house to the curb, it's time to "defrag" the rest of your life. Let's dive in and see what kind of fun we can have.

Five areas to focus on when defragging your life:

1. Family

2. Hobbies

3. Projects

4. Mind

This week's Positive Review: The literary works of Jules Verne

May 13, 2016
Defragging Your House - RN 031

Life is messy and sometimes it's necessary to simplify things, sort of like defragging your computer system. When life gets fragmented, we have to get rid of the stuff that isn't necessary and put the rest of the puzzle back together into a picture that makes sense. You home is what you come back to at the end of the day and one that is cluttered can be stressful. I'll tell you how we're defragging our house in part 2 of our 3 part Defragging Series.

Three things that tend to be clutter causers in your house:

1. Gifts

2. Found treasures (yard sale; thrift items)

3. Collections

Three questions to ask of every item in order to decide what to keep and what to throw out:

1. Do I need it?

2. Do I use it now?

3. Will I sincerely use it in the future?

This week's Positive Review: Bojangles Restaurants


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