Live a Better Story

55 Lessons


So last week I turned 55 years old.

In many ways it was a much bigger deal to me than the big 5-0. Not sure why, but it started weighing on me 90 days in advance of my birthday.

My wife took me on a little birthday getaway to Gulf Coast of Florida for a little fun in the sun. The Facebook “Happy Birthday” responses were overwhelming and greatly appreciated. All of this got me to thinking about how grateful I am of many things and the lessons I’ve learned.

So for enjoyment and maybe a chuckle, here are my 55 Lessons:

NOTE: Many of these are my original thoughts but I’m sure many are not original and I’ve just picked along the way.

I hope you find some meaning in ……………..


1. For one, it’s never too late to start…anything.

2. Sometimes life will just suck. But not forever.

3. It’s during the bad times when you find out who really cares.

4. Being a procrastinator is not a character flaw.

5. Avoid debt.

6. No one else is responsible for YOU.


7. Pick your battles. You don’t have to win every argument.

8. Forgive. And forgive some more.

9. Fix yourself before trying to fix others.

10. Lead…Follow…or Get Out of the Way.

11. Be grateful for what you have. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.

12. Appreciate good health.

13. A well groomed man never looks like he had a haircut.

14. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes.

15. Be sure your wife knows how much you love her with your actions more than your words.

16. Let your kids see how much you love your wife with a little PDA.

17. You don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to do. Just know there are consequences for your actions or in-action. Can you live with that?

18. Doing new things will keep you from being stuck in your old ways.

19. Do work you enjoy. Don’t waste your life stuck behind a desk of dislike.

20. Fill your life amazing people.

21. Life is always more exciting when pursuing goals


22. Move your body every day. Do some type of physical conditioning.

23. Drink a lot of water. And then drink some more.

24. Sleep as much as your spouse will allow.

25. Apologize to your kids if you screw up.

26. Laugh every chance you get.

27. It is what it is. Accept it and move on.

28. You can only expect what God intends.

29. Things are seldom as good as they seem nor are they as bad as they seem. It’s usually somewhere in the middle.

30. Giving flowers unexpectedly is an investment that pays off way more than the $20 bucks it will cost you.

31. Life without a dog…no thank you.

32. Take your vitamins.

33. Embrace the suck. And push through to the other side.

34. She REALLY IS always right.

35. Workout enough to eat some junk food.

36. Spend money on really good running shoes.

37. Apple makes life easier. Period.

38. A hot shower cures many ailments.

39. When in doubt, maybe you should run toward what you fear.

40. Let go of anger. It’s just not worth it.

41. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

42. Look your best at all times, not only for you, but for your spouse.

43. Have a soft heart.

44. Don’t let your past blind you to your future.

45. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’. Nobody likes them anyway.

46. You CAN get through anything.

47. Choose to be happy.

48. Life won’t be fair, prepare for it.

49. It’s the struggle that makes you stronger and makes your story interesting.

50. Watch as many sunsets as possible.

51. Show up every day.

52. Learn how to sell yourself.

53. Be willing to do any job you are asking someone else to do.

54. Intense focus can bring phenomenal results.

55. Find your match.


There you go. You’ve had many or most of the same thoughts. But it did me some good to put them on paper. Hope it did you some good as well.

Raising Minimum Wage is a Recipe for Disaster


In today’s news, it was announced that @Joes_Crab_Shack is eliminating “tips” and will raise minimum wage. To offset the increased cost to Joe’s Crab Shack, they will raise food prices 12-15%. Sounds like a food tax. You have to pay it “like it or not.” So even if you have lousy service, the server gets paid the same. What do they care? See just one of the articles here.

I typically tip 20% – ALWAYS. If service is really, really bad it would be less (12-15%) but I ALWAYS tip.

Without the tip incentive, I think it virtually guarantees that the overall quality of service will drop. You will always have the small percentage of servers who will always give 110% no matter what. It’s in their DNA. But it only takes a few cases of bad service to ruin the reputation of a good restaurant. JUST good food will not keep customers coming back.

To compound the problem of raising minimum wage…let’s say business gets slow and cash is tight. With a $14-15 minimum wage, the establishment is likely to hire FEWER servers. Instead of two $7.50 per hour servers, they hire just ONE! Then on those nights that are a little busy, Friday nights for example, the available servers are spread too thin. It’s perceived as BAD SERVICE. What does that do? It hurts the business and things get slower and slower until…it has to shut the doors.

What good did raising the minimum wage do then?

Raising minimum wage is a recipe for disaster.

Managing Priorities


Seek & See Things Differently

2015-01-19 21.32.22


When ever I go backpacking and there is a difficult portion of the trail or when I’m up at some ungodly hour to catch sunrise while on vacation; I always tell myself, “You have to do things most will not do, to see things most will not see.”  This quote by Proust make me think of that.

What does it mean to you?

Yates Mill – Raleigh, NC



Yates Mill is a place I have wanted to photograph for several years. I could kick myself for not going before now. However, I did go a little late to miss the fall colors. But the fall colors in 2014 were not very good to begin with.

High Rock Landing


This is one my absolute favorite photographs I’ve ever taken.  At this point, I’d even say my favorite.  It has so much significance in the timeline of life as well.  It was taken on my wife’s birthday, April 10, 2012.  But there was a great deal of sadness at the time.  My wife’s mother had just passed away 3 days earlier.

We were at her parents lake house on High Rock Lake in Lexington, NC.  The house was filled with family and well wishers.  I had escaped to the boat dock for some quiet time.  It was also mating season and everywhere you looked the ducks were paired up.

The camera is always with me when I’m there.  And, this day, I was in the right place at the right time.  The camera settings were perfect.  The lighting was perfect.  And I just happened to be paying attention!  Most of the time I miss these shots.  But today, I saw this pair circling to come in for a landing.  I rattled off a series of shot and all turned our beautiful.

Incidentally, this was also my first print sold!  I hope you enjoy this as much as others have.