Thursday, January 5, 2017

What You Don't See

I am living in a one-bedroom apartment.

Thought I wouldn't bury the lead.

Many people think I'm nuts. More wonder if I've become a gambling addict. Over Christmas break people pitied me. I saw it in their eyes.

Oh, you poor dear. 

Oh my. What happened to Tracy and her family? I could never live like that.  

Turns out, this was one of the best Christmases my family has ever spent together. All of us under one roof. I felt like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with two or three kids in our sole, king-sized bed.

If you follow this blog, you know I've been writing about Big Dreams and waking up with enthusiasm every morning.

I want to share a crazy step I took toward mine a few months ago.

My next-door neighbor and former colleague at Channel 4 sold her house for a decent profit. She highly encouraged me to sell mine, too. 

As I considered the idea, I thought of our best family friends in Arizona. 

They're a tad bit older with kids the same age as ours. He's worked his whole life serving the poor at a Phoenix non-profit; his wife works her butt off as a freelance graphic designer. 

The humble Dennis asked his wife one day, "What is one of your biggest dreams after we get these kids through college?" 

Julie thought about it. "A VW bug." 

"Let's not wait," Dennis replied. "Let's do it now. What are we waiting for?"

They found Julie a red bug in darling condition. She was elated, driving around in her sassy car, looking like the spunky, youthful Julie she is.

As I started to pursue the idea of selling my home and finding a smaller one here (we are NOT leaving Nashville!), knowing we will have fewer visitors once Luke's senior basketball season ends, I considered the Flynn's red bug...and the dream I've held since 2000. That's when we moved from Lexington, Kentucky for my opportunity of a lifetime to host my own show in Phoenix. As part of that deal, which I assured the kids would be a "three-year vacation," I promised we would move back. 

It's been 17 years. 

We sold the Nashville house in one weekend. 

Bye bye Brookwood Terrace (and the world's most adorable neighbors!)

We found a place to build in Kentucky that will fit our Paul Bunyan-sized furniture, where we can escape on long weekends and holidays. 

No more suffocating our poor, generous family members and sleeping in their basements. God bless them all these years. The Kornets are not an easy, tiny bunch.

We found a dog-friendly, ground-level apartment near Centennial Park. When we hear the pitter patter of neighbors' feet in the apartment above, we tell ourselves, It sounds like John, Nicole and Luke are home!  

Change can be sooooo hard, but it can also excite and inspire.

New experiences, new locations. 

It's why I'd rather not stay in the same hotel twice. Why every 8 years or so I've shifted roles at work or changed genres of television. 

The downside is that we've moved more than the average family. I confess, I have felt relief reading a couple of recent stories in which the kids said some nice things about how they grew up.  

So again I ask: Is there a decision or move you've been considering but are too afraid to try? A dream that continually nags at your heart? 

If you're bored or discontent, I encourage you to take one step. 

At the very least, it will lead you somewhere new. 

And that can be exciting.

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Your Megyn Kelly Moment

The news broke yesterday as I was a third of the way through her new book, Settle for More.

Megyn Kelly was leaving a rumored $20 million dollar offer at Fox and moving to NBC to host a daytime and Sunday night news show.

At the same time, after posting here about a new pursuit of one's Big Dreams, I have continued to receive messages and private emails from women saying yes to my proposed experiment--to take one step every day to help them move toward their Big Dream.

Coincidence? I think not.

While reading Kelly's book on the treadmill (yay, small step!), I was struck by something the wife and mother of three wrote in her journal during her crazily successful years as a big-time lawyer.

I am more exciting than this! I am more interesting than this! I am more interested than this! I need more out of life!

Kelly goes on to write how she had become mesmerized by midnight reruns of Oprah, who spoke about how we are all one decision away from changing our lives. Kelly explains the series of decisions she proceeded to take to become a television journalist. And then she lands on this:

"I was excited to feel my TV career coming alive. It was as if it had been waiting for me all of these years, lying dormant, and now I'd found it. I was energized getting out of bed in the morning. Here, again, was that familiar feeling--the same confidence I'd felt doing moot court in law school: I got this. That sense of pride and delight, drained from years of overwork, started to seep back into my life, and I could not get enough of it."

That's what I'm talking about! Energized to get out of bed in the morning.

Did you wake up like that today?

If not, what can you do right now to wake up like that tomorrow?

Recently I did something many think is absolutely nuts.

Tomorrow I'll fill you in!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The LaLa Land Effect

Her dad brought these UCLA trading cards back from a trip to California.

Something about seeing the stack on the kitchen counter sparked a strange, familiar feeling inside.

And this time, it wasn't just motherly love or mountainous pride in my little girl, Nicole.

I'll call it the LaLa Land effect: that exciting, feel-it-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach, something-big-is-happening-here kind of moment when you start to believe that maybe you're actually going places.

I saw the movie LaLa Land over the weekend.

While I wasn't overly in love with the Emma Stone/Ryan Gossling flick, it did something to my subconsciousness.

The pseudo-musical stimulated some vivid, colorful dreams later that night, following a living room sing-along with my talented BFF and her daughters who saw it too (which I couldn't help but stream on Facebook live unbeknownst to them).

If you're not familiar with the premise, LaLa Land gets you thinking about the Big Dreams we (hopefully) all start out with in life and the different paths it can take you, along with the bold, sometimes humiliating, put-yourself-out-there moves required to make them come true.

And the loneliness. So much loneliness.

LaLa Land captures it well.

But back to Big Dreams.

I'll never forget walking into my dorm room my sophomore year of college, seeing the light blink on my answering machine, pushing play, and hearing that voice with a strong Japanese accent: "Tracy Wing, this is Tokyo Disneyland. We would like you to be Shin-derella in Japan."

Or answering the phone in my bedroom while my toddler sprayed my legs with Windex, as my future general manager offered what would become my first t.v. anchor job.

There is nothing like these life-affirming moments when you're singled out and offered the gig.

So why do so many of us stop dreaming? What is it about being a full-fledged grown up that erodes that ability?

Why can't we remain inspired! Filled with anticipation about what the next day may hold! Hopeful about the oodles of opportunity soon to come knocking at your door!

Can we reignite the flicker, folks?

I want to believe it's still possible.

I dare you to join me in a little experiment.

Let's take one step every day toward making something exciting happen, something to get you ready in case opportunity calls.

Get in a workout to get back to your "fully confident" self.
Set up a coffee date with someone who may connect you to a fellow dream-builder.
Research that grad school.

I don't know about you, but I'm too young to stop dreaming.

Who's with me?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Uniform

"Mother, this is absolutely incredible. I am floored."

That was Nicole's text message last Sunday, sent during first official photo shoot as a UCLA Bruin.

This relatively recent, annual tradition with the women's basketball team is rumored to cost tens of thousands of dollars. More importantly, it is intended to set the tone for a season of excellence.

Her brother calls these pictures "over the top." Her dad is not a fan of the long hair and makeup. I will always prefer her hair in a ponytail, so I can appreciate her cheekbones.

Yet I must share a key story behind the scenes of this photo shoot.

Location: Quizote Studios in West Hollywood

The girls are getting the full hair and makeup treatment, emerging one by one for their individual pictures.

It's Nicole's turn to put on "her blues."

She sees this jersey for the first time.

Nicole emerges from the green room into the open studio, where production assistants, basketball coaches, and other team employees are hanging out waiting.

"Nicole, when you walked out, when I saw you in your uniform, I almost cried." said Luke the videographer.

"I felt it too, Luke." Nicole replied.

She tells me later on the phone that this is the feeling she had always dreamed about: a mix of joy and pride, satisfaction and belonging.

According to my journal, it was one year ago tomorrow when Nicole mustered up every ounce of strength, called her coach at the University of Oklahoma, and told her she wasn't happy. That she wanted to play basketball in California.

It was one year ago tomorrow when Coach Sheri Coale offered to grant Nicole a release.

As they say, the rest is history. But not without much doubt, tears, risk, faith, and incredibly hard work, sitting out a full year and practicing like every day could be her last.

I can assure you, Nicole has never felt this satisfied. Stimulated. And gratified.

She has never worked this hard for anything.

She adores and respects her teammates.

Her classmates, coaches and teachers aren't too shabby either.

Every day in California is an adventure.

Plus, she keeps running into people like OKC's Russell Westbrook.

If there is a lesson to learn for the rest of us, it is to never give up on your dreams.

The biggest rewards often require the biggest risks.

I have a feeling this will be one heck of a basketball season. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Darkness Detox

If you want a quick pick-me-up, buy a nun her morning Starbucks.

I went skipping through the Nashville airport, after the sweet sister behind me blessed me for it Friday morning.

It was 5:45am. My daughter had just boarded a plane back to LAX.

My husband was heading to Louisville to coach his high school girls in a weekend basketball tournament.

Coach Kornet with his Harpeth Hall Varsity Girls

I was heading to NYC for a last-minute, musical fix with some girlfriends.

Bucket List Billy Joel, Madison Square Garden

It was probably midway through May sweeps last month when I realized I had to escape the heaviness of the news breaking all around us. Just for a weekend or two. Something to put some positive balance back in my life.

I tell you what, speaking such dark details, out loud, for hours and hours on end, used to go in one ear and out the other. But the terror attacks, drug-related crimes, and acts of hate and abuse are really starting to get to me.

So these last two weekends, I have enjoyed some soul soothing: first, while speaking at the 10th anniversary banquet for a wonderful organization called Hearts for Homes, a Denton, Texas-based non-profit that repairs indigent seniors' homes.

Hearts for Homes 10th Anniversary, Lewisville, Texas
The stories of hope, love, generosity, and God actively answering prayers and meeting needs were incredibly inspiring. They touched the hearts of everyone assembled in the Lewisville Hilton Garden Inn ballroom, which donated the lovely space and all of the food. Major shout out to them!

I packed in multiple coffee and happy hours with girlfriends and former colleagues before and after the event. It was heavenly.

Finally got to meet baby Max!

Secondly, this morning I returned from a musical-infused weekend with girlfriends in New York City. Perfect weather. Fantastic vibe. An incredible few days.

Got to see the Broadway show Waitress, with music by Sara Bareilles, the jazzy pop star's first musical. Two high school girlfriends, with whom I sang in concert chorus and show choir, joined me.

And then there was Friday night and last-minute tickets to Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden.

Belting out "Uptown Girl"
"'cause it just may be a lunatic you're looking for"

The whole weekend I wanted to burst open with the joy of a 15-year-old.

I knew this girl at age 15, when we didn't need readers!
As much as life has been off-the-chain fun with my kids filtering through our home more often than ever before, a healthy dose of artsy enrichment is greatly needed now and then.

That lesson was reiterated by multiple medical experts, in fact, in our first Channel 4 prime time health special last week.

They call it "self-care." I call it critical -- both to answering my own calling and to feeling God's reassurance that He is in control. Light will always overcome the darkness.

We must trust and know that He's got this, world. In HIS hands.

No matter what news breaks.

Friends forever

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

#WorkChic of the Week: CMAs & Chambray

I've become quite adept at identifying "good tv dresses." Which means I have about 50 sheath dresses in loud, solid colors.

But I have long struggled to try different dress styles or piece together separates. I am often at a loss choosing the right necklace and earrings. I consult my husband almost every day before leaving the house and ask "gold or silver? Long or short? Does this actually work together?"

For the last 18 months I have relished the help of the uber-talented Danielle at Dillard's at Green Hills. The store sponsors my wardrobe, which means every day I get to wear something shiny and new on Channel 4 News at 4, 5, 6 and 10. This is a gift beyond measure.

Danielle is the one who suggested last Friday to wear a long, gold necklace with this new, blue layered Tahari dress. This dress is an example of something I wouldn't have chosen on my own. It's layered and a clingy material.

 I thought silver jewelry was an automatic with baby blue. Not so. I texted Danielle this dorky selfie with her suggested long, gold style. She approved.

The long necklace is gold and rose gold.
The expertise and passionate heart of Danielle has opened my eyes.

I KNOW I'm not alone. We women get stuck in our boxes and must be forced to stretch our fashion boundaries. So it really helps when we have the validation of a fashionista behind us.

I hope to designate an occasional blog post to helping my fellow, struggling working women with some wardrobe advice. Danielle is extremely talented at this endeavor, especially with the Antonio Melani line at her fingertips. I've worn Melani almost exclusively, long before Dillard's became my clothing sponsor.

As for more casual looks, Danielle put this together for my CMA coverage this week.

On TV it will likely be dress only.
But feel free to go to town, if you like the look.

Apparently, chambray is the "It" material this season. She chose several different styles of shoes, so you can mix it up depending on your function and objective. Each has the power to change the look.

Here is another casual look Daniel assembled for me for an emcee event for the Rally Foundation. The fundraiser for pediatric cancer research was a songwriters' night in downtown Nashville.

I must admit, the suede, fringed vest was a stretch for me...but fun. I felt...well...fashionable!

Hope this weekly blog with Danielle's top tips helps you feel that way, too!


Monday, May 30, 2016

Pillow Talk

John, Nicole & Luke on Venice Beach

They burst through the door and plopped on my bed at 6 am this Memorial Day.

My two handsome, long-limbed sons had just landed on the red-eye from LAX.

In newly-adopted, thick Boston accents John and Luke proceeded to share story after story about the fun stuff they did while visiting their sister.

I lay there in bed laughing my head off, while they deliriously recounted tales of the drunk lady on the plane, shooting baskets on Venice beach, and needing to throw up after eating the world's largest pumpkin pancakes.

I felt so much like my mother.

How many times would I come in from a party or high school show, plop on her bed, wake her up, and tell her all about it.

My mom would be so entertained. She'd soak up every word, with this massive smile sprawled across her face. I especially loved it when my brother(s) would be in there with me, razzle-dazzling her with stupid details and uproarious laughter.

Now I totally get it.

About an hour ago between newscasts, I called my daughter to see how she was doing all the way out there in California alone, now that her brothers were gone. She was sunbathing in Malibu. (I know, tough life.)

Visiting their sister at UCLA

"Mom, I'm so glad they came. I had forgotten how fun my brothers are!"

And to think this trip almost didn't happen.

I credit my Dallas girlfriend for making it easy to pull the trigger, once we found reasonable last-minute tickets and a plan that worked.

For decades Sharon had a very real fear that she wouldn't be alive to see her children grow up. She told me recently that she promised her now 20-something son and daughter, that there would always be an account to cover travel costs, whenever the siblings wanted to see each other.

That powerful story forever changed my perspective to seize the moment and not take opportunities to hang out for granted. I am committed to financing such special visits for John, Nicole, and Luke to help keep these siblings close.

I have no doubt the days they spent together in California will pay a lifetime of dividends in memories.

I can't wait to hear more silly stories and conversations trickle out over the years.

Particularly, if they happen at 6 am.


What You Don't See

I am living in a one-bedroom apartment. Thought I wouldn't bury the lead. Many people think I'm nuts. More wonder if I've be...