Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Feed Joy

I rarely make phone calls anymore.

So last week when I was stirred to call a girlfriend, I obeyed my nudge and called.

It was short and sweet and in the first 3 minutes she blurted out in sobs, "I don't feel joy anymore!"

Oh girl. How many times have I blurted out the exact same words!

I was able to return her cries with some wisdom I had JUST read that morning from one of my long-time favorite teachers, Beth Moore.

We're not meant to live stuck. Bored. Uninspired. Joyless.

We're called to abound, "more and more."

Human emotions have an inherent propensity to grow. 
We can hate more and more or we can love more and more.
Knowing the propensity of things to grow, which way do I want to go?
"More and more" one direction will force its antithesis into "less and less."
We get to decide which we want to feed and which we want to starve.

I just returned from four joyful days with my two younger children in New York City.

And I mean JOY FUL. Like every single second. Like there is nothing that makes me happier in the whole wide world than being around these people.

Pre-show brunch at Blue Dog Kitchen Bar, NY
Thanks to the magic of that city, the excitement of Broadway cancellation lines, and the added bonus of Luke now living a 36-minute train ride away, this trip was truly special. (Johnny, you must join us next trip.)

Hello Dolly cancellation line. Yes, we got in! Front row & Bette touched my hand!

I sat on my bed this morning and cried, thanking God for the love I feel for them... and for the gift of being a mother.

For the opportunity to hold Nicole's throw-up pan at 2am in a White Plains, NY hospital.

For grocery shopping, cooking (at least trying to), and the joy of witnessing my son fall in love with Broadway the way his sister and I have.

Our Elphaba was AWESOME! 

Then I sat on my bed and cried even more, thinking my love for them doesn't even compare to how much God loves us. (And how grateful I am to have known this fact my whole life. Thank you, mom and Grandma Motz.)

The threats of nuclear war from North Korea. Our internal political climate. 24-7 news coverage. It all sparks and enflames so much fear these days.

If something is going to grow, I want to feed the love--and starve the fear.

I want to feed joy.

One of the reasons I got into television in the first place was the to use the platform as a way to spread good in the world...and to be a "companion" to people (transplants, new moms, elderly) who might be watching tv alone at home.

Since news is news and that's my job, I can at least spread joy by writing about it, right?

Feed it. And it will grow.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse Epiphany

Why Everyone Should Write

"Because everyone is full of ideas they're not aware of. Gut feelings. Intuition.

"Writing crystallizes ideas in a way thinking on its own will never accomplish."

Thank you, Morgan Housel @2017, for inspiring my first blog post in 7 months!

I won't lie. It's been a stressful, emotional, hard-to-divulge-the-truth time period.

I haven't had the heart or patience or confidence to put it all down in print.

These last 7 months encompassed two college graduations (happy, fun, expensive)...a super quick trip to Barcelona and Italy (deliriously reinvigorating, can cry just thinking about it)...the NBA Draft (oh my gosh...can I just tell you...that was the most stressful, emotionally heavy event of my life...which, thank the dear Lord, ended wonderfully. Thank you, Jesus!); moving --twice; and helping my daughter navigate her future (still a work in progress but why I believe was put on this earth!).

The bad news: these 7 months also included saying goodbye and hello to so many precious people, my heart has exploded and imploded at least a dozen times.

The good news: it has brought me here, to a new revelation.

I am, like Mufasa said to Simba, remembering who I am--giving myself permission to put my guard down, and stop hiding or stuffing my emotions.

For almost 3 years, I've been playing a bit of a role. 

I've felt forced to keep so much inside because I've been the, I wanted to protect my son's private ups and downs/perceived demands and expectations.

I have juggled some "unique" personalities at work, while working to develop new skills and hone others.

I've felt the need to "blend in" and not step on toes, while still trying to be my bold, emotional self who often feels the stories I report. 

(As someone given a double dose of empathy, this can be a tricky task.)

One of News 4 reporter Terry Bulger's eclipse stories this week, encourages us to use this once-in-a-lifetime event as a second chance at a New Years Resolution.


I want to start sharing my heart again. My challenges and insecurities and questions and a professional yet personal way.

The stuff that connects us to each other as women. As friends. As parents. As humans.

I need more honesty and laughter and connection in my life. 

And I need to write more.

When's the last time you poured your heart onto paper?

Perhaps the eclipse will inspire you, too. 


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?

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!


Feed Joy

I rarely make phone calls anymore. So last week when I was stirred to call a girlfriend, I obeyed my nudge and called. It was short a...