Featured

Interview with Abby Wright – Episode 25

It was a day like any other when I received a text alerting me my youngest daughter, Abby was being rushed to the emergency room. Like most any other parent my heart raced. Her mother informed me she found Abby in the upstairs bathroom lying on the floor feeling ill. 

Abby had recently complained to me she could not seem to eat enough to not feel hungry. She had just returned from her favorite TexMex restaurant, Chuy’s having put away an entire plate of food, chips and queso and was still hungry. When she went to the scale to her surprise she had actually lost weight. In fact over the course of only a couple weeks she lost nearly 15 pounds. She had also been terribly lethargic and was constantly having to go to the bathroom at night.

Another text from her mother: “Abby’s blood work revealed her blood sugar was around 400 (normal is around 75-90). This might be a sign of Type 1 Diabetes.

Immediately my mind went to the movie “Steel Magnolias” the story about a girl in the South played by Julia Roberts who suffers from and eventually died from complications with diabetes.

“No way,” I thought to myself. This doesn’t make sense. I knew nothing about Diabetes up to this point.


After being evaluated and having fluids intravenously put in her body Abby was flown to Dallas Children’s Hospital. It was there we learned she did in fact most likely have Type 1 Diabetes. For 48 hours Abby didn’t eat, was barely allowed to sleep, suffered the beginning of what would be the first days of lifelong finger pricks and blood tests, counting carbs, limiting desserts and hoping you don’t get a virus because it would mean you will most likely end up in the ER. Oh, and pedicures are out, too. Diabetics are much more susceptible to infections which can lead to loss of limbs. Through it all she never complained.


At one point one of her friends came by to see Abby in the hospital. Abby actually made a joke about having Diabetes while her friend took a picture. Her friend wanted to post it on Instagram, but Abby said, “No don’t do that. People who get really upset about this stuff might be offended.” Overnight her life had completely changed, yet she still maintained her sense of humor.


I’ll never forget something Abby said while lying in her hospital bed. She said, “You know I’ve thought about it. I could be really angry about this, but it wouldn’t do any good so I might as well just accept it.” I was so taken aback by her strength and stoicism. Her Dad, the guy pecking on this keyboard, has actually studied stoic philosophy for sometime. Yet I don’t think I would have ever been able to naturally execute the practice as succinctly as Abby did in that one moment. It’s one of the reasons she’s my hero. 


While she maintained poise and grace, I was a wreck. I cried, I was depressed. I was a mess. I didn’t let Abby see this, but she knew. Her first night home with Diabetes it was like having a newborn all over again. What if she went to sleep, had a bad drop in blood sugar and never woke up? This is a real possibility now. 


To this day she has never complained about her disease. For someone with Type 1 Diabetes life changes forever. Abby can never again leave the house without her life saving insulin. She will forever have added medical expenses. She now has to stop and consider whether or not she can go somewhere in case she runs out of insulin. She always has to be prepared with snacks in case her blood sugar is low. Oh and sometimes her blood sugar is impossible to manage. It will spike, drop and drop some more. There is no perfect formula to get it just right. She can just do her best. The ends of her fingers are calloused in certain spots from all the finger pricks. She has to move around where she inserts the catheter for her pump so she doesn’t create scar tissue.


Wearing a pump means she always has what looks like an 80’s style beeper attached to her person with a tube attached to a small catheter for injecting insulin when necessary. Yet, even as fashion conscience as she is she never complains about the one accessory she will most likely be wearing for the rest of her life.


Besides not complaining Abby has taken the position that this is part of her life’s calling. She wants to do all she can to help eradicate Type 1 Diabetes. She has become one of the largest fundraisers for JDRF. Currently she is helping to raise money for the JDRF One Walk coming up November 16 in Plano. Please consider helping Abby in her mission by clicking the Team East Texas link and supporting this year’s fundraiser. It would mean the world to both Abby and our entire family.

Remember, don’t get angry when angry has absolutely no benefit. Instead choose like Abby to do something positive.

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Featured

Interview with Brady Smith – Episode 24

Brady Smith grew up in Houston, Texas and attended college at Stephen F. Austin State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. It was in college, on a fluke, that he was first introduced to acting. After graduation, Brady moved abroad to Europe where he traveled for six months and began documenting his adventures in an illustrated journal. This exercise eventually led to dozens more trips and the birth of his daily illustrated journals, which he continues to this day.

Upon moving back to Houston, he started his own illustration and design company, Brady Smith Creative. He also began exhibiting his paintings around local restaurants and galleries in the greater Houston area. He kept this up for 7 years, having art shows and selling illustrations, but in the back of his mind the urge to take a real swing as an actor always lingered.

In the summer of 2000, with a car stuffed to the roof full of blank canvases, a few suitcases and an old surfboard, he moved to Los Angeles, CA. After three years of sleeping on couches and working odd jobs, (cleaning wetsuits at a dive shop, delivering food, and substitute teaching), Brady finally found an agent and began auditioning. Not too long after he began working. And not too, too long after that, he met his future wife, actress Tiffani Thiessen.

Brady has also sold feature scripts, a television pilot and a children’s book which he has co-authored with his wife. For a more extensive list of his work here’s a link to his IMDB page

He has also continued exhibiting his paintings in solo shows throughout Los Angeles and Tribeca, NYC. Brady currently resides in LA, with his wife, Tiffani Thiessen, their two children, three pooches, eight chickens and one fish.

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Featured

Interview with Craig Keeland – Episode 23

Author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

Craig Keeland is a 5th Generation Texan who graduated from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance and Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. His lifetime passion has been about Leading Others to Better Health and a commitment to Helping Others Reach Their Lifetime Goals and Improve Their Character.

Craig describes his vision of Global Citizenship: “God placed each of us here to bring joy and hope to others
and to do something meaningful for them. That is the most important thing in life and that is my purpose for living.

Craig Keeland earned his M.B.A. at the Wharton School of Business in the Ivy Leagues at The University of Pennsylvania.

He began his professional career in banking and finance, achieving great respect from his professional peers as Founder and C.E.O. of the Heritage Corporation of America and Chairman and C.E.O. of Guaranty Bank, Dallas. As a Financial Consultant, Craig worked with several billionaires and was valued for his financial expertise and guidance.

In 1991, Craig asked how he could experience Feeling Younger Longer and in excellent health. He immediately set out to uncover the secrets to a long and healthy life. To that end, he founded his own health and wellness products company. He gathered a team of world class scientists to achieve the goal of creating a good tasting, antioxidant rich, whole food puree that would support a state of wellness.

Craig’s vision became reality in 2003 when the first bottle of the “Antioxidant-rich Whole Food Puree” product was introduced to the public. That product is now available in more than 26 countries and territories and Craig is proud to say that it is truly “Restoring Health and Hope Around the World.”

Since 2003, Craig has developed and launched a family of “Antioxidant-rich Whole Food Puree” products manufactured and distributed by his CK Family of Companies which includes: Doctor’s Wellness Solutions, Trinity Nutraceuticals and Liberty Franklin Pharmaceuticals. Craig’s CK Management organization manages the business of the CK Family of Companies and their “Antioxidant-rich Whole Food Puree” products.

Craig is also Founder of The Andes Children’s Foundation, an organization created to give back to the children of the Rainforest of Vilcabamba, high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador and support the educational needs of the children of the area. Through this foundation and other philanthropic endeavors, Craig lives the statement that “We Are More Than A Company…We Are A Cause®.”

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Featured

Interview with Luke Coffee part 2 – Episode 22

This week I continue my conversation with Luke Coffee. If you missed last weeks conversation please go back listen it will be well worth your time.

After graduating from Baylor University with a BA in Film/TV, Luke Coffee moved to Hollywood to pursue his lifelong passion for film and storytelling. He spent five years working long hours as the post-production coordinator on two primetime television shows for both Warner Brothers and NBC/Universal, while spending the TV hiatus working countless roles on various types of sets to gain more knowledge of the industry. After LA, Luke moved across the world to Cape Town, South Africa for six months producing a pilot for a travel-reality series entitled “Gypsy Kings” that was geared toward the World Cup.

In 2010, Luke Coffee moved back to his hometown Dallas,TX establishing his full service production house under the umbrella of his mentor director Rocky Powell’s company RockHouse Films. Luke has produced/directed everything from music videos to corporate industrials and web-based content to broadcast commercials even earning national accolades for his first few spots. Luke was brought on as a producer for Rocky’s first feature film Language of a Broken Heart which had a successful theatrical run opening in 10 cities nationwide. In the last few years, Coffee has directed his first feature documentary entitled Old Man Football, co-wrote, produced and directed the TV pilot Cubicle Cowboy while also partnering on several other pilot projects. Luke will produce the feature he has co-written Texas Angel alongside Powell who will direct the film. The narrative, which is based on a true story, is in pre-production. In 2016 Coffee was officially added to the roster become the 2nd ever Rockhouse Films director alongside his mentor Rocky. Over the last few years he has partnered with  The Marketing Arm, Agency Creative, Greenlight and ProPac Marketing to produce and direct content for brands like Doritos, FedEx Office, YMCA, SPCA, and Gold’s Gym to name just a few.

Coffee is a working actor, booking various roles in national commercials, music videos, television and feature films. His recent highlights include co-starring roles on NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”, “Las Vegas”, Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Chase” and a lead role in Ridley Scott’s “The Hunt,” which was shot in South Africa. He also played a supporting role as the jock ‘Drake’ in Rocky’s feature romantic comedy. Luke has used his many experiences in front of the camera to aid in every project as he hones his skillset as a seasoned Director.  Luke Coffee has also  been a featured artist in the publication Art House America.

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Featured

Interview with Luke Coffee Part 1 – Episode 21

After graduating from Baylor University with a BA in Film/TV, Luke Coffee moved to Hollywood to pursue his lifelong passion for film and storytelling. He spent five years working long hours as the post-production coordinator on two primetime television shows for both Warner Brothers and NBC/Universal, while spending the TV hiatus working countless roles on various types of sets to gain more knowledge of the industry. After LA, Luke moved across the world to Cape Town, South Africa for six months producing a pilot for a travel-reality series entitled “Gypsy Kings” that was geared toward the World Cup.

In 2010, Luke Coffee moved back to his hometown Dallas,TX establishing his full service production house under the umbrella of his mentor director Rocky Powell’s company RockHouse Films. Luke has produced/directed everything from music videos to corporate industrials and web-based content to broadcast commercials even earning national accolades for his first few spots. Luke was brought on as a producer for Rocky’s first feature film Language of a Broken Heart which had a successful theatrical run opening in 10 cities nationwide. In the last few years, Coffee has directed his first feature documentary entitled Old Man Football, co-wrote, produced and directed the TV pilot Cubicle Cowboy while also partnering on several other pilot projects. Luke will produce the feature he has co-written Texas Angel alongside Powell who will direct the film. The narrative, which is based on a true story, is in pre-production. In 2016 Coffee was officially added to the roster become the 2nd ever Rockhouse Films director alongside his mentor Rocky. Over the last few years he has partnered with  The Marketing Arm, Agency Creative, Greenlight and ProPac Marketing to produce and direct content for brands like Doritos, FedEx Office, YMCA, SPCA, and Gold’s Gym to name just a few.

Coffee is a working actor, booking various roles in national commercials, music videos, television and feature films. His recent highlights include co-starring roles on NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”, “Las Vegas”, Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Chase” and a lead role in Ridley Scott’s “The Hunt,” which was shot in South Africa. He also played a supporting role as the jock ‘Drake’ in Rocky’s feature romantic comedy. Luke has used his many experiences in front of the camera to aid in every project as he hones his skillset as a seasoned Director.  Luke Coffee has also  been a featured artist in the publication Art House America.

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Featured

Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Mike Thornton – Episode 20

Michael Edwin Thornton was born in Greenville, South Carolina and raised on the family farm near Spartanburg. Thornton joined the Navy upon graduating from high school in 1967 and completed the rigorous training to join the SEALs, the Navy’s elite sea-air-land special operations force. As overall American conventional forces were gradually withdrawn from Vietnam in the early 1970s, the “unconventional warfare” role of Navy SEALs grew. In the spring of 1972, Petty Officer Thornton was assigned to a mission under the command of Lt. Thomas Norris.

Thornton and Norris accompanied a three-man South Vietnamese Navy team on an intelligence gathering mission in enemy-held territory. Launched from a Vietnamese Navy junk in a rubber boat, the patrol reached land and found themselves farther behind enemy lines than they had planned. Continuing on foot toward their objective, they came under heavy fire from a far larger force and were in danger of being surrounded. While inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy, they headed for the shore, in hopes of escaping by sea.

On learning that Lieutenant Norris had been hit by enemy fire and was believed to be dead, Thornton returned through a hail of fire to the lieutenant’s last position and found him severely wounded and unconscious but alive. Quickly disposing of two enemy soldiers who approached at that moment, Thornton slung Norris over his shoulder and dashed for life over 400 yards of open beach, returning enemy fire as he ran. He carried Norris and another wounded comrade out to sea, beyond the range of enemy fire. The company floated for approximately two hours before being retrieved by the South Vietnamese Navy.

Close to a year after his heroics in Vietnam, on October 15, 1973, Michael Thornton received the Medal of Honor at the White House from President Richard Nixon. Lieutenant Norris, still a patient at nearby Bethesda Naval Hospital, had been forbidden by his doctors to go to the ceremony, but Thornton spirited him out the back door of the facility and took him along. Almost three years later, Norris himself, received the medal with Thornton looking on. Thornton is the first person in more than a century to receive that honor for saving the life of another Medal of Honor recipient. Now retired after a distinguished Navy career that continued through Operation Desert Storm, he resides near Houston, Texas.

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.


Featured

Interview with Dr. Ruth Simmons – Episode 19

Dr. Ruth Simmons is one of the most impressive people I have had the pleasure of sitting down with. It was such an honor to sit down and have a conversation with such an accomplished individual. Further, Dr. Simmons is more than just a preeminent professional in the field of higher education. She is also. a trailblazer and a historically significant individual. I hope you enjoy this interview, that I believe will go down as one of the most important I have done thus far and most likely will ever do.

Ruth J. Simmons was appointed 8th President of Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) in December 2017. She is the first woman to hold the presidency at PVAMU. Prior to taking on the top administrator role at PVAMU, Simmons served as President of Brown University from 2001-2012, becoming the first African American to lead an Ivy League institution. Under Simmons’ leadership, Brown made significant strides in improving its standing as one of the world’s finest research universities.


A French professor before entering university administration, Simmons held an
appointment as a Professor of Africana Studies at Brown. After completing her Ph.D. in
Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard, she served in various faculty and
administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and
Spelman College before becoming president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. At Smith, she launched a number of important academic initiatives, including an engineering program, the first at an American women’s college.

Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, the 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, the 2002 Fulbright lifetime Achievement Medal, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the Foreign Policy Association Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. Simmons is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the boards of FCA and Square, as well as a number of non-profit boards. Awarded numerous honorary degrees, she received the Brown Faculty’s highest honor: the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal in 2011. In 2012, she was named ‘chevalier’ of the French Legion of Honor.

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Featured

Interview with Nick Pencis – Episode 18

Nick & Jen Pencis took over the business in 2006 after the death of founder JD Stanley left his family unable to continue the operation. Nick & Jen have kept the spirit of JD’s recipes and methods alive, as well as adding their unique flair to the joint. They have been named “One of the Best BBQ Joints in the World!” by Texas Monthly Magazine, finding their story published in David Gelin’s book “BBQ Joints: Stories and Secret Recipes from the Barbecue Belt,” and Daniel Vaughn’s “Prophets of Smoked Meat” published by Anthony Bourdain. Nick & Jen have tried to recruit the best staff to ensure the highest quality food and fun atmosphere.

Stanley’s has been family owned and operated since 1958. The site where Stanley’s sits today was a BBQ restaurant for two previous owners before being bought and renamed by J.D. Stanley in the late 50’s. The history of BBQ is long and strong in this spot.

In 2013, Nick & Jen expanded the joint’s cooking and seating capacity, introduced the friendliest full-service bar in Texas, and brought back weekly live music. “Mom & Pop” Pencis are proud of their “Little Engine That Could” and are honored, grateful, and proud to carry on a great Texas tradition! As always, they encourage all to “Be Kind and Have Fun!”

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Featured

Interview with Thomas Wheat – Episode 17

Mr. Thomas Craig Wheat is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pediatric Home Healthcare, LLC, (PHH) an exclusively pediatric private duty nursing provider. PHH services pediatric patients from birth to 21 years of age and employs only skilled nurses, LVN’s and RN’s, to care for our patients.

Mr. Wheat oversees the executive team members; as such, he is responsible for the annual revenue, profitability and overall success and growth of Pediatric Home Healthcare, LLC. He is also a part of the marketing team, responsible for educating hospital administrators, case managers and other referral sources regarding services provided by PHH. Mr. Wheat serves on the Board of Managers and the Advisory Committee.

Mr. Wheat is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) in The Lone Star – Dallas Chapter. He serves on their Executive Board as Member Chairman and on the YPO Regional Board as Membership Officer over the five YPO chapters in North Texas. Mr. Wheat has been a member of Legacy Forum where he served as Member Chairman and he sat on the Legacy Forum Board of Directors.

In 2016, Mr. Wheat was appointed to the Board of Trustees at The ChildCareGroup (CCG) with a three-year term, and he was appointed to The Board of Directors at Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas. In 2017, Mr. Wheat was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the North American Development Group “NADG NNN REIT.”

Mr. Wheat has served on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Council (HHSC) which he was originally appointed by Governor Rick Perry and then re-appointed to serve an additional term. He is also appointed to the E-Health Advisory Committee at HHSC, a selection made by HHSC Commissioner, Charles Smith. As a voting member of this council, Mr. Wheat has been a part of the team responsible for developing rules and policies for the Commission. The HHSC is a state agency which seeks to provide the leadership and innovation needed to achieve an efficient and effective health and human services system for Texans.

Mr. Wheat holds a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Along with both degrees, Mr. Wheat received a Tennis Scholarship from Texas Tech University.

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Featured

Interview with Bobby Stroupe – Episode 16

Bobby Stroupe is the Founder and President of ATHLETE Performance Enhancement Center (APEC).  Coach Stroupe has directed human performance systems for nearly 20 years while expanding his influence as an author, consultant, speaker, and educator. His experience includes working with school systems, collegiate teams, professional teams, businesses, corporate fitness and individuals alike. His coaching ranges from youth athletes to some of the top names in multiple professional sports including 1st round picks, Super Bowl and World Series champions. APEC has been a part of developing over 20 athletes that trained in the APEC system in grade school, and continued all the way to the professional ranks. Stroupe and team currently support over 100 athletes in the NFL and MLB alone. Among many accomplishments by his athletes, Bobby has been credited with supporting arguably some of the best in the game of baseball and football including NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. Coach Stroupe has been featured as a top trainer for multiple sports and athletic performances on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, NFL and MLB network, STACK, Bleacher Report, and many more.

Bobby has presented on various human performance topics at notable coaches clinics internationally, including the NIKE Roundtable and the China City Bowl tour. Stroupe launched the CAPEC certification at Nike World Headquarters in addition to doing work with Nike Training and the Nike Young Athlete division. Bobby serves on the Advisory Committee for Wellness and Exercise at Tyler Junior College. Stroupe and staff have powered strength & conditioning for TJC baseball during their four time in a row National Championship run.​

As an entrepreneur, Stroupe and team built APEC from a grass field in 2005 to today, a world wide training leader in human performance. Bobby serves as the president for APEC, making strategic decisions, designing training systems, and guiding an elite team of coaches that power two locations (Tyler, Fort Worth).

Coach Stroupe belongs to an elite group of physical therapists, athletic trainers, and human performance practitioners as a Fellow of Applied Functional Science. Stroupe has also been named a RSCC*D by the NSCA due to 10+ years of demonstrating high standards and professional practice.

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest podcast episodes.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.