It’s Just Cancer…Get Over It

I suffer from depression. It’s no different than diabetes or high blood pressure in that I cannot simply wish it away. It’s a condition that, for me, is treatable and manageable with lifestyle choices and, yes, medication. Everyone is different, but after decades of struggle, I’ve finally found the combination that works best for me.

I cannot imagine telling a type 1 diabetic, “you don’t need medication,” but for people with mental illness, we’re told this all the time.

The stigma attached to mental illness is a dangerous one. While not all people with depression need to be on medication, many do, and only the patient and their doctor can make that fully informed decision. Do some doctors simply push psychotropic drugs on people as a quick fix? Of course, they do. But when you say, “you don’t need a pill,” you’re reinforcing to the struggling person that there is something wrong with taking medications that have proved, for many, to be not only life changing but life saving.

I don’t care if you think all mental illness is spiritual in nature. I don’t care if you think you can fix it with dietary supplements. I don’t care if you think it’s hormone related. I don’t care what you’ve heard from some anti big pharma advocate at 2am on Coast-to-Coast. While there may be an element of truth in all these things, people who struggle with mental illness should feel confident to address their condition with their doctor without unqualified (though well meaning) people influencing the prognosis and proposed course of action.

I don’t advocate blindly following doctors, but if you opine on the mental health needs of a person without having a comprehensive understanding of both their family and personal history—as well as the medical knowledge required to appropriately address the complexities of the human mind—please understand that you are wading into dangerous waters.

We don’t tell cancer patients they don’t need chemo or radiation. Discouraging people with mental illness from pursuing medical help is every bit as irresponsible, and the outcome, in some cases, can be just as deadly.

People with depression don’t need your advice or judgement; they need your love and availability.

Thanks, in advance, for spreading the word.

Romans 15:13


Radio Waves Goodbye

tran-si-tion (tranˈziSHən,-ˈsiSHən) — noun — movement, passage, or change from one position to another.

I’ve been pretty blessed in my life. Despite my lack of traditional book learning, I’ve always had a knack for networking, and it’s been the relationships I’ve forged that have carried me—I dare say further than a rolled up piece of paper ever could.

It was actually a relationship that led me to my career in radio.

I met Mark Davis in an elevator in 1998. I was newly married and about halfway through my pregnancy with my first child. Who on earth was this gregarious man sporting a Tom Selleck stache? He wouldn’t shut up, but everything he said sounded so … perfect. My exposure to talk radio had been limited, (though my appetite for politics was hearty). He told me about his show, I tuned in the next day … and I was hooked.

Fast-forward to 2010 when Mark called to inform me of Producer Jeff Williams’ imminent departure. I was working as Director of Marketing for a mid-sized company in Dallas, but I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I somehow convinced Tyler Cox—who continues to have the biggest brain and most integrity in the business—to give me a chance. I filled out the paper work, signed my name, jumped in the booth …

… and, that’s what I’ve done for the past 3 and 1/2 years.

The ride has been incredible. The lessons, invaluable. The relationships, lasting. The experiences, unmatched. I’ve enjoyed frequent interactions with people whom I’d greatly admired from afar. Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, Senator Rick Santorum, Dr. Russell Moore, Michelle Malkin, Governor Perry—these are people who now know me by name, and, I think … even kind of like me. Then there are those I’ve discovered along the way. Young, thoughtful columnists like Matt Lewis, and pundits from across the aisle like Sally Kohn—there’s no way I could list all the folks I’ve been so delighted to engage week in and week out. They have challenged my thinking and broadened my perspective. They have given me an education I could have never found at a university, and with Professor Mark Davis at the helm—well, it’s just been an incredible ride.

I came into this position two years after President Obama was elected. I enjoyed the GOP successes of 2010, and I had a front-row seat for the 2012 primary. We did some pretty incredible things, and to be at the right hand of a personality like Mark … well, it’s a politico’s dream come true.

But, like all things, life has evolved. My children (15, 9, and 4) demand more of my time with each passing day, which makes my long commute all the more frustrating. My desire to be involved in my community has deepened. My appreciation for my faith community where I serve as worship leader has grown. And I miss my husband (radio hours are hardly family friendly).

But, my desire to “change the world” via the political world? Well, that fire has dwindled.

As I’ve watched Mark eloquently defend conservatism, deal tactfully and lovingly with callers of opposing views, and pen columns of Pulitzer quality … I’ve also witnessed a lot of ugliness. This is prevalent on both sides of the aisle, and, in my estimation, is done in the name of winning, not progress.

I’ve been frequently told that I’m not a “real conservative” because I don’t walk in lock-step with Ted Cruz. I’ve been called a right-wing nut for standing against Wendy Davis. I’ve been called a RINO for my appreciation of folks like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush. I’ve been called an idiot by Ron Paul supporters. Just so much ugliness from all directions.

I know what it looks like; I used to be just like them.

But, when you receive grace, you learn to give grace. As each day passes, I’m more amazed at the visible hand of God and the life-changing love of Jesus Christ. And, as important as I know our elected officials are—they’re hardly the ones who hold the keys to our future.

The debt ceiling and global temperature may rise or not. The health care system could crumble or thrive. Gay folks might marry or be restricted to civil unions. But if we refuse to love each other and show grace—even in the midst of disagreement—there’s no real progress. There’s just a series of checks in the win or loss columns, but the tally reads the same way: conflict.

We’ll, I’ve had my fill of conflict, so I’ll leave it to folks like Mark to continue skillfully articulating positions and speaking reason to the unreasonable. I truly mean it when I say that he’s the best communicator I’ve ever known. As I write this, I struggle with how to put into words how special he has been to me, and how masterful I believe he is at his craft. I’m sure there’s a perfect word to sum it up; I guess I’ll have to ask Mark tomorrow what it is.

So … my ride stops here. My last day as Producer of the Mark Davis Show will be April 25.

Next stop? Go Flight Media—a company I’ve launched alongside a fellow Burlesonite, Jody Ridlehoover, with a focus on web design, video production, social media promotion, email marketing, and a buffet of other handy tools designed to increase the visibility and reach of small to mid-sized companies, non-profits, and, yes … political campaigns.

I hope you’ll join me in this next chapter, and that you’ll keep Go Flight Media in mind as you encounter folks with the aforementioned needs.

We’re excited about the future. Click HERE to learn more.

In closing, I just want to say thanks to all my managers, co-workers, show callers, Twitter followers—and especially my precious, and forever friend Mark Davis—who have made this journey in radio an enjoyable one. My return to the industry is unlikely … but I’ll be around.

Signing off.

Joel Osteen: Taking the Christ Out of Christianity

Full disclosure: I have strong feelings about Joel Osteen. For years, I’ve kept pretty quiet, as I don’t want to discourage the countless people I know for whom the Osteen empire is their only source of spiritual food. It’s milk, not meat … but at least it’s something—or, that has been my thinking.

The other side of me, however—also known as “Susan, you’re turning into your mother”—feels the need to expose a recent trend I’ve noticed that should trouble anyone who calls themselves a “Christ follower” (a distinction that I’ve grown to love, as I care less and less these days about the various branches and denominations of Christianity).

Before I continue, and lest you call me a legalist … here’s my three-point Christ follower litmus test:

* Do you love Jesus and acknowledge you are nothing apart from His amazing grace? — Great.

* Do you desire to follow Him according to His word? — Awesome.

* Do you share Him with others? — Perfect.

… that’s really all I need. It’s just about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve seldom heard Osteen really discuss Jesus. I know he has, but I (for my own amusement and occasional pep talk) follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and couldn’t recall ever seeing a Christ-centric post.

I had to investigate. I went back through every post for 12 months on both Facebook and Twitter—I know, ugh—and sure enough … no Jesus.

Now, in the interest of fairness, I searched the sites of other Christian leaders I follow. Perhaps this was just a fluke? Maybe I’m conjuring up a controversy where there should be none. Clearly I’m not objective on this matter, so I did my homework.

My findings? Pretty telling.

Below is a list of Facebook accounts, along with how far back I had to go in these folks’ timelines to find the name “Jesus.”

Tony Evans: 8 hours
Joyce Meyer: 11 hours
Alistair Begg: 1 day
Chuck Swindoll: 4 days
Kay Arthur: 4 days
Timothy Keller: 6 days
Rick Warren: 30 days
Joel Osteen: 369 days (*There is, however, a recent post about the Son of God movie.)
Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 9.57.20 PM

I must say Osteen’s timeline wasn’t void of references to God. There are plenty. There is also an alarming abundance of the word “you” (or variations such as “you’re, and “you’ll)—32 on his Twitter timeline in the past week. And, despite the suspicious absence of our Lord and Savior … my experience wasn’t completely for naught. I can honestly say that, having strolled through 369 days of Osteen posts, I feel happier, prettier, more successful—heck, I might just Breakout!

Do what you will with this, folks. I’m just reporting what I found. And, honestly? I would appreciate your feedback. Does this bother you like it does me? Am I splitting hairs?

Talk to me.

(Please don’t hold your breath for the Holy Spirit post; there aren’t enough hours in the day.)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” — Acts 4:12

2013 Notable-Death Bumper Library

The only real perk to Mark Davis being on vacation is that I get to pick all the bumpers. Today’s selections featured songs either Imageperformed by or associated with folks who passed in 2013.

Ray Price: Heartaches By the Numbers

George Jones: The Race is On

James Gandolfini: Sopranos Theme Song

Van Cliburn: Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major

Conrad Bain (Phillip Drummond): Theme to Different Strokes

Mindy McCready: Guys Do it All the Time

Pattie Page: How Much is the Doggie in the Window

Lou Reed: Walk on the Wild Side

Annette Funicello: Mickey Mouse Club

Turkey-Eating-Family-Values-Warrior Fatigue

Oh, good grief…

Disclaimer: I felt compelled to write this after witnessing dozens of posts on Facebook and Twitter. This is not directed at anyone in particular, rather, it’s directed at, what I believe to be, a disturbing trend.


Not planning to shop on Thanksgiving? Great.

Do you value staying home with your family more than hitting retail establishments? Fabulous.

Would you rather spend the day thankful for what you have instead of shopping for what you don’t? Sounds good.

As of today, that’s my plan, too. But, I’m begging my friends — particularly those who are believers — to spare me the self-righteous, grandiose social media posts declaring how admirable your priorities are.

Some folks don’t celebrate Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. My family, for example, because of blended-family scheduling challenges, only celebrates on the actual holiday every other year. On the “off years” we celebrate the Sunday prior.

Some folks actually appreciate the extra wages and perks they receive in exchange for working on Thanksgiving. According to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brook Buchanan, associates are given the option to be off on Thanksgiving or work for holiday pay. They also receive 25 percent December store discounts and free hot meals during breaks.

Some folks are on extremely tight budgets, and appreciate the savings retailers are offering on Thanksgiving day.

The hysteria surrounding the issue of “to shop or not to shop” and “to open or not to open” is ridiculous. Nearly one in four shoppers responding to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation say they will shop on Thanksgiving. That’s 33 million people. Are these people less family oriented? Less American? Less Godly? Certainly not!

This discussion begs for some perspective.

It’s easy to click “like” on facebook. It’s another to stand out in the cold and pass out blankets to the homeless like the folks at Phillip’s Wish.

It doesn’t take five seconds to repost a “War on Christmas” graphic. It’s another to spend your Christmas Eve serving meals to people with HIV/AIDS like my friend Darrell Auvenshine and others do every year at the Samaritan House in Fort Worth.

It’s no big feat to tweet pro-life sentiments (as I often do), but it’s quite another to labor tirelessly in love for young women who find themselves in the midst of unplanned pregnancies as my friend Amy Ford does with her remarkable organization Embrace Grace.

It’s one thing to stand for traditional marriage by eating a chicken sandwich on Chick-fil-A day, but as my pastor pointed out, when you compare it to Mother Teresa, who ministered to broken, suffering bodies in the slums of India … it doesn’t hold much water.

Look, I’m not saying that it’s not good to stand up for what you believe in. Are you kidding? That’s essentially what I do for a living! But before you jump on a bandwagon movement, stop and consider the fact that other people’s circumstances might not mirror yours. And before you criticize others for doing something you would never do, ask yourself, “Am I doing all that I can do?

And, believe me … no one needs to heed this advice more than yours truly.

Peace, friends.

“Don’t let the culture tell you what the church is supposed to be. Let Jesus tell you what the church is supposed to be, and then do that.” — Scott Sharman

Mike Rowe for President

mike rowe
I’m a huge fan of Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs, and, more important, the man behind Mike Rowe Works — an innovative foundation that seeks to close the skills gap by encouraging folks to pursue blue-collar trades. From raising awareness, to providing scholarships for young people who have “illustrated both an interest and an aptitude around mastering a specific trade,” this man is truly on a mission to offer solutions to our country’s employment woes, as well as our crumbling infrastructure.(I am absolutely going to book this man on the Mark Davis Show, but he’s very difficult to track down!)

His latest Facebook post was nothing short of perfection, and I wanted to share it. After you read this, take a few minutes to click the following links and learn more about this man and why I say that I would, absolutely — like, tomorrow — support a Presidential run. (He claims no party affiliation, but he is definitely conservative on many issues.)

Profoundly Disconnected.
Watch his testimony on Capitol Hill.
Listen to him read the phone book (seriously).

Now for that Facebook post …

Shannon K. Walsh wrote, “Mike – How could you associate with such a horrible and psychotic person that is Glen Beck? I wouldn’t accept a dime off that hateful, nasty racist. Very disappointed to see this post.”

Well, hi there, Shannon – and a pleasant good morning to you too!

If you want a detailed answer to your question, please take a moment to read my earlier reply to Bob Reidel, another crestfallen soul who couldn’t reconcile my association with a TV host that he personally despised. As you read it (out loud, if possible, and in a public place), kindly replace the words “Bob Reidel” with “Shannon K. Walsh,” and “Bill Maher” with “Glenn Beck.” But prepare yourself – you might be forced to conclude that my true objective here has little to do with winning or losing your approval.

It’s here:

As for your personal characterization of Glenn Beck, I can only assume you have information not available to me. In my time with him, I saw nothing “horrible, psychotic, hateful, or nasty.” I smelled no burning sulphur, no smoldering brimstone, and saw no sign of cloven hooves.

To the contrary, I found a very passionate guy who employs about 300 people, works his butt off, and puts his money where his mouth is. Do we agree on everything? Of course not. Am I “disappointed” by that fact? Not at all. The real question, Shannon, is … why are you?

To be clear, I’m not here to tell you what to think or whom to hate. Like everyone else, you’re free to pick your devils, choose your angels, and attach the horns and halos accordingly.

But the guts of your question – even without all the name-calling and acrimony – reveal the essence of what’s broken in our country. You want to know “how I can associate” with someone you don’t like? The short answer is, how can I not? How are we ever going to accomplish anything in this incredibly divisive time if we associate only with people that we don’t disagree with?


PS. Not only did Glenn hand me a check for $25,000 made out to the mikeroweWORKS scholarship fund, he invited me to shoot a few PSAs on his set and offered to air them on his network for free. You know how many other networks have offered to do that? Not one. In addition, his viewers have purchased hundreds and hundreds of Work Smart AND Hard posters. I’m already getting photos of them hanging in high schools across the country. Glenn also signed one, and took some artistic license on my face. Which made me laugh. We’ll auction that off on a future episode of C.R.A.P., and my guess is we’ll raise a pretty penny.

PPS Penn Jillette is an avowed atheist. Glenn Beck is a deeply religious Christian. They disagree on a lot, but speak often on Glenn’s show, and have some of the most respectful and interesting exchanges on television today. Here’s an example:

I’ve been on every network over the years, more than once, and I’ll promise you this – if you want the potential for a thoughtful exchange that’s not crammed into a five-minute segment, your options are limited.

Real Time is one possibility. Glenn Beck is another. I’m glad to have done both.

Hey, Guys … How’s Your Prostate?

So, my 72 year old dad recently found out he has prostate cancer. This post has two purposes.

First, please pray for him. Surgery will be in a few weeks. He is upbeat, and completely confident that he will be just fine.

Second, they caught it very early. The reason they caught it is because my dad consistently takes care of his health. He eats right, exercises daily, and goes to the doctor. His cancer cells are the aggressive kind, and had he not stayed on top of his routine doctor appointments, we’d be looking at a much different scenario.

So, men … take care of yourselves. There’s nothing masculine about being too “tough” to go to the stinkin’ doctor. (It actually has the opposite effect, and makes you all look like a big weenies. )

If you’re responsible for taking care of others — spouse, children, grandchildren, aging parents, etc. — you absolutely must take care of yourselves.

Our show endorses USMD Prostate Cancer Center. Click HERE to contact them.