Rise Up

Hello again, blogosphere 🙂

What a few months it’s been!  I hope you all enjoyed the end of the summer and are starting to feel the wonderful fall weather.

When I saw this video a couple days ago, I knew it was the perfect re-entry into Tiaraland.  Andra Day’s song “Rise Up” has long been one of my favorites for some very personal reasons.  But to hear a middle-school choir singing this song at a time where many communities, individuals, and heck even entire nations are hurting was crazy powerful.  Whether it’s natural disasters, political distress, personal challenges, or family hardships, I think one of the kiddo’s fathers put it best in this article from the Washington Post:

“This song, it resonates so much because of the times we’re in right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of pain going on. … When you have a group of kids, innocent kids singing ‘Rise Up,’ the message is mind blowing, how such a simple phrase can impact so many people. … The kids are trying to show us there’s another way than what we’re experiencing.”   

Check out the video below to hear these powerful voices.  And consider having a tissue or two ready.  Because, all the freaking feels.

And oh by the way, this was only their second rehearsal of the school year.  Let that sink in for just a minute….

Have a lovely day, friends!




Faith When I Fall

I know a number of people going through tough times right now, some completely unimaginable.

A song I like to go back to when I’m feeling troubled is Kip Moore’s “Faith When I Fall”.  I hope it can help you or someone you know when you’re struggling, whether that’s now or in the future.

“Faith When I Fall”, by Kip Moore

I know it’s been a long time since the last time we talked
I know I’ve been a stranger and that’s all my fault
And asking you for anything don’t early seem right
But the winds are change, a-blowing

Give me love when I ain’t got nobody
A little hope when I ain’t got none at all
Give me light up ahead up on the journey
Give me strength when I’m standing
And faith when I fall

I know the rain is coming and it’s sure gonna pour
I know there ain’t no running from this kinda storm
It’s gonna get harder and harder to keep on pushing through
I’m gonna wanna quit, so I’ll be counting on you

Give me love when I ain’t got nobody
A little hope when I ain’t got none at all
Give me light up ahead on the journey
Give me strength when I’m standing
And faith when I fall

When the clouds start parting and the sun starts shining through
This time I won’t forget, I won’t forget about you

Give me love when I ain’t got nobody
A little hope when I ain’t got none at all
Give me love when I ain’t got nobody
A little hope when I ain’t got none at all
Give me light up ahead on the journey
Give me strength when I’m standing
And faith when I fall

(There’s not an official music video, but just search the song title in YouTube and you can listen to it.)



“You Gotta Believe”

As a fourth-generation Indiana University graduate, it’s programmed into me to not be a fan of Purdue.  (Although to be fair, they’re truly not my most disliked rival.)

Despite my feelings of the black and gold, I can’t help but love the story of Purdue’s best player (and one of the best college basketball players in the country, really), Caleb Swanigan.

A sophomore who spent most of his childhood homeless, Caleb was adopted by a gentleman in 2011, and his whole life turned around with some love, encouragement, hard-work, and faith.  He’s now an Academic All-American with a bright future in front of him 🙂

CBS News did a short piece on Caleb and his adoptive father this weekend.  Check out the three minute video below.

Best of luck to you Caleb in all of your future endeavors!



A Winning Awards Speech

(Definitely NOT gonna write about the Academy Awards, because I’m STILL shaking my head at the Best Picture debacle.  Big fat fail.)

With how much I loved the movie Hidden Figures, I’m shocked that I never wrote about Taraji P. Henson’s acceptance speech when the film won Best Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards in January.

Based on the actors’ shocked looks that appeared on their faces when their movie was announced, they weren’t exactly expecting the win.  It was so pure and joyful 🙂

The film’s leading lady, Taraji P. Henson, delivered one of the best acceptance speeches I can remember from recent awards shows.  The full video is below (and is less than three minutes long – watch it all), but one of my favorite excerpts is:

“This story is of unity.  This story is what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race.  We win.  Love wins.  Every time.”



MUST SEE MOVIE – “Hidden Figures”

I don’t often get a chance to watch movies, for several reasons.  But boy, do I love love love going to see a good movie in the theater.

Yesterday, I accompanied my parents to see “Hidden Figures”, and it was AMAZING.  Seriously might go see it again while it’s still in theaters.

Here’s a description from the 20th Century Fox website:

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

The cast is phenomenal…Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Keven Costner, Kirsten Dunst, to name a few.  And I don’t know who plays John Glenn, but he’s QUITE easy on the eyes 😉

It’s such an incredibly compelling story from start to finish, touching many issues around race and gender.  The feelings that viewers go through are vast, including happiness, discomfort, humor, sadness, and ultimately, joy.

There are a number of memorable scenes and lines from the movie for me – some poignant, some that made me chuckle – but one of my favorites is one that is applicable in many circumstances both then and now.

“We all get there together, or we don’t get there at all.” – Kevin Costner

Check out the trailer below.  And GO SEE THIS MOVIE 🙂



Thank you, Dr King.

For years now – maybe around ten or so? – I’ve kept a little book of quotes that have had an impact on me in some way.  It contains the words of authors, political or religious figures, entertainers, sports legends, and more.  I keep it handy when I need some inspiration or guidance, or sometimes just for a smile 🙂


One notable figure that appears quite frequently in my book is Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.  What an incredible, incredible man.  He will forever be remembered as one of our greatest leaders.

Here are some of his words that I’ve chosen to write in my book over the years.  I hope one of them impact you, too.

  • We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. 
  • If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.
  • Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. 
  • Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  • If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.





Deshaun Watson & His Connection with Cancer

C-L-E-M-S-O-N…T-I-G-E-RRRRR-S!  Fight Tigers, Fight Tigers, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!!


Still loving that Clemson win in the National Championship game last night!  While I myself am not an alumni, my younger sister graduated from CU several years ago – so our entire family now has a good amount of orange and purple clothes in our closets 😉 Beautiful campus, awesome school.

While watching the pre-game show, I saw a story about Clemson’s quarterback Deshaun Watson that made me smile.  He talked about drawing his inspiration from his mother, a cancer survivor.  I’ve always thought he was a stand-up, respectable college football player – one of the good guys with a decent head on his shoulders.  But the video about him and his mother – their closeness, their connection, their love for one another – made me like him even more.

His mother had tongue cancer, and they ended up having to remove her tongue as part of her treatment.  I have absolutely no idea what medicines she was treated with, but her type of cancer is one that the cancer drug I work on (as a market researcher in oncology) can treat.

When I read about or hear about folks with cancer, in particular those with tumors that can be treated with one of my company’s products, it always reminds me why we do what we do.  And it pushes me and grounds me when I’m stressed or working lots of hours…for instance, this week 🙂

Check out the short clip below to hear part of their story.

Cheers! AND GO TIGERS!!!