Where There is Love and Inspiration

Hello again, again 🙂

I can’t believe we’re three full months into this year. Time passes so fast!

2017 was a roller coaster year for me in many ways. Some wonderful moments, some tough ones…successes and struggles. That’s not news to folks who have been reading for a while.

What IS new news is that I feel ready and excited to start blogging again on a fairly regular basis. And that feels GOOD. Really good.

I’m working on a bit of a self-reflection post… one that shares some lessons I’ve learned, some life rules I’ve adopted. It’s not ready just yet, but stay tuned.

In the mean time, I’ll share with you a new-to-me quote that’s I found particularly striking.

I’ll be blogging again soon. Promise 😁

Cheers,

SMR

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The Wave

The Iowa Hawkeyes football team started an amazingly touching and fun new tradition this year.  At the end of the first quarter of every football game, 70,000+ fans turn and wave to the patients at the new Stead Family Children’s Hospital that looks over the field.

The Iowa football program was honored recently with The Disney Spirit Award, given annually to college football’s most inspirational figure.  In addition to the coach and one of the players being on-hand to accept the award, there was also one of the patients from the children’s hospital present on the stage.  Kaden spent more than two weeks in the hospital being treated for a tumor in his lung this fall and had the opportunity to experience the wave.

The video below has the original story by ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi in addition to the ceremony where they accept the award.  It’s about 11 minutes long, but it is SO worth it.  Please take a few moments to watch.  And have a few tissues on hand, too 🙂

Make it a great week, y’all.

Cheers!

SMR

 

Happy Places in Social Media

Let’s be frank, shall we? There are lots of pros AND cons to social media.

Personally, I thank my lucky stars I didn’t grow up with it. I can’t imagine being a kid now and dealing with it at such a young age.

Facebook started when I was a sophomore in college, and back then you had to have a .edu email address to sign up. And smartphones weren’t a thing yet.

Fast forward 15 years later…  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and I’m sure many other social media platforms that I don’t even know about dominate literally hours of some people’s days.

I’d say I have a love/hate relationship with all of it, honestly.  There are definite downsides, BUT there are some perks, too.

One such ‘plus’ is that there are a few places on social media you can go that can pretty much guarantee you some happy and probably some laughter as well. Here are a few of my favorite spots for positive, fun, and uplifting stories.  Check out these accounts:

  • Ellen DeGeneres – Facebook and YouTube
  • The Players Tribune
    • I’ve pulled some posts from here before, but it’s a website founded by baseball great Derek Jeter where athletes can share their stories.
  • Upworthy
  • Lifestyle blogger/YouTube star Mallory Ervin – Instagram and YouTube
    • I just love her perspective on life.  She is SUCH a joyful person!  Wonder if she needs a new best friend – HA 🙂
  • Zoo websites – who doesn’t love cute animals??  (Like Fiona the baby hippo!)

Chime in below if YOU have any places you go for a dose of happy!

Cheers,

SMR

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!

Cheers,

SMR

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.)

Cheers!

SMR

“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!

Cheers,

SMR

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.”

Cheers!

SMR