A Love Letter to Pixar

Okay. This is a total geek-out post that I just can’t hold in any longer.

After Inside Out totally and completely rocked my inner world and forced me to rearrange my mental furniture, I decided that Pixar Animation Studios had reached the peak of perfection. And suddenly, I didn’t care if they had another major success or not, because in my mind, their work was done. 

But the geniuses in Emeryville are just getting started, apparently. With the release of The Good Dinosaur on Thanksgiving, I thought I’d write out a little ode to show my love – and thanks. 



John, Andrew, Brad, Pete, Ed, Darla, and many many more names that encompass the greatest company ever built: Thank you.

Thank you for your courage to tell the truth in your movies. The format of your stories are kid-friendly, but the themes and messages are largely for the intellectuals, the deep thinkers, the workers, the dreamers.

You inspire the rest of us to take risks. You create role models for our kids to look up to and admire. You change the world by inspiring us to live better; to sacrifice; to explore; to not just survive, but to live!

When will other companies learn? You’ve put out several books on how to do business, how to tell stories, how to make a lasting impression. Where are the followers?

I’m one.

When I write, I constantly ask myself, “Does this live up to Pixar’s standards? … Would this live up to Brad’s or John’s expectations?”

I write to “Wow” you.

I have never visited Pixar Studios, nor met anyone from Pixar (top of my bucket list just below getting plugs), but I imagine I work for Pixar. I imagine that the people at Pixar will read every book I write. And perhaps one day they will and they’ll see talent…or at the very least, potential.

Pixar team, it’s because of each one of you I wake up each morning and dare to not give up on my dreams of becoming a bestselling author (and maybe one day writer for Pixar). To the artists who labor day in and day out on a monster’s hair flow, or the scales on a fish – your job is not to have your work noticed. Well, you are noticed, and appreciated.

You inspire me to grow old with my wife, to focus on creating joyful memories for my kids, to keep my friends close.

You make movies that matter – movies that last – and often, movies that change our perspective or even our lives.

Thank you for the thousand-and-twelf rewrites.

Thank you for changing course at the last minute.

Thank you for not accepting mediocre and always shooting for better. And then even better than that.

Thank you for the shorts that bring no financial gain to you whatsoever.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. From my family, thank you. From my grown-up corkers whom I will eventually convince that they’re missing out on something great, thank you on their behalf that there’s something great to be found.

Hopefully I’ll get to visit soon and wander the halls and eat your cereal and pose with the Lego Woody and Buzz. Maybe one day my kids will meet one of you and when they do, I’ll tell them, “You just shook hands with a world-changer.”


Food For Thought on Next Year’s Elections and Income Equality


The election year is going to be fierce and brutal, and the fight’s already begun. People have taken sides, but many are still on the fence. In my opinion “income equality” is possibly the worst topic to even be brought up for any reason. At my job, I constantly hear clients and customers complain that they can’t pay their bills because they’re on a fixed income. Every time, I want to say either, “We all are,” or “Get another job.” Brutal as that sounds, but hey, life is brutal.

A good friend of mine caught my eye with a Facebook Post, and I asked him to expand on his thoughts by writing a guest post for my blog. He was delighted to and this is the result. 

By Kyle Richardson, @intersectionpdxDMd3CGkJ

This election cycle we’ve been hearing a lot about “income inequality” and ensuring the wealthy pay their “fair share”. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator running for the Democratic nomination for president, is quoted saying: “Message to the billionaire class: You can’t have it all!” His implication being there is a metaphorical piñata and the rich have somehow managed to shove all those poor folks aside and grab every last bit of stale candy that has busted out. Sorry kid, you snooze you lose.

And many have jumped on the Hate-The-Rich Express headed for Prosperityville, believing the lie that the wealthy 1% have stolen what is rightfully yours and tucked it safely away in some Cayman Islands bank account. But the beauty of capitalism, specifically American capitalism, is that there is no finite amount of capital to be had. The rich have not stolen your money (the government has, but that’s another story).

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the top 1% have managed to get rich by beating the system and finding every single tax loophole that exists. How does that affect your life? How is their wealth preventing your prosperity? The fact that an actor makes $13 million a movie has no bearing on my life whatsoever (or maybe that’s why movie ticket prices are so high? Ok, never mind…Occupy Hollywood!).

The market is ripe for the taking, you just need the drive to take it. Granted, this may require some effort in the form of education, humility, and work ethic, but no one is stopping you from being a doctor, a stockbroker, or a manager. The great thing about American values is that through freedom, we are all given the power of choice. We choose our destiny. No, we may not all start at the same place in life, but we don’t live in a caste system and we have the economic flexibility to determine our own path.

To quote another individual running for office, this one from the Republican field: “Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.” (Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story)

Perhaps if we stopped focusing on other’s success we might have more time and energy to focus on our own.

No, not all incomes are equal, but all incomes are possible.

Book Announcement: “Profit Over Patients” is a Story That Will Change Your Life

Until now, I have never disclosed to the public something very personal. When I was just a few weeks old, I underwent open-heart surgery. This was back when the procedure was still fairly new, but apparently it worked, because I’m still here! While most people never get to ride in a helicopter, I got to when I was just an infant, from a community hospital to UCLA.

One of the nurses who rode with me in the hospital and cared for me at UCLA was named Carole. While I was in the ICU before my surgery, a love story was developing right on the other side of the wall, just around the corner in the labor and delivery room.

There, Carole met a young intern who was delivering a baby, and a domino effect of larger-than-life nordellaevents began. Carole and the intern got married, and in a few years, that intern became our family’s primary care practitioner. That doctor’s name was Dr. Jeffrey Nordella.

When I was in college, Carole Nordella suffered one of the most  tragic deaths anyone in our community (and many in the nation) had ever heard of, and two of their three kids were severely wounded on that sickening day. The tragedy that exploded on the family was so traumatic that psychologists deemed that the surviving family members, including Dr. Nordella, were in uncharted waters, psychologically speaking. But that wasn’t the end of it for Dr. Nordella.

If being a widower and having to care for the physical and mental well-being of his kids wasn’t enough, Dr. Nordella’s medical career was in dire jeopardy. A multibillion-dollar insurance company had unlawfully terminated his contract, which could have easily put him out of business—permanently. And in the middle of this fight for survival were the patients, as the insurance company was the pawns the insurance company was putting their health and sometimes their very lives on the line by denying their claims as “not medically necessary.”

I am grateful to have co-authored Profit Over Patients, and am certain it will change many lives and inspire every person to keep fighting the good fight, whatever your battle may be! So mark your calendars – the David-and-Goliath book about Dr. Nordella’s fight for patients and his family is due to come out early spring of 2016!

Follow Dr. Nordella on his Facebook page and be sure to check out Dr. Nordella’s blog, plus the website for our book, Profit Over Patients. Spread the word to your friends and family members and together, let’s take a stand against Big Insurance. Our health depends on it!final-web-cover

When You Don’t Feel Like Writing


I apologize for not posting anything for a while. I’m currently working on one of the most difficult projects of my writing career. Keep checking back in the next several days and you’ll be hearing all about it. I can almost guarantee it will affect you directly.

But even for those of us who have a deep-seated passion for writing can grow weary.

After all, we’re staring at words on a page. And in the midst of a writer’s block, that’s like staring at a wall watching the paint dry.

It can be mind-numbing!

And so come the days when we just don’t wan to write. We want to give up. We just don’t feel like jumping back in.

But we have to train ourselves to think differently. To see beyond the words on the computer screen.

There’s a scene in the movie Patch Adams where a psychiatric patient (with more wisdom than the doctors gave him credit for), asks Patch how many fingers he sees when he holds up four.

“Four,” says Patch.


Watch the clip below to find out why Patch was wrong.

When we focus on the words in front of us, we’re focusing on the problem.

So I look beyond the words on the screen. I focus on the future. I want to take my kids to Disney World whenever we want. I want to provide a comfortable house and life for my family. I want to write for a living.

That’s my solution.

That’s what I focus on. Not the problem of an unfinished book.

Baby A. is Officially Ours

11053691_451150641760475_8000524778489925718_nIt finally happened. It’s a done deal. If I had pixie dust and only needed to think up a happy thought to fly, today would by my happy thought.

Today, Sarabeth and I took our foster daughter to the courthouse one last time to solemnly swear to be Baby A.’s legal and official parents forever.

At 10:05 this morning, “Baby A.” officially became Katherine Anne Toy.

In the year and a half we’ve had her, I’ve never felt like she wasn’t our daughter, but now, it’s 100% official.

All I can say is, Katherine, as your dad, I will do my best to give you the life you’ve always deserved, full of happiness, love, and lots and lots of dancing!

Mom and I love you very much. We always will.

Get more updates on Kat and her foster brother on my Facebook Author Page


My Daughter’s Life Will Change In Just Two Days


…As will mine.

It’s hard to believe we’ve had Baby A. for a year and a half! Since she arrived in our home from the hospital, the house has been louder, more joyful, filled with laughs, and it’s been much, much messier!

Sure, there’s been some bad days where my temper has gotten the better of me, or my patience ran out.

But I wouldn’t give up a single minute with my foster daughter.

And in just two days, she will be, officially and forever known as our daughter.

Sarabeth and I can’t possibly be more happy and proud of our little girl. Every day she surprises us with something new that’s she’s learned and cracks us up over something she does.

Our daughter has become the greatest little person I have even known.

July 22, her adoption day, cannot possibly come fast enough.

Now I need to stop writing about it because otherwise I can’t stop crying!

No, life isn’t perfect. There are many things we’d like to change, many more miles to cross to reach certain goals, and many struggles yet to overcome, but when it comes to our daughter, nothing can possibly give us more joy and satisfaction.

Keep updated on our Adoption Day by following my Facebook Page!

Adoption Update (Enter A Hundred Exclamation Points Here)


I’m sitting at work on the phone with a customer and, just now, I get a text from Sarabeth:

“Adoption Date!!!!!!!!! July 22 @ 9:45!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Yes, friends. After having Baby A. be a part of our home for the last 548 wonderful days, she will now officially be recognized as a Toy by the state and the world.

Sitting here at work at my desk, it’s very hard not to break down and cry right now.

Next week, we will be revealing Baby A.’s real name and so much more! Keep checking back for updates.

July 22nd 2015: The best day of our lives so far…

Follow the adoption updates closely here!


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