Archive | January 2014

Judging Others…Growth

At the end of 2013, many made resolutions that they were going to make changes in 2014 to “be better”. It’s unfortunate that some continue to bring so much negativity into the new year.

The internet makes it easy for anyone, at any time, able to voice their opinion – warranted or not – on everything. Sometimes, statements and opinions are helpful. Sadly, others choose to take their right to voice their opinion to the extreme of bashing others. Not only is this prevalent on social media sites, but,  just take a look at comments on blogs, comments on YouTube videos, or even comments on random articles on any benign subject matter. It is sad.

Some judge what others do, how they live their lives, what they wear, how they look, etc. It baffles me how many people can be so negative towards others – especially of those they’ve never met –  yet, if the situation were reversed, they would probably be the first to respond, “They need to mind their business!”

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes and fall at varying degrees far from perfection. The goal is NOT to be a perfect person, but, to grow on a daily basis to become better than we were the day before. As with anything, the more you practice at anything, the better you become at it.  Before making a negative comment about another, you might want to shine a light on yourself and make note of your own imperfections.

Examples of some negative comments made online:

  • Newborn baby video on YouTube:

  • Blog on Golden Globe Red Carpet dresses:

  • Comment on a music video performance on YouTube:

  • The following clip from OWN TV, of the Mowry Twins, brought tears to my eyes.


Stop Judging Others



Love Makes a Family

Welstead family

Posted: 01/02/2014 8:57 pm EST

A few years ago, Ben and Renee Welstead adopted two beautiful little girls, Cora and Ruby, through the foster care system.

Theirs is a beautiful story — of a man and his wife, and the wonderful and emotional journey they’ve traversed with their two young daughters. It reminds us that it is, indeed, love that makes a family.

Touched by the Welsteads’ devotion to each other, Ashley and Jeremy Parsons — the husband and wife photography team behind Parsons Photographers — created a stunning video capturing the family’s story. First uploaded in 2012, the video — a poignant montage of photographs — has experienced a viral resurgence this week. (The clip has racked up more than 44,000 views thus far.)

“This is the story of how Ben and Renee adopted two little girls, and how those two little girls filled their home with more joy than they ever imagined,” Parsons Photographers said in their blog. “This is the story of 4 people becoming a family, and a house finally becoming a home. This is a story that even amidst life’s twists and turns, heartbreak, and abandonment — joy, unconditional love, and family can be born.”

According to the Park&Go blog — which is a parking service company based in Lincoln, Neb. — the Welsteads, both of whom are photographers themselves, adopted Cora and Ruby in 2011.

The couple, who lives in Nebraska, has since fostered more children. In 2012, the Parsons Photographers’ blog noted that the Welsteads had welcomed a pair of twins into their home. The children are said to be biological siblings of their adopted daughters.

“It staggered us to think of going from being a couple, to a family of six in less than two years,” the blog writes. “But the reality was this: [the twins] needed a home. They needed parents… They are amazing little souls, full of life.”


Love, Patience and Time

The following is a very touching true story. There are many lessons in it. I will leave it the reader to determine what those lessons are to them.
By: Kent Nerburn, from his 1999 book ‘Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace’
There was a time in my life twenty years ago when I was driving a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a gamblers life, a life for someone who wanted no boss, constant movement, and the thrill of a dice roll every time a new passenger got into the cab.What I didn’t count on when I took the job was that it was also a ministry. Because I drove the night shift, the car became a rolling confessional. Passengers would climb in, sit behind me in total darkness and anonymity, and tell me of their lives.We were like strangers on a train, the passengers and I, hurtling through the night, revealing intimacies we would never have dreamed of sharing during the brighter light of day.In those hours, I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh, and made me weep. And none of those lives touched me more than that of a woman I picked up late on a warm August night.I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partyers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover or someone going off to an early shift at some factory in the industrial part of town.When I arrived at the address, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground-floor window. Under these circumstances many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a short minute, and then drive away. Too many bad possibilities awaited a driver who went up to a darkened building at two-thirty in the morning.But I had seen too many people trapped in a live of poverty who depended on the cab as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door to try to find the passenger. It might, I reasoned, be someone who needed my assistance. Would I not want a driver to do the same if my mother or father had called for a cab?So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute”, answered a frail and elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman, somewhere in her eighties, stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like you might see in a costume shop or a Goodwill store or in a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The sound had been her dragging it across the floor.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. “I’d like a few moments alone. Then, if you could come back and help me? I’m not very strong.”

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm, and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated”.

Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said. Her praise and appreciation were almost embarrassing.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,”

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor said I should go there. He says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to go?” I asked.

For the next two hours we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they had first been married. She made me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she would have me slow down in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a tar driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. Without waiting for me, they opened the door and began assisting the woman. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her: perhaps she had phone them right before we left.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase up to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent over and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

There was nothing more to say. I squeezed her hand once, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me I could hear the door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I did not pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the remainder of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten a driver who had been angry or abusive or impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run or had honked once, then driven away? What if I had been in a foul mood and had refused to engage the woman in conversation? How many other moments like that had I missed or failed to grasp?

We are so conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unawares. When that woman hugged me and said that I had brought her a moment of joy, it was possible to believe that I had been placed on earth for the sole purpose of providing her with that last ride. I do not think that I have done anything in my life that was any more important.