We were wild and dirty kids with no manners and living in poverty. My parents were too busy with problems and working to take care of us properly. Mom had a devastating illness and couldn't take care of herself, much less me and my brothers.  

My dad worked long hours as a janitor who struggled to care for a very sick wife, house and family; all while trying to make ends meet. He was frequently talked down to and not equal in the eyes of those he worked for and many that knew what he did for a living.

My father would tell me how it made him feel and that I should always respect and appreciate each person, no matter their station in life, to put myself in their shoes, try to understand them. I understood very well what people thought of my family and me, but it just wasn't who I was or what I thought and knew to be true about us.

Because of these experiences I live my life thinking of each person I meet or see with amazement and utter wonder about who they are, where they came from, what they are about, and how lucky I am to spend any moment with them. Each is a work of art, so very special.

With everything going on in our world I put into words my feelings and thoughts to hopefully have people stop and think about each and every person. To have kindness, compassion and caring toward each other. To comfort ourselves and everyone near and far, all over our world. Open Your Heart To All, to inspire love, respect and understanding for all people, races, cultures, genders, sexualities and relationships, without exception.

- Susan Loren