Alert Stranger’s Gut Instinct Helped Bring One Abducted 3-Year-Old Back Home

By | family, Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting news

The morning after Amanda Leigh Ennis dropped her 3-year-old son, Noah Clare, off at his dad’s house for the weekend she received a concerning call from a family member and feared she’d never see her boy again.

The relative told Amanda that her ex, Jacob Clare, had disappeared with Noah and his niece, 16-year-old Amber. Amber had left behind a note stating they were “going on an adventure,” but the family had no idea where they were headed.

Every parent’s worst nightmare

The police didn’t respond immediately because it was Jake’s time with Noah. It wasn’t until Sunday at 6 p.m., when Jake was supposed to bring back Noah and he didn’t, that the police got involved. Noah was officially a missing person, and an Amber Alert was issued.

For 13 days the families were worried sick as authorities searched far and wide with no trace of Jake and the children. Then a total stranger hundreds of miles away spotted them near a state park.

Eagle-eyed mom is a hero

Julia Bonin saw a man and two children walking near Doheny State Park in Orange County, California as she was dropping her son off at school. The eagle-eyed mom thought the boy looked like the missing child she had seen all over social media, so she turned around, went back to where she spotted them, and called 911.

My heart was pounding. I had a strong feeling that it was, but I was questioning my instincts. I was starting to shake.

Julia Bonin to Inside Edition

Sure enough her mom instinct was spot on.

Jake was taken into custody and is charged with kidnapping and several charges surrounding the sexual abuse of a minor. As soon as Amanda heard they were found, she jumped on a plane and flew to California where she reunited with her son and tearfully thanked Julia for being a hero and bringing her baby back.

It’s been a complete and total nightmare. There were moments where I thought I was never going to get him back.

Amanda Ennis to Inside Edition

Amanda turned to Facebook to thank everyone involved in bringing back her son.

“That Angel. She is our hero,” Amanda wrote in a post. “God led her to Noah and she is the most beautiful, sweet, and loving person who will forever be a part of our lives. She was able to find Noah because of all of YOU! Social media is amazing.”

Listen to that little voice

This story reminds us how important it is to trust our instinct and to speak up if something seems suspicious. Julia wasn’t positive that the boy she saw was Noah, but she listened to that little voice that told her it was, and her actions safely brought him back to his mother.

More uplifting stories:

Trust your instincts

“There’s a moment where you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.” – Malala Yousafzai

“I Became Their Mom, Dad, and Sister at 17”- Young Woman Cares for 5 Siblings After Parents Tragically Die

By | family, Food for thought, inspiring, stories, uplifting news

Most of us lose sight of the pillars that our parents are until they’re lost forever.

The Rodriguez family sadly found this out when, within a couple of short years, sickness snatched away theirs. First, cervical cancer took mother Lisa Smith. Shortly after, father Alexander Rodriguez lost his battle with lymphoma.


When the smoke cleared, 20-year-old Samantha Rodriguez was thrust into the role of mom, dad, and sister for her siblings Destiny, Bella, Michael, Brenda, and Milagros, aged 7 to 16.

She supported them by working as a server at Disney Springs at Disney World. 

Having to grow up fast, Rodriguez confided to CNN that it was a struggle.

It can be tough knowing when to be like a parent and when to be their sister. Sometimes it can feel like I’m alone.

Samantha Rodriguez

Little did she know, the determined Rodriguez was far from alone.

A secret set of keys

Rodriguez told PEOPLE that she was daunted but ready to take on this responsibility.

No one in our family could take us all in, [so] I decided that I had to do everything I possibly could to help these kids. There was no way that I was going to let us be split up.

Samantha Rodriguez

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office agreed. And so, to lift their spirits, they invited the Rodriguez’s over for a tour of the station and showered them with toys and clothing.

However, when the family came in an Uber as they didn’t have a car, the Office sent out an APD for generosity. Sure enough, the search landed a few hits.

Several anonymous donors stepped up and, inviting the family back a few months later, the Sheriff’s office presented them with a brand new car.

Rodriguez was floored.

“I was so in shock!” she said. “This is so crazy!”

It really didn’t sink in until a couple of days after. Everything I plan now for the kids is so much easier. I don’t have to call for a ride. I’m very grateful for it. All these people reminded me I’m not alone.

Samantha Rodriguez

Samantha would need to keep her energy reserved because the best was yet to come.

Community Love

As the Rodriguez story- and their new car- made airwaves, many felt that it was not enough. So, a GoFundMe page in their name was started.

“There is still a long road ahead for this family,” the post read.

Donors didn’t disappoint. Thousands of donations poured in. As of this writing, they’ve raised over $180,000 for the Rodriguez family.

Comments from inspired donors flooded the page.

“I have to tell you what a REMARKABLE human being you are.. your siblings are so very blessed to have you and you are truly an inspiration to everyone,” wrote one.

Another said to keep the faith.

You are an amazing young woman and all of your siblings are such precious kids. There will be tough days ahead, but if you all continue to rely on each other then you can all accomplish anything! Best of luck!

Anonymous Donor

There’s enough love to go around

Rodriguez says that she’s forever changed after the outpour of kindness.

It gave me so much inspiration to do better for other people. Other amazing people came into our life like this and they didn’t have to. We are so grateful.

Samantha Rodriguez

Rodriguez does have one other special angel who has given her strength.

“I learned so much from my mom. I was like her sidekick. I learned what it meant to raise a family,” she said.

For Samantha and her siblings, there’s no regaining their parents or their innocence that was lost. But, thanks to open hearts, you can bet that Lisa and Alex can rest easy knowing that they’ll be just fine.

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Lead with compassion

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”- Dalai Lama

Unsuspecting Uncle Brought To Tears When Nephews Give Him A Cherished Possession From His Past

By | family, Food for thought, heartwarming, stories, uplifting news

In 2007, when a pizza joint bought the space that used to be “Chicken Tonight,” the previous owners never expected to possess the restaurant again. But two brothers Danny and Johnny Dubbaneh surprised their family with the keys to the space fourteen years after the original restaurant- which was founded by their Uncle Dave and Grandpa Fayez- closed.

Buying back the restaurant

In 1982, Uncle Dave and Grandpa Fayez opened a restaurant in Rockville, Maryland. After being converted to a pizzeria for some time, Danny and Johnny brought the spot back into the family. In the location of their late grandfather and Uncle Dave’s restaurant, the brothers are opening a Middle-Eastern bakery called “Z&Z.”

“We weren’t really sold on getting a restaurant or opening a restaurant unless we found something that was really gonna be special,” Danny told Bethesda Magazine.

The surprise of a lifetime

The brothers filmed the surprise which showed an emotional reunion between a man and his former restaurant. A photograph of their grandpa in the 1980s in front of “Chicken Tonight” shows that much of the site looks the same: same trees, same layout, same garden beds. But their grandfather isn’t there anymore.

“He was the real deal,” Danny said of his grandfather.

In the video, the whole family gathers outside the old pizzeria and wonders why it’s closed. When Uncle Dave tries the locked door, one of the brothers pulls out a key. What follows are a lot of hugs and happy tears.

“Seriously? You bought it?” Uncle Dave asks in shock.

Back in the kitchen of his former restaurant, Uncle Dave points out the things that have not changed. He touches a sponge that had been taped to a pipe that hung low over the sink.

“So many times, man, I got my head banged up,” he told his nephews.

Grandpa’s memory

In the back of the space, inside an electric box, was Grandpa Fayez’s handwriting, maintained over all these years. Miraculously, during renovations, they found some other priceless family gems, like a photo of the grandchildren together which had been hidden under a floorboard.

We wish our grandfather was around to see this place. He loved it so much. It’s nice to call this place home again.

Danny Dubbaneh

The story resonated with many viewers who also understood the value of family. They took to the comments section of the video to relay their blessings and personal stories.

“Watching something like this come back around for them… so heartwarming. I am certain even though the grandfather is not here physically to see it, he is here in spirit,” one comment says.

The value of family

Family is with us for life, so it’s important to show them how much we love and appreciate them. The greatest gift we can give them is remembrance, demonstrating their value in our lives, even when they’re gone. Danny and Johnny are keeping their grandfather’s and uncle’s legacies alive, showing that they understand the value of family.

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value your loved ones

A thoughtful gesture can turn someone’s world around.

Attentive Dad Monitors 15-Year-Old Daughter’s Social Media And Is Shocked- Ends Up Saving Her From Traffickers

By | family, Food for thought, parenting, stories, uplifting news

When Scott Jenkins, father to a 15-year-old girl, stumbled upon the online profile of a boy his daughter was friends with, he was immediately suspicious. Little did he know that an act of what may seem like an overprotective parent would actually save his daughter from being a victim of a nightmare.

Know your child’s online activities

Jenkins regularly checks his teen daughter, Hayley’s tablet to monitor her online activities. When he noticed sudden changes in her attitude and a time gap in messages and images, he monitored them secretly biweekly.

Two weeks later, he was shocked to find inappropriate pictures of his daughter sent to a teenage boy named Bruce. Furious, he investigated Bruce’s social media profile to confirm his identity and found that he was indeed a 15-year-old boy like his daughter. However, Jenkins found it suspicious that Bruce’s friend’s circle consisted of older men. So, he decided to report it to the Cyber Task Force of Portage Portal.

Shocking revelations

Seven months later, Jenkins received a call from the police asking him to come to the police station. He was greatly overwhelmed when the police informed him that he had probably saved his daughter from being a victim of sex trafficking.

This is not someone else’s problem. This is right here, right now, and as real as the tears I shed for the innocence that was stolen from my daughter.

Scott Jenkins

Bruce was unknowingly being used as a scout to lure young teenage girls for “the men to pick and choose from.” These men, who were from all over the globe, were chatting with young girls convincing them to meet up.

What shocked Jenkins the most was the fact that his daughter was considering meeting Bruce and his “friends.” The thought of losing his daughter forever scares him to this day and he is thankful for the moment he decided to confirm his suspicions.

Staying safe and alert

Five years after the incident, Jenkins recounts the dreadful event to alert other parents of the dangers of the internet and social media. He says that this could have happened to anyone and urges parents to consistently monitor the online activities of their children who are still young.

Dig into your children’s accounts, ask them questions, and tell them not to have “friends” they don’t actually know. I had no idea just how close I came to never seeing my daughter again. It’s worth the upset it may cause your child to keep them safe.

Scott Jenkins

It is common for teens to demand privacy and freedom but sometimes in the process, their innocence is taken advantage of and they easily fall prey to predators. By sharing his story, Jenkins helps parents realize that it is important to set boundaries while granting them the freedom to explore the world. It is never too late to save your children from being caught by the vicious traps set against them.

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If you have an inkling that something isn’t right, follow it. It may save someone’s life.

“She Put Her Baby’s Life Ahead of Her Own” – Strangers Reunite Mom With Lost Child Amidst Hurricane Chaos

By | family, Food for thought, rescue, social media, stories, strangers doing good, uplifting news

When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, it caused major flooding that left Dajauh Zhane Henix and her baby in neck deep water, surrounded by swift currents.

Rescue workers managed to save the mother and daughter, but they were separated and taken to different shelters.

Panicked without her baby, Henix asked for help on Facebook with a post and a photo of her daughter.

“If anybody is on the east side and at a shelter on Garret road please keep a look out for my baby,” she wrote, according to Insider. “We were separated while evacuating. Pleaseeeee. She have on a pink neon shirt wrapped in a blue blanket.”

Constable was looking for the mother too

Unbeknownst to Henix, Constable Diaz was also looking for the baby’s mother.

He posted on Facebook with a photo of him holding the baby.

“We are trying to find the mother to this baby,” the post read. “The mother was last seen wearing a purple shirt on South Lake Houston Parkway.”

Reunited at last

Incredibly, the post was shared more than 31,000 times allowing the mother to reunite with her baby.

“This mother did what any great parent would do,” Diaz wrote in a comment on the post. “She realized how fast and deep the water current was…She put her baby’s life ahead of her own and asked for us to take the baby to higher ground.”

The baby was in great hands and we made sure she was reunited with her mother.

Constable Christopher E. Diaz

When Henix got her baby back in her arms again, she breathed a huge sigh of relief. The grateful mother then proceeded to comment under Diaz’s original post.

Thank you sooooo much for keeping her with you!! You are a life saver [heart emoji] greatly appreciated. 

Dajauh Zhane Henix

Don’t hesitate to ask for help

It’s hard to imagine the level of anguish this mother must have felt without her baby during the flood, but as we know, the story has a happy ending.

What this proves is that strangers are willing to help when we ask, and that while something can seem hopeless at the time, things have a way of working out.

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Be the help someone needs

“Sign of life is not whether you are breathing, but whether you are helping others.” ― Abhijit Naskar

Meghan Markle Vs. Kate Middleton: Why We Should Talk About Their “Feud”

By | family, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, kate middleton, Meghan Markle, stories

Over the span of a few short years, Meghan Markle has cemented her status as one of the most powerful women in the world. 

However, this precipitous rise hasn’t been without its fair share of blood, toil, tears, and sweat. At every turn, Meghan has had to endure the stigma of being the outsider, someone who has to meet, if not exceed, the impossible expectations of those imposed on a Duchess, or as a matter of fact, any esteemed member of the English Royal Family. What complicated the transition was her inherent “otherness” and how the press singled it out repeatedly to trigger the masses and sway opinion. The media coverage became so vicious, obsessive, and predatory that it eventually played a part in driving Harry and Meghan from the monarchy for good. 

A lot of naysayers argue Kate Middleton went through the same process of scrutiny and judgment, and everyone in the family has to bear the slander at some point or the other. How else are they going to justify their grand existences? However, Meghan’s arrival and subsequent assimilation into the family have been unlike any other newcomer. Moreover, you can’t deny there isn’t a stark distinction between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. 

It’s high time we unpack their relationship and examine how the media’s treatment impacted their journeys through and outside the monarchy:

Kate also started out receiving intense criticism from the press

It’s hard to say when the rivalry commenced or whether it even existed before the press decided to run with the narrative. The media has been pitting the two Duchesses against each other for as long as one can remember, and they don’t intend to slow down anytime soon. 

Meghan pointed out in the famous Oprah interview that “making Kate cry was the beginning of a real character assassination” on the media’s part. The story stemmed from a report alleging Meghan Markle, during the preparation of her wedding ceremony, had an argument with Kate Middleton regarding flower girl dresses that apparently led to the latter in tears. Meghan debunked the report in the interview and confirmed it had been the opposite — Kate had made her cry — and said Kate had apologized for her behavior and sent her flowers as a gesture. 

The flower girl debacle was just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years, the English tabloids have been working to the bone to compare and contrast the two women and dissect their individual styles and choices. Meghan was initially hailed as a beacon of progressiveness for the age-old institution, a figure who would carve a new path for the family and bring them up to modern-day sensibilities. Weirdly enough, Kate Middleton, before her long-awaited engagement to Prince William, had been characterized as boring, bland, and ‘Waity Katie,’ a desperate young commoner just waiting to hit the big time and become a future princess, no matter how long it took. 

As Meghan became an official Duchess, the tides turned, and the media launched an aggressive, organized campaign against her. She became the villain in every single situation, her each move scrutinized to death, her each appearance put under the microscope. Her estranged family from her dad’s side only worsened the disparagement — they leveraged their moment in the sun to make money and spew lies about their own half-sister and daughter

Yet, it pales in comparison to how Meghan has been covered in recent years

An insightful article from Buzzfeed paints a grim picture of how the Duchesses have been respectively portrayed in the media over the past few years and the “double standard” that seems to echo through.  

For example, Kate is “tenderly” cradling her baby bump, but when Meghan does the same, the article changes course and asks, “Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump?  Experts tackle the question that has got the nation talking: Is it pride, vanity, acting – or a new age bonding technique?” In another blatant case of prejudice, William is praised for gifting his wife an avocado to alleviate her morning sickness, but Meghan’s avocado is, all of a sudden, linked to “human rights abuse and drought.” It’s clear there is a rather significant bias in the media; what’s worse is that a lot of the public has fallen prey to the agenda, just as it was intended. 

So why is there a bias at all? Well, there could be a number of factors, none of which have or will ever be verified. Meghan’s biracial ethnicity, background as an actress, divorceé status, and nationality have been identified as potential sources of her controversial image. Her race, in particular, has been cited as the number-one driving force of the double standard. Additionally, it could be Meghan’s advocacy that may have caused some disgruntlement among the institution, especially when the masses are so accustomed to the royals staying apolitical and ‘safe.’

On the contrary, Kate has been delivering everything that’s asked of her since becoming a Duchess. She’s elegant, gentle, dedicated to her role as wife and mother, and doesn’t try to challenge the status quo.  She follows protocol to the tee, doesn’t complain about any of its pains, and displays endless devotion and reverence to the crown; she fulfills her obligation just as a royal family member should. The qualities that were once ridiculed by the press — being a Plain Jane, having no charisma, being dependent on William — are now being celebrated. 

It’s no coincidence this tide turned with the introduction of Meghan into the English public consciousness. When you want to vilify someone, you have to measure them against someone deemed more quintessentially soft, maternal, and subservient, who’s willing to play nice and adhere to tradition in the most frustrating of circumstances. Kate being upheld as the exemplary, beloved future Queen to the country is a direct result of Meghan’s ostracization from the circle. Had Meghan been white and English and someone more digestible and compliant in the public’s eye, Kate could still be facing the brunt of the vitriol. 

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It is important to rise above the tension

If there’s a moral to the story, it’s that women will always be pitted against each other to serve existing power structures. There’s a lot to be gained in manufacturing outrage among the English masses and breeding division concerning the royal family. The monarchy has always been a contentious issue, so when you add a Black American to the mix, the polarization becomes more and more prominent. The ordeal with Harry, Meghan, and the royal family is ongoing, so time will tell whether there is any improvement or development in how Meghan is being depicted in the press. 

Of course, it feels nearly impossible to relate to their tension, but everyone is familiar with feeling like an outcast at times and not knowing how you can stand up for yourself without challenging someone openly. How do you establish your status without threatening someone else’s? As much as people try to sow discord, you have to rise above the hostility and look at the bigger picture. Is the animosity worth your time, does a rivalry empower you in any way, and wouldn’t it be much better if you were able to co-exist peacefully and not exhaust your energy on a futile feud?

More inspiring stories:

Gay Son Comes Out To Close-Minded Dad, Gets Shocked For All The Right Reasons

By | Acceptance, family, Food for thought, inspiring, parents, stories, uplifting news

Out in the open

To many of Levi Miles’ friends at the University of Wisconsin, it was an open secret that he was gay. However, he never told the world.

In a piece he penned in the Huff Post, Miles says that the positive response following him officially coming out on Facebook was heartwarming.

However, visiting home, Miles was very concerned with his father’s reaction. While his mother had known Miles’ secret for two years, he wrote that “coming out to my father terrified me beyond all other things,” fearing that he’d disown him.

One day his father left the house, and Miles’s mother told him “Your father saw your Facebook status when I left my Facebook up. The cat’s out of the bag.”

When Miles asked her for his reaction, the response was heartbreaking.

“She said that he wasn’t too happy about it, mostly disappointed and kind of hurt, from what I gathered,” wrote Miles.

“He’d even had the gall to say that if I weren’t in theatrE, I wouldn’t have ended up gay, because it wouldn’t have seemed so normal.”

– Levi Miles

“My dad has never been open-minded on the topic of homosexuality, and I know that he was praying that I wouldn’t be gay.”

Things left unsaid

When his dad returned, neither brought up the topic.

Miles admitted that “I didn’t want to talk about my sexuality with my father any more than he wanted to talk about it with me, which was good.”

With the tense weekend over, Miles hugged his parents goodbye as he hopped on the train back to Milwaukee.

A few hours later, his mother texted him.

“Your dad has funny ways of showing he loves you. Look in your backpack.”

– Levi Mile’s mother

Inside, between two notebooks, was a picture of a young Miles and his father, smiling.

On the back was a note that wrote “I will always love you, no matter what.”

Love overcomes

As hurtful and ignorant his ‘disappointment’ was to Levi, credit to his father for reflecting and realizing that Levi is his son and ultimately deciding to love him for who he is. While he didn’t do it with some moving speech, he expressed it in his own way —just like his Levi expresses who he is.

Above all, hat’s off to young Levi for sharing this story, and reminding us all that even the seemingly coldest and closed hearts and minds can thaw with love.

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7-Year-Old Swims In Strong Current For An Hour To Save Dad And Sister From Drowning

By | everyday heroes, family, Food for thought, rescue, uplifting news

When your life and the lives of your loved ones are in danger, there is really no telling how far a person can go. The possibilities are almost limitless. Love and survival are two of the strongest forces and intuitive modalities in the universe. When the fear of losing someone close to you presents itself, you go into action mode, and that’s exactly what one 7-year-old did to save his sister, father and himself.

Memorable Memorial Day

Steven Poust brought his two young children boating on St. John’s River in Jacksonville, Florida for some fishing fun over Memorial Day weekend. Steven anchored down the boat so that Abigail, 4, and Chase, 7, could enjoy some swimming.

Normally Abigail stays at the back of the boat, but because the current was so strong, Abigail had to let go. When Chase saw what happened to his sister, he immediately reacted, letting go as well so that Abigail would not drift. Except, as soon as he jumped in, Chase was stuck as well.

Steven jumped in after his children to save them.

“I told them I loved them because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.”

– Steven Poust

Steven explains, “I tried to stick with her as long as I could, and both of them really. I wore myself out. She drifted away from me.”

Chase to the rescue

Poust told Chase to swim to shore and get help while he would try to reach Abigail. Luckily, Abigail was wearing a life jacket, which kept her afloat.

Chase bravely swam to shore, taking an hour to get there. When asked by CNN affiliate WJXT if he got tired while swimming, Chase confirmed that he did, saying that he swam doggie paddle and floated on his back to conserve energy.

After Chase swam a mile to reach the shore, he ran to the nearest house for help, and help was officially on the way.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) was dispatched to the boat’s location but when they got there, they had to call in other agencies to help with the search. Steven and Abigail had drifted approximately one and a half to two miles away from the boat.

The ideal outcome

JFRD Spokesperson Eric Prosswimmer said at a news conference, “We had every resource we could have possibly had coming quickly and we’re happy to say all three have been recovered, and all three are doing well.”

“We couldn’t ask for a better outcome,” PostSwimmer adds.

Chase Poust is being hailed internationally as a hero and rightfully so. The exceptionally courageous 7-year-old swam a mile by himself on a rescue mission to save his family.

 “We’re here. By the grace of God, we’re here.”

– Steven Poust

Survival instinct

Chase embarked upon a solo journey to save his family and himself. We are all capable of doing incredible things. There are unlikely heroes everywhere. Never underestimate a human being with the power to love and survive. They just might come through when you least expect it.

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The Truth Behind Lil Kim’s “New Face” Will Change The Way You Think About Her

By | dating, emotional health, family, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, lil kim, mental health, Motivation, stories

Lil’ Kim is undoubtedly one of the brightest, most influential women in hip-hop, yet her legacy remains controversial for one reason or the other.

For the past twenty-five years, she’s been pushing the boundaries as a female rapper and breaking records in the process. She’s considered to have pioneered mainstream sex-positive feminism in hip-hop and has carved a path for many contemporary artists, including Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, and Kash Doll. In addition to her unique sound and lyrical matter, she’s known for her breathtaking, flamboyant fashion style and advocacy work for various causes. 

While she’s been an inspiring figure in more than many ways, she’s also let her fans down in others. The rapper, also known as Kimberly Jones, was convicted of three counts of conspiracy and one count of perjury on Marcy 17, 2005. She’d been caught lying to a federal grand jury about not having seen her friends at a scene of a 2001 gun shooting — a testimony that was subsequently proven wrong via video surveillance footage. Kim served twelve months in prison as a result. 

But lately, the criticism leveled at her isn’t about her past as a convict — it’s about her face. Here’s what we can learn from Lil’ Kim’s struggles with beauty and expectations:

Kim wanted to cover the injuries from an “abusive relationship”

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Lil’ Kim has been fielding criticisms and judgment about her face since the beginning of her career. In 2005, she went on a radio show and explained that she had had her nose broken during a physically abusive confrontation with an ex-boyfriend. Kim told the listeners that she, like many other women, had been part of a violent relationship that left her with a “broken nose, black eyes, all that stuff.”

The New York native revealed that she had to “fix her nose” not once but multiple times — every time she’d go through a procedure and come back to her boyfriend, he’d hit her again and send her reeling into a tangle of insecurities and self-loathing. It’s not just her face that was damaged as a result of these brutal attacks. Kim had to undergo multiple MRIs because “he beat me up so bad I couldn’t even move.” She also suffered from blood clots in her back. 

Kim was so tired of lying about her injuries, pretending they were “an allergic reaction,” and burying her bruises in makeup that she thought it would be better to get professional work done and wipe out those physical markings for once and for all. 

I kinda prayed the whole time. I didn’t know what to do. And it has a lot to do with my maturity too. It’s been times I was in the car with my ex-boyfriend and he punched me in my face and [I was] bleeding all over the car […] The doctor had to fix my nose [because] it was almost shattered. 

Lil’ Kim to The Source

The trauma led her to start her charitable organization, Lil’ Kim Cares, which does extraordinary work in raising awareness and funds for issues such as homelessness, child neglect, and violence against women. She’s also keen on showing that just because she’s a celebrity doesn’t mean that she doesn’t go through the same trials and tribulations as anyone else suffering from abuse. Like any other survivor, she has to muster up tons of courage to leave a toxic environment and learn to love herself again. 

Kim admitted she “cheated” with plastic surgery and didn’t think she was “good enough”

(Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams /FilmMagic)

It’s truly been an uphill battle for Kim to love herself, but she’s finally at a stage where she can do so to her heart’s content. It’s also crucial to note that Kim hasn’t always set a good example for her fans — she’s said and done things that have caused a tremendous amount of distrust and pain among her friends, family, and fans. 

Whereas the initial plastic surgery resulted from a violent altercation, Kim has admitted that she’s gotten more surgeries over the years by her own choice. She said she “cheated” and got several facial features “fixed up” as she pleased. In a 2000 interview, Lil’ Kim shared that she’s faced insecurities for as long as she could remember; her boyfriends kept cheating on her with “European-looking” women, the “long-hair type.” 

The mother-of-one said she felt like she couldn’t compete as a “regular black girl” and thought she wouldn’t ever be “good enough.” It’s not just former lovers that triggered feelings of doubt and shame in her; she also endured verbal humiliation at the hands of her father. She claimed, “It’s always been men putting me down, just like my dad.” 

To this day, when someone says I’m cute, I can’t see it. I don’t see it no matter what anybody says.

Lil’ Kim to Newsweek 

The continuous barrage of disapproval made its way to her head, and she felt like she had no choice but to turn to cosmetic surgery. Kim said, “It was like I could do nothing right, everything about me was wrong — my hair, my clothes, just me.” The fact that she’s getting condemned for conforming to the same expectations that were imposed on her in the first place is hypocrisy at its cruelest. Lil’ Kim likely didn’t ask to be saddled with the weight of these debilitating insecurities — they were drilled into her from a young age and were continually reinforced by the men in her life. 

Plastic surgery is a contentious issue that has neither wrong nor a right side. We have to trust women that they’re aware of the health implications and that they understand the full extent of what they’re choosing to undergo. It’s a massive, irreversible decision, and so it should be treated as such. As long as the person comes out on the other side feeling confident and beautiful, we don’t have the right to chide the person. 

At the same time, no one should feel so pressured to look a certain way that they perceive plastic surgery as a necessity, not a choice. Lil’ Kim couldn’t overcome her anxieties and had been fixated on her so-called imperfections for so long that the only way to get peace of mind was to go under the knife. It’s perhaps even more frustrating to see that her career is dominated by rumors of skin bleaching, lip injections, boob jobs, so on and forth when there are far more substantive points to discuss — including her run-is with law enforcement and her illustrious body of work. 

I’m a person who may get bored with my look sometimes. I love what God gave me, but sometimes I want to dress it up.

Lil’ Kim on One World Music Beat

Don’t let assumptions guide your judgment 

Sometimes it’s just best to see something and move on without asserting your opinion about it. People have been berating Kim for a long time — both before and after her plastic surgeries. If they had kept their assumptions at bay from the get-go, Kim wouldn’t have felt forced to go under the knife. 

Conventional beauty doesn’t determine the value of a person; what matters is the person behind the face and the work they’re doing to improve their lives and their collective society around them. Lil Kim has all but transformed the world of her hip-hop through her intuitive, thoughtful, and powerful music. Why must we let our presumptions drive our opinion of the artist? Especially since the artist herself had deeply personal and medical reasons to get many of these surgeries in the first place. Lil’ Kim has her own flaws, but choosing to love herself despite the criticisms shows endurance. And that’s something we can take away from her journey. 

More inspiring stories:

How Liv Tyler Figured Out Steven Tyler Was Her Biological Father

By | family, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, liv tyler, parenting, steven tyler, stories

Liv and Steven Tyler are one of the most powerful father-daughter duos in the entertainment industry. He’s a legendary rockstar with an illustrious career spanning 55 years, whereas she is a brilliant, charming actress who has consistently impressed with her thoughtful performances in film and television for twenty-odd years. 

Dysfunctional families are a dime a dozen, yet Steven and Liv continue to have the utmost respect and gratitude for one another. Yes, they represent two different generations and hail from two different areas of the business, but it doesn’t stop them from showering heaps of praise upon each other, no matter the occasion.

You’d see their sweet, loving relationship and think that Liv must have been daddy’s girl from day one — but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Liv Tyler hadn’t even known Steven was her biological father until she was about 10, at which point she had to reexamine her entire family situation and determine the type of relationship she wanted to have with the Aerosmith lead as well as with her adopted dad. 

Here’s the bizarre but ultimately delightful story of how Liv Tyler figured out she was Steven Tyler’s daughter.

Liv realized she bore a striking resemblance to Steven’s other daughter Mia

Liv Tyler was born Liv Rundgren to Bebe Buell, a model, musician, and former Playboy magazine playmate, on July 1, 1977. Bebe was in an on-and-off relationship with rock artist and member of the band Utopia, Todd Rundgren, when she met Steven Tyler in the mid-seventies.  Bebe and Steven enjoyed a quick fling in 1976, resulting in Liv’s birth a year later. 

Steven Tyler
(Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

Though Bebe and Todd had been broken up at the time of Liv’s birth, Todd decided to step up to the plate, put his name on Liv’s birth certificate, and decide to raise her as his own daughter, knowing completely well that her paternity was complicated. 

Bebe revealed in an interview that she and Todd decided early on that he would act as Liv’s father for all intents and purposes, and “if it ever became an issue, we’d tell her at 18,” she said. Bebe was only 23 when she welcomed Liv. It had been overwhelming for her to navigate life as a single mother in New York City, so she often sent her daughter to live with her uncles, aunts, and cousins in Maine. Liv claims that she had a “very family-rich childhood” and generally didn’t have any reason to doubt her parentage. 

But suspicion took root in Liv’s mind when she encountered Steven Tyler in a concert at age nine. She’d caught a glimpse of Steven’s second-born daughter, Mia Tyler, and immediately detected a resemblance between the two of them. “I was literally like looking at my twin,” said Liv.  Even at the age of nine, Liv could figure out that something was amiss and that she needed to follow her intuition.

When I realized that Steven was my father, it was a moment that was bigger than me, it was almost spiritual […] I felt a connection in a very strong way when I met him as a little girl and I didn’t know why at first, but I figured it out rather quickly.

Liv Tyler to The Guardian 

Liv immediately confronted her mother over her theory, who let the cat out of the bag without resistance. She reportedly hid Liv’s paternity because Steven had been “heavily addicted to drugs at the time,” and therefore, she didn’t think he would be a stable enough presence in her young daughter’s life. 

She is super close to Steven but has an equal amount of love for her adoptive dad

Once Steven found that he had a daughter he didn’t know about, he “started calling” incessantly in the hopes of building a relationship with her. Liv said that she and her mother would go see him often — he’d just gotten out of rehab and had been looking to make some swift changes to his lifestyle. 

Liv started to spend more and more time with her biological father and realized that they had way more in common than their DNA. She said that they “look so alike” and even “do things the same way.” She also noticed that Mia’s mannerisms were so eerily similar to that of her own.

Over the years, Liv started feeling so connected with the Tyler clan that she underwent a name change in 1991 and changed her last name to that of her father: Tyler. Steven could have easily avoided this paternity revelation and went about his life, but he decided to go above and beyond to build and maintain a loving, supportive relationship with his newfound daughter. 

Liv Tyler dad
(Ron Davis/Getty Images)

Liv also started becoming involved with her father’s musical career. She appeared in Aerosmith’s music video, ‘Crazy,’ when she was just in high school. Steven also wrote the song, ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,’ for Liv’s movie Armageddon. The father and daughter had established such an easygoing, no-holds-barred rapport that he was even present in the delivery room when she gave birth to son Sailor in 2015. It’s safe to say that they have overcome their rough, awkward beginnings and genuinely see each other as father and daughter now. 

But Liv’s affection for Steven doesn’t change the fact that she still has plenty of love for her adoptive dad, Todd. He’s been there for there from the beginning and decided to undertake the responsibilities as a father despite knowing that the child might not be his. 

I’m so grateful to [Todd], I have so much love for him. You know, when he holds me it feels like Daddy. And he’s very protective and strong. 

Liv Tyler to Wonderland Magazine

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At the end of the day, Liv is grateful for both her fathers and appreciates her wonky, non-traditional upbringing. She doesn’t hold any resentment for her mother, as she knows that this would have been a tough call to make for anyone in her position. She certainly credits Todd for being a “stable, loving force” in her life. And she cherishes every moment with Steven, knowing that she could have very well gone through an alternate timeline without Steven’s presence to guide her. 

Both my fathers are unconventional. They are like unicorns or wizards. They are musicians through and through. The way they think is just different. Their eccentricities have made me more practical and more normal, in a way.

Liv Tyler to The Guardian 

Embrace your family however you can 

Liv Tyler Steven Tyler family
(Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Our lives may not be as dramatic or surreal as Liv’s, but that doesn’t mean that our families don’t come with their set of baggage. Family can appear in many shapes and sizes, so all you can do is hang on for the ride and take in each and every moment as they come. 

If we love our family, we shouldn’t worry about the awkwardness or the quirks or the non-traditional experiences — we should embrace these moments to the fullest extent and share love however we can. Not everyone is perfect, but as long as you have the intention of making it work, nothing is impossible.