Monday, September 19, 2011

A Birthday Wish

Our sweet, fun, loving Jonas turns two today! 
Today is the day that God brought this precious little boy into the world. What a gift he has been for us and our family. His joy for life is priceless and like no other.. you can tell when he smiles as it melts the heart of a stranger in seconds. He is a gift and given to us to be in our family forever. I know when God designed this precious little boy in his mother's womb God knew he created him for our family. He is teaching us about life.. he shows us a different perspective from his eyes and personalty. This day for me is also a remembrance of his mother that carried him! I reflect on what she must have endured with birthing him. How she felt when she first held him in her arms? This morning at breakfast I instantly get choked up thinking she is watching us care for her son loving and caring for him. As he eats his chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream I know she is smiling down from the heavens.. She must be proud and at peace knowing he's in our arms. I also think she must have been just as beautiful as he is! I look deep into his eyes seeing a glimpse of what his mother looked like. I wonder if she had his dimples or distinct Ethiopian looking chin or expressive eyebrows or cute button nose.   One day I hope to meet her in heaven and tell her all about this precious child I'm so very proud to call mine. 
Happy birthday sweet boy! 
 Jonas was born in the beautiful country of Ethiopia by a mother that struggled with her health and life. I can only imagine how much she must have endured.... with living is a small village with limited water and resources. Just like the rest that struggle there today. Even while I write this there is a HUGE problem going on in his country. Which makes it personal for our family to want to act and help.  There is a food and water crisis going on, the biggest one in 60 years... one that is affecting 12.4 million people within 3 countries.

Jonas and Haben are both from Ethiopia and have family members still there suffering and struggling. If they could I know they would want to make a stand and make a difference for their ancestors. 
Until they have their voice it's my job to speak up.

I know when Jonas is old enough to understand his birthday wish could be to help the people in his country. 
So today our birthday wish is for you to join us in helping. 

Jonas is one of the few children that gets a chance for a better life. A life with endless water and food, now it's your turn to make a difference. We are asking you to join us in participating with Asking $5 for 5! Wouldn't it be a nice gift for Jonas to know we are making a difference for his country and his heritage? We are asking you to give just $5 and find 5 friends to give $5 to help. Very simple donate today at this link   all funds are going to World Vision. We can make a big difference!

  A fellow blogger has step up wanting to make a difference. Please read about her story below!

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5

Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography 

Thank you Heidi and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called#Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to
help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.
I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page(
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!

I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at if you're interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

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