Thursday, September 22, 2011


Wow, what a difference it makes when a baby comes when they are supposed to. My sister and I are so proud of our miracle babies. They both have defied so many odds to bless us here on Earth. I feel so strongly that these two boys are our biggest blessings beyond the incredible partners that we were also blessed with.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Hungry Child Can't Wait: Ask 5 for 5

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5

Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you (insert blog name) 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 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!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Answered Prayers

I haven't been able to update in awhile, but wanted all of my readers to hear the GREAT news. My sister is cancer free! All of the possibilities that she faced were surpassed with better things. Other than a missing gall bladder, minor restructure of her bile duct, and some missing tiny veins her 12 hour surgery left very little missing. My sister also only spent barely 2 days in the ICU. Only 8 days later she is home and able to go back to being a full-time mommy. She still requires people to help her with Oaklen, as his 17 pounds of cuteness is a little heavy for her recovering body, but she is doing so well.

The day that I found out that my sister had cancer I felt like the floor had fallen out from underneath me. After I took my hour to really cry I began to pray and ask others to do the same. I instantly prayed that God would use this experience to glorify Him and to draw people in my life, including family members closer to God. I have been witness to several people that have been touched by my sister's brave and courageous soul throughout this past 29 days. She is a miracle thanks to all the prayers sent to God on her behalf. Thank you Lord for guiding the hands of her doctors, for allowing her little boy to go about this month unfazed by the stress around him, for giving my sister an amazing husband that loves her abundantly, and more importantly Lord for drawing us all closer to You.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I hate football

Bronson woke up from his nap today and had the following conversation with me:

"Mommy, you are not a Beaver's fan. You are a duck's fan."

Me: No, I am not Bronson. Will you go to the football game with me in a few weeks?

Bronson: No mommy! I hate football and don't want to ever go to a game.

Great, I was really hoping to have a little football buddy, but apparently he hates football. He says that he loves soccer and baseball, but will NEVER like football.

Oh well, I think that this daddy may be coming around.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

It was the eve before I turned 20. My mother in law woke me up (I was living with them while I attended college). She said I think that we are about to watch history unfold before our eyes. I remember being glued to the TV for the remainder of the day and crying with others at the loss of our nation feeling secure. So many people were forever changed that day.

As I write this post tonight it seems a little surreal that I would not be teaching in two weeks if 9/11 did not happen. My entire course focuses on homeland security and has several weeks of intense over view of the results of 9/11. I watched a tv program the other night of a high school on the east coast that gives their students the opportunity to learn this as their focus area in high school. In my teens we as a nation didn't worry about terrorist threats or our security, now kids grow up knowing about the attack of our nation.

In a personal sense this day was a foreshadowing of the decade of my twenties. I turned 20 the day after and I remember a lady asking me if I even felt like celebrating when the world was ending. I am faced with this same challenge tomorrow, is the day I turn 30 worth celebrating while my baby sister sits on the oncology floor of the Kohler Pavilion at OHSU? If I have learned anything in the last 10 years it is that to live each day as if it were your last. Along with the many trials that our family has faced the past ten years, we have been completely blessed.

I don't think that a single victim of the terrorist attacks knew that it would be their last day when they left that day. As I have spent time talking to my sister she states that she never wants to waste a single day of her life. We have so few to begin with that we should value each and every one of them. God has blessed us so tremendously with the results of Ashley's surgery and I believe without a doubt that we will continue to see answers to prayers. To start this next decade of my life I am going to set some life goals:

1. Love God more and be more purposeful in my relationship with him
2. Make sure that those in my life never doubt my love for them
3. Live each day to it's fullest
4. Be healthier
5. Be the friend that I want to have
6. Hug more, laugh more, and stress less
7. Final goal...get my Phd before I turn 40

I believe when you let the your goals remain out there it makes you work harder to achieve them.