Giving Gives Back

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Give. Remember always to give. That is the thing that will make you grow.~ Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Everything on our planet has a purpose. Our lives have a purpose.

I’ve discovered that natural givers are always happy, no matter what.

My husband and I lead a simple life. However, we’re both generous people which is the building block in our relationship. We both enjoy helping whenever and however we can.

Yesterday, I was a little tired due to just a few hours sleep yet something profound happened which gave me such energy and filled my heart with joy. Something which made me think how our lives should be about giving and reaching out to others. We donated an item to a kind soul. When this kind soul reciprocated our act of giving with the utmost kindness, my entire being was, once again, filled with the most powerful fuel: LOVE.
I noticed my husband’s joy as well.

“Giving becomes more important than getting because giving is in alignment with your purpose.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Givers are always the miracle workers. When we focus on giving as our life purpose, we seem to receive more. It’s all about unconditional giving, with no expectations in return. If you do this, you’ve aligned yourself with the universe. You’re a miracle worker and more will come your way. Believe it!

Giving gives back. It fuels the universe.

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

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

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5
Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Shire 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!

Moms Blog to Save Lives: Ask 5 for 5

Guest blogger: Sarah Lenssen from Ask5for5
photos courtesy of Cate Turton / Dept. for International Development

First, thanks to Shire @ShiCooks; for allowing me to post on her blog today! Today, 25 bloggers, including this one, are standing with me to Ask 5 for 5 for Africa. Here’s why….

I began pursuing a BIG dream two weeks ago. After deciding I could no longer avoid the news about the famine in the horn of Africa, I had that gut feeling that I couldn’t sit this one out. I HAD to do something because I could. Something bigger than I could do alone.

A malnourished child in an MSF treatment tent in Dolo Ado

Two of my children, Ashen and Bereket, were adopted and are from the region affected by the drought in Ethiopia. They would be two of the statistics if they still lived there. I see my son’s and daughter’s faces in the photos of those suffering in the refugee camps. It could have been him. It could have been her. The thought haunts me.

And moms just like us are watching their children go hungry day after day. I can’t imagine what it’s like, but I have to –I have to be there to help them, because it could have been my children. These families have lost their livestock, their crops, food prices are inflated at the market if there any food there, and don’t have any more lifelines to tap into. Many are traveling hundreds of miles through parched land in hope of finding help. Many are dying along the way. It is estimated that 29,000 children have died in the last 90 days in the famine in Somalia alone.

Malnourished children, weakened by hunger

But I KNOW we can do something about it. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed, we can rally ourselves and our friends to respond! I set up a fundraiser through See Your Impact. 100% of your gift will go to the relief and development organization World Vision, where it will be combined with government grants to multiply up to 5 times in impact!

You’ll receive updates on just how your funding is being used to help save lives affected by famine in East Africa. I’m amazed at how much we’ve raised already — over $7,000 in just four days! We blew through our first 3 goals in just 3 days and are well on our way to $10,000 and beyond!
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 to stay updated too!

I’m also looking for 100 bloggers to stand with Ask5for5 to spread the word during Social Media week, September 19th – 23rd. If you’re interested, email me,

Extra food for every child under five

Thanks! Please donate and email your friends right now–don’t wait for a calmer moment, because if you’re like me, other demands inevitably crop up and you won’t get to it. A child’s life hangs in the balance, but you can help save her!

Make Wishes Come True

Love and compassion is at the core of giving. Giving back enriches all. I know I feel energized, fulfilled and happy when I give. Giving is indeed a beautiful experience.

A child suffering with serious illness is one of the saddest things in the world. Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation® has given hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

One of these children is Erik “Electron Boy”. He wished to be a superhero. On World Wish Day® 2010, Erik transformed into Electron Boy. More than 350 people helped the Make-A-Wish Foundation® make Erik’s wish come true on this special day. Watch this video to see Erik’s wish, one of the many wishes, that was granted last year:

World Wish Day® 2010 – Erik’s wish to be a superhero

World Wish Day® 2011, a global celebration of wish granting, is coming up on Friday, April 29, 2011.

Please visit Ways to Help: World Wish Day® and get involved in World Wish ® 2011. There is a variety of options for helping and giving.

Follow Make-A-Wish Foundation® on Twitter @MakeAWish and “like” on Facebook at

Everyone should get involved in supporting the World Wish Day campaign on April 29, 2011.

Spread the word!

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Love’s Journey

Love Without Boundaries is giving away a copy of Love’s Journey 2 (LJ2): The Red Thread to anyone who mentions LWB in a blog, on their Facebook page, or on another type of online social media.

LJ2 is a beautiful hard cover, coffee table style book filled with hundreds of photos and stories about China and international adoption. I know because I have got one. After reading this awesome book packed with great stories and photos, all I could think of is international adoption.

Please find all the details here:

Take advantage of this offer now and give a copy to your family members or friends. A perfect holiday gift!

LOVE'S JOURNEY 2 The Red Thread

LOVE'S JOURNEY 2 The Red Thread

We can create a miracle in our world.

We must encourage International Adoption. Because we know it’s our job to accomplish.

Helping children after trauma

By Jonathan Wilson

Children around the world who suffer emotional trauma need our help.

In many places, trauma is not just from personal tragedy but due to conflict, poverty, disaster or discrimination.
Most of these children simply do not have access to adequate care.

OperationSAFE is working on a solution…
•Child-friendly resources that help children recover.
•Easily reproduced volunteer-run program
•Large scale screening allows professional counselors to focus on the most serious cases.

We are encouraged by the results we have seen…
In fifteen camps after the Great Sichuan Earthquake in China,
•Children opened up about the trauma they experienced
•Families welcomed counselors into their homes to receive more help
•Local authorities enthusiastically invited teams back to hold follow-up camps.

For many of these children the OperationSAFE camp was “the most fun I have EVER had!”

But we need your help…
•Become a fan on FB and Twitter and spread the word
•Give so we can make this available to children worldwide!
•Volunteer to translate, edit, train, teach, go!

You can become a fan here on Facebook, or follow me @operationSAFE on Twitter.

You can give through

You can volunteer by contacting us on Facebook or Twitter.

Pete’s Arctic Adventure: 1st draft animation trailer

Children learn that they are not alone through a game where they have to rely on someone else to help them.


Powerful relationships arise when individuals commit themselves to support, respect and love one another unconditionally. They can create miracles, not only for themselves but for others as well. They can create networks and foundations to help the voiceless and those in need. Simply because with unconditional love there are no limits. Only unlimited possibilities.

Rich or Poor. Influential or Voiceless. We are all connected.

Black Card Circle®, a global social network, a secure and legitimate environment, brings together socially and financially influential people; “CIAs: Connectors, Influencers, and Alphas” as the founder Mr. Lotay Yang describes.

Unlike other social networks, Black Card Circle® members are carefully screened and verified. The network is committed to upholding and embracing the core values of Black Card Circle®.

Mr. Yang, says: “If we don’t speak for the voiceless, then who will?”

The mission is to empower the voiceless in society by promoting self-reliance and sustainability.

Black Card Circle® launches on 9.9.09 in New York.

This is an intimate evening mixer featuring the magnificent art of Bettina Werner, fabulous wine from OneHope, and a special presentation from new media leader Mr. Mike Prasad.

“Live well with purpose…”

“Live well with purpose…”

Join The Black Card Circle® in New York
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Time: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Private Art Loft across from the NYSE on Wall Street
Street: 15 Broad
City/Town: New York, NY

*You must RSVP * via to be admitted.


To learn more about how Black Card Circle® & the Black Card Circle® Foundation work together, please visit Black Card Circle and Lotay Yang: Philanthropy Funded by a Sustainable Spirit.

Watch this powerful video. You’ll love it!

An Interesting discussion between Lotay Yang & Leo LaporteWhat is Black Card Circle?

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BCCF-A Voice For the Voiceless

“Only great souls know the grandeur there is in charity.”~Jacques BNigne

Philanthropy in Ancient Greek, means “to LOVE people.
Love opens our Heart to Kindness. When we truly Love the world rewards us. Love inspires Giving. It allows us to be selfless and reach out to help others in need. Some take it a step further like my dear friend, Mr. Lotay Yang, a brilliant and compassionate philanthropist, who founded The Black Card Circle® in 2005. Mr. Yang is the President of Black Card Circle®, a trusted and secure network for influential individuals worldwide, a network of “CIAs”: Connectors, Influencers and Alphas. launches on 9.9.09.

The Black Card Circle® Foundation (BCCF) is a 100% volunteer-supported public charity recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. The Black Card Circle® Foundation(BCCF) allows the collective of conscious capitalists and influential individuals assembled by the Black Card Circle® to contribute substantially to the betterment of humanity globally, by raising awareness for and providing grants to non-profit organizations that serve one of the following 5 core areas:

1. Education
2. Environment
3. Health Care
4. Community Development
5. Poverty Relief

BCCF is supported primarily through the efforts and highly dedicated work of Black Card Circle® to make a difference and to empower the voiceless in society by promoting self-reliance and sustainability.

BCCF is a 100% volunteer organization. All net proceeds are donated directly to charity. The donations support BCCF’s grants, programs, fundraising activities, and beneficiary charities. BCCF’s executive team receives no compensation for their volunteer work. Donations to the Black Card Circle® Foundation (BCCF) are tax-deductible as permitted under law.

This Saturday, on August 15th, 2009 at 6:00 PM “A Spectacular Midsummer Night’s Cocktail Benefit” will be held at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, California. This benefit raises awareness and funds for BCCF’s two partner non-profits: Autism Speaks ( and Touch of Love ( These non-profits are changing our world. Participants will have the privilege to meet Autism Speaks’ Executive Director, Touch of Love’s Founder, and ONEHOPE Wine’s CEO at this Black Tie Charity Event. It’s noteworthy to mention ONEHOPE Wine is a for-profit enterprise that donates 50% of profits to partner charities. 50% of ONEHOPE Wine‘s Cabernet Sauvignon profits are donated to the fight against AUTISM. As official sponsors of BCCF’s Cocktail Benefit this Saturday, ONEHOPE Wine is providing wine for the evening, a bottle of wine for each Tiffany & Co. gift bag, a Silent Auction item.

Mr. Lotay Yang in his own words: “Philanthropy isn’t about you or me… Philanthropy is about them… For the Black Card Circle Foundation, philanthropy is serving as a voice for the voiceless. On Saturday, help us raise awareness for children and families affected by… Autism. On Saturday, help us raise awareness for micro-lending in impoverished villages in Egypt. On Saturday, help us *help others*.. There is no failure in philanthropy. If but one life is touched, then we have made a difference.

You, too, can make a difference. You can join the Black Card Circle® Foundation cause on Facebook and help BCCF help the voiceless worldwide.

For more information please email BCCF at:

Visit the Black Card Circle Foundation website at:

Watch the fascinating video from the charity dinner on 7/16/09 in Santa Monica, CA:

To learn more about how Black Card Circle® & the Black Card Circle® Foundation work together, please visit BusinessWeek’s Business Exchange for more information.

“To give and not expect return, that is what lies at the heart of love.”~Oscar Wilde

Amy Eldridge and Karen Maunu: LWB

This is about two women I greatly admire. Two women whose boundless love for children would bring them together. Two most gracious and selfless women. This is about Amy Eldridge and Karen Maunu.

Karen & Amy

Karen & Amy

I am reminded of the inspiring words of Khalil Gibran. “When we give ourselves unconditionally, we truly give. When we give without expecting anything back, we are an unconditional giver.”

Amy and Karen are two unconditional givers.
I find their positive spirit to be contagious.

Not long ago, I had an online interview with Amy Eldridge, the founder of a nonprofit organization “Love Without Boundaries.“ I was already fascinated by her BIO on Twitter. She started with “I hope that people can see that anyone truly can make a difference in this world, if they just step out in faith to help those in need.”
My interview with Amy opened my eyes and my heart.

Amy -Unconditional Love

Amy -Unconditional Love

Amy’s world changed six years ago when she visited her first orphanage in China. Walking past metal baby cribs filled with abandoned children, she met a fragile, very sick little baby with heart disease. A baby named Kang. How devastating it must be to see a baby fighting for their life! Amy asked when the baby’s surgery would be, the response was: “no funds were available” to save this poor baby’s life.

Amy returned to the U.S. but couldn’t forget the images at the orphanage. She couldn’t get that baby’s face out of her mind. She knew she had to help that beautiful baby. While this little boy was facing an unknown future, Amy wrote to family and friends to help her with funding to save his life. She was blessed to have many wonderful family and friends that supported her. Those friends and family members passed her original letter on to others asking for support. The outpouring of support was simply amazing. Amy along with family members, friends, and friends of friends managed to raise sufficient funds to heal baby Kang.

There were other children with heart defects. Amy says thus the idea of establishing a foundation called “Love Without Boundaries“, dedicated to changing the lives of orphaned children in China, was formed.

Amy emphasizes adoption is such a blessing. She adopted two children from China. She says she cannot imagine her live without them.

When I met Karen Maunu on Twitter, I could feel her love and passion for children. I could sense her deep love and respect for her husband, who must be a wonderful man. You can ask anyone who knows Karen and you’ll hear the same. Karen was not always a stay at home mom. She was a successful career woman. After a while, she realized she didn’t find much meaning in pursuing a career in computer sciences. She wanted to dedicate herself to her family. She quit her job after her second child, to be a stay at home mom. She only wanted to be a loving wife and caring mom. She found meaning in life giving unconditionally to her family. I can feel her passion when Karen speaks about her children and her family.

Karen-Unconditional Love

Karen-Unconditional Love

Karen wanted to adopt and started researching many countries. This brought her and her husband to China where they adopted their daughter. Two years later, they were back in China to adopt one more child. During this trip, Karen and her husband visited the orphanage where their second adopted daughter was raised. The orphanage was full of beautiful children, all wanting to be hugged and loved. When they returned to the U.S., Karen was still thinking of the children she left behind.

Karen started doing research on the Internet. It didn’t take long before she found Amy Eldridge’s blog and later that year learned Amy had formed the non profit foundation: “Love Without Boundaries.” It didn’t take a long time before Karen was involved with LWB. They traveled to China together where Amy asked her to become the Medical Director of LWB. Karen and Amy found absolutely the best hospitals in China to make sure special needs children and children with heart defects get the best care. In spring 2009, Karen was promoted to Associate Executive Director.

Amy, Karen and dedicated LWB volunteers in many countries, have been working for the past six years, to provide the most loving and compassionate care to children whom otherwise would be waiting in their metal cribs, facing an uncertain future. LWB is a virtual foundation with over 150 volunteers. They have daily communication with LWB staff in China, through email and Skype. They also make trips to China to check on the children’s progress. They both say they have been blessed on those trips to meet so many incredible children who inspire them.

They have a good relationship with officials in China. They are grateful for those loving and compassionate people working at the orphanages.

LWB has 5 main program areas in China. The programs are run with the very best teachers, aunties and program managers.

The Medical Program provides heart surgeries, abdominal surgeries, and other life changing operations. LWB has several specific medical funds that people can donate to, such as heart surgery fund. This enables a child who needs an urgent surgery to be fully funded.

The Foster Care Program places children in a loving home.

The Education Program builds schools inside of orphanages, as well as providing funds for both high school and college.

The Healing Homes Program builds special facilities where most needy and vulnerable babies can receive care. The Cleft Healing Home Project is dear to their heart. In 2008, LWB opened the first Cleft Healing Home in China.

The Orphanage Assistance Program provides high quality formula, safe cribs, and warm clothes to those in need.

About 1500 children a year receive help and assistance from LWB.

Amy and Karen have much in common. Both adopted children from China. Both are passionate about the work they do for LWB. Both give unconditionally.

Amy and Karen work together to raise funds for LWB. Their goal is the same as when Amy started LWB to save more children’s lives. In Amy’s own words: “We want to change the lives of as many orphaned children as possible, in order to help as many of them find permanent homes through adoption as possible. Some of the new projects we are working on include a possible sixth orphanage school inside a large orphanage that has a lot of kids who can’t attend public school, a new Foster Care Program in rural southwestern China, another Cleft Healing Home so even more lives can be saved, and of course to continue healing as many children as possible through our medical program.”
And she adds: “We have a saying at LWB that “every time you save a child’ life…the world changes for the good.”

LWB is not an adoption agency but they work closely with adoption agencies because they believe each child deserves a home and a loving family.

Amy Eldridge and Karen Maunu remind us that it is only through giving that we are saving our own lives.

“Together, we really can change the world….one child at a time.” ~Amy Eldridge

Will you help these amazing kids to receive much needed medical care?

“Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.”~John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Love Without Boundaries(LWB) is touching the lives of thousands of children in China. LWB cannot do this without your help.

LWB is listed as a Four Star Charity at Charity Navigator – Your Guide to Intelligent Giving.

By helping these amazing kids to get much needed urgent medical care, you are helping them to have a healthy life and increase their chances to be adopted. Every child deserves a home and a loving family.

Hi, my name is Erin

Hi, my name is Erin

Erin in Anhui was a very malnourished little girl when LWB first met her. Since then she has been receiving special care at the LWB’s Heartbridge Healing Unit. She is one of the many adorable kids waiting on medical funding. Will you help Erin?

Hi, my name is Jin

Hi, my name is Jin

Jin in Anhui is a sweetheart (just look at her picture). She needs funding for the final stage of her hip surgery. Will you please help this sweet girl receive the urgent treatment she needs?

Hi, my name is Kirk

Hi, my name is Kirk

Kirk in Gansu makes you believe in miracles. He was born with a complex heart defect and seeing his smiling picture is a true miracle. Since 2008 he has been staying at LWB’s Heartbridge Unit. This amazing child needs one more surgery. Please consider helping this miracle child. He deserves to live!

These are only some of the many incredible children who need urgent medical help. Will you consider helping them?