100 Ways to Give: Number Three, Do What Is Right, Even When No One is Watching

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Over the next year, I’m going to share 100 ways to give. The 100 days won’t be in a row, but will be over the entire year. Cora taught me so much about giving, being there for people and loving each other. Most of these ways to give will use little to no money. See previous posts in this series here. 

I feel like this series is turning into an ode to my husband. And rightfully so, he’s the most giving person I know, but number 3 on my 100 ways to give is also inspired by him. (You can read my number two way to give, inspired by him as well here.)

When no one is looking, do you go the extra mile to do the right thing?

Do you pick the harder path, even if there is no personal reward, and no one watches you travel it?

My husband owns and operates a hauling business. We always try to recycle/reuse/donate items before throwing in the landfill, so we go through anything that isn’t straight trash.

Last week we picked up some boxes and just in the last few days my husband got to the work of sorting them. Inside one he found piles of family photographs.

It’s been a busy few weeks, and I actually took the call from the customer while multi-tasking. I threw the customer’s address in the GPS and sent my brother-in-law off to get the items.

We couldn’t remember where we’d gotten them. All of us agreed we couldn’t toss out the pictures with out making some sort of effort to find their owner, but my husband pushed us to remember where they came from. He asked us several times over the last few days until I remembered that I’d first jotted the address in an email I planned to sent to him and found the address in a draft email. There was no name or number, but we did a reverse search and found a name and mailed off a letter today explaining the situation.

My husband says that if the photographs were thrown out unintentionally, he’ll make the 30 mile trip to drop them off as soon as the people contact us, because it’s the right thing to do.

A few weeks after Cora died, we were both shopping at a dollar store. We were there because we were flat broke. We turned. the corner and on the floor sat several hundred dollar bills in a booklet with no personal information.

We sure could have used the cash. No one would have known, but we didn’t hesitate. We scooped it up and brought it to the cashier. We asked her to put it in her safe, and took her name so we could hope it wasn’t pocketed. We hung out a few moments to watch her run it to the back.

No one would have known if we would have taken that money.

But taking it was the wrong thing to do.

The people who threw out those photos probably don’t even realize. They might not for months and might not ever. It would have been easy to toss them out.

It’s the ultimate way to give. Treat others like you’d like to be treated, even when no one is watching. 

You can read previous posts in this series here. 

Save the Children’s Yearly Newborn Health and Survival Report Released: Ensuring Every Newborn Survives

Today the international nonprofit Save the Children released their yearly report on the state of newborn health and survival around the globe.

As a mother that birthed a baby who was a statistic in 2009 (one of 2.9 million newborns that year who did not survive their first 28 days of life), I can’t thank Save the Children enough for focusing on newborns.

As the report mentions, many newborn deaths are preventable. Cora’s death falls into a place of uncertainty. Had her congenital heart defect been found before she died, would she have lived? It’s a good possibility, so I do say her death was possibly preventable.

She isn’t alone there either. Across the globe, 2 million babies die due to something preventable.  newbornreport

 

The plight of newborns born in Africa is particularly devastating. The rate of death for a neonate born in Africa is 4 times higher than in Europe, according to the report.

Shefali’s Story

The report shares the story of Shefali from Bangladesh. She’s give birth to six children. Three of them died before they turned a week old. As a mother who lost one child before she turned a week old, my heart shatters for her.

Shefali says that her family is unable to pay for medical care and treatment. Her words are heartbreaking.

“Whenever a child is born and then dies, we’re  overwhelmed with grief. it’s terrible. We feel like we need to take the child to the doctor but we can’t. i’m not the only one here who has lost children – there are many other mothers like me.” -Shefali, mom to six

What would you do with one day to live?

Worldwide, 1 million babies only get one day on this earth. Each year, 1 million babies die on their first and only day of life.

I know it’s not easy to read or think about baby’s dying. But as you go through your day today, rather it be amazing, an average day, or a rather crappy day. Think about that. Think about it as for 1 million little humans the only day they have.

Save the Children calls 2014 “The Opportunity for Life Saving Change.”

Save the Children doesn’t just publish the report to help us understand the dire situation for newborns worldwide, but offers solutions.

“The solution needs specific and urgent attention. The key way to stop newborn deaths is to ensure that essential care is provided around  labour, delivery and immediately afterwards when the risks are greatest. That means having a skilled, well-equipped birth attendant available to assist women and newborns during delivery. While we focus on this, there are also tremendous opportunities to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and stillbirths through key interventions during pregnancy and in the later postnatal period.”

The World Health Organization is currently drafting an Early Newborn Action Plan, with institutions, researchers, individuals and countries weighing in on how to make newborn survival a priority and a reality and to end preventable newborn deaths.

In fact, you can weigh in too. Parents, and anyone that cares about the survival of newborns are being asked for feedback. 

In the report, Save the Children called on world leaders, philanthropists and private-sector leaders to make a newborn promise. A promise to do what it takes to end preventable newborn death.

I’m calling on you to make a promise. For Cora, and the 2.9 million newborns that die to a preventable cause each year. 

Promise to support the organizations helping.

Promise to speak up, share your stories and give your input.

Promise to read the Save the Children report.

Promise to care. Our attention is pulled in so many directions, but we can’t overlook where life begins, with our babies.

 

100 Ways to Give: Number Two, Help Each Other Out

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Over the next year, I’m going to share 100 ways to give. The 100 days won’t be in a row, but will be over the entire year. Cora taught me so much about giving, being there for people and loving each other. Most of these ways to give will use little to no money. See previous posts in this series here. 

My husband walked in the door after a long day of fighting the 10 inches of snow on the ground and brutal temps, looked at the monitor we have to monitor the alley and the garage and flew through the back door.

“Someone is stuck back there,” he said.

“You just got home, and we don’t even know them,” I said. I’m all for helping people, as often as possible, but I’ve learned that “as possible” is different to my husband. No one knew he saw them in the alley. He didn’t help out of a sense of guilt.

It’s one of the biggest reasons I love him. If he notices someone with a taillight out, he’ll drive out of his way to tell them, when I would just ignore and go on.

In brutal temps, hot or cold, he stops and asks elderly folks on bikes or walking if they’d like rides.

Things that this day and age many of us don’t do.

Including seeing someone stuck on a monitor and racing to help, even when you’ve been working all day.

This winter, I’ve thought a lot about how we all need to help each other to get through. I’ve witnessed so many acts of kindness with people helping out. I’ve been part of and witnessed people just walk by without even trying (like the teenagers who just walked down the middle of the road and stared at me when I was stuck in the snow one early morning).

A few weeks after he helped those people, we became stuck in the alley. I’m not much help with pushing and we just couldn’t break free. A neighbor pulled into his garage and immediately came to help.

As I thanked him profusely, he said it was no problem and that it was his girlfriend my husband had helped a few weeks earlier (the car on the monitor).

Times like a brutal winter remind us that we really need each other to get through. We need to help push other people’s cars. We need to shovel sidewalks that aren’t ours. We need to offer rides (when we feel safe, my husband doesn’t do it when I’m in the car, and many times offers the pick-up truck bed for the people to jump in).

We need to just notice people around us a little more. We might not realize someone needs help because we’re not paying attention. I didn’t notice those people on the monitor. If I did, it probably wouldn’t have even clicked that I should help them.

I love my husband for noticing, and for helping when he does.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy CHD Awareness Day! Celebrating progress–Made with Love

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It’s a day of hearts, so it’s especially close to my heart.

Today is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. It’s also Valentine’s Day.

I’m celebrating over five years as a couple with my husband. It’s been rough and not always easy, but I’m so glad he is mine.

I’m celebrating progress.

The Newborn Coalition and 1in100.org keep a map of progress across the country with implementation of congenital heart defect screening. 

Here’s a copy of that map about two years ago. Only the states in green had laws. Only two states had laws that had gone into effect (Indiana and New Jersey).

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Here’s the map today. States in green have laws and states in blue have added the screening in a regulatory way. Think of it if your state is green or blue, screening has been added.

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And this week my niece was screened. The first grandchild in my family after Cora was born and my mother’s second grandchild was screened in one of those first states to add the screening (she passed with flying colors).

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Fitting CHD Awareness Day is on Valentine’s Day. It takes a lot of love to make big changes for little hearts.

My photo engraved necklace from Jewelry Keepsakes, you can win one too!

This is a sponsored post, I received compensation and a free necklace in exchange for my honest opinion about JewelryKeepsakes.com. If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, it goes to say I only talk about products I truly love, and all opinions are my own. 

When I was introduced to the Jewelry Keepsakes site, I was immediately drawn to a small silver heart with an engraved photo.

I find myself talking to people all the time and wanting to show them what she looked like. I obviously have photos in my purse and sometimes pull up them up my phone, but it’s always a bit awkward.

I thought how great it would be to be able to point to the necklace to show them. People need to know when I tell my story how perfect and healthy she looked.

So when I was contacted by Jewelry Keepsakes, I was extremely excited.

I was a bit nervous too, would the engraving be too much? Would it be too noticeable on neck? I look talking about Cora, but would it stick out so much that everyone would comment and ask? I don’t always feel like speaking about her to the passer by.

My worries were absolutely calmed when I got my necklace just a few days later. The engraving is beautiful. In fact, I ran to the mail box where the sun blinded my eyes a bit and when I first opened it in our dark living room (winter time, gotta bundle up those windows to save on heat) I thought they made a mistake. I couldn’t seen the engraving. As soon as I turned on a light, I saw indeed it was no mistake. The engraving was there, unmistakable, noticeable but subtle. For lack of a better description, it wasn’t tacky or over the top.

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The necklace looks perfect around my neck. I opted for a longer change because I’m a tall girl with a not so small chest, and really like how it hangs.

I can’t say enough about the engraving. It’s not easy to entrust your baby’s beautiful face to someone else. Luckily for me, it looks perfect. On the back, they engraved Cora’s name and birthday.

I also tear up hoping someday I have a daughter whom I’ll pass the necklace on to when I pass away. Hopefully she’ll pass it on, and it will become a family heirloom.

The ordering process was easy for me, and according to a representative to the website, orders are usually shipped within a few days.

The site has a large focus on cremation jewelry, which is beautiful. I have a necklace with Cora’s remains similar to some of the ones on the site and love it. In that way, she’s always with me.

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One of the cremation pieces from Jewelry Keepsakes. Photo copyright Jewelry Keepsakes.

However, the engraved pieces especially are for any mom, grandma or proud aunt (like me, my sister is due any day now, yay!) that wants to have a beautiful picture handy.

Want one of your own?

Enter code “Cora” at checkout for a five percent discount!

Win one following the directions in the Rafflecopter below. (Open to US residents over 18 only).

The very, very best ever? The company is donating a percentage of profits from all purchases of necklaces like mine to help children with congenital heart defects through Sisters By Heart. As a heart mom, I can’t thank them enough. Anytime a company takes up our cause, I’m extremely touched. This will last through February. Here’s a link to my necklace. 

Enter to win a photo engraved necklace!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

For $5 you can help save two lives, supporting cleanbirth.org

I lost a baby to something possibly preventable, but I still feel like we had a chance. I was able to birth in a clean, sterile environment and really got top-notch care according to the current standard of care.

In countries across the country, babies and mothers die because they don’t have needed basic necessities during childbirth.

I’m so thankful to Cora for waking me up and opening my eyes to both the needs and plight of moms and babies here and the in some cases desperate need of mothers and babies across the world.

That’s why I’ve joined World Mom’s Blog as a contributor. I hope to write more there about moms and babies worldwide.

Today, World Mom’s Blog is joining forces with Girls Globe and Multicultural Kids Globe to support CleanBirth.org.

CleanBirth.org was started by a US mom who wanted to do something about the disturbing death rate of moms and babies in Laos. In Laos, the infant mortality rate is higher than Sudan’s.

The organization provides moms with clean birth kits, and trains nurses to provide a clean, safe birthing environment among other advocacy.

Moms and babies are dying because of something that can be prevented with a $5 clean birth kit, infection. I know that frustration. Cora died because of a $5 test, but at the time we didn’t know better.

We KNOW that clean birthing conditions save lives and are a must.

How you can help

Please join World Mom’s Blog in supporting CleanBirth.org by donating through the fundraising page. 

For just $5 you can provide a WHO approved clean birth kit, and possibly save a life, or two. Just skip a cup of coffee today. It’s more than worth it.

Join the Twitter party, February 6 1 to 2 p.m. EST with hash tag #CleanBirth
#CleanBirth Twitter Party!

Spread the word! Visit CleanBirth.org and share what you learn.