Saturday, February 24, 2007

Giving to Your Cause: Empowerment at It’s Best

Have you ever wondered where your donated dollars to your favorite charity go? Or have you speculated on how much of your donation is applied to your particular interest with in that charity? Today there are multitudes of groups that a person can take the opportunity to donate their time, talents, and money. For some individuals what they have to offer appears to be small in comparison to others. I have even heard individuals say, what difference would my few dollars make? Now there is an innovative approach to giving back to your cause, without feeling your contribution is a small ripple in the big pond of giving, through what is known as a “Giving Circle.”

Giving Circles are a small group of people who come together for a common cause, pool their money in order to make a real difference toward their particular interest. Anyone can start a Giving Circle. Starting a circle of giving is as easy as a group deciding to donate the cost of one restaurant meal a week to your circle’s fund. Then the circle gives their designated dollar amount to their favorite charity or cause when it is attained. This is people empowerment doing its best work because people have control over their personal involvement and their donation dollars. To learn more about Giving Circles go to

Now some of you may be saying, “This is fine and dandy, but I do not even have a dollar to my name.” Then I ask you, if there was a way to give to your favorite charity without it costing you dollars would you do it? Of course, you would. So, how many times during the day do you “key word” search (Google) on the Internet? I search at least ten word searches a day. Here is another great way to give to your favorite cause by doing your web searches on There are over 30,000 charities listed and for each search, 1-cent is given to your designated charity. Just think if one person does ten searches a day, which is 3.00 dollars a month that your charity would not normally receive. If you discover your charity is not listed, contact them and ask them to fill out the charity information. The great thing about giving to your charitable interests this way is if you have more than one charity you can choose a different one with each visit. To find your favorite charity go to

Last but not least, Goggle Grants gives free advertising to select non-profits seeking to raise awareness from literacy to health issues. This indeed, is people empowerment doing its best work and it is easy to be counted as making an effort to help others. If you know of other places that are benefiting charities, please leave a comment to let others know.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Many Faces Of SIDS

Some people have asked me, why do I write about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? My thoughts go immediately back to a time when SIDS did not touch my family. My life was filled with the typical American bustling of work and family activities. I loved my life. There are days when I wish I could go back and change things, but I can’t. The reality is SIDS took a grandchild from me, in addition, a child from one of my children and a brother from my grandchildren. Brennen’s illogical and unthinkable death shook my very core, made me search for meaning and reorder my life.

During my journey of grief and loss, I have become increasingly aware of how SIDS has different faces to many people. For families who have suffered infant loss the face of SIDS is the image of their baby, their short-term gift. The picture is etched in their minds of their precious little one’s face never to grow up; their family constellation is forever changed. For others the face of SIDS is recognized by a medical diagnosis for an infant who died in their sleep for reasons beyond the scope of current medical or research knowledge. Then again, for some it is the belief in old wives tales of suffocation or assumptions that somehow the caregiver did not provide safe infant care is the identifiable face of SIDS. The face of ambivalence becomes a common friend too. With each face-to-face encounter, it was not long until I realized our family was not alone in this stone hard journey of grief. There are families, just like mine experiencing the same walk of ambivalence with the many faces of SIDS. I had to find a way to help my surviving SIDS grandchildren deal with the loss they experienced, educate the public, and bring honor to SIDS babies lives. I wrote Flying Hugs and Kisses to help children understand their encounters with SIDS. There is another face of SIDS called life after SIDS.

I have posted some amazing poems from family members who live across the United States, to give the reader a glimpse of SIDS family experiences. It is my hope that one can see how a baby who never talked words, never walked and lived for only a few days or months has had a tremendous effect on American family lives. SIDS is more than an identifiable diagnosis; it is the etchings of one’s soul encounter with another’s.

The Unexpected

So unexpected was that dreadful call
Unthinkable words filled my ears
Devastation in the callers voice
Disbelief was my initial reaction
Even thinking it must be a mistake
Not knowing what to say, the tears began to flow

I barely remember the ride home
Not quite sure of what had happened
Frantic thoughts passed through my mind
A stomach full of butterflies
Never really taking my eyes off your picture
Then, finally, I was embracing another deeply saddened soul

Desperately I clung to him, needing to hug him tight
Eyes so swollen and red from crying
And a sharp painful feeling in my heart
The truth still too hard to absorb
Hoping perhaps we were misinformed

Silently and suddenly your life can be changed
You don't even see it coming
Never thinking you'd be effected,
Doubting it could ever happen to you
Really not knowing much about it until it hits home
Overwhelmed at the reality of it
Moved by the love and support
Enraged that there is no cure

In Loving Memory
Dennis Michael

Posted by permission
Aunt Cathy Anderson

It Was Beautiful Once

It was beautiful once
the uplifting music
followed by children’s laughter
the sweet sound of baby's coo

It was beautiful once
the joy to wake up every morning
to go on walks just before dusk
to take your time to see the world

It was beautiful once
to sit in the park to watch the nature play
to see the bees working and flowers blooming
to watch the breeze blow the leaves in the trees

It was beautiful once
now it is lost
I cannot find it
it was stolen
a part of my life

It was beautiful once
it is gone no where to be found
time did it
time always does it

It was beautiful once
I have gotten older
many people have seen enough
many infants didn't get a chance

It was beautiful once
it is lost
I cannot find it
it is too late
but now he is gone

It was beautiful once
my son
part of my life has been stolen

In loving memory
Brennen Cole Kuehl-Sample

Posted by permission
Kelly Kuehl-Sample

If I Would've Known...

If I would've known what was to come before the morning light
I wouldn't have slept, I would've watched over you through the night.

If I would've known what was to come before the morning light
I would've stayed with you and played with you and held you oh so tight.

If I would've known what was to come before the morning light
I would've prayed and prayed and asked GOD to spare your soul that night.

If I would've known what was to come before the morning light
I would've asked GOD to help me see what plan HE had in sight.

If I would've known what was to come before the morning light
But I didn't know and I couldn't know

...And only GOD knows why

For My Little Angel,
~Jordan Ezra Taffe~
(Dec. 4, 2006 ~ Jan. 2, 2007)

From your Mommy,
I'll always love you!
Posted by permission
Ariana Adam

A Feeling That Only A Mother Can Know

A feeling that only a mother can know
Of an Angel within, each day as she grows

The joy & excitement of what is to come
All shattered in a moment by what can’t be undone

A feeling that only a mother can know
The loss of an Angel that left too soon

This pain runs so deep I wonder how I’ll make it through
But then comes to mind my precious memories with you

Times that we shared, so few but so sweet
Your beautiful face, those tiny little feet

My love for you will continue to grow
And that’s a feeling that only your mother can know

I love you Jordan!
From your mommy
Posted by permission
Ariana Adam

I Dream

Like a ripple in a pond,
A whisper in the wind,
I dream of how things might have been.

Your boyish grin
Your manly cleft shaped chin
Your chubby cheeks
Your soft blue eyes
Are dreams of days and weeks gone by.

Your first little giggle,
Your toes that you wiggled
Are memories that whisper now and then.

Like a ripple in a pond,
A whisper in the wind,
I can not help but cling to what
you might have been.

Watching you take your first step
as you eye your favorite toy to get.
Would it have been balls or blocks?
Or would it have been trucks or books?

I cannot know.
For like a ripple in a pond,
A whisper in the wind,
Your life was over when you became
a victim of SIDS.

In loving memory
Brennen Cole Kuehl-Sample

by Jewel Sample© 2006