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Fleeing Vietnam & Losing Freedom Results in Living a Life of Meaning for One #GNO Gal

inspiring moms!my worldmoms making a difference

family-1975 On April 30th my family and I will be remembering the 34th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, South Vietnam to the Communist North Vietnamese Army. The Communist Regime gaining control of South Vietnam forced my family to make a daring and dangerous escape for freedom.
We abandoned our home and everything we owned; with just the clothes on our backs, we attempted to flee the country. My family managed to cram into a little fishing boat with about forty other strangers and began our desperate voyage across the Pacific Ocean.  “Until one loses his freedom, he won’t know what he must risk to find it… and that my father dared to do; for me and my siblings.”

After being rescued by the US Navy while stranded at sea and moving from one refugee camp to another, we landed in California. Shortly after, we were sponsored by The First Baptist Church in Beloit, Wisconsin. This initiative was the selfless efforts of several families to make our entrance into to the Beloit Community possible. The sacrifice and around the clock attention my family received when we arrived and the relationships we built with the church and family is unforgettable.
We arrived in a new country with one cardboard box of belongings that we had collected while in the refugee camps to a fully furnished home, clean water, clothes, and food. The miraculous Navy rescue, followed by a welcoming community has touched our hearts and engraved an attitude of gratitude that we live with daily. This was the essence of a first Mom It Forward experience that we received; spearheaded by the late Reverend Kermit Olsen and the Lead Volunteer, the late Mr. Robert Florey and their widows, Helen Olsen and Caroline Florey.

The generosity and kindness from First Baptist Church has made a life changing impact on my family. I was recently invited back to FBC to share my testimony and had the privilege of publicly thanking and honoring the widows and the church for impact that they made on my life personally.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand how fragile life could be. After a night out and falling asleep behind the wheel, I found myself waking up in ICU a couple of days later to find that I had been in a head on collision that almost took my life prematurely. Realizing how blessed I was to have another chance at life; I made a decision to live a life that mattered.


The most difficult part of this post is to share how I have Mommed It Forward, because my philosophy is to give without talking about it. When opportunities rise for me to give whether it’s of my time, service, or financial means; I seize that moment as God’s guidance and act on it. Recently, I was compelled to Mom It Forward by answering a tweet from a mother contemplating an electronic purchase for her teenage son. Not knowing what their situation was, I sent her a direct message and asked if I could be the anonymous giver of that gift. I wanted it to come from his mother and not from me. It’s a blessing to give as the Bible describes in Acts, “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” We are blessed to be a blessing.
I am excited about the opportunity to Mom It Forward through the Global Hug Tour; founded by Gail Goodwin of Inspire Me Today. I will be the Hug Ambassador for Vietnam to coordinate the delivery of 2000 hugs (financial aid) to those in my own country that are underprivileged. This is just one of the small ways that I can give back, as I’ve been so blessed to have received from people who have Mommed It Forward in my life.

duongx Duong Sheahan is the blog owner of Healthy Beauty Secrets (soon aka Living Healthier and Happier and Founder of Beauty Secrets. She is passionate about empowering people, especially women and moms to live healthier and happier from the inside-out.

Duong is a certified Biblical Health Coach and writes articles on topics ranging from women’s health to inspirational encouragement on her own blog at Healthy Beauty Secrets as well as guest posts for several online publications empowering people to live healthier and happier.
Blog: (soon aka) Twitter: @DuongSheahan

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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