The Macs » Blog

Sorry about my absence.
Do you ever have weeks where everything feels like a mess?
That has been my week.
My house has been a mess.
My emotions have been a mess.
My spiritual life has been a little messy.
Levi has had a few days where he has been a mess.
And the Cora’s for Calla fundraiser…
well, it had turned into a mess.

mess #1
It turns out that my little Levi DOES cry. I know, it is hard to believe. Earlier this week he spent lots of time trying out his lungs. He found out he can scream pretty loud. I think the poor guy has had some belly aches. And maybe a growth spurt. It is hard to know. But every time I started to get frustrated or tired, I just squeezed him a little tighter. I reminded myself of how blessed I am to be able to hold him at all, even if he is screaming. Although sometimes even my exhaustion overtakes my common sense. Thankfully Joel is around to keep me level headed. Oh, and the past few days have been much better. And Levi has started smiling at us all the time (when he is not screaming of course). And cooing too. It is SO sweet.

mess #2
I have been struggling. Struggling to find time to spend in the Word with little Levi around. Things are all of a sudden busy again–life has changed, again. And just like so many times before, I am having a hard time keeping my priorities straight. I remember going through this same thing after Cora was born. But this time I feel the absence so much more. My time with the Lord has been so sweet since we lost Cora. He has been my friend, guide, comforter, and so much more. I needed Him desperately to get through each day. And I still do. I have never longed for time with the Lord like I do now. I miss Him. I can tell a difference in my day and emotions and attitues when I haven’t taken time out to talk to Him. Everything else starts feeling like a mess. And I don’t want to keep moving forward like this. I am making it a priority from here on to set aside time each day for the Lord. At least I am praying that this would be my priority. My time with the Lord may look a little different now, than what it did before Levi was born. And that is okay. But I still need it. Not just a few passing seconds, but quality time. As my life becomes busy again with being a mom, I don’t want to be so distracted by other things that I miss out on what is most important. I need to be solid in my relationship with the Lord so that I can be the best wife for Joel and the best mama for Levi. I need Him.

mess #3
I was getting so frustrated with the Cora’s for Calla thing. I have been praying that the Lord would work in this “mess” and that I would be able to continue to love my friend through this fundraiser. Every idea I had or someone else suggested seemed to lead to a closed door. I thought I had everything cleared up with PayPal and then I got another e-mail saying that my account had been restricted again. Really?? I called, sent in more information, wrote several e-mails and then finally resolved the problem yesterday. I found out that they WILL allow me to accept donations as long as it is just a donation, no strings attached. NO RAFFLES. Apparently they are illegal, so I wouldn’t suggest hosting one on your blog. And auctions are okay too.  So here is the plan for Cora’s for Calla…

I am going to try a combination of giveaways and auctions. I will also be putting up the donations button again. This time we will just be taking donations from anyone who feels led to give, any amount. Even a few dollars, when added up with everyone else, goes a long way. The giveaways WILL NOT be tied to a donation. Although if you want to give and enter the giveaway that would be awesome…but you don’t have to. Anyone can enter the giveaways. All I ask is that you would pray for Calla and her family and maybe even hop over to their blog and encourage them. The giveaways will be smaller and more frequent. And then every once in a while I will auction something off too, with the item going to the highest bidder.  Believe me, I have looked into a lot of things, and this just seemed like the least time consuming and best way to finish off Cora’s for Calla. I have okayed everything with PayPal, so I think we are good. I know this is different than the original plan, so if you donated an item for Cora’s for Calla and have a problem with what I am doing, please e-mail me. Otherwise, Cora’s for Calla will resume tomorrow. Yeah! I am so relieved and excited to have this all figured out. I can’t wait to see the Lord continue to work through this fundraiser. I am praying that this will be a huge blessing to the Johnsons.

I know that a lot of you think that I have it all together. I don’t. My life is…well…a mess sometimes. But I am so thankful that my God can still use the messes in my life to accomplish His purposes. All that He asks is that I draw near to Him and He promises to draw near to me (James 4:8). I am so thankful for the hope and grace we find in Jesus. I am thankful that I don’t have to live in fear of failure because of all of my messes.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11:28-30
The Message

I read this translation of Matthew at my Bible study a few days ago. I just love it! See you all tomorrow!

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  • Jamie - Thanks for the uplifting post today. I know you may not feel like it is one but trust me — It is! We (as wives and moms) all have those “mess” weeks and while mine is not 100% identical to yours I know exactly what you mean and I pray that these next few days will be better for you.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Thanks for taking time out to share with us..Continueing to think and pray for you and your sweet family. Love that Cora’s for Calla will continue..I do visit their blog and pray for them daily..Sweet Calla is filling out!

    KimReplyCancel

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  • susy - When Life is overwhelming, your best friend is the Lord. I always ask myself how to the non-believers go through life? God Bless you all.

    On a lighter or heavier note, Little Levi definitely had a growth spurt. He is so cute.ReplyCancel

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  • Caroline - praying the rest of your week is stress free.

    Levi looks so adorable in that picture, what a beautiful baby boy.

    Thank you for such an honest post. Look forward to tomorrow!

    CarolineReplyCancel

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  • The Dolezal Family - One thing that helped me was to read the scriptures while I nursed one time a day. I wasn’t going anywhere and it gave me about 20+ minutes to read with no other distractions. I found doing it at the evening or one of the early morning feedings worked best because everyone else in the house was asleep.

    The other thing would be to remember that as a young mother Heavenly Father knows that you can spend countless hours with Him. One of my religion teachers talked about how many mothers feel like they neglect God while being a mother because they can’t spend the same amount of time as they used too. But according to him he felt that wasn’t always the best way a young mother serves the Lord. We serve the Lord by raising righteous children.

    Also, (sorry this is so long!) you will be surprised what a little taste of the scriptures will do for you. Start the day with a verse then come back to it later when you can.ReplyCancel

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  • The Rouse House - When it rains it pours 🙂 Thanks for sharing that translation of those verses. Such a beautiful picture of God’s love and provision for us.

    I’ve been waiting to donate to Cora’s for Calla based on the raffles. Now I’ll make my donation and watch 🙂 I pray this works out even better than the raffles!ReplyCancel

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  • Tricia - Oh Jess, none of us have it all together. I am a mess probably more times than not. I hope that none of my words have ever made you feel down, unhappy about how I see you. Just the fact that you both were able to get up and function in those first hard weeks and months alone was mind-blowing to me.
    Your faith, and love, and belief that God would bring you through this trial has brought me encouragement that I can never really put into words.
    Thank you for all that you do. Noone expects you to have it together all of the time. I hope they don’t expect that of me either. They would be sorely disappointed. 😉
    So glad to hear that Levi’s exercising those lungs. Just not so glad to hear that you are sleep-deprived. Those are the hardest days, I suppose.
    You are all in my prayers. I hope that the coming week will bring a bit less stress, a whole lot more sleep, and some precious time with the Lord.

    With love and prayers,
    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Life is messy. It the grace that you handle it with that makes you an inspiration.ReplyCancel

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  • Krystal - Thank you for sharing this verse! I love it! And may have to post it on my bathroom mirror as a reminder! Praying that everything falls into place soon! It’s hard with a newborn and honestly if you are able to work out the kinks now I think you are doing amazing!ReplyCancel

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  • Lane - I am totally with you on mess #2. I have an almost 5 month old and am struggling so much to fit Him in.

    Thanks for your honesty. It’s so refreshing.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - I have to admit I was beginning to worry about you since you hadn’t posted 🙂 Sleep deprivation is used as a torture tactic in many countries and as mothers of infants we understand why! This too shall pass. When I think back on the first 8 weeks of my daughter’s life all I can remember is feeling like a mess as well in all aspects of my life. Doesn’t it make you feel good that you’re not alone? You don’t have to have it all together for us to appreciate you. We appreciate you for the Godly woman you are — messy or not 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • purejoy - wow. i can imagine the emotions of being a new mom again can be overwhelming on a good day… but with all you have swirling around you i can imagine there are days…
    i’ve been having a week like that too. i just put my burdens down at the foot of the cross. i’ve traded my ashes for beauty. sigh. i love jesus!
    so thankful for his redemption.
    may he give you comfort and peace during this time of transition and little levi will be smiling more than crying here very soon. i feel it!
    bless you!ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah Joy - thank you for your honesty today. My mess is over taking my life and well your words just made me feel not alone over here on the east copast. Life is just messy soem times, isn’t it but God is bigger than the mess. I trust he will help me and you through all the messiest of times we have.
    Praying for you this evening…ReplyCancel

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  • twolittletots - praying for a less messy week for you. i have never meet you, but jess i think you are doing a wonderful job…and everyone’s life is a messy, don’t beat yourself up.

    blessings!ReplyCancel

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  • jen - thank you for this post. ive had a rough day, and had ‘skipped’ my time with God today… feeling like I did not know where to go. I do now. Matthew 11:28-30. Thank you.ReplyCancel

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  • Nancy - thanks for the pot..& where did you get levi’s cute romper?ReplyCancel

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  • merlin - Missed you. Glad to read today’s post and see the adorable photo of Levi.

    One of the religions, Quaker I think, believes that every act is a prayer, a conversation with God. Every dish washed, every diaper changed, every stitch sewn, every kind word, every piece of food chopped, diced and cooked, all are acts of prayer.

    Whether I have attributed this to the right faith or not, I hope that you will see that all that you do, each day, from sun up to sun down can be interpreted as prayer.

    I understand that hunger for “quality” time in worship, the great thing is that God meets us where we are.ReplyCancel

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  • Erica - oh i have those days/weeks too! thank you for sharing that verse, it was just what i needed to hear(read) today! God bless you and your sweet little family.ReplyCancel

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  • Tammie - Can so relate… i have no babies or husband but plenty of “mess”… love that translation too!ReplyCancel

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  • Townsend Crew - Wonderful post. Can you share with us more about how you spend time with the Lord? I want to learn from you what that sounds like. What does that look like? What tools do you use? Do you memorize (as Julie wrote about in her blog recently) and recite? Do you sing? Teach me. Teach us. How does a mom do it in the midst of broken up moments, alone, and looking for Jesus our days? Thanks for your continued model of faith and grace! Sorry– don’t mean to ask you to give us more, when your words and faith already give me so much!ReplyCancel

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  • Mum2twopreciousgifts - Dear Jess

    About a week ago, I posted a long overdue little package to welcome Levi. I have no idea how long it will take to get from Australia to you but I hope when it arrives, it puts a little smile on your face.

    Your blog is marvellous, you are marvellous, your example is marvellous, your generosity for Calla is marvellous….and messy is completely fine as you can’t be marvellous 110% of the time.

    With prayers for your family and Calla’s from our little family in Brisbane, Australia.ReplyCancel

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  • Anne - Your post hits home for me. I feel like this many day. Do you know how Calla is doing? I haven’t seen an update in a few days and I’ve been praying she’s doing well.ReplyCancel

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  • Kelly - It’s good to hear your update, Jess, I know I have been feeling like life is a little overwhelming too this week…I hope you got the package I sent a few weeks back for Levi’s and Calla’s knitted blankets…I am working on another one now for another sweet baby just born to a young couple at church…I know what you mean about needing time with the Lord…I am right there with you! Praying you will have that time with Him..!ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Thank you so much for taking the time to post today – I know how busy life is with a newborn! Levi is so cute, I started smiling and laughing out loud when I saw your pic. What a sweet little face! He looks so much like my nephew. Hang in there. I think we all need the reminder that we need to reprioritize and spend some time with the Lord each day. Lately it seems like I only get that time Sunday at church, but that is definitely not enough. Motherhood and teaching keeps me so busy most days, but you remind me that I need to make time for the most important relationship that I have, my relationship with Christ.
    God bless!
    Ashley in AZReplyCancel

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  • Ashley - Reminds me of a book I own called “God Loves Messy People” by Bonnie Keen. We all have messy days! Praying that yours get better!ReplyCancel

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  • Lauren Kelly - We learn some of God’s biggest messages through the messes in our life!!! Just know that we’re all a mess, not just you, ha!! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Sherryl - As a mom, things are never perfect. But you look into that sweet little face and then all of life’s imperfections are sudden worthwhile.

    Love that little Levi – he is a cutie.ReplyCancel

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  • Audrey - I have a feeling that Paypal considers raffles gambling which can be considered illegal without the proper permits. Paypal truly are a bunch of idiots anyway so I wouldn’t worry so much about it. They are only losing business and hurting themselves by continuing to give their customers such a hard time.ReplyCancel

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  • Donna H - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2Corinthians 1:3&4

    Young mothers need encouragement and are finding it here. This is a valuable ministry.

    God uses The Macs because they are willing. It’s the ‘messes’ in our lives that teach us the things God wants us to learn.ReplyCancel

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  • La Familia Garcia - Just seeing that through all this you still take the time to “praise him in the storm.” When we are a mess, and God STILL uses us to reach others, we see it is all God, not us at all. Thanks for being a mess, and still sharing God’s love!ReplyCancel

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  • The Mershawn's - Hey Jess…
    I wanted to leave a comment to encourage you….but after seeing all of these sweet comments, I have nothing left to say:). Except, from one mom to another I’m starting to think, there will ALWAYS be messes! Makes me crazy, but so thankful for the reasons I have my messes.
    And hang in there. I always try to remind myself, the 2 month mark is where things finally start to settle down. And life just gets more & more sweet as time moves forward with those little bitty ones. They are so good. Levi is precious! Give him a good squeeze…ReplyCancel

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  • Julia - Praying for you daily. Both my children had terrible colic. Something that worked for my first daughter was called Baby’s Bliss Gripe Water. There are other brands out now too. But this one worked the best. It’s all natural and was a miracle. There was a point where I would have paid $100 for a bottle! It did not work for my 2nd daughter but may be worth a try with sweet Levi.ReplyCancel

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  • Andrea - Hi Jess –
    Thanks for sharing and my heart goes out to you, especially in regards to your time with God. It’s something that I’ve definitely struggled with and thrown a fit over every time God changes a season on me and I have to readjust to finding a new quiet time that works. God knows your heart on this and He will lead you through it. Something I’ve been learning lately through a variety of sources and has been an encouragement when I’ve felt He is in a time of hiddeness, is this: God is often so close to us that we are unable to perceive Him. Perhaps He is casting that shadow in the valley (for something has to be present for a shadow to be cast) or maybe His hand is covering our eyes asking us to believe He is there on faith.

    I hope that makes sense and helps.

    Loving seeing the pictures of Levi.

    Love in Christ,
    AndreaReplyCancel

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  • Marla Taviano - Thanks for sharing your heart, Jess. I’m a mess too.

    That little boy is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.ReplyCancel

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  • Michelle - SWEET baby boy. LOVE the romper!
    Thank you for the post- great perspective and we have all been there! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Our Naquin Family - What a wonderfl post…We just moved to Germany in October, my life has been a mess or so I feel. This post was wonderful, thank you! The picture of Levi, is precious! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Elz - You are brave to share all your struggles with us. Don’t forget to take time to just breathe and be.ReplyCancel

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  • Miranda - Things tend to get out of control when your routine changes. It might take a little while for things to get in order, but you’re doing great!
    I love Levi’s little outfit! Where do you purchase his clothes? Too cute!ReplyCancel

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  • Miss G - Jess, our lives all get in a mess from time to time. 🙂

    I do love that version of that verse from Matthew. I just read it recently and it was wonderful to see it again on your blog and to have it reinforced in my life.

    AND . . . I bought those same adorable elephant pjs for our little one on the way! love them! 🙂 KellyReplyCancel

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  • Paula Aspacher - Gripe water! it is the best and is dr and pharmacist recommended for babies who have excess gas or tummyaches. use regularly for the best results! picky moms use it and get great results! happy babies! i had a baby with reflux and colic 22years ago and wish we had something like this then!ReplyCancel

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  • Carla - Hi, wow Levi is a beautiful baby 🙂 I agree with the others, you are doing fantastic, life with a newborn is tough in any circumstances, I found it was 12 weeks before I drew breath!!! Take time for yourself, very important, I particularly like the idea of reading your scripture when nursing, heaven knows you’re probably doing alot of that given how fast Levi is growing lol. Another sanity saver is a sling, something like on http://www.becobabycarrier.com (think you’ll like that style). They’re very handy for trips to the farm to see daddy later on too and trips into town where the stroller is a pain but they are fantastic for evening colic or general unsettledness. HTH xxReplyCancel

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  • Lisa - Love the picture. He looks like he is quite pleased with himself.ReplyCancel

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The Lord has blessed me with great friends both near and far.
I mean really great friends.
The kind that stick with you through the tough stuff.
They see you at your worst.
They let you cry and even cry with you.
And they still love you through it all.
These are three of my “near” friends 
who have been there for me through a very tough year.
And, even now, they are still blessing me.
This time with a shower for Mr. Levi.

Everything was perfect.
Blue and green pom-poms hanging from the ceiling.
Fabric bunting with Levi’s name on it.

Yummy food.
Of course!
Cupcakes with sarah + abraham toppers.
They were so cute.
Sara made the invitations too.
She is one of my “far” friends.
And she has just launched a great new website–
They even featured my baby shower on it this week!

More cute decorations.
These lollipops were made with washcloths 
and baby spoons by the very talented Heather.
She is another one of my “far” friends.
And she is the queen of party planning!

Silhouettes of my sweet family of four.
Heather made these too.
Thankfully, they told me to come early–
before everyone arrived–to get my tears out.
Oh, how I wish my family could all be together like in that picture.

Lots of great gifts too.
Levi is one spoiled little guy.
He is going to look quite handsome in all of his new clothes too!

The whole shower was so sweet.
But I think this was definitely one of my favorite gifts.
The girls had typed out verses with Levi’s name in them.
They passed them around and everyone prayed
these verses for my little guy.
I loved it!
I cried through the whole prayer.
What a sweet thing to have all these ladies praying over Levi.

Here were a few of them:

Let Levi sing of your great love forever; let him make known your faithfulness through all generations.
Psalm 89:1


Fill Levi with the knowledge of your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding, that he might live a life worthy of you, Lord, and please you in every way.
Colossians 1:9-10
I love the idea of praying scripture for your kids.
I have all the verses printed out 
and will continue to use them to pray for Levi.
And in case you want to do the same for your kids,
here are some verses to start you off:
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Psalm 5:11
Psalm 139:14
Isaiah 43:4
Proverbs 13:4
1 Kings 3:9, 12
Galatians 5:13
Galatians 5:22-23
Proverbs 9:10-12
Philippians 2:15-16
Joshua 1:9
Isaiah 48:17
Luke 2:52
Psalm 100:2
Romans 14:7-9
Psalm 141:3-4
1 Peter 4:8-11
Proverbs 3:5-6
Psalm 89:1
Colossians 1:9-10
If you have other methods that you use to pray for your kids, 
I would love to hear them.
Thanks so much Amanda, Kendall, and Julie for the fun shower!
And thank you Heather and Sara too!
I know you girls did tons of work and it meant so much to me.
***************************
I think that I am getting close to figuring something out for Cora’s for Calla.
Sorry about the delay this week.
Please continue to pray for the Calla and her family!
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  • Charity - Still praying… Jess that is such a sweet baby shower!!! I loved the verses, the silhouettes, the cupcakes, the presents (at least what you showed of them =D) – you have very special friends!
    God bless and hugs,
    CharityReplyCancel

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  • Julie - Such an Amazing Baby Shower! Love all of the party decorations, gifts, food . . . Wow!ReplyCancel

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  • Amanda - can’t even begin to tell you how much I love you…. and your amazing husband…. and your darling little boy… and your precious little girl.

    thank you for allowing me to walk this path with you.

    my life is forever changed, and forever blessed because you are my friend.ReplyCancel

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  • Diana - What a blessing to have such wonderful friends! That’s probably the most special baby shower I’ve ever seen! The Lord truly has given you riches in those who surround you… and we can tell you are indeed a blessing to them!

    Mr. Levi, you are a lucky blessed little guy!

    Keeping Calla and her family in prayers!!

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  • 3LittleByrds - I love your baby shower. What great friends you have. I love the sweet silhouettes. What a special thing to keep.ReplyCancel

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  • Kristen - What a sweet shower — and even sweeter friends you have. All the details that must have gone into the shower, it looked perfect! And the cards with prayers for Levi, how special!ReplyCancel

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  • Christina - That is so wonderful…the silhouettes are just…well, they leave me speechless. You have given so much; I’m so glad that they were able to do this for you and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • Jennemma - I have been training my now 4-year-old to memorize scriptures and she knows 6 scriptures already. Matt. 5:5, Psalms 83:18, Gen. 1:1, 1 John 4:8, Acts 20:35 and Matt. 4:4. Little ones are like sponges and they can do amazing things.ReplyCancel

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  • Aaron and Shannon - The shower looked great! I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it. Aaron had a wrestling meet that day and I didn’t have anyone to watch the boys.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - How Beautiful! Thank you for the scripture references. It is because of you I am stronger in my faith. I have even discovered bible study with a wonderful group of women. Thank you Jess for your blog and for sharing your 2 children with us. My life is forever changed.

    Krissy Hunecke
    Batavia, ILReplyCancel

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  • Kristin Stegent - Awww…what an awesome shower! I LOVE the silhouettes! I swear, I am not a big crier…but you have kept me crying this year! I just love your family, and don’t even know you! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • A - Wow, what a beautiful shower!ReplyCancel

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  • Cabra Clan - What a sweet shower and what great decorating they did!! I recently came across a 31 day calendar for praying for your children and I love it! Each day is a quality and corresponding scripture. I have it posted on my blog at the top of the right hand side bar.ReplyCancel

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  • hopefuls #1 - I was reading through this post, saying… oh that’s sweet. those are super cute. I love the cupcakes… yada yada yada…

    Then I got toward the bottom and it was like instant tears. I couldn’t imagine the emotions, the love and the spirit that must have been in that room while your friends were reading their verses and praying for Levi.

    So completely moving and I wasn’t even there. I love that idea though!ReplyCancel

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  • Emily - WOW AWESOME AWESOME shower!!!! you have some thoughtful and creative friends for sure! I love the idea of having the shower after the baby is born! so fun 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Emma and Company - Oh my gosh, what a sweet shower your friends threw for you. Those silhouettes….just made me tear up. What a thoughtful gift. I also love the idea of all the verses with Levi’s name in them! I am so glad you had such a great shower!ReplyCancel

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  • purejoy - such a cute shower with so many adorable ideas!! i love the idea of praying verses over children, with their NAME!! so adorable!

    will we be seeing mr. levi in your sidebar soon?ReplyCancel

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  • twolittletots - what a sweet shower and wonderful girlfriends you have. thank you for sharing the Bible verses, i am going to copy them and use them to pray with the girls.ReplyCancel

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  • SHUGGAMOM - Jess,
    What a precious loving caring thoughful group of friends,who love you and your family and GOD!!!
    That is so priceless!!! Everything looked perfect, so much love for you and Levi,it showed.
    I am like you those scriptures with Levis’s name placed in them,gave me chills,that was so special. I will have to remember to do that for others.
    Thats for sharing with us.
    I know you are super busy,but we love to see whats going on with yall.

    Abundant Blessings and Love,

    Stacey
    East TexasReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - looks lovely!
    i also love the idea of praying scripture over children. my husband prays a blessing and a prayer of protection over our daughter every night. starting from when we found out i was pregnant. the blessing is “may the lord bless you and keep you. may the lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. may the lord lift up his countenance upon you and bring you peace.”ReplyCancel

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  • Stef - looks like it was a beautiful shower!! so happy for you.ReplyCancel

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  • BEK - Now that is an awesome time of fellowship!ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - What a great baby show & a great time with friends & family. I’m currently working on a baby shower for my SIL. I would love to know where the “LEVI” picture on the goodie table came from. I would love to do something like that as well.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Sweet Sweet friends you have..What an incredibly sweet friend you must be to have such great friends..Thanks for sharing your journey with us…Your little Levi is just adorable..

    KimReplyCancel

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  • Melissa - What a sweet time of blessing for you and Levi~ I have two showers coming up and I love the idea of having the guests pray for the child. I have three boys and I put Thomas the Tank stickers on my washer and when I am doing laundry, I pray for them. Laundry is never-ending, but seeing those little stickers makes me smile and reminds me to be grateful that I have laundry to do for my precious gifts from God!ReplyCancel

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  • L ~ S - The scripture idea is very special!ReplyCancel

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  • The Baby Shower Guides Lady - What a great bunch of friends you have. The baby shower looked fabulous and all those home made baby shower decorations and invite cards. I can only say WOW.

    Thank you for sharing your baby shower day with us.

    Take CareReplyCancel

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  • Natalie Catherine - what a fun party!! everything looks amazing! just came across your blog and must say that it is inspirational and beautiful. will say a prayer for you and your family..keep on being such an inspirational woman. i’ll be back!ReplyCancel

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  • Lauren Kelly - The shower was absolutely beautiful!!!!! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Mommy - What a fun baby shower! You deserve to have such wonderful friends 🙂 I love the verses idea…how sweet!ReplyCancel

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  • Sheryl - What an awesome idea to pray scripture with the child’s name. I love it so much I am going to give this as a challenge on my blog for our orphans!

    I love your blog Jess!ReplyCancel

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  • shepherdsgrace - I heart God-given friends..those close, those “far”…

    we are helping a “far” friend in the adoption of two littlies from the Ukraine…

    if you want to read about them…look here..
    http://onething.beautifulheritage.com/?p=4653

    blessings…btw I am SO stealing that verse idea for my children and for future showers…I love it!

    SarahReplyCancel

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  • the breedens - How cute! Your friends are so crafty just like you! On another note, I have never been able to get hold of a Cora dress (in any size or color!) so my mom is making a couple of what we are calling “In Memory of Cora” dresses. 🙂 I’ll email you pictures when I get them.ReplyCancel

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  • Chelsea & Nick - I just found your blog. Thank you for sharing your courage and strength with all of us. Your story is beautiful.ReplyCancel

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  • Teach Me to Be Still - Thank you for sharing these verses!! What a wonderful, personal way to pray for your little one. I am helping to host a shower for my sis in law this weekend–I’m going to use this idea so we can pray her little Gracie who will be coming home from Russia this month. 🙂 Thank you again for sharing!ReplyCancel

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“You are getting so big.”
That is what everyone says to you.
And you are.
You are growing, growing, growing.
It seems like you are always hungry too.
And even after a grouchy day like you had today,
I am so glad my days are filled with you.

*****************************

Thank you for all your suggestions yesterday.
I knew you would have ideas for me.
I am still working on a solution.
Hopefully I will be able to let you know more soon.

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  • Christina - Oh dear! I didn’t read about your situation until right now…it’s always alarming when someone comes along and informs that we are breaking some law! How nutty. So sorry…but it sounds like you got some good ideas from people.
    Your little man is just so darling. They grow so, so fast. I hope tomorrow is a good day.ReplyCancel

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  • Diana - By gosh and by golly, he’s just soooooooo squeezably handsome! Such a good-lookin’ fella! Yep!

    We know you’ll a-figure somethin’ out!

    Praying for whatever your decision turns out to be!

    ReplyCancel

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  • Tibbetts Travels in Thailand - I came across your blog today as I was looking for the words, “Come to Jesus”, a song that was played while a missionary family’s premature daughter died at 4 months on January 22, 2010. I have been praying for them as they grieve. As I read your story of losing Cora, I wondered it might be of mutual benefit for you to be in contact with each other. Their blog is at http://rustylynette.blogspot.com/ May God continue to help both of your families through this tremendous loss. I enjoyed too the pictures of your precious baby Levi.

    Take care,
    Jennifer Tibbetts, a missionary in Chiang MaiReplyCancel

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  • Momma H - Oh my goodness. That little boy could melt a Granny’s heart!!ReplyCancel

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  • Carrie Rogers - He is just precious!!! Sorry to hear about the Paypal police! I hope you get a solution soon.ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :O) - Awwww…he’s so stinkin cute…just wanna give him a squish and a kiss!ReplyCancel

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  • Heidi - OMG Levi is so sweet. I love the smile he has in the photo.ReplyCancel

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  • tami - This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

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  • Amanda - You’re so lucky to have such an adorable little guy. I love that he’s smiling in this picture…..truly happy!ReplyCancel

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  • Robin in Benton - What a yummy baby boy!!! and growing so fast! Thank you for all you are doing for the Johnson’s – with God’s help I know you will find a way to make it work!ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Oh my goodness, he is getting big and is quite the handsome little guy! Enjoy him!ReplyCancel

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  • Michelle - What an adorable picture. I’m so happy you have him in your life to love on, even on the grouchy days:)ReplyCancel

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  • flower power momma - Such a darling photo of your enchanting little Levi.ReplyCancel

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  • shepherdsgrace - He…is…beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Carla - Sweet little man, he is so handsome 🙂 Enjoy every minute xReplyCancel

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  • The Moffats - Such a cute pic of Levi, Jess. Can’t believe how much he is changing! Still see lots of Uncle Matt 🙂 Hope you guys are having a good week. Love you. Also hope things are working out with Cora’s for Calla. What a BUMMER! Talk to you soon…ReplyCancel

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  • Micah - He is just precious. I’m so glad you’re enjoying your snuggle time.ReplyCancel

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  • Miranda - Awww, your little blessing is getting bigger. I can’t believe he’s six weeks old already! He is too adorable!ReplyCancel

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  • Stef - he is beautiful.ReplyCancel

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  • 3LittleByrds - He’s such a doll. I just wanna squeeze him. He’s growing so fast.ReplyCancel

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  • tara - could he be any sweeter?!
    i think not! 😉
    what a little lovebug!ReplyCancel

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  • BEK - What a beautiful blessing and miracle from God!!!ReplyCancel

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  • run26.2mom - Levi is adorable! 6 weeks already, time moves on when they are not yours. LOL….You are such an amazing mother.
    Peace.
    SusanReplyCancel

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  • Megan DiVito - Levi is just beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Charity - What a precious kiddo!!! 🙂 He is so special… 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • michele_kotrba@hotmail.com - Wow, I can’t get over how MUCH older he looks in this recent picture. Just goes to show how fast this time goes. ENJOY!! He’s absolutely adorable!ReplyCancel

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  • The Buchanan Family - he is adorable and makes me want another one so bad! You take great pics!ReplyCancel

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  • winchesterspeech - What adorable pictures of Levi. He is so precious. I can’t begin to imagine the loss you feel everyday for Cora, but I’m sure this little guy brings light into your lives everyday.

    I loved your post about the cupcakes. What a fun and thoughtful way to thank the nurses and staff that took care of Cora. I’d love to know where you bought the containers to transport the cupcakes.

    Blessings,
    DonnaReplyCancel

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  • Lynn - Oh my goodness, that is one precious face. He is cute, cute, cute and it is so nice of you to share him with us. Do you think he will mind you showing us all pictures when he’s 17? I hope not!ReplyCancel

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  • Kristin - Beautiful! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • 41wray - He is an adorable little bundle – think i do see some Bev resemblance
    hugs to you all
    SharleyReplyCancel

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I hate to start the week off with bad news.
But, I’ve got some.
I received an e-mail from the PayPal police this weekend.
That is never good.
Apparently my raffle violates the gambling section
under their acceptable use policy.
I didn’t know a raffle would be considered gambling.
But it is.
After all it is for a really good cause.
Doesn’t he know that?
The e-mail said that I had to remove my donation button immediately.
So, I called to see if there was any way around it.
There isn’t.
I tried.
Really hard.
I asked if I could have a disclaimer at the bottom of the raffle
that said that you didn’t have to donate to participate in the raffle.
Mr. PayPal police said no.
It is still considered gambling.
I asked if I could keep the donate button and have giveaways instead.
Totally separate.
People could still donate.
It would not be linked to the giveaway at all.
Surely giveaways aren’t considered gambling.
Mr. PayPal police said no again.
He said that in order to accept donations
I would have to get approved as a non-profit organization.
I tried.

So, now I need your help.
What should I do?

My guest room bed is covered with items that are supposed to be raffled.
There are some awesome things to giveaway.
And I know you want to see them too.
Do you know of another way I could accept donations?
Any ideas?

I would love to hear your suggestions.
After all, with how well Miss Calla has been doing,
she could be coming home soon.

Oh, and in case you are wondering.
All the donations received so far are fine.
We still have raised $2000 for Calla and her family.
And for that I am very thankful.

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  • Susan - I was going to suggest putting them for sale in your etsy store…but I assume there would be a fee involved and of course the paypal fees. However as fast as your store sells out, I’d have to say it would probably go over well, just not sure about the amount you would raise vs. the raffle. Ebay would be another option??? I hope someone has a good idea. So sad that you are in essence punished for doing good.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - I’ve seen where people have “auctioned off” items to the highest bidder. You may want to consider doing that. It would still be a great way to raise money. Good Luck!ReplyCancel

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  • Erin - Can you auction them off?ReplyCancel

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  • E @ Oh! Apostrophe - What if there was a separate way for people to donate? Banks sometimes set up accounts/online sites for donations, no? Then people could comment saying that they had donated, and that would enter them? It wouldn’t involve PayPal so I don’t see how they could prevent it?ReplyCancel

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  • jen - paypal. grr. i just had the same issue with them over a benefit raffle i hosted for haiti. so sad that they wont help us help others. i ended up just asking for cash and check donations sent to me directly. that worked fine from family and friends who know that the money is going right where i say it will. hope you get something figured out!!ReplyCancel

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  • Deen Family - Sell them in your Etsy store!ReplyCancel

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  • Marla Taviano - I’d say just sell them at Cora’s store, but jack up the prices and donate the $ yourself.

    Would that work?ReplyCancel

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  • Miss Em - Ask this woman….http://our-journey-to-parenthood.blogspot.com/

    She had a fund raiser very similar to this for the adoption of her little girl.ReplyCancel

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  • Mere - This is my first time to comment on your precious blog! I have loved reading about your sweet family.
    I am giving you a link to another blog I follow. This family just adopted a little girl from Korea and had giveaways to raise money for adoption expenses. Adrienne might be able to tell you how she handled it.
    http://www.our-journey-to-parenthood.blogspot.com/ReplyCancel

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  • Beth - Check out http://www.chipin.com/overview

    Not sure if it would work for the raffle, but it might!ReplyCancel

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  • Susy M. - Do it the old fashioned way. We can send a check for a donation. Put everyone’s name in a hat that donated and whomever you pick wins.ReplyCancel

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  • Amanda - This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

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  • purejoy - i think you etsy store is a good solution. raise the prices by a percentage of what you would normally do, and designate them as a calla item.
    of course, there is the tax issue, but hopefully you can figure all of that out.
    sorry the paypal police has pulled you over.
    best wishes!ReplyCancel

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  • Johanna Simpson Baker - tack on a ‘shipping fee’ (a stamp) and a handling fee (photo printing cost) and send everyone a sticker or a little photo of Cora. That way, everyone who ‘bids’ is actually buying something. 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Mindy - I know The Design Girl (thedesigngirlblog.blogspot.com) has held raffles (for Haiti for example) and I believe she used Chip In (chipin.com) like someone else mentioned.ReplyCancel

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  • beckley - does the church have an account for them? have the money given/written to them, and people can comment and mail checks, like the church did for cora, right? Then, pick the comment at random and give it to them.

    or, go to prayforkate.com and ask them. they have people fundraising for them right now.

    or just set up a non-profit. maybe that’s something you will be called to in life? raising money for struggling babies? i don’t know. maybe? maybe cora could have her own non-profit?

    shalom-ReplyCancel

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  • Amanda - Use Chipin.com to raise money for an event.

    -OR-

    You know….you could use your etsy store and post $10 and $20 “gift certificates” for Calla. Once the raffle is over, change the remaining listings pictures/titles to the new raffle picture. Then you won’t be wasting money on unused listing fees and whatnot.

    I would list a reasonable amount of certificates based on what you’ve been receiving the past 3 raffles.

    I know there’s the listing fee and percentage Etsy takes but…..it’s small and it’s worth it. Calla might only get $19 instead of $20 but she’ll appreciate it.ReplyCancel

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  • Judy - Hmmm…I too was going to say Chipin.com I used it to raise money for a friend going to Malawi Africa. But I’m not entirely sure if it would be okay, because the chipin money actually does go into your paypal account. But I think Chipin is a third party that just uses Paypal. Definitely something to look into! Hope that helps! I love that sweet baby Calla!ReplyCancel

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  • Carla - I would second the etsy suggestion. The drawback of checks (or cheques as we’d write here :-)) is that it exludes overseas donors like myself. I like the idea of an auction either, could be fun :-). Its very frustrating that Paypal are being so obstructive. Its for a tiny baby girl, how heartless can they be????? I’ll keep thinking xReplyCancel

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  • Judy - It’s me again with one more comment about chipin! Make sure you’re Paypal account is verified before setting up a Chipin fund raiser. When you use Chipin you get a little bar graph widget that shows how much money you’ve raised and it won’t update automatically if your Paypal account isn’t verified (I learned that the hard way…people were giving money and it wasn’t showing up in my Chipin account because my Paypal account wasn’t verified with a bank account). Just giving you a heads up. The whole purpose of Chipin is to raise money for various charities, etc…so I don’t think you should have any problems using it.ReplyCancel

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  • Julia - Patrice Williams, Jonah’s mom,is having an auction for his first birthday and they have set up a blog to do it. You can check it out here… http://jonahsebauction.blogspot.com/

    You would have to do it as an auction rather than a blog, but it might work.ReplyCancel

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  • mymcmlife - I would sell the items through eBay so people can bid on the items as high as they’re willing to donate. Or sell “shares” or raffle tickets through etsy?ReplyCancel

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  • Kandis - Try Chip in!! Mckmama has used that one!! You could ask her how it works….www.mckmama.comReplyCancel

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  • Melissa - what about having a silent auction going through your personal email only, and the highest or closet bidder, what road you take, just transfers it through paypal as if you are just doing a simple transaction.ReplyCancel

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  • Savanna - I know that Baby Be Blessed (they have a website and a blog)….their button is on my blog (grits-savanna.blogspot.com) and Angie’s Smith’s as well……anyways, they do a raffle/giveaway of sorts on a regular basis. I would see how they set it up. It is very similar if not the exact same of what you are doing. They do one every month for a different child/baby in need.

    SavannaReplyCancel

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  • Megg - Oh no, I’m sorry about that! Why not try a silent auction? That way people can bid on the exact things they want? I’ve seen a few of those before.ReplyCancel

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  • Veggiemommy - I have donated through ChipIn several times. It seems the best way to go. As the organizer, you will have access to the email addresses of those who donate so you can still randomly select a winner from those. Good luck!ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - i’d say an auction too.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - how about a silent auction?ReplyCancel

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  • Charity - oh my… Paypal can be very frustrating! So sad that you’re in trouble for doing good… grr.
    Well I (like at least 10 others :D) second the Etsy shop idea… or you could check out that Chipin.com – I have heard about that never used it though…
    God bless! hope you find a solution soon!ReplyCancel

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  • zoefeher - I agree with putthing them in your etsy store! Good luck!

    ZoeReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - open up Calls’s own etsy shop with all the itemsReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Auction them on ebay. Make sure in the title that it makes reference to Calla or make a link to your seller’s list. It might be fun.
    Also, if people still want to donate maybe you can give an address (their church, maybe) where people who didn’t win the auction could still send donations.ReplyCancel

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  • Erica - are silent auctions legal?? that is such a shame!ReplyCancel

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  • Megan - I had wondered if paypal might make a stink about that.

    hope-for-haiti.blogspot.com has had similar issues. Check out this post where she talks about it. http://hope-for-haiti.blogspot.com/2010/01/update-on-paypal-situation.html

    maybe you can email the blog administrator there and see if she’s come to a resolution.ReplyCancel

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  • Emily - the auction idea is a good one! totally unfair for you to be punished!!! what is the world coming to… 🙁ReplyCancel

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  • Trish - sell the remainder in Etsy! jack up the price to cover shipping and maybe keep a few girlie items out for that sweet baby you are raising money for 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Taylor & Laurel Cline - You could probably set up an account on smartyPig.com. It’s an online savings account that allows people to help save for your goal. You should also put a disclosure on your posts that states “No purchase or donation necessary to enter or to win. Odds of winning depends on the amount of eligible entries received.” (I work in banking and this is what we use for raffles we hold at the bank).ReplyCancel

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  • Molly - Oh no! Like someone else suggested, with Hope for Haiti, she used Google checkout. Not sure if that would work. Also, if you would consider it, you might able to just create a donations area and do the “raffles” as a giveaway? Not sure how that works legally, but lots of bloggers do giveaways and I am sure that most people would still donate.ReplyCancel

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  • Shannon - I immediately thought Ebay. Maybe you would get some people that have never heard of your blog– make sure you explain the story in the description. You could post the item number (link) on your blog so all of us can find the items quickly!!ReplyCancel

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  • A Dusty Frame - It’s not just paypal. Raffles are highly regulated by state law too.
    Your raffle (and raffles I see on other blogs) very likely violate state law.

    Lots of people don’t realize that, but at least it was only paypal contacting you!ReplyCancel

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  • Holli Taylor - Whatever you end up doing let us know. And if you decide to do an auction coukd you maybe do a couple of seperate ones so more people could end up getting stuff.ReplyCancel

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  • merlin - Well, when The RustedChain sold “blessed” necklaces, a 10$ donation was made to Haiti for each necklace sold. Could you sell the items and donate the proceeds?
    Not nearly as much fun, but you have lots of blogging folks who want to help Calla.

    Can we just freely donate to the paypal button for Calla with no chance of winning anythig in return? Just a goodwill offering so to speak. I think people would.

    Is there a blogging friend with everything set up “legally” that could run your Cora’s for Calla program until all of the items have been given/donated away?

    OK that’s my 2 cents worth. I KNOW that there is going to be a way to keep Cora helping Calla.ReplyCancel

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  • Townsend Crew - How about a daily auction and the item goes the the highest bidder… who also has to leave a lovely, warm words of encouragement to you and/or Breezyfarm…

    Don’t be discouraged. Your good work is all good.ReplyCancel

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  • Niki @ Southern Baby Boutique - As one of the stores that donated, I don’t like the idea of an auction, because 1 person who has more money that someone else could easily get it, where as a raffle, chances of receiving the prize are a little more spread out and seem fair. But I do like the Etsy store “gift certificate for Calla” or the chipin.com ideasReplyCancel

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  • Joy - I’m not sure if anyone has already spoke about this as I haven’t read through the comments. But, Jenny with Simply Delightful Designs whom just hosted a raffle Hope for Haiti. They (paypal) did the same thing to her. She tried google checkout. You may get more information from her?
    jenny@ simplydelightfuldesigns dot comReplyCancel

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  • kimalli1 - Hi.

    Can you use ChipIn? Are you familiar at all with this blog? http://our-journey-to-parenthood.blogspot.com/

    They just adopted a little girl from Korea, and in order to raise some of the money required for the adoption, they did raffles and I believe they used ChipIn rather than PayPal. The woman that writes that blog seems like the sweetest, most open person you could ever meet. I am sure she could offer you some suggestions. (Nice of me to volunteer someone else to help, I know. But this is definitely not my area of expertise- I don’t even have a blog!) Good luck!
    -KimReplyCancel

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  • Heather | Cookie Mondays - can you take donations via their church?ReplyCancel

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  • Auntie Mip - I am sure thsi has been said…how about Esty???ReplyCancel

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  • Beki - TheRustedChain - Jess that stinks.

    You won’t be able to sell them in your etsy shop. Etsy doesn’t allow “combined” shops, and essentially that’s what it would be. They only allow the artist/creator, and possibly a handful of helpers to list in one shop. But I’m afraid the etsy police would get you if you sold there.

    I have done many charity auctions on ebay. BUT you can’t use the word “charity” in your title or listing unless it’s being contributed to a registered non-profit.

    But I think you could still put groups of things up on ebay with the search term “Calla” and people would know that the money was being donated. You just have to be careful with the wording.

    I was able to raise $3000 to help Haiti with my Blessed necklaces, but people just had to trust that I was sending the money to where I said I would. (Which I did, of course.) I think that might be the case here, wherever you decide to do it. People will just have to trust that the money is going to where you say it will. And if they follow your blog and are willing to help the Johnsons, I’m sure they know that you’re honest and will follow through.ReplyCancel

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  • Dani - I have no idea, but check with Adrienne here; http://www.our-journey-to-parenthood.blogspot.com/

    She did raffles and giveaways to bring her daughter home from Korea.

    Good luck.ReplyCancel

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  • Lindsay - I’m not sure if it’s because they’ve changed their policies, but I know that MckMama used them for her canon giveaway a year ago via the chipin program. http://www.chipin.com – worth a shot?ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - My only idea is a P.O. box.

    I really, really hope that if I ever have trouble with paypal – say I win an auction and do not receive the merchandise – they are as interested in helping with things like that.

    :::rolling eyes:::ReplyCancel

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  • Todd and Courtney - I like the etsy idea and set up gift certificates. I really like that idea and it’s super easy. With the gift certificates, just have a ton of the different amounts. Open then for a week and then randomly draw an email. I think that’d be soooo easy! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • It's just Mommer - What about a silent auction? Post an item and people could bid through their comments. Would Mr Paypal allow that?ReplyCancel

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  • Dina - What if people ‘gifted’ the money to you through paypal using your email address? Is that still ‘illegal’?ReplyCancel

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  • Robin in Benton - I hate stupid rules like this – they make it hard to do nice things like you are doing. I guess my best suggestion would be using your etsy store too. It shouldn’t be so hard!ReplyCancel

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  • Abby - What about having people bid on the group of items on ebay? Get an ebay account and post the items on there…give us all the link to your ebay store and see how much each group of items goes for…ReplyCancel

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  • The Straub Family - Hey Jess,
    I sent you a couple of emails over the past two weeks letting you know the SAME cruddy thing happened to me and my fundraising event for sweet Lilly – a three year old – my daughter’s best friend – who just had brain surgery.
    Is it not the SCARIEST thing ever to get that email?!?!
    I think my heart fell out of my chest for a second!
    GAMBLING???
    REALLY???
    I removed my donation button and ended my raffle a week early.
    I would suggest putting a button up on your blog inviting people to contact you about making donations – and then giving them a mailing address for sending checks directly to Ian & Julie.
    My biggest fear was that I was going to get into legal trouble…I have not heard anything else, thankfully.
    Also, why not list all of your items (with approval from the donors) in your shop for sale….or better yet…list them for sale on your BLOG to avoid any more fees?
    I wish you the best of luck…I’ve been following yours and Julies blogs for over a year….I feel like I know you all!
    Hugs & Prayers,
    Jill
    http://www.zingotots.blogspot.com
    …oops, I see I am signed in as Lilly’s mom because I just posted Lilly’s update for her on her own blog!ReplyCancel

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  • The Straub Family - …one more thing..
    I see alot of folks are suggesting ChipIn.
    I was using ChipIn for my raffle….and I still got shut down..because the payments still go through Paypal.ReplyCancel

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  • nikki - go to babybeblesseddolls.com and then at the bottom there is a link to their blog and to email them….each month they set up a chip in for a different person once to click the chip in to give you forward that to them and they enter you to win something. You could email them to get more specifics but I’m sure it would work for you…they are super sweet ladies and would be thrilled to help you figure it out.ReplyCancel

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  • Ginger - Hey Jess… I follow Young House Love (http://www.younghouselove.com/) and they have a ton of “fab freebie” giveaways on their blog. You might check with them to see what they do. They’re great about communication. 🙂 Hope you find a simple solution! Love ya 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • Stef - I have no ideas, but I’m praying!!ReplyCancel

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  • merlin - You could think REALLY BIG and see this as a legacy for Cora and set up a charity in her name…..ReplyCancel

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  • laura - I really like the idea of making the purchase of a photo of Cala & those names being put into the raffle. Also like the suggestions that there has to be a way around this.
    You are doing so much good for Baby Calla’s family.
    Bless you & your family.ReplyCancel

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  • Glittergirl - I am from the UK so you would need to check this out but could you have participants answer a simple question as well? I think if some sort of “skill” is demonstrated it is no longer classed as gambling. I think you would also probably need a disclaimer stating that no donation was necessary to enter…
    Hope you get it sorted.
    Good luckReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Hi Jess,

    I have had a lot of trouble with paypal in recent months. I hosted a fundraising ball to raise money for a charity supporting bone marrow transplant patients in honour of a dear friend going through one.

    Paypal were VERY quick to put a hold on my account and not so fast to help me sort it out am afraid. It was a frustrating few months of back and forward emails, me having to scan and send a ton of documents – including having to prove I was using the money in the way intended.

    It took me four months to have the limitations lifted and to withdraw the money. Such a drama.

    Can you leave the donate button if it’s not a raffle? I am sure that your blog followers will still support Cora’s for Calla. I also love the idea of selling through your etsy store, if this is possible.

    Good luck!
    xo Jen, Australia
    jenvangemert@hotmail.comReplyCancel

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  • JD - Paypal has the option of sending money as a “gift.”

    Couldn’t you just accept “gifts” on behalf of Calla and then in return you could send a “gift” to someone in return?

    Don’t call it a raffle. Don’t call them prizes. It’s all just a bunch of people exchanging gifts.ReplyCancel

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  • Audrey - There are other paypal-like sites that you can use to send/receive money in a secure manner. Paypal is notorious for this for this sort of goofiness…I’m sorry that you got “caught.”ReplyCancel

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  • Donna H - As someone else mentioned, you can set up a donation account at a bank or credit union in the childs name for her needs. People can donate directly to that account. (wink wink 🙂 You would then want to thank everyone who donated and you would get a list of the names of all who donated. You could use the list to put all of those people in a drawing, not a raffle, and GIVE away the clothes.

    When I saw that you were doing a raffle I was concerned but I don’t know the laws in your state.

    The other option is to set up a foundation in Cora’s name and then you can give to whomever you like.

    It may work out to be something bigger than any of us planned.ReplyCancel

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  • Donna H - PS There is no way to call it something other than a raffle and still raffle. State and Federal gaming laws are strict and breaking those laws can be a criminal offense. Not everyone has the good intentions of the Macs and the law is the law. Paypal is right.ReplyCancel

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  • Outre Beauty Bistro - How about just auctioning the stuff of on ebay and linking your auctions with your blog? Most people have an account on Ebay. After fees, that would be your donation amount. There is always a way! We just have to find it! XOReplyCancel

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  • Outre Beauty Bistro - Or, doing what Jen said and having people send the money straight to you…that is no different than paypal…you are ultimitaley in control of where both goes. I am 100 percent sure Jess, that everybody would be fine with that. You are a strong christian, you proved yourself with cora’s place as far as donations, and everybody’s knows you have a heart for others. I would have them send it to you and then do the comment. ??ReplyCancel

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  • Tsquared417 - Have you heard of chipin.com? I used that last year for a raffle….they can use a credit card or pay pal…ReplyCancel

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  • L ~ S - I did not read all the good suggestions, but one I thought of is that you put a ‘price’ on them, but it it more a suggested donation, so someone can ‘buy’ it and then pay whatever amount they want…ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah G - Stephanie of A Daily Scoop (http://adailyscoop.blogspot.com/) recently did an auction to benefit a family in need and it seemed to run pretty smoothly. You could contact her to learn more about how she handled it but I’m pretty sure PayPal wasn’t involved. Good luck!ReplyCancel

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  • The Evans Family - Use a chip in button instead here is the link:

    http://www.chipin.com/overview

    Good luckReplyCancel

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  • Ceri - What about Calla’s family? Do they have a pay pal account? Then people could gift the money directly to them??
    “You could manage the paypal account to help Calla’s family to help send out thank yous” ;)and privately send that thank you out. And it would be your new hobby for a while to Post a picture of “whats on the bed in your guest room this week”ReplyCancel

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  • amazeingteacher - i’ve been trying to find the “clause” in their policy and it may help others…
    Lottery tickets – Include the purchase or sale of any opportunity to participate in a raffle, drawing, sweepstake, pool, or any other form of game or contest involving the distribution of prizes or monetary compensation.

    it is my understanding that you can use chipin but you cannot give any gift/ticket/prize for people contributing. does anyone have another understanding of this?ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - How about a live auction for those of us who are local. Pretty sure we could round up more donations, an auctioneer and some cookies and punch. It would give those who are close to them a chance to give items, mingle together and have a good time for a great cause.ReplyCancel

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  • Michelle - Your church is non profit and they helped you setup a way to donate for the playground. Maybe they can setup a seperate fund and you can continue to help people who need it that way. Maybe they can setup a silent auction for the items and the money goes into that fund.ReplyCancel

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  • momof3darlings - I’ve been a part of MANY raffles for good causes! We just had each person send the money for a raffle chance to a certain PayPal address. In the comment section, they would list it as “donation” and then YOU just take all the names, and draw them out of a hat. EASY!

    We’ve done this many times before.ReplyCancel

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  • Nan - How hard is it to get registered as a non-profit? Cora’s could go public as a non-profit support for families of sick children! I’m sure that’s way easier said than done though.

    What about listing them as auctions on Ebay with the additional information always included that all proceeds go to help families of sick kids?ReplyCancel

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  • Kara - hyenacart.com does that! I belong to a cloth diaper board that does some raffles and such for Mamas in need.
    Check it out?ReplyCancel

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  • Karina - I would absolutely shop like mad at your store if you put them there. Would that work? That’s how I found you, after all. I bought Etsy stuff that went to fund Cora’s playground.ReplyCancel

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  • Suesan - I was going to also say auction as a suggestion, I know nothing about the legalities but I saw this recently. http://jonahsebauction.blogspot.com/
    Good luck!ReplyCancel

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  • Kari and Robert - What if you were to set up a Calla Shop much like in the beginning for Cora’s Playground. Then people would still be buying items and the money would still be going to Calla?ReplyCancel

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  • Teresa Peschke - I agree with selling it on etsy, just include the price of listing the item and the amount paypal will take in the price that way everything can go to calla.ReplyCancel

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  • KyndraRenae - I dont see how a raffle is gambling when it’s going to a charitable cause. I dont’ know what you could do. What about people who set up the buckets in stores and stuff. They’re not an organization, it’s basically the same thing. I don’t know what you could do. Wish I could help. I think it’s great what you are doing to help calla.ReplyCancel

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  • Beki - TheRustedChain - I think you’re probably on top of this but one more suggestion.

    I just opened a shop at bigcartel.com. It’s quite easy, and faster to list items than etsy. There are no fees! AND people don’t have to sign up to purchase. They just click “buy” and it prompts them to pay through paypal, so they don’t need to register with a new site or anything.

    So far I’m loving it. There are record companies, handmade sellers, and lots of others that use it and I think it could work great with Cora’s for Calla.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Just read this and thought of your predicament with PayPal. I may be really late in the game with this since you already have so many comments!

    http://mycrazyadoption.org/crazy-fundraiser-for-a-mission-trip?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MyCrazyAdoption+%28My+Crazy+Adoption%29

    Scroll down to the bottom where she writes about “My Crazy Idea” which is about an ipod giveway. She says that you can write “Donate to enter a giveway.” That way you aren’t labeled as a gambler. Hope it helps!ReplyCancel

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  • Lisa Daniels - I was listening to the Kim Komando show, and she brought this issue up. Here is a link to a possible answer to your situation. (You may have found another answer, but I didn’t read all the responses)
    You don’t have to be a non-profit, but your “cause” has to be approved. Give it a look. If you haven’t found another situation, I hope it works for you!!! :0)

    Keeping up with your family,
    Lisa & Daniels’ FamilyReplyCancel

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  • Lisa Daniels - Duh…forgot the link…

    http://www.kickstarter.com/start

    They require 5% if the amount is reached or exceeded though. It’s a service, so no free lunch.

    LisaReplyCancel

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The winner of giveaway #3 is…
Becki (February 12 @ 7:05 am)
Congratulations Becki!
I will be e-mailing you soon so that we can get your package in the mail.

Thank you again for giving so generously.
We have raised $2000.00 for Calla and her family.

Amazing!
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  • Jessica Faith - Yeah!! Praying!ReplyCancel

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  • carla - Fantastic fundraising, well done you CReplyCancel

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  • 4torock - Yeah!! Way to go:DReplyCancel

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  • SouthernGalsBoutique - GREAT job on the fundraising!!!! That is AWESOME!!!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Bec - Over Christmas, Cake Wrecks did a donation thing and I don’t think they used paypal so you could email Jen over there- http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com

    or, can you create a new paypal account and not have anything about the raffle/donations? Or does paypal make them leave a description of why the money is being put into the account? Like they could just say babysitting or cleaning services or something 🙂 Then have them leave a comment on the blog to let you know they donated to be entered into the raffle that way?ReplyCancel

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