And the Winners are….

And the Winners are….

Raising Hope is a WRAP! Thank you so much to everyone who donated, shared, liked, followed, encouraged, supported. You are all so amazing!! I started this venture facing terrible PTSD and a feeling of hopelessness, and although I still face PTSD, I am no longer hopeless. You have all showed me how beautiful this world can be when people love on each other and come together to help one another. It will take me a few days to add all of the donations, subtract paypal fees, donate to the two charitys and then provide proof of donation, so please bear with me while I work on it!

In the mean time, here are the winners of my exciting raffles!

  • For Round 3, the prizes are a MerMamaMe painting valued at $75 or less, a copy of the Unfolding by Annabelle Praznik, a beautiful 5×7 print from This Unscripted Life, and a cloth diaper cover from Momgaroo!

Charity Raffle Paris

The winner is…..

Teresa Finnochio!

 

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  • For the bonus round, the prize is a Sakura Bloom ring sling! (I’m jealous!)

SakuraBloomRaffle

 

The winner is…..

Lauren Hart!

 

Congratulations, ladies!! You both have hearts of gold and I’m so happy for you! (Both winners were chosen fairly and randomly on http://www.miniwebtool.com/random-name-picker)

I will post the final amounts donated in a few days! Thank you so much, everyone.

 

Peace and love,

 

Lissa James

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Raising Hope Charity Raffle: All about the Prizes!!

Raising Hope Charity Raffle: All about the Prizes!!

Hey, everyone!!

I explained my mission here and here, but now I want to share the fun stuff: Prizes!!

In the first raffle you can win these wonderful Mom-made products:

Charity Raffle Paris

Round 3 closes on 11/18 at 11:59 PM PST, so hurry and bid now!

Enter to Win:

  • Join me on Instagram- @bumblebeelullabies (if you don’t have instagram, email your bid and paypal email address to bumblebeelullabies@gmail.com)
  • Pledge to bid $5 or more, followed by your paypal email address (must have paypal to bid).
  • Share the Picture for an extra entry!
  • Tag one friend for an extra entry (must bid or share picture for this to count)!

That’s it! No joke! You literally have a chance to win these prizes for only $5 and rest assured knowing that your money is going to a good cause, as I will be donating 100% of the proceeds (after paypal fees) to charity.

Here is a closeup of the prizes from Round 3 so you can have a better idea of what you will win:

 

The Grass is Green Where you Water It
5×7 Print- The Grass is Green where you Water It by This Unscripted Life on Etsy (frame and plants not included)

 

Momgaroo
1 Organic Cloth Diaper Cover (No Insert) from Momgaroo on Etsy
UnfoldingwithPlants
The Unfolding by Anabelle Praznik on Amazon
mermamame_breastfeedingworld
A Custom Merfamily Portrait or $75 Credit from MerMamaMe (my shop) on Etsy

Well, that was a lot of information, so hopefully it all made sense. I’m really excited and nervous to see how this goes. I hope you will join me and together we really can make a difference in this world, no matter how big or small.

But wait…. there’s more…

As a special surprise, I’ve teamed up with Sakura Bloom to bring one last raffle for Raising Hope!!

SakuraBloomRaffle

The rules are the same as above; join me today (11/18) at 2 PM PST to enter and hopefully win a Sakura Bloom Ring Sling of your choice! This contest closes on 11/21 at 11:59 PM PST. Winner will be selected on 11/22 randomly online.

XO,

-Liss

Raising Hope: The Final Days

Raising Hope: The Final Days

Hey, everyone! Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks. I started with the intent of raising awareness about mass-shootings in America and PTSD, helping  people find hope, and donating to  a non-profit called Classes 4 Classes. In the middle of my charity auction, there was a terrorist attack in Paris, France, and Beruit, Lebanon, both carried out by ISIS terrorists on 11/13/15.

It has been a very emotional week for most, as it is hard to wrap our minds around hatred of that magnitude. The inhumanity of it is overwhelming. However, we have also seen the majority of people come together and stand in solidarity as we try to recover mentally and emotionally.

Because of this, I decided to change the focus of my charity, with all proceeds going to help the victims in France. However, today I found out that the French Red Cross is no longer taking donations, so I will instead be donating to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Their mission is as follows:

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network that reaches 150 million people in 189 National Societies through the work of over 17 million volunteers.

Together, we act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. We do so without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

This actually feels more appropriate because they help all over the world, not just in France, so victims of the Lebanon attack, and Syrian Refugees will also be helped.

So how does it work? I switched up the auction to a raffle, because that way people can contribute smaller amounts and still have a chance to win some really awesome prizes!!

Here is my post about what you can win (get ready for a huge surprise)! Read more here.

Thank you so much for your community and support this week. It has given me endless hope and joy, even in a time of sorrow and mourning for humanity.

In peace and love,

-Liss

 

 

Raising Hope Round Two: Standing with Paris

Raising Hope Round Two: Standing with Paris

*Update: 11/18/15

The French Red Cross is no longer taking donations, so I will be donating instead to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as they help all over the world and will be contributing to aid in France, Syria, Lebanon, and more. Learn more here.

The first round of Raising Hope went even better then I expected, and so far I’ve been able to raise $50 for Classes 4 Classes! Awesome.

However, in light of the recent terrorist attack in Paris, France, which killed at least 167 people and left many more wounded or grieving, I will be donating all of the rest of the proceeds I raise to the French Red Cross.

The American Red Cross was a blessing to my family when our house burned down 10 years ago. We were effectively homeless and lost everything with no insurance. They put us up in a hotel for a week and gave us a $400 clothing voucher in order to get the basics for our family of 5. I am forever in awe of such an incredible and helpful organization and I am proud to donate the their French Chapter.

Raising Hope, Round 2: 

a $25 shop credit to Joybound Apparel, whose mission is to empower women to choose joy through their fair-trade fashion and philanthropy work.

•A one-of-kind original painting by Cristina Martinez: a designer, artist, and supermom of 2, whose Instagram account @sew_trill has a healthy 29,000 followers! She usually only offers prints of her work for sale, so having an original painting is a very special honor and I am forever grateful to my dear friend. It is valued at $150.

Join me on Instagram @bumblebeelullabies at 1PM PST today to start bidding! The bidding starts at $50! Let’s help our brothers and sisters in France while we can! 

In love and light, 

Liss

 

You can find more about Cristina here:

Website: Cristina Martinez

Instagram: @sew_trill

You can find more about Joybound Apparel here:

Website: Joybound Apparel
Instagram: @joyboundapparel

Raising Hope Charity Auction: Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Raising Hope Charity Auction: Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Hey, everyone! This week flew by and my auction is starting tomorrow!! It will be live on my instagram @bumbleebeelullabies. In case you aren’t familiar, here is a brief description of my mission:

I want to raise awareness about the drastic rise in mass-shootings in America. When I heard about the horrendous shooting in Roseburg, Oregon that took place on October 1st, 2015, it brought back all of the memories of the shooting that took 3 lives at the mall I was working at on December 11th, 2012 (you can read my story here). I decided that I am tired of being afraid, and I want to do something good for the sake of humanity, but I didn’t know what on earth I could do! Fate had other plans as it would seem, and I happened upon an article about a teacher named Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis who survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting by hiding in a small bathroom with her entire classroom, effectively saving all of their lives. She was understandably traumatized and took a year off of teaching, but she eventually began to heal and started a non-profit called Classes 4 Classes, whose mission is to teach empathy, leaving no room for hate. They donate items to classrooms in need by sponsoring other classes of school children all aged K-8. This results in a pay-it-forward wave of actions between classes in different cities and states. As soon as I learned about her non-profit, and the fact that she was also a survivor of a mass-shooting, I knew that this was to be the focus of my charity auction.

IMG_6336

The auction will go live on my instagram account: @bumblebeelullabies tomorrow 11/12 at 12 PM PST. Again, anyone with PayPal can bid under the picture with their amount and PayPal email or zip code. The winner will take home all of the items in that particular auction round. It will stay open until 11/22 so make sure to stop by and see what it’s all about! Tomorrows auction will include multiple items, valued at over $100!

Raising Hope for Charity, Round 1:

Stella and Wilbur, Mermamame, bumblebeelullabies, raising hope, charity auction
Stella + Wilbur
$15.50 Shop Credit
AnnabellePoem

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset
A Poem written by Annabelle Praznick, printed on cardstock and framed. Also included will be a copy of her book, The Unfolding.
mermamame, mermaid art
MerMamaMe
$50 Shop Credit
I hope you will join me and please help me spread the word by sharing this post! Together we can change the world and make it a better place.

IMG_6343

Peace to you,

Lissa James

To read more about why I chose to host this auction please read my blog post titled Raising Hope, Not Fear: A Song and Dance with Mental Illness and Other News. Also, you can learn more about the items included in the first auction round by visiting:

Annabelle Fern Praznik:

Twitter: @anna_praznik

Instagram: @littlewrittenwords

Amazon: The Unfolding: A collection of 21 Tiny Tales

Stella + Wilbur:

BigCartel Shop: Stella and Wilbur

Facebook: Stella and Wilbur

Instagram: @stellaandwilbur

MerMamaMe: 

Etsy: MerMamaMe

Facebook: MerMamaMe

Instagram: @mermamame

90% of the proceeds from this auction will go to Classes 4 Classes, with 10% reserved for PayPal and Credit Card fees. 

Raising Hope, Not Fear: A Song and Dance with Mental Illness and Other News.

Raising Hope, Not Fear: A Song and Dance with Mental Illness and Other News.

Lately I have been talking a lot about mental illness and how it has affected my experience with Motherhood. At least it feels to me like I have been talking about it a lot, but I guess I’ve mainly been throwing words like Postpartum Depression, PTSD, Bipolar disorder, or anxiety into conversations and random posts online. I am slowly gaining the courage to really talk about it, in-depth and without shame or fear. I have a very hard time being vulnerable and completely open, as do most people when it comes to mental illness, but I think it’s important to address, and have those difficult conversations because the more I try to hide it, the more I unravel. Today I will make a baby step with the illness that I believe troubles me the most: PTSD.

 Originally I wanted to start this post with the number of mass-shootings that have taken place in America in recent years, but it was hard to find a consistent answer because of the variables involved. Here is a little of what I was able to find: According to WikiTracker, there have been 318 this year already, and the Guardian claims there have been 994 in 1,004 days. I have also seen a meme floating around which states there have been 45 shootings in 2015 at schools alone. Those numbers are absolutely unbelievable, and yet, they are real. I do not want to start a debate or focus too heavily on these aspects, but it astounds me that mass-shootings continue to happen with no real change taking place in order to stop them. Our country needs healing. Our leadership needs to protect us.

IMG_6337If you have gathered that I am deeply affected by mass-shootings (and perhaps that is where my PTSD stems from), you are correct. I have been in two shootings. The first was around the year 2009; I was working as a waitress at a nightclub when someone was shot in what I assume was gang-related. That one didn’t affect me too deeply, other than taking away my desire for the club scene. The second shooting was in 2012 when I was working at a mall in Portland. There was a mass-shooting during the busy holiday season with multiple victims while I was at work. This happened two days before the unthinkable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. My view of the world took a dark and irrevocable turn that week.

Emotionally my wounds run deep, from the corners of my mind down into the tiptoes of my fragile soul. More than anything I want to heal; to regain my trust in people and stop seeing danger everywhere I turn. To walk into a grocery store without looking nervously for the exit signs, or watching other shoppers unfairly for signs that they might want to harm others. I want to be around loved ones without constantly offending everyone because I am so on edge, particularly with my daughter’s safety.

I know I have to somehow get better, not only for me, but because I don’t want my daughter to see my fear and think that it is normal. I can speak from experience when I say that constantly being afraid is no way to live. I want to teach her to have hope, not fear. I want to raise her amongst other kids who uplift each other instead of tear each other down.

While we are on the subject of my daughter and her future schoolmates, I was reading an article recently about a teacher who survived the Sandy Hook shooting by hiding her entire classroom in a tiny bathroom while a madman was in the classroom next door. She spoke about what she went through, and what life was and is like for her in the aftermath of something so horrendous. She courageously decided to fight for a better world and at the end of the article, a charity that she created called Classes 4 Classes was mentioned. I looked it up and the more I learned, the more it struck me as important, profound, and absolutely brilliant. I have spent a great deal of time worrying and wondering how we as a people can fix our country, and honestly, at times it feels impossible. But here is a charity started by someone who has seen the darkest and ugliest that humanity has to offer, and she was able to take that experience and turn it into something positive for her students, and hopefully for all of our children as well.  It opened my eyes to a new possibility, and a new hope: our children are the future and maybe, just maybe, they can right our wrongs.

 

Their mission is stated as follows on their website:

Classes 4 Classes, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to teach children the power of kindness and compassion through their ability to create positive change for others. The platform provided by our website actively engages students in learning a social curriculum through the exchange of gifts with other K-8 classrooms, which fulfill a need or educational objective. These gifts are crowd-funded by visitors and donors to our site. The gift is given to the teacher and the students in the receiving classroom only once the project goal is reached, and the receiving classroom has started their own project to “pay it 4ward” to another classroom.

Cool, right? I absolutely believe in their mission. So much so, in fact, that I have decided to put a charity auction together with a few very talented women in order to donate to their cause. It will be a live auction taking place on my instagram account @bumblebeelullabies starting Thursday, November 12th at 12pm PST. I will post a new round every 48 hours until November 22nd. Each round will have 2-3 items to make it more valuable and exciting! Anyone with PayPal can bid any amount they choose by commenting the amount along with their PP email (or they can DM it to me if they want it kept private) under the picture announcing the auction. It’s that simple!

Here’s a recap in case that was confusing:

IMG_6343

  • A live charity auction will take place on my Instagram @bumblebeelullabies starting Thursday 11/12/15 at 12 PM PST.
  • All proceeds will go to the non-profit Classes 4 Classes. 
  • Anyone with PayPal can bid by commenting on the Instagram post with their bid amount (like a traditional auction) and email address (can be DMed).
  • The auction will have multiple rounds, announced every 48 hours until 11/22.
  • The winning bidder gets the items they bid on! The money goes to charity! Sweet!

The auction will include items from:

My shop MerMamaMe; Anabelle Praznick (author of The Unfolding);  This Unscripted Life; Cristina Martinez (@sew_trill); Stella and Wilbur; Momgaroo; and a few others. It’s going to be awesome!!

 IMG_6335

I honestly do not know if I will raise any money, but I might, and I hope I will, which is enough to make me try. Please join me! I believe that together we can change the world, one child at a time.

Sending love and light,

Lissa James

I will be sharing my story in more detail this week, along with more information about the charity we will be donating to. Please come back for more!

Savoring Her.

Savoring Her.

 My phone died today in the middle of browsing the internet. I set it down next to me and turned to face my daughter who was nursing quietly in my arms. I had been mindlessly browsing, telling myself it was just a quick article, and then another, and another, while she filled her tummy. When my phone suddenly shut off, I realized a few things:

  • My daughter had been sweetly stroking my arm while looking up at me the whole time.
  • My “quick read” took priceless time away from us, and we will not always have moments like these. Someday she will wean, and I will look back and regret every distracted minute.
  • Nothing that the internet could offer me mattered more than her.

I took my right hand (which was previously holding my phone) and I ran it through her curly red hair. She smiled up at me with the smile that melts me- the one with a mouthful of nipple that is too cute to be real. I smiled back at her, the love in my eyes palpable, reminding me of superman’s laser eye-beams.

Time sped-up and slowed down simultaneously as adrenaline coursed throughout my body. I reached out, hitting both items to alter their trajectory.

As I stroked her hair, one of my fingers began to throb, and my thoughts turned to earlier in the day. We were in the kitchen; I was on the phone while pouring a bowl of cereal, she was playing with some Tupperware on the ground. I put the phone on speakerphone and began to pick up the carton of milk, when from the corner of my eye I noticed her opening a cabinet. This particular cabinet holds all of our heavy kitchen utilities, pots, and pans. I moved a bit closer so I could guide her to a safer spot… The next few moments appear in my mind as a blur: Above her on the counter were some dishes awaiting their turn in the dishwasher, and a giant wooden cutting board (the kind that is built into the cabinets but can be removed for washing), which I was planning to clean, was placed on top of them. Somehow the lid to a pan that was among the dishes began to fall, bringing with it the heavy cutting board, both falling directly above my daughter’s precious, fragile head. Time sped-up and slowed down simultaneously as adrenaline coursed throughout my body. Immediately I reached out, military-like in precision, swooping under and hitting both items with my hand to alter their trajectory. Just in time. 

It was so close that I wasn’t sure if they had hit her or not. I took a few minutes to watch my daughter’s behavior and make sure she wasn’t injured. She was perfectly, miraculously okay. My hand, however, was not quite as lucky. My finger is probably sprained and my hand is badly bruised where the cutting board landed, but I have never in my life been happier to feel pain. I am also incredibly thankful for evolution, which has honed my ability to detect danger and react without a moment’s hesitation. It is truly incredible what we are capable of when put to the test. However, that is a test I would rather not be subjected to again.

The memory was still playing out in front of me like a movie when suddenly Violet grabbed my chin and pulled me back into the moment, my thoughts vanishing into thin air. I smiled again, breathing her in, devoid of all distraction.

When she is done eating, my phone will still be there waiting to be charged, but for now, it will have to wait. This moment is a gift, and I am not wasting another second of it.

November is Here: Let the Word Count Begin!

November is Here: Let the Word Count Begin!

 Today marked the start of NaNoWriMo and I’m off with a bang! Ok, not really, but I feel ok with the progress I made. I am supposed to write 1,667 words today, but I stopped at 1,180. I will try to write more later so that I can keep up, but I’m honestly not expecting to get to 50,000 words this month. It is my first time ever writing a novel outside of high school, and I don’t want to expect too much of myself and fail, especially while I’m trying to start-up a small business and I’m still a full-time stay-at-home-mom who also bedshares and doesn’t get much time away from mommy and wife duties. It should  be a fun challenge, though. I love to push myself mentally. If I finish all 50,000 words, awesome, but I’m not going to stress about it.

This is how I imagine my central character, Kara Wallace looking. I do not own the copyright to this image and do not know who this woman actually is, so I cannot give credit to the owner, please comment if you know whose this is.
This is how I imagine Kara Wallace looking. (I do not own the copyright to the photo)

For anyone who remembers my last post about NaNoWriMo, I mentioned two different story ideas. I tallied the votes between WordPress and those I’ve asked in real life and The Beekeeper won by 2 votes! I will write my space travel story in a year or two if I end up enjoying the writing process. At 1,180 words I have already introduced a victim of a brutal murder under odd circumstances, as well as two central characters, Andrew Sully and Kara Wallace, the 20-something partners who have been assigned to the case. They are new partners and are still getting used to each other, and Sully has a lot to prove seeing as how he is a rookie. Kara’s old partner (whom she was very fond of) was just transferred to another state, so she’s not being particularly friendly. I will try to post more as these characters develop so you can get to know them. I especially like Wallace so far. I haven’t had a chance to get to know Sully yet, but I’m hoping he will take shape soon.

I’m still editing and writing biweekly for Breastfeeding World, and I have been busy fulfilling orders for my newly developing shop @mermamame. I have a hard time switching from painting to writing mode, but hopefully I’ll be able to juggle the two, because they both fulfill me in different ways. I am also going to be announcing an auction for charity that I am organizing in the next week. It is something very dear to my heart and I am teaming up with some very lovely ladies who either have popular apparel or artwork on instagram. I only have about 400 followers, so I’m not sure how successful the auction will be, but I have to at least try doing something positive.

A few of my favorite Mermamame paintings that were hanging in my home before being shipped to their new homes!
A few of my favorite @mermamame paintings that were hanging in my home before being shipped to their new homes!

The point of the auction is to raise hope for the future, instead of fear in the face of America’s current mass shooting epidemic. I personally have severe PTSD from a shooting I survived and every time there is a new one, it  brings those emotional wounds to the surface. I’m tired of being afraid, and I just want to do something to try to help, even if it’s something small. I will be sharing my story in the next week, along with the announcement of the auction, so stay tuned for more!

On a different note, I hope that you all had a very Happy Halloween! Here are a few pictures from our day in case you aren’t following me on instagram. Violet was Dobby from Harry Potter during the day, and later we changed into Khaleesi and her dragon (Mother of Dragons) which I stayed up all night sewing and converting into an ergobaby cover:

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIMG_6119

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetkhaleesi3

Next year I am going to start making her costume in September so we can enjoy the day, instead of spending most of my time making last-minute alterations. The weather was also pretty awful, so that hindered the trick-or-treating a lot. We still had a good time, and I especially loved seeing everyone’s pictures on facebook and instagram. Halloween is so much more fun when you have kids!

Well, that’s all for now. Happy November and happy word counting to those of you who are also participating in NaNoWriMo!

Xo,

-Liss

All Signs Point To: NaNoWriMo!

All Signs Point To: NaNoWriMo!

Hi, everyone! I’ve been up to my ears in baby snot and coughs this week, so I haven’t been able to post much. Violet and I are starting to feel better, but our colds are lingering a bit. We spent the weekend catching up on sleep and getting lots of good snuggling in… Oh, and we watched way more television (Baby Einstein) than we should have. But, what else are sick days good for anyway?

How I actually look when I write. Coffee, give me all the coffee!

I have some exciting news to share with you! Well, I think it’s exciting, you might not. I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year! It will be very challenging because Violet does not like to sleep without me and I rarely have time to myself, but I’m hoping to figure that out. Up until November (when it starts), I will be working on getting her on a better schedule. That way I can have designated times to write- during her nap, or when she goes to bed, for instance- which should make it easier to meet my daily goals. Emphasis on should.

This will definitely take up my blogging time, so I’ve decided that instead of posting my regular blogs for the month of November, I will post updates about the book I’m writing! I will let you all know about characters as they develop, and when I finish a chapter, I will post it! Yay, fun, exciting! (terrifying)

NaNoWriMo Prep

 That leads me to my next point: I need your help!

I have two story ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for years now. The first is a Children’s/Young Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy story about a boy who has to save the world from technological doom. It will involve interplanetary travel and more! Think robots, computers, valor, and drama! Hurray. The second idea I have is Fiction, and for older readers. It is about a string of murders that take place in a small town. I am not entirely sure where it will go yet (it will probably write itself), but I know that it will involve bees! Lots of bees. Everyone loves a good thriller, right? I do.

 

 Fun fact: The name Bumblebee Lullabies came to me around the time that the second story idea did.  It all started when I looked out my window and saw a bee and it hit me like a train! Just BAM, there was the idea. Pretty cool how inspiration works.

Mommy’s little blogger in the making!

Well, that’s it for now. I hope the week is treating you all right. Don’t forget to let me know which story you think sounds better! I will write both eventually, but for now I just need to use one.

XO

-Liss