Monday, September 28, 2009

Paying It Forward Giveaway

I recently had the delightful fortune to be introduced to a very unique shop on Etsy. In promoting my giveaways in the Etsy forums, I was approached by Levi, one of great co-owners of PIFS - currently the only shop on Etsy that is completely stocked with "pay-it-forward" items. For anyone who's not familiar with the pay-it-forward program on Etsy - it's simply this... a shop owner will offer an item for a $0.20 charge (to basically cover the listing fee) and the buyer will pay only that amount (plus shipping and handling.) It's a great way to "pay-it-forward" for a shop owner who's had a bit of good luck or a positive experience and wants to continue passing on their good karma.

In the case of PIFS, Levi and his mother DeAnna have a special inspirational story to tell - one of strength and triumph over devastation, and most importantly, love. Their journey has taken them over some rough territory and PIFS was born of a desire to raise awareness and pass on some of the blessings that they have experienced. They're offering a total of 14 prizes for this giveaway - and you could win one or all of them!

Prize #1 - Genuine Hematite & Frosted Glass Dangle Earrings Retail Value $8.95 – PIFS Price: $0.20
Prize #2 - Brown & Gold Dangle Earrings Retail Value $5.99 – PIFS Price: $0.20
Prize #3 - Mini Fish Dangles Retail Value $3.99 – PIFS Price: $0.20
Prize #4 - Genuine Leather Necklace Retail Value: $1.99 – PIFS Price: $0.20
10 Runner up prizes - Mystery Items Retail Value: $1.00 – PIFS Price: $0.20

Over the course of preparing for this giveaway, I shared several convos with Levi and I must admit that I was touched by the sheer magnitude of "heart" that this young man has and the amazing determination of his mother DeAnna to overcome schizophrenia in a time when the world still deals with mental illness as a personality flaw rather than the physiological medical disorder it often is.

While some great strides have been made in the recent past, mental illness remains misunderstood by many, including members of the medical community. Having dealt with PTSD and panic attacks myself, and having had people close to me diagnosed with a variety of disorders from bipolar disorder to the neuropsychiatric effects of a stroke, I can tell you that none of these has anything to do with "behavior" or "personality flaws." Can they be helped by cognitive (behavioral) conditioning? Sure, but that is only one tier of a many tiered program of overcoming these disorders. Living with mental illness is a day by day challenge and my hat goes off to people like DeAnna, who continue to deal with those challenges, never denying them, and working hard every day to live the best possible life they can...and to people like Levi, because the support and love of family and friends is unbelievably important to anyone battling mental illness.

I asked Levi to share a bit about himself, DeAnna, and PIFS - here are his responses to my questions in his own words!

For anyone who hasn't read your shop profile, can you share a little bit about how PIFS came to be? PIFS is the only shop offering all pay it forward items. We launched our shop back in February 2009 to help give my disabled mother something to do in order to keep her mind focused on positive things. I also thought it would be good for the community at large. Our message is about inspiration, something everyone needs now and then.

You've been asked to put an item of your choice in a time capsule, to be opened in 100 years. What do you put in it and why? I would place a biography of my mother (DeAnna) in the capsule. This biography would show others how someone with a devastating mental illness can overcome the disease, what the disease does to people, how it affects the loved ones around them, and how friends/family can help them.

You (will have, by the time this posts) just had a birthday - happy (belated) birthday! Do you mind sharing your birthday wish with us? I would like to take a moment and say thank you very much for the birthday wishes, it means the world to me. I’m positive that my wish would include the resolution of communicational errors between earthlings, lol. Since most bad things come from miscommunication such as wars, pollution, and just plain evil … proper communication would be the best gift the world could have and besides, everyone needs to be understood.

You're at a get together and everyone is asked to wear a name tag - the catch is that the name tag needs to reflect the name of the person you most admire. What's your name? Not to sound like a Drag Queen but LeAnna would be my name. The name is a combo between my mom’s name and my own. I have to admire my mom for so many obvious reasons but mostly for her courage. I mean this woman was placed in a state hospital over 7 times by yours truly, and yet she came out shining in the end after fighting the illness that once held her down. She deserves recognition for her hard work. Now, I added my own name because I really needed some masculinity in the name ha-ha but honestly I do admire myself now after looking back and seeing that 13 year old child somehow making it through his mother’s illness, getting her the help she needed when nobody else would, and for ending up alright in the end. I’m not conceded but I am proud. Oddly enough, I’m proud to have lived the hell I did because I see the world in a much different light than I might not have before.

Name one thing that not many people know about you. I guess most people other than employers would not know that I graduated early out of high school and started working for an Italian sub shop called Quizno’s where I worked my way up from cashier to general manager in 4 months and promoted to area trainer 5 months later at age 16.

What is your all time favorite movie? I suppose Running with Scissors staring Annette Benning because I relate to the entire story of growing up with a parent who suffers from schizophrenia. Sometimes I watch this movie over and over, and I always see myself.

A heartfelt thank you to Levi for his candor and openness in his responses! Now, on to the rules of this wonderful giveaway! Levi selected the following criteria for your entries:

Receive one entry for visiting the Pay It Forward Shop, coming back to this blog, and posting and commenting on a favorite item

Receive one entry each for:
Listing a PIF in your shop (post the link to the listing here)
Hearting the PIFS shop on Etsy

Receive 2 entries for making a purchase at PIFS

While drawing the winners for this giveaway - which will happen promptly at noon on October 5, 2009 - if your entry is drawn as a winner, it will be returned to the entry pool. This means that if your entry is the first one drawn, it will continue to be eligible to win subsequent prizes as well! Not a bad deal!

Good luck and get those entries posted!


Roxy said...

I love the Orange And Yellow Earrings Donated By thejewelrydream

hockiemack at

helen said...

Great giveaway I hope I win. I adore the jade and silver dangle earrings it would go lovely with a fall sweater I just bought. Thanks for the giveaway.Helen

daer0n said...

I like the Wire Wrapped Leather Necklace With Peridot And Czech Glass :)

Nury77 at live dot ca

daer0n said...

I faved the shop on Etsy, my Etsy user name is daer0n [with a zero]

Nury77 at live dot ca

Myladel said...

Love the Metal Work Punk Rocker Earrings! Great giveaway!

Emily said...

What a great idea for an Etsy shop! I love the Awesome Handcrafted Necklace Donated By wearforartthou ( - the simple funky style is just my thing.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Wehaf said...

I love the Shell and Aztec beaded earrings:

urchiken at gmail dot com

f.sarah said...

i love the Natural Gemstone Dangle Earrings By PIFS.

f.sarah said...

i hearted the PIFS
etsy name fsarah

clenna said...

I think the Pink Pearl And Swarvoski Crystal Earrings By PIFS are beautiful!

clenna at aol dot com

Bombtastic Belle said...

I like the jade nd stone dangle earrings :)

Danielle said...

As the daughter of a schizophrenic father, I am touched by this story. I have hearted this shop (etsy name: ldsmom2201) and will be posting on my blog about it.

ldsmom2201 at yahoo dot com
The Happy Wife
Homeschool Unit Studies

Linda K said...

I like the large and heavy polymer clay pendant

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Digital Misfit said...

I think that a PIF shop to raise awareness for mental illness is wonderful.
I also deal with mental illness in myself (agoraphobia and various anxiety-base disorders). Medication helps, but it is the support and love from friends and family that counts the most.

My favorite item IN the shop is the Wire Wrapped Leather Necklace With Peridot And Czech Glass.

big hugs

Digital Misfit said...

I have hearted PIFS on etsy ♥

username digitalmisfit

janil said...

i love Polymer Clay Rainbow Focal Pendant By PIFS !

cal_rubies at yahoo dot es


Laura said...

Love the Purple Czech Glass And White Pearl Dangle Earrings! Gorgeous.

What an incredible store. I hope more will get involved!

spektorish @ gmail . com

Laura said...

I've hearted the store, of course. :) It's awesome!

spektorish @ gmail . com

Laura said...

Oh, for hearting it, my Etsy is: laurart. Sorry about that.

remarker/fcffollower said...

My favorite item is Mystery Dangle Earrings By PIFS. No idea what the item is but that picture is just too cute!

sabrita said...

Wow, I am so moved by the PIF shop story. My favorite item is the Green Peridot Dangle Earrings. Great giveaway!

sabrita said...

I "hearted" the PIFS etsy shop . Thank you.

Howling Caterpillars said...

I also "hearted" the PIF's store...what a great thing to do...

My favourite is this one:
Shell and Aztec Bead Earrings...

And I'll be adding a PIF from my Feathery Blessings line to my store.

Egare1 said...

I love the Polymer Clay Rainbow Focal Pendant, it's beautiful!

plb8156 said...

I love the jade & silver dangle earrings because green is my favorite color

Noble Beeyotch said...

My fav is the green peridote earrings!

Kudos to Levi and mum for such a fantastic initiative!

Noble Beeyotch said...

i heart PIFS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chance to win this wonderful giveaway! My fave item from the shop are the PURPLE CZECH GLASS earrings,

Levi & DeAnna said...

Hello Friends,

This Is Levi From & I Wanted To Thank All Of You That Had Taken Part In This Giveaway. I Shall Be Mailing Off All Prizes Today 10.13.2009. We Hope To See You All Again So Please Stop Into Our Shop & Say Hello.

Take Care,
Levi & DeAnna

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