About Us

What Is the Meaning of “Gem” on under1000skies?

A young man asked recently,

“What is the meaning of ‘Gem?” Please explain. I think a good quote is a Gem.”

It was great that he asked. In case you’ve ever wondered, here’s what I wrote in response:

A good quote is a Gem. A photo is a Gem. Poems are Gems. The Gems are especially precious because they are given to us out of kindness, and the ones we love the most have been from our homeless artists. Thank you for asking *hugs* ♥.

He also asked “What do the numbers in the titles mean? Like 5.85?”  I explained that the “5” is for the year since we’ve started, and the number after the dot is for the number of Gems we’ve shared so far this year.  So 5.85 is for Year 5, 85th Gem.

Thanks again, TH!

under1000skies

In a nutshell, under1000skies is about connecting homeless creatives to each other and to the world.  We are 100 percent not-for-profit, and we will never ask for money. (New as of October 1, 2019):  We do have a Patreon page if you are interested in our 2020 projects.  We will never restrict any content behind a paywall.  Our only purpose is to bring inspiration and beauty into the world and connection with creative souls.

We showcase daily M-F photographs, artwork and/or poetry on the website, social media and in our weekly newsletters by email.  We also have gallery shows about twice a year. As the opportunities present, we interview and honor those who serve homeless creatives (“Spotlight Saturday”).

Some statistics claim that over 90 percent of us are only 2 paychecks away from being homeless. We believe there is no “us” and “them;” only “us.” Connection keeps us strong.

 It Begins with Me

This blog began on November 14, 2014, on my personal blog, Niki Flow after a conversation on Twitter with author Laurence O’Brien.  It Begins with Me O’Brien shared an article by Christopher Taylor called “Social Cleansing of the Homeless.” This term “Social cleansing” was an unfamiliar one, and the article was horrifying.  When I responded to his tweet, O’Brien invited me to do something about it. I’m an agoraphobic with panic disorder.*  The irony of my situation was not lost on me, but I wanted to help.  I was homeless for a short time.  After two days, the pain levels from living and sleeping outside were ridiculous — and I was a teenager at the time.  So this has always been something close to my heart.  Some of my friends in cities around the country agreed to accept the artist packs my family and I put together to distribute in their area. Each pack includes a disposable camera, a warm scarf (for winter; baseball cap in summer) waterproof notebook, pens, lip balm, gum, and a waterproof carry pouch.

*A panic attack is basically like being throwing into a dark sack and beaten with a baseball bat by an invisible ninja.  This was cured (miraculously, I think) last summer.  Transformation
packs

Artist packs include pens, waterproof notebook, disposable camera, and waterproof carry case.  Summer packs also include sunscreen, visor, and sunglasses.  Winter packs include scarves, lip balm, and gloves.  We’re hoping to include blankets for both in future packs.

step-one

We also included gum and an origami “Peace Dove” created by Mindy, a dear friend from a wonderful community, KindSpring.org.

From my own trauma and hardship, I learned that our connection to each other is critical to healing our lives and to find a way back.  I believe creativity is where we meet the best, most unfiltered parts of ourselves which we rarely show the world in our daily lives. When we play and create together, we connect deeply and really *see* each other. That was my dream. What grew from that has been a connection to some of the most beautiful people I have ever met.

There are all sorts of ways you can help our work.

☼ Spread the Word! 

Share our gems on your blog, through social media, any way you like.  The more people who know about Gems, the more heart-connections we make.

☼ Contribute Photos / Artwork / Inspiring Quotes

I would love to feature your artwork or photos.  Your creations will be displayed with your copyright info on this site as well as through our email list and social media.  “Contribute” means that you always retain full rights to your creative work, but you allow us to use your work in Gallery shows to generate interest and facilitate connections.  If you’re interested, please send us a note (contact info below).  We’ll add title, copyright info, and your website if you have one.

☼  Co-Creators

If you would like to be one of our under1000skies co-creators, please contact us for more information.  Any kind of creation you’d like to share is very appreciated! Special thanks to our current under1000skies co-creators:

  • Ben Archer – contributing photographer from points all over the USA
  • Joseph Raley – contributing photographer (DE/NJ)
  • Mike Downs – contributing photographer (DE), IT guy, patron of the arts
  • Nicole Huguenin -contributing photographer, talent scout, writer – Honolulu, HA; San Francisco, CA – without Nicole we never would have met Johnny O., our first homeless creative
  • John Olander – Contributing poet, visionary and beyond inspirational friend
  • Cord X – Contributing poet, photographer, artists and beyond inspirational friend
  • The Reagan Family – Germany, USA; contributing photographers, inspirational friends, soulkin
  • Jo (Nothingtosee Movealongnow) – contributing photographer and friend
  • Chip Haldane – contributing photographer and friend
  • Niki Flow –  website content creator; social media
  • KindSpring.org  tribe, supportive friends, contributors of inspiring quotes, mentors, light-bringers
  • ServiceSpace.org
  • Needed:  Central US
  • Needed:  Southern US
  • Needed:  Europe
  • Needed:  Everywhere
If you have any questions or need more information, please write to us!

GEMS EMAIL

☼ Social Media Links: ☼

Pinterest: under1000skies

Twitter:  under1000skies

Instagram:  Tizzlovesrowdy – 1x/week 1-minute videos of the 5 daily quotes that week.

Recent Update:  Gems 5.51:  Light Up the Dark.  We’re changing but we’ll keep on and keep doing our best to “light up the dark” a little bit, every day.

__________

Thanks so much for stopping by!

It is no accident you are here. We are all connected.

. Niki Flow

Save

Save

46 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Pingback: ♡ Gems, Gemstone and Elanthian Love Songs – A Bard’s Tale ♡ | under1000skies

  2. Pingback: The Gems Project | under1000skies

  3. Pingback: Gems 2.21 | under1000skies

  4. Pingback: Gems 2.22 | under1000skies

  5. Pingback: Gems 2.23 | under1000skies

  6. Pingback: Gems 1st Biannual Gallery Show | under1000skies

  7. Pingback: My Son Is Missing – Update March 5 | under1000skies

  8. Pingback: Ben, Day Ten – 12 Gratitudes | under1000skies

  9. Pingback: Missing Benjamin: 14 | 16 | Niki Flow

  10. Pingback: Easter Morning, Mary’s Song (2016) | Niki Flow

  11. Pingback: “The earth is like a child…” | Niki Flow

  12. Pingback: “Plant your own garden…” | Niki Flow

  13. Pingback: “It’s not your job…” | Niki Flow

  14. Pingback: “Live in such a way…” | Niki Flow

  15. Pingback: “When Food Is Prepared…” | Niki Flow

  16. Pingback: Niki Flow

  17. Pingback: “Do you know what people really want?…” | Niki Flow

  18. Pingback: “You have it easily in your power…” | Niki Flow

  19. Pingback: “Today I choose life…” | Niki Flow

  20. Pingback: “Our main business is not…” | Niki Flow

  21. Pingback: For Shelandra, Goodbye | Niki Flow

  22. Pingback: “You’ve probably noticed…” | Niki Flow

  23. Pingback: “I am not afraid of storms…” | Niki Flow

  24. Pingback: “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse…” | Niki Flow

  25. Pingback: “Be realistic. Expect a miracle.” | Niki Flow

  26. Pingback: “The journey of a thousand…” | Niki Flow

  27. Pingback: “Not to spoil the ending…” | Niki Flow

  28. Pingback: OUR SECOND BIANNUAL GALLERY SHOW | under1000skies

  29. Pingback: Gems 2.63 | under1000skies

  30. Pingback: Gems 2.64 | under1000skies

  31. Pingback: Gems 2.65 | under1000skies

  32. Pingback: Gems 3.1 | under1000skies

  33. Pingback: under1000skies – A History | under1000skies

  34. Pingback: Gems 3.5 | under1000skies

  35. Pingback: Gems 3.50 | under1000skies

  36. Pingback: Gems 3.51 | under1000skies

  37. Pingback: Gems 3.52 | under1000skies

  38. Pingback: Gems 3.53 | under1000skies

  39. Pingback: Gems 3.54 | under1000skies

  40. Pingback: Gems 4.110 | under1000skies

  41. Pingback: Gems 4.149 | under1000skies

  42. Pingback: Gems 5.86 | under1000skies

  43. Niki, I’m crap at social media so even though I’ve been following you for a while now, I just found your homepage. I was homeless too (briefly in my late teens on the street-it sucked, then again as adult when I lived with my boss and once when I was younger and we lived with relatives-there are levels of homelessness, each with different impacts and society doesn’t get it.) I’m also hypersensitive to tactile stuff. I cut all the tags out of my clothes. I like to think of us as Princesses in disguise, like the fairy tale. 😉
    Anyway. You’re a Gem. ❤️

    • E, I’m so grateful to you for reading this especially after the novels I’ve been writing in your comments zomg. Ya know, I like that Princess thing and actually my first name is Sara which (allegedly) means “Princess.” I never liked the name before since r1 bio dad used it exclusively. You’re a Gem too. *hugs* Thanks again for beautiful and kind attention to my ramblings. I promise to work on being brief. Gah. Long one again. I just love connecting with you! ♥.

    • PS Thank you for sharing your homelessness story, E and for reading the origin story. ☼ We are soul sisters now. ☼ <– *taps your hand 3x and says those words* Now it's official. =) ♥.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s