Gems 5.156

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s another light-filled ¤ Gem ¤


Photo by Corn Freak, Pixabay

“Find your pack.  Love them hard.”  –Nicole Huguenin

Nicole Huguenin

Nicole is one of our top-contributing photographers to since Year 1.  She’s also Continue reading

July 2018 Gallery Show

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Welcome to our July, 2018 ¤ Gallery Show ¤


Nicole Huguenin, one of our contributing artists and volunteers, and a dear friend, introduced us to our first homeless artist John Olander in 2017.  Nicole was featured on our first Spotlight Saturday:  Dream Together (fka Wild Dream Walks).

John has not only been generous with his poetry contributions, but has been very vocal and supportive about getting the word out about under1000skies to other homeless creatives and supporters in Denver.

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Through Simbi, I met Cord in July of 2017.  Cord, a very kind and wonderfully creative soul, not only shared some of his vivid photos from San Antonio but his absolutely beautiful poetry as well.


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Thank you so much to Johnny O. and Cord X.   I’m so grateful for our connection to you, for your generosity, compassion, strength, tenacity and, most especially for your blazing creativity which inspires me every day.

With love and gratitude,

. under1000skies
☼ A “Giftivism” Initiative ☼
We are photographers,
writers, artists & advocates
serving and connecting
homeless creatives

Gems 4.29

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s another light-filled ¤ Gem ¤

Gems 4.29 under1000skies

Photo by Picmonkey

Tell Us a Story

under1000skies story

The theme for February and ongoing throughout 2018 is “storytelling.”  We are always looking for your story, poetry, photo and art submissions.  Here’s the Submission Guidelines post from earlier this month:  Tell Us a Story.

Changemaker JohnnyO

John Olander

JohnnyO of Denver and Nicole Huguenin, (Dream Together) one of our most generous contributing photographers.

Big shout out to JohnnyO in Denver who has some amazing stories to tell (coming soon).  Johnny was recently featured in Channel 9 KUSA Denver News reading one of his poems, Climb Again.  When I spoke to John on Tuesday, he told me some wonderful news. He has secured a venue in Denver for two different Gallery shows which will feature the art and writings from under1000skies. One show will be in March and and the other in June.  These venues are quite expensive and exclusive but Johnny was able to get the venues pro bono!  This is amazing news.  Johnny has been passionate about helping spread the word about under1000skies since he learned about us a couple of years ago.  As more information becomes available, we’ll share it here with you.  Kudos to Johnny O and deep bows of gratitude for your enthusiasm, kindness and creative vision.


. under1000skies
☼ A “Giftivism” Initiative
We are photographers,
writers, artists & advocates
serving and connecting
homeless creatives.




I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Welcome to our third ¤ Gallery Show ¤


Edited with PicMonkey

Created using a PicMonkey template.  Artist unknown.

Thank you so much to all the contributing artists and creatives who have helped under1000skies every day since we began in 2015.

  9. J.J. GARCIA
  12. AL HANDA & IVY
  16. M.J.



In 2013, under1000skies was just a site Niki Flow created for random poems, photos and sketches.

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She didn’t do much with it in 2014.  Then on November 14, 2014, Niki’s whole life changed.  She wrote a story about it here:  It Begins with Me.

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Year 1:  Gems 1.1 to 1.81.  It took almost a year to solidify a plan to keep the promise made in the November 14, 2014 blog.  On September 2, 2015, the first “light-filled gem” was published:  Gems 1.1

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Year 2:  Gems 2.1 to 2.82  On March 2, 2016, Niki’s oldest son Ben Archer, disappeared.  Ben was one of the main contributing photographers and one of Niki’s staunchest supporters.   As of this writing (1 year, 3 months later) none of his family nor any of his friends have seen or heard from him since.  Many of the posts on under1000skies were about Ben that year, but the family decided to take most of those posts down.  They thought Ben might be embarrassed at all the fuss and would come home when it died down.  So we took down all the blogs, waited and never gave up hope.  We never will. Ben’s case is also now on the Federal Database here:   Ben Archer:  NamUs MP # 33696   All updates about Ben are being kept here:  Niki Flow.   In October of 2016 we started an Instgram Account for under1000skies and in November of 2016 we started a Twitter Account. We’re also on Tumbler, G+, Pinterest and Facebook.

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Year 3:  Gems 3.1 to 3.65 (so far).  In 2017 we began a brand new year with new photographers, artists and, for the first time, our first contribution from one of our homeless creatives, “Johnny O.”  We also began our first Spotlight Saturday and hope to continue these at least every other week in the years go come.  We also finally designed a signature logo and a website logo.

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There’s a lot more coming in the next six months of 2017.

Website and Stationary Story

We’ll be getting up and running as well as our stationary store

On the Road under1000skies

On or about August 1, 2017 Niki Flow will be begin a USA tour which has three objectives:  (1) to meet volunteers and supporters of under1000skies around the United States; (2) to get the word out about under1000skies with road shows, poetry slams, music shows, and on-the-road gallery shows.  We’ll have a table set up with information about us as well as boxes of stationary, volunteer packets, and artist packs; and (3) to follow in the footsteps of Niki’s son, Ben Archer who was a traveling artist.  He visited 25 states in 2015 from one coast to the other and went to dozens of artist shows.  This is where Niki will set up her under1000skies table with the Gallery Show and Ben’s photo prominently displayed.  If anyone has seen Ben, it would be these creative folks he loved to spend so much time with.  If you would like Niki to stop in your city; if you’d like to support this road trip with materials, a bed for a night, supplies, a meal or even a few hours of company, please write to us at


thank you

To all our artists, photographers, writers and advocates, quote suppliers, cheerleaders and especially to our homeless creatives and those who love and support them too, with all our hearts, thank you.

With deep thanks and lots of love,

under1000skies logo 1
☼ A “Giftivism” Initiative ☼
We are photographers,
writers, artists & advocates
serving and connecting
homeless creatives.

Gems 3.61

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s another light-filled ¤ Gem ¤

Cause and Effect John Olander Gems 361.png

Photo by Niki Flow.  Poem “Cause and Effect” by John Olander, Denver change-maker, poet and under1000skies supporter.  Thank you so much John for today’s beautiful contribution.

About John Olander

John Olander

Nicole and Johnny O

John Olander, known to his friends as “Johnny O” is a self-employed change-maker currently living in Denver Colorado. He has been “on a camping trip” for over ten years and understands life on the streets better than most. Yet this hardship has not made John bitter, only better. Nearly every day when he is not engaged in a search for food or shelter, John is helping others on the street. Johnny O and I became friends about a year ago when he became one of the first supporters of under1000skies. He is very dear to us all here, and we look forward to more creative content from Johnny in the years to come.



Temporary Emergency Housing Needed in Denver Near Cheeseman/Downtown

Pictured with John above is Nicole, creator and founder of Wild Dream Walks which we recently featured on our second Spotlight Saturday.  Nicole introduced us to John.  We found out today that Nicole has had a big emergency in her living quarters.  Her roof collapsed and she must find housing for at least a month for her current tenant.   So we are sending this out to all our followers.  If you live in the Denver area or know anyone who does and might be able to help, please let Nicole know. Her contact information is below.

Here is Nicole’s call-out on Facebook, also posted on NextDoor in Denver:

Emergency Housing Request Near Cheeseman/Downtown Denver (please share):

Here’s the deal, there was a water leak in the unit above mine and the roof in my apartment collapsed. I need a room for my tenant (as close to downtown as possible so he can bike) from June 27th-July 11th. Thankfully he wasn’t home when the ceiling collapsed and was not hurt. He is a young fellow who is an immigration/refugee lawyer who came here for the summer to help with all the new cases. He is a really stand up person with a good heart. And, he has lost 85% of his possessions to water damage from the ceiling collapsing, including his computer.

I know there are people out there who have an extra room for him to stay in over the next two weeks near Cheesman Park and can help us make the last few weeks of his stay a good and supportive one.

-We talk with insurance tomorrow. Either way, we’ve been told we need to front the money for housing and will possibly be reimbursed “market rate – which they say is $60” when the rebuild is finished, however that was not guaranteed.

-Airbnb is currently running $130-$200 a night, hotels are running $160-$230 a night.

-We no longer qualify for Red Cross emergency services and with his short stay I want him to be in one place for the next two weeks (it’s the least one can do).

-I’ve posted to NextDoor this same request.




thank you

Thanks so much again Johnny O for submitting today’s beautiful and wise poem.

With deep thanks and lots of love,

under1000skies logo 1
☼ A “Giftivism” Initiative ☼
We are photographers,
writers, artists & advocates
serving and connecting
homeless creatives.

Spotlight Saturday: Wild Dream Walks

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Today we are happy and excited to bring you a brand new story for:

¤ Spotlight Saturday ¤

“Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale“. –Frank McCourt

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Today I had the privilege of speaking to my friend and one of our first under1000skies photographers and co-creators, Nicole Huguenin, Chief Dream Architect of Wild Dream Walks. 

Wild Dream Walks began in 2015.  This is from the “Founders” page on the Wild Dream Walks website,

Nicole Huguenin:  A former high school teacher turned generosity entrepreneur. After a chance encounter and walk with a 72-year-old women, she founded Wild Dream Walks to bring more love and friendship to the world, on foot. She gifts most of her time and energy to individuals and organizations valuing people as their bottom line. In 2015, she committed to walking each day with a new person or group of people which resulted in 403 walks and a deep understanding of how connected we all are.

It was so great to get to talk to Nicole today.    We shared space for months in 2015 as part of‘s “Laddership Program.”  Being accepted into the program and connecting to other ladders and Service-Space coordinators around the world was one of the most humbling, beautiful and amazing experiences of my life.

∞ Wild Dream Walks is an investment company.

Nicole now does the Laddership Newsletter for Service Space, as well as all the walking, mentoring and dream-building support for Wild Dream Walks.  Her life, heart, and “heart song” as she calls Wild Dream Walks is all about service.  This is one of the many reasons why I love and admire Nicole so much.   Just by watching Nicole build Wild Dream Walks in the past two years, I have learned so much about the gift economy, service and living authentically and with “open-hearted vulnerability” as Brene’ Brown calls it, day after day.  Nicole quite literally “walks the (wild dream) walk.”

Today Nicole explained how Wild Dream Walks works.

Wild Dreams Walks is an alternate investment community like The Pollination Project except, where they invest 1000 dollars, I invest hours, time skill and connections into everyday people’s dreams.

Our pricing structure allows those dreams to stay priceless.

I charge $0, and I ask everyone that I end up working with to decide the value and pay it forward in whatever currency works for them.

I asked Nicole for some examples:

So over past three years have or so I’ve had some people pay it “backwards” — to me.  One lady for example paid me in a month of breakfasts.

She said, “I can’t do what you do, but what you do is important.  So I thought, I will look at Nicole’s life and make it better.   So I see you with bagel coffee every morning, and I knew right away how to make it better.”

So every morning for a month she made me delicious, high-protein vegan breakfasts!

“Wow! What a beautiful form of payment!” I said.  Nicole agreed, then continued:

Some people pay money for my time.  Some pay forward to others and also back to me by sharing their story.   So they pay it forward in their dream or by providing space for another person to dream in their lives.

There have also been about a third of the people who have done nothing, but something that is interesting about this is that I need to add “yet.”  Because what we do is not free, but it is freely given.  So it takes the “tit-for-tat” transaction away.

nicole walking

Photo by Nicole Huguenin.  Edited in PicArt by Niki Flow.

Wild Dream Walks on Instagram


Nicole went on to describe an example of this:

I had someone recently call me after three years and say, “I just wanted to let you know I finally found someone who really resonated with me and I was able to pay forward what you did for me.”

So even after three years, Nicole didn’t just chalk it off as an “unpaid account,” the way say a business would when a client defaults.  She went on to explain how she thinks of the “currency” in the gift-economy.

I could have said, “Wow!  I gave all that time, and that person didn’t value me!  They didn’t pay it forward.”   But I don’t do that.  I talk about it with everyone, though, because it’s important.  We talk about value, so it’s not this silent thing, and I trust it and I’m not going to find ways to distrust it.  So to have that person come back after three years proves the point.

I agreed that absolutely it does. You just never know when a seed will bloom.  Listening to Nicole, I realized at that moment that, from now on, this is exactly how I’m going to look at all my time investments.

I went on to ask Nicole how what a typical day looks like for her.

So on any given day, I’ve got maybe 10 or 15 folks or communities — people I am working with, walking with.  I rarely tell these stories though, because I rarely have the time to tell these stories.

In 2015 alone, Nicole shared 403 walks — 403 stories to tell.  I asked her what she thinks the total to date is and she replied with a laugh, “Oh, I’ve stopped counting.”

During our interview, Nicole was between two walks, and today in Denver it’s 95 degrees!  I can understand now why she doesn’t have time to tell or write about the Wild Dream Walks stories.  I told Nicole I was very excited to be part of the story-telling process today.

“Oh I love that you are doing this!  One of the biggest ways to pay it forward and to help create these dreams is to tell stories.  Then the dream has a life outside of me, outside of you.


Posted on Gems 2.66 – November 23, 2016.  Photo “Solvitur ambulando – It is Solved by Walking” by Niki Flow. Inspired by Nicole Huguenin, Chief Dream Architect, Wild Dream Walks

A “Wild Dream” – “Chilis On Wheels”

Nicole went on:

Sometimes I get really deep into a project because it’s what is needed.   Sometimes I just listen as a friend.  Most of the time that’s what I do.  Often I’m the first friend on the ground as this person with this dream that is bigger than they are is going through their inner and outer process.  I just listen, share space.  I’m building my community and connections, so I am more more able to invest in in their dreams.  Sometimes I hear something I can give personally, and I contribute outwardly to do that.  I probably spend most of my time on little projects like that.

Like for instance one of my dreamers is Chiles on Wheels, started by Michelle Carrera, Brooklyn, New York. Michelle called me a year ago and said,

“You won’t call me crazy, but I have a dream…”

Chiles on Wheels

Chiles on Wheels, started by Michelle Carrera, Brooklyn, New York

From the “Dream” section on Wild Dream Walks about Chilis on Wheels:

Activists on Vacation Podcast

The dream is a mother and son duo podcast highlighting change-makers and their community based project around the world.

As an activist and change-maker myself, (founder of Chilis on Wheels, a mobile vegan soup kitchen) I am now drawn to have conversations with other change-makers and discover what makes a person devote their life to making the world better.

I need to purchase an RV or van to serve as our home and podcast studio for 3 to 6 months as we tour around the U.S. volunteering at different programs and interviewing the change makers.

Challenges include funds to acquire an RV (used, small).

Michelle Carrera, Brooklyn, New York

From Wild Dream Walks – Dreams

∞ We invest in dreams that are bigger than any one person and, If Brought to Reality, would do a lot of good in the world.

“Wow!” I said to Nicole. “I just committed to being fully vegan as soon as I learn how to make vegan food I don’t hate.  I love this idea and I’d love to meet Michelle.”

Nicole responded,

I’d love to connect you.  Michelle told me a year ago that the pace of New York City, being a single mom, was getting to her.

Michelle told me, “I’m going to buy a van, drive around and make as much vegan food as I can and give it to whoever needs it the most.”

That’s exactly what she does, but it’s a lot harder than she thought it would be.  Every big city has a No-Camping Ordinance which means you can’t keep a van in one place for more than two days.  It takes a couple of days to get people to trust you.  So she is having to drive way more and almost spending the same amount on gas as she did for rent in New York City.

“So she lives in the van?” I asked.

“Yes.  She and her son and dog are living in van, and she has a re-purposed kitchen.  She’s been to Philly, Baltimore, New York…

“So — what — she just gives this vegan food away?  For free?” I asked.

Yes she gives it away.  Most of the time it’s to the homeless.  So what we’re working on now is Michelle needs to have a connection team in each city.  So if she goes to Boston, she’ll email the team member in Boston and say, “I’ll be in Boston on these dates.”  And then the person will say, “Okay, I know this person who can help,” or “I can do research, look up homeless shelters.”  So Michelle can show up and be introduced.

So one of the things I do with time is, for example, I had some extra miles so I flew out to spend three days with Michelle and her son.  I said, “I”m here — put me to work!  I’ll do whatever you need doing.”  While I was there, she took me to all the vegan restaurants and I had the juiciest (no-meat) burger I ever had.  She also made me this delicious all vegan chili-cheese mashed potatoes.

I told Nicole that I am really looking forward to meeting Michelle and her son and excited about their dream.  There may be some way I can personally help where I live.  I have to admit, I’d also love to try Michelle’s vegan chili.

∞ We might not always have money to invest but we do have other things that are just as valuable like: skills, ideas, support, friendship, mentorship and time.

Wild Dream Walks on Facebook

GEMS 1.67

A Wild Dream Walk – Nicole Huguenin

Wild Dream Walks on Twitter

∞ We’ve never met another human that doesn’t have some type of dream, big or small. thus we believe that dreamING IS priceless.

Wild Dream Walks on Tumblr


Whenever I talk to Nicole, I always notice what a gift she has for deep listening which has no doubt been honed over thousands of conversations since Wild Dream Walks began.  When we speak, I feel deeply valued and understood.

So Nicole, thank you.  You are one of my favorite folks in the world, one of my mentors and teachers, and my dear friend.  You have been one of our co-creators and contributing photographers for under1000skies since Day 1.  It’s hard to believe we haven’t met face-to-face (other than “FaceTime” and Skype) — but I hope we’ll get to remedy that this summer!

thank you

♥ Thank you Nicole

∞ “We are rooted in the power of paying-it-forward.” ∞

For more information about Wild Dream Walks and Nicole, to support one of many beautiful dreams.*

*Update 15 Oct 2020

Nicole has moved on from Wild Dream Walks. She can be found here on Instagram.

Nicole Huguenin

Former teacher now contributing directly to community, caring & creativity w/

GEMS 1.70

An Engraved Morning by Nicole Huguenin

The Denver Project

We just got some amazing news about an initiative in Denver, Colorado spearheaded by Johnny O. and one of our volunteers, Nicole.  Johnny is the first of our artists to respond to our artist pack, and he has done so in a big way.  Check out this wonderful video I received from Nicole and Johnny, then check back in June for some really exciting developments (photography pun intended):  =)


Thank you dear Johnny O. and Nicole.  Your creativity and enthusiasm is so inspiring!  Looking forward to June!

♡. under1000skies
We are photographers,
writers, artists & advocates
serving and connecting
homeless creatives.

Gems 2.79

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s another light-filled ¤ Gem ¤


Photo by Niki Flow.  Edited with PicsArt




What Do You Find Joyful? Beautiful?

The theme for the month of December is “joy.”  If you have a favorite quote about “joy,”  please leave a comment!  As always, we would love to feature your creative visions.  When we show each other what we find beautiful, we get a glimpse into each others’ hearts.

May you find joy every day.

♡. under1000skies


TGIF 2 | This Week Under1000Skies

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s what’s new ¤ under1000skies ¤



This week’s Gems four photos from Niki Flow:  1.  “Solvitur ambulando – It is solved by walking” (Inspired by Nicole Huguenin, Chief Dream Architect, Wild Dream Walks; 2. “Jeweled Clouds with Seagulls;” 3. “Reach Up;” and 4. “Straight Up.”

Three of the quotes shared are part of the Divine Feminine Series, Nos. 19-21 and are from (probably) an ancient Roman mother Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis (when she was 10-years old and known as Jacqueline Lee Bouvier) and Harriet Tubman.

Gems 2.66:  The quote, Solvitur ambulando is attributed many throughout history, and the first written documentation goes back to Ancient Rome.  It’s very possible, however, that the words were first uttered by an exasperated wife or mother.  Women in ancient Rome had few rights but doubtless much wisdom.  “Solvitur ambulando” is simply a tactful way of saying. “Go outside and get out of my hair!”

Gems 2.67:  Jacqueline Kennedy-Onaassis (née Bouvier) (July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

Gems 2.68:  Harriet Tubman – (c. 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American abolitionist, humanitarian, and an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends,[2] using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

Gems 2.69 “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls” was said by Aesop (c. 620 – 564 BCE)  — not a woman, but a perfect quote we thought for a day when many people set aside time for giving thanks.


This week’s TGIF features a really exemplary group of young people in Rhode Island and their idea T.urn I.nto F.uel!


Project TGIF:   Turn Grease Into Fuel

Project TGIF Donations to Charity
Currently, we have donated a total of 29,000 gallons of BioHeat to seven local charities, including the WARM Shelter, the  Jonnycake Center, Mystic Area Shelter and Hospitality, the Welcome House, and the Keep the Heat On program.  This has been used to heat the homes of 290 local families.  The program is able to assist approximately 80 families each year.  The biofuel donations are valued at more than $120,000.

Congrats to the Junior Win Team of Westerly, Rhode Island for this fabulous idea!

Every Friday we’ll also be adding a photo from our Pinterest Board, “TGIF: What It Really Means.”  All are welcome to contribute.  The only criteria is that your description fits the acronym, T.G.I.F. =)



We have a new page on Facebook!

And a new account on Twitter!

We just purchased the domain, “” and will be working on getting the website up and running as soon as possible.

To that end, we’ve entered a contest on Instagram held by Bay Area Website Designer in celebration of Small Business Saturday  (tomorrow, November 26th).  If you share this image (below) and contact Bay Area Website Designer, you are automatically entered into the contest.



I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s some exciting news about our light-filled ¤ Gems! ¤

Thank you to everyone who has supported, followed, liked and commented our blog since our first Gems last fall.  It is with great pleasure that we announce our Second Biannual Gallery Show in support of The Gems Project!

Before the storm

Before the Storm in Delaware City by Niki Flow


Below, you can view our Gems by specific contributing artist.  Special thanks and a big shout-out to these talented artists who have so generously shared their inspirations with us:

Ben Archer

Chip Haldane

Contessa Brown

Michael Downs

Nicole Huguenin

Niki Flow

Nothingtosee Movealongnow

If you would donate photos, art or to volunteer, please see our About “The Gems Project” Page. We need photographers, artists, volunteers, art and photography lovers to spread the word and, of course, donations for the Artist Packs.  If you have any thoughts or questions please leave a comment below. 

Thanks so much again for visiting!