Newsletter Video 2:37

I hope you’re having a beautiful weekend. ♡
This week on ¤ under1000skies ¤

´¨) ¸.•´¸.•´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ #JohnnyO ¤

Gems 6.215

Dear Stranger

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The Stigma and the Turning Point

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Anger vs. Heart

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Joy to Write

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Music by Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Op. 8 from

Photos by Niki Flow

Poetry by John Steven Olander, Change Agent, Poet, Performer, Artist, and Rocky Mountain Volunteer Coordinator,

Thank you, John, for a week of inspiration. Thank you for your beautiful, creative contributions over the years since we met. Thank you for being such a shining light in the world.

I hope we have a great weekend.

♥. nf

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

Photo by Niki Flow

Joy to Write
What do I feel like when I write?
Exuberant. Excited.
Expressive, Informed, and Unique.
Anxiously anticipating a New Creation.
Curious, From the Caustic to the Casual.
Quick with the quip.
Rarely am I at a loss for words.
So I feel privileged to discipline the time
To be specifically expressive,
to really nail the experience in as few words as possible.
I am frequently left with the thought, “Damn John,
“That was pretty good
“We’re going stick with you because we believe you have potential.”  

John Olander

We’re back on IG:

John is too. Here’s a link to his page.  He doesn’t have content yet but promises he will soon.

John will be appearing on television on PBS soon.  He submitted one of his poems and he will be interviewed on Monday.  We’ll be speaking that day afterward.  John has a job and a place to live now and Monday is his only day off so that’s become our new interview day for Volunteer Biographers.  As soon as I get more information about the day his show will be aired, I’ll let you know.


Gems 6.217

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

Photo by Niki Flow

Anger vs. Heart
Am I angry or just compassionate?
Do I really care?
My heartfelt pronouncements actually SCARE people.
My heart is vibrant light. My heart projects my aura,
My love, my genuine concern.
My anger while well intentioned, backfires.
That feeling is understandable.
But the application of that feeling constricts my heart.
It constrains the veins, the very vessels that fill my body.
That said, there is a place for tough love, hard lessons,
Calling someone out, being called out.
Sometimes a person needs to catch the ruler on the knuckles.
Sometimes the negative is required to birth the positive.
The heartfelt payoff comes when the enemy who was engaged,
stops seeing and knowing everything and becomes a friend.

John Olander, 11/7/2017

Gems 6.216

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

Photo by Niki Flow

The Stigma and the Turning Point
The turning point. We are who we are. A myriad of possibilities.
Does it cause me to feel shame that I may be mentally ill?
Absolutely. Should it? Absolutely not.
Determination. Am I closer to dealing with it? Absolutely.
Am I a winner? Absolutely. And not a beginner.
Am I bi-polar? Probably. But in the best exuberant sense of the word.
I AM exuberant. A full joy and anticipation cometh in the morning for each fresh new day.
There are turning points all the time in any person’s life.
One turning point for me was my eviction from Saint Francis.
One turning point for me was the death of Carol Lee.
One turning point for me was Healthy Food for Kids and reminding myself of how great I am when I apply myself and how much I enjoy helping other people do what is right for them.
One turning point for me is accepting the fact that I sometimes need help and I need not be ashamed of it. I AM WORTHY OF IT.
One turning point for me was using my idle time to pick up the trash of others and saying, “Thank you Spirit for letting me serve your earth.” I am blessed every day in some unknown and unexpected way.
One turning point for me was understanding how much support, love, prayers, and loyalty I have from SO MANY others.
One turning point for me is understanding that life will go on in so many ways that are completely beyond my control. So in order to be my most effective, I must present the best John Olander I can be.
Understand that I am not in control and accept the results whether or not it required the help- of others without shame, knowing that I have done my best.
Now that my friends, is a turning point.

John Olander

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


Photo by TC Perch.  Graphic art by Niki Flow.

“I used to read five psalms every day – that teaches me how to get along with God. Then I read a chapter of Proverbs every day and that teaches me how to get along with my fellow man.” -Billy Graham

Good Friday was always a rough day for me.  The Stations of the Cross were brutal.  I hated to think of anyone going through that ordeal let alone this person I loved beyond measure.

Good Friday got easier. I grew up and learned I could save myself the heartache. It was all just a fairy tale.  We’ll be teaching Christian mythology someday, I told myself.  So I no longer sobbed on Good Friday.   That could only be a good thing.  Yet when I lost my faith, I felt it profoundly.  It felt very cold in the universe without it.  So, I kept searching.

Now the only thing I know with certainty is that I know nothing.  The “through a glass, darkly” is a real thing and it’s not like it’s getting brighter as time goes on.  More the opposite.  Letting go of the need to know has been a saving grace.

So, I return with pleasure to that emotional child’s memories and comfort her. The beauty of this love story is enough, and the mystery of not knowing only enhances it. What is life if not a beautiful mystery? Anything can happen, especially miracles.

If this story is one you love too, you may enjoy Easter Morning, Mary’s Song.  The music won’t be finished in time for Easter again this year (my co-creator is on a walkabout) but I’ll get back to you next year.  There’s that beautiful mystery again.

Next week, I hope to feature more from Cord X and Johnny O.  Cord has shared some gorgeous flowers from San Antonio recently and John is full of plans in Denver. He’s never without a pen and an idea for a poem, a garden, a friend or a city. I can’t wait to share their creations with you.

I hope we have a great weekend. Happy Passover for those celebrating. “Next year in person,” right? I really hope so, for all of us. And whether you celebrate Easter or not, may you feel the miracle, the mystery and the love of this story every single day of your life.

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

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Can’t Wait or Too Late?

The King Needs his Queen, he needs her indeed.
It is not just a matter ardent desire, but of absolute need.
The Army might save him once in a while,
But there is little joy in walking, step by step, single file.
Yes, one square at a time is all he can take,
Teamed with his great Queen they will crush the whole board,
Creating surrender in their wake.
The joy in their partnership expressing is a sight to behold.
Here is hoping I find that Great Queen before we are both too old.

-John Olander

Welcome back Johnny O!


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

5.188b Photo by Wild0ne

Photo by WildOne, Pixabay

“All’s well that ends better.” -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

This is the last in the Tolkien-quotes series.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them.  Once again, special thanks to the Pixabay and Picmonkey photographers.

The journey of Samwise, Frodo, and company continues to Rivendell here:

ÉOWYN, Bag End to Rivendell-Frodo.


I’m taking a break for a bit and will be back with Gems featuring some new photos from Cord X. and a poem from Johnny O. the week of November 18th.  We’ll restart the videos and newsletters every week after that too.

Until then, may all your journeys be green and golden.



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


Photo by Orlando, Heidelberg, Pixabay


Special thanks to John Olander, one of our favorite featured artists, for sharing this wonderful song.  I love the guitar rift intro especially and Eric Bibb’s smooth jazz voice. Thank you dear Johnny O.

Special thanks also to Richard Keys Photo Sociology, for offering his beautiful photos to be used any time we like for our daily quotes.  You’ll be seeing some of Richard’s photos next week.  Thanks so much Richard!

In the meantime, if you know any homeless artists who would like their poems, photos or art featured on under1000skies as well as our accounts on TwitterPinterestInstagramG+ and through our email list, please pass on our information. Thank you!

Have a great weekend.

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


Happy Birthday Johnny O

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Today we celebrate a light-filled Gem named ¤ John Olander. ¤

Happy Birthday John

Our friends John “Johnny O” Olander and Nicole Huguenin, superstar Dream Walker, giftivism co-creator, and photographer.  Nicole introduced us to John.  ☼ Thank you! ☼


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Today is a very special birthday. Our first contributing artist, John Olander, is celebrating 60 years on our sweet old world. Today we feature John’s contributions over the years in a slide show. John has something really special planned for today that he wrote and which he’ll be performing live in celebration. He has given us permission to share it soon. Meantime, if you get time today, please leave John a birthday wish in the comments below. 

 Thank you John for you trust in under1000skies and for your generous contributions and open-hearted friendship. Happy Birthday dear friend.   

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