Gems 8.180

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

Gratitude Day ☼ 28 October 2022

Carol Lee Serendipity

by John Olander

I missed her then, I truly did. I still do. Recovery means so many things and has so many facets. One thing I have learned in my own journey, no matter your stripe or difficulty, helping others helps me.

I had not seen her in a number of years. I certainly did not expect to see her on that day or to have the privilege of the events that would unfold in the ensuing months. I have heard it said, wisely, that you go nowhere by accident. Believe it.

It started with an accident, something happens that changes everything. Tomorrow’s never promised to any of us, or is it?

Continue reading


Happy Star Wars Day.

may the fourth

Photo courtesy of my awesome little sis.  We both love baby Yoda. But I mean, who doesn’t? ♥.

(PS Sorry I meant to select my Niki Flow blog to reblog this. Oh well.)

Niki Flow



Until 1999 I was just like everyone else.  Every once in a while at a bar, at the grocery store, on a blind date, someone would say, “You know you kind of look like …I can’t think of his name.”


Between 1999 and around 2005, I seriously considered paying for plastic surgery.  Almost every day, everywhere I went, I heard comments:

“Hey Obi-Wan!”

“Dude!  Do that Jedi mind trick thing.”

“Where’s your light saber?”

“Hey dude, bad-ass fight scene (referring to the 2006 movie, Revenge of the Sith.)

“Jar Jar Sucks”

The top comment of all?”

“May the Force be with you!”

I was astonished at the range and diversity of the people who would suddenly yell these things into my face.  Old women at bus stops, little kids in the grocery store, all kinds of people.  Once a business man in a suit shouted at me…

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under1000skies Newsletter 1.6

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

Newsletter 1.6


“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. ” –M. Scott Peck


“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
–Mark Twain


“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” –Lucille Ball


“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” –Fred Rogers


“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” –Jean Shinoda Bolen

Moon Songs 50!

In celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the lunar landing, I hope you enjoy this short fictional story about the first Moon Colony Celebration and a family of musicians on the moon.  I wrote this a month after my first granddaughter was born and set it 150 years in the future where Evie, and her granddaughter and namesake, and her great-grandsons are very much a part of the world, and the moon, and having a grand time.

Moon Songs

50! ☼ July 20, 1969-2019 ☼

Evie needs to prepare for the big show on the brand new Moon Colony in three days. She and her jazz-band family have been preparing for this moment for months. But now, her sax reeds are missing. It’s unlikely anyone else in the colony has a baritone sax reed since theirs is the only jazz band in the lineup. All the years of practice, the months and months of auditions just to get here, and it could all be lost, because of a single sax reed.


The Old Snake

In the past two months, I have met two new friends who are sight-impaired.  It has really helped me understand a little about the difficulties and frustrations of living in a world without vision.  One of my friends is a young, talented writer.  I’ve been recording their stories as I have time. I also have been recording and posting some of my old stories and publishing these on Wattpad.  This is a writer’s interactive (free) website my new friend introduced me to recently.  It has a really great way of connecting writers to readers and to each other.  Currently, I’m reading three stories by other writers and leaving comments as time allows. You can comment on individual paragraphs, on the chapter, or you can leave private messages.  The feedback is so welcome.  It’s helping me to be a better writer.  I hope you enjoy this story poem and recording.

This story poem came about after two conversations with two of my wise friends (who don’t know each other), and because of Joseph Campbell. One friend was diagnosed recently with an illness that totally changed her life. We were talking about the grief that goes along with that, and how she was trying to let it all go, all the things she could have been and would never be. My heart went out to her so much, and I really understood. I have some things going on too. Then another very wise friend showed me a funny poem about wrinkles. Then I started thinking about the Joseph Campbell quote, “You must be willing to let go of the life you have planned in order to be ready for the life that is waiting.” Something like that. I started thinking about a snake, shedding skins, and …pop. My old snake was born.


1.6 under1000skies

The music is by me (Niki Flow) and is performed by Carter Parker. The lyrics are found in the poetry collection “Elanthian Love Songs: A Bard’s Tale” by Sara Michele O’Sullivan (former pen name) available on, and 100 percent of all profits go to buying artist packs and supplies for homeless creatives. See our “About” page for more information.

Coming soon (later today),

  • a Gems 1.82 video with the audio of every writer’s quote listed.



Gems 5.27

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


Painting “Shaman” by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law,

Created in honor of Pinktoes’ “Pink-Themed Song Contest”

I found a Pink Love Potion.
I bravely took a drink.
I never had the notion
It would turn my blonde hair

I tried another sip —
Aye brave I be, not wise.
Can ye guess what happened next? Continue reading

Gems 3.43

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

love roared 2

Photo /Graphic by Niki Flow.  A seven-word short story.  Author unknown.


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

This Week under1000skies

Happy Friday.  I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s what’s happening ☼ under1000skies

“Gear Shift” is one of the 30 plus stories that didn’t make the cut for 12 Tales (coming soon!).  It still belongs here, under1000skies.  Dedicated to Father Murphy* with love and thanks.

*Not his real name.

gear shift

“Gear Shift” by Niki Flow


“Father, I lost my paycheck.  Margery is gonna murder me.”

“Can you blame her?”

“Father, I’m sorry! I want to quit. I really do.”

“Do you mean that, George?”

“Father Murphy I mean it like I ain’t never meant nothing before.”

“I see.  Well, in that case, hold still.”


“Just count backwards from 100, slowly.”

“Is this my penance?”

“Certainly.  Let’s think of it like that.  Count backwards from 100 and picture yourself letting go of your gambling addiction.  Go on.  Begin.”

“Uh…okay.  Let’s see…100.  99.  98.  97…”

“Good.  Close your eyes George and keep counting.”


“Good.  Just keep counting.”

“Father what’s that noise?”

“George, if you don’t keep counting I’m going to make you count backwards from 1,000.”

‘Yes Father.  Er…I forget…”

“You are on Number 94.”

“Right.  93.  92….whaaaAAAAH!”



“Bless me Father for I have sinned.”

“Good evening.  Is that George?”

“Yes Father it’s me.”

“What would you like to tell me tonight?”

“I took the Lord’s name in vain. I had impure thoughts for only a few seconds about the lady at the supermarket.  I uh…that’s it.”

“Are you sure?  No gambling?”

“No gambling.  I ain’t interested.  It’s kinda like a miracle.”

“That’s good George.”

“Ever since two weeks ago when I passed out during confession…”

“Fell asleep, yes.”

“Whatever.  Yeah, since then.  Nothing.  I ain’t interested no more Father.”

“That’s marvelous George.  For your penance say two Hail Mary’s and two Our Father’s.”

“Thanks. I mean, I will.  Father guess what else?”


“My buddy fell asleep here last month.  He uh…stopped seeing that woman over in Queens.  Just …like that.”

“That’s marvelous George.”

“Father, something else.  I heard about another friend of his, who comes to this church only he goes to Saturday night mass.   So I don’t know him because we …me and the wife…we go to mass on Sundays.  Well, we go now, anyways.  Margery always did, but  I didn’t use to…”

“Yes George, I remember.  And?”

“Well that guy, he was a raging alcoholic.  And HE fell asleep in here about six seven months ago and Father Murphy, you’ll never guess…”

“What’s that?”

“He’s been sober ever since.  It’s like…this — right here — this confessional booth, it creates miracles, but you have to fall asleep.  Or something.  Maybe it’s you Father.”

“Or maybe we’re in a Miracle Machine I invented in my spare time and disguised it to look like a confessional.”

“Haha! Oh yeah or that!  Good one Father!

“I’m glad you’re amused George.  Anything else tonight?”

“Naw that’s it.   Uh…right.  My contrition:

“O my God, I am very sorry for offending you. I hate all my sins not only because you had to get punished but because you don’t like sins but you love me anyways.  I firmly resolve with your help to quit sinning.”

“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

“Amen.  Thanks Father.”

“Don’t mention it George.”


The End.


♡. under1000skies
=) A “Gifivism” Initiative (=
We are photographers,
writers, artists & advocates
serving and connecting
homeless creatives.


This Week under1000skies 12May17

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s what’s happening ☼ under1000skies


“Want Ad” is part of a short-story compilation called 12 TALES coming soon on Amazon as an eBook.  12 TALES  takes place over 12 months, a story for each month, with one central hub, Sadie’s Diner  (“Thin Threads.“)   We’re pledging 50 percent of the profits from the sale of Twelve Tales and 100 percent of the profits from ELANTHIAN LOVE SONGS to the purchase and shipping of artist packs for homeless creatives.  Special thanks to “Johnny O” (John Olander), Denver poet, artist, photographer and change-maker, for the critical review of “Want Ad” and encouragement.  ♥

♡. under1000skies
    =) A “Gifivism” Initiative (=
We are photographers,
writers, artists & advocates
serving and connecting
homeless creatives.