Gems 4.160

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

4.160 Benjamin

On January 8, 2016, we featured the photo above, “Gems 2.4.”  It was taken by my son Ben in Taos, NM the summer before.  We featured several of Ben’s photos that week.  That day, January 8th, Ben wrote a a comment:

benarcher on  said: Love how you’re using all these 🙂 I’m glad to see my photos actually used for something instead of just taking up space. These gems would be good on the walls
On March 2, 2016, Ben disappeared.

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♥ Gems: A Thank-You Note ♥

Who Inspires You to Be Your Best Self?

Our homeless artists inspire me every day.  Johnny O has been on the street for 20 years, and he has never given up. He constantly focuses on helping others, on improving his life and on giving to the world with his uplifting and inspiring poetry.

Cord is a very gentle soul whose quiet presence and comments on Simbi made me feel so welcome there when I joined. He was homeless for a long time, but he keeps a gorgeous poetry blog that blew me away first time (and every time) I read it.  He’s so talented. He also takes some of the most stunning photos I’ve ever seen.

I was homeless as a teen in 1974 (a runaway for a week) and again in 1997 when I lost literally everything.  Both times, I met some really cool people who live in the cracks between everyone else’s reality. These are my people — the ones I feel most comfortable with.  I guess that’s because, in my own way, I live in the fringes too, made “homeless” in this world by my own demons. I live in shelter, in comfort, with abundance and with as much support as I could possibly need. Yet both these kind souls have never judged me and have been really supportive about under1000skies.

The irony of an agoraphobic trying to help the homeless is not lost on me. I hope some day it will be a really cool part of the story of how I overcame this thing; about how under1000skies thrived; and about how, together, we connected and helped homeless artists around the world.

Who inspires you to be your best self?

Posted on KindSpring here:   300 Days of Gratitude Day 13:  Who Inspires You to Be Your Best Self?  



The Gems Project

I hope you’re enjoying our featured photos and artwork. We are now linked with Volunteer Biographers and have recently launched an a really exciting photography/art project:

 ♡ When we show each other what we find beautiful,

we get a glimpse into each other’s hearts. ♡

Though everyone is welcome to contribute photos and/or artwork, we are currently working with artists who are between homes (homeless).  All contributions of photos, materials and funds will be used for purchase of disposable cameras or sketch pads, gloves and scarves (or hats and sunglasses for the winter) and artist notebooks.

The challenge:  “Show me what you find beautiful.”  When we know what another person finds beautiful, we get a glimpse into their creative hearts.  Our creative hearts connect us instantly and joyously.  Every contributor, follower, volunteer and artist will be a co-creator in this connection.

So far we have three volunteers working in San Francisco, Denver and Philadelphia.  If you are interested, please leave a comment below.  As soon as we have our website up, we’ll have a contact email and a Artist/Volunteer forum for Q&A.

(More here on our About page.)

To kick off the Gems Project, Sara Michele O’Sullivan (Niki Flow) will donating 100 percent of the profits from her book,  Elanthian Love Songs – A Bard’s Tale – a collection of 21 love- and story-poems, featuring the beautiful paintings of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

final cover large



I promised to send artist packs to Sheltering Grace in GA, Shower Up Nashville, my friend MJR in Santa Cruz (our first Volunteer Biographer client); our friend JohnnyO in Denver for his writer’s group; Michelle (Chilis on Wheels) – our next Spotlight Saturday; and Nicole Huguien, friend and founder of Dream Together, (fka Wild Dream Walks) in Hawaii. Each artist pack costs about $25 and includes a disposable camera, waterproof notebook, pens, scarf (or baseball cap in summer), lip balm and chewing gum as well as a waterproof pouch to hold everything.  We got several out since we started and so far we did get one film back which will be developed soon.  To publish Elanthian Love Songs, we purchased a limited copyright for the use of Steph Law’s beautiful paintings.  This was a loan which was repaid recently as a gift from a generous donor MDD. =) (Thank you!♥)  That means that 100 percent of the profits from now on — that means every dollar now since it’s a digital book — go to into these artist packs, shipping and developing the photos.  Very happy to announce that today.  ^_^  In the meantime, I hope to find a place to purchase the cameras and develop the film in bulk more cheaply. The reason I’m plugging Elanthian Love Songs again tonight is because I really want to make good on this promise to get artist packs these beautiful people and friends who serve the homeless folks in our community every day.

Thanks for reading.

♥. Niki Flow

☼ Gems Update ☼


I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
sand 1
Gems will be back January 4th.
In the meantime, please think about
contributing photos to be featured M-F
on the website and on social media.
We’re currently on empty.
Gems and Under 1000 Skies work in
association with Volunteer Biographers.
When we show each other what we find beautiful, 
we get a glimpse into each other's hearts.