Two years ago I spent a rainy month in Portland, Oregon visiting my sons. One especially wet day as I dodged puddles, maneuvered my umbrella and navigated my way around people and their dogs in bright yellow slickers (yes, a lot of the dogs in Portland wear rain gear) I mused about places in the world where people live and there is no water. That day in Portland there was water everywhere: dripping off the hood of my jacket into my face, small rivers running down the street, tree branches heavy with moisture, and especially inside my boots squishing through soggy grass. Periodically I had to wipe the fog from my glasses so I could see. Living in a place with no water is beyond the scope of my understanding. Women in particular, in many communities, have to walk long distances to get water.
We can do something about this. Since this particular lightbulb went off, Charity: Water has been my charity of choice. They say that one in ten people on this planet lacks access to clean water. Through our donations, Charity: Water partners with people all over the world to build community owned water projects providing clean water. This matters to me.
You can read about them here: www.charitywater.org
Charity: Water also has an interesting quiz on their website where you can answer a few questions and see who in a far away community is most like you.
Today, Saturday, April 22, 2017, is Earth Day. A year ago many of you spent Earth Day 2016 with me and my wonderful friends at the Women of Substance Conference. Your participation in that day resulted in donations of over $400 each to Ronald McDonald House, Camp Dreamcatcher, Girls on the Run, and Charity: Water.
If you have interest in helping me donate to Charity: water here is my proposal to you:
I have made "I Love the World" one of a kind art cards. They are mixed media using tea bags, embroidery, paints and indigo dyed papers and you can see the cards here.The cost of the card, including shipping, is $15. If you buy one of the cards from me I will turn around and donate your $15 plus $5 of my own to Charity: Water. That is an $20 donation to Charity:Water. Just send me an email and indicate which art card you would like and where you would like it mailed. It could also be a thoughtful gift given in some one else's name. If you are not crazy about donating to Charity: Water but would instead like to donate to another charity, I'll send you a card anyway with your word that you will make a donation. (I will only add $5 to Charity: Water donations.) There are so many good ways to make a difference in the world.
On this beautiful Earth Day in Pennsylvania it is raining as I write this note. It is so green here! Go out, create, share, play, do what you do to make the world a better place!
I know I'm in trouble when I wake up at 4 am and think about cleaning. Anyone can tell you cleaning is usually the LAST thing on my mind. But here is the thing. I am an artist, a creator, a maker of things. And sometimes it gets pretty messy around here!
Someone once gave me the advice to focus on quantity, not quality in my art. Its very good advice as quality must surely follow behind practice and repetition. The practice opened up creativity like an endless waterfall reminding me of Chris Williamson's words in "Waterfall"
When you open up your life to the living
All things come spilling in on you
And you're flowing like a river
the Changer and the Changed
You've got to spill some over
Spill some over
Spill some over
Filling up and spilling over
It's an endless waterfall
Filling up and spilling over
You can listen to this wonderful song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlXPZVvImJ8
The result has been that I have made lots and lots of things:
miniature books, book art projects, mixed media collages, encouragement pieces, small comfort pillows, eucalyptus dyed silk scarves, poetry boats, stories, wall hangings, websites and greeting cards. I've created workshops, weekend retreats, and poetry programs. Last year a group of us created a conference for 80 delightful women. Following the river of creativity can take one just about anywhere.
I always thought money, like water, should flow - not be hoarded in some cold steel container. I feel that way about encouragement and beauty too. Let's keep it flowing and spilling over. Someone might need it.
If you are in need of some encouragement today you'll find a free digital version of my story,
The Encouragement Cafe, above under the tab Encouraging Words, Healing Stories.