About Us


I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡


To make our new logo, above, I used the first photo I ever published on this blog.   It was just a photo with the caption, “Before the Storm, Delaware City.”

The first “light-filled Gem” was published on under1000skies on September 2, 2015:

Gems 1.1

Gems 1.1.1 - 1Sept2015

Ferns and Sky – Niki Flow

We started out featuring two photos a day to continue the Rx-for-Healing tradition.  We also launched on Facebook on that day.

That same year we had our “1st Annual Kindspring.org / Eowyn Challenge.”

Happy Hobbit Day! Gems today celebrates fitness, fun, JRR Tolkien, Middle Earth and all things hobbit. It’s also an invitation to a 21-day Walking challenge in collaboration with Wild Dream Walks on Kind Spring. It runs from September 23-October 6. All welcome!

On March 2, 2016 my son and one of our contributing photographers, one of my biggest supporters Ben Archer disappeared.  This is his poster

Ben Archer Missing please call 302-836-1792

Ben Missing Flyer

For more about Benjamin, this is what I keep on my Facebook Cover page:

Ben facebook cover 2

Our Number: 302-836-1792

Or contact:
Me (Micky O’Toole)
My husband: Michael Downs
Ben’s brother: Joseph Raley
Ben’s sister: Kelly Carroll

Ben has been missing since
-2 March 2016-

This (below) is his NAMus.org case file page:

He is our ♪ Joyful One ♪
and we will never give up hope.

by Thomas Lux

That they walk, even stumble, among us is reason
to praise them, or protect them—even the sound
of a lead slug dropped on a lead plate, even that, for them,
is music. Because they bring laughter’s
brief amnesia. Because they stand,
talking, taking pleasure in others,
with their hands on the shoulders of strangers
and the shoulders of each other.
Because you don’t have to tell them to walk toward the light.
Because if there are two pork chops
they will serve you the better one.
Because they will give you the crutch off their backs.
Because when there are two of them together
their shining fills the room.
Because you don’t have to tell them to walk toward the light.

“Ode to the Joyful Ones” by Thomas Lux from To the Left of Time. © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

In January of 2017 I wrote:

[under1000skies] has grown organically, and very slowly.  The journey of under1000skies is closely interwoven with my own.  I had no idea when I took that first photo what would happen in the years to come, just like I have no idea what will happen in this brand-new year.  None of us knows, of course.   I think that’s what is so magnificent and challenging about our lives.  This moment truly is enough.

Thank you for sharing this moment with me.  May you find joy every day of your journey in this new year and throughout your life.

♡.  Niki Flow, 

Creatives Connections
& Volunteer Coordinator 

 From under1000skies – a History


I hope you’ve enjoyed our featured photos. Gems / Under 1000 Skies is now linked with Volunteer Biographers. We’ll be working with some folks who are currently between homes on a really exciting photography project, “Show Me What You Love and I Will Know Your Heart.”  ♡


We distribute disposable cameras to these artists and the only assignment is, “Show me what you find beautiful.” When you know what someone finds beautiful, you get a glimpse into that person’s heart.



Artist packs include pens, waterproof notebook, disposable camera and waterproof carry case.  Summer packs also include sunscreen, visor and sunglasses.  Winter packs include scarves, lip balm and gloves.  We’re hoping to include blankets for both in future packs.


We also included gum since finding water can sometimes be a problem and a “Peace Dove” created by Mindy, a dear friend from a wonderful community, KindSpring.org.


Every six months or so we’ll have a Gallery Show to show all the work contributed. You can download the photos to print and if you like donate. All donations (100 percent) go to the purchase of disposable cameras, postage for the return of the cameras and for developing the film.


There are all sorts of ways you can help our work.

Spread the Word!

Share our gems on your blog, through social media, any way you like.  The more people who know about Gems, the more heart-connections we make.

Contribute Photos / Artwork

I would love to feature your artwork or photos.  Your creations will be displayed with your copyright info on this site as well as through our email list and the social media listed above.

“Contribute” means that  you always retain full rights to your creative work, but you allow Under1000skies/Gems to use your work in Gallery shows to generate interest and donations.  If you’re interested, please send us a note (contact info below).  We’ll add title, copyright info, and your website if you have one.

The world needs more light-filled Gems. So please think about all your art work and paintings and photos and let’s sprinkle these beautiful light-filled gems into the world together. =)

Time Donations

If you would like to be one of our Gems volunteers for distributing artist packs in your town, please contact us for more information.  We will have a volunteer forum and FAQ section soon.  Special thanks to our current Gems Volunteers:

  • Ben Archer – Wilmington, DE; Philadelphia PA
  • Nicole Huguenin – Denver CO; San Francisco, CA
  • Niki Flow – Volunteer Coordinator, Northeast USA
  • Paul Schmitz – Nashville, TN

Time Donations:  Tech

We are trying to get our website going with a volunteer forum, contact form, and individual artist gallery pages.  If you know a lot about website building and would like to donate time/advice, please send as an email (contact info below).

Dollar / Discount Donations

We need dollar donations (or goods) for disposable cameras, scarves, gloves, notebooks, pens, postage, envelopes, baseball caps and sunglasses.  We also need connections to be able to find these at a discounted or wholesale price.  These are used for our “Artist Packs” given to people currently between homes.

Winter Artist Packs include one disposable camera, lip balm, gloves, warm scarf, one small notebook (photo log), package of pens, and one self-addressed stamped envelope to return the camera for developing.

Approximate cost:  $20

Summer Artist Packs include one disposable camera, one baseball cap, one pair of sunglasses, one small one small notebook (photo log), a package of pens, and one self-addressed stamped envelope to return the camera for developing.

Approximate cost:   $20

Each Volunteer Pack includes three winter or three summer packs.

Approximate cost:  $60.



If you have any questions or need more information about contributions, donations or becoming a volunteer, please write to us!


Or send us is a direct message on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jazztizz

More about Gems

You can find the “Gems” all over the net, featured

You can find *Gems” on Facebook here:

On Pinterest:


and G+

Thanks so much for stopping by!

It is no accident you are here. We are all connected.

. Niki Flow



39 thoughts on “About Us

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