Little Heroes of Nevada

I can't believe I'm flying out tomorrow to meet 6 incredible new little heroes as part of The Drawing Hope Project!  Seriously my mind is blown; it all happened so quickly (and these things do when you involve people like Diane Sawyer - more on that later).  It's 6:25pm.  I haven't packed yet as I've been running around gathering props and planning, goodie bags for the kids, and generally just wrapping my head around all of it!  I fly out around noon and end up with a long layover in L.A. (at least I'll be able to say I've been to L.A.!) and land in Vegas at 7:30pm (Vegas time).  I think it's something like 7000kms in total and about 13 or 14 hours of travel!  I'll be at the NCCF (Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation) bright and early to set up and get to meet everyone...ABC is showing up at 10am to set up and filming and shooting starts at 11:00am sharp.

I can't wait to meet each of these kids - their drawings are so awesome and their stories of strength are just mind-blowing.  I wish I could be there for each reveal when they see their photo for the first time!  After the shoot, I'll be heading back to the hotel to edit...and edit...and edit!  We're hoping to deliver 1 finished photo to one of the kids the next day.  I'll take it - it will be the first time I've actually BEEN there when they saw their photo for the first time!  The whole entire process is magical, but THAT moment right there...there's no words for how that makes me feel! 

Ryley's reaction to seeing her Drawing Hope photo for the first time!

I’m going to be helping make a little mermaid come to life, a little boy be the baseball hero of his dream, a young lady become a lady bug princess, while helping another little guy fly around his dinosaur friends while wearing his super-Andrew cape. I’m going to help a dancer get to Broadway, and help another one rise to the top as a Super Popstar. Honestly - who gets to do that? I do. I am so, so lucky.

Here's the awesome drawings I was sent (love!)

I will be blogging along my trip (when I have free hands!) and hopefully taking some video as well along the way, so you can all get to meet these kids and their families.  Then, to add some icing to the cake, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer is covering the story, and it's being aired on Wed. March 26th, 2014 - so be sure to tune in!  I'll be posting the video from that here and on the website too!

You can read about all the personal stories of the kids I'm going to meet by clicking here and flipping through the photos!  And, if you'd like to help support the project, you can (I have set up a campaign to help offset the cost of this and other trips, as I pay for the flight, accomodation etc on my own, to be able to bring this experience to these kids and their families).  You can help out here:

Please if you aren't already, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter, since that's where I update things the most!  I'm feeling very blessed and excited right now.  I can't wait to share this amazing experience and the final magical photos with everyone!  I guess I should pack!  I have a LOT of stuff to bring with me...but, anything is possible :)

I Am Not The Drawing Hope Project

Well, I sort of am.  But, I'm just one of the many art supplies that makes it possible.

Who is The Drawing Hope Project?

Every child and family that made it possible.  Every struggle and heartbreak, every sleepless worry-filled night.  Every tear and every terror.  Every family and child that didn't know what tomorrow would - or will - hold.  Every hope and every fear, every warrior bead and and every moment of absolute despair.  I am NOT The Drawing Hope Project.  

I'm just like a crayon that anyone who is part of the project used to draw something they believed in; I'm just something that became part of their hope for some dream to come true.  I am NOT the Drawing Hope Project.  The Drawing Hope Project is every family that chose to be a donor and save a life; it is every individual who chose to donate blood.  It is every family that has fought and believed that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

A camera and photoshop does NOT make magic happen.  Real people and their stories make magic happen.  Real hardships and strength makes magic happen.  Belief and HOPE makes magic happen.  

I am feeling very blessed to be one little part of all that magic, and honoured to be in the company of families and parents with more strength than I will ever know. 

Thank God For Messed Up People

I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences... I’m human, not perfect, like anybody else.
— Queen Latifah

Good grief we're so hard on ourselves and each other.

I just need to take a moment to recognize and acknowledge (and THANK) all the messed up people out there that make me feel totally and acceptably average.  

You know - the people who you meet that seem like they're a total hot mess.  They're going through something.  The world doesn't coordinate your personal tragedies with everyone else's.

The people we choose to criticize through social media - the Rob Ford's, Justin Bieber's and Miley Cyrus's of the world.  Ok, they may be a TOTAL hot mess - but can you at least for a second consider that maybe they're actually, honestly, be doing the best they know how?

To the train wreck on her cell phone that you're standing behind at the coffee shop, who may be coping with the death of a friend.

To the total bitch at Walmart who nearly let the door slam in your face as you tried to waltz in for your roll-backs.

To that asshole who cut you off on the highway because he just HAD to get home - for a reason that is none of your business.

Thank God for all the messed up people, because it means we're all in it together.  We expect miracles from ourselves and everyone around us; we expect divinity from celebrities.  Where is the allure in perfection?  Isn't reality allure enough?  It's certainly far more interesting.

Thank you to the people who despite all the numerous opportunities I've given you to give up on me - you haven't.  I've symbolically let that door slam in your face, I've cut you off on the highway, and I've ignored you on my cell phone.  I've been that person, and you've been okay with it.  I've let the door slam in my own face a few times.

Thank God for messed up people, because it makes me like you more.  Your imperfections are far more appealing than any perfection that might make me actually NOT like you.  Imperfections are perfectly perfect to me, because that is what I know.

I am grateful for the messed up people of this world, who in their own messed-up-ness retain the humility to accept - and adore - those imperfections and challenges that make us interesting.  Those tragedies that give us our stories.  Those stories that give us our histories.  Perfection is incredibly, horribly, dull.

I am thankful for my flaws, and for my failures.  I am thankful for my friends who are as perfectly-imperfect as me, and I am forever grateful to everyone who has appreciated that every misstep and stumble has landed me perfectly, and exactly, where I belong.

Thank God for messed up people.  Because without them, there would be no stories to tell.  There'd be no hope to find in sadness and no dreams to find in the dark - there'd be no phoenix rising from ashes, and there'd be no forgiveness to offer, or to accept.  

Thank God for messed up people.  Because that's the only type of person there is.

So, well, THIS happened.

When you stop looking for it is when it will find you.
— Anon
It's not everyday that something you've done becomes popular on  TrendHunter

It's not everyday that something you've done becomes popular on TrendHunter

Timing is weird.  Coincidences are weird.  The universe and the Law of Attraction is weird.  If you've read any of my recent posts you'll know I'm sort of in a limbo-phase right now - looking for that niche for my art and balance for my life / creativity / work / pay the bills situation I think every artist struggles with.   I've been trying my best to just let it go - to let it come to me.  

Then, something like THIS happens.  TrendHunter picked up The Drawing Hope Project, and in less than 2 hours it surpassed 5000 views, 100+ shares, and jumped to the #1 most popular post on their site.  Um, wow - and weird - and awesome.  Trouble being - I've been struggling with completing "round 1" of the project for over a year - the ultimate culmination of the project, and the completion of the actual hard-copy storybook.  SO much harder than I anticipated, and I admittedly took a good "year off" to recollect myself after all the photos were complete, and my Dad passed away (I'm a slow healer apparently).  Add to that fear of failure - and success - and you have a whole lot of terrified procrastination that has created a serious delay that haunts me daily.  Enter my Mom (thank god!) who has offered to help me wrap it up, and help string all the photos together into the perfect storybook as each little hero in the project deserves.

Now - here's why I think all of this is weird.

I have never ever been more fulfilled in my life than when I was working on The Drawing Hope Project.  Meeting these kids and their families - supporting their causes and helping them see their imaginations come to life = priceless.  Seriously, there aren't words for how that makes you feel.  And yet, here I am, looking for something creative that will fulfill me?  Am I an idiot?  

Honestly - ya, I think I am.  I've spent so long caught up in the opposite intention of the project - beating myself up and in turn, NOT seeing imagination (my own, and others) come to life.  Huh.  Meanwhile, if I just rewound back to the original reason I started the project in the first place - to create magic - and did it for that sake alone (forget future story books, as I'm apparently not a great storybook writer-and-put-together-er)...but just continued on creating the magic for these kids and their families...I think I'd rediscover that sense of creative and soulful fulfillment I've been looking for.

I stopped looking.

The moment I stopped looking for that creative outlet that would bring me fulfillment is when the answer came to me (this morning, actually).  I stopped hunting and trying to find it.  I just let it go, and ignored it.  And ta-da!  Well wouldn't ya know, I had it all along, but I'd tucked it away.  I think it's time to bring it back and do it simply for the sake of doing it.  An ongoing series of magical photos that will make little heroes and their families smile.  It doesn't need to become something great or wildly popular - because what's more great than being able to give that gift to someone who needs it?  Art for the sake of love.  The world could use more of that.