Doing some good...

I have always wondered what, as an artist, am I supposed to do with my life. Can I make some sort of difference in the world? Can I help anyone...even just one person? Maybe I can help people get their message out by creating a visually inspiring illustration or poster? I'm not sure but I am going to try. There must be real ways for artists to make an impact on the world.

What made me start thinking about this? I went to a amazing spiritual conference this weekend. It was encouraging the participants to not only work on their spiritual selves but also get out there in the world and become an activist. Truthfully, I have always yearned in my heart to help people and I dream of doing these incredible pieces of art, but I get scared. I sometimes feel like I don't have a voice. I'm afraid to get political because I might frighten people away. I might offend people. It is not good for my "career". I have a hard time speaking up, I get tongue-tied...but that all needs to change. I need to grow up. I need to find my voice. And you know what? My voice is my artwork...and I don't it to be want to be quiet anymore.

Do you think artists can make any impact in the world? Is it passe' thing to do? Have you ever wanted to use your artwork for "good". Did you do it or did something stop you?

In the next year or so I plan to get more involved with the world. I will learn about charities and non-profits around the world. I will help someone somehow, and use my creative gifts to do something good. There is so much to do...where should I start?

Do you want to do some good? What are you excited to help out with?

Do any of you know of organizations to get involved with that you love? Do you have any recommendations of charities that tug at your heart? I'd love to hear about them.

BTW, the poet in the video, Drew Dellinger, was one of the speakers at the conference I went to. You can find out more about him and his work here.

Raise Your Hand for...The Girl Effect

Writing about The Girl Effect really makes me appreciate my freedom. As a middle class, educated, white woman from a nice small town I had all the advantages in my life. I went to a good public school, took art classes, was in show choir and chorus. I left home and moved to the big city to go to art school. I learned, I laughed and I tried my hand at love. The world was open to me and I could choose to be anyone I wanted (well, at least to a certain degree).

When I look around at the world I know some girls just are not as lucky as I am. They don't get the freedom to enjoy their lives as others do. They are forced into the role of mother and wife as soon as their body allows it.  Some of these girls are as young as 12 when they are married off to men they didn't choose. And I wonder how can they be happy?

So what makes these girls different from you and me? Not much, except the place and the circumstances in which they were born. Do they not want something more from their lives? Well, of course they do. But society and tradition has told their parents girls aren't worth educating. They have too much work to do to waste on anything as silly as education for girls. This need to change.

  Allowing these girls to become educated young women before they are mothers would make a huge difference in the world and the town they live in.  Imagine a world were woman were strong and they could take care of themselves and each other. They wouldn't be stuck in their lives as they are now. They could work outside the home and have careers. They could have the seemingly simple freedom to live the normal dramatic teenage life without the worrying if their children are safe at every moment.

These girls not only need a change, they need a revolution. The Revolution is not only for the girls themselves but the whole world. People need to know that these injustices are still going on. We bloggers are trying to change that, we are trying to get the word out about the reality of the others' lives. We need to show some humanity and some humility in pointing out how others live and trying to do something about it. And we have to do it with respect to all those involved with the changes or it won't work! Most importantly, we must remember to ask these girls themselves, "What do you want?" "How can we help YOU?", because it might be different from what we imagine.

So what can you? First you can learn the truth about the struggles of these girls. Talk about it, write about it. Give some money if you can.

What am I doing? I created this illustration. I am listing it in my Etsy shop and 25% of the proceeds will go directly to The Girl Effect. It may be a little thing but to me, if everyone does just one will add up. And we can make a difference.

Raising Hands by bluehour studio
 So what will you do?

To get a my Raising Hands (for The Girl Effect) Print click here.

This post is part of a week long Girl Effect Blogging Campaign.  It was started by the wonderful Tara Sophia Mohr after she learned about The Girl Effect last year. She simply asked other bloggers to spread the word.  Check out what other bloggers have written about the girl effect here. If you are moved. Write something in your blog and keep the movement going.


A young photographer in old Japan...via Okinawa Soba

 The last few days have been horrific and I can't seem to stop watching the news about the earthquake & tsunami in Japan...If that wasn't scary enough, now they have to worry about the meltdown of their nuclear plants. It is truly terrifying. What will happen next? I don't think anyone really knows at this point.  I suppose we can pray, send loving thoughts and donate some money.

Here is an quick and easy way to help.

"Those who want to help can go to and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific."

Here are more ways to help here. 

One more...This one is started by my friend Yukino Pang and Dice Tsutsumi who were behind the Totoro Forest Project....

For up to date news, I've been getting some of the best information from the Huffington Post and Boing Boing, I highly recommend checking them out. Twitter has also been incredible in hearing real time news directly from Japan.

Thank you.

The Girl Effect...

I've been thinking a lot about what I am suppose to do in my life lately and especially since I started to run bluehour studio full time. What is my purpose? What can I do with the gifts I have? How do I stop my fears and get my dreams accomplished. I sit, I draw, I worry and I wonder am I doing the right thing with my life?

The funny thing is, it is gift to even be able to ask these questions. I'm an educated, middle class, white girl from the US. I'm very lucky. I've been blessed with all the freedom in the world. I have wonderfully supportive parents and friends and I am blessed with an awesome, loving, smart and kind husband.  With all their help, I have learned to find my strength and success in life.

This is not saying that my life was easy. I had my troubles, problems and doubts that I still deal with everyday but I survived and now I lead a very good happy life.

Some girls are not as lucky... Imagine if by the time you were 15 instead of worrying if anyone was going to ask you to the dance, you had to worry about who you were going to be married off to. You'd pray that your husband won't rape and beat you. And you pray you have the strength to raise your children. You would pray you would stay healthy and safe. It is not the way anyone should live. But millions of girls do.

I heard about The Girl Effect a few months ago and I was blown away. I mean, I knew that a large percentage of girls/women lead really, really difficult lives. But I did nothing.  I suppose I felt helpless about it all. I mean what can I do?

I decided to join in with Tara Sophia Mohr and her Wise Living Blog. She is having a campaign for bloggers to tell people about The Girl Effect.  It may be a little thing but it is something I can do.

Watch how supporting girls to helping change the systems can really effect lives:

And you can do something too. You can learn, you can give or you help spread the word.

P.S. I wanted to thank Tara@ScoutieGirl for pointing this out to me.