Today is the National Day of Encouragement. I don’t know about you….but I’m feeling awfully unencouraged and helpless lately.

There’s so much awfulness out in the world right now…The skies in Washington, Oregon, and California are thick with smoke and ash from fires. Texas and Louisiana are starting to dig out from Harvey, and Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia are suffering with the monstrous rage of Irma. Mexico was just hit with a huuuuuge earthquake, just as they were preparing for the onslaught of the other Atlantic hurricanes that have been chasing Irma’s coattails all last week. It’s as if Mother Nature heard doubts about climate change and replied with a big old “Hold my beer.”

And while we’ve only been paying attention to tragedies close to home, South Asia flooding has displaced 40 million people in just a few weeks. Yes, 40 MILLION. In Bangladesh it’s been 8 million – 3 million are kids. In Nepal, 1.7 million people are affected, and at least 1.5 million homes were destroyed along with thousands of schools, hospitals, roads and bridges.  1,300 were killed, and close to 40% were kids. They can’t bury all these people til the land dries out, either….can you imagine?

I am donating a lot more to charities these past few weeks – but it feels like a tiny drop in a giant bucket of need.

Blue footed booby was a reminder to Floridians to go take cover.

I need to displace compassion fatigue. How? With art.

For me, creating is my way to cope. It may not do any good for the victims to post something on instagram, but it keeps me from getting too lost in my feelings of impotence in the face of so much disaster. That just makes me sit helplessly on the sofa and stare at the wall. So I create something inspired by the tragedy, or to draw attention to it. Something to provide a commentary of some kind, to help keep it in the forefront of people’s minds. I invite you to do the same. I try to do it in respectful ways, sometimes humorous when appropriate. But most importantly:

With each piece…I’m going to make a donation.

When you see one of my pieces on Instagram, I challenge you to also go donate. It can be just a few bucks – but it’s our reminder to keep those who need our help in our thoughts and prayers – and actions.

Just last night I made a significant gift to the fund created by all our living former presidents: the One America Appeal – what a beautiful joint effort from these men.

So that’s where my head is at on this day when so many people are under Irma’s thumb and reeling in her wake. Using my art for good, and following it up with doing more than sending warm thoughts. Hope you’ll join me.


PS A public service announcement: Copic class sale at art-classes ends at midnight tonight. That feels pretty yucky for a post like this, but maybe you can take the savings from class and donate it?