The Gift of Gratitude | Volunteers, Donors, & Council of AWE

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January 1, 2023

Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou! Happy New Year!

I want to wish you a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2023!

A thrilling ripple runs through my body and soul, stirring another wish — to share the Gift of Gratitude.

We are busier than ever preparing for the next phase of ArtWavEs with our upcoming series of workshops, recordings, and organizational growth to give children and families the nourishment they need to thrive in the next spiral of life.
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Yet there is always time for gratitude. Gratitude runs in my family. Both my sister Connie and my Uncle John (who isn’t my real uncle but took on the job years ago) reminded me this year of the power of gratitude. “As we aspire towards virtues such as goodness, kindness, patience, justice, respect, safety, and love,” John wrote in his Christmas letter, “let us remember that the mother of them all is Gratitude.”

There is also no greater example of the Ripple Effect than Gratitude, and the potency of the Gratitude we at AWE feel toward our volunteers and donors could launch a spaceship to the Moon. It spreads echoes of appreciation through our bodies and minds. Gratitude reverberates in the ethers, circling the world, and returns back to us amplified by the thrill the Universe feels when we thank the source of life.

As we welcome this pivotal new year, the people I am most grateful for are first, YOU, dear friend and reader, for whom I am forever reaching toward the best way to touch our hearts in the spaces between us.

I am also grateful for the stars in our ArtWavEs constellation. The key to our work at ArtWavEs are the volunteers, donors, and art patrons who have proven the truth of Margaret Mead’s words, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed that’s all who ever have.”


Susan Minor and Lara Printz who comprise with me the core Creative Council that met at least monthly and often daily during 2022 sorting out how our mission is developing.

Susan and I were tiny Catholic school girls in Illinois when we first met and took First Holy Communion more than 60 years ago!!!! That early embodiment gave both of us a special bond to pursue how a sense of wholeness contributes to “holiness,” and showed us how one of the first ways to help others is to know our own individual wholeness. As Yoga students and teachers, we carried that Light into venues that stretched across four decades from mindfulness practices to Yoga Arts Dances performed for colleges, Girl Scout troupes, and from Earth Dances in outdoor spaces to leading the Mardi Gras Parade in St. Louis in 2002!

That led to collaborations that have spanned the distances and include the Soul Medicine online coursework during the pandemic to assembling amazing Art Mentors for the AWE Pilot Project last May.

The Illinois crew included Kathy Donnelly, Carrie Leigh, and Jane Yates as well as Lynda Boyd who helped with painting and flag-making. And Kittie Ryan McMillan volunteered her photography skills and interacted with the children during the 3-week series of events. They all brought awesome wisdom and experience to the remarkable success of our first Mainland school AWE workshop series, which served 135 students with mindful fun, gratitude circles, art lessons, and appreciation for the gift of life.

Susan is now our Deva of Development and puts so much heart and joy into everything she does that it continues to astound me.

Lara Printz joined the AWE Council in late 2021 and has brought extraordinary grace and presence as a Peace Arts Guide to our work. As a Catalyst Love Warrior, Goddess of Play, and person-centered expressive arts facilitator, she has worked with pioneers in the transformational movement, including Natalie Rogers, Anna Halprin, Daria Halprin, Sofia Thom, Chris Zydel and Marta Barreras.

She loves helping people to connect to their juicy higher selves, and to their joy. She speaks 5 languages, sings and plays guitar, and brings the gifts of rhythm and timing to our table in such a beautiful way that we all sparkle with delight. Her musical and artistic efforts have lent power to experiential creative retreats and workshops in Hawaii and North Carolina to help people connect to their true essence, power, and joy!


New stars who joined the Creative Council this year include Clarie K Bajo and Carrie Leigh, whom I’ll be writing more about later. But it’s worth recalling today as we cross the threshold to a new year that while there is much that is uncertain in our world, being part of a dedicated core group committed to a peace mission of extraordinary scope can carry us through the hardest and best of times.

For the last ten years, Elisha Southworth, Felicia Feefee, Beth Ana Webb, and Toni Vaughn have been some of AWE’s most unwavering supporters. As consistent guides and collaborators, they show me what beautiful people do. They glow with love. There is no trace of any bitterness or greed, and I see that’s what peace is made of — a transparency of goodwill and unconditional compassion. They share that in different ways.

Recently, Toni facilitated the Winter Solstice Ceremony at the New Thought Center, which gave us a chance to hear her speak about the way sacred practices and helping children serves the givers as much as the receivers. What a beautiful person she is, giving and forgiving with gratitude and elegance.

These powerful women remind me that many prayers are made alone but miracles are made together!

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Elisha has made it a point to be a Mentor at almost every SKEA Art Camps Silk Painting workshop since 2012. She specializes in keeping us focused on what matters most – patience as well as painting and mindfulness along with mirth-making.

Others who have sparked more gratitude this year are Marcia Kellam and Nataliya Doughty, Jean Kinsley-Love, Kandie Kato, Davina Mar, Kandace Kelly, Julia Weaver, Martha Denny, Judith Lowe, Daiane Koerner, and so many more. Thank you thank you thank you.

Many of our students say that having the ability to express peace and hope through our painting and intentional arts process helps them to recover from hard experiences, integrate emotions, heal trauma, and work through challenges. They discover how the evolution of their creativity, together with healthy snacks made by Liza Brown and served at events hosted by Randyl Rupar, and supported by Erin Peeples, have made all the difference in their lives.

What bonds us is knowing how fruitful are the effects of Peace Flags and Intentional Creativity, a process that heals while it spreads world peace!



I can tell you that extending the AWE creative arts and painting processes yield amazing results – both internally and externally!

For the last 10 years, hundreds of people on Hawaii Island and around the world have joined their voices to the chorus of Gratitude, Art, and Giving that our ArtWavEs community fosters. Because of YOU, through your gifts, intentions, and networking to connect us with schools, groups, and organizations who have decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We choose peace.

As Charles Dickens wrote, “Old men can make war, but it is children who will make history.” It is Children of Peace and peace-making individuals and artists who are shaping our future as a world where creativity has replaced war and violence.

It’s not always easy. But the stakes could not be higher. Again, Margaret Mead said, “We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment,” and “An ideal culture is one that makes a place for every human gift.”
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Thank you for resonating with children, kindness, gratitude, and art, and for taking practical action to manifest a more collaborative, peaceful world. Thank you for helping children to grow into strong, happy adults!

You touch my heart, dear friend, and the children, painters, and all those who love peace and beauty are deeply grateful!

May the love you share shine back on you tenfold!

With Warm Aloha,
Marya for Pacific ArtWavEs

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires and a touch that never hurts.” — Ray Merritt

While this Gift #8 closes out the Gifts of Giving Campaign we atarted on December 20th, you are always welcome to make a gift at any time. Your gift, large or small, concrete or energetic, is deeply felt and used to manifest a world that works for everyone!


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