As an artist, I have always battled with what I perceived as the selfishness of my endeavor. It seemed to me that creativity was something individual, personal and thus, somewhat selfish. And when people shared their attitude, asking what it does for the community or others (this has even been asked via my artist site), I would always feel ashamed, sheepish even, that I wanted to call myself an artist. This situation is the perfect example of yet again how the arts and artists are cast down; we often associate the arts with negativity. Think about the artists we celebrate and most learn about, it is those who are associated with mental illness, or tragedy. So when I came across the blog magazine, A Hopeful Sign, I felt grateful Gary Doi gave me the opportunity to begin to dispel that myth. The magazine called for people to look beyond the easy half glass empty and look for strength and happiness through something called hope. We all hope for something better, in all professions, in all walks of life, and this collaborative space did exactly that.

Several months ago this blog came to an end. It is still up, spreading hope, but it was decided it was time to close this particular chapter on a high note. But, being the hopeful collaborators we all are and were, we couldn’t let it go. One contributor posited to Gary, let’s make it a book! Many emails later, all contributors having thrown in their two cents (“Yes! Let’s do it!”) Gary decided to take the lead once again. He managed to select a number of the articles, review the posts with each contributor, and begin the layout process. I was fortunate yet again. Here was an opportunity for me to share my skill and expertise in both writing and the visual arts to help out a project that my heart believes in, that was for a good cause. It was decided all net profits would go to a school in Guatemala that supports impoverished students. How could I say no?

Book: Inspiring Hope!

Book: Inspiring Hope!

So, amidst ending a job that challenged me (with people I sincerely miss), moving countries, planning and having a wedding, I managed to squeeze in some time to design a book cover with Gary. It was an interesting process, we had several incarnations of an idea before the final product was realized (which honestly always seems typical of my work). And it was again through collaboration and garnering feedback from other contributors, that we managed an image we felt best celebrated the message of A Hopeful Sign: a tree. The Tree of Life. It was a hopeful tree, as AHS has sustained many and we now hope our actions and this book, Inspiring Hope, can help sustain others through its purchase. Not only can people be inspired by the stories inside it, those who purchase it can know that their money has gone to a good cause, to the education of young people.

So, the next time the naysayer, be it that negative voice in your creative head or another person try to make you rethink your choice to write your novel or make that artwork, remember how much your work can mean to others, how it can be an education in itself, and know you always have a choice to contribute to good causes! Your work is worth it, and it may bring hope to many. I know this project has brought me hope!

Please read the press release below if you wish for further information. I hope you consider purchasing the book. It is made with love and with hope for something better, for everyone:


Inspiring Hope: One Story at a Time

NEWS RELEASE: November 25, 2013 (British Columbia, Canada)

A pair of rocking chairs and two good quilts are the secret to a happy marriage. At least that’s what a New Brunswick maritimer claims in a book that is an antidote to stress and bad news. Inspiring Hope: One Story at a Time is filled with stories that will improve anyone’s day.

Gary Doi, a former school superintendent from British Columbia, created this collaborative book project which brought together 42 VIPs (very interesting people) from different parts of the world. The result is a stimulating anthology of 75 bite-sized stories focused on the eternal question: What gives you hope? The stories are as varied and compelling as life itself. They stir the imagination, ignite your courage and invite reflection. They speak to your inner voice. They inspire hope.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 9.38.45 AM

Screen Shot from of the Book

“Officially this is a global launch,” Doi said. “We have 42 authors from around the world. Each has a network of supporters and ways to celebrate the launch. This book is also a charity project as all net proceeds will be donated to a school community library in Guatemala.” Doi further stated that Miguel Asturias Academy is a private, non-profit, Pre K-12 school serving vulnerable students in Xela, Guatemala.

Examples from the book include a California mother who shares her heartfelt story about raising an autistic child and how that experience brought fulfillment, love and gratitude. A teacher in Dubai describes how her bucket-list adventures opened up fascinating opportunities to learn and discover. A retirement coach from the United Kingdom explores a common question facing retirees: What will you do with the rest of your life? And, a university professor writes about the heroic efforts of a sixteen-year-old student in Tokyo who mobilizes community members to raise funds for a small fishing village affected by the Tohoku Earthquake disaster.

Inspiring Hope: One Story at a Time is available for sale on (ca/uk).

Plans are also underway for a second charity book in the series (Inspiring Hope: One Image at a Time) which will feature inspirational photographs and artwork from around the world.

For more information, contact:

Gary Doi

Tel: 250 770-7899



BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: This is not an affiliate link. This is me asking you to help make a purchase that will help change the lives of young people, and hopefully inspire you along the way! In the spirit of the holiday season, cheers to all the creatives willing to take part in this endeavor. Bravo!


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