The poignant power of beautiful things

It’s been 88 days since Russia invaded Ukraine and touched off a global wave of support and admiration for that brave, beleaguered country.

As heart-breaking as it is to see the images and hear the stories of what’s going on in cities like Mariupol, Kharkiv, Sevierodonetsk and Kyiv, it is also inspiring to witness the creative ways people are finding to offer aid.

From her small town in Oregon, my sister in-law Sharon connected with a Ukrainian artist and purchased hand-carved eggs. She sent me a set and it arrived on Saturday. The distance they traveled both geographically and psychologically, from war-torn Lviv through tiny Burns, Oregon to my home in Appleton, Wisconsin makes them even more precious.

My sister Kathy and my mom also brought me a Ukrainian Candle from their trip to Door County on Saturday. According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, Door County Candle’s Ukrainian owner Christiana Gorchynsky Trapani has raised over a half-million dollars through her sale of the vanilla scented yellow and blue candles. The company donates 100% of its profits from the Ukrainian Candle sale to Razom for Ukraine, an international relief organization focused on providing critical humanitarian war relief, recovery, evacuation and advocacy in Ukraine.

Kathy also gave me a button with a very sweet and inspiring backstory.

Santo Mortillaro, a Special Olympian from Hubertus, Wisconsin saw some news stories about what is happening in Ukraine and decided he needed to do something about it.

“Where is my button maker?” he asked his mother Mary, according to this story.

Mary pulled the button maker down from the closet and Santo got to work. He has raised well over $5,000 for Ukraine MKE by selling his buttons. You can purchase these sweet buttons by emailing

Buttons, candles and pretty eggs might not seem like much in the face of relentless Russian aggression, but I believe the greatest weapons against war we humans have are love, compassion, creativity, kindness and the beauty all those things inspire.

As J.R. Tolkien wrote, “The war made me poignantly aware of the beauty of the world.”


We are wearing our buttons and holding our candles here. This is my mom, my sister Kathy and me yesterday sending a lot of good vibes and a little financial support to Ukraine.
These wooden eggs are really beautiful and made precious by the journey they took. The candle is pretty too. I think some designated night we should all use our Door County Candles to send our collective light out and over to Ukraine.
I love this pin!
I have followed @zinanatko on Instagram since I purchased two of her prints. She and her family are still living and working in Kyiv. If you want an inside look at what’s going on there, this is a good account to follow.

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