Thursday, January 15, 2009

Going to the River

"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties"~ Harry S. Truman

I was inspired to write this several months ago as I became one of the casualties of the recession and had to wander in the wilderness so to speak for a few months as I cut deep down to be able to survive. During this period of time a fellow New Orleanian,friend artist,colleague and all around wonderful human being, opened up her home for me in North Carolina. A few days before my departure to my new home in Oregon she took me to a private spot that she said always aided her when she need to be quiet and wail if needed or to sort out her thoughts. She taught me a lot about simply living and wholy living.

There is little chance I will forget what I learned and to watch her gain a peace beyond measure still resonates with me as I reflect back even now.
For her and all my fellow citizens of the Gulf Coast, this is for you.

Going To the River

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©08

When I am in a way where words refuse to suffice...

Or the tides cannot soothe my ears with a melodic rhythm

And the gentle rustle of the sycamore tree sounds more like Beethoven's Fifth

Or cleansing raindrops feels more like crashing boulders surrounding my soul.

And the 12th of Never seems ever, ever more then one should bear.

Or the blossom that fell echoed so loud that even Nat's own velvet voice failed to quiet...

Relief seems to far away as the Serengeti is for me to stroll over

And the hope that the Middle Passage was a cruel, cruel joke.

That was not absolutely not funny.

I have to seek a place to replenish myself to go on another day.

So for me...

I am going to the river...

To sit & just be.

All rights reservedJHM 4-27-08©

Poise in the face of frustration

Patience is the key to paradise.

- Turkish proverb

Whether waiting to see a change on the scale, dealing with your coworkers, or diligently putting in work and feeling unappreciated, losing your patience is very easy to do. By exercising patience with all people, you are allowing them to become better and to learn on their own through gentle guidance. One healthy byproduct of self control in the face of frustration is that it usually leads to encouragement and enhancement of your relationships. Happy families and friendships thrive on patience and learning. It may take time to learn, but the results are well worth it!

It Comes and it goes

It comes and it Goes…
(Thats’ Life)
By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©06

It comes…
And it goes.
So I’ve be told…
That life can stink at times…
And when it ain’t…Well maybe it should?

I will forage for something,anything so it to be it right.
G’wan… Be bold! Do what you are told.
People will come …
And people will go... Trying to nick at the secret station....
Or swallowing the hold.
(So I've been told).

Watch the ancient crones…
As she drones, her insights, while in the zone. As she be’moans….
What could have been loaned,to her?
Life! To foil the groan-ing?

Life is a maze of counterpoints…
Dancing in the do-si-do, like a Southern belle’s palpitation swoon.
In the lazy afternoon’s moon.

Oh,the angst’s edgy thang,showers and rains...
Then gulped by the drain.
And the nighttime fog will log…
The contradictory drama, from sister-girl’s mama that runs pell-mell.

Oh well!

The highs and the lows swimming to and fro…
Scampers with might!(That's alright)!
The merry-go-round with the twinkling sounds…

And snippets of light.
Looking to discover and recover.
What’s been in denial.
Now what’s on trial?

It may be slow…
Or it may be ‘mo…
Then what meets the eye?
So be not surprised.

Don’t sweat it too much.
Just have the right touch.
As it comes and it goes…
Yup,it just comes and goes.

All rights reservedJHM© 06

Extremities~ putting life & words in proper context...

Extremities~ putting life & words in proper context
Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney©09

I was reading an article this morning about someone who had several exceptional things that had occurred in their lives. And as I usually do I read responses & reactions from others commenting on her story along with the telling of theirs. But then I notice something, something that had been in the back of my head for a fewer months and that was the use of some words that people use to color or describe their experiences. The problem I think I was having was the gross exaggeration in the words that while descriptive took the incident they were describing to a whole different level then it warranted.

As a person who love words and have been known to bend a phrase or two, what has concerned me that it has become so commonplace in the vernacular that you, I and the writer may make a situation so melodramatic that it becomes far more powerful then warranted. Perhaps this is a reaction to a general, indifference by the population at large that as people feel they have to scream louder to be heard, but as a comment I read once said:” if you want people to pay attention speak quietly, lowering your voice rather then raising it”. If the audio graffiti is so loud people may have unconsciously with a great deal of success, found a way to tune it (and you) out. But they will be forced to stop, be quiet if your voice is lower.

The noise is as if Captain Jean Luc Picard (of Star Trek-Next Generation) yelled “Red Alert”! the minute & every time someone hiccup. I say this somewhat tongue in cheek because this “squeaky wheel gets oiled” concept has spiraled out of control & truly there are somethings, perhaps many things that do not need that level of intensity and when all of it is given that level people stop paying attention in reaction to your needing some attention.

Everything has gotten louder and louder & even in a time where people are touting simplifying, leaving a lighter footprint in the earth, repurposing, and people are screaming to be heard and very few are listening let alone hearing which separate things are.
Something’s simply in the scheme of things really or hiccups and burps in living. And you will have many of them if you live long enough. Keeping a high “red alert” status will wear you out long before age will kill you.

From unreal reality shows, to extreme sports to designer drugs meant to excite to movies that have to stretch beyond all that is normal to titillate its audience, we are hurtling to something that we may not want to go there especially if we do not know how to get back.

Make no mistake I am a person who loves vibrancy, tons of energy, laughter and movement. No question about it. What I am talking about is more of a manic, adrenaline, psychedelic driven madness so one can feel alive. Having a peace co-existence has often been portrayed in such a way to make one flee in the opposite direction as boring, plain, passive, non-pleasurable, dull existence. And I know people who are like that and it is anything but peaceful, it is near brain death with an extra dollop of smugness thrown in for measure.

Somewhere between extremes is a large realm of happy middle ground. You world will not fall apart because you did not lose that 10 pounds b4 your high school reunion occurring in 3 days which was not realistic from the get-go. Nor are you a lesser human being because you have 50, 70 or 100 pounds to release, because you do not have all the tools as you think you should have to do whatever it is you feel you need to do or you are “losing” you identity in this exceptional time. No matter what those audio graffiti “artist” want to tell you or for that matter you tell yourself over and over. Hang the noise... Turn it off. “No one can rob you of self esteem. That is why it is called self-esteem” as the “Self Esteem Doctor”, coach Jewel Diamond Taylor states.

I am not much different then the rest of the world in being a work in progress, learning, discovering, rejoicing cheering and being cheered in my life. Some days are better then others. Some days are most excellent and then there are the ones that plain old stinks. I can indeed subscribe to the quote: "A rising tide lifts all boats” Senator Maxine Waters If just depends on what you want to be in and if you get in the wrong one, get out and climb aboard a'nother. And wait for the tide to rise which gravity also affects. The tide will inevitably come!

Today I am living. Tomorrow I will do some more all the while, making plans, putting the figurative house not in order, but rearranging it/transforming it into something fresh & refreshing, angling for an uncommon, distinct route to command luminosity like no other time in my life. So no matter what all the noise in extremity screams, bangs, shout and cajole that bangs about as an unwanted distraction, I am in my right mind about where I am, loving every minute of it & actively seeking all the things that have been dancing around my heart’s dreams the last 3 years.

Some days more then others, but ah, I’m human.

And how cool is that?

Local artists quilt for Obama inauguration exhibit article

Peggy Hartwell

Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook

Catherine Lampkin

Local artists quilt for Obama inauguration exhibit
Nita Birmingham (Contact)
The Post and Courier
Thursday, January 15, 2009

Provided Catherine Lamkin of West Ashley created the quilt she titled 'Change.' The pupil of the eye is a laminated postage stamp commemorating the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Four Lowcountry fabric artists were invited to interpret through fabric their emotions and thoughts on the election of Barack Obama as president. On Jan. 11, Peggie Hartwell of Summerville, Catherine Lamkin of West Ashley, Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook of Charleston and Torreah "Cookie" Washington all traveled to the opening of "Quilts for Obama: Celebrating the Inauguration of our 44th President" presented by The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the Women of Color Quilters Network in partnership with The Group for Cultural Documentation. The exhibit is up through the end of January, with the exception of Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, at The Historical Society of Washington, 801 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

If you go:

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., is at 801 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Exhibits are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. but will be closed Jan. 20 for the inauguration. Visit

The Group for Cultural Documentation is offering a poster of the Quilts for Obama exhibit for any donation over $25. Visit

Fabric artist Torreah "Cookie" Washington had only a month to complete her most recent art quilt, titled "The Rising Sun of our New Day Begun," but she was inspired.
"I was quilting for my president," she said.

Washington is one of four women who were invited to interpret through fabric their emotions and thoughts on the election of Barack Obama. Their work will be displayed at a Washington, D.C., exhibit that opened Jan. 11 and runs through this month.

"It really was so much of an honor and so incredibly humbling," Washington said.
Washington, who lives in West Ashley and has a North Charleston studio; Peggie Hartwell of Summerville; Catherine Lamkin of West Ashley; and Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook of Charleston all traveled to the opening of "Quilts for Obama: Celebrating the Inauguration of our 44th President."

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the Women of Color Quilters Network are presenting the exhibit in partnership with The Group for Cultural Documentation.
Roland Freeman, founder of the documentation group and exhibit guest curator, came up with the idea of exhibiting 44 quilts after Obama's victory in November. He began putting out calls for artists and, in less than 48 hours, all the slots were filled. "It's like people were waiting for an outlet," he said.

The exhibit wound up being a bit larger because Freeman wanted to incorporate pieces that represent Barack and Michelle Obama's cultural backgrounds.

Local artists became involved either because of their ties to the Women of Color Quilters Network or their knowledge of or work with Freeman.

Executing the exhibit was a challenge. The women got the call in the middle of November. The quilts had to be in Washington by Dec. 15. That gave the artists about a month to create their designs and execute them.

"It was unbelievable, but it was really a wonderful challenge because we were all caught up in the energy of the election and what we were going to do," Hartwell said.
The only restriction on their work was the size of the quilt, which couldn't be larger than 36 inches because of exhibition space limitations.

Lamkin was drawn to the theme of change, which is what she named her quilt. She stitched a quote from Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi on one side.
"I am an admirer of Gandhi, and he was one of my father's idols. I knew he had a saying, 'We must be the change we want to see in the world,' " she said.

She included gold-painted cowrie shells, which once were used as money in Africa, and her signature touch of a postage stamp that is significant to the piece.

O'Bryant-Seabrook thought of the many people and events that came before the election of the country's first African-American president. What first appears to be random pieces of an American flag stitched onto the quilt on closer inspection spell out its title: "They Paved the Way.

Anchoring the quilt are 44 steppingstones that bear the name of a person, event or organization that O'Bryant-Seabrook said was crucial in the process that led to Obama's election. She used real metal on each stone to symbolize the preciousness of lives given and blood, sweat and tears shed.

Hartwell also used steps in her quilt, "Restoration." Her signature, a child or children, is depicted in the image of a child swinging a bat, which Hartwell took from a photo of Obama playing ball.
Hartwell said the piece was a joy to complete.

"There's like a transfer of energy. You're no longer the artist; you're just the hands that this piece is dictating you finish," she said.
Washington chose symbols of hope in her work.

"I am happy that we have the right president at the right time. I think, worldwide, people are so much more hopeful," she said.

Washington had a quilt blessing Dec. 12, the day before she sent it to the nation's capital.
"I really wanted as much good energy to go with this quilt as possible," she said.

Reach Nita Birmingham at nbirmingham@post or 937-5433.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reflecting Jewels for 2009

Lake Austinwas, a private bridge built byMiro Rivera Architets
I neede to see something visually of beauty, something awesomely gorgeous to feast my eyes and then I read words that were so awesomely beautiful they fed my heart on a day when it was sad for me as I discovered I still after 13 months no job and money nearly spent and not knowing how I am to proceed next.

This helped, I hope it does the same for you! JHM:

Please go to and sign up for the Self Esteem Doctors next tele-seminar and get her free newsletter!

She is fierce!

Jewel Diamond Taylor reflect on LIFE LESSONS LEARNED taught, caught and bought...

The hardest part of success is trying to find someone who is sincerely happy for you.

What pains us, trains us.

Don't always bail your children out of trouble.

Give them roots and give them wings to fly away.

Let them experience their falls so they will learn who to call ..their Heavenly Father.

Life is wonderful, messy, abundant, unpredictable, bitter and sweet.

Only the strong survive.

Admitting to your faults is a sign of strength.

Do not let a day pass without making at least one person feel good.

Keep good records.

Let go of clutter.

Time does heal.

Let go of emotional pain, but keep the lesson.

Men marry hoping a woman will not change and women marry hoping the man will change.

Maintain a good standing.

People and creditors have long memories.

Don't give up 5 minutes before your miracle.

Obstacles are temporary.

If someone asks for money, determine in your mind before giving whether it is a gift or a loan. Give without resentment and receive with gratitude.

Health is your first wealth. Good health is valuable and a blessing. Don't take it for granted. Take good care of yourself.Drink more water, less fast foods, walk more, remain active, think positive and reduce your stress.

Detox and cleanse your body.

Good friends are angel~gifts from God. Nourish the relationship and never take them for granted.

Prayer changes things.

Never make someone a priority who has made you an option.

Someone can fake a relationship to get sex. And some will fake sex to have a relationship. (think about it)

Children don't listen to what you say, they watch what you do.

If you take it...return it.

If you break it....fix it.

If you know it.

If you want it....ask for it.
If you use it...clean it.

If you know it...share it.

If you made a mistake,take responsibility for it.

If you have some,share it.

If you own it,protect it.

If you love someone,show it.

If you don't want it, don't accept it.

If you pray for it,give thanks for it.

If you fall,get up.

Age wrinkles the face and quitting wrinkles the soul.

No one can give or take my self-esteem. It's called "SELF" esteem.

Don't sit on your assets.

If I do nothing, nothing happens.

Seize opportunities and act on my ideas.

Never be afraid or procrastinate to ask and act on your goals.

A pity party is selfish and drains my energy and faith.

Create more than one stream of income, save and spend wisely. I don't need so many shoes!

I cannot take care of others if I have not learned how to take good care of myself.

Don't expect others to show love in the same way I show love. People express love in different ways and some simply don't know how. Don't allow rejection, selfishness or pain to stop me from being a loving person.

Don't allow someone's fear or judgment stop me from pursuing my greatness.

Take off my superwoman cape and learn how to delegate and say "no" to unnecessary demands of my time, energy and money.

Life is fragile, handle with prayer.

We meet all life's greatest tests alone.

The door to success is labeled "push." "

Do you." ~ Russell Simmons

Life lessons from the movies...

"You're not dead yet, so stop living as if you are." ~ Beaches

"Remember...your focus determines your reality." ~ Star Wars

"Id rather have a moment of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special." ~ Steel Magnolias

"Get busy living or get busy dying." ~ Shawshank Redemption

"But I'm still here." - Color Purple

"I got a better opinion about myself." Two for the SeeSaw

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." ~ Forrest Gump

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

If Jazz was a Color exhibit 2006-07

You Betta Not!

2 Griots All Rights ReservedJHM ©06

There was a quote from a Tyler Perry movie "The Family that Prey Together" in which the character Alfre Woodard made during the funeral scene "I've spent my most of my life giving it away. I think I'll keep the rest for myself".

All these months since May 2008 that has been on my mind which I think in part spurred me to make a decision..

Not too long after seeing this I made the decision to leave a place that was not good to or for me & moved to the Pacific Northwest.

The journey took 4 months and had many twists and turns. Many were not funny and in some way downright frightful. Others allowed me to experience great joy and happiness. I did this not to start over but to start up with métamorphose (transformation) & do what I've always held back from though I had enjoyed a measure of success prior. One of the things I saw very very clearly how much I had changed, released some weight, but had so much more to grow and go. Sometimes not being in a familiar environment allows you to see things as they are just as if you have clean the window s and notice how beautiful your garden is. But when the window is dulled with dust things can seem distorted.

My awareness that some people have profited from my life in so many ways which has brought me joy and sadly sometimes grief. Most of us here have known that in one form or fashion.

Unfortunately that can be simply a part of living. I know clearly as I have cleaned the window to sparkling clarity that this is now 's the time that I refrain from giving my life totally away, share what I do in a grander way but maintain an accountability to myself and a responsibility to my community.

There are things I have talked about but never put into place for almost a decade. One has been that I've had a strong desire to have my art placed on movies and tv programming as well as complete a book and open my own studio playing homage to my beloved hometown of New Orleans.. I never got to it because I allowed too many pulls and distractions to supersede my doing this and I can admit perhaps on some level I allowed the distractions to take center stage as perhaps there was a small whisper in the back of my brain that droned on about why I cannot, should not would not do this. It comes from a place where I knew I had ones some who were tormenters who because of their own fears could not let me have my full life in great joy.
And I believed them.

A stage was set 5 scores and 8 years ago and I played the supporting role in what Moon is "not worthy or, how dare you and you better not" play.

Maybe we should give this play a name...You Betta Not. But sometimes I forgot my lines and stepped out and did extraordinary things but then I was yank back with that cane to play the part and told "do not improvise. Stick to the script No revisions without authority!"

But I have taken last spring my final curtain call and exited stage left. The play is a log running one, but I did not want the part any longer. So my work is cut out, took the leap of faith, left and while the economy is very troubling, I think this could not be a better time to put things into place for a métamorphose ! I can absolutely identify Mr. Perry, the producer of the Family that Prey & a host of others large & small with the trials you had to undergo to get to this part of your life as that was the song I had to sing.

And knowing this métamorphose song, this new suite of visual musicality in what I am meant to do will be. Right now I am in putting things on paper, to articulate in words and with finality by putting it on paper. Not what I think I want, but what is in the heart planning stages, there is no money. I have many things that are pressing first that need to be cared for and cleared out before my vision can be implemented.

I know it has been the topic of conversation since yesterday and in fact even as I am writing this its being discussed asa "Hot Topic" on The View" about Oprah's show on her weight. To me it doesn't matter what side of the fence you sit on as far as Ms. Winfrey is concerned , I can only quote something from the Dali Lama cites "Take into account that great love & great achievement involves great risk".

And when you take risk not everyone is going to love you, support you. I do know how that everyone will have an opinion as to what you should do but remain silent or put into action for their own well being.

But then again maybe they are auditioning for the role I left in the play "You Betta Not" I am only saying this somewhat tongue in cheek.

But I say Brava Ms. Winfrey... Brava...

My one of my favorite quote is "When you lose, don't forget the lesson" and I have not forgotten & I have not lost...
Now I am off to write a new play called "
You Gotta!"
Thank you for being you.

And how cool is that?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Getting to Know You~Community Building

What an excellent idea! Meetups is in my community, in fact I see a couple of groups I will atend, one in Salsa dancing!. They are based in New York. Go and check them out and better yet after reading start one in your community!

About Meetup
Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.
Meetup's mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.