Saturday, October 29, 2011

Be Amazing or Amazed...Not so hard...

Be Amazing or Amazed

It is not hard to do if we let it…

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney©11

I think we all have at one time or another thought that when it comes to being an amazing person that we have to do something that totally boggles our mind, some superhuman feat with an exceptional "wow" factor involved.

And of course doing that most of us know we may never be called upon to save a baby from a burning building or lifting a car off said baby or finding the cure for AIDS/cancer, homeliness, world hunger, a way to get people to know it is not smart starting school at 8am or getting Congress to stop fighting one another or putting people back to work.

Now it would be lovely if one or all of us can or will find a way for the above.

I would not be mad at you if you did... 

However there are lots of little tiny things we can do each day or at least once a week if we choose to do so. Like:

Eating healthy at least 1 meal a day.

Taking money from buying one more outfit we really don’t need and helping someone buy a school book, pay a utility bill, put gas in their car or bus fare…

Smile at a stranger...

Let someone have the parking space even if we were first.

Clear out our closets/drawers cabinets & garage & give it directly to a family in need without a question, expectation or praise.

Even if it’s on TV not say a negative word about someone else even if we think they deserve it because we know they'll never know we said anything negative...

Better yet cast the thought immediately out of our minds immediately.

Learn & stop acting like reality shows or real

Stop cursing for a day

Not enjoy someone else's' misfortune even if it is someone we do not care for.

Get joy from our accomplishments, not from demeaning another’s.

Don’t put your feet on the back of the chairs in the movies even if someone is not sitting there.

Walk away from the entrance of a store if you’re smoking so others do not have to inhale your exhale.

Really stop texting while driving, putting on makeup, eating change clothes while driving.

Or you don’t have to drop it like it’s hot or sell your body or soul for approval.

A setback can lead us to a better place—if we just let it.~Unknown

And don’t think you may not have days when you have a setback. It is a chance to dig even deeper into yourself if you’re up to it. We are indeed flawed people, so screw ups are inevitable.

Recently, in fact just a few days ago I came to learn my nemesis; a woman who has seemingly gone out of her way for over 17 years of giving me grief seemed to be in distress.

Understand I've only stepped in her home one time in 17 years; she's been in mind once & was forced to come. Never did her anything, ever except grief. Many of her jabs were unkind, some were more benign; in one case she unknowingly could have cost me my life. I'm not exaggerating.

Too long to go into; just take my word at it.

But when I hear she was having some serious health issues and then running into her the very next day & for the 1st time she actually paid me a compliment as well as being kind to 2 other people she has disliked longer then I, something told me something was wrong. It appeared almost like she was trying to right real or imagines wrongs.

I could not sleep thinking of her and the next day took it upon myself to call.

There was no way to say it but to say it giving her the option if she did not want to talk about it with me because of our past history, I simply told her she had been on my mind noticed the rapid weight loss and the suffering on her face a few days prior, I simply offered my help such as it was if she ever needed it.

She spoke of in fits & starts, some of the health challenges she's been dealing with but it was clear the way she was talking that she was unsure of going into more considering the fact we had never been the best of acquaintances let along friends albeit that the distance was one-sided.

But I just let her know I cared & I thought of her, right at the close right before I hung up, she thanked me for calling. It was not the words but the tone that let me know she did indeed appreciate my calling.

No I was not Mother Theresa, I knew & had known for almost 2 decades the level of nastiness, cattiness & sometimes downright cruel things she (who had no clue I knew) had done as she often would stir others to do much of her dirty work, there was no reason for any of it.

It came down to a matter of envy, sadly.

I had learned of her horrific childhood that no doubt shattered her heart & that of her siblings. So though she projected it on me, it had never been about me.

However, I would be lying to say there were days when I wanted to rip her lips off because of the actions (I didn't). I kept my distance as much as humanely possible, sometime it was unavoidable but most time I was successful in keeping our contact at a minimum.

I think in some ways I was more disappointed in the ones who were all too eager to be her accomplices or others who had no backbone to stand up to her so it was more of go along to get along as some we mutually knew were more afraid for her to turn her wrath on them, they passively went along with her although not necessarily agreeing with her.

But I had reached a point in my life that this saying rang clear & true:

I suspect she is far more ill then she is letting on to me & maybe she in the midst of trying to make amends as she has actual said more then one kind words to me lately. Her pride may never allow her to say I'm sorry.

That's ok as I really don't need it.

I am more pleased with myself that I've reached a point in my life not to have regrets, to know I've not retaliated against her although many a day I stood strong & held my ground when needed. Otherwise we would not have this little window, a room where she could open a door & step in to do the right thing.

So I'm relieved.

So while I probably won't save a baby from a burning building, or lift a car off said baby or find the cure for AIDS/cancer/world hunger/homelessness, a way to get people to know it is not smart starting school at 8am or getting Congress to stop fighting one another or putting people back to work.

Maybe just maybe, I've help a person to be able to have her heart a little lighter knowing that I would be there if she needed me to be.

That's amazing.

Now if we can only get Congress to do the right thing.

All rights Reserved JHM10-29-11©

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turn the Beat Around

It was an interesting morning following a most interesting weekend.

Miranda Wu,photographer, Hong Kong

For a moment it threatened to become a foul day behind one small sentence a nasty little comment from someone whom I've never met, will probably never meet about something they were misinformed about.

Actually there were two but the 1st one wasn't directed at me but to someone who had been widowed recently on top of a tumultuous year filled with illness, unexpected deaths from 2 close family members one being her husband, a serous car accident, loss of income & loss of her home.

The ne'er-de-wells attentions were not pure morals of the highest order. They were just being nosey and wanted to see how far she had "fallen" so they could in a pitiful way feel better. It didn't serve a purpose, their actions, for them other then a momentary feeling of smugness that was fleeting & not substantial as they have to do this often to feed the beast, the one of their own inadequacy.

They keep feeding the beast who is now grotesquely obese but malnourished so nothing ever comes out of this.

Then within an hour I had received an "accidental"email where the person was making a snide comment about me to someone else & then sent it to me apparently in a BCC,I could not tell you it was accidental or purposeful as it does not change the content.

First thing is, folks who do things like this, if you're going to do something like that, be sure to check before you hit enter otherwise it could backfire on you.

What purpose was it to serve? How does it enhance you? Was a good purpose served?

In rapid succession I was puzzled, hurt, then angry and was building up a head of steam until that lightening bolt moment when I thought: Turn the Beat Around!

I responded back to said person acknowledging that perhaps the email was sent in error and as a professional i could not imagine anyone deliberately sending such a thing but agreed with them that in part some of what they said was true: it was indeed "too bad" but it was too bad for them not for me.

I have no desire & wouldn't do business it anyone who could be that shabby & tacky nor was I in the business to beg them to do me a a favor. In fact, I thought utilizing me would have been a good thing, not a bad one. If the BCC was sent to me in "error" which I construe as an accident on purpose, the contents remained the same.

I could have wasted far more valuable time & energy on someone anyone would did not deem me worthy enough trying to explain away why they were wrong or I could turn the beat around that just because they felt that way it had any merit of truth to it.

Not everything or everybody will jibe.  The world does not ordain that. 
The world today, however,  seems to thrive on if you let it infect you, of becoming increasingly mean spirited, heartless, deriving pleasure from what appears to be another's way that may be different from theirs.

 Once upon a time popular consensus would be that such behavior is morally wrong.  Now you get a book deal, a TV show or an unearned "status" raking in tens of thousands of dollars from what is by any standard cruel or selfish behavior.

And we're told to suck it up... to enjoy, emulate and adding insult to injury pay for it!

 In my case, though, this had nothing to do with me suffering this was about a mutually beneficial event for the parties involved. And someone decided to be mean and not even adult enough to talk to you but as cowards can do, go around it but doing it anyway.

In the scheme of things this is a minor thing & will long be forgotten.  It is just for today it mattered but more from the standpoint of learning to turn something around.  Someones opinion is not necessarily an indictment, simply their opinion and the sun did not let up for one more of its brightness because of it.

Artists go through this all the time, it comes unfortunately with the territory. I've said this many times if YOU do not see your work or you as the best thing since the invention of Kool-aid, why or how would you expect anyone to believe in your worth or in what you present.

There will always be someone around who wants to ride on the beat-down train, but you do not have to be a paid passenger!

It was good for me how rapidly I went from being hurt to oh well it is your loss. To date the person neither has responded by email or phone and doubt seriously if I will be as the song goes "You lose a good thing"...©11
Miranda Wu, watercolorist, Hong Kong

Going global... interesting tidbits

THE POPULATION OF THE WORLD IS EXPECTED TO HIT 7 BILLION on October 31, according to the United Nations population division. That is up from 2.5 billion in 1950. To put 7 billion people in perspective, see if you can correctly answer the following question.

"Chickie, Chickie Baby" Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney

If 7 billion people stood shoulder to shoulder, which of the following geographic areas is the smallest that could accommodate them?

A) Zanzibar (about 650 square miles)

B) Maui (about 727 square miles)

C) Rhode Island (about 1,033 square miles)

D) Sicily (about 9,925 square miles)

E) Cuba (about 42,845 square miles)

F) New Zealand (about 103,733 square miles)

The answer -- in a moment.

Here are some interesting facts regarding the rate of growth of the population.

It took:

250,000 years for the world to reach a population of 1 billion (hit in 1804)

a. 123 years for the next billion (2 billion in 1927)

b. 33 years to reach the next billion (3 billion in 1960)

c. 14 years to reach the next billion (4 billion in 1974)

d. 13 years to reach the next billion (5 billion in 1987)

e. 12 years to reach the next billion (6 billion in 1999)

Sources: The Economist; United Nations World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision, Volume III: Analytical Report

And, the growth continues, we are projected to hit 9.3 billion by 2050.

For decades, experts have argued over whether or not our planet can handle this growth. What is not up for debate, though, is the fact that a growing population will affect the demand for goods and services. Food, of course, is high on the list.

The World Bank says, Between 2005 and 2055 agricultural productivity will have to increase by two-thirds to keep pace with rising population and changing diets. Okay, this is interesting, but why should we pay attention to this type of information?

As financial advisors, we want to monitor trends that could impact the demand for goods and services, which, in turn, may suggest areas ripe (no pun intended!) for investment. By keeping a finger on the pulse of long-term trends -- like the rising world population -- we might get an early read on investment opportunities.

Getting back to the population/geography question, The Economist says the answer is (A) Zanzibar. Does 650 square miles to hold everyone surprise you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Red Lipstick: Given Homage to how life can work sometimes...

Red Lipstick: Given Homage to how life can work sometimes...

"Let your past make you better, Not bitter"~ Unknown

Jonathon Green,artist

Today would have been my 1st born son Donovan Perri's 40th BD had he lived. He died @ 2 1/2mos from what we now know as SIDS.

Tomorrow would have been my third born son Joshua Marion-Roi's 35th BD had he lived. He drowned tragically in my landlord pool.

There is this thing called anniversary grief that those who have lost a love one can well attest to. Time does not heal wounds. What it can give you is time...

You change and you see things perhaps from a different perspective as you move through the tide of time. Everything must change... nothing stays the same including how or which way you grieve.

When I was a young mother at the time of both their deaths age 21 at the time of Donovan's death and 31 at the time of Joshua's I wasn't sure if I could ever breathe properly. In fact at age 21 that year was a fog once I was told about Donovan. I was alone. Even at his funeral it was only me, my 2 daughters, the baby sitter at his services. I went through motions and it took a year before I could breathe properly.

Donovan was what people would have called a "good" baby quiet & easy to care for. He was a beautiful baby and was very close in personality to his older sister Andrea.

Then Joshua came into my heart.

I went into labor on would have been Donovan's 4th BD. I prayed that I would not give birth on that day naively, feverishly thinking somehow that would have meant I could keep him.

Well it didn't although I "kept" him in essence for 7 years. Joshua was indeed born on a Sunday Morn which in essence why this song by Angela Bofill entitled "Rainbow Child, (Little Pas) that she wrote ironically in 1979 2 years before Joshua's death when she experience the tragic death of her nephew.

Almost a decade later, I choreographed a dance based on this song & danced  beautifully by my daughter Trishaa in homage to her brothers.

Somehow I made a pact with myself that their lives would not be in vain. It wasn't a conscious pact not much different then my praying that Joshua would not be born on Donovan's BD, but the pact was there. Through the subsequent years I held up that pact; other years failed miserably. But I kept on getting up.

So here I am 40 years later still vertical, still caring still falling and yet even moreso getting up. In a small sense of irony, the day before the anniversary of Joshua's drowning I have a exhibition opening reception on Nov 11th. Joshua's ashes were flown out to sea on Nov 22nd which with even more irony would have been my wedding anniversary if the marriage lasted. My former husband and I separated for the last time a few months after he died.

There was no resurrection, that ship had sailed.
But I was still here!

I'm still here.

It also was for those who would remember the date of the assassination of John F. Kennedy so it would be near impossible for me to "forget" as if I would really want that to be.

Since I had more time with Joshua I can tell you how apropos this song was. He more then Donovan was remarkably like me in personality. Joshua was like cayenne pepper, adventuresome, bold, curious, imaginative a heart as big as all outdoors.

He was bold, funny highly intelligent for someone so young. And I do not say that through the scrim of time and grief. He was a special kid well like & popular even when he would drive you crazy with his high energy living. And lived he did.

Loved Star Wars, water was strong like the fictional character from the Flintstones Bamm Bamm.

So ones would know this does not take away from my living children as tey have all grown into beautiful, responsible, capable caring human beings who in their own individual ways are making their mark on the world.  I simply wished that my sons also had the same opportunities.

This morning I got up not necessarily feeling down more of a there were a couple of matters that needed to be said to some people that I had not said a few months ago as I wisely thought to give it time and would come back to revisit.

I revisited...

It wasn't a telling you off kind of visitation, more of this is where things are at & I get why it happened but now I simply want an adjustment & we will be "adjusted".

I had adjusted so this was really the epilogue.

Life can work itself out if we allow it and get out of the way of ourselves given time. So I put on my red lipstick and got out of the way.

So today I pay homage to my sons & continue to function well as one can be with whatever life and living issues. I can be bold, fearless, adventuresome, funny and have a big heart as large as all outdoors. AND I can also be quiet, easy going and good as circumstances can allow. I continue to revisit my ownself, making adjustments corrections caring for things not cared for, hoping that ones will bear with me as this is indeed a work in progress.

Know full well again that everything must change.

And we can.

We do...
We must, whether we want it to or not...

Life will continue to work.

Jonathon Green, artist

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could"...~- Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Bags are Packed, I'm Ready to FLow...

My Bags are Packed, I’m ready to Flow

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©11

On May 8th, 2011 my Big City Women series of quilts turned 17; almost grown. I had been an artist in one discipline or another for 37 years in between fits and starts of trying to fit into more “traditional” occupations of wiggling in trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

In 1991after leaving my tenure as first the creative director/choreographer for a performing dance company due to budget cuts, I did not know what I was going to do. After all who wanted a (at that time) 41 year old ex-dancer? My experience in other occupations was limited although multi-dimensional none that ever fit well although I could do the work. But in 1991 I decided or thrust into a leap of faith dreaming of owning my own business, of having a gallery to give a place for newly emerging artists a place to showcase their work.

Despite evidence to the contrary then as well if now more so, emerging artists had difficulty being part of an exhibition; it was/is not unlike the cliché “how do you get a job with no experience and or get experience with no job”? So in true Mooney form I decided to open such a space. At that time I had taken upon myself to put my art on a secondary plane to have this vision. At that time I was creating decorative pillows and soft sculpture dolls which was a struggle for me as my sewing skills were very limited having one semester of sewing in 1964 and flunking that!

But the pillows and dolls sold nicely albeit slowly. So I started driving a cab at nights to earn money to open this space naively thinking I could once opening Jambalaya that I could continue making the pillows & dolls. How naïve, idealistic and unrealistic I was! But the beauty in ignorance there is a freedom that you cannot do any wrong, so let’s go for it!

The store was a success to the point I could not create the very venue that I wanted to & that is to showcase my own work. It did not mean my creativity did not show up other ways not only in the décor, but featuring artist in all the disciplines to the point that even today 20 years later someone will evoke a memory of the place.

What I did not like was the day to day running of the place and did not have the capital to hire someone else to run it so I could create. Fast forward a year and a half later when someone walked into my gallery asking for any more of the pillows I had created. Upon my telling them that I had not made any more, the customer told me she had been taking the stuffing out and framing the covers! At first I was very indignant as it was quite difficult & tedious my doing the pillows since my sewing skills were so limited, but awhile late my brain cells kicked in and I realized “wait a minute, maybe she was on to something”! So I set up my machine in the back of the place & started sewing, sewing on off days and in between customers but instead of making pillows, I looked at what I was doing as painting with fabric; the centers was the “canvas”, the sashing was the “mat” and the binding was the “frame”.

Early Quilt called "Dis n Dat from 1992.  This picture was taken in 2005 at Stagville Plantation in North Carolina:

I then took them first to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (I was living in San Diego at the time) and did nicely. Buoyed by that modest success, I tried at some smaller festivals in San Diego & did not do as well. But I kept on going. The very next year I return to the N.O Jazz & Heritage event and then it happened…

A most extraordinary thing…

As told in a later interview the following happened:

“Mooney’s vibrant and heartfelt textile art has been seen as the tangible results of her own life and the observation of human behavior.

Her popular Big City Women series was born of humble beginnings in 1994 on a trip to her home in New Orleans... She was participating for the first time in the Jazz and Heritage Festival with her decorative pillows and dolls. The day after the Fest ended one of the worst flood recorded in 200 years hit New Orleans. That night between the lightening and the continual rain, the artist woke from a deep slumber to watch what she called “the best laser show she had seen”. She, unable to sleep, started sketching the first of her now 300 appliqué designs called “Passion “that became a major leap into what has been an exciting, dizzying magic carpet ride”.

That is putting it mildly. I sold out at the Fest & was scheduled to leave that Monday, but there was something else getting ready to happen. That Sunday evening hours after the Fest closed, it started raining like I had not ever seen rain. Exhausted, I fell asleep early knowing I had an early morning flight. That was not to take place. Somewhere in the middle of the night that laser show began. As a sidebar, I had been since childhood afraid of lightning & thunder, but that night I was not afraid. From the vantage point where I was laying, I could look out at “the best laser show I had ever seen”. I was strangely very calm, then became inspired got up and started sketching what became the 1st of the Big City Women series©94.

Understand I would have told you I could not draw stick people. The 1st BCW was called “Passion”. That night the 1st ten women were born.

See versions of Passion and other first BCW's

By morning, it was quite apparent I could not leave the city as the airport and everything was shut down as it turned out to be (at that time), the worst flood in 200 years in New Orleans! I could not even get out of the house, so using my host’s sewing machine I started creating these women. Once I could leave several days later I sold Passion. To this day I regretted selling the 1st Passion, but that time I did things without rhyme or conscious reason.


Proudly struttin' in silver streaked slippers...

dazzling emeralds

with a verve....

energy illuminating the midnight sky.

Showering her gifts that whoops & shouts

Thrown about the heavens, her pungent scents.

Cinnamon, lemon of orange blossoms,

creamy magnolia held...

Too long in the dark it seems...

An eternity…


Coming unannounced heralding with splendored golden & coppered grandeur...

With absolutely no delusions of what she will do.

The audacity!

Spilled heavy laden liquid jasmine...

This lagniappe Elle!


Walking accordingly with faith, things not beheld

And proceeding with haste, not wavering grasping her bounty....


Big City Woman! “Who are you? Will you tarry awhile?


Will you take leave quieter then you came?"

"No my sister...

I am here with you, for you & by you…

For as long as you need me to.

I am you”.


“I will be called Passion

My name is Jacquelyn…

Speak it carefully...

Speak of me well, with all due respect....


So much will come, while I am here.

I will tarry awhile to gather up the stars

And sprinkle this confection generously to light up the way....

Until you are ready to take up the walk & talk your talk…

With silver streaked slippers illuminating a darkened sky."

All Rights reservedJHM©95

Other of the early BCW's

But during those several days I was in a sewing & creative frenzy, including the poems about the women although I was not sharing them publicly. I returned to San Diego walked into my gallery the next day looked around & decided in my bones to close it down.

I did just that. And threw everything overboard, moved into my daughter’s tiny 2 bedroom apartment and got to work. I should say the rest was herstory. This very long background is said for one thing: make no mistake; it was not easy, not by a long shot. I sacrificed a lot many a day having to decide between buying a pack of Top Ramen Chinese noodles and buying thread.

My now very grown granddaughters in the early days helping me "quilt".  This piece was later presented to author Terry McMillian.

 I took temp jobs to help pay my rent, moved into a small apartment with drug dealers selling out front, having my broken down old car broadsided & then catching the bus. One of the temp jobs was at a bank in the “dungeon” as it was called filing records. The job was to last a week it went on for several weeks as I did the job very well but here I was coming home too exhausted to work on by this time knowing I was creating quilts.

I struggled with deciding to quit and liking having steady money coming in. Every morning I went in determined to give notice and by the time I got there convinced I the paycheck was worth it. Taking care of my physical needs was one thing, but creatively and spiritually I was malnourished. Then the fateful day occurred when coming home on the bus exhausted I went to step off the bus unaware that the bus did not pull up to the curb and went straight down on my bad leg tearing my tendons. I was ordered off the leg for a few weeks. The bank did not like that & threatened to give my position to someone else. I told them they could as I was done. Know that it was not malice, they were a business and in business to make money & I could not fulfill my obligations.

I did not look back. Within a year I was offered my first artist residency that was a near 10 year run & was published in the first book.

Even in all of that I still was to have many ups & downs curves and lonely roads, but I’ve not looked back until the last 2-3 years while being sorely tested. It seemed everything dried up in me. I was frozen, grieving, bitter & angry. Everything in me burst out health wise including a seriously marked weight gain. It is no reason for me to go into all of that as I’ve blogged numerously about it.

Then suddenly on May 8, 2011 on the day the BCW turned 17 I realized I had flowed very quietly back into creating. It smooth its way in without my even realizing it had happened with a new Big City Woman making her entrance. I had not created a new one in 4 years! And suddenly many of my files that were suppose to be wiped out of my hard drive I started stumbling upon them in chunks including my long lost manuscript for both my short story book & my book of poetry! I found myself smiling as I eased into creating like I used to when I first started with joy & purpose, not with resentment & pressure.

By no shape am I out of the woods. I have so much that needs to be address, people who have been extraordinarily patient waiting on their commissioned pieces. However I think they will be quite pleased when they see their finished art. I can see in what I’ve done so far there is a new depth & vigor in the work. As time goes by I will share some of the images.

Ironically, today in 2011 parallels with those early years as if I was starting over.

I am not…

I am indeed starting up.

Just like I did not know where 18 years ago where I was heading, I just knew I was. The difference between then & now is I am older, wiser and more experienced. Now just like then I still have my naysayers, I still have shadow people who seem to be fascinated enough with me, to do as Dr. Maya Angelou would say about what she refuses to be with others pejorative: belittle/ devalue/ make smaller/ sneering/ depreciatory /sniping. I won’t be the first nor will I ever be the last. There are too many damaged people for that to ever happen.

I am doing some or went through something that sister-friend Oprah Winfrey said her second to last week before closing her successful run about “finding herself not broken but broken open”.

That is where I am.

In fact my trajectory this year will reflect that broken open in ways I cannot tell you yet; I trust that it will simply be not unlike seeing a 60 year old Kristie Alley a board certified Big City Woman make the finals of DWTS (sorry y’all I have to crow on that one) to the some of a single parent mom do something that his predecessors could not do with all the naysayers the hounds with their blood letting could not do, to a very poor & abused Southern girl becomes the most successful person end her 25 year run in high celebration create her own network to my own daughter and others like her walk across the stage to get her degree even when some said it couldn’t be done…

But did it anyway; these are my Big City Women (and men).

Let me end with a description someone wrote about my space about mes affaires belles ~My Beautiful Belongings:

“This space will be so vibey, now and eternal; it speaks of seasons, their rhythm & its colours, be it the lunar rhythms full & waning light & dark; the seasonal rhythms & colours; the rhythms &; colours of our own personal lives & those of our extended family.

It captures it all; yet can be taken so individually to fit each person& feel, perspective, jive & flow... Rhythm & Hues is everything animate & inanimate, relating a magnetic creative force with added New Orleans flamboyance.

So very interpretive being ageless, timeless, spatial, centered, meaningful to both genders...

It can be all things to all people.

Rhythm & Hues beats, hums, sings and speaks...

It poses profiles, winks, smiles and smirks...

It all but breathes...

But then it does that, too”

May I continue to do so and perhaps even one better…. My bags are packed and I’m ready to flow.

All rights reservedJH

If it Ain't Happening (to me).. Is it Happening...Lessons learned from idiocy

If it’s not happening to me, is it happening?

Thirsty people seek water,; hungry people seek food; cold people seek heat; neglected people see acceptance (approval)~Phil McGraw

Warning, this is a long blog:.

Like many others, I woke up this morning to still yet another storm devasting and destroying the many good people of Joplin, Missouri. It took me more then a minute to realize what was going on Good Morning America because as I saw the first images, I thought they were talking about Mississippi! Much to my horror I come to find out this just happened yesterday evening at dinnertime!

Like many I sat there with my jaw dropped opening and heart was wrenching with the early reports. Rapid thoughts going through my head one of which was how easily one’s life can change on a dime to what can be done to help aid the suffering that is just beginning to seeing for myself the irony of while this was going on Sunday evening there I was thinking about something that in comparison to this was quite trivial.

I am sure many others were having similar thoughts with some making needed changes in their lives while most will beyond the initial shock will sooner or later go back to their lives; sort of the “if its not happening to me, it really isn’t happening”. I don’t necessarily mean in a callous way although for some it will be but perhaps (and I am only speculating here), it is a flawed human reaction to distance oneself from these sorts of things out of fear or self preservation...

Sometimes it is simple too much, hurts too much, that the proverbial rug can indeed be pulled from underneath you in the blink of an idea with you not knowing what to do so one can contrive ways to deflect to distance oneself.

Well there I was ruminating over the selfishness & irresponsibility of some people I barely know over their behavior toward me & how their “If it isn’t happening to me” actions brought some real, tangible hurt to me. Not anything that will long term cause permanent damage, but nonetheless the betrayal did sting & in some cases hurt. I was trying to figure out in my mind how to deal with it if there was any dealing at all to do or how I could do a better job of not listening to the stuff. Understand, I can see an elephant coming toward but, I cannot see it when it arrives like a gnat or even a butterfly until slap!

Now again, I know this is very trivial in comparison to what happen last night.

I am getting there.

Right now I am telling a story…

Ok, so where was I… Oh yes… I ended up reading three stories last night one story will be quite familiar to some, the others maybe not so much. I was sitting there Sunday evening meditating on this when I recalled the story of Job and his issue with as he was going to his very challenging trials that he had so called “comforters”, self-righteous tormentors who had to add insult to injury adding to his burden as he was engaged in a trial not of his on doing. My reflections came to a conclusion of wanting more to emulate Job maintain integrity despite it all. Flawed yes, but maintaining.

The next was on Elijah, the prophet who in his despair, feeling he was lost, alone, in fear & tired while being persecuted by Queen Jezebel who made it clear as soon as she caught up with him, that he would be a dead man. She had already killed thousands of believers but made it really clear, she had something special in line for him once he was captured. But at his worst, an angel was dispensed to minister to him not once but twice to help restore him not only physically but more so spiritually to do what needed to be done. And Elijah was not a young man when this persecution was happening. Yet Elijah was listened to as he poured out his distress, was sustained and went on to do miraculous things.

The third was one I had not heard of Mephibosheth. (Please do not ask me to pronounce) He was the son of Jonathon, Kind David closes friend & was disabled. A promise made by King David to Jonathon was to take care of his children. Another man Ziba, who’s family were servants to Mephibosheth, took advantage of a circumstance to bear a falsehood about Mephibosheth which caused him to lose everything. Later when his side of the story was hear the decision came that they both would share the inheritance although Ziba lied. Mephibosheth although he suffered greatly said that Ziba could have everything as the thing that mattered to him more was the safety of King David. That had to be hard, but there was a principle that was involved. I looked at it from the standpoint that despite the fact I have had gynormous challenges & my angst this last week about those who tried to heap fiery coals on my head was more about my being through with them, not about my being hurt. There was a principle involved.

People are going to be self-seeking, self-gratifying, and pleasure-seeking with a growing urgency in not wanting to see what is going on around them. It is the culture we are living in today. People are going to do exactly what their character dictates. Just more of the “it ain’t happening to me” strategy, born of self-interested& yes, fear. It was more, for me, about moving away from the polluted “air” around these folks as I do not want to be contaminated. I did not want to inhale.

Please note I do not think most folks see themselves as being so self-absorbed or selfish. I barely know some of these folks then just in passing, we run into each other often enough to where I know their faces, but not their names for the most part. In some cases, contact may not be completely avoidable. My reflections are about what I can do to improve what I can do to be a better person & perhaps even be more merciful toward them.

Now what does this have to do with my issue with is trivial in comparison to Missouri? Well for me, it was while hurtful and real to me, my situation; there are indeed bigger fish to fry. What people do in the least is what they do in the much; I simply want to be better about rising to an occasion. It never ceases to amaze me how many people seem to take delight or some perverted sense of pleasure or amusement out of someone’s suffering & do nothing. Others who while not getting pleasure so to speak can stand idly by with the “I have to take care of my own” or “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” while standing idly by and do nothing. The “do nothing” are the operative words. However I wish their “do nothing” approach applied in keeping their opinions to themselves and not heap burdens on others as going back to the account of Job. There are many, many people suffering, to varying degrees & individually we do not get to decide who more deserves then the other. We may not individually be able to wipe out world hunger, but we can help a local person or a family even in the smallest thing, a meal or a loaf of bread.

And do it with no strings attached. Aiding someone , let say with a roll of toilet paper (yes there are some who cannot even buy that) does not secure the giver the right to lecture, pass judgment or get titillated by gossiping with someone else as to why or what that person may have (or not) done to be in that both. If you cannot or won’t help, now the times to operate the “does nothing” strategy, 1st do no harm.

A lot of people are not in the positions they are in because of bad “karma” or bad decisions or being lazy. Time & unforeseen circumstances can befall any of us at anytime. Just ask the people of Joplin, Mo who were probably having dinner, playing games, making a run to the store, arguing with a family member or wishing they had family when that massive tornado hit.

Just a couple of days ago I ran into a man at the streetcar who I had just thought in passing he was a bit eccentric. In a city full of eccentrics, you don’t pay a whole lot of attention if you live here; it is part of the territory. Well that same day I asked the bus driver about something he had spoken to her about. Well it turns out every Sat he has a clothing drive gathering clothing for the homeless at a former Walgreen store destroyed by Katrina & now is a furniture bank. He was asking her to pass the word about getting feminine toiletries for homeless women as apparently there was a place allowing these women to shower & they were trying to gather toiletries for them.

I asked her the next time she saw him to please get a contact number not knowing that the very next day I was going to run into him. 7am Sunday morning in fact! I asked him about his project & got a location which turned out to be a furniture bank that I mentioned above. I did not even know this furniture bank existed where they sell every piece of furniture for $35 no matter how fancy or humble. The purpose is for ones who cannot afford the Goodwill or Salvation Army prices but badly needed furniture could purchase; the proceeds are then used to secure even more pieces from yard sales or other events. How cool is that?

Well the furniture bank allowed this man to come in every Sat for people to make clothing only donations. He then with the help of friends goes directly to the homeless to give them fresh clothing, so they could have some dignity. One of the things he told me was contrary to what people want to believe to about the homeless, to justify the “of it ain’t happening to me” strategy, that there were plumbers, architects, college educated people out there who were licensed but could not get hired because they had no address. That was no previous history of drug/ alcohol abuse or mental illness.

The irony is I ran into the same gentleman today who was infuriated and decided to cancel out on gathering clothing for the homeless.  His reasons to me was today when he went by apparently someone came needing workers.  There were 45 homeless out there and only 4 accpeted the work.  His attitude now is "let them fend for themselves.  I won't help any more maybe they will get up and do something on their own".  I understaood his anger & his passion, but he have the full story?  And who was he doing it for?  What was he getting out of it that now he decided that some di dnot do what he felt they should now lets cast them aside?

People never cease to amaze me..  This was lesson number four for me .If you are going to help, check out what your agenda is.  Examine yourself to see what you are doing it for.  If there are clauses, tell people what your clauses are.  It is not fair to expect people to follow a policy or standard but not tell them what it is.

Personally, it was a reminder for me how fortunate I have been. My puzzlement is more of why they would be so fascinated with me to do these kinds of things, but I know it is not about me intellectually I know this, but sometimes one does not see the ambush coming. My prayer is that they not have to ever experience what I’ve been through, still go through that the deflection of “if it ain’t happening to me, it ain’t happening” strategy protects them from harm.

But the reality is sooner or later it will. But I am not so naïve as to think that somehow if and when it does, that all of a sudden they will have an epiphany & change their ways. It is not my job to take that responsibility on. A few will, most won’t, it is part of being flawed/imperfect.

And then Joplin, Missouri happened and all that stuff became trivial.

You cannot wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time~

Polish proverb

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rippling... Never Underestimate how your Life Affects Others

Never underestimate how things will ripple out.  My dearest friend Karen's still continues to affect others in the most possible way.  We celebrate & cherish what we had, still have.  Another poet shared this with me this morning in her honoring Karen's memory...

For My Friend (In Memory of Karen Hurst: Friend to Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney)

By Dana L. Veach ©11

The creamy silk of lilies,
Gardenia’s spiced perfume

Are only pale reminders
Of the rareness of her bloom.

She gave through tears and laughter,
The vibrancy of life.
The world is darker, rougher now
Since she passed from my sight.

The air, how stale without her;
The light, how dim it’s grown.
My friend who shared a lifetime,
Before me, home has flown.

How can I share the wonder 
Of knowing such a friend?
What she meant requires that self
and grief come to their end. 

I’ll carry on in honor.
She’d want no less for me.
As fiercely as she filled my life,
Let me now live so free.

When she watches me from Heaven
May she cheer to watch me try,
With the strength she left, seize life-like her, 
And milk its fullness dry. 

All Rights Reserved DLV © 4-21-2011

Even The Sun Shed Tears: Karen Hurst Johnson 1952-2011

Even the Sun Shed Tears
 Karen Hurst Johnson

Karen fell asleep in death last night... She was a woman of somekind! 

My heart goes out to her family...Isaiah 65-17-23. 

Who will be my best friend now? 

I can't breathe right now... 

"And He will wipe every tear from their eyes & death will be no more, neither mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things will have passed away". Rev 21:3-4. 

What a blessing is my friend... 

In Memory of Karen Hurst Johnson

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©11

What a blessing is my friend! 

Who listens to you... 

And loves you... 
Through thick and thin. 
That patiently waits for you 
As you go along through murky waters. 
Angst, trials and trivails. 

That sees your world... 

Though enchanted eyes and marvel. 
Such delight in such a friend! 
Does such a one comes oft? 
But when they do, 
it can cleanse eons of desolation. 

Friends like Karen... 

Who themselves so cool. 
From far away ... 
And in the neighborhood. 
Stretching her love... 
To those who are out. 
Not part of the in crowd 
These who are not. 
Just makes you want to shout! 

The ones who are forgotten 

Or no one who desires... 
To know their hearts replete. 
But Karen works through the mire... 
And sees the jewel complete. 
Simple and unpretentious... 
She has no guile. 
But deep, deep pools of wisdom. 
And an amazing capacity to make one smile. 
Despite all your sorrow. 

What a blessing is my friend. 

Who loves you through thick and thin. 
My heartelt prayer to my God... 
For permitting me 
To see. 
What is to be. 

And what she gives... 

Without question.. 
Without ridicule... 
Without the requisite resume... 
And background check... 
That far too many demand. 
Before love is given... 
By command. 

There is no pretense... 

Flawed jewel that she is. 
She is my friend ... 
To the end. 
And she sends... 
Her love to you. 
All rights reservedJHM©Blackberry Jam & Wine ,

Gardenias and Lilies For Karen 

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©11 

I have gardenias and lilies to enfold you… 

And relish in fragrant clouds girdling us. 
More composed then an early morn… 
In the temples of Tunisia. 
Or the cooling caverns of Carlsbad. 
And more vivid then the complexions of Santiago… 


At the zenith of Zaire. 
So are my memories of that tempo… 
While we were still at once… 
My mind’s eye wanders and receives… 
The heart expanse follows my North Star. 
My yearning strains… 
O Wandering Moon! 
Splendid, glorious orbs emanating a sumptuous blaze! 
On a backdrop… 
So deep and rich. 

While I desire to be… 

I forget not. 
Those twenty years of nights… 
Of thine to me. 
I kneel in Rosas Blanca… 
Amidst a silky canopy. 
Intertwined redolent reflections of gladness… 
And long ago sadness. 
To know my sorrow is to declare… 
Missing you, 
Missing you… 
Missing you. 
The flowers would weep… 

For the life I threw away was one I needed to. 

But not you… 
Never you. 

As my sojourn reconvenes… 

I’ll take shards of you with me. 
And leave crystal fragments of me behind. 
O cultivates the fruits of your yearnings. 
Placing the harvest in an urn… 
Marking it Graceful Manners. 
Please do recall in a special vase… 
Having encased recollected musings. 
Keeping it safe with supremeness… 
And leniency… 
In a vial of gardenias and lilies… 
That will forever more, 
Always reside with you. 
All rights reserved JHM©11 Blackberry Jam & Wine