104 posts categorized "Extraordinary People"

November 12, 2014

Rest in Peace Lisa Engelbrecht :: Trailblazing Artist

Yesterday, I learned that Lisa Engelbrecht passed away on Wednesday, November 10, 2014.

I had been aware of Lisa's health battles and though I am heartbroken with the news of her passing, I am also comforted in knowing that she is at rest. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones as they grieve the loss of an incredible human being.

I got to know Lisa Engelbrecht when I was her magazine editor. I love this shot I took of her during one of her visits to the office, as she held up her wonderful book: Modern Mark Making. I loved her visits because she always came with new and wonderful art to deliver, always with a smile and caring heart.

Lisa was a trailblazer with her lettering art as she applied her in-depth knowledge and skills and artistry to create modern reinventions that caused diverse people (including street artists) to find a voice within the world of lettering. Lisa was a leader in building a bridge for street artists to find a way into the art world and for the art world to open its heart and mind to the emergence of such a bridge.

2249_1096127246037_2153_nThrough our working relationship over the years, we developed a friendship.

This friendship was there for me after I segued from the magazine world into my new business venture ... a transition where I felt a bit wobbly at times, trying to find my footing. One of the first art workshops that I offered in my home during this transition was a lettering workshop with Lisa, right smack dab in the middle of my living room. She wowed them all. She was always there to be a sounding board, and to be a veteran artist who would lend her support to my ideas.


LisaeAfter that workshop, Lisa created art on one of the walls of my living room, which is still there, and which I treasure.


Lisa-1After this workshop, we had many other opportunities to collaborate as she taught in Studio Crescendoh, offered lettering demos in the studio during art walks, and also contributed her beautiful art for my book, Creative Lettering.

Untitled-5I believe artists ultimately want to be remembered because of the strength of their art, not necessarily because they are kind and good.

Lisa will remembered because of the strength of her art, and because she was kind and good.

Rest in peace, Lisa.

Love, Jenny




August 24, 2014

Unto One of the Least

I love this photograph. It is of the Wulfekehueler family and the Doh family taken in 1974. It was taken in the home of Ed, Marilyn, Deb, Dave, and Chris Wulfekehuler, in Bakersfield, California. It is the home where I lived with my mom, dad, and my brothers Jim and Jinil for 2 months as newly arrived immigrants from Seoul, Korea.

This photo was presented to me, Jim, and my parents yesterday by Marilyn (who also goes by Lynn) during a dinner that brought our family members together to celebrate our 40th anniversary in the United States. Ed and Jinil are no longer with us but we felt that they were there in spirit.

This photo shows my dad carving his very first pumpkin ... as our first Halloween was upon us.


We shared so many memories.

  • Like how Jim, Jinil and I were so thrilled to learn of America's tradition of Halloween where we were told that if we dressed up and knocked on doors, that we would be given free candy.
  • Like how on the first night in their home, Marilyn made us a delicious dinner, followed by rainbow sherbert for dessert ... a treat that seemed so different and interesting and pretty to me as a little girl who hadn't ever tasted anything like that!
  • Like how Dave and Deb were the coolest teenagers who we all looked up to, in hopes to become as hip and American as they were.
  • Like how Chris was the littlest of them all ... excited and frustrated at times, with the reality that there were five people from a different country living in his home. His turf! What a sport he was.
  • Like how Ed enchanted all of us with his larger-than-life personality and roars of laughter, as he and Marilyn extended the kind of support to our family that even family with blood ties hardly give to one another. They made us feel loved, they made us feel comfortable, and they never made us feel that we were a burden. They made sure we enrolled in the right schools, they made sure we got the right services including speech therapy for Jim, Jinil, and I, they made sure bullies left us alone, they made sure we got proper medical and dental care, and most of all, they made sure that we felt peace of mind as my brothers and I studied and my parents worked and saved to make our way.

And make our way we did. After scrimping and saving and with the support of my dad's uncle (standing in the middle), our family bought our first Der Wienerschnitzel restaurant. Here we are with Ed, Marilyn, Dave, Chris, and an employee, and also my dad's uncle, commemorating the new life chapter.

Our family eventually owned additional Wiernerschnitzels. My parents worked very hard making them all successful, and supporting my brothers and I thorugh college, graduate school, and beyond, one hot dog at a time.

With every pursuit, with every milestone, the Wulfekuehlers were there to cheer us on, making sure that we knew how proud they were of us, even in our most humble steps of wrapping hot dogs and dropping fries in the fryer.

And 40 years later, we gathered ... all of us together, with Ed and Jinil there in spirit, to catch up, to reminisce, and express our love for one another.

I want to share one memory about Ed that was shared during this weekend gathering: During high school when Ed was getting ready to go to a formal dance, he went to a secondhand store to buy the cheapest and the most unattractive suit possible. When his date asked why he was doing this, he said that he wanted to make sure that the kid who would be coming to the dance with a crummy suit would not be made to feel bad because Ed would be the one with the worst suit of all. He wanted to make sure that the least among them would not feel the least at all.

IMG_5810The love I feel for the Wulfekuehlers is so deep. And it's deep for Jim and my parents as well. I am grateful that we were able to express the feelings of love to one another during this celebration and I hope that we will find occasions in the future to continue expressing the love.

One extremely vivid memory I have as a child is when my mom asked Marilyn how we could ever repay her for the generosity and kindness and love that she gave to our family. I remember distinctly what Marilyn said to her in response. She told her that the way to repay her would be for us to pass along the same kind of love to a person or family in need with the same kind of love that she and her family gave to us. 

Photo 2-3"Whatever you did unto one of the least, you did unto me." Matthew 25:40


May 11, 2014

Top 10 List :: Motherhood 2014

10 things about Motherhood on my mind.

Jenny Doh

10. I've not always done my best. Not surprising. No one ever always does their best. Sometimes, I have done average. Or less than average. In spite of that, my kids turned out ok.

9. Motherhood isn't the end all be all. Sometimes it's really tough. And even if you never become a mom, I think you can live a fulfilled life.

8. Having said 9, I know for sure I've become a better human because I have had the opportunity to be a mom to Monica and Andrew.

7. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have had a 3rd or even a 4th child. I like to imagine what they might have looked like. And how Monica and Andrew might have related to them.

6. I am grateful that I didn't stop at just Monica. If I had, I may have become a preacher of dogma about how to raise children after just raising one child. But with Andrew, what I learned is that each child, no matter how similarly you try to raise them all, are different. Each child is wired differently. I am grateful that I didn't become that mom of that one child going around being unable to understand this important truth.

5. When my kids were little, I became frumpy. Hair, make up, clothes, body ... lots of neglect. And then after they started getting older, I thought to myself: "Why am I frumpy? I still have a life to live. I'm not just a mom. I'm a mom and so much more. I don't want to be frumpy." And so I took action. Just because someone's a mom doesn't mean they want to be invisible in terms of their womanhood.

4. When I think of my own mom, I know she hasn't always done her best. And I need to recognize that is because she is a human. Just like me. Sometimes, she's done average, other times, less than average, and occasionally, the best.

3. The thing that makes my heart happiest is when I see my two children show affection and protection for each other. It makes me believe that once I'm gone, they will be there for each other.

2. I hope that at the end of it all, my children and I will love each other as we remember the best we did for each other and forgive each other for all the ways in which we did less than best.

1. Because it all happens so fast. And without a manual.

Have a happy Mother's Day. If you want to. ;)


February 14, 2014

Opera Interrupted

My mother dreamed of singing opera.
She had the voice that could make that dream come true.
"Whatever you do, do not get married, becuase that will lead to motherhood, which will endanger your operetic destiny," cautioned her professors of music.

IMG_6774But love happened.
And she entered the boat of marriage with my father. And she had babies ... my brothers and I.
And opera, as her professor forshadowed, became forever interrupted.

IMG_6775It is both tragic and triumphant ... the intersection between women's dreams and motherhood, as destinies get modified through the choices of which boats we choose to board and which ones we forego.

The world of opera lost out on my mother's voice.
The world gained my brothers and I.
My mother's heart lost the thrills of receiving standing ovasions that her voice deserved.
My father's heart gained my mother's.


October 08, 2013

The Time is Now :: Kathreen Ricketson

I learned today about the tragic death of Kathreen Ricketson (head of www.whipup.net), and her husband. Their passing took place almost five months ago. I am devastated to learn of this news and my heart goes out to their surviving children who are only 10 and 13 years old.

The family had been on a beach in Australia and both Kathreen and her husband drowned while snorkeling, and the children were on the beach to watch the horrific unfolding of this situation. You can read the details here.

Kathreen was a woman of immense talent. She was very kind to me and my projects in my small corner of the world. She generously helped promote one of my books when it was released last year, and we had corresponded not so long ago about a project that she had invited me to participate in.

I'm happy that she and her family were taking time to journey together to bond and create memories. I am profoundly shaken by the fact that she and her husband are no longer on this earth. I am deeply sad for their surviving children.

If there is anything that Kathreen's life and untimely death reminds me, it's that life is short.

And the time is now to live. To love.

It is with sincere respect and condolences to the Ricketson family that I publish this post.


July 26, 2013

Everyday People

Monica and I had a blast meeting Joan Jett last night. I was super surprised to find out how petite she is! I mean, with all of her amazing contributions to rock n roll, I have visualized her as this tall, larger-than-life person towering over the world of rock ... she's still very larger than life but physically, she's teeny tiny. In an adorable sort of way. And the best part ... she's a normal person ... just like her song Everyday People says ... "I am everyday people."

Jenny Doh and Joan Jett and Monica MouetShe and her band put on an incredible show. They performed many new tracks from their upcoming album but also rocked the house with all of their classic hits.

Joan JettI LOVE this shot of Joan ... check out her killer arms ... and her drummer rockin out. Love it.

Joan JettThe final encore song they did was in fact Everyday People. So apropros for where my mind and heart have been as of late ... all about the concept of honoring self-determination ... to truly live and pursue happiness while letting others live and pursue happiness ... 

The concept isn't rocket science, but it's easier said than done. Cause acceptance and tolerance and love means not only accepting each other regardless of the color of our skin, but other things that sometimes seem like small things but end up becoming big things when our judgements about such matters are allowed to fester ... like how we dress, who we love, what shows we watch, who we follow on IG, the music we listen to, who we're friends with, where we worship, if we worship, what we read, what we drive, where we live, what we eat, and so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby ...

One thing's for sure. No matter what, differences will always be present amongst people. Accepting that I think is the key to knowing that you, me, her, him ... we are ALL everyday people.

So do what makes you happy and pursue YOUR happiness ... if you want to. :)

Jenny Doh and Monica Mouet

Everyday People
by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Sometimes I'm right then I can be wrong
My own beliefs are in my songs
A butcher, a banker, a drummer and then
Makes no difference what group I'm in
I am everyday people

Then it's the blue ones who can't accept
The green ones for living with
The black ones tryin' to be a skinny one
Different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby

Ooh sha sha
We gotta live together ...

July 19, 2013

Roam (if you want to) and Pursue Your Happiness

I adore these photobooth shots that I took with Monica last night. They make me happy. They were taken right after we watched a fantastic B-52s concert. 

Jenny Doh and Monica Mouet

Throughout the concert, we were saying to each other how awesome it is to see a band that's been around since the 1970s still doing so well, as we watched each member rockin' it on stage, and truly pursuing their passion and happiness. (The opening band was X and we also LOVED their performance and the way they performed with such sincerity and passion.)






It was a GREAT show.

The lyrics to one of their classic songs they performed really spoke to me last night, which is their song, Roam, which starts off like this:

Roam if you want to
Without wings, without wheels
Roam if you want to
Without anything but the love we feel

I love that the song doesn't command me to roam, but rather to roam if I want to. In other words, do what I want, if I choose to do that. And I think by saying that, it also says to let others roam if they want to and let them pursue their happiness if they want to. Live and let live.

Sometimes, we get tricked into second-guessing what we want, as we wonder if we should roam, whether we ought to roam, what others might think if we choose to roam or not ... The B52s remains an awesome and relevant band today because they have remained true to who they are, knowing that they can't please all. But by staying true to the essence of who they are and pursuing their happiness, they end up decades later, being a band that has truly left a mark on the world.

Jenny Doh

Here are a couple of shots I had fun posing for with my concert buddies, Dori and Amy. Love these girls. They make me happy.

Jenny Doh

Take it hip to hip
Rocket through the wilderness ...
Roam if you want to
Roam around the world

June 29, 2013

And Grown-Ups Paint

Katie Kendrick.

I FINALLY got to meet her last night. And she was as marvelous as I imagined her to be. I learned so much from her last night and also today during her first day teaching in Studio CRESCENDOh. I also learned things from students and people related to students. I wanna make sure I don't forget ...

Jenny Doh

1. Leave the Predictable. Travel to the Unknown. It's where new information lies.

2. It's not the product. It's the process. So, so true. Especially in terms of color choices, it's always been much more about what I see, what I want, what I do. And many times, what I want violates rules about color combinations. And I dare say that sometimes I adore making a muddy, murky color ... the one that we're all supposed to avoid. I know what I like.

3 One of the fears I have about going to therapy to untangle some of my tangles is that it may negatively affect my art. Because the tangles and angst fuel what I believe to be my best art. To that, Katie shares that even when life gives you joy rather than tangles, you can still make great art ... as long as you remain true, authentic, passionate, vulnernable, and not afraid to go where you are meant to go. Joyously becoming.

4 What makes a painter a painter is not talking about it or thinking about it, but actually putting paint onto paper or canvas or wood or other substrate. What makes a cook a cook is when someone cooks ... actually chopping garlic and moving it around a pan with olive oil. What makes a poet a poet is when a person stops talking and starts putting words down on paper ... especially a very young girl who quietly pulls out ...

a plain white sheet of copy paper
and a sharp number two
to construct crooked, imperfect lines
with misspellings and word choices that don't rhyme
but pull from her heart the pain of anything, no, everything
and having not one thing, not one

there on the stark white paper
to make grown-ups fall
and grown-ups paint

May 23, 2013

She's my daughter.

Congratulations to Monica Mouet, who has been named Director of the Community Arts Outreach Program for the 3rd/4th grade class for her school, Orange County School of the Arts.


She has spent this past year serving in the program, providing arts-based outreach for young kids at the local sister campus, OCEAA. It's a great program where high schoolers mentor young ones through arts and academics.

She sometimes underestimates her effectiveness and ability to work with young ones but she's a natural at it, as she dispenses empathy, sympathy, respect, active listening, passion, and love for these young and most deserving minds.

Monica has also been named Vice President of the Spanish Honor Society for next year. So of course our family will start to call her VEEP. Love that!

And oh yeah, Monica has also been chosen to be a Creative Writing Ambassador for the Bridge to Broadway program for the summer, where she'll be working with professional producers to work on bringing new plays to theater.

Thanks for letting me brag about Monica and all the accomplishments coming her way as a result of her hard work and dedication.

Isn't she beautiful?
Isn't she genius?
Isn't she awesome?

She's my daughter, Monica.


March 07, 2013

OCSA :: Stars in the Making

So the other night, Monica asked if I'd read and give her feedback on two short plays that she had written because she was going to submit them to see if one of them might be selected for Orange County School of the Art's (OCSA) annual Play Fest.

When I read them, I was literally moved to tears. SUCH characters. SUCH smart dialogue. I gave minor technical feedback ... but mainly, I told Monica that I wanted her to eventually develop the short plays into full-length plays because I couldn't wait to see the entire story of both plays unfold. Finally, I offered her reassurance that if the selection committee had half a brain, one of her plays would definitely be selected for the Play Fest. I'm her mom. I'm allowed to say things like that. :) Monica MouetAnd guess what? It turns out that Monica submitted 3 short plays and the one I didn't read got selected! And so when it was time to go to the Play Fest this week, I was curious what I'd see being played out on stage since I hadn't had the chance to read it beforehand.

Her play was titled Scar and she cast two of her friends (above) to play the two characters in her play. The actors did a phenomenal job as they brought to life the message of the play, which had something to do with Harry Potter and a lot to do regarding the pain of growing up.

It. Was. So. Good.

The play reminded me that no matter who becomes our rescue fantasy hero that we idealize, at the end of the day, there is no one who can rescue us except ourselves. And no matter how much we want to be in someone else's story, it's our story that we get to construct ... with experiences both good and bad, sometimes wonderful, sometimes tragic.

OCSADo you see the star in the photo above? It's the new logo for OCSA. It takes a minute but once you see it, you see it.

Another play that was selected and performed at Play Fest was written by Rachel Do, one of Monica's best friends. Shown below is Monica, Rachel, and Antonia (another one of Monica's best friends). Rachel's play was titled Your Epidermus is Showing and it was also fantastic. Really excellent writing and great character development. 

Monica and Rachel and AntoniaAt the end of the night, they had all the playwrights go up on stage to take a bow. I look at the photo of these young people and think to myself that these are our leaders. These are the people who will be doing amazing things in the years ahead like writing plays, curing diseases, accepting Oscars, and helping people. True stars in the making.


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