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197 posts categorized "Family & Friends"

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.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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. ;)

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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.

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January 04, 2014


Texting in Korean


It's been quite wonderful getting back in touch with my Korean relatives. I've been out of touch with most of them for quite some time. After visiting with my aunt in New York recently, we exchanged cell numbers so that we could stay connected.

Last night, she started texting me in Korean and I surprised myself to find that I could understand all that she was writing in Korean. How about that? Even after all these years of being very much out of practice using the language, I find that I can read and understand it! Now writing it is a whole different matter. I mean, I probably could do it but it would take me a long time. So I just write her back in English, which she understands. It's a good set up for the both of us because I get to practice reading Korean and she gets practice reading English. Maybe one of these days I will be able to text with her completely in Korean. Now wouldn't that be something?!

Photo-18For those of you who read Korean, I don't need to tell you what we were texting about. Socks! Yes, I'm excited to knit socks for her. A dark colored pair (similar to the pair shown at the very bottom) is what she would like. And so that is what she will get. :)

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December 08, 2013


Art is Life


Thought I'd share some photos from last night's Art Walk Studio in Santa Ana. Right outside our studio door, I put up this question ...

IMG_2759... and I enjoyed watching people from all walks of life write their answers.

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IMG_2760In the studio, it was great to see live painting going on and spontaneously getting people of all ages to collaborate with some of my paintings.

PhotoAnd then there were poets from Orange County School of the Arts.

IMG_2731And singers Monica and Louise.

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Laughter, art, life ...

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... and some painting with boxing gloves.

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Friends new and old ...

IMG_2755And even FangGrrr and Lion showed up to look after all of us.

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After we closed up and I was walking down with The Mister, there was this guy painting such a wonderful mural in the shop window downstairs. I can't wait to go back and see how it turned out.

IMG_2768We'll do it again the first Saturday of next month. See you then.

To art ... the thing that helps us communicate stuff that we couldn't otherwise ... the thing that gives us life.

 

December 06, 2013


Bubba's Visit


Last night I bought groceries and quickly opened the side door and kept it ajar for just a split second and then went to my car to start bringing some of the groceries in. As soon as I went into the house, I discovered that Bubba had let himself into our house through the side door.

Bubba. Sweet, sweet Bubba.

IMG_2659He's the dog of our neighbor, David, whose house is caddy corner to ours. Bubba is ill and David has been taking him around to start saying his goodbyes as David is prepared with pain medication as Bubba has a couple of more months to live.

IMG_2655Our two little silky terriers (Toby and Scout) were in their crates eating ther dinner so Bubba was able to visit with us without being bothered by them. Toby and Scout have had a long history of always barking at and bothering Bubba ... perhaps not realizing that Bubba could pounce and destroy them quite easily. If he wanted to. But he never did. But there was a time when Bubba must have wanted to teach them a lesson because when they were yap-yap-yapping and nipping at Bubba, Bubba let out a loud "Enough!" sort of bark, causing our Toby and Scout to finally shut the fuck up.

IMG_2665Last night, Bubba kept looking at himself in the reflection cast on our oven door. And then he went into my office and crawled under my desk to rest. It was one of the best visits we have had all year. We love him.

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December 02, 2013


Jinil Doh: Two Works on Canvas


Jinil Doh Roses
Jinil Doh Monica Mouet

December 01, 2013


Rest in Peace, Brother Jinil


Jinil Doh

... most of all, as our mutual friend states, he was a true philosopher of life who loved to wonder about life. He loved and cared deeply for many people throughout his life and many people loved him and admired him for his charisma, art, heart, passion, and humor.
Jenny and Jim and Jinil
The sun will never set and the sun will never rise without my feeling the heartbreak of his passing.

Rest in peace, brother.

November 19, 2013


Why it Works


When I met Shamanie a few years ago at an art camp, I hit it off with her right away. I knew as soon as I met her that she was a listener ... which happens to be one of my love languages. I feel loved when a person listens to me. And one of the primary ways that I love is by listening to people. I'm good at it. (There are other languages that I'm not so good at, by the way.)

I've realized through my therapy sessions and other lessons that I also feel loved when listening is not accompanied by judging. To hear my story that is made up of my good and bad, of my choices as I maneuver through dangers that are present, the highs and lows ... as I observe and consider all that is out there, make decisions for my life without taking a poll about what I should or could do. To simply share my story rather than have it measured.

I'm not sure if I've always been a listener without judgement. Actually, I know for sure that I haven't always been that way ... especially during times in my life when I allowed dogma to direct my conversations and allow that dogma to dispense shoulds, coulds, oughtas, and other generalized command statements.

Photo-3I recently flew to Colorado to spend the weekend with Shamanie. To get caught up with each other's stories. The highs. The lows. And every space in between. We worked out. We ate. We hung out with her kids. We laughed hard and shed a few tears.

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Loving without measuring. Sharing without judging. When it works, it's a beautiful thing. When it doesn't, not so much. And why it works is kind of a mystery I think. It's as simple as a puffy white cloud in the sky. And it's as complex as how that cloud got into the sky in the first place.

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It reminds me of art. When it works, it just does.

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