Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I have a soft spot in my heart for teachers-- really good teachers who are committed to their students and teach and love them all at the same time. One such teacher, Mrs. H, a truly gifted Speech Language Patholigist in Florida, will retire after decades of teaching in May.

Mrs. H has had a profound impact on my blog friend Se'Lah of the Necessary Room's daughter so she is hosting a Random Act of Kindness Postcard campaign to reach out to Mrs. H and her preschoolers. She asks...

To provide the children in her classroom some perspective about the global connectedness of humankind, and as a gesture of loving-kindness, would you please join me in sending the class a postcard from your corner of the world? They will track each postcard's point of origin on a world map kept in the classroom. At the end of the school year, the postcards will be evenly distributed to the children as a keepsake from their classroom experience with Mrs. H.

If you'd like to join me in sending these preschool children a *Friends of Makeda* postcard, please email me at and I will gladly provide you their mailing address. Please note that I have Mrs. H's permission to do this. She would like to thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness.

For more about Mrs. H and Se'Lah's Random Act of Kindness, click HERE.

My postcard is already in the mail. Would you please join in sending one too?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © raven -

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Splish Splash

We've had a lot of rain in Los Angeles lately with more in the forecast. I'm looking forward to it clearing up so I can splash around a little-- Like this guy....

That looks like a lot of fun!

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sundays In My City #66 - The Wall

Travel the world with
Unknown Mami's

I've driven past this unusual art exhibit on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles numerous time over the past few years but finally stopped to actually see what it's about....

It's a series of murals painted on actual pieces of the Berlin Wall...

This public arts program is the official United States commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall-- which actually came down November 9, 1989.

To learn more about The Wall Project click HERE...

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lately, I've been startled by childhood memories that come flooding vividly to the front of my mind seemingly out of the blue. Not that my childhood was all that "startling"-- It was actually a middle-America, happy-go-lucky kind of upbringing, but bits and pieces of memories can bowl me over when I least expect them.

Like the time I was about 12 or maybe 13 years old and I called my mother a bitch. It was not my finest moment and was over something silly that revolved around me thinking I was the center of the universe, but under my breath, loud enough to make my opinion known, I called my mother a name that was not spoken in our home. As quick and sarcastically as the word passed my lips I tried to suck it back in faster than a speeding bullet.

It happened early one Saturday morning as she came into my room to wake me for dance school. Mom called me on my inappropriate action then never mentioned it again nor did she issue a consequence or punishment. It was the one and only time I ever spoke in that manner to my mother, but 40 years later, I still remember how bad I felt the second I heard myself being so hateful and ugly.

Why on earth I was reminded of that particular moment today is a mystery. It is not the first time I've remembered that awful exchange over the years, but the older I get, the more that moment breaks my heart.

I am nearly 53 years old, my mom will be 75 in a few weeks. Growing up, when any of her five children would act up, she very calmly replied that someday we would have our own children and get a double dose of our shenanigans in return.

Maybe that's why memories of less than shining moments from my past crop up out of the blue to haunt me. I did not have any children to get my "paybacks", for lack of a better word, even though mom was only joking and trying to calm tense moments when she'd promise us our comeuppance.

Of course that isn't why I choose not to have children but I wonder, when I hear harsh words spoken by a boundary-testing teenager or an overly tired and cranky child, if, as a parent, my past memories would melt into the kind of patience my mother continuously demonstrated with her five very head-strong, exceedingly loud and usually obnoxious children, which we were-- In between being perfect angels, of course.

I watch my sisters and brother parent their children with ease and hear them speak many of the same lessons my mother taught us-- almost verbatim-- And yes, they promise their kids "paybacks" when they have children of their own.

Like most kids, I hear my nieces and nephews test, taunt and torment my adult siblings just like we did our parents at their age. But when I'm in ear shot, I try to find a quiet moment to help them realize that words hurt-- and last a lifetime, so maybe they could choose their words a bit more carefully or just plain bite their tongue in the heat of a teenage drama.

That advice usually drop kicks me straight to the "old fogie" category, complete with big sighs, eye rolls and an "are you kidding me?" attitude-- The same way I'd have reacted to a twenty-nice cent lecture from an elder at their age, but I pass the advice on in hopes of sparing them the out of the blue, slap-you-in-the-face memories that have been rocking my boat lately.

There is no doubt that far worse words passed my lips as a child and teenager--hateful, mean-spirited words-- but the small moments are the ones that seem to pull at my heart the most. My mother and I talk several times a week despite living a few thousand miles apart. I can't remember the last time we had harsh words for one another and I am blessed by that.

My hope is that as we age the not so pleasant moments from our past will fade and our hearts will hold only the happiest and calmest of joys. Kinda sounds a bit Pollyanna but that's what I'm working towards.

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkin
Photo Credit: © ANK -

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


This video blew me away.

How about you?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sundays In My City #65 - Homesick

This Sunday, like most Sundays, I'm feeling pretty homesick. My family lives across the country and although I get to see them 4 or 5 times a year, it's not nearly enough. I'm waiting for the Spring thaw before I make travel plans home again, but with the insane winter this year, it seems like a very long time to wait.

Back home this guy, showing off his first missing tooth, has been pulling at my heartstrings a lot lately. I'd show you the picture of us taken the day he was born 28 years ago but, frankly, I look like a poodle and can't bring myself to scan it into my computer. (Take my word for it, it was a hideously bad perm.)

CS was the first of the new generation in our family-- My nephew, the oldest child of my big sister. I can still remember the excitement and anticipation of his arrival like it was yesterday, which is why it's hard for me to believe he's about to become a father himself. His beautiful wife ES is due in June with their first.

He loved being a big brother when his two sisters were born and I know he'll be a fantastic dad.

I am missing him and my family so much. It's been more than 30 years since I moved away from Ohio to live in the "big city". I used to say I spent the first half of my life trying to get out of our small town, and the second half trying to get back. But the last time I said that, the guy I was speaking to thought I was actually 60-something, NOT 52-- So I make a point of clarifying myself. (*ahem*grrrr*ouch*)

There is something about Sundays that make me melancholy even when I'm surrounded by loved ones-- Maybe it's remembering we always had big family dinners together, maybe it's because Sundays in Los Angeles come with more time to myself to feel how far away we are, or maybe just because-- But Sunday is the toughest homesick day of the week.

Hope you're spending Sunday with your family and friends.
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Winning Laughter

A great big CONGRATULATIONS to the talented Brian Miller of WaystationOne for winning my $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway. I'm a big Brian Miller groupie and truly love his writing. Please stop by, checkout his amazing posts and send a congrats on his win.

But before you go, this video was on the local news last night and made me so darn happy that I wanted to share it with you. The laughter of this baby is contagious and reminded me that the little things in life can fill you with joy-- Or at least a fun case of the giggles.

Hope you have a good belly laugh today!
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins