You Must Learn

…Think about anyone you’ve ever learned anything from:

Friends. Family.  Lovers.  Teachers. Co-Workers….

All lessons unique unto themselves I’m sure

that each came with their own energy.

But think about the last time you learned something from a child.

To learn something from a child.

…To be taught something by a child…

Deliberately or by happenstance is something else entirely with it’s own magic. 

One of the gentlest and sweetest ways to receive some real ass-kickers.

It’s like…………


To be in awe of.

…just thoughts.

“sometimes your mind is just alive. …when you’re hangin in Studio5”


Kid President (a kid you can learn from)

Kid President
(a kid you can learn from)

Beat Biters & Bums

I used to get super heated when people would blatantly duplicate my work or ideas. I got over it after realizing that it really doesn’t matter what they do, they can only “copy” what they think they see before them and honestly most people can’t really “see” all that well. It’s impossible to copy the intention, the inspiration, the time spent learning a specific craft or the true meaning behind a piece and most times so much feeling and study was poured in it never really got explained because it was simply… too much to articulate outside of my brain. …The DNA behind a piece or it’s “coding” if you will. …But that’s the point of birthing the finished product. The culmination of ALL a’that. …Lately I’ve had some really interesting experiences with people close to me duplicating my work and/or ideas of things they actually witnessed being successful. …People I call “friend”. …People I share ideas with before I truly manifest them. One friend went as far as to go through my wholesaler to order the exact same product to sell that she’d once ordered from me. {I only knew after going to her house and seeing her new products on the table.} Something she was only privy to because when I’d initially found it she was the first person I went to in my excitement with the “…look at these!!” I didn’t go completely off, but I certainly went through a new level of the uh…how shall we say, “side-eyeing” . While I only mention this incident it was about 3 incidents and 3 different people in a weeks time: PROfound.   Anyway, I’m over it now and feel like I can only pity them or celebrate myself even more. I don’t know what it means to be moved so much by someone’s work or ideas that I need to duplicate them. I know what it feels like to be inspired enough to be influenced by the work or the artist but I also know how to respect it and know there is no need for repetition {“nature doesn’t repeat itself, why should I repeat Myself?! ~SunRa ;) }.

I don’t know what it feels like to be in need of ideas. … I have notebooks upon notebooks of ideas that I’ve yet to get to. So much so that my only concern is being able to digest the excitement around manifesting them all or even just a fraction of them in this lifetime. I don’t have to work for ideas I just have to be obedient and be a good listener. They are gifted to me always and are my personal connection to the Most High. They are the best conversations, the best visions, the best insights. …They are the language we “speak”…the language of ideas. To say I am thankful for that would be a gross understatement.  From childhood to adulthood I was blessed to receive a vast arts education and wonderful exposure to the arts from my family. It’s because of that that I am able to “bob and weave” in and out of various mediums if I choose and I know everybody can’t do that. I haven’t even begun to reveal them all! ..Shoo…

It wasn’t until my 30’s that I was officially, truly and really really reeeeallyee convinced that a diverse skill level was a blessing as opposed to a curse. Up until then it was always this handicap and thing that only made me stress about how  or where I was going to fit in. …“Fit in”….ugh. I couldn’t stay away from the diversity and wasn’t going to stop educating myself in such a way, but how I was going to live with it, I did not know. Growing up my skills or accomplishments would be celebrated and encouraged but ironically the message for the majority of my adolescent, teen and college-hood became, “You have to choose”. ….Just typing those words now makes me wanna start balling my eyes out.   (did i also mention that despite the exposure and arts ed., art would not be among any of the choices “provided me”. –but I reckon that’s another blog post.)  But if I may add one more thing to the gratitude list, I’m so, so, sooooo thankful that the mind can change, that growth is real and that I no longer believe such things. …That I refuse to subscribe to such a limited thought process and/or way of living and in the world. That I know that God didn’t create “this” for 1 skill to be used while the others sat on the shelf or for me to get caught up in things as petty as The Idea Challenged when I have enough ideas to be the Robin Hood of Ideas if I want!   …Just giving them away while still having access to more! And that is a blessing.  An endless fountain thanks to one better known as Thee Source. If only everyone would connect to Thee Source/Their Source, the need to “cop and duplicate” would be done and oh how much more colorful the world could be.   But if I shall be one of the many that others choose to utilize as a source, c’est la vie. They do say many are called but the chosen are few don’t they?? There’s plenty more where that came from. So I’ve made a conscious decision to use each of these moments from now on to not only celebrate myself but to make some “retroactive deposits” back to the Holly who couldn’t see that she was fine and blessed all along so she can look at herself now and see that others actually try to immolate her work! –Be it tastefully or disgracefully, who woulda thunk it. The rest, I’m deciding is not my problem.

Creativity can be deceiving because while it looks pretty and fun, maybe even easy, most people don’t realize it takes real commitment and that can barely be imitated let alone duplicated. You know I always gotta reference a hymnal. …I can’t help it! If you haven’t guessed by now, there is no separation between art and God for me and while I don’t do much church, I’ve always been hymnal {and history} obsessed so I think I’ll wrap this long story up with the one that just popped in my head. It is just the first line of the Doxology sung in most churches because in my world, ideas are blessings:

 Praise God, from Whom all blessings floooooooow; Praise Him, all creatures here beloooooooow; Praise Him above, ye heavenly hoooooooost; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghooooooooost; Aaaaaaaaaaaaa-meeeeeen}

 P.S. Most of us know that stanza because it’s the only part sung. I am linking the entire piece, as that is only the final stanza of ‘Awake, My Soul and With The Sun’ {and Glory to Thee My God This Night’} by Thomas Ken {1631-1711} which is beautiful and worth reading in its entirety with even more applicable lines to this subject matter.  I could go on all day, but I’ll stop here because as I mentioned earlier, sometimes it’s just too much!! In the meantime, here’s some gratitude for you and you and YOU just for being you (okay and for reading). #weMustGrow  

…Celebrating the often forgotten gift, magnificence and magnitude of the self and giving all praises to the Most High waaay up in Studio5.


Your Chalice Runneth Over first chalice: The TWO hand Chalice

…my first chalice: The TWO hand Chalice

…If you know H.Kai at all, then you know that H.Kai loves her some Rob Brezsny.

In his book Pronoia, — that everyone should have on their coffee table {or positioned ever so strategically next to the family bible}  Brezsny recommends this chalice visualization exercise that’s simple, powerful and magical.  About a year ago I tried the exercise as he suggested and loved it! After some thinking though, I felt like it could be even more powerful for me if I actually drew my Chalice(s) and so I did…

...My second chalice. 'Cause not only was I ready to fill it, but ready to receive all the sweetness.

…My second chalice. ‘Cause not only was I ready to fill it, but ready to receive all the sweetness. Sometimes being “ready” is a whole other thing.

Even before embarking on the sketching, I felt like visualizing my chalice first thing each morning was no doubt actively welcoming in abundance and opportunity as well as generally getting things moving in my life at a time when there was much to be done and moves to be made.  Taking it one step further has helped because I can flip through my sketch/miscellaneous book at random times and it reminds me to stop and visualize again if only for a moment. …Always keeping it at the forefront on my mind. It also forces me to sketch regularly and of course in the time that I’m sketching, it’s more time that I’m forced to focus on thoughts of abundance and the gifts we are constantly being invited to receive.  I don’t know about you but I’m also big on putting things to paper be it words or imagery to support the physical manifestation of things.

My flower petal chalice. { The name of my business is we.must.grow. hence the, “Grow” embellishment.}

Whatever shall go in my chalice? Whatever shall go in YOUR chalice??  Get crazy (but serious) in your mind about what you are tossing in your cup. Sky is the limit and I say go for the gold! It’s not hurting anything or anyone and our minds love play.  I’m sharing my sketches with you today, but most of all I hope you try it too. Read the instructions below first for the visualization and then work it out from there. Should you actually take on the sketching project, let me know how it works for you and I’d love to see your pics! Mine are just pencil yours don’t have to be.  …Ink it, color pencil it, marker it, pastel it, crayon it, paint it, collage it just do it!  You can even “doodle it”!  Please remember the most important thing and that is this: You need NOT be an artist to do this exercise. It’s for you and no one else. It is not about the skill it’s ALL about intention!!!>> Continue reading

Literary Selfie #2: The Black Family Reunion Cookbook

The Black Family Reunion Cookbook: Recipes and Food Memories From the National Council of Negro Women

The Black Family Reunion Cookbook: Recipes and Food Memories From the National Council of Negro Women 1993

Ladies and Gentleman, these are my new literary selfies.  While I was pondering the evolution of the “selfie”, I wondered where it could really go? How could it ever truly evolve? So I decided that I should include my books in my selfies because I love them!  I feel like they are worthy of some shine too and last but not least as an educator i BELIEVE in literacy (and cooking)!

This is The Black Family Reunion Cookbook.  I love this cookbook!! My mom gifted me this cookbook in college.  I’m not really sure why considering I was so broke in Boston I squeaked when I walked! (i got that from someone the other day, hehee)  But seriously, the only thing I could afford to eat regularly were egg sammiches a million ways. {NOT sandwiches, SAMMICHes okay?}  The recipes in here are awesome and all, but I love it because I’ve gone into so many kitchens and seen this cookbook on the shelf.  It immediately reminds me of how we are all connected. …How we all have a hunger and thirst to embrace the cultural aspects we have been able to retain and much of that is through our cuisine or what I like to call our “culinary chronicles of blackness”. I don’t use it much anymore, especially since I became vegetarian.  Still a great cookbook with a few stories from people like Patti LaBelle, Wilma Rudolph and recipes like Mary Mcleod Bethune’s Sweet Potato Pie and even a Black Family Reunion Pledge by Maya Angelou!

I consider it a staple cookbook.  Own it, gift it, check it out from the library!  It’s really more than a cookbook.  It’s a cultural treasure.


“…Feel the kitchen vibes of Studio5 and keep your culinary chronicles alive.”


Home.Working: A Public Service Announcement

If you’ve ever worked from home, you know what a challenge it can be.

…The discipline required, the boundaries that must be set, etc.

The other day I was stoked! Because after all it had been a most productive day.

Internal thoughts: “Yesss! Score!!! I won!!!!” and all that.

After I picked up my Sunshine I just knew I’d get her fed, and get right back in the room with Kenny Sewing Machine and together we were gonna wrap up the days production on my Picket Sign Pocket Books because you know, we were on a roll! By the way, before you say anything don’t judge my sewing position, okay?!  I’m well aware of the fact that this is like an “Ergonomic Crime” I’m committing, but for some reason, I love to sew on the floor with Kenny sometimes! …Not all of my machines, just Kenny. ;)

Me & Kenny: my faithful accomplice of 28 years...

Me & Kenny: my faithful accomplice of 28 years…

Just as we’re goin’ in for the big finish, The Sunshine enters my room plopping herself on my bed right next to my mess on the floor.  I thought my mess may deter her, but no sir.  Removing her socks, I sensed she was preparing for something and our conversation went as follows:

Sunshine (ever so politely) : Mommy, will you rub my feet??

Me: {Sigh} …..Yeaah……

Sunshine: ….Do you…like rubbing my feet???

Me: …Yeaaaaaaah…

9 year old baby feet rubbing...

9 year old baby feet rubbing…

And soon after we fell asleep.

This, childless-ladies-and-gentlemans is pretty much the long and short of parenting:  It doesn’t ever matter what your own agenda may be.  You can trick yourself into thinking that you have one, but don’t stay married to it because in an instant your baby might want their feet rubbed and you my friend are NOT going to say no.  In fact you will be happy to do it.  …Even reminiscing on how you used to rub his or her feet before they could ask despite the fact that you don’t know how you’re going to get things done in time and you’ve watched that precious much needed hour float away into the moonlight.  …Knowing it could be another 24 hours before you get it back.  The benefit is that all the while you are feet rubbing you are in the now and regardless of what we think, that is what matters most and children have a wonderful way of reminding us of such simple but often forgotten concepts.

If you don’t have any children I’d say, “what have you been doing with your life?!” Oh wait,  that’s what I asked myself AFTER I had a child, whoopsie!  I mean to each his own my peoples and of course it’s not for everyone. But let me just take this opportunity to tell you that nothing, nothing on the planet is better than baby feet to ground you and if you really wanna know who you truly are??


That is all.

~It’s all good in Mama.Hood. I’m alive (x2). … In Studio5.~


HKai’s Streaming NetFlix Pix (and then some)

war witchHeyeeeee My Peoples!!!!!!!

Man, I know –I know: It’s been a long minute but you know it goes over here in the MamaHood. Sometimes time is on your side and sometimes it isn’t which ultimately dictates my blogging life. …Okay that in addition to my traffic jam of a brain. Anywhoo, for a long time I’ve been meaning to list my movie selections as I come across some good ones! I do watch a lot of films, lots of documentaries and Netflix can often reveal some true gems.  In an effort to tackle my “Get That Done List!” I’m going to begin chipping away at some of my favorites.   For whatever reason Sunday is such a “movie day” to me.  It seems like the day we should be relaxing watching a good flick so I’m going keep this as my Sunday ‘Ting.

…At first I thought I should compile a whole list but that’s a little overwhelming. So I’m going to give you a few at a time, okay? The ones I’m selecting today are (drum roll please):

Home Song Stories ……Effing Phenomenal and Joan Chen kills it! (do you like my rating system? who needs stars, lol).

War Witch …Oooh whee. This film is no punk (HEAVY)but it is effing Fantastic and shot beautifully.

Crime After Crime …There’s no way to sugar coat this. This film is going to punch you in your gut repeatedly. And it ain’t gonna feel good. But you still need to watch it. In the name of Debra Peagler, you must watch it.

So um….I’m noticing my selection is not very light hearted, lol. I’m going to throw in two that are actually not streaming on Netflix (though I think you can order it): and that is ‘Happy Thank You More Please’ : This film is very necessary.  Don’t be mad that I’m not giving up a more “siskel and Ebert” review for each one. You just have to trust me on these!  Then you can watch them and tell me what you think.

The last one for today will be: Small Island: brilliaaaaaaaaaaance!!!!!! In the black community if someone does a great job on something, (typically related to food) we say “they put their foot in it”. Now that you got that part I can say, the BBC PUT THEIR FOOT IN IT with this one!

Okay my peoples…I should scoot along.  There is much  work to be done around here: The garden is calling, a skirt needs to realize her ultimate destiny, syrup must be completed, the childs room needs a “mama cleaning” as opposed to a childs cleaning, a gathering must be planned, a wig made, a child must be taken to science camp and a website must be updated with new inventory.   However shall I get it all done?! Always the million dollar question.

Oh Sunday…there should be so much more of you.

“Hmm…On whos side is time??”

she asked all up in and through Studio5.


#TbT My Way …1990




I don’t usually TBT. But I also make this reference to say despite my periodic hiatus’ from blogging and Facebook, I must confess to giving up too much of my blog-worthy content to Facebook. …For shame.  Anyway, one thing I’ve been trying to do with many of my facebook friends is share some of the things from my archives. They are vast, deep and thick. They are a much to carry around in life, moving place to place, etc. While my goal is to widdle them down to slightly less than what they are this year, much of what’s in these archives I could never see parting with and probably won’t. They tell the story of my life and of course those that have touched it or shaped it any way at all.  That being said, here is my #TbT. It is not the happiest of #TbT’s but who said it had to be? And since when did I ever follow anybody’s rules?? Never that’s when!!

This #TbT is probably most relevant to my North Carolina people, but the story is still one that’s relevant to all of us somehow.  The image below is an article that I kept reporting the death of my good friend Wejewn (pronounced Wee-on} Byers.  I feel like I should mention that I could have sworn that he always spelled his name differently in notes to me, but maybe that’s just my bad memory.  Once upon a time when I was 14, my moms decided she would uproot us from Colorado which was all I’d ever known, to Charlotte North Carolina. A difficult move considering the former in addition to the fact that it was such a critical time in my adolescence and having to leave all childhood friends.  When I got to North Carolina, I had no idea what to expect. The Midwest and the South are night and day. We also had no family or friends or there but somehow I was welcomed into my new junior high school with open arms.  …I guess it was that southern hospitality which I was all too thankful for.  Wejewn was one of those that not only welcomed me, but looked out for me and declared himself my brother not long after meeting me.  He was the sweetest thing: Soft jet black hair, beautiful black skin, a winning smile, always ever so chivalrous, a happy (but not naïve) strut and always happy to see me.  I felt like he radiated love.  Wejewn came to school when he wanted to and it didn’t take me long to learn that he was a Man Child.  In Colorado I realized boys had the luxury of being boys at the age of 13…14…especially in Montbello: the predominantly black neighborhood I grew up in in Denver.  In North Carolina there were many, many Man Children: young men making money, most of them through “less than desirable ways”, selling drugs and actually taking care of their mothers, their families, paying bills before they were licensed to drive, etc…

Wejewn never discussed the details of how he made his money. Just told me enough for me to know how he did but it was not a recurring topic of conversation. He never bragged about it, or flaunted it and I never judged him or tried to sway him from his lifestyle.  When he would signal that he needed to get off the phone somewhat abruptly (in the age of the pager), he’d just say he had to go and always aim to keep it as vague as possible but he knew I knew and I knew that he knew how I felt about it.  …We just knew. I never saw Wejewn “in action”.  I’ve often wondered if I had, would he have seemed much the same or unrecognizable to me.  One of the things I valued most about Wejewn was his immediate respect for me and who he knew I was and who I was not.  I always felt like the most sacred parts of our friendship were unspoken and somehow he always teetered a fine line it seemed in order to shelter me from the realities of his world so that I could stay in the innocence of my own. …And he knew and respected that that’s where I lived.

It wasn’t unusual that we lost contact a while after our 9th grade year as many of us were shifting schools moving from what was jr.high to high school. Just a few months into my tenth grade year, this story showed up on the news.  I think I watched the whole thing with my jaw on the floor. …Appalled that this story had to be about someone I could actually say I knew…. And regardless of where he was in the world, LOVED.

Finally.  ….It had finally caught up with him in so vicious a way that seemed contradictory to his spirit. BRUTALLY Murdered. Someone that I still held in such high regard, despite the life he lived. I always felt like he transcended all of that on what was probably some unearthly level.   …The span of our friendship wasn’t even much longer than a year, but there are few days that go by without thoughts of him.  I see his smile, I see his walk, if I’m lucky I’ll hear his voice or stumble across a note he wrote me.  He was just one of a family of sons. …I don’t recall how many of them there were, but I knew that a few of them died violent deaths.  While I never met her, I think about his mama.  …I wonder who else thinks of him as much as I do. I wonder what they remember most.  I don’t know where he was in his life exactly when all of this happened. …I don’t really care.  I always felt like I knew the essence of who he was and wasn’t really concerned with the rest.  As an adult, the fact that I think of him so often registers in my mind as reassurance that YES: His spirit WAS and IS strong just like I always thought it was.  But it still pulls like a weight on my heart when I pull this article out that someone so special could be murdered. Riddled with bullets, shot execution style and the idea that someone had so much disdain for this dear heart that they would torture him and go so far as to cut the fingers off one of his hands.  …This picture below doesn’t begin to do him justice by the way. I am thankful that most of my thoughts are not on the last few moments of his life, though I can’t lie and say none of them have been.  I see him bopping around the corner, coming down the halls of Smith Junior High.  …Just being Wejewn: A kid.

I am just glad that in many ways, he is still here.

Wejewn(or Weyawn) Briston Byers….We speak your name.

Never forgotten.


…keeping the ancestors alive all up in and through Studio5.