Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Story of Promise


On a summer Sunday in 2013, Conor and I arrived at church with our two babies. My friend, Leesa, was in the lobby area chatting. She began telling me that she and her husband were preparing for a mission trip to Kenya. They were going to visit our mutual Kenyan friends Richard and Hellen Makani who had started a feeding center, school and orphanage for children in Kitale, Kenya. While I stood listening to Leesa's excitement and hope in helping these orphans, the tears began rolling down my cheeks. Rolling. That conversation stuck somewhere inside of me.

A week later I was sitting on the couch with Conor, probably while also feeding my sweet, chubby baby. "I want to sponsor another child in Kenya," I blurted.
He stopped, looked at me, frowned a little, raised his eyebrows, and reminded me that we could hardly pay our mortgage. But if this was serious and I really needed to do it then he would help make it happen. 


We were already sponsoring two beautiful teen girls in the same orphanage under the care of our friends Richard and Hellen. We did have some difficulty feeding, clothing, and sheltering our babies at home. But we had a car, we had a home, Conor did get a small paycheck once in a while. So we made it work. We just decided that things were going to get better for us and for the children in Kenya. We chose to hope and believe that God would take care of us all. 


Hellen told us the other side of this same story when we met Promise in person in Kenya last October, 2016.

Promise was living in the Kipsongo slum with a small group of people when he was nine years old (2013). None of them were blood relations but Promise lovingly refers to them as brothers and auntie.

There is a black market in Kenya. Someone is selling shoe glue to kids. They huff it and it makes their brains swell dangerously. While they are high these boys are able to eat trash to stay alive. Beyond the threat of starvation, there is pressure to join a gang, sniff glue and survive together. 

Promise saw his friend was being recruited to join the street boys, as they call themselves. So, he went to Mum Hellen and asked her to take his "brother" into the orphanage. Hellen told me this was the first time a child had come to her asking for help, not for himself but for a friend. 

At the time Hellen and Richard were focused on rescuing only girls from the slum, but her heart was moved by Promise's selfless cry. She decided to invite his friend to live in the orphanage, knowing that Promise would continue life in the slum. Some time later, she received a phone call from Conor and I. We asked her which child needed sponsorship most. She said she knew right away that it was Promise and our call was an answer to her prayers. 

Promise made an incredibly courageous choice and put his brother's needs above his own. Hellen found some wiggle room at the children's home. We stretched our budget and our hearts a little further. And a way was made for hope and a future for one little boy who now calls me "mum." He held my hand, I kissed his head. I cupped his cheeks and told him he is loved and wanted. Loving him hurts. I miss him. I want more for him. Caring causes pain and it drives us to action. It seems the only way to ease that ache is to care more, love bigger. 

"We were made to give," said my friend Mandy on her blog a day ago. This is the sixth year she has hosted a raffle to raise money to provide clean water and jobs that keep it flowing in Uganda. I am donating some prizes and I would love it if you would join me by bidding in the raffle starting Saturday. Mandy is partnering with The Adventure Project and Water for People, all rallying around World Water Day, March 22, to create more jobs and even a piping system for clean water this year. I will post my items later this week. For the latest please visit Mandy's page.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

G44 Gallery Show Opening- Monoprints

As the opening of a show featuring my artwork alongside artist, Joe Higgins, at the G44 Gallery in Colorado Springs, CO approaches (opening Nov. 9), I realize that I have never fully described my artistic process and how I discovered my own monoprints.

Knowing my artistic tendencies leaned toward bright color and graphic style, my friend and fellow art major, Kate, nudged me toward taking a printmaking class, late fall 2009 during our senior year at Colorado College. I originally didn't want to do printmaking because I thought it involved an overly technical process that left no room for true inspiration. It was only a week into the class that I was proved wrong.

Before the paper ever reaches the press bed, I spend hours flipping through magazines, newspapers, old sketchbooks, postcards, anything made out of paper that has an image on it. When an interesting shape catches my attention: a shoe, ice cream cone, a skirt, a woman's hair, I cut it out and try to fit it together with another found image. The idea is to intertwine them so that they become one image. The finished shape hopefully resembles some sort of living, botanical plant, but it doesn't always. Once these pieces are carefully glued together, they are laminated and used as stencils in the print shop. It takes about an hour to hunt for and make a single shape that you see in any one of my monoprints.

One afternoon in 2009, again my friend, Kate, came across me spray painting one of my stencils onto a piece of paper. She said something like, "You should print that!" It was then that I fell in love with the sharp, embossed edges and sometimes mischievous character of the work I peeled off the press bed.

My artwork is on the right side of the poster.
At the G44 Gallery are some of the monoprints born from this time of discovery at Colorado College. In 2010 I exhibited my thesis artworks in Packard Hall and received a great positive response (although they were not for sale at that time), which I think in part led me to covet these particular monoprints until now. I realize that no one would gather a beautiful bouquet and store it away. So these artworks are out of hiding, available for the first time, and ready to be enjoyed again.

Opening Night
Friday, November 9

G44 Gallery
1785 S. 8th Street, Suite A
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

To see more of my monoprints please visit MeganMccluskey.etsy.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In a Poster Contest Frenzy!

Maybe it was my seldom seen competitive spirit resurfacing, or maybe I just needed to make something, or maybe it was the $500 and VIP tickets reward! but I entered a poster contest for the upcoming 2nd annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Vote here!
Colorado Springs is a host city for the race (stage 5), so I spent every tiny spare minute I had last week and made a few posters for my town. My house was in shambles by the time I submitted my artworks, and I think my husband and my child felt slightly neglected in the process, but I think it was worth it, even if I don't win. I do need to thank my mom for watching Clio and Conor for letting me borrow the new mouse!

This is my personal favorite, and the last one I created. My brother, Adam, was my model (thanks, Dude!) on a sunny day the other weekend. We took a ride through Garden of the Gods and I snapped a few pictures, which I then manipulated for the final posters. 

If you think of it, please vote for my designs on Facebook! 
It's very simple to vote and the public vote is going on now through March 30.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Exploding with Joy

I can barely describe the happiness I felt and the joy that was exploding out of me when I painted this. Typical me, I decided to paint a vast landscape of the mountains and plains of Colorado.

This particular scene may be appreciated as you cruise down US-285 passing Crestone, Colorado. We took a little vacation there when Clio was about 3 months old. It was a nice place to get away. Really quirky and lots of hippies, so naturally that's where my alma mater's Baca campus is located.

I snapped a picture as we were driving home on a beautiful day in August (2011). Oh DANG IT! I just realized that I signed the painting today and dated it with a '11. Not a big deal. Ok.... anyway...

The mountains are always awesome and the Sangre de Cristo range was particularly stunning on this day. I will admit, however, that it was not the mountains that I was most excited to paint, but the clouds and the sky.

3 hour drive there...not her favorite
sleepin' with daddy
The sand dunes

UFO lookout platform
dipping our toes in the Arkansas R. on the way home

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Painting Food

Well, my sister is obsessed with food, she even has a blog about it; so when she wants to have a painting party at our mom's house (and it's her idea) we paint food. When it's my idea, we paint flowers. But anyway.... as our mother has been the instigator of our creative pursuits since we were all young (there's four of us total: three girls one boy), she happily hosts painting sessions in her basement studio in her home.
shallots and asparagus 8x10, oil on canvas
We set up a still life, put on a "pretty" movie (as I like to call that genre of movies including anything inspired by Jane Austen's novels) just to listen to in the background, and then we all go for it!

When my nieces, Sofia (5 this month) and Julia (2 1/2) wake up from their naps, they always want to paint too. It gets a little crazy at this point, and there is definitely no hope left for my mom's carpet. I will take a picture of this scene for you the next time it goes down.

pink roses 10x13, oil on panel

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Weirdest Pregnant Lady You've Ever Met in the U.S.A

Well, I've never been pregnant before, and I am sure if I had been I would still think it was the craziest experience of my life. It seems like I waited so long to start "showing" in order to have pregnant lady rights. You know, better parking spots at the grocery store, cutting in line, making my husband lift anything heavier than a baby, taking naps, and eating a ton....ugh.

The truth is, I have never felt so averse to food in general in my life! And it is not due to nausea, although I sympathise with all the poor women who have battled morning sickness throughout their pregnancies. I was one of the lucky ones this time. Yeah, start hating me, I only threw up a total of four times since I found out I was "with child." Anyway, the point of this post is my need to express how often food disrupts my day (and night) and how uncreative I have become in the kitchen due to my constant need to fix myself something to eat.

Note: I buy the large 32 oz yogurt containers now...three (no wait- four) at a time. Since I am hungry all through the night, I get up to pee and eat yogurt about twice a night. Sometimes I can't see very well due to the fact that I was just sleeping, so I have found it easiest to take out the whole tub of yogurt, plop down on the nearest patch of carpet or rug (I occasionally sit in a chair if it is already pulled out) and dig in with a spoon. I never EVER in my entire life imagined myself behaving in such a way!

So while people ask me if I am enjoying my food these days, I say that I am but only to be polite. I really feel like I am force feeding myself all day long. However, I eat for my baby and that makes every trip to the fridge at night worth it. And really, there could be much worse for me to moan about. Everyone is different, but this is how I am adjusting to pregnant life. Not too much longer now and it will all pay off. We are expecting our little person any day now!

Happy Eating!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Around the Corner...

Well, having this baby is just around the corner. Yes, I am pregnant, and have been for the last nine months! It's funny, I almost still want it to be a secret (although my belly is definitely not hiding anything these days). It is such a special gift to have a little person kicking around inside of me.

At church today there seemed to be newborns everywhere (ok I saw 3 total). I keep forgetting how small they are when they are brand new. Looking at their faces made me realize what is about to happen. Yeah, hello mama!

Of course I have been arranging and decorating the baby's room. I chose light purple for the walls (she's a girl) and decided to decorate with bugs...not the nasty ones. Cute bugs only. So on her little white dresser I painted pretty insects on the knobs.

The cradle is as old as our house (1898ish)