The Frankenstorm reaches into northeast Ohio

High Waves on Lake Erie
The waves were surging high on Lake Erie today as Cleveland braced for the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
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The Writers Block represents at The Nia Coffeehouse

Inspiring. Heart wrenching. Brilliant.

Speaking from the heart and from life, Cleveland’s The Writers Block stood up and represented during the closing session of The Nia Coffeehouse’s 15th year. The Coffeehouse is a gathering of creative souls who come together to share their visions of the world through poetry.

The Writers Block
Unfortunately I didn’t capture the names of the students but the top photo features instructor Daniel Gray-Kontar and one of his students as they prepare and the bottom two are of the young ladies during Open Mic at The Nia Coffeehouse.

This past Tuesday the group was treated to the words of Cleveland students who are part of The Writers Block and are students at Cleveland’s School of the Arts. Leading the students is accomplished teacher, writer, poet and musician Daniel Gray-Kontar.

Words can’t capture the warmth that filled my heart as I listened to this group of mostly young ladies paint a picture of the world they live in through words. That world is not always a pretty place.

Anger. Frustration. Determination.

Those were some of the common themes. The messages that caused my heart to crumble. I was filled with pride, but I was also filled with shame.

The world in which they have to navigate is not a pretty or friendly place. As adults we must question what we are doing and leaving to them and most importantly WE MUST DO BETTER!

Spoken word instructor and students
Daniel Gray-Kontar and students from The Writers Block.

We need more Daniel Gray-Kontar’s in our communities. This is not a battle these children should have to wage on their own.

I applaud Kontar for his commitment to our youth and for showing them a positive way in which to channel their feelings. If you have the opportunity to hear these extremely talented students please do, and let’s all begin to LISTEN to what our children are saying and work HARDER to make the world a better place for future generations.

Pictured above are only a few of the students…more photos to come at a later date.

I can’t close without offering gratitude to Vince Robinson and Cavana Faithwalker for leading the charge and giving poets a place to express themselves through The Nia Coffeehouse.

Cavana
Cavana Faithwalker of The Nia Coffeehouse
The Nia Coffeehouse
Vince Robinson of The Nia Coffeehouse

Enjoy!

Help-Portrait Cleveland coming together!

After a week of feeling dejected and considering dashing my plans to help bring a smile to some Clevelanders through the Help-Portrait project I can breathe the proverbial “sigh of relief.”

Meeting number three was productive and I can see a successful project in the future. With a small group of committed women we worked through my anxiety and pledged to move forward.

Ladies on a mission
Grateful to these ladies for restoring my faith in the Help-Portrait Cleveland project. Seat (l-r) Stephanie Briggs and Angela Townsend. Standing (l-r) Bele’ Wondwossen, Keshia Johnson and Angela Tucker.

I am so grateful to these ladies and a few others who urged me to push forward and have faith that everything would come together! I am also grateful to Kat Sloma for planting the seed that will blossom into a day of giving back to the community.

We still have a lot of work to do, but I feel in my heart it will happen, so if you would like to join us in adding a bit of light into the lives of others visit the Cleveland community page here.

Enjoy!

Celebrating Phenomenal Women

I want to introduce you to a new magazine that has recently premiered in Cleveland entitled “Phenomenal Woman”. The magazine is the dream come true of a dear friend, and I’m proud to say that I’m helping her out with this venture.

Premiere Cover
The cover of the premiere edition of Phenomenal Woman magazine

The mission of “Phenomenal Woman” magazine is to provide practical and valuable articles for Northeast Ohio women by providing exceptional, noteworthy articles, tips and resources that women at large will appreciate.

I encourage you to take a look at the premiere edition which is available here. I would love to hear your comments.

If you’re on Facebook, please “like us”.

Enjoy!

Thank you!

Elation
Doesn’t she look happy, at peace and elated! This shot of the Cleveland Museum of Art Dancers was captured at the Cleveland Garlic Festival.

The joy and elation pictured above is what I felt over the last few weeks as I read the comments left on this space. The birthday wishes, and just the fact that you guys took time out of your daily routine to stop by and see what I was up to! Thank you so much.

You know as a creative soul I started this blogging journey as a way of keeping myself in the practice of writing on a regular basis. Life kept getting in the way and I would find a reason not to post. Not enough time, nothing to write or the idea I wanted to write about was time sensitive and on and on. My next goal was to showcase my photography. Once again life got in the way and the number of posts continued to diminish.

Throughout this process what I have found is that the process is made a lot easier when you develop a sense of community – a following. When visitors stop by and greet you and comment on your latest postings there is a sense of accomplishment. With that accomplishment comes elation and a reignited sense of purpose.

So thank you all for helping me reignite my purpose and for helping me develop a new community. I hope you will continue on this journey with me and offer your views both positive and not so, but always with a sense of encouragement attached.

I hope to hear from you soon, and I look forward to sharing more highlights of this journey with you.

Enjoy!

Happy Friday ~ Five Fall Facts

Happy Friday all! Unfortunately your Friday is probably coming to a close, or you’re reading this over the weekend. Whenever you see this, I hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!

Today has been a whirlwind and at the close of the day I keep wondering ‘Did I really accomplish anything?’ Have you ever had a day or days like that? I’ve had a lot of these lately, but I guess it’s all good! No complaints. Let’s talk about a few facts to begin the weekend!

1. I will celebrate a significant birthday on Sunday!

Fifty year old button
Just where did the time go?

Yes, on Sunday I will celebrate my 50th Birthday and I’m excited! It’s a new day and I’m entering another phase of life but I don’t really feel like it’s a HUGE deal even when I know it is. There are many who have not been blessed to reach this age, so I feel blessed that I have. I don’t feel 50 and I don’t believe I look as mature as the number sounds. I also remember when I thought that was soooo OLD!

2.  I’m missing my mother desperately right now. There are a number of times throughout the year that I long for my mother, but probably none other than around my birthday. I think we had a special bond because I was her first born.

Chris & Shelley
Oh what a wonderful birthday this was!

3. I’m participating in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk tomorrow! Yippee!! This will be my second year and although the weather is supposed to be a little chilly, I’m really looking forward to it.

4. Fall is my favorite time of the year. The colors are just so beautiful, warm and comforting. It really makes me yearn for a hug from my Mom and to spend long Saturday afternoons with her knitting. Speaking of knitting, I’ve really got to get on the ball. I need new hand warmers and I have a number of gifts I need to work on.

Hand warmers
I knit these a couple of years ago for a good friend. Now I need a pair.
Autumn trees
The beautiful golden colors of autumn trees.

5. I baked my first apple pie today! Last weekend I went apple picking with one of my dearest friends MB so I thought what the ‘hey’ I’ll try a pie. The first pie didn’t look that great after it baked, but the taste was great! Pie number two looked much better. Okay, I’m not ready for you guys to see those photos. LOL, but here are some before shots.

Apple Pie filling
The filling for my first two apple pies.
Apple Pie
My first attempt at an apple pie, right before I baked it.

So that’s it for the 5 Fact Friday! Enjoy!

5 Fact Friday