If only they knew

I’m perched on the rail in the balcony overlooking the auditorium floor looking for the perfect shot when our eyes meet. His are furrowed and full of anger. He sees the camera and in my mind I see his disgust, because he feels violated. I don’t know this to be a fact, but the mannerisms – scowling, heading shaking. If he were a character in my novel he would be shouting expletives. My look is one of intrigue, interest, wonder and love.

You see I love each of these people and I pray for their safety. I am also well aware that I and many others are blessed, yet we are probably a few paychecks shy of similar circumstances.

As I capture pictureS it is not to exploit but to chronicle and put a face to a crisis this nation tends to ignore. I pass vacant structures regularly and dream of owning and rehabbing them so that no one has to call the streets of Cleveland their home.

I applaud the organizers of the Homeless Stand Down for bringing all of these providers to the community often forgotten. From food to medical care it is offered today.

Many I encounter wear the badge of anger yet many wear the light of the Lord because despite their circumstances they smile with Thanksgiving.

I pray today and everyday for an end to homelessness and I thank God for the opportunity to share a smile and an afternoon with my fellow citizens.

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Help-Portrait Cleveland needs you!

The joy found in this mom's eyes sums up the work we try to accomplish through Help-Portrait (Photo by Stephanie Briggs)
The joy found in this mom’s eyes sums up the work we try to accomplish through Help-Portrait (Photo by Stephanie Briggs)

We are gearing up for Help-Portrait 2015 and this is just one example of the joy we hope to bring to this year’s participants. We have photographers, hairstylists, make-up artists and barbers willing to volunteer their time to brighten the day of individuals suffering through life’s transitions.

In order to make this event a success. we will need the help of others willing to donate to aid in assisting with some of the supplies we will need. We hope that you will find it in your heart to contribute to this worthy cause. Join us by clicking here!

Smiles like this are what we seek to bring out as part of Help-Portrait.
Smiles like this are what we seek to bring out as part of Help-Portrait.
Who could resist that face!
Who could resist that face!

 

Day 8 of 30 Days of Gratitude albeit a day late

I am grateful that I have this space to share what’s on my mind and that when I set a challenge I can alter the postings as needed.

Yesterday there was no way I could post after a very long and hectic day so I’m keeping my challenge by writing two posts.

Brittani Bo Baker graces the cover of the latest edition of Phenomenal Woman Magazine. (Photo by Shelley M. Shockley)
Brittani Bo Baker graces the cover of the latest edition of Phenomenal Woman Magazine. (Photo by Shelley M. Shockley)

This first post is about Phenomenal Woman Magazine. I have the honor and pleasure of serving as the editor of this publication, and I hope that this post will prompt you to check it out. Click here to check it out. Thanks to this publication I can also count Photographer as a job, so I am able to practice two of my favorite passions.

Gearing up for Portraits of Hope 2014

Day 6 in My 30 Days of Gratitude

I am grateful to have family and friends that join me annually in presenting this great event.

In one short month Cleveland’s Portraits of Hope 2014 will take place at the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland’s Harbor Light facility. This is the third year we have joined forces with this wonderful organization to be a part of the international Help-Portrait movement.

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.

Photographers, graphic designers, make-up artists and other volunteers have given of their time, equipment and love to bring smiles to the faces of mothers and children in transition.

The bright smiles of youth were captured by Photographer Stephanie Briggs.
The bright smiles of youth were captured by Photographer Stephanie Briggs.

The mission of Help-Portrait is for photographers, make-up artists and others to skills and tools to give back to the community. Please join our efforts. If you are interested please leave your contact information in the comments section.

Volunteers Yalinda and Sharyn assess the day's activities.
Volunteers Yalinda and Sharyn assess the day’s activities.

The photos interspersed in this post are from previous events.

From Where I Stand – Day 5 of my 30 Days of Gratitude

Euclid Creek
From where I stand life is really good!

On this the fifth day of my Gratitude Challenge I am grateful to live in the northeast section of these United States. Many are beginning to set into a fall-winter malaise due to plummeting temps and a lack of sunlight.

I relish wrapping up in wool, layering and cuddling by the fire. This you see is my favorite time of the year and I love it. Nature begins to slow down, unwind and get ready for her annual hibernation.

From Where I Stand

The air is crisp

The sun is bright

Burnt orange, gold and green

Are the colors surrounding me

Damp air and muted sounds

Abound as I cherish the last

of nature’s most beautiful season.

Fall colors
A reason to smile – the golden hue of fall.

Staying on track! Day 4 of 30 Days of Gratitude

Tonight I am mentally and physically drained so I will just share the deep sense of gratitude I have for Election Day. Many before me have lost their lives to ensure that am able to cast a ballot in each eletion.

This is right I take seriously even when the candidate I am supporting doesn’t win.

Thank you to all the men and women who sacrificed so much for this right.

Until we meet again I send peace and blessings,

Family – Day 2 of 30 Days of Gratitude

Hanging with my sister at Browns game.
Hanging with my sister at the Browns game.

As I work to complete thirty posts in just as many days I am also going to open myself up in a way I have never done in this space. There are many things in my life for which I am grateful but at the top of that list is my family.

Today I’m grateful for the time I was able to spend with my younger sister this weekend. We started with her daughter’s band performance at the Shaker Heights High football game on Saturday and concluded our time with the Cleveland Browns defeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today.

The latter experience was made possible by my niece. At this point in this post I’m experiencing a block because the simple act of speaking of myself in this space makes me uncomfortable.

That’s a good thing because I will now be forced to evaluate this experience and hopefully rectify it in future posts.

Not the greatest but this is a successful post, so NaBloPoMo is met for the second day in a row.