Finding the Truth of Your Transitions

Finding the Truth of Your Transitions-with your first breath, you begin a life of change. You go to school, move to another town, make and lose friends, marry, and perhaps experiencetransitions divorce or the death of a spouse. You age and redefine what you want in life and work. Major changes come with all kinds of emotions, depending on whether you see it as positive, negative, or a mix of both.

For over twenty years, I have helped individuals and groups navigate transitions, and I know that the feelings and reactions you experience (the transition) can lead to personal growth and increased creativity. This is true even in the most difficult transitions.

The first part of a transition is to name the change with your own words. You might call your career change, “Charting a New Path.” Maybe you name your divorce “Going Solo.” It all depends on how you see it. Initially, you feel a kind of letting go, as the old role or situation begins to fade. This can be difficult for some people, and the letting go comes in bits and pieces over time.

Once you are in the middle of the change, you will likely feel ungrounded and anxious. You are neither in the old way nor the new way of living. You feel out of sync; you can be excited one minute and anxious the next. These are perfectly normal feelings because you are taking apart the old situation like pieces of a puzzle. Eventually, the pieces will come together in a new picture. Many people want to run through this middle part, particularly in a difficult transition. But, as great legends, myths, and world religions show, this can be a time of transformation. You open yourself to new possibilities. You take stock of your life.

You may have heard the expression, “the new normal.” When you have finally accepted the new way of doing things—much like finally knowing where things are in a new home. This is a great time to plan some short-term goals for yourself like starting an exercise class, joining a club, or exploring career options.

The most important thing is to understand that you are the only one who determines how and when you will move through transitions. The emotions of a transition are not driven by an external clock. Be patient and take care of your body and spirit. It is normal to feel some fear about a big change. And to find the truth of your transition, try writing your thoughts, dreams and feeling in a journal. In time, you will see the deeper truth about what this transition means to you.


Leia Francisco is a CCE Board Certified Coach specializing in transitions. The second edition of her book Writing through Transitions will be available in 2015.


Artist Profile: Carey Bradshaw

The first time I saw Carey Bradshaw’s work I was blown away!  His photographs are not only beautiful, they have a graphic arts,  surreal quality about them.

As a photographer with a graphic arts background, I reached out to Carey in hopes of picking up a few gems of creative knowledge.

Do you get a lot of comments about your name with the Sex and the City character?

Yes I do. Maybe too much. It’s kind of funny though when I show up for a reservation appointment i.e. Dinner. People are usually expecting to see Sarah Jessica Parker and not a 6’2” black man, with a Jamaican accent walking through the door.”

Tell me about yourself, where you grew up, family, childhood influence?

“I’m the youngest of four children born to Sheila and Sonny Bradshaw (the most awesome parents a kid could ever have). I was born in Kingston, Jamaica where I had some of my best life experiences. As a kid, I was allowed free reign to explore many creative outlets through music, sketching, painting, building tree houses, making toys out of household items and basic computer programming with my Commodore 64. Growing up, I had many childhood influences: my parents being number one. My mother fostered my entrepreneurial spirit and my father nurtured the artist in me.”

How would you describe your work and yourself as an artist?

image“Well…my work is really all over the place (smile). Sometimes it’s dark and gritty; sometimes it addresses social and racial issues and sometimes it just tells a story. The main focus however, is to create positive and beautiful imagery of black people. There is so much buffoonery out there that glamorizes the negative portrayal of black people and our culture. I almost feel it’s my duty to be the antagonist against such trends. ***As I type that last sentence I can visualize myself in a super hero outfit with green underwear on the outside, just the way superheroes wore it back in the day, with a big “AM” on my chest: ANTAGONIST MAN***** I think I will make a self portrait exactly like that one day (smile).”

Where do you get your inspiration?

“Sorry for sounding cliché but I get my inspiration from everyday life. Inspiration is all around us. You just have to pay attention to the signs.”

Do you spend more time in pre-production or post production or equal amount of time in both?

“I spend a great deal of time in post production. There is so much magic that can happen there. The polish and feel that exists in my images are heavily influenced by my post production skills. A lot of old school photographers scuff at “too much post production” work, but I welcome it with open arms.”

What are your favorite tools of your trade, such as camera, lights, software?

“My all time favorite is Photoshop but I also enjoy using Lightroom and CaptureOne. My camera of choice is the Nikon D750 with a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens, Nikon 80-200mm 2.8 lens and a Nikon 85mm 1.8 lens. I use a lot of speedlights as well as two Alien bees.”

Your bio states you are self taught. Is that in both photography and graphics?

“I am self taught in photography but I learned graphic design in school. In actuality, the purpose of me going back to school was to get a degree in photography but the school discontinued the photography program. I was very disheartened by this but the admissions counselor advised me to take the graphic design course, which included two photography classes. So that’s what I did. I’m happy i did though because it exposed me to so many areas within the multi media ecosystem.”

Generally most people think of portrait photographers with a focus on just the face of a person. But in many of your portraits I see you incorporate the body, face, pose and background elements to complete the final image. Do you agree?

“I totally agree. Since I wasn’t formally trained in photography, I didn’t have any rules and guidelines to adhere to. I just created what I found visually pleasing. However, I felt the urge to learn the official protocols when creating portraiture and other genres of photography, which was one of the main reasons I decided to pursue structured learning in the form of the photography degree program. When that didn’t work out, I said screw it and pledged to myself to just do what I wanted to do with my photography.”

Do you create portraits based on how you see people or is it how they see themselves?

“Usually it’s how I see them. If I were to create portraits based on how they see themselves, then they would all be biting their finger nails with a nervous look on their face. My clients are usually super nervous when they show up for a shoot. Even the most confident people turn to scared, insecure shells of themselves. It’s up to me to make them feel comfortable and pull the greatness out of them. Then capture it.”

What new projects are you currently working on?

“I’ve been working on a project for a couple years now that documents the rise and fall and rise again of black exceptionalism. It will artistically depict the timeline of when we were kings and Queens, to when were were slaves and the present day.”

How do you select make-up artist for a session? Do you usually guide them on details for the look or is it a collaborative effort?

“I work with a select team of makeup artists and hair stylists that i’m happy to call family. It’s all about vibe and energy with me and I have to feel that synergy and bond with those i’m working with. I know nothing about hair or makeup other than doing my daughters hair once awhile, so I usually share my vision with the team and let them do what they do. So yes, it’s definitely a collaborative effort.”

Some of your models wear fabulous and unique clothing. Do you work with a specific clothing designer ?

“I have received tremendous support from a store in Brooklyn called Tafari Tribe. They have very uniquely wonderful jewelry and clothing. I also work with a Designer call Ichigo Black and she creates all of those colonial period piece dresses.”

I would love to watch you work sometimes. Would you be comfortable having someone shadow you on a project?

“Sure, not a problem at all. However, I might put you to work during the session (smile).”

Tell me about your YouTube Series?

“I created a story based photography piece called “I shoot people”. It was my way of introducing the world to what I can do with my photography and photoshop skills. The story is a typical geek to chic story but with a twist at the end. The interesting thing was that the model was shot in studio and superimposed on backgrounds I shot while on vacation in Canada. None of the images were shot on location as depicted in the final image. I was supposed to follow it up with a few more of it’s kind but have been busy with day to day business tasks since. Coming soon though ……

How do you spend your free time? What do you do for fun?

“I’m a bit of a geek so I spend a lot of time doing geeky things. I’m obsessed with gadgets and gizmos, flying my new Drone (so much fun!) I work on lots of D.I.Y projects for my home and for photography purposes and I enjoy making silly comedy skits with my daughter.”

Can you share the story behind a few of your personal favorite photos?

“The one i’m most proud of is my Black Nefertiti image. I had this idea for a very long time to create a representation of Nefertiti as a black woman with a crown made of dreadlocks. I sat on it for a while because I was looking for the right face that would be able to portray the beauty and strength that I envisioned. I then met the model, Ms. Brigid Turner via Instagram and instantly knew I wanted her to play the part. My next obstacle was to figure out how to make a crown of dreadlocks. I spoke to my hair stylist and she assured me that she could get it done. I spoke to my makeup artist, Lisa Jones and expressed to her that I wanted to depart a little bit from the typical rendition of Egyptian makeup, making it a more contemporary beauty look. I got the team together and it was actually one of the quickest conceptual shoots I’ve done. Everything came off without a hitch. Over the next week, I did my thing in Photoshop and the rest, as they say, is history.”


“My second favorite is my “Creation of Woman” image I had a photoshoot with Deneika Fletcher, a personal trainer from Toronto who just flew in fresh off winning one of her competitions. I had suggested to her that she should let me paint her bronze. I thought it would accentuate her physique quite well. This was the first time I used metallic paint with an airbrush….. and oh what a disaster it was. I couldn’t get the right consistency to spray on evenly and I was back and forth mixing and trying, mixing and trying. This poor woman was standing in my bathroom, freezing cold without any clothes while I fumbled trying to get it to work. FINALLY I scrapped the airbrush and just used a paint brush and things went by fairly quickly. The shoot was a success and now it was time for post production – I retouched the image of her laying on the floor but something was missing. I then decided to add dust particles floating above her. It created some visual interest but something was still missing. So I decided to photograph my ashy hands sprinkling dust on her. That did the job and made it one of my favorite images yet.”

imageCarey thanks so much for doing this interview. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

Check out Carey Bradshaw Photography -

Blood Donations and Sickle Cell Anemia

Those with Sickle Cell Disease need frequent blood donations, sometimes as often as every few weeks to survive. The most compatible blood transfusion for a DSC_0533critically ill patient with SCD is most likely to come from someone with the same ethnic, racial and genetic background as the patient.

While high rates of Sickle Cell Anemia is prevalent in black communities, statistics show people of color currently donate less than one percent of the country’s blood supply.

Be a hero in your community, make a pledge to donate blood and save the life of someone with Sickle Cell Disease.

Please send us a picture of yourself donating blood to the Heart of Gold Foundation: The Sickle Cell Foundation of Northern Virginia FB page at and encourage everyone you know help the 80,000 people in the U.S. living with Sickle Cell Disease.

If you or someone you know has Sickle Cell Disease and live in the Northern Virginia area please reach out to the Heart of Gold Foundation: The Sickle Cell Foundations of Northern Virginia  so we can keep you informed about programs and services near where you live.

For information about donating blood check out the links and video below:

Blue Moon Rising!

Screenshot 2015-07-31 18.11.00

(Photo: Mark Roy for Wikipedia) Read more at:

Being a moon child (July baby)  I love the way a full moon lights up a night sky . . . So it’s no surprise I’m  excited about tonight’s rare blue moon sighting.

If you are lucky enough to be in an area away from the light pollution of a city, it should really be a fabulous site!

I have a friend who occasionally liked to belt out a verse from the song “Blue Moon.” We hadn’t talked in years, so it was ironic she called last night on the eve of this blue moon.

If you get outside tonight and get a few good pictures, please share. I’d love to see them. In honor of  tonight’s blue moon and my very talented friend, I’m sharing  a few of my favorite renditions of the famous old song.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Oh, I also added another “moon song.” See if it is one of your favorites too.




Love Has No Labels

A friend sent this link to me. I put off looking at it for a week, now I wish I had watched it so I could have shared sooner. This video is for everyone. Please share and hopefully one day it won’t matter who anyone chooses to love!

Removing Breed Labels: Easier Than You Think

Originally posted on Animal Farm Foundation:

Guest post written by Kristen Auerbach, Interim Director of Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Fairfax, Virginia.

About a month ago, Fairfax County Animal Shelter removed all breed labels from our adoption kennels. There was much discussion and debate prior to us making this decision. Would the public be confused? Angry? Would community members protest?

We were committed to being honest with potential adopters. If the dog they were interested in might be visually identified as a breed that faces restriction, we would make them aware that breed specific laws or housing rules could affect them.

But was that enough? Would taking breed labels off our kennels prove too disruptive to serve our purpose?

To our surprise, no one even asked why the kennel cards weren’t labeled with breeds.
We also learned that no matter what the kennel card says, potential adopters, volunteers and staff will make guesses. And they’re usually going…

View original 862 more words

Romance Fraud and Seniors

By Marzena Stykowska, CSR – re-post News Channel 8

Published: June 19, 2015

(WTNH) — Romance fraud robs Americans of more than $80 million each year. The AARP Fraud Watch Network is calling on the online dating industry to better protect its users. Here to share tips for how to spot and avoid online dating scams is Nora Duncan, state director of AARP in Connecticut and Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris.

World Sickle Cell Day, June 2015

World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is June 19th. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on June 19, 2008 recognizing sickle-cell disease as a public health concern. World Sickle Cell Awareness Day provides an opportunity to increase understanding of Sickle Cell Disease and how it affects individuals and families worldwide.

Sickle Cell Disease is one of the most common inherited blood disorders affecting 70,000 to 80,000 Americans and millions of people world-wide.

Sickle Cell Disease is common among people whose ancestors come from Africa; Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Turkey, and Italy; the Arabian Peninsula; India; and Spanish-speaking regions in South America, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that Sickle Cell Disease contributes to 5% of the deaths of children younger than 5 years of age in some African countries. While an increasing proportion of affected children now survive past 5 years of age, many remain at risk of premature death. With early detection and use of public health interventions such as penicillin, many of these deaths can be prevented. Additionally, the burden of this disease can be reduced with increased global resources and effective partnerships. Your help is needed in the education and spreading awareness of Sickle Cell Disease.


Artist Profile: HAWKHOUSE

HAWKHOUSE  Raw Crystal Jewelry

Gay Head, Massachusetts

Jessica Kramer hails from Lincoln, Nebraska and is a self taught mixed metal artist. Since leaving the land of Lincoln she has traveled 6 of the 7 continents of the world and gathered gems, minerals and inspiration throughout her travels.
She lived in the Bay area, California for nearly 5 years working in metal fabrication and black-smithing. She also worked in Event Production with the awe inspiring company Obscura Digital.
She left California in 2012. Driving her cat and belongings to Martha’s Vineyard to waitress during the tourist filled summer season, ended up meeting the love of her life. She has rarely left the island and his side, since.
HAWKHOUSE emerged as a creative outlet for Jessica to channel all of her artistic musings in the slow and frigid winter months on the island. Her inspirations come from nature and science and her work reflects this.
Jessica Kramer

Owner, Maker, Designer, Curator,

“I was born in the early 80’s and grew up in the midwest. My mother is a potter and has inspired and taught me so much. I am well traveled and have picked up inspiration from around the world. I love to try new mediums and make messes.”

You can find more of this designer’s work on Etsy

On Facebook: Bad With The Good


DECEMBER 14, 2012
This is a great story about posting sensitive and personal information on social media.

LIKE many women these days, Aran Hissam, 35, of Melbourne, Fla., posted the news that she was pregnant on Facebook. On the morning of an ultrasound last year, she debated on the site whether to learn the baby’s sex, musing “to peek or not to peek?”

read full article click link: