Monday, December 30, 2013

What to Do with 2013 Leftovers?

Moving into the New Year is an exciting time for many. It represents a new beginning, time to set and accomplish new goals, and a time to start over. Some may want better financial and career opportunities and others are on a mission to start or enhance businesses.   We become more motivated to improve our health and incorporating fitness routines into our lifestyles is a major focus.

Considering some of the same goals myself, I pondered how I would move into the New Year with some of my 2013 goals still lingering. What was good? What was bad? What do I need to take into 2014 and what do I need to leave behind. Realistically, how can we truly transition into the future with unwanted leftovers attached to our past?  Similar to food stored in the refrigerator, some leftovers taste better when the seasoning has settled, which enhances the flavor. Old, stale and molded leftovers that have remained in the refrigerator far too long need to be removed and dumped in the garbage.  The key is doing what should to be done to move forward.

While there may not be a magical prescription that works for everyone, we must be willing and open to take steps to eliminate the things we no longer want to remain in our lives. Personally, I have found success in creating a Do and Don’t list entitled, Self-Preservation (or you can replace with your own title). It begins with taking a blank canvas, which can be a piece of paper or your preferred technical device, creating two columns and incorporating your title at the top of each column.  In the Do column, write down all the things you want to accomplish in 2014, which can include good things from 2013 that remain a work-in-progress. On the Don’t column, place all the things you do not want to take into 2014, to include hardships, depression, debt, poor health, relationships, or anything that is holding you back. Once you have completed the lists, eliminate the Don’t by focusing only what you have placed on the Do list for the next twelve months. Let’s call this the, Do You Resolution.

For this process to be successful, you have to be realistic about what you really need and don’t need. After all, we are striving to accomplish goals that assist us in moving to a better place in our lives in both the natural and spiritual. Remember, when leftovers are good and tasty, eat them. When leftovers are old and stale, throw them away.  Happy New Year, Happy New You!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Be A Blessing!

A friend told me an inspiring story the other day. While driving through a heavy Atlanta rainfall, he noticed a couple standing at a bus stop with two small children. The woman was under an umbrella, the children were hovered closely to her on each side and the man was standing next to them without cover.  This picture touched him in a way that he detoured from his original destination, drove around the corner and returned to the bus stop. He did not want to frighten them, and he also wanted to exercise caution. He was prompted to ask if they had a car. The father responded “no.” My friend asked if he may have his phone number because there may be a possibility he could help them obtain a vehicle.

A few days later, he called the father and was moved by the family’s financial situation. They agreed to meet for lunch. During the lunch, he offered to give the man the car he had been driving the evening they met. He not only blessed them with a 2007 vehicle, the insurance was already prepaid for one year. He transferred the title and added the couple to the policy, which allowed them to have paid insurance for the first year. What a Blessing?

My friend was in a financial position to bless this family in a tremendous way, but being a blessing extends from the heart.  His heart was in the right place. There are many times we can be a blessing to others even in a very small way.  I received a blessing just a day ago in the amount of $5.35. I pulled up to the drive-thru window at a restaurant to pay for my order and the cashier informed me that a lady in the car ahead of me had paid my bill.  I had no idea who this lady was, but the gesture put a smile on my face and made my day.

During this season of giving, many stories of generosity will occur. As we go about these last few days of shopping, let’s remember the homeless, senior citizens, children and those around us who are lonely, ill or missing a loved one. Be a Blessing!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Coming Out the Closet!

I was inspired listening to Judy Goss, founder and CEO of Over 40 Females on a recent TeleSeminar where she chronicled her journey of going from "Foreclosure to Finding Success." Judy literally went from having a budding career as an editor and national TV correspondent for a major magazine to the brink of losing her home after she was laid off and her husband's business went bankrupt.  

Judy referred to this discussion as "Coming out of the Closet." Giving thought to her conversation, I considered how many of us (okay, most) need to come out the closet on things we have been holding onto for days, months and even years. These situations, whether big or small are blocking us from moving forward and elevating our positions. Often our closet situations can be painful and we believe we can cover the pain with a bandage. This is only a temporary relief. When you remove the bandage, the scar remains. In Judy's case, she had one short-term disaster public relations job and a unfulfilling part-time position before she pulled the bandages off and founded Over 40 Females (

We have all gone through painful situations whether financial, loss of a loved one, relationships, careers, business or health. I remember a few years ago walking in downtown Chicago with my cell phone glued to my ear, trying unsuccessfully to get the cell phone provider to restore service when I could not pay the bill on time. The tears that had rolled down my cheeks froze and I felt as if I was the only person walking down the street. I had lost a two-year contract that was my bread and butter after the new president of the organization became increasingly insecure with my presence. With no significant clients to replace the income loss, I had to humble myself (or get over myself)and take a few temporary jobs. One day while on an assignment, a co-worker questioned why I was there. She said, "You remind me of someone that should own the company." Honestly, that was the last day I took an assignment. Someone else saw more in me than I was seeing in myself.

Through faith and prayers, I was able to get over the pain of losing this important contract. I returned to school and obtained my MBA degree, received a more fruitful and rewarding contract, got married to a really great man, and recently released my second book, Dear_____Are You Missing Your Calling?

From this experience, I learned in spite of popular belief, you can go without your cell phone for two weeks, removing the bandages helps the scar to heal faster and we should celebrate our "Coming out of the Closet" experiences. 
Freedom is Good!

Sheila is Chapter Director for Over 40 Females Atlanta, Author, Peer Coach and Entrepreneur

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On Purpose

On a Southwest airline flight from San Diego last weekend, my husband and I missed the call for the group A seating, which I admit was my fault. He was a bit upset because in order to sit together for this four hour flight, we had seats in the rear of the plane as opposed to our exit row preference for leg comfort.

Before we could settle in our seats comfortably, the man in the window seat immediately started talking to my husband. They had a general conversation as I sat between them.  At first I was annoyed because I had bought a cheap gossip magazine to read, something I have not done in a years.  I did not want to be rude and pop it out while they were conversing. Possibly sensing my feelings, the man started including me in the conversation, asking my thoughts and opinions on their life topics which ranged from our trips out west to work, family and children. When the topic turned to his children, the man suddenly announced with conviction, “You can’t do it without Christ.” His entire facial expression and vocal tone changed. Sensing he was dealing with something very heavy, my husband began to minister to him.

The man kept repeating he could not say what his pain was, but he was experiencing something quite embarrassing. I took my focus off the magazine and candy bar I had in a bag on my lap (I also had not eaten a candy bar in months) as this conversation turned from general to very intense. Both my husband and I have a spirit of discernment and knew we needed to keep talking to the man because his heart was heavy. He began speaking of his divorce and how he felt he was a failure to his family and children even though he had a successful career as an engineer with a major corporation. As my husband continued to engage him in conversation, the flight attendant took our drink orders and his was a beer. Nothing usual about that, many people order alcohol beverages on flights, but this man would not let us go. He needed us on this flight. God needed us to sit next to him.

The man eventually revealed he had been an alcoholic for twenty-five years and decided to make a change in his life. He had researched and enrolled in a rehabilitation program and was going to tell his employer Monday morning that he was taking a month off work and why. He kept repeating he was scared, embarrassed and fearful and we continued to speak words of faith to him. Even more shocking, he disclosed while in San Diego, he had decided to commit suicide and even devised a plan how he was going to go atop one of the tall ships on the harbor, tie his legs at the ankle and jump off, hoping no one would ever find him. Fortunately, he thought about what that would do to his family and abandoned that plan. This man was crying for help!

My husband responded to his cry, as the spirit led him to pull the bible from his briefcase and turn to John chapter 5, also known as The Healing at the Pool.  He read the chapter out loud as the man listened intently. My husband focused on two points, Jesus asked the man who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years, “Do You Want to be Whole (Well)?” and the man at the pool made excuses why he sat by the healing water for years and never got in.

This total stranger, a man we did not know and may never see again became a believer. He thanked us over and over and said it was purposed that we sat next to him. We talked the entire four-hour flight and he and my husband talked an additional twenty minutes in the airport. We pray like the man with the infirmity in the Bible parable that he “picks up his bed and walk.” Indeed, it was “On Purpose” we missed the A group seating. Although I ate the candy bar, I never read the gossip magazine. God had another plan.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Do You Believe?

Regardless of your age, keep believing there is something more.  Society may tell you different, but you have to drown out the voices of the world if you want to manifest the life you believe you should have.

Once you decide there is something beyond what you can see, create a vision of what you can be, hold on to your vision and believe in yourself. This is your heart calling telling you to pay attention to the life you are living now. As a believer, you will be directed to determine exactly what it is that is prompting you to do and be more.

Don’t allow limitations to stifle you. Your potential is greater than your limitations and your potential has to be revealed in order for you to move forward. You are the fullest expression of who you are meant to be. With God, you are limitless.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Season: The Wilderness Experience

Our Season: The Wilderness Experience: Follow @SheilaAgnew If we envision the concept of being trapped in the wilderness, we may see images that are extremely barren, hot and ...

The Wilderness Experience

If we envision the concept of being trapped in the wilderness, we may see images that are extremely barren, hot and dry. We become weary and delirious with unfavorable surroundings. There are a variety of circumstances preventing one from escaping, which include lack of communication, resources and no roadmap to lead us to what is promised, A Way Out!

In the movies, there always seem to be a rescue operation leading the person(s) to freedom from the wilderness. In our life situations, we have hope, desire, belief, prayer and our trust in God. These rescue resources are available to us twenty-four hours a day. This vision of hope and faith will lead us from the wilderness to the promise.

We all have wilderness experiences at some point in our lives. These detours can be self, friends, family, health, finances, careers and businesses or just “life” in general.  Depending on the individual, our wilderness experiences can be short term or sometimes even years before we move from situations that cause a crisis in our lives. The most important thing is the action we take that enables us to move through the maze successfully.

Moving to the promise requires that you first recognize that you are in the wilderness. Second, devise a plan of action (how you will get out). Third, begin to move in the direction that will lead you to the promise of freedom from your situation.  The reality is, you cannot move anywhere if you keep taking a standstill position.  Remember when you are in the maze of life; don’t keep the head (God) at the tail of the experience.

Monday, September 23, 2013

"A Woman's Journey to Faith"

Please be among the very special guests to recieve a tremendous blessing.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Our Season: On Being Inspired!

Our Season: On Being Inspired!: Follow @SheilaAgnew Everyone should be inspired by something or someone. The richest people in the world receive inspiration from some so...

On Being Inspired!

Follow @SheilaAgnew

Everyone should be inspired by something or someone. The richest people in the world receive inspiration from some source. If you ever meet a wealthy person who tells you they did it all by themselves with no help from anyone, move far away. That person is a liar! Even the poorest people who live in misery and despair are inspired by hope.

While my greatest inspiration is the Bible and the preached word, I am often inspired by people. Some great and notable people of history and present day, but mostly everyday people just like me. A kind word, a note or gesture often inspires my daily activities helping me to keep my light shining even during some of my darkest times. 

Don't make the mistake of trying to move through life without the one thing we all need to motivate us, a daily dosage of inspiration. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The June Networking Event for Atlanta Over 40 Females

The Pros and Cons of Internet Body Images

Recently I viewed a post on my Facebook page revealing a picture of a shapely woman in a form-fitting dress with grey hair. The post read, “Is this lady dressed age appropriately?" I enlarged the picture and looked at it more closely. The lady had a fabulous body and I imagined the results of hard work as opposed to enhancements and surgery. I was inspired by her appearance, not inspired to look like the lady, who I now know as Shellie Bo Talley, a 55 year old mom of 4 and grandmother from Georgia, but inspired to be a better me and shape up. I knew if Shellie could do it, so could I!

As for addressing the question concerning the matter of Shellie being dressed age appropriately, I prescribe to the late author Zora Neal Hurston’s famous quote, “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.” Even so, I do believe we should use discretion regardless of age, which so many women need to be mindful of. Shellie was not trying to be a video vixen or porn star. She was fully dressed and obliviously proud of the results of fitness training and healthy eating habits. Additionally, her grey hair was an indication she was not trying to hide her age.

Some online body images can be an inspiration, but far too often posting nude and partially clad body images has given rise to “false hopes” about our bodies and what we should look like. In some instances, women (particularly young women) believe this is the only way they will get attention from men and many have resorted to getting surgical enhancements at a very young age. Additionally, this quest to become “bootylicious” has created bogus treatments from people who claim to provide shots and pills that allow women to look like the images they see in videos and the Internet. This has proven harmful and even deadly in some cases. Unfortunately, we can become inspired for all the wrong reasons. Our first love should be our own bodies and being the best we can be through creating a healthy outlook on life, adopting a fitness routine and eating healthy. This is self-love!

But wait, one more thing! Men see these women in videos and online and believe it is 100% the truth. I have heard stories where men are insisting that their wives or girlfriends can look like these women, often going so far as to make cruel comments and request unreasonable demands or else. Admittedly, some of these women are the truth, but men should be mindful that many are getting paid (or want to get paid) and maintain their appearances with enhancements that include tummy tucks, liposuction, booty shots, facelifts, computer imaging and more. My good friend once told me you can buy yourself to look anyway you want to. My point is, I agree you should want your lady to look good, but don’t be conformed to what you see on online and in videos as a guide to what you believe your mate should look like.  Remember, you may not look your best either. Try working and working out together. That’s real love!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

How I Became An Entrepreneur

Owning a business appeared to me as a vision in my late teens.  I cannot pinpoint a reason other than I always enjoyed working with my hands and creating things ranging from sewing and interior design to party decorating.  As such, it came as no surprise to those close to me when I opened my first business on the south side of Chicago, a retail party supply store named, The Party Connection.  The motivation from my first business venture was my customers.  They inspired me by their confidence and belief that their myriad requests could be accomplished and they trusted I would get the job done.  As a result, I became one of the premier balloon decorators in Chicago in the 80’s and 90’s.   Eventually I moved from the retail business to event planning and decorating where I developed relationships with corporations and organizations across the nation.  My diverse business experiences encouraged me to assist other aspiring businesses through mentoring and coaching.  I classify myself as an entrepreneur because it is my natural calling.  Now in 2013, I am focused on my spiritual growth and how I can use my talents to serve.  In encourage others through my own life experiences.  My motto is “You are “Mo Better” than you think you are.” 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reconnect with Your Joy!

     In a recent conversation with my daughter, we reminisced about times past, which included family gatherings, career and business successes, and life experiences on our individual journeys.  We identified this conversation as reconnecting with our joy, the times we used to laugh, be carefree, had more financial freedom, better relationships and appeared to enjoy life more.

     Life certainly does have different stages. Some of us lose that zest for life when things that used to bring us joy are no longer visible. Often those joyful times are diminished by our constant struggles of everyday living.  During our conversation, my daughter and I made a vow that we were not going to allow life’s situations to strip us of joyful experiences.  We committed to a rejuvenation period.

     When you reconnect with your past joyful experiences, you are allowing yourself an opportunity to experience more pleasant memories that are significant to your rejuvenation process.  In this process, you experience a transformation. While reconnecting is experiencing moments of joy, transformation is making the appropriate changes to put joy, happiness and positive energy back into your life.

     Some things from the “good old days” will be hard to relive or revive, but there is always hope through reinventing your life to move to a better place spiritually, mentally and physically.  With a transforming spirit, you make a commitment to make changes that include a step-by-step process of connecting you to positive energy.  The real key is to find balance, passion, purpose, and make things happen for you, instead of allowing things that happen to you take away joyful moments. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Spread the Love!

I was pondering the emotion of love and wandered how love can be the most powerful force in the universe and yet, many have such a difficult time understanding, embracing and expressing the one emotion that is designed to hold us together.

The bible teaches us to abide by faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.  We are further asked to pursue love and commanded that we love one another as God has loved us.  This is a testimony to the power of love.

Often when we think of love, particularly during the month of February for Valentine’s Day, we think of relationships between husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend.  Our feelings seem to intensify with the very thought that we are loved by that special person.  Some people spend days, weeks and months trying to create a clever way to show and tell their sweethearts how they are loved.  That expression is typically done through a nice dinner, flowers, candy or cards.  These are all beautiful gestures that I appreciate giving and receiving, but I cannot help but consider if we spread the intensity of that love beyond our mates, how powerful our relationships would be within our families, friends and communities.

Do you know someone that has lost a mate or loved one recently? What about an elderly parent, relative or even a total stranger in a nursing home? Do you know a homeless family or even a youth in your neighborhood that would benefit from just a little dose of a love expression?  Imagine if we reached beyond our personal desires to receive and consider giving more love on Valentine’s Day.  That’s the power of real love, loving one another.

The power of love lies within each and every one of us. On Valentine's Day, strength your arms beyond your sweetheart and show a gesture of love to others.  We all like to hear those three words, I Love You.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Are Your Fitness Resolutions in a Slump?

If you are beyond the first ten days in the New Year and in a slump, with little or no movement and progress towards your fitness and health resolutions, you may be heading towards another year when you are not meeting your goals.  Consider this, “Are you in the same place now as you were last year or even years before?”  If the answer is yes, you may be a prime candidate for a triathlon awakening, a renewal of the mind, body and soul. 
Athletically, a triathlon is a contest of strength and endurance in three levels often associated with swimming, cycling and long-distant running.  Whether an athletic or not, our minds and bodies need similar types of endurance disciplines to navigate successfully through our challenges, and focus on creating a healthy lifestyle.  This is the race of life.  What we do with our bodies has a direct result on whether we will go a short or long distance.
Each of us has an opportunity to experience a healthy lifestyle.  All we need do is carefully prepare and train with exercise, fitness and proper nutrition.   When implementing disciplines similar to an athletics’ training, you may have a better chance of qualifying to receive the crucial reward of moving from the place that you have been complacent in for so long, to a more healthy and fulfilling life. The healthy development of one’s body will create a direct flow of energy to the mind for a soul-satisfying experience.
The good news is, even though you may be over ten days into the New Year; you can still experience the excitement of achieving success in your health and fitness goals.   Here are a few tips triathlon athletics incorporate that will be useful for anyone desiring a transformational lifestyle.
·         Set goals - Goals are important and help produce the motivation needed to achieve some things that may appear impossible. 
·         Periodization – Refers to a process in which athletics divide time into manageable blocks designed to produce specific fitness and performance results.  Set your goals so they will be realistic and manageable within the timeframe you have on a day-to-day basis.  A desire for fast results will soon become discouraging.  If you assign specific blocks of time for each lifestyle objective, and pace yourself, results will become visible faster.
·         Motivation – Make it personal. Why do you want to have a transformational lifestyle?  Do you want to shed pounds for a specific event?  Do you have a physical challenge or do you want to look and feel better for a lifetime? Consider things that will fuel your motivation for achieving your goal.
·         Measure – How will you measure your results?  Give yourself specific parameters such as losing inches, reducing body fat or losing ten pounds.  Stay focused.
·         Timeframe – Give yourself a defined period of time.  If you wish to lose 30 pounds, cut the goal to 10 pounds every month.  Each time you meet your goal, you will get excited about the next interval.  Don’t set a goal like 30 pounds in one month knowing that it may be too much too soon.  Be realistic.
·         Challenge – Make your goals doable. Keep your meals interesting by trying new healthy recipes.  Get your family and friends involved in sharing dishes with each other.  Diversify your fitness routine by experiencing different workouts such as short marathon challenges fewer than 5K for charity, and joining walk/run groups.  You can also start your own challenge with family and friends, which helps to motivate you and others by making it fun.  Don’t keep the same routine.
·         Envision – Can you see the pounds coming off, the positive doctor’s report, the beautiful outfit in your closet fitting without the bugles or crossing the finish line?  How would that make you feel?  The wonderful thing about vision, it helps you to see what the future can look like.  Create a vision board or simply create a vision where your goals are firmly planted in your mind. 
Don’t give up because you have not begun the program or reached the goals you so eagerly resolved to do in 2013.  You can always start at any time realizing each day is a new beginning.  The important thing is to start.  If you fall short, pick up where you left off and begin again.  We are all in the race and everyone has an opportunity to cross the finish line.