Countdown to FREEDOM

Monday, September 15, 2014

The 2014 Happy Black Woman Retreat

“A real decision is measured by action”

I’m home.  Now is when the real work begins.  For the past seven days I had the privilege of spending quality time with happy black women from all over the country.  We fellowshipped together on Oahu and shared ideas, goals, dreams and plain old good times.

It wasn't all fun and games.  We were there to work and work we did – but now that we are home we know that the real work has to begin.   We came from different parts of the country, have different backgrounds and experiences, work in different fields and range in ages from 24 and up but we all had one common goal in mind:  to make our lives better by choosing to follow our dreams.

“Everything that you want is on the other side of fear”

We worked on personal and professional development and learned the art of saying “yes” to ourselves.  We are a group who see possibilities where no one else sees them.  We validated and supported each other and continued to ask the question, “why not?”

I watched light bulb moments occur continuously.  Women who came with one idea in mind left with something completely different.  Women buying domain names, creating outlines for books, designing freebies for their websites and the list goes on and on.  We came together and saw visions for other people’s businesses and received ideas for our own businesses.  More than one person told me that they saw me conducting fitness retreats to beautiful locations.  I can definitely see that and have already created an outline on how that would work.

“First thoughts are the best thoughts”

It all starts with a mindset.  We have to be ready to receive.  We have to stop limiting ourselves.  There were two televisions in my suite and not once did one of them get turned on.  I got so much work done in Hawaii because I was completely focused and I will keep that going while I’m here.  I worked on my business and was able to have a fantastic time on the island.  Good food, drinks, friendships, atmosphere … it was everything.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Reflections

It’s almost that time …
I have been looking forward to this vacation since January!  I’m so excited I can hardly focus and I’ve pretty much been “checked out” since Tuesday.  Aloha!
We’re doing some reorganization in my office building so I’m packing up today to prepare for a move to the 3rd floor.  The move is to take place next week while I’m gone so I’ll be completely packed by the end of the day.  That’s the only reason why I actually came into the office today – I’ve been working from home almost all week.
I’m working on a cross-promotion deal with a supplement company which could prove to be very beneficial for Fab Fit & 50. Yay me.
Speaking of FF&50, I have a new client who is awesome.  She is so motivated and really serious about her training.  It’s always good to work with someone like that.  Plus, she talks me up to everyone she meets.
Last weekend I attended a networking luncheon and was surprisingly pleased with the event.  I say “surprisingly” because the thought of networking gives me the heebie-jeebies.  But this was fun and relaxed and I didn’t feel pressure to beg for business.  I introduced myself to everyone in the room, handed out cards and made some really good connections.  That’s what networking is:  making connections.  Some will turn into business opportunities, some won’t and that’s okay.  I have a few more of these events on my calendar and I’m really looking forward to it.
Why am I craving chocolate chip cookies?
Training for this half marathon is challenging.  I didn’t think it was going to be easy but the reality of the situation is starting to hit me.  I successfully completed 2, 10-mile runs and thought I would die each time.  It was really hot and humid during the second one and I was miserable.  I start my runs at 7:00 am thinking I will escape the heat – not so.  This Sunday I may start a little earlier.  I also need to plan a different route.  My current route has me running 5 miles on what seems like a steady incline. No bueno.  My current time for ten miles is around 1:51:00 and I’m trying to increase that pace before I move to 11 miles.  The race is in November right before Thanksgiving so I have time to work on it.
I’m also looking for a 2015 figure competition.  Time to get back on the stage.
That’s it for me.  Have a great weekend and look for vacation pics all next week!

Are you following me on Instagram (@chelerene), Twitter (@msmatt1017) and Facebook (  You should be!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Reflections

It’s Friday morning and I don’t know why I always feel like time is just whizzing by.  Like I can’t believe how quickly time flies.  We say that all the time, don’t we?  I used to say it every time someone would have a birthday or a graduation or some other big event.  Now I feel it at the end of every week.

I’m getting closer to the day that I’ll be walking in my purpose and that’s exciting.  It’s not like when I was a kid and it seemed like “that day” was taking forever to come.  It’s right around the corner and I’m working everyday to prepare for that day. 

I was having a conversation with my son and I kept saying, “Life is good”.  I just kept repeating that.  Because, honestly – life is really good!  He said, “You should stop saying that, because you might jinx it.”

I thought about that for a nanosecond and dismissed it just as quickly.  I explained to him that I couldn’t imagine not acknowledging how good life is.  Not because of anything that I have done but because of what God is doing.  I am blessed and I will continue to say it out loud:  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Staying Alert

Happy Monday – hope yours is going well so far.  I’m working on it but I’m finding that the closer I get to the end of the year, the more anxious I get and the less patience I have for the issues of the 9-5.  Anyway, let’s recap the weekend, shall we?

I always attend church on Saturday night as opposed to Sunday morning because I enjoy having one day that I don’t have to do anything.  I like to wake up naturally without the assistance of the alarm clock and just let the day unfold. 

This past weekend took a different turn.  Instead of going to church on Saturday night I chose to attend a pity party.

There was wine, cupcakes and hours of Netflix. 

It’s funny (not really) that when I sit at my desk and think about just relaxing in my bed and doing nothing, I imagine that it will be an enjoyable experience.  In reality:  not so much.  When I woke up on Sunday morning I felt miserable – not physically – I only had one glass of wine, so it wasn’t a hangover.  I was just emotionally wrung out.  Just blech! 

 I knew what I needed to do.  Before my feet hit the floor I prayed.  I asked God to forgive me for allowing myself to get in such a funk.  I know what the issue was (which I won’t share here) and it certainly didn’t warrant me taking to my bed.  I know better.  So, after I prayed I got up, washed my face – realized that I slept with my contact lenses in (ugh!), put on my running gear and went for a 9-mile run.  After the run, I showered and did my grocery shopping.  After that, I changed my clothes, put on my face and went to the 11:30 service at church. 

I love it when I go to church and hear a sermon that is directly applicable to what is going on in my life.  We had a guest speaker and the title of his message was, “Alertness in Prayer”.  The text came from Luke 21:36 – Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
While I was on my run, I noticed that during the last 2 miles my mind and body shifted into auto-pilot.  My body was tired and all I wanted was to finish.  When on auto-pilot I’m only focused on the end result, not the path that gets me there.  In the earlier miles I’m noticing traffic, birds, people, cars – everything. 

During the sermon, the speaker mentioned the importance of staying alert and not allowing our lives to go on auto-pilot.  We miss so much when we are not alert.  We think we have everything under control and then BAM!  You’re happy-go-lucky one minute and then depressed the next.  The Bible also says in 1 Peter 5:8 that we should be sober and vigilant because the enemy is just waiting to devour us. 
I was devoured on Saturday night.  I was in a crisis moment and instead of praying – I took to my bed.  Which is why I made it my business to repent as soon as my eyes opened and made my way to church on Sunday morning.  And again on Sunday night.  Being in God's presence and in the presence of other believers is exactly what I needed to get me back on track.

That’s what being alert is about.  Knowing that we cannot rest on our laurels.   I have a relationship with God but if I don’t work on it and stay in communication with Him, I am leaving myself open for negativity and doubt.

Lesson learned.  Stay alert.  Stay vigilant.