Movies & Meditation: When You Realize You’re A Showman…

Eyes Straight Ahead - Shell Vera

My daughter and I finally sat down and watched The Greatest Showman a few months ago. It quickly became one of our favorite movies because of its message of hope, love, and possibility.

Why did it take us so long?!

What a beautiful movie! There is not a single song on the soundtrack that my daughter and I don’t enjoy. Each one could easily have become a Music & Musings segment here but I want to focus on the overall movie (though I will surely talk about a song or two as well). The characters made us smile, and a couple upset us. We laughed and cried. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Aren’t We All Showmen?

When we really think about our own lives, aren’t we all showmen of sorts? Don’t we put our best face forward and make it seem like we have it altogether when we really are falling…

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When the Church Has Hurt You… (An Open Letter to Those Hurt by the Church)

Eyes Straight Ahead - Shell Vera

Dear Person Who Has Been Hurt by the Church,

I am sorry.

I am sorry that as a church we have become more concerned with beautiful buildings than bleeding hearts. That we have spent more time developing economically sufficient social clubs instead of reaching out to our communities and the people who need us most.

I am sorry that each time you have walked into the doors, we ask you for money and tell you what an awful human you have been instead of learning more about you and finding out what made you come in the first place. That we most often times will ignore you after we publicly applaud you for showing up and ask you to raise your hand so we can shove our Information Cards in your hands and get your demographic information in exchange for a coffee cup, water bottle, or bag of candy from…

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Music & Musings: “Say Something”

Eyes Straight Ahead - Shell Vera

I love music. I love how I can escape into it. I love how it expresses what I am thinking at times when I am tired of my own thoughts or can’t put them into words. I love that I am able to listen to music and fall into the words and drift away. I often will play a song and meditate on it, thinking about what it means for me. There are some songs that really speak to me in many ways and this month I am going to explore those thoughts in this Music & Musings series.

The first song we will kick off with will be “Say Something”. There are two versions of this song that I like, one by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera and a cover by WorshipMob. I’m going to talk about both of them because they each hit me a little…

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The Execution that Gave Life

Shell Vera: Poetry & Fiction

The day had not gone as planned. It was supposed to be an easy execution, but the prisoner spoke up at the last minute, causing a delay. The person provided information causing the warden to call the case’s judge and ask questions. The judge reviewed the file and commanded the prisoner be set free. Everyone in the room became angry, shouting protests:

“He is a horrible murderer!”

“He cannot be set free.”

“He will do it again.”

“What are you doing? He surely has not changed.”

Everyone, that is, except for one woman. The prisoner was on death row for brutally torturing and murdering her husband, and horribly mutilating her. The woman sat quietly staring at the prisoner through the glass as tears streamed down her face. Amidst the chaos, she seemed completely at peace.

Dear Diary,

Today was one of those days you don’t expect to happen. Victor was…

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Music & Musings: “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott

Eyes Straight Ahead - Shell Vera

I was listening to my music on shuffle last night and this song came on. Then this morning on the way to write, it came on again. I started thinking about where I am in life, my actions and thoughts, and what I want moving forward. I sat and listened to the lyrics so deeply, over and over. Allowing them to hit my spirit and speak to me.

All lyrics in the quoted, purple text are written by Bernie Herms, Hillary Scott, Emily Lynn Weisband • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group. Retrieved from Google Play Music

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and…

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Essential Oils to Inspire Creativity

The Essential Creative

I love anything artistic and creative. Whether it is sitting in the back yard, staring at the sky and thinking about story ideas or sitting in my office writing business ideas and plans, I get caught up in the process of creative thinking and dreaming big. While it doesn’t take a lot for me to get in the mood for creative sparks, I love to diffuse my essential oils or have a cotton ball with a few drops of one sitting in front of me when I am being creative.

I especially love certain oils for specific activities. For example, if I am thinking about business stuff, I like to diffuse Into the Future or Magnify Your Purpose. If I am doing social media posts I like to diffuse three drops each of Patchouli and Peppermint.

If I am writing, I like to diffuse Oola Field or a…

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I’m Not The Girl…

Shell Vera: Poetry & Fiction

I’m Not the Girl, but I am the Woman…

I’m not the girl who will call you often in a day or text you to find out where you are.

I’m not the girl who will take a million selfies to prove her beauty to you or help you impress your friends.

I’m not the girl who will lie to you to make you feel better about yourself.

I’m not the girl who wants to be in front of the camera or shine on the red carpet.

I’m not the girl who will ask you to change your lifestyle to fit mine.

But I am the woman who will support you as you fulfill your calling and conquer the opportunities to walk many red carpets.

I am the woman who will stop to admire you from time to time because when I see you I see a brilliance that takes…

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When Your Nothing is Enough…

Eyes Straight Ahead - Shell Vera

In 2 Kings 4:1-7 a widow has some bills coming due that her husband left behind in righteous circumstances (meaning not out of lavish living but out of sacrifice for God and frugal living) and the debt collectors will take her sons to work off the debt if she doesn’t have the money when they arrive. She goes to the prophet Elisha for guidance because her husband had been one of his servants.

This was the first Bible story I ever learned as a child. I was taught it was about the vessels and faith, being available to God, and trusting Him to provide even when it feels like you have very little. More than 30 years later @iammiketodd (“Bring Me Another Vessel”, Transformation Church) and @stevenfurtick (“Frozen Oil and Chosen Vessels”, Elevation Church) have broken this scripture down within the past few months and shared the same high level…

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Workshops / Online Classes

One of my passions is teaching workshops and classes. I enjoy connecting with people and seeing them realize their dreams and potential, as well as following up with them to see how far they have come. If you would like to hire me to facilitate a workshop for your community group or church, connect with me today.

I am willing to teach these courses to individuals who would like to go through them as well.

Some workshops that are my favorites:

  • Get Started Writing Your Book! This one session workshop focuses on how to get out of your own way when it comes to writing your own book. Too many people think they don’t have the right resources but in today’s online culture, we have more than enough resources for everyone to make their dream of writing a book a reality. I share with you how to get going and the expenses I believe are worth planning for if you would like to publish a quality book. $149 per person OR a group of 10 for $99 each
  • Before Your After: Living in Today by Exploring Your Past and Future. This four-session workshop focuses on living life fully in the moment while considering where you have been and where you want to go. Too many of us get stuck in the past or planning for the future and because of it we are missing out on today. $449 per person OR a group of 10 for $349 each
  • Becoming You: Understanding Who You Are and Loving Her. This workshop is for women who are struggling with insecurity and identity and need to grasp the basics of who God says we are and applying those statements to what we currently look like, what we do for work, how we parent, etc. $149 per person OR a group of 10 for $99 each
  • Your Best Year: Vision Boarding and Goal Setting for Results. This workshop is typically done in December or January and is a way of helping you set goals for the year as well as put those goals into a picture that you keep in front of you all year. It is best when we have a group of friends who make it a party and truly aren’t afraid to speak up for what they want. We have a LOT of fun and even shed some tears as we realize goals that have been dreams deferred. $99 per person OR a group of 10 for $79 each
  • Book Clubs. For this option, you hire me to lead a book club for your group, business, or social circle. Each discussion includes a deep dive into the book to ensure participants understand the content and are sharing thoughts with one another. For an added price, I will create guides for you group so they have a written document to follow along with each week. $49 per session for facilitation; individuals purchase their own books. Price to develop study guides depends upon the number of sessions and intensity of the book, as well as availability of copyright permissions from the author / publisher.

Get a group together and register at the same time for group discount. To inquire about these workshops, fill out the Let’s Connect form. Please note which workshop you are interested in and how many people will be taking it.

Voice Discovery Coaching

For folks who don’t know what their voice is or how they would use it, this program comprises three phases:

  • Discovering Your Voice
  • Developing Courage to Use Your Voice
  • Identifying Platforms (Media) for Your Voice

During each phase, you will complete a series of assessments and exercises that will pull you out of your comfort zone and into a space where you are able to connect with what your inner self wants to share with the world. You were created for a very specific reason and my job through this program is to help you identify that purpose and start walking in it.

Past participants have realized their callings to ministry, education, business, media, and arts. Your voice isn’t always about telling a story through written word or books. Some folks have shared their story through music, others through sculpture and painting. Some individuals have gone on to write several books, while others became CEOs and launched the company they dreamed of for years. Your voice has a unique presentation so we don’t box it in.

I’ve created both faith-based and standard programs that will help you best understand how to show up in the world as your true self. This program is NOT life or success coaching, though I can recommend some great coaches who offer those services. This is strictly for individuals who need to understand their voice and the best platform for sharing it with the world. We work through exercises in which you make progress toward your goals while discovery AND using your voice, connecting with your audience, and sharing your story with others.

Once we identify your voice, we will develop the plan for the path forward, which may result in you working with another coach to develop your business strategy or work on relationships and life. My focus for coaching is to help people use their voice through the written word by empowering them to develop stories, music, poetry, scripts, etc. and connecting them with proper resources to help them in love and life.

If this service sounds like something you need, let’s discuss your needs to see if we’re a good fit for one another. If you only need a portion of the program, we will ensure that is all we do together. Our goal as we work together is to ensure you are equipped to share your story with the world in the most authentic way.

Starts at $1399 per month. Varies based upon number of sessions and follow up services. Offered for groups or on one-to-one basis.

Shell has helped me elevate my business to a higher level. She possesses a strong skill set in content creation for social media, marketing, and blogging. Her thoughtful and creative ways to show you how to use your voice are superb. As a voice discovery coach, Shell has taught me how to effortlessly outline my thoughts and turn them into blogs. Through her coaching, she has elevated my creativity to a level I didn’t know I could reach. She is laser focused and will do anything to help you reach your goals and those of your business. ~Zoraida Basaldu, Founder & President of EmpoweredFem, STEM Public Speaker, Teen Mentor

Shell helped me take my book from rough draft to ready-to-edit first draft by helping me consider my message, audience, and future goals of sharing my story. Though I knew my voice well and use it in my daily work, she helped me ensure it came through in writing as it does when you speak with me. ~Cornieta Whitfield, Author of “Interruption: Navigating the Detours of Life”; CEO of Speak Life LLC; Owner & Founder of Whitfield Wellness; Connections Pastor at The River Church Danbury