FEAR… The Uninvited “Guest”

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<Ding Dong!> It’s the doorbell…

“Who in the world could that be?” I said to myself because hey you don’t remember expecting guest and everyone knows that you don’t like “un-invited” guest. Not wanting to make any noise, you tip-toe to the window and peek outside your blinds seeing if you could catch a glimpse of who is at your door. Hmmm….you don’t see anyone there but to be sure you open the door anyway, slowly, and as soon as you do, your “un-invited” guest slips right in….

Who? You ask…

FEAR…..

Yes, just like an “un-invited” guest, we don’t ever plan to invite FEAR into our lives. It sort of sneaks in just as you open the doors of what I like to call your human
“Gates” which are your Eyes, Ears and Mouth to anything that can deter you from God’s plan and purpose for your life! Your EYES are the gateway to your soul stamping visuals in your brain that you playback; Your EARS record everything that it hears—sounds and voices; Your MOUTH is controlled by the thoughts in your head and the feelings in your heart. Three powerful gates that FEAR loves to travel through disregarding any “formal” invite from you, but then, sometimes we will keep the door open and let FEAR in but that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about when you try your best to keep FEAR out and away from ever entering into your gates. These openings should be guarded at all times filtering out uncensored, uninvited aspects of life that can cause FEAR to form and develop. When FEAR is realized, it will camouflage a blessing (Eyes), hear only negative language (Ears) and speak doubt and destruction (Mouth). FEAR no longer is a guest, at this point, but begins to unpack bags and take up residence in your life! This is NOT good! So let’s talk about it….

Have you ever experienced FEAR? (uh um, clearing my throat)***Newsflash***..We ALL have and it’s perfectly normal, so relax. However, I must say, FEAR should be confronted and not ignored, confessed and not concealed. Its not the best feeling in the world but as a healthy practice, make sure you don’t let the things that cause FEAR to be the reason you don’t see the blessing in the mist of the storms of life; or penetrate in your heart when someone speaks negatively to you and about you; and worse, begin to expose itself in your conversation speaking “death”. (Proverbs 18:21) Once you make FEAR the source of your decisions, you will always experience less than the abundant life that God desires because you will be too scared to trust God based on a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined (www.dictionary.com). This is serious and like stress, when prolonged, has dangerous effects to our spiritual, physical and emotional state of being. So are you ready to face your FEARS even though you didn’t see it “sneak” in? And it doesn’t matter how big or small your FEAR may be, it all counts and it all has a root. Something or someone influenced this FEAR that you have and now every time you or someone else bring up that FEAR, you respond with distress trying to cover it up with many failed attempts. Isn’t that exhausting? I mean, how much more “covering up” can you do? Or how many times are you going to put on your “mask” before your mask begin to crack showing the real face of your troubles? I believe that the bible says that God did not give us the spirit of FEAR but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) because to fight FEAR you must have the love of Christ in your heart for those times when FEAR tries to “show up unannounced”. When we ignite the power of God which is in us through prayer, studying and fasting, we will ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS defeat FEAR. And I am sure you have probably heard people say things like, “It’s all in your mind.” Well, that is true because our minds are very powerful and the storehouses of where we recall past and present hurt and pain. So how are you keeping your mind “sound?”. Has it been difficult? At times it has been, but what you playback over and over is the key to keeping the mind sound! So whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8).

Exercise is not only good for the body but it’s also crucial for your mind. Make it a priority to always look beyond any and everything that is causing FEAR—afraid of what will happen if you lose your job in this economy, not having enough money to pay your bills, afraid for your future and the future of your family? Don’t be and yes, I said that pretty effortlessly because God knows, HE cares and HE loves US…even when we are scared to death of the many entities of life. And guess what? He was there when you open the door and FEAR slipped in. HE was waiting on you to call HIM so that HE can address any “unwanted” guest. Hello Fear…and Goodbye.
 

Hidden But Visible

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Hidden But Visible

Today, January 6, 2017, across America, a new film called, “Hidden Figures”, will be showing in several theatres. It is a 2016 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder, based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, the African American mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. The film also features Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons. The film recounts the story of the African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who, while working in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center, helped NASA catch up in the Space Race. Using their calculations, John Glenn became the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit of Earth. (Reference https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_Figures)
I am more than excited to see this film because the story of Katherine Johnson resonates with a lot of professional African-American women and their struggle of being hidden due to factors that have nothing to do with their ability to succeed. Black women have bared the ‘background’ in a country that has taken centuries to acknowledge their intelligence and success. Discredited for ideas and concepts due to segregation has felt like a lifetime to some and without the shift in the mindsets of my fellow American brothers and sisters on equality and justice for all, we will continue to fight to prove our place in the contribution of America’s success in various avenues of life that affects our advancement in technology, entrepreneurship and so forth.
I continue to fight this fight professionally. But my method of fighting has been:: my Faith, Prayer, choosing to be a lifetime student, friends, family & mentors who want the best for me and push me even when I have moments of feeling defeated.
With over 16 years of professional experience that includes Engineering, Project Controls and Product Development and multiple opportunities working overseas reflected on a resume that has been ascribed as being ‘impressive’ from interviewers and colleagues, I STILL have to deal with being discriminated, underpaid, over looked due to the color of my skin and blatantly mistreated professionally while I watch other professionals who are not black, with less experience, move ahead. However, I did have moments that were great and nuggets to share that I believe contributed to my success and made me “Visible.”
But know this….The core of my success does not lie in the accolades on my resume as much as it does on maintaining a winning attitude which has resulted in me being BETTER and not BITTER.
I also learned that choosing to have a positive attitude opened more doors of opportunity than my degree and my decision to go HIGH when they go LOW (Thank you Michelle Obama) has saved me from having to apologize or what I like to say, “clean up a mess that I created.” ***whew!****
My humility has created moments of what I like to call, ”God’s favor”, as I look over my professional life where I gained the attention of VP’s and CEO’s who ‘heard’ about me and made a point to reach out to me for various opportunities that came with company wide recognition. I don’t take those opportunities lightly.
I want to close by leaving a word of encouragement to every young, black, female who desires to make her mark on the world wherever she is whether she is in corporate America, entrepreneurship or a stay at home mom raising her child(ren) to be upright citizens in this world…
Don’t you EVER let people discourage you from your destiny….PERIOD.
This walk of life will have many people coming and going and everyone will have an opinion about your life but the only opinion that counts is your OWN. What you feed your heart, will become your belief and will ultimately be what you SPEAK which will create the picture of your life…so, check your vocabulary. What is the language of your faith?
Prayer: “Father God, I thank you for the person reading this blog right now. Give them confirmation of your word when you said in Jeremiah 29:11,”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Help this person to be more confident in the process of their destiny. Help them to be patient and not be weary in well doing. I trust your WORD Lord and I feel your love for me. God you said that you are with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9) and I believe that in my heart. As this person starts off 2017, let them not do anything without you being in their plans and first in their life. Help them to work unto YOU and not Man and help them to look beyond the offense but still operate in integrity. They can and will do it because they believe in themselves and your spirit which lives within them.
In Jesus mighty name, I pray….AMEN”
Xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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I Hear Your Words, But I Only Listen To Your Actions

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Who is Chiccy Baritone?

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I saw this quote circulating on social media and I had to pull it to discuss.
Unless you have been living under a ‘rock’, it is no surprise all of the turmoil our country, the United States of America, has been experiencing on a more frequent basis. I say a more frequent basis because all of the injustice of murders and racism in this country has been going on for centuries but with the advancement of technology, like camera phones and videos, it is capturing things as they happen and putting it right in your face..whether that is the news, your social media timelines or for some, first hand experiences with your own family…
….at times, I feel like I’m playing in a horror film anxiously hoping I’m not next to play in the scene…
….my heart has been hurting but my spirit has been pressing towards the only comfort…

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I Hear Your Words, But I Only Listen To Your Actions

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I saw this quote circulating on social media and I had to pull it to discuss.
Unless you have been living under a ‘rock’, it is no surprise all of the turmoil our country, the United States of America, has been experiencing on a more frequent basis. I say a more frequent basis because all of the injustice of murders and racism in this country has been going on for centuries but with the advancement of technology, like camera phones and videos, it is capturing things as they happen and putting it right in your face..whether that is the news, your social media timelines or for some, first hand experiences with your own family…
….at times, I feel like I’m playing in a horror film anxiously hoping I’m not next to play in the scene…
….my heart has been hurting but my spirit has been pressing towards the only comfort that I can count on moment by moment, day by day and that’s through my relationship with Jesus Christ and the infallible word of God, the bible.
These times have challenged every Christian in America and the unfolding of this reality is not a surprise to God. In the word, He says….
2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV)
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

To me, the underlining issue that has linked the injustice in this country comes down to one thing: Racism.

Every act of racism in this country is taught.

No one is BORN racist.
And just like something you learn that has a negative consequence if practiced, racism can only be eliminated once a person’s heart is changed.
So, I’ve ‘listened’ to people who claim to not have a problem with race but their ACTIONS have quickly discredited that notion. Until you respond differently to something you have perceived in your mind and heart, ignorance will rule your actions.
Recently, I heard a local pastor, Pastor Hasker Hudgens, on the news with News Correspondent, Nigel Robertson and he was asked a question, “Do you think Prayers are enough?” and I like his response which were all ACTION items that needed to take place.
He said, and I quote, “ I want to say prayers are working but its four things I think we have to do: We have to humble ourselves, We have to Pray, We have to seek God’s Face, then we have to turn from our wicked ways, then he forgive us of our sins and then he will heal our land.”
Pastor quoted right from this scripture:
2 Chronicles 7:14(NIV)
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
So, this is a call to ACTION…me included….
Social Media platforms are okay when expressing your concerns or voicing your opinion but the problem is, that’s ALL some people are doing…

Your VOICE and your ACTIONS are needed…

Xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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What We See Depends On What We Look For

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Extinct-Engineering-Tools-T-Square

You always knew who the ‘new’ Engineering majors were on campus because they all were carrying these T-squares. One of the classes that every Engineering major had to take was called,”Mechanical Drawing”. This was BEFORE AutoCAD, which is the program used to do all of your drawings electronically. We learned, by hand, how to draw out our schematics which many new engineers have no clue about because its not a method that is used in the industry, thanks to advanced technology to do it quicker through this software program.

I was one of those students. And this class, I feel, was a way of challenging my ability to see things in multiple dimensions (2D, 3D) and being able to draw it to scale with your T-square. If a 1 dimension box is drawn, could you draw that same box in 2 or 3 dimensions? So needless to say, many students who were discouraged by understanding this technique either dropped out of the class or the program..

This ability to see beyond what is in front of me is very symbolic of how I handle issues in my life whether personally, professionally on my job or in my business Chiccy Baritone. I have also tried to incorporate the ‘pause’ method as well which simply is to think about other ways to view something verses only seeing it the way “I” see it. If I am looking for a solution, then I must look at all of the pieces, good and bad, to understand how they all are working for my good (Romans 8:28). There are rich lessons of life through triumph AND pain.

So what do you SEE and what are you LOOKING for?

It comes down to ‘natural’ and ‘spiritual’…One is with the physical eye and the other is with the inner spirit (or spiritual eye). Both are feeding what you believe and feel. FAITH is that change agent that motivates the outcome that you desire. It’s with the power of your FAITH that you will see God in it all. He has a way of carrying you through this journey of life by orchestrating every good and bad piece…and making something BEAUTIFUL!

So can you SEE that its not just a box? It has sides on the left and right and a back side as well…its not small but it has DEPTH to it and can HOLD many things…to some, if you are only looking in the FRONT, you will never know that it has other DIMENSIONS! ***Whew….God, I thank you!!!***

Don’t just look…but LOOK….there’s more….

Xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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“It Takes Someone Strong To Make Someone Strong”

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“It Takes Someone Strong To Make Someone Strong.”
That Is my Momma, Viola Corrine Evans….

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Yes, the holidays are hard and the anniversary of her earthly death and funeral will always be a reflective time for me. The power of WHO my mom was rocks me to the core when I think about what she endured not only with her health but also her personal life.
The insight of STRENGTH became real after my mom died. Sure, I saw her display strength throughout my life that will always be in my memory like the time I got into a really bad car accident on my way to minister poetry at a candlelight vigil in Columbia, SC at Bibleway Church of Atlas Road, coming from Greenville, SC. It was a rainy morning and as I continued to speed in the rain, I knew that I needed to slow down because like my mom would always say, once you are late; speeding is not going to change that!
Well…I almost died that day…
I hydroplane, and thankful to God, ended up on the side of the road about 100 feet from a bridge! I can remember blacking out and becoming conscious again when a young man’s hands cupped around my face said to me, “Open your eyes young lady..you are alive and you are going to be okay!” The only thing I can remember about that man is that he had a “Gap between his teeth like me” ***smile***
He grabbed my phone and called my mom…by the time they arrived there was a small group of people who had gathered around me in support of making sure I was okay. The next moment was a moment I will never forget…I saw the crowd ‘part like the red sea’ and it was my MOMMA. She didn’t say a word but she made her way to me, grabbed me into her arms and held me. We just cried because I think in that moment we realized how close I was to death. I will never forget the look in her eyes. It was such a powerful, intense look of strength and LOVE.
One more example I have to share was the day of my housewarming. It was the same day my mom had dialysis. On those days, I can count on her being completely wiped out afterwards for about 4 hours so I normally would not bother her. You can only imagine how shocked I was when she told me,”I’m coming to your housewarming.” My mom went through her treatment and her, my father and niece drove 1 hour and 45mins to see my brand new house in Greer, SC. When my mom walked through the door, she was quiet as she looked around on the first level of my house as if she was one of the inspectors making sure everything was OKAY because her baby girl was going to be living there. I would catch her smiling and looking back at me as I walked behind her. She was so proud of me and my heart was full…so full because she taught me STRENGTH in that moment. You see, I was in amazement of her strength because nothing, not even being sick, was going to stop her. She never complained around me and still made people laugh because that was who she was. A pleasure to be around….and a soldier who fought for her life, her family and her marriage.

I can take a lifetime going through countless examples of my mom displaying that kind of strength throughout my life but I gave those two examples just to get to this point of the insight of her strength AFTER she died…
Many issues in my mom’s life concerning her marriage really begin to come out after she died.
And these are not issues that span over a few years but well over 20 years that I had absolutely NO CLUE about…you know why? Here is my conclusion and the truth of the matter…
My mom ‘shielded’ us (her kids—Quanita, Me and DeWayne) from ‘blows’ to her personal life and marriage all because she wanted us to not worry about her and to create a positive childhood for us.
As a child, I can remember certain things but she ALWAYS went out of her way to try and protect us…
In her absence, I feel her presence and I honor her STRENGTH…
My mom was no pushover….no, let’s be REAL clear about that…but she loved her family and made sure we had everything we needed not necessarily everything we wanted.
She taught me what it means to be a lady at all times…even when you are upset and disappointed.
She carried herself in a classy way never forgetting her country roots from Hopkins, SC where her brothers and sisters still reside.
I would pick on her all the time for not wanting to explore the world but the truth is, she did…through others, including myself, because every time I traveled, she wanted to hear about the details of my trip giving me her undivided attention. She loved hearing how much traveling made me happy….
…..the night before she died, I was the last person she talked to and it was such an encouraging and inspiring conversation as my mom learned about a recent ‘break-up’ I had with my boyfriend at the time. She was speaking LIFE into me as she said, “stay strong—keep on going baby because you are doing so well with your life. You are going to need a man that can be supportive and love you.” That was only some of a very lengthy conversation. **smile**
She made me STRONG because she was….
I had 33 years with her and I thank God for my Commander in Chief—a real Soldier at Heart—Loved God and Loved her Family….and for that, I’m grateful because I have turned out to be a woman of STRENGTH and courage…..Thank you Momma
Xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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Start Now

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Start NOW….

I came across this image on Facebook and it said:

“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just……start.”

I have been very passionate about driving this message home. Maybe not verbatim but the point still is the same, “Just start.” I have a, ”Breakfast For Champions Women Empowering Women” Sessions that I do between February and April of every year. I begin each session giving my testimony about how God orchestrated the vision. When God spoke to my spirit to start these sessions to empower women from all walks of life and the format of these sessions, my battle was, ”But God, where should I have this? I need resources so where is that going to come from? When should I do it? Who should I target? And the questioning went on and on. Once I finished questioning everything, God said, ”Start where you are.”
Wait….What???
And you know what? I did. I did what I could and God did the REST! I opened up my home, sent out a guest list, brought in a speaker, ordered some appetizers and after that session, I opened it up to the public, created a budget, and these sessions have been paying for themselves with the participation of women from all over the community! God is not concern with our excuses and quite frankly, we miss the opportunities for our vision to come to pass because we make it about ‘US’ and not who it’s for—People!
Yep….you are struggling with your vision because you have allowed every excuse to hinder what God has placed inside of you to do. Habakkuk 2:1-2KJV says, ”I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the LORD answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”
I love the way Clarke breaks down key points in the scripture. Check it out (credit: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/clarke/habakkuk/2.htm)
(Habakkuk 2:1) I will stand upon my watch – The prophets are always represented as watchmen, watching constantly for the comfort, safety, and welfare of the people; and watching also to receive information from the Lord: for the prophetic influence was not always with them, but was granted only at particular times, according to the will of God. When, in doubtful cases, they wished to know what God was about to do with the country, they retired from society and gave themselves to meditation and prayer, waiting thus upon God to hear what he would say In them.
(Habakkuk 2:1) What he will say unto me – in my understanding and heart.
(Habakkuk 2:1) And what I shall answer when I am reproved – What I shall say to God in behalf of the people; and what the Lord shall command me to say to the people. Some translate, “And what he will answer for my conviction.” Or, “what shall be answered to my pleading.”
(Habakkuk 2:2) Write the vision – Carefully take down all that I shall say.

(Habakkuk 2:2) Make it plain upon tables – Write it in a full plain, legible hand.
Being obedient to your vision requires you to listen for instructions and move on what God has said to you by FAITH. Without FAITH, it is impossible to please God so with all that He has created you to be and do, it cannot be done without FAITH. Our ‘laundry list’ of excuses are just that, a list that ‘we’ have compiled together. I often think about the outcome of what would have been if I focused more on ‘sacrifice vs. obedience’ and not God’s plan. He made it real clear….”Just Start”

And that is exactly what I did and have not turned back!
Your turn….it’s time for you to “Just start”
On WHAT? You say…
That vision that God has placed in your heart that you keep talking about…

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