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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Verbal Communication Is Lost…

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Transparent Moment:

Electronics are such a blessing and a ‘crutch’ to our society. And its amazing how you really have to think hard about how it use to be before cell phones, texting and tablets. Me and my childhood friends loved getting on 3 way and spending hours laughing but not AS MUCH as us meeting at the stop sign on the corner which was a perfect intersection between one friend living up the street and the other friend living across the street. We will be there until the sun went down laughing and talking about what happened at school. You really took out the time to get to know a person…facial expressions, laughs and all:-)

Now…talking on the phone is a last resort if you could text what you have to say and emoji’s express our thoughts in our head because our faces are not doing those expressions as we text. Our art of communication, even with multiple streams of communicating, is very limited because we are slowly becoming a generation that doesn’t want to express ourselves publicly or verbally if we don’t have to. I love communicating and even though its easier to text or email, I make a point to reach out through actions and deed. If I am in the office, I will walk to my co-workers desk instead of calling, just to make a face to face connection. With my friends, I try to pick up the phone and call or visit just to make the face to face connection. I want to see your face and hear your voice. I value the human connection.

There are insurmountable amounts of information that is lost through a lack of physical and verbal communication. Those pieces could be holding healing, love, misunderstanding, creation, freedom, resolutions and peace…….so I challenge you…before you allow the disappointment of a disagreement to be the last word in a conversation via text or email…Pick up the phone or get in your car and go see the person. What we try to resolve with no human connection can sometimes eliminate unnecessary time lost and restoration of that situation can sometimes be resolved in a moment::

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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You Are Not Alone

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You Are Not ALONE….

 

One of my cousins got married a few years ago but before the wedding, we decided to take her on a trip to Miami, FL to celebrate! While on the trip we had a lot of activities planned but one of the activities on our last morning in Miami was a game that her best friend suggested. It didn’t have a particular name or anything but what we had to do was write down three of our “Fears” on a piece of paper. Once everyone finished we shared the three fears with the group. The exercise was so powerful and so liberating! There were laughs, tears, stories, moments of silence, and reflection while we listened to each girl reveal a part of them that they may have only mention to God in private. As I was listening, I knew my turn was approaching and for me, this was no easy exercise because I didn’t want to be emotional. *Exhale*…Here it goes….as I slowly move my eyes down to read my three fears. Now listen, I am not going to share ALL of my fears but I will share one with you that meant the most and that was “the fear of dying alone”. One of the other young ladies there, who is single like myself, agreed totally and said, “Wow…I didn’t think about that but it’s so true…I don’t want to die alone.” The best part of the exercise was what we did next. We tore off each fear into three strips of paper, folded them in no particular way, and then put them inside of a balloon. We each held our balloons up high over the balcony of the hotel, I was asked to say a prayer and we released them in the air, vowing to God to work on overcoming those FEARS!! Even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes because it took a lot of courage to admit to being afraid, scared or anxious about anything in life. However, on that day, four women’s desire to overcome FEAR was greater than the FEAR itself because of our FAITH to believe that God can and will remove anything that is unlike HIM.

Okay, so let me further explain what I mean when I say “alone.” I am talking about physically being by myself when I die because no one knows when or how they are going to die. The absence of family being there or even a companion was starting to become a concern when I thought about it because if we will all be honest with ourselves for a moment, everyone desires to be loved by someone beyond the extension of family. As Christians, we do realize that we are never alone because God is with us always, in spirit, but physically, we want the return embrace of a mate God assigned to us. Even the bible states that, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). There is absolutely nothing wrong with desiring to have someone in your life but what if you don’t experience marriage on earth, does that mean that you are being denied the fullness of Joy? Not at all, however, let us put it in perspective. We all came into the earth individually even if you were born a twin, and we all are going to leave individually and be judged by God for our work.(Revelation 20:12) Our concern about being single can be consuming and a huge distraction. Being alone can have negative connotations if we accept it from people who plant seeds of “FEAR” in our minds saying, “You need to find someone or do you want to die alone?” Who said that life will follow the order of marriage, children, grandbabies then death? HE knew us before the foundation of the world and the beginning of our existence before entering the earth. He even knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30) so surely HE knows what is best. God just wants to fulfill the purpose HE has ordained for each and every one of us and being alone or married should not affect the work being done. So If I die now, what would it matter if I am by myself? Why does being alone now develop FEAR when I think about dying alone? To God, it’s not important but my relationship with Him, my work on earth to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my use of the spiritual gifts given to me to spread the Gospel IS important. My focus on my status has no relevance to my ability to fulfill my assignment in the earth just as my “Joy” has no relevance to my status. So, you are alone, or ALL ONE for now and if it never changes, what I “do” on earth, not my “status”, is God’s desire for my life. Hello Fear…I am not alone….so Goodbye.

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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