Poet

Pardon “My” Progress

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6D40ECFA-86C1-4621-9434-10CE7EB5C7BCI notice over several weeks going into my office building a sign that was posted on a door leading out to the parking garage. This sign simply said, “Pardon Our Progress.” The more I would read this sign coming in every morning for the past several weeks, the more it begin to resonate in my spirit. I begin to think about how that simple message has so much profound meaning. The phrase made me think about myself and what kind of progress have I made. Sure, this message was on the door in lieu of the entire building going through various stages of construction but I could not help but think to myself, “Pardon My Progress.”

But it doesn’t make sense right? Because the meaning of Pardon is: the action of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offense and when I think about some of the things I have changed in my life for the better, I don’t owe anyone an apology for that! So it’s really a little play on words. To define Progress means forward or onward movement toward a destination.

I am familiar with seeing a sign of this nature especially when some kind of work or construction is being done and it would normally say, “Pardon The Mess,” which made more sense. But the phrase, “Pardon Our Progress” is intended to state that this mess that you see now, is a work in progress towards something greater, an improvement, an upgrade. (WHEW~ That BLESSED ME!)

One major change I made on April 11, 2018 was purchase an Apple Watch to keep me accountable with my physical activity and to commit to a workout time that would best accommodate my busy days. For the past 2 months I have been getting up at 5am Monday – Friday doing ‘fasting’ cardio for 30 – 45mins to kick off my day. This change has made a major impact on my life in multiple ways: My energy levels are up and when I get to the office I am ready and alert for work. I love coffee but I don’t feel like I have to depend on it to perk up my mood. I feel better and my body, along with watching my food intake, has resulted in a stronger, healthier body as I continue to slim down gradually.

This change physically has also changed my time management. I wasted a lot of time after work watching several hours of television leaving only a few hours to read and to work on more constructive projects. I really desired to get in more time reading but also time to work on some personal business goals for myself. As a result of staying more active during the day, it helped me to focus longer in the evenings without feeling too tired from the work day. Talk about a huge CHANGE for me! Progress should be measurable in order to be effective meaning you should know what you should change, create a record and test through trial and error. Progress always involves risk. “You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” ~quote by Fredrick Wilcox

Look at it this way also…Progress does not only just involve all of the positive changes you have made but mistakes and failures are also progress! Especially if what you have learned has taught you what not to do! This result gets you closer to a solution or destination in your life because the goal is to be able to look back over your life and witness to progressive changes of yourself. There is a quote by Muhammad Ali that says, “A man who views the world the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

Let that marinate….

So, let me give it to you All Black, No Creamer, No Sugar, No Honey…

You have talked yourself into thinking a little change isn’t worth the effort because you looked at the end result from the end instead of looking at the end result from the beginning…the bible says to not despise small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin..(Zechariah 4:10). Progress is Progressive….it doesn’t go from 0 to 100…it’s 99 other steps that you missed or ignored. Take it one step at a time until what you desire is present.

So “sorry not sorry” for how I have progressed in a little over 2 months. I don’t owe anyone an apology but I owe it to myself to do whatever I need to do in order to present my BEST self. #unapologeticallyPROGRESSING…..are YOU?

Xoxo Charlene Evans

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Are You Coming In Or Are You Staying Out?

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6876E33D-053D-41C8-BD70-BD2F957F9AF4Are You Coming In Or Are You Staying Out?

I can remember on those hot summer days playing outside with my friends, we will make frequent stops at my house to either use the bathroom, get something cool to drink or going in and out “just because”. I can still hear my mom screaming from the inside of the house saying, “Are you coming in or are you staying out, because you are letting mosquitos inside the house!” My friends and I would quickly run out and shut the door behind us. My mom was very adamant about a decision being made and if we didn’t make it she was definitely going to make it for us. Having the door swinging open and close was never an ideal situation because not only were mosquitos a problem, so was her central air! Running your air conditioning unit in the summer was expensive and my hard working parents didn’t play that!

 

When I think about the importance of understanding the changes in relationships (platonic and personal), I feel like my mommy and her feelings on letting the air out. A decision has to be made. Either you are in or you are out. Managing and dealing with relationships changing is tough and sometimes down right difficult. Whether you have been friends over several years or made an acquaintance with someone fairly new that you are interested in, feeling like a relationship is starting to feel or become lukewarm has to be acknowledged but not necessarily addressed. This depends on the nature of the connection and the reason you may feel that it has reached an ‘in-between’ state.

Guess what? This is also the same way we deal with our personal relationship with God. We are in and out..just fickle… Sometimes we go to church and sometimes we don’t. We don’t pray and sometimes we do. We don’t read our bibles to gave knowledge and wisdom and sometimes we do. We don’t cultivate the relationship and build on desiring a deeper relationship with God for various reasons and then claim to not understand why we are not experiencing the fullness of God. The bible calls this behavior being ‘lukewarm.’

“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” ~ Revelation 3:16

This is by no means a personal attack, so please don’t take it as such. Rather, think about the areas in your life where you know you could give God more because we ALL have them. Let me raise my hand FIRST! Just like you don’t care for someone who seems to be ‘in and out’ of your life, God feels the SAME way! As a matter of fact, He is so disgusted by this behavior that He says that he is about to spit you out of his mouth! What an analogy. Picture THAT!

Make a decision about who you desire to be in God. When you think about your relationship with God, does it represent growth? If it was a chart will it have multiple spikes of high and low points or will it be a curve (not a perfect curve), but one that shows an increase that shows that you are not the same person you was 20, 15, 10, 5 years or even a month ago?!? Don’t spend your life running ‘in and out’ of your ‘Daddy’s (The Lord) house. No, once you make a choice you then form conscious, intentional decisions to walk with God every step of the way. Life is short and at some point that door to life is no longer going to swing in and out….so where will you be? IN or OUT.

Xoxo Charlene Evans

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Now And Later

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Now and Later

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When I first moved into my house ( January 2011) in Greenville, SC, I was shopping for home decor and paintings like crazy the first couple of months. I was so consumed with trying to decorate and complete every room of the house as quickly as possible. My mom gave me the greatest advice as she watched me stress myself out in this pursuit and she said, “Do one room at a time. When you purchase something, place it in the room and feel the flow of that item in the room. Either it will go with the flow or interrupt the flow and in that case either you need to move it to another location or move it out.”

One particular item that I purchased during this time was a metal flower that had multiple colors. I really liked this flower but it just didn’t ‘fit’ the feel of every room or hallway that I tried to hang it in so I put it away in my closet and would remind myself periodically that I had it and need to use it to decorate a space somewhere in the house. 7 years later, that flower stayed in that closet and never was used. For some reason I never felt compelled to sell it, give it away or even throw it away, even after I sold the house. As I packing my house to relocate to Atlanta, GA I came across this flower. I thought to myself, well, I didn’t use it in Greenville, SC so maybe I will have a space for it in Atlanta. At the time, I didn’t have my residence picked out yet so I did not know if Atlanta was going to be the place where my flower would finally hang. So I included the flower with all of my belongs that were being shipped to Atlanta, GA.

Fast forward to February 2018. I am now in my new place in Atlanta, GA. As I was unpacking my art and home decor, I came across the flower and yes; it flowed very well with my space here! I smile at the journey this flower has been on and how I never felt led to let it go but to wait on the right environment for it to be a part of. An environment where it will enhance the feel and flow of the room. It didn’t feel forced to be a part of the home décor vision. It was created for this space at this appointed time.

I look at my life and what God has equipped in me. Those gifts, opportunities and abilities are not in vain just because they didn’t manifest when and where you thought they would. This is bigger than a flower brought in Greenville, SC that is now being used in Atlanta, GA, but I know you knew that…(smile). This is about never giving up or feeling like what you have inside of you will never get an opportunity to minster outside of you. God has appointed a time, place and season in your life where He will manifest what He has equipped in you. It may not be for where you are now, but trust me, it will be for later.

Believe. Work. Wait.

Xoxo Charlene Evans

 

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“Hurry Up And Wait…”

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Hurry Up And Wait

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I took myself to brunch after church this past Sunday and once I arrived at the restaurant, I was told there was a 45min wait. I know that normally if you are by yourself, you could just walk up to the bar and eat but the hostess quickly informed me that even the bar area had a ‘wait.’ Standing there for about 2 seconds longer than I needed to, I wanted to leave. Yes, I was hungry but not starving, the motivation was more towards the fact that the wait seemed unbearable. So without thinking any further, I decided to take a seat and wait it out. After only 15mins of waiting, my name was called and I jumped up! I quickly grabbed my purse and put an extra ‘pep in my step’ just in case he changed his mind! Hahahha! I placed my order and my food came quick, not to mention, it was also very good and tasty. I took my time eating and thinking to myself how I’m growing in the area of patience. I almost made an emotional decision that would have made the wait longer. I have been doing this a lot lately and that is, waiting beyond my comfort and praying to God to help me while I wait. Exercising my faith in waiting has been a great challenge for me as I watch areas of my life unfold totally opposite of “my” timeline. In the mist of waiting, God has the ability to change every situation as quickly as he wants to because the laws of man do not define HIM. Your life can change in a blink of an eye and I can testify to that. But I thought about the result of me waiting and how much I will enjoy the reward after I have waited. This wait was a test of obedience and patience. My willingness to wait resulted in me not waiting as long as I thought and my food was worth that 15mins. God made the 30 min difference and expedited my request…not because I asked, but because I waited.

My Prayer: God, you KNOW our beginning, our end and everything in between. Anxiety is never worth the stress of worrying about situations we cannot control. Help us to desire letting you LEAD and relinquish control. Build areas of weakness into strength. Build our trust and faith in your PLAN. Help us to not grow WEARY in well doing while we WAIT. Let the PEACE of Christ rule in our hearts and keep us! God I will trust in you and your timing, not my own! AMEN!

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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Police Brutality – America’s Reality

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A poem dedicated to a real issue in America…Police Brutality

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The inhuman behavior that confesses hate so fluently has a root

Check the soil because it determines the identity of your truth

The soil of a human is red

It has four chambers not flower beds

Receiving and releasing generational poison

Misled

Pure love has the ability to filter through taught and learned hate

Love is too great to lose

When shown, it prevails everything

Birth into inequity I understand that sin is in me

But what I do to prevent and dispel evil is a moral choice

Mom and dad taught me to choose mankind over a kind

I can remember pigmentation, not skill, was the reason my daddy couldn’t

try out for Basketball in high school but he still chose love…

I can’t imagine

And I remember, being a young girl on vacation to Dollywood in the

mountains and while waiting to be seated to eat at a restaurant, we were

denied service and my dad chose love…

We walked out and ate somewhere else

Too young to understand but my examples practiced what they preached

As I watched, looked, listened and my heart followed

A well, guarded heart that didn’t allow the issues of life to flow without

permission

Because my root has always been love

Even when love was hard to find between hurt, tears and reality

That had nothing to do with me

Matters of the heart are disproportionally killing America

Bleeding internally from dis-ease

That seems to be connected to your sight

I don’t believe you are colorblind

Because that would mean that everyone is receiving the same treatment

You are only as blind as you want to be

Ignorance has become brutal

Before turning deadly

What is it? Tell me…what is it that you revert to in your heart that has

taken root?

Pulled on but not able to uproot?

It has grown and continues to deny any food of truth

You were not born that way

Hearts become impure

Expose and remove contamination

Pump God in

That’s love

When will you stop abusing authority?

What will it take for you to stop before it hits home

Because with hearts that choose to not know God

Revenge gets ugly

What if you were holding the power to break this cycle?

What if your decision to kill perception and bury experiences that

influenced police brutality ceased because you chose to speak?

Nothing will change until you change

And when you change

We all will change..

 

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

 

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It’s Not By Accident

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It’s Not By Accident

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On Friday, May 12, 2017 I was involved in a 4-car accident and I was the first car hit. I was on my way to work and it was around 7:15am. I-85S was busy as usual and the traffic was in a ‘bottle neck’ state of stopping and going then all of a sudden it stopped. The car behind me didn’t stop and smashed into me at the rear pushing me into the car in front of me who then hit the car in front of it. So the car that hit me was a young man who said nothing but, ”I’m sorry” when I asked, ”What were you doing?” with the hopes that he would answer me knowing inside that he was not paying attention. The car I hit in front of me was a woman who was in a Ford then she hit the woman in front of her who was in a Lexus. Shortly after the accident was over but before the cops arrived on the scene, the woman that I hit in the Ford moved her car away from the accident scene, which immediately was fishy to me. This crash caused every car involved to have damage on their cars but I later learned that the woman that I hit and her strange behavior would later come back to me.

 

I received a call probably about a month after the accident from a Lawyer who was representing the woman in the Lexus. He needed me to fill out an Affidavit (An Affidavit is a sworn statement that may be notarized and/or witnessed to represent your full and honest answers to questions you may be asked or issues you may be requested to address. It has the same legal standing as sworn testimony in a court of law.) stating my side of what happened on the day of the accident because the lady in the Ford said that she did not put the damage on the Lexus. Wow?!? That was impossible with the impact of the crash so with no hesitation, I definitely was going to submit my side because it was the right thing to do.

 

But my actions would serve to be more critical then I thought…

 

I received a phone call from the lady that was hit in the Lexus who asked if I had returned the Affidavit to her Lawyer and I told her yes. She explained to me that the insurance company of the guy at fault was told by the woman in the Ford that she did not cause damage to her car when it was hit and they needed a statement in order to take responsibility for the damage on her car. This situation held up the lady in the Lexus from getting her car fixed because of the two parties involved not being in agreement to what happened.

 

Why did she refuse to tell the truth? What was she hiding or trying to avoid?

 

I then begin to think about this deeper as God spoke to me revealing a powerful revelation about this accident that is synonymous to what the power of God and the intervening of the Holy Spirit will do for us in a time of crisis.

 

I was sandwiched in between two cars, which caused injury to my neck and my back as a result of the impact from the hit from behind and the push back from the car in front, but I still WALKED AWAY verses being pronounced DEAD ON THE SCENE. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed, we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” THAT scripture encouraged me so much! I could have experienced much worse injuries but God’s angels of protection were on their post that morning!

 

Follow me….I’m going somewhere…God will bring this together….

 

God kept me a live because I am the only one out of the accident that could bare witness to the last car that was hit being in dispute with the car behind it saying they did not cause the damage. The Affidavit that I gave was the only witness the lady had in order to prove she was not telling a lie.

 

I felt such a peace when God said to my spirit, ”I will be your witness in times of trouble even when it seems like every witness around you is not supporting you. Because I am alive in spirit, I will never leave you or forsake you. All you need to do is to stand still and seek the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today! Hold your peace, I will fight for you!” Exodus 14:13-14

 

It was not by accident the way God orchestrated the events that morning. He is a master strategist and nothing catches Him by surprise. Hindsight is so powerful and the revelation behind incidents in life oftentimes is much bigger than the incident. If God brings you through it, He has use for it in another season of your life…stay tuned!

 

 

Xoxo Chiccy Baritone

 

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Personal | Profession | Passion

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Personal   | Profession |   Passion

 

~ It’s Personal

I have been in love only 2 times in my life. Once while in college and the second time in my mid 30’s. The second time around was the closes that I had ever been to walking the aisle but what sticks out more to me was the “labor of love” that I poured into trying to understand myself and the man that I felt was my forever. During the hardest times of accepting what I knew to be true from the beginning, I learned the most!

The Pain Of My Fallacy:

  • ……removed the need to ‘gamble’ with my expectation vs. his reality
  • ……corrected a perception that I had about the term ‘potential’ mate. When I looked at the word and thought about what potential is, I discovered that I always focused more on what potential could become verses the fact that ‘potential’ is a energy about a person that is stored or dormant and it shows the capacity of something that is to become or develop into something in the future…if it has not moved out of its current state, what you see, is what it is. Nothing more…nothing less.
  • ……taught me that you can’t revise God’s plan for your life. His timing, His strategy and purpose for divine connections with people cannot be forced or created by you. When we spend more time trying to make something work out of His will, because He is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), we are forfeiting our trust in the plan and purpose our creator has ordained for our lives before the foundations of the earth.

~ My Profession

If I could draw a chart to illustrate my career over a 16 year period it would look something like this::

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Blue Block = the first 5 years of working

Green Block = working 6 to 10 years

Orange Block = working 11 to 15 years

Red Block = working 15 to 20 years

I bet some of you are wondering why are the blocks going down verses going up?

Glad you asked!!!

This graph has been illustrated to friends when I discuss my current state of working…how I feel like my climb up into my profession has ‘felt’ like it has been a steady ‘decline’. The progression of knowledge that I have obtained was not being illustrated in the “natural sense” and it gave me a feeling of confusion, frustration and resentment…..until I begin to look at it differently and allow God to ‘show’ me what was happening in the spirit realm so that I can trust Him while I walk out two very contradicting realities…

The Pain Of My Fallacy:

  • …..deepened my dependency on my faith in GOD. If I know Him as a God who makes no mistakes, then WHY am I questioning this ‘season’ of my life? He has allowed this to happen because what He is teaching me is equipping me for the multiple ways He will be using me.
  • …..matured me. Responsibility is your ‘ability to RESPOND’ and my response to this painful time had to change. It does not take away from the fact that pain will cause you to respond at times in a negative way but do you go back to correct it? Do you think before you speak? I have to give credit where credit is due…my response changed due to practicing the power of the PAUSE. My mentor and good friend Dr. Katrina Spigner not only discussed this action but she practices it in her own life. I have observed her over the years PAUSING before she responds and the result in seeing it changed my life forever. Initiating this small but powerful change has literally been my saving grace!
  • …..revealed that what is happening IN me is building endurance in order to carry the multiple assignments for my life. It feels like I am going through boot camp and in order to physically get through this obstacle course, I must build up my spiritual muscle in areas of my life that need to grow. Building these areas will create the perseverance needed in order to complete this course. The building of my: Character, Focus, Integrity and Love has allowed me to trust the greater plan for my life…and that trajectory is going UP…Faith must be your guide, not your eyes…

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~ I live for my Passion

Loving words…and formulating them to telling a story, poetically, is my Passion!!!

When I think back, the inception of this love was circa 1995 while performing in my High School Pageant. This extended into my college years, which lived only in a notebook until I released it publicly at an open mic in Orangeburg, SC right before graduation in 2001. That night I shared prayers on paper that kept me through some of the most challenging years of my life—college. I experience great pain and life altering events that have shaped me forever. This passion is my LIFE, literally. My spirit connects to everyday life through words…I see and hear poetry in everything unintentionally and naturally. I credit this ability to my creator, my friend and the love of my life, Jesus the Christ. I have witnessed through the words that He construct into poetry ministering into the lives of people in ways I could never predict. This gift does come without a ‘cost’ or ‘price’ to pay. But when you are called, you understand that pain associated to your God-given Gift is one of the greatest teachers…

The Reality Of My Pain:

  • …..as a writer, pain will either PUSH you or PARALYZE you. I have experienced both but it’s not something I consider to be a bad thing. Sure, at times you need to produce but can’t seem to hear God through the pain, but His timing is impeccable and His word never returns to you void. If He has given you the gift, He will not be mocked but will deliver when its time. For us, it’s not convenient. For Him, it’s divine.
  • …..as a writer, God will use pain to correct. Something that hurts could be signifying that something is not aligned. That alignment could be a result of disobedience. This could merit a THOUSAND examples but I trust God enough to know that when YOU read it, He will direct you to what is mis-aligned that is causing you pain and the inability to produce.
  • …..as a writer, most people would agree that poets seem to talk about painful situations A LOT! From open-mics to slams to showcases, you seem to get more of a connection with audiences when you discuss pain. I disagree. While it may initially influence a response, I think its what comes out of pain that is key. Pain a lot of times is the byproduct to a blessing and if you listen long enough to a poem that starts a poem discussing pain, most of the time, the poet will not leave it there but illustrate the root or result of that pain that led to something greater…something better….something more profound.

 

At times, these 3 could feel disconnected due to the pain of the shift that’s taking place. But I’m here to encourage you, don’t disrupt the work of God due to your personal discomfort. Growth will stretch you because preparation is vital for the next phase of your life. Look at your Personal, Profession and Passion and allow GOD to do the necessary changes. I pray as you read only a summary level snippet of how I allowed God to move in these areas, it will inspire you to let Him move on your behalf.

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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