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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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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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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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Every Time We Speak, We Are Prophesying Our Future

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A scripture I hold very close to my heart is Proverbs 18:21 and it says,”The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.”(NIV)….

So in other words, your life takes on the shape of what is spoken! Yes, being negative attracts negativity just as being positive attracts positivity. What will the fruit of your lips taste like? LIFE….or DEATH?

Years ago, I wrote this poem called,”Lips-based off of Proverbs 18:21″ which is on my poetry CD,”Wildflower Vol.1. Check out a snippet of the poem here and option to purchase! http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chiccybaritone  —shameless plug::Ha! The  message in the poem is simply this…be careful what you SPEAK! If you feel like you live a defeated life and ‘everything bad always happens to me’ then check your conversation…Do you complain all the time? Have something negative to say all the time? Never look at a situation in a positive manner? Predict every outcome to be bad? Speak discouragement over every situation that is challenging? (….this list of negativity can go on and on, but I think you get the point) then your words and thoughts will begin to shape your life!

Going into 2016 and what this year will LOOK like for you will depend on what your ‘release’ out of your mouth. Your life will begin to take shape based on what you speak. So make a conscious decision to watch the words you speak…the conversations that you have…and believe by FAITH, that everything will work out! God said it would and I believe it! “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I have enjoyed sharing my top 5 nuggets of 2015 with you. I pray these Blogs have been a blessing to you! Happy NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

2016..today is page 1 of 365

Happy New Year Nugget Blog#5 (last blog for the New Year series)

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Give Back

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Give Back

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

Maya Angelou

“The only way you can serve God is by serving other people.”

Rick Warren

“Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.”

Albert Einstein

“Happiness… consists in giving, and in serving others.”

Henry Drummond

“Identify your divine gift and use it to serve humanity.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

Trust me…I could have made this whole Blog post a list of quotes pertaining to Giving Back through acts of service because that is how important serving others is to me and hopefully you feel the same way.

This nugget #4 is one of those, “exceptions to the rules.” Which only means this is not only unique to something I made a priority in 2015 but this is something that has been a lifetime practice for me, starting in my home. My mom and dad are givers and being around it became a part of me. Every quote that I chose to illustrate ‘Giving Back’ are all special in unique ways.

Earlier this week, I posted this on Facebook & Twitter:

***Pet Peeve: Selfish People

It is outrageous to me for people to be selfish when nothing we do can be accomplished ALONE…ever…yep, I said it…think about that for a minute….

And now think about how impactful and powerful God could really use you if you used your gifts, talents and abilities with the goal of helping someone else!

That is what God would want. Here are a few bible verses about “Giving” that I want to share along with the quotes I mentioned earlier:

**Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “ 

**2 Cor. 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

**Prov. 18:16 “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” 

**Prov. 11:25 “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

Being a ‘giver’ and creating a life of ‘service’ to others has been the most fulfilling part of my life. I take great joy in being a blessing not for acknowledgment or show, but because I am the child of the “Most High” God who gave the most sacrificing gift to us all…His son Jesus the Christ!

So, even if your parents never taught you what it means to ‘give to others’ you have one of the greatest examples in Jesus who gave unselfishly! I promise you, in some of my most hurtful, disappointing times in my life, I found ways to give of myself. It took my mind off of me and put it on someone else in need. It’s a feeling that can’t be explained….I challenge you all to do more “Giving Back in 2016!”

Happy New Year Nugget Blog#4

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