All Terrain Jeep

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Good Morning or Good Afternoon or Good Evening…
(depending on where you are in the world)*smile*

I have been enjoying my stay in S.Africa for the past 2 1/2 weeks. My travels have taken me to Johannesburg, Capetown and Pretoria. While I have been enjoying each city I have also been carrying a book with me that I started reading before I left the U.S called,”Instincts,” by Bishop T.D Jakes. Between tours, shopping, eating,etc., I have been blown away by the points expressed in each chapter making it hard to put down. I will read…then re-read a sentence over and over again because of how hard it hit home…”My home”…meaning My own personal life! I love to be challenged and the feeling of settling has always been a problem for me because my desire to be better means more to me than my comfort!

So…I am in Chapter 6 and there is a subtitle called,”Driving the Jeep.”

What is so ironic is Bishop is talking about a visit he made to S.Africa and his first Safari experience! So, I am in S.Africa, in a restaurant reading this chapter…and thinking about my first Safari experience here in S.Africa in July 2013. Here is what he said:

“As you venture into new jungles of opportunity the people riding with you make a huge difference in your ability to move forward over rough terrain. While on my Safari in South Africa, I appreciated the rugged power and sturdy frame of our carrier vehicle, a jeep clearly designed for off-road excursions.It adapted to the muddy roads and rocky hills without slowing down. Clearly, it was built for survival under stress.

In order to survive, we must be as rugged and determined as this Jeep navigating through the jungle. We must be willing to make hard choices and accept temporary solutions. And we must also be willing to mobilize those around us to head in the same direction as our destiny. No matter how resourceful, creative,or industrious we may be, without others on our team,we will only Idle on our ideas instead of gaining traction towards interaction!”

One of my favorite sayings is,”God did not create us to be Islands!” And the fact of the matter is no one that is considered to be “great, successful, etc,” did not get where they are with no support. It truly takes a team to make a vision come to pass. Anyone who is currently pursuing a vision also knows that this is a process. This process is parallel to the stress of the vision and moving it along.

I have been performing spoken word poetry for 13 years and counting. I have seen the face of my team change over the years for various reasons. What this process has taught me is even though it becomes difficult at times, I can’t do everything I desire to do with poetry ALONE. I love the input of my team and I work hard at trying to always have a teachable spirit! I view it the same way as going to church to worship with others verses watching service online at home or somewhere that is not with other people. There is something that happens in that atmosphere with other believers that nurtures your spirit differently than being alone. It is not the same.

Another point I ponder as well. Life truly is filled with relationships on all levels and because you can not escape that, it is important to learn how to manage them. Why? Because you can’t do LIFE without them. And for the people you work closely with? Assess if they are the “tires” on your jeep helping to navigate the vision through the smooth and rough terrains of life or are they added weight in your jeep causing it to slow down or even breakdown? Think about it…

I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a comment and don’t forget to Stay in touch! Connect with me on Twitter @chiccybaritone and Facebook at Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet

Greetings from S. Africa!

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So…I must begin this post with an apology for missing my deadline to post Friday, May 30th. My travels began on Wednesday, May 28th from the U.S and I landed in Johannesburg, S.Africa 5pm local time. Thursday and Friday were a ‘blur’ as I tried to navigate through the city while fighting “jet lag.” The biggest mistake you can make traveling internationally is going to bed when “jet lag” tries to take over! Your sleep pattern will be a rough adjustment! *smile* So keep moving until bed time!

As of today, Thursday, June 5th, I have been in country for a week and a lot has happened. I visited Nelson Mandela Square because it never gets old to me, as I have visited it last year on my trip here. I also did a half day tour of Soweto, toured Liliesleaf, The old fort and Constitution Hill. Sunday service was at Rivers Church in Sandton then Monday, June 2nd I flew to Capetown for four days. Due to weather, my tour to Robben Island and Table Mountain were cancelled so I was pretty “bummed” about that but it is the beginning of Winter and not the greatest time to be in Capetown. However, we did get a tour on the red bus tour which was very informative! I saw all of the major attractions like the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point, multiple museums, hotels, the botanical garden, the high court civil annex, multiple African markets, coffee shops and ate at some pretty amazing restaurants!


Today is Friday, June 6th and I spent most of my day at the Apartheid Museum…3 1/2 hours later and I could have easily stayed all day! Wow…is an understatement..what a wonderful depiction of all the events leading to the beginning, the in between and the end of Apartheid. Truly one of the highlights of my trip!

As I settle in for the evening, I am looking forward to tomorrow because I will have the distinct honor of performing alongside other local S.African Artist on the campus of the University of Pretoria, Saturday, June 7th! The event is called,”UnMasked”. Words can not describe how grateful I feel to not only visit this beautiful country again but to also come back to do something I Love…Spoken Word Poetry!

Keep in touch! Follow me on Twitter: @chiccybaritone and Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet

#BringBackOurGirls : We’re in this TOGETHER

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On April 15, 2014 more than 200 girls and young women were abducted from a school in Nigeria from a radical Islamic group. This Nigerian Terrorist group, called “Boko Haram,” which means,”Western education is sinful,” has been on the move killing over 3,000 people this year alone through various attacks, one being hours before the abduction of these girls. As the weeks go by, this issue continues to bother me as I ask myself,”What can I do?” Good thing is I am not alone. This issue has reached all around the world through the power of multiple social media campaigns where people have created a “voice” through signs with hashtag,”#BringBackOurGirls.” This internet “buzz” has become magnetic as all forms of media reports on this issue and continue to build awareness! To the people who say this is not my issue, I say, THIS IS OUR ISSUE. If unity is important to you and you believe in the power of prayer and love for all mankind, this most definitely involves you. It demands the response of the world to hold these terrorist groups responsible for their actions. I am not suggesting how you need to help, but suggesting that whatever part you plan to solicit, it will matter!

Below is an email that I received years ago that helps drive the point…

Mouse Story….

A mouse looked through the
Crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife
Open a package.

“What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered –
He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the
Warning. “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a
Mousetrap in the house!”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head
And said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern
To you but it is of no consequence to me.
I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is
A mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the
house!” The pig sympathized, but said,
“I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse,
But there is nothing I can do about it but pray.
Be assured you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow and said, “There is a
Mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse.
I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and
Dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap– alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the
House — like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught.
In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake
Whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer’s wife.
The farmer rushed her
To the hospital and she returned home with a fever..
Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken
Soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for
The soup’s main ingredient.

But his wife’s sickness continued,
So friends and neighbors came
To sit with her around the clock.
To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died.
So many people came
For her funeral, the farmer
Had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for
All of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the
Wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a
Problem and think it doesn’t concern you,
Remember —
When one of us is threatened,
We are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life.
We must keep an eye out
For one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

Xoxo Chiccy Baritone
Twitter: @chiccybaritone
Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet

The Many Faces of a Mother (In honor of Mother’s Day on May 11, 2014)

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The Many Faces of a Mother

In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 11, 2014, I felt obligated to write a special blog post to every man and woman for this special holiday. Honoring the woman who gave birth to you or to the woman who didn’t birth you biologically but she raised you and she is the only woman who YOU call mom. How about the step mom who stood in the gap and said, “Yes,” when it was time to take care of you because of a “life” circumstance? (am I getting warm?lol) Or, how about a woman who has no blood relation to you but she “feels” like mom because you never met your mom? Please allow me to take a moment to speak to your heart as I speak to mine.

You see, my mom died on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 and I remember it like it was yesterday. As painful as that memory was, I recorded that day in my journal so that I will never forget it because even through my pain at the time it was written, I knew that I would want to go back and recall the details of my emotions and my mindset at the age of 33. Another interesting fact; I was the last one to talk to her the night before she passed through a phone conversation where my mom was being my mom…consoling me through words of comfort because of a bad breakup and reassuring me of who I am, boldly proclaiming that the right one will come along. The conversation was long and ended like all conversations end with my mom,”I Love You”…I miss those talks so much…

But let me tell you how amazing God is when it comes to us, his children. Prior to my mom passing, I have been blessed with some wonderful friendships ranging in age from women who are around my age to women who are around the age of my mom or older. Some, not all, have taken on the role unconsciously as my “mother” in so many ways. They have become the many faces to a mother and I believe that God knows who to send and when to send them to your life. They help ease the pain of that void and they are assigned and appointed to “Mother” YOU!

Embrace it

These women have made a “love decision” to be there for you and hopefully if it is a situation where your mom is no longer living, they help to keep her memories alive!

Roles in life will become interchangeable as people live and die, but one thing is for sure, you are not ALONE! [John 14:18(NIV) “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”]

That’s right, you are not alone…you have GOD and you have that woman who has the title of “Mom”. Happy Mother’s Day! ~Much Love…Chiccy Baritone

Who is Chiccy Baritone?

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I’m a newbie….to Blogging…and I am excited…ready….and smiling as I type because this has been a long time coming and I am finally posting my very first BLOG! *insert claps here*

So, Let me introduce myself…my name is Charlene Evans….but Chiccy Baritone is my alias…my alter ego that holds a pretty solid residency in the “right side” of my brain. She is a lot like Charlene during the day, well, because she has to be…she is a professional who works as an engineer but she is also a POET…Yes, I’m a POET:-)

Its a long story but I have a short version. In high school, back in the early 90’s, I was in the Miss Spring Valley Pageant and as my talent I did a monologue called,”Black Love” by Gwendolyn Brooks and I loved it. I challenged myself to read and memorize this poem and received a very surprising response from the audience that made me feel like I won the pageant. I went on to college where I begin to write poetry but kept it in a notebook and decided my senior year to visit an open mic and opened my personal notebook to the public. The response was unbelievable…the crowd applaud and cheered and as I went back to my seat, I was blown away. To me, these poems were my place to vent, my mental place of therapy and extremely personal. To the crowd, I was an artist..and they treated me that way but it took me a while to “get that”.

This was also a couple of years after the release of the movie “Love Jones” starring Nia Long and Lorenz Tate..the love story of a poet and photographer. I fell in LOVE with both forms of Art, in that order, but years apart from each other. So for now, the discovery of this gift from God called poetry, one that I grew more into as my personal relationship with Christ grew, was revealed and ready to come out and I was ready to share!

Fast forward to 2001, after graduating from South Carolina State University, I moved to Greenville, SC . I performed at an open mic at the Crown Plaza Hotel and from that point on I have been performing poetry all over the U.S. I continue to have a “hunger” for poetry and allowing myself to being introduced to so many avenues to express what I consider one of the greatest forms of self-expression…world outreach…and people progression. Poetry is more than a mic, a stage and words; it changes lives and challenges the human mind and heart.

My quest is to open up this world to you through blogging and sharing my thoughts beyond the limited characters of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. So “Follow me” here and hopefully something that I say you will “Like”….(did you catch that? *smile*) and it will inspire you because the beauty of creating a form of art in words is that what you say can mean something totally different to you, the reader, than it did to the writer and the exchange of sharing becomes inspiration recycled….Yes!!!

So, THANK YOU for taking out the time to read my first BLOG…my next blog will be May 2nd…every two weeks on a Friday…known as Freelance Friday’s with Chiccy Baritone…Welcome Aboard!