faith

Fear 2.0

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9218BE71-6F4B-48FD-80B2-8A2C8791B48AThroughout your life FEAR will always find a way to make a guest appearance. FEAR will never show up without a story…a story from your past that replays in your present and future mind that has convinced you that you will not succeed if you tried again or even tried at all. The details in the story are so believable and difficult to imagine past the pain. You have carried that pain because you have convinced yourself that you can’t do it. But I’m here to report to you that as I continue to work on every area of my life that is still dealing with FEAR, there is one area of my life that I conquered FEAR after several years of replaying the story….

I call this blog “Fear 2.0”

I was in middle school at a pool party and while standing at the edge of the pool one of the boys at the party was playing around with some of the people there and as he was running around, he came by me and with both hands, pushed me from behind into the 8 feet part of the pool. All I can remember is me fighting the water terrified because I could not swim. While in the water bobbing up and down, I managed to fight my way to the side of the pool and I pulled myself up as much as I could then I felt the help of 2 adults. In my mind I was drowning but I don’t know if that was known at the time until I was able to catch my breath and then I said to the 2 adults that helped me that I was drowning in the pool and I then pointed to the boy who threw me in. I asked to be picked up early from the party due to being embarrassed and humiliated and the little boy got in trouble. This is the incident that birthed the FEAR of swimming.

Fast-forward to 2005: I am now a young adult in my 20’s and I took a trip to Hawaii for my birthday with a girlfriend. I told her I could not swim but I would try snorkeling since you didn’t have to go out into the deep parts of the water. My thought was I could just stick my face in the water with my facemask and head out maybe 2 or 3 hundred yards from the shoreline. It was an epic fail. The girlfriend that was with me didn’t know how to speak to my fear and help me develop the confidence and knowledge I needed in order to snorkel. It doesn’t make her a bad person at all but it was a reminder to me that conquering fear not only is an inside job but it also includes having the right people in your life who can speak directly to that fear.

Fast-forward to 2014: I reached a point of no return with fear and finally got up the nerve to tell a friend that I needed to learn how to swim so one Saturday in the summer time we went to an indoor pool at a recreation center and he spoke to my fear. He convinced me to put my trust in him and not fear by stating his credentials and experience. The longer he talked and showed me in the water that I was in good hands, the more trust I developed in him. After a few hours of applying the technique that he taught me, he slowly let my hand go but stayed in arms reach as I successfully, for the first time, swam a lap across the 8 foot depth of water to the opposite end of the pool. I kept swimming until fear was completely eliminated from my mind.

Fast Forward to 2019 – January 7th – 11th I took a vacation with a girlfriend to St. Lucia and at the time did not know she was not only an amazing swimmer but her favorite thing to do on vacation was to snorkel.

Even though I was now confident in my swimming ability, I still had a fear about snorkeling that never left me from that Epic Fail in Hawaii that still played in my mind. I told her my fear with snorkeling and she convinced me to put my trust in her and not fear by stating her credentials and experience. The longer she talked and showed me in the water that I was in good hands, the more trust I developed in her

She never stops talking to me in the process, which gave fear no opportunity to replay my mental story

Slowly but surely I’m snorkeling…the epic fail from 2005 convinced me that the rambling of the sound of water which reminded me of the fight I had in the pool as a young girl in middle school robbed me of a beautiful experience. Now as an adult I am blown away at the quietness of the water and the visible beauty of the fish and the coral of the ocean. I jumped out of the water and said out loud in amazement how quiet it is underwater and how proud I am that I can enjoy this experience without fear. This snorkeling experience allowed me to see some beautiful sergeant major fish as my girlfriend threw bread at me so that she could snap the perfect picture.

While conquering one fear, another fear made an encore appearance but in a different form. You see, fear is very sneaky and will show up when you least expect it. What I learned about the difference between Fear and Truth is that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and believing Truth in a matter means conformity to fact or reality. In both situations the 2 individuals that were with me when fear tried to replay the story of failure in my mind, they both presented credentials and evidence in order for me to conquer fear.  That’s the power of TRUTH. It will always have real evidence to confirm it’s validity but Fear will make false claims that will always look and feel like its real.

It’s not necessary to always have someone there in order to conquer fear because you have the power to change that fear in you on your own but in my case, God positioned the right people around me who helped me to develop the confidence and skills in order to combat fear. Question? If you took inventory of the people around you do they have the ability to help you fight fear? As you continue to live, you will begin to understand the importance of connections and attachments. While connections will feed you (ex: enhance your well being), attachments will drain you (ex: take more than it gives and rarely if ever reciprocate what’s being given). Fear has to be conquered from the inside out so monitor the voices in you and around you. 

Xoxo Charlene Evans

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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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Brew With Ms. Baritone – Podcast

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Introducing my new Podcast,”Brew With Ms. Baritone”

Check It Out!!! (click link below)

Brew With Ms. Baritone Podcast

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Police Brutality – America’s Reality

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

9FE8A490-0986-4B5D-8BE1-C7E8D15212F3

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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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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The Best View Comes After The Hardest Climb

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When I think about the difference between looking at a beautiful view that I took the elevator to see or one that didn’t require any physical effort vs. looking at a beautiful view that I climbed a mountain by hiking or any other physical effort to see, there is one major difference…

How I got there….

It affects the appreciation value…Yes, its true! And I will challenge anyone who cares to debate that…but here is what some won’t admit…it feels GOOD when you don’t have to put in the ‘work’ to appreciate something verses it being given to you. But our God is AWESOME…you know why? Because in life, God will allow us to experience BOTH….its called by Faith and by Favor….

We all have heard the scripture “Faith without works is dead” James 2:14-26 and having Faith requires that we ‘Work’ because work towards what we believe ignites the power of our Faith. When I think about some of life’s accomplishments that God has allowed for me to experience, they were never given to me. The work it took in order to achieve the end results of success will forever be implanted in my memory. Going through a process in order to accomplish anything in life creates lessons and an opportunity to learn what to do and what not to do. It fuels the teacher in us because there are now points of reference. You have the ability, because of the experience, to share with someone else and that to me is powerful and enlightening. The work of Faith is not easy and it has moments that feel like pure Hell and torture, but when we make the decision to keep going until the end, we have a different, profound love and deep admiration for the “VIEW”….

Then there’s Favor….So what exactly is favor?

It essentially is a gift from God. This ‘gift’ is not contingent upon anything that we say or do. It is God’s way of blessing us through His Grace. God gives us His grace to empower us to become like Christ.

God’s grace is His unmerited favor toward men through the blood of His Son. This unmerited favor includes not only being forgiven of sin but also receiving access to the very presence of God in the same way Jesus has access to Him. God will open doors of opportunity and create blessings for us with no ‘work’ on our part. As I mentioned earlier, He would allow us to take the ‘Elevator’ up to enjoy that view….no sweat, no climbing, no hills, no extra weight (or backpack), just a push of a button going UP….

We would LOVE for every thing we experience in life to be THAT easy, right? Of course! But if our gracious God had to go through trials and transgressions while on earth, he said, that we would also so we are not exempt from the ‘pain’ of life as we climb….but I’m grateful for the BALANCE that is created in me as a result of Faith & Favor!

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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Grow UP: Have You Ever Seen Anything Grow DOWN?

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2015 was a major year of transition for me in the area of my career. I had been with a previous employer for several years and found myself laid off. BUT….9 years prior, I was laid off for 2 months and it went a little something like this…

First 30 days: Oh My GOD! What am I going to do? God how could this happen? I have some money in the bank but not enough to go months without a job? I won’t stop TITHING no matter how bad it gets! I hope my bills don’t increase this month! I can’t travel the way I want too, I want to shop and I can’t, I want to eat out and I can’t, God what in the world am I going to do???????????

Next 30 days: (picks up journal, increase prayer life and faith) Okay God, I’m concern but I am going to TRUST you…I will do whatever you want me to do…so my writing increased, I begin to reach out to my network and share my situation of being unemployed. God used an old co-worker who decided to be a recruiter to land me a position! SWEET!

9 years later, I was laid off for 2 ½ months and it went a little something like this…

First 30 days up until the phone call that I got the job: I woke up every morning, prayed, then headed out in the neighborhood to work out as I saw neighbors leave for work. I would wave and smile and not allow my FAITH in God to waver. After walking, I would prepare breakfast, eat, shower then spend 2-4 hours working with recruiters, networking with old co-workers via phone and email. Then if there were networking events going on locally, I would get dress and network. I met amazing connections and kept in contact.

I never kept my mouth CLOSED while in transition….

I spoke positive about the outcome of my situation as God reminded me of how it took a long time, in my opinion, to trust Him. I didn’t want to spend days like I did before worrying about whether or not God was going to provide while I was in transition. I had a savings and I drew unemployment during this time. I also, like before, never stop TITHING and giving sacrificially because one thing I know for sure, I had a financial need and I could not afford, because of disobedience, take a chance in robbing God (Malachi 3:8-18) and not allowing any “seeds” that I have planted to be destroyed. The TITHE protects and provides and I have seen God protecting me as I gave what belongs to HIM…..

God connected me with an old co-worker in whom I had a great working relationship with. She sent my resume to a manger in the department at my new job and the rest is history!

From the first day the news was revealed to me about getting laid off up until the first day I walked into my new job, I had spiritually Grew UP. I could have easily allowed what happened to me before be the excuse to not change. I didn’t want to repeat the same cycle of panicking which was unnecessary if we believe God to be our provider. Philippians 4:19 says, ”And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Do you believe that? I sure do!! But I had to do more than just quote it, post it (on social media outlets), say it, I had to truly BELIEVE that in my MIND…then it became what I BELIEVED in my HEART as well. Then by faith, my life began to travel in the path of that truth!

Transition can be challenging but remember this. It doesn’t happen only once in our life. Our lives will include transition whether we like it or not! It is an inevitable part of life that God ordains in order for us to experience the fullness of Joy and Purpose. Whatever He needs to inspect, correct and direct in us to perfect us, He will do! Its not punishment—-its God wanting to protect and love us. He knows the plans that He has for us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 Whew! What a mighty God we serve!

So as 2016 comes in, filled with blessings that come in the form of a disappointment or a victory, remember this…God wants us to experience growth, preferably growth that goes UP! Don’t let the pain of life take that growth in reverse!

Happy New Year Nugget Blog#2

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