poetry

In between…..

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hands reaching
In between…

According to Webster Dictionary, being ‘in between’ is defined as : a state or position that is in the middle between two other things; a middle position.
The truth of the matter is, being ‘in between’ is a constant state of life as we leave one current season and go into the next. I like to use the word ‘season’ verses a ‘quantity’ of time because its impossible to identify how long God will have you in a season. (or you keep yourself in a season longer than God intended—but that’s another blog post….LOL..let’s continue shall we??)

***Men, please stay with me on this…even though my analogy would probably be most familiar with women, I believe that you will still be blessed and apply the point accordingly…
***Ladies who are relaxed and have transitioned their hair to a ‘natural’ state or who have heard of what it means to “go natural”, I would like to apply this process as to how it feels in life when we are ‘in between’.
My Story: I started training for a half marathon race in March of 2010 that was taking place towards the end of that year (October 2010) which was a goal I set to accomplish for myself. I use to run a lot in high school, being a part of the track team and some cross country training. I picked running back up ‘briefly’ while in college but when I graduated and move to the Upstate (Greenville, SC) that desire came back so I consulted some runners I admired and I put together a 10 month plan to train myself. It was the hardest, most rewarding time in my life as I build up my body and mind to take on a race that would change my life forever. While running many miles weekly, I was having the hardest time trying to keep my ‘relaxed’ hair together. Due to the massive amounts of sweating I did which, cause me to shampoo a lot more often then I wanted, I grew exhausted with trying to keep it in a decent style only to sweat it out that same day. It didn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion that something had to change with my hair. LONG…story SHORT, I decide to ‘go natural’.

There are many ways a woman who has chemically straighten hair can remove the relaxer. One way is to do a ‘big chop’ which means to cut all of the relaxed hair or “straight” parts out which for some women would mean going to a crop style cut that resembles a male’s hair cut. Another way is to gradually cut the relaxed hair while it is growing. This process takes longer depending on when you decide to cut the remaining relaxed hair. Everyone’s hair growth is different so for me, I went 10 months cutting about 1-2inches every other month. When I noticed the ‘line of demarcation’, which is the point at which the relaxed hair and the natural hair meets, was showing more natural hair then relaxed, I decided to wait no longer and cut the remaining relaxed hair..

The “line of demarcation” which is the ‘in between’ state of your hair is where the hair shaft is very, very weak…so weak it is prone to breakage…do you see where I am going with this?

Well, let’s apply this to human life. When you are in your ‘in between’ state of waiting on God to move you out of one state to the next, it can be the most difficult time of your life. Your anxiety to want to get THROUGH this transitional state can come with multiple challenges. Some ‘in between’ situations that come to mind, without going into a bunch of detail, can include but not limit to: jobs, relationships, sickness with a family member or friend, your business, etc. You have done all that you can do and realize that trying to prevent or avoid being in an ‘in between’ state is inevitable. God desires for us to not crumble or break but to depend and trust on HIM in order for us to experience the blessing of what is to come connecting our in between. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus, for the joy of obtaining the prize on the other side of the cross—the resurrection—endured the pain. Like Jesus, we have to endure that feeling of uncertainty and pain that may come with being ‘in between’. To endure means to be steadfast long enough to let the trial or in between state do whatever it’s going to do in our lives in order to get us from one side of the “cross” to the other. YES!!!!!!

While it doesn’t ‘feel’ good, it will truly be for your good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This time has not caught God off guard or is happening by accident. There is a lesson to be learned through all seasons of our lives but I believe God’s desire is for us to not focus so much on the pain of going through periods of uncertainty that we miss the wisdom that He will impart in our lives. If we don’t grow weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.(Galatians 6:9). I’m curious to know what the end of this ‘in between’ will be and it will be a shame if I crumble under the pressure…so I say, Keep Moving and see what the end will be!

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When GOD Calls You Out….

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Purpose Over Popularity

So I went to my very FIRST Rodeo on Saturday, May 16, 2015 in Columbia, SC…and if you have never been to Columbia, SC, its not a HUGE city but big enough to not be called a “town”…LOL…

Anyway, my honey and I brought tickets early not really paying a whole lot of attention as to where the seats were but they turned out to be very GOOD seats! We were like 5 rows from the arena where all the cowboys and cowgirls will be performing on their horses. I felt like I could walk 5 steps from where I was sitting and physically reach my hand out and touch anyone or anything inside the arena…I think you get the point, right?? GOOD SEATS! *smile*

The co-host for the rodeo was christian comedian Akintunde, who I truly admire and love. He is one of my homies being that we both are from the Columbia, SC area. He did a great job co-hosting and I really enjoyed the comedic touch that he added to the evening. I didn’t know that Akintunde saw me but during the show he took some time to point out ‘celebrities’ in the audience and the first person that he pointed out was Jamal Bates who is well known as a radio personality for WFMV Gospel Station 95.3FM…then he points me out saying,”Poet Chiccy Baritone is here” along with some other things that I could not hear because I was SHOCK that he would acknowledge me. As shocked as I was, I still stood up and waved to a crowd of what looked like about 3 or 4,000 people! What I observed as I stood up AND as I sat down was that the reaction of the crowd was a polite clap but no indication that the crowd really knew who I was as an Artist….

Now…for those who REALLY know me, know that I have a divine “gift” from God to be able to find the ‘humor’ in all situations, and for me, that was kinda ‘funny’ that the people heard Akintunde give this POET some props but still was like,”WHO IS SHE?” [insert multiple laughs here]

Well….

Let me share with you my God to honest truth of what happened to me in that moment because that was not about me feeling like or being a wanna be ‘celebrity’ but it was more humbling than that to ME. For you to believe what I’m about to say, you would need to know my heart and the relationship that I have with Jesus…I had a God encounter that hit me HARD! It was a private moment made public because I know God loves me and I know He is mindful of me. You see, in that moment for me “God Called Me Out” and said,”Charlene, I want the world to know just how much I LOVE You and to serve as a reminder to you just how special you are to me. I interrupted a few moments in time just for YOU.”

WOW…God…I know that but REALLY? In front of ALL these PEOPLE? and my spirit said…”Yes…”

You see…for ME…my claim to fame is where GOD desires for me to be…and if that does not include a National or International platform then I won’t feel like I did not fulfill my purpose! Now, have I performed nationally and internationally? Yes, I have…but am I a ‘household’ name? not hardly…but what you need to ask me is am I fulfilled in my purpose with what God has done in my life where I currently am (meaning my demographic location and also in my spiritual life): Absolutely!

I can remember waaaay back to the first time I actually ministered a poem that I memorized and how wonderful I felt knowing that I did what God had unction in my spirit to do. My desire has always been that I will never let the applause of the claps or the sound of snaps affect how and WHY I do what I do when it comes to poetry! That I give it the way that God has given it to me–GOING HARD at the mic with all heart and soul whether its 2 people, 200 people, 2000 people or more in the room because as far as I’m concern, I’m performing to my King Jesus and anyone else in the room are my special guests:-).

So to my independent and inspiring artist I have one question to ask: What motivates you to share your gift? For the claps of the crowd? For the praise of people or to receive some kind of recognition? and the next question would be, if the claps were not up to your liking and you never receive an award for what you do or no one comes up to you to pat you on your back and tell you how great you were, would you continue?

Here is something to revert back to. I believe that if God called you out, whether publicly or privately and placed a desire in your heart, He has already equipped you with everything you need to grow and nurture that ‘gift’. Once you understand that the “gift” is for giving and not receiving, those spiritual encounters, like the one I had at the rodeo, will keep you ‘driven’ by your purpose and not how popular you can get.

As I have matured in my Faith and God, I trust what He is doing in the process of me “becoming.” I’m living life on PURPOSE.

Romans 12:3New International Version (NIV)

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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Who is Lecrae?

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image

Photography by Charlene Evans

 

The picture taken above was August 2, 2009 at “Rock the River” Tour in St. Louis, MO. The tour went through 5 cities along the Mississippi River.  This tour is a part of Billy Graham Ministries and they do these concerts/mini crusades to bring people to Jesus!

I had the distinct honor of being chosen to have a video produced from my original poems, “GAP” and “Lips Proverbs 18:21” which was shown on the tour! How exciting! So I traveled to St. Louis to check it all out and take it all in because prior to doing the videos, I had never heard of this tour until my good friend and poet Tavis Brunson suggested that the BGEA team check me out! (How cool is that! Shoutout to Tavis Brunson—AMAZING POET!)

Anywhoo….

The concert had numerous Christian artist that included Kirk Franklin, Canton Jones and Lecrae…

Who is Lecrae???

Well, Lecrae Moore, known as simply “Lecrae,” is Christian hip hop artist, record producer, and actor. He is the president, co-owner and co-founder of the independent record label Reach Records, and the co-founder and president of the non-profit organization ReachLife Ministries. To date, he has released seven studio albums and two mixtapes as a solo artist, and has released three studio albums, a remix album, and one EP as the leader of the rap group 116 Clique.

I heard about him only from his affiliation with Billy Graham Ministries while I was writing as a blogger for BGEA “Ransom” site http://www.ransom.tv/. This Christian Rapper was getting a lot of attention for not only his ministry on stage but off stage, this gentleman had a reputation of humility and thirst to reach young people for Jesus!

When he came onstage in St. Louis, the crowd went wild and I listened and watched his energetic performance as the crowd sung his songs almost on one accord…this dude was AMAZING! But what is not surprising me is the momentum of his ministry over the years!

So here we are and Lecrae made HISTORY this week by earning his first No. 1 on the Billboard album charts with seventh album Anomaly. I was so excited!!!  Then I begin thinking to myself, with all that is going on in the world, the Body of Christ has a voice that still rings LOUD. Numbers don’t lie (well at least not on their own) and when they represent someone that is getting the message of hope and faith out in their own authentic kind of way, representing Jesus Christ, that’s something to celebrate!

As an independent artist myself, I understand that everyone won’t gain the same attention or platform that Lecrae has had the opportunity to do but we all have an assignment that is no less greater. We are all a part of the same family and we want our family to succeed and be a beacon of light to the world. I truly celebrate his ministry and I’m propelled to strive for excellence in all that I do with Poetry. This achievement showed me something else….People (in this case young people) are hungry for Jesus and still desire to be fed inspiration through gospel music, and in this case Rap. There is a massive market that understand Lecrae and he is speaking their language. It’s the language of this generation, whether we like it or not. That is the Anomaly….and God has equipped him to be one of the many Christian voices to fill that GAP….

Congratulations my brother – in – CHRIST!

 

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Being Mary Jane…An Ode to My Young Ladies…

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For informational purposes, “Being Mary Jane” is an American drama television series created by Mara Brock Akil and starring Gabrielle Union, that debuted January 7, 2014, on BET. The story is about a young, black, professional woman with a career as a tv anchor, a lavish lifestyle, single and has a ‘worldwind’ affair with a married man. The series takes you through her emotional rollercoaster ride with her personal life, her family and her job showing the extent that a woman would go without considering the consequences of her very careless decisions and desperate heart to have the fairytale ‘every after’.

I watched the series from the time they aired it to the season finale…

For me, it was ‘entertainment’ and not to be taken literally. I personally can not say that I have dated or even had an affair with a married man but it happens and tv has made this “acceptable” clouding the perception of what it does to a woman’s well-being and moral.

Some will easily say,”Well, why do you watch it if appears as if it portrays this young, professional black woman so degrading?”

For some Christians, like myself, watching a show that does not reflect my Christian beliefs does not persuade me to feel as if what she is doing is OKAY but it does help me to address it with young girls. Some of them don’t see it as ‘entertainment’ because it has been there reality through the lives of other adults in and out of their homes. As an artist, whose desire is to “SpeakLIFE” through poetry, real life situations are my breeding grounds for creating a piece of work that will offer other options that honor who God created you to be as a woman. God desires for us to carry ourselves with respect for our bodies. And mentally, its important to THINK about the choices you make before your hormones respond!

The negative influence of t.v in reference to music videos and reality shows on our young ladies has increased to an all time high in the 20th Century. There are no filters to the nonsense and the disrespect that women have allowed in their lives. I still believe in the values of our young ladies beginning in the HOME and then the parents making sure that their children, girls and boys, have positive influences that reflect their morals and values. Nice suggestion, but I do understand that this is not the case with every young lady. Some come from broken homes where there is not a mother there or a female that can be that role model.

So what do you do?

This is a matter of OUTREACH for every Woman to grab a couple of young girls and start the conversations. SHOW them the options of life that they may not have been exposed to them through a parent or love one. Not because they didn’t desire to show them, but because they probably didn’t KNOW…and its true…it takes a VILLAGE to raise children…always have and always will…

So as I close, I wanted to share not what I would necessarily consider a “poem” but more so some words of encouragement to our young ladies..a verse of some thoughts…Poetically…

Be YOU….
not Mary Jane
Living life with no roadblocks and letting your
biological clock tell time is
Disastrous
and
Deceptive
Not even contraceptives can prevent
the dis-EASE
of your insecurities
Young girl
God gave you the WORLD
but you won’t take it
because someone told you
with all of the evil and hate
you wouldn’t make it
but you are HERE
so open your ear to HEAR
the direction of your spiritual connection
because you are a QUEEN
belonging to the most high GOD
He is KING
young girl…
I ODE to you…As a your fellow QUEEN,
I am assigned to do
everything I can to pour back into you
We have work to do
ending these words but never my love for you

xoxo Chiccy Baritone
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What SEASON are you in?

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I was reflecting on my life…and thinking about what SEASON I am in…yes, its currently SUMMER but am I having a WINTER moment? God am I where you would have me to be? So I ask you, think about it for a moment and if you are “out of season” as to where you know God would desire you to be, its time to make some changes…Check out my Poem “Tis the Season!” I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and personal testimony…please feel free to share!

‘Tis the Season
I felt it
Never looked at the calendar
Internal alarm
No snooze
Wake UP
Been sleep for too long
My life was in hibernation
So before Winter could make a grand entrance
I moved….
My mind into motion
Stacking my internal food
Voluntary starvation was no longer on the menu
Just seeds
Holding my destiny
I got my pep in my step back
And decided to Spring FORWARD before the clock
Getting a head start and watering those seeds of destiny inside of me
I see buds—small, tight and waiting to bloom
Rain you are welcome!
Descend on me, cleanse me, and purify me while I wait for the SON
Temperature Rising
Challenging everything I thought I knew and needed
Breaking ground as the heat of Summer prepared me for my harvest
With arms extended beyond my comfort I told God I am ready
Fall
And land on everything that needs to LEAVE my life
Blown away
By your Grace and your Mercy
How do you do it? They both still have that “new” smell daily?
No matter how rough my night has been
And with my sinful nature you continue to love me
Regardless of what season I am in

© Copyright Charlene Evans October 2013

 

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Keep Treading!

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Definition of Treading water:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Water treading is an aspect of swimming that involves a swimmer staying in a vertical position in the water while keeping his or her head above the surface of the water. Treading water provides the swimmer an opportunity to keep the head from becoming submerged while not providing sufficient directional thrust to overcome inertia and propel the swimmer in any specific direction.

I started off with the definition of “Treading” water for a reason. I didn’t know how to at first and was a little scared of the possibility of not being able to come back up if I found myself going under water. I practiced this exercise with my boyfriend who is an experienced swimmer and while listening to him give me instructions on what to do, I was holding on to the edge of the pool. When it was time to tread water, I only did it close to the edge because if I found myself going under and not able to pull myself up, I could always reach for the edge to help me.

He took notice and said, ”Charlene, you need to get away from the edge and tread because if there is no edge around, you need to have faith in knowing you have the technique down in order to keep yourself up.” So I inched away from the edge and said out loud,”Charlene you can do this! Don’t be afraid.” My boyfriend, watching and listening as I spoke out loud my faith said,” I got you…I won’t let anything happen to you.”

Here goes nothing….I moved towards the center of the pool….breathe in slowly to relax myself and most importantly “think” about what I needed to do…

So…I was treading and as my boyfriend watched intensely, I felt my faith build and build! Wow! I am treading water!!!!!!! WHOOHOO!!

This was a HUGE accomplishment for me because I am not “best friends” with swimming let along treading water but I felt great and excited. Then, God spoke to my spirit:

“You are holding on to what’s familiar. I have called you OUT but you only come out far enough so that you can be able to go back to the edge if you need to; afraid to drown in a land that is unknown to you. But, I told you before; I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will not let you drown in this next season of your life.”

I immediate begin to tear up with joy because I trust the voice of God and His instructions. This process that God is not only taking me through but taking you through (yes the one reading this!) will feel like you are about to drown or go under because you have not experienced this place in your life before. You don’t have a voice in your life that has done it quite the way that God is giving it to you to do so you don’t feel like you will live through it but you will…

Just “Keep Treading”

Don’t stop moving…I know you feel tired…you don’t feel like you have support…everyone you have shared your vision with has made you feel like it is not possible but it is! God has a PLAN for your life! Jeremiah 29:11 says,”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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Your instructor (God) is holding you up Just “Keep Treading”……YES!

XOXO God Bless!

Chiccy

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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