Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Just Vote


God is faithful and kind.

So, it's official!   I've been nominated for the Today's Woman Magazine Most Admired Woman in the Arts category. My contributions in the literary arts have not gone unnoticed. I would truly appreciate your vote(s).

Voting is open now through the end of April. You can vote every day, once per hour for the next few weeks. 

Check out my bio here for Charliese B. Lewis❗️

I am grateful to be among these phenomenal women. Thank you for your support! And please share.

#todayswoman #mostadmiredwoman2024 #maw2024 #weseeyousis

Monday, December 27, 2021

ACE #457: 2021 YEAR IN REVIEW: Be All the Things

Looking back...the honesty of it all...2019 was one of the worst years of my life, especially with the loss of my father. As 2020 approached, I had no expectation of anything special, but to recover from the previous year. Yet, 2020 proved to be the strangest, most creative, year of my life. 
In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the quietness and seclusion opened up my mind to simply THINK freely. Then 2021 became the whirlwind I never saw be all the things. I cannot adequately detail it all, but only give a year in review.
As a self-publishing educator and servicer, I've assisted three clients in publishing their work and completed a three-part workshop series on self-publishing. Why? Because it was a request and a need in the market that I actually had time to fulfill...finally.
As an editor (and an academic writer in a previous season), I've assisted with five dissertations and proposals. Kudos to my clients for the recommendations and referrals. I even had to refer out and get an intern because my plate was full.
As a business writer/instructor (also in a previous season), I've lost count of how many resumes, vitaes, and cover letters I've done this year for clients.
As an educator, I've presented or moderated three workshops/panels and co-hosted a radio segment about college and career readiness.
As a businesswoman, I became the administrator of a non-profit serving readers, writers, and publishers and secured two grants for the organization. I was also a guest on Live Your Best Life podcast, Streamin' with a Purpose podcast out of the DMV, and featured in The Lextropolis Magazine twice. I was also able to represent the organization as a woman "Changing the Game" in our community.
As a writer, I've had two author interviews published in online magazines and written two feature articles published in EnVision Magazine with a third coming out in January. My essay, "Healed" was featured in the She Selfish, LLC blog.
As a journalist, I've co-produced and co-hosted a podcast, with a beloved friend, interviewing some of the best local talent/advocates in our community. Shoutout to my husband, Robert, for being the best creative media production expert in all of Kentucky. He has supported all of these projects behind the scenes.
As a minister and a co-laborer in the ministry with my husband, we created and launched a radio program/podcast on EnVision Radio that's heard in 20 countries and completed the fifth year of our teaching ministry. And I preached virtually for the April Wilberforce University Chapel service. No, I definitely did not see that coming.
And, on Dec. 1, I began a new part of my journey as an educator.
A few of these opportunities came from people who I've worked with in past career assignments. And I did something I rarely do - served as my own publicist and was a guest on my own podcast thanks to my awesome co-host. Shout out to Youlonda C. Mason. 
Even given all of this, as a wife, a mother, and a daughter I pray I've done due diligence. I serve at home first.
And #TeamLewis has been able to sow into other people and other ministries.
None of this is about bragging because I have always been comfortable working quietly in the shadows. But rocks will not cry out for me. I AM GRATEFUL!
Anything I've lost in the fire, God has restored, replaced, and multiplied. Anything I've asked or imagined, God has done MORE THAN that...and some things I can't tell.
When I think about the goodness of God and all He's done for me MY SOUL CRIES OUT "HALLELUJAH!" That's an understatement of God's faithfulness, kindness, and manifested promises in my life!

I exhort to you:
Be all the things God purposes you for and do all the things He tells you to do! Be excellent. Oh, and sow. It guarantees the harvest.

Now, what will 2022 hold? Only God knows...but #TeamLewis is ready. 
~ Charliese B. Lewis

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

ACE #456: The After Church Experience: The Next Level

Yes, we are back! 

Oddly, we didn't write one blog during 2020, also known as the year of the pandemic. The year gave us time to reflect, but  also time to be more creative and to assess what were our next steps in ministry and in the marketplace. 

And here it is...

We will launch The 'After Church' Experience Radio Show on Envision Radio on May 2, 2021. The first episode will air at 8:00 a.m. EST. Our show's themes will focus on many of the topics found in our blogs over the years. We want to stay true to our mission, which is applying biblical principles to our everyday lives beyond the four walls of the church building and outside of the regular worship times. 

We want to ensure that our busy lifestyles make room for God. We challenge ourselves and others to show we are unashamed, undeniable, and uncompromised in our love for Jesus Christ! "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35).

"It's what happens 'after church'!" We hope you will join us.

You can follow us on Facebook at The 'After Church' Experience or on Instagram @theafterchurchexperience. 

You can also Subscribe to "It's About Time: Conversations with Charliese and Youlonda" podcast on YouTube or follow on Facebook. Just click on the links. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

ACE #455: The New Normal

My father passed away almost two months ago. Some days I wake up and I think it is all a dream. I often ask myself questions I know the answers to like, “Did this really happen?” or “Is he really gone forever?” The answer to both is obvious. Yes.

I’ll be honest, I am okay with his death because he was so sick. No one ever wants to see someone who he or she loves suffer. The reality of it, he was in pain all the time. Cancer was ravaging his body. And, most days, I think he handled it like a champ in my eyes. By the way, I hate cancer. I don’t fully understand why he had to go through what he went through. It leaves the age-old question, “Why do good people suffer?” I will never have an answer for that, no matter how much time passes. Spiritually, I was prepared for his passing. My faith has been firm. Physically, not so much...because my heart is still broken. One of my (and his) greatest joys was kissing his face when I entered or exited a room. Actually, it was one of the last things I did before he took his last breath.  

At the end of the day, my father, even in sickness, had a good life with my mother, their children, and their grandchildren. He left a legacy in our local community and beyond. Someone called him a hero. Another person referred to him as a legend. He was a role model and mentor to many young men because he specialized in body building and karate. They looked up to him. One man even said that it was because of my Daddy that his son toughened up and was able to go into the military. 

This year will be a year of “firsts”...our first holidays that we will celebrate without him being there. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Christmas is right around the corner. And, I am finally starting to feel it…the anxiety that comes with facing and navigating through “the new normal”.

One of my dear friends lost her father a year ago around this time. She talked to me specifically about how difficult that year of “firsts” was for her family. She said this year would be different because she was going to be intentional about planning activities that brought life to them because the first year was so sad. I refuse to celebrate the holidays with the mindset or outward appearance of doom and gloom. I will celebrate with gratitude...and thanksgiving.

It was my and my husband’s absolute pleasure to honor and to serve my father. Even in the “new normal” we’ll still honor him – his memory, his legacy, and his life.

Happy Thanksgiving, Daddy...the first "new normal".

Isaiah 61:3
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Psalm 30:5
...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

ACE #454: The Enemy Tried It

The enemy has tried it this year! I have had a very strange one in terms of confrontation...and I am only half way through it. I have found myself in the middle of conversations with people looking around asking in my head, "Is this really happening?" or "Am I being pranked?" and even "Are they talking to me? They must be crazy!" 

People have really tested my patience and my self-control to the point where I have literally wanted to dispel a flurry of ungodly words in their direction. But my honest response has been "ok" or no response at all. I have surprised myself many times. In those moments, I could hear the Holy Spirit speaking clearly saying, "Don't say a word" or "Just be quiet." Of course, we all have free choice to obey or to disobey God. Oftentimes, we even pretend like we didn't hear Him at all. In the flesh, I have wanted to respond to the person in the same manner in which they approached me. You know how the old saying goes, "Take your medicine where you get sick." Then, God would remind me who I am.

Recently, I took a look at the story of Hannah, again. I've studied it many times because Hannah has often been my "go to" story of faith. Also, Hannah's name means "grace". And all of us can use more of that.

Hannah was provoked year after year by her rival, Peninnah, to the point of tears and hunger, perhaps it could have led to starvation had her faith not been sharpened by her frequent visits to the temple. Oftentimes, distraction and provocation are the only ways by which the enemy can get you off course or damage your witness. Some simple lessons I've learned from Hannah's story:

  • Do not allow the enemy to provoke you into unhealthy habits.
  • Do not allow the enemy to provoke you to compromise your testimony.
  • Do not allow the enemy to provoke you out of your postition of peace.
  • Do not allow the enemy to provoke you out of God's will for your life before you are about to give birth to your vision.
Samuel was on the way. He was coming to be a great prophet. He was coming to anoint a great king by the name of David who is part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. So, my friends, don't take the bait. Do remember who you are so you can stay focused on God's plan.

1 Samuel 1 New International Version (NIV)

The Birth of Samuel

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite[a] from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?
Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.

Check out my book: From the Test to the Testimony: An Anthology of Women's Faith Stories

Monday, May 6, 2019

ACE #453: My Desire

A few days ago, my wife and I celebrated the day we got engaged to be married, now 16 years ago. She always remembers this day. Me, on the other hand, I just can’t seem to remember without her reminder. It might be a man thing. However, I should remember.
Why? Because this is the day the Lord of my life blessed me with exactly what I asked for in a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). I recall so many times just asking God for a specific woman. I dated and, trust me, my past is ugly. But, God. Anyway, I asked the Lord for an intelligent woman, a talented woman, and a beautiful woman. As the song writer says, “Won’t He do it…”.

Didn’t He. Undeservingly, He blessed me with everything I desired in a wife and then gave me what I needed in a wife. What do I mean? Notice I didn’t say I asked for Godly woman; but He knew what it would take to help me not to let the kid in me kill the King in me. God is so good. Even when we are not worthy of anything He can bless us with everything we will ever need.

When I think about the joy of this day, I am reminded of the Psalm that encourages us to “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart…”. 

As I look back and see how I wasn’t always walking purposely in God, yet I had a heart for the things of God. I know He heard me. He saw through what I was trying to be and is shaping me in to what I need to be for Him. In that, He gave me the desires of my heart to be used for His glory.

So, Lord I just thank you for this day. I am not perfect, but Jesus was the perfect Lamb - your desires for my heart.  

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

ACE #452: Integrity and Honor Still Win the Day

In my 22 years of being in my professional career, I must admit I haven't always had the best relationships with my supervisors. I learned some of the best lessons in my early years about knowing when a battle is or is not mine to fight and when to keep my mouth shut all together. But I've also learned how to stand in integrity and pride myself in working in excellence.

As I'm reflecting back, I recall a time when one of my bosses did everything possible to block me from advancement to the point that I couldn't even get a job in a different department because my name had been sullied being blackballed. And it worked! I was young then and truly didn't know the dynamics of power in the workplace. But it pushed me out of the nest because I knew I couldn't win. The toxicity of the environment began to drain me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I went to my next job, took the lessons I learned, and got a promotion and a raise. But a few jobs later, my back was against the wall again.

I had a supervisor call me "problematic". The difference in my 20s versus my 40s...I stopped staying in jobs to be comfortable and learned to discern when my season was up. I would not have minded being called anything if it was true. But referring to me as problematic was a shot at my integrity, my character, and my performance. I could ignore most things, but I had to respond in truth. 

My response went something like, "I don't know how I'm problematic. I am the first person to arrive at work everyday. I meet all of my deadlines. And my work product is always presented in excellence." And it was all 100 percent true. 
The response I received was, "But you just don't seem happy here." 
I responded with, "I didn't know that was a requirement of the job. I do my job and I go home." 

I soon realized what that statement truly meant was that I didn't play office politics, suck up, or compromise my integrity to gain favor. The term "you reap what you sow" resides heavily in my spirit and in how I treat people...even in the workplace. God doesn't turn a blind eye to our behavior just because we are at work. We don't just get to say, "I'm just doing my job" in order to justify mistreating others and to abuse our authority. And you certainly don't betray others or throw them under the bus to get ahead. When you walk in God's favor, He orders your advancement and your increase.

But let me help someone out here that I learned from Bishop T.D. Jakes in his series about working in a hostile work environment - you don't go to work to make friends or to be appreciated. I've told people plenty of times that you go to work to get paid for doing a job. As long as you show up to work and do your job, then you have a reasonable expectation that you will get your paycheck. My mantra is, "The 15th and 30th." Stop allowing the environment of your workplace to penetrate your peace and your home life. But on the flip side, I learned something different.

A true leader will respect a person who works in excellence and maintains integrity even when it isn't popular. Being a supervisor and being a leader are not the same. A leader will treat people with honor and respect whether they like someone personally or not. They will make decisions that are best for the organization and not what is best for them personally. They will reward hard work and diligence, but also lead with heart. I have said many times that we often look at people as role models and examples of how to be. Sometimes the lesson is about paying attention to others so that you know how NOT to be.

But I must say, I have been blessed with some of the best supervisors too. One of my former supervisors drove more than an hour and another one 45 minutes to attend my first book signing event. My immediate past and current supervisors showed up at another location to support me. They honored me with their presence and it truly brought joy to my heart.

And it also made me realize all the more that integrity, honor, and excellence still matter...and will always win the day.

1 Samuel 2:30 English Standard Version (ESV)
30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

Proverbs 10:9 English Standard Version (ESV)

9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.