CeCe Winans On a Positive Note

ISBN 13: 9780671020019

On a Positive Note

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9780671020019: On a Positive Note
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Eight-time Grammy Award® winner CeCe Winans has broken new ground as a superstar of gospel: her celebrated career includes platinum and gold albums, collaborations with Whitney Houston, and forays into television and the Broadway stage. Now CeCe Winans recalls a life full of blessings in this warm and intimate memoir.
On a Positive Note is CeCe's inspiring story of her journey from the projects of Detroit to international fame and award-winning success. She portrays how she took the brave step of leaving home, along with her brother BeBe, to work as a background singer on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's television program. She offers the courageous testimony of a rising recording star facing life-changing decisions, and tells the wonderful story of meeting the man who became her soul mate and husband. And finally, CeCe Winans shares a moving and candid account of her lifelong attempt, through times of tears and laughter, to sing of God's glory and live with His love in her heart.
A multiple Grammy, Dove™, Stellar™, and NAACP Image Award™ winner -- both on her own and in partnership with BeBe -- CeCe is also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. CeCe's reflections offer a reassuring sense of companionship to women facing their own challenges, doubts, and hopes -- and an inspiration to keep the fires of faith burning bright.

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About the Author:

Cece Winans is one of contemporary music's most acclaimed vocalists. As one-half of the award-winning duo BeBe & CeCe, she garnered unprecedented acceptance in both R&B and Christian music circles. In 1995, she released her first solo project, the Grammy Award®-winning album Alone in His Presence. She is the host of the Odyssey network's television show CeCe's Place. CeCe lives with her husband and children in Nashville, Tennessee.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1: Home Training

Train up a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not depart from it.

-- Prov. 22:6


When the doctor announced that my mother had given birth to a bouncing baby girl, my mother lifted her head up from her pillow and asked the attending physician, "Did you say it's a girl?" The doctor nodded. "Did you say it's a girl?" He answered affirmatively. "Did you say a girl?" Poor thing couldn't believe her ears. "Thank you, Jesus," she whispered leaning back on her pillow. "You finally came," she later told me. I was also my father's little princess. The date was October 8, 1964, and David and Delores Winans were filled with joy. Mom was especially happy because she could finally put to use the girl's name she had chosen sometime before: Priscilla, which to her meant calm, quiet, soft.

For a while it seemed as if Mom wouldn't ever get the chance to use such a pretty name. With seven high-spirited boys underfoot, Mom tried not to get her hopes up when she discovered that she was pregnant an eighth time. In those days before sonograms became a routine part of the prenatal examination, mothers and fathers had to wait until they got to the delivery room to find out the sex of their child. But the old women in the church had their own down-home ways for predicting the sex of the unborn: "Judging from the way that baby is sitting up high in your belly," they would say, "it's sho' to be a girl this time, Delores." But Mama was scared to hope. From where she looked it seemed to her that she'd carried all her babies the same: big and wide. A boy's name was already picked out. But the name Priscilla was secretly pinned to her heart...just in case.

Although Mom decided on Priscilla as her name for me, her first baby girl, as far back as my childhood days I have been known to family and friends as "CeCe." With as many siblings as I have, you'd think that someone would remember where the name CeCe came from, but no one does. As best as any of us can figure it out, my father's mother, Laura Howze, was the one to start the family tradition of calling me Sister, in honor of my position as the first girl in the family. The names Priscilla and Sister were much too dainty for my brothers' macho tastes. So Sister finally metamorphosed to "CeCe," probably because of my brothers' aversion to prissy words and Mom's tendency to shorten her children's names to something quicker to say in a fit of anger: "Peanut! Butch! Skippy! BeBe! CeCe!" If I shared some of the other family names here, however, I could be banned from the family. "CeCe" eventually stuck in everyone's memory, including Mom's. With ten children soon underfoot, she was content just to get the name CeCe out when it was time to bathe each of us and get us to bed at night.

Only those who are really close to me know the real CeCe: the quiet, reflective, bashful, I-don't-want-to-be-out-front girl from Detroit. Friends back home are surprised by the confident, outspoken CeCe who appears onstage when they compare her with the little Priscilla they recall always looking on bashfully. Even I sometimes have a hard time reconciling the two women. They're not different people, however. They're different sides of the same me.

There's the artist I've evolved into, the woman who is not only out front, but also singing alone, onstage, donning the latest fashions and glamorous in her makeup, making decisions (with God's help), pushing the boundaries -- and enjoying it. Then there's the me whose idea of a good time is plopping down in the middle of my bed on a Saturday afternoon in sweats and a T-shirt, surrounded by my husband, Alvin, and our two kids, Alvin III and Ashley: Alvin II reading the business section of the newspaper on one side; the kids at the foot of the bed flipping cable channels and arguing about what each wants to see and whose turn it is to give in; and me with some devotional or daily meditation in my lap, wearing earphones and listening to the sounds of soft music and ocean waves. There's bound to be a bag of hot buttery popcorn plopped down in the middle of the bed, spilling onto the covers each time one of us readjusts our weight.

I guess there's at least two sides to everyone. I'm just grateful that I've finally learned to embrace both sides of me. It took me a while, however. It took me learning to be myself.

For almost four years I was the sole girl among a litter of seven brothers, the different child. Growing up a girl in a house of seven brothers will make you become either aggressive and outspoken or quiet and retiring. You learn how to fight and tussle one of them to the floor, pin him down, or knee him until he gives up and cries "uncle." That's how you win the respect of a whole litter of brothers. But if you're like me and you're too small and smart to try tackling boys twice your size, you learn how to keep to yourself and play by yourself. For stimulation you learn how to create your own private inner world of fun, frolic, and friendship and not depend on the wild games boys play. My brothers were always getting into trouble, jumping up and down on the beds, wrestling one another to the mat, fighting. But I was apt to withdraw into some private corner of a room, creating imaginary worlds for myself. With the birth of my sisters, Angelique and Debbie, years later I gained playmates and soul mates, but until they were old enough to climb out of their cribs and crawl over to play with me I had to content myself with playing alone with my dolls. My macho brothers wouldn't be caught dead playing dolls with a girl.

My doll time became my quiet and creative time. Sitting in a corner of a room, alone at a table with my dolls, dressing and undressing them, styling their hair in hairstyles I'd seen worn by movie stars and glamorous singers on television, kept me occupied for hours on end. I could lose myself in my play. From time to time my brother Ronald, the second oldest of my brothers, would have pity on me and wander over to keep me company. Of all my brothers Ronald was the only one who took time out and played with my dolls and me. I can still recall him pretending to sip tea with me and my dolls, with hands large enough to clutch a football but soft enough to cuddle a doll. Ronald is the one who came up with the idea of coloring my dolls' hair with shoe polish when he noticed me struggling to design new hairstyles for my dolls. Soon, with Ronald's help, every doll had red hair. The next day every doll had black hair. The next day white hair. I was grateful to my big brother for showing me how to change the color of my dolls' hair, but I had to use my own imagination to think of ways to change their lives. With each change of hair color came the opportunity for me to create a new attitude and personality for my dolls.

When Angelique and Debbie came along, four and six years later, I was thrilled to have sisters for company, but our numbers weren't large enough to make us a formidable gang against seven brothers. Nevertheless, three proved a large enough number to tackle one of the boys if he dared stray into our domain or dared to decapitate one of our dolls. But even with two younger sisters on my side, I still felt different: old, mature, wise beyond my years. With two sisters below me and seven brothers above me, I felt squeezed in the middle with the responsibility to be mature. Those two girls were looking to me as an example, and those seven brothers were looking down at me, testing my strength and my resolve. As the older girl I usually managed to earn Angie's and Debbie's respect pretty easily. But my brothers enjoyed reducing me to tears with their constant razzing and name calling.

My sisters' births brought the Winans clan to ten children: David, Ronald, Marvin, Carvin, Michael, Daniel, Benjamin, Priscilla, Angelique, and Debbie. "I'd only planned to have two children," Mom never tires of reminding us, "a boy and a girl. It's just that the girl was slow in coming." The truth is that Mom and Dad were products of a very strict conservative religious upbringing, which frowned upon birth control and took literally the scriptures that admonish us to "multiply and replenish the earth."

Having ten children was unplanned, but the ten children were not unwanted. As each child came along, each one more of a surprise than the one before, Mom and Dad made the adjustments in their hearts and in their living space to accommodate the fruit of their love. Although there were times when they didn't know how they were going to feed another child and where they would put the child, they were confident that God would make a way. And they were right. God made a way. "How come you have ten children, if you only meant to have two children?" one of us was always asking them. "Evidently, God had His own plans," Mom and Dad would answer back. My parents believed, like the good Pentecostalists that they were, that even the unplanned things in life can result in blessings.

I never imagined that my little gift for singing -- singing to my dolls as I styled their hair, singing as I poured them tea, singing myself to sleep at night -- would be the talent God would use to catapult me into the limelight. Certainly, there's much truth to the Bible's saying "Our ways are not God's ways."

One of my greatest joys has been looking back and tracing the hand of God patiently, wisely, weaving the strands of my life together.

Our house was always filled with music. It was nothing for Mom to strike up a song while standing in the kitchen cooking dinner, or for Dad to line a song as he stood in the mirror on Sunday morning, shaving and readying himself for Sunday school. Singing was the way we communicated, the way we entertained ourselves, and the way we made sense of the world. With seven boys and three girls, Mom and Dad, and a steady stream of stray cats and dogs who were taken in and given away on a whim, you had to sing to get your fair share of attention.

My parents' shared love for music brought them together back in 1950 when both were members of a local singing chorale in Detroit known as the Lemon Gospel Chorus. The founder, Louise Lemon, was a gospel great who had sung back in the 1930s and 1940s with Mahalia Jackson and the Johnson Singers of Chicago. Louise Lemon inspired young people throughout Detroit with her rousing, soul-stirring musicals, and young people everywhere flocked to join her citywide gospel choir. Music brought them together, but their shared love for each other and their mutual love for God are what persuaded David and Delores Winans to join their hearts in matrimony in 1953. She was seventeen years old and played the piano; he was nineteen years old and played the saxophone. Mom had been a member of the Lemon Gospel Chorus since she was thirteen and a member of the Good Will Youth Choir before then. She had played the piano for small storefront churches in the city since she was a girl. My father was the grandson of a Church of God in Christ pastor and loved music. For a short time, while both were members of the choir, my parents got a chance to travel and sing, if only in a limited fashion. Every Sunday afternoon, and sometimes on an evening during the week, they were somewhere across town in Detroit or somewhere across the country in Louisiana, North or South Dakota, singing at some church anniversary service, or, if they were lucky, as the opening act for some well-established recording quartet. But soon their love for each other won out over any aspirations they had to become traveling performers.

My parents passed on their love for music to their ten children, as God would have them do. Music disciplined the mind, they believed. It also nourished the soul by providing something to muse and meditate on. Just about the time other children were sitting on their parents' laps learning to talk, each of David and Delores Winans's children were sitting around learning to sing. Singing was always such a natural part of our Winans household that I never gave it much thought, and in Detroit it seemed as if everyone sang -- whether or not they could sing, they did. Music was in the air. It's amazing to me to think that there are people who go for long stretches of time -- days, weeks, perhaps months -- without so much as humming a tune! in the Winans house someone was always singing.

No matter how limited the space in our house we always had a piano, and it always seemed to be in need of tuning. Mom and Dad taught us gospel songs first, as a way of keeping us ten kids entertained. But then they taught us such songs like "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" and "God Has Smiled on Me" as a way of teaching us about faith and hope, and as a way of instilling reverence of and love for God in our hearts. They succeeded. Gospel music at home softened our hearts for the sermons and Sunday school lessons we would later have to listen attentively to, sitting in those hard church pews.

All seven of my brothers grew up singing: David, Ronald, Marvin, Carvin, Daniel, Michael, and Benjamin (BeBe). Some girls' brothers fix cars and excel in sports -- mine sang. I can't recall the first time I heard my brothers singing -- it would be easier to try to come up with times when they weren't singing. Those were the times when they were goofing off, cutting up, or into some mischief around the house. My older brothers were always coming up with songs; some they made up, some they learned at church. They were good about leading the family in song at special gatherings for all the family and extended family. Each brother had his own style and distinctive sound, which lent a special sound to their harmonies. Together their rich sound made you think they were angels sent from God. That's if you didn't know any better. Together their voices blended and melded and created a sound that soon would leave churches and other audiences spellbound. Their harmonies and powerful lyrics combined to make them a highly sought-after teenage quartet known in the early and mid-1970s as the Testimonials. So first the boys in the Winans family sang, and then the girls in the Winans family sang.

With ten children in the house there was always a steady drone of noise. The challenge for a quiet introverted child like me was to figure out what noise to shut out and what noise to embrace. The sound of slamming doors, clanging pots, and quarreling siblings -- those were sounds I could safely ignore. The sound of Mom humming a tune from church, Dad praying in song, or one of my seven brothers banging out a tune of his own creation on the piano -- those were the kinds that left my soul tingling. There was singing throughout the day and into the night. After teasing one another back and forth about whose head was shaped the funniest, who was the clumsiest, whose feet stank most from their gym shoes, and who had holes in their underwear, we'd sing ourselves to sleep. It was like a big camp. Something was always going on. Usually the last song we'd sing at night sometimes was:

"Thank You for Your love so sweet.

Thank You for the food we eat.

Thank You for the birds that sing.

Thank You God for everything...good night!"


My parents worked hard to create a home environment in which love took priority over things. Discipline was second to love. Laughter ran a close third. We didn't have a lot of the things we wanted, but there was always more than enough of the things we needed. Mom, the soft rock of the family, with her quiet but firm ways, worked all day as a medical transcriptionist at a local hospital and came home to her second job in the evening: cooking, mending, and praying for her large brood. Always even tempere...

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Book Description Atria Books, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Eight-time Grammy Award (R) winner CeCe Winans has broken new ground as a superstar of gospel: her celebrated career includes platinum and gold albums, collaborations with Whitney Houston, and forays into television and the Broadway stage. Now CeCe Winans recalls a life full of blessings in this warm and intimate memoir. On a Positive Note is CeCe's inspiring story of her journey from the projects of Detroit to international fame and award-winning success. She portrays how she took the brave step of leaving home, along with her brother BeBe, to work as a background singer on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's television program. She offers the courageous testimony of a rising recording star facing life-changing decisions, and tells the wonderful story of meeting the man who became her soul mate and husband. And finally, CeCe Winans shares a moving and candid account of her lifelong attempt, through times of tears and laughter, to sing of God's glory and live with His love in her heart. A multiple Grammy, Dove , Stellar , and NAACP Image Award winner -- both on her own and in partnership with BeBe -- CeCe is also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. CeCe's reflections offer a reassuring sense of companionship to women facing their own challenges, doubts, and hopes -- and an inspiration to keep the fires of faith burning bright. Seller Inventory # AAV9780671020019

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Book Description Atria Books, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Eight-time Grammy Award (R) winner CeCe Winans has broken new ground as a superstar of gospel: her celebrated career includes platinum and gold albums, collaborations with Whitney Houston, and forays into television and the Broadway stage. Now CeCe Winans recalls a life full of blessings in this warm and intimate memoir. On a Positive Note is CeCe s inspiring story of her journey from the projects of Detroit to international fame and award-winning success. She portrays how she took the brave step of leaving home, along with her brother BeBe, to work as a background singer on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker s television program. She offers the courageous testimony of a rising recording star facing life-changing decisions, and tells the wonderful story of meeting the man who became her soul mate and husband. And finally, CeCe Winans shares a moving and candid account of her lifelong attempt, through times of tears and laughter, to sing of God s glory and live with His love in her heart. A multiple Grammy, Dove , Stellar , and NAACP Image Award winner -- both on her own and in partnership with BeBe -- CeCe is also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. CeCe s reflections offer a reassuring sense of companionship to women facing their own challenges, doubts, and hopes -- and an inspiration to keep the fires of faith burning bright. Seller Inventory # AAV9780671020019

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Book Description Atria Books. Paperback. Condition: New. 240 pages. Dimensions: 8.6in. x 6.2in. x 0.7in.Eight-time Grammy Award winner CeCe Winans has broken new ground as a superstar of gospel: her celebrated career includes platinum and gold albums, collaborations with Whitney Houston, and forays into television and the Broadway stage. Now CeCe Winans recalls a life full of blessings in this warm and intimate memoir. On a Positive Note is CeCes inspiring story of her journey from the projects of Detroit to international fame and award-winning success. She portrays how she took the brave step of leaving home, along with her brother BeBe, to work as a background singer on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakkers television program. She offers the courageous testimony of a rising recording star facing life-changing decisions, and tells the wonderful story of meeting the man who became her soul mate and husband. And finally, CeCe Winans shares a moving and candid account of her lifelong attempt, through times of tears and laughter, to sing of Gods glory and live with His love in her heart. A multiple Grammy, Dove, Stellar, and NAACP Image Award winner -- both on her own and in partnership with BeBe -- CeCe is also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. CeCes reflections offer a reassuring sense of companionship to women facing their own challenges, doubts, and hopes -- and an inspiration to keep the fires of faith burning bright. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780671020019

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