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
Share your thoughts, your testimony, your heart with me below in the comments section! And most importantly let’s stay connected!
Twitter: @chiccybaritone
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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

Share your thoughts, your testimony, your heart with me below in the comments section! And most importantly let’s stay connected!
Twitter: @chiccybaritone
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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

Greetings from S. Africa!

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Hello!

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

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

Whew!

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

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

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

#BringBackOurGirls : We’re in this TOGETHER

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

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

Mouse Story….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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

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The Many Faces of a Mother

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

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

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

Embrace it

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

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

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