No Pressure

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Hey! *hang head down in shame*

I have been a little MIA (Missing In Action)…but I’m back and I’m trying not to let my schedule overwhelm me to the point where I don’t make time to Blog, which I enjoy a lot!

Ok….so what’s the Blog about today? Take a look below and leave me your thoughts..

I thought that peer pressure was only for kids. Really, I did, like once you grew into a young adult, say between the ages of 17-21, that you will pretty much be “home free” from having to deal with pressure from your peers. Not true at all so this may be a release for a young adult who is currently going through it and thinking that an adult, say a parent or grandmother, are no longer dealing with it and won’t be able to relate. Well, unfortunately, no matter how old you are, you will experience peer pressure, but the good news is, when you mature in your spiritual walk with Christ and understand that you don’t have to conform to what other people are doing or trying to get you to do, there is a peace that you will rest in.

Peer pressure as a kid feels like you have to do it because most kids do not have the knowledge of what their options are unless they have been taught what they are in varies situations growing up. But the first rule always points first to the company that you keep. The bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” So, check your friends and I say that loosely because the people that you refer to as friends will not pressure you into doing something that you are not comfortable doing. Furthermore, if they know your character, personal beliefs when it comes to your spirituality, morals and values, they will never try to mislead you. Real friends love the “God in you” and respect the God in you

AT  ALL TIMES….

Not only behind “closed doors”…then when you are out in public, they magically conform to every environment or group of people you come in contact with sometimes even denying you or the association that they have with you. Just like Peter in the bible, for example. He denied Christ as a result of hanging out with the wrong crowd and Jesus told him, the night before his crucifixion that Peter would deny him, not 1, not 2 but 3 times (Matthew 26:31-35;69-75). Was it the pressure that got to Peter hanging out with a man who proclaimed to be the “Son of God”, the “Messiah”, the way and the truth and the life…?” John 14:6. Was it because Jesus was so different and had so many people against him so it was easier to go with the crowd then to walk in agreement with Jesus

No pressure, huh?

Yeah right, it was TONS of pressure and think about how stressful that might have felt to Peter…BUT…the point is, he allowed the pressure to get to him but he had a choice and so do you. And don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t because you always will! The beautiful thing about the Holy Spirit is that God says that he will teach you the way and what to do in all things…even in the mist of peer pressure! But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you John 14:26. What comfort, what LOVE! You see, God loves us and HE protects us at all times when we accept HIM as our Lord and Savior, HE lives inside of us giving us direction on how to deal with every aspect of life! And if that means you have to stop associating with a certain person or group of friends in order to honor the most important relationship in your life which is the relationship with your heavenly Father, then pray to God for strength, and let it go. And in due time, HE will bring you amazing friends who will honor you and love you just the way you are because remember…

Real Friends Who Love You = No Pressure!

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Finish The Race….

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HEEEY! Did you all miss me? Well I missed YOU! I took a small ‘hiatus’ due to some schedule demands with work and poetry but I am BAAAACK!

 

 

I am kicking off my Blog post return with an interesting situation that happened to me a couple of months ago and I had to share…so here it goes:

 

A couple of months ago, I decided to go ‘biking’ with a co-worker who I love dearly! We have been cool for a very long time and she is one of very few co-workers that I enjoy spending time with ‘after hours.’ I normally go biking by myself, because like running, everyone has a different ‘pace’ and if they are not flexible in going either slower or faster than their normal pace, it may not be as enjoyable. As a previous runner, I normally would ask “what’s your pace?”  and I did but it was not something we made a big deal about because he, we just wanted to hang out and catch up!

I met her in the parking lot of our employer after work to head over to the trail.  For me, biking is something I enjoy doing at a leisure pace, not on a competitive level. I mean, I have moments in my ride where I might push the speed a little but not ‘consistently’. So before we got in our cars to head out, she stepped out of her car to discuss how to get there.  She not only had a new bike with a lot of ‘bells and whistles” but she looked the ‘part’…biking shorts, biking shirt and some very cool shades. Me? I had on some workout shorts, t-shirt, helmet and an old bike that I paid $50 for from a thrift store. It is a dirt bike, work well and hey, a good starter bike after not riding a bike in YEARS….

I had my bike ‘thrown’ in the back of my SUV, she had an expensive bike rack. I didn’t have on bike gloves but she did so when we got out of our cars after arriving at the bike trail I was a little ‘intimdated’ but still willing and able to make this trip enjoyable…

So we’re off…she starts “gunning it’ right out of the parking lot….10MPH…and me? About 5MPH…I’m wanting to look ‘around’ because this is my first time being on the trail AND I’m a leisure kind of rider. I like to take it slow for the most part and switch gears to accommodate the hills. She was riding fast and after noticing that I was not behind her, she slowed down and waited on me to get to where she was. She felt bad for leaving me but I was fine…I told her, ”Don’t worry about me, I’m going at a slower pace but we both will arrive eventually which is the most important thing”…

And we DID! And in that moment God spoke to my spirit and said, ”There are a lot of people in competition with others and the only competition they should be in is with THEMSELVES if the desire is to be a better version of YOU.”

The Lesson(s):

  • The fancy biking outfit was cool but so was my not so fancy outfit because it didn’t affect the OUTCOME which was to finish the ride.
  • A couple of scriptures came to me:
    • 9:11 “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”
    • Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

So I say, take your time…go at your own pace….and If you don’t ‘stop’ you will finish!

 

Happy Trails!!!

 

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Xoxo Chiccy Baritone

 

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Who is Lecrae?

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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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Poetic Engineer…my TEDx Performance

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In April, I had the very ‘distinct’ honor of participating in TEDxGreenville 2014 and it was more than I could ever imagine!

I had never heard of TEDx and was recommended by a young lady name Nika White to try out! So I did and after about 3 months of going through varies processes of approval, I was chosen out of 150 nominees!

Started in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, TED today shares ideas from a broad spectrum — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independent TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world, hence TEDxGreenville:-)

I am asked pretty often how can an engineer be so ‘poetic?” hahaha! Well, my first answer is always,”It’s a gift from GOD.” then the next statement is,”And they both feed each other!”

So, I wanted to share this amazing experience with you…and for those who know my work as a poet, my content is usually pretty ‘heavy’ and can be challenging at times but for this event, I wanted to show the world how I can be serious but crack a couple of ‘jokes’ too!

Check it out! [Click Link Below!!!]

Poetic Engineer by Chiccy Baritone

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The death of Mike Brown…What are you telling your children??

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I believe the world stood still on Sat, August 9, 2014 when we learned about the death of 18 year old Michael Brown. This young man was gun down holding his hands up after having an altercation with a cop. Although a lot of detail about the incident is still unknown, the way that this young man died was heartless and the force used by law enforcement, to me, was excessive. Autopsy reports show that he was shot six times with two of the bullets being in his head. In an outrage, a multitude of citizens in the city of Ferguson, Missouri have been protesting his death for over a week now with multiple arrest and still questions of why this cop killed this child. As I continue to listen for details about this case every day I can’t help but wonder the conversations that are starting to come out of this. The conversations that we need to have with our children because…

Our children are watching..

So… It’s all over the news..and people are talking about it and offering up their opinion about how justice needs to be served. Your child is waiting to hear from you. I’m sure it is a difficult conversation to initiate but how many more of our youth will experience death before you speak up? The response that has already been displayed, with the exception of protesting, has been unacceptable. Riots broke out and people begin looting local businesses. I don’t want to excuse this behavior as an acceptable way to express your anger nor is this going to bring awareness to the issue.
Expressing anger comes with options and responsibility. Unfortunately, we don’t want to hear that when we decide to express our anger through actions that are not conducive to the cause. Yes, I believe in protesting this young man’s life and yes, words are powerful and can bring change but abusing or “ab-using” our voice and actions does not help an already difficult situation.

Our children are watching…

But this could have easily been your child and if it was, let’s rewind to the years, days and moments that you have right now to influence the thoughts your child may have in response to authority outside the home.

Do you create scenarios of what ifs with your children?

You know what that does? It allows you to hear your child’s thought process and give you the opportunity, as a parent, to make corrections where you see necessary.

So, currently, I don’t have children but I’m not excused from the responsibility. I have a niece that is a teenager and even though this was not an incident with a girl, it very well could have been.
Your child need more than the opinion of television or strangers. I think this is a great time to revisit history on some of the protest demonstrations of the 60’s and 70’s. This is also a great time to talk about both sides of this story (as far as what we know right now) and try to understand why this cop, officer Darren Wilson, felt the need to gun this child down. We don’t want our children to begin putting every cop in a category of “all cops are bad” nor do we want our children to be naive about the cops that exercise their authority improperly. So my request to the parents…since you know your child is ‘watching’, let’s Speak UP..

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!
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The Fallacy of Flaws…

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I recently purchase a skirt and it had this note on the tag (see above):

“The weaving irregularities and shade variations are characteristic of the fabric
And in no way to be taken as defects.”

So in other words, the ‘flaws’ or imperfections of the garment are not to be taken as a bad thing but it actually enhances the beauty of the product.

Think about that for a moment….

In fact, like the disclaimer on my tag, the flaws are “variations of the characteristic of the fabric”…

Characteristic(n.): 1. a feature or quality belonging typically to a person, place or thing and serving to identify it.

Some synonyms for Characteristic: attribute, feature, quality, property, trait, aspect, element and facet

So, this is just my “two cents”. If God created you and after he created you thought that you were very good (Genesis 1:31) then why is it that you believe another person and their standards for beauty? I believe a flaw has to be ‘taught’ just like racism, which is a totally different issue, but do you feel me? Remember when someone pointed out to you that you had a ‘Gap between your teeth’ but you saw other kids with ‘gaps’ and as far as you can tell, it was normal! Or, you never had a problem with your ‘dark skin’ until someone said that light skin blacks are better than dark skin blacks because their complexion was more appealing? I can go on and on but my point is, a flaw to me is a ‘unique identifier.” God created you with what “you” call a flaw. To God, it’s a part of your beauty and the very quality that makes you incomparable. What you call a flaw could be the very blessing to open many doors of opportunity in your life!! For example, this young lady story truly blessed me and drives my point home! I absolutely LOVE this article about a model who has Vitiligo.

Please click on the link below and read about how she views this flaw as beauty:
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/08/top-model-vitiligo_n_5288165.html

This young lady is SO inspirational! She used her rare skin disorder which causes patches of depigmentation of the skin to her advantage and caught the attention of Tyra Banks and her seasonal tv show, ”America’s Next Top Model.” From this opportunity, she was invited to come back to her High School giving a motivational talk to the students, focusing on the discrimination she faced. To those struggling with accepting who they are, she said, “I loved myself. And with that, opportunities start to fall into my lap. And I thank God for all of them.Try loving yourself.”
What an amazing young lady and she is only 19 years old! So I say, how do you look at your “flaws” now?

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!
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