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“When The Roots Are Deep There Is No Reason To Fear The Wind”

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“When The Roots Are Deep There Is No Reason To Fear The Wind”

~African Proverb

I love this African Proverb. Well, this is one of many that I love. I wanted to talk about the meaning as it relates to something I learned about myself through the challenges of 2015. The moral values taught to me by my parents, the wise counsel from friends, family and mentors, and my spiritual relationship with Jesus all contributed to the depth and strength of my roots!

So what does this African Proverb mean? It can be a reference to how a firm grounding results in a natural resistance to shifting circumstances.

For example, if applied to private economy, it might mean that a solid savings account and a steady job mean that you don’t have to fear unforeseen expenses. Metaphorically, the wind cannot knock you over, because you’ve set deep roots that hold you in place. In relationships with people, you may be tested through disagreements or arguments that provoke you to respond in a way that is unethical. You resist the temptation because your desire and beliefs in not projecting an action that is not ‘like’ you are spiritually deep rooted! You have learned things to do so that you don’t respond! —like remain quiet, walk away, etc…(Help me Lord….I’m still working on this but I do not respond nearly as much as I use to!…Okay….just had to testify real quick! I don’t want to give the impression that I have mastered this!)

But a few scriptures that correspond to the point of this proverb that I love are:

Psalm 1:3 “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not witherwhatever they do prospers.”

Jeremiah 17:8 “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

 Wow….did you catch that in the scriptures? Both made mention of a key point…that nothing stops the TREE from bearing FRUIT!!! Despite the change in conditions (heat, drought, etc.) it is PLANTED or ROOTED! WHEW!!!!!

My Prayer: God, please plant and root me in your WORD! No matter what storm comes and no matter how strong the winds are, I shall not be MOVED! I thank you God for endurance, steadfastness, forgiveness, humility, peace and LOVE. For Love covers ALL! As I approach this new year of 2016, help me to grow deep roots in the characteristics of you!

In Jesus Name I pray…AMEN!

Happy New Year Nugget Blog#3

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Beyond A Title

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Several weeks ago, I was asked to be a panelist for a “Girls Who Rock” STEAM event in Spartanburg, SC. STEAM is an acronym for Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics. The original STEM program decided to add the ‘A’ because ART brings a sense of balance coupled up with Technology which aids innovation! Creativity and Technology are not distant cousins but more like brothers and sisters and I believe that acknowledging the ARTS was making it ‘official’ even though it has always been a part of the technological advancement of science and engineering. I hold a dear place in my heart for every component of STEAM so if you could only imagine, I was delighted when a good friend of mine referred me to be a part of this event.

I was aware of the nature of the event but I did not know anything about the ‘company I would keep’ as one of the 5 panelist. Even though I am an engineer and poet, my role in this forum was to represent engineering. When I received my itinerary through email I begin to look over the list of panelist and something stuck out immediately—I was the only person there that was not a Doctor. My immediate thought was Wow…..Then I stared at the itinerary for several minutes as my mind ran a million thoughts…One of those thoughts were, God I am familiar with the challenge of obtaining a Doctorate and I know several people in my life personally who are ‘Dr.’s’ of their respective fields so I don’t take it lightly…God…just please…represent in me when I open my mouth! (ha! Yes, that was my prayer)

But let me tell you what happened ‘in’ me while I was sitting in the mist of what I deem a ‘powerful panel of very intelligent, not only smart on paper but through life experiences as they opened their mouths” people….I had a lot to contribute as well without the DR. in front of my name. You see, I had a moment where God flashed my ‘past’ before me as I looked out into the sea of people waiting on me to ‘speak’. Sometimes I don’t think about all of the wonderful life experiences I have lived unless God brings it to my remembrance because of something happening in that moment or if I am asked to speak about my past. The Holy Spirit begin to remind me of the part all of those experiences are playing in this moment.right.now.WOW.

Please hear me…I don’t want you to leave this post saying it’s not necessary to get a Doctorate because I think that its admirable and has its place in your career goals and objectives. I just want to encourage someone who feels like they are not ‘worthy’ on paper. God has ‘kept’ you through some good and not so good life experiences that are worthy of mentioning in the company of people who may have more accolades and degrees.

There is a PLACE for your STORY and God will put you on a platform to tell it! AMEN….

And for me….I didn’t feel like, “Okay, maybe God is trying to say I need to get a Doctorate because why would He put me in the mist of all these Doctors?!?!” LOLOLOL! See, some of y’all probably thought I was going to go there but nope, my spirit didn’t unction that to me AT ALL….that moment for me was special. It was powerful and humbling. It made me appreciate my education AND my life experiences up to that moment in time. Things change and life has a way of coming back full circle to reach someone who is listening and living your life experience in that moment. That was confirmation for me as many parents and young girls came up to me afterwards to say how inspired they were by my story. Wow…..

So I say, be obedient and courageous. Speak your truth because God has created you to be a blessing to the world BEYOND A TITLE.

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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Counteraction Reaction…..

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Your counteraction can sometimes speak louder than an action…..

A counteraction can be defined as: An act of retaliation; a counterattack; any action in opposition to a previous action. (according to yourdictionary.com)

Where am I going with this? Your actions and someone else’s counteraction can both be wrong but the approach of a counteraction leaves the lasting impression. When you make a decision to respond in any situation, there are consequences to consider that may never be okay with an apology.

So, after seeing social media EXPLODE over the incident that happened at my alma mater, Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC, through a viral cell phone video where a cop approached a student to leave the class that ended up in a violent counteraction to her action, I had to speak up…but as I get older, I’m learning the importance and the power of the ‘pause.’ President Barack Obama does it in his speeches…and whether it’s just his style naturally or if it was taught, it still allows a person to think about their response before they make it. This skill is quickly becoming a habit for me in my personal and professional life and has saved me from what I call a huge ‘clean up’ job! (aka apologizing from something I said off the fly)

But let’s keep it all the way live….I was LIVID when I saw the video. I played it over and over again then I stopped. I had to let my anger channel through my mind because I am very honest with myself and my emotions. This hurt…then it stung…as I watched the response of the students via video which seemed motionless as this officer flipped this girls desk then dragged her across the floor. You could feel the tension of utter shock as if it was something being played out in a movie and not in an actual classroom….a place where students should be learning and not concern about being mishandled by authority.

Now let me PAUSE….because I dated a teacher and I know that one of the most important attributes of teaching is classroom management. You see, you can be the best teacher ever but if you can’t manage your classroom, it will disrupt the flow of learning and for some teachers, that’s a hard balance which can ultimately be the demise of a teacher’s career. As a matter of fact I met an “Engineer turned Teacher” who ended her 2 years of teaching for that very reason…she could not manage her classroom and found it very difficult to teach beyond her love for teaching itself.

As I watched this story unfold in 4 days there was a lot of information that didn’t condone the action of the student but it made you broaden your perspective a little. Our young people are dealing with some serious issues of life and although it doesn’t justify them not listening to authority, it does raise the question of where was the authority in this young girl’s life? When parents neglect to teach their children respect at home or if no example of authority is being exercised in front of a child, it leaves the responsibility up to every other form of authority outside of the home to ‘teach’ that child and most of the time, a stranger is not going to give that child the ‘benefit of the doubt.’

She was broken…

So when she violated school rules and was asked multiple times to leave the classroom to the point to where a resource officer had to be called to escort her out, as a person in authority, you have to ask yourself, how should I counteract to this action?

He has issues…

And they stem from something bigger than a disrespectful child at the time who would not respond to his actions to remove her out of the class. The excessive force used was by no means necessary and was beyond his professional training as an officer, so what made him go so far?

I don’t know…and the fact of the matter is we all don’t know but he does…

His counteraction now outweighs the action of this student and has resulted in him being fired and possibly facing charges of assault.

So while the story is FAR from being over, my concern at this time is focused on one thing right now..

That young girl….

And while we don’t know all of ‘her story’, we know someone like her…shoot, let’s be honest, someone reading this right now may share a childhood that was similar..being raised by someone other than your mother, but your mother is alive and made a decision not to raise you. How did the your mother’s decision, regardless of the reason, influence you as a child AND as a woman?

I feel like we need to REACH a little further than the internet….I can hear the silent cry out loud for attention with nowhere to talk about their pain. Our young ladies….feeling the pressure to be all and do all and we are hurting…pain neglected is pain that will revisit…and never go away until we open our mouths and our hearts to let healing in….

I’m typing and I’m thinking…”Charlene…what more can you do?” and that voice inside says,”So much more….much more.” So I’m about to rally some of my poetic sister’s together and we will use our gifts to bring awareness and a face to other women and young girls. Each one…teach one…

xoxo Chiccy Baritone

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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 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
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