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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Becoming a better you

Good day Mars,

Being heart healthy!

     I'm on vacation this week and visited several doctors. While at the cardiologist, he looked over my blood work numbers and was very impressed. My cholesterol was low; he said, "you must eat healthy", I replied, "No, I contribute that number to walking to and from work everyday". Forty minutes and up two hills going, is what this walk entails.
     Let my share with you, I do try to watch my caloric intake but that doesn't mean there necessarily the right foods. I love chips, pizza, fries and cheeseburgers. During work hours I eat very well, but when I get home, sometimes I can defeat the whole purpose of "watching my calories".
     People always say that I look good, I don't need to lose weight, and so on but we are and should be our worst critic. I've maintained an average weight of 185 lbs for the last ten years, but I can afford to lose some excess fat around my mid-section. This is what I hold my self against. I will share this too, If you start to eat right you know, veggies, fruit, lean meats, must not deviate. This means, as soon as you take a bite of any junk food you will automatically see yourself fall back into your old routine. Craving sweets!
     Also, you can eat what you like but start cutting your portions in half. Instead of having a whole sandwich, start with one (1) slice of bread and pack it with fresh chicken or turkey breast, not cold cuts. Stop buying sweets to store in your house. If you want to have something sweet then go out to the store and buy it. You will find that buying a snack pack of Oreos is only around 230 calories for 6 cookies, as opposed to a family size package with 3 rows of 12 cookies, stored not-so-safely in your cupboard. This type of temptation leads down the path of eating 2 - 3 cookies until an entire row is consumed. Oh, the guilt! You can also settle for the 100 calorie packs, but eat only one bag! 
Wii Fit Plus [Bundle] [Wii Game]
Research Wii for yourself
     Getting some sort of exercise is key too. Here's a big helper, mothers if you're not the gym going type then please do not go and join one. You can use that same money to purchase a Wii system, about $200, and a Wii Fit Plus game and balance board for another $100, and workout in the privacy of your own home. I have the best time using mine. I sometimes have a girls night and rent the dance videos and we have even more fun while getting in a workout. Besides, most memberships are at the least $350 and up. They also prey on those who know they're not going to consistently get into the gym routine. Like, car dealers and auto repair shops, they see us coming a mile away.
     So, do your best to start now and when you fall short, get back up and try again. Never give up on yourself. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle like anything else in life, takes time and effort. Ask yourself, am I up to change? If the answer is an honest, Yes, then get started now!

Staying healthy,
Jerri of Mars

Saturday, February 19, 2011

And the nominee is...

Hi Mars,
     Have you ever asked your children ‘who’ they want to be when they grow up? Or if like myself, have young adults, whether in High School or College, are they at least close to where they see themselves in the next few years. That’s a lot to ask these days. Could we have cultivated a little more or possibly led them in the right direction with more care? These days, most children seem to be little ‘scatter brains’, especially with all the media and technology influx. It’s like indigestion to their mind, body and soul.
     I can speak from my own experiences. I was not a young mother, when I had my son at the tender age of 27, but I was unmarried. Taking on single parenting alone; very overwhelmed. I went through a period of regression. I started hanging out more than ever; smoking, drinking and seeing guys a little too casually but never around my son. This happens to the best of us, especially when you’re a single mother, trying to find her way. I had to get back on track and put his needs first. Enrolled him into extra curriculum activities, in order to find his niche, his way. Enforced more mommy and son time. He didn't choose me, I chose him and he deserved the best of me and what life had to offer.
     The truth is that most of our children will find their way, in their own time. We need to be patient and pray for positive outcomes that will bring about productive citizens in society. This is a long process that takes a lot of our time and effort, from both parties. However, my vote goes out to all of you Mars! I nominate those mothers that have never given up on their children nor themselves; through thick and thin, good and bad and yes, hell and high waters. 
     Today's shout out goes to Ramona, my coworker, and her ambitious daughter Jennifer. Ramona has raised a set of twin daughters and a son, all by herself. She’s a phenomenal mother and teacher.  I love to go to her class. She makes me laugh, smile and I can be my sometimes crazy acting self with her. Ramona has so much energy, she’s a kindergarten teacher who’s structured, loving and passionate about her students' well fare. Her students love her. They tell her, “she’s the best”. So, you can imagine what she’s poured into her own three children, who are now grown.
An Emmy Award
     Getting back to Jennifer, who’s also loving and a beautiful person. She has completed college and is now pursuing a career in television broadcasting and journalism. Jennifer and her coworkers have produced a documentary and are now being nominated for an Emmy!
     Can you feel her since of accomplishments and pride, at the tender age of 27; and no babies! Her mother, Ramona, so ecstatic as we all are. So, the nomination goes to Jennifer and her proud ‘mommy’, Ramona. Who are both winners in our book!!!
     All things are possible through God…remember that what you pour into your children will prosper in due season. Be patient and never give up hope.

Jerri of Mars

Friday, February 11, 2011

Being cultured...

TGIF Mars,
    In honor of Black History month our school's PTA has invited The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre to grace us with their sensational presence next week. The demographics of our school are 85% Hispanic, 12% black and 8% white, so I have been exposing our students to 1 - 2 video clips in the lab. We also took a brief look at Mr. Ailey's biography. He has made a tremendous contribution to the art of dance and an outstanding entry way back into the culture of African American history. The only familiarity our students had with the clips was the song, Wade in the Water, because the 5th graders sung this during their winter concert.
Choreagraphed by Alvin Ailey

 Please mothers try to find time to culture your children, our sons, it very important. Different types of people, places, arts, foods, music the list goes on because it opens up their minds. When children are exposed to different people, places and things, they think more, write more, and speak more. I know it can be expensive but if their school is sponsoring a trip and you don't have the money, inform the school, most of the time someone will accommodate the funds. If you belong to a church, ask for a donation, most people who understand the arts and what great implications of being exposed to it, will be pleased to assist. Remember, pride is a terrible spirit, it leads to destruction. Nobody, in their right mind, wants to see any child get destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Lastly, look on the computer for free concerts. You will be surprised how many theatrical companies give free concerts. Alvin Ailey just performed in Central Park last summer. So, be encouraged and treat you and your son to a dinner theatre, one day soon.

God bless you all,
Jerri of Mars

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And a child shall lead them...

Good day Mars,

     My morning started out with a warm smile from one of my student's mom, her name is Tonya. She's a single mother raising her son. Now please understand that we never denounce our dads but when their unavailable, for any reason, we moms have to handle our business which is the art of mothering...
     Tonya, like her son, is smart, wonderfully pleasant and witty. We always chat for a few minutes and like the mothers who dropped wisdom regarding how to better raise my son, I do the same for her.
Today, after expressing how much the blog insights her, she gave me a nugget of wisdom to share with you.
     Her son, a 1st grader, couldn't understand why some adults use inappropriate language especially since his mother doesn't. She told him to follow her example which is not to curse and each time he hears an adult use this language, to charge them a quarter.
     I thought this was great advice! First, it teaches our children that profanity is wrong. Secondly, that there are consequences to poor choices of words and behavior. And when a child has to check our behavior, well speaking for myself, I feel real bad. The book of Psalms tells us, "that bad habits corrupt good behavior."
     Let our children teach us sometimes in the ways we should go. We tell them to be watchful of so-called friends whose behavior is not always good; we now can use that same advice on ourselves.
     A shout out to Tonya, one of our mothers doing the best with what God has given her! A wonderful son and the wisdom to raise him successfully.

Jerri of Mars

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saluting Gyna a mother of Mars...

It's a sad day Mars,

I just returned home from a very dear friend's funeral. Her name was Gyna; affectionately known as Gyna Beana. Today we salute a single mother of not one but four boys, who are now young men. They have beat the odds of the single parent statistics, they've graduated high school and are not in jail. 
This sistah was the epitome of single parenting. You never, I mean never, saw her without those boys. She was a football mom, a loving daughter and had three brothers all while being the only girl, in the family, like myself. She could handle the best of them.
Gyna was strong and had the prettiest smile. I remember us sitting in night school some 30 years ago when she was pregnant with her first boy. We would sit in class because she was carrying big and try to think of a name for him. She ended up naming him, Richard. She later gave birth to Brian and almost 10 years later, she had the twins.
We are truly going to miss her and we will be praying for her sons. We only get one mother! So, whether cherishing her memories like myself or your true and living mom in person, please honor her!

With love, 
Jerri of Mars

Friday, February 4, 2011

Let's Do It For Our Boys

Hey Mars,
      I'm sitting here in the lab and it's a beautiful day. New York's still recovering from several snow storms, the last one being all ice. My 5th graders just walked in, at least half of the class, and boy are they upset. Their complaint was that the teacher did not, no let me quote them correctly, "she never chooses the boys!” You know my heart melted; I love the boys! Girls are cute but I'm partial to boys and everyone who knows me will say the same. I have 7 brothers, 7 nephews, 2 godsons, asked God for a son and I'm a “daddy’s girl”.
     Now, first things first, these particular boys are "bad". I will never tell them to their face. I never believed in using that word. I always spoke positive words to my precious son and even he had plenty of moments. Don't get it twisted, I am very stern but with explanation and love, my point gets across. These students of mine have their own issues which outside of this classroom are beyond my reach. So, after allowing them to vent, I gave them a free pass to go to a website of their fancy. Can you hear their cheers?! I never give freebies but they needed a lil sunshine.
     I couldn't dare add injury to their pain nor pore salt on their wounds because their feelings are real. I could have brought up several reasons why she may have not chosen them, because I've had running’s with these very same boys. Regardless of what indiscretions they may have with their teacher, I'm sure her reasons for not ever choosing them were valid. How I choose to deal with their pain when I'm not the villain is to make it go away; with quick resolve.
     The story is told all the time, the "good" girls always get to do things while the "bad" boys bare the brunt of it all. There's a saying that goes, "we raise our daughters and spoil our sons", know the word spoil here has a negative connotation. To "spoil" our sons means to disregard their behavior and reward or crush them when they fall short of our expectations. So parents pull the guilt card. You know, this type of behavior from both sons and parents supposedly rearing them will eventually end up on a dead end road. Note that boys will become men and in time the negligent behaviors and an ill-reward system do have grave consequences.
     The consequences are known to be and are not limited to:
*disruptive behaviors in and out of the home especially in school
*bullying, low self-esteem, poor test scores
*becoming insatiable (never enough, always wanting)
*attention seekers (clowning, calling out, very needy)
     In the end, when our young boys do something inappropriate, lay the consequences down immediately. You must always be objective, leaving our feelings aside; never too harsh or too lenient. Let the punishment fit the crime! And when tomorrow comes, let it be. Don't keep digging up his past indiscretions. Come on Mars, this is not even cool when it's done to our significant others. We must know when to let it go and move on. Start off the next day with mercy, the way God does.

Jerri of Mars