Thursday, September 30, 2010

President Barack Obama- Back 2 School Speech

I know the kids have been in school in some areas for over a month now. Since this is the last week in September and all kids should be officially adjusted to the routine of earlier bedtimes, sunrise awakenings and homework, in keeping with tradition of my blog, I decided to post the President's speech.  You can view last year’s post "Education is Power" Similar to last year my daughter and I watched the speech together. I pointed out statements to her that I thought would stick in her mind. Especially some of the things I tell her on a regular basis.

"But just because you’re not the best at something today doesn’t mean you can’t be tomorrow"- Obama

That is such a true statement. Although his speech is for the kids, I find many points in it encouraging for myself as I continue on my journey of "higher" education. It is never too late to believe in yourself. At least, that is my motto. 

I was a little disappointed that the Chicago Public School system did not have a viewing in the classrooms. Last year it was so predictive how many parents were against the speech being shown at schools. Some people fight the oddest battles. You protest against someone positively speaking to your children about education, but you let them watch the Simpsons or Family Guy? (Nothing against those shows, I'm just saying)

Anyway, the month of September would not be complete on my blog without including the President's speech. If you didn't get a chance to watch, I encourage you to read below and share your thoughts. I hope everyone is having a wonderful school year thus far, the kids are making new friends and learning new things.

Retrieved September 30, 2010 from 

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 13, 2010
Remarks of President Barack Obama -As Prepared for Delivery - Back to School Speech
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 14, 2010
As Prepared for Delivery—
Hello Philadelphia! It’s wonderful to be here. Today is about welcoming all of you and all of America’s students back to school – and I can’t think of a better place to do it than Masterman. You’re one of the best schools in Philadelphia – a leader in helping students succeed in the classroom. And just last week, you were recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for your record of achievement. That’s a testament to everyone here – students and parents, teachers and school leaders. And it’s an example of excellence I hope communities across America embrace.
Over the past few weeks, Michelle and I have been getting Sasha and Malia ready for school. And I bet a lot of you are feeling the same way they’re feeling. You’re a little sad to see the summer go, but you’re also excited about the possibilities of a new year. The possibilities of building new friendships and strengthening old ones. Of joining a school club, or trying out for a team. The possibilities of growing into a better student, and a better person, and making your family proud.
But I know some of you may also be nervous about starting a new school year. Maybe you’re making the jump from elementary to middle school, or from middle to high school, and worried about what that’ll be like. Maybe you’re starting a new school, and not sure how you’ll like it.  Or maybe you’re a senior who’s feeling anxious about the whole college process; about where to apply and whether you can afford to go.
And beyond all these concerns, I know a lot of you are also feeling the strain of these difficult times. You know what’s going on in the news and your own family’s lives. You read about the war in Afghanistan. You hear about the recession we’ve been through. You see it in your parents’ faces and sense it in their voice.
A lot of you are having to act a lot older than you are; to be strong for your family while your brother or sister is serving overseas; to look after younger siblings while your mom works that second shift; to take on a part-time job while your dad is out of work.
It’s a lot to handle; it’s more than you should have to handle. And it may make you wonder at times what your own future will look like; whether you’ll be able to succeed in school; whether you should set your sights a little lower, and scale back your dreams.
But here is what I came to Masterman to tell you: nobody gets to write your destiny but you. Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing – absolutely nothing – is beyond your reach. So long as you’re willing to dream big. So long as you’re willing to work hard. So long as you’re willing to stay focused on your education.
That last part is absolutely essential – because an education has never been more important. I’m sure there will be times in the months ahead when you’re staying up late cramming for a test, or dragging yourselves out of bed on a rainy morning, and wondering if it’s all worth it. Let me tell you, there is no question about it. Nothing will have as great an impact on your success in life as your education.
More and more, the kinds of opportunities that are open to you will be determined by how far you go in school. In other words, the farther you go in school, the farther you’ll go in life. And at a time when other countries are competing with us like never before; when students around the world are working harder than ever, and doing better than ever; your success in school will also help determine America’s success in the 21st century.
So, you have an obligation to yourselves, and America has an obligation to you to make sure you’re getting the best education possible. And making sure you get that kind of education is going to take all of us working hand-in-hand.
It will take all of us in government – from Harrisburg to Washington – doing our part to prepare our students, all of them, for success in the classroom, in college, and in a career. It will take an outstanding principal and outstanding teachers like the ones here at Masterman; teachers who go above and beyond for their students. And it will take parents who are committed to your education.
That’s what we have to do for you. That’s our responsibility. That’s our job. But here’s your job. Showing up to school on time. Paying attention in class. Doing your homework. Studying for exams. Staying out of trouble. That kind of discipline and drive – that kind of hard work – is absolutely essential for success.
I know – because I didn’t always have it. I wasn’t always the best student when I was younger; I made my share of mistakes. In fact, I can still remember a conversation I had with my mother in high school, when I was about the age of some of you here today. It was about how my grades were slipping, how I hadn’t even started my college applications, how I was acting, as she put it, “casual” about my future. It’s a conversation I suspect will sound familiar to some of the students and parents here today.
And my attitude was what I imagine every teenager’s attitude is in a conversation like that. I was like; I don’t need to hear all this. So, I started to say that, and she just cut me right off. You can’t just sit around, she said, waiting for luck to see you through. She said I could get into any school in the country if I just put in a little effort. Then she gave me a hard look and added, “Remember what that’s like? Effort?”
It was pretty jolting, hearing my mother say that. But eventually, her words had their intended effect. I got serious about my studies. I made an effort. And I began to see my grades – and my prospects – improve. And I know that if hard work could make the difference for me, it can make the difference for you, too.
I know some of you may be skeptical about that. You may wonder if some people are just better at certain things. And it’s true that we each have our own gifts and talents we need to discover and nurture. But just because you’re not the best at something today doesn’t mean you can’t be tomorrow. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a math person or as a science person – you can still excel in those subjects if you’re willing to make the effort. And you may find out you have talents you’d never dreamed of.
You see, excelling in school or in life isn’t mainly about being smarter than everybody else. It’s about working harder than everybody else. Don’t avoid new challenges – seek them out, step out of your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to ask for help; your teachers and family are there to guide you. Don’t feel discouraged or give up if you don’t succeed at something – try it again, and learn from your mistakes. Don’t feel threatened if your friends are doing well; be proud of them, and see what lessons you can draw from what they’re doing right.
That’s the kind of culture of excellence you promote here at Masterman; and that’s the kind of excellence we need to promote in all America’s schools. That’s why today, I’m announcing our second Commencement Challenge. If your school is the winner; if you show us how teachers, students, and parents are working together to prepare your kids for college and a career; if you show us how you’re giving back to your community and our country – I’ll congratulate you in person by speaking at your commencement.
But the truth is, an education is about more than getting into a good college or getting a good job when you graduate. It’s about giving each and every one of us the chance to fulfill our promise; to be the best version of ourselves we can be. And part of what that means is treating others the way we want to be treated – with kindness and respect.
Now, I know that doesn’t always happen. Especially not in middle or high school. Being a teenager isn’t easy. It’s a time when we’re wrestling with a lot of things. When I was your age, I was wrestling with questions about who I was; about what it meant to be the son of a white mother and a black father, and not having that father in my life. Some of you may be working through your own questions right now, and coming to terms with what makes you different.
And I know that figuring all that out can be even more difficult when you’ve got bullies in class who try to use those differences to pick on you or poke fun at you; to make you feel bad about yourself. In some places, the problem is more serious. There are neighborhoods in my hometown of Chicago, where kids have hurt one another. And the same thing has happened here in Philly.
So, what I want to say to you today – what I want all of you to take away from my speech – is that life is precious, and part of its beauty lies in its diversity. We shouldn’t be embarrassed by the things that make us different. We should be proud of them. Because it’s the things that make us different that make us who we are. And the strength and character of this country have always come from our ability to recognize ourselves in one another, no matter who we are, or where we come from, what we look like, or what abilities or disabilities we have.
I was reminded of that idea the other day when I read a letter from Tamerria Robinson, an 11-year old girl in Georgia. She told me about how hard she works, and about all the community service she does with her brother. And she wrote, “I try to achieve my dreams and help others do the same.”  “That,” she wrote, “is how the world should work.”
I agree with Tamerria. That is how the world should work. Yes, we need to work hard. Yes, we need to take responsibility for our own education. Yes, we need to take responsibility for our own lives. But what makes us who we are is that here, in this country, we not only reach for our own dreams, we help others do the same. This is a country that gives all its daughters and all its sons a fair chance. A chance to make the most of their lives. A chance to fulfill their God-given potential.
And I’m absolutely confident that if all our students – here at Masterman, and across this country – keep doing their part; if you keep working hard, and focusing on your education; if you keep fighting for your dreams and if all of us help you reach them; then not only will you succeed this year, and for the rest of your lives, but America will succeed in the 21st century. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Food for Thought- Keep the Prayers Going Up- Old Post from 4/18/2010

It is good to have someone to take the sadness and uncertainty away when it feels like the walls are closing in on you.  God is there when the person on the other line doesn't have a moment to spare. I have finally learned after bumping my head against the wall for what seems like forever, is that people are selfish. When they are at their lowest point they will need you, but when you need them they are just not there. Hmmm, I wonder why? How is that you can give your full support to someone and they never return the favor. It baffles me. I won't be upset by, I'll just now know where I stand.

LIAR..LIAR, Pants on FIRE!

“Liar, liar pants on fire, hang them up on telephone wire”

Lying is a pet peeve of mine. I hate it and I don’t respect people that do it. Some people lie for absolutely no reason at all, just for the sake of speaking.  But those aren’t even the people that get under my skin. The ones that drive me up the freakin wall are those that look me straight in my eye and say one thing and then say that is not what they said. It is a combination of not be able to admit fault in anything and then back tracking their original words to justify their action. Well yesterday I heard and read enough lies to make me want to strangle someone. 

When it becomes apparent to me that you are filled with untruths and slick stories to wiggle your way out of a tight situation, I no longer value you. Simply put, you mean nothing more to me than a joke. Credibility is squashed and moving forward I won’t trust or believe a word you say.  I know it seems harsh, but I don’t have tolerance for punks, and not being able to tell the truth is being a punk.
Please understand this applies to everyone. I am not speaking about male/female relationships; I am speaking about anyone that I come in contact with. It crawls up my skin, because I want to yell to top of my lungs when I catch someone in a lie. Screaming, “LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE”.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

She Fell in Love….With Books?

My child loves to read.  When I say LOVES, I mean she loves it. I have to turn the lights off on her at bedtime, because if I don’t I swear she would read until the sun comes up. I remember I was the same way as a kid. 

I still love to read, but with my busy schedule who has time. I remember last year on my blog I posted I would read 1 book a month, well that didn’t work. I mean seriously, with my school work and now her schoolwork load; I cannot find a moment to myself. I have accepted the fact that I will not officially slow down until sometime next fall after graduation. I digress.

Her love for reading makes me smile from ear to ear. She sits and laughs out loud at funny parts in the story and comes to tell me what happened. It is the best feeling to see a child so entertained by words. With that being said I have been buying her a new book every two weeks, but she reads them in a day. Surly I cannot keep up with that pace. So I wanted to share a budgeting tip I have used before. In addition to the library of course, I shop The “Goodwill”, yep your heard me correctly. They have gently used and brand new books for less than 75 cents!!! Yes, can you believe it? I have been getting books from there for about 2 years now and I have never spent over 5 bucks. So we may leave with 10-12 books and she is so excited. 

Now since school has started back, her classroom offers Scholastic books for parents to purchase online. At her previous school the online option was not available to us. The books are cheaper than the bookstore and when ordering online there are special discounted books not shown in the brochure. In addition to cheaper prices for your wallet, your purchase also helps the class receive a free book. “Your child's class gets a FREE Book every time you send your teacher your order online” ( So imagine if every parent placed an order. That creates a wonderful library for your child’s classroom. 

These books are great also. Last night I spent $17 books for 7 books, no tax and no shipping. Remember one book can cost you about $5.99 and up.  So that is a deal. The books are categorized by reading ability and grade level. I look through a grade above and 2 grades above her actual grade in school.  I want her to continue to enjoy the books so I get the simpler ones for her pleasure and the grade above that to continue to challenge her vocabulary. Seems to work for her, it may not work for everyone. You have buy according to your child’s ability, don’t force them because if it is too difficult they will get discouraged.  She is currently into the Junie B series. Here is a list of what I got.

Charlotte's Web $2.00
Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants $4.00
The Best School Year Ever $1.00
The Best Halloween Ever $3.00
A to Z Mysteries®: The Absent Author $2.00
Fudge-a-Mania $1.00
Toy Story 3: The Junior Novelization $4.00

As you can see some books were only $1.The website is very nice. There is even a section strictly for kids, with printable and activities. If your school does not participate in the ability to order online, the website offers a letter you can send to the teacher. 

Please check out the website for more great deals

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Losing Control

I have noticed that when I am not in control of the activities going on in my life, I feel chaotic. I feel rushed, and overwhelmed. I am not a control freak, but I have learned in the past to only depend on me. Self dependence also means self reliance, which to me equals self control. I am in charge of my daily decisions, and actions.

Recently I have mastered the control of most of my emotions. I am a work in progress. Knowing this I have become more patient with the things I want in life.

When it comes to love we tend to reach and reach, even if what we are reaching for keeps stepping back. Get my drift? Well, sometimes stepping back ourselves is an even better way to get what we "deserve" instead of want. Ironically, when you are overwhelmed with emotions you can be blindsided by what appears to be what you think you want, and in actuality it is what you desire at the moment. Stepping back and allowing the circumstance to play out, often reveals that it was never good for you.

Not being in control of the aspects of love relationships has lead me to feel less chaotic, the exact opposite of the other pieces of my life. Without the chaos, you can see what you deserve. It's such a good feeling to be free. What is something you can let go of?

Mommy Meet-Up Chicago

Being a mother is the best gift in the world. Sometimes mothers (especially my single moms) get so wrapped up in taking care of others, we forget to take care of ourselves. Well, I want to take a stand! How would you moms feel about having a monthly meet-up to just socialize? The children can come and meet new friends and best of all you get to socialize with other mothers.

Please take the survey below and let me know your thoughts. Comments are welcomed!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Am I Wise?

Product Description 
"Start down the "magical" road to "sweet" surprises! This adorable version of the classic CANDYLAND game features the colored cards and fun illustrations that kids love, with different "destinations" like Cupcake Commons and the chunky Chocolate Mountains. Choose your cards, move your pawn and let your imagination soar as you make your way to the castle to win!

It is funny to me how many people live their lives just as the product description of this game. They have no plan, no direction, and no stability. Every step in their life is a surprise. Simple tasks like paying bills is a shell shocker each month because before they get paid they've already spent the paycheck on trivial things, not giving much thought to how the rent/ mortgage will be paid or even how they will eat next week.

Each job is a different destination because they are still "finding themselves".

Then these toxic people enter your life and your the pawn. They move you along and let their "imagination soar" as you stupidly follow. What the hell? So goes my theory, ya'll know I have a theory for everything. Well, here you go: if you don't have the common sense to turn around and run when someone is leading you in a dark forest with no flashlight, map, or destination, then you need to walk smack dead into a tree. I'm just saying.

I am proud of the decisions I have made in my life to this point. I have learned some hard lessons, cried some very wet tears, let go of some things I once held too tightly, found new friends, loved deeply and hurt even deeper. At this point in my life I know what I like, what I want, and what I can't tolerate. If only I'd known these things in my twenties, trust me I hit a tree ONCE, and it knocked me right on my "bottom part". (smiles)

It's funny how when you are a teenager you think you know everything, in your twenties you've figured out the world, and when you hit thirty you realize you didn't know anything and now your proceed with caution. With the experiences both good and bad, this decade of my life is different. I see things for what they are and not for the way they should be.

So I ask myself, am I wise?

Hell no, but I bet I now  know better NOT to walk in the dark, plus the wisdom is getting there. Can you say the same or are you stuck in "Candy-land" trying to figure out the next best move to make? Or are you walking blinding into a tree?

Candy-land is the easiest childhood game to play and if you are over thirty and you keep get sent back to start, then it is time to grow the hell up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Can't Sing A Note: But I've Been Singing My Heart Out

“Woman I beg your forgiveness
And I'll do whatever it takes
And may the Lord be my witness
Honey I never meant to treat you this way
Sugar your heart has been broken
But I could still see true love shine in your eyes
When every word has been spoken
Woman I'll love you for the rest of my life” -
By Kem - Universal Motown Records (2010) 

I absolutely love this song. I think I listen to it about 20 times a day. It is clearly an “I messed up, take me back” song. But the last few times I heard it, I listened to it from a different perspective. I started singing the song to myself. I mean looking in the mirror singing out loud with all my heart singing. Suddenly the words meant so much more. I started feeling like I was singing the “I messed up, give me another chance” directly to me.

Okay, you are probably thinking what is this girl talking about?? The song just got me to thinking about how bad a person feels when they are in a painful relationship with someone and all the emotional hurt they go through. Well I have been down that dark road and when I stepped back I just look and say, “it wasn’t worth it”. I must have been foolish to ever treat myself so wrong. Loving someone that doesn’t love back, giving your all and then your left feeling empty. You temporarily lose yourself. Well no more, it’s time for me. So I just sing to myself: “I’ll never hurt you again Girl I, I know you deserve a better man, Girl IIIIIIIIIII, I was a fool to ever let you down”

Oh a serious note, you really do let yourself down when you don’t allow happiness to outweigh the rough times. Though there is pain and heartache, I am still a believer in true love. One day I will have stars in my eyes again. So again, I’ll never allow myself to hurt like that again.

I know, this is a weird way to listen to a song, but the words carry a strong meaning to me and I interpret things differently. Most people would envision a man singing it to a woman, but trying singing it to YOU and hear the meaning behind the words. We can hurt ourselves more than any individual and just like we forgive others, we also must forgive ourselves. I hope you can find a different meaning in the songs you love. God knows I can't sing, but I've been singing my heart out. What can I say, it makes me happy!


OMG,...I have been so stressed. I can not even explain it, I was starting to feel like a two headed monster.  I have committed to way too many things and unfortunately some of those things have to go.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's On

Today was yet another busy and tiring day. Despite the fact that I literally want to pass out from exhaustion, I got so many MANDATORY things done today. I am a procrastinator when it comes to doing certain things. I hate grocery shopping, I hate laundry, and oh yeah, I hate doctors offices. Hence, the reason I had to knock all these to-do items off my list today. Life would be so simple if I did things as they came, instead of letting it all become urgent at once. Anyway, no one is perfect and at least I know my imperfections. That doesn't excuse the fact that they exist, but I am working on it.

Well, I did it. I revamped the fridge in preparation for my work week. Eating healthy is not difficult for me. It is just when I go back to bad habits, I don't know where to start in order to get back on track. Well I started at the start. My problem isn't indulging in goodies, it is picking processed foods for quick eats. We all know processed foods are filled with sodium. preservatives, sugars, dyes, and a lot of non-nutritional things to extend the shelf life. Well since that is my downfall, I stopped it dead in its tracks and loaded up on the good stuff. Take a look below:

I am giving it my all, because I have no other option. Leave me some encouraging tips. Now, it's on!

Friday, September 10, 2010

An Achy Breaky Week

This has been a tough week. I am exhausted beyond belief. Rising at 5:15 each morning has been no joke. I have managed to workout every day this week, which is great. I've also decided to switch up my diet a bit. I am still in the process of adjusting it to my liking, but tomorrow's agenda includes a trip to the outdoor farmer's market.  Having fresh fruit and vegetables on hand for snacking will curve my attempts to snack late at night. I am looking to lose X pounds by Halloween. It is not a lot, but it is just enough for me. I love my curves. I would like to lose 2.5-3 pounds a week. I think that is a reasonable amount of weight to lose per week.

Each night my bedtime has gotten earlier and earlier.  My body is an "achy breaky reck". I literally hurt on every inch of my body. The muscle stiffness is no joke. For anyone that suffers from muscles stiffness, tightness, fatigue, spasticity, and/ or muscle spasms can feel my pain and frustration. I think getting back to a healthier lifestyle will make for less aches. At least that is what I am hoping.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Food For Thought"- I Can't believe its September

I am the way I am because I've been there before. Experience has thought me that if it smells like crap, it is crap. Something that stinks can't possibly be sweet. Do you know that or do you keep letting people feed you BS and tell you it's chocolate?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's Getting Close to Fall

Fall is my favorite season here in Chicago. It's not too cold, it's not too hot, and the wind has that "just right" breeze. I live right off the lake so this is the only time of year I actually enjoy the wind. The leaves on the trees start to turn beautiful colors, and the smell of dew in the early morning always makes me smile. Fall reminds, of back-to-school, Halloween, and fresh apples. Yes, I am a woman that embraces her senses. The older I get the more appreciative I am of the small things. I've noticed over the past year, I have paid close detail to my steps when I walk, the touch of soft skin, natural smells, and my overall blessings. Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons, but my main reason is my only child was born during the fall. I remember the day she came home it was warm like a summer day and the sun was shining bright.

On to the reason for this post. I did some late night shopping. I have no comfortable shoes and my feet have been swelling out of this world. I found some great deals online at They are have a sale and I had a coupon, plus free shipping so I couldn't beat that. Here is what I got::

I love these, I hope they are comfortable.

 I thought these where adorable. I plan to pair them with some skinny jeans

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