June 16, 2016

Boxing Champ Who Lived In 13 Foster Homes Says Flawed System Needs Work

Boxing Champ Who Lived In 13 Foster
Homes Says Flawed System Needs Work

Lisa P. Cohen entered the world of professional boxing at the relatively late age of 29, eventually bobbing, weaving and pounding her way to an IFBA Junior Featherweight World Title.
But Cohen engaged in even greater battles long before she donned boxing gloves. She grew up a ward of the court, living in 13 foster homes where she often witnessed or experienced abuse and neglect.
“For many years I tried to avoid even thinking about my past,” says Cohen, author of the memoir “Being Too Fierce: One Woman’s Incredible Journey from Foster Child to World Championship Boxer” (www.beingtoofierce.com).
“I marched forward trying my best to become a completely different person and chose not to feel sorry for myself.”
Now, though, she talks openly about her foster-care experiences, sharing her story to inspire today’s foster children and doing what she can to correct the flaws she sees in the system.
It’s a system that can leave bitter memories for children who live in a series of temporary homes, and rarely feel they truly belong.
“I knew that no matter how big or fancy the house we lived in was, we were still the same old malnourished, Medicaid card-toting, free lunch-eating, hand-me-down-wearing foster children we had always been,” Cohen writes in her book.
May is National Foster Care Month, but Cohen says any time is the right time to make improvements that will ensure a better life for the more than 400,000 American children in foster care.
Some fixes could require major policy changes. But Cohen says foster parents can improve the children’s lives in small ways right now.
Among her recommendations:
• Understand that trash bags are not luggage. Foster children often are shuttled from one foster home to another. When those moves take place, the children usually don’t pack their belongings in a suitcase. Instead, they are given a trash bag. “They deserve better than that,” Cohen says. “Please don’t put their clothes in a trash bag.”
• Learn the “love language” each child needs. Some children want and need “tough-love” talk. Some want to be spoken to in a more gentle way. “You have to learn the child’s love language,” Cohen says. “You have to connect to them individually.”
• Take photographs the children can keep. One of the sad realities is that many foster children grow up with little to no photographic record of their childhood. In most cases, they don’t even get the school pictures that are the norm for other children. Once after Cohen grew up she was going through her court file and stumbled upon a photograph of herself as a child. She kept the photo, one of a handful that recorded her childhood.
“One reason I like to share my story with foster children is that I want them to see that I am them and they are me,” Cohen says. “They are champions, too. They just don’t know it yet.”
About Lisa P. Cohen
Lisa P. Cohen is the author of “Being Too Fierce: One Woman’s Incredible Journey from Foster Child to World Championship Boxer” (www.beingtoofierce.com). She grew up as a ward of the court and lived in 13 foster homes. In 1996, at age 28, she began boxing and turned professional the next year, competing under the name Lisa “Too Fierce” Foster. During her career, she won the IFBA Junior Featherweight World Title.

My top 15 moving tips

We have moved so many times that I have almost lost count! I know that I have learned and created a few tips to make it easier on not only me but the kids as well. Here are my top 15 tips.

1. As soon as you know you are going to move, weed out things you don't need or have not used in 6 months. Do you really need 200 pairs of shoes? If not, donate or sell them. There are so many pages on Facebook for Buy, Sell or Swap in almost every area of the US. There's also Craigslist, EBay and Etsy.

2. When you start to pack have a "no pack" zone. The bathroom tub or a big box in the corner of the living room. Put items you don't want packed and you want to keep close in the box. Things like that might be a spare change of clothing, toiletries, medication, lightbulbs, toilet paper, a few towels, important paperwork and pet supplies. This is the last out and first in box. It is especially important if your using a moving company and they are taking the boxes and they will not arrive for a day or so after you get to your destination. 

3. Stop shopping. No I dont mean for food or basics. I mean stop shopping for furniture, clothing, toys and such things. Save up that money for the move! You will also have less to move. And dont think of it as "I'm buying for the new place." Buy it after you move, if you still think you need it.

4. Start collecting boxes as soon as you have a move date. People are always moving an needing to get rid of the boxes after they are unpacked. That makes it your gain. Why pay for boxes when you can get them free from just about everywhere. On places like craigslist, look under FREE and call stores in the area. They have to pay to get rid of the recycled boxes and to give them away, saves them money.

5. Keep a copy of the phone book from the area you are moving from. If you need to call your old city or town this will save you time and effort. Make sure to highlight the utility companies you had for reference if you have any problems. You never know when you might need to call your old pharmacy or the kids old school.

6, Safety tip: Take all the light bulbs out of the lamps and fixtures. If they shatter, especially if they are the older bulbs, you will have one heck of a mess to clean up. It may also save you from getting cut from the broken bulb. 

7. Uncover any liquids, food, toiletries, etc., and put a layer of saran wrap oven them and then recap them. This will help prevent any spills of leaks. It would be awful if the Canola Oil leaked all over the flour or other food you take. Ick!

8. Don't forget you can use your laundry baskets and other bins and baskets for packing lighter items. 

9. Take pictures of all your valuables. This includes your tv's, appliances, computer, and anything else that you paid a fair amount for. Also inventory and get clear pictures of your jewelry.

10. If your renting, take alot of pictures before you leave the keys. This covers your butt! We took over 200 pictures when we moved out of our townhouse. Good thing too as the former landlord tried to say we left it in horrid condition. Our pictures showed a different story and the judge threw the case out!

11. Make sure you set up the utilities in you new place before you move in! If you move in on a Friday and have no electricity, you might have to wait until Monday morning to even talk to the electric company. There's no guarantee it will be turned on then either! Make sure its turned on a few days fore you get there. Same with all your other utilities. If you cant live without your cable or internet for a week or so, make sure you set it up early!

12. Make sure to let doctors offices and schools know your moving. Usually you have to sign a release so they can send your records to a new doctor. Doing it before you move can save a major headache later down the road with all the faxing and emailing of records. 

13. If your moving to another town or state and you have kids, let them host a goodbye party. This helps them deal with leaving and allows a chance for one last happy day with their friends. It also allows a chance for them to say goodbye and to share their new address so they can keep in touch. 

14. Let the kids help you pack. Letting them help pack their toys and clothing gives them a chance to keep out special things they want to keep close to them. And you can explain to them that they will see their things again in the new place. 

15. Change your address at least 2 weeks before the move. That gives plenty of time for the Post Office to make sure the mail gets forwarded and not be left sitting in your old mailbox until who knows when. That opens you up to identity theft! 

June 15, 2016

What are your Summer Plans?

What are your Summer plans?








pollcode.com free polls

June 14, 2016

The Death of a Sibling

Growing up you think certain people will always be around you, parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.

Then they are no longer there.

Usually it starts with grandparents. Then you spend time with your parents going to their grave sites. Leaving flowers and saying prayers.

Then your parents usually follow. You spend time with your friends and siblings at the sites and making  mini memorials. Its to be expected. Parents before children.

Then it starts. Your friends start to pass. For one reason or another they are gone.

Your siblings have been there for you through all the death, sorrow, happiness and life events. They have been your friend, your sibling, confidant, accomplice, and your connection to reality in certain times.

When death happens it can be sudden or you can watch them die slowly but, no matter how it happens, you loose a piece of yourself that you can never get back. You loose the confident that held some of your most intimate secrets, the person who no matter how much you fought with always had your back in a fight. You loose the person who could see things you didn't want to and who you went out of your for when no one else would.

There will be be a place in your heart that shuts down and doesn't want anyone else to touch. The condolences will go in your ears but they wont mean too much even tho you smile and say "Thank You." You will think back on them though and remember how it did touch you, but they didn't really understand.

Death is hard on the survivors no matter who is left behind. Its made even harder when the siblings were mad at each other when death occurs. To have spoken harsh words and not have a chance to apologize, is agony. To have ignored the last call, a hated memory. To never say "I'm sorry"  or to hug one last time.

I do know how it feels. My sister passed away last week unexpectedly. Alone in her apt while her son was out. It happened so fast. We were not on good terms. She lived a life I didn't want my kids exposed to. She was not exactly nice online in social media either. I spoke harsh words to her and never spoke to her once in the past 2 years. I loved her but I hated her. She tried to be nice and I wouldn't accept it. I'm not the only sibling that had unresolved issues with her either. But there is nothing we can do about it now except hope and pray she forgives us and knows we did love her.

Death comes in an instant sometimes. Don't live your life hating your siblings. They are your family and family is forever. Forgive often. Love always. Don't leave doors open for regret.





3 Birds...A Poem by D

3 Birds

Sitting in the early morning light
Gazing out the window
I saw a red bird land upon the sill.
A cardinal I believe.

As I watched her, she started to change
From Red to Blue
And she became a beautiful BlueBird
With a full and proud breast.

As I admired the beauty on my sill
She started to change yet again.
To the blackest of black
and became the Raven.

She looked at me
And I at her
She spread her wings
And took off in flight.

The stages of the beautiful bird
Are like the stages of our love.
Red and full, Blue and Proud.
Black and lifeless and dead.

Debra Lord

They Say. A poem by D

They Say

Those who say
What has a will has a way,
Let me say,
You can will it as you may,
But it may need a giant shove!

Debra Lord Daigle

Poetry by D

My Heart Beats On

Shattered and broken.
No longer palpating with love
and silently longing for comfort,
My heart beats on.

Laying next to you
Your touch but a memory
Listening to your breathing as you sleep
My heart beats on.

Longing for your touch.
Wanting to feel your comfort.
Wondering where it all went wrong.
My heart beats on.

I see your face.
I hear your voice.
I long for an embrace that will not come.
But, my heart beats on.

I feel broken and beaten.
Taken down by your silence.
Broken by your ignorement,
My heart beats on.

For now it beats for you.
The hope of what is lost to come home.
For now it is a comforting thought,
That my heart still beats on.

But one day
It will not beat for you.
But for myself and I
My heart will beat on.

Debra Lord Daigle