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Thursday, August 31, 2017

FW Children Plan Fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey Evacuees


UPDATE: In just a few hours the children not only raised $2,000 in money and gift cards for evacuees temporarily (or permanently) relocated in Fort Worth and Dallas, but also received two suburbans full of unused clothing, socks and underwear, diapers, wipes, baby bottles, formula, toys, pet treats and pet toys. We traded the donations for homemade bread and muffins, breakfast tacos, lemonade and fresh hot coffee. The community came together for this one. A special thanks to everyone who supported these children's efforts to help other children. Be looking for a Part II soon as more people come to DFW from the Texas Coast with more needs!

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 I watched my parents go through this when Katrina hit their home in New Orleans. They were displaced for nearly six months until they decided to never go back. Most of their friends never returned either. It took them 11 years to sell their home down there, having to pay two mortgages, because people didn't want to experience Katrina ever again.
       I can’t imagine what life after Hurricane Harvey is going to be like for the evacuees. Our neighborhood children want to make sure the children evacuating Houston and surrounding towns have something that comforts them during a time that must be so confusing. - Jocelyn 





Who: Sixteen children who live on Chatburn Court in Fort Worth’s Berkeley Place neighborhood (just off Forest Park and blocks from TCU) will open a breakfast and lemonade stand to collect goods for the children and pets displaced during Hurricane Harvey.

What: “The Chatburn Chowdown Charity”

When: 8:30 – 11 a.m. Saturday

Where: Chatburn Court, Fort Worth, Texas 76110

Why: To collect donations such as toys, children’s books, gift cards, diapers, baby formula, baby wipes, clothing, pet toys, pet treats and pet food.

How: The children will band together to collect the above items by setting up a food cart selling goods made in each of the families’ homes — the Coles, the Ridenours, the Tatums, the Cowans, the Micheros and the Boggesses. They will sell homemade muffins, bread, breakfast tacos, cookies, brownies, fresh-squeezed lemonade, fresh coffee from Starbucks and more.







“My hometown was flooded. I love that my neighbors are pulling together to help,” Berkeley resident Pamela Boggess said.





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Thursday, July 20, 2017

FW's Poserkids’ Camp with Mister Mateo: The Last Hurrah?

By Jocelyn Tatum


“Hey Jet, do you remember going to that kids’ yoga class outside on the river by Press Café?”

(His eyes light up)

“Oh yea!”

“Did you like it?”

“I did!”

“What did you like about it?”

“Ohhhhh, the list is so long it could take me all day.”

My 5-year-old leans back in his chair over a mommy-son lunch date and crosses his arms as if it may actually take him all day.

I had found out that “Mister Mateo” (Mateo Marquez) is hosting his last summer camp next week and still has a few spots left. I was feeling my son out to see if he would be interested. 

“I liked it when we played crack the egg.”

(He is now smiling ear to ear remembering this one). 

He’s referring to when Mister Mateo had the children curl up in a ball with eyes closed. He went over to tap them when it was time to crack, which was timely for Easter weekend. Then each child opened their eyes to a surprise egg with a piece of candy inside. 

“I also liked the peanut butter-and-jelly pose and that he did all of the poses with us. He made me laugh a lot.”

And that he did. I remember thinking that this man was one of the silliest grownups I’d encountered, but the kids loved it. I loved it, too, laughing along with the children the whole time.

I am amazed my son remembered all of this with a smile after a 30-minute free yoga class on the river in April (four months ago!). It obviously made an impression. Even better, Mister Mateo has so much more than yoga planned for his last big hurrah summer camp after years of engaging parents and children alike in mindfulness, respect and nutrition. 

Each day, from 8 a.m. to noon July 24-28 at the ClearFork Food Park (1541 Merrimac Cir, FW, 76107), he starts with 45-minute yoga sessions to set mindfulness in motion. He then has variations of fitness, core values, creative arts and nutrition planned for each day bringing in big Fort Worth names to showcase their expertise (see below).

The camp is discounted from $250 to $199 — a steal considering the thoughtful planning that went into this camp, in my opinion. I can’t wait for my son to experience this before Mister Mateo takes PoserKids (yoga and more) on the road.

And while Mateo said the “PoserKids mothership” will stick around, Fort Worth will miss him as he journeys out to spread his mindfulness mission with children around the world.  So sign up while he has a few spots left. Camp starts Monday!

Click here to sign up!

A few things he has planned for his one-of-a-kind summer camp:
“Every day there is an outside fitness activity, creative arts activity and cooking/nutrition activity that results in the campers creating their own lunch. All of our presentations daily are thematically based on one of the four PoserPromises.”

Here are just a few guest presenters these kiddos will be privileged to encounter (Mister Mateo's words below):

·      Erin Wilde, Mrs. Fort Worth, Hank FM morning radio show host, anchor of our PoserPulse news program: will be talking to kids about being respectful, starting with yourself and doing your best in all things as you work to achieve your goals. 

·      Texas Food Guy (his social media moniker) aka Jason Wynn: will be doing some culinary creation with the campers and talking about having fun in all of your endeavors, including making nutrition fun.

·      Katsük, aka Daniel Katsuk, local musician that has done an acoustic cover of our theme song and co started in the video we did with pat green. He will accompany me last day for a live, finale version of our yoga sequence that is embedded in our theme song which he will play live as I teach. This focus is on the promise To Listen, our first and most difficult PoserPromise.

·      Marcos Santos, Marcos Santos Academy: local Brazilian jiu jitsu guru that has trained with chuck Norris, the Gracie family and others and does amazing work with children and is a dad just like Jason, Daniel and myself (Erin a momma, too). Marcos and Daniel have done their thing at all five summers of PoserCamp. Marcos focuses on doing your best and we work an anti-bullying/pro-kindness angle and the promise to Be Respectful.

*  Meditation with MeddyTeddy, a huge internet sensation!

·      Frederick Cowlah, artist, making masks to talk to the kids about being ourself and putting your best self forward

·      Elyse Calhoun, artist, will make mosaics with the kiddos

·      Gracyn (Mateo’s Daughter) slime making

·      Suzanne Watson, illustrator for our Children’s books, will help kiddos with their PoserPassports, their scrapbooks that document their week to take home and share with families.

·      Ashton Scally, gong, will accompany Daniel and Mateo for last yoga finale on Friday
·      FW Food and Wellness, Emily Fiala, cooking and nutrition

·      Body Bar Fort Worth (Kamille McCollum) and Pilates Concept (Sarah Singarella Cornett) Pilates

·      Fit 4 Mom Fort Worth, will stroller stride with us on our hike to Poser Rock along the trinity trails

·      Deb Callaway, Zumba

Photograph by Amber Shumake


Monday, August 18, 2014

My Trip to Port Aransas, TX: Goodnight Summer, Goodnight Beach



photo credit: wikimedia

My last trip of the summer takes me to the Texas coast. It's time to go after days of play, but I need one last moment on the shore. 

A few others are there doing the same. They stare out at the gilded waves reflecting the new morning sun. Two thoughts undulate in my head—someone bigger than we are had to organize this, and timelessness mixed with newness. Saltwater and waves have been around since the beginning, but the life within is new and ever-changing. Ancient Greek tragedies and comedies, settlers, explorers and travelers find their stories' epicenter in the ocean. I then remember I'm not alone in my adoration. The opening paragraphs of Moby-Dick speak to humankind's shared fascination with water:

"There now is your unsular city of the Manhattoes, belted by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there…

Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster—tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?

…There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries…Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever."
Tim Burdick Photography

He goes on to say if landlocked man would find the nearest pond or stream. Artists of landscapes always employ an element of water. A poor man from Tennessee invests in a trip to the beach instead of buying a much-needed coat.


"Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all."

Herman Melville said it best. I have nothing else to say. Now on to fall!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The First Amendment and NYC


A man with long white hair and a beard leans back against the steps reaching up to Federal Hall on 26 Wall Street. He plays the national anthem on his flute. Like the mild summer air coming off the Atlantic, the anthem ubiquitously floats around the Financial District reminding our small group where it all started.

This site was New York City’s 18th-centry City Hall where you could say the First Amendment was born. It’s no wonder newspaperman John Peter Zenger won his fight to print government corruption in his publication—the United States was born out of an intolerance for authoritarian, monarchial governments. Zenger’s acquittal marked a most important founding moment in our history—the freedom to expose injustices is no small potatoes. After all, the press is considered the fourth branch of the U.S. government, and essential part of the checks and balances system.

It was a great surprise to stumble onto this site during my latest NYC trip. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The New York City Cab Driver Who Changed My Life in 10 Minutes

The (New) World Trade Center: Tower 1
My last night in New York City the cab driver taking us to dinner asked me where I was from. “Texas,” I said defensively. Everyone thinks Texans are wealthy because we are from the “Land of Bush and Oil,” so I deflected and asked him where he was from. After more prodding, he started to tell me his story, and it moved me to tears.

He grew up in poverty in Bangladesh but left for New York City 25 years ago at 40 years old. His family wasn't able to come to the U.S. until 12 years after his move.  It took him that long to get legal citizenship and safely bring them over.

He labored long hours for years as bussing tables in a restaurant at an age when his body was already tired. His English was broken, but from what I understood, he said the restaurant owner noticed his work ethic, asked him work as a cook. He soon after applied for his green card. He said after five years he took an exam and then got approval for citizenship.

The mere mention of that day un-furrowed his brows and brightened his eyes. He missed his family and could now move them to New York with him. All this time, his wife and six children were living back in Bangladesh—a country so poor he said most people work 12 hours to earn one American dollar.

Once a legal citizen, his family moved, and he hoped to provide them with a world of opportunities not available to them at home. He started driving a taxicab. He said, as a cab driver, his extended family at home considers him wealthy. He sends a few hundred dollars back to them in Bangladesh. It was obvious from his tone that this act was his pleasure, not a burden or obligation. 

He said he spends his life suffering for others and future generations, as he felt he should. His frame was small, his head and face, bald, and his eyes big, sweet and brown. He looked like a boy with wrinkles. He didn’t feel sorry for himself, but painted a picture of self-sacrifice most of us Americans can’t comprehend. The Dalai Lama calls the U.S. the most individualistic nation in the world—a culture that tends to fend for themselves and nobody else. But Mother Theresa reminded us through her selfless acts that joy is found in serving others. When we serve ourselves it is never good enough.

The cab driver became passionate and said first generation immigrants in America never have it easy so why would he. He then asked about my forefathers. I said my family goes back six or seven generations in the U.S. and five in Texas alone. He reminded me that they probably didn’t have it easy when they first came from Ireland and Scotland to have what I have today. I was humbled. 

In just one generation, he changed the direction of his family's path. He said in the U.S. all you have to do is work hard, but in Bangladesh working hard still ends in suffering and poverty. His hard work is manifest in his six children’s success—his eldest son has his MBA and works in finance, his daughters got their education degrees to teach, and his younger twin sons will soon finish their masters in chemical and electrical engineering.

I learned in my tour of the Financial District that the first immigrant processed through Ellis Island was 15-year-old Annie Moore. She traveled alone with her two little brothers for 12 days at sea. Her parents were already in New York looking for work and new opportunities. They eventually reunited, but the road wasn't easy. She married young, had 11 children but only five lived into adulthood. She died at 47 of heart failure. I can't help but wonder where her descendants are now, but this New York Times piece gives us some clues. 

The cab driver said if he were born in the U.S. he would have studied hard to be a doctor. In Bangladesh he said he was a shaman-like character helping cancer patients and treating other ailing people who couldn’t afford medical care. This guy was not just a cab driver. The bus boy is never just a bus boy, a mother not just a mother, a CEO never just a CEO, and a homeless person never just a homeless person. 

Everyone has a story. We all have something to learn from our fellow humans. 

After ten minutes we arrived at the restaurant. I tipped him and said "thank you for sharing your story."