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Volume 1 • Issue 1 • Summer 2014 www.emmajackmagazine.com
Letter from the Editor There is one thing I have learned and have had reinforced at every turn; there is nothing more important than family. How we raise our children is not just a reflection of us, it is a reflection of our parents and our grandparents and every generation before. As parents, mentors, and guides we are setting tones for the future. What we do is important. We need to spend more time looking at our role from the eyes of our children, and their grown up selves, and less at our schedules. I thank our team at Emma Jack for bringing stories that matter to our pages. We are truly blessed. We cannot let the distractions of the world distract us from the most important role we will ever play in this life -that of a Mom or a Dad. – Bryan Carter Publisher Bryan Carter Editor in Chief Bryan Carter Contributing Editors Matthew Jackson, Justin Griffing Visual Design Sweta Desai, Greg Pevey Photography Sweta Desai, Josh Edmiston, Bryan Carter Accounts Executive Fran Riddell Emma Jack Magazine is published by P2 Publishers. Reproduction of Emma Jack Magazine, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without written permission. We do not accept responsibility for any unsolicited materials and may not return them. All information in this magazine is taken from sources considered authoritative, but P2 Publishers cannot guarantee their accuracy. Inclusion of editorials, images, advertisements, or other materials in this magazine does does not constitute an endorsement for products or services by the publisher. Copyright (c) 2014 P2 Publishers.
6 From Summer Fun to School Begun Transitioning from summer life to school schedules
12 Pillars of Strength Special Needs Yield Exceptional Children
18 Navigation Social Network withour Kids
22 Inspiring Our Children to Read A Child’s Journey to becoming an Adult who like to Read
27 The Role of a Family Doctor
Why it is Important to have a Primary Care Physician
30 Teacher Trust For a Child to Excel, there must be trust between Teacher, Child, and Parent.
36 Dave Says... Financial Advice From America’s Financial Advisor
42 LockerBones Mississippi’s LockerBones go to Market
46 Mississippi Affordable College Savings Plan Worth every tax-deductible penny
22 What you can expect in the Fall 2014 Issue Fall Fun, The Holidays, Academics, Finances, and more.
Please send all inquiries to: Emma Jack Magazine, 655 Lake Harbour Drive, Ste 100, Ridgeland, MS 39157 or call 000-000-0000 with any questions or commments. On the Cover: Our Magazine’s original inspiration and namesakes.
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By BRYAN CARTER / FEATURED Writer
s the summer winds down, we begin to prepare for the school year ahead. Preparation is more than a good idea. How you prepare and choose to handle your transitions will have a huge impact on stress levels for both kids and parents. Planning for transitions can lead to family harmony, and facing these challenges together can be a great opportunity to mentor your kids. Home Routines Start transitioning to your school schedule early. It takes 21 days to create a habit. Chances are there are some summer habits that have become ingrained and very comfortable SUMMER 2014 - 7
for kids and parents alike — everything from wake-up times to bedtime routines. Along with starting school comes stress — both eustress (positive stress) and distress (negative stress). Kids making new friends can be eustress. Being rushed out the door and panicking through school traffic is distress. Whether the stress is positive or negative in nature, it still amounts to stress. A little preparation can head off overstress catastrophe. The checklist items are easily identified. Shop for new school clothes that fit (they grow up so fast!), buy school supplies, go to parent/teacher orientation — every check off the list raises comfort levels for parent and child. Changing behaviors is much more difficult. Habits and behaviors are comfortable and rooted. It’s uncomfortable to acclimate to new habits; thus, changing them is stressful by nature. The good news is you can get ahead of this stress to whatever degree you feel comfortable. You can change your routines before school starts to get the stress of change out of the way rather than compounding it. You can still enjoy summer with an earlier bedtime 8 - EMMA JACK MAGAZINE
Along with bedtimes and wake-up times, make sure your other routines are in place. Baths. Snacks. Bedtime stories. Levels of responsibility change from year to year, and your child may take a little longer at bedtime to brush his/her own teeth and take his/her own bath. and earlier rise time. Handling schedule changes ahead of time can be a huge relief on the amount of stress on your family in those first few weeks of school and make the transition easier on everyone. Along with bedtimes and wake-up times, make sure your other routines are in place. Baths. Snacks. Bedtime stories. Levels of responsibility change from year to year, and your child may take a little longer at bedtime to brush his/her own teeth and take his/her own bath. If bad habits have been adopted, such as us-
ing electronics right before sleep, now is a good time to reset those behaviors. Let everyone get used to the updates in routines before school begins — this can help keep the sacred bedtime on time, and reduce going-to-bed commotion. Health A new school year often comes with routine exams. If your child is playing sports, then there is almost always a physical. As long as children are getting a sports physical, find out if you can knock out the annual physical in the same visit. There is always a push at the dentist’s office as parents try to get their children’s dental visits out of the way before school and sports schedules take over. Eye exams are another typical health-related appointment that may be good to take care of before school begins. Take a Team Approach When facing the challenges of transitions, involve the whole family. The model of one person handling everything is a recipe for stress, and one unhappy family member affects the whole family. When
the whole family is involved, making the change can be educational for the kids and help them develop and grow as responsible planners and proactive managers of time. Donâ€™t just send your kids to bed early to prepare for the upcoming year; let them know why and how going to bed on time helps the family transi-
tion to the new school year. Like many lessons, they may not appreciate it until they are in their twenties or parents themselves, but they will benefit from it. Take the extra time and effort and pay it forward. Rather than battling stress without understanding and planning, take the
As with everything, the learning and adventure along the way makes the journey. It is an especially rich journey when you are surrounded by family. much better path of intentionally making adjustments according to your family strategy. Of course, every family has to choose their strategy based on their schedules and the levels of risk they are willing to take when it comes to predictable stress. Managing is just that, managing â€” educating, predicting, planning, and working your plan. When a bump comes along, take it in stride and get back on course. Know that half of handling stress is not letting it get to you. The other half is managing it. As with everything, the learning and adventure along the way make the journey. It is an especially rich journey when you are surrounded by family. - EJ Bryan Carter is an author, business owner, father, and husband. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi, with his wife, Shelley, and their two beloved children, Jack and Emma.
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By BRYAN CARTER / FEATURED Writer
e all love our children more than life itself. We would do anything for them. That is one of the most difficult things about having a child with special needs â€” there are things that you cannot solve or help with. For most families with special needs kids, that is reality on a daily basis. My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age three, just two weeks before Christmas. It was difficult to hear the news and comprehend the ramifications of this serious, lifethreatening condition. It took take time to fully internalize the impact. The first few days in the hospital were traumatic, filled with blood draws, constant finger pricks, and shots. My son was terrorized. As I lay in the hospital bed with my son at night, I was unraveling the hand he had been dealt. His young age spared him some of the emotional work but SUMMER 2014 - 13
it was passed on in full to his mother and me. There is a constant, ongoing awareness and responsibility that goes along with any special needs child that only parents in the same or a similar situation can possibly understand. Many of those concerns are lifelong. However, it is not all bad. Almost from the beginning, even before we arrived at the hospital, I had a heart-gripped determination to turn a negative into a strength forged with the power of being a father. While the reality of diabetes does not leave us, we have worked as a family to move beyond the condition and realize and capitalize on my sonâ€™s gifts. They are many. Since our sonâ€™s diagnosis, my wife and I have encouraged play, imagination, and realizations of strength. Whether he is watching Superman on TV or eating his chicken to build his muscles and become stronger than he thought possible, at every turn we encourage accomplishment and the power to overcome. In our minds, intimate understanding of his ability to achieve may be the very thing that saves his life one day. This journey of empowerment began on just the third day in the hospital, with my sonâ€™s first challenge being needles and shots given every few hours. While I tried to imagine the challenges of facing those fears from the vantage point of being three years old, it was he who had to deal with them. Together that night, we crafted a game of giving each other big, fake, painful shots by pinching up skin and using our fingers as needles. It was a painful game
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As with everything, the learning and adventure along the way makes the journey. It is an especially rich journey when you are surrounded by family.
that hurt much more than the real thing. When the nurse came in the room later with another round of shots, my son composed himself and took the shot without complaint. He looked to me as only a son can, as his father and his guide, and he overcame his fear and learned to accept and deal with the pain on his own terms. There are moments in life when proud is not a big enough word. The one person who has helped us more than anyone has been our son. His attitude. His demeanor. His acceptance. His intelligence. They have all come to bear. We always strive to make life easier for him, when in truth, he has made it easy for us. Our son is about to enter the second grade. He has a talent for music, which he gets honestly through me from my father. He has a wonderful voice, which he gets from his mother. He has a knack for building and visualization, and is reading on at least a third- or fourth-grade level. Together we are reading The Hobbit, taking turns reading pages. He enjoys playing sports with his friends and just playing in general. He is also a natural at video games and loves his iPad. In short, he is a normal kid with a lot of plusses. Special needs come in many forms for kids. They can be mental or physical — sometimes life threatening. But they all have something in common — children and parents. My wife and I have a different perspective and even a
reverence for life that we share with countless moms and dads facing similar situations with their kids. We understand what many people take for granted. We are grateful for our son’s life, and that his condition can be managed. Many families are not as lucky as we have been. With a wonderful son and an equally wonderful daughter, we count our blessings every day. I have a routine at bedtime that I go through with my children. I ask them what they did that day, and then ask them to name their favorite thing they did. As they recall that favorite thing, they are reliving the best part of their day. Knowing to count one’s blessings is a life gift. Now seven years old, when it comes to hardship and overcoming life-challenging obstacles, our son has taught us more than we have taught him. Every day, he takes eight to 10 finger pricks and four to six shots with grace. He stands before his peers, who often look at him in awe as, without wincing, he holds out a finger to check his blood or an arm for a shot. When he feels the social pressures of being different because he must consider his foods, patiently waits for his insulin before he starts eating, or goes “low” while playing a basketball game, he passes it off with a grace and composure that most of us have to imagine possessing. The biggest difference in special needs children is beneath the surface, where a very young person deals with issues most adults do not have to endure, and navigates his or her circumstance though the fears and expectations of a child. They are normal children in almost all ways except how they are seen by others. While they are unable to do some things other kids can do without a care, in other ways they have achieved strengths not attained by others, even as adults. When you meet parents with children who have special needs, know that they go through events, carry responsibilities, and manage worries that most parents cannot imagine, and almost always without ever having a break. They are models of vigilance, perseverance, and love not because they have to be, because they choose to be. They are some of the strongest people you will ever meet because of their children, who are the strongest of all. I am most grateful for words my father left me with shortly after my son was diagnosed: “It is manageable.” Every child has challenges, and some are greater than others. Every child shines. My wife and I have the lives of our two amazing children, and there is no blessing richer, no way we could be more thankful. - EJ Bryan Carter is an author, business owner, father, and husband. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi, with his wife, Shelley, and their two beloved children, Jack and Emma. SUMMER 2014 - 15
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By MATTHEW JACKSON / FEATURED Writer 18 - EMMA JACK MAGAZINE
you are already friends in the “real world,” online interactions should be limited or avoided as much as possible. Again, this is simply a proper professional boundary. n Because of your professional position, be very cautious of what you post and how you interact with others on social networks. Even if you maintain professional boundaries, social sites are, by nature, social, and people (including parents or students) can see the things you do on them. Inappropriate posts and interactions, that appear on your wall, even those from friends and others, can also be an issue. Take proper care to help ensure that nothing happens that can damage your good reputation in the community.
ith summer winding down and everyone gearing up for the school year, there is a whole list of things that parents, teachers, and students begin to think about. In addition to the usual concerns for time, friends, and classes, there is another pervasive reality we need to consider — social media. So many of us, and our children, spend a great deal of time on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even some game site that include social interactions. But how are we moderating (and monitoring) the things we view and post on these sites? What follows below is not a list of static “rules,” but rather some food for
thought about how we conduct ourselves online, and especially on the various social media networks. Teachers — thoughts for online conduct and awareness n Most school districts strongly discourage or prohibit teachers being friends with students on social networks, and this is an important rule to keep. Even if your activity online is mundane, there is a boundary that must be maintained between an educator/caregiver and a pupil, and part of this boundary is being entirely professional with students in every aspect of your interactions. n The same sort of boundary should also be maintained with parents of your students and even with co-workers. Unless
Because of your professional position, be very cautious of what you post and how you interact with others on social networks. Even if you maintain professional boundaries, social sites are, by nature, social, and people (including parents or students) can see the things you do on them.
Parents — thoughts for how we conduct ourselves online n Remember that your children (depending on their age) can see everything you do on social sites, so the “advice” is simple — be careful, and always be aware that what you do can (and probably will) be seen by your kids. n Just like driving, where you need to be aware of other drivers, you need to be aware of your connections on social networks. Monitor your social media sites to see what is being posted on your wall by others, and in cases where people can see your connections, be selective in whom you choose to be part of your network. Posts by others on your sites and connections you have can be seen as a reflection of you. Students — thoughts for how guardians monitor kids’ online time n Many children who are under the “suggested age” for certain social media sites still use those sites in applications and games. With allowances for the age and maturity level of individuals, children should either not be allowed on social media sites (these sites all have age limit restrictions), or their activity should be closely monitored. Teenagers should also be monitored, but given the level of freedom that guardians deem appropriate based on age and responsibility levels. n Teach and remind kids that any of their online activity, especially on social networks, can be seen by other people. They should be educated about proper and acceptable online behavior, and (since children can be more impulsive SUMMER 2014 - 19
Always maintain a “friendship” connection with your children on social networks. The reality is that the online world has the potential to be a dangerous place.
and less concerned with future repercussions) have their activity watched as well. When issues arise, we can also use them as educational opportunities, teaching our kids why a certain post or activity could be problematic. These lessons, if learned, can be golden opportunities to avoid larger, potentially damaging circumstances down the road. n Always maintain a “friendship” connection with your children on social networks. The reality is that the online world has the potential to be a dangerous place. We can do some simple things to help watch out for children’s safety, like watching friend lists and paying attention to postings and “likes.” This simply gives us an idea of what our children are doing, and we will be better able to ensure that they are making good choices with their online time. n If we see something troubling on our children’s networks, whether it’s a new friend or a particular activity, the best approach is to have an open and honest conversation with them about what we see and why we, as guardians, might find that particular behavior problematic. This also gives us the chance to talk with our kids about what is going on in their lives, which is 20 - EMMA JACK MAGAZINE
always an important conversation to have. n Remember that as parents/guardians of children, we need to be plugged into the lives our children are living. Parents have always had this job, and, in the modern era, this means technology and Internet and social media. Even if we are not be the biggest fans of social networking, children worldwide are spending everincreasing amounts of time on these sites, and as good and responsible guardians, we must be there as well. With a little guidance and wisdom, the Internet can be an amazing resource not only for the adult world, but also for our children and students. We’ve never before had so much information at the tips of our fingers, and the opportunity to access information for the right reasons is a tremendous benefit to our children. - EJ Matthew E. Jackson is the father of five; a writer; an adjunct professor of religion, philosophy, and humanities at Strayer University; and director of client services at Think Webstore.
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By MATTHEW JACKSON FEATURED Writer
ne of the challenges that many parents face is getting their children to read. We may even remember being reluctant to spend time reading when we were young, especially when the weather was nice or summer was here. Reading, comprehension, and retention are all crucial components of a well-rounded person, vital in everything from school to work to leisure activities. As parents, we want our children to not only read, but to be inspired to do so. The enjoyment of reading is a gift that pays off in countless ways. As children or young adults, the importance of reading has been relentlessly stressed to us. The thing that is often missing is the development of a desire to pick up a book on your own and delve into the worlds of knowledge and adventure hidden within. It is not enough simply to encourage our children to read, to discipline when it seems the effort is not there, or to reward good reading scores from school. The challenge is this: How do we help develop the love of reading in our children? Not just to read at the proper level with sufficient understanding, but how do we share the love of the written word? What must we do to help our children understand how vital SUMMER 2014 - 23
reading truly is to their personal success, and also to help them come to love it? We teach this lesson in the same way we teach our children many things â€” we demonstrate it. A fundamental way that children learn and develop is by modeling behavior. By observation and imitation, our children learn to walk, to talk, and to interact in social situations. It is common to see children imitating adult behavior, from working in the yard with plastic tools to pretending to cook in play kitchens. They explore various roles and behaviors for themselves, learning and growing as they play. The natural learning mechanism of modeling can be used by parents to help nurture children in many areas, including reading. Just as we model for our children proper behavior, healthy eating, and how to care for themselves and their toys, we also need to model reading. Bedtime stories are one of the earliest ways that parents introduce reading to their children. From an early age, they learn to enjoy books with Mom and Dad. Later, as they mature, reading with them and allowing them to read to 24 - EMMA JACK MAGAZINE
you will take the place of those bedtime stories. In addition, our children need to see that books are important in our lives. Sometimes they need to see us reading instead of watching TV, or hear us talking about a book we enjoyed. If our kids only see us watching TV, then inspiring them to read may be an uphill battle. When I was growing up, my mother spent enormous amounts of time in her favorite armchair in our living room, sitting with a glass of iced tea and reading a book. By the time I was in the second grade, there I was, sitting on the couch with some juice, reading a book. As most children do, I loved my mother, and I wanted to be with her, doing what she was doing, as much as I could. So we sat in the living room on the weekends and in the evening, and we read together. She with her book, and I with mine. We read. My own children do this today. They have grown up watching me read. We take weekend trips to the bookstore â€” not just for the kids to pick out a book, but I am there looking and buying books for myself with just as much excitement (if not more) than them. We sit in the
living room together, and we read. I donâ€™t send them to get books and invite them to join me. Rather, I look up from a chapter, and my kids will be around me, lounging on the floor or the couch, reading right alongside me. Of course, we do many other things together, but reading has always been a central part of our relationship. Being serious about reading is a choice. If we, as parents, intend to teach our children to embrace the fundamentals of reading as well as to develop a love and enjoyment of books, then we have to up our game as mentors and role models. We canâ€™t just talk about it or do it with them from time to time. We need to model the behavior for our sons and daughters. Our children need to see us reading, and enjoying our time in books, and then they, too, will want to see what lies between the covers of those marvelous volumes on the shelves. - EJ Matthew E. Jackson is the father of five; a writer; an adjunct professor of religion, philosophy, and humanities at Strayer University; and director of client services at Think Webstore.
The natural learning mechanism of modeling can be used by parents to help nurture children in many areas, including reading. Just as we model for our children proper behavior, healthy eating, and how to care for themselves and their toys, we also need to model reading.
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October 8 - 10 (Wed-Fri) October 15 - 18 (Wed-Sat) October 22 - 25 (Wed-Sat)
NOW OPEN VISIT TODAY! literacy • nature • creativity • discovery Learn about all the exhibits and experiences in The Literacy Garden!
A signature project of the Junior League of Jackson This project is partially funded by the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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EmmaJackMag Fall14 MCM 3.375x9.5.indd 1
November 5 - 8 (Wed-Sat) November 12 - 15 (Wed-Sat)
Gingerbread Market November 14 (Fri) November 15 (Sat)
www.mschildrensmuseum.com | 1.877.793.5437 Located in Jackson, MS at I-55 & Lakeland Drive
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The Role of a Family Doctor Why it is Important to have a Primary Care Physician By JUSTIN GRIFFING / FEATURED Writer
hen I recently moved back to Mississippi after a decade in Vermont, the sudden change in climate brought with it both bronchitis and a sinus infection. I found myself in an unenviable position. What was I to do? My primary care physician was back in Vermont. I’d not had time to find a new one in Mississippi yet. My only recourse was to make use of an urgent care clinic. In this instance, access to an urgent care clinic was a godsend. I was able to get the medicine I needed to recover. However, being able to access a family physician who knew my medical history and my many problems with sinuses would have been better. Dr. Bard Johnston says, “Urgent care clinics or walk in clinics meet a need in every community, but never taking the time to get established with a primary care physician also costs you the accountability and benefit that you get when your doctor says, ‘You know you are overdue for your annual check and
blood work. We need to get that scheduled.’ A walk in clinic does not and should not be expected to service your long-term care needs.” Being from a family that has a history of health issues, I have found this to be true. My primary care physician was willing to say, “You know, we need to do something about this weight.” While any doctor could look at me and say that, my primary care physician was able to schedule time with a nutritionist who shared an office with the practice and she was able to set up a free month at the gym for me. The end result was an exercise habit that has already led to losing six inches from around my middle. Dr. Johnston further says, “I cannot imagine what it would be like to not know my patients beyond that superficial medical level. I believe that it is so rewarding for doctor and patient to build that deep level of trust, and often... friendship, so that a doctor’s visit doesn’t have to be so impersonal and businesslike.” When we develop that trust and friendship, looking out for our health can become less of a chore and something we actually are eager to do. Our primary care physician becomes a partner in keeping ourselves healthy instead of just a service provider. Demonstrating the importance of having a primary care physician is even more important when we have children we are mentoring. They learn to take responsibility for their health by watching us take care of ours, and theirs. Demonstrating the relationship that they should have with their primary care physician will give them one fundamental tool they need to maintain their own health as it becomes their responsibility. Justin Griffing is an author who has recently returned to Mississippi from Vermont. SUMMER 2014 - 27
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For a Child to Excel, there must be trust between Teacher, Child, and Parent.
By Ashley Cole Contributing Writer
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he excitement. The fear. The nervousness. The uncertainty. Even after teaching for 30 years, I never slept well the night before welcoming my new group of students. I tossed, turned, read, made lists, or walked the house until it was time to leave for school. One would think that with each passing year the fresh start to a new school year would get easier, more ritualistic, less unknown. But no, these feelings never waned. I knew that many of my students had parallel fears, and they often brought these fears with them on the first day of school. Even by third grade, some children still shed tears and hid behind a parent as they
stood at my door. With all of these emotions active as the new school year unfolds, one of the most important concepts to embrace is TRUST. Each student, and each parent, makes the decision whether to trust the teacher. Trust is essential on both sides of the parent-teacher relationship. Parents are trusting a stranger to teach, care for, nurture, and discipline their child for seven hours a day. Teachers are trusting parents to help, support, and guide their child through the assignments done at home. Shamefully, as the years have passed, a less trusting attitude has seeped into the minds of parents in regard to teachers, and I wonder if itâ€™s fear leading this mistrust. Many parents are afraid to
With all of these emotions active as the new school year unfolds, one of the most important concepts to embrace is TRUST. Each student, and each parent, makes the decision whether or not to trust the teacher. Trust is essential on both sides of the parent-teacher relationship. trust someone else with the daily care of their child. I once had a principal who frequently told the staff, “Parents are sending you the best child they have.” The staff would always giggle and smile, as we knew we had a roomful of “best” children. In order for the teacher to get the best out of that “best child,” a trusting and communicative bond is essential between home and school. When I was a first-year teacher, my mother had a sweet neighbor calligraph the poem “The Teacher” by Leslie Pinckney Hill. My silhouette is placed in the bottom right corner, and a simple black frame finishes it off nicely. This treasure hangs in my kitchen, where I saw it before the start of every school day. The first stanza says, “Lord, who am I to teach the way, / to little children day by day, / So prone myself to go astray?” Many days, this stanza would follow me to school, being repeated over and over in my head. I had to TRUST in my abilities to lead and teach, TRUST my students, and TRUST their parents. My hope and prayer for all students, teachers, and parents is to have the best school year imaginable, with as few interruptions (or hiccups, as they are sometimes called) as possible. But if a hiccup occurs, TRUST that it can be worked out, solved, and remedied with all involved. Parents, work on trusting the teacher with your “best child,” and believe me, their best will shine through daily. Teachers, nurture those “best children” and trust in your strength and knowledge of your noble profession. - EJ SUMMER 2014 - 31
Principles of Organization and Decluttering Less clutter = Less stress = Healthier Living By DIANE RYAN / Contributing Writer
or any family, it can be a true challenge to keep a household organized. Keeping up with growing children, pets, spouses, and all of their stuff in a small space can overwhelm even the most organized of us. Coming home to clutter and mess sets a tone that can be harmful to your family dynamic and lead to unnecessary friction. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines organization as “the act or process of putting the different parts of something in a certain order so that they can be found easily.” If you have a clutter or an organizational problem, it may seem overwhelming to tackle the project on your own. Don’t
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give up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Using a professional organizer to walk you through the process will bring a new perspective, positive energy, and encouragement to your project. Here are some basic principles or steps in organizing any room of your house: n First and foremost, you must recognize and decide to get rid of the clutter. Ask yourself what is really important versus what you could let go of. More importantly, answer yourself honestly. n Once the clutter has been removed, begin to sort through
things, placing them in “like” groups. n Of the “like” groups, decide what things need to be readily available for quick use versus what can be placed in a more secure area. n Define the perfect space to store these items. n Finally, choose the right containers and bins for your stuff. Many things can go in cardboard, but clothes and shoes should be stored in plastic. Once you start a project, your enthusiasm becomes contagious. Knowing that there is a solution is half the battle. Another strategy to declutter is home staging. Home staging, a type of organizational process in which professional organizers come into a home and work to help remove clutter, is experiencing a growth in popularity. Staging your home before selling it helps in creating a great first impression and sense of space for potential buyers. The goal is to highlight the strengths of your home, downplay its weaknesses, and appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers. For those who have gone through the decluttering process, there is a powerful feeling of accomplishment and freedom
from the stress of stuff and the unyielding sense of obligation to deal with it. Organizing requires logic, common sense, and creativity, all of which tend to disappear when you are stressed and overwhelmed. Remember, no matter how large or small the project may seem, it can be done. With a little help, you may look at your task in a new light. - EJ Diane Ryan owns DeClutter by Diane Ryan
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DAVE SAYS... Financial Advice From America’s Financial Advisor
Where are you in your financial plan? Dear Dave, What things do you advise buying used versus buying brand new? – Amy Dear Amy, I’m afraid there’s not one good, across the board answer, because it all depends on where you are in your financial plan. When it comes to cars, you should always buy good, used vehicles, unless you have a million dollars or more in the bank. New automobiles drop in value like a rock, so buy smart and let someone else take the hit in depreciation. You don’t become wealthy by investing in things that go the wrong way.
If you’re talking about clothing, and you’re broke or trying to get out of debt, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with shopping consignment stores — especially for kids. They wear things three times, and then they’ve outgrown them. “Experienced” clothing is a great buy for adults, too. Of course there are other things, but here’s the deal. As your money situation improves, you’ll be able to buy more new things. The price of “new” will become a smaller and smaller percentage of your financial world. But when you’re broke, deep in debt or don’t have a big income, the money you spend on anything is a big percentage.
At times like this, a decent $50 washer or dryer in the classifieds can be the best deal on the planet! – Dave
Is less than 20 percent okay? Dear Dave, I’m 24-years old, and just got married two months ago. We make $80,000 a year, and have our emergency fund in place with no debt. Plus, we’ve saved up for a 15 percent down payment on a house. I know you suggest 20 percent, but is 15 percent okay? – Tony Dear Tony, I don’t have a big problem with 15 percent instead of 20 percent. Chances are you’ll end up having to pay private mortgage insurance, but it sounds like you guys are in good enough shape financially to handle things. I generally recommend, however, that couples wait until they’ve been married at least a year before buying a home. Buying a house is huge decision. That’s why I think it’s smart to wait and get to know each other even better, and on a day-to-day basis, before moving in this direction. Take your time and don’t rush things, Tony. There will still be good deals on the market in a year or so. Plus, you’ll be able to save more money! – Dave *Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership and Smart Money Smart Kids. His newest best-seller, Smart Money Smart Kids, was written with his daughter Rachel Cruze, and recently debuted at #1. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com. SUMMER 2014 - 37
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Mississippi’s LockerBones go to Market
Just in time for back-to-school shopping, Mississippi-born LockerBones make their retail debut at Staples.
By bryan carter / FEATURED Writer
ust six months ago, on Friday, January 17, 2014, Mississippians were glued to their television sets watching Clinton, Mississippi, inventor Greg Cronin and his business partner, Steve Coachys, appear on ABC’s Shark Tank to try to make a deal with the Sharks. Cronin created the first LockerBones prototype for his daughter Ashley in their garage. On the show, investors (Sharks) Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner both struck initial deals for capital and guidance with the company. Although the deal with the Sharks was never sealed, LockerBones struck a deal with another player, Staples. Staples
launched a new plastic version of LockerBones, in three colors, in 500 stores across the country for this back-to-school season. Mississippians may be unable to walk into a store to buy LockerBones, since there are not many Staples retail locations in the state, including the capital city area. However, shoppers can order either plastic or wooden LockerBones on the LockerBones website (www.lockerbones.com) or plastic LockerBones on the Staples website (www.staples.com, search for “lockerbones”). LockerBones’ path to retail is still growing. Cronin says the company is already in discussions with other big-box retailers. Not only has LockerBones taken and grown its Mississippi garage-born business idea to a national retail level, it have done so with local businesses, such as Clinton, Mississippi-based Diversified Brands (www.diversifiedbrands.com) handling fulfillment; Pearl River Doors, a Pearl, Mississippi, company, manufacturing all wooden LockerBones for sale to the public; and Ridgeland, Mississippi-based marketing company Think Webstore (www.thinkwebstore. com) designing and managing the website, media, and public relations for the company. There is always an extra ounce of pride in a truly locally grown success story. - EJ
(L to R) Steve, Ashley and Greg 42 - EMMA JACK MAGAZINE
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how fAr cAn A sT. Andrew’s educATion TAke you? The members of The sT. Andrew’s episcopAl school clAss of 2014 Are pursuing higher educATion in mississippi And nATionwide, mAny on full scholArships. Appalachian State University Auburn University Barnard College Birmingham-Southern College Carnegie Mellon University Claremont-McKenna College Colorado State University Emerson College Florida Atlantic University Fordham University The George Washington University Georgia Institute of Technology Harvard University Howard University Liberty University Louisiana State University Loyola Marymount University Millsaps College Mississippi State University Shackouls Honors College New York University Occidental College Ohio State University Rhodes College Sewanee: The University of the South Southeastern University Spring Hill College
Stanford University Trinity University Tulane University United States Military Academy at West Point University of Alabama University of Alabama at Birmingham University of California at Davis University of Central Florida University of Colorado at Boulder University of Mississippi Barksdale Honors College Center for Manufacturing Excellence Croft Institute for International Studies University of Notre Dame University of Southern California University of Southern Mississippi Vanderbilt University Washington University in St. Louis Wheaton College
St. Andrew’s students were also accepted at more than 85 other prestigious universities nationwide, including: Brown University Dartmouth College Davidson College Duke University Emory University Georgetown University Northwestern University Rice University University of California at Berkeley University of Chicago University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Pennsylvania University of Texas at Austin University of Virginia Yale University
To find ouT how fAr A sT. Andrew’s educATion could TAke you or your child, visiT gosAinTs.org.
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Mississippi Affordable College Savings Plan Worth every tax-deductible penny. By LYNN FITCH / Contributing Writer
ight now, your kids may be twirlour desire to make the most positive impact on ing in ballet shoes or swingher life that we can,” he said. “We wanted to ing at a ball on a tee, but do something more.” Crawford opened a before you know it, they MACS account for his granddaughter will head off to their in 2007, before her first birthday. freshman year of colMACS is a 529 savings plan, 529 lege. How do you plan to pay for your designating “tax-preferred treatment” child’s college education? in the IRS Code. MACS is designed According to T. Rowe Price’s 6th Annual to meet the college savings needs of all Parents, Kids and Money Survey Mississippi families. There is a from March 2014, an estimated lot of flexibility with a MACS 28% of American parents lose Saving for college account. The MACS plan ofsleep over the thought of saving fers a large state tax deducdoesn’t have to for college. You may be one of ($10,000 for single filers; be overwhelming tion them, but the State Treasurer’s $20,000 for joint filers) and taxor frustrating. The free earnings under both state Office can help. Saving for college doesn’t have and federal tax laws. The MACS first step is as to be overwhelming or frustratplan has four investment opeasy as picking a tions to choose from, with aning. The first step is as easy as picking a college savings plan other option launching in Sepcollege savings that suits your needs. The State tember 2014. MACS can be plan that suits Treasurer’s Office offers an easy used for most expenses related your needs. and affordable way for families to higher education, and MACS to save for college with the Misfunds can be used at most school sissippi Affordable College Savnationwide. ings (MACS) Plan. Better yet, MACS can fit any family’s budget. Parents and grandparents want to provide the The important thing is to start saving! tools necessary for their children to be successAffordability is the cornerstone of the MACS ful in life, and they can contribute from in state plan. The minimum contribution is $25, or just or out of state. Wix Crawford of Yazoo City is 83¢ per day if contributing monthly. MACS acinvesting in his granddaughter’s future by saving count holders are not locked into a payment plan for her college education with a MACS account. or payment amount. “Besides the usual things like baby dolls and In other words, simply contribute the amount stuffed animals, we wanted to do something for you want as often as you want, and watch your her that was special and would last a lifetime. It’s college savings grow. SUMMER 2014 - 47
Wondering how much to save? According to the Mississippi College Board, tuition and fees per year for an in-state public college average about $8,650, and the average cost of an instate community college is about $3,100.
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Many employers recognize the value in saving for higher education and partner with MACS to offer the plan to their employees through payroll deduction. “For a long time, we would make contributions when we could. Now my employer offers payroll deduction for MACS contributions, and we are able to take advantage of that,” said Crawford. The minimum contribution amount with payroll deduction is just $15. Wondering how much to save? According to the Mississippi College Board, tuition and fees per year for an in-state public college average about $8,650, and the average cost of an instate community college is about $3,100. Remember that you don’t have to save for the entire cost. Pick a realistic goal, such as saving for one or two years of college costs, and work toward achieving that milestone.
“We have been very pleased with the financial performance of our account and will open another MACS account if we are blessed with another grandchild,” said Crawford. For families with young children, time is on your side. To learn more about MACS, visit us online at www.TreasurerLynnFitch.com or call our office at 601.359.5255. - EJ Lynn Fitch serves as Mississippi’s 54th State Treasurer. She has prioritized fiscally conservative management of state funds, changing the financial culture of Mississippi through increased financial literacy, and saving for college as a way to ensure Mississippi’s future economic growth. Follow Treasurer Fitch on Twitter @LynnFitch or contact her at 601.359.3600.
When it’s your child, there is no such thing as a small problem. As part of University of Mississippi Medical Center, the state’s only academic medical center, Batson Children’s Hospital is the leader in our state for treating childhood health problems, whether they be major or minor. From seasonal illnesses and schoolyard injuries, to serious conditions like heart defects and cancer, we’re dedicated to helping the most important child in your life – yours.
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