Above Header

Not For a Reason

I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. I used to say this, but I don’t anymore.

If everything happens for a reason, would it not follow that there is but one reason for the things that happen? What if my reason and your reason don’t match? Who gets to name it?

How can we apply reason to all the unreasonable things that happen in this world and to what purpose?

For most all of us who have lost a child, these words ring empty. Though meant to comfort, they leave us with more questions than answers, directing us in our grief to search our minds for what possible reason could exist to explain our pain.

Rather, I would offer that everything in life can have meaning. Why get stuck thinking about reason when we can turn to the heart of the matter for meaning instead? In meaning, we can have endless interpretations; my meaning different that your meaning, though neither one right or wrong in the naming of it.

For me and in my life, even the most tragic of events have had the power to draw me deeper into the fullness of life. In each, I have found meaning.

How about you? What do you believe?

To join other mothers walking with loss, click here.

——-

By Suzanne Tucker, co-creator of My Mommy Manual.com. Join her and other moms on this journey called motherhood, because life’s better when we hold hands.

A Curvy Road

The beginning of my third decade on Earth brought with it our first child and there began my walk on the spiritual path of motherhood.

How to sum up this walk???

For me it’s been a spiritual practice in many things, but forced to name just three they would be acceptance, self-love and intuition.

Acceptance.

Ever the fighter for control and/or having things go the way I’d like them to go, Spirit wisely threw me quite a few curve balls in my late thirties. I’d sum up the spiritual exercise of early motherhood and later, living through five miscarriages in a single word. Acceptance.

Being a first time mom and feeling the grasp I thought I had so firmly on life slipping through my hands. Living through loss after loss, accepting I had no control over whether, with each new baby, I would carry them full term or not. The experiences combined, motherhood and miscarriage… better than a college credit course in teaching me to allow.

I look at our experiences with loss now differently than I did while they were occurring. I still feel the sting of these experiences but can also appreciate them for what they brought me. As I see it life forced my hand, demanding of me to learn to be with what is rather than how I’d have it.

Non-attachment. Not an easy lesson, but a valuable one and I am still a student of (big-time). Life as “mom” gives me new lessons in sweet-surrender on a daily basis. Holding on to letting go. It’s become my mommy mantra.

Softening into life rather than fighting it when inevitably it doesn’t seem to be going my way. This is the lesson acceptance has offered and it’s been immeasurably helpful in parenting, especially of late now that we have two tween daughters and twin 2.5 year olds.

Two’s and tween/teens. All you READ about parenting these ages has to do with conflict and power struggles. The terrible two’s. The dreaded teen years. Thankfully we are not there (knocks on wood.) I think the resistance that might exist between us has been lessened by a great extent thanks to the lessons life delivered to me (be it with me kicking and screaming every step of the way) in learning to allow. The practice of pausing and allowing before moving head first into responding and reacting; invaluable of late for me. Thank you Spirit.

Self-love.

I look at self-love as coming to better know and love myself for the person I am while forgiving myself for the person I am not (a rather long list).

How can I love another if I don’t first love me? Good question, and one I found motherhood brought into sharp focus for me.

When life feels hard I breathe in “I love myself” and breathe out “I am enough.” This is my other mommy mantra, the one I reach too when life is feeling hard… and it’s been healing beyond measure.

Being enough. Life brings me many opportunities for me to practice self-love, breathing into my mistakes and letting go of the “not-enough” when inevitably I find myself judging (myself and those I love… that’s who we judge most harshly though, isn’t it?) or otherwise resisting life. This is a daily (if not moment by moment) practice for me and probably will be for the rest of my life. It is in modeling self-love and forgiveness I teach my children the most precious thing I have to teach them about love, namely, that I am love. That they are love.

That love is a noun… not a verb.

Intuition.

I see intuition as tuning in and trusting myself and the inner knowing I pose (we each possess) to guide me. I believe this inner knowing to be Spirit and I look to this place inside myself for very real guidance on matters large and small, in parenting and in life.

So many ways to go. Do I do this? Say this? Go this way or that? How do I manage this crisis, this conversation, this decision, thought, emotion? I would be LOST in parenting were it not for the practice of pausing. Were it not for the guidance I receive when I stop to ask,  listen and receive. All that is left for me then is to follow. Thank you Spirit.

—–

Suzanne Tucker aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and/or join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting. If she can be a support to you on your spiritual path of motherhood, please reach out to her today!

Thick As Thieves

I wanted to share a story about my dear friend, Julie. We met five years ago, when we found ourselves on the first day of school, dropping off our girls in Kindergarten. I’m not sure who was more nervous then, the kids or the moms!

Since then, we’ve been “thick as thieves,” as they say. We’ve shared many a laugh… like the time I dragged her to my strip aerobics class and she called me the next day to report that her a** was so sore, she could barely lower herself to the toilet seat. Hey, we’re moms. I know you’ve all done that move… snicker while you can!

We’ve also shared more serious moments, like the time I called her at 5 am saying I was leaving my marriage and needed a place to stay. Or, the day she called and told me that she had tested positive for BRCA1.

BRCA1 (and BRCA2) are tumor suppressor genes. Mutations in these genes are linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. At the time, [Read more...]

Mindful Parenting

I love this list of exercises for mindful parenting. Each and every one resonates with me.

Motherhood, truly a spiritual practice.

I hope these exercises inspire you to reflect on your own walk in motherhood and the spiritual GEMS this sometimes rocky road has afforded you along the way.

  1. Try to imagine the world from your child’s point of view, purposefully letting go of your own. Do this every day for at least a few moments to remind you of who this child is and what he or she faces in the world.
  2. Imagine how you appear and sound from your child’s point of view, i.e., having you as a parent today, in this moment. How might this modify how you carry yourself in your body and in space, how you speak, and what you say? How do you want to relate to your child in this moment?
  3. Practice seeing your children as perfect just the way they are. See if you can stay mindful of their sovereignty from moment to moment, and work at accepting them as they are when it is hardest for you to do so.
  4. Be mindful of your expectations of your children and consider whether they are truly in your child’s best interest. Also, be aware of how you communicate those expectations and how they affect your children.
  5. Practice altruism, putting the needs of your children above your own whenever possible. Then see if there isn’t some common ground, where your true needs can also be met. You may be surprised at how much overlap is possible, especially if you are patient and strive for balance.
  6. When you feel lost, or at a loss, remember to stand still and meditate on the whole by bringing your full attention to the situation, to your child, to yourself, to the family. In doing so, you may go beyond thinking, even good thinking, and perceive intuitively, with the whole of your being, what needs to be done. If that is not clear in any moment, maybe the best thing is to not do anything until it becomes clearer. Sometimes it is good to remain silent.
  7. Try embodying silent presence. This will grow out of both formal and informal mindfulness practice over time if you attend to how you carry yourself and what you project in body, mind, and speech. Listen carefully.
  8. Learn to live with tension without losing your own balance. In Zen and the Art of Archery, Herrigel describes how he was taught to stand at the point of highest tension effortlessly without shooting the arrow. At the right moment, the arrow mysteriously shoots itself. Practice moving into any moment, however difficult, without trying to change anything and without having to have a particular outcome occur. Simply bring your full awareness and presence to this moment. Practice seeing that whatever comes up is “workable” if you are willing to trust your intuition. Your child needs you to be a center of balance and trustworthiness, a reliable landmark by which he or she can take a bearing within his or her own landscape. Arrow and target need each other. They will find each other best through wise attention and patience.
  9. Apologize to your child when you have betrayed a trust in even a little way. Apologies are healing. An apology demonstrates that you have thought about a situation and have come to see it more clearly, or perhaps more from your child’s point of view. But be mindful of being “sorry” too often. It loses its meaning if you are always saying it, making regret into a habit. Then it can become a way not to take responsibility for your actions. Cooking in remorse on occasion is a good meditation. Don’t shut off the stove until the meal is ready.
  10. Every child is special, and every child has special needs. Each sees in an entirely unique way. Hold an image of each child in your heart. Drink in their being, wishing them well.
  11. There are important times when we need to be clear and strong and unequivocal with children. Let this come as much as possible out of awareness, generosity, and discernment, rather than out of fear, self-righteousness, or the desire to control. Mindful parenting does not mean being overindulgent, neglectful, or weak; nor does it mean being rigid, domineering, and controlling.
  12. The greatest gift you can give your child is your self. This means that part of your work as a parent is to keep growing in self-knowledge and awareness. This ongoing work can be furthered by making a time for quiet contemplation in whatever ways feel comfortable to us. We only have right now. Let us use it to its best advantage, for our children’s sake, and for our own.

Excerpted from Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. Copyright 1997 by Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I would love to hear in the comment section below which resonate with you? Which seem foreign/easy/hard? What has been the biggest area of growth spiritually that motherhood has brought to you?

—–

Suzanne Tucker aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and/or join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting.

Suffering from the Terrible Two’s? Remember to BIRP

If you find yourself complaining about your tot, wondering aloud, “WHERE DID MY SWEET ANGEL GO?!?!” know this… you are not alone.

Here’s a tool to help you with the many power struggles that go along with raising a two year old. I hope it helps.

First and most importantly, disengage from the power struggle.

I love this visual: if one person drops their end of the rope, it’s awful hard to play tug-o-war.

DROP YOU END OF THE ROPE whenever possible. The next time you and your two year old child lock horns (works for all ages but especially for two year old kids) think BIRP. Not as in belching although that might work to bring levity to the situation, but BIRP as in:

B: Boundaries
I: Independence
R: Ritual
P: Play

The first two letters stand for our BOUNDARIES and their INDEPENDENCE, the cause of many if not most of our power struggles. Both are [Read more...]

Connection In a Box. Is This BabbaBox Yours!?

Last week I received connection in a box. It came on a day life found me far too busy to slow down and be connected and yet there I was, home on a rainy day with four kids pulling for me to be just that.

This was one of the first few weeks of summer break after all, couldn’t I make a little bit of time for FUN before moving full speed ahead into my to-do list? BabbaBox to the rescue.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ask Webster what this means and you’ll find this:

con·nec·tion[kuh-nek-shuhn] verb (used with object)

1. to join, link, or fasten together; unite or bind.
2. to establish communication between.

Multitasking. Busy-ness. Getting things done. It’s easy to pick these over connection with my kids. I know I’m disconnected when my lil guys go to tell or show me something and I give them only half my attention. Half my heart. It’s in these distracted moments of life, if I REALLY just stopped to listen to them fully, I would find the things they are telling and showing me are anything but little.

My two year old son finds an ant crawling up his arm. “He likes me!!! He likes me!!!” Sheer joy dripping from every word for his newest pet.

My two year old daughter telling me about her twin brother she calls Bubba. “Bubba’s my friend.” She says it with a smile, her head tilted shyly down and love for her womb-mate just oozing with this realization.

I received our first BabbaBox a few weeks ago and before my oldest two kids ripped into it, I tucked it away for the “perfect” moment. Last week brought that moment. I had a lot to get done around the house (laundry, shopping, dinner… you know the drill) and yet with it raining, I wanted to do something fun with my kids as well. BabbaBox to the rescue.

We opened the box BabbaCo sent me to review and it began. Kids crawling over one another to get to the next thing. Sock puppets? Cool!!! (Even my nine year old thought so.) The box brought giggles. The creative juices started pumping and we were off and on our way. Connection.

We read the book the box included about feelings. We used our Spy Glasses (what we began to call our “Feeling Finder Glasses”) and watched for the ways people around us were feeling, searching for emotions we’d been talking about through the various activities we’d done together. Mommy’s HAPPY!!! She’s sad. He’s funny. He’s silly. Ohhhh. Scary!!!

The box is actually intended for 3-6 year old kids and up but we had a blast just the same. Tailoring the activities included in the box for my youngest two was easy. Everything we needed was in there down to rounded nosed scissors.

In the end I found there was more to the BabbaBox than what came in it. The experience it inspired, one where I got to show up for my kids on this rainy day and be PRESENT, spontaneous and creative without having to do any work on the front end to make it happen was MY favorite part. Though I loved what came in the box, it was experiencing the box with my kids that I treasured the most.

I thought how much my parents would like this. What if I sent them the BabbaBox monthly to do with my kids? How fun would that be??? Thinking Christmas might be perfect to start that tradition.

Okay, enough about our box. Want to have a BabbaBox experience of your own? I was given a box to review and one to give away to you if I liked it. (And “liked it” I did.) Check the Rafflecopter entry above for the many ways you can enter. You can play everyday through the end of the giveaway, Friday, June 29th if you like! Here’s hoping you WIN connection in a box to call your own.

Maybe making time for the BabbaBox once in a while with my kids will help me remember the little moments of life are ANYTHING but small. And if we keep practicing, maybe, just maybe we can be present, playful and creative parents even while we are ticking away at our to-do lists.

Maybe. ;)

BabbaBox - Activity Box for Kids

 

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and/or join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting.

 

 

Summer FUN Takes Getting Organized


We’re in full on summer mode now in the Tucker household but this took some doing. School ending doesn’t automatically get us into summer mode. I don’t know about your household, but for us, there is a period of a couple weeks where we all “shift”. It seems we all need a week to just decompress, and then one to get more organized into our new routine. After a few days of chilling, my kids are that much more excited to start “planning” our summer together.

For me, a mom that does NOT come by organization easily, summer planning is important. Here are the things we do to make for a more fun (i.e. less stressful) summer. These depend largely on the ages of your kids:

For your school aged kids set up expectations around the follow (or anything you find yourself nagging them about on a near daily basis as you move into summer!) Do this WITH them so you have their buy in.

1) Wake up and bed times
2) Screen times
3) Chores if different than during the school year. Maybe they take on something extra like dog walking. Charts are key.
4) Activities. Ritual is the key. Have things you do daily. Weekly. One of our readers says, “Take a a trip everyday! And make it early. Even if its going to the grocery store or the park. Some days it will be the zoo or museum. We have a standing 11am departure time everyday. It eliminates the “lay around the house” effect summer always brings.” [Read more...]

Summer Fun Idea List

Play a prank on a friend

Go Bird Watching

Fishing – Whether it is deep sea, stream or fly – fish on!

Orienteering

Climb a Tree

Go Rock Climbing

Play Paintball

Geocaching GPS – Using a GPS you can search for treasure boxes that are hidden all over the world. Lots of fun and a great way to discover nooks and crannies of where you live.
GPS Adventuring – Go adventure somewhere with your GPS and mark your trail on your GPS as you go. No matter where you go you will find your way back.

Bike Around Your Local University Campus

Shoot Some Hoops – you know – basketball hoops

Ride a Tandem Bike

Go Mountain Biking

Go to a National Park and find a cool hiking trail

Street Hockey

In-line Skating

Jog at sunset with some really cool music on your Ipod

Have a Big Party

Learn to Juggle

Go Roller Skating

Enter a Running Race

Run a Mile

Steep Run – Run down the steepest hill you can find,

Go for a Look for Cool Rocks Hike

Play Ping Pong

Skateboarding

Snorkle in a pool and hunt for cool things you put there for each other.

Do a round of Speed Golf – That is golfing as fast as you can.

Play Soccer

Swim (in the tub if they are little enough and don’t have a pool!!!)

Play Tennis

Triathlon – Train and enter for a triathlon or create your own.

Play Baseball or throw the ball.

Go for a Bike Ride

Play Volleyball

Relax – Hammock Time

Read a book

Have your own Olympi Games – Set up a series of events or obstacles courses. Only limited by your ability and imagination. Take it the extra step and arrange some medals for the awards ceremony.

Bounce on a Trampoline

Have a Wheelbarrow Race

Blueberries up Your Nose – - Ok this one does sound weird but it is still pretty fun. This is a contest where you stick a blueberry up your nose and try to blast it the farthest. ( see other strange fun ideas)

Play Some Boccie Ball

Have a Bonfire and Roast Marshmallows

Deck Lounging

Have a Big Scavenger Hunt with your friends – post all your clues on Twitter

Get Some Firecrackers – Remember Safety First

Have a Fondue or Make a Banana Split (other food ideas here)

Musical Chairs

Take Photos of Pets in funny hats, or glasses

Start a Herb Garden

Have a Pillow Fight

Play Twister

Have a Water Fight with the Garden Hose, water balloons or water guns

Listen to Some Rock Music from a Totally Foreign Country

Have a Limbo Contest

Have a Paper Airplane Distance Contest

Photography – Get everyone to express the same emotion in a picture. Anger, confusion, glee, uneasiness, seduction etc..

Have a Talent Show – take some video with a digital camera and put it on Youtube

Plant a Time Capsule or something else creative

Pie Someone

Cloud Evaluation – Look for shapes in the clouds

Instead of spending money on airfare or a hotel room – have a backyard vacation

Slip and Slide

Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest

Play Spin the Bottle

Have a Lemonade Stand

Favorite Tunes – Music Make a list of your favorite songs then make a CD

Badminton

Baseball or just play some catch

Have a Three-Legged Race – If you have a lot of people you can play three-legged soccer or three-legged baseball.

Build a Tree House

Tricycle Races – Kids or adults can have fun this one. Make sure everybody wears a helmet.

Draw with Chalk on the Sidewalk

Have an Egg Toss

Play Hackeysack

Do a Headstand

Play Fun Questions

Watch Fireflies

Messy fun thing to do – Food Fight

Do arts and crafts outside

Get up early and watch the sunrise

Have a cool picnic

Throw a Frisbee around

Hey, Connection Isn’t Always Easy

re·la·tion·ship [ri-ley-shuhn-ship] noun

1. a connection, association, or involvement.

2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.

3. an emotional or other connection between people.

4. a sexual involvement; affair.

Being a mother, wife, lover, woman, friend… sometimes it’s hard. Maybe it’s just that by definition relationships are hard. Look above. The word connection is used in three of the four explanations of relationship and hey, connection isn’t always easy.

I opened the Bible on a day years ago when life and my relationships were getting the better of me. I was down and looking for some encouragement. I love to open certain books (the Bible being one of my favorites to do this with) to a random page and let where ever my finger falls speak to me. The words on which I land almost always knock me off my feet with the wisdom they hold. A word, passage or an entire page; on this day the message for me was contained in a single word.

“Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). Mark 7:34

This single word spoke volumes to my heart [Read more...]

On Pruning and Peace

 

This weekend I tended to some rose bushes. I’ve had them potted for years and believe me when I tell you, they’ve seen better days.  I noticed on Friday how worn they looked with bunches of parched, half-dead flowers hanging all over them. Two rainless weeks combined with my not watering them. Not a great combination.

My rose bushes sit on either side of our back porch and until recently have been a beauty to behold. As my two year old’s ran around, collecting rocks from our driveway and plopping them, one by one into their baby pool, I grabbed my sheers and went at it…

the business of cutting away at something in order to help it live.

The metaphor hit me as far too obvious but I felt it working on me just the same. As I snipped away at dead buds and crinkled leaves, my heart began pulling for me to consider something. A question. [Read more...]