Tender Sapling

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Sunshine Award – Not Just a Chain Letter (?)

sunshine-award

We’re delighted (and frankly quite surprised) to accept our first blog award – the Sunshine Award – from the inspiring Leanna at All Done Monkey! Thanks so much, Leanna!

The Sunshine Award is given to those who write positive and inspiring articles and bring some sunshine into the life of others. It’s an honor to be included in this group!

Like any blogging award this one has its own rules and requirements.

But before we get to those, here’s a little behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Tender Sapling blog team’s discussions about this award in the spirit of keeping it real:

May 22 (In car bursting with three boys, two tired parents, snacks to get us through a 14-hour car trip, and lots of stowaway stuffed animals nestled between bags packed for a crazy wonderful trip to Chicago, Emily glances at Facebook.)

Emily: “Wow! Honey, did you see this? Leanna nominated the blog for the Sunshine Award!”

Scott: “What’s that?”

Emily: “It’s one of those blogger awards. It’s for being uplifting and positive! Wow, how sweet is that? Leanna knows like a million bloggers and she included our blog on her list. That’s amazing!”

Scott: “That Sunshine thing still doesn’t mean anything to me.”

(Lightening flashes and thunder interrupts our conversation as we enter a massive thunderstorm in silence, all attention on road safety.) Continue reading


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5 DIY Ways to Pamper Mama this Mother’s Day

What will you do this Mother’s Day for the sweet mama in your life? As a parent working on mindfulness and striving to raise mindful tender saplings, I find this American holiday a great way to teach our little ones about honoring their mother. And I love the idea of trying to make our gestures more mindful and meaningful.

It’s traditional and appreciated for dad and the little ones to come through with flowers, homemade cards, and/or chocolates (like these fair trade bars from our Global Kids Gift Guide) for Mother’s Day. While these are all wonderful, how about adding one or more of these fun, thoughtful do-it-yourself ways to show you care? Continue reading


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Acorn Wisdom: A Gem Worth Passing Down the Generations

Baba holds out two acorns.

Baba holds out two acorns.

Every childhood hike with my father inevitably led to the pivotal acorn moment. Baba, as we call him, would hold out his fist and ask us kids if we knew could guess what he was holding. He’d gently open it to reveal the little treasure and we’d shout with glee (or years into this, roll our eyes and mumble):

“An acorn!”

“No,” he’d wisely respond. “This is a tree. A great big oak tree.”

“No way!” “Come on!” We protested. He was obviously holding just a wee little acorn.

Then he’d remind us Continue reading


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Five Tips to Finding Balance After Tragedy Strikes

Days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, parents and children across the country and the world are still reeling from the horrific loss of life. You have sought details in the news coverage to try to unlock the mystery of why it happened. Perhaps you have read numerous excellent articles advising you how to talk with your children about what happened and then had some heart-breaking discussions with them. Maybe you’ve taken the compassionate route of supporting institutions in their work to assist the Newtown community as it grapples with and rebuilds itself emotionally from the wreckage that was left behind.

Most parents seem to have gone through the same emotions, so eloquently posted by a friend on Facebook:

?

😦

&$*#?/!

And most parents have held their own children a little tighter, a little longer the last several days.

Now what? Does your heart still pain for the parents whose children never came home on December 14, 2012? Does your mind still churn, seeking to make sense of the senseless?

While all of this is normal, there comes a time in the grieving process to deal with your emotions and heal from the pain. If you are still affected, chances are your kids are too. It’s hard to expect our children to restore their sense of security and faith in the world if we are still struggling with it.

So, here are five tips to help get you and your kids back on track: Continue reading


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Where There Is Love: Learning Mindfulness on the (Parenting) Job

I’ve studied mindfulness* just enough to know that I’ve been anything but mindful most of my life. It seems I’ve always been focused on some goal, some imagined future, or – truth be told – some distraction in everyday life. Okay, the ability to delay reward (future focus) has value; we don’t want to become lethargic loafs. And there is certainly value in having fun in one’s daily life; we know what all work and no play did for Jack. My issue, and I think this is fairly common in Western industrialized societies, is being worried or preoccupied with those things to the detriment of one’s happiness and ability to be present in the moment.

Which is why mindfulness is such a powerful tool.

For example, the simple act of focusing, even for a few moments, on one’s own breath — how the air feels inside one’s lungs, how it nourishes the body – has the power to re-center one’s mind just beautifully. It becomes so much easier to let go of my worry about the global economic crisis or climate change or what to eat for dinner. Not that I shouldn’t take actions to help stop climate change, for example, but that I should do it without undue stress and worry. Only concern myself with the things I can effect and not carry the burden of worry about everything else.

Two-year-old “cooking”

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Parent Like a Gardener

Who doesn’t love Autumn? With leaves morphing through the full spectrum of warm colors, a refreshing crispness in the air, harvest foods to enjoy – what’s not to love?

Grass. Yes, grass. This morning grass had taken the charm out of Fall for me (and that’s saying a lot, given that Fall was formerly my favorite season, tied with Spring and Summer, with Winter not far behind).

As yard-owning Americans (who try to green it with native plantings, a vegetable garden, etc.) and parents of three sons who trample it endlessly, ripping it to shreds with their bikes and constant romping, my husband and I have re-entered the realm of Trying to Grow Grass.

Continue reading