Tuesday, April 14, 2009

little maddie

i opened my email and discovered i had a new follower today, alphamummy and i clicked on her profile to check out what she is promoting. my chest tightened and i felt instant grief when i read her article about a popular mom blogger's 17 month old unexpectedly passing away last week, maddie. reading this mom's blog, i realized how easily this could be me or anyone i know facing this tragedy of losing their little one.

there's nothing that could prepare me for a blow like that. my mind can't wrap around the thought of it. she has pictures, just like me, of her baby with her - kissing her and laughing with her. one of her earlier posts this month she realizes that she'll be coming to the park more and more often as little maddie grows and plays with the big girls.

as a Baha'i, i know the next world is a place for maddie to still continue to spiritually grow, where she will be loved and nurtured. it still doesn't ease the pain of her mommy feeling robbed of that chance. it doesn't take the sadness away that i feel for this family in trying to deal with the emptiness and the silence of a home where her voice and her footsteps once were heard.

in the parenting course that i facilitate, we talk a lot about the virtue of strength. it takes strength to parent well. the virtues card for strength reads...

strength is the inner power to withstand whatever comes. it is our capacity to endure in the midst of tests. we grow in strength as we tackle life's challenges with courage and determination. we deepen in strength when we choose gentleness and practice patience. we stay strong when we recognize that suffering is a thread woven through the design of our lives, not to make us unhappy, but to transform us with grace.
O God! Guide little Maddie's spirit and allow the angels of the Abha Kingdom to embrace her.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

i'm outta here

i'm giddy. i'm leaving in the early morning in a van packed with mamas and we're heading for a house by sand and sea for 3 whole days all by ourselves.

there's so much planning involved with an excursion away from my nest. i feel at loose ends. i feel driven to write down the details of my daily life for my husband so he'll know, he'll remember what i do and live my life for a few days.

of course, he will do things the way daddy does them and it will be wonderful. there is no need to leave the poor man a manuscript to read, but it is so tempting.

it bothers me that a weekend away from my babes makes me feel a great sense of joy, of freedom, of escape. does that make me less of a mother? of course, in my rational mind i know that it certainly doesn't. but that heart-centered, mama bear part of me feels somehow disloyal or detached.

one of my girlfriends who is going on the trip with me is fully aware of how much she needs to renew as a single mom. unfortunately, her own mom is taking care of her daughter and isn't happy about doing the favor. "you can't leave; you're a mom! i never left you like this." i wonder if that tells us something about our baby boomer parents, should many of them feel this way about a weekend away?

as much as i know about the importance of self-care, it still remains on the bottom of my list. i think because i know that taking good care of myself includes eating well, getting enough rest, drinking water, exercising, praying morning-noon-and night, reading for pleasure and reflecting on the Baha'i Writings daily. i mean, that's hard work!

it's so much easier to run away to the beach for a weekend with girlfriends than to apply the daily nurturing i know my body and spirit are denied.

i remember the bounties of taking short trips prior to being a mother and always feeling more motivated to make healthy changes upon my return. i'm looking forward to taking a breath this weekend, stepping away from my mothering self and being a bit more woman-focused. maybe i'll come back with a resolve to put myself back on top for the benefit of all.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Fast & Parenting

Whew. This was a tough Fast for me. Each year Baha'is Fast by eating breakfast before sunrise and dinner after sunset from March 2 until March 20. We celebrate the arrival of spring as our New Year, called Naw Ruz from sunset on March 20 until sunset on March 21.

I started out very sick in the beginning the Fast and that kind of set me up for feeling off balance with the spiritual renewal I was hoping for. I wasn't able to consistently Fast until this last week. It was one of the first Fast's that I've done as a mother. In the past I was either pregnant or nursing.

It's amazing how critical keeping my blood sugar normal really is while trying to be the best mama I can be. This was a tough week of ups and downs for Iz and I had to really dig deep for my patience and gentleness.

When we started the Fast she asked me several times if I like to Fast. I thought it was an interesting question. Hmmm...do I like the Fast? I never thought about it quite like that. Growing up as a Baha'i, the Fast was just something we do because we love God and God has asked us to abstain from food and drink for this relatively short period of time. I decided that I shouldn't try to answer that because I really don't want to put it to her in those terms. I love God and I love fulfilling his requests because I trust that there is great wisdom in being self-disciplined to accomplish the Fast.

So, I am very excited for Naw Ruz and to have the luxery of eating and drinking once again, but I do feel sad that this year I wasn't able to fully engage in the spiritual connection that I have had in the past.

How 'bout you, mamas? Any insights? I would love to hear about renewing experiences with the Fast or how you explain it to your wee ones.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm Loving Soul Pancake

Well, I'm not an Office fan - you know, the show that stars Rainn Wilson as a quirky, weird office guy? I hear it's a great show; I've just never tuned into it. I might just have to because I really adore Rainn Wilson.

I found out about a year or so ago that Rainn is a Baha'i and I'm incredibly impressed with how he has introduced The Faith to the world using his celebrity status. He is the best spokesperson we could have - he's funny, articulate, and just a normal, non-glitzy, Hollywood kind of dude.

I am even more excited now that I watched him being interviewed by Oprah on her Soul Series radio show. Wow! It is such a great interview. Oprah has been introduced to the Baha'i Faith! I'm sure she had heard of it; I can't imagine that she has lived in Chicago and not known about the Baha'i Faith, but she gives the impression during the interview that she didn't know about it at all.

You can check out the interview too, just CLICK HERE.

So, why am I loving Soul Pancake and what is Soul Pancake?? It's Rainn Wilson's newest service to the world - his non-hippie-dippie way of getting folks talking about life's big questions by exploring spirituality without it feeling sappy or like church. It's still being developed, but you can check out the website and see what they've created thus far at www.soulpancake.com

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another Ayyam-i-Ha Celebrated!

Only one week ago, our family celebrated Ayyam-i-Ha. Starting February 26-March 1, Baha'i families and communities celebrate these "inter-calary" days with gift-giving, hospitality, and charity.

Decorating For Ayyam-i-Ha
In our home, we decorate with dolls from other lands. I bought beautiful cloth dolls at Pier One Imports one year after Christmas. One is from India and has a beautiful pink sari, another is from Scotland, another from Africa, and the other from Japan. The four dolls are displayed prominently on our mantle.

With gem color lights, the room was aglow with a warm feeling of spring approaching. We have beaded birds and a garland of felted flowers and a garland of spring flower buds strung throughout the main room. Iz and K had a delightful time hanging up our little animal ornaments on their play kitchen and play stand.

Family Party!!
We make 9-pointed star sugar cookies every year for neighbors and the children's teachers. And one of our yearly holiday highlights is our extended family party that involves all of our cousins, aunts, and of course, grandma and grandpa. Each family brings a large basket and a dozen handmade gifts to pass around to each family. By the end of the party, everyone's basket is brimming with gifts and goodies to take home. This is the 2nd year we have decided to add a chocolate fountain to the festivities.

The Ayyam-i-Ha Virtues Fairy
At our community-wide party for the children, we invited the Ayyam-i-Ha Virtues Fairy to come. She sat on her throne and invited each child to sit on her lap. They chose their own unique virtue from her sash and she told them how that virtue made them special. Each child seemed enthralled with her attention. She was magical.

Welcome to One Baha'i Mama's Blog!

It is so exciting to finally have a space to share my musings as a Baha'i mother. All of the blog posts floating in my head for a Baha'i Blog can now escape and be a part of the world wide web for other Baha'i families around the world.

Although there are not many Baha'i families in the world, we are quite a diverse lot. Thus, the name "One Baha'i Mama." This blog will reflect only the experience of one Baha'i mother and her family.

I am looking forward to sharing our experiences of our holidays, Holy Days, and daily life traditions living our lives as a Baha'i family in America. My blog will focus on myself, my husband, G, and our two young children, Iz, age 6 and K, age 3.

Stay tuned to learn of our adventures and explorations of our individual journey about living with faith in a society that wants to leave it behind.