Susan Tucker

Susan cherishes the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, the bloom of a Dogwood tree, and the taste of her mother’s pound cake. She betrays her roots by taking her tea “unsweetened.”

The Fun in Simple Halloween Traditions

The Fun in Simple Halloween Traditions

Before a chill is in the air or the first pumpkin carved, Halloween announces its approach with the arrival of costume superstores. Empty storefronts are magically bewitched into one-stop-shops for the fall festivities. Young, old, and in-between can find nearly any disguise they want for Halloween, if they’re brave enough to walk past the oh-so-creepy lawn decorations to reach the costume aisles. Getting Creative on Halloween When I was a little girl, no such shops existed. I grew up in a small Southern town in the 1970s, and the fancy, store-bought costumes were only available at the local drugstore or five-and-dime. Thin, satin dresses laced with gold thread created the illusion of opulent princess gowns. These manufactured costumes featured plastic masks to […]

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What Happened When I Decided to Romance My Man

What Happened When I Decided to Romance My Man

Here’s a confession: I love romance. I could watch Mr. Darcy walk across the misty field at dawn a million times, and I will swoon each and every time. As Elizabeth waits breathlessly for him to draw near, I find myself holding my breath too. And when he stutters, “I love, love, love you…” I swear my heart skips a beat. While my husband may not regularly sweep me off my feet in Darcy-esque fashion, he does still woo me and win me in a myriad of ways each day. Whether it’s an unexpected text message, a lingering hug, or an above-and-beyond effort to help around the house, I feel regularly romanced by my companion of 22 years. However, romance is a

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3 Tips on How to Encourage Your Child's Educators

3 Tips on How to Encourage Your Child’s Educators

Perhaps no one has more face time with your child than his or her teacher—except you, of course! Teachers do so much more than instruct: they welcome, encourage, comfort, and discipline the students in their care. They pour themselves out each and every day in the classroom, so they need to be filled too. How can you offer refreshment to your child’s teacher? 1. Don’t assume your child’s teacher knows what a great job he or she is doing. Take the time to send an email, leave a voicemail, or better yet, write a note of gratitude. It is extra-special when you notice something specific and take the time to offer a word of praise. 2. Find out some of your child’s teacher’s

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A Worthy Investment Unhurried Time with Friends

A Worthy Investment—Unhurried Time with Friends

If wealth is determined by the friendships in our lives, then I am swimming in gold. There was a time when this wasn’t true. In fact, for a time in my early 30s, I experienced such poverty in this area that I ached. Thankfully, during the past decade, several women have entered my story, invested in me, and become an integral part of my life. These women are 24 karat beauties, who have shining hearts, keen wit, and generous spirits. And I rarely spend time with them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my friends. I’m talking about “no agenda, no errands, no exercise, no excuse” together-for-the-fun-of-it time. In the past when I’ve

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How to Recover Post-Election Intensive Care for the Soul

How to Recover Post-Election: Intensive Care for the Soul

The morning after Election Day, I awoke to a deluge of information on my smartphone. Most of it caused frustration and stress; some of it pricked deep grief; and the rare gem offered wisdom and comfort for which my aching heart yearned. One of the most helpful pieces was written by a wise friend. In her piece entitled “Post-Election Soul Care,” Tara Owens advised, “The practices of soul care matter deeply after a long, harrowing, and divisive campaign cycle.” Tara is so right, and I knew it. Every day I try to be attentive and practice some form of soul care. Beauty, creativity, and community are just a few forms care can take. However, there are some days that require intensive soul

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Teachers Have the Power to Shape Who We Are

Teachers Have the Power to Shape Who We Are

When the new school year began, I became nostalgic for years past: for the purchase of new supplies, the order of organizing binders, the shopping for fresh, new clothes, and the excitement of finding out which teacher we will have for the new year. Perhaps nothing brought as much of a thrill as the postcard we received at the start of August declaring, “Welcome to my class! I’m excited to be your teacher.” Teachers have the power to shape who we are and to speak words over us that we will never forget. My sons have been blessed with caring, creative teachers over the years, and I have seen them challenged, encouraged, and affirmed by them time and time again. I experienced the

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Trauma, Grief, and Healing After Suicide

Trauma, Grief, and Healing After Suicide

This month my son’s best friend would have turned eighteen. He would have been enjoying his senior year and applying to colleges. He might have had his first job and first girlfriend. Instead, we are honoring his birthday while our hearts continue to mourn his loss. Two-and-a-half years have passed since his suicide, yet the grief is still fresh. After Carter’s death, I found myself hovering over my sons, experiencing periods of anxiety, and weeping often. Because of a history of depression, I didn’t hesitate to reach out to a local counselor for help. This wasn’t my first experience working with a counselor. I value the wisdom and discernment of skilled therapists, and I know that their expertise can be extremely helpful

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Learning to Breathe, and Face Depression

Learning to Breathe, and Face Depression

Once upon a time I had my dream job working for a nationally recognized magazine. During my tenure there, I became a first-time mother. I had always imagined that when my first baby arrived, I would instinctively want to stay at home. I did not. I adored my son, but I missed my work. So, when he reached twelve weeks old, I returned to my job. It was a juggling act, for sure, but with the help of my husband and a flextime schedule, it worked. When the day came that we started talking about increasing our family yet again, I knew that for me it was time to consider walking away from my job. It feels like a sacred confession to

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Lessons From the Middle School

Every day I’m surrounded by 300 middle school students. My office is nestled in the seventh grade hallway, wedged within the girls’ locker bay. It smells of vanilla and baby powder. Further down the hall sits the boys’ lockers, and this hallway does not smell like vanilla and baby powder. It has a strange odor that I’ve yet to name, even though I have two teenage boys myself. When we think of middle schoolers, we often think of all the wisdom we would like to impart during these formative years. And there is a lot! However, I’m realizing that my days with teenagers probably teach me as much as I am teaching the kids. Here are a few things that I am

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Surviving the Shadowlands of Teen Suicide

When my son was fourteen years old, he suddenly lost his best friend. The week began with an ordinary Monday. My son spent the morning chatting with his friend before school began, they passed each other in the hallways numerous times throughout the day, they ate lunch side by side, and they said goodbye at 3:15, as they did every day for five years. That night his friend took his own life. On Tuesday morning, with the news of his friend’s death, my son’s heart broke and his world changed. Prior to this tragedy, my son lived in the beautiful bubble of a happy childhood. Sure, he’d faced fear, struggle, and disappointment, but in light of the nuclear blast of that Tuesday

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Long Distance Friendship

Long-Distance Friendship

The start of the New Year marked a change in a significant relationship. One of my dearest friends moved from our shared city to a town 676 miles away. After eight years of side-by-side life, we will now be separated by stretches of interstate. I delayed our goodbye as long as I could, but when I could no longer ignore her departure, I drove to her house one last time. The tears I’d held back for months fell heavily and freely. As I pulled up to her house and parked behind the moving truck, I paused to dry my tears and pray for some counsel. I heard, “Keep it in perspective.” What kind and wise counsel! As we embraced, I was mindful

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The Fine Art of Aging Gracefully

The Fine Art of Aging Gracefully

Fifteen years ago when I worked in an office, I had a postcard tacked to the wall of my cubicle. It featured a quote by Major League pitcher Satchel Paige: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” I was struck by this idea then, and I continue to be today. Some days, when I wake up with an achy back and knees that pop and crack, I feel ancient. I try to run a mile, and I find myself gasping for the next breath. I visit my dentist or doctor and marvel at how they could be at least a decade younger than me. I find I’m singing along to a favorite song…and it’s playing on

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