Sunday, January 21, 2018

Being 75 and Not Knowing

Early last year I started a writing group here in town. I had thought that at least a dozen friends were interested but when the dust settled there were just three of us. We meet weekly at a nice little coffee shop in town where we write over steaming mugs of coffee or tea, amid the detritus of salads, sandwiches, brownies, cookies. We three bring our journaling books and our favorite pens. We use various sources for writing prompts. We share our writing with each other.

Sometimes one or more of us will bring in some samples of our personal writing from the week to share with the group. This week my friend Carol brought in a piece she called Being 75 and Not Knowing. I don't know if it will move you, but Peg and I gave her a well-deserved standing ovation, right there at the table.

Guest Post.
Carol has given me permission to share her piece here with you.
I hope you love it.

Being 75 and Not Knowing

at 75, I have felt, an apex should have been in order
the climb to the mountaintop accomplished
after all, we think the elderly wise.

but I find that there are more questions and more doubts than ever
even the doubt of a personal existence

after all, we are newly born at the cellular level every 7 years
maintaining our assumed identity only by guidance of the DNA passing from cell to cell
and we are mostly water and space 
relative football fields of space at the micro level
electrical pathways processing our actions and reactions

and my thoughts are not myself, flitting as they do
across the fields (and sometimes mine fields) of my mind
they come and they fly like whispered dreams

mooji says it is all nothing, nothing, nothing
no mind, so self, not a thinker but a witness to thought
then what is left?

I have yet to comprehend these quiet teachings
sleepy even while hearing his voice,
mind wandering to the next distraction.

At night I lie in bed with my tiny dog
who snuggles under the covers, twitching ever so slightly,
as her muscles slowly relax from her day of terrorizing squirrels
and I wonder if she is happy in this home?
or is it just the basic needs of food and warmth and petting 
that she cares about
I ask her, are you happy? but happy is a word she does not know
I am happy with her
her unbounded joy upon my return home enlivens me
grateful for her unadulterated being,
she has no concern for mind, not mind, self, not-self

but I am 75 and I do not know
and perhaps that is enough
the question and the not knowing are enough.

 Thank you, Dear Carol.  💗

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Your Self Worth

John and I had a weird and enlightening moment this afternoon. He and I were having this conversation where we were reading off "philosophical questions" to one another and answering those questions. It was pretty fun and pretty cool; I recommend it.

Anyway, one of the questions was something along the lines of when do you feel a good amount of self worth. We were both, in different ways, saying nearly the same thing. We were trying to elucidate that we felt a satisfying sense of self-worth when we accomplish something.

Suddenly I had a thought. Do we expect the person sitting across the table from us to have to accomplish something before we feel that they are worth something?

Think on that for a moment.
We sat there with our mouths hanging open.

Each of us, on our own, found ourselves realizing that we had to earn our own self worth...what a surprising revelation. What a realization...does it make you think too?

We'll just see where we go with that now...


Edited Jan 21, 2018:
I'm not at all surprised to report that John and I had a continuation of this conversation this evening. He's stating that this new awareness (value himself without requiring accomplishment to feel good about himself) has continued to percolate in his psyche. He was able to verbalize many new ways that this observation has already changed how he processes his thoughts today.

Our conversation can't really be recreated here for you to read, but I was so very moved and impressed by his ability to explore ideas, extrapolate, see growth potential. He's amazing.  💙

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I Was Accused...

Hideous story.

It was about ten years ago; the kids were pretty small and we were very involved with our homeschool co op. We had gotten involved with a secondary play group that met on Tuesday afternoons. The group had seven or eight regular families that got together each week. I had been warned by some of my friends about these moms in the Tuesday playgroup, told that they were pretty toxic. But I thought, Hey, I'm nice. It will be OK.

One of the families that participated in this play group was a woman, I'll call her Beth, with her teenage stepdaughter, I'll call her Jennifer, and Beth's two sons, I'll call Ben and Bob. John was very close friends with Ben and Bob while I generally sat with the moms as the kids played. It was quite disturbing listening to Beth talk about her stepdaughter the way she did week after week. She was very openly and loudly hateful about Jennifer and said things that, I though, were really over the line. There are lots of stories here, but the stories happened every week and were just remarkably bizarre to hear Beth say about this... kid;  there was no compassion or affection at all in there. Both Beth and Jennifer had reputations for their volatility and emotional issues. 
But, hey, it happens.

One Tuesday morning I visited a teen event for a project I was working on. I saw Jennifer at this event and she seemed very happy, smiling, and bouncy. That same afternoon the kids and I were at the regular play group when Beth and her kids walked in with Jennifer looking particularly down. A teenager looking depressed.
Hey it happens, right?

The teens were hanging out across the room talking. Weeks ago I had decided that I would try to connect with Jennifer, who heard Beth's words very loudly week after week. So that afternoon I joined the teens for a few minutes. I mentioned to Jennifer that she looked happier that morning and that I was available if she wanted to talk. The other teens were all still sitting there, heard everything. The teens were also writing with Sharpie on Jennifer's jeans. 
I grabbed a Sharpie and drew Kilroy on the knee of her jeans.

Later that night I got a call from Beth, livid LIVID that I had told Jennifer that I had noticed her mood, assumed that I had blamed that mood on Beth's treatment of her, and was generally shocked with and pissed off at me. By the next morning, the other moms had all gotten together and had decided that I had been SEXUALLY INAPPROPRIATE with Jennifer, that I had touched her bottom with my Sharpie and had said sexually-leading and -inappropriate things to her and in front of the other teens.

Regardless of my story, the kids and I were very publicly kicked out of the group. I was absolutely mortified. There was no effort to ask me if the stories were honest or true.
More than mortified, I was upset for being accused of something so very against the very heart of me. 
And people believed it...

ANYWAY, over the years I heard stories about that woman who had gotten kicked out of the playgroup for her sexual inappropriateness: Me. Stories were being told. I carried that nightmare of innuendo, false stories, and reputation for years. It was freaking hideous. Even now some people treat me oddly. I have a reputation...

Why am I telling this story now?
Two reasons, actually.

I recently saw one of the kids from one of the families involved all of those years ago. They turned their eyes from me as soon as they recognized me...I think. I guess I am very bad  in their eyes. But more importantly, this past weekend, several kids of my dear friend stayed over with us for four days. Occasionally I found myself grateful that my friend would never, ever think such a thing of me. 
Because I love her kids. 
In the most loving, truly, genuine kind of way.

For a person who truly loves children as I do, such an accusation absolutely cut me to the heart. John lost his really good friends Ben and Bob. And, lest we forget Jennifer, I felt sad that I was never able to really listen to her had she needed a friend...I think she could have used one.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

I'm Going to be Brutally Honest

I'm going to put it down, right here and right now. It's got to be said, even if I upset people. It's my right to be honest even it it doesn't make me popular, though I'm sure my friends will understand. Because I'm going to be totally honest, I can't help if the truth hurts.

I'm sorry to be so blunt:

People have the power to make a difference.
It is within our ability to inform ourselves and to vote intelligently. We have the capacity to drain the swamp, to create the country that we can be proud of, to vote people into the highest offices of our country who represent our real values.

Love really and truly means something.
In a world that is indifferent or difficult, having love in one's life is the only thing that makes survival a thing worth fighting for.

Things and ideas are not valuable above human beings.
We can war, both literally and online, about who is right or wrong, about what is better or worse, about what has value and what does not. But you are in need, I will help you regardless of your posessions or ideas.

If you can be satisfied with what you have then you will be happier. If you cannot, work to make things better for yourself. 
When possible, help others up as well.
Beyond the basics, wanting more stuff seems to only create an unhappy envy. Recognizing that happiness and joy come from within will change absolutely everything for you. And hard work and determination for long stretches of time are essential to pull oneself up to a place where one can, finally share what they have. At least it worked for me.

Admitting when you are wrong is a wonderful learning experience.
Not only is it admirable and courageous to admit to being wrong, admitting to what is incorrect is always an opportunity to learn something. From new information to what the people in your life are like, admitting error and working to correct that error is a real character builder. Be open to the questions that arise from new information.

You see what you look for.
Some people see this as a golden, opportunity-filled planet with so much potential. Some people see the planet as a shithole.
Same planet.
Be aware of how your thinking contributes to the quality of your life. For most people, ones thinking patterns and habits determine 90% of one's happiness and joy.

You are valuable.
Each one of us is, yes, like every other. But each of us is also completely unique. When you meet someone else, someone from a different race, religion, nation, culture, take some time and get to know them. Your world will expand more and more. The person that you are will expand and become even more valuable with each new experience you have and with each new perspective you visit.

There, I've done it. 
Sorry for the bluntness but sometimes a girl's gotta let it all hang out.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Anti-Intellectualism, Racism, Complacency

  • Some people deny the scientifically-proven, human-created climate change.
  • Some people refuse to get their children vaccinated.
  • Some people are fearful of non-white humans.
  • Some people are proud of having faith over knowledge.
  • Some people think our planet is flat.
  • Some people prefer faith over knowledge.
  • Some people consider science a dubious enterprise. 
  • Some people prefer guns rights over personal rights.
  • Some people eschew medical treatment for prayer.
  • Some people are fearful of people who have beliefs different from themselves.
  • Some people support the glorification of the emotional and irrational to the logical and rational.
  • Some people think that there ever was a better America when we had institutional racism, sexism, genderism, and many other forms of inequality and injustice.
  • Some people prefer tradition and mythology over reason and logic.
  • Some people embrace homeopathy and other alternative treatment forms to proven medical knowledge.
  • Some people actually conceal their intellectual ability in order to not offend those around them.
  • Some people accept the word of their leader implicitly and without question.
  • Some people listen to words and ignore action.
  • Some people prefer easy over right.
  • Some people prefer the cloak of patriotism over what is right and, further, paint many forms of behavior with a broad patriotism brush.
  • Some people actually believe that lands of poverty or violence, and those who flee that land, are to be blamed for problems in our own nation.
  • Some people in the USA fear those who flee before war and tyranny.
  • Some people are willing to listen to the fearmongering of our leadership with regard to other countries and minority religions even there is no evidence to support that fear.
  • Some people are willing to replace ignorance with blame, rather than with knowledge.
  • Some people are willing to overlook misinformation for security in not knowing.
  • Some people prefer sensationalism, out-of-touch storytelling, and drama to hard truth.
  • So many people can be emotionally manipulated to political sway by fear and misinformation.
  • Some people pass along conspiracy theory rather than informing themselves.
  • Some people fear the global market and prefer an isolationist agenda with regards to our economy.
  • Some people consider the terms intellectual and egghead to be insults.
  • Some people doubt the evolution of species in spite of the overwhelming evidence and prefer creation stories from various religions.
  • Some people accept propaganda about GMOs and other tabloid news without looking for reputable news and information sources.
  • Some people are unaware of the social media bias for news, how news sources located by one's own search algorithms will always reflect one's own personal paradigm, rather than a neutral and reputable news source.
  • Some people can't understand that making money is not preferable to protecting our planet.
  • Some people approach the polls without truly educating themselves about the issues or the candidates.
  • Some people insecurely think that, because they don't understand something, that they can't understand it.
  • Some people think that their ignorance can be equal to my knowledge.
  • Some people, maybe schools, consider performing well on a test to indicate true knowledge.
  • Some people don't seem to recognize how this anti-intellectual bent in the USA affects public policy, has social costs, and is reflected even in our economy.

I'm not attempting to create a provocative post. I'm merely mourning, feeling overwhelmed with sadness, and expressing my consternation with the norms in my beloved country.

I see the anti-intellectualism so clearly in many public places and forums and I wonder why are we so complacent about this? How did this country get this far along this road? How many of our elected officials are a part of this anti-intellectualism? How deluded can our country be to ignore all of these facts? Do many people recognize that the uninformed are seldom politically active? How can the general populace not see that the wealthy-without-integrity are benefiting from this lack of curiosity by failing to support human-focused values? I find it alarming.

What can be done?

It takes effort to forgo our human emotional foundations for reasonable thought. I fear that much of the easy anti-intellectual activity we see is supported by and encouraged by various religions as well as by other public systems. (I could be wrong in this.) It aggrieves me to see how pervasive it is in this country, this disdain for science and general knowledge. How many of our leaders are actually Young Earthers or creationists?

The lack of knowledge and, further, the disdain for knowledge shows itself in so many ways in our country. From the current white house administration to the shameful racial biases in our criminal justice system to our illiterate graduates to the questionable and dangerous health practices to our nationally disgraceful expressions of WOO to our inability to get consensus on climate change and global environmental issues, anti-intellectualism is the culprit.

What is the solution?
JOIN ME in embracing REASON and in spreading Love of Learning.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Things I Don't Give a FUCK About in 2018 put up an excellent blog post that I found somewhere on Facebook. The post is called 25 Things I Won't Give a F**K About This Year. I have no idea when this post was put up, but I'm inspired!!!!!! I didn't read beyond the first of the 25 before stopping my reading so that I could copy the idea and write the things that I won't give a fuck about this year.   😊  So I'm stealing the idea for the blog post but none of the actual ideas...because I haven't read them yet.

I love the idea that she will not be making any NYE resolutions this year, but, rather, will be listing the things that she won't give two shits for this year. That's the kind of list I can get behind.  LOL

For the most part I have already stopped feeling guilty about stuff in my life. I've stopped any and all comparisons and judging. I've stopped any competition, except for when playing Scrabble. I've exited assholes out of my life. I've become the mother I want to be. And my kids are pretty big. So my list won't be about any of that stuff. But I've been thinking about this for a few hours now... because as scarymomma says:
I resolve not to give a fuck about in the new year. Because at some point you realize that if you don’t allocate your fucks better, you might soon find yourself completely out of fucks to give, which is not a good place to be. Believe me.

So here's my list:

  1. What you think about my children's lives, choices, issues, moments of pride. - I'm just done with caring what naysayers freaking think. People who look for the negative will always find it. They can go fly a freaking kite as far as I'm concerned.
  2. Anything you choose to say to others about me or mine. - Ditto just being done with that kind of childishness. And I'm feeling quite freaking done with this.
  3. What the alt-right thinks. - I have heard it all and I can honestly say that I don't want to hear a single other syllable from hateful people.
  4. How much cool stuff you have as compared to me. - NOT a things person. I don't have the things and I don't want the things. I could not care less what cool stuff you have, only that you are happy with it.
  5. Who is wearing what at the large events in the world. - Who is dating whom. Who said what about whoever. How can any of this be remotely meaningful?
  6. Whatever fearmongering bullshit you are spewing about any other peoples, cultures, or groups on the planet. - I'm absolutely over listening to any and all fearmongering. If I even get a whiff of it in a conversation with you, I. Am. Done.
  7. Your faddish potions and notions. - I've been around long enough to notice that these infatuations with various products and substances come and go...and things generally do not change and no miracles ever happen.
  8. Doing things I should have said NO to. - I will not feel bad about simply not going there. I've done enough stuff for the wrong reasons and I refuse to do it any longer. I've gotten pretty good at this one, actually.
  9. Feeling bad about letting laundry lay for an extra couple of days. -
  10. Listening to people who talk about people rather than ideas. -
  11. Feeling bad for, apologizing for, my weird sleep patterns. - I haven't chosen them, I'm the one dealing with them.
  12. Uncomfortable clothes. - I'm still wearing bras because they cost me something, even though they are uncomfortable AF. No more. I'm done with all of the uncomfortable things. Shoes included.
  13. Rules. - Honestly, I've never cared much for rules. But I'm getting ruthless about it now. You call it a rule, I ignore you.
  14. Any and all WISDOM offered by social media. - I mean, come on!
  15. Apologizing for my time on the internet or on my phone. - I LOVE the internet and I love my phone. I won't be embarrassed about anything that I enjoy. Besides, were it not for these electronic devices I wouldn't get to see my friends! 
  16. Even pretending like I care about the newest and coolest thing, movie, music, podcast. - I don't and I can't keep up and I have to just admit that I stopped keeping up a few years ago. Please, especially no more comic book super hero things.
  17. What you ate for dinner. - I am never certain what my reaction should be to your empty plate on FB. 
  18. Horoscopes, chakra, spirituality, ANYTHING that strikes me of woo. - I'm already pretty disconnected from most of this, but I don't want to hear another thing about it. I mean, fuck it. So many people post their beliefs completely freely and without concern for others. I'm saying it here: I can't stand any woo-y stuff. At. All. I censor myself enough to avoid hurting people's feelings about this sort of rubbish.
  19. If you tell me Merry Christmas. -  Kind wishes of all sorts are welcome. Thanks.
  20. If you are male and you use the female public bathroom. - If you are transgender, please just use the bathroom and get back to shopping the mall. Sheesh.
  21. If you are recieving some sort of public aid and you have a smart phone. - GOOD FOR YOU. Life is hard enough. Sheesh.
  22. Getting more stuff! - If you really want to please me, let's do something together. I don't want another tchotchkes. I want to do cool things with cool people.

What about YOU????

Now I'm going to go and read scarymomma's list!

Monday, January 1, 2018

For the New Year...and Always

I am not a person who believes in new years resolutions. I think most people tend to forget them pretty quickly. But what I do believe in is every day, continually seeking to improve oneself. It is in that vein that I create these little bits of clip art each year. This is my newest:

 and I wish you and yours
New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Who do You Thank for your Children?

At some point a few years ago I found myself on a blog written by a Christian parent named Bill Belew. His blog seems to be generally about raising children who are ethnically different from their parents. At some point Mr. Belew had come across an OLD blog that I created for atheist parenting carnivals. I called that blog Carnival of Atheist Parenting. Because of the links involved in blogging, I found myself on his blog reading his post entitled Atheist Parenting | Who do you say thank you to for your children? 

In this blog post  Mr. Belew's eight year old daughter Mia asked her father what an atheist was, presumably because of the blog carnival site. He and I had followed links back and forth a couple of times.
Allow me to copy/paste his blog post here:

I had to ask my daddy, “What’s an atheist?” before I could understand anything about atheist parenting.
“Atheists are people who think they are God.”
Wow, how can they think that?
“Well, atheists want to say there is no such thing as God, or a god.  But, in order to say that something absolutely does not exist, an atheist must be everywhere at the same time and say ‘look, I don’t see it.’ And nobody can be everywhere at the same time … except for someone like a God.”

Hmm … that’s a bit too deep for a little girl like me. Daddy, everyday you say ‘Thank you’ to God for giving you me. Who do atheists say thank you to for their children?
“I don’t know the answer to that question. The stars maybe? Chance? Atheists think that things just sort of came to be. So, I suppose that they think children just kind of pop out when the time comes and disappear into oblivion 70-80 years later.”
What’s obble if in. (Ed. oblivion.)
“It’s nothing and nowhere.”
So, we kids come from nothing and go to nowhere? That doesn’t make sense.
“It doesn’t make sense to me either, honey. Maybe an atheist will read this and explain it to us. I am genuinely interested and think such a discussion would be worthwhile.”

Daddy. Thank you for being thankful for me.

 Well, I thought I would be that atheist who read and explained and I, too, thought the discussion might be worthwhile, so I commented this:
I am very happy to help answer this question. Of course I can speak for myself only, not an entire group of people. I am an atheist parent and I am here to answer your questions. Keeping in mind that I do not debate, try to change your mind, or participate in any sort of proselytizing.

First I feel the need to correct something that you have already said that is a MAJOR MAJOR piece of misinformation in a part of the “explanation” above. Atheist parents most definitely do not believe that they are god. In fact, the word atheist means “no god”. Atheists have no belief in any god, demon, spirit, etc, In fact, atheists are very skeptical about all claims of anything supernatural at all. Certainly not ourselves. *wink*

And, second, an atheist truly does not have to be everyplace at all!

We do not make the claim of a supernatural being or god, so atheists really have no burden to prove any extraordinary claims.

And lastly, as I am sure you are aware, atheists do not buy any of the creation stories. Many atheist accept the big bang theory of creation. I am sure that some do not.

As for who do I THANK for my children?
I thank THEM for being exactly who they are.
Who brought them into being? Well, simply, when two people love each other, they share a special kind of love…
My husband and I brought them into being.
I am not thankful TO anyone. I am simply deeply thankful for them.
I do not believe that it is necessary to give credit to a deity in order to truly be thankful that my children are MY children.

I love them SO deeply and SO completely that there is no way to measure it!

Peace, Karen

And then, after talking with Elizabeth and John about the blog post, they asked me if they, too, could comment on Mr. Belew's blog post, and we commented like this:
I have been sharing this with my children and my son, John, age 12, has a point that he wants to make.

We have taken the time to learn the natural way of our own existence. The word “oblivion” suggests that “we” (atheists) think that things just appear/disappear into nothing and nowhere.

The human body is made of particles of matter, just as stars are made of matter! When those particles come together into a marvelous living thing, we know that that living thing has a life. This process is VERY easy to explain and to understand if you wish to do a bit more reading on it. During the lifetime of a thing, including ourselves, we love and enjoy it. When it is no longer living, its particles break down into small particles again. This is called decomposition. You might look for more information on the carbon cycle, genetics, and cells.

My daughter Liz, age 16, says that atheist parents don’t “THANK” anyone for their children. Though they thank each other AND they are grateful for the chance to have children.

The complex reasons why things ~ARE~ is interesting and worth learning more about. There is a great deal of knowledge out there that is remarkable and exciting to learn!

Maybe Mia will be a scientist one day!

Not surprisingly I was very proud of how both of the kids "spoke" to Mr. Belew's daughter, though I doubt Mia actually got to read our comments. What did surprise me, though, was the fact that the blogger closed comments on that post for some reason...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Is Atheism the Privilege of the Rich?

Some years ago I read an article on AlterNet (*) called Is Atheism an Intellectual Luxury for the Wealthy?  The article explores the idea that being wealthy makes a person less likely be feel the need to carry an expectation that religion brings comfort and hope. When I read the article three or four years ago I thought that there might be something to the idea, though the article didn't really make the idea clear, nor was it a terribly provocative article. But it made me think.

Remembering the article, tonight I spent some time on a humanist website based in the UK where I found a study by Dr. Tom Rees, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, suggesting that in places without strong social safety nets (serious poverty, an absence of social support, an absence of solid family support) people are more likely to rely on religion for comfort. Also, as fucked up AF as it may seem, when someone is suffering it may console him or her to think that the end of the world is actually near, that their god will bring their tormented lives to a close and will reward the faithful with everlasting joy. I remember Mom once saying something like this to me. 

Doom and gloom predictions about the trials and tribulations that humanity will face before the apocalypse, prevalent in Christian fundamentalism, may also help some people attribute a higher purpose to their suffering, explaining it as part of God’s ultimate plan. It’s also worth noting that in poverty areas the local church may provide for people’s basic needs through free childcare programs, food pantries, and clothing drives. For these people, religion brings them hope.

Is it not a cruelty to take away the hope of faith for these people?

I truly don't know. But it is a thing that I think about fairly often. I recall my mother very tearfully claiming that I was trying to take away her hope by being an atheist..? It is a part of the reason that I never debate and I never attempt to bring logic and reason beyond general explanation to someone who does not seek it for themselves.

However, I do truly believe that religion tends to keep people in poverty and wealthy in wealth. I also believe that the world would be a better place without religion. I also genuinely believe that the control of the church creates people who have difficulty thinking their way out of the mind control. I'm pretty sure that this is why Donald Trump is in the White House at this very moment. It's why people accept and even embrace their suffering in this life, because the church characterizes suffering as a virtue. I also truly believe that the church targets those living in poverty. And I find that reprehensible.

I know there is a Gallup poll somewhere with bunches of statistics regarding poverty and religiosity. Look it up if you are interested.

I'll stop now; I think you get the idea.

Addendum, Dec 28, 2017:

Sometimes as I'm blogging I totally lose my way in my own mind. I did that with this post and I did not complete my thought. What I intended to suggest in my writing was this. With greater access to cash, one has greater access to higher learning and to informed materials. Because of this privileged access, I believe that the wealthier among us have better ability to locate and consume schools of thought, reason and logic, and mechanisms of supernatural thought. With access to these essential pieces of knowledge, therefore, a wealthier human can unwire the brainwashing of religion and supernatural belief, can discern the baloney in the bathwater.

Also, I have plenty of friends who are living below the poverty line but who are, nonetheless, amazing freethinking human beings and I have friends who have plenty of cash but who have not found their way out of the matrix. 

So this idea of wealth = privilege is simply a start place.

* AlterNetAlterNet is a progressive news magazine and a project of the non-profit Independent Media Institute. Launched in 1998, AlterNet claims a readership of over 5.9 million visitors per month. (Maybe you already know this; I didn't. 🙂 )   - Wikipedia

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Keeping CHRIS in Christmas

2016 - It's a few days past Christmas and I'm sitting here thinking about what we accomplished this past Christmas in our home. Dare I call it Christmas and not the seculars' favored term the holidays Sure, was a Christmas Day, because that is what we call it here in our home. Others celebrate other holidays.

See, it's simple like that.

Anyway, we had so much family and friends for Christmas. It was WONDERFUL. Trees, food, games galore, gifts, laughter, and so much love. I would hate to miss out on the family celebration because I was afraid of the insistence from religion that this holiday belongs to them. It does not. It belongs to us.

Our family had the wonder and amazing opportunity to see Christmas through the eyes of children who had never celebrated Christmas before. Ever. Seeing their mother open her mind to the possibility of a positive and secular holiday was such a gift and seeing the kids learn the true value of giving.

These kids had never had a tree. They had not sung carols. They hadn't opened a single gift. They hadn't played holiday games. The kids' mother, my dear friend, has been on an extremely long and amazingly brave journey away from her extreme evangelical upbringing and personal belief. Aaaaaaaaaaall of the way to atheism. (*) What a delight to be a part of their lives and to see their boundaries being pushed...

I received the most beautiful gift I have ever gotten from these seven heart hurts with happiness just thinking about it.  💙

(*)  My friend has a book available on all about her amazing journey through religion and out into atheism called Free to Be: How I Went From Unhappily Married Conservative Bible Believer to Happily Divorced Atheistic Humanist in One Year and Several Complicated Steps. What a great, great read!    Kindle