Saturday, January 27, 2018

To My Children


To My Children:

I promise to model kindness, acceptance, community, a "can-do" attitude, and how to believe in yourself.  
I promise to make every effort to instill a love of world justice in you.  A focus on ethical awareness and social justice as key in creating a peaceful world.
 .
I promise to support and encourage the person that you are, without attempting to change the kernel of you.  By loving your individuality, I believe you will grow to pass love and acceptance on to the world around you.
.
I promise to help you remember to value the difficult times as learning opportunities. Seeds of success are sown in darkness and doubt.  
I believe your successes and your pride and sense of self will come from the struggle.  While I promise to offer you every advantage I have at my disposal, I promise to not make your life too easy or too comfortable.
.
I promise to show you honesty and authenticity in all things.
 .
I promise to remind you every single day that each day is your day. That this very moment is here and now and to make the most of it!  And even more, remember that in this moment, it is necessary to embrace it, to do your best in this crystal moment.  Whether it means apologizing, rebuilding, renewing, resting, or something else, 
this is the only moment. So avoid hurting others.
.
I promise to teach you the power of word, thought, and intention.
 .
I will always tell you the truth. I will, to the best of my ability, show you all sides of an issue and show you how to see issues as transparently as possible. I will show you my love of learning, researching, gaining a better understanding, and critical thinking because I believe this is the path to true love and appreciation of this earth.
 .
I promise to introduce you to as many "truths" as we can possibly explore. I  promise to show you that the many cultures and customs around the world hold meaning and value, that other cultures are not pale comparisons to our own. And most importantly to realize that people are beautiful and enigmatic and valuable and inherently good.

I will always be on your side. I will always love you with a depth and breadth that still overwhelms me. And I promise to continue improving myself for my own benefit and for yours as well.



You might also enjoy:
You Take my Breath Away

Who Do You Thank for Your Children
Licorice
Should I Let my Mom Take my Children to Church?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

FB Profile


I posted this on FB last night, just feeling despair and anger and frustrations...and more things. Even though it's not terribly erudite, several friends were moved enough asked if they could copy it to their FB profiles. I thought I'd add it here in case the words move you to their use too.



Let me know if you decide to use it.
😉


You might also enjoy:
Who I Am, Who You Are

Egg on my Facebook  (2010)
Why am I an Openly Atheist Blogger?
Atheist Parent: Patheos


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

God is(n't) Good


The other day I was at the grocery store in line for the check out. The man behind me had a little basket of stuff so I sent him ahead of me. He said, "Oh, I appreciate it...my granddaughter is in the hospital and I'm just exhausted and needing to get home."

We began talking about grandchildren and showing pics, as grandparents are wont to do. He said that his daughter was finally home but his new granddaughter was still in the hospital at twelve days old. She had been having seizures with no explanation. He told more of the story and we all listened and adored his pictures, as you do at such times.

At some point I said how optimistic I felt because his granddaughter was at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, one of the foremost children's hospitals in the nation. As a teaching hospital, Cardinal Glennon offers excellent and innovative pediatric care. We are fortunate to have it here in 
St. Louis and available to our children.

Grandpa's reply to this, God is good. We welcome your prayer.

Everyone else said that they would pray for the infant.
I stood there with a look of concern and support on my face and said I'm grateful for the highly-trained specialists at CGCH and I'll be thinking of all of you...


I accepted the look, knowing I would never, ever be able to even pretend to pray...and certainly not to a god that gave a newborn seizures.


You Might Also Enjoy:
Trust Me, I'm an Atheist
Feeling Peevish
Things I Don't Give a FUCK about in 2018

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.  💙




You might also enjoy:
Who I Am, Who You Are

A Little Gratitude
Oh Fleek

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.


You might also enjoy:
I'm Weird. I'm Real.

You're So Beautiful
This is Me: Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

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.



You might also enjoy:
Being Atheist isn't Enough
Being an Atheist: I Miss the Church Community
Tea and Biscuits for Atheist Parents
Definition: The Formal Statement of the Meaning of a Word

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Things I Don't Give a FUCK About in 2018


Scarymomma.com 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
a HAPPY and HEALTHY
New Year!