27 November 2014

26 November 2014

Remembering why I left Christianity

Every once in a while I am reminded that not all Christians are closed-minded, small, angry, judgmental people. I meet people who happen to be Christians and are perfectly wonderful examples of what was likely intended by following the teachings of Jesus.

But then I read news articles about people's rationale for blocking same-sex marriage and safe, legal abortions and reliable birth control and I am reminded once again of why I am an atheist and unashamed of it.

I see people bury their heads in their Bibles, praying for their god to do something for them, allowing themselves--or worse, their children--to stay in difficult or dangerous situations because they think it's where they have to be for their god to teach them some kind of life lesson.

And I'm reminded of why I left Christianity.

I watch a documentary like Kidnapped for Christ* and see the basic rights of human beings violated and ignored and laughed at by people who claim to defend the human rights of the unborn above all else.

And I am glad I have enough sense to step away from the hypocrisy and violence and judgment and oppression that comes from Christianity (and religion--let's not exclude anyone).

I know there are people out there who are good people and happen to follow religious traditions. That's fine. The problem is that those good people aren't the spokespeople for their religions. Instead, they let the loudmouth bigots take the bullhorn and spread lies and hate and make people think that that is what it means to be a Christian, now and forever amen.

When you've got people like this who are getting the attention, what do you expect?

There are so many people who stand by their beliefs in religion at all costs, ignoring the fact that there is a big, wide world outside of their pastor's pulpit that answers the questions they're not allowed to ask.

Sorry, I'd rather know about the world around me based on the expertise of proven scientists and authorities in their fields than become convinced that the people who contradict me must be conspiring against my children (see link above).

Thanks, though.

*Available on Netflix.

23 November 2014

Renew your spirit with cooler weather

It's finally cooled off here in central Florida.* I'm wearing jeans and even bought a couple of cardigans.

I love this weather. Autumn is my favorite, and that's what Florida winters feel like to me. I love the crispness in the air, the sudden warmth of stepping into the sun, the cool breezes.... It's wonderful.

This is, really, all the munchkins (and Bo) know. Puck and Tink did spend a couple of years living with me in Illinois, but they were so young that I don't know how much of the cold weather they really remember. Bo has lived in southern states her entire life, so this is all she knows, too.

But I remember cooler weather form living in Illinois and other places. I remember the excitement of the first snow of the year. And there's magic there, too.

I miss Midwest autumns and (some aspects of) winters. But getting to enjoy what feels like a Midwest autumn until spring is okay by me.

Florida rules.

*This is relative. I just checked the weather and it's about 81°, but it has been quite a bit cooler lately than it was, and has even been in the forties and fifties.

20 November 2014

Family Holiday Plans

This time next week we'll be happily celebrating Thanksgiving with family. Puck and Tink are greatly looking forward to seeing Mimi and Papa G, and I'm very excited about this kick-off celebration for our holiday season.

I love spending time with family at the holidays. As much as I am an introvert, I still love having family around sometimes.

When I was a kid, we'd go up to my paternal grandparents' house for holiday meals. When everyone showed up, there were about 20 of us crawling all over the house. (I have seven cousins on that side, and now more since a couple of them are married with kids of their own.) It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with family, make memories, and play 500.

Now that I live states away from my extended family, and so many of my family members are going off in their own directions, family holiday meals aren't as...rambunctious (though Puck and Tink are pretty rowdy). I miss the chaos of those events.

That's why I'm so excited about our holiday plans this year. We have a lot planned, and it's going to be a good chance to make memories to carry us through until Easter, when we can make more.

It's going to be a great holiday season.

19 November 2014

Happy happy to Bo!

Tink and Bo
Labor Day 2014
Yesterday was Bo's birthday. We had lunch together, but she and I will be celebrating today. And then we'll have cake when the kids come back from Monty's next week.

Last night before bed, Bo told me she had a good birthday. Her last few birthdays were a little rough, so I'm glad that this year was different.

Bo deserves to be happy. Every day.

Happy Birthday, Bo. May this year be your best yet.

17 November 2014

Reading for work

Over the next year and a half or so, the work I do is going to shift.* I can't give too many details right now, but I will say that it has to do with moving my target market to the holistic health and wellness sector.

To that end, I have a lot of books on my reading list right now that deal with health and wellness topics, including herbal remedies and reiki. Not only are these interesting to me on a personal level, but I find them helpful in moving forward with work.

Of course, as is often the case, the more I'm learning about these topics, the more I want to know. One area of study leads to another, which opens the door to something else, and it's all interrelated, of course.

I'm trying not to get too carried away, especially in these early stages of in-depth research. I don't want to overwhelm myself with information, especially since it's for work.

So I'm reading little by little, learning more about this broad topic so I can better provide for the needs of my clients, to better equip me to narrow my target market in the near future, and, most importantly, to help me take better care of myself by finding a balance between mind, body, and spirit.

And in the meantime, I have plenty of reading to keep me occupied.

*Originally the plan was to make the shift at the beginning of this year or by next summer, but there are some aspects that have come up that are causing the shift to be pushed back a bit. So it's going to be another year before the shift really starts to happen.

16 November 2014

Renew your spirit with trucks!

Yesterday Bo and I took the munchkins downtown for a family event called "Touch-a-Truck." There were trucks from a wide range of local organizations available for kids to see, touch, climb into, and even honk horns of!

One of the trucks from where Bo works was there, and her boss gave her four wristbands (free admission!), so we took Puck and Tink. There was a street cleaner, a garbage truck, an ambulance, a SWAT vehicle, a crane, the weiner-mobile, and even mini-monster trucks (and the teens/pre-teens who compete in them).

We saw everything, and Puck and Tink climbed in every vehicle they could. Tink was a bit more adventurous than Puck. Sister has no fear, and Puck is a bit more cautious. Still, both were brave and enjoyed getting to see and do so much. Their favorite was the "fun bus," which was a bus that had play mats and different climbing/playing structures for kids, and a slide to get out of the back of the bus. We saw the fun bus twice.

As if that weren't enough, the organizations were also handing out swag, so the munchkins came home with pens, stickers, and random branded items that are all special treasures to them.

It was a wonderful morning, and now we have amazing memories of munchkins climbing in and out of trucks for a couple of hours. I can't wait to do it again next year!

12 November 2014

Living a secular life

There is someone in my life* who recently asked if we'll be taking the munchkins to church on Easter.


This person was surprised, and didn't understand why we wouldn't take the kids to church at least for Easter and Christmas. This person suggested that the kids need at least some religion** as a foundation for their lives.


When the munchkins get older, if they start asking questions about religion and spirituality, I am happy to answer questions from the perspective of "this is what some people believe." But just as a Christian family would not likely take their children to a Mosque to teach them about Islam, I don't feel the need to take my kids to a church to teach them about Christianity.

We'll be spending Thanksgiving with the person who asked if we're taking the kids to church for Easter, and this person asked if Puck would be willing to say a blessing at the start of our Thanksgiving meal. So we're teaching the munchkins a short, non-religious blessing/rhyme that they can say, and I told the person that it will be a non-religious blessing, not a prayer.

I live a secular life, and so do the munchkins. I teach them how to be good people and make good choices without relying on fear tactics and threats of eternal damnation to get results. I teach them to be open-minded and non-judgmental toward all people and creatures rather than assuming that different is bad/"misguided"/"backslidden."

I am striving to raise Puck and Tink to be Good People, and I'm doing it without religion. Because religion doesn't have a corner on the morality market. You shouldn't need a Bible or threats of punishment to be a good person. We teach them it's important to be kind and compassionate out of respect for other people, not because they're afraid of what will happen if they don't. And that works for us.

There is nothing wrong with living a secular life and teaching the munchkins the same. When they're older and can make informed decisions for themselves about what they believe, they are welcome to find a church community or faith practice and follow it. But for now, we are a secular family.

*Please note that this person is a wonderful person and someone in my life that I respect and love. I don't think this person knows I'm an atheist, just that I'm not really religious. There are no ill feelings about the conversation at all.

**Read: Christianity