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Archive for October, 2014

I may have written on this subject before. I’m doing it now because I was answering a question posted on a UU group site on FaceBook and my answer was turning into an essay. When my comments get that long I have decided it would be better just to turn them into a blog and post the link instead of having a book written on the comments area.

 

chalice and flame

 

I had heard of Unitarian Universalism churches in my early teens and I was told they were like Scientology, Christian Science and New Age and all that “demonically” influenced jazz. I was led to believe that though they thought they were “saved” they were actually deceived and needed “saving”.

 

 

I went to a funeral at the UU in La Jolla Ca. with my then non-denominational charismatic church. It was awkward feeling walking into a virtual devils lair but the congregation was very sweet and welcoming and we always thought of ourselves as living witnesses so that helped. Of course the church folks I went with said it was the UUers who were surprised at how kind and loving we were and we knew we had been a good testimony to them.  I see now the awkwardness was more likely on our part and they were the ones who were a good example to us. But the Christianity I was raised in didn’t allow for that sort of realistic thinking.

 

 

When I work up to reality at the age of 38 I spent some times being bitter for a while. I found comfort and encouragement in the online Wiccan community. It was one of my on line Wiccan friends who suggested I try out the local UU. I had become accustomed  to relearning every thing I though I knew so that idea was right up my alley. Also, I didn’t want my kids to grow up afraid of going to church.

 

 

I called the Kalamazoo, MI UU and asked if we could get a ride. They told us they didn’t usually do that but they would send someone with the church van to pick us up. The first time we walked into the lobby my oldest and I sighed a breath of relief as if we expected to have burned up. Even though it was a UU church it still looked like a church which we were very burned out about. We only attended that UU a few times. It was a lovely and welcoming place. We stopped because we moved to Springfield, MO.

 

In Springfield Mo we became members of the UU there. I have wonderful memories of that place and thanks to FaceBook I still keep up with some of the wonderful folks I met there. I really enjoyed the early morning Sunday School time where we met in the basement and sat in a circle discussing the weeks topic. In attendance was often one or a few Christians, Pagans, Humanest, eastern religions type people, etc. We didn’t always agree on everything but everyone remained respectful and willing to learn.

 

When I lived in Chili, Wisconsin I went to the UU home meetings in Marshfield. They used the CLF program (The online church). It’s a small group of very lovely people (only adults were there) and we always brought food to share and had dinner together. This is where I learned about the book by Eboo Patel called Acts of Faith which I wish everyone would read.

 

 

I had also visited the UU in Wausau but besides it being to far they had their closed teen program they had going which I didn’t know about till we got there and it was a big set back for my oldest daughter because she couldn’t attend the youth program during church. It may not seem like a big deal to some but when someone has aspergers you never know what will turn out to be a big deal.

 

When we lived in Grand Haven, Michigan I went to the UU in Muskegon. Again, a wonderful place. They had a fun kids program over summer that I took my little ones to along with my then fiance’s little one. Even though I visited his church (it was a Calvary Chapel) he wouldn’t visit my UU cause as it turned out he had no room for anything but his style of Christianity.

 

When we moved back to Wisconsin (Plover) I went to the UU in Stevens Point for a while. It’s on the small side and in a non-traditional building. Like the Springfield UU church I loved that they brought in speakers, some from the church and some from abroad.

 

Where we live now in Wisconsin the closest one is the Wausau one. I do like to go when I can, it depends on my gas money situation. The closed youth program is going again and will be for a long time. My oldest doesn’t go with me anyway but my other daughter has a friend who is interested so it still sucks they have to do that program on Sunday mornings. It’s in a very traditional looking church building that they built on to. There is always some friendly faces to chat with there. They just got a new minister so it will be interesting to see how things go.

 

I really love most my UU brick and mortar experiences. I love being able to tell people who say coexisting isn’t possible that it is and I’ve seen it in action. That’s just awesome!

coexist_by_chima

 

What I don’t care for, or I should say what I miss, is more lively modern music. The hymns and old songs are good but it would just be nice to have some modern time stuff as well. There are usually very musically talented people in UU churches so it shouldn’t be to hard to start up a church band.

 

 

Also, I have hardly seen any teens in the UU’s I’ve attended. Maybe if they would update their music it would help some. Many Christian churches have done that and though a lot of Christians see it as selling out I think it’s a great idea. Maybe even have an alternative modern type of service.

 

As far as the closed teen group, they have good reason for making it closed. They cover sensitive topics and want the teens attending to feel safe and comfortable with each other. So they take the time to get to know each other then they close the group for several months. I hear it’s a wonderful program. I just wish they would do it on a different day or night. It feels awkward and wrong to invite people and then tell them that their teen can’t join the other teens. When I asked about this the time before when we lived in Wisconsin they told me that they had tried to make it on a different day but the parents said they would only let their teens go on Sunday morning. So it doesn’t seem like it’s the church leaders fault necessarily. I’ve taught Sunday School and kids Bible class in my Christian years and I must admit that parents can be very difficult to work with. They often don’t consider the other kids, just their own and their own families agenda. It doesn’t matter what religion or belief, people will be people.

 

I would also love to see more UU’s willing to pick people up that can’t afford to drive or don’t have a vehicle. It shouldn’t be an odd incident but something perfectly normal. I’m sure there are some that do, I just haven’t seen it where I’ve been. I did meet a lady at the Wausau UU who told me she’d give me a ride anytime I need it. That’s more like how I grew up, helping people get to church.

 

Some folks don’t see the need for a church that supports the different religions and non-religion. These type of folks also see secular and atheist churches as silly. But it isn’t. There are groups for just about everything because people need people. It’s too easy to be isolated these days and places to go to like church, AA meeting and even coffee shops and pubs is helpful in order to meet up with like minded people. it gives people hope and positive energy and just what they need to make it another week. Also, churches like UU’s do a lot for social justice and the needs of their town.

 

If you are interested in visiting a UU I suggest going to the UU main site and type in your zip code to get a list of near by UU congregations. Don’t judge the church by your first visit though. Most UU’s have very different services from Sunday to Sunday. Also on their web site and the back of their church program is usually listed a variety of local activities and groups you may find fun and interesting. Click here – UU main site – to find your local UU.

 

If you can’t make it or there is no local UU you can find encouragement at the online UU church at http://www.clfuu.org/. Some folks do both! Some folks would rather stay home Sunday morning. What ever your cup of tea is as long as you stay encouraged.

 

 

 

 

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I was pretty young when I heard of Johanna Michaelsen and she was a hero so to speak in our family. My mom read her book The Beautiful Side of Evil, and told us all about it.

Johanna Michaelsen

(This image was found on Google Images)

I’ve learned over the last five or so years that most ex-occult members don’t usually tell the whole story or are bated by people using their stories and leaving out certain details or least make a point not to high-lite them.

One of those issues is they usually went into witch craft or what ever it was with the intent to gain power and get what they want. They also make light of the drug use and the mental issues they had as well. Any religion one goes into to gain power will be tainted. Any religion one is into and uses drugs is going to have an adverse reaction. Any religion one goes into and doesn’t properly deal with their mental issues is going to still be affected by their mental issues. However, the religious talk shows and evangelists using the ex-occult members will not focus on the real problems but will blame all the negative crap that happened on the “occult” religion being of the devil and influenced by demons even if that particular religion doesn’t even believe in the devil or demons.

I had wondered if this was the case with Johanna. When I Googled her I was surprised to see there wasn’t a Wikipedia page on her. Not that one can believe everything they read in Wikipedia but it is a place to start and then compare what else is learned. I haven’t yet been able to figure out if  Johanna was involved in what ever she was involved in for control, or used drugs or has a mental illness. It seems it was something she may have been raised around. Still, if one is seeking to promote themselves and things go wrong, it is just easier to blame the system and move on to the next and try to gain recognition by another means. I don’t mind being seen and heard but I am not going to lie and make crap up to accomplish that. However, many folks will.

I ended up running across a video done by The Fugitive2 which I found to be very interesting and informative. At first I didn’t find him funny, but after watching it for a while I kept finding myself laughing out loud. It’s nice to find humor and break up all the seriousness once in a while. I will include the link. After all, his video is why I am doing this particular blog today. I was going to just share it on my FaceBook but when I found myself writing an essay about it I figured it would be more appropriate on my blog.

What many evangelists and preachers want you to believe about witch craft, witches, pagans and so on is for their own benefit. Sensationalism is a big money maker.

forex-trader-with-dollar-eyes1

(Image found on Google Images.)

Witch craft and Wicca are pagan by the way. Pagan is any earth based religion or belief. There is not only no agenda to convert and proselytize people, it’s quite the opposite, most pagans are very quiet and protective of their beliefs and lifestyle. Sure there are the outgoing out spoken ones but the majority are very private people. They are not private because they feel they are doing wrong or are ashamed but because of the long history of persecution they have had to survive.

samhain 2013(This is a picture I took at a Samhain 2013 Celebration at a pagan nature camp. No children were sacrificed that day! Funny thing about the lie many Christian speakers like to spread about witches sacrificing babies and children is the opposite of the truth. The pagans I know would do anything to protect a child. They will also take in and help the very people that churches have rejected. They don’t do it to convert that person, they do it to be humane and help that person and because they can empathize. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know pagans all over the world and though they have different beliefs and ideas their love and kindness is the same.)

When I was a pagan I was very out spoken. Though I am an atheist now I still support my pagan brothers and sisters. And, I am an outspoken Atheist. But you gotta understand, when I was a Christian for 38 years I was outspoken about my beliefs the whole time as well. Or at least once I was able to master talking. I used to make things a bit awkward when I was very little by trying to witness to the grocery story clerks leaving my mom to finish the task. So it’s just how I am, part of my personality. But I am one of the unusual ones. Most Pagans and Atheists are not outspoken and do not want to convert your children. They just want freedom and to be free of persecution like anyone else.

Here is the video I mentioned earlier. Give the guy a moment, he gets better as it goes.-

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(Part 2)

 

After writing part one I considered putting a round about age limit on how old the child should be for this to be relevant. But while I was showering I thought better of it. Showers are good for that, that and singing of course!  I thought about how there are some kids who mature mentally faster then others. Some start having sexual or religious type questions quite young. While the parent my not be ready, the kid is. It’s difficult for many parents to allow their child to mature at their own rate. What is apropos and when can be a challenging question. Putting a pat answer on it is wrong because not all children mature at the same rate. Holding a child back can be as damaging as pushing a child to fast. Just because you’re not ready for a certain subject doesn’t mean your child isn’t.

You may believe a child can’t know their sexuality or their religious or none-religious beliefs and maybe to a point you are correct. Maybe they are to young, easily influenced and or confused. But even at a young age telling them they aren’t allowed to be this or that still closes the communication door. When I was a kid I was told in so many words I wasn’t smart enough to be an archaeologist and a scientist and so on and I wasn’t the only kid in that era that was “put in her place” so to speak. Now people frown on that sort of parenting thankfully. But many still stifle their children’s lifestyle and belief by insisting the child goes along with the parents beliefs or at least shut up about it.

closing the door on so called monsters

 

Instead of telling a young child what they can’t be take the time to learn about the subject with your child. Also discussing what is appropriate for them to tell their friends and class mates is important. This is more then learning about their sexuality and beliefs, it’s also a social lesson and skeptical thinking and research. All very good life lessons.

As far as what they tell others, it depends on the kid. Again, if the parent isn’t carefully they could easily project their ideas and fears on the child which may not actually fit their child. A parent who was bullied as a child may want to protect their child from being bullied therefor they may encourage their child to hide who they feel they are. If their child is timid and lack self confidence then they will likely be bullied over it. In such cases the parent needs to help their child gain self confidence before they start announcing who they are. This can be tricky because ones beliefs and sexuality is often what we feel defines us. This is a good opportunity to learn more about ones self, ones talents and interests, there is plenty more to love about yourself. When the child has self confidence they will be able to ignore or even laugh at the taunts other kids throw their way about their sexuality and beliefs.

When it comes to how other kids will react, it’s a lot like Santa Clause in many ways. When my children really understood there was no Santa, (I never actually told them there was), they wanted to announce their new found intelligence to the other kids at school. I told them that the other children were not ready to hear it and it would just hurt their feelings. I didn’t tell them to never say anything, but to just be careful about it. When the subject came up telling the truth was fine as long as the other kids knew it was their choice and they weren’t putting them down about it and they didn’t insist the other kids see it their way. I explained that the kids they went to school with were still very young and it could really hurt their feelings so to be careful about that and respectful.

no santa

                                 (This image was found on Google Images) 

 

Now my kids are out of the Santa age so Santa isn’t an issue but since we live in a Christian world where even the public schools are mostly Christian there is the Jesus and God issue. My kids have their own beliefs and understanding that don’t go along with the norm. I’ve been sure to make them aware that they have my permission to be honest about who they are but that they should know there can be consequences for such honesty, like bullying from other kids, teachers and school staff. Of course they know if they are bullied I am there to help if they need it. I also let them know that some people need their religion and like little kids with Santa, taking their belief away or trying to could be mentally harmful. I encourage them to encourage others to get along with and respect people of different views and ideas and beliefs and to research what the claim they are. While it’s fine to share what one knows or believes it’s also good to be kind and none condescending.

My oldest was bullied when she was younger but not for her beliefs but because of her lack of self confidence and poor social skills. A common side effect of aspergers. Once she accepted who she was and no longer cared what others thought of her the bullying stopped. Bullies don’t like to bully confident people, people who ignore them and people who laugh when they are expected to be angry or sad. They go for negative reactions so after a few positive reactions they move on. My twelve year old son who has Autism is going through some bullying at this time and again it has nothing to do with his beliefs or sexuality. He’s actually not interested in either of those two subjects. His issue is his awkwardness, OCD and social skills. So far it’s not real bad but he’s not used to it so it seems big to him. So now I’m helping him learn how to deal with bullies. As much as I hate that this happens he will pick up valuable life skills. But it is really difficult, I won’t white wash this. His brain works differently so sometimes it’s challenging finding the right way to help him understand what he can do and why and so on. It’s like a puzzle, find the right piece and he’s got it for life.

see yourself like a lion

 

My nine year old son isn’t gonna shut his mouth about what he believes or anything else for that matter. For the most part he’s a very confident kid and I’ve had to make sure he wasn’t the one being a bully. Thankfully he has a soft sweet side and doesn’t want to hurt anyone regardless of his fearless mouth. He understands that he can be open about what he believes yet he can also accept that other people believe differently and express that.

My kids and I don’t always see eye to eye on spirituality but I am careful to give them room and respect. After all no one knows everything anyway, there is so much to learn. But mostly I am glad they feel they can come to me. I do watch myself on this because sometimes I still spat stuff off that I have to apologize over later. And I do, I do apologize. I may or may not change my view but my harsh reply isn’t justified even if I feel it is correct. I want the communication door to stay open and a quick mouth reaction isn’t gonna work. A few deep breaths and a moment to contemplate is a much better start.

 

me and my girls

                                     (This is a pic of my girls and me.) 

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10/25/14

I was going to write about photography snobbery but I was recently inspired to cover a different issue instead, for now anyway.

I find it very disturbing when parents tell their children they are not allowed to be something. Telling ones child they can not be a pagan or an atheist or a Buddhist or even a Satanist and so on is actually telling them they can not come to you about important issues in their life. You are slamming a door to communication and you are losing a lot of  and maybe all influence you had with them. It may not be what you meant to do, but it’s exactly what you have done. The same goes for telling them they can’t be gay or bi or accept life styles you are uncomfortable with and likely your religion condemns.

Top-10-Places-Youre-Not-Allowed-to-Visit

If you’re kids decide to experiment with drugs and or alcohol and other harmful things it is important that the line of communication is open with your child. We all want to believe our children wouldn’t do such things, but we are not in their heads all the time, we don’t always know what they are facing and what they are feeling. If we tell them they can’t be this or that and we back it up with fear and rejection then we can’t be there for them when they need us most because they can’t trust us.

Letting our children know how we feel about certain subjects and the results of the actions people who chose to participate in those things may find as consequences or results is important. It’s all part of communicating. But once you put, “you are not allowed to be…” you are closing the communication line off. While you may rightful warn your child that having sex can cause pregnancy and STD’s and so on saying you will kick them out or they will go to hell for doing so means that if they do get pregnant or get an STD you won’t be the one they come to for help and you just might be the last person to find out.

If they chose a different lifestyle or a different religion or non religion, do you really want them to keep it from you? Telling them they aren’t allowed to is telling them that if they are gay or they are some other belief they have to hide it from you. They will take their questions and concerns elsewhere. You will no longer be their adviser or an influence.

who rules over you

People put down being “open minded” but when you can no longer communicate with your loved one because you were “closed minded” it isn’t so glorious anymore.

I highly suggest you have a serious conversation with yourself about this matter. Don’t tell your kid they can come to you about anything and everything until you have had this conversation with yourself and prepared yourself for it. You may not be able to get yourself to a place where you are free to accept all things, but you can get yourself to a place where you agree with yourself to take a few deep breaths before responding to what your child has said and not throw out an answer or accusation. Make a habit of researching things. When your child brings up an area of interest, even if it’s something their friend is going through, don’t just spat off the first thing that comes to mind. Tell your child you will do some research and look into it. Then do the research.

Do not just believe the first thing you find on a subject. Search various sights and outlooks, different sources. Because your pastor, priest, spiritual leader, favorite author or favorite blog writer says something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you and your child. You need to do your own homework. Consulting them may be helpful but it shouldn’t be the end of the line. Take an example from your kid, challenge your favorite source. They may end up right, but no ones perfect, they could also be wrong, or it may be wrong for you.

Some times we have habits of spatting off the first thing that comes to mind. I’ve been there. I was raised very Christian and remained so the first 38 years of my life. I was programmed with answers. I had done all kinds of research. My fault was that I only used Christian sources. Later after becoming aware that just because I didn’t believe in lying didn’t mean other Christians felt the same, this included those who put research materials together. I realized my information was tainted. So, when I found myself giving an answer to something I would stop myself and admit that I actually wasn’t sure because my resources were untrustworthy but that I would look into it and get back to them on it. After hearing yourself stop yourself and admit you don’t know, the habit will break. Then it evolved into taking place in my head. I could stop my comment before it left my head and instead of having to back paddle I would either remain silent or I would let my kid or who ever it was know I would look into it. It’s much less humbling that way. But the humility lessons were good for me and helped break the habit. Besides it’s good for your kids to hear you admit you could be wrong and that you are willing to find out. It’s a great example. If you can retrain yourself and better yourself, they’ll know they can too.

Sounds like a lot of work. Then again raising children is a lot of work. If you really love them, you’ll do the work. It can also be scary. Overcoming fear in order to be there for your kids is a wonderful act of love.

truther-memes-ultimate-ignorance-287x300

(The images were found on Google Image Search.)

 

 

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A Debate-full Day!                                                                                                                     Started October 16, 2014


Yesterday I took my son to the therapist. While waiting for him in the lobby trying to watch The View a  thirty four year old man walked in and plunked himself into a chair. Some thing about his demeanor told me he was up for chatting. Sure enough he said something to me. I asked him to repeat it and the conversation took off from there.

As much as I love to watch The View I don’t get a lot of face to face time with adults so I decided to value the conversation with the guy over listening to the show. Also, I have it DVR’d at home so I could catch up later anyway.

We talked some about the benefits of our children and ourselves seeing a therapist and things like that. He mentioned something about something Christian which isn’t abnormal. Most folks in these parts are some sort of Christian religion. I’m used to it so it’s not something I react to. It’s just part of life. Well, it was until he pointedly told me he could tell I wasn’t a Christian. He said it like a question. I told him that I had been a hard core Christian for thirty eight years but that now I am an Atheist. His eyes popped out!

I can’t recall the conversation word for word or what subject led to the next subject but there were some things that stood out.

For some reason I felt compelled by something he said to let him know that “God” (as in the Christians God) wasn’t a very kind being and commented all kind of atrocities. I wish I could remember what took the conversation there but at this time I can’t. Naturally he tried to explain how the New Testament was different. I then reminded him that Jesus clearly said he is God and that they are one and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He then told me that I obviously didn’t believe in the trinity. Of course I don’t believe in the trinity but then again, I don’t believe in God. I didn’t say that to him, I tried to reason on his level. If you believe in the Bible then wither you call it the trinity or not it’s clear that Jesus said he IS God. He got the point and agreed. I brought up that since God murdered thousands of people in the Old Testament, and Jesus is God, so did Jesus. His next explanation for this was that those people had been warned many times as if that was enough reason to commit genocide. I told him “NO!. That was not the case. When Joshua led Israel into battle they were told to kill everyone, men, woman, children and cattle. There was no warning. God told them to do it so they could steal the land for themselves and that is what they did.

He looked a little perplexed so I suggested her reread his Bible. He assured me he reads it everyday.

I don’t recall everything else we talked about regarding religion. I wanted to leave on a more positive note so I told him my wish was for folks of all religions and non-religions to get along and work together to help those in need. He gave me an “are you crazy” kind of look and let me know that it was a strange notion, basically he didn’t believe it could happen. I told him that when I go to Unitarian churches I get to see it happen and it does happen and it is possible. He said something about it being really odd and his face went along with how he felt. Almost like he just bit into a sour pickle. So much for my positive note.

ChristianLogic

My son was done so I wished him well and we left.

For the record my intentions were not to de-convert this man. If anything I would hope he would be compelled to understand his own religion better and not rely on memorized pat answers. It would be nice if people actually knew what their religion insists they believe instead of just reading the nice verses like a daily inspirational devotion. Daily inspirations may actually do more good but if a person claims a religion they ought to know all about that particular religion. Also, I don’t walk around witnessing to religious folks, I usually keep my mouth shut until they open theirs. Once they introduce a religious topic or try to witness to me then I most likely will accept the invitation to talk religion. I am not ashamed of who I am. It took me too many years and too many experiences to finally come to a place of true mental freedom and self acceptance and self love to just give up and pretend I am something else just to please other people who will only be pleased if they get their way.


When I picked up my kids from school I told them a little about what had taken place. My oldest daughter who is a sophomore in high school told me she too had a religious type debate with her school librarian.

She has a reading assignment and it had to be a true story so she had asked me for a book yesterday. I gave her about seven possibilities. My first recommendation was a book called Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel. It’s a wonderful story about his life when he was younger and why he didn’t become a suicide train bomber and his young adult life starting an organization called Interfaith Youth Corps in Chicago. It’s not complicated or long so it seemed like a good choice for those reasons. She chose it because it seemed shorter then the other books I had.

While she was at the public school library she saw the list of recommended true stories and questioned her librarian about the one called Heaven Is For Real. She asked why it was listed in the true section when it wasn’t actually a true story. The librarian assured her it actually was indeed a true story and asked her if she had read it yet. Her question was more of a challenge. My daughter told her she hadn’t and they got into a debate about wither a child’s vision of heaven should be considered true or fantasy. The librarian ended up trying to talk my daughter into reading the book so my daughter let her know she already had one and showed it to her. After reading the back of Acts of Faith the librarian said it looked very good and it would be a good book to have their at their library. I hope she remembers that and actually gets the book. It is very encouraging and should appeal to people of any religion who actually care about other people in general.

My daughter was still on the “hot” side of this when we arrived home. She kept insisting the book Heaven Is For Real should not be in the true section. I reminded her that all books in the true section can be questionable. I also mentioned that if a public school is going to have a Christian testimony book in it’s library they ought to have other books from other religions and non-religions there as well. Books like David McCafee’s Disproving Christianity and the book that should be coming out soon by Houris Gilgamesh recounting his de-conversion and discussions with other ministers. I have a feeling that would take more then a notion and many folks would be terribly offended even though they have never read those books. If it’s anything other then Christian or Catholic here it’s gonna be judged before read.

I also took the opportunity to go scientific on my kids. Love science! I let them know that there is a part of the brain that can be triggered to hallucinate when one has a near death experience. So assuming people are lying isn’t fair. Though a lot of folks do lie for the glory and attention, some are telling the truth, they really did see the things they said they saw, hallucination or not. To them it’s very real.

gate

(Images found on Google image search.)

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I’m An Atheist, You May Now Pass Judgment!                                                                        Started on October 11,2014

Once again I got to discuss the issue of the ‘oh so friendly’ Wisconsin folks and their tight circles with some ladies who, like me, aren’t originally from here. These weren’t socially inept kind of ladies, they were actually very friendly, fun and socially capable. It’s just a normal problem for folks who are from “out of town” here in Wisconsin. It seems it’s not prone to a certain class but extends over the rich and poor alike.

This was a cause for depression for me a while back but I have adjusted and adapted, as I always do, and moved on finding contentment else where. I’ve become content with having friendly acquaintances here and there. One of those here’s is my daughters friends moms. We chat till our kids get annoyed when they drop their girls off or pick them up. It’s a pleasant encounter for what it’s worth.

There have been a few times I thought that their moms started avoiding me because they knew I was an atheist and all of them are religious, particularly the Catholic one. But I was happy that what ever their belief they still let their girls come over and hang out with my daughters. I actually brushed the negative thought aside because it became evident that the Catholic mom works her butt off and often is just plain exhausted.

This morning I learned my so called fear wasn’t all that so called after all. This particular girls mom is a Christian. We’ve talked about religion a few times. I’ve never tried to get her to quit or change her views. After all she is a very liberal Christian which if you gotta be one, by all means be a liberal one. She feels she needs her religion and she’s cool about it, so I see no reason to try to change her. What I didn’t know was that now that our family is in her daughters life I get blamed for her daughters skepticism. Her daughter was that way long before we met but apparently now there is someone to blame. I shouldn’t have been surprised, it’s common for Wisconsin folks to appear friendly. They are raised to look and act that way. I’m not saying there aren’t genuine Wisconsinites out there, there is. I’m also pretty sure that the non-genuine ones don’t even realize what they are doing by default.

As far as what we discuss when my daughters friends are over, well, it’s a variety. I do encourage them to research things but I do not want them to disrespect their parents so I avoid a lot of issues. Actually, I often explain what their parents are doing that frustrates them and that their parent isn’t trying to be mean but that they usually have good reasons behind what they say and do. After all, I’m a parent so I have the inside scoop. I do often talk about inspirational kind of things, about loving and accepting ones self and more all around helpful things like that. I understand though that some religious people are afraid of questioning, research and even self confidence. So those every day good motions for the religious and non-religious alike can be looked down upon.

Now that I think more about it, I have mentioned some skeptic type things when chatting with the one girl. I knew she was already a skeptic from the discussions I’ve had with her mom before I got to know her and it sounded like her mom accepted her the way she was. Now I understand this is only true if the girls opinions stay inside the Christianeese box. Well, now I know!

Hearing what that mother was telling her daughter about me made me realize that her friendliness and what seemed to be us agreeing on things was just a facade. No matter how many things I agreed with her about in her mind she can’t hear it because she has already judged me. And she’s not the only one.

This will not deter me from being open about who I am and what I believe. Though I will be more careful around that girl. I’ve already been careful around the Catholic one. As far as my everyday life, it’s not me to be one of the quite ones. Maybe I would have a better chance at making friends but why the hell would I want to hang out with people who I can’t be honest with? And how am I supposed to help others when I hide my own life? No way! I won’t do it.

Later that day…

Like I said before, I don’t try to de-convert anyone’s kids and I try to be sensitive about what I say in front of them to an extent. I’m not gonna walk around with virtual duct tape on my mouth. But I can lay off for a while.

The catholic young lady has told me every time she has come over how great the movie God’s Not Dead is. This time she brought up how excited she is to see the movie Heaven Is For Real. I commented that I didn’t want to see it because I don’t care for happy emotional heart warming movies. My daughters agreed with my tastes on that one. I also explained how different people like different types of movies and that’s ok. My motive was to keep my girls from going on about it. I asked her if she was going to see the new re-make film called Left Behind. She’d never heard of it to my surprise. I told her and my kids about it’s history and some things about what the Bible says about the rapture and tribulation and how different religious folks argue about the details. I made sure to keep it light, not act like it was stupid and I  remained respectful that people take the Biblical end times as fact. However, her type of silence wasn’t new to me. Not only have I felt her do it before but I had a fiance who used to use that type of silence. It’s the type that virtually freezes the air.

I realized that it didn’t matter that I was talking about Bible stuff in an agreeable way that she believes in or at least should believe in because I had already been judged by her so no matter what I say in regards to anything remotely religious, I am deemed wrong. Therefor one must throw up walls of mental protection to block my magical powers. Okay, I’m getting sarcastic. I’ll chill. When I talked about this with my daughters later they had easily figured out that the young lady was conditioned to assume the worst when anything on the religious side came out of my mouth. It didn’t matter what I said, it was going to be bad and wrong even if it was a quote from her own priest. On other subjects though I have her respect. She’s young so I can’t really blame her, but she isn’t the only person I’ve so blatantly see do this. As I mentioned before I had a fiance who did the same thing. I have Christian friends who I obviously disagree with about religious things and sometimes they say stuff in the field of religion that make scene. Just because I disagree with their religious views doesn’t mean I automatically throw out every thing they say. If it adds up then it adds up.

Of course, I’m not really all that normal. I am fortunate to have experienced enough life shaking events to break through my cognitive dissonance and to start walking around with my eyes wide open. Fortunate indeed! I like being aware. But, for a lot of folks being aware is very unpleasant. I have to remind myself of this from time to time.
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(The image was found on Google search images. I personally haven’t found many pagans or witches who are offended by people being openly atheist as long as they are nice about it. So far the only people I’ve heard try to shush atheists are Christians. So far! )

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Saturday October 4, 2014

The girls went to dads last night instead of the boys. So this morning I decided it would be a good idea to get out and do something. The last few weeks have really cooled off so an inside event was the perfect idea. The other day one of my neighbors gave me some free tickets to the Saturday morning pancake breakfast at the smaller of the local Catholic churches. I would have declined her offer if it were the girls who were going to be home because the breakfast ended at noon and they usually do not get up any earlier then that on a weekend day. My boys, however, usually get up on the early side so I accepted three coupons.

Neither of the boys really wanted to go but I insisted we had to get out and that since they were home for the weekend they would have plenty of time for their electronic devices later.

I had hoped there would be eggs because I was pretty sure there would be no gluten free pancakes. I was almost not disappointed when I saw the potato pancakes. I asked if there was flour in them but the lady serving them didn’t know. The man behind me insisted there was because he strongly believed they wouldn’t’ stick together with out it. I wasn’t convinced because I’m pretty sure I could make them stick together without flour. I later asked a different lady who went to the kitchen to find out. She returned to let me know they did indeed contain flour. Bummer! The boys had pancakes and apple sauce and I had sausage links, sliced ham (it was delicious) and apple sauce.

We sat at a far off empty table and scarfed down the food. The boys had milk and I was happy to have coffee. There were a few folks I recognized. One was a Philippino lady I met at the laundry mat. She was one of the servers. We talked for a short bit. I met a nice young man that I learned later was the priests son. The lady that gave me the tickets and her husband and some neighborhood kids we know were there as well as well as a few others from around town. My neighbor stopped to chat a bit and give me some of the down low on the church and how wonderful it is.

We thanked a few folks then left for our next cold Saturday afternoon adventure. That would be Walmart. I had bought a Trackphone card from them about two days ago to refill my minutes with. However, there was something wrong with it and it wouldn’t work. I called the company and they gave it a try but ended up telling me it was invalid and to return to to the place I bought it. I needed my phone to be turned back on so my kids could get ahold of me so I used my bank card to do so. I needed a few necessities at Walmart besides my track phone card reimbursed so off we went. Customer service sent me to electronics for help which is where we spent most of our time waiting. The gal helping me couldn’t get the register to properly scan the card and then there was the phone calls to Trackphone for verification and so on and so forth. It wasn’t entirely with out some amusement. There was a very old looking oriental couple who didn’t speak much English trying to purchase a phone card refill but didn’t know which company it was. It took a long time but eventually the people helping them were able to figure it all out and I cheered for them when the mans phone successfully rang.

One of the guys called upon to help with my case decided to give me an education on Walmart and pay as you go type phone politics. Apparently Walmart doesn’t make any money off those products. They have the products there as a service. Not only that but he said the entire electrons department items didn’t make much off the mark up because the mark up was very low. I wasn’t sure if he was happy or not happy about this, he seemed more on the not happy side but I couldn’t be too sure.

Kyle (my nine year old) was by my side the whole time being good as gold. It was really quite lovely! One of the ladies gave him a candy and praised his good behavior. Levi (my twelve year old) kept himself busy playing the demo games on the DS display. Our electronics event ended with them giving me a WalMart gift card for the amount I was due. They couldn’t seem to get their register to do what ever it was they wanted it to do. It was fine with me. I already had a few things I needed to buy so the gift card was perfectly acceptable.

Though the boys didn’t complain much at the church and didn’t complain at the store they were quite happy to get home and do electronics stuff. Mostly Ipad and Xbox type things. Their dad doesn’t allow them on electronics when they are at his apartment on the weekends so this has been a sort of special weekend for them. When the boys complain about daddies I let them know that they are on electronics plenty when home so it’s good for them to have off time. I’d love to brag and tell you I have all these strict rules for the boys and the girls when it comes to electronics and chores and homework and other bragable stuff, but honestly I am not that great at it. When I first met my sort of boyfriend (he’s been friend zoned) he would go on and on about how when he has his kids they have all these amazing rules about electrons and chores and all. He painted a perfect world picture. I never met his kids so I never got to see it in action but there was sports, running around the giant yard and healthy stuff like that. I let him know I loved the whole deal but as a single full time mom of four with kids that have special abilities I did what I had the energy to do plus a little more. Perfect schedules, time limits and star chore lists just haven’t made it on my perfect world super powers. Not to long after hearing him go on about what a great dad he is( the first time) I met a perfect stranger in a waiting room who decided to tell me pretty much the same thing about himself and his kids when he had them. I started to wonder if someone was handing out a script to single dads. Maybe there’s one for moms that I somehow missed. I wonder what my kids dad says when he goes into his “this is how I parent” speech. Hum! Curious!

Back to this lovely overcast chilly Saturday.

So I got a call from one of my daughters friends. She was in a “I need my homecoming gown altered” crises. Her dad was exhausted from long work hours and her mom was working. Her mom was loaning her a past brides maid gown of hers but it needed to be brought in. I reminded her that I am not a seamstress, I just knew how to mend some things. She was okay with me giving it a try. Then it turned out she couldn’t get a ride to my house so her mom offered to pay my gas money for me to get her. She lives about fifteen minutes away so the gas money is sadly an issue for me. I picked her and the gown up and brought them back to my home. Thankfully I was able to bring the sides in with out cutting anything and using simple stitches so they should be able to undo it easily if needed later. I would have kept her till her homecoming event time but it was boys day so I took her back home. While the boys were busy playing games and watching youtube videos of other people playing Minecraft they would likely still notice if they didn’t have “their day” with mommie.

Another friend of Kara’s mom called to see about Kara and homecoming. I had asked Kara several times last week when it was but never got an answer. I called Kara to let her know and see if she wanted to go but she opted out. I felt bad for her friends but such is life, for now.

I am curious to hear how things went for my girls when they get home tomorrow. This is the first time in a long time that they’ve stayed over at their dads. He’s taken them shopping and out to dinner from time to time but not over night. I had talked to the girls and then to their dad about changing the way the weekends are done. I told him it would be good for him to take all four kids once a month so I could have a weekend off. He’s already been ticked about the official court papers we received from child support saying that now that he has a job and an income increase he is expected to pay more child support. It said the increase was to start September first and if it wasn’t payed he would be penalized. At first he thought I did it but it wasn’t me. As great as an income increase may sound the odds are that when he starts paying more child support the social security will drop and we’ll be in the same boat we’ve been in for a long time now. I’d love to get happy about it and start planning to pay things off and take the kids somewhere nice and all but I can’t afford not to be a realist. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe things won’t get better, I just am not gonna lie to myself and the kids about the source and timing.

So he’s been ticked about that and I not only haven’t seen an increase in September or now in October but last month Child Support decided to pay me late and then to make the payments in three different installments over three different days. When I mentioned to him my idea of him taking all four kids once a month he looked like he didn’t like the idea and then let me know if he did that he would take it to court because the hours he has them would increase and he would want the child support to be lowered. I’ve had a hard time doing things for myself even though I am aware it’s healthy to take care of ones self. So I have to deliberately do things for me once in a while which is really not easy for me. When he said that it just kind of shocked me cause taking care of my health is important to me even if it costs me some child support. But then it wouldn’t really be me who lost money but the kids. It just seemed so selfish of him. When he does finally pay the correct child support amount he will still be bringing in a lot more money for his solo self. But then again I’m sure he’s got his bills and then there’s the matter of his fiance he is bringing over here in a few month from the Philippines. To him he’s likely not making all that much and he obviously has and has never really had any idea how much it takes to raise four kids.

About that, he also brought up how things will change when his fiance gets here. This was in regards to the time he spends with the kids. I have been curious about this and wish I knew what to expect. His comment makes me think I should expect him to drop out of the scene again. Maybe it’s good his two bedroom apartment is the most boring place on earth so the kids won’t be too disappointed when their dad starts neglecting them…again. But maybe it’ll all be peachy keen. What ever that is!

I did come up with what I think is a better plan for the time being. Although he spent years having his days off to himself and has only been taking the boys on the weekends for about a year and a half now, I still understand that when you work five days a week you likely desire some time “off”. So I wrote him an e-mail suggesting we both take a weekend with all four kids and then the other weekends he would have the boys. It’s not about the money, it’s about doing what is best for the kids and I and compromising and being kind regardless. I feel at this time the girls would benefit from spending time with him because he is so strict and I lack in strictness. I figure he could fill in a few possible missing things I may have created or neglected to do. I just want them to be ready for life as grown ups one day which is coming sooner then later. If he doesn’t go for it I am confident in them and myself that between us we will figure it out and they will be ready to fly when the time is right. It’s just that I have learned the value of using ones resources when possible. As far as my suggestion I still haven’t received a reply to the email I sent two days ago.

Oh geeze! I didn’t finish my pancake breakfast story. As far as the meats and apple sauce I ate, my IBS deemed it unacceptable and dealt the punishment of extreme stomach cramps till I was able to get to a bathroom and relieve myself. Thankfully I was headed to such a place anyway for my youngest son. As annoying as those cramps were they’re still better then when there is swelling because the swelling issues take longer to resolve.

Saturday October 11, 2014

After not getting an e-mail back about my weekend ideas I asked him about it when he was dropping the kids off. He let me know that he wasn’t ready for a schedule like that since his fiance is due to arrive here in the states next month and pretty much everything was up in the air for that time. So, now I don’t not only not have a schedule in place, I also don’t even know if he’s going to be spending time with the kids at all. Peachy! I know I can adjust and I believe the kids will survive what ever happens but I still like to know what to expect for myself and for my children. From what I know of his fiance she would likely insist he keep spending time with his kids, however, he is not the kind of man who listens to people, regardless of who they are, when their thoughts don’t coincide with his. In other words he is very stubborn and the more one tries to debate or discuss what he feels is disagreeable the more he shuts them out.

I’m not really walking around wringing my hands. Worry is not only a waste of time but it’s a waste of health. Instead I’m working on focusing on my not so long term goals. My therapist, whom I keep thinking I really don’t need to see, suggested I purchase a type of white board. He said he worked in an office once that had one that was a large sheet that stuck to the wall like vinyl so it was cheaper and easier to hang. He suggested I write my short term goals on it and gave me a problem solving list to use which would indicate what I needed to do in order and since it’s dry erase it could be easily adjusted. He thought I could find such a thing at an office store. I visited Office Max. The only thing like what he described was some packets of colored circles that stick to the wall and use dry erase markers. Those were cute but I wasn’t going for cute. I wondered if a poster board laminated would have a similar effect so when the employee helping me suggested it I decided to give it a try. He laminated a large thin poster board for me and allowed me to keep the extra lamination. It all came out to about thirteen bucks. I then tacked it to my wall in my bedroom and started my chart. So far so good as far as the homemade white board is concerned.

As far as my goals I’ll have to get into that later. But for now it’s been a matter of separating long term from short term goals. Things like, what goals and ideas do I have to wait till the kids grow up for and which ones can I do while they are still young? As far as the chart, it’s about what steps I need to take for my more current day plans. Maybe later I’ll get another one for future plans. For now I need to focus on the shorter term.

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