Friday, April 17, 2015

Atheists Can't Experience the Sublime

atheist parenting, atheism, sublime
Because, really, isn't this enough?
Just ... THIS.
This gorgeous and fathomable earth that we live upon.
The life within a single, glistening drop of pond water.

Caves full of gigantic crystals.
The carbon cycle.
Weather and our atmostphere
Dirt and sand
The millions of types of birds and their unique calls and habits.
Groundhogs, for goodnesssake.
Hoary frost.
Cirrus clouds.
Knowable currents in our oceans.
The Himalayas.
Bubbling mud.
Fields of wildflowers.
Huge flocks of birds on the wing.
A single colony of ants.
Baleen whales.
Red algae.
Sea anemones.
Budding hosta.
Canopies of life in the rain forest.
Bristlecone pines.
The eye.
Our digestive system.
Our immunity system.
Our nervous system.
Our senses!
Shifting sand dunes.
Dry snow.
Pill bugs.
Pygmy humans.

Thousands of cultures.

sulfur spring
Just at the edge of our atmosphere.
The other side of the moon.
The Kuiper Belt.
The Mars Rover.
Cassini beyond Saturn.
Our solar system.
Our sun!
Other solar systems.
Our galaxy!
Other galaxies!

COME ON, People!

You get it. It is sublime, all of it.
The beauty of life and the mysteries as yet unknown to us...if you are curious, 

if you are among the curious, sublime is everywhere.

Here. Now.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist

Just in Case He's Real
Everything Happens for a Reason
Atheists Cannot Experience True Joy

Monday, April 13, 2015

Experiencing the Sublime

secular TV, secular parenting, atheist parenting
I hope you get the chance to watch the show tonight. Be-Asia and I talked about experiencing the transcendent, the sublime. I thought the show went very well...stay long enough to hear the conversation about Lenny Kravitz.

I think this is my favorite show so far.  :)

Watch the show, parts one and two at these two links:

Part one:
And part two:


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Good Time Johnny Sings the Blues

depression, sons
Both Jerry and I and Elizabeth have all taken antidepressants at one time or another. We see some depression in our extended families also. So it might not come as a huge surprise that my happy-go-lucky son is experiencing some down time.

Over the last two years I have seen it overtake him every so often. While we were in Brisbane he had some times when he was quite down. Well, I've noticed it happening again in the past two months or so, days when he's quite down, nights when his conversations are quite dark and deep. John and I have talked quite a bit about how to manage depressive moods, depressive thoughts, depressive periods, yet he felt like he needed some additional help.

Today we talked to his pediatrician who agreed that further help might help. John started taking antidepressants today, a very, very low dose and John is hopeful that the medication will take the edge off for long enough that he can get ahead of it.

In the meantime he has started doing some reading, guided reading of books that I recommended, and he's been writing as well. He is writing some poetry and some prose. When he does this writing he experiences such a rush of happiness, accomplishment, and relief from getting some of these thoughts out and onto paper and shared with me and others! It's exciting to see him making efforts to manage the internal struggles.

He has also been getting more active outdoors with the advent of beautiful spring weather, he has started some new projects that excite him, he has worked on getting better sleep, and he continues to share his feelings quite openly.

John is a very open kid and he talks with his friends a bit about his feelings too and that has been really helpful because so many of them can relate to the mood dips and the despondency that goes along with it. However he had one person who did not handle the information that John entrusted to them very well. This person threw it in his face and really injured him for his trusting and open nature as well as for his sensitivity. That unpleasant experience has become something that John considers a real life lesson; I'm impressed with his efforts to makes sense of the limitations of maturity or compassion that others may have for reasons of their own.

I think that some people might have a problem with the fact that we went to medication for the depression with a fourteen year old.  I did think and wait for quite some time before considering medication. How much of John's melancholia is kind of normal and how much of it is something to be concerned about? There was a point in several of our conversations where I believed that a line was crossed and that we had reached a point where we could use a hand.

John is happier and more hopeful this evening and that is so important to me. 

I remember several years ago when we came to this place with Elizabeth, when we started talking about medication and therapy for her moods. She was so relieved that I had actually heard her troubled self and that I had responded with real solutions. I think that John is reacting that way too:  relieved and grateful that we've taken this step to help him to manage his heavy-heartedness.

Have you had brushes with depression?
Have your kids ever been here?
What have you done to help them?

I'm John
And I approve of this message.

You might also enjoy these posts:
He's So Bright I Call him Son
Moving into the Light
Cuddling Cures the Meloncholy
I Trusted My Gut

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rebirth, Renewal, and Renaissance

I have several friends in their 40s and 50s who are embarking on very new seasons of their lives, right here and now, at spring time when the fecundity of life and earth are our ever-present companions. I like to think that most of us deeply feel that movement inside of all living things with the longer days and the rebirth of the warm season here in the northern hemisphere.

The journeys that my friends are taking are varied and unique, yet I am struck by one overriding component of their lives, renaissance. 
Transitional moments, renewal, embarkation. 
I love these women with all of my heart and I am tremendously moved by their journeys, individual and remarkable and disparate.

This morning, a morning of celebration for the renewal of the season, my friend Laura posted this on her Facebook page and I found it incredibly beautiful. Sharing.


A garden inside me, unknown, secret,
neglected for years,
the layers of its soil deep and thick.
Trees in the corners with branching arms
and the tangled briars like broken nets.

Sunrise through the misted orchard,
morning sun turns silver on the pointed twigs,
I have woken from the sleep of ages and I am not sure
if I am really seeing, or dreaming,
or simply astonished
walking towards sunrise
to have stumbled into the garden
where the stone was rolled from the tomb of longing.

EASTER MORNING IN WALES From RIVER FLOW: New and Selected Poems, © David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

Photo © David Whyte 2014
Sun Through Sycamores

In some way, many of us are entering into our own renaissance at this time of year as our lives expand, transform, harmonize with the clean, cool season. I feel it deep inside, pushing through the muddy earth, as it pokes its head into the crisp air. New projects and interesting enterprises have entered my life and I feel fortunate and excited at their possibilities.

Today I celebrate that renewal process 
and I hope that you are experiencing 
the freshness of the morning in your life.

Do you feel it in your life?
Can you sense something budding
silent, furtive, affirming?

Dedicated to the beautiful Laras and Lauras in my life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ēostre and Ostara

secular parenting
I'm curious.

In our family the kids are pretty old, teens now, kind of old to really enjoy the family traditions of the Easter holiday. But when they were younger we had them wake up to a basket next to their bed full of gifty stuff and some candy and eggs to find in the yard or house. One year I remember that there was too much snow to hide eggs outside so the house would have to do.

We usually have family over for a nice ham luncheon and family games inside or out, weather permitting. It is a fully family holiday.

The kids used to open their little plastic eggs and count out the change and candy inside of each one. And I would be appalled with myself for the amount of candy that I had just bestowed on my children. 
OH, and I would steal their Reese's Easter Eggs.  MMM MMmm MM

What about your family?
Do you have any neat secular traditions that are unique to you?

This weekend on The Secular Parents show on the SecularTv Channel on Youtube, Sunday night, 8pm CST, we will be talking about the many ways to enjoy these spring days in our show called Celebrating the Spring Holiday.

Yes, I hope you will join us, but I would also love to hear from you here on my blog. 

What are YOUR traditions?
Inform me!

If you are interested in the show, join in on Live Chat this Sunday night at 8pm CST and share your stories, questions, and ideas for how to bring the fun and focus of these days of reawakening and rebirth to our families.

Ostara (1884) by Johannes Gehrts. The goddess flies through the heavens
surrounded by Roman-inspired putti, beams of light, and animals.
Germanic people look up at the goddess from the realm below.
Thanks to Wikipedia

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Own Mind: Homeschool Atheist Momma: Total Inoculation: Fables, Folk Tales, Mythology

My Own Mind: Total Inoculation: Fables, Folk Tales, Mythology: JOIN US on this week on The Secular Parents this Sunday night at 8PM CST as we explore how reading and disc...

Total Inoculation: Fables, Folk Tales, Mythology

secular tv, atheist parents
JOIN US on this week on The Secular Parents this Sunday night at 8PM CST as we explore how reading and discussing fables, folk tales, and mythology with our children is an excellent tool to inoculate them against believing in stories of magic. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Global Climate Change is a Hoax

secular homeschooling, teens and writing,  homeschool, climate change is a hoax
We started with The Eyes of Nye: Global Climate Change, followed by watching some speakers speaking on the topic of  global climate change as a hoax and reading some data on various news sources. John got it immediately, how one type of data and argument is far more compelling and meaningful than another. We did some reading on the subject and enjoyed a wide internet search. Now let's see how he puts his paper together and creates his own argument!

YES, this is a project to get a writer-phobic child writing.

We went on to discuss how to read and research material with an eye to developing a writing topic. His ability to brainstorm ideas floored me; I hope that way of thinking translates into creating a good paper.

If you have never seen the climate change opponents, I highly recommend spending some time with your teen, watching debate and conversation on the subject. The difference between both sides is amazing and telling, especially in how they approach debate with some proponents. John learned so much just from observing and discussing style. 

What I am enjoying about the project we are working on is that we are learning the writing process as well as learning so much about an issue that is important to him. He is also learning so much history of the topic, opponents and proponents of the issue, side topics such as legislation and the automotive industry's reaction to the data and the industrial revolution, he is appreciating the vetting process, the brainstorming process, even the early stages of developing a topic and exploring widely.

It makes me proud to see him embracing this project!

Is Global Climate Change a Hoax?
Good grief, what do you think we are over here, Crazy????


Other posts you might enjoy:
A Little Teen Reading
Reading the Classics
Teaching Adolescent Writers
On Being an Atheist Parent
Why Do We Learn?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I Guess I'm a Hypocrite

secular parenting, atheist blog
This past week I was visiting my brother in Detroit, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, he would say to correct me.
I was awake quite late, as I do, and I decided to do what is, apparently, called a Vanity Search. I searched my own name. I've never thought to do it before and it was delightful to reread old blog posts and comments to friends.

I wasn't surprised with much of what I found. Lots of this blog, the Carnival of Atheist Parenting blog, the many comments I make on blogs, The Secular Parents on SecularTv, and the like. But I also found two different blogs that mentioned me by name. One of the authors of the blog called me a hypocrite (check his/her blog out of you like) because of my statement and meme My life is far more meaningful to me and far more genuinely happy since becoming an atheist. The amusing part of the blog post, which seems to meander and become kind of confusing a bit, is this statement:
How can you know you live a better life, such as asserted by Karen Loethen, My life is far more meaningful to me and far more genuinely happy since becoming an atheist. if her standard of a good life is based on the subjective criteria of man? What happens when someone thinks that a more meaningful and happier life is to shoot a dozen people in cold blood?

What happens when someone thinks that a more meaningful and happier life is to shoot a dozen people in cold blood? 
Good grief! Did I mean that I thought shooting people was OK when I said that my life is far more meaningful to me and far more genuinely happy since becoming an atheist? 

Or is it possible that this writer has taken a very simple and profound reality of mine and has tried to warp it into the fears and misinterpretations of the religious people who can not see beyond their fears and misunderstandings? Correct me if I am interpreting the blog post wrong because it really seems as though much of the commentary rather supports my point of view...except for that part about atheists being hypocrites.  

Or maybe, as my friend Gen suggested, the blogger is trying to sell cheap tickets to the Caribbean. 

Anyway, to my knowledge this is the only time anyone has bothered to read my stuff (or see it on Pinterest or whatever) and reply to it, so I'm grateful. If I'm ever in Lee's neck of the woods and in need of appliance repair, I'll give a call.

You might also like this post:
My Writing Process Blog Tour
PC Enough?

An Unfortunately Necessary Evil
Why I Accept Your Beliefs as Valid for You
Moments of Reflection

That Hideous Dance Between Faith and Critical Thinking

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Essential Secular Family Bookshelf

SecularTv, Secular parenting, atheist parenting

Be-Asia, Rayven, and Karen invite you to join us this Sunday night at 8pm CST for The Secular Parents where we will talk about The Essential Secular Family Bookshelf.

Join in live on CHAT and share your favorite secular titles!

What are your essential titles? 
Both for parenting and for books for the kids to read?


Books and Other Things for your Lively, Lovely Young Heathen Children