Monday, June 26, 2017

What I Want...

Those existential questions like What is life all about? and What do I want in life? and What do I want out of life?  might seem very deep and mystical to some people but not to me. I feel particularly non-existential. Maybe it's my age; maybe it is because I have thought long and hard for long periods of my life. 

I wonder if everyone has to face the existential questions of life. Do some people manage to get into true adulthood and maturity without the bogland of questions? Who am I? What is my true nature or identity? What is the meaning of life? Why do we exist? 
Is there a greater purpose? What is death? Is there a god? If so, what is the nature of god?  Surely contemplation of these questions is universal to some extent.

If you are a reader or researcher you certainly know that humans have struggled and agonized over these questions for thousands of years. Some of the earliest translatable words known to our race are words of meaning. Both Sumerian archaic writing (pre-cuneiform) and Egyptian hieroglyphics chronicle the lives of people who were seeking a sort of immortality. Some early writing set down rules to govern living. Many bits of the earliest art and writing seem to be attempting to create luck or connection or higher meaning. Some early writing immortalizes some rulers and their reign. And I'm still amazed and impressed that current day scholars have been able to translate these writings!

How I would love to be able to understand the language and the meaning behind the inscriptions of these earlier humans. People who were creating government, culture, trade, religion, etc. I am weirdly in love with these people who lived before me. Who were they? What were they doing? How did they find meaning? Who were the first people to think Hey, I can write it down!  The space between I can write it down and then writing it down intrigues me so much. 

Yes, our sentient species has invented not only language, but written language. I find that fascinating! Simple machines, farming, codes of behavior, travel, flight, philosophy, anatomy, medicine, architecture, mathematics, physics, biology, astronomy, photography, communication media, current day technology that I don't understand. Yes, our sentient species is truly amazing and as long as I don't read the comments sections of the news magazines I am supremely impressed with us. 

Back to the existential questions...
I've come to a very simple place in life. I feel no need to ask the questions for I think I have my answer. It's a simple answer to all of the questions and, in fact, it's all the answer I need. I found my answer deep within myself and I was delighted when I discovered that my one of my favorite authors had written it more beautifully than I could have.

What I want is so simple I almost can't say it: elementary kindness.
~ Barbra Kingsolver
Yes, kindness in all of its forms is the answer.
Pass it on.

Friday, June 23, 2017

What an Idiot I Was

When I was in high school there was this guy whose locker was down the hall from mine. I met him in a class and he started hanging about a bit. I'm going to call him Mike. Mike was a super nerdy dude, but very nice and quite smart. He had kind of a thing for me in high school, I later realized, while I had barely noticed him, sadly.

Years later in my early twenties we dated a bit and I really liked him...he was smart and interesting and fun and successful and quite independent. While I, on the other hand, was suuuuuuch an idiot. I truly believed the Christian storyline and feared true knowledge. I dripped Christian rhetoric like the sky drips stars.

One time Mike and I and a friend were in a canoe on a float trip and we were all talking and chatting and whatnot. I was really noticing how I was longing for Mike, even as I sat in the canoe with him. He felt a million miles away from me and I couldn't understand it. After getting home from the float trip, where I distinctly remember Mike fervently singing the words I am a rock; I am an island on the rainy drive home, I never saw him in a dating fashion again.

One day, years later, I suddenly recalled a conversation that Mike and I and the friend were having on the river. He asked me How do you explain the fossils? I remember putting a cutsie look on my face and replying God put them there to test us, and the friend in the canoe agreed with me.

No wonder logical and reasonable Mike felt like an island in that rainy truck cab driving home from the float trip! He broke up with me immediately. Now I think back on that and I think of him Good call, Pal! Good call.  lol

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Something I Really Stink At

I know I'm a good mom, but I have things that I really stink at.

I'm FAR too mushy. I have never been capable of putting my foot down. I've never been good at being a hard ass because I'm too overwhelmed with the possibility of the emotional turmoil of the person in question. I seek to understand the behavior of the so-called problematic person...

Does that propensity make me weak?
Do some people sometimes require having me put my foot down?
Is the answer, sometimes, to be stern and ...funny, I can't think of a word that doesn't make this option sound wrong. UGH.

But it's time. I have to.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Karen's Head on FB

I was visiting a wonderful and dear friend of mine recently. She is completely divorced from social media. Completely. She has email. She uses the PC for learning all sorts of things. While she completely avoids all community-type sites.

While we were visiting my friend, I'll call her Amy, she and I were talking about ways that I use Facebook and other social media...but primarily FB. Amy told me that she is a part of a small group of other homeschoolers who all communicate on FB but she wouldn't go to FB for over two years. This past month she joined FB just so she could contact that group of women. Amy felt very uncomfortable with that website because messages both appeared on her FB page but also sent her an email. OH MY. But it really overwhelmed her.

I begged Amy to please please please stay on FB so that she and I could remain better connected. (Our primary source of contact is by email.) She thought about the advantages of that and she acquiesced and added me as a friend. For six hours. But she couldn't take it. If I'm on Facebook then I'm in Karen's head, she explained. 

I understood that Amy's comment was simply her way of saying that she preferred being disconnected and more isolated than some people but it still made me wonder exactly how annoying my head  is on FB. How tiresome or how kind of too much my head is on FB. My insecurities kicked in immediately.

When I talked with Amy about this she was very quick to say, No, Karen, your friends on FB love you for what is in your head. People follow you for what is in your head. This is completely my issue!

But since then, I have been posting far more seldom...I wonder if anyone notices. I wish FB wasn't another place for me to worry about what people think... I assume my friends appreciate my thoughts and such since I appreciate theirs. can I know for sure? And why am I still this insecure?

I know Amy would not want me to be experiencing this, yet here I am... Besides, to be fair, I go through this type of thought in my head every so often anyway. I go through times when I post far less, feeling as if my stuff is misunderstood, annoying, etc... I know I'll figure this out...just thinking out loud.

Monday, June 12, 2017

About the Atheist Convention

So, about the atheist convention that I talked about the other day, Gateway to Reason. I've heard some things that are going on that have really been bothering me. You know, I simply don't understand people.

So here's the thing, I have been deliberately skipping the comments in posts and videos and articles for YEARS because of their negativity and uninformed, loud opinions. Apparently so much drama goes on in the comments sections that I had no idea about...but drama that matters and makes a difference.

For example, what has been happening on some atheist convention websites is ridiculous and malicious. Some people are coming on to those websites and making comments like [important speaker at conference] is known for sexually inappropriate conduct or [important speaker at conference] has been making racial slurs.  People make these unsubstantiated and false accusations just to reduce attendance at conventions and to call the ethics of speakers into question. It's disgusting and infuriating! They, furthermore, will write into the comment section This convention has been cancelled! and other slurs like that.

How unethical and vile and loathsome.
I don't know if these comments are effecting our convention, Gateway to Reason, regardless, I find such sabotage nasty, and kind of sleazy.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Atheist Convention: Gateway to Reason

Are you a atheist parent looking for like-minded folk? Living in St. Louis or nearby in the Midwest? Allow me to offer you an excellent idea:

Gateway to Reason 2017 is the premier atheist, secular conference and entertainment event for the St. Louis region
This year the conference is moving to Historic Route 66. The the line up promises to be as historic with people like Mandisa Thomas, Aron Ra, Phil Ferguson, Seth Andrews, and ME, Homeschool Atheist Momma! I will be opening up the convention with a talk on atheist parenting on Friday, July 28th.

Jerry and I (and the kids) have been to many atheist conventions in our time and I have never, ever seen someone to a talk specifically for atheist parents. When I started working on the planning committee for Gateway to Reason this year I told them that I would like to see a speaker on the subject and they asked me to do it. 

Come and see me!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


About a hundred years ago when I was 16 years old I took my first typing class in high school. Using a huge flip textbook. In a huge, loud classroom. On electric typewriters. On paper. Using carbon paper. 

My kids don't even know what carbon paper is! LOL
. .
The thing is, ever since those days I have typed conversations in my head as I'm having  said conversation. I mean I am imaging my fingers typing each word. If you are talking to me and you think I'm delayed in my response, it might be because I am still typing your last comment in my head. I type nearly all words I think, speak, and hear. Isn't that weird?!
I have been typing in my head for so long that I have shortcuts and little games and favorite words and word challenges and all kinds of weird things going on in there as I have conversations. I am partial to words that I think of as balanced, that is words that use the left hand, then right, then left, then right... like lake and spam and such. I find these words particularly satisfying; the longer the better. Then there are the words that are all on one side like face and link. Those are fun too.
I've been doing it for almost forty years now and I'm kinda tired of it! I've been trying to quit for about a month but I find myself typing away in my head all of the time anyway, often with very little consciousness of doing it. I'm trying to quit by using thought stopping and distraction...but it isn't helping.
I want to quit because I freaking well distract myself and because it is weird. WEIRD But I can't stop this compulsion that I've had for almost four decades easily. I'm determined but dou...b...t..ful.
Until I can drop this typing thing, I hope you'll understand when I seem to be pausing as we talk...I'm trying to type out your words, no carbon paper necessary.

Friday, May 12, 2017

My Last Kiss

Who was your last kiss with?
Was it memorable?

My son and I are in Pennsylvania visiting a dear, dear, dear friend of mine named Julie. Jules and I have been friends for about 14 years. We met through a St. Louis homeschool group so long ago and simply enjoyed one another so much that we have remained friends all of these years, though she and her family moved to Pennsylvania about five years ago. Our sons are also very good friends.

Julie is a very unique woman. She and I are so very very different, primarily in our social comfort levels. I'm hugely comfortable in social situations and Julie would rather not. (Though every single party I've ever been at with her she is delightful!) But her preference is that she can't even.

I say this mostly because she has never hugged me or outwardly expressed her love for me. But I have always know it anyway.  I usually say, I love you and I know that you love me.
She'll shrug and say yeah.

A few weeks ago Julie got news that she has breast cancer. Yes, BOOM, life changes. She had several weeks until she could see her oncologist for more information, so three weeks of fear, not knowing, fatalism, expectations, planning for the worse, complete freaking out, and general depression...which she mainly kept to herself. 

She told me about a week ago about the diagnosis, a few days before her visit to the oncologist. John and I immediately prepared to drive up the day he finished his final in his course at school. We left two hours after he completed the test and then we drove through the night to get here to Pennsylvania. That was Tuesday, the day of her visit to the oncologist.  

By the time we arrived in the greyish morning, she already knew about her cancer. It is the "good" kind. She will not have to undergo chemo or radiation or any other treatment than a couple of medications by mouth. She will keep her hair. Her prognosis is great. 

When I arrived, she hugged me and kissed me.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Carin' Loathin' Here

Every time you click onto a blog you open yourself up to another person's thoughts, philosophies, biases, areas of interest, non interest, to their efforts, their hidden efforts, to their deeply held opinions, to their unspoken ideas, to their choices, to their struggles, to their celebrations, to their their LIFE.

Welcome to mine.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Thinking of Reopening the blog

atheist parent
I'm thinking about starting back up with this blog. Expect a bit of a redesign and less focus on homeschooling and more on just ...being.
Stay tuned.