Thursday, June 29, 2017

But You're So Nice...

Once, Twice, a hundred time.  How many times have I heard it? I'll be talking with someone new, or not so new, when the conversation gets around to What church do you go to? or What religion are you? I know it's going to happen sooner or later. I used to dread the moment but now I rather look forward to it.

It's a real character revealer, it is.

How a person responds to my open atheism is so interesting. The people who are cool and OK, the ones who remain interested and engaged with me are gaining in numbers. But there is still that person who will simply tip their heads, get that confused look with the wrinkly eyebrows, close down that cognitive dissonance bell going off in their heads, and they will say But you're so nice!

I realize that my response, too, is a character revealer. I do have a kind of prepared reply to the nice statement, a reply that I generally use whenever that comment comes up: Thank you, I am nice. Hmmm, I wonder why you would doubt that? Is your assumption incorrect, perhaps?

Not too confrontational. Not not confrontational. Just enough to, hopefully, encourage some further thought on the matter.

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.