Friday, February 27, 2015

You're All Heart

I've been absent for awhile for a very good reason.
For many years I have had weird arrhythmia and high blood pressure. I've been taking medication for is for decades already.

WELL, a little over a week ago I started having PVCs, or throwing PVCs as the medical pros say it. A condition where my Premature Ventricular Contractions kind of go against the normal pumping of my heart making me feel very light-headed and leaving me with a feeling of near-passing-out.

SO, with excellent response from my GP and my new cardiologist, I have undergone many cardiovascular/heart tests this week. Today I had a cardio cath, angiography, the procedure where they take a monitor and look inside of the chambers and arteries of the heart to find blockage.

I fully expected high percentages of blockage and I fully expected the need for a stent.

But guess what?!
I am blocked less than 10%, better than most people!
There was absolutely nothing going on there!
NO imminent heart attack, NO heart disease!!!!!!!!

With my lovely genetics I thought for certain that I was entering a very unhealthy downward slide.  But I'm not!

I still don't know what is causing the passing out sensation, but for now, I am honestly celebrating the knowledge of such healthy arteries!

YAY Medical Science!!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When People Undermine your Secular Parenting

secular atheist parenting
Thank you to a reader, L, who asked this question:
My 8-year-old's father and my aunt decided behind my back that for Christmas this year they would tell (my daughter) that Santa made a special stop in heaven to pick up a present for her from her grandmother who has been dead over a year and a half now.

I didn't know about it until about a week later when (my daughter) said,
Is Santa real? Please don't lie to me mom, I want the truth. So I gave her the truth & her next question is So does that mean grandma rose isn't real? I told her that of course grandma rose is real, that all we are is energy & that energy gets released back into Tue universe, but I feel like they really messed her head up with this one.

What can I say/do to make reentering the grieving process easier on her?

L, I love it that your daughter asked Please don't lie to me, Mom, I want the truth. Good for her and her precocious, intelligent way of moving through the world. I honestly think that her questioning will help her through all of the mixed messages and storytelling.

First, relax a bit. I would be terribly upset at that little game behind my back, and on such an important topic, too! The best way to address that one is with direct questioning and spoken expectations to your husband and aunt. I recommend planning a day to talk with them, a day when everyone is calm and in a good frame of mind.

As for your daughter, frequent hugs, conversations, reassurances, gentle questions, reminders that we are living this life in a healthy and loving and meaningful way... Remind her of her admirable ability to think and process things in the world around her and let her know that you admire her insistence on honesty, even hard honesty.

The grieving process is just that, a process. It will continue on indefinitely.Your relationship, your conversations, and your loving ears are all that she will need to figure this one out. There is time.
I believe in her intellect and bright heart.

I, too, have had loved ones attempt to undermine my parenting, behind my back.
Anger, shock, disbelief, hurt!
I hope you are doing well. 

Peace, Karen  

Have you had people
try to undermine your parenting?
What did you do?

I'm curious. What would you have said to L? 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
Atheists Talking to Our Kids about Death and Grief
An Unfortunate Necessary Evil
The Big Question:  Death
Dealing with the Confrontational Family Member
SecularTv:  Dealing with Religious Family Members

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SecularTv: Secular Parenting Myths...BUSTED

secular tv, atheist parenting

I have this amazing opportunity to cohost an online tv show for secular parents and I'm thinking, DANG am I lucky!
I have already met wonderful human beings that I love. And I'm experiencing an astonishing side effect of the show... I feel this tremendous upsurge of creativity and growth and ideas and inspiration....a rebirth of sorts.

I've been feeling kind of wrung out, even empty for awhile now. Like I have nothing new to say...but this new venue is getting the imagination churning and...WOW, I'm excited again.

I hope you check out the show. We are working on getting them formatted into podcasts that will be available here through my blog.

I hope you join me in this endeavor.
I welcome your stories, your passions, your involvement, your participation on the community!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Why Do You Hate God?

Atheist and apologists Atheist parenting homeschool secular parenting
 Without a doubt, as an atheist parent the question I get the most often is this one, Why do you hate God?

Interestingly enough, this one is the easiest question to answer. The question itself shows that the questioner truly doesn't know what it means to be an atheist. (A friend of mine is always saying that people really need to define these terms because many people don't know what agnostic or atheist actually means.)

As an atheist I don't believe in any gods, any devils, anything supernatural at all. Therefore, I don't love or hate any of these inventions.

The greater question is why would those who stand up on the pulpits of the churches spread such hateful and incorrect messages to those who look to them for wisdom, understanding, comfort?  Why would anyone use a powerful platform such as the pulpit to create division rather than to create connection, peace, love?

If I had a pulpit, I know that I would make it my mission to find ways to bring peace and understanding to the hearts of people on this planet. I would focus my strongest messages on anyone spreading hate speak, pompous self-aggrandizing talk, self-righteous messages, snake oil salesmanship, or any messages not of love.

Actually, I do have a pulpit. 
It's my life and I'm going to spread the love all over the damn place!

    With thoughts of Lana and Mama Beany.

For More Posts Like This One:No More Guilt

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Proud Momma Moment: My Daughter's Rant

feminism, daughters, secular parenting, homeschool
Elizabeth thinks of herself as very introverted ...and she can be. But these days she is really out there taking chances, making friends, opening up, and blossoming. 
I love it that she is hanging out with people from very different backgrounds and with very different ideals.

The other day she told me about a conversation she had on campus with a guy that she hangs out with, a guy named Allen. Allen was looking for the "cons" of homeschooling.  The exchange went something like this:

Elizabeth:  Why are you looking for the cons of homeschooling?
Allen:  Because my girlfriend is taking her seven-year-old son out of school again. This is the second time.
Elizabeth:  Why?
Allen:  Because he is getting bullied pretty bad again.

Elizabeth: I'm confused; why do you not want your girlfriend to take her little boy out of school?
Allen:  Because he needs to learn to stay and face up to his abusers.

Elizabeth:  No, he needs to learn that if someone is abusing you, you leave. Period.
Allen:  No, he needs to learn that you stay and fight.
Elizabeth:  No, this seven year old needs to learn that his mother hears him and is responding to his needs.

Allen:  No, you are wrong.
Elizabeth:  No, Allen. I promise you, you are wrong.

Allen:  You are a cute little girl; what do you know?
Elizabeth:  Huh?
Allen: You are just a cute little girl. What you have to say doesn't mean much to me.

Elizabeth:  Oh really, how about when I was helping you figure out how to fill out the job applications the other day? Did what I have to say mean something to you then?
Allen: I mean that men have better opinions.
Elizabeth:  Really?  Are you aware that you are talking to the biggest feminist on campus?
Allen:  OH, did the feminists put these ideas into your head?
Elizabeth:  Allen, you don't know me, but no one puts ideas into my head. My head is full of its own ideas.
Allen:  How cute you are.
Elizabeth: Never disrespect me again by suggesting that I am nothing but cute. I am strong and fierce and I have no interest in talking with a person who thinks like you do.  *Gets up and walks away. Comes home and tells me the ten thousand things she wishes she would have said.*

Don't worry, Elizabeth, there are more Allens in the world;
you will get to say all of that!

GO MY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!

I have gotten negative comments on the pic
of Elizabeth flipping me off
(OR, as she says "Flicking me off")  ;)
What do you think of the pic?

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
Growing Pains
Dear Me:  Being the Mom
A Parental Confession
Shooshy:  Raising My Daughter
How I Planned to be as a Parent

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Thank You Note to LIFE

gratitude, secular parenting
My life is so good and I love it so much that the way I live it is my way of saying THANK YOU life.

Tonight I am overwhelmed with gratitude. 
Life isn't perfect and every single thing isn't shiny and white. But I don't need perfection and sparkles to be grateful to life, to our family, to my wonderful spouse, to myself. I am certain that happiness in life doesn't just happen. I think that gratitude makes life happier.

Even if it sounds weird, I have some things that I want to share with you that I am so grateful for. Some of them are so obvious, some less so. 

  •  I am SO freaky grateful to have the spouse that I have. He and I are so well in-tune and we support one another so fully. We are incredibly different from one another and I think that it is those very differences that make us so well matched.
    I don't even think I could be married to someone like me.  ;)
    I am so grateful that I get to be married to him.
  • I am so freaky grateful to my children for their incredible honesty, challenges, depth, integrity, strengths and weaknesses, curiosity, enthusiasm, deep love, struggle, effort...
  • I am grateful for this gigantic seashell that my friend Maryvonne gave to me. Every. Single. Time I see it I feel a warmth and glowing in my heart because I know that it was given to me straight from her heart.
  • I am sincerely grateful for my brain, no matter how poor my memory...
  • I'm freaky thankful for our sun. Think about it for a moment. Our sun is life. Ditto our atmosphere.
  • I'm thankful for the sun today, specifically. Here, during February, usually an icy cold time of year, we had springlike weather. I'm not grateful for climate change; I'm grateful for a respite from the freezing temperatures. My mood is improved.
  • I have overwhelming gratitude for the internet.
    I truly have no idea why we have it, how we have it, how it really works, or exactly what it is. But I am massively in love with the ability to learnlearnlearn and to find wonderful community with amazing human beings.
  • I am so thankful to my friend Lara for homeschooling; if she hadn't taken the road less traveled it is unlikely that our family would have even known about it. I am grateful to Lara for a million other things too.
  • I am grateful for my life. I get to live it.
  • I am extremely, extremely grateful that my husband's ex-wife is able to have a very caring relationship with us. I know that it is because of our deliberate work to keep things healthy that our family is as happy as it is.
    I love Jessica and Tim as though they were my very own. In fact, they are mine.
    I am overwhelmingly thankful for the words that my stepdaughter spoke to me tonight.
  • I am exceedingly grateful for freethought, for freedom from idolatry, for the ability to see the Great Oz.
  • I am grateful for the serenity and peace in our hearts in this household. I am especially grateful for this when someone needs to express intense pain, anger, confusion, loneliness, etc.
    Each of us knows that all emotions are welcome here.
  • Though it may sound weird, I'm grateful for books. Really, BOOKS! What treasures they can be. What a beautiful thing they can be.
  • I am grateful beyond words for our time in Australia and our time in New Zealand. Those lands have truly impacted us for ...ever.
  • I am thankful for this moment, for my awareness of it, for its preciousness...

This world is so wondrous.
I wish more people could experience the sublimity, the inestimable beauty of life with gratitude.
Thanks, Life.

I hope you can look around you at this moment 
and find many things that bring gratitude to your heart.

Would you share some?

You may also like these posts:
Thankful 365 Days a Year
Build a Bridge 
The Day I Learned to Love Nerf Gun Bullets
Moving into the Light

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Upcoming SecularTv Shows...Seeking guests.

SecularTv, athiest parenting
Dear Readers of my Blog, Friends,
The show that I am working on on SecularTv channel on Youtube has been so much fun to work on so far! The Secular Parents are still total noobs and are working hard to learn what to do to create an interesting, fun show as well as trying to figure out how to market, create good content, how to work the technology, and a bunch of other lessons on my plate.

I am wondering which of you might be interested in being a part of the show. We have some topics that we are working on for upcoming shows and I'm looking for interesting resources to tap and interesting, willing, and able people who are interested in being on the show to talk about topics of interest.

I'll list a few upcoming topics here and if you are interested or think you might have something to add, please comment below along with contact information, contact me at karen.loethen (at), or on a Facebook message.

Think about it. Even you shy ones can do this! All you need is your life experiences, broadband, and decent audio and video capabilities. OR, if you live here in town, you may come to my place and share my broadband with me. I promise to make it easy and satisfying for you to put your two cents into any conversation that interests you. And I thank you for considering it! 

Here are a few upcoming shows:

Talking About Religion With My Kids
Myths They Tell About Secular Families
Secular Family Values
Raising Ethical Kids
Finding the Sublime
Secular Black Families
Deconversion Stories
Nurturing Skepticism, Critical Thinking
Co-Parenting with Religious Partner
Secular Homeschooling

AND, Jennifer Hancock, I hope you contact me soon!

I hope to hear from YOU!!!!!
I also welcome any friends you can refer to me.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Secular Tv

The Secular Parents: Episode One
Secular Parenting, SecularTv

My friend asked me to explain the topics on the list a bit...
here is what I sent to her; I hope it helps. 
These "explanations" are really just off of the top of my head 
and in no way meant to limit a topic.

Talking About Religion With My Kids - How did you talk to your kids about god? Christmas? religion? people who believe?  etc.
Myths They Tell About Secular Families - this is probably the one you really meant where you didn't get it...things like "You can't raise moral kids without religion..."
Secular Family Values - If your values don't include "faith", what Do they include?
Raising Ethical Kids - As opposed to moral, looking at the grey areas of life, decisions, events, issues...
Finding the Sublime - seeking the deeper meaning, deeper connection, transcendent?  etc
Secular Black Families - There are overwhelmingly more white secular families, are there any specific challenges specific to being a black family in this nonsecular world?
Deconversion Stories - how did you lose it?  (your religion, Silly!)
Nurturing Skepticism, Critical Thinking - what methods did you use to raise children who question everything?
Death - what are the challenges of dealing with death with your children when you don't use "god" and the afterlife as comfort?
Co-Parenting with Religious Partner - If one parent is religious and one is secular/atheist, how do you handle that?
Secular Homeschooling -

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Next Time Tell Them that YOU WOULDN'T Do It!

The other day Elizabeth was telling me about a conversation that she had with her Composition teacher at school. As they were talking about the type of work on the docket for the class (Comp II) Elizabeth told her instructor I've never had to write an argument paper before.


Elizabeth, when you are talking to people, please remember that you are representing homeschool and, in many ways, ME to the people in your world. Next time, please truthfully say, Mom worked with me on this type of writing (or other work) and I REFUSED TO DO IT.

OK, thanks, Honey. Carry on with your story...

Posts you might like:
What Do You Do All Day?
Keeping Up with the Graduating Seniors
In the Name of Transparency:  Negatives of Homeschooling