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Today was a really busy day. I spent most of it in the truck, driving around, running errands. I made a special trip to the UP to visit my mom who has been laid up from a surgery. I brought her flowers for her birthday tomorrow and stuck around for a couple hours making her and my dad a huge batch of pasties and pocket apple pies. As much as I said I would never be like her, I recognized today that I take after her a lot socially. She needs interaction with other people, and being couch-bound for a couple weeks really had her down. Glad I was able to pick her up a bit. If we lived closer I’d be over more often. She confided in me that one of her best friends broke up with her recently. Sucks. My mom is the kind of person who will bend over backward to help her friends, but for some reason most of her friends won’t lift a finger when she needs someone. How hard is it to call or visit a friend even once a year? Or to drive half a mile to spend some time chatting with a friend who is lonely? I’m frustrated for her. At least she has one kid who is there for her, though, and I’ll always be there. I hope our boys are this close to me and each other when they grow up.

After visiting, I went to the boys’ school to help out with the last hour of their Halloween parties. I tell you what – I have mad respect for all of the teachers at that school. They had some wild, sugar-pumped, costumed kids and their schedules were wonky with parties and activities. But were they crabby or frustrated? Nope! I feel pretty lucky that our kids get to go to such a great school, even if it’s small and feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. I really hope I can get more involved soon. I kind of miss volunteering on a regular basis.

From the school we went to a town 30 miles south, where we used to live in an apartment while we built the house. We met up with some old friends and did some trick or treating. I didn’t even think to bring the camera along, but I guess you wouldn’t have seen much anyway. It was a whopping 33 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind was kicking our butts. We made one loop around a few blocks and the kids were frozen, despite being bundled in long johns, clothes, costumes, winter coats, hats and gloves. It was cold!

We met Daddy at a really good restaurant after he got out of work, then came home exhausted, lit the fire in the wood stove, and all settled down on our computers. We’re turning into a family of computer nerds. It’s a bit more comfortable than the 2 hour Monopoly marathon we played on the floor last night.

Not too much else to update. Dear hubby nearly has the sink cabinet done. We might go to Green Bay this weekend to pick up a granite slab for the counter. He finished the medicine cabinet mirror. It’s pretty snazzy, but mostly empty. I don’t know what to do with all of this new storage space! I’m a simple creature, and so is he. Maybe I could fill it up if I wore makeup or wore jewelry or did my hair fancy or used seventeen different soaps and lotions every day. But I don’t, and probably never will. You know, I’ve actually had people assume I’m Pentecostal, especially back when I had hair down to my bum and wore skirts every day. So funny! They never react well when I inform them that I’m actually an atheist.

So here’s a picture of the mirror, because I have to brag on my awesome hubby. Can you believe this is his first time working with wood? We finally got the new pulls, so he’ll probably put all those on as soon as he gets the final cabinet finished and in place.

medicine cabinet

And here’s another fun update. We got our first eggs from our Jersey Giant chickens! They seem to be laying them while sitting on the roosts, which is a minor problem. I need to figure out how to coax them to lay in the nesting boxes. This laying an egg over a 3′ drop business isn’t doing wonderful things for the shell integrity.

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One of the eggs was all white with only a small spot of brown. That was strange, but not wholly unexpected. When chickens first start laying, they lay all sorts of nutty looking eggs. Some are tiny (as these were), some are enormous. Some have two or even three yolks. Some are capable of encapsulating an egg within another egg and pushing the monstrosity out whole. Some make dumbbell-shaped eggs, while some come out long and narrow. Within a few months, they’ll be pros – laying regularly and giving us normal eggs.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!¬†And if you know my mom, stop by and wish her a happy birthday tomorrow! Maybe she’ll share a delicious pasty with you. ūüôā

 

What is your biggest fear? Spiders? Tornadoes? Clowns? Mine is rejection. Sometimes my fear of rejection gets so bad it interferes with my life. Recently I had my first job interview in a few years. It was a big deal. One part of me thinks it went well. I mean, every position I have worked has gone well. My employers and coworkers have always loved me. I work hard, and have plenty of good references. But that other part of me that fears rejection is coming up with all sorts of excuses. I have been a stay at home mom since the boys were born. I haven’t ever held a serious paid position. It’s been nearly a decade since I got my BA degree. I can’t work a lot of overtime because I am still the primary caregiver for our boys and we don’t have any family around to lean on for help. Who in their right mind would hire a longshot like me?

I’m getting really good at talking myself out of good situations. So good, in fact, that I feel like I’m starting to miss out on some great life experiences. I wanted to join a local quilting club, but when I went to the meeting I was reminded of how small the world was when one of the women sharing her awesome steampunk-inspired quilt mentioned “that nice couple who sells veggies at the market.” Yep. The mean couple who freak me out so much I can’t even look in their direction without having my heart race. I still try to go to that market as a customer, but I avoid them like the plague, do my visiting and purchasing quickly, and leave as soon as possible. I’ve still not received anything remotely like an apology or even a nice word from either of them. Now I don’t even want to go to the quilting club because there’s a possibility I’ll run into her there.

I’ve learned to stand up for myself a little, but it’s so hard finding that line – the one between sticking up for myself and becoming exactly the kind of bully I fear. I cross the line a lot. When I worked as a cashier, there was a man who constantly talked to my boobs and remarked on my skirts. It got so bad that I was considering going to management to see if I could work opposite shifts from him. But then one day I just snapped and half-yelled into his face that he was making me very uncomfortable. I stood up for myself, yes, but I immediately felt bad about it because… I yelled and made HIM uncomfortable. He avoided me from then on, so in a way what I did worked. To this day I feel like I should apologize, though. What is wrong with me that I fear rejection even from people who haven’t treated me well?

I fear it most from those I love. I am the kind of person that gives her all to friendships and family. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always try to believe the best of everyone until proven otherwise. I’ve been let down a lot. I’ve had family that I loved tell me that their dogs were more important than me and my kids. I’ve had family cut me out of their lives without even giving me a chance to tell my side of the story – instead, they’d rather believe some girl that no one knew until she married into our family recently. I’ve had family rail against me for my atheism, as if my non-belief made me a shameful addition to any family gathering. I’ve been told to stay away from family holidays. I’ve lost contact with almost every family member on my side and my husband’s side.

Yes, I’ll take the credit for my misdeeds that caused some of the rifts. I tend to come off as overbearing because I get really excited when I am included. I like being involved. I like helping. I like making new friends. I don’t have a cell, and don’t spend a lot of time on the phone, so I’ve been trying to navigate relationships on social media… but I swear sites like facebook are poison for my communication with others because so much of what I say gets misconstrued. I can’t understand how people keep real life friends when they know them on facebook because people seem to be at their worst on social media. I don’t get why facebook is a free pass for everyone to “bitch” openly about very personal matters, knock down people they supposedly love, and say the most awful things like making racist jokes or demeaning homosexuals. When I see people pulling that crap, I speak up. I don’t think it’s funny – it’s hurtful. Well… that ends up with me being ditched because I’m the bully for sticking up for the victims of these horrid people. No, I don’t really mean that. They aren’t horrid. Just some of the choices they make are horrid. Even after I point out bad behavior in another person, I still usually want to be their friend. I don’t know why, but I tend to give people as many chances as they need.

I have always had issues with rejection, but it’s become worse lately thanks to certain people in my life. For 26 years I had a brother I could talk to every now and then. A brother who told me he loved me a couple times a month. He stopped talking to me two years ago. It feels like he died two years ago. I took it hard. It wasn’t pretty. I’m still upset over all that happened, and I can’t see that these feelings of loss will ever go away. I played a part, and I readily acknowledge everything I did that was wrong. He won’t. Ever. He takes no responsibility. So it’s all on my shoulders. Every time I meet someone new I hold back a lot because I think, well, if my own brother can treat me like THAT… what can a friend do? So I lock my open heart inside a cage and don’t let it associate with other people. I even go so far as to reject others before they can reject me. Less hurt, right?

It doesn’t work. I need something in my life to fill the void so many loved ones have left, but I don’t know what. It has to be something real. Something meaningful. I think finding a hobby with other people would help. I think getting a job would help, too, so long as I wasn’t locked up in an office not interacting with others in a positive way. I’ve signed up to volunteer at the boys’ new school – that did wonders for me at their last school. I just need to break this rut I’ve been in recently where I can’t be free to be myself. Winter is coming, and I won’t have my garden and preserving and trips into town to distract me like I’ve had all summer.

I wish I had more friends. Friends who didn’t look down on me because of my atheism. Friends who accepted my little boy in pink. Friends who didn’t think I had gone off the deep end for wanting to live the country lifestyle. Friends who didn’t reject me for anything. I’m so tired of rejection. It’s not healthy to have so much of it thrown at me that I come to expect it – I don’t like living like this.

Anyone else go through something similar? How did you cope? How do you get over it, get past it? And for goodness sake, if you have the balls to come here and start spouting religious shit I will block your IP. I don’t need that – no one does. I’ve dealt with that enough from my in-laws and past friends. That’s part of the reason I constantly fear rejection, so don’t even try it. See? That’s me standing up for myself, and also me feeling rotten because in a way I’m just turning the rejection back around and I don’t like that I feel the need to do that.

My next blog will be more positive, I promise. I just had to get this off of my chest because it’s been weighing me down for a while.

I was just forwarded this fantastic story, and wanted to pass it on. Take a few minutes out of your busy day to wish this little guy a happy birthday!

birthdaycards

Screenshot from http://www.8newsnow.com/story/26071062/terminally-ill-5-year-old-wants-one-thing-for-his-birthday-cards

 

Yesterday I drove down to Green Bay to pick out the slab of granite that will transform into our kitchen counter tops. This is the one! It is being cut this week and will be installed Friday. Exciting! We might finally have a finished kitchen soon!

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I am burned out working on the house, so I’ve started a new project. I find myself surrounded by pregnant friends lately, and perhaps this is a bit of a give away but I’m going to show the pattern that I came up with because I really like it. Here is part of the first blanket. The best part.

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I enjoy being able to hand craft such treasures for my friends and loved ones. For many years I did a quilt for someone different each year, starting way back in college. My first quilt was a California king size quilt for my parents. I had to use an empty classroom to piece it together it was so big! The only person¬†I missed was my brother, and he’s decided to erase himself from my life so I’ll probably never get to make him one. I¬†skipped the past¬†couple years because all of my quilting stuff was packed in boxes. I’ll make up for it now – I’ve four preggers friends!

Hope y’all are enjoying this spring. Still waiting on our snow to melt. If you think about it, go outside and blow some of that warm weather north for us!

Every once in a while I come across something online that makes me stop and think, “I wish I’d thought of that!” Tonight, while perusing some of the posts on various facebook groups, my eyes snagged on a post titled “A note to people who consider atheists close-minded” by Ryan at Hammer the Gods. I don’t usually do this, but I asked permission to post his writing on my blog for my readers to see because Ryan, (to quote one of my favorite bands of all time) you took the words right out of my mouth.¬†

Without further ado…

A note to people who consider atheists “closed minded” for not agreeing with their religious claims – or claims regarding the existence of god(s):

Before you think atheists are closed minded or argue in favor of your religious beliefs, please carefully consider the following.

Just because someone does not agree with unsupported conclusions regarding religious claims and the existence of god(s), does not necessarily mean they are closed minded. You reject other gods and religious claims as unsupported, does that necessarily make you closed minded?

Many if not most atheists are former believers, proving we are open-minded enough to consider new evidence and argumentation regarding religious claims and the existence of god(s). If we weren’t, we would still be believers. I think it’s safe to say, most if not all atheists would acknowledge the existence of god(s), if that conclusion were supported by evidence and argumentation.
(Worshipping said god(s) if it/they were confirmed to exist, is a different topic altogether; but I digress.)

The thing is, you don’t have evidence supporting the existence of god(s) – and your arguments are based on logical fallacies and cognitive biases. Additionally, depending on the claim/belief, there is evidence clearly demonstrating those claims/beliefs to be inaccurate “descriptions” of reality.

Rejecting claims which are unsupported by evidence and sound, valid logic — at least until those claims are are supported by evidence and sound, valid logic — is not closed minded – it’s an objective, rational, intellectually honest approach to understanding, evaluating and verifying claims – before one assimilates those claims into their personal model of reality.
That is to say, it’s what rational people do when they care if their personal model of reality is congruent with our demonstrable, shared reality.

If I claimed “your grandmother robbed a bank in California on a given date and time”, a considerably less extraordinary claim than “god exists (and …)” to be sure, you would rightfully reject such a claim unless and until you were presented with evidence and argumentation supporting it. It would not be closed minded for you to do so, and it would be silly of me to suggest that you should accept it as true, “on faith.”

Believing claims which are unsupported by evidence and sound, valid logic, aka “faith-based” claims, is the most expedient route to assimilating likely false, and possibly harmful and dangerous claims about reality into one’s personal model of reality.

Conversely, if you are unwilling to honestly consider evidence and argumentation which disconfirms your beliefs — about the existence of god(s) and/or surrounding religious claims — it can accurately be said that you are the closed minded one.¬†

If I claimed “your grandmother robbed a bank in California on a given date and time”, and you had evidence demonstrating she was in New York at the time of the robbery, it would be closed minded of me to ignore that evidence – and delusional of me to persist in believing and claiming that your grandmother robbed the bank.
Furthermore, it would be insane for me to suggest that people should ignore the evidence and consider your grandmother a bank robber, “on faith.”

Likewise, if you cling to faith-based claims/beliefs regarding the nature of reality, in the face of disconfirming evidence and/or refuting argumentation, those claims/beliefs can and should be dismissed as delusional – not based on reality.

For example, if you continue to deny evolution, continue to believe there was a global flood, or continue to believe that the earth is six-thousand to ten-thousand years old, after being presented with mountains of evidence which clearly demonstrate you are mistaken, you are closed minded and your beliefs are demonstrably delusional.
Furthermore, it would be insane for you to suggest that people should believe you are not mistaken, “on faith.”

It is also important to consider not just /what/ you believe, but /why/ you believe it. Saying that you believe X, Y or Z because “Jesus is god”, “Mohammed is Allah’s prophet”, “it says so in the Bible (Qur’an, etc.)” is still not addressing /why/ you believe what you believe.

Please ask yourself the following questions, and consider the following points…

Why is it that you believe “Jesus is god”, “Mohammed is Allah’s prophet”; X, Y, Z religious claim is “true”, or that a given religious text is an accurate “description” of reality?

As we have seen, “faith” is the express route to delusion and has no “reality check.”

Among others, tradition, custom, peer pressure, majority opinion, anecdote, an authority figure said it was true, and “because I was raised to believe it” are also not valid reasons to accept something as true.

What, if any, evidence or argumentation would it take for you to come to a different conclusion regarding your religious beliefs/claims?
If your answer is “nothing could change my conclusion”, you have just conceded that your religious beliefs are not based in reality (likely delusional), that you don’t care if your claims/beliefs are “true”, that you are closed minded, and that you don’t care if your personal model of reality is accurate.

If that is your position, you should stop arguing that “atheists are closed minded”, and that those claims/beliefs are “true”.¬†
To do otherwise is extremely hypocritical, dishonest, dubious at best, and nefarious at worst.

“Do I have unbiased evidence supporting this claim/belief?”
If the answer is “no”, your belief/claim is very likely delusional, and arguing that that belief/claim is “true”, is dishonest, at best. I recommend looking for confirming /and/ disconfirming evidence /before/ advancing your argument. If you still can’t find unbiased evidence supporting your claim/belief, you should stop arguing in favor of it, and consider changing your conclusion.

“Have I made this argument/claim before?”
If yes, was it shown to contain logical fallacies and/or cognitive biases? 
If yes, be intellectually honest and stop making that claim or using that argument.
Was it shown to be unsupported by unbiased, verifiable evidence or contradicted by evidence?
If yes, be intellectually honest and stop making that claim or using that argument – at least until you find evidence to support it.
To do otherwise, not only makes you intellectually dishonest, it makes your religion and your religious beliefs seem delusional.

In closing, atheists are generally very open-minded people, and are willing and able to change their position – given unbiased, verifiable evidence and sound, valid logic – so please don’t mistake the rejection of unsubstantiated and/or fallacious claims/beliefs for “being closed minded”.
~@Ryan~

 

Thank you for letting me share this. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told that I am close-minded or biased against religion. I, who have read multiple versions of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and several other religious texts front to back. I, who have spent countless hours poring over the claims of believers from all the dozens of sects I have encountered in my life. I, who have been forced to change my world views many times because of new evidence.¬†

It’s exhausting trying to reason with someone who is unreasonable. I admire folks like Ryan, because he takes the time to enumerate fallacies and irrational claims. When I grow up, I want to be eloquent like that. Until then, I’ll keep blogging to myself and agreeing with the things brilliant people say.¬†

Thanks for stopping in. Check back next week for an update on our house!