Nano Poblano Gratitude – Day 23 (Cupcakes)

Oh, the joy that is a cupcake:

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Yum! :)

I actually had picked out some adorable cupcakes with little turkeys on them, but, alas, the cashier had a mishap with the box that ended with some plastic turkeys in rather unpleasant positions…and wrecked icing. Ah, well…these things happen. ;) I thought the Thanksgiving cupcakes would be a festive and delicious addition to our dinnertime gratitude activity this evening. (More on that activity tomorrow.)

Of course, we won’t have cupcakes for dessert on the actual day of Thanksgiving. No, we’ll have pie. We are civilized folks, after all. ;)

 

What are you grateful for today? Do you find yourself in sudden need of a cupcake? Are you preparing for the magic that is Thanksgiving? Has a cashier ever wrecked your turkeys? ;)

The Truth of Me: 5 Atheism Myths Addressed

Perhaps it’s the time of year or the lovely conversations I’ve had with some local Jehovah’s Witnesses recently or the tremendous amount of hateful back-and-forth I’ve seen between Christians and Atheists online. Whatever the reason, I’ve been feeling compelled to address some “myths” about Atheism.

However, I would not be so bold as to presume that I speak for all Atheists. I speak only for myself. Given that, I’ll share some of the most common myths I’ve encountered about Atheism and my response to those myths.

1. Atheists are horrible people.

“You can’t be an Atheist. Atheists are horrible people.” I’ve actually had those words spoken to me.

I don’t generally announce my thoughts on religion to people unless it comes up in natural conversation. Because of that, I’ve usually known someone a while before they know about my lack of religion. At this point, they know that I care deeply about being kind to others and supporting and encouraging people in their goals. They know that I’m a good friend, that I support my community, and that I cherish my family. Essentially, they know that I am not a horrible person. Neither are most Atheists, I suspect. :)

2. Atheists are mean.

Sadly, some of the loudest Atheists are also full of disdain and quite mean.  I view them the same way that I know a lot of Christians view Westboro…kind of like the loud, obnoxious relative who crashed the party and made the whole family look bad. I have found that if you want to know the truth about any group, look to the quieter members.

I used to follow some “prominent” Atheists on twitter (names not given to avoid supporting hate), but I had to quickly unfollow them. I have no desire to have that much anger pushed into my life, and I will not intentionally support, even in the smallest of ways, the spread of hate. The religion-bashing, I’m-better-than-you, anger-filled, tiny-minded voices do not speak for me…and I suspect they don’t speak for the majority of Atheists. I know they don’t speak for the Atheists that I know and love.

I can only truly speak for myself here, but I’m hoping those of you who visit my blog regularly have come to the conclusion that I’m not a mean person…regardless of my religious stance. :)

3. Atheists hate Christians.

No. I don’t hate Christians. Or Muslims or Hindus or Jews or any other group of people. I mean, really, have we not learned that across-the-board hatred for a group of people never leads anywhere good? Disregarding that notion, why would I hate someone based on their religion? That makes no sense to me. None. If your religion brings you peace and comfort and explanations and guidance, I’m truly happy for you.

4. You can’t have morals without God.

I have two responses to this:

  • The plain and simple response? Of course I have morals. I wasn’t raised by wildebeests! (Close, but not quite.) ;) I’ve never been really clear on which morals I don’t supposedly have, but I do try to do the right thing. Yes, I mess up and make the wrong choices sometimes, but I believe that’s a characteristic of being human, isn’t it?
  • I want people of faith to know that this response to Atheism is terrifying to Atheists. It suggests that if you were to have a crisis of faith, you could potentially become a raving lunatic axe murderer. Question marks in the brain abound at this notion.

5. Atheists want to de-convert people.

Nope. I sure don’t. As I said earlier, if you’re happy in your faith, I’m happy for you. I am not on a mission to change anyone’s religious status. Having said that, I sure would appreciate being treated with the same level of acceptance. :)

Bonus: Atheists are at war with Christmas.

Pffffbbbbbttttth! What-evah! I love Christmas! I think it’s a beautiful holiday that celebrates the birth and teachings of a great man. I also love, love, love that it is actually a blend of faiths and traditions across millennia of humanity (though, granted, that isn’t always acknowledged).  Now, I’ve been told that I have no “right” to celebrate Christmas before, and maybe you believe that, but this Atheist will “Merry Christmas” you with gusto anyway! :D

 

Polite discussion is appreciated. Rude comments that sass or badmouth an entire group of people will be edited to say things that amuse me. You have been warned. ;)

Also, if this is your first time to my blog, you may want to have a poke around before jumping to any conclusions about my life, morality, or values.

Having said all that: What about you? Do you have any questions about Atheism you’d like me to address in another post? I’m guessing most of my regular readers aren’t shocked about my stance on religion, but maybe you are…if so, why? If you’re an Atheist, is there anything you’d like to add?

Nano Poblano Gratitude – Day 22 (Thanksgiving Fun 1)

Thanksgiving fun has officially started at our house. Grace and I began our week of Thanksgiving School on Thursday, and our little family has begun including silly Thanksgiving activities with our dinner routine.

Our first bit of Thanksgiving fun really was just a bit of silly, but it led to giggles and some interesting conversations. It was a quick, Thanksgiving-themed “Would You Rather” activity.

We went through the questions and “voted” on our preferences. And we’ve learned really important things about ourselves as a family…like Grace and I would rather live with our Thanksgiving turkey for a week than be personally responsible for the slaughter of said turkey. This is something we need to know, people! Or what about the fact that all three of us agree that we’d rather wash our hair with mashed potatoes than take a bath in gravy? That is a critical piece of info. ;)

For now, our “Would You Rather” sheet lives on the refrigerator…until Thanksgiving is over.

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Sorry about the picture. I intentionally left most of the sheet off since I didn’t want to spoil things for anyone who may decide to download this activity for themselves. :) Also, my printer cut the turkey’s head clean off…I apologize for any trauma that may have caused you. ;)

You can get a copy of this sheet for your family HERE. It’s free! (If you’re a teacher, you may want to poke around Rachel Lynette’s shop a bit…she has lots of fun stuff.)

What are you grateful for today? Does your family extend the Thanksgiving fun beyond the actual day like we do? What are your gratitude and thankfulness traditions?

My Answer to Holiday Stress

WARNING: I’m feeling particularly sassy today, so try not to be too offended by anything I say. ;)

I have seen so many articles, posts, comments, and tweets about “holiday stress” recently that, honestly, it’s starting to stress me out. ;)

I thought I would do a quick post to share my thoughts on the matter…they’re pretty simple…as my thoughts normally are. :D

1. If the holidays are causing you stress, you’re holidaying wrong. Seriously. It’s time to do something. Take the holidays back and make them something fun and magical and nifty again.

2. The holidays are not for children. They are for everyone, and everyone should be enjoying them. (Unless you don’t want to enjoy them, and that’s your right.) If you’re making the holidays all about the kids in your life, you’re robbing yourself…and your kids. You want the little ones to enjoy this time of year all throughout their lives, right? Then don’t set up the model that the fun is over once you hit a particular age. They’ll just grow up and do the same thing you do. There is nothing in Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or any other holiday of the season that specifies it is only for children. Added benefit? You won’t be encouraging that “the universe is all about me” mentality that we want to avoid with our children.

3. Not everyone in your life needs gifts…and the people who are getting gifts don’t need beyond-your-budget extravagances…including your children. Set a reasonable budget and stick to it. Kids will not turn into rotten cabbages if they don’t get 40 toys of their choice. Loved ones will not forsake you if you didn’t buy expensive, lavish gifts. Friends won’t run away screaming from you if you give them something heartfelt, homemade, and budget-friendly. If they do, they’re sucky friends anyway. ;)

4. Unless it brings you (or someone you care about) joy, don’t do it. Seriously. We do so many things at the holidays just because it’s “what we’ve always done.” But you don’t need to. Let me tell you about one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done as far as the holidays are concerned:

I wrote a list of everything I actually loved and enjoyed about each holiday. I also asked for input from the people who live in my home about their favorite things about each holiday. Then I decided to ditch every “to do list” item that wasn’t on that list. You might be amazed to find out what’s not actually important to you and yours.

If decorating your house from top to bottom (and all of the decoration storage and retrieval that entails) doesn’t bring you lots of happiness, don’t do it. Perhaps there’s a toned down and simplified version of decorating that would please you? If wrapping presents is drudgery, invest in reusable gift bags and skip the wrapping nightmare. If parties and gatherings make you want to vomit in your mouth, skip them. If Christmas shopping makes you want to cry, plan a bit in advance and snag things online…you never have to set foot in a horrifyingly crowded store again. Or agree not to exchange gifts. For years, I haven’t exchanged gifts with my sister and her family or my BFF and her family…and we all still love each other. Speaking of my BFF, parts of her family have decided that instead of exchanging presents they don’t need, they’re going to put that money and time toward purchasing items for “angels” from an angel tree. Lovely!

 

If you’re looking at the holiday season as a to do list mired in drudgery or a pit of stress snakes, it’s time to take the holidays back! Take a breath, put a stop to the complaints, and find the heart of the holidays for you. It is possible, I promise. I, too, used to have holiday stress, but I’m being 100% truthful when I tell you that our holidays are now nothing but fun and family and friends and happiness. I may go into more specifics about our simple-but-festive adventures in later posts…if people seem interested. :)

What about you? Are you frustrated with people acting like this happy time of year is a dreadful chore? Have you done anything fun and/or unusual to simplify your holidays?

 

Nano Poblano Gratitude – Day 21 (Family Outings)

On this day, I am ever-so-thankful for fun family outings…especially if there’s some education thrown in for extra excitement. :) Last night, John, Grace, and I went to the aquarium in Concord, and it was pretty splendortastic! Add on our mall food adventure after the aquarium, and it was just the perfect family evening. Here, I’ll show you some pictures (minus the mall food…I didn’t take any photos of our subs). ;)

The garden eels were by far my favorite critter at the aquarium. :D

What about you? What’s your favorite sea critter? Any particular reason for the preference? What are you grateful for today? Any recent family outings that put a smile on your lovely face? Tell us all about it. :)

If We Were Having Coffee…

*I originally stumbled across this concept at Part Time Monster, and I love, love, love the idea of having a chatty post once a week. I do hope you enjoy my ramblings.* ;)

 

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I would tell you that Grace and I have begun our week of Thanksgiving School (much like we did Halloween School), and, so far, things are going fantastically well! Our pop art pumpkins turned out rather fabulous, if I do say so myself. ;)

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I would tell you that my computer has decided to give up the ghost…for real this time. John is working on the situation, but since he has this whole pesky job thing to tend to, my computer woes have to wait until later. ;)

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I would tell you that in another strange turn of events, we are now not going to Alabama for Thanksgiving. I’m sad not to see John’s mom for the holiday, but I’m also happy to be snug at home. If anyone had planned to sneak into our home while we were gone over the holiday (just for sleeping and things, I’m sure), you’ll need to make alternate arrangements.

My grocery adventure this very morning provided all that we need for a Thanksgiving feast that could easily feed 12 people…that should work for the 3 of us. ;)

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I would tell you that we had so much fun at the aquarium last night! I’ll post more about our trip later, but, until then, enjoy this picture of my husband in a bubble. :D

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I would tell you that I’ve found tons of awesome Thanksgiving-themed family activities this year. The festival of gratitude and silliness happening at our house starts tonight at dinner. (I promise to blog about our Thanksgiving shenanigans!)

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I would tell you that my washing machine is broken again. I know exactly what’s wrong with it this time, so it should be a quick, easy fix…just as soon as I track down the part I need. I’m starting to think it really may be time for a new one. *sigh*

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I would tell you that plans for opening a Teachers Pay Teachers store and a “re-opening” of my Etsy store are in the works for January…with lots of neat, new educational products that I’ve been working on. (Woohoo!) I’m also considering re-starting efforts to have some of my games professionally printed and offering those in the Etsy shop…but only if I can find a cost-effective way to make it happen.

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I would tell you that I’m super looking forward to some things coming up after Thanksgiving. The ballet, of course, has got me all twirly. I’m also excited about a new “family member” who should be joining us after Thanksgiving…more on that later, I promise. :) And there’s the whole decorating for Christmas thing that always makes me happy. I refuse to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but picking out the Christmas tree just after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite events of the year. :D

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And I would tell you that I hope you have an absolutely wonderful week until we meet for coffee again next Friday. :D

Three Things Thursday: November 20

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

(This post could also be known as: Nano Poblano Gratitude – Day 20.) ;)

 

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Sometimes Frank has a hard time letting a blankie go. :)

 

That sunset!

That sunset!

That sky!

That sky!

So, what made you smile this week?