Category Archives: Contentment

Christmas Wrap Up

Hello!

It is that time of year again for me to complain about not wanting anything to do with Christmas. In some ways I won a little, as Richard has been feeling rather unChristmassy: we did not put up the big tree. My little fiber optic one is filling in the void.

My animals were to get the treatment, but I could not be arsed.

It is not all bad; we are going to the UK next year! I am not sure when it will be, as cost is the biggest obstacle. We do have enough funds to get there, only now we have to save for the visit. That is very much doable.

What to do until then? “First, you need to get the cars fixed,” you say. “Yeah, but after that?” I ask. I need to sit and do research on our destination. Richard has three things on his list:

1. A photo of Buckingham Palace
2. A photo of Big Ben
3. A visit to Stonehenge

I have three times a thousand-million things I want to do. I am so thankful for my lovelies in the UK who will be our hosts. OMGOSH!

On a health standpoint, things are the same. I am still crazy. Crazy in a good way, I hope. The down moments still happen, but you know what? I take them with a pack of pencil crayons or a dash of music mixing. I still have diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Though, I have discovered probiotic drops are doing some good work. My rear in review will happen next week; be prepared.

You caught that? ūüėČ

I sent out my annual ‘There is No War on Christmas’ greeting cards. Oh, its usually the same people guity of blaming the Atheists for Christians being oppressed, not realising they are doing to themselves. What would ikkle (borrowed this word from my friend Tony ūüėä) baby Jesus do?

Not much. The Christians believe God came to the Earth as Jesus to save sinners. In this example, he would be thinking: “I have to add more to the list. Gosh.”

No matter what side you are on during this season, remember just love each other; don’t give in to the hate. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas with Richard’s parents and sister, we remember those who have left us and those who are too far away. Take everyone in your heart, hold them tight and tell them how much you care, no matter how silly it sounds.

Richard and I wish you all a great holiday.

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Filed under Contentment, Downtime, Progressive Christianity, Vacation

Whoopsers!

How do I not be so upset over stuff I cannot handle? This past year I have come across a number of friends who, I think, care. I feel awful that they see my meltdowns. How do I let them know I am sorry?

I think the first step is to not apologise, or not all the time, at least. I can be a funny person, spending most of my day trying to be normal. Strange things happen to me in small doses. Unlike most of my friends, my outer scope is rather narrow. I do not have the travel experience or the broad local friendships they do. I do participate in Envy quite well, I must say.

I cannot stop people from voting for the Conservatives, the Saskatchewan Party, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Drake. I get emotionally tied to episodes in the news when I really should not. I feel pangs of guilt when I realise my friends and family read my outbursts. Then again, how do we encourage growth and uunderstanding if it is not first the frequent ramblings of a clausterfobic mind?

Writing helps. It works even better when words go in an order that does not sound like they were written by a walrus. I have promised to send copies of my work to my friends, but one of my stories disappeared into cyberspace. Or more like a subliminal disk space. I bloody well don’t have a clue!

Yes, writing helps. So does exercise. Richard and I have started back with the Wii. We may even get back to doing Just Dance and Zumba after watching a Suits marathon. I am still determined to beat 9000 on “Eye of the Tiger”.

One of my biggest problems is promising. I do not not do something, only my somethings end up being too much for my body to handle. The guilt of not getting something out in time, a delay due to funding, or three failed attempts at shipping breaks this girl’s heart. What do I do?

“Just be yourself,” I hear you say. This is me. I will try my hardest not to be so negative, but you do have to let me be bonkers every now and then.

The first thing I need to do is make sure I did not send my handwritten draft of my short story to recycling.

*Crossing fingers*

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My Bra-free Experiment Turned Into An Act of Love

You read that right.

I decided to go without a bra for November 2015. It is now 3 May 2016 and I am still without the necessary equipment. Though it started out as an experiment, it turned out to be a shout-out to my hidden feminist self. I asked, “why does my gender need to be defined by my undergarments?” This is why:

Distributing Dignity

As per the mission of the organisation, “Distributing Dignity‚Äôs mission is to Distribute new bras, pads and tampons, enhancing the Dignity of women in need.” I for one not once thought a bra confined me to a role of a woman. The lingerie shops do sell some beautiful things, things to make a woman feel more feminine (sure), but also allows her to define herself in her own way. I never thought of buying sexy underwear for Richard’s benefit, though there is some of that as well, but as a feminist, I believe this has everything to do with me. Distributing Dignity is helping women in need with the necessities of confidence and the empowerment lost whilst on the streets. This organisation is based in the US, but Saskatoon has a similar programme, as I am sure most places in Canada, the US and Europe.

We read about reports about the wage gap between men and women almost on a daily basis, as in this example: Firms forced to reveal gender pay gap (1) What we do not hear much about is this: When There’s No Place Like Home: A Snapshot of Women’s Homelessness in Canada (2)¬†Abuse, neglect, addiction and ignorance make being a woman in need exceptionally hard, even more if her self-worthiness is taken away. The basic need to donate¬†hygienic items makes being a feminist even more important. Women on the street are not looking for the next pick-me-up brazier, but a way to feel more like a … woman. I stopped wearing a bra for the same reason, but I realised women can feel just as important and confident with¬†or without a bra.

I also do not shave. Now, summer is soon approaching and it will be time for me to trim the hedge. The women on the street cannot due to various reasons, the main one being availability of razors and a safe place to take care of themselves. I have also thought about having a Laparoscopic hysterectomy (3). I would no longer worry about having my period. Sure, there may be some hormonal changes to deal with, but I am getting used to that with my depression. Women in need sometimes go for months without proper feminine hygiene products. I have donated feminine hygiene products and other items to a drop-off bin at one of the churches here in Waldheim.

I hear complaints about girls and women dressing like princesses. There is a belief, and in some cases rightly so, that these women are selfish and self-centred. There are moments I want to wear a dress, high-heeled shoes, make-up, jewellry, and snazzy underwear; this still makes me a feminist. I do not put on another personality. Women in need and those of meager means have every right to feel like  beautiful princess or not a princess. Giving a homeless woman the opportunity to feel part of the community makes us all better women, better people.

I ask for all women who call themselves feminists to help other women, not by posting a story about the wage gap, but by helping a homeless woman feel like a woman, feel like a person.

I will still not wear a bra. I here the jokes about women who choose not to wear bras and shave; apparently, they are disgusting and should stay at home. I chose not to do both, not to stand up for my womanliness, but for the dignity of a woman in need who want to feel special and more like a woman.

(1)¬†“Firms Forced to Reveal Gender Pay Gap.” BBC News Service. Copyright ¬© 2016 BBC, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 03 May 2016.
(2)¬†“When There’s No Place Like Home.” YMCA: A Turning Point for Women(n.d.): n. page. YMCA Canada. Web. 03 May 2016.
(3) “Hysterectomy.” Home. ¬© 2012 Canadian Women’s Health Network., n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.

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Yare Me Matey!

I have discovered the awesomeness of caring.

I have spent the last little while complaining that not enough people care, but I have overlooked those who do, and do it without promotion or incentives. Why did I turn my back to these wonderful people? By leaving religion, I left a piece of my humility. My drive for fairness (which caused me a lot of anger and sadness in the past and present) has not disappeared, but I hoped for a rebirth of human kindness. Not spouting Scripture, but common humanist sense has actually become just as powerful and annoying.

Oops, I think I split an infinitive.

I have been asked by a friend to keep a hold on the Lord, keep loving the Lord. I was gobsmaked. I never thought of my friend having such a devotion to God like he does. I was relieved that he still cares, regardless of my separation. Oddly enough, I cannot seem to let go at the same time, even though I wonder if God really is there. Jesus is another basket of fish. My friend cares about me (and Richard, btw) and I care about him, his wife and his boys. He told me to not be afraid of questioning who we are and our purpose. God has His reasons for everything and sometimes we have to be left in the unknown. He also asked for me to not feel compelled to follow doctrine (Catholic, Anglican, Mennonite or whatever), as it can be smothering.

Just love the Lord.

I think my friend helped me find my way. As I can only do so much, worrying over the acceptance of God, in my opinion, is over. God has to take me as I am. I need still be kind and loving, but not a pushover. Oh goodness, that sounds weird. If my non-Christian neighbour is an asshole, I will tell him. If my Christian neighbour is being an asshole I will do the same. Before you get all “OMG”, I will not call him or her by that name. In person.

I guess saying this with my inside voice is displaying the sin in my heart. Having confessed it with my outside voice does not mean it is forgiven. Maybe. I don’t know. Seeing my husband come home in a silent rage over another mindless speech about the horribleness of homosexuality and the wondrous work of the multi-thousand dollar sound system makes me think most people believe sin comes in various sizes – the sin of a committed same-sex relationship is worse than the sin of pride, just so you know.

Knowing my Christian friends and Atheist friends are in this life with me is helping me deal with my uncomfortable feelings and I am here to be an ear and an extra heart in time of sorrow and joy. Whether you give your shortfalls a name (sin) or observe these moments as reason for change, I think that is what God and humans want in the end. Not believing in God is not going to turn you into a demon, but then believing in God is not going to get you into heaven either.

If you feel separated from you church for reasons of politics and morals but want the comfort of fellowship, do not run away like I did. Richard’s father said the new priest at his church (who is a¬†dictator, apparently) is not going to drive him away from his church home. Stand up and speak. You can be the voice for the vocally oppressed. Your church’s constitution allows discrimination of your LGBTQ brothers and sisters and you hate it – stand up and say “I HATE IT!” Though you may not convince the head honchos of your hopes and fears, there may be one or two that will be convinced. There may be that one whose life you save by being strong. That is what I want to be, however, the God that lives in this town shuns folks like me. That will not change until we speak up for each other, support each other, fight for each other and most of all:¬†care for each other.

Love the Lord as He loves you.

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Filed under Atheists Are People Too, Contentment, Fretting Muchly, Progressive Christianity

There It Is Then

My admission of being a Humanist shocked him a bit, but after supper Richard finally understood my anger at religion last night (6th April) at supper.

We went to the restaurant in town. Having gone through a horrible day (our black car has been declared a write-off as of 7th April), I had a meltdown whilst eating my scrumptious chicken bacon burger, chips and gravy. I was angry at myself, my car, my former religion and lastly, my former manager who came in to eat in the restaurant with his family. All these things brought honesty to my decision, an approach I had been so afraid to take before – outloud at least.

I do not think my Nativity painting from Kindergarten would not be well liked by the leaders of a children’s church group today. I thought along pratical and realistic lines. If something happend at night, draw it at night. Jesus was born (as I assumed) at night:

image

Upon reflection, this does look more like a Norse god storyboard rather than the Christmas story.

My biggest argument against the Christian faith is its lack of humamness. Greed, sex, gossip and conceit are part of the Atheist world as well as in the Christian line of cars. These, and other human feelings, are just that – human. I want to live the life I have right now and worry about collecting enough love points to get into heaven. Not anymore.

I no longer want to live forever.

I will be getting my dates for helping out with the SSO this week as there are two main concerts left; otherwise, I am on the list for next season. I may also volunteer at the WDM this summer. My goal to give back to the community is being done in a different way. There is also The Station Arts Centre in Rosthern. There is room for a liitle Humanist intervention here, now all I need to do is intervent.

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It Is Not That We Don’t Want You

Happy International Women’s Day!

I was in a (one-sided) conversation with a devout Christian woman about the need to take care and love our transgender sisters (and brothers) this morning. When I stood up for my trans brothers and sisters in Christ who have been abandoned by their parents and their faith, she had the gaul to say “God does not abandon us, we abandon God.” I am sorry lady, “we” abandon those “God” has instructed “us” to love unconditionally.

Today we recognise the roles attributed to men that are now being filled by women: scientists, authors, composers, business leaders, athletes and so much more. I think, and I do, women need to stand up to fight oppression in all scopes of the real world. We need to stand up for our minority friends (male and female), our LGBTQ neighbour (male or female), our friends with intellectual disbilites, and people questioning their place in the world in general. While women still make considerably less in wages than our male counterparts, women of colour have a double hoop to jump through. The neighbour’s son with Down’s Syndrome needs to be encouraged to take the next step in his persuit to participate in the Special Olympics.

Every day there are women and men who are abused in domestic relationships. We need to comfort them as they find strength and healing. As women, we have a responsibility to our sisters and brothers during their time of healing and transition to a safe environment. Having the power to leave an abusive relationship is stronger when there is a wall of support.

Ladies, today is a day for empowerment. Let us do this by standing up for what is right, just, and deserved:

Freedom to be who we are, loving others and not giving a shit about those who don’t agree.

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Filed under Bullies, Contentment, Family and Friends, Feminism Rocks, Progressive Christianity

#WorldBookDay

Oh my gosh! I have been looking forward to this day for a while.

The UK recognises the first Thursday in March as World Book Day. Children (and I am guessing some adults) are encouraged to dress up as book characters. The rest of the world celebrates this day on 23 April, St George’s Day, which is one reason why the date in the UK was moved. I guess you can’t have people dressing up all crazy on a saint’s day.

image

(Morris dancers celebrate St George’s Day at Leadenhall Market Picture: Alamy)

I acknowledge the worthiness of books every day, but I showing it a bit differently. I am sharing books with friends. I have started by sending copies of my cousin Adele Dueck‘s books:

Anywhere But Here
Nettie’s Journey
Racing Home

I am also sending some of my favourite books by Canadian authors. I believe in sharing books. Mind you, if a book is beyond repair it should be re-purposed into another form of art. Sometimes books get sent for recycling, but this should only be done if there is no other course. My husband’s job depends on paper and book recycling. The books I have shared are, as stated to my friends, gently used and loved. Sending a care package of books is a great way to learn about someone.

I also promote books suggested (and written) by friends on Facebook. A newly acquired friend, Matt Bolton, has written a hilarious book: The Kumber In Norway: The Adventures Of The Kumber Of Kew (this is the Canadian link). I am just about reading it and I hope there is more!

Through book recommendations I have learned about the places in which my friends live. One of the most entertaining book I was suggested is Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North¬†by Stuart Maconie. I now want to to see Manchester and Liverpool more than ever. I have a ton of books that reference Regina, none as fine as¬†100 Facts About Pandas¬†by David O’Doherty.

I have been connected to authors of all types: Carmen DeSousa, Louis Hemmings, and Matt. I love the chance to talk about books and how they have changed the way I think about human existence. I love the chance to delve into a genre I never would have thought I would; ever. I am so glad for meeting and conversing with such a rich group of friends that can expand my reading universe.

I did not dress up today, but the thought did cross my mind.

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Off the Path

Good evening everyone. I have been away for a week or so. I am having a tough time right now as I had been off my meds for a couple of days due to a counting mistake. I have been back on then as of Wednesday, but my body has not got the message yet. Due to the sudden change in functionality I have not bee geared up to write. My poetry has taken a break, my story writing has taken another break, in essence, my imagination has taken a break.

Certain events over the last couple of days have been a good indication that I may need to stay on my medication. From the beginning I knew that I will be on these pills for the rest of my life, but a part of me was hoping for a temporary break. I am sure diet and meditation will help in my treatment, do not get me wrong, but in order to maintain some semblance of order in the waves I need medication. I find listening to Petroc Trelawny at 1.30 (BBC 3 Breakfast starts at 12.30 am CST during the winter) very relaxing, even if the bit following is a boisterous trumpet sonata. I have found his commentaries on BBC Radio 4 rather enlightening and informative. Oh, I will not say his voice is perfect to help me fall asleep, not at all. He makes me comfortable. He makes me want to learn more about what I am listening to. By 3.00 am Breakfast is over and my brain is looking for something else to get excited over.

A friend suggested meditation. Meditation is new to me; I was a tad¬†afraid of it. The idea of releasing tension but temporarily putting aside troubles and concerns felt far-out, hippy-like, cosmic, and a bit … wrong. Meditation is nowhere near wrong, it is a great way to let all your trouble fall out of your feet. If I am still awake past 2.00¬†I use a meditation app to help me get back to sleep. At this time it is too early to get up and at ’em, so I need to get back to sleep so I can get up at 6.04 am. Four¬†times out of ten I fall back to sleep. The six¬†times out of ten I am still awake trying to figure out how to turn off the app or finding out one of my friends in the UK has missed their bus. That means a failed attempt at relaxation, but a good chuckle to start the day. If all else fails I will read some of C. S. Lewis’ writings; those seem to help speed up the sleep process.

If by chance I sleep until my 6.04 am alarm buzzer goes off, I am in a fairly good mood. Sometimes. I think most of you that follow me of Facebook or Twitter know the difference between a good day and a bad day РI tell you. Now I have another way to alleviate the stress of the day. I do not think meditating to get back to sleep are what the applications are designed for. The goal is to have a complete and restful sleep from the time I go to bed. Actually, not all the apps are designed for sleep, but just a good peaceful moment after a long, hard day. There are applications to use to help fall asleep, but sometimes when I am at that point of nodding off, the presenter speaks. So much for that. Some people, like Richard, can fall asleep to the television or music, I cannot. My senses gravitate towards the noise, even if it something I have heard before.

This is something I have¬†to keep trying, as I need to get a good night’s sleep. This will help me mentally and physically. It will also help with my relationship with Richard, which thankfully has not been as affected as I thought it would be. He does tease me a bit over the fact I have stated meditating, but the end result will be beneficial for both of us.

Plus, my C. S. Lewis book is almost done.

 

Photo: ©2014 ClipartPanda.com

 

 

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Filed under Arts and Mines, Contentment, Just Because ... Everyone Has This Kind of Moment, Learning New and Old, Poetry in Emotion

For Fear

I had a great conversation with my brother on Thursday. My brother and I talked about the toll on the mind leaving the church takes. Though I did not get into my depression, I feel the separation from the church may actually help in my treatment. The conversations I have also had with a far-away friend may have also been a stepping stone. Prior to my decision to leave the church, I thought my two advisers come from different planets (one is a pagan and one is an atheist), but they do revolve around the same sun.

image

Colouring page courtesy of http://www.AactivityVillage.co.uk – Keeping Kids Busy. Markers courtesy of Crayola. Coloured by Wendalynn P. Donnan

Are aliens green? I don’t know. My marker collection consists of 50 colours (49 in this case, as one has dried out). Oddly enough, the range really is not diverse enough.

Kris and my friend told me that I am to focus solely on my own spiritual well-being. I cannot feel that I am letting anyone down. Both also told me to support Richard in his faith walk – I have never stopped this, not once. Richard’s faith is strong and I do not belittle it. My own questions are mine alone. My relationship with God is mine. You can chastise me for letting this go, that is fine. You have your own relationship with God, with Jesus, with the church. You need to deal with that on your own terms.

I have posted videos asking for people to comment on why they believe in Jesus even if he does not exist. I have only received two responses from my Christian brothers and sisters. My non-believer friends were the only true responders. They did not ridicule, hate, or demonise. I love them. I am now like them. It is something I am coming to terms with, and Kris told me it is going to be tough.

As Jesus is to be the Son of God, and for a man to be God he had to be knowledgeable of the beginning, middle, and end. In turn, he should have realised there are decent people in the world. Did he not notice the one-off Pharisee that may not have supported the other 99%?

Jesus, if real, seemed to me to be rather sarcastic. Maybe I feel that way because I have a tendency to be the same. For a man to be God, knowing the inner workings of his own creation, you would expect a bit more compassion. Yes, he did associate himself with the undesirable, the unwanted, the unclean (metaphorically and literally), and the unrighteous; people just like us. Not everyone understood what he was trying to say, he should have known this. He did know this.

Giving himself up for crucifixion was a way to show love. He was taking the punishment for our sins; the sins that have been committed and the sins that were going to committed. All we are to do in return is to be better people and thank him for his sacrifice. That is a lot to ask for. Kindness and compassion is a human trait, as per my observation, not church-born. Hate, love, tolerance, disparity, justice, and unfairness exist in all cultures and evident throughout human existence not just religious existence.

I have wondered for the longest time on the proof of Jesus. Without Jesus, there would be no Christianity; plain and simple. Over two billion people, in many guises, follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Was he God, or as the Son of God – human, yet divine? To put it into perspective, millions of people have seen Titanic, but that does not make it a great movie.

Lastly, I do not want any part of an organised religion that condemns Richard and I for not having children, and condemns my LGBTQ brothers and sisters a reason for existing. Apparently, a Christian family includes products of the human kind to be a true marriage. Sorry, but our lack of procreation does not make us any less Christian. The gay couple who chooses to adopt a child unwanted by a straight couple is doing God’s will and giving a home to the homeless. Single people are told to abstain, but the good church fathers (yes, most of these abominations are detailed by men) do not realise the hold they have on the souls of the single man who may have had sex with his girlfriend. Making someone feel guilty is a great way to get the numbers up on the “To Be Saved” list.

I am no longer questioning my place in the world of God.

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be interesting, be enthusiastic… and don’t talk too much. – norman vincent peale

I didn't have my glasses on....

IMG_1056

sometimes even an elf

can have a bad day

and

just not feel

the same level

of 

winter festival enthusiasm

as the others.

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