The Hardest, Most Important Job

aschlady:

Another blog post from my new blog. I will likely stop re-blogging here very soon and close up shop for good on Life Sans God. It has been a good time, thanks for following!

Originally posted on Dreaming In Earth Tones:

I didn’t move into my parenting role thinking, “Wow, this will be so easy”, but I certainly was not prepared for how hard it would be. I read tons of books. I made plans. And I had expectations. For the most part, things didn’t go my way.

Here are just 5 of the misconceptions I had prior to having children:

  1. Pregnancy Interventions = Pure Evil – With my first child, I thought I would have my baby at home and in the birthing tub. I thought it would be drug-free and beautiful. While I have always valued the advances of modern medicine and the good fortune of having many life-saving interventions at our disposal, I feared the overuse of pregnancy interventions in the hospital because of books I read and movies I watched. My first exposure to this kind of material was the documentary The Business of Being Born. But instead of the amazing experience…

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A race with 18 year-old me?

aschlady:

If you haven’t already, please check out my new blog and follow along at http://dreamearthtones.wordpress.com/.

Here’s my most recent post:

Originally posted on Dreaming In Earth Tones:

When I decided to start this blog, I had a lot of things I knew I would eventually write about. I planned to have a series on being a newbie gardener, chronicles of my ongoing nutrition and fitness efforts, and battle stories about days spent with toddlers and preschoolers. There have certainly been many blogging ideas that have crossed my mind. But there is one thing in particular I have been thinking and dreaming about and I’m excited to share it with you now.

Beating My 18 Year-Old Self

I turned 30 years-old in October of 2013 and in honor of getting older, I set a goal of running my personal best time in a 5K race before I turn 31. In high school, I was primarily a mid-distance runner and I only had the chance to run a handful of 5K races my senior year before injuring myself. I was…

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Introducing… A Domestic Goddess

aschlady:

It’s true, Life Sans God has been on a hiatus… but now, I introduce my new (and soon to be improved) blog. Please check out this first blog post and follow along on my new journey :-)

Originally posted on Dreaming In Earth Tones:

Vanessa - Individual, Wife, Mom, Friend

Vanessa – Individual, Wife, Mom, Friend…

Introducing…

Greetings! I’m Vanessa, a 30-something “Domestic Goddess” (a.k.a. Stay at Home Mom). I think I’m a pretty awesome person (though sometimes I forget). Most likely, you are a pretty rad human being as well. I find something gratifying in the fact that we are all connected as humans and we all want to be loved. Connection to others is something that I crave deeply so I seek community in the many things I do: fitness (running, yoga, Ultimate Frisbee), parenting, nutrition, and blogging (to name a few).

Why This Blog?

I began a topical blog last summer and discovered that I find satisfaction in writing, telling stories, expressing my views, and getting feedback from a community of people. After much thought, I decided to transition away from the topical blog to this new blog. I chose the fairly generic blog name Dreaming in Earth Tones, allowing me the…

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A New Blogging Adventure

It has been a week since my last blog post… that’s a long time considering I had been blogging a few times each week. Well, as it turns out, I have been deep in thought about the purpose and future of this blog.

Changing Gears

Changing Gears

After much consideration about my blog, I have decided to change gears (or rather, get a new vehicle). I will soon stop blogging here on Life Sans God and will begin a new blog. I began Life Sans God with the intention of processing about my life as I came out of and recovered from religion. And quite frankly, I feel that I have accomplished what I needed to in this regard. As I have told many of you, I do not care to be an atheist evangelist. I simply want to live and enjoy my life because I believe it’s the only one I have. I want to thank all of the encouragers AND challengers that stopped by to comment on my blog. And of course a big thanks to all of my followers. Stay tuned for more info about my new blog, I would love to have you tag along on my new adventure!Thanks

 

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YouTube Favorites

I spend A LOT of time on YouTube. I highly recommend checking out some of my favorite channels below.

TheThinkingAtheist – This is my go-to channel for atheist podcasts and well-produced atheist videos. Seth Andrews is responsible for creating The Thinking Atheist website and online community. Check out this disturbing but VERY thought provoking video:

The Young Turks – This is largest online news show in the world and my primary news source. I have grown especially attached to hosts Ana and Cenk.

TheEllenShow – A great channel for laughs and happy tears. “Funnies” and “fuzzies” if you will. I always feel uplifted and happier when I watch Ellen. Here is a favorite warm fuzzy for my romantic and sentimental heart:

TED – I thoroughly enjoy watching educational and interesting TED talks. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Still the best wedding I have ever attended (12/30/2005)
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The one I love…

Still the best wedding I have ever attended (12/30/2005)

12/30/2005 – Still the best wedding I have ever attended ;-)

I am drawn to his unique smell, his comforting touch, and his loving actions.

He is attractive, athletic, kind, straight-forward, and funny.

He values truth, wisdom, hard work, team work, logic and reason, science, love, family, and our children. He values what is best not just for himself but for me and our boys.

We enjoy many of the same things, yet we have personal interests that we allow each other to delight in separately. We appreciate each other’s humor. We laugh and cry together. And we continue to stand beside each other through all seasons of life (mundane, exciting, and exhausting). And through all of this we remain companions, best friends, lovers. We were born to be together!

Despite my desire to communicate, sometimes saying what I feel is the last thing I want to do...Here goes!

Dear Sister Christian

I went on a two-month mission trip in college and one of the leaders began calling me “Sister Christian”. This leader was a great lady and she often came up with little sayings that were endearing and/or humorous. As a Christian, I thought there was something satisfying in the idea that we were all connected as a family. We were a family that knew the truth of Christ’s love and salvation. So, I began using this new expression, sister Christian, since I preferred it to the more awkward-sounding “Sister (or Brother) in Christ”.

As you likely know, I am no longer a believer in any god and therefore no one can accurately call me sister Christian any longer. But in the letter below, the “feeler” in me chose to address my Christian friends and family in this former way because I like expressing affection. And I am truly grateful that, as human-beings, we are all connected in a familial way, despite our many differences in opinion and belief. (Note: this letter isn’t to anyone in particular, it’s a summation of my feelings and thoughts toward my religious family and friends).

Despite my desire to communicate, sometimes saying what I feel is the last thing I want to do...Here goes!

Communicating what I really feel can be so fun… here goes nothing!

Dear Sister (and Brother) Christian,

I miss you. I miss how things used to be. I miss our conversations. I miss the peace and harmony I felt when hanging out with you. Sadly, I am not sure we can have that back. It seems that you have taken a step back from our relationship. I get it… change can be hard. Especially the unexpected “rock the core beliefs” kind of change that happened to me.

It has been pretty exhausting… the process of:

  • doubting and questioning the faith I have had since I was young
  • seeking the truth despite what I grew up believing and despite what my loved-ones believe
  • realizing that I simply don’t believe anymore
  • sharing this news with people as it seems appropriate (examples here and here)
  • experiencing changes in many relationships
  • deciding how to handle all the changes
  • attempting to treat my friends and family with compassion and understanding
  • figuring out how to raise my children morally, without guidance from a god (examples here and here)
  • figuring out how to have community without church
  • observing you sharing about god at your convenience
  • holding my tongue so as not to offend people
  • and finally starting this blog so I can have a voice.

It is very possible that you are exhausted too and that many of your thoughts and prayers have been spent on my behalf. Maybe you fear for my eternal soul or what may happen to me in this life. Or perhaps, you don’t think about this change in my life at all. Maybe it just doesn’t bother you that much. Or maybe you’re somewhere in between. How do you feel about this change in my life? Well, either way, I felt it necessary to express my thoughts and feelings because while I am at peace with the realization that I’m an atheist, I am not at peace with my relationship with you.

Here are some things I think you should know about me:

  • I am still the same person I used to be
    • I love people and building relationships
    • I love my family A LOT
    • I enjoy being outdoors and staying active
    • I’m caring, honest, genuine, fun and enthusiastic
    • Like most people, I want happiness for myself and my loved-ones
  • I didn’t suddenly become immoral
    • I strive for the things that are in the best interest of myself, my family, my friends and my community
    • I don’t want to steal, lie, cheat, or harm anyone
  • I am not convinced there is a god because I haven’t found sufficient evidence
    • I didn’t lose faith because I wanted an excuse to sin
    • I am not a heathen because I felt harmed by god or his followers
    • While I am open to hearing your evidence, I would advise that you not treat me like a potential convert, I think that will only hurt our relationship
  • I don’t generally feel the need to talk about religion
    • I don’t care what you believe as long as you’re not hurting anyone
    • I enjoy the fact that I don’t need to be an evangelist anymore
    • While I do want you to think critically about your own viewpoint, I don’t want to spend time trying to convince you to agree with me
    • That said, I am open to talking about god and our existence and generally enjoy such conversations

_________________________________________________________________________

If I could have an ideal conversation with you about beliefs it would go something like this:

You: I believe ________ and this is why _________.

Me: OK, I don’t believe ________ and this is why __________.

You: Alright.

(We decide to mutually respect each other’s right to believe or not believe whatever we want as long as it’s not hurting anyone)

Me: Alright, well, that’s enough about religion.

You: Yeah, let’s have fun and enjoy each other’s company and not let religion get in the way.

_________________________________________________________________________

I realize life isn’t so simple, it’s not possible to have it exactly the way we want sometimes. And that’s OK.

I want you to know I am happy. I used to worry so much about what god might be saying to me or how he was leading my life. Now, I feel empowered to make my own choices and take responsibility for my life. I feel free. I feel at peace. I am doing well.

Lastly, I invite you to share anything about yourself that you would like me to know. I welcome your response to this letter if you feel compelled.

With much love,

Vanessa

 

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20 Simple Pleasures

I ran across a fun blog post about simple pleasures and thought it would be an Sun and rainenjoyable and therapeutic exercise to think about some of the simple things that I appreciate the most. So, here they are, in no particular order:

  1. When it’s raining, yet the sun is shining.
  2. Orgasm and sexual pleasure
  3. The silence that happens at night-time when the kids are sleeping.
  4. Deep emotional and physical intimacy with your life partner.
  5. The exhilarating feeling after you run a race or exert yourself.
  6. After a post workout stretch, when your body feels invigorated and relaxed.massage
  7. Getting a massage.
  8. The smell of lavender, patchouli, and other essential oils.
  9. Anything vanilla or artificial cherry flavor.
  10. When you can’t put down a good book.
  11. When your kid says the sweetest thing to you and doesn’t even realize how much it meant.
  12. When your body fits perfectly next to your honey’s while cuddling.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  13. When someone washes your hair.
  14. Sleeping in a king sized bed with silky smooth sheets and a down comforter.
  15. When you give or receive an unexpected meaningful compliment.
  16. When your food is flavored just right.
  17. When the kids stay overnight somewhere and the extra silence and lack of responsibility is bliss.
  18. Wearing comfy clothes at night… or anytime.
  19. Catching rich and beautiful glimpses of your kid becoming a wonderful person.DSCN0361
  20. The perfect ice cold drink on a hot day or the perfect hot drink on a cold day.

What are some of your favorite simple pleasures?

Fitness

4 Favorite Fitness Finds

A short time ago, I worked an exhausting full-time job, only to come home and work more grueling hours taking care of my home and family. This made it extremely difficult to focus on my health because I was simply surviving each day, each hour, each moment. Since those super stressful days are in the past for now, I have been able to focus on my fitness and nutrition goals once again. Not only is this rewarding for myself, it is also hugely rewarding for my family because I can serve healthy foods, plan healthy activities, and overall I can promote and model healthy habits.

While I absolutely love a lot of what my local gym has to offer, over the past few months I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering some beneficial resources on the web. Allow me to share 4 Favorite Fitness Finds:

1. Calorie Counting App – I read on countless health websites the importance of logging the specific types and amounts of food you eat if you hope to lose weight. Indeed, I have had the most success in my weight-loss journey when I faithfully log my daily calories (in and out through diet and exercise). I highly recommend trying this out, at the very least you learn a lot about what you are putting into your body. I started out using the app called My Diet Diary, but through some recommendations from friends I switched to MyFitnessPal. So far, I am very pleased with the features of MyFitnessPal and I use it with ease on both my phone and laptop.

2. Strength Running Website & Newsletter - This is a great running resource offered by an experienced runner and running coach. His motto is: get stronger, stay healthy, run faster. I particularly appreciate his focus on injury prevention. If you sign-up for the newsletter you receive a ton of free electronic resources. And bonus, I have loved the content of each e-newsletter so far. Check out this interesting video on the Principle of Progression (this was an unfamiliar concept to me):

3. DoYogaWithMe.Com - I love, love, love doing yoga. When I can’t make it to a yoga class at the gym, I really enjoy yoga at home (while my boys are napping or after they are in bed for the night, of course). This website offers specific and accurate video descriptions and high quality yoga sequences. The videos range from 20 minutes to over an hour. Personally, I choose to watch on their YouTube channel. Here is one of their more gentle and relaxing videos:

4. 7 Weeks To Fitness – Admittedly, I have not yet tried one of these 7 week plans, I have only tried out the fitness tests. With that said, from what I can tell, this is such a great fitness option for people who don’t have a gym membership. Some options include: 7 Weeks To 100 Push-Ups, 7 Weeks To 300 Sit-ups, or 7 Weeks To A Triathlon. I am really looking forward to trying out 7 Weeks To Getting Ripped when I put my gym membership on hold in a couple months.

I hope you enjoyed my Favorite Fitness Finds. If you have some favorites of your own, please share them in the comments section.