Introducing… A Domestic Goddess

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 ūüôā

Dreaming In Earth Tones

Vanessa - Individual, Wife, Mom, Friend Vanessa ‚Äď Individual, Wife, Mom, Friend‚Ķ

Introducing…

Greetings! I‚Äôm Vanessa, a 30-something ‚ÄúDomestic Goddess‚ÄĚ (a.k.a. Stay at Home Mom). I think I‚Äôm 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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What would YOU like to hear more about?

I am SO close to finishing up the Zero to Hero blog challenge! Can I get a hip hip hooray?

As I move forward, I really want to know what YOU would like to read on my blog. Please take a quick moment to let me know what you are most interested in hearing about. Thanks in advance!

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“Team Jesus Forever, Right?”

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The Out Campaign

When I began blogging last summer, one of my first posts was about Coming out as an Atheist. I mentioned there were extended family members, co-workers, and some friends who after 2 years still didn’t know about this huge change in my life. I had a lofty goal of taking opportunities to come out every chance I got. Well, after 7 months, I can’t say that I’m as far along as I want to be in this regard, but I have certainly made some progress. I wanted to take an opportunity to share with you one instance of coming out to a colleague.

Enter Shannon. I first met her when I was involved in a Christian ministry in college. She is an extremely bubbly, nice, goofy, beautiful, and yes, very devout, woman. Post college, we both remained in the same town and would catch up with each other occasionally. Many years later, prior to quitting my job last summer, we became colleagues for a few months. During those months, even though I was an atheist the entire time, she still knew me as “sold out for Jesus”. Even though she talked about god often, I just didn’t feel comfortable mentioning my lack of belief in a work setting.

file0001113911603When it was my last day at work, she gave me a big hug, passionately exclaimed how much she would miss me, and said, “It’s OK, team Jesus forever, right?” This statement took me SO off guard. I was absolutely not prepared for her to say that to me (in front of other people, mind you) so I had no response at all. I just sort of felt sick to my stomach, said goodbye, and turned around to leave. My issue is that so many people know me as a person that loves god and spends a lot of my time and energy pursuing god and his interests. Well, now that I’m an atheist, that obviously isn’t the least bit true anymore. ¬†I want people to know that I no longer believe the things I use to believe, but how are they going to know if I don’t tell them? I can’t expect them to read my mind, that’s for sure. But the reality is, this can be an entirely awkward topic to bring up depending on how well I know a person and the context in which I encounter them.

So, after having this weird encounter with Shannon, I went home and felt sick about my inability to say something in the moment. I absolutely HAD to respond to “team Jesus forever, right?” Because, um… no, NOT team Jesus… not even if I was a Christian would I feel comfortable with that statement!

_DSC0835Below is the email I sent her that same night. To some, this may seem too soft and lovey dovey. But, this is me. I am often very sensitive to the feelings of others, it’s a part of who I am.

So, this email emerged:

Dearest Shannon –

I just love you and our budding friendship. I have felt the need to be honest with you in regards to my faith or lack there-of, although it is challenging for me to share because of reactions I have had from some family and friends.

In the past couple of years I have realized that I don’t believe in any gods. I look back fondly on all my Navigator (college ministry) memories, friendships, etc. but I have went on a journey of doubt, questioning, then realization that I don’t have enough evidence to believe there is a God. I value my relationships, family and morals immensely and I feel that I am in a good place and a good person without any faith in the supernatural.

I appreciate your spirit, compassion, and emanating love. I hope that we can continue forward in fondness for each other. Take care and seeya soon,

Vanessa

I am not sure how many times I will need to have this conversation with people, probably for the rest of my life to some degree. I do know that I will choose to be honest with people when it becomes necessary, just like it became necessary with Shannon.

Your Turn

Share an awkward moment when someone thought something about you that wasn’t true.

Atheist blog… or not?

When I began my blog last summer I felt I needed an outlet for all my emotions regarding coming out of religion and losing faith. When I confided to my therapist that I was struggling with losing my faith, she questioned me about this, then eventually said,

“It seems you are completely comfortable with your loss of faith, what you seem to be struggling with is how others are responding to this change”.

I think that hits the nail on the head. For the most part, I am comfortable with who I am.¬†What I hate dealing with is all the peripheral nonsense, mostly my close loved ones who are religious and don’t know how to deal with me now. And also, I have a hard time dealing with the loss of church community.

So, here I am 6 months after starting my godless blog, and I’m not sure all that godless stuff is as big of a deal anymore. It seems that each day that goes by I feel more and more comfortable in regards to my atheism and communicating with others about it. I am also building a great network of secular buddies which helps with the lost church community. While it’s not quite the same as church, that’s a good thing!

zero-to-hero-badgeThen, at the end of January, I started the Zero to Hero¬†blog challenge that forced me to publish content and move my blog forward. Through this whole process I find myself less interested in communicating about my atheism and more interested in communicating about my life in general. So, I guess I need to ask myself, is it even necessary that I continue to have a blog geared toward my lack of belief? Someone even pointed out the other day that when reading my about page, if you cover up my title, you might think my blog is about fitness. I feel that there are other things that really make up who I am. If I were to describe myself to someone, I don’t think my description would start with atheist. I would use words like: mom, wife, athletic, compassionate, nice, runner, aspiring yogi, friend, fun, excitable, passionate, etc. I am not sure I care enough about atheism as a large movement to try and work it into my conversations on a regular basis. I did enough evangelizing as a Christian, I really don’t want to proselytize for non-theism.¬†That said, I REALLY want to stick around and blog more! I thoroughly enjoy being in the blogging community in order to maintain my sanity as a stay at home mom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, what should I do? Should I continue blogging but change directions and focus on fitness and motherhood? Or should I keep a secular slant as a part of my blog since it will likely come up from time to time? I welcome your input. And if you made it this far, thanks for listening to me think out loud!

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Weekend Roundup

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Riding the wave of happiness, motivation, and self-discovery

Well, it’s true, I’m the happiest I have been in a very long time. I am motivated and meeting my fitness and nutrition goals. I’m gaining more tools to be a better parent. And I am thoroughly enjoying upgrading my blog (Want an upgrade too? Check out the Zero to Hero blog challenge). I am attempting to ride this wave of happiness, motivation, and self-discovery, and in turn better my life in sustainable, life-long ways.

Part of my self-edification process has been gaining inspiration and insights from the many blogs I have discovered recently. So today, I am thrilled to give you my weekend roundup, linking to some of my favorite blog posts from this past week. This is just a taste of what I read and loved this week. Thanks to these posts (and many others), I am excited, inspired, motivated, and happy!

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I was encouraged by the post,¬†I was brave and learned I don’t want to settle. In my own life, I know the¬†Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape (1)importance of pursuing my dreams and not settling for mediocrity. My favorite excerpt from the post:

“What I want is to be living at 100%, giving my all to everything that I dive into and loving every single second of it. What I want is to tell my children to follow their dreams and not settle for anything less. What I want is to inspire my family, and others, by walking away from my rut and creating my own future, where I don‚Äôt just survive, I thrive… And that is exactly what I did”

Caitlin Edmon, Aprons, Trainers, and Bibs

While we all have off days, I do think aspiring for greatness in your life is totally doable. So Caitlin, I’m happy to join you in being brave and not settling.

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Earlier this week, in response to a¬†daily prompt,¬†I wrote Why haven’t I pursued my dream job?¬†Check out another bloggers take in¬†My Dream Job.¬†I can really identify with her dreams because they relate to fitness. She talks about pursuing dreams and the importance of perseverance:

Message Stones“Just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. ¬†Sometimes, you have to go the long way around to get to your goal. ¬†The important thing is that you never give up!”

Ebone Nut, One Crazy Mom

Yes Ebone! Lets persevere and chase those dreams.

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Rather Than Curse the Darkness, Light a Tiki Torch¬†was a great reminder that a wide circle of loved ones is valuable. This blog post also made me want to ask more questions and be a good listener in the company of friends… there is so much to know about each special life you encounter. My new favorite quote is:file0001027084534

“What I love best about a circle is that there is always room for one more.”

Naomi, Writing Between The Lines

Naomi, you have taught me so much in a short time and I’m glad to be a part of your blogging circle!

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file1711246044891In¬†Moving Into the Light, Karen¬†paints a picture of hope for challenging situations. Sometimes life just plain sucks and sometimes life can be good even when we are amidst struggles… but either way, thankfully we CAN get through the storm. I appreciate your story Karen and am looking forward to reading more!

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And lastly, this week I discovered the blog Running On Healthy. Two particular posts,¬†IMG_0542Learning The Art of Negative Splits and Run For Those Hills,¬†inspired a higher quantity and better quality of running for me this week. I love their blog tagline “Living Life Healthy, Fit, and Happy”. I plan to aim for a healthy, fit, and happy life for as long as possible.

 

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Thanks again to all who contributed to my better quality of life this week. You seriously rock!

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Happy Post Challenge: Children

happy-post-challenge-logoI am taking on the challenge to share some happy encounters with children. This is easy because my own adorable children make me SO happy (most of the time) and I can’t pass on the opportunity to show them off. Here they are!

With their big, happy smiles

2011-11-24 11.23.54bathLoving life

bikes

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Enjoying the best kind of toys…non-toys, if you will

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bag on head

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Dressing up (it’s the best!)

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2012-10-31 19.10.55And, of course, being a bit mischievous

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2011-05-14 11.18.52Lastly, here is a wonderfully repetitive performance of “99 Boxes of Juice on the Wall”. Though the videography is low quality, I greatly appreciate this video (I realize this could be solely due to me being a proud and biased mom). My favorite parts happen around 1:05 and 2:03. Enjoy!

The Sound of Silence

Earlier this week I wrote a short blip about the Excruciating Silence that happens when a loved one fails to communicate. As I mentioned in that post,¬†I am a communicator, sometimes an over-communicator. It drives me insane to feel like I have discord with a loved one. I have always been in favor of mediation, conflict resolution, and the pursuit of harmony. When silence lingers for too long (especially when personal and relational challenges are being faced) it’s easy to make assumptions or perhaps let resentments linger. One such instance of an uncomfortable and ongoing silence in my life happened when I started sharing with loved ones about my¬†new-found¬†atheism.

“Coming Out” Atheist: Eventual Silence

About two years ago, my husband and I shared some important information with our close family (specifically, our parents and siblings). We “came out” of our atheist closets and said:

  • We are not Christians anymore
  • We don’t have sufficient evidence for any gods and therefore don’t believe
  • We are¬†at peace with our realization
  • We are still the same caring, fun-loving, and happy people that we were before¬†

Every single family member was surprised at this change of heart… I don’t blame them since we were seriously devoted to our faith for so long. Some family members had pretty mild reactions. Oh, but some of our family members…their response was not so tame. Raised voices. Heated arguments. Hurt feelings. Unusual behavior. Aggression. Blaming. All of these things erupted in the first few months after sharing our news.

Soon, the raging fire sizzled out and the rumblings ceased…

Silence.

Share faith? Feel free. Lack belief? Mums the word.

Share faith? Feel free. Lack belief? Mums the word.

Awkward, uncomfortable silence.

Excruciatingly painful yucky silence.

When it came to our lack of belief, our families cries went from passionate and vocal… to silent.¬†In desperation I felt like shouting, “But, we used to talk so openly about so many things! Can’t we be real with each other without taking things so personally? Or at the very least, can we agree to disagree, choose to love each other, and THEN not talk about it?” I used to share my deepest emotions and thoughts with my family. Now that we disagree about our core beliefs, sharing in this way has become incredibly difficult, and for now, impossible.

I can hear some of you saying, “Why do you even need to talk about god?” Truly, I would be happy to avoid the god topic under the following conditions: religion isn’t being pushed on my family and we’re not looked down upon for our disbelief. For now, that is not the case.

Unfortunately, because some family members are so devoted to their god, I fear there will be strife, passive aggression, and awkward, painful silence indefinitely. I have rejected their core beliefs, somehow that hurts them. I have to remember, I am the one who changed gradually over time, and then suddenly, I dumped this shocking information on my family.

Perhaps, gradually over time, my family will embrace me with open arms once again, with a willingness to share and be real about who we are. 

But I’m not getting my hopes up.

In the mean time, I will attempt to be inspired by the words of actor and playwright, Harvey Fierstein:

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

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Excruciating Silence

I am such a communicator. Recently a loved one chose not to share, touch base, or respond to me for a time. I felt out of whack, desperate, crazy. We reconnected today, hooray!

The¬†silence¬†of a friend was broken… and all is well in my world again.

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Why haven’t I pursued my dream job?

Me and a relay running buddy

Me and a relay running friend from high school

Since High School, my dream job has been the same, to be a high school track coach. It’s funny¬†to me¬†(and more than that, a bit sad) that I have never made any attempts to actualize this dream. I suppose my fear is that I’m being too nostalgic with the hopes that coaching would be as enjoyable as my own running years. I also fear that I have forgotten too much and now I don’t have the experience necessary to coach.¬†

This dream of mine began over 15 years ago, why haven’t I explored how to make this dream a reality?¬†Would I need to volunteer for a while first in order to get my foot in the door? Probably. Will it take a lot of work? Likely. But aren’t our dreams worth it?

Why I stay at home

Yesterday I happened upon a blog post called¬†I’m jealous of SAHMs (stay at home moms). Being that I currently stay at home with my kids, this post caught my attention and after reading, I felt compelled to share my own thoughts on the topic.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be a stay at home mom
  1. Growing up I was never really good with kids. I didn’t know how to change a diaper until I had my own kids and I certainly never felt I could relate to anyone under the age of 12. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I actually felt guilty that I didn’t want to work with children, that was the noble answer most people gave. Why didn’t I want to help kids? Turns out I enjoy communicating with adults and teenagers, but not so much the young’uns. I no longer feel guilty about this because I realize we all come out differently, with our own temperament, interests, desires, strengths, etc.
  2. I am pretty independent and enjoy following my own passions. Getting married was a big adjustment for me, let alone having two needy children to look after. In hind-sight, perhaps I am a bit too selfish to have had my own children, but it’s a bit late for that!¬†And for the record, I do find it all worthwhile even though I have to temporarily give up some personal freedom.
So, how is it that I ended up staying home with my boys?

Perhaps a story can paint the picture. It was the evening of my first big fundraising event since being named Development Director at my job of 6 years. Prior to the event,¬†I had been working tirelessly for months and it was taking a toll on me, my family, and my entire existence.¬†I was spreading myself thin, working every night after my boys went to bed. Things between my husband and I were tense to say the least. Well, tonight was the big night, the culmination of all the hard work. Turns out it was a success, it was a beautiful event and we increased revenue by 50% from the previous year, hooray! Well, I came home that night and I didn’t feel excited, I didn’t feel like shouting hooray. I felt depressed and I wondered, is all of this worth it?

My life as a working mom wasn’t always this stressful but I’m honestly glad it became this stressful. In reaching this breaking point I came to the conclusion that no, this was not success for me.¬†I hadn’t been a good mom, a good wife, or my best self in a while. I realized that I had been choosing my job and I needed to choose what was best for my family. For the first time, I really wanted to stay¬†at home with my boys. I wanted to spend more time with them and become the best damn mom I could be to them. Four¬†months after the big event, I took a leap of faith and quit my job.

How do I feel about all of this 6 months later?

I realize that staying home is not a viable option for everyone and some people don’t have the desire. But for me, I ask myself, why should I stress myself out with work AND home life, not see my children as much as I would like, and make next to no money after childcare expenses? I still have stress as a stay at home mom…obviously. The budget is tighter, the kids drive me crazy at times, and I can’t leave my day job and go home. On the flip side, I am getting to know my kids really well, they have greatly appreciated my consistent presence, and I now have the time and capacity to become a good mom, a good wife, and my best self.

Here’s a short video of my boys doing their favorite thing, “fighting”. While this doesn’t show anything special, it is a glimpse into my everyday as a stay at home mom… and I have to take the opportunity to show off my adorable boys ūüôā

This was Day 12 of the Zero to Hero Challenge. Learn more here.