My 2 Cents

Archive for July 2011

I’m an Atheist.  I haven’t always been a non-believer.  I was raised Episcopal, and went to church weekly for a short time during childhood, and then gradually that diminished to holidays only.  By the time I got to high school, we weren’t going to church at all, but I still believed in God.  I was married in the Catholic church that my husband grew up and went to school in, on December 30, 2005.  Sometime, not long after we were married, I came to the conclusion that I don’t believe.  It has only been recently that I have been able to be more open with my (non)religious views.

Just because I don’t believe in God, doesn’t mean I don’t believe in anything.  Here are a few things I DO believe in: evolution, science, fact, values, morals, etc.  I also believe that when we’re dead, if we’re not cremated, we sit in the ground and rot.  I don’t think that there is a heaven or hell.  I am happy living my life believing that.

I am the kind of person that has to see scientific proof of something to believe it.  (I can’t see heaven, hell or God.)  If it can’t be proven, or there’s not a strong scientific theory presented, then it just doesn’t make sense to me. 

I also have a strong sense of the difference between right and wrong.  I feel as though I can make my own decisions by carefully weighing the pros and cons of a situation, and by taking into consideration the way I could be affecting others.  My decisions aren’t always perfect, but I do my best to make the right one on my own, without the presence or help of a supernatural being.

I don’t dislike or have less respect for people who do believe in God.  I don’t call them names, or judge them for their beliefs.  I have never wished harm to believers and I don’t want to preach to others about Atheism.  I do throw the occasional quote up on my facebook feed once in a while if I find something I think is entertaining.  (But I’ve also seen plenty of bible verses up there too.)  And, I do enjoy the occasional debate with believers about whether or not there is a ‘God’ and why I am an Atheist.

I live in the South, so I know and am friends with far more Christians than Atheists.  I can only speak from experience, but I find most Atheists to be very open-minded and accepting of all types of people.  Most of the Christians that I am friends with are open-minded and supportive of my beliefs as well.  However, I have encountered the occasional “hater.”  I once had someone tell a couple of my friends that they shouldn’t be friendly with me anymore because I don’t believe in God.

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really feel that people (Atheists included) need to be more sensitive and accepting of others’ beliefs.  There is never going to be a day when everyone agrees on everything.  Why can’t we just agree to disagree?  Why can’t we listen to each others views and beliefs and try to learn from them, instead of immediately discounting them?  Instead of judging people for their views or beliefs, we should embrace them.  We all have reasons for believing the the things that we do.  Our families, experiences, culture, customs and traditions have helped shape the religious or non-religious beings that we are.  What works for me may not work for you.  Accept it, learn from it, and move on.

What are your beliefs?  How do you feel about others that are different from you?  How do you feel about Atheists?  I would love to hear what you think, and how religion or lack-of religion play a part in your life.  (Try to be honest without being nasty!)

-Melinda

Food for thought:  Did God create people, or did people create God?

I have currently been shampoo free since July 10th, and I am loving it!  My locks feel softer and smoother than ever, and I am happy to say that my whole house is poo-free now.  The other-half cut his hair shortly after I went poo-free, and he hasn’t used anything except baking soda for the past week and a half.  Our little butterfly only gets a rinse anyway when she is in the bath.  No more poo for us!

My hair is fully adjusted now, and is not getting greasy every other day.  I am still using the baking soda cleanser, and the vinegar rinse as I posted in my last update.  They seem to be the easiest to make and the most effective at cleaning and conditioning my hair.

I am currently washing every two to three days.  At first I thought that this was a bit more often than I should be washing, but after further research, I found that the frequency can change seasonally depending upon the weather.  This makes sense!  Just as our skin changes with the seasons (i.e. mine normally gets much drier in the winter than in the summer) so does our hair.  Because of the heat and humidity, and the fact that when I step outside for more than 30 seconds and stand still I am sweating, I must wash my hair more often in the summer.  I am anxious to see how this changes as the seasons change.

I have to admit, the initial adjustment period was pretty gross.  My hair was very “slick” to say the least, and I was sporting a pony tail almost everyday for the first week or so.  I really feel like it was worth it though.  Going poo-free is not only good for our hair, the environment and the bank account, it truly makes life easier.  Only having to wash my hair every few days cuts down on the time getting ready in the mornings!

I do have to say though, that my hair is the definition of straight!  I don’t know if this has made my journey to being poo-free easier, but I would suspect so.  Even with hair as straight as mine, I still used to use a conditioner because of tangles in the shower.  I was skeptical of going without poo because I was afraid my hair would tangle really badly without that conditioner.  I have to say though that I haven’t had many tangles at all.  In fact, it seems even less tangled than before!

If you are interested in going poo-free, check out my previous post for sites and cleansing recipes!

-Melinda

 

20110724-115659.jpg

Tofu and Black Bean Tacos

Recipe from Whole Foods

Serves 6

This simple mixture of tofu, spices, garlic and black beans makes a robust filling for tacos. Pack leftovers to assemble tacos for lunch.

Ingredients

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 corn tortillas, warmed
3 cups shredded green leaf lettuce
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Method

Put tofu, chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander and salt into a bowl and mash together with a fork. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and two-thirds of the green onions and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tofu mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Add beans and remaining green onions, stir well and cook until beans are heated through, about 2 minutes more.

Spoon tofu mixture into tortillas, top with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese and serve.

Nutrition

Per serving (2 tacos/299g-wt.): 350 calories (160 from fat), 18g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 760mg sodium, 36g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 20g protein

This recipe was super yummy!  But, Matt and I like a little “heat” in our Mexican dishes and it was lacking in that department.  We threw a little Frank’s hot sauce on it, and that made it good, but I think next time I make it I will throw in a little cayenne pepper or something to give it a little kick.  Also, the corn tortillas were delish, but they always seem to break for us, so next time I’ll go with flour tortillas.

Enjoy!

-Melinda

About two weeks ago, my husband and I received a package in the mail from my mom.  It was a lovely dinner for two.  I had been visiting her and other family up north and just got back home, so she sent us a treat since we hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks.  I opened the box, and found a styro-foam container.  Inside were some ice packs.  As I unpacked further, there was shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, dessert and finally two fairly large lobsters.  I had never really cooked lobster before, and only eaten it once or twice, so I didn’t know much about it.  It looked like a yummy treat for both of us.  I called Mom to thank her.

Then she told me the lobsters were still ALIVE!

I was kind of confused, because after I had opened the container the first time, I was pretty sure they were NOT moving.   Then I found out that that’s what they do when they are cold.  I opened the container back up for a little more inspection, only to find out that they were indeed alive.  That’s when I kind of freaked.  I didn’t want to cook them and kill them, and I knew my husband (who has been a vegetarian twice in his life for a total of 5 years) wouldn’t want to cook them either.  So I called our neighbor, and friend, Tara.  I knew that she would come to the rescue.  That night we wound up eating the lobsters, and lots of other goodies, at Tara’s house – after SHE cooked them.  We joked about it, enjoyed it, had a good time, and a delicious dinner.

When Matt was in middle school, he was a vegetarian for about 3 years.  The last time that he was a vegetarian, we didn’t eat meat in the house, but I would occasionally eat chicken or something when we went out for dinner.  I guess I was a part-time veggie.  This lasted for about 2 years, and then for some reason, we just started eating meat again one day.

After the lobster experience, I think we realized that it’s time to go veggie again!  It kind of hit me hard.  I know that all of the meat I have eaten previously has been dead, but when I was left to kill the poor animal myself, I felt horrible.  And, if I felt that bad about killing and ugly bottom dwelling sea creature with beady eyes and weird, hairy claws, what was I doing eating cute, fuzzy cows? (or pigs, or chickens?)  I can’t kill animals to eat them.

So, we’re back to being vegetarians again.  There are lots of different kinds of veggies though.  Just to make it clear, we do eat dairy. ( I could never give up cheese!!)  We have just eliminated eating dead animals.  We will also go back to trying to by animal friendly clothing and shoes, since wearing leather from a dead cow would kind of defeat the purpose of being a vegetarian.

Okay, so what does all of this mean for you?

Being a vegetarian requires a little more creativity than just eating “meat and potatoes,” so as I find yummy recipes, I’ll post them.  Of course, you can use meat in them if you choose, or you can make them as is!  I hope you enjoy ☺

-Melinda

 

Let me preface this blog post by saying that I am straight.  I don’t have many gay friends or family members, so I’m not privy to many of the struggles that they go through, or have been through.  However, I firmly believe that everyone; no matter race, religion, color or sexual preference, deserves to be treated equally in all aspects of their life.

One month ago, New York was the sixth state to legalize gay marriage.  Today was the first day for that law to take effect.  I read an article about two grandmothers getting married, and tears came to my eyes.  I am so delighted for these women that, after 23 years, they FINALLY get to celebrate their love.  It’s just a shame that they had to wait so long.  And what about the other 46 states that gay marriage is still not allowed in?

I know that this country has a long way to go, and some might say we have a lot more to worry about that our marriage laws, but I truly hope that other states follow suit fast.

Even though I have felt this way since before I even thought about having children, I seem to feel even more strongly about it now.  Soon after our daughter was born, we were joking about her dating.  One of us said “No boys until she’s 16.”  The other added “or girls,”  and we both just smiled.  I cringe when I think of the possibility of her not being able to enjoy the same rights that my husband and I do.  I can only hope that other new parents are feeling the same way.

-Melinda

P.S.  Check out the It Gets Better Project to see how you can show your support for the LGBTQ community.

20110722-085009.jpgYears ago, I used to be a neat freak. Then I got married, got a few (or 4) animals, and now we have a little one. I guess I can’t really say that now. (I’ve been meaning to pick up the “mess” in the picture for about 4 days now.) Our home isn’t dirty, we just have stuff everywhere. Having an 8 month old really contributes to that!

Before Alayna arrived, I never could have imagined how much STUFF a baby really needs. Diapers, wipes, toys, clothes, bags, bottles, baby food, formula etc. etc. etc…….. Over the past few months baby stuff has taken over our house.

Seeing my half-naked, little one crawling around, in and out of her toy box, with the dog watching her is just a joy to watch each and every day. Our home is happy, full of love, and clearly lived in. I wouldn’t trade this for a perfect house with everything in its place ~ EVER!

20110719-112737.jpgIt’s my ninth day of freedom, and my hair feels awesome!  I honestly think it feels softer than it ever has before.

I don’t think I’m completely through the transition period, because I have still been encountering some (*eww*) greasiness, but I’ve battled through it.  Ponytails are wonderful!

I have mostly been washing every three days or so with baking soda and water.  Yesterday I tried the “Shampoothie” recipe from Loving it Raw.  It smelled really good, but it was kind of strange massaging chunks of lemon and cucumber into my hair.  And it was hard to wash out all of them (which they said would happen).  It also made my hair EXTRA greasy.  It could be because I am still transitioning though.  I will try that again with a little more lemon in a few weeks and see what happens.

This morning when I washed my hair, I used the baking soda mix to cleanse it.  Then I rinsed.  (The rinse was 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with 2 cups hot water.)  I actually really liked the rinse.  The only down fall was the smell of vinegar in the shower, which disappeared after I dried my hair.  I like how the rinse made my hair feel, and I think it added some shine to it as well.

The pic to the right was taken a few minutes ago.  (Ignore the bangs, I’m trying to grow them out.)



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  • currans2cents: The original blog that sparked all of your angst was written purely as an OPINION piece. As you stated, we are entitled to have them. I truly am int
  • Mychal B.: It doesn't "seem" like you are only picking on JoePa, you ARE only picking on JoePa. Mike McQueary has received no disciplinary actions against him fo
  • Mychal B.: Um, I never claimed to understand anything about the war. I wasn't aware that the war had anything to do with this case. I also never said that becaus