Ren's Ramblings & Writings

Contemplations on things tangible and intangible

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Open Letter to the VFW Auxiliary and Auxiliary posts

In May, I was asked to place the Navy wreath in honor of my father and all Navy vets during the city Memorial Day ceremony, which was also facilitated by this local VFW.  I sat through Christian prayers at this event as well.  This city-sponsored event had a religious bias, but I do want to support veterans and my father's memory, so I started asking about being able to join the Auxiliary, which was one of my father’s wishes. I don't qualify for the VFW because I never deployed, and it was clear that I wouldn't qualify for Auxiliary membership because I don't believe in a god.

back page of current VFW Auxiliary magazine

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."-Gandhi
There's a meme out there that states
"Rather than putting 'Christ" back in "Christmas," I'd settle for putting "Christ" back in "Christians.'"

I'm seeing a lot of different sentiments about this matter, but at the end of the day, it was what my father wanted of me. He knew that I'm involved in volunteer work and social issues and wanted me to put that to use in veteran circles-specifically in the VFW. I never deployed, however, and don't qualify for the VFW. I qualify for the Auxiliary but they won't accept me since I'm a Humanist.  I just want to honor my father's wishes. Why is that such a terrible thing?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Some Mothers Get Babies With Something More-special needs moms

my response to this beautiful ode to special needs parents at

I don't any longer have that " strength of a draft horse while holding onto the delicacy of a daffodil..." I've become wilted and fragile over years of fatigue (mental, physical, and emotional) dealing with severe depression. Were it just my special needs kids (two of them) that I had to deal with-piece of cake, really. Even during my husband's many deployments... But life throws so much more at you, never-ending. things you have zero power to influence. You can advocate for and protect your kids, but you cannot save the world around you. You cannot even influence whether the pharmacy gets your order right or drops the ball on your refill, whether others around your child act reliably when your child has a seizure and sustains secondary injuries. You cannot influence whether or not the school handles your case wisely when another child bullies your child. You cannot influence whether ER doctors have even basic understanding of your child's condition(s). You cannot influence whether or not a teacher reliably understands your child and interprets your child's behaviors accurately.

Worse than all this... you have no power to influence, over and above your own children, whether or not your sister makes good choices that protect and care for her own children-your nieces/nephews or makes them homeless and endangered-you have no power over whether society takes action on an abused or neglected child or animal around you. You have no power to influence whether or not others around you care for or cause the suffering of people and animals that you care about. You have no power over whether or not your own personal ethics agree with the ethics of your employer, the GOP, or your neighbor. You have no power over whether or not people give animals away for free on Craigslist and allow those pets to end up as bait for fighting rings. You have no power to influence whether or not a company cares humanely for animals that are kept/bred for human consumption. You have no power to influence whether or not someone starves horses, dogs, or babies to the point of extreme suffering.
In the end, you have only the ability to care for, protect, and advocate for your children in the best way you know how. And sometimes we make mistakes. We get angry.. We get tired. We are emotionally exhausted by more than just our childs' needs.
Never-the-less, we keep on trucking. We react like clockwork, predictably, when our child has a seizure, or stops breathing. We deal with the shock of traumas later, out sight of the kids. Sometimes we end up needing help to keep on trucking (help of other moms who understand, dads, doctors, pharmaceuticals, and others in society)-but what is our choice-to lay down and die? We do not have that luxury. We have children who need us for a very long time to come (or a not so long time) and we are not likely to outlive them. So we have to do our best to get thru each day and hope that we can set them up to be cared for or self-sufficient in the future after we are gone... we have to keep our eye on the ball, so to speak, which is enjoying the day to day, as well as just getting thru the day to day of life, when knowing that the future for our special needs kids can be uncertain...

And it is a struggle to maintain some level of optimism some days... do we count on the GOP to care for our special needs kids after we die? Our neighbors? Our alcoholic brother or uninterested sister? Will a capable sibling care for the special needs sibling as adults once we are deceased? The struggles to make our special needs kids as capable as possible to care for themselves on some level in the future takes place today.

Try being the mom with all this on her personal "plate" whose autistic child acts out in public-and everyone around judges you-and every action you take in this situation is judged. every time you see the school's phone number in your caller ID, your heart races, wondering if it's an emergency.  Never mind the future, I'm trying to get thru the moment.... while not losing sight of my child's future.... and some days it feels like a losing battle... though in reality, it isn't-you're just extremely tired, mentally, physically, emotionally...

None of this means you don't love your children every moment; you love them with every breath you or they take.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

revising summer chore duties, creating a teen summer schedule, and teen project planning

Trying to get my kids off their duffs for the summer is proving challenging... even getting household stuff done when there is no daily routine is a pain... so, the plan is to revise the house chores plan, create a general daily schedule for the summer (kind of like an Army training schedule), and choosing projects for the summer from a list. Here are the chore lists first:



 The following is a list of project ideas for the summer-the boys must choose at least 5, and they must include exercise and at least 1-2 ongoing projects or projects that need planning and research. This list is not exhaustive-it's just a list of items I found online from other kids to give my boys inspiration to come up with a summer plan-to do things besides sitting on their duffs playing video games~
o   MANDATORY: Personal Fitness plan for at least 3 days per week
o   write a novel or short story
o   Write in a journal. Write down words that you like, poems, song lyrics, what happened during an event, anything you want!  Write in it everyday.
o   Create blog and write in it 3 times per week
o   Read a book series.
o   Take online classes
o   Go to the water park
o   Watch meteor shower (August 12, 10:30pm)
o   Try something I've never done before
o   Learn sign language
o   Do yoga each morning
o   Break a world record
o   Create an experiment
o   Write a song
o   Create a life playlist or bucket list
o   Build and fly a kite
o   Be vegetarian for a week
o   Plan a menu
o   Record everything I eat in a journal
o   Solve a rubix cube
o   Practice algebra problems (help dad with math!)
o   Run a mile in 10 minutes (train each week)
o   Go running early in the morning
o   Go an entire day without technology (or maybe even a week, or summer)
o   Do something that scary
o   Make a scavenger hunt
o   Make a time capsule
o   Invent something new
o   Complete 1,000-piece puzzle
o   Cook a full meal
o   Read 5 books
o   Interview someone you don’t know and learn their life story. Write it up and give it to them.
o   Make pizza from scratch
o   Learn as many words or phrases you can in a foreign language
o   Research 5 colleges
o   Collect your family’s history
o   Stand up for something you believe in
o   Create, direct, and produce a mini film
o   Write a letter and send it, snail-mail style
o   Eat 5 things you haven’t eaten before
o   Plan out a road trip (every aspect: location, route, finances, logistics, etc)
o   Bake a cake from scratch
o   Watch a black-and-white classic movie
o   Play classic board games (like Monopoly or Chinese Checkers) on a rainy day
o   Make a giant chocolate chip cookie
o   Create a new recipe that can be passed down for generations
o   Find an astronomy pattern in the sky (like the zodiac signs in the stars via telescope)
o   Draw a chalk masterpiece on your sidewalk or driveway or in a playground
o   Send a message in a bottle
o   Put your deepest worry into a balloon and let it go
o   Dedicate a day to someone important in your life
o   Create a YouTube channel
o   Drawing masterpiece
o   Explore real life heroes
o   Learn about yourself thru your zodiac sign
o   Learn to read hieroglyphics


I am also having my boys create a daily routine schedule-with flexibility to allow for impromptu things, but they need to have some sort of routine for the summer-here's an example of what they're creating for themselves:

idea for the oldest:

7:00am -eat and take medicines, feed the dog & give fresh water
8:00am to 9:00am - Wake up, shower, etc
9:00am to 10:00am - Go for a walk
10:00am to 11:00am - check email, Facebook, chat with friends
11:00am to 11:30am - do required daily reading (a real book, digital or hard copy-but a real book)
11:30am to 12:00pm - Scrape up something for lunch
12:00pm to 2:00pm - work on personal project #1
2:00pm to 3:00pm - check email, Facebook, chat with friends
3:00pm to 5:30pm - hang out with friends
5:30pm to 6:30pm - feed dog, Dinner
6:30pm to 7:00pm - personal fitness plan
7:00pm to 11:00pm - take evening meds, Watch TV,  hang out with friends, Browse the internet, work on my story, personal project #2.
11:00pm to 12:00am - Hang out in my room
12:00am to 8:00am - Attempt to Sleep.

10pm weekday Curfew
12pm bed time over the summer

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ren's rant responses to "Americans United Disappointed That U.S. Supreme Court Ruled In Favor Of Sectarian Prayer Before Town Board Meetings"

This online rant was originally fumed impromptu on Facebook in response to the press release by Americans United for Separation of Church and State  regarding the supreme court decision on City of Greece v Galloway.  This rant/writing is unedited and not proof-read-just a blast of raw emotion.

The AU press release can be found here:

I have to rant about this, because this is something that is handled in the political arena.  And remember that every church/state separation case that we lose brings the religious right that much closer to determining whether or not you have access to simple contraception, and what family planning IN YOUR BEDROOM will look like, based on THEIR beliefs.

Anyone of any belief system and even Christian denomination can at any time and any place be relegated to 2nd class citizen. It's coming and it's coming fast, thanks to a religious right supreme court and a country full of non-fundamentalist, non-religious right people who REFUSE to acknowledge the threat and to stand up and truly defend the 1st Amendment for ALL Americans, regardless of beliefs.  There was a time when Catholics and Jews were compared to Muslims as a way to discredit and demonize them. Catholics have enjoyed some improvement in status over the last 50 years, but don't forget that Protestantism DOMINATED this country and our schools as late as the 1970s-and it is fully the intent of the religious right to dominate again. Baptists-you think things are hunky-dory, but review Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists after you read their letter to Jefferson-Baptists were and still are a minority denomination in this county-and ALWAYS will be. You CANNOT have FREEDOM of your conscience if you do not FIRST have Freedom FROM the other guy's religion or denomination. If you're a Quaker, 7th Day Adventist, Mennonite, one who follows a Native American spiritual path, a Muslim, an atheist, LDS, or a freethinking NONE who is finding your way, mark my words: YOU ARE A 2ND CLASS CITIZEN. PERIOD. YOUR BELIEFS DO NOT COUNT-YOU WILL BE FORCED TO CONFORM.  Even if you are of a denomination that closely aligns with the establishment of the religious right-you too will find yourself victim because within the religious right there is not complete agreement on biblical interpretations or history or American history-your version of "the right way" may not be the religious right establishment's interpretation or version of what "is right" and you will find yourself becoming partner to those who believe differently than you simply for the common ground of fighting to re-instate separation of church and state, and to ensure your right to decide what beliefs to bring your children up with, which bible version to choose for your family, and which church to attend-and, yes, even which books and stories your kids are exposed to.

 if you've been following the issues, legal cases, state bills, or even the goings-on in your state but have not been doing anything, realize that the FIRST AMENDMENT is the 1st for a reason.  Entire lives change when someone who believes differently than you begins to dictate your life and the lives of your family.  And it's more possible than you think: it begins with states like TX et al. which have decided to pick and choose what is in their history books and LA which has set their students up for FAILURE with creationism in their science classrooms-these kids are going to get into college and not know even the basics because their communities and parents and, indeed, their state laws which are supposed to have been made by supposedly smart people have set these students up for FAILURE.  Rachel Held Evans, a Christian blogger, even has written about these students who, set up for failure, get to college and realizing how behind they are, become angry, not just at their families but some also leave their faith, which is sad. It is one thing to change your beliefs if during your life you have learned things that cause you to question what you had previously been told. But what Rachel discusses is actually tragic (not that atheists mind this). 

And the bottom line is that every single bit of this take-over of your life by people who believe that YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY BE A GOOD AND MORAL PERSON unless you conform to THEIR BELIEFS-THEIR VERSION OF THE BIBLE, THEIR VERSION OF BIBLICAL HISTORY, AND THEIR INTERPRETATION of all things Christian. YOUR VERSION AND YOUR BELIEFS ARE NOT THE RIGHT BELIEFS-YOU ARE NOT THE RIGHT KIND OF CHRISTIAN. So, let them destroy the First Amendment, making freedom only the right of their chosen kind of Christianity, and what do you have? A country of one reigning denomination-all others will be minority with ZERO rights. Think it can't happen? It already has, and is still happening:


“The poor Quakers were flying from persecution in England. They cast their eyes on these new countries as asylums of civil and religious freedom; but they found them free for only the reigning sect.” Thomas Jefferson’s notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-1785.


Proposed 1789, ratified 1791:

The “Establishment Clause:” “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Ensures freedom FROM religion

The “Free Exercise Clause:” or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Ensures freedom OF religion.

“The Supreme Court just relegated millions of Americans - both believers and nonbelievers - to second-class citizenship,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, which sponsored the lawsuit. “Government should not be in the business of forcing faith on anyone, and now all who attend meetings of their local boards could be subjected to the religion of the majority.”

–“In this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as part of a religious program carried on by government.”--Justice Hugo Black, 1962

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ren's ranting response about this article "Marriage Proceedings" in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Liberty magazine

Here are my thoughts that I submitted to the magazine editor and/or on the magazine's Facebook page:

"At trial, Blankenhorn testified that marriage would benefit same-sex couples and their children and would reduce discrimination against gays and lesbians, but even so, the state should not recognize same-sex marriage because it could conceivably weaken marriage as an institution."

I really can't get this mindset that "if this-then this will happen to the rest of us" when heterosexual divorces and spontaneous and whim marriages have not "weakened marriage as an institution" for anyone else; that is to say, besides the obvious affects of the divorce or marriage of parents on their kids (not an "institution" matter), what any of us does regarding marriage (heterosexuals who get married while drunk or after 3 days of dating) or divorce (get divorced after 1 day or 20 years) or just dating long term does not in any way intrinsically harm another person. We do make laws that determine when certain benefits are applied based on couple status (ie: being married allows us to be in a lower tax bracket) but once again, this does not inherently harm another person.

 I can't stand it when these people blatantly lie to achieve their goals, and are not called on the carpet for it:

" Tam has helped craft arguments in favor of Prop 8, including an argument on the Prop 8 Web site that homosexuals were 12 times more
 likely to be pedophiles. In Court, Tam could not state where he got the information."

to just say "could not state where he got the information" is sugar-coating a blatant lie

ok. Renee must rant...
Religious folks MUST do some REAL research before continuing to go on about this one man/one woman thing, which is a lie perpetrated throughout Christianity. 

Citing Bible verses out of historical context is just one aspect of biblical politics. Rather than reinvent the wheel,

I’m going to include quotes and analysis from several sources: 

“But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in to his brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also.” Genesis 38:9-10

The interpretation here is that sex and having children outside of marriage is ok, especially with your brother's widow, but Onan is breaking some biblical law by wasting his semen… who in American is ok with this today?

Folks cannot pick and choose which scriptures to obey.

the idea of 1 man/1 woman... versus POLYGAMY as being normal and promoted in biblical times:

3 Wives - Sarah, Hagar and Keturah

Jacob, the father of all the Twelve Tribes of Israel was married to FOUR women: Rachel and Leah; in addition, each of these two of Jacob’s wives had a maidservant, each also considered a wife of Jacob, who birthed many of those tribes. 

Abram and Sarai are childless but want children. Attempt: Hagar becomes second wife. 

Lamech has two wives~

The bottom line is that the bible does NOT DEFINE marriage as one man/one woman. To the contrary, the bible depicts marriage as: 

one man/many women
one man/many wives
one man/many wives and concubines
a rapist and his victim
a conquering soldier and a female prisoner one man/many wives, concubines and even sexual relations with slaves

fathers selling their daughters...

Don’t forget the biblical evidence of a same-sex partnership in which Jesus himself healed the younger partner (pais, in Greek) of a roman centurion (a soldier). In Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, we are told about a soldier who asks Jesus to heal his pais. Most translations define this as a servant,

but the Greek pais means "lover." Jay Michaelson tells us that
“according to leading Greek scholar Kenneth Dover, pais refers to the junior partner in a same-sex relationship. Now, this is not exactly a marriage of equals. An erastes-pais relationship generally consisted of a somewhat older man, usually a soldier between the ages of 18 and 30, and a younger adolescent, usually between the ages of 13 and 18. Sometimes that adolescent was a slave, as seems to be the case here. It would be inappropriate, in my view, to use the word "gay" to describe such a relationship; that word, and its many connotations, comes from our time, not that of Ancient Greece and Rome. This is not a relationship that any LGBT activist would want to promote today. 

However, it is a same-sex relationship nonetheless.” Michaelson continues: “…we know that the erastes-pais

intimate relationship was common practice among Roman soldiers, who were not allowed to take wives, and whose life was patterned on the Greek model of soldier-lovers.”

We know that “Pederasty in ancient Greece was a socially acknowledged erotic relationship between an adult male and a younger male usually in his teens.” 

Wikipedia tells us that “Scholars have debated the role or extent of sexual activity, which is likely to have varied according to local custom and individual inclination. The English word "pederasty" in present-day usage implies the abuse of minors, but Athenian law, for instance, did not recognize consent and age as factors in regulating sexual behavior.” In
addition, “Although the word pais can refer to a child of either sex, paiderastia is defined by Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon as
"the love of boys," and the verb paiderasteuein as "to be a
lover of boys." This is not considered homosexuality, but the relation between the centurion and the pais was still, indeed, a same sex relationship, which in this case, Jesus knew of but did not condemn.

In addition, historically, marriage was NOT a religious matter-it was a CIVIL CONTRACT. It was not until less than the last 100 years in the US that people started marrying for love, AND marriage did not become a matter of religion, even in Christian cultures, until later. In more recent history, Western European marriages started out as a business contract to establish hereditary lines. According to the book The History of Human Marriage, in the early Christian era, marriage was considered a private matter not regulated by the church or the sate. In fact, the church didn't fully take over the business of marriage until 1563 at the Council of Trent.

Now on the matter of those who run businesses but have moral beliefs that contradict the secular protection of same sex marriage:

When beginning a business, you must decide what form of business entity to establish. For many people, they choose to incorporate their business. 

"A corporation is a body--it is a legal person in the eyes of the law. It can bring lawsuits, can buy and sell property, contract, be taxed, and even commit crimes. It's most notable feature: a corporation protects its owners from personal liability for corporate debts and obligations--within limits."

"The corporation is considered an artificially created legal entity that exists separate and apart from those individuals who created it and carry on its operations."

"Now, this entity, which serves the public, typically, has the following advantages: "

"Owners are protected from personal liability fro company debts and obligations."
"Corporations have a reliable body of legal precedent to guide owners and managers."
"Corporations are the best vehicle for eventual public companies."

In other words, the OWNER is A SEPARATE ENTITY FROM THE BUSINESS. This same advantage "shields the owner" from losing personal assets if the business goes under, but also "shields the owner" from being able to decide for the business to discriminate against someone based on the owner's belief system-because the BUSINESS does not have a belief system. The business does not have a conscience that would be affected, nor does the business have a moral position on any issue. The owners get the advantage of being SEPARATE from their business, but the business ALSO HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO NOT DISCRIMINATE OR VIOLATE LAW. 
quoted information from :

the article can be found at