Happy New Year! And Book Update!

We all know 2020 has been challenging to say the very least, but I think 2021 offers hope. I doubt things will ever go back to the normal we knew, but we’re resilient and change can be for the better.

This pandemic has been a period of growth for me — as a mother and writer since I spent a lot more time doing both. I’m excited to see where this growth will take me.

2021 — I’m ready for you!

And a book update —

My poetry book, Free to Roam: Poems from a Heathen Mommy, will be released on February 2nd. It is for sale on my publisher’s site freethoughthouse.com, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Happy New Year to you all!


A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.20 “Learning from a Pandemic”

We’ve reached the end of the road! This will be my last letter for a while as I am hoping to start fresh with new ideas and posts in January.

Happy New Year, everyone! Stay safe!


Dear daughter,

In 2020, you turned four years old, and the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees. Some countries fared better than others; the US was not one of them. As I write this on a cool and windy September night, 207,000 Americans have lost their lives to the virus.

I’m not saying all of those deaths could have been prevented, but there are very simple ways to slow the spread of the virus that many Americans are ignoring. Had our leaders expressed the seriousness of the outbreak and put mask mandates in place sooner, some of those we lost may still be alive. 

Masks are a very simple thing people can do to respect and care for others in their community. So simple. Scientists and medical professionals have been stressing the use of masks since the beginning of the pandemic, and yet some people refuse to wear them. Some argue it’s infringing on their personal freedoms.

When there’s a public health crisis, your “personal freedoms” take a back seat and you think about how to protect your family and community. This is a dire time and we wish we could return to some sense of normal, but for that to happen we have to think of our community as a whole. Even if you don’t like masks, wear it to protect others and because it’s the right thing to do.

Dear daughter — you probably won’t remember this time in history, but you’re here — you’re living it. This time has taught me to think of others. Wear a mask because it’s simple. Help out where you can. Think of your community, and trust the experts.

Hopefully, nothing else will happen like this in your lifetime, but if it does, learn from this chaotic year and do what’s best for the community — and country and even world — as a whole. Help others because we are in this together.



PS You have some adorable masks.

A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.19 “Four-Letter Word” and “Blame and Responsibility”

Dear adorably innocent daughter,

You’re only four-years-old, but you can use the word “fuck” properly in just about every part of the sentence. 

I know it’s my fault. I really have a mouth on me sometimes.

I can’t help but laugh every time you say it even though dad tells me not to.

 Two adorable examples come to mind:

One summer day we were playing in the sandbox and you complained about the “fucking bugs”. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants. We live in an old swamp and I hate the fucking bugs, too.

But I think my favorite would be the night we were working on craft projects and you dropped a paper plate full of glitter. It went everywhere — all over the table, rug, and floor. You froze, then looked at me with fear in your eyes, and let out a soft and innocent “fuck”. I could never be mad after that.

Maybe I don’t have a lesson in this letter, and maybe I’m a nieve first-time parent, but I really don’t care if you swear. Pop Pop and dad really want to curb your habit, but I just always feel there are bigger fish to fry. Plus I’m not a fan of censorship.

Just always know there’s a time and place. If we’re hanging out at home, let it fly. If you’re at a job interview, maybe not so much. 




Dear daughter,

When you take god and the devil out of the equation, you become responsible for your own actions. 

Too many people use religion as an excuse for their wrongdoings. 

I’m sure by now you know what it feels like to be hurt. Keep that in mind in the way you treat others. Empathy is held dear to families of humanist parents. We are good humans and we own up to our mistakes and learn from them. We respect others.

God and the devil have absolutely nothing to do with the personal growth you will experience from the ups and downs of life and your interactions with others.

It is your responsibility to acknowledge when you are wrong and become a better person because of it. 

You don’t need religion to have a moral compass. In fact, you’re probably better without it. 

The Golden Rule isn’t Christian; it’s found in cultures all over the world. Please keep it in mind.



A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.18 “Self-confidence”

Dear daughter,

I sometimes struggle with self-confidence. I’ve always been an ambitious person and often define myself by my accomplishments. However, once I achieve a goal, it’s never enough. I need more — something bigger and better. I think it’s important to stay hungry, but at some point, you should also be happy with what you have. I always think “if I reach this one goal I will be happy” but that’s not always the case. No matter what I do, I’m never good enough.

Maybe there’s a way to change my thinking so this wasn’t always the case, but I haven’t made an effort to change yet.

Then there’s dealing with your physical flaws. I was cross-eyed most of my life, but two years ago I had surgery to straighten my eyes. Before the surgery, I wondered if I was doing the right thing — going under the knife for cosmetic reasons. It was pretty painful, but the surgery was worth it. It really improved my confidence. Before the surgery, I didn’t even like to look people in the eye. I was embarrassed. Now I look people in the eye and smile. 

I also hate my eyebrows. I have had several microblade appointments in the past couple of years now and l love it. It seems to have the same effect as the eye surgery. I was surprised that dad was okay with it considering it costs hundreds of dollars, but he knows how important it is to me. 

So those are flaws I was able to change and it had a positive effect on my life and self-confidence. But what about the things you can’t change?

I’m overweight, and as long as I’m on psych meds, I probably always will be. Not to mention, women in our family tend to be curvy. My weight sometimes bothers me, but not as much as one might think. Surprisingly, I have been able to accept this flaw. Sometimes I even feel sexy.

When it comes to confidence I try to focus on the positive, change the flaws I can and want to, and accept the flaws I can’t. 

People have inherent worth just in being a unique human being — logically I know this and it’s important to remember. Maybe you feel you accomplish more than someone else in certain areas, but that certainly doesn’t put them beneath you. All that ambition and those goals I have don’t put me above anyone else. We all have positive and negative traits, but as humans, we are equal. 

As you grow up, I can’t wait to see all your traits, qualities, goals, likes, and dislikes, etc. There’s so much that goes into making you a unique person, and I hope you will always feel confident in who you are. I will help in any way I can. You are amazing.



A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.17 “Be Different”

Dear daughter,

Nobody wants to be different growing up. I always felt I stood out in some ways, but most of the time I didn’t want to. As a child and preteen, I would try to wear what the popular girls wore. I wanted to do my hair and makeup like them. Thankfully, in high school, I broke away from that a bit, but I was still self-conscious. 

There was a girl back home the same age as me and about the same size — tiny little thing. She was pretty and bubbly and everyone loved her. We were in cheerleading together. 

This girl was different — and even proud of it. She stood out and that seemed to make her even more popular even though no one would dare follow in her footsteps. She listened to old music and dressed however she wanted. Her palms would sweat when she was nervous, and instead of being self-conscious, she found ways to laugh at her flaws and everyone thought it was cute.

She was a very genuine person and I always admired her confidence. I envied her even. 

As an adult, I know I’m different, and for once, I want to be different. When you’re an adult you kind of stop giving a fuck. I feel being unique has helped my career and strengthened my relationships. When you show people your true self, others will follow suit and do the same. Celebrating differences can be a great way to connect.

I know growing up is hard and you feel like everyone is judging you, but I hope you can find the confidence to always be yourself. I know you are unique — one of a kind — and I will always be proud of you. 



A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.16 “Respect That Freedom”

Dear daughter,

Religious claims are often ridiculous and far-fetched, and it’s hard to believe that anyone truly sees them as fact. But, don’t be an asshole. Deep down we’re all just humans trying to get by. 

It’s true, religious people can often be assholes to those living a secular life, but don’t fight fire with fire. We don’t have to emulate disrespectful behavior. Show empathy and consider what might have brought them to the place that they’re at. 

Debates are one thing, blatant disrespect is another.

We all know that Christians try to “spread the word” and while it’s annoying, it’s probably best to walk away. I once was talking to a friend in high school who decided he wanted to convert me, and when I didn’t budge in my convictions, he told me he’d rather talk to a shoebox because it opens up more than me. It was uncalled for and the discussion was not worth risking our friendship over.

Don’t be like that. I’m doing my best not to either.

We’re all humans free to live our lives how we want. Respect that freedom.



I’m Not Alone – Thank You Great Lakes Atheists

This past Monday I spoke with Great Lakes Atheists about my blog and upcoming poetry book, Free to Roam: Poems From a Heathen Mommy. I can’t even tell you how amazing it is to find a group like this right here in Toledo. Being an atheist can be pretty lonely in the Midwest so I never really expected to find like-minded people in my own community. I appreciate their kind words and support and I look forward to participating in other meetings and events with them.


My poetry book will be released on February 2nd and it can be pre-ordered here on Amazon.

A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.15 “Be Careful”

Dear daughter,

Be careful. It’s dangerous being a woman. I have been assaulted, drugged, and stalked, and unfortunately, that’s an all too common narrative in an American woman’s life. 

Always be aware of your surroundings and have friends and loved ones around as much as possible. In the three situations I mentioned above, friends and family were able to intervene. These situations could have turned out a lot worse if they hadn’t been around. 

I don’t have the answers. I wish life as a woman wasn’t this way. The best I can offer is to live by the saying, “Expect the best and prepare for the worst”. 

I will always be here to help you in any way I can.




A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.14 “You’re a Mystery”

Dear daughter,

You’re a mystery to me.

It’s the summer after your fourth birthday and you’ve cut up two toys with scissors. I find it quite disturbing. It’s not like they were a truck or jump rope; they were an alien and dinosaur. They had eyes.

I personify everything — even as an adult — and could never hurt anything with eyes. 

Maybe it’s good that you are a little less sensitive than I am, but I hope throughout your childhood I can instill a value in empathy.

Maybe toys aren’t a good example here, but it’s important to respect and care for other creatures and property — like our kitties, Jaxie and Belle Belle, and others’ belongings.

We must always be considerate of others’ feelings and needs as well as the world around us. 

It’s possible to have a better understanding of others when you picture their pain as your own. Please keep this in mind.

Maybe they were just toys and you’re just four years old, but for some reason, your actions still bother me. I’m sure it’s mostly my own sensitivity, but hopefully, in time I will understand your behavior. 

I’m still excited to see the person you become.



A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.13 “Give Credit”

To my incredible daughter —

You are strong, resilient, and capable of so much. Success and happiness are within your grasp. Be proud of your accomplishments. Give yourself credit.

So many people claim god is responsible for their success and don’t recognize their own hard work and inner strength.

Give credit to others when it’s due. Modern medicine and science come to mind, but there are so many people working to make the world a better place. God isn’t responsible for that. 

Humans are amazing with limitless potential. No deity required. Let’s recognize that.

I can’t wait to see all of the incredible things you will do.