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Accountability

It is nearing…

I know no one reads this except me. I’ve accepted that. Just as Dumbledore needed his pensieve, I need this blog.

I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.
-Albus Dumbledore

Eight years old is considered the “age of accountability” in the LDS church. I suppose that means I have to bring up my apostasy again. I don’t know if it will renew the fights that have been known to occur when I bring up the church but I hope it won’t.

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I haven’t ever said anything (that I know of) about the girls being taken to church. They have gone both to LDS services and different Christian churches with family members, though I think I could count the number of times on one hand. This seems to be a different issue though. Should I allow her to be baptized into a church that she knows nothing about? Is there even going to be any push-back from the other side? Will I have to fight for my stance? Hopefully all three of these answers are no.

I’ve been online and reading through the thought processes of other people who have gone through this. Some say to be the man that baptizes your kid while others say to take a stand and make the decision wait until it is fully understood by the child. While each side is going to work for some family I haven’t wavered from what I thought I would do before I read all the stories. I am completely unable to do the first as I have renounced my membership and faith in the LDS church, but that doesn’t have any affect on my thoughts.

The fact is that I won’t agree to Sariah, and Sophia in a few years, being baptized into the church at eight. I am steadfast in my position that they won’t be taken “into the fold” until they choose to associate with the church.

Since I’m bringing up the theism stuff again I think I will take this time to share a podcast that I’ve been listening to lately. Unequally Yoked is a show of a couple talking to each other about their beliefs and their journey to where their family is now. I know I haven’t been this open in my relationships and use this blog to get what I need out of my head.

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Naomi is LDS and Neal is an atheist. I enjoy their open and honest discussion and am actually envious of it. I haven’t listened to it yet but one of their children is coming up to eight years old and is the first to do so since Neal renounced his faith. I hope to hear their discussion on the topic but I don’t feel that it will change my position on the topic.

I have tried to stay away from religion since the fighting and distancing of family members, as part of that I don’t know where some people stand. I guess it will all come out soon. In reference to that, I’ve been reading about and listening to something called Street Epistemology, another post to follow at some point.

 

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A Quick Message for Sariah

So, last night you told me about a boy in your class. I thought I had more time. Just kidding. David Tyson, I think was his name.

You told me about how he talks funny and messes with you. I had to explain that boys are just like that. When they like you they are usually too shy or embarrassed to say they like you, instead they pick on girls and kind of try to deny that they like her. It took some probing but I got you to admit that you liked him too. I am so proud that I could get you to talk about it.
I don’t know if you are still this way but you have always been shy/embarrassed when confronted with even the most basic things. In ballet you were always embarrassed to show off your dances but then on other days you’d just dance your heart out. You never wanted to be congratulated for doing something good and god forbid we put you in front of a crowd for anything. I love that about you because I am the same way.
It’s quite funny that this came up now, it’s only been a week or so since you and your mother found my old yearbooks and saw where I had drawn a heart around my elementary school crush, Brittany Wiseman. I will never forget her and I wonder if the same will happen between you and David Tyson (apparently there are two Davids so everyone calls them by their full name).
I can remember my feelings for Brittany and constantly wonder what if but I doubt very much that I would change anything if I could go back in time.
Don’t spend your time worrying about the past. Hind sight is 20/20, yadda yadda. The past is in the past, the future is unwritten, the present is just that, a present. Enjoy your life now.
As always, from your loving father.
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100th Post, Already?

Believe it guys, I’ve hit 100 posts already.

I wasn’t sure when I started this blog if I would keep up with it, I know I said I would, but you know we say things sometimes that we want to be true but we can’t actually KNOW are true. Amazingly that statement has come to mind a lot over the last few months in my dealings with coming to terms with my dissension from religion. I’ve met and talked to many people who say so many things that they just can’t have the knowledge they claim to have. I have had very few successes in getting those people to admit they can’t know that but I have also had a few victories getting people to listen to reason.

I do not say victory in that I have made them reject the premise of god and religion I say it because they admitted that they say some things just because you have to say that to remain a faithful follower. Making these few people actually look at what they are claiming to know and they realize it is just recitation and not actual knowledge is uplifting for me. That has been my goal from the beginning; not to make everyone I know become atheists, but to make everyone I know actually think about what they hold so dear.

I’ve started a read through of the bible, following a podcast/blog I found called Bible Skeptic Podcast, to ensure that when I come into a conversation or debate that I have the knowledge that is necessary to refute claims that are being made. Already I have come across verses that I thought I knew but I learn now that they actually say what I thought they did, and I’m only into Exodus. Its going to be fun but its going to take time. I’m keeping my blog and my website up to date on my progress as much as I can if you want to read along and we can discuss as we go.

Christmas is coming up too. With this being my first year out as an atheist, I am sure my family is confused about my position on Christmas. Knowing this I am debating composing a letter to explain my position, which is basically that I don’t (and haven’t for a long time) expect any gifts but I will celebrate the time of year with family and friends and food. The holiday was originally not associated with Christianity and that can easily be brought back.

I am not going to waste this momentous post completely on my ramblings about religion, I’ll waste a little on my dear family too, I guess, lol.

Sariah has gotten a haircut and is doing great in her preschool at Little Country School House. She’s made good friends with a little girl, Liya, and potentially two little boys have crushes, Gabe and Colton, guess its time to get a gun and a cleaning kit. She’s growing up so fast and I’m so proud of what she knows and how much she likes to learn. I try my hardest to teach her everything I know when she asks questions but I know I have to reign it in to not overwhelm her. I’m so glad that we got the opportunity to enroll her though I wish it had come a different way than Crystal losing her job with CMCSS.

We had a rough patch personally and financially and I don’t think we’re completely out of either one but we’re on our way. As I typed that last sentence the song “If we make it through December” came to mind. I can take some creative license and change some parts of the song to coincide with our lives recently. Like he says, this is meant to be a happy time (this post, not just this time of year).

Sariah has had so much fun playing with one of our neighbors, Jr, but sadly this week they will be moving away. We’ll miss you Tiffany, Brandon, and Jr! Thanks for the memories.

Sometimes when we are at home I think Sariah is acting bad but then we go to Monkey Joes or Kids-N-Play and I just feel bad about ever thinking it. I am so proud of her and how she acts that I can’t put it into words; it’s awesome. I just can’t understand how some of these parents can just let their children go crazy and destroy everything and be mean or aggravating to everyone else around. I don’t like Sariah being mean but when one of those kids are around I just tell her she won’t be getting in trouble if she does the same thing to them that they do to her. Took your toy? Take it back! Push you? Push them back! Don’t be mean but don’t let them take advantage of you.

In other news, the lab I work at is having a rough patch too. A weekend coworker of mine quit, the hematology section leader quit, our director quit, our quality lady quit, all in all i think we’re down about 15 positions. Melinda our assistant director, now interim director, has had to take on the responsibilities of at least 4 positions in the absences and it doesn’t look like help is coming soon. I feel so bad for her and everyone seems to get mad at her but when you have to think about the whole lab and there are 10 people out on injury or pregnant, s#!ts gotta get done somehow. I’m on her side and will back up her decisions most of the time.

We’re in the process of getting an automated blood bank instrument to help with the workload and I really hope it turns out better than most people think it will. I like the idea and I think it will help for the off shifts but I just don’t know if day shift really needs it. I know it will come in handy if we are still down so many positions by the time it is correlated, but we’ve still got work to do before then.

Speaking of creative license (i know that was a bad transition but whatever) have you seen the movie City of Bones? If you haven’t yet, DON’T! Don’t waste your money on the theater version, wait until it shows up on torrent or something, its not worth paying for anyways. I cannot believe that I urged Crystal to read that series and then wanted to go see the movie so bad that I went after a 14 hour work day and it turned out that bad. I’m sure lots of people have given some good points but they are so few and far between that they aren’t worth mentioning. I do still urge people to read the books because the book is great.

Well, this is it 100 posts, Its hard to realize that I’ve actually kept at it this long, usually I give up on projects; you should see our crafting stuff at our house. With crystal being a teacher, Sariah being a child, and me wanting to do so much cool stuff but giving up…we’ve got a lot!

Sariah is constantly changing her mind on what she wants to dress up as for Halloween and is really excited about her 5th birthday coming up. I’ve decided to be Ralph and one of Sariah’s potentials is Vanellope, but she quickly turns to mermaid or princess too.

Well, that’s about it. That is a recap of our lives recently though I’m sure you are aware much more has happened that I have not written about and even more that I’ve just forgotten. Lots of love from the Darks house to you and yours. Thanks for reading and keep following along.

Road Trip 2013 Is In The Books

I must regretfully write that our trip has come to its end. We are at Grammy and Grampy’s house for dinner and the night, thanks you guys. Yes, I know I missed my post last night, I will incorporate it in to this one, though, you really didn’t miss much.
Monday morning I posted a great picture of my breakfast at the beach, awesome. After everyone else got up we spent an hour or so before a storm rolled in though we also had to check out by 11. We said our goodbyes to GGMA and GGPA and drove up the eastern coast to fill the gas tank and our bellies in St. Augustine. If you happen to be going through there and need a fill up, Casa Maria’s will do the trick. Before days end we made our way up near Atlanta to be nearer to The Center for Puppetry Arts.
Tuesday morning we checked out of the EconoLodge and made our way to Atlanta. We had a fun time first finding then riding on the MARTA. After a short walk, we made it to the Center. This is a great show for the kids and for the parents. The kids love it because its one of their stories acted out by puppets right in front of them; the parents, at least Crystal and I, like it because they add sounds and extra dialogue to the story from the book. After the show the puppeteers unmask themselves and explain how they move and use the puppets during the show, very good idea for the older kids who understand that it’s not a tv show and something extra is going on. If we were closer wed definitely get a season pass and make it back to some other shows. On our way back home to middle Tennessee I stopped just before the border to get some peaches because you get the best from where it grows best and nothing beats Georgia peaches.
We’re back home to Tennessee and none of us are ready to be back. I have learned that the next time we get a beach vacation we will not spend it driving the whole time. Although driving was fun, it turned out to be more expensive and time consuming than I thought it would be. Choosing a single hotel and staying there and spending our time at the beach or pool will be a much better use of time and money.
Pensacola Beach, Clearwater Beach, and Daytona Beach are the main beaches we visited and I can’t recommend them enough. The EconoLodge at Daytona was great; great price for being directly on the beach and clean, updated rooms. We only visited Pensacola and Clearwater beaches for a short time so no recommends for hotels in those areas, but the beaches themselves deserve to be visited. Hopefully in the future we’ll get the chance to return and I’ll get a recommend for you. Another thing I hope we get another chance to try is Aunt Catfish’s On The River in Daytona Beach. We tried to get dinner there on Sunday night but the wait was an hour and forty five minutes! Recommends on food from the trip include Casa Maria’s which I’ve already mentioned, Earl of Sandwich, and Sloppy Joes.
Sariah says her favorite part was finding shells; she’s come home with a bag full of them and either a tooth or nail.Crystal’s favorite part was Clearwater because the beach was clean and the waves were negligible. My favorite part was staying at a hotel on the beach, not having to get up and drive to and from the beach. Potentially our next trip could be staying at a hotel on the beach at Clearwater and spend the dusk and dawn searching for shells; the best of all three.
This experience has been great, and I am glad to have spent so much good times with my family in the beautiful locations we visited. I hope that you have been entertained reading about our escapades the last week or so and keep up with me for more info on the family. See ya!

Cumulative Punch Bug Leaderboard (last two days)
Crystal……25.5
Daddy…….22.5
Sariah…….11

The .5 wasn’t half a bug, though I’d like to see that, it was a bug that crystal and I got pretty much the same time.

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This morning GGMA and I had a conversation about an article in the paper covering the over usage of the word awesome. The article urged us to think about the true meaning of the word; inspiring awe. I have in my life used the word, like many of us do, to describe my dinner, my experience at a store, or even my day when someone asks ‘how’ve you been?” I didn’t really understand the importance of the correct usage until we arrived here at the beach this afternoon.
Our arrival at the beach has, luckily, coincided with my finishing Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins. This book spends a portion of each chapter explaining the myths from around the world concerning natural phenomena. Where rainbows come from, what causes earthquakes, and how we were created are all touched on in this book but I don’t think he touched on the grace and power the ocean.
I have been to the beach many times in my life, but this is the first trip after coming to terms with ‘life, the universe, and everything’. Sitting here I can understand how the ancients attributed the power and majesty of the oceans to Poseidon, or Neptune if you prefer the roman pantheon. Looking up at the wonders of the universe seeing the infinite space stretching out above and around us is awe inspiring. Feeling the power of the water and the ability of the waves to form and calm in mere minutes can lead you believe there is an intelligence behind it, but if we look closely and examine the actual causes we find reason and science far better explain how these things occur.
Crystal, Sariah, and I had fun earlier today playing in the surf and sand. We built a sand castle, as best we could, but it was promptly destroyed by the smallest of waves. After searching for shells and possibly picking up every single one on our stretch of beach, Sariah was ready to head to lunch, cool off in the room for a while, and return later to check out the hotel pool. GGMA and GGPA hung out by the pool with us and GGPA even took a dip and helped Sariah overcome her fear of jumping off the side of the pool. GGPA says he doesn’t like to speak in public because of his stutter but I’ll tell you now, with all the strangers he spoke with today on the boardwalk and at the pool, it’s just an excuse he uses. These two are another set of awe inspiring people in my life.
I vow to restrain my use of the word awesome to those items that are truly awe inspiring and I hope you will too. I know I will still use the word but that is only because my life is, as everyone’s is, full of inspiring events and people; we need only concentrate on the correct ones.

Punch Bug Leaderboard
Sariah…….2
Daddy……..2
Mommy…..1

Here’s To You Captain Bob

Captain Bob thank you for making our trip to Silver Springs worthwhile, well at least close to.
We took a glass bottom boat ride today with Captain Bob. He explained the history and geography of the silver springs area. The park itself was kind of sad. In its hay day it was nice and well worth the entry fee; it has a lush history with famous concerts and more than a few movies, most notably The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The boat ride was fun and I’d advise everyone to go on one, but your chances for the Silver Springs trip is fading. The Silver Springs park is going to be handed over to the state of Florida in September and turned into a state park so, I presume, no more boat rides.
Other than Silver Springs we have had a day at home, the food has been much better than anything we’ve eaten so far on our trip, thank you GGMA!

Punch Bug Leaderboard
Mommy…….1
Daddy…….0
Sariah……..0

A Dry Day

Well it was dry except for the waterpark, underwater mermaids, and all the rain but we didn’t get to swim any today. We’ve finally arrived at GGMA and PA! Ocala, FL it’s good to see ya.
Weeki Wachee was the big item for today and it did not disappoint. The mermaids were pretty good acting out Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. The best part of the show was most likely not planned; a turtle in the water was constantly trying to get close to the performers and actually bumped into them a couple of times. I loved seeing all of the kids using their minds being skeptics, constantly asking if they were real and where their legs were and why they needed air if they were mermaids. Being a skeptic is ingrained in us and we need to keep that in our kids for a better future. The park was cool, walking around with us were peacock and peahens. The waterpark that is connected was closed off and on because of nearby storms, so no pool time today. Lunch was great at Perkins, apparently a local restaurant chain, wish we had some up north; the food was good, service was good, and the baked sweets looked yummy.
A funny thing from last night, we were watching AFV and one of the final movies was a wedding scene with the pastor’s cell phone ringing in the middle of the service, he answers a call from god, haha yeah I know but the best part is that the pastor I recognized the instant he said hello on the phone….Kent Hovind. Another story? Well, ok.
Remember those Heavens Gate folks, yeah Nikes and Kool-aid. Story is that they bought a telescope to look for their spaceship behind Hale-Bop but were unable to find it….what did they do; use that lack of evidence to turn from their beliefs? Nope they returned it stating it didn’t work correctly. Insane right? I think this is a good story for everyone, if you hold a belief and find direct counter evidence for that belief you need to let go of that belief, there is no reason to hold on.

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Yet another great day with my ladies. Got up late this morning and had to leave the Hilton Garden Inn. We didn’t make it to Weeki Wachee so our plans have been adjusted. WW is tomorrow, GGs tomorrow night, and another day at the beach.
Before leaving Orlando we visited the most unique McDonalds in the world, I think. This is not like any MickeyDs you’ve ever been to; it has the regular menu and a play place but it also has an arcade and sells pizza, pastas, waffles, panini, and the like….insane. Sorry to say I didn’t have a great experience with the lady who took our order being rude when I asked for no lettuce on my breakfast sandwich and an unexpected spread only croissant. Crystal, however, had a good Belgian Waffle with strawberries and whipped cream, and of course Sariah picked at a sausage biscuit and had fun in the arcade and play place. On our way out we hit up the Bass Pro Shop Orlando; Sariah got a new mermaid doll and a net to take to the beach to catch fish or crabs, I got some fun Christmas gifts for some of you guys, and Crystal wouldn’t let us leave without some fudge (pretty good idea though I think).
Since we changed our plans for GGs and Weeki Wachee we had an extra night to stay somewhere and some time that we could easily fill with some beach time so we drove over towards Weeki Wachee to be closer for when we go. We’re now bunkered down in the HoJo in Port Richie and just got back from the beach. We drove down to Clearwater Beach and it was well worth the drive. Sariah got in and was loved swimming and looking for shells. I’m so glad she likes the beach, I was worried that she wouldn’t want to go in and we’d have to stay on the beach the whole time.
Looking forward to seeing the mermaids tomorrow but more so for GGMA and PA!

Punch Bug Leaderboard
Crystal……5
Sariah…….2
Daddy…….1

Good Food, Good Times….O’Charley’s?

No, not O’Charley’s, the Browns; Madey, Mickey, Jay, and Angela! We had such a great time with these old library friends today. We all met up at Downtown Disney and strolled, shopped, and ate. Madey and Sariah were quite excited to see each other, as were the adults, but Mickey could have cared less; good ole Mickey. I haven’t talked with J much before but I like him; he got two small references I made that I doubted anyone would get (one about Family Guy and the other about Julian Smith), I knew at least my wife wouldn’t but I like to think passers-by hear and appreciate them.
Downtown Disney is great. We were able to spend a few hours walking around and didn’t have to pay admission or anything. We walked through the largest Disney store, in the world I think. Sariah actually did come out with a set of 10 princess dolls but for only $30! Score! We would have spent a few dollars at the Giradelli store if it hadn’t had a line out the door, better luck next time ladies.
We ate at Earl of Sandwich, it was great and actually cost less than our lunch at Denny’s. I had the Cannonballer (meatball sub), Crystal had the Caprese’, and Sariah stuck with her old favorite of Mac and Cheese. The mac is pretty darn good but still comes in second to Panera’s.
At The sandwich shop is a splash pad or interactive fountain the kids can play in, and of course, Madey and Sariah had to get all in. They both came out SOAKED and exhausted.
Depending on the weather we may have to change our Weeki Wachi plans but I hope they hold out. Excited to get to see GGMA and GGPA soon, Ocala here we come, soon.

Punch Bug Leaderboard
Daddy…..5
Sariah…..2
Mommy…..ZERO! Aww tough luck 🙂

A Lot Of Car Time

Second day down, almost completely in the car; about 450 miles. We decided to make a detour when we set out this morning and added Panama City Beach, FL to the itinerary. Had a great time at the beach even though we didn’t go into the water to swim. We just took our shoes off and were only going to go ankle deep, but a wave got Sariah and she fell in so she played while mommy and I stayed out further.
On the long trip to Orlando we saw the Google Maps Car! Pretty cool to see that. We are now set up in the Hilton Garden Inn, pretty nice but I, nor Crystal, would suggest going to the restaurant in the lobby. The prices were nice but I’ve had better fish and chips from the hospital that I work at. Looking forward to not having to drive much tomorrow and possibly seeing some friends.

Punch Bug Leaderboard
Daddy…….4
Mommy…..3
Sariah……2

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