Finding God in Science

I am just fascinated the more and more I study various sciences, how magnificent and amazing the human body and the environmental Earth are and how its creation are utterly a miracle. There are so many things happening spontaneously and rhythmically within the human body 24 hours a day that are not consciously thought about and just happen on their own. Of course, they aren’t really happening on their own. In chemistry, we learn about protons, neutrons, and electrons that shift and bond depending upon attraction or other environmental stimuli that impact energy and matter.

These tiny little pieces of energy are not visible to our naked eye and yet, go into every aspect of what human beings do and say within a day. Our body is having an infinite number of chemical reactions that are taking place each second that we are living and we don’t even take notice of these. The miracle of just these chemical reactions brings me a sense of awe. I was reading today about the making of salt and just shaking my head back and forth thinking about this fact. Sodium and chloride by themselves are very different substances compared to when they are together. Sodium is a silvery white metal and chlorine is a poisonous gas used to make bleach, but when an attraction takes place between these two items it becomes a main ingredient within the human body that without it there cannot be tissue perfusion or normal cellular metabolism. Without salt, the human body can cease to exist.

The more I read and understand about science, the more I realize the unique balance that is needed for human beings and this Earth to coexist. I homeschool my children and it is amazing to go through school curriculum and learn about watersheds, soil types, tectonic plates, the universe, planets, the solar system, the environment, pollutants, etc. The responsibility that humans were given by God to not only care for themselves, but to care for this amazing and complex Earth is just astounding. The role of science and its missionaries cannot be underestimated. I know this is such a strange way to use the term missionaries, but aren’t we all missionaries to our own bodies, each other, and the Earth? I was listening to someone speak about how divided our nation is right now. They made a very dire statement that America and its people have not been this divided since the Civil War in 1861.

I have always believed that faith and education can bring a balance to individuals and this Earth, but like salt if those two elements don’t work together to create a bond they can be poisonous or exist as some flashy metal. My reading of scripture doesn’t often coincide with someone else’s reading of scripture because history and science play a role in how I tend to interpret scripture. Wouldn’t it be an amazing world to be able to talk about people’s interpretations of scripture in an open and evolving method that doesn’t consist of one person telling another person that their interpretation was wrong? Ultimately, I think God (or whatever you choose to call this ultimate energy) gave us a world that we cannot live in without working together and showing compassion for each other’s lives and experiences. I think when we try to direct each other to live a certain way because that’s how “we” process our experiences, we are taking away from God’s amazing pathways that were set about when the universe was created.

I think individual human judgment is one of the scariest and destructive ways that we can do harm to our neighbors next door that might look a little different from us or pray a little differently. I think we have forgotten how to talk to one another and even how to talk to ourselves in this high speed world of ours. Whatever the mode or method, we’ve got to bring balance back not only to ourselves, but to how we view others and how we interact. Love and compassion can be so extremely difficult when you are trying to change yourself and change how you interact with someone. When that other person or persons does not choose love and compassion as a way to interact with you, it can be exhausting and defeating, but I don’t feel like we can give up.

I think each of us human beings was born or chose to be born in this particular time period to help bring us all together and to look honestly and courageously at ourselves, our behaviors, and at the way that we are treating this Earth. We have to be able to look at each other and see each other’s gifts and not deficits. We need every single one of us to understand the complexities of ourselves, our bodies, and this beautiful gorgeous planet to move forward. Each day I rise and am given a new chance to choose love and compassion. I don’t always succeed, but I need to try and I hope you can too. We need to tell each other, I love you more. I see you. I may not know you, but I am open to knowing you, helping you, and loving you because that’s what we were brought here to do.

Impeachment Trials

I am a Democrat so if you aren’t, this blog post may offend you. I wanted to post this first to give you the option of “opting” out of reading this. The following statements are my feelings about the nation, the last 3 years, and the current impeachment trials of President Donald Trump.

I will never forget November 8, 2016 when Donald Trump became the president-elect of the United States. My children were already in bed and I remember Mike (my husband) and I standing with mouths agape staring at the television not believing what we were seeing. Nowhere in my mind did I ever believe that Trump could win a presidential election in the United States. For me, there was always a distinct line between reality television and politics. I lived in Iowa when Jesse Ventura became the governor of Minnesota, but kept a close eye on the state since my entire childhood was spent there. Wouldn’t the nation have learned from the mistakes of Minnesota?

Nope. I don’t know about you, but I think I fell into a two-to-three week depressed state after Trump’s win. I didn’t want to leave home and it was strange when I did because there were so many odd looks that individuals were giving to each other. I’ll admit…I totally was giving them, too. My eyes probed for the people who were happy and had voted for this man to enter the White House. I wanted to lay eyes on the individuals that had voted for this man. I had a big reason to be pissed! This man had talked about women as if they were an object and had referred to grabbing their “p” whenever he liked. And somehow, he was now the most powerful man in the United States of America. I was furious and I knew that women had to have voted for him!

What was their rationale? How could they allow a person that talked about their sex in such a way to become the leader of the free world? I’m glad no woman told me in those first three weeks they voted for Trump because I think I would’ve said things to her that I could’ve never have taken back. Fast forward to now, this last three years for me has been about waking up. Donald Trump’s presidency has meant many changes within our family. I now understand the importance of raising sons that respect women in all factions. My sons and I have difficult conversations I’d probably would’ve never had without the last 3 years. We have these conversations because I don’t ever want my boys to act in any way like Trump. I recognize that Trump isn’t the only man that treats women like objects. It gives me great pleasure to know that I have raised 2 boys that honor, respect, and cherish women. They have a mother with the highest educational degree possible and know that women can attain and achieve anything that a man can.

I have made it absolutely essential to engage my children in social activities that include LGBTQ, religious, cultural, and racial differences. I want my children to see my love and acceptance of all people no matter their differences. My two boys hate it (my daughter loves it), but I drag them to political events and have them meet presidential, congressional, and state candidates because even if they don’t get it now…they will understand the importance of being politically active. With Trump’s election win, I had to realize the lack of tolerance and the downright ignorance that existed within America in regards to SES, politics, race, religion, and ethnicity. I also had to recognize the inadequacies of funding given public school systems throughout the United States and how education (more than ever) needs desperate attention.

When I listen to the justification of Trump supporters for his reelection, much of his base does not seem to know the difference between conspiracy theories and facts. This is more than discouraging as I worked for 17+ years in the educational system attempting to assist students in recognizing the difference. It is not the complete fault of the educational system nor is it the fault of parents for not educating their own children. Many parents are working 2-3 jobs in order to afford their homes, healthcare costs, vehicles, insurance, etc. Educators are being paid pennies for 40-60 hour weeks that they spend their own money on in order to improve. Their classes are packed with 25-35 students and children aren’t getting adequate attention as classroom management is becoming impossible.

It is striking to watch the impeachment trials as commentators speculate why the average American struggles to understand basic governmental concepts. The many friends that I have that don’t seem to care about politics can’t stand the manner in which representatives talk to one another. I cannot place blame on them for this. I can’t even put into words the embarrassment I felt watching certain representatives talk to each other as they did. How can we expect our own children to talk to another in an appropriate manner when key leaders in our government cannot do so? Children only emulate what they see and I do believe that this can come from the top down.

I can recall various times where my husband and I have talked about not paying taxes or not paying bills because our own president was not doing so. I struggle with my own posts on social media because I am so angered by the meanness and continuous lies that keep pouring out of Trump’s mouth. It is so hard to be an educator and to talk about the importance of facts and the scientific method when the last three years have placed these imperatives to the side. Facts seem to be whatever anyone decides them to be at any moment, which is such a dangerous place for our nation to be.

As I homeschool my own children and teach them the facts, I make sure to highlight how ignoring science and truth can remain only temporarily intact. My son and I are reading stories about man vs. nature in English and we discuss how ignoring nature will have large future ramifications. I do not need to “convince” them that climate change is real because they put those scientific facts together themselves. Basic chemistry has taught them that warm currents rise while cold currents fall. They know how to find statistics from government and private agencies as to water temperatures in various locations. They understand mean, median, and mode and can gather data about the average number of hurricanes in the last many years and their cyclical patterns. Nature will not discriminate as it follows a truth humans attempt to argue over. It does not care about who is right and who is wrong. It only knows to survive and becomes violent or passive depending upon how humans treat it.

Honestly, I just want these impeachment trials to be over and to move on with someone that is going to work at healing this nation. I know some Democrats will not agree with this statement, but I can’t go back to a leader that is moderate and afraid to make sweeping changes that are desperately needed in this nation. There are too many parents working 2-3 jobs to get by, teachers that are struggling to educate too many children at once, too many individuals that are living paycheck to paycheck, and we are supposed to be the richest country in the world. I am getting too old and too tired to work 2-3 jobs the rest of my life, struggle to pay healthcare costs, and watch rich members of Congress play mind games with each other.

I want you to know that as a Democrat I am not enjoying this trial. I am hoping and praying that those who have refused to see the racism, SES disparities, religious persecutions, oppression of women, and the usage of foreign corruption to aid in our democratic process will FINALLY see what many of us Americans already saw when we voted in the 2016 election. Am I angry with individuals that voted for Trump? Absolutely! Yes! Do I hope that through this nightmare we can evolve as a nation toward increased hope, love, and connection? Absolutely. I do believe our nation came to the brink of losing our democracy because of this president. I do see the frailty of democracy in a way that I never have before. I hope that as each of us casts a vote in the next election, we truly take our responsibility seriously and do our research on who we are electing and why. I showed up and met almost all of the Democratic candidates for president and I asked them very difficult questions. I made them earn my vote. All of us deserve a president that we can be proud of.

My Journey with YouTube

According to society, I’m an old lady. 43 years old and I feel like an elderly person on YouTube. I don’t feel old, though. I feel like the 21 year old that used to run around a college campus with my backpack on. I definitely wouldn’t trade the knowledge that I’ve gained in 20+ years, but being on a YouTube channel helps me to feel young again. I finally understand the “lingo” meaning I finally know what “shook”, “triggered”, and “cring-y” are, but I don’t use the terms because it wouldn’t be genuine. This is one of the things about YouTube that’s so cool. If you aren’t yourself, audiences can see right through it and don’t like individuals that are genuine.

I wondered before I started if I could find a place on YouTube. I couldn’t believe it when I did. I think my daughter and husband are surprised that I have. I am coming up on 1 year of seriously working on my channel (Dr. Kerris Dillon) as a full-time YouTuber and have grown to 2,600+ subscribers. I have a channel that helps “students” with difficult academic subjects such as Psychology, Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and World History. My husband is a brilliant math teacher and I am now begging him to make Calculus, Algebra, Algebra II, and Geometry videos. My audience would like to have those added and its interesting to try and get my husband’s head wrapped around it.

It took about 5 months to get monetized and last month, I finally started earning $100.00 a month. I now have 158 videos and 1 patreon, which is totally exciting. Part of why I am writing this is to remind myself in one year of where I was at this point. I don’t plan on stopping YouTube anytime soon and I am very curious where I will be in one more year?!? This is the strangest job I’ve ever had, but I’m totally in love. Yes, there are trolls. Are you proud of me young people??? I know what that means!!! 95% of all my audience comments are positive and I have found this to be a totally rewarding experience. My husband built me a green screen and I learned more about video editing than what I ever thought I would.

Here are the things that I would tell myself one year ago if I could go back and give myself advice.

  1. The learning curve for having a YouTube channel is huge. It is a different kind of work, but you will fall in love with the process and helping others.
  2. It is okay to not totally know where you are going because the process of struggling with different videos helps you to navigate what your message is. Be okay with the randomness of what you are putting forward.
  3. Get the book, “YouTube Secrets” as early as possible. It is relevant at all phrases of your learning process.
  4. Don’t focus on video views or the money that each video makes. You cannot predict what will hit and what will not. The videos that got very little views are now getting many more views and people are thanking you for them.
  5. The search algorithm is different as you go. YouTube wants people that are going to “stay with them” so the number of videos that you make, the schedule that you put them out on, and the consistency is more important than views and subscribers.
  6. It took about 140 videos to see a huge increase in the search engine and people finding your videos.
  7. Your first 1,000 subscribers were the hardest to get. Once you reached 1,000 subscribers, you didn’t need to work on getting subscribers anymore. The more videos you put out, the more subscribers you got.
  8. You will be comfortable with yourself on camera. It is time to stop the self-hate of your weight and never being able to lose it. Still working on this. You are worth so much and your love of academic subjects is valuable to others. You have a place here and are needed. You are honing that message and helping others!
  9. You are going to fall in love with your audience. Teaching is not always in a classroom and being excited about bacteria, anatomy, and math are actually cool to some people and they appreciate how nerdy and in love with subjects that you are.
  10. Give out to others that might want to create YouTube channels. Do not forget to give back to help others and help them create their messages. Stay in love with the process and keep the focus on helping others.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDKCsUdOTo7FUdCNDDbGQ_A

The Burnout Generation

If you haven’t heard of or listened to “The Burnout Generation”, it is definitely worth it! It is a new book available on Audible written by Helen Petersen about individuals that are working 2-3 jobs, have difficulty paying their student loans, and feel consistently exhausted by the continual t0-do-list they are pressured to complete. Helen Petersen interviews various persons across the United States of different cultures, races, SES backgrounds, and sexes and their experiences in the workforce.

I am not of the same generation as Helen Petersen, but I definitely understand and am experiencing her exact problems. I think 80-90% of individuals in the workforce feel exactly the same way as this author. Student loans, the high cost of bills, and unrealistic expectations by employers seem to be at the root of the problem. The role of social media as an advantage and disadvantage also seem to lead to factors of burnout.

Is burnout a new phenomena or did our parents experience it and just push through these horrible feelings? Are young people and those that work multiple jobs truly experiencing a phenomena that hasn’t been experienced before in this nation? Is this phenomena a reflection of our isolation from each other and our incessant need for social media? As someone that homeschools my own children and is a YouTube creator, I definitely feel that isolation. I definitely don’t feel burnout anymore, though. I quit my job as a public school teacher and moved into a mobile trailer with my family. We will own our home in 5 years and will only be paying $350.00 a month to live in this trailer park after this time. Is it crazy that I really am not anxious to own a home, anymore?

We have 1100 square feet, 2 bathrooms, and our cost of living is extremely minimal. YouTube TV is $50.00 a month and our electricity and heating costs are also minimal. My burnout is done because I don’t accept the bullshit “American Dream” that owning a giant home and perfect cars makes a person happy. My children and I play lots of board games and video games and are able to go more places because we won’t be indebted to a house for the next 30 years. We are actually saving up to buy our own home some day, instead of paying the bank all of our money for the next 30 years. After my student loans started knocking at the door, I realized I didn’t want to play the game anymore and be house-poor. I wasn’t happy and I definitely feel a sense of peace that I’ve never felt before.

A Whole New Level of Crazy

So, had you driven by my home yesterday at 10:00 P.M., you would have seen me sitting on a stool with my dog attached to a leash. Why? Because I’ve had it with my 10 month old Golden Retriever pooping in the house! So, I’ve decided every single time I see him squatting in the house that I’m going to take him outside and sit there until he poops! I sat outside for 70 minutes last night waiting for this monster to poop! Of course, when he finally did it I whisper-yelled and gave him a treat congratulating him and he was totally excited.

I hope to God this little power struggle doesn’t go on for long! I am itching at least a dozen mosquito bites that I didn’t have before and I’m not looking forward to anymore. I can’t wait to get magically rich someday so I can just pay someone to duel with my dogs. I had to keep telling myself, “It will be worth it not to pick up poop anymore in the house!” There is nothing worse than an animal making themselves at home and just letting go on the linoleum. If I didn’t love dogs so much, I probably wouldn’t own one anymore. It will all be worth it, right? Any tips out there please let me know!

I Can’t Believe How Fast the World is Changing

So, I have to admit that since I’ve been producing educational videos for YouTube, I’ve been watching more videos created by young people. Yes, there are quite a few videos showing young people doing stupid things, but there are just as many videos where young people are creating successful and plentiful businesses. What I am most excited about is that young people are truly changing the face of business. I am seeing young people that have made it in business and are now helping other young people to be successful without plundering them for all they are worth. I can’t stand companies whose main goal is making money and taking advantage of those that work their socks off. I’m tired of companies that don’t think they have a responsibility to the Earth and putting something positive back into their communities.

I am really proud of the young people that we have raised. They’re refusing to work 40 hours a week in a cubicle, aren’t buying 4-5,000 square foot homes, and want belongings that save energy and help the Earth to sustain itself. I recognize this is a broad statement, but all of are lives are temporary. The messages that we give our children and the value we put on material items will have an impact on our children and grandchildren. I want my children to truly make a difference on this Earth and for their lives to matter. I don’t care what amount of money they make. I just want them to be happy and to support themselves.

Homeschooling 2

Yep, you read that right! I am homeschooling two children, now! My 9th grade son (Gabe) went back to school and within a week or so started informing teachers they weren’t moving fast enough for him. Gabe is my son with Autism (for those of you that are new to my blog). I had no idea he was doing this at school and by the time he made it home at the end of the second week, he told me he was done.

I have to give my child some credit! I definitely taught him to advocate well for himself. As each teacher explained to Gabe why they wouldn’t accommodate a quicker speed, Gabe knew he was done. My mornings have consisted of Gabe coming to my door and asking me when we could start school. Who does that? My other child Kalan rolls his eyes when I tell him our lessons are going to get started. Gabe is a child that loves to learn and I can’t believe how philosophical he is.

I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed homeschooling Gabe. We have connected on a level I don’t believe we would have without homeschooling. I didn’t realize how many questions were swimming around in Gabe’s mind. He’s really concerned about the injustices of the world and why certain people are not treated equal in comparison to others. Gabe also wants to understand how to world began and how telescopes allowed us to see into space and calculate the distances to other planetary systems. As I sit and listen to all the theories and questions that Gabe poses, I think about how much his voice must have been stifled in public school. What did he do with all of these questions that he brings up with me? Did he just leave them to swim around his brain while he sat for hours, regurgitating teacher lessons?

Gabe loves to process what he’s learning and I’m realizing how methodical he is about each question he’s asked. When he and I work through multiple choice questions, he has to talk though each choice and describe to me why each answer is inaccurate. Kalan barely reads through the choices, quickly snatches the correct one, and is moving on to the next question. Whereas I have to slow Kalan down and get him to think about each choice, Gabe is already scrutinizing every detail of every answer and rewriting the choices to be more accurate. It’s so amazing to have two children that are so different in their learning styles.

I wish I had started homeschooling earlier for all of my children. The big difference I have seen in Kalan (who I’ve been homeschooling for over a year) is his confidence and how he enjoys getting involved in various conversations. Mike, Sydney, and I will be having a discussion and Kalan will be playing video games in a different room and will insert a comment into the discussion to the surprise of all of us. He doesn’t look like he’s listening, but he’s hearing everything that’s been said and is following right along. Kalan’s vocabulary is more indicative of a 9th or 10th grader even though he is only 12. Whereas he used to get made fun of in school for being smart and quirky, now he is complimented for his thoughts and questions. Kalan was so excited the other day when we went to a used bookstore and could finally pick up the books he had wanted. The school hadn’t allowed him a chance to get books because he had lost the other ones and for months could not accompany the other children to the library. What is wrong with our school system?

So, needless to say, I am a busy mom. I homeschool for 6 hours a day, but I’m already seeing the benefits of homeschool education. My children no longer lack confidence, they are getting back into reading and enjoying it after 6-8 years of hating it, and both are ahead of their classes in the material. My son Gabe is now on schedule to complete college courses in high school and Kalan is moving so fast, it scares me. I don’t want to even think about where he is going to be in another 2 years. Most of all, I am so proud of all of my children. I am a huge advocate of doing what is best for children and in my family’s case, that means homeschool.