Saturday, July 30, 2011

Education is A Privilege and a Choice

If you have college age children, you may understand the frustration many of us are going through concerning the high cost of education. Do you remember it being this hard when we were young?

I was discussing the difficulty of getting a good education in America with my friend from Germany and said in exasperation,"In America education is privilege and privilege is education!"

She wisely corrected my statement. "Education is privilege, but privilege is not always education."

"It's no longer possible to even become president unless you were born to a life of privilege!" I whined.

"When was the last time you had a president that didn't come from a privileged background?" She asked.

"Abraham Lincoln!" I said. "The Golden Boy." It may have been a slight exaggeration.

And then I remembered how he educated himself, because he wanted to, and not because it was easy. I have often told my daughters, if they are educated in this day and age, it will be because they wanted it badly enough.  Education is no longer a byproduct of being American. And perhaps it never should have been.

But then, neither should there be education centers that are attainable to the underprivileged, or immigrant, and unattainable to the natural born, working class citizen.

My rant is over. Off to self-educate.

The old fashioned way. By reading.

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Friday

Poppyseed danish...yummy!
Why did that one girl get so much attention for that one song...?

Cuz we love Friday.

It's the feeling of having accomplished a full week. Even if we have lots to do on Saturday, Friday is somehow different.

This Friday I'm listing  the things I've accomplished this week. I don't know about you, but often when I look back on a week, I tend to linger on all the things I didn't get done. So, I'm listing what I did accomplish. It's for my own sake, but if you want to join in, go ahead. I'd love the company.

staged a breakfast 'tablescape' and served actual breakfast on it
scheduled a wedding for September
had a job interview
encouraged a friend
critiqued a book for an author friend
did approx 20 loads of dishes,
did 4 loads of wash (yes I'm behind)
made 5 meals (I have other cooks in the house)
mended three garments
learned a German phrase
taught 5 piano lessons
wrote 5 posts
FedExed a home modification packet to my lender
practiced Chopin's op 64 waltz
made danish from scratch

Today, hopefully, I will:
go grocery shopping
accompany girls to the mall
make dinner for 20 for tonight
finish this post
go to a movie tonight at 10

I'd love to hear what filled your week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Feeling Grumpy

Harrumph. Eh. Mmnnn.

I'm feeling grumpy. Many possible reasons.

Not the best time to write a post. Or is it?

I'd like to lock myself in a room so I don't crush anyone else's spirit. I may already have.

How fickle is my emotional state!

How comforting to know that some things, unlike my mercurial heart, never change.

God's love.

And bedtime comes around regularly, too. Often a snack and a nap fix what feels like epic mood failure.

Sorry for the drama. Just so you know things are normal in my world, too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Parenting Teenagers: Another Amazed by God post

My husband's temples are greying; I cover mine magically at the hairdressers. We are the parents of teens.

The setting was our bedroom and a discussion ensued with one of our teens about how we should be harder on them, that we were pushovers. I believe my husband, ironically, was singled out as a pushover, but I may have misunderstood.

We explained, in our defense, that we've never worried they'd all go over the deep end, indeed, we'd decided long ago that we'd never be the kind of parents that sat around licking our adolescent-rearing sores. We've tried to maintain a positive and even welcoming demeanor regarding the arduous task of raising teens. The main reason we've done this is that we've seen the opposite scenario far too many times, with dire results.Parents badmouthing their teens in front of others never accomplishes anything productive, except maybe some venting.

Our children have responded by being the kind of teens that are easy to like, most of the time. I hope I'm not painting such a rosy picture that you think we aren't normal, that we haven't been in a spin when a hormonal rampage ravages (with five females in the house we've had our share) or that we haven't ever gasped inwardly at the dates that have arrived to whisk them away from us. But overall, we like our kids along with loving them. We're proud of who they are.

'So', we concluded, 'We trust you even more after you tell us how you think we should be tougher, because it tells us how much you care about who you're becoming.'

There was a pause.

'We trust you.'

The pause deepened. It sunk all the way in.

The weighty mass of responsibility settled on younger shoulders, not our own.

And upon reflection I wondered, does God trust us to be faithful Christians? I can't imagine Him running around worrying whether or not we'll live up to His grace. He expects we will. He does, doesn't He?

When we get this, we do.

Monday, July 25, 2011

From Germany With Love: An Amazed by God post

My ties to Germany are many.

And yet, I have not one drop of German blood as far as I know.

The connections began in 1517 when a devout German catholic priest, while studying his Bible, came across that pivotal passage in Romans "The just shall live by faith." At the time, the Roman Catholic church held an unprecedented sway over the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of all Europe (where my ancestors came from). Although many, like Luther were devout and honest seekers, some sought power and privilege within the rigid, erroneous walls of religious domination that had grown up around the original Christian faith. Luther and others of his ilk risked and often gave their lives for the truth they so fervently believed, ie, that the miracle of redemption and the privilege of  eternity in heaven happens exclusively by grace through through faith, and not by a lockstep subservience to the church's man-made laws, or even to God's laws.

If all had continued as it had been before Martin Luther, I most likely would never have been brought into saving grace. Nor would any of my family.

Luther most likely spoke no English, but the action he took to challenge the established church began the Great Reformation which spread the good news of salvation by grace alone throughout the known world. His translation of the scriptures into German encouraged the first ever translation in English. There can be no question that the founders of United States, and all subsequent citizens are recipients of this same blessing.*

As I fast forward to 2009, I am once again blessed by Germany. On what was probably a whim, our family decided to host a foreign exchange student. As I looked through the profile options my eyes lit upon a face. Her name was Ellen. This is the one I want, I said. I really couldn't tell you why. She just looked right.

For three years now, in several visits,  we have been graced by the presence of a lovely, intelligent, generous and highly admirable young lady of German descent. Her English is impeccable, while we have barely begun to try German. She has become part of the family, and we have forged a lifetime friendship.

As I begin to scratch the surface of my German learning, I realize just how much conversational German my father brought into our house as a result of his time overseas during the second world war. I am astounded that my connection with Germany was preordained.

Given the spiritual climate of present-day Germany I think she would agree that we have been a blessing to her as well. The original globalist is God Himself. He never let a little thing like distance stop Him from doing his work.

* A streak of antisemitism in Martin Luther is proof of his humanity, hence his need, like ours for God's grace.