The European Migrant/Refugee situation for me….

We’ll be going back to America soon, and honestly, one question I get a lot from Americans is “so…how are the refugees affecting you?”.  For me, it is a bit strange, because not long ago, I was in something of their situation.  When we came here four years ago, I didn’t know much German, and not much more about the culture.  Since then, I have learned about both.  I can’t compare myself to the people flooding Germany now, though, because in a lot of cases, they have come through hell to get there, and came being totally ignorant of both culture and language.  The majority are non-Christian, coming from non-European countries.  For me, it was a culture shock seeing a man casually peeing in public.  For them, seeing a woman in pants is unfamiliar in some cases.

I think for them, the key is going to be the same as it was for me.  Learn the language and the culture, but don’t feel like you have to lose your own in the process.  But accept that you are not living in your native country and that stuff will be different and ain’t going to change for you.  This takes some patience, open-mindedness, humility, and a dash of courage.  Both on the part of the newcomers and the residents.  

I can’t lie, it seems to be easier for Christians, especially Catholics,  than non-Christians.  Germany is formally a Christian country.  There are churches all over, and by the Church’s nature, they are heavily involved in the relief effort.  For my German parish church, we don’t care if you are Christian, Muslim, agnostic, whatever – you need help, we’ll help.  But for Catholics, the ritual of Mass is the same worldwide, and is a definite comfort to the refugees.

Germany is working to get the bureaucratic wheels turning fast enough to keep up with the flood of refugees, but bureaucracy does not hurry at the best of times.  They are throughly investigating the refugees flooding in nice they get settled.  From what I am seeing, Germany and Europe will benefit from the refugee situation, however, it will not be an overnight thing. Patience all around will be needed.

Working my way back…

Yes, I know, this one has been silent for awhile.  The site has been re-tailored a bit, new settings in place, etc.  The ability to comment anonymously has been removed, slightly different slant,etc.  But writing is something I need to get back into.  More to come.

WORLD CUP LIFE GROOVES…

Mine is coming regarding the World Cup, but doggone it, Virginia beat me to it! Excellent job!!!!

Roses in the Rubble

Football_Pallo_valmiina-cropped (2)“The Rules of soccer are very simple: if it moves, kick it.  If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.”  (Phillip Abraham Woosnam (1932-2013)

National teams are kicking their way into the World Cup Quarter & Semi-Finals.  For my (sometimes uneducated) American buddies, just making it from regional play into the tournament of 32 teams is HUGE. To keep going to the knockout stage (especially when placed in “Groups of Death” with globally top-rated teams)  also marks a HUGE achievement.

The 2014 World Cup has seen incredible action – upsets (recent Champs Spain & powerhouses like Portugal & Italy & England already off home), surprises (go Costa Rica! go Columbia!, Greece making it to the Knockout stage for the 1st time, ever), incredibly tense matches (literal last second plays & goals, overtimes, penalty kicks) – & stellar soccer moments to savor.

So, it’s just a game. Football (as most…

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Kids changing roles

I went to see the movie, “Divergent” with my teen daughter and a friend of ours, also a teen. The movie was fabulous, started a little slow, but then – WHAT an adrenaline rush!!!

This is about the third sci-fi movie we’ve seen recently with teens being forced into…I don’t know, Survivor type situations? The others were ‘Ender’s Game” (kids saving the world via video game type wars, fighting each other), and “Hunger Games”, with teens fighting each other for survival. Then “Divergent”, which has teens competing to get into factions. Long story, read the series by Veronica Roth. Also good

On the one hand, all three movies have strong teen females, great role models for my daughter. In all three movies, any love stories are secondary, and there is no sex. A refreshing change. The reasons for not listening blindly to government are brought out.

On the other hand, you’ve got teens being forced by their culture and/or their elders to perpetrate acts of violence on each other. Granted, these worlds are not like our own. They exist in the future, and neither culture or government looks like ours. The teens have a reason for the violence, and are shown feeling remorse over it.

But what’s a bit disturbing is that this seems to be a trend right now. Is it the mindset of ‘ok, we’ve had teens having sex for decades, time to get them into cold-blooded violence too’? Is this the first step into getting desensitized to this kind of teen violence? Is it one more example of treating teens like adults in popular media?

I talk with my daughter about the violence, the remorse, the values that are twisted and that are maintained. It’s my job as a parent. But I don’t think all families do. And that’s a little disturbing.

Comments are more than welcome, especially from parents who are also puzzling this one out.

K is for Knitting (and Krocheting)

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Knitting and crocheting are two of my favorite things to do while watching a video, on car trips, during classes, etc. actually, I know of a woman who also knits during sermons, which might sound a little disrespectful at first, but I totally understand. If you have ADHD tendencies, it helps you concentrate on listening, if your hands are involved with something relatively simpleminded. My kids all have found this out in class, my husband doodles during conference calls, and it helped me during our missionary formation classes. (Bless my understanding formation teachers.)

The yarns today look and feel so good too!!! It is hard not to pick an irresistible skein or so up here and there without really having a particular project in mind.

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We went to the outdoor market in Sittard, Netherlands, just over the border, and lo and behold, it looks like crocheted over-tunics are in style this year here!!

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The frustrating thing is that at €10, or about $15, it’d cost more to make myself than to buy. The trick is to make things in colors you don’t see in stores (DH’s scarf) or to make things you haven’t seen in stores like this Hunger Games wrap for my daughter that is on my future project list.

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Or, just break down and admit that one reason for your knitting or crocheting is partly because you just plain enjoy it, and partly your own beloved form of therapy!!! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work on the market bag I am crocheting that will definitely be used!! Have fun this weekend, if you’re on school break, enjoy it, and remember to keep an eye out for yarn stores. Then hand your credit card to a good friend or spouse and revel in all the beautiful colors! After all, there is only so much yarn you need to have at one time….right?? Hmmm…let me get back to you on that one.

Guilty Hearts

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I know, I am semi-cheating by doing a twofer. Unfortunately, I’ll be feeling more guilt by skipping a day in my heart than by bending the letter-scheme.

Which leads me to today’s topic. There is good guilt and bad guilt, in my humble opinion. Huh??? Well, I think bad guilt is you using guilt to make others do what you want. If you have kids, you have both used and been the victim of this guilt. You know, when you clean the house really well hoping your kids or DH will get the hint and clean their rooms? Or when you let the kids get McFlurries because they are wondering why they are the drive-thru and eating hurriedly in the car again? In my experience, the kids don’t clean their rooms, and don’t really care how they got the McFlurries, just that they did.

There is good guilt, however. Good guilt makes you do the stuff you know you should do. Like making sure you walk following an afternoon dessert, or finishing a project when you said you would because you know people are counting on you to do it. This is productive guilt, and as long as you let it gooo, let it go, can’t hold it in anymore…you remain basically ok.

It is truly a little like Elsa from Frozen, speaking of whom. She had to let go of the guilt to be free to love; you can’t wallow in guilt, good or bad, or you remain trapped and can’t live a normal life.

Even we Catholics don’t hold onto guilt forever…just til we fulfill our penance. 🙂

Faith, Family and Friends…things that make life good. And a brief Firefly detour

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It is truly amazing to contemplate how many groups you are part of. For me, there are the “parent groups “; the soccer people, the Girl Scout parents, the ones you see dropping off or picking up kids. Then there are (or were, sniffle, sob) the biker groups, the Harley riders, the ones you meet up with at Bike Nights, or at rallies. Our beloved Dyna Glide bike will make it over one day.

For me, the three most important groups are the faith, family, and friends groups. And, Heaven knows, there are people who crossover groups. The family- the blood family – that is where I came from. What my starting point is. And, yes, some do count as friends too. The friends – the heart family- this is what I have become. They are the ones who have been there along the way, from frantically finishing class assignments to figuring out how to translate German culture to American and vice versa. Faith groups….hmm. These people, I think, are the ones that are in there with me figuring out how to maintain a strong friendship, a strong love with God.

I think all of us have these families that are our safety nets, the ones that keep us going, in one way or another. And I’d really hate to think of life without mine.

It is “F” day on the A to Z blog, and my husband and some friends might just disown me if I did not mention the awesomeness of “Firefly”. One of the stars, Nathan Fillion, was just asked what he really wished he could have done on the series. Bless the man, his answer summed it all up: “Season Seven”. It was an awesome, intelligent, hysterical, insightful series that only lasted one season. A brief, shining moment of sci-fi Western glory. Check it out, and you too, like my husband, like a lot of people will cry out WHY???

R.I.P.

>

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By the way – yes, I am behind on my blogging. Tune in tomorrow, when ‘guilt’ will be discussed.

The Importance of Cats and Children….

Not necessarily in that order.

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Cats enrich my life because they are totally selfish and self-centered and yet can be totally comfort givers. Huh? Example: my cat, Socks, above. All he wants out of life is a never-empty food bowl, a clean litter pan, and Mommy attention when he wants it. However, when I am sick or insomnia hits, he usually is right there, just keeping me company. Or making sure his caretaker doesn’t die, never sure which. His purr makes a lousy day instantly better, that’s for sure. Unlike children, he thinks ‘spoiled rotten’ is his natural state.

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Children enrich lives because they help us see potential. For children, especially little ones, there is nothing they can’t do. Can they go madly careening down hills on their trike? Of course, and if they fall off, it’s the doggone hill’s fault. They are so fearless.

At the summer camps and youth retreats we help out at,there is something called a trust fall. A group of kids lock hands to form a kind of net, one falls backward off an elevation.

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I still can’t do it, after about four years of this. My daughter could do it at 8. The older the kids are, the more fear they have about doing this.
Children help us see the potential to have this kind of fearlessness. They think there is nothing they can’t do, and you know what? They’re right.

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