Sumptuous September

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Words and images swirl about in my head

as I savor autumn delights and colors:

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full garden growth of vegetables and flowers,

luscious apples almost harvest ready.

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Imagine the pies, cakes and sauces.

This long-awaited annual opulence of September

has arrived at last. Shorter days.  Cool mornings.

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A breeze with a slight chill in the air.

I have observed the garden growing and

the birds busy making nests and their songs.

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Extravagant and awe-inspiring beauty.

Listening to the cacophony of sounds

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meandering through the gardens, I marvel

at the magnitude and extravagance of nature.

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I wonder how I can be so lucky. I luxuriate in the sun.

We are truly blessed. I am grateful for the harvest.

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Posted in extravagant autumn beauty, gardens, grateful for harvest, September, vegetable gardens | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Parents as Teachers

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As a German language educator of more than forty years of experience, I knew the intrinsic value of beginning language learning at an early age. Since most US schools do not begin foreign languages with children as early as two years, I decided to bring my children with me when I became a Fulbright Language Teacher in Germany.  The only “formal” training our two children, ages  6 and 2 was a BBC program newly published called Muzzy which had been designed for children.  Daily for six months, our children watched two Muzzy programs and learned basic German phrases and vocabulary.

It is unclear to me why US parents often select Spanish instead of German which is the easiest language for English speakers. German and English belong to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages.  Many German words are used regularly in English:  angst, kindergarten, kitsch.  English evolved from German and shares the same linguistic DNA.  In fact 26% of English vocabulary has shared roots with German.  French and Spanish are popular choices, but it is German which is the grandfather language.

Before we went to Germany for our first year living abroad, I sang songs and said prayers before meals in German. My husband and I are multilingual and now our children are as well.  One important difference I noticed in German schools was the emphasis on language learning at an early age.  It is literally child’s play.  I observed our two as they progressed through a German Kindergarten (for 3-5 year olds) and first grade.  Within a couple of months, both could hold their own and speak with  native German children.  For parents not as fortunate as I to have studied, lived and taught in Germany, there are multiple resources online and many of them are free.

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There were four years between my first and second Fulbright Years so my children were then in grades 2 and 5. By this time, it did not take long at all to be back into the language and culture.  Most German children did not even know our daughter was a native American.  My son had similar experiences  and parents and teachers alike wondered how quickly the German students learned and spoke High German.  It was because of how they had been taught at home and what they heard me speak and how Muzzy communicated.

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If you want your children to learn the easiest of languages, German, and it is not offered at your school or when you want to start, I recommend using Muzzy or one of the other great programs online. You as a parent can learn and speak along with your children.  This will give them enormous advantages later in school and in careers. Our daughter, a Registered Nurse, regularly reports of speaking German with some of her patients.  Our son has had use of his foreign language experience as a lawyer.

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Push your local schools to begin teaching German for example in pre-K where it is ideal. German is the most widely spoken native language in Europe and one of three official working languages of the European Union.  In sheer numbers, German is the second most-spoken language on the continent of Europe.  When it comes to native speakers, German remains number one.

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Parents need to do their homework and learn that German universities are free, German companies are global market leaders and Germany is an economic powerhouse. I had firsthand experience studying in Heidelberg at the university for three years.  That experience alone remained with me for a lifetime.  As a parent and having passed on the experience of living in and studying at German schools, I gave our two and education which has remained with them for their young lifetimes.

As a parent and an educator, I decided to offer my own German students the experience of carrying on conversations in German with peers at German schools and did this for almost 25 years. Each time, students reported how great it was and how much alike they are.  What a masterful method to teach tolerance and understanding.


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Posted in American and German children, Fulbright to Germany, German, German and English share ssame linguistic DNA, German language, German songs, Germany, language teachers, parenting, schools in Germany, teachers, teaching German, video conferences between US & German schools | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

11 Things To Achieve Greatness

  1. Learn a foreign language early in life
  2. Live abroad (we chose Germany) or travel often
  3. Attend schools abroad (we chose Germany)
  4. Start music lessons as children
  5. Be a role model as a parent
  6. Learn compassion, understanding, respect
  7. Get a good education; practice your faith
  8. Work hard at everything you do (school, music, sports, job, etc.)
  9. Work well with others
  10. Be a leader and be kind; speak truthfully.
  11. Love yourself, your family and others; smile

Each family has different values and expectations. We are no different.  We valued education above all else.  We valued learning a foreign language and  playing a musical instrument.  We valued travel and living abroad and learning to become a tolerant individual who was understanding of others.  We wished our children happiness in life and allowed them to choose what they wanted to major in when they attended college.  We let them choose their pathways in career choices.  There were many role models along the way:  a grandfather who was an MD; a grandmother and aunt who were both Registered Nurses; both parents and another aunt had achieved Ph.D. and law degrees and worked in education and science research.

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Our son chose to major in business with a concentration in finance. He then selected a law school and is a lawyer today.  Our daughter majored in English, pursued a paralegal certificate and then decided to study nursing and doubled up with courses to become an RN and earn her B.S. degree in nursing at the same time.

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We celebrate their successes along the way. Our son with a promotion and now our daughter an award at the hospital where she works.  Described by her colleagues as kind, professional, pleasant, compassionate and willing to help colleagues, she was further described as a strong nurse.

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Pleased and proud of both of them, what parent could ask for more? Kudos for the spotlight on you, Emily, and lovely note from the CEO.  Bravo to you, Tom, for the promotion and being selected to attend workshops.  You are both our pride and joy, and we would have it no other way.  What you have become makes us very proud.  Happiness in life to both of you.

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Posted in college education, education, Foreign Language Learning, hard work, leader, love, music lessons, role models, study abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Grand Like Nowhere Else

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Arizona With Heart 

go to the Red Rocks

go to Arizona

Arizona is hot

Arizona is dry

dry heat comforts

dry air means to hydrate

hydrate often

hydrate loads

loads of cacti

loads of red

red sidewalks

red dirt

dirt and copper

dirt and lizards

lizards dart

lizards play

play and shop

play and sightsee

sightsee Sedona

sightsee Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon via mule

Grand Canyon tour

tour Tlaquepaque

tour Oak Creek Canyon

canyon rivers wind

canyon roads climb

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climb higher to Jerome

climb one mile high

high water cascades

high elevations

elevations with views

elevations with vistas

vistas with endless valleys

vistas with colors

colors of many hues

colors for the soul

soul yearns

soul fills with love

love the layers

love the blue

blue sky

blue water

water in the canyon

water flowing

flowing in my veins

flowing to my heart

heart and mind

beat

mind

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Posted in Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, red rocks, Sedona, Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona

 

 

Awe-inspiring red rocks surround us.

Breathtaking scenes are everywhere.

This beautiful place is heaven on earth.

It is peaceful. Comfort to the soul.

A paradise for artists, poets and writers.

The vortex attracts us and monsoon rains

come and go. We came here for the beauty

and found satisfying eye candy and more.

Words cannot describe the feeling of

being at ease in Sedona. Refreshed and

renewed, we return to our “normal”

lives but with many lasting memories.

Tlaquepaque awaits and beckons us.

My soul bursts with joy at the red

earth, the cactus, magnificent sunsets

and with the knowledge that I shall

return soon. The red rocks summon

and offer peace and serenity.

Posted in Grand Canyon, red rocks, Sedona, Arizona, Tlaquepaque, traveling across the country | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

5 Things To Do This Summer

 

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  1. Pack sandals, shorts, sunglasses, sunscreen and sun hat.
  2. Bring camera, iPhone or iPad and a good book or two.
  3. Travel to those longed-for destinations.
  4. Book that flight and plan the activities.
  5. Celebrate a birthday and celebrate life and family!

 

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These next two weeks will find me on a trip to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. She let me pick the destination.  She has never been to Arizona, Sedona or the Grand Canyon so Mom selected her favorite place, the Southwest.  On a cool day, the temperatures hover between 105-110.  On a hot day, the temperatures can reach 120.

It is monsoon season in Arizona now. Most people don’t know about the monsoon rains, but they are fast and furious with big raindrops pounding down.  Arizona also does not observe daylight savings as does the rest of the lower 48 states.

No matter what your travel plans are this year, enjoy the journeys and take abundant photos to share back at home with family and friends. Gute Reise!  Bon voyage!  Have a great trip!

 

Posted in Arizona, birthdays, monsoons, traveling across the country | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An Ocean Respite

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Downtime, breathing space,

a change of pace – this was

reason enough for the short

trip to the ocean at Southampton.

 

Benches awaited us in the

sand. We sat, watched and

waited for each wave to

roll in from the distance.

Then up, up and over with

a crash along the beach.

Sounds of gulls in the sky,

boats, fisherman. Cares

 

floated away and into

the ocean. Again and again.

Then still our souls. Breathing

steady again. A sandpiper

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walked past. The ocean accepted

our prayers, swept them away

leaving smooth pebbles with

each new wave. Savoring

 

the sights, sounds and

colors, we have replaced

cross words with smiles.

This respite has renewed us.

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Posted in beach, boats, ocean, sand and waves | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments