School started for Alana and Easton this week here in Ethiopia. Much to their dismay, I brought schoolbooks with us. We are studying American History while we're here, working from a book called, "The Mighty Works of God: Liberty and Justice for All".
The definition of Liberty that the kids wrote in their history journal is "Liberty is freedom to do what's right." It's that and so much more.
This Fourth of July is the very first one I have spent away from my extended family. Each and every year for my entire life my family (between 50-60 of us, depending on the year) has spent the week of the 4th of July at Anna Maria Island together. It's always a fun week, mixed between tiring and relaxing, with lots of time to play and be with each other. Alan and I and the kids look forward to it every year. On the 4th we eat dinner together and then watch fireworks on the beach. It's a big production and everyone is welcome.
This year is the first year my Grandmother has not been there, and we're missing it. That makes me sad.
But, at the same time, I can say that this year I am more aware of just what living in a free country means than any other year of my life. Because I am here and not home. Because I am seeing oppression that I can not blog about openly right now without risk of someone reading it and putting me in prison. What a thought!
In America, I get to choose to worship Jesus openly. I get to go to the church of my choice on Sunday. I get to choose where to go to college, if I want to go to college, and what career I want to have. I get to choose to vote for a President and other elected officials. I get to choose what doctor to take my family to. I get to work hard, save money, own a car, and buy a house. I get to grow food in my garden and have animals. I get to go to the movies when I want and the grocery store when I want and out to dinner when I want. I get to teach my children at home according to their learning style. I can start a business if I want. I can go on vacation where and when I choose.
I could keep going on and on and on.
CHOICES. Freedom is having choices.
This day I am so thankful to live in a country where I have liberty, the freedom to do what's right.
Today we were able to check the boys out of the Transition Home, take them to lunch here in the city, and then we took them to their very first movie in a movie theater! Ice Age 4 was actually playing in English with Amharic subtitles.
Today I am thankful for: goldfish crackers brought to us by a traveling family, hearing my husband and daughter's voices over the computer, and the bookshelf full of books at Levi and Jessie's house.