Monday, December 26, 2011

The Messiah – The Prince of Peace is Born

As we celebrated Christmas over the weekend, I have been thinking deeply about the meaning of this bible verse:

~ Luke 10:27

To me, the words of Jesus represent the true meaning of Christmas.  Jesus came to introduce us to his Father, the God of Heaven and Earth, and to teach us the true way of life.  Making that vertical relationship with the Father and the horizontal relationship with people here on earth is the most important accomplishment for us humans. 

Over the holidays I listened to the glorious music of “Messiah” by Georg Friedrich Händel.   Even though Mr. Händel was a prolific composer, this composition became his most famous.  Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759), was a German born Baroque composer who lived in England during the latter part of his life.   In 1742 he cooperated with Charles Jennens (1700-1773) who had assembled text for the Messiah in 1741, mainly from the Old Testament.  It is an English text oratorio (large musical composition for concert with choir, orchestra and soloists).  Here is a link to a performance of: “For Unto Us a Child is Given”

1) How do we love the Messiah?
I like to focus on the two aspects of the above saying of Jesus.  Loving God establishes our faith.  It takes our 100% effort to figure out how to manifest the words of Jesus into our everyday life.  God being a spirit came to earth in the body of Christ to teach us the way, the truth and the life.  He came to cut us off from the blood lineage of Satan (the ruler of this world) and connect us to our true blood lineage with God.  By studying and believing in the word we can be reborn through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Through this kind of a lifestyle we can become adapted into the family of God and be reborn.

A week before Christmas I had the opportunity to join a True Family Values seminar with hundreds of clergy and believers in Chicago at the historical Hilton Hotel.  These ministers and other guests brought down an amazing spirit and truly showed their faith in their savior.

2) How do we love each other?

Jesus gave us the instructions to love each other as we love ourselves.  That means we are to substancialize his words.  There are several ways to do this.

a)Take a larger view-point
I was just recently reading an article on how we can all benefit from taking a larger perspective.  Like the astronauts who went to the moon, even though they were scientists, they couldn’t help but come back changed people and gaining a higher point-of-view regarding the situation on the planet earth.  From out of space they looked upon the earth as one global unit, not structured into countries, religions, cultures, races, etc.

"That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people."
~ Dr. George E. Vaillant – conductor of the Grant Study Men

b) Adapt social skills for an harmonious life
Have you ever heard of the Grant Study Men?  Dr. Vaillant has been conducting studies on human behavior over many years.  With the financial support of William Grant, the study charted the lives of 824 men and women for over 60 years. He found seven major factors that predict healthy aging, both physically and psychologically: education, stable marriage, healthy weight, some exercise, not smoking, not abusing alcohol, and "employing mature adaptations." (Vaillant believes social skills and coping methods are crucial in determining overall satisfaction.)

However, his most important finding was revealed in a 2008 interview. He was asked, "What have you learned from the Grant Study men?"  Dr. Vaillant's response: True success "is more about us than me."

For me that has been beautifully demonstrated in my favored Christmas movie: “Its’ A Wonderful Life” which you can watch through this link in its full length:


c) Love yourself by forgiving yourself
We have so many demonstrations of a Christly life.  I find it hardest to love and to forgive myself.  This is our greatest challenge today; to let go of our heavy baggage and believe that we are worthy of the love of God.  A friend of mine, Doris Crompton, wrote a beautiful article this Christmas.  She is conducting emotional release sessions.  Doris has helped many people to let go of unwanted emotions. 

Let’s prepare for the New Year by ending unfinished business.  The Messiah is here to help us clean our slates and make a new beginning.  By loving God and loving men we can receive our Messiah.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Be a good Planter…

 You may wonder why I am talking about planting in the middle of winter.  I am not talking about a physical garden at this time.  During this Christmas season I find it very appropriate to re-evaluate one’s faith.  I recently came across this composition which I believe was originally written for children’s education.  In our secular society today it’s not politically correct to talk about one’s faith.  Unfortunately, we have thrown out the baby with the bathwater and thrown out virtues, too. 

  • If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
  • If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
  • If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
  • If you plant perseverance, you will reap victory.
  • If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony.
  • If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
  • If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
  • If you plant openness, you will reap intimacy.
  • If you plant patience, you will reap improvements.
  • If you plant faith, you will reap miracles.


  • If you plant dishonesty, you will reap distrust.
  • If you plant selfishness, you will reap loneliness.
  • If you plant pride, you will reap destruction.
  • If you plant envy, you will reap trouble.
  • If you plant laziness, you will reap stagnation.
  • If you plant bitterness, you will reap isolation.
  • If you plant greed, you will reap loss.
  • If you plant gossip, you will reap enemies.
  • If you plant worries, you will reap wrinkles.
  • If you plant sin, you will reap guilt.
A few weeks ago I wrote about doing things anyway, at the advice of Dr. Kent M. Keith and Mother Teresa. 

The above words certainly fall into the same category.  Using positive words and statements are very powerful.  With a clear vision of what we want for ourselves and for others, we can create a successful life.  Our subconscious mind is very impressionable and doesn’t differentiate between positive or negative declarations. 
Anytime, we talk about values, it is good to remind ourselves of the consequences of our actions.  As we celebrate this Season of Love and the birth of our Savior Jesus let us go beyond doctrines and differences and look at faith in a new way.  As we discussed two weeks ago this is the time to open our spiritual senses and let us directly be guided by the spirit of God.  Expect the unexpected and be prepared for miracles.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Love Your Cup of Joe…

During this Christmas season you may have a stronger need for a cup of joe.  You may either feel tired from all the partying (?) or stressed out from the preparations of it all.  Or you may just love your cup of coffee every morning like me.

Where did the name come from?

Cup of joe is a purely American expression.  It was supposedly given to honor Josephus Danielswho didn’t want his sailors to drink alcohol on board of the ships; he banned it completely in 1914.  He encouraged the men to drink coffee instead.  Mr. Daniels was later appointed Secretary of the Navy during WWI.

"The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce."

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., "Over the Teacups," 1891

Health Benefits

Studies show that we may be benefitting from coffee in more ways than just the energy-boosting caffeine in coffee -- we might also be reaping its cancer-preventing and depression-lowering effects, just to name a couple.

Caffeine stimulates brain functions, especially in the right hemisphere which helps language, both spoken and understanding.  Tad Brunye, a senior cognitive scientist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Massassuchets, explains that it doesn’t have to be a lot to get the desired result.

Some people believed that tea had more health benefits than coffee.  Suzie Cohen, R.PH. points out, that coffee-drinkers may be at lower risk for liver and colon cancer, type 2diabetes, and Parkinson's disease.  It’s a proven fact that both tea and coffee contain antioxidants which are necessary to fight free radicals in the body.

Donald Hensrud, M.D. from the famous Mayo Clinic suggests that like everything else, coffee consumption should be moderate.  The same news comes from a study at Harvard University 

"Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy. [Coffee] is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so. From roadside mugs to the classic demi-tasse, it is the perfect democrat."
~ Author Unknown

History of Coffee

Coffee’shistory had its roots in spiritual practices.  Muslims in Yemen made a form of wine from the coffee bean which was consumed during religious ceremonies.  A possible origin of the name is from a region in modern day Ethiopia, called the kingdom of kaffa where coffee plants were cultivated.  Apparently, the benefits of the plant were discovered by accident.  Some stories say that shepherds chewed on the berries and found them bitter.  They experimented with it by boiling and roasting the beans and eventually enjoyed the energizing brewed drink.

We still can agree today that the properties of coffee drive away fatigue and lethargy and bring to the body a certain lightness and vigor.

The coffee culture in our days is including more than just the black drink.  It is in all the additions where we often find the “dangers” if not extra calories.

Anyway, moderation is the game.  I surely enjoy my cup of coffee every morning and next time I will thank Captain Joe for another name for it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Entering the Spiritual Age

I believe we all can agree that the world is in a mess.  No matter which way we turn, things and situations aren’t working properly.   We are facing today unprecedented circumstances in the economy, ecology, politics, poverty and social issues, health, discrimination and human trafficking, terrorism, weather and natural disaster, etc.  No matter what I am going to list here, most people get overwhelmed by just thinking of a small section of these global issues.  One thing is for sure we are all affected and not just by local concerns. 

“The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."
~ Albert Einstein  (1879-1955) – German American Physicist

As Albert Einstein so rightfully put it, history has been made by focusing on physical problems, wars over territory and materials based on greed, power, and ignorance regarding our true human nature.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” 

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian reformer for independence

1) You can only change yourself

If you have not learned that lesson yet, you can avoid a lot of frustration by not trying to change others.  This is the best time to heal yourself and your past, to let go of unwanted emotions and memories.  Once you are healed you can heal others or at least assist them in their healing journey.  We have to stop the blame game and not criticize and judge each other.  Hurt people hurt people.  Once we can break that cycle, true change can take place on the individual level.

"We're not human beings having a spiritual experience. We're spiritual beings having a human experience."

~ Dr. Waye Dyer (1940-) American author and spiritual teacher

2) The spiritual age gives equal opportunity to all

History was dominated by men who are task-oriented, authoritarian, and domineering.  The time has come for women to come forward and share their female qualities in communication, cooperation and consistency.  Neither of these qualities are better; they need to complement each other.  Now is the time where women can shine and contribute their leadership qualities.  By integrating the male and female energies and giving both sexes an equal chance, we will see true changes taking place.

3) Is December 21, 2012 going to be the end of the world?

According to different prophesies like the Mayan calendar at the end of next year great changes will take place.  Just like Y2K or other predictions, I don’t believe the earth will end.  That’s one promise we have from the bible:

“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.”

~ Ecclesiastes 1:4

We will experience great transformation though.  It is up to each one of us how we are going to react to these changes.  The important thing is that we connect to our source of life, God, our creator.  Everything else depends on our attitude.  Do we want to be victims to our circumstances and become depressed, shrink and withdraw or do we want to be become our true authentic self and become the victor?  We need a revolution from selfishness to unselfishness.  True Peace can only come through peace of mind. 

St. John of the Cross spoke of the “Dark Night of the Soul.”  It looks like we have to go through the dark night first before we can enjoy the dawn of the New Spiritual Age.

Monday, November 28, 2011

How Babies are made by God

I have been waiting for the arrival of our grandchildren for a while.  Now both of our children are expecting, my daughter in January and my daughter-in-law in May of next year.

Guess what, I am more aware of babies and see baby stuff everywhere.  My daughter sent me the link to this amazing video about the process of conception and the wonderful orchestration of the development until the birth.  I am in awe as to how God’s creation works so precisely and orderly.
Here is the link to the video:

I hope you can enjoy this presentation as much as I did.  The miracle of life is and always will be a phenomenon because of the slim chance for the sperm and the egg to meet.

As for now my grandchildren are only in my imagination but I know for sure that God has great expectations for this new generation.  Our children and grandchildren are our hope that what we did here on earth will not be in vain but rather is a stepping stone for a better future.  That’s something to be grateful for.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Appreciations for the Lives of Heroes

During this Thanksgiving week we want to give thanks for the many blessings our lives.  In this country we have many more things to be grateful for than any other place in the world.   
I want to take this occasion to appreciate the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and some other brave Germans who participated in the resistance movement against Hitler and the savage activities of the Third Reich.

I have often wondered why there was nobody who could see through all of the atrocities under Hitler and why nobody did anything against it.  I can’t remember to have studied any of this part of history during my schooling.

I discovered that there were quite a few organized activities going on (along with private individuals): some by ordinary citizens like the students of the White Rose group and others like some Christians under the guidance of pastor Bonhoeffer.  There was also the group within the military which was brought to our attention a few years ago in the movie Valyrie with Tom Cruise.

The White Rose was organized by a group of students, Hans and Sophie Scholl, and their professor, Kurt Huber, and others from the University in Munich which only lasted for a few months; all of them were executed in February of 1943.  The core group printed leaflets, and with the help of other students they were able to distribute them through many other universities all over Europe.

A few years ago, I watched the movie Valkyrie and learned about the brave action of Claus von Stauffenberg who attempted to kill Hitler.  He was part of a conspiracy organized by righteous officers and people in political offices. On July 20th,1944, Mr. Von Stauffenberg had placed an attaché with a bomb in it which was to kill Hitler.  Unfortunately, the assassination attempt failed which resulted in the killing of almost 5,000 people who were connected to this cope d’état.

“We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds… 
Will our inward power of resistance be strong enough to find our way back?”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

During the same year the Valkyrie was filmed, a German producer filmed Agent of Grace
which was aired on public television here in the states.  Bonhoeffer was part of a group of German clergy who were opposed to the indifference of the church as well as the persecution of the Jews. He joined the political resistance to Hitler which led to his imprisonment in 1943 and his eventual execution on April 9, 1945, just a few weeks before Hitler committed suicide and WWII ended.

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Why is the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)  so remarkable?  Mr. Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran theologian who was educated at various universities throughout Europe as well as at the Union Theological Seminary in New York.  It was there that he gained a deep love for the African-American spirituals.  His most influential writing is a book The Cost of Discipleship in which he expresses his firm belief in the need for a reinterpretation of Christianity for our modern world.  He made an important contribution to ecumenism which attempts to create a unified church and the efforts of world peace.  Even while in prison, with the help of some friends, he wrote letters which were posthumously edited and published as Papers from Prison.

“Action springs not from thought, but from readiness for responsibility.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Through study and deep prayer I am gaining a deep appreciation for my German heritage.  For more than 60 years that pride was not there within the German population.  History was looked upon with shame and guilt and nobody knew what to do with it.  The Church in Germany is like a sleeping giant with all its beautiful buildings which are showcases of incredible architecture, amazing paintings and sculptures, but no spirit.  That’s why the church needs to become aware and remember pastors like Dietrich Bonhoeffer because he had found that spirit in the church in Harlem, and at the UnionTheological Seminary in New York in 1930.  His insistent dedication in the service to Christ and his continuous loyalty to the members of his church took him back to Germany where he taught relentlessly in small congregations, first hidden from the Nazis, but later discovered and closed down.  Bonhoeffer, together Martin Niemoeller founded the Confessing Church which opposed Hitler and the Third Reich with their anti-Christian and anti-Jewish stands. Bonhoeffer singly recognized deeply the problem of his time.

During this Thanksgiving week I am grateful for men like him and others who truly walk their talk.  As one autobiographer, Eric Metaxas said recently: “We need examples of leadership like him today.”  If we truly want to make an impact and change this country, we need more than promising words.  I can trust any person who is willing to give their life just like Jesus did.

Don’t these people appear to be rebels?

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’
~ Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gettysburg Address


Gettysburg Address – November 19th, 1863
I believe it is appropriate for this November week to give reverence to an event which took place long ago.  At times it is more important to focus on a vision and on ideals than the reality especially when the reality looks bleak and discouraging.  With the media speaking of depression and recession we have to find something empowering to look at.

The Gettysburg Address moves us deeply with its powerful words, reminding us that we are all created equal, living under ONE GOD.  We have a responsibility to honor our ancestors and those who lived and died before us to carry on their hopes and dreams; and bring them into fruition.  Mr. Lincoln had a foresight beyond his time that’s why he is remembered and often quoted.  Here is his most important speech:   

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow (sanctify)  this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
~ Abraham Lincoln, (1809-1865) 16th American President 
Historians have concluded that this speech had even greater significance than the war itself. It is such a short speech but so very engaging; reminiscing of those soldiers who gave their lives but also reminding us of our duty to this nation. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

I am Voting!

 At the end of 1999, I was sworn in as an American citizen. It was a very moving ceremony where more than 200 others along with their families and friends participated.  At the very end of the 20th century, right after Christmas, a long, worn-out application which I had put in 2 years before, was finally accepted.  During the ceremony all that worry was forgotten and I welcomed my citizen certificate with great pride.  That following year I was able to travel to Europe with my new American passport.
I am voting tomorrow because that is the whole reason I surrendered my German citizenship so that I can play my part here where I live.  Since one can only vote as a legal citizen, I decided to apply for citizenship after I had lived in the United States for more than 25 years.  It was a tough decision because now I had to choose if I wanted be German or American.  In life, we often have to make decisions.  To make good choices we need to inform ourselves about the issues at hand and weigh the pros and the cons.  We don’t have to know all the ins and outs about the voting process to voice our opinion, just like we don’t have to know about mechanics to drive a car.  Since my Green-card only allowed me work in this country, I chose to apply to become a citizen based on my husband being American.

“Look at the word responsibility – “response-ability” – the ability to choose your response.  Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility.  They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior.  Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.”
~ Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 1 Be Pro Active

What does it take to vote?
Only citizens of the United States of America are allowed to vote.  The history of voting has gone through a long process from only white males who were property owners to all citizens 18 years and older being eligible.  The first step is to register in your local state. Even citizens who live abroad, or are unable to go to the voting booths can register and vote by absentee ballots.
While I was waiting for my citizen application I had to study a simple curriculum about citizenship.  Normally, kids learn that during their school years.  I also had to answer some questions about why I wanted to become a citizen. I was taught the definition of democracy where voting constitutes our freedom.  In learning how to vote, we are giving a voice through which we can offer our opinion about how the country should be run.

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.”
~ Thomas Jefferson (1742-1826, 3rd President) – author of the Declaration of Independence

Why do we vote?
It reaffirms our convictions as citizens.  It encourages our civil responsibility to make a difference with the issues at hand.  It gives us a choice among candidates who wish to become government leaders.  It is up to each voter to locate available information through newspapers, media or internet about each candidate and/or issue in order to make an informed decision on what to vote for. The ability to vote exists as one of the most cherished Constitutional Rights. By avoiding to vote we give away our right to influence the government overall. Our right to vote has proven to be difficult to achieve for all races and genders throughout history. Fortunately, today, every citizen over 18 years of age has the right to vote in any election and, therefore, should exercise their vote.

“… government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
~ Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, 16th American President) Gettysburg Address, ~ November 19, 1863

As Abraham Lincoln expressed, voting shouldn’t be an obligation.  We give the politicians power through our collective consent.  That gives us a social satisfaction and in fact, an emotional boost of influence.  Every vote counts. 

History of Voting Rights
1776   only landowners can vote (white men over 21)
1856   all white men over 21 can vote
1865   by the 13th Amendment of the Constitution slavery is outlawed in the U.S.
1870   by the 15th Amendment of the Constitution African-Americans were allowed to vote
1920   by the 19th Amendment women were allowed to vote
1962   Native Americans are allowed to vote in all states
1963/4 voting rights as civil rights
1971   voting age lowered to 18

November is a special months: starting with Election Day, then Veterans Day where we remember those who fought for our rights to vote, and finally finishing with Thanksgiving Day where we share in gratitude all of our blessings in a great feast.  All of these days remind us of our civic responsibilities and privileges.  I have never regretted that I became an American citizen because to this day I believe in the goodness of this country and the principles it was founded on.  Sometimes we just have to stand back and remind ourselves of our blessings.

We are living at a time of great transformation which some say we left the age of information and are now entering into the transformation age.  What are we transforming?  We are transforming ourselves into responsible human beings who are willing to stand up for their rights and become more pro-active. Everyone has the same rights; only with the power of our own mind can we exercise that freedom.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther - Rebel and Reformer

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, a German monk, nailed 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, Thuringia.  In this proclamation, he denounced the sale of indulgences as ungodly and challenged the catholic clergy to review the path of salvation.  Luther could not agree with Johann Tetzel, a Dominican priest, who sold these papers promising the people salvation.  Luther was opposed to the ideas of the church that one could buy their salvation. 

Even though the theses were originally written in Latin, they spread fast, first among scholars, and just one year later, after they had been translated into German, the message spread quickly.  That was mainly the result of the printing press where pamphlet could be multiplied and distributed among all people.  Therefore, we could call this distribution the first social media.  When the time is right for an event or a message, the ideas can spread very fast.
You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.”
~ Victor Hugo (1802-1885), French Romantic Writer

Where before, the people came to the priests for confession, they now had only to buy a piece of paper and were promised salvation.  Martin Luther had other disagreements with the pope’s authority and referred again and again to the scriptures of the bible.  Even though he created a big controversy with the church, his message traveled like a wild fire all throughout Europe.   As a monk, Luther had studied the bible extensively and believed and taught that salvation is a gift of God’s grace.  He taught that man’s salvation was given by faith and trust in God and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  This action started the Protestant Reformation.

By 1521, he was declared an out-law and was threatened to be killed.  On the way to the prison, he was kidnapped by friends who send him to the Wartburg instead.  This is where he studied the scriptures more deeply and decided to translate the words of the bible into German, so that all could read the words of God by themselves.
In the meantime, the Reformation which was initiated by Martin Luther spread throughout Europe.  Priests and scholars such as John Calvin in France, John Wycliffe, an English scholar, Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, Jan Huss, a priest, in Czechoslovakia found a common agreement against the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the church, as well as the authority of the pope.  It split the Christian church and established the Lutheran denomination as well as the Roman Catholic Church.
"Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." 
~ Martin Luther
 Who was Martin Luther?
He was born on November 10th, 1483 and died on February 18, 1546.  His parents were common peasants, but his father had great ambitions for his son.  Therefore, he was educated in the Latin language as well as the regular curriculum.  After his parents acquired a business of their own and could afford to send their son to the university, he went to Erfurt to study law.
It is said that he had a conversion experience during a violent thunderstorm on July 17, 1505 where he committed himself to serve God and entered thereafter in the Order of the Hermits of St. Augustine in Erfurt.  Understandably, his father was angry but Luther stood by his decision and dedicated himself to the monastic lifestyle.  In 1507 he went back to the university in Erfurt and later on (in 1512) got his doctorate in theology from the university in Wittenberg.  With his new understanding and personal relationship with God he put together the 95 theses and on October 31, 1517 proclaimed them by nailing the letter on the door of the Wittenberg castle.
Part of Martin Luther’s disagreement with the pope was that priests were not allowed to marry.  There were some nuns who had studied Luther’s proclamation and wanted to leave their convent because of it.  Luther helped them escape and even find each of them a new livelihood.  For one of them, Katherina von Bora, he couldn’t find either a husband or a home.  He decided to marry her himself.  They started a family in 1525 and had 6 children and raised many other orphans.  Their family setup became an example for Christian living at that time.  Martin called his wife lovinglt 'Lord Katie.'  She was successfully running his household by being very resourceful.  She worked a garden, raised cattle and chickens and even brewed beer.
Katherina also studied the scriptures and was very supportive to her husband’s cause.  That’s why in 1534 the New Testament of the first German bible was published.   Dr. Luther worked on the Old Testament until his death in 1546.
Martin Luther had a very strong faith in God; that motivated him to use strong language against evil and unrighteousness.  He supposedly said: "Let the Devil kiss my ass... . " The content of his 95 theses was very much opposed by the Catholic church; it was a direct attack against their leadership and the direction of the church. 

Because of his legal situation, Martin Luther’s life was very seclusive.  He was teaching and writing during his later years.  He also composed the song “Ein’ Festburg is unser Gott (a Mighty Fortress is Our God)” which is based on the 46th psalm.
His “table talks” are a reflection of his home life and his relationship to his wife. 
"There is no bond on earth so sweet nor any separation so bitter, as that which occurs in a good marriage."
~ Martin Luther

Dr. Luther said one day to Katie (playfully): You make me do what you want; you have full sovereignty here, and I give you, with all my heart, the full command in household matters, reserving my rights in other points. No good ever came from female domination. God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will. ‘Tis you women, with your tricks and cunning, that lead men into error.

- The greatest blessing that God can confer on man is the possession of a good and pious wife with whom he may live in peace and tranquility; to whom he can confide his whole possessions, even his life and welfare, and who bears him children. Katie, thou hast a pious man who loves thee for a husband; thou art a very empress, thanks be to God!
Martinstag in Nordhausen
I grew up in Nordhausen at the southern edge of the Harz Mountains.  Every year on November 10, we would celebrate Martinstag with a parade of lanterns and music.  This is to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther.  Legend has it that Mr. Luther came to town to visit his friend Justus Jonas.  They met at the university in Erfurt and Jonas became a strong supporter of Luther.  While Luther was exiled at the Wartburg, he was continuously spreading the message of the reformation.  On one of the visits, Jonas’ family provided a big feast to celebrate Martin’s birthday.
Luther family wood carving by Eugen Richter
My family celebrated Martinstag by preparing a big dinner with roasted goose, red cabbage, dumplings, and other goodies.  In the center of the table we would burn three candles which depicted Martin Luther, his wife Katharina, and one with a picture of a goose.  This tradition is held to this day in my hometown, Nordhausen. 

When my family left East-Germany in June of 1961, we were not able to bring the wood carving of Martin Luther’s family with us.  He is pictured here playing the lute (4-string instrument) while his wife and children sang.  In the background is Phillipp Melanchthon who was also a strong supporter of the Luther's.  I cherish the memories we had in the apartment where the carving was hanging.  I wish I would know more about the woodcarver Eugen Richter.  I heard that my grandparents had commissioned him, to create Luther’s family as well as some other carvings.  At least I have a photograph of the work.