Skip to content

Alteration To Blog Schedule

In case you guys didn't know, I will be participating in Camp Na-No-Wri-Mo in July. I'm going to be really busy, writing a 65,000 word first draft in thirty-one days (assuming you're counting family reunion and Sundays, despite the fact I won't be writing then).

This means that I won't be posting (almost) every day. I think I will be posting about twice a week, although that is subject to change.

Mostly, I'm just letting you know that you shouldn't be planning on new material on here every day in July.

Why Work Is Good For School: Or, Why You Shouldn't Complain When Mom Tells You To Do Your Work

Teen: “Mom, but then I won’t have enough time left to do school! And I’m already short on time anyways!”
Mom: “We need you to help out in our family more. We have the garden, the new baby, animals to take care of, laundry to wash, meals to cook. You can add one more job to your load. We can’t take care of it all, it’s already sliding uncontrollably.”

Yeah, you might have heard that conversation before. In fact, you might have participated in it many times. And sometimes, you wonder how on earth you will ever learn everything you need to learn in time to complete your mission. After all, as Winston Churchill said, “To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitter to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

But guess what, work is good for school. Seriously. And I’m not even saying this because I’m in league with your parents or anything. Or because I’m a parent (I’m not, I’m 15!!!). So I am saying this purely from personal experience. I am completely unbiased. Work is good for school.

Reason one: It teaches you how to manage time more effectively. I mean, if you have twenty four hours in a day, and you spend ten hours asleep (I’m rounding this for easy math), two hours eating, two hours working, that leaves ten hours for friends, school, extracurricular, and just having fun! Currently, I do about seven to eight hours of school a day. You, however, might find it best to do eight and a half, nine, or even ten! Then what? Well, you have to prioritize and reorganize. Are there times of the day when you learn best? For example, I don’t really do school in the evening. The majority of it is before lunch. I wake up early and am in bed around 9 most nights. I try to be outside for at least a little bit everyday to ‘refresh’ myself. I also noticed that when my mind starts freaking out from all the learning, a quick walk can make it good as new again.

Reason two: Having a lot of work and having to respectfully talk about it with your parents can teach you a lot of communication skills. First you have to listen, then you have to articulate your thoughts, then you have to find a solution that makes everyone happy, all while keeping your cool.

Reason three: Having less time to do school in forces you to find a way to make your schooling more effective. Learning is a life long process, but unfortunately, as a mom or dad, your study time will be drastically cut. You will have to learn how to make the most out of an hour, half hour, or ten minutes. And what better time to learn how to maximize your learning time then now, as a teen? It will make the rest of your life so much better, and it will help you even now as you learn and prepare for your mission.

So next time your mom reminds you to do your work or considers giving you a bit more, don’t freak out. Just remember that work is an important part of your education, and do it with a smile on your face.

A Solemn Declaration Regarding Camp Na-No-Wri-Mo

Let it be known, I am participating in Camp Na-No-Wri-Mo! (squeeeee!!!) For my project, I shall write a 65,000 words long first draft of a book which I hope will be the first in a trilogy(!!!). I have from July 1 to July 31 to complete this outrageously hard and outrageously awesome challenge!

And let it be known, I have signed the following pledge(found in a Na-No-Wri-Mo middle-school work book (I'm not a middle-schooler! I'm 15!)):

I hereby pledge my intent to write a novel in one month.

By taking on this absurd month-long deadline, I understand that notions of craft, brilliance, grammar, and spelling are to be chucked right out the window, where they will remain, ignored, until they are retrieved for the editing process. I understand that I am a talented person, capable of heroic acts ( :-) ) of creativity, and I will give myself enough time over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, untouched by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.

During the month ahead, I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots. I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected at a later point. I understand my right to withhold my manuscript from all readers (except possibly my teacher) until I deem it complete. I also acknowledge my right as an author to brag about the quality of the rough draft and the rigors of the writing process, should such bragging prove useful in garnering me respect, attention, or freedom from household chores ( ;-) ).

I acknowledge that the month-long goal I set for myself is both wildly challenging and totally achievable, as long as I let no Evil Inner Editors, outside distractions, or normal bedtime hours ( ;-) ) stand in my way. I also acknowledge that, upon successful completion of the stated writing objective, I am entitled to a period of gleeful celebration lasting days, if not weeks, afterward, and moreover, should I fail to reach my goal, I am entitled to a well-earned break after which I will try again.

(signed, Liliana K Owen)


Hero Education: A Scholar Phase Guidebook For Teens, Parents, and Mentors

If you guys didn't know... I'm going to Leadership Academy of Utah. It's this really cool, leadership-minded school that is based online but now has in-person learning centers scattered throughout Utah.

But before that, I was homeschooled. I still call myself homeschooled, BTW. LAU is so much a homeschooling community... it was even founded by homeschoolers... it's like homeschooling gone public.

Anyways, the method of homeschooling my family uses is called Thomas Jefferson Education, or, TJEd. It's founding father style "created" by the DeMille family. Well, Oliver DeMille, father of the DeMille family, wrote this really cool book called "Hero Education: A Scholar Phase Guidebook For Teens, Parents, and Mentors." It's so good!

I've taken the time to re-read it today and was once again wowed by it's simple yet profound wisdom. Okay, well, maybe I skimmed it. But as C S Lewis said, "It is a very silly idea that in reading a book you must never 'skip.' All sensible people skip freely when they come to a chapter which they find is going to be no use to them" at the present, at least.

Let me just tell you:

Our education matters. It's not about grades, college, or good-paying jobs.

It's about freedom vrs tyranny; it's about influence; it's about mission and purpose.

Education is not books and dates and facts and more facts and tests to make sure you know those facts.

It's about gaining wisdom-- knowledge, applied in your life to better you and others. As Mark Twain said, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education."

Your mission matters. And because your mission matters, your education matters.

Daily Personal Meetings

The daily personal meeting is not a big ordeal. If it takes you more than fifteen minutes, you're doing it wrong.

The best time to do this is in the morning, right after you get up.

List out five things you're grateful for. Figure out WHAT you need to do today. Figure out WHEN you're going to do it.

That's it! It should take no more than 15 minutes, but it works, and it's powerful!

Weekly Personal Meetings: The Second-To-Last Step in Personal Meetings!

The weekly meeting... whahahaha ~cue torture music~ just kidding, it's not that bad. ;-) It's really fun actually, and I love my weekly meetings and look forward to them all week! Luckily there is such a thing as a daily personal meeting. (If you guys couldn't tell, I love planning! And organizing. And planning. ;-))

Anyways, to get to the point, weekly meetings are the most powerful. There is something about the unit of time called "week" that is just perfect. God created the earth and then rested in a week. We get the chance to create our lives and then prepare to create our lives again every week.

So, if you'll find a notebook and pen, your notes from your last monthly meeting and your last personal meeting, and a comfy spot to sit, we'll get started.

First, label the top of your page "(insert your name here)'s Personal Meeting (insert date here)!" (And don't forget to include the exclamation mark!). Then take about ten minutes to review your notes. Then take the time to answer the following questions:

1. What victories/exciting things have I had/done this last week?
2. What events are coming up this week?
3. How well did I do in keeping my commitments?
4. What is the best possible thing for me to do, in accordance with my life purpose/mission statement?
5. What can I do to serve others this week?
6. Based on my Monthly Personal Meeting, what do I need to do this week?

Now remember, you should leave this meeting with 3-5 goals. One from question four, one from question five, and one to three from the sixth question. If you need to, take the time to break these goals into three or so "baby steps." Also, keep in mind, this is your to-do list for a WEEK. Is it too much for you to handle? Not enough to keep you living intentionally and powerfully?

And, of course, there are some times when it's the best thing to do nothing! Just do what is right for you. Don't let your decisions be guided by what is "easy," but by what is right. Because "easy" is only easy in the moment! "Right" is easy in the long run!

Once Upon A Time: Chapter Four

Suddenly, there was a scurrying noise.

The three companions whipped around. What was that noise? Cicero pumped his wings nervously, but stayed on the ground. Sweetie wrung her hands. James felt around his waist for a sheathed sword, but found none. "Dang it, I knew I shoulda worn by hero costume today!" he said hoarsely.

There was a thump and some sticks broke. The scurrying noise was gone now, but it was replaced by the soft calculated steps of a larger animal.

"I think..." said Cicero, "Something just became dinner."

"Quite." whispered James.

"Are we next?" Sweetie half-whispered, tears creeping down her white cheeks.

"SHUT UP!" yelled James anxiously. "YOU'LL GIVE AWAY OUR LOCATION!"

The softly menacing steps came closed, and a fox stepped out from under a tree, his yellow eyes glowing dangerously, a mouse in his jaw.

"Can we go home yet?" Sweetie asked.

James shook his head as the three travellers backed away.

"ABANDON POST!" screamed Cicero, lifting into the air.

"STOP!" the tenor voice of the fox boomed through the night. His paws were on the mouse, which was now on the ground.

Cicero pumped his wings in vain, but was drawn towards the earth at the same time as James and Sweetie involuntarily took a step towards the fox.

"I am the wizard of the forest," he proclaimed. As he spoke, his eyes glowed more fiercely and turned green, then blue, than purple, then red, than back to the original yellow.

To be continued...

A Norwegian Dinner

Once upon a time… in a quarantined world, there lived a very bored girl who couldn’t think of anything fun to do. In desperation, she went to her mom for ideas.

“why not make a national dinner?” she suggested (paraphrased for article).

And so the bored girl did. She chose Italy. While she was researching Italian meal plans and whatnot, she happened to be working on some family history. Then she realized that she was not descended from any Italian (that she knew of), but she was 7% Norwegian and 22% Scandinavian. So why not make a Norwegian dinner?

She got to work, research what Norwegians ate for what course, and then found some recipes. After a lot of planning, it was time to cook.

She spent what felt like the entire day in the kitchen, working on preparing her four-course meal.

But it was all worth it when she sat down and took that first bite… it was heaven.

(Photos and recipes in the next post!)

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen And The Churchill Club

Knud Pedersen was a normal boy living in Denmark. Then his whole world changed when Hitler invaded and the Danish government surrendered to the invaders the same day.

His whole world changed then. German soldiers were everywhere, Denmark captive. Knud knew this was not right. But the adults in his world made no move to stop the Germans, to free Denmark.

What was left to do? Oh, nothing really... just start his own resistance with his friends.

"The Boys Who Challenged Hitler" is a fascinating biography about the boy resistors of Denmark, boys who had been willing to risk literally everything for their country.

I highly recommend this read! It's very engaging, intense, hard to put own, and super inspiring!

Once Upon A Time: Chapter Three

"First," said Cicero, "We need a plan."

"Plan: chase dragon. Kill dragon. Get famous." James replied. "Let's go!"

Sweetie looked at Cicero, who shrugged.

James ran off, and Sweetie and Cicero followed him. As he ran, he spoke: "The dragon went that way." He pointed in the general direction the dragon had left.

"James, we shouldn't be running around in the dark." Sweetie helpfully pointed out after he tripped on a root and fell.

James got up. "We do it now."

"We do it tomorrow." Sweetie said adamantly.

James growled, then said, "But then how will we find the dragon?"

"Well, how many caves are there?" Cicero asked. "Only... nine. We can check all of them. Oh, and five of them are right next to each other. And, well, dragons live in caves, so if we check all of them, we will find it sooner or later. Besides, if we're going to kill the dragon, we're going to need more than our paws or wings. We sleep, we buy swords, we check all the caves, we kill the dragon."

Reluctant to be persuaded by that voice of reason, James scowled, then nodded.

"Unfortunately, we don't have a tent." Sweetie said. "It melted in the flames, remember? 'Cause it's made of pollee-ster?"

"Polyester." Cicero corrected.

"No problemo," James said. "We can sleep under the trees."

Sweetie looked reluctantly around.

Suddenly, there was a scurrying noise.

To be continued...

I Hereby Dedicate Today

Let it be known unto all ends of the earth, that I, Liliana, do dedicate this day to the making of pants. The cause being, the clothing stores I like are still closed, and I only have one pair of pants that fit me, and one pair DOES NOT CUT IT.

This consists of: learning how to draft a pants pattern, fine-tuning the pants pattern, and then sewing a pair of pants.

I know that task will be difficult, but I will not quit until I have a new pair of pants that fit me perfectly hanging in my closet.


PS. Weird, right? Well, one has to commit in some way!

Update at 2:35 PM

After working on pants all day, I have finally drafted the perfect pants pattern! Squee!

"How To Stop Worrying And Start Living:Time-Tested Methods for Conquering Worry" by Dale Carnegie

The American culture has some serious issues. We eat too much junk food, have too must stuff, and stress far too much.

Well, the cure to one of those problems is found within an amazing audiobook that I recently discovered. Titled "How To Stop Worrying And Start Living:Time-Tested Methods for Conquering Worry," it is by Dale Carnegie, author of "How To Win Friends And Influence People."

I have finished listening to disc one of nine, but it's so good and there is so much wisdom that could totally change my life if I chose to act on it! (Which, ahem, I will...:-))

For those of you interested in listening to it, you can find it here.

Once Upon A Time: Chapter Two

The orange light and jet-black patch soared closer.

"ABANDON POST!" screeched Cicero the owl.

James the panda and the odd-colored bear scattered in different directions, while Cicero lifted off into the air.

The orange light, which they could now tell to be a flame, spread to their belongings.

"My marshmallows!" cried James in agony.

In the glowing light, they could clearly see what was in the sky: A dragon, blacker than black, shooting orange flame out of an open mouth. It's golden eyes glinted dangerously.

"Dragon..." the odd-colored bear trailed off. "I didn't think those things existed."

James had a sudden thought. "Hey, that's our quest!"

"What's our quest?" Cicero the owl asked.

"Killing the dragon, who is ravishing the countryside!" James said.

"Do you mean 'ravaging' the countryside?" Cicero asked, pushing imaginary glasses further onto his beak.

"Sure, sure, whatever." James waved that minor word mishap away with a black paw. "We will go save the villagers from the terrible dragon."

"We?" squeaked the odd-colored bear. "I don't know about that... I don't really like conflict."

"Pishaw." James said. "It'll be fun, a piece of cake! Besides, it always works out in the stories."

By now, Cicero was back on the ground. He touched the tips of his wings together in front of him in what he thought to be a very proffesorish way and said with great pomp, "They only write stories about winners. I mean, who wants to read about a loser?"

"What about Old Yeller?" James demanded. "That book is about a loser, if your definition of loser means they end up dead."

Somewhat flustered, Cicero wasn't sure how to respond, so he acted like he didn't hear what James had said.

The odd-colored bear yawned. "I wanna go home... I mean, our tent melted in the fire, and so did our marshmallows."

James raised an eyebrow. "Go home? Are you daft? The dragon probably burned that up too."

Cicero flapped his wings emphatically. "Nonsense, I can see it from here. Don't you go trying to scare us into some adventuring nonsense." He turned to the odd-colored bear, who was beginning to cry. "Sweety, don't cry. That James is just trying to scare you. It's fine." Then he turned back to James. "James Madison the Second, you aught to be ashamed of yourself... being named after a president of integrity and all... and now going and tricking people and lying shamelessly just to get your way..."

Sweetie (the oddly colored bear) looked up. "Our house is fine?"

Cicero nodded.

James shrugged. "But please? Adventures... treasure... awesomeness awaits!"

Cicero and Sweetie looked at each other and shrugged. "Okay..." said Sweetie, "If it doesn't take too long."

To be continued...

Once Upon A Time: Chapter One

Once upon a time....

There were three adventurers. As we speak, they are currently in the middle of eating dinner.

The three of them -panda, owl, and bear- are unlikely friends. They are also unlikely heroes. I mean, they are stuffed animals. Regardless. They are friends. They are heroes. And they are the centre of this story.

Panda holds his roasting stick over the fire. On it, a marshmallow, slowly swelling and turning golden. "Tomorrow, I will seek adventure." He says this matter-of-a-factly.

"But James," the owl protests, "That's dangerous! I mean, those who go adventuring... well, sometimes they die! History doesn't lie!"

"Would you please kindly consider not mentioning history?" the bear asks. She is a queer bear, with white fur, red sparkly ears and paws. "I don't know about you guys, but it's getting... a little redundant."

"Yeah, what does history have to do with adventuring anyways?" asked the panda, James.

The owl's chest puffed up. "History has everything to do with everything!" So saying, he pumped his wings excitedly and lifted off a few feet into the air, dropping his wooden roasting stick into the fire. The mouse on the end, newly dead, started to stink as the fur caught fire.

The odd looking bear passed the owl the marshmallows as he alighted. "Be kind," she says, turning to James the panda bear.

A glow in the sky caused them to look up. It was a fierce orange, fizzing across the sky, and followed by a patch of blackness blacker than black.

"What is that," the owl asked nervously.

"Stop being such a scardy-cat, Cicero." James said.

"I'm not a cat," the owl explained with great dignity, "I'm a magnificent bird and history nerd."

The flame and black patch drew nearer.

"ABANDON POST!" screeched the owl, Cicero.

To be continued...

Autonomy Zone: Lessons On Anarchy

I don't know if you guys have heard, but in Seattle, Washington, there is a six-block area that is called the "Autonomous Zone" and is, apparently, not a part of the USA any more (barriers around the Autonomous Zone say "leaving the USA").

Basically, people were protesting over Floyd's death and then the police retreated and now the people have taken over and it WAS anarchy over there. Problem: was.

Because that's the thing, anarchy is never permanent. Sooner or later, someone bigger, cooler, stronger, or with more thugs will come in and take over. Period.

Rapper Raz Simone has taken over the autonomous zone as his, and using his "groupies" to beat people up when they disagree with him (Article 1; Article 2)

Let this be a lesson: anarchy doesn't work. Pure democracy doesn't work. Why? Because it never stays that way. Sooner or later (and probably much, much sooner than you would have thought), someone is going to come along and seize power. It's always worked that way and it always will.