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And There Was Light: #TalesOfYoungHeroes

Jacques is blind, totally blind. It happened when he was seven, and changed his life forever. But despite being blind, or perhaps because of it, he was able to lead a resistance to the Nazi occupation of France at the young age of seventeen.

His autobiography, And There Was Light, is one of the most inspiring, beautiful, stories ever, and you should definitely read it!

#TalesOfYoungHeroes

Once Upon A Time: Chapter Seven

"A dragon..." the fox stared into the distance. "How interesting. What a quaint little quest you have assigned yourselves." He grinned mischievously. "Whelp, good luck on your utterly hopeless quest. Tata." So saying, he snapped his claws, and he and his extraordinary lair vanished into thin air.

The three companions found themselves on the ground, lying on their stomachs. Brush was poking into their plush bodies, and James groaned, "I think I don't have an unbroken bone left in my body."

"You never had any unbroken bones in your body," Cicero said. "We're stuffed animals."

"Regardless," James waved away that slight matter of 'opinion'.

They sat up, some (ahem, James) groaning more than others.

"I think," James said slowly, "That we aught to go in that direction." he pointed in the direction of a small light. "Perhaps that is our dragon."

Sweetie shook her head. "That was scary. I want to go home now."

"You said you would come," James protested.

Cicero lifted nervously into the air before alighting on the ground again. "This is a dangerous quest, James."

James shrugged. "Could it be more dangerous than letting that dragon run loose?"

"No." Sweetie said. "I don't want to come."

Jame's shoulders fell. "Alright," he said slowly, "I guess I'll do it on my own." So saying, he walked off into the dark.

Cicero pumped his wings, torn between supporting his friend and the longing for the safety of his home. Finally, he made his mind up. "I'm coming," he hollered, and flew after James.

"I don't want to go," Sweetie reminded herself as she felt her heart drop as she watched her companions disappear. "I want to go back home. I'm going back home." She turned towards her home, took a step, then turned back towards her companions.

"What should I do?" Sweetie whispered. "I thought I wanted to go home, but now I sorta want to go!"

She stood there, unsure, watching her companions.

"Alright, I'm coming!" she hollered, and ran into the dark after them.


To be continued...

Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule: A Review

While on a week-long camping trip, I took the opportunity to finally read "Defying Hitler," which I had been meaning to get around for quite some time.

Well, I finished it, and holy cow it was so good! I highly recommend it. (You can find it HERE on amazon)

It follows the stories of roughly twenty or so Germans who defied Hitler, both men and women, Jews and non-Jews, ordinary citizens and military commanders, in their quest to resist the Nazis. Some want to assassinate Hitler, some wanted to have a military coup and remove Hitler and give him a trial, and still other thought it would be impossible to remove him. Regardless, they all were united in their efforts to resist.

It's a very easy, engaging read, almost like a novel. It is full of stories about people and crazy assassination attempts gone awry.

For example, there are three extremely memorable assassination attempts in the book, although there were tons more.

One time, a guy offered to be a suicide bomber. He had a bomb on a ten-minute fuse under his vest, and was showing Hitler around... I think it was a museum? and then Hitler left abruptly in the middle of the tour, and then the guy had like two minutes to dismantle the bomb in the bathroom before it blew him up. So Hitler survived that attempt because the bomb never had the chance to go off.

Another time, there was going to have been a bomb in a military meeting, except at the last minute, it was decided that junior officers couldn't attend, and because the man with the bomb was only a junior officer, he couldn't get into the meeting and blow up Hitler. So Hitler survived that plot as well.

And another time, a bomb was smuggled into a meeting in a suitcase, and a few minutes before it was going to go off, the man who brought it in left the building, and drove home, and the bomb went off. It totally destroyed the table, and completely shredded Hitler's pants, and wounded some of his officers, but Hitler was totally fine, only a few bruises. Well, and a ruined pair of pants. But Hitler survived that attempt as well!

And guess what, after the attempt that demolished Hitler's pants, he got on the radio to assure the German people that he was still alive and well. He said that his survival must be a sign from providence that he was meant to continue with his plans! So, that plan super back-fired!

However, in the end, almost none of the conspirators survived. Almost all of them (I think all but two, but I can't exactly remember) got executed or sent to the concentration camps. They had risked everything -their fortunes, their lives, their family's lives. And they still didn't succeed.

Which makes me wonder, if a ruthless dictator took over America and started doing what Hitler did, would I be brave enough to resist? Or would I be one of those who kept their heads down and waited for it all to blow over?

And how could Hitler take over a nation? Sure there were resistors, but not enough to prevent his taking power. Not enough to prevent a second world war. Not enough to prevent the mass murder of six million Jews.

Ultimately, I think Hitler could not have come to power and did what he did if:

(1) the German people had been classically educated, instead of trained on the conveyor belt.
(2) people had not been timid in their resistance but instead have acted decisively.
(3) people would not have let Hitler get little victories, like boycotting Jewish shops, and making Jews wear arm bands. Hitler had to do the little things before he could do the big things, like killing people in the concentration camps.

In conclusion, "Defying Hitler" was a really great book that was very thought-provoking, very fun to discuss, and highly relate-able to our world today.

Camp Na-No-Wri-Mo Update

This month, I've been writing the first draft of a 65,000 word novel with ywp.nanowrimo.org, which is a really amazing writing platform that people under the age of 18 can use.

I have written 21750 words so far and am 33% of the way done. I'm super excited about this, I don't think I've ever reached past the 17,000 word mark when writing a "novel" before (at that length, it's more of a novelette than a novel or a novella).

A Letter To The World, From Elisabeta



















Dear World:

This is Elisabeta. I don't have a middle name, and I don't have a last name.

This year, Liliana has been discovering and chasing her dreams. I think it's about time I do the same.

And guess what, I love politics! And setting records! And breaking tradition! And being awesome! And making a difference!

As a result, I have decided to run for president of the USA. Don't worry, I was born in the USA, I'm thirty-five (in twenty years), and I love the American Dream. So I'm good to go!


My platform:

Stop micro-managing the economy
Lower taxes for everyone
Encourage American entrepreneurship by cutting red-tape so it's easier to start a small business
Finish the USA-Mexican wall that Trump started
Cut red-tape for educationalists
Start a trend for localism-- everything done on the most local level possible, from business to education to government to policing to corona virus management, you name it.


A little bit about me:
I'm thirty five (in twenty years); I love fashion and writing and reading and hanging out with friends, I'm super mature and responsible (ask Liliana if you don't believe me; my room is WAY cleaner than hers ;-)); I love history, government, and politics, and I'm very interested in the business that Liliana is working on starting.

My ideals are: honesty, justice, integrity, honour, freedom, entrepreneurship, private ownership, hard work, and innovation.

My favourite quote is by Mae Jemison: "Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination."


In Short:


I'm running for president of the USA.
I'm going to do a lot of awesome stuff to make America freer
You should vote for me



Sincerely,
Elisabeta


Fashion Shoot With Elisabeta: One Base Outfit, Many Looks

Hey guys, long time no see!

Even though I posted just last Friday, it feels like I haven't posted in forever, since I usually post almost daily.

Today I decided to do a fashion shoot with Elisabeta. I took one base outfit (black slacks, white blouse) and used accessories and hairstyles to get different looks out of it.

It was a lot of fun, and I think I would like to do this with myself soon!

I started with one base outfit and eight accessories: shoes, hair things, layering pieces, bags.





Outfit one: base plus a double-sided blazer, sandals, and a skinny braid in her black hair.

























Outfit two: same base, plus the double-sided blazer, her gray scarf used as a headband, and white and black sneakers.























Same base and headband and shoes, now with a scrunchie, and purse.






















Outfit four: same base and sneakers; now with a floral hair clip, and her scarf tied around her neck.


















Outfit five: same base and clip and sneakers; now with her scarf tied around her waist as a belt.






















Same base and shoes, now with a scrunchie and purse; in her hair is a pearl headband.


















In the last outfit, we have the same base and shoes, and the purse.

Elisabeta says, "Don't I look like I could be the next Madam President? Maybe I should join the 2020 race!"

July Journal Entry #1

Hola, folks!

Alright. It's been a while since I've posted... so I'm going to catch you up to date.


Wednesday, July 1
Wednesday was pretty ordinary. I worked on my Camp Na-No-Wri-Mo novel, and wrote about 4,300 words (my goal for Wednesday was 3,716). I ate, I slept, and basically just wrote my novel. Oh, and my bedroom floor was almost clear. :-)

AND I put thorn guards in my bike tires... almost all on my own! ~listens to applause~



Thursday, July 2
Yesterday was sort of an adventure. I wrote in my book (about 2,500 words of my 3,716 words goal), I ate, I drank a lot of water, I did some extra work for money, I weeded in our family's garden.

I also wrote and sent out The Young Scholar's Gazette (a little bi-monthly magazine I do just for fun that I send to a few of my friends), which took me like three hours and is why I didn't make my word count goal.

And then in the evening, I made some doll shoes!


We will now talk about doll shoes.

So, I used a pattern by HappyBankkyCraftyMom and foam I got at HobbyLobby, a hot glue gun, and cardboard I found in our recycling box.

(looking everywhere for my camera so I can take pictures of the really cute doll shoes I made)

(finally found my camera)

Elisabeta's blue shoes! She absolutely adores them. I think they are her favourite summer shoes.
Okay, so I made a darkish-grayish blue pair first. I really like how they turned out, and I love the pattern! Really easy to use, with a simple and classic design.















The white shoes are SO impractical, but they're still really cute!
The second pair are white with pom-poms for a fun touch. A bit more playful, they are also not that great to play in because they are white (what on earth was I thinking of?) but that's fine because Elisabeta doesn't really play that much. She likes reading, writing, making sarcastic comments, looking beautiful, and taking naps. She definitely doesn't like mud.

Once Upon A Time: Chapter Six

"You're not going to eat us?" Sweetie squeaked.

"Oh, not yet." the fox replied, his golden eyes glowing in the candle light.

Not yet? How reassuring the three travellers thought, though none of them said it aloud.

"But, we're on a quest!" James protested. "It can end in the lion's den."

"The lion's den?" the fox raised it's eyebrows. "This is far from a lion's den. It is a magician's lair, a fox's home, a place of comfort, practicality, and pranks." He seated himself at the table. "Come, eat."

Sweetie and Cicero looked warily at each other and James declared, "Well I'm famished!"

"Hi, Famished." Cicero whispered under his breath.

But the three travellers sat down at the table. No sooner than they did, the fox asked, "So, about this quest?"

"We're going to go kill the dragon." James volunteered.

"He burned our marshmallows and melted our polyester tent." Sweetie complained.

"I wasn't scared of him." Cicero bragged proudly.

"Yes, you were!" James and Sweetie said at the same time.

"A dragon..." the fox stared into the distance. "How interesting. What a quaint little quest you have assigned yourselves." He grinned mischievously. "Whelp, good luck on your utterly hopeless quest. Tata." So saying, he snapped his claws, and he and his extraordinary lair vanished into thin air.


To be continued...

Once Upon A Time: Chapter Five

"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.

Cicero swivelled his head around. "Who... are... you?" he asked slowly.

"THUNDER!" barked the fox. "Did I not just tell you?" he asked, calming down a bit.

The three travellers were silent.

"You will dine with ME tonight." the fox drawled.

So saying, he turned around and trotted quickly into the trees. The three heroes found themselves dragged along.

"Where are we going?" Sweetie asked. "I hope it's not a scary place... I hate scary places."

James shrugged as he was dragged into a tree. The fox turned around, smirked, and kept going, so quickly that James did not have time to pick himself up but was dragged around the forest on his stomach.

Finally they reached a cave. The fox, having arrived there a second before them, smirked at them again. "You are my guests. Be not afraid," he counselled.

"What if we're dinner?" Sweetie whispered. "I hope we're not... I hate being dinner."

From the outside, the cave looked tiny, barely large enough to hold the fox and his dinner companions. But from the inside, it was ginormous. And luxurious, James noted dryly. A large chandelier of glass hung from the ceiling. A table of polished oak sat in the middle of the room. Candle light flickered against the reddish walls, giving it a warm, homey feeling.

A few plump chicken and a dozen skinned mice sat on fancy platters on the oak table. "Welcome to dinner." the fox said grandly.

"You're not going to eat us?" Sweetie squeaked.

"Oh, not yet." the fox replied, his golden eyes glowing in the candle light.


To be continued...

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)

YAY!!!

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!