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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.

French Minimalism With Elisabeta

I was recently researching "how to start a clothing line" and I came across an absolute gem: French Minimalism. Yeah, it's trendy right now, but that is not why I like it. The whole style is so simple, so put together, so polished! And I love that sort of stuff! :-) :-) :-)

Basically, French Minimalism is a style inspired by (made by) French ladies who look ultra chic. It is based on a wardrobe of tailored clothing, largely in neutral colours. Sound boring? Yeah maybe... but you're forgetting the accessories. The colour, the pop, the pizaz, is added in colourful accessories.

So all your clothes go with all your clothes, and all your accessories goes with all your clothes, and you can make a thousand different looks just by changing what accessories you pair with what.

It's so cool!

Because I can't really make myself a French Minimalism wardrobe (as much as I want to...) I went for the next best thing and made a French Minimalism capsule wardrobe for Elisabeta. "Hey," Elisabeta says in protest, "What do you mean, second best?" (stands there with hands on hips). Oops... sorry Elisabeta. Rephrase: Because I can't make myself a French MInimalism wardrobe, I chose the BEST option and made one for Elisabeta. "Much better..." Elisabeta says.

I chose a skirt, a pair of pants, overalls, two shirts, a coat, sneakers, and a few accessories and made the following outfits (I could have made many more, but I only had thirty minutes, and each outfit takes about five minutes to put together and photograph):

This lovely picture is Elisabeta wearing her black pants, sneakers, white blouse with puffed sleeves, and her scarf. "I look fantastic," Elisabeta says.

Now she is on the front steps of my home, ready to start a new adventure and a new day.

In a stripy shirt and her overalls, Elisabeta looks very nice framed by the purple flowers in bloom behind her. "I look like a goddess in this photo" Elisabeta says approvingly.

In white blouse and overalls, Elisabeta is standing on the metal bench in our front yard.

Wearing a short frilly skirt, a coat, and her blouse, Elisabeta is climbing a tree. "Very impractical pose," she comments. "Why couldn't I have done that one in a pair of pants?"

In her stripy shirt and black pants, Elisabeta reclines on the couch. She offers no comment, being mad about what she calls 'poor lighting.'

Monthly Personal Meetings

Monthly Personal Events are a powerful stepping stone to translating everything you got from your Annual and Semi Annual Personal Meetings into a reality.

For a Monthly Personal Meeting, you are going to need a notebook and pen, a quite location (like your house, early in the morning), and a brain that isn't fogged up with sleep.

You are going to review your summaries from your Annual and Semi Annual meetings, then take the time to be brutally honest and answer the following questions:

1. What do I need to do, this month, to achieve my dreams?
2. Do my routines need altering?
3. Am I living life as intentionally as I could be?
4. How have I done in achieving last month's goals?
5. What obstacles am I encountering, and what am I doing to combat them? How effective are my efforts to combat them?
6. What should I be doing to combat them?
7. What fears are holding me back that I need to conquer?
8. Is my life on track?
9. What events are happening in the next month?

When you finish answering those questions, take the time to write a nine paragraph summery of your notes.

Please take the time to do this well! Take the time to write out your thoughts. Be brutally honest. Face and accept the truth and plan how you can do better next time.

Of course, the Monthly Personal Meeting is nothing without the Weekly Personal Meeting.......