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Ten Books You Should Read in 2021

2020 has been an absolutely insane year. A lot of stuff has happened, including CoViD19, the 2020 election, BLM protests, CHAZ, and libraries being temporarily closed.

So what could be better than some good books to read? Especially if they're inspiring, insightful, and take longer than two seconds to read ;-)

1. Macbeth. This is an incredible play by William Shakespeare about a man who assassinates the King and then takes the throne. He's told by three witches that he will keep his kingdom until the forest marches against him. So he's safe, right?

2. Mao: The Real Story. This is a super huge biography of Mao Zedong, who made China communist. It's well written, insightful, and gives you a whole new point of view of the Cultural Revolution.

3. Intelligence. What if there was only one way to stop a communist alliance from taking over the world? But what if that one way is by subjecting your own people? Then what? Intelligence, Eliza DeMille Robinson's debut novel, has such deep and insightful thoughts on freedom, the fight for freedom, what it means to be free, and the individual's mission. The writing, character building, and plot weaving is outstanding. It's the first in a series (the second in the series is on the printer now but I haven't been able to read it yet) and I highly recommend Intelligence!

4. The 5000 Year Leap. W Cleon Skousen, who served in the FBI for 16 years, has incredible insights into how our nation was made, why it's survived, and how it can be fixed. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about freedom.

5. Coolidge. Calvin Coolidge is my second favorite president of the USA, and this is definitely my favorite biography of him! It's a bit long, but very insightful, detailed, and inspiring.

6. Tyrant: Shakespeare On Politics. Some people say, "those who can't do, write." I don't think this is necessarily true, and I think that Shakespeare is proof of it. His understanding of human nature is unbelievable, and sorely needed today.

7-9. The Reckoners. This fictional trilogy by Brandon Sanderson is an intriguing exploration of power, abilities, and the duty of citizens and people.

10. Glenn Beck's Common Sense. The original Common Sense, written by Patrick Henry, advocated the separation of the colonies from the British Empire. Beck's Common Sense advocates the return to sensibility, an understanding of what makes the USA the USA, and the importance of returning to what we had in the original Constitution.

Camp Na-No-Wri-Mo Progress

Goal: 65,000 words.
So Far: 46,640 words.

71% of the way there

Update: I didn't write 100% of my goal during the month of July (I got 55% of the way there), but I'm still going to finish it, hopefully by the end of September.

Estimated End Date (Last updated, September 9): Undetermined

The 2020 Election

A turning point is coming. No matter what way you look at it, the 2020 election will be influential. Definitely for the US, but for the world as well. And it's more than just Donald Trump vrs Joe Biden. It's about freedom vrs socialism.

But does that matter? Is socialism really something worth worrying about? Should we be helping it along? Won't it make the US more just, more compassionate, more fair, more free?

Yes, yes, no no.

Confused?

To understand this, you really have to understand that socialism is not actually about helping the poor and the minorities. It's not about taking from the rich to give to the poor.

It's about eliminating private ownership.

And private ownership IS NOT just about things like money, cars, houses, pets, cellphones, computers, TVs, and delicious food. It's about your body, your mind, and your basic rights—in the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”— as well.

And not just for the rich, but for the poor too. Everyone.

In other words, private ownership does not exist in socialism. Everything is owned by the government to use as the government sees fit. Sometimes this means ‘giving’ to the poor (or rather, letting the poor borrow it until the government finds a better use; remember, there is not such thing as private ownership in socialism); often times, this means usage by government officials.

And there is not such thing as "part way;" socialism is a slippery slope. Once you give up a little of your freedom, the rest is speedily taken away. Once freedom is lost, it's really hard to regain.

We can't give any ground. We can't give up any freedom. We must cling to it, fight for it, preserve it.

Socialism is not "good" or "pretty". Socialism is not about taking from the rich and giving to the poor. It's about the abolition of private ownership. And once you get down to that root, socialism is not pretty. It's downright disgusting.

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

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.

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


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.

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!

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!

"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.

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.......