Everyone looks up at the person who spoke. He's not much older than me, maybe fifteen, and really cute. Like, I-want-your-face-as-my-computer-desktop cute. Alynn told me that his name is Erik Gavinson, and she has a crush on him, too.
"Don't ya remember the last time you convinced everyone to play a joke on The Author?" asks John the pioneer guy. His girlfriend's pet raccoon is perched on his shoulder, and it starts protesting loudly as he pushes it off. "How we all got grounded for a week?"
"I'm certain that was a one-time event," Erik declares. "Tomorrow morning, when she's praying, we'll act out one of her favorite scenes. We'll have the grandest entertainment since The Author wrote her own fanfiction."
"That was an interim short story," John says. The raccoon squeals angrily, climbing up John's pant leg and biting his hand. "Ow! Dad-gum coon! Someone take it!"
"We shouldn't interrupt her while she's praying, lad," Lukas interjects.
Erik gives a haughty smile. "Aye, sir. But if you've any better ideas, I'd be honored to hear them." Lukas doesn't say anything, but he crosses his arms. I almost want to say something, but then I look at Erik's perfect blond hair and change my mind.
"Interruption it is, then," Alynn mutters next to me.
The next morning, the Internal Clock wakes everyone up at 6:50. But then, The Author rolls over and goes back to sleep. Her Imagination automatically sets a scene--it's cold and drizzling ever so lightly. We're in a clearing in the woods. The sun hasn't risen yet, but there's a reddish streak on the eastern horizon. I love this scene, because it's not recorded in Alynn's book.
Lukas pulls up his hood and starts walking, praying in Latin. Suddenly, he pauses. "Why have Ye been asking me to pray in Gaelic recently?" he asks God. He shrugs and starts walking again. "Lord, I'm glad Ye know what Ye're doing, because this is madness from my perspective. Why would Ye wake me up afore dawn, ride three hours through a thunderstorm into Barbarian territory--"
The Author looks at the clock. It's 7:02, and she immediately opens her curtain. She prays for a while, then takes a Bible off her nightstand.
"Now's our chance!" whispers Erik. "Keep doing your scene!"
"I won't interrupt her," Lukas insists.
"Fine, then. You've a spare tunic I can borrow, don't you?" Erik asks. "I'll act out your part."
All the Characters look at each other, and Selah is the only one with the boldness to speak up. "But you are so much shorter than him, Erik, and you have so much hair," she says. "Perhaps you should find another scene to act out. Or perhaps we could have a celebration instead, with feasting and dancing. Erik, The Author loves God. Perhaps it is wrong to force them apart."
"What do you know about The Author's God?" Erik sneers.
"I know much about Him," Selah replies. "And you are quite qualified to speak for me, as you worship the gods of Asgard and Vanaheim."
Rhett the time traveller's son laughs. "Burn!" he shouts.
Selah looks up and sniffs the air. "What is burned?" she asks.
"It's a figure of speech," Rhett mutters.
Lukas sighs. He keeps walking through the woods, praying quietly. I know that The Author's getting distracted, because the setting grows more vivid. Lukas groans, and he throws a quick "Lord, forgive me" into his murmurings.
He stops at the edge of the woods. "Now what?" he asks God. Fear and suspicion mount in his eyes as God reveals the answer to him, and he quickly looks around. Carefully, he runs half-bent-over for camouflage to a wooden pier and hides behind a barrel.
Lukas is too cautious to say anything. He's inside of the Barbarian village he's been hiding from his entire life. I can't blame him. But he trusts God, and gathers the courage to leave his hiding spot and stand on the very edge of the pier.
Then, he looks down.
"God, have mercy!" he exclaims, kneeling down and dragging a half-frozen Alynn onto the pier. "Can you hear me? Young lady!"
All of a sudden, the Imagination goes dark as The Author snaps out of her daydream. Her clock reads 7:13. "Erik, I hope you get in trouble," I say.
"Shut up," Erik scowls.
All of a sudden, The Author herself shows up, and she isn't very happy.
When you're a Piazza, you know how to make work fun. Either that, or you can't have fun without taking a break and working. I'm not sure which is more accurate.
Either way, last week my family and I found ourselves on a plane to Florida, to stage my late grandmother's condo for selling--and also, to enjoy ourselves. We hadn't been to Florida in a while. I was expecting a huge climate change the moment I stepped off the plane, just like what happened the last time we flew to Florida. But last time, we flew from Illinois, and turns out the weather in Texas isn't too different from the weather in Tampa Bay.
Grandma's condo wasn't too different from her house in Illinois--full of nice furniture and duplicates of things. We found four irons and three coffee makers. Two of the bedrooms didn't have overhead lights--just two or three lamps per room. But the view was nice. We even saw dolphins one day.
Speaking of dolphins, I found a coupon for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which was only a 25-minute drive away from where we were staying. If the name sounds familiar, it's because you heard it in the movie Dolphin Tale. I got to see Winter herself (from a distance) and look at some of the movie sets. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and well worth the rather exorbitant entrance fee.
I learned a couple of things on this trip. First, that clams burrow themselves into the sand to hide from seagulls and sand pipers, and they're adorable doing so. They also tickle if you happen to be standing on top of one, or if you're holding them in your hand.
Second, watermelon sorbet is really good.
Lastly, I learned that all states are obsessed with something. If you come down here to Texas, for example, you'll learn that we love our state. You can't walk through Walmart without finding something silly with Texas on it. I've even seen a Texas-shaped sandwich cutter. We love firearms, Jesus, and sweet tea, and we're about the sweetest people you'll ever see. Unless we're driving. Then, we're maniacs.
See? I wasn't lying about the sandwich cutter.
But Florida is different. Driving out of Tampa International Airport, I saw a sign that said "Welcome home, veterans!" I saw VFW's and billboards thanking veterans for their service. And I couldn't agree more. I also saw more crosswalks and "watch for pedestrians" signage than I've seen in my life. And they have bicycle lanes.
(I still don't know what Illinois is obsessed with, despite living there for twelve years. I guess it's corn and soybeans, because even in my little residential neighborhood, I lived within walking distance of a cornfield.)
What's your state obsessed with? Have you ever been to Florida, or to Clearwater Marine Aquarium? Have you seen Dolphin Tale? Tell me in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
"Allegiance, will you shut up?" Alliance mutters. She shoves me away as she stands up. "I'm a figment of someone's deranged imagination. I can't get hurt!"
"It's still nice to know that you care for her," Alynn comforts, setting a hand on my shoulder. I cross my arms. I just want Alliance to love me the way a big sister should. I'm pretty sure I look like a pug, the way my face is all pouty. The funny thing is, Alynn doesn't know how to deal with this face. She think's I'm crazy and takes one quick step backwards.
Suddenly, I hear a loud voice from the center of the room that demands, "What on earth is going on here?"
Everyone freezes. That voice, with a southern belle accent and an Italian's volume, belongs to The Author. She's spawned right in the middle of the room, staring at everyone with a really weird look on her face. I don't think she always knows what's going on the deepest recesses of The Imagination. We'd like to keep it that way.
"The American started it!" bellows the weird Viking chief guy. He points at Rhett, the time traveler's son. Rhett deflects the blame to his friend Ji, who's too modest to do anything about it.
The Author sighs. "Okay, guys. Do what you will, but I need some of you for a scene. Alynn, Lukas, let's go! Everyone else, shut up!" She sits down and opens her laptop before I realize she doesn't have a chair. It's funny to watch her suspended in space like that, but it's her Imagination. I guess she can do whatever she wants.
We know the drill. All the Characters who aren't in this scene line up against the walls. Alynn tosses her sword to me, then joins a really nice monk named Lukas in the middle of the room. The Imagination changes into a large kitchen. The walls are stone, and there's three cooking fires lining them. Only one is lit, and there's a pot boiling over it. Alynn ladles whatever's in the pot into two bowls. It looks like a cross between oatmeal and camel puke, and it smells absolutely terrible.
I hear a door open while Alynn's setting the bowls on the table. Lukas joins her in the kitchen, dusting snow off his boots and his dress. Everyone tells me he's wearing a tunic, not a dress, and that I'm insulting him. But not even Alynn's dress isn't as long as his.
“I surveyed the blizzard damage,” Lukas remarks. He seems oblivious to the stench in the air. “Nothing worse than at least three inches of snow, thank the Lord. And…what, may I ask, is this ye’ve set on the table?
“Parsnip porridge,” Alynn answers. Her face turns a slight shade of red. "A mouse chewed a hole in the bag of--"
"This won't work," The Author mutters under her breath. She taps at her keyboard for a bit, pushing her glasses farther up her nose as she reads over what she just wrote. "Try this."
"Parsnip porridge," Alynn repeats. “I finished the bag of oats yesterday, and the root cellar’s snowed over."
Lukas stirs the pot over the fireplace, and I think he finally realizes how bad it smells. “Indeed. How’d ye make it?
“Grated, boiled, and seasoned parsnips,” Alynn says. She sets two spoons on the table. “Don't worry, I've taste-tested it."
They both sit down at the table, and Lukas prays for their food. Then, for a while, they just stare at their bowls.
"It won't poison you, if you're wonderin'," Alynn snaps.
"Nope," The Author declares. She taps again at her keyboard. "I am a terrible writer...."
The keys keep tapping for a while, and Lukas's prayer is worded differently. As soon as it's over, he takes his spoon and slowly tries one bite. He chokes on it. I almost laugh as Lukas practically drops his spoon and downs half his mug of water. "Och, goodness! What did ye add to this after ye tested it?"
Alynn's eyes widen as she takes a bite. She looks sick, and she spits it back into her bowl. "Faith! Lukas, I'm sorry, it won't kill us, will it?"
"Crap," The Author mutters, tapping again at her computer. Then she stops, like she's heard something, and looks up quickly. "Coming, Mom!" she shouts with an Italian volume that makes the cooking fire flicker. She disappears like a magician--but it's her Imagination. I guess she can do whatever she wants.
"And while she's gone," someone shouts, "let's play a joke on her!"
I'm sure that, at one point in you're life, you've had this thought:
Well, there's nothing stopping you from being a great writer yourself! It just takes a little practice. I'll help you out--finish this short story and get started on your writerly journey!
I had Chinese food; she had a large, cheese-only slice of Sbarro pizza. You can get pretty much anything in the food court of Sweet Valley Mall.
“Orange chicken?” Jasmine asked.
“I’m stealing some,” Jasmine announced, giving me a friendly smile as she did. We’re practically siblings, so I let her, but I was fully planning on eating her garlic-encrusted pizza crusts.
I glanced over the huge food court. There were people everywhere, and about fifteen different food vendors selling everything from pretzels to McDonald’s to Thai cuisine. TV screens suspended from the ceiling played music videos.
“I wish they’d play some Christian music,” Jasmine muttered. She blew on her pizza before she took another bite. “Ow.”
“Are you okay?” I asked, almost laughing, as she desperately sucked ice water out of a straw. There was probably more ice than water in her glass, and it wasn’t helping her any.
“I burned my mouth.”
I took some wooden chopsticks and tried to pick up a piece of orange chicken with them. “That’s literally the only bad thing about pizza.”
“That and the carbs,” Jasmine said. “I should have gotten a salad. I’m going on vacation in two weeks, and I’ll need to wear a swimsuit. I want to look nice in it!”
“You can’t change too much in two weeks,” I objected.
“I know. I just want to feel like I’ve been trying, you know?”
Jasmine picked up her pizza and decided it was still too hot to eat, so she pointed at a blonde girl at the table beside us. “Look at her hat.”
“What do you mean, ‘what hat’?” It’s really cute, and I’ll bet she never has to wear sunscreen. It’s such a good idea.”
I got a closer look, and it turned out that her ‘blonde hair’ was actually an oversized sunhat. I marveled at it.
“You’d look really good in that, Jasmine,” I said.
“I’d always be getting it shut in doors. And look at that guy.” Jasmine pointed to the stream of people walking in through the doors. “He’s wearing a hoodie. It must be 80 degrees outside!”
I scanned the crowd, and I saw the guy Jasmine was talking about. He was wearing a blue hoodie and cargo pants, staring at the ground, hood up. “Dang,” I said.
“Can you even tell what color his hair is?” Jasmine asked. She leaned backwards, trying to get a better look at him. “I wonder if he’s homeless. He’s got a backpack.”
Suddenly, the hoodie guy looked up at us. His face was a strange combination of surprise and shock and horror, and I’d never seen anyone’s eyes open wider. He made eye contact with Jasmine, and then with me. The color slowly drained from his face.
“Holy crap!” he shouted. He ran out of the mall like his life depended on it, but no one else seemed to notice.
Who's the guy in the hoodie? Why did he freak out? Does he know the narrator or Jasmine? And what's the narrator's name? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader--and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
My name is Allegiance Simm, and I’m a fictional character.
It’s actually a lot of fun. I get to hang out with a whole bunch of other characters from about five different books. We have our own little space inside The Author’s mind. And since all authors are a little bit on the odd side, nothing here is normal.
Not that there’s such a thing as normal.
Take today for example. We’re all playing an extreme version of Capture the Flag. (By “extreme,” I mean that weapons are involved, and my sister’s best friend almost got his eye gouged out.) I’m on a defensive unit with three other people--an Irish girl named Alynn, her brother Tarin, and this really pretty girl from a strange culture named Selah.
Selah grabs her spear and thrusts it in the air, her fancy sleeves fluttering. “Stand firm,” she shouts, “for they prepare for another attack!”
I’m pretty sure she’s convinced this is actual war.
“The blasted gomeys don’t give us a break, do they?” Alynn asks. Fighting back advancing rebels with a wooden sword is pretty energy-consuming, especially when one of them is my sister Alliance. The two of them were engaged in hand-to-hand combat for fifteen minutes during the last attack, before Alliance got yelled at to retreat. I’m 98% sure she’s coming back to finish her battle.
Tarin’s running all over the place, gathering things to shoot with his slingshot. “I’ll help you, Alynn!” he declares. “It’ll be like David and Goliath!”
“Just so long as Alliance doesn’t get her head chopped off,” Alynn mutters. She has a cute, sing-song accent that I love listening to. “Allegiance, take care of her!”
“It won’t be easy!” I warn, jamming a clip into my automatic Nerf rifle. “Alliance is the toughest in Cornerstone Military Academy!”
Alynn doesn’t get to answer, because we’re rushed by a swarm of enemy soldiers. I send a sweeping storm of bullets raining across them, but it doesn’t even slow them down. They’ve got shields. They block. One pioneer guy gets hit in the crotch and falls. He’s the only casualty.
“Selah!” I cry.
I still can’t see how Selah can move without stepping on her pretty, flowing green dress that makes her look like a wood nymph. But she can put up a pretty good fight with her spear. She hits three people, but not Alliance. Alynn intercepts her just before she gets to our flag, and they’re fighting.
Their books are set in parallel universes, and about 2,500 years apart, but Alynn and Alliance are somehow evenly matched. It helps that Alliance doesn’t have her bulletproof cloak, or her special armor and comm link, or that her double-edged quarterstaff got replaced with a piece of wood.
“So, you’re used to fightin’ in hot places, are you?” Alynn asks. “You’d not last a day on St. Anne’s Cleft. The wind’s cold enough to freeze you half to death.”
“And you’d die in the Gobi Desert,” Alliance retorts.
Alynn’s sword clangs against Alliance’s quarterstaff, and I’m not sure who to root for. They’re both panting and red-faced, but Alynn especially, because Alliance has spent the better part of her life in a military academy. I shoot at her, but she blocks all my bullets with her shield.
“Don’t be a defector!” Alliance shouts at me. I aim for her face, but she blocks again.
Suddenly, I hear a cry in Gaelic, and Alynn’s little brother Tarin shoots his slingshot with all his might. Alliance only has two hands. She can’t block me, block Tarin, and fight Alynn all at once, but she tries. She spins around, only for Alynn to bring her sword down on her neck.
“Alliance has been defeated!” Selah shouts. She stabs one last attacker with her rubber spearhead. Almost immediately, a red-headed girl flies across the boundary line with two defenders hot on her heels.
“We’ve won!” she shouts with a Scottish brogue, and everyone on our team cheers. Alynn takes Tarin into her sweating arms, and Selah shouts something in her language. I cheer, too, before I see that Alliance isn’t moving. Every ounce of sisterly affection in me boils until I hear myself screaming her name and running to her side.
I have a confession to make.
I didn't walk my dog this morning. And it's partly because I stayed up too late last night researching names that, turns out, I'm not going to use anyway.
You might be wondering, how do writers come up with all these wonderful names for their characters? Names like Riley Poole and Stoick the Vast and Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent (from National Treasure, How to Train Your Dragon, and Ever After respectively). Is there a magical hat that we pick our names from?
Writers, myself included, tend to haunt baby-naming websites. We search by nationality and by meaning. I spent last night on www.catholic.org/saints/, which is a list of Catholic saints. (Lots of people during the Middle Ages were named after saints, or at the very least, picked a saint's name when they were confirmed, but that's another story.) I also get most of my Norse names online.
But websites aren't the only places we get names from. Sometimes we find a name that haunts us. It's perfect. It's beautiful. And hopefully, it's easy to pronounce. I wanted a character named Evangeline for a while, and eventually used her in a school assignment.
The thing about names, though, is that writers tend to be picky about them. Why did I spend two hours researching saint's names? I wanted to rename a character. You see, I named a particular character after saint who lived and died in the early 11th century, and Where the Clouds Catch Fire is set in 963. And even though I figured out what two of Alynn's aunt's names are, I didn't get anywhere with renaming Adelaide McLain.
But I had more than one reason for wanting to rename my character. Adelaide starts with A, and so does Alynn--and Alrik, whom we meet in the sequel. It was too many A's for me. I thought about Margaret, and Mildreth, and Bridget, but nothing seemed right. Finally, I went to complain to Mom (because she can fix everything) and she told me to keep the name. So Adelaide McLain will forever be Adelaide McLain.
It's apparently common for people to ask a writer, "Can you use my name in a story?" This has only happened to me once. Will we use your name if you ask? We might. But more often than not, we'll make you into a caricature of how we see you. Or, just to annoy you, we'll make you into the half-witted comic relief or the villain. And we might kill your character afterwards.
Unless we like you. Then we'll probably be nice to your character, too.
Are you bold enough to submit your name to a writer's eye? Comment below, and I might use it in an upcoming short story! Keep your eyes peeled for Part One of "Tales of an Overactive Imagination," coming Monday! God bless you, dear reader, and don't forget to like our Facebook page!
In the middle of summer, not all of my characters are willing to brave the Texas heat and drop by for an interview. But Konar the Conqueror (more commonly known as Konar the Mad) so gallantly decided to risk heatstroke and drop by. He's currently getting one of my kitchen chairs all sweaty. The glass of ice water isn't helping him. Maybe I should hurry up with this interview before he decides to take his clothes off--or kill everyone with his axe. I knew I should have brought my pocket knife.
M.J.: First off, Konar, I must say that it’s an honor to interview you.
Konar the Mad: (Smiles) The honor is mine. It’s not every day I get to meet such a lovely girl for the first time.
M.J.: Thank you, sir. But aren’t you married?
K.M.: I am—to my third wife, actually. Thordis died of cholera, and Hildegard—not sure what happened to her.
M.J.: She left you?
K.M.: She’s not here anymore, is she? No matter, now I have Caitriona. We’re so happy together.
M.J.: (Suspiciously) I’m...very glad of that. Now, I’m curious of the island’s history. Would you mind enlightening me?
K.M.: Certainly. We lived northeast of here, closer to Norway than Iceland, until I was a lad of five or six. My father Idir was chief then, and he decided we needed a larger island to call home. So—conquest. We slaughtered the Gythians, the largest of tribes, and took hold of their island. We renamed it Eagle’s Deep.
M.J.: Do you remember any of this?
K.M.: I remember landing on the fair shores of Eagle’s Deep and wishing I could join the men in battle. My father refused. I set fire to his bedroll in retribution.
M.J.: Was he in it?
K.M.: Apparently not. He didn’t die for another fourteen years, had to buy himself a new bedroll. It’s amazing how much money it cost him.
M.J.: Speaking of money, I’ve heard that you are quite wealthy.
K.M.: The richest on the island, milady. I shall have to relieve myself of some of it, and purchase you a ring. Have your hands ever seen a day’s work? The finest silks cannot compare in their softness.
M.J.: (Curtly) Thank you. How did you acquire your vast wealth?
K.M.: Export and trade. I specialize in the transport of living things—cattle, horses, a few falcons. Slaves make up a large portion of my commerce. There’s a huge market for them.
M.J.: Where do you find your slaves?
K.M.: Everywhere, really. Sweden, Denmark, Scotland and Ireland. I sailed to the southern edge of the world once, or very close to it, and I brought back some dark-skinned Catholics who did nothing but swear at me in their native language. By the gods, they were hard to deal with.
M.J.: So it really doesn’t matter where your slaves are from.
K.M.: So long as they sell for a good price, I couldn’t care less.
M.J.: And race plays no part in this?
K.M.: (Raising his voice) I just told you what part race plays in this. No ones gives a **** about where their slaves are from. They’re slaves. No one cares about them!
M.J.: I’m terribly sorry, sir. I seem to have set off your temper.
K.M.: Shut up, you ill-born dog!
M.J.: (Wisely shuts up)
K.M.: Now, if that’s all you want, I’ve a village to run. Get back to work, do something useful for once, and leave me be! (Thunders out of room, overturning his chair. Yells from the doorway) And another thing, you could use some mead to share with your visitors! (Slams door)
M.J.: (Sighs gratefully) Thank You God, I survived!
Every kid has their dreams. Some people want to be astronauts or princesses or spies when they grow up, but not me. I wanted to be a pioneer! I wanted to raise a garden in a log cabin in Wisconsin, then sit on a balcony overlooking the woods and enjoy blueberry muffins and hot chocolate. I wanted to write books and raise kids. And one particular day, I remember thinking, "When I grow up, I'm going to have long hair, and braid it every day!"
And then a voice spoke to my heart and said, "You don't have to wait until you grow up."
I've taken that voice and ran with it since then. My hair is braided more often than not, and even though I live in Texas rather than Wisconsin, I still enjoy taking hikes in the nearby woods. I have a container garden. I don't really eat blueberry muffins or drink hot chocolate, but every once in a while I make chocolate no-bake cookies. I crochet, I write, and I read my Bible.
I wish everyone knew that they didn't have to wait until X happened. You don't have to wait until you graduate to start pursuing your goals. You don't have to be perfect before you start ministering to people. If you want to homeschool your kids, do it now! You don't need a teaching degree!
At the very least, don't stop people like me from achieving our dreams. I've heard too many people tell children and teenagers (especially over the internet), "You don't know what you're doing. Get some life experience." You know what, we have a dream. And we might be trying in the worst possible way to reach that dream. We probably don't know what we're doing! We need someone to teach us, not tell us we're a failure before we even start. And if we decide halfway through that we picked the wrong dream to follow, don't look down on us. We haven't even graduated high school yet; at least we got one wrong career choice out of the way before we pick our college major.
Do you need a spark of encouragement so you can reach your dreams? Or are you the person you've wanted to be since you were a kid? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader, and don't forget to like our Facebook page--or check back with us next week. I'll be posting a very special interview!
I've reviewed a couple of books on my blog, and I really enjoy it. Today, we're going to take a look at a book from one of my three favorite series: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, from C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia.
First off, Dawn Treader is a remarkable name for a boat. And it just so happens to be the boat that Lucy and Edmund Pevensie are magically brought to for their third trip to Narnia--except that this time, they're accompanied by their insufferable cousin, Eustace Clarence Scrubb. The boat is led by the Pevensie's old friend King Caspian, who is trying to find the seven Narnian lords whom his uncle banished in his ascent to the throne. And, while they're at it, they might as well sail to the eastern edge of the world.
Their journey is full of twists and turns--they get captured by slave traders and fight off a sea serpent. There are magicians, dragons, and prophesies fulfilled. And there's an appearance by one of my all-time favorite Narnians: Reepicheep, the valiant, talking mouse.
This book may lack some of the Christian allegories that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is famous for, but it's still a good book. I'd recommend it over The Silver Chair or The Last Battle any day. The characters are well thought out, and Eustace's character arc especially was wonderful to follow. It's also the last book in which Edmund and Lucy appear--Susan and Peter being declared "too old for Narnia" in Prince Caspian. And while my favorite book in the series will forever be The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader had some magic in it. And I'm not just talking about the magician's magic--I mean the magic of Christmas, the magic that C.S. Lewis has put into all of the Narnia books. I mean the magic that enchants a book, and makes you wish that you too could visit Narnia.
The Fourth of July has come and gone, and I think the sonic booms from the fireworks knocked my dental filling loose. But besides that, I had a wonderful time, and I started thinking about all the people who provided that wonderful time for us.
See, the Fourth of July is a time when Americans celebrate independence and freedom. But I think it was Ronald Reagan who said that "freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." That's a frightening fact. If it weren't for our armed forces, our founding fathers, and our upstanding citizens who work hard to make our country what it is, we might not be here.
I'm not very familiar with the military, but my family is. One of my grandfathers served in the Coast Guard; the other was in the army reserve. My great-grandfather was deployed to Japan just as World War II came to an end. He brought home Japanese flags and photographs that we still have, and said that the Japanese were just as happy to see the end of the fighting as we were.
And yet we, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these great heroes, take very little pride in our country. We take our liberty for granted, and I'm guilty of it too. But it's time to stop. Taking pride in America can be as simple as thanking a Veteran, or flying the flag, or wearing red, white, and blue to the grocery store.
Because it's true, and freedom is always one generation away from extinction. Prayer is already kicked out of most public schools. And here in Texas, most people agree that we don't need gun control--we need idiot control. We can be the generation who stops this.
Alynn and Lukas love St. Anne's Monastery; therefore, they are willing to fight for it, even if it means risking their lives. What are we willing to do for America? Buy red, white, and blue cupcakes for Independence Day? It can be as simple as a prayer or an afternoon of community service. But do something. Don't stand by and let America crumble.