Hey, guys! Today's main post is going to be on Facebook--I made a video of me speaking (and singing) in the five languages Lukas speaks. Just to give you guys an idea of what those languages sound like. If you follow the Where the Clouds Catch Fire Facebook page (which I highly suggest you do), you might have already seen the video.
Anyway, I promised I'd link a few things for you.
Julie Fowlis is an amazing singer/songwriter who sings mostly in Gaelic. You can find her music at Julie Fowlis - YouTube
Here's a video of someone reading Old Norse, and probably pronouncing things a lot better than me: The Vǫluspá, read in Old Norse - YouTube
Here's "Deliver Us" from The Prince of Egypt in Hebrew: The Prince of Egypt- Deliver Us [Hebrew subs + translation] - YouTube
I remember the first time I had an epiphany.
To set the stage, I was about ten or eleven years old. I devoured multiple books a week, I took piano lessons from the terrifying wife of a local Baptist preacher, and I was built quite a bit like Hiccup from the first How to Train Your Dragon movie. I had bangs and almost exclusively wore headbands. I owned a gerbil, a refurbished iPod Nano, and more Silly Bands than anyone else in my youth group.
Oh, and I also had a panic-attack-inducing phobia of vomiting. Can't forget that part.
Anyway, my middle-school self was in the bathroom. I feel like I was brushing my hair getting ready for bed or something; I don't quite remember. But I know I was in the bathroom when a thought struck me.
"You don't have to wait until you grow up to be the sort of person you want to be," said that thought.
At that point in my life, I wanted to live in a log house in the woods of Wisconsin. I wanted to have six kids and write books and eat blueberry muffins every morning for breakfast. I wanted to be a self-sufficient gardener, too. And obviously, I couldn't do any of those things at the age of ten. But I did start by growing my hair out. I ditched the headbands and learned how to braid my own hair. "Look at me!" my new hairstyle screamed. "I'm a time traveler from the 1800s, here to enjoy the simple things in life and make the world a better place!"
I also expanded my crocheting skills. My grandmother had taught me how to make baby hats; a library book introduced me to granny squares, and I've never been the same since. I started making baby blankets for friends and relatives. I screwed up all of them, and looking back, all those blankets I worked so hard on are probably sitting in a decomposing heap of tangled, unraveled yarn in a dumpster somewhere.
I've come a long way in the ten years since then. Today, I just harvested an onion that I planted in February. I made the mistake of planting my onions a few days before a vicious cold snap, so most of the plants either died or produced shallot-sized bulbs. But one plant produced an actual, store-sized onion bulb, and I'm quite proud of it!
Today, I'm knitting as well as crocheting. I've screwed up on my most recent project, but my grandmother thinks I'll start a new trend with my rectangular waffle stitch, so I'm keeping it.
Today, my crocheted blankets don't fall apart--and I make them for grown-ups as well as babies. I've moved on to more complex designs as well. The Willow Square is a personal favorite.
Today, I have two books on Amazon.
I'm a far cry from where I want to be. I still don't live in Wisconsin. I no longer want six kids (I'll be good with three or four), and I have decided that blueberry muffins aren't healthy enough for breakfast. But I'm closer to the person I want to be than I was ten years ago.
Oh, and I don't have a phobia or panic attacks anymore. Can't forget that part.
It's hard to focus on the progress, especially since I've had some pretty significant setbacks along the way. But it's easy to close my eyes and whisper "Thank You, Jesus, for how far You've brought me."
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How well did that pan out for you? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to follow us on Twitter!
I tend not to get political, either in real life or online. But this just makes me mad.
Apparently, the anniversary of D-Day was four days ago. The President did not acknowledge it. My phone didn't sent me a notification about it. Twitter was silent about it. In fact, if it hadn't been for an offhanded comment from my dad, I would have forgotten about it.
That's not exactly a good thing.
I find it ironic that a President whose party is so adamant about fighting Nazis would neglect to celebrate the men who actually fought against actual Nazis. The ones who gave their lives. The ones who survived. Even the ones who planned the invasion--there was quite a bit of brainpower behind D-Day, and it would be folly to celebrate the soldiers without acknowledging the tactical genius (and divine help) that led to the invasion's success.
And what did the the President mention instead? The Tulsa Race Massacre. Yes, it was a tragedy. Death estimates range from 75 to 300--and that counts people on both side of the racial divide. Do you know how many Allied soldiers were killed in D-Day? Over four thousand confirmed deaths; over ten thousand casualties. And that's not even counting the Axis side.
Apparently, to our President, dying at the hands of racists is more honorable than dying to defeat the Nazis.
There are other things being erased in today's culture. The innocence of children is one of those things. This month is Pride Month, and there are some people who advocate for bringing children to Pride Parades. God knows what they'll be exposed to there; I've never been to such an event, but I've read that nudity is not unheard of there.
Intelligence and common sense are being erased. Twenty-one percent of adults in America are either completely or functionally illiterate. Our school systems are abysmal. No one cares if your child learns--except for maybe a few good teachers, and they're not given the time or resources to help as much as they would like to.
When faced with things like this, the correct response is outrage. And, sometimes, that outrage should lead to action. The thing is, I don't know what to do. I don't know how to fix everything that's wrong in our world. Lots of people say they do. They might be right, or at least partially right. Personally, I think that Jesus is the only answer. No one wants to think of Him as a solution, though.
It won't stop me from doing my best to write books that honor Him.
Howdy! Sorry I didn't post on Monday...I worked 30 hours this week, which is something I haven't done since I was seventeen and folding pizza boxes at Domino's. Working at QuikTrip is surprisingly physically demanding. I'm sore in places I didn't know could be sore.
Technically, I'm still in training. I've had four days of training. Day One was smooth sailing. Day Two was a bit more of a hassle; my fellow trainee up and quit after receiving some negative feedback from the trainer. Day Three was my worst day overall; after taking too long to take out the trash (who knew that I'd have a hard time wrestling with 60-pound trash bags on an empty stomach?), I was sure that I was going to get fired for poor performance and wound up in tears. I cry when I'm frustrated. I hate that about me.
My trainer was quite professional about the whole thing, and Day Four was great. I even did better with the trash! But the whole thing kind of opened my eyes to the ways in which constructive criticism affects us.
All of my books have received only positive reviews. I'm glad of that--it means that I've written two good books. But whenever I ask people for reviews, I always tell them to mention things they didn't like about the book. I want to improve my writing, and I know that there are things I'm doing wrong. Maybe my villains are crappy. Maybe my romantic subplot feels unnecessary. Maybe I wax too poetic at times, and my narrative turns unreadable. You know?
But then I get told that I'm not taking the trash out fast enough. And I can't handle it.
I've always been rather hard on myself, and I've always been pretty good at whatever I've felt like doing. Crochet? Boom. I've got an award-winning blanket sitting in a closet somewhere. Writing? Boom. Nothing but four- and five-star reviews. Cooking? Boom. Baked beans from scratch that get compliments from my grandparents.
There are a few things in life I suck at. I can't play sports, I can't bake bread without a machine, and apparently, I can't take the trash out fast enough for QuikTrip. And crying isn't the appropriate response when I'm told I need to improve. I'm an advocate for hard work and dedication, and it's about time I take my own advice.
Yesterday, I worked as hard and as fast as I could. And my hard work was acknowledged. My trainer had no bad words for me--only positive feedback. And it felt good.
Hopefully, the next time I do something badly, I won't cry about it. Hopefully, I'll take a deep breath, maybe eat a snack, and try again. Try harder. And do better.
What's something that you've gotten lots better at? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.