They Focused on Their Own Strength

Now that book 2 is at the publishers, I’ve started the outline of book 3! In doing so, I’ve been reading through Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua. It’s really fun, but also really crazy all at the same time! Lots of books and lots of numbers and laws and details! :-)

I spent a long time on Numbers 13 in my Bible study. This chapter always makes me so sad. This is when the twelve spies went into the Promised Land to spy it out, and came back bearing news of giants and more people than they could count. Ten of the spies (and by the way… One of those ten spies is going to be very important in book 2! I can’t wait for you to meet him! :-) ) spread bad reports and anger and fear amongst the Israelites.

Only two out of the twelve spies, Caleb and Joshua, stood up for what was right.

Caleb said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”

How did Caleb know this? Because God had said in the beginning of the chapter, “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel.” (emphasis mine)

God had already said that He was going to give them the land! He would give them the strength, the power, and perform whatever miraculous signs He needed to in order to give them the land. What did the other ten spies say in response?

“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.”

Too strong for the Israelites, yes. But too strong for God? No way!! How did they so quickly forget that God had killed all the firstborn males in Egypt in one single night? Or all of the devastating, terrible plagues? Or the parting of the Red Sea? Or the incredible victory against the Amalekites? Or His display of power at Mt. Sinai?

But the Israelites are like us. We forget. We focus on our feelings and how inadequate they feel instead of what God has promised that He will do for us.

This is going to sound like a very random tangent, so bear with me here for a moment. :-) But I was studying this passage a lot last year when a big thing happened to make me realize that I wasn’t any better than the Israelites.

Last year I was an assistant pianist and acting coach in a modern-day play called “An Audience of One” with my acting group, Spiritual Twist Productions. The story was about two girls who had dreams of going to Broadway and were stars in their local high school. But when a new youth pastor comes to their church and starts talking about glorifying God with everything in their lives and doing “real musical theatre,” the girls lives are changed. The play is very funny, entertaining, but has so much truth about living holy lives devoted to the Lord and finding His will for our life. And since this was a modern play, it was also really hard to pull off the acting. After all, there weren’t really costumes or make-up to help us get into character. We had to become someone we weren’t, but in our normal clothes! It was hard!

Many of the characters – well really, the whole cast and crew! – where having a hard time “letting go.” We all prayed so hard, but yet we’re all perfectionists. We kept trying in our own strength, and we kept falling flat on our faces. We wanted to control our performance instead of giving it to God. We knew that His strength was sufficient for us, but we didn’t really believe it.

Finally, our director had us gather in a circle and we spent almost forty minutes as a cast and crew praying for God’s anointing, His Holy Spirit, and most importantly, His strength. We all finally let go of ourselves and our desires and our fears and our strength, and allowed God to fill us with His.

And He did.

He made the play more amazing than we could ever have imagined. But everyone will gladly tell you that it wasn’t us at all. It was all God. But God had to bring us to that breaking point of realizing that we couldn’t rely on our strength anymore. Instead, we had to rely on Him and His power and His Holy Spirit and His strength. The Israelites forgot that. And we forget that, too. Sometimes I feel like I forget that lesson and learn it again every single day!

I wish the Israelites had gone into the Promised Land the first time and not focused on what they couldn’t do, and instead focused on what God could do. But then, I guess we wouldn’t have learned this really important lesson about not trusting in ourselves. I hope this lesson encourages you like it encouraged me and the whole cast and crew at Spiritual Twist Productions. I guess we’re not much better than the Israelites, after all. :-)

 

Learning Egyptian Hieroglyphics!

Hello All!

Our family did this once in our homeschooling on a field trip to the museum, and it was so much fun! We figured out what our names were in Egyptian hieroglyphics! It’s really fun to learn how to draw the different figures and how to stack them and write them. It makes a great educational craft for your homeschooling, especially as you’re studying Ancient Egypt!

This link has the basic hieroglyphics for the different sounds made in English! It also has an idea for making your own “cartouche,” or Egyptian name tag. It’s really fun and easy!

My name in hieroglyphics is a twisted rope, a chick, a blanket, and a falcon! But since the chick can make more of the “o” sound, I could really leave off the falcon if I wanted to. It just looks nicer! :-) What are your names in Egyptian hieroglyphics?

http://www.kidzone.ws/cultures/egypt/hieroglyph.htmhttp://www.kidzone.ws/cultures/egypt/hieroglyph.htm

Big News!!!

Hello Friends!

I have two really big and exciting announcements!!

First of all…. The moment you’ve been waiting/praying for…. BOOK TWO HAS BEEN SENT TO THE PUBLISHERS!! We don’t have an official release date yet because my publishers are still reading/reviewing it and haven’t even approved it yet! But the fact that the book is completed and sent out is a huge praise and is so exciting! We’ll keep you updated further about new developments and about the release date!

Secondly…. My first book, “A Cry From Egypt,” has been nominated for the Christian Small Publisher’s Book of the Year in the Young Adult Category!!! This is such a huge deal and is so exciting!!! However… In order to receive this prize I need your help. You have to vote for my book! It’s really, really easy to do! Go to this link, fill in your name and email address at the top of the ballot, and scroll down until you see my book on the right-hand side of the screen. Click the little circle next to my book, go down to the bottom of the page and hit “Submit Votes,” and you’re done! It’s that easy! It only takes two minutes!

Please go to the link below to vote for “A Cry From Egypt” and please share this with your friends and family! There’s some heavy competition out there for this award, and it would mean so much for me to receive it! Thank you so much, friends, for all that you do!

Hope Auer

http://www.christianpublishers.net/14votes/

 

Come To Our Party!!!

Hello Friends!

This has been a big week for my publishing family! Great Waters Press (the publishing house for “A Cry From Egypt,” “Raising Real Men,” and “My Beloved and My Friend“) has reached over 20,000 fans on their Facebook page!! Yay!! :-)

To celebrate such an exciting time and such wonderful friends, we’re throwing a party!! On Monday, January 27th, at 3pm, Hal and Melanie Young, owners of Great Waters Press and authors of “Raising Real Men” and “My Beloved and My Friend” will be doing one of their most popular sessions for FREE as an online webinar!! And you’re invited!! They’ll be speaking on “Ballistic Parenting: Surviving and Appreciating Boys.”

Click on this link to learn more about the party and sign up for this amazing and free session! They’re amazing speakers! You don’t want to miss it!

Oh! And did I mention that there are all sorts of freebies and giveaways for homeschoolers? Well… I just did! :-) There are some great giveaway from Homeschool Adventures, Joyous Home, Media Angels, Doorposts, Shining Dawn Books, Trivium Pursuit, and Mystery History!

Please join us for the fun and share with your friends! Thank you so much! Have a wonderful day, and Happy Writing! :-)

You Don’t Need To Be A Better Writer

Wow. I found this post on a writing website the other day. Most of this guy’s stuff (Jeff Goin) deals more with writers who are writing adult books. He’s not a Christian, and so I don’t generally repost a lot of what he says because I don’t agree with it. But I found this post today that blew me out of the water. His main point is:

“Writing isn’t about being ‘good.’ It’s about telling the truth.”

Whoa!! And how much more profound is that quote for us Christians? We know what truth really is. We know the ultimate source of all truth and light, Jesus Christ our Lord. We should never let other’s opinions of the fear of looking bad stop us from telling the truth. Ever.

I hope you enjoy this article and are as blessed by it as I was!

http://goinswriter.com/better-writer/

New Behind the Scenes Sneak-Peaks! :-)

Hello Everyone!

We’ve finally uploaded a bunch of behind the scenes pictures and an audio clip from the radio drama! It’s so exciting! :-) Go over to the page labeled “Radio Drama,” and you can click on either “Behind the Scenes!” or “Radio Drama News!” to see and hear new things! Subscribe to the pages so that you know when I add more pictures or new audio clips. Please continue to pray that we’ll get everything in place for final recording here in just a few weeks! I can’t wait for you all to be able to hear the whole thing!

 

“A Cry From Egypt” is now available on the Kindle!!!

Hello Everyone!

I’m thrilled to announce that “A Cry From Egypt” is now available on the Kindle!! We’ve had so many people asking about when it will be in electronic form, and now it is!! Many, many thanks to the crew at Great Waters Press for all of their hard work to get this out to you all!

You can order “A Cry From Egypt” for $6 on Amazon! Click on the link below to purchase the Kindle version and to see some great reviews on my book! And please share the news with all of your friends and family members! :-)

Thank you!

http://www.amazon.com/Cry-Egypt-Promised-Land-ebook/dp/B00G3M3OVG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1382531088&sr=1-1&keywords=a+cry+from+egypt

Book Review! “The Draegonian Invasion”

Hi Everyone!

I read a book early in the summer by one of my writing friends that was thrilling and exciting and hard to put down! You know that I’ve been frustrated by how Christian fiction out there today isn’t really “Christian.” It’s full of romance, drama, and rarely focuses on Christ. Well this great book, written by Fred Jackson, breaks the mold. It’s called “The Draegonian Invasion,” and addresses what it’s like to live in public school and still stand strong as a Christian. The book also clearly shows that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Yes, there is spiritual warfare come to life! And it’s phenomenal and very intense at times! Here’s the synopsis:

“Fifteen-year-old Brad Johnson is struggling to figure out God’s will for his life. It’s hard to stay focused on doing what’s right amid the ‘normal drama’ of high school. Add to the mix a group of students who are bent on making life miserable if you dare to talk about Jesus, and things get real. Brad’s close friend Luke has become cynical and distant, drawn into a culture of drugs and black-metal music as the drummer of a local band.

“Things get even stranger when a video game Brad and his friends play, called ‘The Draegonian Invasion,’ begins to come to life. Brad awakens to the truth that sinister forces are attacking his friends and invading his community. He discovers that the dangers are very real and that a supernatural enemy is trying to take over his high school. The kids are wearing only black and being sucked into a life of absolute rebellion.

“With his friends, Matt and Bart, along with a youth Bible study group known as the G-Men, Brad battles alien beings, giant androids, mystical beasts, thugs, and a dark villain involved in the magical arts. He discovers the computer game’s amazing effect on reality. Facing his own fear, Brad learns how only the awesome power of God can defeat the evil lurking in the shadows.

“An action-packed adventure, ‘The Drageonian Invasion‘ speaks to the reality of spiritual warfare and shows the incredible power of faith in the only real superhero, Jesus.”

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this books. However, there are a few things I want to specifically point out. While I would highly recommend it to you all, there are some things that I don’t think would be best to introduce to younger audiences.

Pros:  Brad and Matt, the main characters of this book, are amazing young men of God. They have weaknesses and they struggle like the rest of us. But their compassion for winning the lost and ministering to those in need is so beautiful to behold, and very inspiring! They give of themselves time and time again to stand up for their friends and for those weaker than themselves, often putting themselves into great danger. They treat girls with the utmost respect. Brad’s sister is a strong woman of prayer and devotion to the word. Brad and others who are hurting go to her and Brad’s parents for advice, comfort, and wisdom. The Biblical truths in this book are convicting and empowering, and you find yourself cheering for the heros and for Brad with all of your heart.

I also love how involved the parents are in this story. Brad’s parents are leading him and guiding him and challenging him in his faith. They take an interest in his friends and are there to help him as needed. Matt’s father is a police officer, and the boys are constantly calling on him to help them when they uncover crime. Matt’s father does his duty well and honorably and is always there for his son.

The two things that stood out to me in this book, besides what I’ve already mentioned, is how the Christian young people stand firm in their faith in the midst of terrible, terrible trials. They love unconditionally and reach out to the lost, not caring what other people may do to them or what others may think. It’s truly inspiring and encouraging.

The other thing is how the spiritual warfare is portrayed. I won’t give away anything that would ruin the story, but Brad, in a sense, sees demons and angels fighting each other in the battle of good and evil. Whenever it seems that evil will win, Jesus is there. One look at Him and the demons flee. It shows the awe-inspiring power of God to protect His loved-ones and never let anything happen to them that is not in His plan or in His control. Brad is taught how to use the spiritual weapons of our warfare (faith, truth, etc.) to battle the evils around him. And when confronted with people who are filled with evil, Brad and his friends revert to prayer and to God’s power to protect them and their friends.

Cons:  While there was nothing bad in this story, I do have some things to caution you about before letting younger children or young teens read it.

First, it definitely depicts public school life for what it really is – a day-to-day struggle to keep yourself guarded and pure and stand up for what you believe. While nothing bad is ever shown, things are often talked about. Drugs are mentioned. Rock bands and demonic influences are mentioned and shown to be taking an affect on the lives of students who are getting themselves wrapped up in evil things. Brad, Matt, and Bart get bullied quite frequently. But again, things are talked about and shown to be evil and bad, which is what I like about it.

Second, a good portion of this book takes place at a kind of nightclub/bar. Brad and Matt come here (as well as police force) to help friends who have been lured into “the dark side” of things. While nothing is shown specifically about drug use or drunkenness or inappropriate behavior, it is mentioned in terms that you understand what’s going on without being blatantly obvious. And again, everything is portrayed as sin and shows the negative affects of going down that path.

Third, one of the main girls in the story named Brittany is a very lost young lady. The boys and Brad’s sister witness to her and attempt to win her over to Christ. But before Brad and others can reach out to Brittany, she becomes pregnant. While nothing is shown and nothing graphic ever mentioned, her pregnancy is talked about and they pray and hope that she won’t consider an abortion.

Overall, I loved the book! It was dramatic, exciting, convicting, and pointed me towards Christ. I would highly recommend it for those 15-years-old or older.

Here’s the website where you can buy the book, find more information about the book, and about it’s author! I would encourage you to buy the book and pass it on! Thank you!

http://thedraegonianinvasion.com

 

How To Make Your Fight Scene 20% Cooler

Yep. That’s the title of this blog post! :-) I was given this article by a friend ages ago, and just recently re-discovered it! It’s tips were invaluable as I started working on my second book and the battle with the Amalekites. (Exodus 17, for those of you who might be interested in reading about that battle!)

So for those of you writing dramatic sequences in your stories or books, read this blog post! And for those of you not writing something dramatic… Read it anyways. :-) It talks a ton about how to describe things. And who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be writing intense stuff, too. :-)

http://www.omnivoracious.com/2012/07/make-your-fight-scenes-20-cooler.html

Meet “Paki”!!

Hi Everyone!

I’d like to introduce you to Jamey Meeker, who is playing the role of “Paki” in the radio drama! I’ve known Jamey for six or seven years now. He’s a great actor, as well as a great singer, songwriter, and baseball player. I needed a ton of guys for this radio drama, and since I was already planning on recruiting Lindy (our “Acenith”) and their little brother, Zach, to help out, I wanted to ask him to do it, as well. But we had two problems. First, I couldn’t figure out what role he should be. And second, Jamey just graduated from high school and is heading off to Appalachian State University in the Fall. So if I’m able to do a radio drama of the 2nd book, it would be incredibly difficult for him to be in it. His sister asked, “Why not have him try out as Paki?” I thought about it, and tried Jamey out as some of the soldiers and then as Paki. When I read the scene with him where Ada is witnessing to him, he nailed it! It was awesome! And from then on, I knew I had the right guy in that role.

Jamey is 19 years old, and he’ll be heading to college this year and studying business at Appalachian State University. He loves to play guitar, write music, and play sports, baseball in particular. He spent 5 years acting with us at Christian Youth Theatre before helping out with the radio drama.

Jamey enjoyed playing Paki because he got to be a “manly man” and get in a fight. He told me that he also learned from seeing the Egyptian perspective and the Israelite perspective of the plagues in this book. He said that he can relate to Paki in the sense that, “I feel like Paki is who I would be if I didn’t have Christ in my life.”

Jamey and Megan played really well off of each other. There were many funny moments as they worked on the fight scene with Patrick, who was playing “Heru.” Jamey and Patrick practiced going at each other with butter knives, a very memorable experience. :-) I can’t wait for you all to hear it! We’ll be uploading small clips to the website soon!

Thank you so much, Jamey, for doing such a great job! You nailed the role, and it was fun working with you!