First Published Article! “My Kid Hates Writing – Help!”

My first written article got published in the CHAP (Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania) in their last issue! So many of my friends and family wanted to read it, so I’m posted it here, as well! I hope it encourages you in all of your writing and teaching endeavors. :-)

My Kid Hates to Write – HELP!

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Do you have those children who just really don’t like to write? Where it feels like you’re pulling their teeth every time you try to make them sit down and get something on paper? Want to know how to fuel a love for reading and writing in your children? Well, homeschooling led to me becoming an author!
My name is Hope Auer. I’ve loved writing and reading from an early age, and I’d have to attribute that love to my parents. As long as I can remember, parents read books to me and told me stories. This started me telling myself stories, inventing worlds and characters, and falling in love with writing to eventually writing my own books! “A Cry From Egypt” and “A Stand At Sinai,” books one and two of “The Promised Land Series,” started off as a homeschool project that my dad assigned me when we were studying Ancient Egypt!
Here are a few things that my parents and others did to help give me a passion for creativity and learning, particularly in the areas of reading and writing.
Read books aloud! My parents have read entire book series to me and my little brothers. They would read to us while we did chores, while we got ready for bed, or would just set aside a special time for us to sit and play quietly and listen. Reading aloud builds children’s vocabularies and makes them many, many times more interested in reading for themselves and in writing their own stories.
Introduce writing at an early age. Sure, in 3rd grade they won’t be writing essays. But they can be writing short book reviews! Did you just read a book for school? Have them write out a paragraph or two about the book. Did you just take them on a field trip somewhere? Maybe the farmer’s market, or a different historical site, or a museum? Tell them in advance to find something to write about. Have them look for a person to talk to, or a favorite exhibit, or to think about something new that they learned. It doesn’t have to be big or long. They just need to have something that they want to write about that makes them excited. Even if it’s just a few sentences, at least it’s something to show what they learned and to get them involved in writing. As they get older, the sentences will turn into paragraphs, and then into pages! It’s fine to let them dictate if handwriting is a barrier. The point is to create!
Get them into descriptive writing. Have them look at pictures and get used to describing them in detail. Have them try describing things from left to right, top to bottom, from the center outward, and then pick just one thing to talk about from each picture. Have them look up words in the thesaurus to find the best word (or words) for each thing they are describing. This way you can study art and photography, too! Have them find pictures that they like to give them extra motivation and save you time.
Make creative writing a must in your homeschooling. My dad asked me to write a short historical fiction story placed in Ancient Egypt. He didn’t know at the time that I’d be writing a series of books today! But creative writing provides an outlet for growing imaginations, for learning about grammar and spelling in a fun way, and for having something to share with friends and family. Maybe even one day, they’ll write books that make an impact on the culture and bring glory to God. You can use this to supplement what your children are studying in history by writing short historical fiction stories, or just to give them a break from the essays, tests, reports and let their imagination run wild.
Anything you study or anything you do in your day-to-day life can be used for ideas in creative writing. I often have parents ask me for suggestions for writing prompts to challenge their children’s creativity. There are ideas for creative writing all around you! Here’s some examples of creative writing prompts that I’ve used:

  • A story about a family vacation
  • A story about a lost animal
  • A story about your favorite character in history
  • A story about knights and dragons
  • A story about a trip to visit a different country
  • A story about you and your best friend
  • A story about animals out in nature
  • A story about people lost out in the woods
  • A tale of princes and princesses
  • A story involving outside classes (like music, dance, sports, etc.)
  • A story about orphans in a medieval culture…
  • The list is endless!

I hope these writing tips are a blessing and an encouragement to your homeschooling! If you have aspiring writers or would like more writing tips, please check out my website (www.acryfromegypt.com). I love doing what I can to inspire young writers or provide information for parents as they seek to school their children. Happy Writing!

3 Things To Do For Proof-Reading

So I’ve been doing a lot of proof-reading recently, and I’ve found these 3 tips to be very, very useful and save me a lot of time editing!

  1. Copy your text into a different editor or change fonts.
  2. Read your text backwards.
  3. Read your text out loud.

Check out the blog post below for further directions on how to use these three tips in your writing!

http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2015/3-things-you-should-do-when-speed-proofreading/?sf&utm_campaign=Blog_Augment_1&utm_source=Facebook_org&utm_medium=link_postthinking-kid-1428260-639x505

 

Commonly Confused Words

Are you or your kids having problems with some of these commonly confused words? Like “affect” and “effect”? “Hear” and “here”? Check out this blog post with a huge list of all of these confusing words!

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http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2015/affect-vs-effect-and-some-other-commonly-confused-words/?utm_content=CT-Blog_I-Landscape+Photo_PT-Intellectual_Su-Grammar_C-Grammar+Basics&utm_source=Facebook_org&utm_medium=social&sf23325696=1

How To Use Transition Words

Hello Everyone!

I just read this amazing post about using different transitional words. Do you and your kids often use “first, second, and third,” when explaining things in reports or essays? Read this post and try out some of these tips!

Enjoy the article!

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/how-to-use-transition-words

Do You Know the Difference?

I just stumbled across this amazing article about words that are spelled similarly or have similar meanings. Do you know the different between “Affect” and “Effect”? “Compliment” and “Complement”? “Cite/Site/Sight”? There are so many! Get a quick and helpful grammar lesson here! I always get “affect” and “effect” mixed up. :-)

http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2015/25-homophones-that-most-spell-checkers-wont-catch/?utm_source=next

I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP! – Part 4

And now… Question #4 of the blog post series, “I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!” Read the other blog posts here:

Introduction

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

Question #4: “Aren’t you emotionally involved?”

Nope! I’m not! And of course, it’s taken me a little while to get here. But I’m so glad that I learned these lessons early on so that now that I’m older I know how to interact with people of the opposite gender. It makes my life – and the lives of those around me – much easier and definitely not as awkward as it would’ve been if I had shut myself off from boys at a young age. Because the fact is…

If you don’t know how to talk to guys (or girls!), what happens when someone wants to court/date you? You’re not going to know what to say, what to talk to them about, or if you even like this person! What if you aren’t even compatible? Wouldn’t it be smarter to at least have some friends of the opposite gender who are really just your friends, so that you know how to interact with them, and your potential spouse, in the future?

And this doesn’t necessarily have to be in groups all of the time, either! I love spending time in big groups of people. I feel you get to know people really well that way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a one-on-one conversation with a member of the opposite sex. I’ve been able to do this, cultivate good friendship, and not get married! :-)

For example…

I was taking music classes at a local college. I had several friends there, and we would often meet for lunch on the one day a week that I was going to school. On several occasions, I ended up just having lunch with one of my guy friends. Or at least having thirty minutes to an hour of time with a guy friend before others joined us. Did we plan for that to happen? No, we didn’t. Was it a date? Definitely not! It was just two friends eating sandwiches on the front porch of the music building, catching up on life and talking about classes. We never got super in-depth. Neither of us shared our hearts. We were open and had fun and had great conversations and got to know each other better. We were in a public place and got to meet some other college students, as well. It was a great time of refreshment and fun and getting to know each other. But no, we’re not getting married.

At Spiritual Twist Productions, we often have late night play practices or performances or stay out late going to get food because we’re starving. :-) The guys always make sure that the girls get to their cars safely, which we greatly appreciate it! On several occasions, I’ve ended up talking with a guy who’s having a hard time or who just wants to catch up on life. People know where we are. We’ve never shared anything inappropriate. We aren’t getting married. We’re just friends.

Several of us really like to contra dance! Recently, our contra dancing hall moved to a creepy area of town, and then moved to another building where the only parking was a parking garage. Being a girl, I don’t like to go to parking garages by myself at night. I actually don’t like going anywhere in the dark by myself for reasons of safety. My guy friends always make sure I’m ok getting to my car. Not because I’m not a capable young lady, but because they want me safe, and I want me safe. So, in order to not be stuck in a creepy/unsafe parking garage by myself, I met one of my adopted little brothers for dinner at Wendy’s and we both drove the ten minutes to the dance together. Was it a date? No. We’re just looking out for each other and eating cheap food and having a good time! :-)

Some of my friends and I wanted to support a locally made Christian movie. When I got to the theater, it ended up only being me and one of my guy friends. Did I get up and leave because it was awkward and uncomfortable? Nope. I trusted him, he trusted me, and we had a good time supporting a good movie. It wasn’t awkward at all!

Since I speak and travel to conferences, there has been several times when I’ve taken a road trip with one of my publisher’s sons. We drove for several hours together, listened to music, talked, sang, even had dinner and ice cream together. His parents knew that we were coming to join them. My parents knew that we didn’t want to drive two cars several hundred miles there and back and were totally fine with it. We both had a great time and got to know each other better. Again, no one thought we were getting married. We were two friends going to work at a conference.

In all of these instances, again, you have to communicate and be careful.

I communicated to my parents when we needed to go to conferences together. I told my parents every time I ended up being alone with a guy eating food or talking, even if it was just for a few minutes. They knew where I was, what I was doing, and who I was talking to. There’s accountability there. There’s trust built there. And most importantly, you learn how to be friends and how to encourage each other in Christ.

But of course, use common sense and young ladies, don’t go anywhere with a guy you don’t know or are barely acquainted with. Instead, invite them to your church, your home, other group events. Guys, don’t go off with young ladies, either. Show you want to be friends, but again, communicate and be careful.

I’ve had many guy friends who have had to correct me on things. There have been times I’ve been too judgmental, or actually been unkind or unfeeling. There’s been times that I’ve been gossipy, or down in the dumps and self-pitying, and I needed someone to pull me back up. There have been times when I’ve had an emotional break-down with a guy friend of mine on the phone when I called to apologize or talk about something. There have been times I’ve been struggling in my walk, and the only people around at the time were my guy friends. I’ve been sick and had guys pray over me and comfort me. All of these times have been wonderful periods of growth for me. The guys all handled themselves respectfully in pointing me back to Christ, encouraging appropriate and Biblical behavior, protecting me, or just giving me a hug when I needed one. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had shut guys out from interacting with me. I know I wouldn’t be the person or the Christian that I am today.

Allow God to use the people in your life, guys and girls, to teach you how to interact with people and how to grow into the person that He means you to be.

Stay tuned for the final part of this series, Question #5, coming in just a few days!

 

I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP! – Part 3

This is Part 4 of the blog post series, “I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!” Click on these links to read the introduction and the other parts of this series!

Introduction

Part 1

Part 2

Here’s Question #3 that I talked about in the introduction to this blog post series:

Question #3: “Doesn’t being friends with guys mean that you’ve shared your heart with a ton of guys?”

Not really. Again, you have to be careful. But there are millions of things that I’ve shared with my girl friends and my parents that I would never dream of sharing with a guy until I’m courting/dating! My dreams, my hopes, my darkest secrets, my emotion swings, my plans for life in the future… Those are things to guard, to protect, to not tell the guys in my life.

Do you have to be cautious? Oh yes! But maybe not as cautious as you think…

Let’s take the 1 Timothy 5 verse I talked about in the introduction (1 Timothy 5:1, “Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.”) It talks about treating young women and young men as brothers and sister in all purity. Hmm… Brothers and sisters in all purity…….

I don’t know about you, but I talk to my siblings! A lot! In fact, my brother and I were up really late talking just the other night about life! We talk about private things, but never too private. There are just lines we don’t cross because he’s a guy and I’m a girl. There are physical boundary lines that we don’t cross, as well. Do we give each other hugs? Yes! Do we talk about our lives? Yes! Do we really love each other and honor and respect each other? Yes! Do we go out and do fun things together? Yes! If those things are considered perfectly normal for siblings, than why can’t we talk to our brothers and sisters in Christ, or give them a hug, or talk about life, or meet each other for coffee or lunch or a movie? Maybe even drive to a church event together to save gas? Why can’t we do those things and realize that it’s all ok as long as we guard our hearts and just try to be friends and point each other towards Christ?

I hope you have a great relationship with your biological brothers and sisters. And if you do…. Why can’t you have a similar relationship with your brothers and sisters in Christ, who should be almost as dear and as close to you as your own brothers and sisters?

In fact, that’s something that’s helped me a lot in this journey – really seeing the guys in my life as my brothers. Oh, I’ve adopted quite a few of them. Most of them put up with me being their “big sister,” or “little sister” as the case may be. Yes, I’m pretty short compared to most of them. :-) But at the same time, if we truly see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, there are less crushes. There’s less drama. Everything becomes more service-oriented instead of self-oriented. You care less about how you look or how you act or who notices you. You’re serving Christ’s kingdom together! And you end up becoming great friends! Not only that, but you get to learn what each other is really like. You never get to know someone better than when you’re serving with them and treating them as a sibling. Maybe you’ll even marry one of these guys/girls one day! Who knows? But until then, enjoy being a family and enjoy having lots of brothers and sisters who have your back, who love you, who are there to have a conversation with you when you need it, or give you a hug when you need it, or pray for you when you need it. Trust me. You won’t regret the friendships that you build with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Stayed tuned for Part 4 of the series, coming soon! :-)

“I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!!!” – Part 2

This blog post series is the 3rd in the series, “I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!!!” Read the introduction and part 1 here!

Introduction

Part 1

Now, onto Question #2 out of the questions I asked in the introduction!

Question #2: “Is that smart? Being friends with so many guys? Shouldn’t you be investing time in the girls around you?”

Oh but I do! Who says I don’t invest time in the girls in my life? Yes, this blog post series is generally about my guy friends. But that doesn’t mean I don’t invest time (and usually a lot more time!) in my relationships with my girl friends than my guy friends! I love my girl friends so much! I try and be a “Titus 2 Woman” even now. Yes, I’m not really that old yet. :-) But there are still girls that are younger than me that I can try to encourage and point back to Christ as God would want me to do based on that passage. Just because I may have more guys in my life than girls doesn’t mean that I don’t spend time with girls. I spend a ton of time with them!

I have three accountability partners who, like my parents, know everything about me. They are all girls. At my acting group, as I said, there are way more girls than guys. I’ve taken many of them under my wings to be their big sister and their friend, loving on them and discipling them as best as I can through God’s grace. I don’t have any biological sisters, and I’m thrilled that many of them have been willing to let me “adopt” them into my family. I’m much closer to all of them than I am with my guy friends currently – at least until I meet “the one.” They are beautiful treasures to me, and I would never trade their friendships for the world! They’re girls, and generally speaking, they know me better than most guys ever will.

And while I definitely want to encourage good and godly guy/girl friendships, I do want to stress that it’s important to be a friend to all, and particularly that you need to make sure you have accountability partners be of the same gender as you. Guarding your heart is important. That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to guys/girls about the deeper things of God. But your most intimate thoughts shouldn’t be shared around with any young men, or young women as the case may be. Reserve the deepest thoughts of your heart for God, your parents, your accountability partners, and your future spouse alone.

Have those earnest and godly relationships with members of the same sex first before you begin closer friendships with members of the opposite sex. My accountability partners watch me and let me know when I’ve crossed lines or need to not be so friendly around the guys in my life. They help me stay guarded and truly stay “just friends” with the guys I’m around. Their relationship and insight is invaluable to me. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Again, this all comes down to good communication. Also, humility and teachability. Listen to your accountability partners and make sure you’re investing in everyone in your life, not just singling out the guys or girls as the case might be. Remember that we’re here on earth to serve others and live for others, just as Christ came to serve and live for us.

Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Emphasis mine.)

Stayed tuned for Question #3 in just a few days! :-)

“A Cry From Egypt” has been awarded “Christian Small Publisher 2014 Book of the Year”!!!

Yes!! You read that correctly! My book, “A Cry From Egypt,” received the “Christian Small Publisher 2014 Book of the Year” award!! Ahhh!!!! :-)

Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK you so much to everyone who voted and who passed on the word about my book! I couldn’t have done it without all of you faithful fans and friends! :-) This is such a huge blessing to me, and to the Great Waters Press family, who now has two award-winning books in their catalogue! :-)

The crazy thing was that I really didn’t think I was going to win. I barely had any hope of receiving the award. I promoted it a ton on my blog and Facebook and other places when it was first announced, but I hate having to ask people to vote for things and didn’t push it too much. I meant to do another wave of posts on April 1st, when I suddenly realized (on April 1st!!) that the voting was closed!! No!!!!! Terrible planning on my part. 😛 So I just assumed that I hadn’t received the award and blamed myself for it.

On Saturday night, my dad got a phone call from my publishers saying that they wanted to come by our house. Now, my publishers live over an hour away. They don’t just come by. I had no clue why there were coming. My first thought was, “This is either really, really bad, or really good.” Since we’re still working through the editing/publishing process with book 2, I prepared myself that this would be pretty bad. Either that, or they just wanted to bring me a contract or let me know that I’d been accepted by a big distributor or something. So I prepared myself for the worse and was really nervous. They didn’t get to my house until over one-and-a-half hours after they had originally called. At this point, my nerves were fried!!

Then all of a sudden the doorbell rang. I immediately jumped up to answer it. My publishers and their son came in, and Mr. Young had a purple folder in his hand. Mrs. Young was holding something behind her back, and told me to scoot away from the door so that I couldn’t see what it was. My mind was kind of in a whirl at this point, and I didn’t know what to expect or what to do. Mr. Young simply said, “We received this email today about your first book and we really thought that you needed to read it.” He said it with such a straight face!! I don’t think I even said anything. I just took the folder that he offered me and flipped it open. My heart was racing! And then I read this:

Congratulations!

A Cry From Egypt, Hope Auer, Great Waters Press,

has won the 2014 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award in the Young Adult category!”

I still can’t remember how I responded. I think I gasped and screamed and said something along the lines of, “I got the award??” And my mom screamed. And my dad and brothers cheered. And my heart started racing in a completely different way and I had a hard time breathing. And I couldn’t stop smiling. :-) And my grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousin who were visiting for the night all ran up to congratulate me! And Mrs. Young presented me with flowers that she had been hiding behind her back. And I was laughing. Oh my goodness. Sometimes my heart still pounds thinking about it! To go from expecting the worse – or at least something not NEARLY as good! – to getting the best surprise of my LIFE!!

I want to again thank all of you for your votes and for spreading the word about my book! You all are so amazing! And I want to give a HUGE shout-out to my publishers, Hal and Melanie Young at Great Waters Press! They have worked SO HARD to get my book into the hands of so many people, and they worked hard to get it nominated for this award and get enough votes for us to win! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU everyone!! :-)

And finally, all glory and praise to God! This book is completely based off of His story, and as I’ve said before there were so many times that I know that He wrote through me. It was nothing I did of my own accord. It was all Him. Thank you, Jesus, for this wonderful gift to me! :-)

Click on the link below for the official announcement!

http://christianbookaward.com

Yep. That smile says it all! :-)

My publishers and I!

My publishers and my incredibly supportive and amazing parents. :-)

 

“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