Speaking at CHAP this weekend! Come see me!

Hello Everyone! I’m going to be speaking at the CHAP Convention is Harrisburg, PA, three times this weekend! The dates of the conference at May 13th and 14th, and I’ll be there with my publishers and their booth, Great Waters Press. Here are the topics and times for my talks!

Friday, 1:30, “How To Write A Book: A Homeschooler’s Journey to Becoming an Author”

Saturday, 9:30, “What Do I Do With the Rest Of My Life?”

Saturday, 2:30, “A Field Trip to Ancient Egypt”

I hope to see many of you there! Have a wonderful week, and Happy Writing! :-)

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 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! :-)

“I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!” – Part 1

This blog post is a continuation of the series “I’m Friends With a Guy… GASP!” You can read the introduction to this series here:

http://acryfromegypt.com/2014/09/im-friends-with-a-guy-gasp-introduction/

In the introduction, I introduced five questions that people might/sometimes do ask me about my friendships with guys. In this post, I’m going to discuss the first question.

Question #1: “How do you do spend time with guys and have friendships with guys without having crushes or attractions to them?”

In a nutshell, my answer is…

Carefully.

Oh I’m not denying that there are times when it can be hard! Between the ages of 9-15, I really struggled in this area! Which is one of the reasons that I have my character, Jarah, in “A Cry From Egypt” and “A Stand At Sinai” learning from her (and my!) mistakes. I’ve had many “crushes.” Some of them I’ve handled well. Some of them I haven’t, just like my character, Jarah. I’m happy to tell you now that I don’t have a crush on anyone and I haven’t for some time.

How did I do it?

I prayed. A lot.

I prayed before I was around guys. I prayed as soon as the thoughts came to mind. I turned my focus to Christ instead of on the guys and what they might think of me. And you know what? God has helped me to change my thoughts and to truly see these young men as brothers in Christ. They’re people I’m going to war with against the flesh and the devil, not people that I’m trying to woo and win.

I’ve also talked with some of my “little brothers” about this when they’re struggling with their emotions towards girls. Those that have prayed and turned their attention towards Christ every time that girl came to mind said that it has really helped them in their struggle to guard their hearts.

And here’s the other way I avoid this.

Communication.

Whoa. There is the one word to change the course of all of the guy/girl parent/child issues today!

My parents know everything about me. Literally everything. From the time that I was young, they cultivated a very open relationship between myself and them. They know my deepest and darkest secrets, my sins, my crushes. They know it all! That means they also know who I spend my time with and why. My parents watch the people in my life, particularly the guys, and make sure that everything is ok. They know who I’m with, when I’m with them, and why.

Now at the same time, they are not control freaks. While I do live at home with them, work with them, and serve with them, they allow me to have my own friends and my own life. They want to know my friends, but they aren’t constantly on top of me – dictating my schedule or making me get approval from them every time I need to step out of the door to go to Wal-Mart. They ask me gentle questions about what I’m doing, where I’m going, who I’m seeing, and then ask me how my day was when I get back home. They genuinely care and are genuinely interested. Instead of them controlling my life, I come to them wanting to talk to them and wanting their advice. I understand that this might not be the case in every household. If you wish it was the case in your household, then pray, show them this blog post, and start a conversation! Communicate!

My parents also respect the fact that if, for example, a guy friend of mine shares a prayer request with me that’s a little more private, I won’t tell my parents what it is. But at the same time I’ll explain that “so and so is having a hard time right now and needs prayer.” When the situation is resolved and there’s not an issue of trust being broken, then I can fill them in. My parents have watched me and guided me and they now trust me and my interactions with everyone I’m around.

Opening up to your parents and talking to them about everything is the best thing that you can possibly do, besides pray.

Also, if a guy (or girl, as the case may be) seems to be rather friendly towards you, don’t immediately shut them off or pawn them off to your father or mother. Maybe he just wants to be a friend. Maybe he wants to be more. But how is he supposed to get to know you or you get to know him if you shut him down before you even have a chance to talk to each other? Again… Communicate!

I’m a very friendly person, which can sometimes be interpreted as being flirty. I never try to be flirty at all. But I know of at least one or two guys who both thought I liked them for a little while until they realized that I treated every guy exactly the same way. It wasn’t that I had singled them out. I was just really friendly! Once they realized that I wasn’t singling them out, they relaxed, and we now have a very good friendship where we both know that there’s nothing else there. That wouldn’t have been the case if they had immediately shut me out and not at least been open to being friends.

Communication with your parents, communication with your friends, and communication with your Lord are essential to this area of your life.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, coming in just a few days!


Radio Drama Update!

For those who have been waiting on the radio drama…. We’re making progress!! I plan to have another preview chapter or two available on the website by the beginning of next week! Yay! I can’t wait to hear what you all think! :-) Stay tuned for more updates!

We also figured out how many people can fit in a recording closet this past weekend! The answer is….. Nine!! :-) I had so much fun recording with these extras (from left to right), Sarina, James, Becky, Rachel, Zach, Stephanie, Will, Dion, and Wilson! You’ll get to hear their amazing acting voices in the voices of the maids, Jewish girls, Egyptians soldiers, and magicians!

Having fun with our extras! :-)