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! :-)

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

Then and Than

Here’s a fun grammar tip for you! It was only a year or two ago that I finally got the difference between “then” and “than” straight! Grammar is important! :-)

http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2015/then-vs-than-why-one-letter-matters/?sf&utm_campaign=Blog_Augment_1&utm_source=Facebook_org&utm_medium=social&utm_content=link_post

Then vs. than. They are not the same.

Great Writing Tips!

While researching some ways to improve my own writing, I found this awesome article with writing tips! Thirty-four authors and article writers put these together and some of them are so helpful! I hope this benefits your own writing as well as it has benefited mine! :-)

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/34-writing-tips-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer/

The Radio Theater Production is Done!!!

Hello Friends!

And now…. The announcement that you all have been waiting for for almost two years!!! “A Cry From Egypt,” book 1 in The Promised Land Series, is now in Radio Theatre form!! As of yesterday, the radio theater production, featuring a cast of over 50 people, narration by the author (me!!), over 250 sound effects and original music composed by Nathan Nasby, and the story that you all have grown to love, has been released to the world!! With the mastering done by Great Waters Press, it sounds phenomenal!! Do you like Jonathan Park, Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family or Lamplight Theater? Then you will LOVE this radio theater adaption of “A Cry From Egypt”!

And for your listening pleasure…. :-) The first chapter of the radio theater production to show you just how amazing it sounds!

I can’t thank my many actors enough for all of their hard work! Or my publishers for mastering and for contacting our amazing composer! You won’t believe how amazing it sounds! I hope you all enjoy it! :-)

A Cry From Egypt Radio Theater Chapter 1

Buy the radio theater production HERE!

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! – Introduction

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts recently about courtship vs. dating. All of them seem to swing from one extreme to another. Either courtship is so totally not the way to go, and dating around is the only option. Or, dating is so wrong and you must only court, without ever having alone time or private conversations with your potential spouse. Each blogger has their arguments. The pro-daters talk about how you have to be friends with tons of people to get to know your “type,” and that can only happen in an intimate, date-like setting. The pro-courters almost go to the extreme of saying that if you have any private conversations with a guy/girl you’ve given away your heart and you’re not being faithful to your future spouse.

I’ve read so many of these things. Always the same arguments and extremes back and forth. And then I thought of something…

What if neither of these ways are right? What if neither of these extremes are healthy? What if some friendship should be involved, but dating around isn’t the right idea, either? What if you can be friends with members of the opposite sex without giving away your heart?

So, I decided to write a blog post. Actually, a series of blog posts. This is the introduction to a six-part series about my journey to try and find this middle ground, which I believe is very biblical and healthy on so many levels. Hence the name of this series. “I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!”

Actually, I’m friends with a ton of guys! And no, we’re not getting married. :-) I’ve grown up practically surrounded by boys, and yet I’m still single.

Now, let me explain what I mean what I say “surrounded by boys.” I definitely don’t want you to envision Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone With the Wind” dragging dozens of boys behind her in an attempt to flirt with every single of one of them. That’s not it at all! As far as I know, I’ve only had about two or three guys who might have had somewhat of a crush on me in my entire life! It’s just been that every circle I’ve been involved in for my life has more boys than girls.

First of all, I have a seventeen-year-old brother. We’re very close, even though we’re almost five years apart. My brother is one of the best guys on the face of the planet. And no, I’m not THAT biased… :-) But my brother also happens to pick some of the other best guys on the face of the planet to be his friends. That means that I have tons of guy friends who are anywhere from 1-10 years younger than me that I’ve “adopted” as my little brothers. They talk to me about life, ask for prayer, and we have a good time hanging out and getting to know each other. Many of us have volunteered together at our churches or other Christian outreaches. While we don’t know each other’s deepest and darkest secrets, we know each other’s personalities and lives like the back of our hands. They keep my life interesting, protect me, keep track of me, and ultimately point me to Christ.

At all of the churches I’ve been involved in, the guys have always outnumbered the girls significantly. So once again, I find myself surrounded by great guys. We serve together, play sports together, lead worship together. People talk about us behind our backs. People couple us up. But you know what? We’re still just friends!

Another one of my circles is my acting group, Spiritual Twist Productions. This is the one place where the girls actually outnumber the guys significantly! But since guys are desperately needed in theater, the guys are always around. I have a job on the staff as a musical director, and so that means that I often work very closely with the kids, boys and girls. I often have groups of guys in my music room for hours at a time hammering out music and harmonies. We have a blast! They all have my back. They check in on me all the time. We all pray for each other all the time. We’re an awesome team. You have to be when you’re putting on a play! But no, we’re not getting married.

And then my final circle is my publishing family, Great Waters Press. Hal and Melanie Young, my publishers, have six boys! We all work very closely together and interact with each other, often on a daily basis! But again, we’re just friends. Friends accomplishing the awesome vision of this incredible ministry, Great Waters Press.

So… Some of you girls, boys, and parents are probably thinking one (or more!) of the following questions:

“What??? How can you do that without having crushes on so many people? Or not liking them? Or them liking you?”

“Is that smart? Shouldn’t you be investing time in the girls around you?”

“Doesn’t that mean you’ve shared your heart with a ton of guys?”

“Aren’t you emotionally involved?”

“Won’t other guys be intimidated by all the boys that you’re around all the time?”

First of all, before I answer these questions, I need to clarify something. Yes, there is definitely a time when you should draw lines. I’ve given many talks online and at local homeschool conferences about how to have healthy guy/girl friendships without crossing Biblical boundaries. I share verses like these all the time!

Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.”

1 Timothy 5:1-2, “Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, to the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.”

Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, dwell on these things.”

So I am a huge advocate of guarding your heart, not sharing intimate things, not harboring crushes, or dwelling on members of the opposite sex. You might be thinking that these Bible verses above show that we need to stay closed off and protect ourselves until it’s time to court or date or get married. Well, over the course of this blog series, I hope to show you that that is not the case.

Stay tuned for part 1 of these series, which address Question #1, 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! :-)

NCHE Conference Fun!!

A very belated post…. But here’s some pictures from the pre-release of “A Stand At Sinai” at the NCHE (North Carolinians for Home Education) conference in May of 2014! It was an amazing weekend! We had so many great sales and awesome feedback! And a phenomenal team making everything work. :-)

Click on this link to pre-order your own copy of “A Stand At Sinai” before the big release in Fall!! :-)

Enjoy the pictures! :-)

And now there are two!!! :-)

Signing my first copy of “A Stand At Sinai”!

Here it is!!! Isn’t it beautiful??? :-)

My own little corner of the booth!! :-)