Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I will never forget my sixth grade teacher, Miss Schmitz. She instilled in me a love for reading with expression, writing intriguing stories, and neatness in penmanship. I would spend hours practicing cursive, trying my best to make the perfect capital J so my paper could be displayed on the coveted bulletin board at the front of the class.
There were no computers in my elementary school. My creative writing education was pushing my #2 pencil or blue ink pen on a piece of wide-lined notebook paper.
Times have changed. Most children know more about computers, text messaging, cell phones, instant messaging, and e-mail than the adults in their lives. There is a down side to all this technology. Children are lagging behind in writing skills because they aren’t writing enough.
I am a new grandmother of soon-to-be four grandchildren. (Our fourth grandchild is due September 17.) I love technology, and I don’t want to go back in time, but I do want our grandkids to have a good grip on the basics of reading and writing. I hope to whet the writing appetite of the wee ones in my life with a few simple inexpensive exercises. Maybe my ideas will encourage your child’s love for writing, too.
Chalk—There’s nothing like a fresh batch of sidewalk chalk to get a child’s creative juices flowing. Have fun with them as they write their name, a silly poem, story, or song on your driveway or sidewalk.
Menus—With a little imagination, a simple spiral notebook can easily become a menu. Let the child write out their favorite meal and also take supper orders with their new tablet. Be sure to leave a tip!
Grocery Lists—Allow your child to have an active role in grocery shopping by writing their favorite foods on the list every week.
Notes—Encourage your child to write a note of appreciation to a local businessperson, relative, friend, or lonely senior citizen. Be sure to take the time to teach them how to properly address the envelope too.
Scrapbooking—Introduce your child to scrapbooking. Colorful markers or colored pencils can make writing titles and dates in their scrapbooks more inviting and spur more interest.
Reporter—Some children can be reluctant readers and writers, but if you tap into their interests, they will thrive. For instance, if a boy enjoys sports, read a magazine, book, or newspaper article about their favorite sports figure. Then encourage him to write an article of his own.
As you affirm your children’s writing adventures, they will grow and develop as a writer. Be careful not to over correct. Remember the only way they will become a better writer is to write! Write! Write! All the words don’t have to be spelled correctly or the letters formed perfectly. This will come with practice.
So what are you waiting for? Go find the little ones in your life and write about now!
Posted by Dixie Phillips at 4:16 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I received my ten free copies of God Makes Lemonade. This inspirational collection includes a story about my father-in-law's POW experience.
My father-in-law Orville "Drake" Phillips is the soldier on the right.
I've read a few of the stories and been inspired by the true stories from everyday folks who discover unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances.
Posted by Dixie Phillips at 7:53 PM
For my blog today, I thought I would share a little bit about myself. I’m hoping after you read this, you’ll feel as if you know me a little better.
Tidbit Trivia about Me
I have been a pastor’s wife for more than 30 years. My husband, Paul, and I have four married children, two grandsons, one granddaughter, and another grandson expected to arrive in September.
My husband and I are the promoters of a two-day, all-day southern gospel sing. Over 30 groups from various states come to our little town in Floyd, Iowa.
I enjoy penning inspirational gospel songs.We have been honored to serve the Gospel Lighthouse Church in Floyd, Iowa, for 30 years and Lighthouse Academy for 23 years.Our son John gave his daddy a kidney on June 12, 2008. It was a defining moment in our lives. We realize more than ever before why today is called the “present.”
I love tea parties with my girlfriends and enjoy spending as much time as I can with my husband and family.
My Writing Journey
I have loved to write since I was a little girl, but I the first time I was paid to write was in the early ‘80s.
I am inspired by real people who stare adversity in the face, raise their shield of faith, and help others find their way safely through the landmines of life.
I was fortunate to have two godly grandmothers pour into my life as a little girl. They helped shape my small soul. I find my grandmothers’ influence in every story I write.
A Peek Behind the Scenes
My children’s story One Noble Journey is a story inspired from my own childhood experiences. My maternal grandmother lived in a poor neighborhood called Oak Park. Any of the property in this poverty-stricken location was considered of little value because the lowlands caused frequent flooding. Many who lived on high ground considered Oak Park to be a thorn in the side of their fair city, but this attitude didn’t faze Grandma. She had a heart oozing with God’s love and she was determined to help the neglected and forgotten children of Oak Park. Her home became a soup kitchen, barber shop, and homeless shelter. If anyone from her neighborhood had a problem, they knew they could count on Grandma to help them. She housed frightened children and battered wives. After many years of listening to various problems over a hot cup of coffee and a slice of her homemade pie, Grandma became a seasoned counselor. Most people understood her mission, but there were some folks who were prejudiced against her simply because of where she lived. In my children’s book One Noble Journey, the timeless truths I learned from my grandmother’s life are woven throughout the story.
Two cultures collide in the tiny village of Westbury, when an orphan girl from the lowlands, the daughter of a Count from the highlands, and a baby raccoon become friends. One Noble Journey is utterly compelling, highlighting the negative power of prejudice and the positive power of God’s love and acceptance.
Why I Write for Children
I enjoy helping shape small souls for Jesus and transplanting smiles on the faces of children.
Where can readers purchase a copy of my books?
Autographed copies of my bookscan be purchased directly from me by emailing me at Phillips4Him@omnitelcom.com or you can order my books at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.guardianangelpublishing.com.
I plan to continue writing stories that shape small souls for Jesus. I believe the seeds of influence from my books will live longer than I do and produce a harvest of wisdom and help ignite a vibrant faith in the heart of child, which will change a generation and time my eyes will never see.
Posted by Dixie Phillips at 8:18 AM
Monday, August 22, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Finally, after months of rewrites and tweaks your book has been submitted and printed. The hard part appears to be over, but there’s still more work to do. Knowing how to market your book is just as important as writing it. I’ve created a checklist to simplify the job for you.
1. Start blogging now. Post articles about your writing journey and the cover picture of your book.
2. People love contests! Have one on your blog. Give away one copy of your book. Have a drawing for those who leave a comment. Inform your followers about where they can order or learn more about your book.
3. Write articles for e-zines or periodicals. Mention your book in the byline.
4. Build a website and let your presence be known. If you are not computer savvy, hire someone who can design the site for you. In today’s high-tech culture, a website is a must.
5. Set up book signings at local libraries or bookstores. Meet people face to face and promote your book up close and personal. Your fan base will grow. There’s no substitute for meeting an author in person.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your book is published by a traditional publisher, they usually have a marketing plan in place for you. Most self-publishers have a creative marketing plan are available for a fee. If your niche isn’t marketing, seriously considering hiring someone to promote your book for you.
Hope this helps you improve your marketing and build a platform so you can sell more of your books.
Posted by Dixie Phillips at 7:47 PM
Friday, August 12, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
“He persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27 (NIV)
This Scripture has been a tremendous blessing to me and impacted my writing journey. In the life of every Christian writer, we keep pushing our pen because we have seen and been forever changed by the invisible One. As we look upon His face and spend time in His presence, we realize this truth—Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible!
Where were you the first time you caught a glimpse of the invisible One?
When did you sense God calling you to write?
Do you remember the first time someone was ministered to by something you’ve written?
One of my favorite Old Testament Bible stories is Elisha and the floating axe-head. Do you remember how the axe-head slipped off the handle, fell into the deep water, and would have been gone forever, but a man of God prayed and miraculously the axe-head floated to the top.
Broken spirits are heavier than iron axe-heads, but when one tiny sliver of Calvary's cross is inserted into a bleeding heart, the hemorrhaging stops and they rise with resurrection life and beat again. God wants to use your story to be that “tiny healing sliver” from Calvary’s cross.
Whether we are writing for children or adults, God wants to use our stories to change the world one soul at a time. Keep sowing those seeds and pushing your pen. Remember the invisible One is watching and if you listen you might hear Him clapping His nail-scarred hands just for you.
Posted by Dixie Phillips at 6:45 AM
Monday, August 1, 2011
I love to write for children, but I also enjoy writing inspirational pieces that help encourage and mend broken hearts. The following is a devotional I wrote just before our son gave his daddy the gift of life on June 12, 2008. On Father’s Day weekend in ’08, my husband had a kidney transplant. Our only son John saved his daddy’s life.
A few years ago I heard our son’s voice calling, “Mom, come quick! You’ve got to see this.”
I stumbled down the narrow hallway, anxious to discover what he was so excited about. There in our neighbor’s yard in broad daylight was a barred owl sitting on a mound of freshly fallen snow.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” John pointed at the frightened bird.
I nodded my head as we walked towards our fine-feathered friend. She was in distress and wildly flapping her wings. It was obvious that one wing was broken and she needed help. My husband called our local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and explained the situation. “The owl is wounded and needs medical attention.”
“We are just swamped, Reverend Phillips. It will be a few hours before we can get there.”
We watched as the owl fidgeted and fluttered to get to a safe place. After a long struggle, she nestled down under a pickup topper. Throughout the day we could hear her screeching. Our son plugged his ears. “She sounds like a newborn baby crying for her mother.”
Hours later, the conservation officer arrived. “I forgot my net, but I have a burlap bag I might be able to catch her with.”
We inched our way to the frightened bird. The officer spoke softly and tossed a burlap sack over the owl. I marveled the bird showed no sign of resistance. No wings flapping and no screeching. What shocked me the most was she made no attempt to fly away! She sat very still and almost seemed to know the officer was there to rescue her.
At that time, our family was facing a crisis of their own. My husband had been diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure and needed a kidney transplant to survive. We had “flapped” and “screeched” hoping to change the situation, but all our anxiety and fearful thoughts only caused our stress levels to spiral out of control.
Who would have thought God could speak peace to the storm raging in my soul through an owl.
“Lord, I give the future to you.” I prayed.
Throughout the rest of the week, when I was tempted to “flit and flutter,” and become restless in my spirit, I remembered the placid owl. As I prayed, I sensed His peace and knew He was throwing His mantle of mercy over our family.
Maybe you are anxious about a storm you are facing. Today allow the Holy Spirit to calm the storm in your soul and throw His mantle of mercy over you. You’ll never be sorry.
Posted by Dixie Phillips at 10:12 PM
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