2013 In a Nutshell

Last year I wrote this post, recapping 2012. I have seriously been looking forward to writing 2013’s recap post for about two months now. This post took me several days and quite a few hours to compile. Yes, it’s long. Yes, my year was more busy than I can imagine. Yes, I know I left out tons of stuff. There are a lot of things on here that I never posted on my blog, as well as a good amount that I did post about. And, since it is so long, you can of course just skip to the month that you’re most interested about and read it, instead of everything. 
I hope you enjoy. 🙂 

I start out 2013 by sharing my newly constructed dream list with y’all. Sometime around this time I begin working with my new editor on Where Dandelions Grow and find out that he’s amazingly easy to work with. I survive eating only fruits, veggies and nuts for a week and get to check it off my dream list. I also fly to Florida for a week with my parents and three siblings… We have fun, so much fun. (And my sister and I sleep out on a balcony and wake up with hundreds of bite marks from little ants.) While still in Florida, I think over some of my quirks, I also get to go to an orange grove and pick oranges for the first time, plus eat one fresh off the tree! On the way home, I decide to come up with a list of 21 things I want to do before I turn 21

Yea! I’ve gone for over a month without sugar! I get to cross no-sugar, plus several other items off my dream and 21 before 21 lists. And rats! I spill water on my computer, stick it in rice and sadly never get it back to working order. We were able to salvage the info from it though (thankfully!). I have fun thinking through my life and writing down 101 cool things I’ve gotten to do.  I got to house-sit for a week; that was kinda crazy for me, since I’m used to being around people so much. I host a writing contest and I write about one of my passions: goalsAbout the middle of the month I go to my adopted parents house and get to help out with the filming for their two new DVD’s. (Getting to do the ‘clap’ to start the scene was a dream come true!) Getting to have my first author interview on my blog of the year was great!

Blogging for a year already? Niiicceee! My first try at A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words turns out quite well. My sister, Helena, takes part in the Equip World Relay, she’s amazing. On March 10th I reach the milestone where I’ve been writing at least 100 words on my book every day for six months! Yea! About the middle of the month I take a spur of the moment trip to my adopted parents to iron out some wrinkles in our children’s book. Unknown to me, the trip was destined to change my life.  
During this month I also begin following the regime and diet of a doctor who lives out in Colorado for my Lyme disease that I had been battling for almost six years (and had never mentioned on my blog), I almost instantly feel worse, which means it’s working. (It’s called a herxhimer reaction, y’all.) Also, during this time one of my best friends, Sarah, comes to visit. I’m extremely sick from the medicine I’m taking and have a horrible week (one of the worst of my entire life). It was a week I’d never care to repeat and one that really helped me lean on God. I spent the next couple of months hoping I would have another chance to see Sarah while actually feeling like a human. (She lives on the other side of the world, so visits are few and far between.) 
One of the highlights of my month was tying for second place in a pitch contest on Go Teen Writers.  Also, I get the news from my adopted parents that Answers in Genesis is considering publishing my book. Later on one of my favorite authors guest-posts on my blog and I’m ecstatic! I also update the world on my 21 before 21 challenge. I get my book, Duskself-published on Kindle. Meanwhile, I’ve been plowing through WW2 History, trying to learn the most I can before heading off to Hawaii. During the February, March, and April we have kidding season for our goats, which means I’m up in our goat barn most of the time. It was an extremely difficult time with many kidding fatalities (which was really hard since last year we had a 100% success rate). After a couple of particularly trying births that end up with stillborn baby goats, I start praying very seriously about selling the goats. (I had already been thinking along these lines so I could focus more on my writing.)

Taking part in the A-Z Blogging challenge was fun. Deciding on opening up and talking about my six-year battle with Lyme disease was scary. Beautiful spring flowers are just popping out as our family heads off to Hawaii. Flying to Hawaii was so. much. fun. Really, I like being in planes! I also get a little bit lenient on the strict diet I’ve been observing for my Lyme disease, I still stay off of sugar though. One huge part of my life that I wasn’t mentioning on my blog at this time is that I was scrambling around frantically getting every possible thing done on my children’s book so that it would be ready to publish if AiG said yes, which there was a good chance of. (We were in a huge rush because if it was published, we needed to release it in June, at the same time as my adopted dad’s DVD.) Literally, my time in Hawaii was filled to brimming with the book. My adopted parents would send me updates and questions when they got them, which meant I was getting texts in the middle of the night. I was scrambling around working on my computer, calling my adopted parents and texting them, and well… You can imagine it! Hawaii was so breathtakingly beautiful. Despite the stress of the book (which was fun in a way), I enjoyed Hawaii immensely. Going to Pearl Harbor was a dream come true and a very amazing experience. After almost 10 days we leave Oahu (They had the coolest food there, by the way!) and fly to Maui. One of the last days we are in Oahu, I get to go to a store I’ve wanted to go to ever since my sister told me about it back in 2007 and on the same day, my adopted parents and I, along with my other dad, come up with the name Creation Quest for the kids book series. I also give an update for my writing and allude to my creation book being published for the first time (referred to as KCB, and mentioned only briefly). The last full day we are in Hawaii, I awake to a text with some of the most exciting news I have ever, ever heard. MY BOOK IS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED! I don’t release that info on my blog for a few more days though. Our family travels home from Hawaii after a lovely (and very busy and tiring for me) two and a half weeks and I finish up the A to Z Challenge

I start off the month with a bang: Announcing that my book will be published and signing a book contract! My life is over-the-top busy with two weddings (of close friends) within two days of each other, and another wedding the next week. We have tons of company and other such things. I also head off to my adopted parents to help sculpture a life-size model of a dinosaur. The plan was for me to help out with the dinosaur for about a week. We were so busy though that I ended up staying for nine days. That was the longest I’ve ever been without siblings. I also write some on the second Creation Quest book, but ended up scrapping the story. May was a really busy month with a lot of internet problems and few posts. I got to go back and stay with my adopted parents just a few days later to help out with an Ark Encounter Fundraiser (which was a blast!) and to see the dinosaur being introduced to her new home. My amazing sister, Johanna, turned 16 when I was gone and I was sad to miss her birthday. While at the Museum I got to see and hold a prototype of my book for the first time. I was more than ecstatic! Also, while in Kentucky that week, I met Susan who I’ve ended up becoming great friends with. She’s amazing and her little boy is adorable! By the end of the month I realized I had been gone for almost two months out of the year already. No wonder I was feeling busy! Seventeen days before the release date for my book, I began counting down the days on the blog and also with my adopted parents. My adopted parents and I send texts back and forth with pictures for the amount of days. It was so much fun! 17 days16 days15 days14 days. I also work on maintaining my strict diet for Lyme disease. Again, no sugar. 

June begins with 13 days left in the countdown and a busy month staring at me. 
13 days. With 12 days left, our family goes to my cousin’s graduation and then my mom, a couple of siblings, and I spend the night at my aunt and uncle’s house so we can fly to Colorado the next day. I’ve wanted to go to Colorado for years now, but since we’re going to see the Lyme Disease specialist it’s not quite so exciting. I’ve been feeling a lot better recently and am looking forward to hearing good news, although I’m still not feeling well by any means!
As hard as it is to believe, I think Colorado might have actually been more beautiful than I had imagined! I’m shocked and amazed when I hear the delightful news that I’m clear from Lyme disease! After over six years of being constantly sick, it’s wonderful and overwhelming all at once. I’m still not feeling well and when I asked the doctor about it, she said it made perfect sense because my body was exhausted and totally worn out from fighting the disease (and multiple other ones) for over a fourth of my life. She told me I should be feeling better within a couple of months. 
Heading back home from Colorado, I was so overwhelmed by all the changes taking place in my life I couldn’t take them all in. I didn’t really tell a lot of people I was over Lyme disease. I had thought when I was over it, I would feel all the way better and was disappointed that wasn’t the case. Also, after having dealt with people wondering ‘what my problem was’ for the first five years when we couldn’t get a diagnoses, I was scared people would once-again think that if they knew I was over Lymes and still didn’t feel well. It was too hard to explain about how worn out my body was.  
Only a week left until my book would be released! I was so extremely excited and so very, very stressed out. I’m not even sure why. 😉 6 days5 days To help me get un-stressed and take my mind off my book, my mom decides to take me and my little bro on a spontaneous trip to visit my sister, brother-in-law and their six children who live about six hours away. It was great!  4 days3 days, After two nights and one day, we head back home, 
2 days, Two more days and I’m so extremely excited, nervous, thrilled, worried, breathless, and an emotional wreck. Even thinking about it now makes me feel like crying and I don’t even know why. It was totally one of the craziest times in my life! 1 day until my book gets released and after throwing some clothes in a bag, I sit down to write a simple post and end up frantically typing out about 4,000 words in my writing story, and could have gone on and on except it’s time to leave for Cincinnati where we will be spending the night. We meet my adopted parents for lunch on the way there, then I end up riding with them the rest of the way. 
Near the end of the month, some of our really good family friends come out for a week and we have an utter blast. Like, staying up until all hours of the night talking, playing games and making music together (not me making the music). One of the days we end up randomly deciding to make supper at midnight and then don’t end up going to bed until around five that morning. I feel so very blessed with the new friendships (and sometimes deeper friendships with people I’ve known for a while) I’ve developed this year. Getting my health back has greatly improved my enjoyment of being around people! We also go on a spontaneous trip to the Creation Museum where I have fun hanging out with my adopted parents for a few hours. 
By the end of June I’m working on the second Creation Quest book, and this one I’m really happy with! Again, I work on maintaining my strict diet for Lyme disease. Still sugar free for the year. 

I begin the month by pondering what it means to be me, a writer. Surprising myself, I bring my cat, Clara, indoors along with four newborn kittens and let them live in my study for a couple of months. Some of our really good family friends came out to our place for a week, sadly though, I was feeling really sick (still recovering from the Lymes disease) and spend most of the week up in my room. We also had a huge storm that week which flooded everything and knocked out the electricity for a little while. My brother and I make the final decision to sell most our goats, and someone buys them. My dad also celebrates his 60th birthday (basically no one would guess him that old. He’s the kind of guy who will stay up playing ping-pong until three in the morning…), and my siblings (including the one from out of state) and their families come and we have fun hanging out together. My grandma also comes for the week (four generations right there, folks!). Sometime this month the name for my book is changed from Our Adventure Begins, to Cave Secrets of the PterodactylAround the end of the month I get to go to the Answers Mega Conference with my adopted parents. It was a blast. So, so much fun! So busy. So crazy. So much of a dream come true. Signing books, people asking to get their pictures taken with me, and even signing some shirts! I also got to hang out with my friend, Susan, and her little adorable kid. It was really, really one of the coolest times ever! And yet again I work on maintaining my strict diet for complete health. Still no sugar. 

The month starts out with me entering a writing contest on Go Teen Writers which I don’t end up even placing in. Despite having a huge week at work, I get off early (thanks to my amazing boss!) so I can go caving with my adopted parents. Epic-ness to last a life-time. Going caving was totally one of the highlights of my year! We also had a friend with us, and we had a lot of fun hanging out. Our good friend and co-worker, Aroo, heads off to school in CA. When I got home I jumped right into a week of family-fun time. My mom’s family came out and we had a completely amazing time hanging out, eating, talking, playing and just being together. When our family was together, we spent a good part of the time talking about, and looking up, our different personality types.  I also step out and send my first book away to be reviewed, and also host a giveaway. Near the end of the month I take a spur of the moment trip and go with my adopted parents to KY to watch my adopted dad sing on live TV... And end up joining him on camera for the interview after he’s done singing! Continuing my strict diet, with just a little less-strictness helps me continue to get better. It’s now been eight months since I’ve had sugar.

September comes, ushering in my favorite time of the year. I give y’all a glimpse of how I began writing, while reminiscing on the journey. I’m also really, really stressed out. I’ve been feeling bad enough recently that Mom wants me to go back to the doctor in Colorado. It’s a huge battle for me, because I feel like I’m admitting defeat with having to go back to the doctor. I had been hoping to feel back to normal by this time. Mom planned an extra couple of days for this trip for several reasons, one of them so that we’d be able to drive around and enjoy the beauty. Half the trip is spent stressed out beyond belief (I think I also had some kind of flu) and the other half of the trip is spent bursting inside from the beauty all around me. My dad looked on-line and found us one of the most wonderful hotels to stay in that I’d ever been to. I can’t wait to go back to Colorado again some time! The doctor, meanwhile tells us that I haven’t had a relapse, I’ve just been pushing a lot and not giving my body time to rest and heal up. {Something that I am still, now in December, working on.} 
I’m thrilled to get to interview the author who started Go Teen Writers. Getting to go to a photo-shoot for the cover of my adopted dad’s CD was great. It was also fun getting to learn how to crack a whip. Sadly, I also started getting a cold which had me totally miserable within a few days. Since I had a huge next couple of weeks, I knew I had to get rid of it. Thankfully, I do overcome the cold. 
Closing a chapter in my life is hard and scary, but exciting and good at the same time. Spending a week away in a cabin was a crazy-huge thing for me to do, but something I had known I needed for several months. When I came away, I was ready to step into the new chapter of my life without looking back. Lyme disease was a closed chapter, a different era. I also worked on figuring out my goals and wrote 50,000 words in three days. 
When I was gone, I got a call from my family, letting me know it was going to work out for my friend, Sarah, to come and stay with us for a week. Since I had been praying for an opportunity like this after my disastrous time during her March visit, I was very happy. She arrived at our house just a few hours before I did and we had a wonderful time hanging out for the next very busy nine days of my life. During that time Mom’s side of the family gathered for an afternoon of fun, laughter, and hanging out. Then after that, I headed over to my adopted parents’ house with Sarah and a few siblings (I really wanted them and Sarah to meet each other). This was also two days before my 21st birthday. On the last day of September, I turned 21. Again, this month was spent keeping up with eating healthfully (most of the time!), and no sugar. 

I spent the first week of October with a huge week at work, staying up way too late at night hanging out with Sarah, and enjoying the autumn weather. When it was time for Sarah to go back to her sister’s (who she was staying with for a couple of months), my bro and I drove her the six hours, spent the night and then came back home. It’s also during this month that I finally find the time, and courage, to tell y’all more of my Lymes story. That’s a huge deal to me, by the way. My adopted dad records his new CD, including a song he wrote for me. 
During October I work like nuts at getting my book turned into an audio book, and then just when I think I’m done, we get a better mic and decide to re-record everything. Also, another co-worker and good friend moves out of state. My sisters (not the oldest one that’s married, but the other three) and I fly down to Georgia to visit some of our friends for almost a week. It’s beautiful and relaxing and an-oh-so-wonderful time! Then, while my sisters fly home, I take a different plane and fly  – (by myself for the first time) – to the Creation Museum to stay with my adopted parents for the week. Getting to sign books, and getting my picture taken with people while there, was tons of fun! Plus, spending one of the afternoons hanging out with my friend, Susan, and her little boy was one of the highlights! I’m so thankful for the friends God has given to me! And like most of the rest of the year, this month was spent keeping up with eating healthfully (most of the time!) and no sugar. 

I spend November thinking of things I’m thankful for, and trying to catch up on stuff at home and work.  I end up working like a little nut on my audio book. I also travel with two of my siblings out of state to visit Sarah again. The first snow of the year makes me happy! 
One Sunday, Mom’s side of the family gets together and we have a much-needed time of praying and hanging out together. I also try and work on balancing my life, something that doesn’t come very naturally to me. Realizing that I’ve been to four different churches in four weeks in three different states helps me realize that I have indeed been busy. It is also a good marking point, showing me that I am recovering my health. A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to do anything like that. 
One of the biggest things I learned this year was to rely on God for encouragement. I don’t know about you, but often times I find myself going to other people to encourage me, focusing on God instead has really made a big difference in my life and attitude. When I finish my audio book up, I run full speed into Blog Tour mode. Putting together a blog tour is more work than I had imagined. 
snowy Thanksgiving Eve made me happy, especially since Sarah was at our house again and had been hoping for snow (where she lives, there isn’t any snow). Thanksgiving was a wonderful time with a lot of Mom’s family out here, and my sister and her family who live out of state. Plus, Marta, a girl who lived with us for a year in 2012 came for a few days. It was amazing. The last day she was here my sister and I (and Marta) went over to a friend’s house, and we had a really good, fun, and amazing sleepover. This month, too, was spent keeping up with eating healthfully – and no sugar. 

Getting our Christmas tree after church on December 1st was a lot of fun, then the next day my brother and I took Sarah back to her sister’s house. That night Sarah and I had another really good talk which was wonderful since she was flying back across the world just a few days later. December 2nd kicks off the blog tour and I spend the next three weeks working on it like crazy. I also go through the results from my 21 before 21 challenge and then begin planning for my 22 before 22 challenge. On December 14th, I celebrate the six-month anniversary of my book. Mom’s side of the family came over again for a wonderful couple-day-get-together where all of us cousins make ‘gingerbread’ houses out of graham crackers. It’s a tradition my grandparents started. I still need to do a post about that one of these days…  On December 21st, my blog tour ends. 
On Christmas Eve , our immediate family celebrates Christmas. On Christmas Day, Mom’s side of the family comes out again and we have tons of games, laughter, fun times, talking and eating. As I’m writing this it’s the evening of December 26th and I’m not sure when the aunts, uncles and cousins are going to leave… Most likely betweentomorrow and January 1st. Until then, I’m going to treasure the moments, work on writing my goals, and pray about what God has in store for me in 2014. 

Ending Thoughts:
This whole year has been sugar-free for me, an exciting feat! (Note: I do indulge in things like BBQ sauce every once in a while, but I’m still considering my diet sugar free.)
All added up, I think I’ve been gone for 100 nights this year, that means I’ve traveled almost three and a half months in 2013. 
My cousin, Zebb, has delighted our family by spending a lot of time out with us during this year and has become like another little brother. He’s totally amazing. 
And I know I’m missing tons of stuff, but really, we can’t fit it all in and this post is already a whopping, almost four and a half thousand words long, and has taken me about five hours to compile. Congratulations if you’ve stuck with me the whole time! 😉 

What about you? What were some of the highlights of your year? 

8 thoughts on “2013 In a Nutshell

  1. David Mabe says:

    Excellent post, Lydia. You've had an incredibly busy year and it doesn't look like 2014 will be any less busy. I'm amazed that you made it through the year without sugar. Especially through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Will the audio version of CSotP be your voice, or have you hired another voice to do it?


  2. Anonymous says:

    Great recap of your year, Lydia! I liked being able to read it all as a whole. Isn't it nice to take a moment from the busyness and look back on it all? It was such an exciting year for you, I can imagine! Excited to see where 2014 will take you. 🙂



  3. Bekah says:

    It looks like you had an amazing year! How exciting to have your first book published! I just watched the little show you and your adopted dad were on and I totally agree with you about writing to the glory of God. I love to write books for kids, as well, and I hope to have my first book published in 2014. I'm trying to finish up the editing on it. 🙂

    All that to say, I've really enjoyed reading your blog and about your writing journey, it's very encouraging to me.

    God bless!

    His Princess,

    P.S. Thank you for all the sweet comments you leave on my blog. They brighten my day! Just think, a professional writer reading my blog…amazing!


  4. Aidyl Ewoh says:

    I'm glad you watched it, that makes me happy! I hope you have great success with your book. 🙂 I'm glad you are enjoying my blog and that it's encouraging, that's one of my big goals. And your blog is great, I'm glad I can visit it. 🙂


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