The Fruits of the Spirit Book Tag {vlog}

People! How is it Thursday again already?!? I’m super stoked today to share The Fruits of the Spirit Book Tag – created by the lovely Jessi Dawn. Enjoy!

What I Listened To While Blogging:
My sisters chattering away and watching old videoes from their phones in my room as I formatted the vlog and did the graphics

Where I Blogged:
On the mattress that has somehow taken up residence on my office floor (on Wednesday night, cause of #work tomorrow)
Fun Fact:
Durian is an Indonesian fruit that reminded me of a mixture of rotten onions and roadkill – one of the grossest things I’ve eaten 😉 
Question Of The Day: 
What is your favorite fruit? 

25 Random Facts About Me {An Introduction}

Hey Everyone! Since the giveaway last week brought a lot of new followers I thought it would be fun to write a jolly, random post with little tidbits about my life that will help you feel more at home here. Kinda like an introduction, you know?

For those of you who have been reading Noveltea for a while, I’m trying to mix things up and tell previously undisclosed facts. Which, believe me, is harder than it sounds. 😉


  • I dance in the car while driving (very safely, of course)
  • I have the shortest full name in my family (it’s only twelve letters long), and I’m also the shortest of the siblings
  • For the last several years I traveled between three and a half and four and a half months a year because I could work from anywhere
  • One of my first pets was a kitten named Bright-Eyes
  • Instead of a bedroom, I have an office and just sleep on the floor
  • Once, several years ago, I ate part of a T-rex tooth. (A minuscule piece fell off the tooth while it was being glued together, and it was too fragile to put back on, so I ate it. Because, who doesn’t want to eat dinosaur?)
  • Piano music is pretty much the most inspiring thing to me ever, although I don’t play – only listen and watch. (I did take piano lessons for about a year in my early teens)
  • I made a pie for the first time when I was ten – I got up early in the morning when everyone else was asleep to see if I could make one successfully, and I could
  • My favorite verse is Ephesians 3:20 (because I have a great imagination)
  • I’m training to run a half marathon along with several of my co-workers/friends. I ran one in 2016 and it was glorious
  • At church, I always sit in the front row on the far left side, because it helps me not be distracted by watching everyone. I generally take my shoes off and sit cross-legged on my chair
  • Several months ago I began teaching Children’s Church every Sunday (instead of just being on rotation) which was a dream come true for me. (We have two services, so I go to the early service and teach the second one)
  • I work at a coffee shop but mostly make food and take orders. I’ve only just started making coffees because my boss is great and let me learn at my own pace
  • Autumn is my favorite season, followed by winter, and then spring and summer
  • I ribbit regularly (and caw, and occasionally bark). It’s amazing how well my family understands me without words
  • I’m the seventh out of ten children and have nine nieces and five nephews
  • For a couple of years, my blog didn’t have a title – just my name – until my cousin told me I should remedy that. Noveltea came during a time in my life when I couldn’t drink caffeine so tea became a staple. (Besides, Novelcoffee just doesn’t have the same ring to it)
  • My favorite part of summer is cutting grass and going barefoot
  • My lawnmower’s name is Chadwin and he and I are great friends
  • I dream of one day having a cooking blog/Youtube channel
  • One of my most favorite people in the whole world just moved in with us, so yay
  • I speak in hashtags on a regular basis #saywhat
  • Curries are some of my favorite food
  • I’m new to Instagram, but it’s fast become one of my favorite aspects of connecting with other bloggers (you can follow me at lydia_reads)
  • I’m a huge introvert but I’m also really outgoing, so I generally walk around telling people strange, random facts

That’s it for today, folks!

What I Listened To While Blogging:
The Piano Guys and Hosanna talking 😉
Where I Blogged:
In the kitchen, while cooking lunch with Hosanna – so yes, very sporadic 

Fun Fact:
Our church is having a work week, so I’m about to head over there with food for everyone who’s helping out 
Question Of The Day: 
What are two random facts about you? I’d be delighted to get to know you better!
And, if you’ve been following Noveltea for a while, was I able to come up with any random facts about me that you didn’t know? 

Grace Revealed {Book Review}


Find it On:



The fact that it talks about finding God’s grace during health issues is what really drew me in. Since I fought Lyme disease and it’s aftereffects for a decade, I’m always interested in hearing how others grew closer to God during their trials, as well. And besides, I thought the cover was pretty cool. 😉


Y’all. It’s quite sad when I don’t like a book that I thought was going to be spot-on for me. It’s extra sad when I have several of those books in a row to review. I went into this book expecting great things, but then… Well, I’ll start out with a list of things I did like, and then go to the list of things I didn’t like.

What I Liked:

  • The idea behind the book. It’s encouraging to hear how God has worked in people’s lives
  • There was a lot of scripture in the book, and that was encouraging
  • Several of the stories left me feeling very encouraged and amazed at how God redeems
  • That the people who shared in the book were willing to do so – that takes a lot of courage and I applaud that. They were real, honest, and gave God glory
  • I appreciated how there were pictures of the people. I’m a visual person, so it helps to have a face to go with the story

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The format of the book made me go a little bonkers. The author would introduce the topic, and then he would introduce each person who was telling their story. After they told their story, he would come back and summarize it, pulling out the main points and adding reflection questions. It felt redundant to me – I would have much rathered just hear the story once and then move on. This is totally a preference, obviously, and I think a lot of people would like the format
  • I didn’t agree with some of the theology in the book – at least not how it was written. As in, there were multiple different people who told their stories in the book, and how I understood what some of them said, I disagreed with it. If we were having the conversations in person where I could ask clarifying questions, that could have made a difference
  • Although some of the stories felt encouraging, other stories felt more dark than uplifting. I went into the book expecting hope and grace to spring out at me, but it felt like too much of the stories went over the wrong things that had happened in the people’s lives, instead of how God’s Grace was abundant to them. (And I understand this – we need to have the background so we can see how the grace is needed. Some of the stories just felt too focused on the background – although thankfully none of the stories had too many details)


I’m sure there are lots of people who would benefit from this book. I don’t recommend not reading it, I simply don’t recommend getting it either. It was hard for me to read because I didn’t enjoy it and don’t feel like it was incredibly uplifting (although it wasn’t discouraging either, thankfully).


I’m giving Grace Revealed 2 out of 5 Stars.

*I received this book so I could write a review

What I Listened To While Blogging:
Lindsey Stirling on Youtube
Where I Blogged:
At my desk – the night before posting because I have to leave for work early 
Fun Fact:
My sister gave me potted tulips and they died and I still have them sitting on my desk in the vain hope that they’ll come back to life 

Question Of The Day:
 What book have you been reading recently? 

8 Tips For Starting Your Week Right


Mondays have always been one of my favorite days of the week. There’s so much brightness and promise shinning with the thought of an entire week just waiting to be filled with adventures, purpose, accomplishments, and memories.


We, as humans, regulate so much of our lives to habits. The way we wake up, the way we go to sleep, and about half the stuff in-between is habitual. (Well, that’s a guess anyway.) The cool part about it is habits can be choices. And I choose to think of things I’m thankful for when I first wake up – as in before I even open my eyes. This helps get my morning off to a great start.


I generally sit down Sunday afternoon or Monday morning and go through my previous week, then write a list for the upcoming week. It’s great knowing what I can expect to work on during the next six days and gives me a great jumping-in point. I also write a quick to-do list each night for the next morning. This is helpful for several reasons, including that studies show that the brain will sub-consciously begin getting you ready for the next day as you sleep. (Cool, right? Kinda like your own personal servant.)


Obviously, everyone doesn’t enjoy lists and tracking as much as I do, but it really does help the week go more smoothly when you can cross things off and put them out of your mind.


For me, it’s quite helpful to add little things to my written list. Things that I know I need to do, but don’t really feel like spending the time accomplishing. Because then I can start out the morning with a victory – no matter how small it is. This could be waking up at a certain time, choosing joy, working out, or eating healthy. It doesn’t really matter what it is, starting your week with a win will always be encouraging.


There have been days when I’ve messed up at the beginning of the day – been grumpy, gotten behind, or failed miserably on a goal. Y’all, on days like that I legit want to be like “Okay, I failed today. I guess I’ll have to start again tomorrow” and then I lapse into spending the rest of my day with the same mindset. People. Mornings are not the only times for beginnings. If you mess up, then move on. Start over right away. Just because you failed one goal doesn’t mean you messed up your entire day.


Grumpiness, joy, hope… They’re all choices. It can be hard at times to choose the right attitudes but it’s not impossible. Remember: What you dwell on expands. (Not literally, but you get what I mean.) When you choose to think about things that make you grumpy, well, you’re choosing to be grumpy. Not the best idea, folks. (Yo, this is something I’m working on, people. If someone does something that really bothers you, don’t let it play over and over in your mind. Deal with it. Forgive them. Choose joy.)


Did you accomplish a goal? Jam out to some music. Did you write down goals for the first time in forever? Go do a happy dance. Did you get to bed on time? Allow yourself the treat of a candle being lit as you drink your coffee in the morning. You don’t have to wait for something big to celebrate. And you don’t have to have a big celebration. I celebrate little things with little celebrations all day long. It’s rather glorious.


There’s hardly anything more demoralizing than spending all your time doing things that don’t seem to matter. If this is you, then you have two choices: Change what you do to something with purpose, or find the purpose in what you already do. I think most of us make a far bigger difference in the world than we realize.

What? You just spend your time cleaning bathrooms? Imagine what life would be like if no one cleaned bathrooms. (But please, don’t imagine it too long because that would be horrible.) Or do you find yourself taking care of little fussy children? Think of the love you felt as a child when you were being taken care of. Simple things like setting aside your work to read to them could make all the difference. Do you spend your time on school work? Yo, people. School is so important. For so many reasons, but one of the “undercover reasons” is it helps build character. And character is pretty big.

So that’s my list for today, folks! I hope you have a wonderful, blessed, delightful Monday! (And yes, I’m running behind. 😉 )

What I Listened To While Blogging: 
Narnia Soundtrack
Random Fact: 
I’m running behind, so this post was timely for me, too. 😉 
Question Of The Day: 
What’s your favorite day of the week? (Mine is Sunday, with Mondays and Thursdays following as a tied second, depending on the week.) 

A Change In Seasons

March. It’s one of those lovely months where the weather can’t quite decide what it wants to do. Despite not knowing if I’ll wake up to snow or light green pushing through the earth, and although it’s confusing at times, and although sometimes wish it would just go back to winter (or be totally spring), I’m still enjoying this changing of seasons. I enjoy the ups and downs and back and forth and spontaneity of it all.

It’s kinda the same way life is at times.

And that’s something to muse about, folks.


Giveaway Winners & Book UnBoxing (Plus Meet My New Writing Buddy!) {vlog}

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway I hosted to celebrate six years of blogging. It was tons of fun getting to interact with so many of you. And welcome to all the new blog followers! It’s great having you here, I hope you stick around for a while.

Here are the winners of the giveaway:


I’m hoping to send out emails soon, congratulating the winners personally and letting them know how they can claim their prizes. I’ve got some pretty busy days coming up at the coffee shop so it might be the weekend before I get caught up with everything, so hang tight, people! 😉

And now, on to the vlog. Today we have a short, fun unboxing. Plus, you get to meet a new little writing buddy of mine. Enjoy!

What I Listened To While Blogging:  
“Reached” audiobook by Ally Condie (while putting together the graphics)
Fun Fact: 
Eggplant goes great in curry. 
Question Of The Day: 
Do you prefer big or little dogs as pets? 

7 Tips For Being An Organized Blogger


Y’all! I’m back to my “Blogging Tips For Beginners Series.” If y’all want to check out the other posts, you can click on the titles to find them: 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging, 7 Tips for When Blogging Blues Hit, and 7 Things To NOT Do When Blogging. It’s been so much fun interacting with y’all and getting to meet some new bloggers. If you have any questions you’d like me to try and answer, just leave them in the comments below. And now, let’s get started! 


There are bloggers and vloggers I know who post on certain days every. single. week. and I look forward to getting to relax during a break or at the end of the day, catching up on what they have to say. Having specific blogging days won’t only be helpful for your readers, but it will help you get into the blogging zone.


My goal is to post by 9:30 every morning. If I don’t make it, I don’t flip out, but generally, I do hit that target unless something comes up. This is helpful for a myriad of reasons, but the top few would be:
* It gives me a goal to shoot for instead of letting the blogging process drag on and on
* It gives my readers something to look forward to – for example, some of Noveltea’s readers enjoy keeping up with the blog posts during their lunch breaks, etc….
* Consistency makes a difference with the feel of your blog. Humans thrive on routine and having a blog post show up every time each posting day will eventually be part of the reader’s routine


My mornings generally consist of me waking up, thinking of ten things I’m thankful for, then having my devotions. After my devotions are over I either get ready for the day or sometimes (gasp) head to the computer in my pajamas. On mornings when I’m rushing around because I have an early shift at work, I sometimes even do my hair while I’m blogging.
Blogging is exceedingly important for me, and when I make sure to at least try to get it knocked out early most mornings, then I have a much better chance of it actually happening.
Mornings are my thing (especially after blogging regularly in the morning for over five years), but that doesn’t mean they need to be your thing. You could blog during your lunch break. Or before you go to bed each night. The timing isn’t the issue – the routine is. If you stick to a certain time of the day, or listen to certain music while blogging, or eat a certain snack while sitting at the computer, then pretty soon your brain will begin linking the events, and that will escalate your thinking process. So it’s a win, win.


Folks. Let’s be all nice and transparent: If you’ve hung around here long, you’ll know that in the past I haven’t been too good at answering comments in a timely manner. But! That’s something I’ve been working on a lot because it really does make a difference.
One of my issues is that for a while I forgot to factor comment replying into my every-day blogging schedule. It’s such an important part of being a blogger though, that now it has a prominent position.
I also sometimes come up with a couple of hours that I’ll give myself to visit other blogs during a week, then I make sure to leave comments after reading the post. Cause, really folks, comments totally make a bloggers day. ❤


This can be exceedingly helpful if you ever start doing scheduled posts, interviews, guest posts, or take place with blog tours, tags, etc… There’s nothing like taking time during a crazy-busy day to write a post, then realize later on that you were supposed to post a different post on that day. #NotFun
This year is the first time that I’ve begun keeping an actual physical calendar for my blogging, and that’s specifically for my book reviews. Last year I got over 50 books for review, and it can get a bit confusing.


Scheduling posts is pretty much the most simple thing to learn how to do, and yet it took me so crazy long to begin taking advantage of this smart feature. In fact, I still don’t use it as much as I probably should – mostly just when I’m going to be away from the internet. This is mostly due to the fact that I really enjoy my blogging time each morning. But, I’d sometimes like to use that time for reading and commenting on blogs, instead of always on creating content. Also, snagging breakfast before leaving for work every now and again might be a small plus.


Y’all. I cut the time way too close far too often. There have been times when I’ve forgone breakfast to get a post written, then run out the door for work, carrying my shoes because I didn’t even have time to put them on… Only to get home from work hours later to discover I didn’t hit the final publish button, so my post sat there limply on my computer all day long while my stomach rumbled from my lack of breakfast. It’s rather sad when that happens.
Don’t be in such a hurry when you’re blogging that you don’t have enough time to read back through your post. Or to make sure that it publishes. Or to get the formatting correct. Blogging doesn’t have to be perfect, but it shouldn’t look like a toddler rolled their toy car across the keyboard, either.

What I Listened To:
This PlayList on Youtube. (Or some of it anyway. I haven’t heard all the songs.) 

Fun Fact:
I’m watching my sister’s puppy, Nica, so she sat at my feet as I posted. 

Question Of The Day:
What is your optimal time for writing blog posts?

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