The Family

Hey everyone! I figured that since it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about my books that are published I’d give them the stage for today. I’m not sure if I’ve actually ever had all three of them on at the same time so it’s kinda like having a family reunion. I’d be delighted to hear which book looks the most interesting to you. Enjoy! 
Action Kids’ Club:

Twelve-year-old Olivia Hall’s dream of a friends’ club ends when she finds out her family is moving. Her parents assure her it’s a good thing, opening a new world of possibilities for the Halls, but going from ‘miss popular’ to ‘the new girl’ won’t be easy, and Olivia is not convinced. 

Soon she begins to realize that although her life has suddenly changed, there’s plenty of adventure to keep her on her toes. From making new friends at Forward Focus, to hanging out at the world-renowned Kids Zone, to meeting the curious head chef, she discovers that there’s much more to life – and her new surroundings – than she ever imagined. How will she make the most of these new opportunities? Or will she let them slip away? 

Action Kids’ Club will entertain both boys and girls as they learn success principles in a fun and interesting setting.

* * * 
Buddy Davis’ Cool Critters of the Ice Age 

Meet 17 strange & unusual animals: 

– The size of a car!
– Antlers over 12 feet long!
– “Monster-sized” in North and South America!

There is a lot to learn about life during the great Ice Age. Was the ice everywhere? How did these animals live? With interesting facts about glaciers, land bridges, these animals, and more – you will see an amazing world emerge from the cold and distant past! Don’t forget your coat as you step back in time to discover why the Ice Age happened and what the Bible reveals about it!

An exciting Ice Age exploration led by popular adventurer Buddy Davis!

* * * 
Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl 
Strap on your headlamp and sling on your backpack for a great adventure deep inside a perilous cave. The adventure follows explorer Buddy Davis as he searches the inky darkness of a limestone cave for evidence that men and dinosaurs walked the earth together. Along the way, you will learn a pile of truths from God’s Word as young Lydia Davis and her family teach others about the Creator and Savior … and have a few adventures of their own. You can trust the Bible, and you will find many good reasons to do so as you join in the mystery. And be careful not to slip on that rock! How would you get out of the cave with a broken leg?

A Look at May 20th

One of the bonuses about blogging is being able to look back and see what I’ve done in the past few years. Blogging is a way that I can log the journey life has been taking me on.

Take today, May 20th, for instance. It’s a semi-normal day for me. I woke up at around six, had my devotions, read a couple of blog posts about writing, got caught up on watching my dad’s Golden Nuggets, spent about two hours getting ready for the class I help teach, as well as working on making a baby blanket while watching the DVD that we play in class. Then, I was running late on time so instead of blogging I hurried to finish a project I was working on that needed to be done before 10:00 am. After I was done with that I went downstairs and heated up some broccoli and rice for a late breakfast and then ate it while listening to a Conference Call for work.

I am home this week. Outside I can hear the birds singing and there’s a thick layer of clouds to the East but the sun is shinning and the trees look exceptionally green. Inside, my office is chilly thanks to having my windows open all night long. My office needs straightened and I still haven’t totally unpacked from my last two trips. (I have the ‘unpack-as-item-is-needed’ mentality. Except for dirty clothes, of course.) I have a list of things I need to do today including cutting grass, research, mailing some packages and that sort of happiness.

I was thinking about last year and I remembered that we had been in Europe, more specifically England, on May 20th, 2014, so I looked up the post and read through it, reliving some of the memories.

I remember bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t a skilled enough photographer to capture the beauty of London and the surrounding countryside. My visit to the breathtaking and friendly country was one of the highlights of 2014 for me.

Next I decided to look through my posts (which is very easy to do as the blogger on Bloggers Dashboard) and see where I was on May 20th, 2013. As soon as the posts around that date came up, my brain filled with memories.

I spent that week with my adopted parents and it was right after we finished building a kentrosaurus. One of the guys who works at the Creation Museum had come to pick the dinosaur up I was really happy to get to meet him because I’d heard about him and always thought his comments on my adopted parent’s Facebook page were really funny. (Since then he’s read my blog and every time I see him encourages me which is really great!)

While we were down at the museum that week we went over to some of our friend’s house for dinner and they had some other people over as well. One of those “other people” became one of my really good friends.

After looking up what I was doing on this day of 2014 and 2013, I of course wanted to see what I was doing on May 20th, of 2012. Turns out I was in California at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. I remember it having beautiful landscaping and intriguing old buildings. There was also a legend about sparrows or swallows or some such bird, but I can’t quite remember what it was all about. It was also exceedingly hot and I recall being very thirsty.  
Plus, I apparently didn’t know how to upload pictures at a proper quality and therefore even though it was brightly colored and delightful there’s only minuscule evidence of that. 
And there I had it, a quick trip back through memory lane. There are dozens of other memories that pop up when I read each of these posts. Memories regarding coffee mugs, raw meat, crashing waves, expensive cars, cute babies, thatched roofs, antique spoons, charming accents and my list could go on and on. (On a random note, while working on this post I realized that this is the first year in four years that I’ve been home on May 20th. Yay for home!) 
* * * 
What about you? What are some of your memories revolving around this time of the year? 

Release Day: Cool Critters of the Ice Age & Giveaway

Good morning! I said on Friday that I had some exciting news to share with y’all, well, this is it: 

Today is the release day of my new book, Buddy Davis’ Cool Critters of the Ice Age! Y’all, that is really thrilling! (Can you think of a better way to start off your week?) 
  This is such a cool book! With tons of pictures and drawings and fun illustrations, this book is quite different from the other ones I’ve written so it’s a new and exciting venture for me. 

It’s so colorful and full of fun facts, interesting tid-bits and will delight kids of all ages. While writing this book I had so much fun learning about the different creatures that lived during the Ice Age.

From  an armadillo-like creature the size of a car, to Baluchitherium who was twenty-six feet tall, to Titanotylopus a camel who’s fossils were found in Nebraska, I was enthralled by all the interesting creatures this book features.

It would be wonderful if y’all wanted to buy your own copy of Cool Critters of the Ice Age and you can find it here (Master Books), here (Amazon) and here (Answers in Genesis). My adopted parents (who are the co-authors of the book) and I are also hosting a giveaway. I’d be delighted if y’all would join in with celebrating our new book by pass the word along and entering the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Creation Museum Weekend

This past weekend I got to take an unexpected trip to the Creation Museum and spend Friday and Saturday there with my adopted parents. It was so much fun! I thought I’d let y’all see some pictures of what I got to do. 🙂

Meeting a little girl with the same name as me: Lydia Joy. Such a cutie! 

My second time eating Vegemite. It’s really not as bad as I thought it would be. 
This is up on the stage after the special Christmas program my adopted dad and Ken Ham did together. The Vegemite is part of the show. 🙂 
One of my friends (who, I affectionally call my identical twin) and I trading shoes.

There were hundreds and hundreds of people at the Christmas Program and thousands at the Christmas Town. This is up in the sound-booth and you can’t see everyone. 

Me and my “identical twin” holding a snake. This if the first time Marta ^ ever held one!
My adopted mom and I holding some more snakes. 🙂 
And that, my friends, is a glimpse of my weekend. What about you? Have you ever been to the Creation Museum before? I absolutely love it there and go every chance I get. There are so many amazing and fun things to look at, do and experience. If you ever have a chance to go, I totally recommend it! And, of course if my adopted dad is there, you need to make sure to go to his concerts, they’er the best! 😉 

Caving and Belly Crawling and Donald Duck Voices – Oh My!

Where do I even start? There are about ten things I’m bursting to blog about. First things first, though:


Ahem, yes, now that we have that cleared up, I can move on. Just hang on tight, blogglings, because later on this week I will hopefully devote a whole post to talking about this wonderfully amazing month that we’ve just entered. 

I’ve been hoping, really, really hoping that it would work out for me to go caving with my *adopted parents this past weekend. It was one of those deals where we weren’t going to know until the last minute though, so that was a bummer.

Wednesday evening I finally decided it just wasn’t going to happen and I called my dad to let him know. He was disappointed of course, but understood. Then, low and behold, with a lot of help from some wonderful people, we were able to make it work out!

I arrived at the Creation Museum mid morning on Friday and had a delightful day there (which I’ll blog about at a later date) and then early Saturday morning my parents and I drove the six or so hours to the Cumberland Caverns in TN.

We did this same trip last year (see here and here) which is when my great endearment to the deep recesses of the earth first began to grow in my heart. Caving… What can I say? It’s amazing. It’s fun. It’s adventuresome. It’s freaky. And sleeping in a cave? Oh, so, so much better than just spending several hours down in the belly of the earth.

We had a lot of repeat people from last year, plus a whole host of newbies. There were about 140 people who did the walk-thru part of the cave which included a concert by my dad, supper, and watching the Extreme Caving DVD, most of which was filmed inside the cave.

Then we began the ‘extreme’ part of the caving. One of our friends who was along kept all of us in the back of the group entertained with his mimicking of many different accents and cartoon characters. Of course that launched me into a several hour long British-accent-spree and pretty soon we had other people joining in with different accents as well. When I finally stopped talking in the British accent, one of the guides gave me a weird look and asked “Weren’t you the one talking with a British accent?” I guess I was pretty convincing. One of the best parts of the extreme caving is when our friend sang to us in Donald Duck’s voice. It was like we were standing in the presence of talent. 😉

Last year when we all settled down in the cave for the night I fell asleep right away and was mildly disappointed in the morning to hear that everyone else had slept fitfully and I’d missed out on all the fun by slumbering peacefully until our wake-up call. Well, this year was a repeat. Again, I shut my eyes and didn’t wake up until my mom told me it was almost time for them to turn the lights on. I guess being used to sleeping on the hard ground pays off after all… 

Caving this year was amazing. I got to meet lots of new and interesting people, made friends out of pervious strangers, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I can’t wait to go again! By the way, if you want to check out my book that includes a caving adventure, you can find it here.

What about you? Does caving sound like something you’d enjoy?

*I’ll be leaving off the ‘adopted’ for the rest of the post

When Blogging Meets the Real World

This past weekend I went to PA for a wedding. When I was getting in line to sit down for the reception, I heard someone calling my name. Turning around, I saw a girl smiling at me. “You don’t know me, but I read your blog,” she informed me. (Which of course that automatically made my day.) It turns out she had seen a link to Noveltea that a mutual friend put on Google+ about five months ago and she began reading it then. I kinda figured that the friend must have pointed me out to her, so I asked her how she knew I was me (awkward sentence alert) and she said she recognized me from the pictures on my blog. I cannot even tell you how weird that felt. I mean, sure, I’ve had people at the Creation Museum or AiG events recognize me but this as the first time I’ve ever had it happen at a random event. We had a fun time talking about writing and Lyme disease. She greatly encouraged me when she told me that she’d been enjoying my recent posts about writing, cause writing posts are sometimes difficult for me to write. I’m so glad she came up and introduced herself to me. *happy smile*  Then at church on Sunday, a guy came up and introduced himself to me and told me that he had recently taken his family to the Creation Museum and Buddy Davis had been talking about me. 

Y’all, I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it is to me that my world of writing is beginning to merge with my non-writing world. That I go to an out of state wedding/church service and people I’ve never met come up to me and tell me they know who I am.

Plus, it makes me feel so crazy weird to know that some of the people who saw me there have been reading my blog. That means they know a lot about me. Ever since I began writing about Lyme disease on here, I’ve shared a lot of my hard times and struggles. And, um, these people who I’ve never met know about those thoughts and struggles.

When I first began blogging, I begged my family and friends to follow/read/comment on it. And not very many did. (I was an annoying little ragamuffin about it.) Eventually though, and sometimes without me realizing it, more of ‘my people’ began reading it. And it felt really weird to know people I knew in ‘real life’ were reading about my thoughts and how I understood/saw/imagined the world.

Take this post for example. It took me a long time to figure out how to begin it because I was having, um, a little bit of an inward freak out moment. (Inward freak out? Wow.) I mean, what if the girl I met at the wedding didn’t see the meeting the way I saw it? Or what if she disappointed with how I tell the story? And what about her name? I asked if I could put her picture on here, but I didn’t think about asking about her name. Is it an infringement on privacy if I use her name? Does she think I forgot it if I don’t use it? (Don’t worry, I didn’t forget it.) What are the blogging rules of etiquette when I’m talking about one of Noveltea’s readers?

Do y’all see how my blog meeting with the outside world can feel weird? (Although also something totally amazing that I wouldn’t change!) Several weeks ago I went out to eat with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. She asked about my trip to Europe and we both had this moment of “Wow, this is weird!” because we hadn’t told her I was going to Europe. She had known about the trip from my blog. Then she said, “It really doesn’t feel like we haven’t seen each other for so long cause I’ve been able to keep up with what’s going on in your life through your blog.” Which was so cool, but so very, very weird. (How in the world do famous people do it?!?) And I was left realizing that there are any number of people who can say the same thing. And I don’t even know who they are.

Blogging is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve gotten to ‘meet’ amazing people though blogging. I love the comments/interaction/support, the friends I’ve made and the gift y’all give me of reading what I write. It means a lot how you let me share my life and writing with you. Blogging can be completely weird though, too. After I met the lovely girl at the wedding, I kept wondering about what all I’ve written. About who else might be hanging around who’s read my blog?

My mom isn’t into social networks. She’s fine with me having a blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+ and supports me with these ventures because she knows it’s good for my writing, but she’s warned me from the beginning to be careful what I write because I’m sharing it with the world. Looking back now after blogging for two and a half years, I’m very happy for the advice. After all, you never know who’s reading what you write.

I go about blogging with the idea that my publisher, future employees, boss, family, friends, future in-laws, and even perhaps future children could one day read my blog. I mean, when I meet/hear about someone interesting, I often google them to see if they have a blog. Being careful about what I write means when I do meet someone who reads my blog, I don’t have to be worried in the slightest about what I’ve said, because I only say stuff that I’m ok with everyone knowing. But it’s still very, very weird. In the best kind of way possible.

What about you? Have you ever met a blogger in real life? If you could randomly meet any blogger, who would you choose? 

Number Eleven – Time to Celebrate!

For any of you who don’t know, my adopted dad is a musician, singer and song writer (among a bunch of other cool things like dinosaur sculptor). I think he’s made around 20-some CD’s, plus a few music DVD’s. He travels all around the world performing, from Africa to Europe to Australia to 49 of the states. Isn’t that amazing? But wait! It gets even better. 

One of Dad’s songs,  Jesus is Alive, is number eleven on the Country Inspirational Music charts right now! That’s HUGE! There are thousands and thousands of songs that could be on that chart, and yet Dad’s song is number eleven. Isn’t that so great?

I’m so proud of him and all the work he has put into his music. I’ve listened to Jesus is Alive over and over again and I love it! It’s a wonderful song and it brings glory to God. Dad wants everything he does to bring glory to God which is so inspiring to me!   
Don’t you think it would be totally great if we could get the song to the top 10? Or even number one? Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis explains here a really quick and easy way to help promote the song. I would be absolutely delighted if y’all would take a moment and check out Mr. Ham’s blog post. 🙂

Don’t forget to send your entries in for the short story contest

Amazing Sunday

On Saturday evening, I got to surprise my adopted dad by showing up at the cabin and telling him that I was going to spend Father’s Day with him and Mom. We had so much fun! Sunday was such a great day I figured I should share it with y’all. 🙂

After church we came home and we went down and cracked the whip for a while. I was really excited when I got it to crack the first time and continued with a winning streak of 14 cracks in a row. Sometimes it just won’t crack, so the feeling of hearing the snap is pretty cool. After that we had lunch out on the porch while watching the birds. They have a bunch of bird feeders and their cabin is surrounded by trees, so the little feathered creatures are all over the place

Next we went and threw the tomahawk. I’d never done that before, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. The first couple of times I threw it I was left with the feeling of “Yeah, this is never going to work!” but then I got it! The thud of it hitting the log and sticking in was pretty thrilling and I just wanted to keep throwing it and throwing it. The most I got in a row was three, and I was quite happy.

Then I went for a ride on Cowboy. He’s so pretty! I’m used to seeing him after it’s rained and he’s all dirty, so to see him all cleaned and speckled was a change. I rode him for almost an hour which was great, but I was sore the next day. 🙂 

For years we’ve talked about randomly jumping into the pond, so when we were walking back from putting Cowboy away, we did just that. Then, what better way to dry out my clothes than to build a fire and make s’mores? (You can see in the picture below that my hair is still wet.) 
All in all it was a very amazing day. After the s’mores, I went back to my other house so I could see my other set of parents on Father’s Day, too. 🙂 I love both my families so much and I’m so very, very thankful for them! 

Nashville – Day One

Nashville was amazing. Let me rephrase that: Going to Nashville with my adopted* parents, who used to live there, that was amazing. The whole time there was a dream come true, and do you know what? It was better than I had imagined! I have been hearing stories about Nashville for years now, and to finally be able to see the place where all those stories took place was wonderful.  

When we first got there, after our trip taking two extra hours because of being stuck in traffic, we went and visited with the people who promote Dad’s music on the radio. After that, we checked in at our hotel, then we went to a mall that used to be a theme park (I think this is correct info! I heard so much new stuff that week, I might be mixing it up a bit). It was really cool, complete with a restaurant with aquariums, (hence the first two pictures) and that kind of amazing stuff. We ate at the mall in a place called Claim Jumper, which served me the biggest hamburger I have ever had. It was delicious.

Then we went to the Gaylord Hotel to look around. Several years back, Mr. Ham had posted a picture on his blog that had been taken in the hotel, when he was visiting the area with my parents. I had wished so badly that I could be there with them, it looked amazing. And now I was finally getting a chance to be there! For all y’all who don’t know, it’s this huge, huge indoor area that has gardens, waterfalls, stores and all sorts of amazing stuff like that. It even has a ‘river’ that goes through it and you can take boat rides. All inside! Crazy, right?

We walked around a lot. I think altogether we walked around six or seven miles that day. My phone died during our time there, so I didn’t get nearly as many pictures as I wish I had. Which, that might not be a bad thing since it was dark anyway. 🙂 

So, that’s a quick glimpse at our first day in Nashville! I figured I’d spread out my posts about our time, so you’re not inundated with them. 🙂 I’ll also have Part 2 of Sarah’s Indonesian post up, soon. We had some problems with the pictures so she re-sent them to me. Oh, and one more thing, don’t forget to enter THIS giveaway that ends today!

What are y’all up to, today? I’m hoping to clean my office, finish unpacking from Nashville and work on my writing stuff, etc…

*I’m going to leave of the ‘adopted’ for the rest of this post. 

An Everglade Adventure

The Everglades are beautiful. And big. And not nearly as scary as I had thought they would be. Ok, let me explain that last sentence a little better. The last time I went canoeing in Florida, it was in a different swamp and the water was dark and murky and the thought of falling in was extremely freaky. Most of the water we were kayaking in at the Everglades was so beautiful and clear. We could see fish darting around under us. We could see the plant leaves floating. We could see the rocks at the bottom. It was amazing.

I was in a two person kayak with my sister, Mariah (poor girl!), and we were near the back of our group most of the time. My family (at least those of us who are here in Florida) went, along with my adopted parents and the Stone family. All in all we had nine kayaks and canoes. We went about five miles or so in two hours. There were times though that we had to go through narrow passageways that had brush and tree growing up on either side, and also times when the water was only about a foot deep, so it was slow going. And a lot of work. And tons of fun… Most of the time.

Do you wonder why I said ‘poor girl’ about Mariah being in the kayak with me? Well, here’s the reason. My adopted dad and I have the habit of being rather crazy when we’re together. And of course being around water automatically meant… WATER FIGHT! Splashing each other was pretty great, but using our paddles to swosh huge amounts of water worked even better.

And then we went through this big area where the water was covered with soggy (and probably rotting) cattail heads. So the rotten cattail fight began. Of course we tried not to get Mariah, but we couldn’t always miss her… (And now you’re like “No wonder you were in the back of the group…”)

Anyway, by the end of the time, my adopted dad and I were both soaked clear through and covered with slimy, soggy cattails. It was great!

Well, I’d better sign off for now, before it gets too long. I’ll have to fill y’all in on the rest of the adventure some other time. I hope you have a great Saturday!

Me with Sarah Stone and my adopted parents – this isn’t where we went canoeing. 🙂

Have you ever gone kayaking or canoeing? Which did you like better? I like the kayaking a lot better! I didn’t ever feel as if I could fall out or tip it. 🙂