A Peek Inside my Random Brain

I sometimes get what feels like a grand idea. 
Last night I was imagining being able to crochet with my feet. See, I’ve been crocheting with my hands long enough that I do it all the time without looking or even paying attention to what I’m doing.  My thought was if I got good enough then I could crochet with my hands and my feet at the same time and that way I could be making two blankets at once. 
Another semi-dream I have is of being able to read a book while holding it upside-down. I remember back about a decade ago I watched a documentary about a man who wore a special contraption that made everything flipped around so it looked upside down. After a few weeks of that his brain had switched it back so everything looked right side up again. I’ve been rather fascinated with upside-down stuff ever since then. Plus, I figured that reading an upside-down book would possibly trigger a different part of my brain and I’d get new ideas.
Then I got excited at the possibility of multitasking. Was it possible to get good enough that I could crochet with my hands and feet and read an upside down book, all at the same time? The idea was enchanting so this morning I started out with trying my feet at crocheting. 
Let’s just say it’s harder than it sounds.
My toes aren’t very flexible. Nor are they long and able to grasp small objects like yarn. I ended up being able to crochet a little bit using one hand and one foot, but the hand had to do far more than its share of the work. It didn’t take me long to decide it was a waste of time and move on to reading an upside-down book. 

I started out with Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. It’s one of the writing books I bought a couple weeks ago and I’m only a few pages in. Unfortunately it has a slightly different font that messed mightily with my brain while looking at it upside-down. Plus, do you have any clue how confusion “n” “u” “p” “q” “b” “d” and all those types of letters are while trying to read them upside-down? Let’s just say it gave me a headache.

So, I switched tactics and decided try something else. I choose Go Teen Writers by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson which is another writing book of mine. I’ve read this book before, but not recently so I had it by my writing chair so I could re-read it. Thankfully it has a normal font, so I spent some time reading it upside-down while crocheting with my hands. Thankfully that venture went a lot better than the first two. I’ll probably be doing it again in the near future.

I like doing random things like this because it gives me new prospectives on life. Besides, who knows, some day I might have a character who is in a life and death situation and has to do something crazy with their feet while reading a book upside-down…

So there y’all have it: A little peek inside my brain.

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What about you? What are some random, crazy ideas you’ve had recently?

A Thousand Days

Celebration time! 
Yesterday marked the 1,000th day since I started writing a 100 words on my WIP (work in progress) each and every day. People, a 1,000 days is a long time. To give y’all a little glimpse of just how long it actually is, here’s a list of things that I’ve done/have happened in my life in the last 1,000 days: 
* Three of my books were published
* Three nieces and one nephew were born
* I completed 31 items from my dream list 
* My brother and I sold our herd of around 40 milk goats and kids 
* I’ve had book signings, author blog interviews and been on live TV
* Our family built a house and moved (Pictured: old office and new office): 

* One of my siblings got married
* I had three birthdays spanning from my late teens to early twenties
* I found out that I had Lyme disease and spent about two years getting over it (including multiple visits to Lyme disease specialists in Pennsylvania and Colorado)
* I published 617 posts on Noveltea 
In the last 522 days I’ve read 202 books (I didn’t keep track before that)
* My cute little puppy who was only a few weeks old at the time is now almost three:

* I got braces, had them for over two years and then got them taken off
* I went to the Grand Ole Opry, explored castles in Europe, ruins in Aruba and lots of museums in-between
* I wrote a book with 150,000 words 
* I did the A to Z blogging challenge three times
* I made a whole bunch of new and amazing friends
* I hiked up mountains, went caving, kayaking and snorkeling: 

And I traveled a lot. In the last 1,000 days I was gone for 318 nights (give or take a few)… 
I traveled to or through:
States:
California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia 
Countries:
Aruba, Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland 
Continents:
Africa, Asia, Europe, North America 
Had layovers in:
Ivory Coast, Africa
Nevada, USA
Qatar, Asia
So much has happened in my life in the last 1,000 days and to know that I’ve consistently written every single one of those days is pretty exciting. I’m so thankful for the support of my family and my writing group, Go Teen Writers. I’m also so thankful to be a writer and to know that God can use my imagination to inspire people. 
To celebrate the 1,000th day my family went out for milkshakes yesterday and then today I’m hosting a giveaway over on Go Teen Writers

What are some of your favorite things you’ve done in the last 1,000 days? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Non-Fiction Books On Your To-Be-Read-List

This morning I’m linking up with The Broke and Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday weekly feature. This week’s prompt is: Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List. My problem is my list hasn’t changed much since this post. Therefore I thought I’d change the prompt to: Ten Non-Fiction Books On Your To-Be-Read-List because even though I read a lot this month I didn’t finish any non-fiction books so I need to ramp up my non-fiction reading during April. 
**I don’t have links for most of these books because I’m running on tight Internet usage**
1. Go Teen Writers by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Willamson 
I’ve already read this book, a lot of it more than once. But me oh my, it’s so helpful! Totally worth re-reading several times.

2. Finding the Core of Your Story by Jordan Smith 
Same with this book. Amazingly helpful when you’re trying to really tack down just what your story’s about.
3. The Plot Skeleton by Angela Hunt 
I have a hard time with plots and it’s been a while since I read this book, so I thought it was time for a re-read. 
4. Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt  
Can you tell that I’m pretty focused on writing at this time? Yep. 
5. Leadership 101 by John Maxwell
To all you people who might be new to Noveltea, I’m a big John Maxwell fan and almost always have at least one of his books part-way eaten. 
6. Be a People Person: Effective Communication by John C. Maxwell 
I’m part way through this book and figured it was time to finish it off. 
7. Getting Things Done by David Allen 
Ahem. This book isn’t exactly my cup of tea. I’m reading it for work and eagerly await the last chapter. 
8. Love Does Bob Goff 
I started this book and OH MY WORD. Yeah, you should read it. Mr. Goff has such a unique outlook on life and it’s so inspiring. 

9. Pushing People Up by Art Willams 
This is a book that was recommended to me and I have it waiting in my office, all ready to gobble up. I really like Mr. William’s writing style, so I’m excited about diving into Pushing People Up
10. Hand of Providence by Mary Beth Brown 
This book was recommended (and given) to me by my mom and since that doesn’t happen extremely often (and since Mom’s amazing), I’m eager to read it for myself. 
* * * 
What about you? Do you have any books on your non-fiction reading list? Do any of these books look interesting to you? 

Arriving – Finding Joy in the Journey

I used to wonder when I would finally feel like I’d ‘arrived’ as an author. When I finished my first book? Got self-published? Tradionally-published? Or maybe it would be when I became a bestselling author, was internationally recognized or could support myself on my royalties. It’s an elusive thought that I sometimes want to peg down and other times I’m happy to forget about. 
Last night I was discussing with a good friend how sometimes I look at people who haven’t made it as far as I have in the journey as an author and I wonder how they can be satisfied. Because I’m not satisfied. 
What I’ve been realizing is that although I need to continue pressing on and moving forward with my writing, I also want to be happy with where I am. I don’t want to continually be thinking Well, when I reach this next milestone I’ll have made it… Because really, knowing me, the only way I’ll ever ‘make it’ is by changing my mindset. 
So, I’ve decided to be thrilled for my fellow writers who are content at the place they are in life and at the same time I’m going to embrace my own accomplishments, knowing that God has brought me a loonnggg way from a little daydreaming girl. 
One of the things that has helped me most with my writing is the Go Teen Writers blog. I’ve been following this blog since soon after I entered the blogging world as a teenager. There were about 500 followers then and that number has been more than doubled. 
This blog is packed full of resources for writers of any age, although it does focus on teenagers. I’ve been inspired, encouraged, realized my errors and learned so much from this amazing blog. They also have a Facebook group where lots of great writer-ily interaction goes on. I’m really not sure how far along my writing would be if it weren’t for Go Teen Writers
That’s why I was so very excited when Stephanie, the founder of Go Teen Writers, asked me to guest post on her blog. I had written her an email thanking her for all her work and telling her where I was on my writing journey, and next thing I knew, we were discussing me guest posting. Talk about freaking out with joy.

My post went live today, and I just have to keep looking at it, and looking at it, and looking at it. My picture, my author bio, my words are actually being featured on Go Teen Writers. Other young, aspiring authors are going to look at what I wrote and be inspired. It’s an amazing feeling.

So, while I may not have reached ‘bestselling author’ status or completed a book tour across the USA, I am on the right track and I’m going to rejoice and be excited about these ‘little’ steps, which really aren’t so little after all.

I’ve discovered being a writer is much like living life. It’s not as much about the point I’ll eventually reach, as it is about living each day how I was meant to live it and working at making my God-given dreams a reality.

A huge, big, ginormous thank-you to Stephanie and all the work she’s done for the hundreds of young writers who have learned from her and her blogging team. You rock. 

Childhood Dreams

I informed my brother today that I was tired of everyone growing up and I wanted to be a kid again. Then, while I was trying to pick the perfect age to go back to, he ruined my plans by telling me that it wasn’t going to happen and I needed to be ok with growing up and all that good kind of stuff big brothers tell their little sisters. 
I love kids. I am delighted that I get to write for them and open new worlds for them through my books. I remember when I was eight, nine, ten, eleven. I thought being an author must be the most wonderful thing in the world. Imagine writing something and having gobs of people read it? Creating a world that others would dive into and almost become a part of? The very thought filled me with delight. Ten years later, it still fills me with a feeling of awe when I stop and take time to ponder it. 

I remember when I was about nine and I saw a book about a hungry caterpillar or desert animals or some such thing and it had been written by a twelve-year-old kid (I think). That was the first time I can recall realizing that a normal, average, everyday kid could actually write and get published. It spurred me on and made my dream more real.

What about you? Do you want to write? Do you dream of one day being published? It doesn’t matter if you’re six or 106, if you want to start writing, then why delay? Over at Go Teen Writers, a blog I have frequented quite often for several years, they’re hosting a writing challenge that is a great help to get people in the habit of writing. Why not take a moment and check it out?

So, even though I can’t go back in time, I realize that in reality, I’m doing exactly what I dreamed of doing as a child. Which is pretty exciting. (Well, except I did want to be a schoolteacher out West with my two cousins and sister and live in a shanty. Only, that was before we realized that the West had been settled and modernized. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up reading books like Laura Ingalls Wilder…)

What about you? Are you doing what you dreamed of as a child? 

Writing Contest Winner! The Beauty in Small Things – By Jordan Link

So, you know that moment when you wish you had a way out? Then you realize just biting the bullet and getting it over with is the best thing to do. Take me for instance. This is my third year for hosting a writing contest on my blog. The first year I didn’t have many followers and I only got four entries. The next year I had more followers and I received a good amount of entries. (Ten or fourteen or so.) This year my blog has had a lot more activity and I got… One. One entry. Hey, it’s good for me though, having to admit this on my blog. I like at least keeping up the image that I know what I’m doing on Noveltea, but since that’s only an image anyway, it’s likely to be shattered many times over and in reality, that’s ok. 🙂 


I have three consolations: 1 – Listening to good music as I type this. 2 – Having a totally supportive cousin. 3 – I really like the story winning story! 🙂

And now, here is Jordan Link (a girl from my writing group) with her fabulous winning story of 456 words:

The Beauty in Small Things

Age 17. I am a glistening blue star, a bright galactic miracle that never fails to shimmer. I walk with a poise rivaled by none but Her Majesty. On my gown are thousands of crystals, each encompassing my dream to become her, to be followed by a fleet of servants like each of my steps is divine.

But tonight I walk alone, with myself and my prosperity. I hear the soft clamor of a cathedral’s bells, and the barking of a servant’s dog. I hear the soft patter of my bare feet against the cobblestone, and the hushed whisper of the wind as it tickles my cheeks. Despite it, I can not bring myself to admire the beauty in small things. I withdraw my mirror, and find comfort in the polish of the girl who stares back.

As I round the road’s bend, someone brings me to a halt. A small girl peels away from the shadows, like she was delivered from the darkness itself. She runs up to me before I can cower away, and latches onto the skirt of my gown.

“I wish I were a princess, so I too could wear such a beautiful dress.”

I kneel down, and cradle the girl’s hands in mine. Her palms are coarse, like little coals.

“Little one, it is imperative that you strive only to be a better version of yourself.”

Age 20. I am sprawled out on my bed, with a fan in one hand and a pastry in the other. By the end of the impeding guard’s announcement, both of those items have found the floor. I run down the hall, and only the train of my dress pursues me.

Age 21. Someone wants to arrange an audience with me. The people insist she is the best blacksmith around, that she could recreate the Holy Chalice if that was her will. I do not believe in foolish tales, and arranged instead her execution.

Age 23. I have an affliction, I think. The townspeople call it “The Plague”, but, in terms of intellect, they are hardly superior to rats. Neither royals nor Catholics can die from the plague.

Age 23. This tower is dark; so much so that light seems to cease at its windows. They say the doctor will be here soon, and I hope to God that they are right. There is a fair view of the countryside, but I can not bring myself to admire it. The sill is dirty, even more so than the ashen floors.

While I can still write, I will admit my faults. Opulence is as transient as an arrow’s flight. If only I had seen the beauty in small things.

Age 24.








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Jordan! Congratulations! Please email me for instructions of how to receive your prize at: aidylewoh(at)gmail(dot)com

Y’all, check back tomorrow for an extra-special post! And I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday!

Books I’ve Been Reading

Since I’m trying to read more non-fiction this year and I realized that my fictional reading list was twice as long as my non-fction list, I am working on remedying that.

I actually started this book on my way to Nashville, then decided to wait since it was an e-book and I could easily take it to Indonesia with me. The Diary of Anne Frank was a book I’ve been curious about for a long time. Once I began it, I just wanted to read, read, read, mostly because I knew the ending was horrible and incomplete and I wanted to get to it quickly.

It was so hard for me to comprehend that this was the real and actual diary of a Jewish girl who ends up dying near the end of the war. Reading the diary, I knew that at any time it would just stop, an unfinished story. It’s not like a normal book that can draw to a close. It’s a sudden and blank ending.

Sadly, I can’t recommend this book because there was a lot of stuff I didn’t agree with. This was a girl’s journal though, her diary, her thoughts. She had decided to share her diary with the world after the end of the war, but was planning on re-writing it. Her Dad (the only one who survived the war) did edit it before he published it, but then it was published in it’s entirety after his death. It made WW2 much more real to me and I’m glad I got to experience it through Anne’s eyes.

I bought Go Teen Writers both as an e-book and a hard copy soon after it was released at the end of last year, yet for some reason, I never got around to reading all of it. Sure, I read bits and pieces here and there, but that doesn’t really do it justice. I began reading it from the start a few weeks ago, and finished it up last week.
After getting into it, I could hardly put it down. Goodness people, it was amazing! It’s a book about writing (no, really?) but even though I’m a writer, I don’t always enjoy reading books about my craft. Sometimes it’s like those school papers you have to force your way through. This book was way different though. I really feel like going right back through and reading it again. It’s written by the authors of this inspiring blog. (Stephanie and Jill are amazing, I can never thank you enough!) They also started the Facebook group I take part in.

If you are a writer, no matter what your age, you should really read this book. It will make you laugh, nod your head, realize amazing things about your craft and leave you wanting to write the best book you possibly can… And it will give you the tools to be able to do that. I’m already incorporating a lot of the principles I’ve learned in the edits I’m doing on my Action Kids book.

I brought Corrie ten Boom: Her Life, Her Faith  with me to Indonesia because I’ve been revisiting the Corrie ten Boom books I used to devour when I was younger. I haven’t read any books by or about her for several years, but with our upcoming trip to Holland planed, I wanted to re-study her amazing life. From the time I was 8-16, I read many of her books, some up to three or so times. Therefore, a lot of the stories and thoughts are just reminders, but still wonderful! I think I always get something new from them.

(I also read In My Father’s House when we were driving to Nashville a couple weeks back. I remember being inthralled by it as an eight or nine year old. It was good diving into it again. Y’all should read it, it’s wonderful.)

One of the new things I picked up while reading through Corrie ten Boom: Her Life, Her Faith was when her sister, Nolly, gets sent to a local prison for harboring Jews, Corrie uses principles she gleaned from How to Win Friends and Influence People, which she was in the middle of reading at the time, to get her sister free. That really tickled me since I’m in the process of reading that book right now as well. 🙂 Imagine that, right?

Corrie ten Boom: Her Life, Her Faith wasn’t written by Corrie, instead it was a quick (the book is around 220 pages, not long for such a jam packed life!) overview of her whole life and how unknowingly she was prepared by God for what would be happening to her next, in every stage of her journey.

After I finished Corrie ten Boom: Her Life, Her Faith, I decided to read a book suggested to me by Hosanna, one of my friends who I’m getting to stay with for a month. (Also a kindred spirit when it comes to reading amazing books. 🙂

Castaway Kid…How do I describe it? I don’t want to call it delightful or wonderful because it’s sad and heart-pulling. It’s about a boy who was put in a children’s home at age three, and all the things he had to work through to end up the successful and Christ-centered man he is now. Since this book was written by the (now grown up) boy himself, it makes it so real. It was published in 2012, which means the story isn’t an old one.

It was extremely intriguing and kept my attention the whole time. (I started it last night and finished it this morning. It’s 272 pages long.) He tells his story in such a way that the reader can feel his emotions and glimpse his trials, yet it doesn’t feel like a ‘poor pitiful me’ story in the least bit. Some authors just make me feel as if they are begging for someone to whine to, but instead, I felt like this author knew his story could help others, and therefore he was sharing it. I really recommend this book. (Although with discretion of course, and it’s not for everyone.)

He also knew how to add humor to some of the situations and the story ends on a happy note. I enjoyed it a lot and wouldn’t be surprised if I read it again in the future. 🙂 Thanks, Hosanna, for recommending it to me!

What have y’all been reading recently? 

150 Word Contest

Go Teen Writer (which is not only for teens), had a writing challenge/contest last week. We were supposed to write a 150 word (no more) opening to a story that started with the words “I’m not the type of girl to say…” Or you could substitute the word ‘girl’ for ‘boy’. Since these kinds of contests are fun and help you learn to write a catchy first 150 words, I entered. 

And… I didn’t place in the finalists. Which is fine, I still had fun. Anyway, I thought I’d share my entry with you. So here it goes: 
I’ve never been the type of girl to say “when pigs fly”. After all, who says that pigs can’t fly? What makes anyone think they’re smart enough to decree a negative verdict on the soaring abilities of swine? 
Ok, so I’ll be the first to admit, they don’t have the most aerodynamic-looking body, but that really doesn’t mean anything. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover, a pig by it’s lack of wings, or a cup of coffee by it’s plainness. 
Goodness, who would look at a mug of coffee and suppose it could create a monster out of me? The black liquid looks harmless enough, right? 
“You’re asking too many questions, Jenny.” That’s what my mama would be telling me right now.
“Wagging your tongue off as normal.” That’s what my pa would be saying. 
“Can you prove it?” Isaac would be asking, his smirk in place.

A picture that has absolutely nothing to do with the post. I just think it’s pretty. 

So, what would you have written? Feel free to add your own entry in the comments. Just remember not to go over 150 words. =)