February Campfire

Today was simply beautiful. As in, that’s a big reason I didn’t blog earlier. I had some outside work that needed done, and with the sun shinning brightly, the world warm around me, and the sky blue, I headed outside.

I can’t remember another February when we’ve ever had this warm and sunny weather in Ohio. It’s been delighting me, but making it somewhat hard to remember that we’re still in the middle of Winter.


Tonight I went to my aunt and uncle’s house and we had a campfire. I’m fairly certain that’s the first one I’ve ever had in February where there were so many people. Sure, I’ve camped out in February before, but never have I sat around a campfire with 30 other people roasting hotdogs and singing.

It was one of those things that will stay in the memory books for a long time to come. Overall today was a great Monday, although I felt a bit behind the entire day. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the week.

Thank You

Figuring out how to blog on WordPress has been a stretching experience, and I’m still in the middle of the learning process. Today is a lovely frost-covered November experience that will probably find me curled up with a mug of tea, Christmas music, a candle burning, and the WordPress for Dummies book. (Not even kidding, folks.)

In the meantime, thank you so very much for everyone who has supported me with moving Noveltea over to WordPress and my very own website. *cue happiness* All of your comments, follows, and shares mean a lot. Plus those of you who have emailed back and forth with me and helped me figure it out… wow. Thank you. (Especially Kate who I’ve frantically emailed more than once.) Changing platforms has been something I’ve been working up the courage to do for a couple years now, and having finally made the jump is very good, but still scary.


Make sure y’all enter the Rafflecopter giveaway (there are ten prizes, including a $25 Amazon gift card), if you feel so inclined. And, of course I would be beyond thrilled if you follow this new blog and share the word. (Like, imagine me doing little happy dances every time I get a new follower.)

As you can imagine a lot of my writing work is currently focused on this site, and other than a minimal amount of writing, I haven’t really done much else on writing this week. Next week I’m hoping to continue working on my blurb and such for When Life Hands You LymesUntil then, have fun exploring Lydiahowe.com and thank you, once again, for stopping by!

The {Beautiful} Rising Sun

One of the things I look forward to at the beginning of each month is getting to read the fourth Proverbs. See, I read the “proverb of the day” each morning, and have for nearly two years now. And, although I can obviously read any of the Proverbs any time I want, when the corresponding day arrives for a Proverb I really like, it makes the day feel extra special. 

Sunday was the 4th, and I was excited about reading that Proverb for several days leading up to Sunday. Proverbs 4:18 my favorite verse in the entire book of Proverbs, and probably one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible.

I’m a very visual person. I like seeing things. When I read a book, I see nearly everything in my head – like a movie. When people are talking to me, their words are constantly creating pictures in my brain. Sometimes when I’m writing and I’m trying to think of a specific word, written words flip through my mind almost like flashcards, until I choose the right one. 

Talking on the phone has never been something I enjoy (except to a few specific people), because it’s so hard for me to carry on a conversation when I can’t see the person I’m talking to. Same thing with talking through doors. When someone tries to tell me something, I am nearly always thinking Can’t you just show me? 

As a writer, there are words that I enjoy simply because of how they look when they’re written down. So many of my memories play in my mind, as if I had watched a movie of my growing up years and had memorized it. When someone tells a story, my brain jumps at the chance to draw out the scene for me. So yes, I’m a very visual person. 

Proverbs 4:18 is one of those verses that creates a perfect picture in my mind. It’s an illustration that I can watch unfold in nature every single day. It can literally be an hourly reminder from the time I wake up, until I go to bed. (Although I rarely think of it that often.) 

The verse says, 

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

Isn’t that simply beautiful? 

I didn’t watch the sun rise today, but I have gotten to see the world grow lighter around me as I go about my daily tasks. I am so thankful to have today to spend living, and breathing, and working. To watch the cycle of the sun and know that God loves me.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lam. 3:22-23)

To-Do Lists, Monday Mornings, and Happiness.

A delightful “Happy Monday!” to y’all. This busy week dawned for me after a restless night where I kept waking up, checking the clock, and willing the morning to arrive so I could start on my mile-long list of things to do. 
I’m not even quite sure how I’ll be able to organize my time to fit everything in this week that I need to accomplish…but it should be a fun challenge. I have work to do for my non-writing job, a non-fiction book to read for review, City of Outcasts to finish (or nearly finish, anyway). I have a book I’m beta reading for a friend, short stories to write, my office to straighten (again), grass to cut, buuutttt…What I’m most excited about this week is that on Saturday I got the 15th draft of When Life Hands You Lymes back from a beta reader. So yay!
This is the most thorough going-over I’ve ever had from a beta reader. And that’s a good thing. There is only so much one person (aka me) can do to polish up a story. And, after 15 drafts and multiple rounds of beta reading, the book still had a far piece to travel.

Saturday afternoon, as soon as I got back from my non-writing job, I dove into reading through the comments the beta reader had made. I responded to quite a few of them, and gauged my reaction on the rest. That process alone took several hours. (Happy hours, I might add, because I was getting to work on WLHYL again!)

I had to take breaks to finish reading and reviewing a book, write 1,000 words on City of Outcasts, and send a few emails, but other then that I worked on the edits until midnight arrived, signaling the end of my work week.

Yesterday was brimming full with going to church, helping out with Sunday School, and then working in the nursery during the second service. I attended a baby shower after that, and the rest of the afternoon was bursting with a conglomeration of events (blessedly it also hosted a nap). It was a few minutes before 10:30 when I happily fell into bed, ready to peacefully sleep the night away. Only, by then my brain was like “Ah-ha! A new week is just around the corner, so let’s start thinking full-speed, cause guess what? You’ve got the16th draft of WLHYL to work through!” Needless to say, I’m happy that Monday has now arrived.

I hope y’all are as excited about this week as I am, and if you have any tips on how I can manage my time better, I’d be delighted to hear them. And now I’m off to beta read, so I can then dive back into editing. 

Update on my Adopted Dad

Happy Saturday Morning, y’all! I decided to post today so I could give a quick update on my adopted dad. If you’ve been following Noveltea for a couple of months you’re probably aware that he had a heart attack and then open-heart surgery at the end of June. I was blessed to be able to spend nearly four weeks with them at the time, but then had to return to “normal” life and go back to work and all that good stuff. 

Last weekend I was excited to get to spend the day with them, and was thrilled at how much better Dad is doing. Although he’s still trudging down the road to recovery, he’s leaps and bounds further along than the previous time I had seen him, which made me incredibly thankful. 

Here’s an update they posted this week regarding the trouble he’s been having with his arm/hand:

The EMG showed neuropathy caused from the cholesterol medicine that I had been on for 15 years. The Doctor said the numbness in my fingers would go away in time. He said 4-6 months. My arm at least is not hurting like before. I am trying to play my instruments but it is not up to standard because of two fingers being numb. Cardiac doctor is pleased with my heart and valve. There are still skipped beats but he thinks they will settle down. I am healing and getting stronger. I start rehab next week. Thank you everyone for all the prayers.

While I was at their cabin Dad played a bit of several instruments and sang for me, which was fantastic (especially considering last time I was there he was just getting to the point where he could talk again without going into coughing fits). 
For those of you who don’t know, my adopted dad is a professional musician and song writer who has traveled all over the world performing. So…being able to play instruments and sing songs is a vital part of his every-day-life. 

Thank you to everyone who has prayed, and continues to pray, for his recovery. I hope y’all will join me in praising God for the wonderful recovery Dad has been making.

Side note: Because recovery is still underway for my adopted dad, I sadly won’t be taking part in our yearly caving adventure that I blogged about in June. I still hope some of y’all can go, though!

Have a great day!

Writing Buddy

I call her my little cupcake. And my blogging buddy. And my writing buddy. Her real name is Hosanna, but she rarely gets called that by me. (We won’t go into the dozens of other nicknames I have for her.) 
We grew up on opposite sides of the world, which was perfect because that meant she was awake during my late-night writing sessions, and we therefore chatted immense amounts. I went and visited her family for a month several years ago, and when I was there she would lean over my shoulder and read my story as I wrote. Since then I’ve sent her nearly everything I’ve written, only to have her gobble it down crazily-fast. Hosanna’s the only person I know who can out read me, so I’m always trying to think of books to recommend to her. (Or stories to write for her to read.) 
I call her my writing buddy because, not only does she read my stories as I write them, but she also lets me discuss all my new writing developments with her. It’s incredibly fun to bounce ideas off of her, and hear what she has to say about plot twists. (It’s also possible that I taunt her by threatening bad things to happen to certain characters, but I’m not admitting to anything.) 
Hosanna has not only read more drafts of WLHYL than anyone else (besides me), but she’s also enthusiastically reads a lot of the feedback I’ve received from beta readers, and then gives me her opinions on their opinions. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to copy and paste large amounts of feedback emails in chats to her and then demand (kindly) to hear what she does and doesn’t agree with. I also sometimes send her my responses and make sure that I’ve worded everything nicely when I’m replying to an email that I didn’t really appreciate. 
I’m often times baffled by how much Hosanna truly likes my writing. She’s forever encouraging me to keep going, and commanding me to write more. It’s seriously an honor to have someone who can read so many of the words that come out of my imagination and still want more. It’s also sometimes amusing to me, because even though she’s a dedicated bookworm, and happily listens to all of my plot and writerly talk, Hosanna doesn’t write. (Like, no stories at all. I should know. There was a time “way back when” when I was supposed to do some creative writing classes with her and a couple other people. Let’s just say it was not pretty.) 

I call her my blogging buddy because nearly every time I sit down to blog she and I start chatting and she keeps me company as I make loud laments when a blog post isn’t coming together. I also sometimes send her parts of the post and ask if it sounds okay and makes sense. Hosanna is also generally the first one to “plus-one” the post on Google+ each day, which always makes me happy. Her excitement for my writing is incredibly inspiring.

I call her my cupcake because cupcakes make me happy and Hosanna makes me happy, so it’s quite natural. Plus, it’s fun choosing a new flavor to call her each day. (Like, for instance, today she’s black cherry with cream cheese frosting and a beautiful fresh cherry on top.)

Hosanna has spent this last week with me which has been marvelous and a lot of fun (especially since she’s spent the last year on the other side of the world). I’m quite thankful to have such a staunch supporter of my writing, especially one who seems to never tire of talking about books and writing.

Hosanna, you are a fantastically amazing friend and I’m very thankful for you. (And the fact that I can be so crazy around you.) Thanks for being so enthusiastic and encouraging! 

Life Update: Writing and Flying and Keyboards

This morning I’m sitting at the airport, getting ready to fly home. This last week has seen many happy strides forward when it comes to the second book in the Echoes trilogy, which is (for now) titled City of Outcasts. (Such a lovely moniker, you know.) This week I read through the first book in a half, revamped the plot line, came up with the way to make a certain plot twist work, and then got to work writing. 
For the past few evenings I’ve sat at the kitchen table, keyboard in lap, and typed away. I’m not allowing myself to re-read what I write each night, choosing instead to focus on the task at hand and do rereading and editing later. (Although I must admit, focus is probably not the right word to use here, since my brain has been a jumbled heap trying to convince me that emails need written and the Olympic medal count needs checked up on ASAP, every time I sit down to write. Really though. The Olympics. I am so going to blog about them some time because they’re pretty much one of the most inspiring events in all of forever.)
As you can see from the picture, I have my keyboard with me at the airport. It’s not a quirky writerly thing I foresaw myself doing, but with typing of several thousand words each day, I didn’t want to be caught without the keyboard, and none of my bags I brought were big enough to pack it in. (Another family member I traveled down to Florida with bought the keyboard in her suitcase, but she left last week.) So yes, I have been walking through the airport with my keyboard tucked under my arm. Strange? No, of course not. 

It will be good to get back home and hopefully fall into some sense of a routine. Today is the 226th day of the year, and I’ve been gone 113 of those nights, (including 39 out of the last 46), so as you can guess, my routines have been rather subject to change. 

I’m currently at a really exciting place in City of Outcasts (CoO), where one of the main characters is about ready to make a horrible decision that has the ability to ruin her life, her family, and just possibly her country. Sounds delightful, right? Such is the power you hold when you’re a bitter and rebellious princess. I’m curious to see just how far she’ll go in the wrong direction before she gets a knock on her head that puts her back on the right track.

Working on this book again has been incredibly fun. I know I keep saying that, but it continues to be true, and maybe you kinda missed my enthusiasm the first several times I shouted the words. Writing rapid first drafts is by far my favorite part of the writing process. Well, that, and when I’m taking a walk and get a sudden light bulb moment and a plot twist takes place and all my previous plans are left in ruins.

Oh, and the plane is boarding now, so good-bye, folks! 

Commitment: Making it Happen

One thing I’ve discovered is that after I’ve decided and committed to do something, it’s so much easier to accomplish. All the guess work is taken out, and instead of wasting time thinking “should I or shouldn’t I do this?” the brain power goes to figuring out the best way to get it done.

For instance: Near the end of last year I decided to eat extremely healthily (aka paleo) for 100 days. And I did. There were times that it was hard, but I never once thought of giving up. From the time my 100 days were up (April-something), until when I went to North Dakota in June, I was on and off paleo, but did kinda okay with it. Then when I was in North Dakota I went totally off of it. When I got back to Ohio (not home), went off of grains and sugar, but still wasn’t that healthy. Then at the beginning of this month I wasn’t feeling well and knew it had a lot to do with what I was eating. So, I made the choice one morning after an embarrassing walk/run to be paleo until October 16th. Since then I’ve been paleo without any problem, hardly even craving non-paleo foods.

Another example: One of my 24 before 24 challenges is to write 1,000 words every day (except Sundays) for 24 days in a row. I made several half-hearted attempts to start the 24 days, but it wasn’t until I sat down and prepared and worked on a plot and committed to it that I actually really started. I’m several days into the challenge now and have throughly enjoyed writing each evening.

When I really want to get something done, the best way to see it through is for me to write goals, map out a plan, and then stick to it. Yes, there are reasons to sometimes abandon plans, but measly things like feelings shouldn’t factor into the equation.

Currently I’m training to run a marathon. Knowing this helps me get to bed earlier. It helps me wake up earlier. It helps me eat healthily. It helps me to keep running ten more seconds when I feel like slowing down to a walk. It helps me walk at a faster pace until I can start running again. It makes “one more mile” a reality instead of a wish. I’ve committed to a marathon, so training isn’t something I allow myself to choose any more, instead it’s a part of my day.

When I had a date set for when I wanted to be finished with the 15th draft of WLHYL, I worked on the book many days when I didn’t feel like it. I pushed through, and figured out problems that I’d been putting off. I made changes that I’d had niggling in the back of my brain for several drafts. There were times when I wanted to throw up my hands and set the book aside for another few months (or years…or decades), but instead I kept going.

We all have plans, goals, dreams, or tasks that we need to complete. Knowing how much it helps me when I commit to something helps me be wise with when and how often I choose to commit. What are some things y’all have committed to doing recently? 

Workplace Musings

Last night I was a bit late getting home from work, and I had what felt like a gigantically messy room to clean up, clothes to wash, packing to be done from my last trip, and everything to pack for my next trip. I even snapped a picture of my office/room before starting so I could see what a huge difference I was making with before and after pictures. 
This picture is somewhat amusing to me now, because for the first two decades of my life, I would have considered the room to be clean and good to go. Breaking the constantly-messy room habit was something I worked at for years, but never succeeded with until I made it a goal to have my room clean at least once a week. (Pretty much the best goal I ever set.) Over time my ideal of “clean” morphed and eventually it got to the point where my office hardly ever became a disaster because I was in the habit of cleaning it, and well… Goals. (They’re a pretty strong pull for me, if you haven’t guessed.)
By the way… Those clothes are the ones I pulled out of my bags from last week, washed, then simply dumped on the chair (and obviously the floor), cause this week was crazy-busy. 

 As a writer I find a clean, peaceful, and homey office is delightful to work in, and a messy one drives me crazy. Soft lighting, a flickering candle, fuzzy blankets, and heart-warming music all go into creating the perfect atmosphere to delve into writing or editing.

Thankfully I don’t need to have these elements before I can sit down and focus and pound out a new story, but they definitely make it easier and more enjoyable. Cute, cosy socks are also a plus, and cuddly animals are even better. (Real animals are the best, but stuffed animals work well, too. I have a box of stuffed animals under my writing table and they make my little heart happy.)

The bags on the couch are what I packed for this next trip which I’m supposed to leave for in approximately two minutes and fifty seconds… 

Even though I won’t be able to hang around and work in my clean office right now, it makes my homecoming so much more looked-froward to, to know I’m going to be able to crash immediately in a  clean office.

These next few days I’m planning on getting more editing done, but after I’m finished with the draft of WLHYL that I’m currently on, who knows… Perhaps I’ll even start a new book which would be fantastically amazing. Or, there is a possibility I’ll begin editing Echoes, which would be equally amazing because I’m really excited about that book.

What about you? Do you practically need to have a clean workspace?  

A Little Life Update

After only being home for one night in nearly four weeks (I was gone from June 28th until July 24th), it was delightful to arrive back late Sunday afternoon. I promptly kidnapped my best friend’s (and neighbor) little girl, who quite happily still remembered and loved me. We had fun with books and stuffed animals, which are really two of the best things in the world. 
Then I dove back into the world here with my non-writing job and siblings and normal life. (Haha, as if this crazy life could ever be classified as normal.) I got to cut grass which made me immensely happy, challenged my little brother to a few rounds of Uno, and did my first serious marathon-prep walk/run in waayyy too long. 
Today is another one of those busy days that are so much fun to look back on and feel satisfied about (at least that’s the plan). As soon as I finish this post I’m going to hurry and get some grass cut before the heat really takes over, cause believe me, it’s been hot
Thank you to everyone who prayed for my adopted dad, he’s recovering well which is a huge answer to prayer. He obviously still has a long way to go, but I’m pleased with the progress he’s made so far. (For those of you who don’t know, my adopted dad had a heart attack and then open-heart surgery, which is why I was unexpectedly gone for the last while.) 
This morning I was working on memorizing Philippians, and I was reminded again at how beautiful the book is. It’s not only wonderful and truth-shinning as God’s Word, but it also makes my writerly soul happy with how the words flow together and sound as they fall off of my tongue. 

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now until God our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Phil. 4:18-20)

This week is shaping up to be really busy with my non-writing job, but I’m hoping to be able to get some work done on the writing front, too, because I’m very, very close to having the 15th draft of WLHYL finished. It’s exciting to see how the story is growing (actually shrinking), and changing and nearing completion. I am so very thankful for everyone who has helped me with the project, because seriously, we (the book and I) really needed the help.

And, this my friends, is just a little random update on life. What have y’all been up to?