Around the World in Fifty-Two Weeks Week One: Portugal

Well folks! Welcome to the first Friday Series post. I’m still looking for a name for it, but for now I’m going to go with “Around the World in Fifty-Two Weeks” thanks to a suggestion from one of Noveltea’s readers. If you have any suggestions, please let me know them! 
This post took me quite a bit longer to write than I had imagined, there’s a lot of research going on here. Hopefully next week I’ll be on time. Also: Please take note that I’m new to this, just like y’all are. If you have any ideas of how to make it more interesting, please let me know. (I’d be so delighted to hear your thoughts!) I plan on adding in a plot line in addition to exploring countries, but that’s going to take some work. Also, the rest of the posts shouldn’t be quite as long, but I had to fit so much into this first one.
I seriously had so much fun this week researching Portugal and at times really felt as if I were visiting it myself. I had the weather for Lisbon up on my phone, I looked at lots of pictures, researched the history, the best places to visit, cool facts, the foods, what they were famous for, and all that good kind of stuff. I’m quite excited about Monday now and can hardly wait to find out where we are going next. 
And now, without further ado… 

source

Around the World in Fifty-Two Weeks 
Week One: Portugal 
7:05 a.m.
Monday, January 4th
 Columbus, Ohio, USA
The room erupted into noise as I opened my eyes. A camera flash went off and I heard someone dialing on their phone before I even looked down to see where my finger had landed. Portugal? 
“Annie! This is so exciting.” Sophie, my co-worker, squeezed my arm. “I’ve always wanted to visit Portugal.” She began rapidly typing on her smart phone. “Look at this, is that not the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen?” Somewhere across the room a printer whirled to life.
Looking down I found myself starring at high red cliffs with white waves crashing below them. “I’m going there?” I felt my mouth drop open. “Yikes.” 
“Alright, Annie,” my boss hurried over with a folder of papers in her hand. “It looks like the weather is going to be in the fifties and sixties the whole week with a bunch of rain. Fahrenheit, that is.” She flipped through the papers and handed me one that had a plane ticket and itinerary paper clipped to it. “Your flight leaves at 2:23 this afternoon so you have about seven and a half hours to do research, answer interviews, get a blog posted, a vlog off to your editing team, etc… Any questions?” 
A million or so of them entered my mind, but answering them was my job, not hers. “No, this is great, thank you.” 
“Alight then. Sophie will stay with you in case you need anything,” turning around her authoritative voice rang out, “Back to your stations, people!” 
The room soon became silent except for Sophie clacking away on the keyboard of the computer across from me, the printer starting up again, and the sound of airplanes taking off.  I took a deep breath and sat down. First things first. I pulled up my phone and punched in my mom’s number then pushed it onto speakerphone and started my own research while waiting for her to answer. 
It had been almost six months before when I first found out about this job. I had written a freelance article about packing effectively while traveling and next thing I knew I had an email from  Exploration Airlines. At first I thought it was spam and almost deleted it; that would have been bad. The email stated that a representative of Exploration Airlines (EA) had read my article and was interested in talking with me about undertaking a few writing projects for them. I thought they were talking about freelancing, but no, they offered me a full-time job. They needed someone to keep up their social media and after several interviews they decided I was the person for the job.
They said they wanted more publicity and to be known as the best airlines for people exploring the world so I set out to make that happen. The idea of having someone travel around for a full year, one country per week chosen at random, was originally my idea. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would be the person when I first wrote up the proposal for EA. Here I was though, after five months chocked full of planning, about ready to head off on a year-long adventure. The job didn’t pay much, but who needed money when given a chance to travel the world?
“There’s a reporter from The Times here for the interview,” my boss poked her head in the doorway. “And we have a news crew from Destination Live coming in an hour.”  
I gave her a thumbs up right as Mom answered the phone, “Annie?” 
“Hey Mom, I don’t have time to talk now, but I wanted to let you know I’m heading to Portugal.” 
“Oh, yay!” Mom was who I got my traveling-and-history-loving genes from. “They have the oldest bookstore in the world, you know.” 
“Really?”
“Make sure you visit it.” I could hear the glee coming through in her voice. “I’ll be praying for you, good-bye, darling.” 
“Thanks, Mom. Bye, I love you.” 
“Love you, too.” 
I hung up right as the reporter entered the room. 
6:35 a.m. 
Tuesday, January 5th
Lisbon, Portugal 
I was really here. I could hardly wrap my mind around the fact. I yawned and made my way over to the bus. It was a bit difficult figuring everything out since it was in Portuguese and I was suffering from jet lag, but eventually I got to Corinthia, the hotel where Sophie had booked a room for me. I left my luggage at the front desk since it wasn’t check-in time yet. Then I left to find some breakfast; I had eaten on the plane, but I was already hungry again. 
I ordered scrambled eggs and salmon with fresh orange juice and ate while perusing the internet and finalizing my plans for the day. There was a light rain coming down and so I decided my first stop would be the Lisbon bookshop Mom had told me about. After some quick checking I found out I could get there by bus and it would only take about twenty-two minutes. 
“Well you look American.” 
The accented greeting I received when I stepped inside Bertrand’s Bookstore made me smile, “I am.” 
“I’m Jake.” The guy shook my and then gestured toward the books, “Is this your first time here?” 
“It is.” I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply; the scent of books and a million stories, some written in pages and some lived out in real life, invaded my senses. “I heard this is the oldest bookstore in the world?” I touched the dark wood bookshelves and imagined how many generations before me had done the same thing. 
“That’s true. We were founded in 1732.” 
“And it’s been open ever since?” 
“Not quite. Unfortunately it was destroyed back in 1755 when there was a massive earthquake. It was moved to this location in 1773 and has been going ever since.” 
“Woah, that’s impressive.” The bookstore wasn’t crowded so I made my way slowly along it asking questions as I went. 
“You’re really interested in the history of Lisbon, aren’t you?” Jake raised an eyebrow as I made my toward the travel guides that were written in English. 
“I work for a travel blog.” I grinned, it felt so cool to say the words. A thought popped into my head, “Would you consider letting me interview you?” I slipped my backpack off. 
“I’d be happy to, but I will have to stop if another customer needs me.” 
“Thank you.” I pulled out a release and an information form so Jake could enter all the pertinent information that he would like to be featured on the blog {Side note: I still need a name for this blog and the story, Noveltea readers! Offer suggestions in the comments if you feel so inclined.} After explaining the details to Jake I pulled out my iPhone and started recording our conversation and got out my pen and notebook. “Oh, and by the way, my name is Indiana Anderson, but most people call me Annie.” 
“It’s good to meet you, Annie.”
I glanced at the pages of questions I had jotted down on my flight over. “Alright, first off, what would you consider to be the coolest random fact about Portugal?” 
“Only one?” Jake frowned. “There are so many it will be hard to make my choice.” His forehead creased in thought. “Perhaps that the royal House of Bragança, which ruled Portugal from 1640-1910, was so wealthy, they didn’t charge taxes on its land for 120 years.” 
“For real?” I stopped my note taking and looked up, “You’re making that up, right?” 
“Of course not.” The door opened just then and Jake looked over his shoulder. He called out rapidly in Portuguese for a minute and a petite woman with black hair came to join us. “This is my fiancée, Jen. Her English isn’t good, but she can answer the questions as well.” 
I shook her hand, then Jake said something to her in Portuguese. 
“She says the coolest fact is that Portugal once had a dead Queen.” 
“A queen that died?” I questioned, not sure how that was so cool. 
“No, no, no. See, when Pedro I was crowned King of Portugal in 1357, he proclaimed his lover, Ines de Castro, to be Queen, despite the fact that she had died in 1355.” 
I gave a half-laugh, “That is pretty cool.” I flipped through my notes, “And, on the subject of royalty, why don’t you each tell me what you think if the most interesting ruling fact about Portugal’s history?”
“That is an easy one as well.” Jake translated for Jen and then turned his attention back to me, “The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance between England and Portugal is the oldest alliance today that’s still in force.” 
“Sounds impressive.” 
“It was singed in 1373 and states that if either country enters war, then the other county will help defend them.” 
“Wait a second.” I held up my finger. “This alliance was signed in 1373? How long did it last?” 
“It’s still in force today.” 
“No way. That, that means that they’ve had this alliance going on since before Columbus discovered America!” 
“True.”
Jake went off to help some customers then and I followed Jen as she showed me her favorite places in the bookstore. The ambiance was unreal and I felt amazed that I hadn’t heard of the bookstore until twenty-four hours before. 
When Jake came back he and Jen conversed for a moment then Jake asked if I was ready for Jen’s answer. I re-opened my note book and nodded. 
“She says that Lisbon is older than Rome; second in age for European capitals only to Athens. It is believed to have been settled in 1200 BC.”
I nodded, “Neat.”  
“And at one time half of the “New World” belonged to Portugal, including Brazil, and parts of Africa, and Asia.” 
“Portugal sounds like it was quite the powerful empire.” 
I asked a few more questions and then they gave me a list of popular places I should visit and experiences I should have while in their country. I thanked them and bought a couple of books and left my business card before moving on to explore the rest of the country.
During the rest of the week I visited museums, old castles, went on a ride in a wicker toboggan sled on the streets in Funchal, and ate more fish than I had ever imagined (some people say they have a thousand different ways to fix cod in Portugal!). I traveled across the Vasco da Gama Bridge, which is the longest bridge in Europe. I walked on the beaches, which hold the record for the biggest wave ever to be surfed, coming in at around 90 feet. I explored the streets of Coimbra, which is home of one of the oldest universities in Europe. And I ate massive amounts of my new favorite dish: Piri Piri Sauce which includes chilies, garlic, onion, lemon juice and paprika and is delicious.
All throughout the week I took notes and lots of short videos and then at night I would sit up in my hotel room with a view of the city stretched out below me and type up blog posts and put together vlogs. It was amazing. By the time Sunday rolled around I found a church to attend (even though it wasn’t in English) and then happily spent the rest of the day resting. Monday morning I would be off to a new country. 

Manning the Camera

Last weekend I got to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while: I helped man the camera’s at the Creation Museum during a couple of the programs. Last year they had asked if I could help but I sadly had other plans so they had to find someone else. 
I’ve been hanging out with the AiG film crew as they work with my adopted parents since back in 2010 when they were working on I Dig Dinosaurs, which is the first DVD in the Amazing Adventures with Buddy Davis series. 
Although I’m generally only around for a few days during the filming of each DVD (and I’m not really needed, I mostly just watch and do a few odd-jobs), it’s still so cool to at least be a tad bit involved. So far I’ve been a “part” of the process for six DVDs:  I Dig DinosaursSwamp ManExtreme CavingAlaska!, Ice Age (which isn’t released or titled yet), and Homemade Music
This weekend when I got to help with the camera I had tons of fun being a “part” of the process again. Having never worked a camera before, I was slightly freaked out that I was going to do something horribly wrong and mess everything up, but thankfully it didn’t take me long to settle in. 
One of the guys showed me how to pan, tilt, zoom, focus, etc… and then I wore the headsets and throughout the entire program the guys up in the control booth told me and the other camera guy what to do. 
“Lydia, zoom in on Buddy and then follow him while he’s singing.” 
“Joel, stay on Ken.” 
“Switching to Camera one.”
“Switching to Camera two.”
“Alright, Lydia, zoom out now so you can get everyone. Go a little further… A little more… There!” 
“Switching to Camera three.” 
There were actually times when it was really amusing because a few of the people on the stage walked around a lot and so it was a bit of a challenge to keep them in the center of the camera. The film crew is so much fun and are amazingly easy to work with. I appreciate them (and the work they do) a lot. They are really talented and good teachers; I’m thankful they allowed me to help them.
Overall, manning the camera was the highlight of my week and I’m incredibly grateful I got to experience yet another new thing. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to do something like that again in the future, but I hope I do. 

* * *
What about you? Have you ever manned a big camera? Is that something you would like to do? If you have, isn’t it so much fun to get to listen to all the comments the control guys make? 

My Week with My Adopted Parents

I’m spending this week with my adopted parents*. The internet isn’t always the best, so I’m glad to finally have a good signal and be able to catch up on some stuff. We’ll be going to the Creation Museum tomorrow so if any of y’all will be there on Friday or Saturday I’d be delighted to see you. 
Yesterday we had some of our friends from the Museum come over (my parents live about three hours away from the Museum) and we had a great time hanging out. They had a guest visiting from Australia so I had a lot of fun asking her what life was like there. We went to Holmes County together and got to see some cool stuff like how one of the stores makes homestyle apple butter and jellies. (Sadly, I did’t take any pictures while we were there.) 

My dad has been working on carving a bear out of a log. He’s such an amazing artist. I enjoy getting to watch him work and am always blown away by his many talents. He can paint, draw, carve, sculpture, build, and do taxidermy, plus of course play about eight instruments and sing and write songs and books and… Well, the list goes on.

Cowboy and I hung out for a bit this morning. He’s a sweet horse although he didn’t like staying still for a picture. I enjoy getting to be around him. My parents are really good with animals. Mom is currently trying to tame two cats that were abandoned. Her patience is crazy. I’m the kind of person who likes to rush through everything and think I probably would have given up on the cats after the first couple of days. 

We worked on a small writing project this morning and I’m hoping to do some brainstorming for another Creation Quest book later on today. And… Speaking of books, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl is on sale right now! When you buy it, you also get a audio book, so it’s actually a two-for-one deal. Just click on the title and it will take you to the Answers in Genesis website if you want to check it out. 

I hope y’all are having a great week. What are you looking forward to doing this weekend? Have you ever been to the Christmas Town at the Creation Museum? Oh yes, and today is your last day to enter this giveaway.

*I’m going to drop the “adopted” part for the rest of the post. 

It’s Almost Here

My list for this morning seems to be growing every time I turn around:  
Blog 
Pack
Finish laundry
Straighten library and office
Do typing work for my non-writing job
Make lunch for the family and school kids 
Read chapter and write book report for work
Make sure I have the correct writing files on my computer for this week
Decide which non-fiction books to take along so I can read and write reviews

It’s an exciting morning, though, as I prepare to leave to meet up with my adopted parents so we can go caving this weekend. *cue happy dance* Ever since I first stepped foot inside a real cave a little over two years ago I’ve been an enthusiastic caving fangirl.

So far I haven’t found anything that quite compares to the knowledge that I’m hundreds of feet underground, belly-crawling through tight passageways and relying totally on our flashlights to be able to see.

At the halfway point the guide makes everyone turn off their lights for a few seconds so people can experience what it’s like to be in utter darkness. I always wish that we could leave our lights off for a little bit longer so I can really soak it in.

This is my third year to do the caving adventure, and while I have to admit that I’m a little bit freaked out at the thought of going through those tight spots again (I can’t think about it too long or else panic starts to build), I’m mostly a little ball of happiness.

Caving is one of the events that I’ve looked forward to most this year and I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to work it out so I can go.

I hope to see some of y’all there!

* * *
I’m still looking for suggestions for my 24 before 24 challenge. Leave a comment on this post for your chance to win a gift card! 

Traveling Update

I’m on my way home from visiting out-of-state family and will, Lord willing, arrive home tomorrow evening. I got a ton done on the second/third draft of my book during this trip and I’m excited about how it’s progressing. As productive as these last few weeks were, my blogging, unfortunately, suffered quite a bit and I’m eager to being back in my cosy office and blogging regularly again. 
I’m looking forward to being at home for the next couple of weeks. I don’t have any planned trips away from home until I get to go caving in Tennessee the second weekend in September. (I am so excited about caving again!) It will be nice to have some time to be in a routine at home.

A few weeks ago I counted it up and tonight will be the 222 night of the year and it will also be my 111 night away from home. Considering the fact that we barely ever traveled when I was growing up, I still sometimes have a hard time realizing that this is actually my existence.

I feel so blessed to get to see so much of the world and experience different cultures and meet people from all over, but it’s so rewarding to get back home. 

July 2015 in Review

What I Focused on in July 

1. Spending time with family (visiting family out-of-state, my cousin’s wedding, etc…)
2. A week at the Creation Museum signing books and all that happiness
3. My non-writing job
Birthday Challenge and Dream List Update

1. Read 23 Non-fiction books {7 = 16}
4. Write 23 book reviews {5 = 11} here, here, here, here and here
13. Go to bed before 10:30 23 times (not in a row) {Completed June-something + 2}
15. No texting for 23 days (not in a row) {Completed June 28th}
20. Write a list of 500 things I’m thankful for {Completed July 16th}
21. Fill up a physical journal {Completed June 31st}

None

 Reading Update: 

Fiction: 10
Non-Fiction: 7
Reviews: 5
Traveling 

Nights gone: 11
New States or Countries traveled to: None
What I’ve been Learning

How do I even go into all I’ve been learning? 
I’ve been learning about speaking out and not remaining quiet. About living in faith. About letting go. About being ok with not-so-perfect. About asking God to increase my influence and then doing my part. 
I’ve been learning about how history repeats itself. About the importance of talking things through. About how much family and friends mean to me. About standing up for the truth and not backing down. 
I’ve been learning about writing and what annoys me in other books. I’ve been learning about thinking things through and having well-rounded characters. I’ve been learning about how much work it is to reach excellence. 
I’ve been learning and I’ve been growing. It’s been good. And at times not-so-good. 
Other Things

I’m excited that I got so much done on my birthday challenge this month. Most of the things are the list are pretty important to me and I’m fairly certain I’ll get 22 out of 23 of the challenges accomplished in time. (And, my birthday is at the end of next month so I really have to crack down on it!)
Going to the Creation Museum this month was extremely nice. I normally spend a few weeks there with my adopted parents each year and so I have a lot of friends there, plus I get to sign my books and talk with the guests and get story ideas and all that goodness. 
My first cousin to get married had her wedding in July and so that was nice. I’m happy for her and my new cousin-in-law. They’re great together. 
I read a lot of non-fiction this month which was challenging and good for me. I enjoy reading non-fiction books but I don’t fly through them like I do with fiction. So in July I finished reading three or four that I’d been in the middle of and then added in a few more. Plus reviews. I kinda overloaded Noveltea with reviews, but it was fun letting y’all know what I’d been reading. 
I’m currently visiting family out-of-state and therefore my blogging has been a bit sporadic. I have been getting editing done on When Life Hands You Lymes though, so that’s been wonderful!

How was your July? I’d be delighted to hear. 

A Week at the Creation Museum

I’m excited to be spending this week at the Creation Museum. It’s always so much fun being here and  hanging out with my adopted parents and friends and of course meet new people. Plus, this is the first time I got to see my newest book, Cool Critters of the Ice Age, in a book store, so that was a special experience. 

I plan on being here through Friday, so if any of y’all are around I hope I get to see you! I will most likely be down in the Legacy Hall Bookstore after my adopted dad’s concerts each day when he signs books (Because, crazy as it seems, sometimes people like me to sign the books too! *cue happy dance*)

And as always I’m looking forward to coming up with new story ideas and writing inspiration. The Creation Museum is a perfect place to have a flood of ideas descend on me. I’ve had the plot line for the second Creation Quest book spinning around in my mind for almost two years now, but I’ve never written it. I look forward to tackling that project soon.

***
What about you? Have you ever been to the Creation Museum? 

June 2015 in Review

First of all… 
Happy 4th of July! 
Thank you to everyone who has fought for our freedom!
What I Focused on in June: 

1. Spending time with my best friend and her sweet little baby
2. Busyness with my non-writing job
3. Working on the second draft of When Life Hands You Lymes 
4. Spending time with family: Getting to meet my new little nephew and cousin-get-aways before one of my cousins gets married in a few weeks

Birthday Challenge and Dream List Update: 
13. Go to bed before 10:30 23 times (not in a row) {2}

Dream List: 
12-11-14 Read the “Proverbs of the day” every day for 6 months


 Reading List Update: 

Fiction:7
Non-Fiction: 0
Reviews: 0 

Considering that I’ve read 87 books this year, June is most definitely my least reader-ish month of 2015 so far. Not that that’s a bad thing, because it’s not. I do have to say, I need to brush up on my non-fiction, though! Three more months to read 14 non-fiction books (I am in the middle of several) and write 17 book reviews to complete my birthday challenge…
Traveling: 
Nights gone: 17
New states and countries: None
What I’ve been Learning: 

I’ve been learning about the happenings surrounding the months before statehood was declared for Israel in 1948. It’s amazing to me how much history I’ve missed out on because I was focused on other things. I am of the opinion that history is very important and have enjoyed delving into it this past month. 
I also really enjoyed learning about Ronald Reagan while reading Hand of Providence. My family has been slightly amused at how much Ronald Reagan info I’ve been spouting off. I’m almost done reading the book so you can be expecting a review soon. 
On a more personal front… I’ve been learning to let go. Mainly of my ideals of myself that I can’t actually control. Recently I’ve run into some roadblocks concerning what I want to do and how I want to spend my days and what is realistic. Learning to work within my limitations instead of shutting down has been a process, but I’m gaining ground which is nice. A friend recently told me Remember, when you’re tired it’s your body trying to tell you that you need to rest. It was a wise piece of info that I really need to have stored up-front in my brain.  
Other Things: 

Of course my computer deciding to fizz out wasn’t in my plans for this month, but I’m quite happy to have a newer laptop to be working on. I find a strange joy in typing. It’s the easiest way for my thoughts to escape my head and I miss typing immensely when I don’t have a computer to work on. 
On the 7th I reached my goal of writing 100 words on my WIP for a 1,000 days in a row. That called for some celebratory milkshakes. And, just in case you’re wondering, No, I didn’t stop my 100 words a day roll. I’m currently on day 1027 and have no plans to stop in the near future. Why stop a good thing? 
This last month has had so much packed into it, but not really the kind of things that can be documented and kept track of. It’s been more of life happening and being and growing and loving and learning and hoping and working and resting and just being

What about you? How was your June? 

May 2015 in Review

What I focused on in May:

1. Being in Aruba with my family and our business 
2. Hanging out with and sorta helping my adopted parents while they were filming 
3. Welcoming Clara Jeanne into the world and spending time with her family 

Birthday Challenge and Dream List Update:

1. Read 23 Non-fiction books {1}
11. Read the Proverb of the day 3 months (not in a row) {completed} 
13. Go to bed before 10:30 23 times (not in a row) {4}

None 

Reading Update:

Fiction: 11
Non-Fiction: 1
Reviews: 0

Traveling: 

14 nights gone 
New countries and states: None
What I’ve Been Learning: 
It seems like each month either brings in a whole new slew of lessons to learn or else reinstates something I’ve already been working on. In May I felt like I had a lot of repeat lessons. 
Finding balance with my writing is an important concept I’ve been struggling to grasp. There are times (like the last few months) where my fingers and brain work perfectly together and I spew out thousands of words each week. Then there are times (like part of April and all of May) where I can hardly even write coherent blog posts (I only wrote 14 of them in May!). I’ve been learning about when to give myself grace and say It’s ok, take a break and focus on something else and when I have to push through and write anyway. 
I’ve also been working on/learning about having the right attitude no matter what’s going on. I’ve had some sort of lingering virus/allergies/or whatever that has made me exhausted. I find that all too often I measure my self worth by what I can accomplish. That means when I’m too tired to do a lot, I get stressed out and struggle to keep the right mind set. Learning to let go while still being balanced isn’t an easy concept for me to get ahold of. 
Friendship/family/loving people has also been a big focus of this month. I’ve learned a lot about putting others before me and really wanting to be there for the people I’m closest to. I’ve also seen how selfish I can be in certain situations. It’s amazing to me how much I’m willing to bend and be flexible for certain people and how I only give the smallest amount of effort for other people. I’m working on being more loving to all those I’m in contact with on a regular basis. 
I’ve also been learning to really hold on to the moments I have right now because life changes so quickly. Far too often I’m tempted to look at the past and wish those times back, but then when I really focus on where I am right now, I realize that the experiences I’m having now are just as wonderful (although in a different way), than what I left behind. Acknowledging that also helps me to stay positive about the future instead of freaking out about it. 
Other Things: 

 When I realized a few days ago that we had been in Aruba just a few weeks earlier I was mildly freaked out because May was such a crazy-long month with so much stuff happening.

I started the month out in Aruba where I had fun swimming in a clear ocean and finding starfish, snorkeling, hanging out with lots of people from our family business, swimming some more, talking with friends, watching movies late at night with a friend in our hotel room and making lots of nice memories. (Not to mention a crazy trip home. Traveling with my family equals excitement.)

We got home on the 7th and on the 11th I went to my adopted parent’s house for three days to hang out/help/get story ideas since the film crew was there so they could work on the next two DVDs in the Amazing Adventures with Buddy Davis series. I had a lot of fun with them and of course came up with a brain full of ideas for future books.

I also started my 23 before 23 challenge of getting up each morning at 6:15 or earlier for 23 days in a row. There were some times when I took a nap about a half an hour later (Hey! I had some late nights), but I did complete the challenge (today, not in May). It was a challenge I’m very glad to have done. (Getting up at 6:15 isn’t that hard, of course. It’s just getting up at 6:15 when I have crazy-late nights isn’t my cup of tea.)

The next week I did a variety of things at home (including cutting grass, oh, happy day!) and then of course I was busy during the last few days of May welcoming darling Clara into our world and helping her get settled into her new home.

What about you? What did your May look like? 

When Life Hands You Lymes #68

Hey everyone! Welcome to the 68th segment of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes. I hope you enjoy this week’s post. 
By the way, I’m spending the week in the Ritz Carlton in Aruba and it’s beautiful! After two weeks of ‘down time’ at a house on the beach here I’m ready to jump back into blogging and share some thoughts that I’ve gleaned with y’all. Hold on tight for some posts that will catch y’all up from my ‘break’ that I took during the last two weeks. 
And now, without further ado may I present to you When Life Hands You Lymes…
New Chapter 

Our time in California was over way before I was ready to go back home. It had been wonderful getting to hang out with Jason and have good long talks with him face to face. 
“Remember that you’re going to be alright.” Jason told me as he hugged me good bye at the airport. “This too shall pass and you’ll come out of it a stronger girl.” 
“Thanks.” I closed my eyes for a moment, savoring the words. 
“But until then I’ll be praying that we can figure out what’s going on with you.” Jason gave my shoulder a squeeze. 
The seat next to me on the plane was empty and about halfway through the flight Mom came and sat down next to me. “Are you busy?” she asked as she buckled in. 
“Um, no, I guess not.” I took my earbuds out and slipped my phone into my bag. “Is something wrong?” I sometimes get a moment of panic where my heart begins aching with fear when Mom does something out of the ordinary. I didn’t used to be like that though so that freaks me out even more because I don’t know if I’ll ever be back to normal or if I’ll keep getting worse. 
“It’s nothing bad so get that look off your face.” Mom frowned at me. “You can’t jump to conclusions and imagine everything bad whenever I come to talk with you.” 
Deep breath. Deep breath. “Right, sorry about that.” 
Mom sat there, looking at me like she thought the answer to why I was sick would show up on my face. I’d caught her doing that quite a few times recently and it was driving me nuts. 
“You wanted to tell me something?” I prompted at last. 
“Right.”
I fiddled with my bracelet, waiting for Mom to continue. 
“I was talking with Jason about doctors and he and I spent some time researching and we think we might have found a doctor to take you to.” 
Not again. “Mom, we’ve been to doctors.” I huffed out a loud sigh. “A lot of them.” I twisted my face into a goofy face. “And, if you haven’t noticed none of them have been able to do any good.” 
“I’m quite aware of that.” Mom held her phone out to me. “This one is a Lyme disease specialist though.” 
“We’ve tested for Lyme disease.” More then once in fact. 
“I know we have but I’ve been researching it because I’ve had a lot of people tell me that you have the symptoms of it and I guess sometimes you can have Lyme disease and the tests not pick it up.” 
Suspicious. “Why?” Like I was going to swallow that one without a good explanation. I took a closer look at the website on the phone Mom had handed me. “This doctor is in PA.” I shook my head. “Can we just drop the subject?” 
“Because you don’t want to go to the doctor or because you want to discuss it another time?” 
“I don’t want to go.” I grimaced. “Going to a specialist out of state sounds pretty serious.” 
Mom groaned. “In case you haven’t noticed what you have is pretty serious. Do you realize that instead of getting better like we’d hoped, the longer you don’t feel well the worse you’re feeling?” 
“Really?” I shrugged, knowing I was being sarcastic. 
“Pennsylvania isn’t really that far away after all.” Mom took her phone back. “And this doctor really seems to know what she’s talking about. Several of her children have had Lyme disease so she’s had reason to research it thoroughly.” 
I sighed, not knowing what else to say. “When are we going to go there?” 
“We have an appointment for the end of next week.” 
“So, you weren’t really asking my opinion about it, you were just letting me know that this is a done deal?” 
“You make it sound like I’m doing something horrible.” 
I shook my head, “Sorry Mom, I don’t want to make you feel like that.” I forced a smile to my face, “Thank you for taking care of me and trying to do what’s best. With a Mom like you my body doesn’t dare stay sick much longer.” 
I was rewarded for saying the right thing when Mom smiled, “I know this is hard, Madalyn, but it hopefully won’t be long until you’re brimming with health again and able to get on with your life.” 
“That’s great.” I nod my head like I agree with her, but inside I was crawling into my shell, determined not to let false hope get me excited again. The crash was too far each time I came back to reality and realized that doctor’s didn’t have a magic wand they could wave over me and return me to good health.