Caravan Sonnet: March 2018


Q & A about my Lyme Disease books

With the upcoming release of When the Alphabet Runs Green on June 1st, I have been doing a lot of interviews and marketing things regarding this book and answering questions about this book and my other Lyme Disease books. So many of the questions I am asked are questions that I get sent to me daily and so today I thought it would be fun to share a few of these questions and their answers today from an interview that I recently did! 
Q1. Your new book, When the Alphabet Runs Green which will release on June 1st talks about practical tips on how to live well with and heal fully from Lyme Disease. The number one question, which I am sure you are expecting, is are you fully healed from Lyme?
That is a great question! First, this is a book that was written from my heart that is meant to be a helpful blueprint map for those who are recently diagnosed or for those who have been tirelessly fighting for years without finding healing. I receive thousands of emails, DMs, and messages each week with people asking the same questions on how to improve their health while fighting Lyme so that they can live fully during this season and how they can heal from this disease. I am not a doctor but my hope is that this book will be the treasure of research that I and so many other Lyme patients who have achieved healing (whether complete or on our way to full healing) have found over years and decades of living with this disease. I am not fully healed yet, but am almost there.

Q2. What inspired you to write When the Alphabet Runs Green?
As I mentioned before I receive thousands of emails each week and most of them revolve around the same questions. I would love to be able to respond to each and every email in detail but many times this is just not possible due to time constraints. My hope with this book was that these questions would all be in one place. 

Q3. When the Alphabet Runs Green is dedicated to your Lyme doctor and the Lyme clinic where you are a patient at. Did you consult them about this book?
No. Absolutely not. In fact, they don't even know I have written it. *smiles* My goal on this book is to simply provide from patient-to-patient a book that could be helpful from a fellow patients perspective. In many other diseases (Cancer specifically) we see so many patient -to-patient books, pamphlets, folders, etc. that are created. This has yet to happen in Lyme Disease world. My hope is that this is the beginning. I am not a medical doctor (as I stated above) and the things and tips that I am sharing are things that I learned over the years or other patients have learned. For those looking for medical advice from books there are so many that are quality books that could be recommended. 

Q4. Are there any specific ones that you would recommend to patients?
Off the top of my head the first two that I would recommend are both by Dr. Richard Horowitz. The first, was published in 2013: Why Can't I Get Better? which was a lifeline to me before I found my medical team that saved my life. The second, published last year- How Can I Get Better? is also an amazing resource that people may find helpful. 

Q5. The number one thing that I am sure you get consistently asked is if you have any upcoming plans for new Lyme books in the future?
I am always so humbled by any questions of upcoming books. As an author you pour your heart and soul onto a page and you hope that it will resonate with someone. So thank you so much for asking this. To answer your question... yes. Currently, Praying through Lyme Disease is being translated into Spanish which I am very excited to share! 
Then, on May 1st, 2019 my book, When Lyme Invades: Encouragement and Practical Tips for Loving Your Friend through Lyme Disease will be released. I am really excited about this book as so many wonderful people helped contribute their own experiences alongside mine to really give a great picture of how people can love a friend through their journey with Lyme. I know that many people (including myself at one point) feel that this is an isolating disease. My hope is that this book will help to break that cycle and provide people with a practical resource to help them walk alongside their loved ones. 

Then in 2021, my book, When Church Meets Lyme, is slated to release. As time draws closer I look forward to sharing more details! If you are interested in keeping up with upcoming book releases you can find more information on my personal website HERE

Q6. I have heard rumors that you will be releasing your own Lyme story in the future?
Yes. In 2020, my book, When Girl Met Lyme will be released. At this point I can't share more details, but I look forward to sharing more in the future! 

Q7. We can't wait to hear more about that. Did you always want to be a writer?
Before I got sick, I dreamed about writing "someday". I was always dreaming up stories and writing down ideas, but I truly believed that would be something I would do in the "future". I think that I saw myself in my 50s and 60s writing... definitely not in my early thirties and definitely not from my bed sick and in pain. 
Q8. Have you been surprised at the reception that your first book Praying through Lyme Disease has received?
Absolutely yes. I am always speechless when I receive comments and emails regarding the book. Just yesterday I received the sweetest email thanking me for this book from a mom who is struggling through Lyme as are her 4 kiddos. These types of messages not only warm my heart, but humble me completely. I continue to hope and pray that it is an encouragement for anyone walking through this disease.

Q9. You mentioned that Praying through Lyme Disease is being translated into Spanish. Why did you choose Spanish and are their future plans for additional translations?
A few months after Praying through Lyme Disease was first released in 2014 it was translated into Polish. This came about through a doctor who wanted to use it as a resource and it has been a wonderful collaboration. Over the years I desired to see it translated into other languages, but the timing never felt quite right for a variety of reasons. This collaboration to translate into Spanish came about with a wonderful translator and her passion for this book and the disease were priceless. 

I am so excited about this as I receive at least a hundred emails a week from those living in Spanish speaking countries who are struggling to find encouragement (and resources) in their native language. As far as future translations... I would like to see it translated into a few others and I will keep you updated! 
Q10. What has been the most difficult book so far to write?
The most difficult? I would probably have to choose my latest release, When Truth Refreshes. When Truth Refreshes is a book of daily reflections for the emotions that accompany the Lyme Disease journey. It was difficult to write because the subject matter and my writing was very raw and honest in sharing personal stories about all of the different emotions that are faced in the journey. One reader commented that it was like I had "opened up my heart and let it bleed on all of the pages". I couldn't describe it more accurately. It was incredibly painful to go back to some of the darkest hours of my life and re-live them and yet it was incredibly therapeutic. I love that little book and it definitely is written from the deepest parts of my heart. 
Q11. What is one of your favorite Lyme books that you have written?
Ooohhh... that is a really tough one because as an author you fall in love with each of your books in different ways. Hmmm... if I had to pick just one it would probably be When Light Dawns (my Christmas Devotional). This is a very personal reason, but I had always treasured the Christmas season and loved to do all things Christmas related. When I got sick with Lyme all of those things were lost. The holidays became increasingly painful and there were more tears than joy. In writing this book I truly found the light in the darkness and it truly was a beautiful blessing to me and has become one of my favorite books that I have written.
A close, close 2nd would definitely be Path of Hope though which was my 2nd Lyme book I wrote. 

Q12. I have heard rumors that there is a change that will happen with Path of Hope?
Yes. The 2nd edition will be released in a few short months and at that point it will undergo a name change among other updates. I look forward to sharing with y'all more in the upcoming months! 

Q13. Thank you so much for taking time to talk with us today. In closing, is there anything that your fans and readers can do to support your work?
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! I am truly honored! The support that I receive from my readers is invaluable. It is truly priceless. I am so grateful for each and every message and email and letter that I receive. 

The one thing that is a huge help to any writer are reviews. The number one thing I consistently ask is that people take the time to leave a review on a book that they have read. Especially in Lyme Disease world, where money is so tight, it is incredibly helpful for other patients who are considering spending their precious pennies to purchase a book if they read a review from another Lyme patient. It doesn't have to be long- even short reviews are helpful. For those who are reading and may be interested in doing this I am leaving the direct links to the books above- THANK YOU!!
Praying through Lyme Disease
Path of Hope
When Truth Refreshes
When Light Dawns

Thank you so much for reading friends! It was fun to share this interview with y'all!! Please let me know if you have any questions! I hope y'all have a wonderful Thursday! 


Best Rhine River Travel Books (from travel to culture to history) to Purchase for Your Trip

If you are interested in planning a Rhine River trip in the future, or are planning to take a Rhine River Cruise like we did, then you may be curious about what (if any) travel books you should purchase. 

Before our Rhine River Cruise with Viking I spent a lot of time researching this area. I knew that the tours on Viking would be incredibly cultural, but I wanted to know beforehand what we should expect and have a bit of background knowledge. 

This may sound nerdy, but I have found that the more that I learn and research ahead of time about a place I have never been to the more that I have loved the trip. I love reading different books, watching movies (or you tube videos from other travel bloggers) to learn more about the area that I am going. Often times I find after doing this I am more apt to really appreciate not only the culture (because I understand a little of the history), but the experience and the people and the surroundings even more. Do y'all feel the same way?

Whether you are going on a Rhine River Cruise or planning to spend time exploring the Rhine River on your own here are a few of the best travel books to purchase for your upcoming trip:
Rick Steves travel books are some of my favorites and this new edition of Germany is wonderful! While some of the book is not pertinent to the Rhine River, in general you can learn so much about the area and the places you will see. It's a great resource to have and it may even encourage you to plan another trip to see more of Germany! You can find it HERE
I have to admit that this wasn't one of my favorite books, and yet it provided a lot of information that was really helpful for the trip. It was one of the only books I could find (before our trip) that talked about the different castles and palaces that you will see if you are cruising the Rhine River. While it may not have been a favorite, it was definitely informative and that is why it is making the list for one of the best travel guide books to purchase for this area. A side note: if you take the Viking River Cruise you can purchase a book on this same subject at Marksburg Castle that is a bit more up to date and is a wonderful keepsake. If you want to purchase the book above before your trip you can find it HERE
This easy to read book - it is a children's level reading (it will take you about 15 minutes) includes some unique and different facts about the Rhine River. Available in Kindle Format it costs less than a dollar and will introduce you to some fun facts about the area. For the price alone the book is worth it. You can find it HERE
If you take a Rhine River Cruise than you will definitely spend a few days in the Netherlands. This book, Why the Dutch are Different, is the first book of its kind to: "consider the hidden heart and history of the Netherlands from a modern perspective, the author explores the length and breadth of his adopted homeland and discovers why one of the world's smallest countries is also so significant and so fascinating. It is a self-made country, the Dutch national character shaped by the ongoing battle to keep the water out from the love of dairy and beer to the attitude to nature and the famous tolerance...A personal portrait of a fascinating people, a sideways history and an entertaining travelogue, Why the Dutch are Different is the story of an Englishman who went Dutch. And loved it." Considering that are time in the Netherlands was one of our favorite parts of our Rhine River cruise, I can understand the love that the author found. You will definitely enjoy reading this book! You can purchase it HERE

This book, The Rhine, is available for pre-order and will be available in November. By the same author who wrote, "Why the Dutch are Different" comes a book that will blend both a travelogue and a bit of off-beat and unknown history. You can read more about it and pre-order it HERE
All Along the Rhine is a book that shares over 130 recipes that cover and explain different culinary history and wine making in different Rhine River countries. Throughout this book there are different excerpts, legends, and different folklore that is shared about one of the most famous rivers in the world. If you are interested in learning more about the culture and the wine and food of the Rhine River countries than this book is definitely for you. You can find it HERE
Along with lots of older history, for those interested in World War II history the Rhine River is a fascinating exploration of what Churchill considered to be "the last great heave of war". This book delves into the history that explains that no invading army had attempted to cross the Rhine since Napoleon's era. Second only to the magnitude of the Normandy invasion, this book shares an elaborate description of the combined Allied attack in 1945. You can find it HERE.

Honorable Mentions:
If you are planning to drive around the Rhine River area than this map is one of the best. I heard from several people who have driven along the Rhine River region that they found this to be extremely easy to read, had lots of great tips for travelers, and was incredibly helpful in their travel adventure. You can find it HERE
Depending on where you start your Rhine River cruise and where you end it you may spend a few days in Amsterdam. If so than this travel pocket guide by Rick Steves is a perfect addition to your collection of best Rhine River Travel Guides. You can find it HERE
This is a kid's book, but if you are traveling with family or small children then this book should definitely be included in your books to purchase. As a side note- most of the reviews are poor because it is not clearly labeled a children's book. I would definitely say that it is best suited for 4th to 5th graders. You can find it HERE

I hope that you find this list helpful! What about y'all? Any Rhine River books you would add to this list? Happy Tuesday friends! I hope you have a wonderful day! 

If you are curious about our trip that we took with Viking Cruises in December & January on the Rhine River you can read more by clicking on the posts below:


Heidelberg Castle (Schloss Heidelberg) // Germany

On our fourth day of our Rhine River cruise we had the amazing opportunity to spend the day exploring Heidelberg and the Heidelberg Castle in Germany. This was the first day of 2018 and it was special to spend this first day exploring this beautiful place. 
Heidelberg Castle (or Schloss Heidelberg) is a beautiful castle ruin that is among the most important Renaissance structures that exists north of the Alps. It is located high on the northern part of the Konigstuhl hillside and can be accessed by walking to it or taking a funicular railway that runs during certain times of the year. 
The earliest structure of the castle was built sometime before 1214 and was later expanded into two castles. In 1537 a lightening bolt struck the upper castle and destroyed it. While they say lightening never strikes twice, this is not the case as another lightening bolt struck the castle in 1764 which caused some of the rebuilt sections to be destroyed. 
The first mention of a castle in Heidelberg Germany is in 1214. This came when Louis I who was the Duke of Bavaria who received it from Emperor Friedrich II. At the time it was listed as a single castle and remained known as a single castle until 1294. Less than a decade later (in 1303) two castles were mentioned. 
Over the centuries many people looked to expand the castle. For example, in 1401, when Ruprecht became the King of Germany the castle was still incredibly small. Due to this the story says that when he returned from his coronation he had to camp out at the monastery (where the University Square is now) because there was not enough room for his entourage and guests. He desired to expand the castle not only for this sake but also due to the need of turning the castle into an indefensible property. Sadly, he died 9 years later before he could see this come to fruition. At that time his land was divided between his four sons and the castle went to his eldest son, Ludwig III. 
Despite various attempts the castles construction came to an end during the Thirty Years War when fighting took place against the castle. From that time on the castle would endure constant times of destruction and rebuilding the existing structures. 
Over the centuries the question became whether or not the castle should be completely restored or only partially restored. In 1868 the poet, Wolfgang Muller von Konigswinter argued for a complete reconstruction, but this was met with incredible disagreement in public meetings and the press. In 1883 construction began on preserving and repairing the entire castle. Seven years later much of the work was completed, but the entire castle was not repaired as a commission of specialists from across Germany declared that it would be impossible to do so. At this time it was decided that only the Friedrich Building, whose interiors had suffered damage but had not been completely ruined would be restored. Over a period of three years (from 1897 to 1900) this was done at the extravagant cost of 520,000 Marks. Despite the extreme cost the castle continues to be one of the most visited in the world with nearly 3 million visitors each year.
For our tour we spent most of the time in the Ottheinrch building in Heidelberg Castle. This section counts as one of the most beautiful and earliest palace buildings that exist from the German Renaissance. As you can see in the pictures throughout this post there are many sculptures that adorn the facade of this building. You can go inside (we did not do so on our tour) and in the interior the the high quality decor from the time of construction has been kept. 
Originally, this four story building was the center for the living areas, an audience hall, and the Knights' Hall along with a ballroom (Imperial Hall). Ottheinrich ordered the construction of this unique and beautiful building during his brief period of rule from 1556 to 1559. It was completed by his successor, Friedrich III ten years later. 
The elaborate and decorative figures on the facade were created by Alexander Colin who was a Flemish sculptor. The ruler's image of not only himself, but his political program were immortalized in stone in this area. 
After spending time in the Ottheinrch building we then spent time walking out onto the balcony area where we could see Heidelberg. 
It was really neat to be able to see the old town area of Heidelberg, a place that we went and visited after our visit to the castle. 
You could see for miles. It was a magnificent view! 
It was incredibly special to spend time at this castle with my best friend, my mom, on the first day of the new year! 
After spending time taking in the views we headed back to conclude our tour. Before we did we spent some time in the Elsabethentor section of the castle. 
This gate was constructed (as were other details in the castle) for Elisabeth Stuart ("the winter queen") who was Frederick V's wife. Elisabeth, who was the granddaughter of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the oldest daughter of James VI of Scots (later James I of England), had grown up mostly in England and learned fluent French and Italian. Elisabeth was long admired for her beauty and her father considered many husbands for her, aiming for the most political advantage that he could obtain. He chose Frederick who was the leader of a group of protestant rulers in Germany, believing that this would be a wonderful political alliance. Despite the intent of marrying only for political advantage the two were said to instantly fall in love during their first meeting. 
Meeting when they were just 16 years old, their marriage and love story would become one of the greats from this time period- even marrying on Valentines Day in 1613. They later had 13 children together and by all accounts were incredibly happy. 

Our time at the Heidelberg Castle was truly wonderful and I would definitely encourage you to add it to your travel bucket list if you haven't seen it already!Curious to find out more about our trip that we took with Viking Cruises in December & January? Click on the posts below: