Don't Let The Rat Read This: An Interview With Lydia Howe

Posted by Jason McIntire | May 02, 2016

Today we're going to have a few questions with my friend Lydia Howe, author of Action Kid's Club plus Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl and Cool Critters of the Ice Age (with her "adopted dad" Buddy Davis). She's also in the midst of rewriting and editing When Life Hands You Lymes, a fictional story based on her multi-year battle with Lyme Disease. This is going to be a major work of some length, but Lydia has been kind enough to take time out for an interview in the midst. So let's get to it!

In the couple of years I've known you, I've learned that you have many unique attributes. But for a moment, let's go the other way: Tell me the most outstandingly normal thing about yourself. (There must be something!)

My height and hair color are pretty normal. (Around 5'4" and blondish). And just like (nearly) everyone else I want to be loved, accepted, and make a difference in the world. I was quite a picky eater as a child although I grew out of that thanks to my parents who said we weren't allowed up from the table until all the food on our plates was eaten. As a kid I literally sat at the table from one meal to the next, refusing to eat. What can I say? I guess stubborn can be added to my list of normal. Oh, and I'm one of those aunts, the kind that gushes about how smart, amazing, cute and darling her nieces and nephews are.

Okay, now that we're done with normal, why don't you share the most weird and unusual fact about your life?

The way I view and live life is probably the most unusual thing about me. I've never felt more than a smidgin of peer pressure; instead I've always delighted in being who I am, no matter if it's "normal" or not. (I don't want to be an anomaly simply for the sake of being different, I just like being me.)

Some unusual facts: I grew up living in a barn, I see details, but not the ones most people see, I have an extremely active imagination, I don't have a bed, choosing instead to sleep on the floor, and I'm committed to my ideas and goals to an extreme level.

People who are other-than-typical in any way often have assumptions made about them that are not accurate. What is the most common thing people tend to wrongly assume when they encounter you?

When people see my outgoing, bubbly side they think I'm a huge people person but I actually like spending quite a bit of time alone. And when I'm not in an outgoing mood, people sometimes think I'm strict and boring.

You are, from my observation, very methodical and goal-oriented. Got any tips for those who lack direction or have trouble setting and meeting goals? (An appropriate Scripture would be awesome too.)

The first part of Proverbs 29:18 says "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Studies have shown that when people have goals they write down and review regularly, they accomplish more. Part of Luke 12:48 says "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." Our generation has been given lots of opportunities, information, and resources therefore a lot is going to be required of us.

If you want to accomplish a goal, you have to have what's called the "Why Power." When you don't have a strong enough reason to want to see the goal through, then when the going gets tough, you'll most likely drop out. Keeping in mind that everything I do effects eternity either positively or negatively helps me stay focused and push through the hard times.

I understand that you dream of owning a skunk. Why? What attributes do you value most in a pet, and which pet in your life has been your favorite? (Don't worry, we won't let your rat, dog, or rabbit read this.)

Growing up Mom read us kids a book called Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. The main character, Homer, tamed a wild skunk and named her Aroma. Homer and Aroma had wonderful adventures together, including catching a band of thieves. How could I not want a pet skunk? Plus they seem like unique and interesting pets.

Since I don't have a skunk, I compensate by having a whole collection of stuffed animal skunks, as well as a real skunk skin hanging on my wall.

Qualities I value in pets? 1). Easy to care for 2). Affectionate but not needy 3). Gentle. (My rabbit definitely does not score well in that last category.) I've had many pets over the years (tadpoles, birds, salamanders, lizards, snails, mice, a Guinea pig, bunnies, cats, a baby possum, fish, crawdads, chipmunks, dogs, goats, turtles, bugs, toads, sheep, and a rat), but my favorite pets have been my first bottle fed kid, Merry May, my first dog, Scout, and my current dog, Novel.

Speaking of favorites, you've visited many places in the world. Which so far is your favorite, and why?

Oh, that's nearly impossible to answer.

  • The Netherlands host some of my favorite authors, so going there was a dream come true. Visiting The Hiding Place was an unforgettable experience.
  • Ocean-wise, Hawaii was breathtaking with Maui having spectacular snorkeling. (Plus it's where I received news that my first book was being published, so yay!)
  • England was gorgeous and like fiction come to life, I'd be delighted to go back.
  • The Cumberland Caverns in Tennessee are so adventuresome and make me feel like I'm slipping into a different world.
  • The Swiss Alps. Google it and hit "images." You'll understand.
  • The Creation Museum in Kentucky. This is one of my most favorite places in all of forever. You should go.
  • Indonesia. They have the most delicious food, breathtaking scenery, plus I have amazing friends who live there and therefore fantastic memories.

I'd love to go to the Creation Museum, and probably will sooner or later - preferably after the initial crush of visitors to the Ark Encounter has passed.

For more than five years you struggled with long-undiagnosed Lyme Disease. What advice do you have for those suffering with that illness, or a similar long-term drag on their health?

Remember God is outside of time and He really does have a plan for your life. Also, remember your worth is determined by who you are in God, not by what you can accomplish. You're going to go through tough times, but don't give up. There were many times I didn't have strength to go on, where I didn't have strength to want to go on, it's during those times I had to focus on the fact that giving up would be the easy way out, but it wasn't the way that would bring God glory.

I'd also recommend finding good books to read or audio to listen to, especially if you have trouble with not sleeping at night. Fill your mind with uplifting material (the Bible, accounts of successful missionaries or businessmen, and comedy), and refuse to listen to negativity. (Proverbs 23:7, Phil. 4:8, Proverbs 17:22)

And, on the physical side, treat your body right. As hard as it can be to eat healthily and take vitamins, make a plan and stick to it. It will be worth it. Make sure you also have patience with yourself.

That second point touches on our perenniel debate about the definition of positive thinking - which would be lots of fun to continue here, but then we would never finish the interview. So moving on to my last question....

Please explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 100 words or fewer. In the end, that's what it's all about, right?

We've all sinned and none of us are worthy of God's love or forgiveness. God loved us so much though, that even when we were sinning, He sent His only Son to die for us so that anyone who believes in Him can have eternal life and live with Him forever.

And that pretty much sums it up. Thanks, Lydia!

If you'd like to connect with Lydia, start at her blog, which she updates pretty much daily. After a few weeks of her unique perspectives, you'll never look at life the same again.

Comments (1)

  1. Lydia:
    May 02, 2016 at 02:33 PM

    Thank you for doing the interview, Jason, it was a lot of fun and you did a good job with choosing interesting questions to ponder.

    Thankfully, I'm away from home right now so Autumn (my rat) won't see she's not among my top three favorite pets. Doubtlessly she'd be gratified to know she'd been featured on your blog, though. :)

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