Category Archives: Meanderings

Morning Meanderings… Catching Up With Brown Bag Author Terri Peterson Smith

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Thursday!  It has been a beautiful week here in Central Minnesota.  It is my favorite time of year!  Today I am in the office and feeling energized.  Later I plan to mow the lawn and if you follow these posts… you know I love to mow the lawn!  (It’s true – I really do!)

 

Terri Peterson Smith, Off The Beaten Path, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Author Terri Peterson Smith and her book, Off The Beaten Path

 

Fun story.  Earlier this year Author Terri Peterson Smith contacted me about our event, Wine and Words.  Our event already had the authors lined up but I really liked the sound of her book and directed her to contact my Vice-Chair in The Friends Group about being a part of the Brown Bag Author Line Up.  I am thrilled to say that it worked out for her to come and speak, which she did a couple of Mondays ago.

Terri’s book is about grabbing your friends and taking a literary trip.  It really is a book for book lovers.  I loved that Terri mentioned in her talk that book groups are now seeking out that next level to reading the book… they want to taste the food that the characters have, they want to see and touch and feel – almost making the books three-dimensional.  Terri provides that in her book, Off The Beaten Page.

 

Inspired by “field trips” with the author’s own book club, Off The Beaten Page offers a literary look at fifteen U.S. destinations as seen through the works of famous writers.  No plodding tour of dead people’s homes; award-winning journalist Terri Peterson Smith takes readers on a lively tour of some of the  most fascinating places in the U.S., combining her love of literature and her quest for a good time with friends. Her inspired explorations and meticulous research combine to help readers not only extend the experience of a great book but also to gain a greater understanding of the people and culture in the places they travel.

Terri was a lot of fun to meet in person.  She has a fun bubbly personality which I felt made her perfect to write about bookish adventures such as where to find the house in St Paul Minnesota that F Scott Fitzgerald finished his book “This Side Of Paradise”.  Terri’s book cover 15 US locations for literary trips for you and your group.

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It was a real pleasure to hang out with Terri Peterson Smith.  I have been reading her book this week and love the ideas it sparks about literary trips.  I am hopeful she will write a follow-up book… I am hopeful she invites me along on these trips to help her with her research.  ;)  Hey, a girl can dream.

How is your Thursday shaping up?  I need to get into the office soon, I already have a list of things building up in my head of the “to do’s” for today.  It is funny how that happens. :)

Morning Meanderings… New Normal – Official Day One and Brown Bag Author

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good Morning!  Happy Wednesday!  (Is it crazy that I had to pause there and think what day it was?)  Yesterday was my first real full day of feeling like I was moving into my new role.  I have home space set up, and made a commitment to be in it.  I actually had time to open up a packet of papers that were given to me in mid June as research for my manuscript I am revising.  They have been sitting in the library since they were handed to me and are now in the office and I spent time yesterday reviewing them and making notes. It was a good feeling.

 

 

JOhnathan Friesen, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Author Johnathan Friesen

This past Monday we had an exciting author at the Brainerd Public Library.  Author Johnathan Friesen (pronounced “free-zen”) spoke at our library about his books, and read from his most recent book, Mayday (LOVE the cover!)

I had never read or listened to Johnathan Friesen before and I for one was excited to have him at the library as a YA author.  He started out with sharing a very powerful story about his childhood and Tourette’s syndrome.  I think most of the room was in tears – and then he turned it around into his passion for writing.  At this stage in my life, what he said really resonated with me.  He spoke with intelligence and I found myself scribbling on a napkin (I know, I know, you would think I would be more prepared!) to capture some of the things he said…

…and when she left my room, she took something with her.  Almost like a magnet it stuck to the back of her shirt…. when she left, the hate I had felt for myself left with her.  ~ Johnathan Friesen

 

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Johnathan was a delightful speaker!  He was animated and funny and can really channel his inner child! While he spoke about each of his books I found myself trying to choose which I wanted to read, they all in one way or another spoke to me.  His book Jerk California is about a boy with Tourette’s.  This Schneider Family Book Award winner changed the face of Tourette’s Syndrome for modern teens.

When the event was over, the crowd of 44 people gathered around to but his books.  I always wait to be last to make sure everyone has the opportunity to pick up the books that they want.  I left this event with:

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If you ever have the chance to hear Johnathan speak, I highly recommend you do.  I was very impressed with his style and look forward to digging into his books!

 

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… A New Normal

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good Morning and happy Tuesday!

Another beautiful day is appearing here in Central Minnesota.  I love sitting at my table and looking out the window while I write in the mornings, catch up on emails, and prep for my day.

This week kicks off new rhythms to my day and I am working on setting new habits and treating my now “stay at home” job, as a “get up, get ready, and go” job.  In other words – I have a set time to get to work which is now in a downstairs office, and takes me about 30 seconds to get to.  I know as time goes on I will probably loosen the reigns as I figure out what works best for me and still allowing me to put in the time I need to so the deadlines are met; but for now.. this is the training period and I enjoy the discipline of the consistency.

Yesterday, Justin was in town, that College boy who is now my Graduated boy.  We had lunch together, caught up and then came back to the house where he helped me set up the desk in my office.  I bought a desk last fall from a friend and have left it set in pieces for the last 8 months.  The pieces were too large to put together on my own and Al and I never committed to putting it together.  It was in the spare room and out of sight… out of mind.  :)

Here are pics of what it looked like put together:

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There is the basic shell of the office.  I need some pictures on the wall and some personal effects, but it is enough of an office to get me excited about going out and buying pretty pens, yellow note pads and files for the filing cabinet.  (It doesn’t take much to make me happy!  :D  )

 

Reading and even listening to audio have taken a back burner lately but I listened to audio last night as I set up the office and I have it on this morning so hopefully I am around the corner on that dry spell.

Hope your Tuesday is wonderful!  Any new adventures out there you are starting?  Any advice from those of you who write at home or have jobs that allow you to work from home?

Snapshots of The 50 Mile Bike Ride and a WINNER Announced

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Good morning!  Happy Saturday.  I have some fun pics to post from last weekends bike ride for todays Saturday Snapshot.  My friend Amy and I try to do the Tour Of Saints every year.  It is a 50 mile bike ride that takes places in St Joseph Minnesota, a beautiful little town about an hour and 15 minutes from where we live.

Normally, by the time we do this ride in July we have a few rides in for the season… not this year.  We have both been so busy that the first time I was on my bike this year was the night before the ride when I took it a couple of miles down the road and back to make sure it was riding smooth.

So… off we went:

 

Sheila DeChantal, Amy Price, Book JOurney

This above pic is at the first pit stop.  We were a little over 11 miles in, it was already becoming WARM out and there was some annoying wind happening.

AMy Price, Book JOurney

The next pit stop was at mile 25 and by this time it was HOT but the direction we were going was with the wind to our backs so it was a nicer leg of the ride and we were feeling pretty optimistic.

 

Tour Of Saints, Book JOurney

Just about every year I brag about the fruit on this ride.  They always have beautiful strawberries.  This year for me it was more about the grapes (which were delicious!) and of course, I did not take a picture of.

 

St Joseph Minnesota, Tour Of Saints, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

This fun little straw (twig?) house was here last year too.  It is pretty cool.  Last year we walked through it but this year we just stopped and took a couple of pictures and took off again, the wind was once again in our face.

 

The last 20 miles of the ride were tough.  It was pretty wide open fields we were riding by and the sun was baking us like ants under a magnifying glass.  Between the sun and the wind we were moving pretty slow and by the time we were done we were really DONE.

It is always a good time but it was a tough ride this year probably also because we had not trained… but we are stubborn so we did it. :D

 

Check out other Saturday Snapshots here.

 

I also need to announce a winner from the Page Girls Birthday Week post I put up earlier this week.  If you have not went over and checked them out yet, please do – they are posting fun articles!

The winner of the book and coasters is:  (using random.org)

 

A Curious Gal! 

YAY!  Please send me your shipping info and I will pass it on to have the coasters sent to you and I will email you the code for the book. :)

That’s it.  Have a super rest of your weekend. I am at the cabin until Sunday later afternoon and have no internet there so will be back in touch after I return.

Morning Meandering… The Afterwards and Open Doors

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!

Jiminy Crickets life is cra-zy.  And yes, pretty sure that is the first time I have ever used Jiminy Crickets in a sentence.

Yesterday was my last day on the job I had for 10 years and 5 months. It was a bitter-sweet last day with a staff lunch and everyone went around and said a favorite memory they have with me… that was fun and it was perfect just to keep the lunch light enough so I was not a swarm of tears the whole time.  :)  As you can probably imagine… more than a few of the favorite memories had to do with office pranks, and chasing birds; but there were also ones having to do with the way I had a smile for everyone, and no matter what was going on in my life I didn’t let it get me down, willing to give anything a go no matter how crazy it seemed, integrity, and having a heart for the hurting….being able to see things in people that sometimes others can not see.  That is my take away… fond memories and it was awesome to hear what they see in me.

It is weird to be on the other side of that now.  It’s crazy to think come Monday morning I will not be heading across town into work, but instead working on setting up a routine and discipline of heading down stairs into my home office.  It is a wildly exciting and at the same time a little frightening too.

I am doing this…. after years of talking about it…. I am doing it.

EEP!

And here is the cool things about all that.  I have had offers come in to write for magazines.  I am working with a newspaper in the cities as well.  Just this morning I received an amazing email from a fellow reviewer and author who is working on two pretty cool things that she invited me to partake in that could lead to bigger things. And if I can have my book ready to submit again by August 12th  I can take part in a pool of books that are being selected for publication and marketing.  Holy smokes!!!!  I have to get moving! Things that I normally would have to politely decline but now instead can consider and even say yes to.  A couple of my friends have come forward this week and offered me flexible positions in their businesses if I need any supplemental income during this transition because they too want me to be able to write and follow my passion.

Anyhoo…

here I am.

This morning I am working on setting up the office and a few things around the house.  I am planning to take off for the cabin this afternoon – hopefully.

What’s on your agenda for this weekend?

 

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… CHANGES. Stay Awake For It

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Life is strange.

Stay awake for it.  ;)

I am sitting here this morning pajama clad and coffee ready.  It is the start of what looks to be another beautiful day.  I feel much like I am on the brink of something new and exciting but at the same time I am all knotted up inside.

Tomorrow will be my last day at a job that I have had for over ten years.  It is something I have given a lot of thought too… prayed over for the last couple of months… and finally took the step I needed to.  Current life happenings helped me make the final decision… (life has a funny way of doing that).

While sentimental Sheila is sad to move on from something she really enjoyed, realistic and adventurous Sheila knows it is the right thing to do.  It is possible to be sad and excited all rolled into one.  Future plans include setting up my home office, putting my writing back on track, and being able to say yes to a few offers that have come in that I had to say no to in the past.

Life also…

is never dull.

Last weekend my friend Amy and I were on the Tour Of Saints bike ride which we do every year.  I will talk more about the ride on Saturday morning but for now, I want to talk about the coffee. :) mmmmm coffee.

I picked up coffee the morning of the ride at Carribou Coffee and saw they had a promotion going on for people who took pictures of whatever they were doing with their coffee and hast tagged it #stayawakeforit.  Always game for new things I figured why not.  I would think leaving in the early hours on a Sunday morning for a what was going to be a sweltering hot day would be worthy…

Sheila DeChantal, Amy Price

#stayawakeforit

 

Life… is not always easy.  But is can be adventurous, and fun, and as I mentioned above…. never – NEVER dull.  Stay awake for it.  ;)

 

What are your “stay Awake For It” moments happening right now?

Morning Meanderings… SQQQQUUEEEE Package In The Mail!

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Mmmmmmmm coffee.

It was a long stormy night here.  By the time I went to bed the wind was picking up and a lot of thunder and lightning. With temps in the 90’s and the high humidity as well it had been said that we could get winds up to 70 miles per hour in this storm which yes… is a bit concerning.  I sat up in bed and watched out the window for a while worried about my trees, deck furniture, the wild rabbits….

alas, sleep won over.

This morning, things look good.

There are a few branches around but all is well.  I walked out and checked my crazy apple tree too; the one I have propped up with stakes to help its heavy branches and it is fine.

*whew*

 

In other news…. don’t you love receiving packages in the mail?  I love it!  Books thrill me…. every time.  It never gets old!  And the occasional package shipped from a friend or a fellow book lover is another level of exciting!  These are a little more personal because they are planning something just for the receiver.

I had signed up for The Book Monsters Christmas In July for just this reason.  I was given my swap partner which was Tula at Primary School Library Diva, we exchanged a wish list and a little bit about ourselves.  SO FUN! 

My package arrived yesterday…

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Fun right?  YAY!!!  The Rowell book is one from my wish list!  SUPER exciting stuff!  A fun magazine, Skittles, and a cute little card.  Thank you Tula!  LOVE it!!!  I hope you love yours too :)

 

Finally this morning, I hope you seen my post I put up yesterday afternoon about the Page Girls Birthday Week and Giveaway.  It is pretty sweet and a fun site to check out.  (And to be clear the pic is of my blowing a party horn…. lol… there has been some confusion about what is in my mouth or in front of my face. )  :D

Have a super Tuesday!

Morning Meanderings… Going To Woodstock!

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Good morning!  I am up early this Sunday all ready to head out the door, pick up my friend Amy and hit the road for our annual 50 mile bike ride in St. Joseph Minnesota.  We have completed this ride for probably 4 years now (maybe 5)… and it always seems like it is a HOT HUMID day.  Today… is no exception.  Looks like it will be in the 80’s and humid.  Packed double water today.

It is always a good time… even if we do complain about the hills and the humidity.  ;)

 

Here are the books that I welcomed into my home this week:

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After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid ( this was on the Summer Reading hot list)

 

Barefoot In Babylon by Bob Spitz (this is all about Woodstock and I am crazy excited about it!  I can only find a link to the old one, but this book is a new revised copy!)

 

The Bone House by Brian Freeman (Brian was our author at the library last week and he told me this was the book of his to start with.)

 

That’s it.  I need to go… want to pick up coffee and a banana.

Have a super Sunday!

Morning Meandering/Saturday Snapshot: People Slut

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Happy Saturday!  Ok ok… my title of this post might have been a ploy to get you click over thinking “Oh my word Sheila… what is going on?”

Or…

Maybe not.  Read on to find out. ;)

This weekend is the BIG Moondance Jam in our area and many of the Brainerdites and people all over Minnesota have gathered in Walker Minnesota to listen to a weekend of awesome bands, eat super bad for you but delicious food, and drink lots of beer and camp on site.  There are a couple of bands I would not have minded hearing:  Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, STYX, The Wallflowers….  but honestly I can only take the big crazy crowds for so long and I would want to just go, listen to some bands and leave (not camp) and it is a long drive… so anyway….

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Another group of friends are having their Class Reunion this weekend….

basically, Brainerd is pretty empty. :)

I tell you all of this… leading into my Saturday Snapshot this weekend, it is all about where I am thrilled to be this weekend… at home, hanging out on my deck which is my favorite place to be when the sun is out and the breeze is gentle.  So this morning, I took a little walk through my yard taking a few pictures of some of the things that make me smile:

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

This swing sits in the back yard. I don’t sit in it very often anymore but I like the look of it and at one time it was a great reading nook.

 

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Hostas along side of the garage…. I love hostas! They do not take a lot of work, grow huge… and make me look like an impressive gardener (I am not)

 

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

My crazy apple tree.. the one that never has an off-year and breaks its branches because the apples are too heavy. You may remember the pics of this one last year after it broke in half.

 

Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

This is where the tree broke last year and a friend of mine told me you could actually graft the tree branch and tape it back together… crazy idea but what did I have to lose?

 

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

It worked! This picture was taken this morning from the broken branches! Of course… it looks like it is going to be heavy with apples again so I am worried all over….

 

 

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This is a walnut tree. I am pretty proud of the walnut trees in the yard. There are 5. I don’t know why… no one else around has them… but they have always been on this property.

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Walnuts!

 

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Plum tree! I planted this one after the tornado in 2001.

 

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Plums! I only have the one tree so do not harvest large quantities for jelly, etc… I usually leave them for the birds.

 

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

I like to put out goodies for the critters…. this one is peanuts for the squirrels.

 

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

We have several crab apple trees in the yard and these do rotate years. This year this appears to be the only one that is going to crazy produce. I think this fall I will make jelly.

 

For more Saturday snapshots… check it out here!

 

Ok…. you have been patient, listening to me babble, looking politely at my pictures and smiling and nodding… I can now tell you about people slut.  I seen to be going through a sentimental season.  I am trying to connect with family and friends and spend time with them.  In other words – I am working on SLOWING DOWN.  Yup.. I said it.  I love being with people – all people (thus the people slut title, which I believe a friend once called me (affectionately – not mean) because I can talk to and enjoy talking to … anyone.

 

Anyhoo… maybe that did not hold up as well as I thought it would when I thought of it this morning. :)  Oh well… still nice to hang out with you.

Today… I am reading California by Edan Lepucki.  I am listening to I Don’t Know What You Know Me From by Judy Greer.  I am trying to line up a lunch date with my cousin.  I may go to a movie later with Al.  And tomorrow morning, I am going on an annual 50 mile bike ride is St Joseph Minnesota with my friend Amy.

What are you doing with your weekend?

Morning Meanderings… Over Due Winners

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Good morning...

Ok honestly… I did start this in the morning.  And then I went in search of coffee… which now that I think about is probably why I could not stay focused on this post.

I have a little catching up to do.  I have some recent giveaways that need winners and I am late at taking care of this.  I have had a bumpy few weeks here in my life and still trying to get used to my new normal… more on that another time.

 

Ok… let’s do this.  Recently there has been some GUSHING here about Heather Gudenkauf’s new book, Little Mercies.  I wrote a post about great summer reading and went on about this title.  I also offered up a fun summer giveaway for a Little Mercies Bundle (*SQUUUEEEEE!*) The bundle includes: Little Mercies, The Weight Of Silence, and These Things Hidden.

 

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Sweet package right?  The winner for this package is:

Roseanne Erickson

 

Woot!  Give it up for Roseanne!!!

 

AND going farther back, I had an audio book giveaway too for June.  This one took a bit more work because it was the gathering of a MONTHS worth of audio book comments.  I old schooled this one and did what a blogger one told she did for giveaways (take each of the comment names and put them on a sheet for all the comments they had, cut them apart and then draw out of a bowl.  Thank you JK from JK’s Book Blog for that one ;)

 

This winner receives a $25 gift card emailed to them at one of the following stores:

 

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and that winner is….

Anita from Anita Loves Books!!!

 

I will email Anita now and once she chooses her gift card is on its way to her :D

 

Today, which is slowly eeking away from me…. is my 27th Anniversary.  EEP.  My husband had to say it was our 27th… I had to do the math.  Don’t tell him but I did not realize it had been that long.  ;)  He is working today trying to stay on top of all the demands of his job as an excavator so tonight we thought we may just go out some place for a little bit.  There is a new restaurant called The Woods that I would not mind giving a try.  :D

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