Blog Archives

Morning Meanderings…. Event Hangover

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!  Yes I am still around.  Last Friday was Wine and Words 2014 and it was a GREAT time.  Our authors were:  Lorna Landvik (emcee), Benjamin Percy Nicole Lea Helget, Randy Susan Meyers, and Barbara Claypole White.  The last few weeks have been a lot of communication between our local book store who orders us the books to sell at our event, the local wine guy who provides all the wine for free at the event, the check in teams, set up teams, silent auction team prep….. you get the point :)

About 1/4 of the auction.  We had 114 baskets of items up for bid.

About 1/4 of the auction. We had 114 baskets of items up for bid.



Opportunities to photo prop :)

Opportunities to photo prop :)


210 people at the event

210 people at the event


The check in team

The check in team



me bidding!


Love the after gathering with the authors!

Love the after gathering with the authors!

Final numbers are still out but looks like we are around $7,000 profit.  It was a great night!  I will post some more pics on Saturday for Saturday Snapshot.


I then left the next morning for our cabin on the North Shore with my son and we stayed until Monday afternoon.  It was AWESOME.  Books and movies and pub style pizza.  What is not to love?  :)

Today I will finish up on the deposit for Wine and Words, figure out are totals, communicate with Book World our local book store and start my thank you’s.

I have reviews to write and should be back on line now as that is the last big jump for awhile ;)

Morning Meanderings… EEP! It’s Thursday!

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!  It has been a crazy week with a personal appointment that put me off the radar for a couple of days.  And all Wine and Words week!

Seriously?  Who plans out my life schedule?  ;)

I sit here sipping a delicious cup of coffee this morning feeling pretty good about tomorrow’s event.  I have a couple of things to take care of today, a few signs to make, other than that… we are ready.  I have friends meeting me here tomorrow morning at 8:00 am to start loading up auction baskets to take to the event.  I have about 70 baskets here and another 45 at the Library.

The next few days will be pretty crazy but I will pop in when I can :)

Morning Meanderings.. Scary Stuff

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

My life.

NEVER dull.

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen my post yesterday afternoon.


Emotionally wiped out. It looks like our oldest dog Bailey had a stroke this afternoon. He had no balance and his eyes kept going back and forth rapidly. He is 16 years old. He is resting now and drinking and eating a little. All errands I had to run have been put on hold. Staying home and watching him. ‪#‎neverreadyforthis‬


I was working at the kitchen table on the Wine and Words website when Bailey stumbled by my chair yesterday.  His eyes were twitching left and right rapidly and it was like his legs were not working.  His neck stretched up and sideways awkwardly and when I reached for him he jumped.  I thought he had gone blind as he appeared to not be able to see me and he stumbled as though he could not find his balance.

I quickly called Al who was down in the shop behind our home.  Tearfully I told him he had to come to the house there was something wrong with Bailey.  We both watched Bailey for about an hour.  I had called our vet who said the symptoms sounded like a stroke, we could bring him in but there was not much they could do for him at his age and they were swamped with a surgery on another dog so he would have to wait in the waiting room.

Bailey seemed calm and we put him up on the couch where he went to sleep and I decided all the errands on my check list could wait until today so instead I stayed home with him.  He ate the little bit of food I gave him and slept a lot – which he does anyways… he is a 16-year-old shih-tzu after all.  As he slept I carried on with tasks around the house and even went outside and painted the chalkboard paint on the doors for Wine and Words on Friday.

When Al came in the house in the evening Bailey was acting as though nothing had happened. Walking around, wagging his tail, and no eye twitch.  I am shocked really, the way he had looked I figured there was no coming back from that and the tough decisions had to be made.


Bailey, Book Journey, SHeila DeChantal

This is Al with Bailey (right) after we picked him up. He was Al’s fathers day gift the year that Al broke his ankle working at UPS.


Bailey, Sam, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Bailey and Sam a couple of summers ago. They love to climb on things (especially Sam!)


Bailey, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Bailey this morning. Still in bed and that is normal. He looks good. He had a good nights sleep and today is a new day.


The books.  Here is what came into my home this week:


Early Decision by Lacy Crawford

The Ship Of Brides by Jojo Moyes

No Longer and Not Yet by Joanna Clapps Herman  (a win!)

The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae-Lee


There are the books.  I may read a bit this afternoon after I run the errands I meant to do yesterday.  I need to plan my outfit for Wine and Words and make sure I am ready to go as this week will be full steam ahead all the way to the event, and then next Saturday I am going to the cabin with our youngest son Justin for our annual summer hang out time.  It will be a crazy full week but a good one.

What are you doing with your Sunday?


Morning Meanderings… Picnic, Baskets, 17 Hour Days, an Anniversary and Author Event

Sheila DeChantal, Book JourneyGood Morning!  Wow!  Wednesday already!  This week has been FLYING by!  On Sunday we did have the Annual Potluck for church but indoors due to the rain.  This was totally fine and it was fun to hang out with friends.  Once home I worked on cleaning up my neglected home, including shampooing carpets which kept me busy until about 10 pm. 

On Monday I rolled out of bed early (6ish) to set up tables in my living room for putting together the Wine and Words baskets.  At 10 am I worked on the seating arrangement for the event and then worked on the baskets for most of the day with Gail – left for a hair cut at 4 and then came back and worked on them again until 9:30 pm and then moved the whole set up downstairs to be continued this coming Friday.


Bucks Busy Bee's, Book JOurney


Yesterday (Tuesday) I woke up early and walked 4 miles with my friend Kate on the trail.  I fueled up my car, packed a lunch, and then went out to my friends farm to assist in extracting honey from her bee hives and putting it in jars.  Crazy stuff… I think I will post pics of this procedure on Saturday.  Then I came home in the afternoon, cleaned up and met my book club for dinner and the review of Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  We went out to dinner at Boomers Pizza, reviewed the book and then went to the College where Christina Baker Kline was speaking on the book.  (Nicely played Bookies… nicely played).  It was an Orphan Train evening ;)  August marks the 13th anniversary of the Bookies.  WOW!



Bookies Book Club at Boomer’s Pizza

I came home last night around 10:30 pm…WIPED OUT.  Today and the rest of the week should go a little easier on me.  I do not have any more commitments this week and my evenings are free!  Woo hoo!!!!  I have had a dull headache the last couple of days from running so hard from one thing to the next – tonight I may rent a movie and chill.  :)

August…. always crazy busy.


Morning Meanderings… Rainy Day and Books


Good morning.  Mmmmmm….. coffee is good here.  I am sitting at my kitchen table writing this post and watching it gently rain outside.  It is a hazy kind of day – the kind that makes for good reading or keeps you inside to do house cleaning.  I need to do a little of both today as I get ready for the basket assembly that will be happening here tomorrow morning with my friend Gail in preparation for the Wine and Words auction.

The bummer side of the rain is that today is the annual Church Picnic and baptism around 12:15 today.  It still has time to stop raining, so perhaps things will just be nice and clean.  We do need the rain it has been pretty dry here these last few weeks.

A few treasures came in this week:



Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich  (audio)


Thrones and Bones by Lou Anders (audio)


The Young World by Chris Weitz (audio)


The Girls Of August by Anne Rover Siddons (audio)


Enchantress by Maggie Anton


The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi


The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle


Always A Catch by Peter Richmond


Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand


So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan


The Barter by Siobhan Adcock


Lots of good listening and reading!  I have to go and get ready, but curious….

what do you like to do on rainy days?




Morning Meanderings…. Book Lovers In The Mud!


Last weekend I went with fellow Bookie and awesome friend Amy to the Muckfest in Wisconsin.  This is an annual mud run to raise money for MS… my 3rd time doing this one, her second.  We brought with us two rookies…. Jennifer and Jody who did MARVELOUS!

For this weeks Saturday Snapshot I thought I would bring you some of our pictures from that muddy event.

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey Muckfest

I did post this picture earlier this week – this is the picture we took at the check in. Look how clean we are!



Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Amy (left) and Jody (right)


Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

After our jump (left) and the clean up area (right)


Sheila DeChantal

The end! Final pic of the Muckfest


Check out other Saturday Snapshots from West Metro Mommy Reads.  You never know what people are taking pictures of :)

Morning Meanderings…. You Would Think Life Would SLow Down….

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey




Where did I ever get the idea that life would slow down once I decided to work from home?  What a total nut bar am I!  Here I am this morning breaking my own rules of calling people before 8 am because I need to.

The Library sale is this week and my crew that was lined up to pull books this Saturday is now unavailable to do so. I just found this out late yesterday afternoon.  I have been emailing and making phone calls to come up with the plan “B” which I think is solved but just need confirmation. EGADS.

I have today and through the weekend to really work on the touches on my book if I am going to be able to be ready to submit by August 13th.  The jury is still out on that one…but I am trying and plan to do my best to lock myself in the house the next few days to get er’ done.

Monday we put together the Wine and Words baskets here in my home and I have a meeting to plan the room layout.

Tuesday and Wednesday is book sale set up and Thursday Friday Saturday is the book sale.

The following week is Wine and Words – I need to prep the chalkboard doors.  I have signs to make.  There is much yet to do but the sponsors are in place, the brochure will be ready and the teams are all set for the event so event day will be smooth.


ONCE August is over, I think things will return to a simmer of normalcy and if I have anything to say about it… maybe even a little quieter than normal.  It just seems that everything was suddenly loaded in to August.

Sigh.  Bear with me.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I am sure of it.  :)


Tell me something crazy going on in your life.. it will make me smile.  CRAZY loves company.


Morning Meanderings… AUGUST???? Austen!

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Friday!   And…. August.  WHA????  Where is the summer going?  I guess my first clue should have been that our County Fair opened this week.  I am not a county fair fan ever since the boys were old enough to go on their own with their friends I bowed out of that hot sticky mess.  ;)   However, my cousin has a daughter who performs on a horse there, and several friends win awards for their breads, and jams, and vegetables and fruits…. in that sense, it is very Gilmore Girls.

Back to August.

August is actually a FULL month.  This afternoon I leave for Wisconsin with my friend for the Mud Run for MS in the morning.  And then I come back, clean up tomorrow afternoon and go directly to Crosslake where the first day of the Camp Benedict Bike ride will be taking place.  I am on the board for Camp and will be late due to this ride being the same weekend as the mud run.  I will stay overnight and help cheer the riders in for day two on Sunday – unsure if I am going to be support team or ride day two…

Then after this weekend August explodes into the church annual picnic baptism, the Fall Book Sale for the Library, a possible Zombie run (oh how I want to but it is soooo far away!), Wine and Words, a cabin weekend with my son, and then our Annual cabin trip with friends for Labor Day weekend.


is August.


It’s good… it’s full…. and drips into September but I will hold off on those details. :)



I imagine my reading will possibly be light this month due to the schedule, however I hope to participate in the Austen In August event.  Jane Austen is one of those authors I want to spend time with.  I think I am supposed to, like we are somehow kindred spirits.  Her birth date December 16th, is the birth of my oldest son/first child.  The date of her death, July 18th, is my Anniversary.  Mmmmm hmmmmm…. I need to read Jane. :)  I am thinking perhaps Emma.  I think I have that one on my Classic shelf.

Have you read Austen?  What have you read?  What did you think?





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.


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



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:


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!






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