Author Archives: Sheila (Book Journey)

The Circle By Dave Eggers

21

 

Mae Holland can not believe her luck!  When she is hired on to be employed by The Circle, the largest Internet company she jumps in with both feet.  After all, what is not to love?  Great pay, live entertainment in the evenings, dorm rooms to stay in if you need to work late, groceries, stores, free medical, a gym on site… and a chance to work with some of the most brilliant minds in the world!

Everything is connected from your email to your banking to your social media.  Transparency is key…  and really why would we not want to be transparent?

Yet when Mae finds herself in the office with Supervisors asking her why she always clocks out right at 5 and doesn’t stick around to take part in the after hours activities and why she is not more transparent on her social feeds as to what she does in her down time…  Mae has to decide to show her new employers just how transparent she can be…or choose to look for work elsewhere….

What happens when the lines between right and wrong get fuzzy?

I have been wanting to read this book for a while.  The synopsis of a futuristic company taking over (much like Google or Amazon…) peeked my interest.  I do love a good futuristic novel.  What I found interesting is that I could see where The Circle life style could become appealing…  If you did not have a family of your own… single, young, energetic a place where work provides you with on site entertainment, a group of like minded peers, a dorm room with clothes in your size, food, etc…. I could see where that could be appealing.

I for the most part liked Mae, (at least the early on Mae) until the job changed her to the point of losing right from wrong… I understood her ambition…

Over all I liked the book.  I am looking forward to the movie coming out later this month as I want to see how it compares and honestly…. you put Tom Hanks with Emma Watson…  how can I not watch?

Books, Burgers,and Brews: The Circle by Dave Eggers

3

I am a gazillion posts behind and I have so much to share!  Books Burgers and Brews has been going strong since October…  this was the idea of having a Book Club in a public venue and Friends of the Brainerd Public Library hosting this free event.  The vision was to bring non readers to books… while that is not exactly what has happened (it has been more people who can not find a book club, writers, other book club people…) it is still connecting people to books and really – isn’t that all I ever want?
~Sheila

The Circle made for a great discussion book.  The futuristic synopsis around a company (The Circle) that puts social media at the forefront…  where secrets are considered lies and transparency in all things has value.

2

Our group that night was the largest yet.  We had 37 people at Prairie Bay and a good variety of ages… people that had grown up with social media of some sort being a part of their life, those who came by it later in life and those that have heard of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc… but not really engaged or understood the draw.

What fascinates me about such a book is that I tend to lose how I truly feel about the book (I believe, I liked it).  Having lead book club discussions for so many years, I tend to focus on how the book will be for discussing and that is what excited me here.  Over all, those in this room did not love the book… but they loved the discussion it brought out.

What is the dangers of social media?
What is too much information? 
When are secrets a good thing?
If we are all 100% transparent, what is lost?  When do we just become desensitized to everything?
Is what is described in the book what is happening in our world today?
If so, is there a way to stop it?  Does the majority of the population want to?

95

4.jpg

As always, Prairie Bay created a wonderful Literary Menu for us….  The Eye In The Pie and The Three Wise Men Melt both sounded so good… I ordered them both…  I was right they were delicious.

8.jpg

And… as has become tradition… the drink special is one that Laurel and I always have to try.  This time there was two… the white wine that is mentioned in the book that Mae drinks… and a local beer that uses social media for promotions.

Once again… well played Prairie Bay.

Stay tuned.. later today I will post my review of the book The Circle.

 

Save

The Grief Books… A Shelf of Tears and Love

6

Books.

They serve many purposes.  They take us on adventures.  They teach us.  They make us laugh and cry and think and dream…

In April of 2015 after Justin’s accident, friends sent me what you are seeing above and what has come to be known as “The Grief Shelf.”  Books were sent to me in the mail, and handed to me in person.  Each book came with a story of its own…. it may have helped the giver personally when they were going through something.. .as I look at each book even today I can recall the wonderful message that came with it, or the person who sat by me in those early hard days and shared their own story as they handed it to me…

And while each book I know came from the heart….

honestly to this day I have not read any of them.

And here is why….

One set of books is a series of the stages of grief and what a person will go through… and what is to be expected, and what the next stage is…..
To this day I have not opened these books.  For me… someone who has lived out large GRIEF moments throughout many stages of my life – I did not want books to tell me how I should be feeling or what was the next step to that feeling…

I opened the others… I could not do it… I did not want to read someones take on grief…. I had my own… I didn’t want to read how to get from A to B to C…. because my journey was my own…  and I knew I could not do it on anyone’s time line…

I still can’t

I know everyone who sent a book meant well and I love each one of these people for that.  Maybe I will never be able to open some of these books… but I know the thought and love that was behind each one – and that in itself is enough to make my once again be so thankful for the amazing people in my life.  I can not even put into words what you love has meant to me and led me to where I am today.

A couple of days ago I was drawn back to the shelf where a particular book had caught my interest and I had  read a little… but now.. NOW I feel like maybe I could read more.

20

Her parents called her Lenya Lion because of her ferocious personality and hair that had been wild and mane-like since birth. But they never expected that, five days before Christmas, their five-year-old daughter would suddenly go to heaven after an asthma attack. How do you walk out of an emergency room without your daughter?
In Through the Eyes of a Lion, Pastor Levi Lusko shares the eye-opening truth of the power of hope in a world that is often filled with pain, suffering, and loss. He says, “This book isn’t a manual for grieving, but a manifesto for high-octane living, and through it I want you to see that God made you for a purpose. There is a wild and wonderful calling on your life, a microphone in your hands. Jesus wants you to look at the adventure of your life through His eyes, the eyes of a Lion.”
This book.  THIS story of continuing to (try) live life to the fullest…. be an example… this is where I find myself.  I think I can relate.

Now, almost two years later (I can not believe it has been almost two years….)  I pick up this book… off the Grief Shelf….

and I began to read…

I am completely different… I see things so differently now and I can believe I have done this for almost 2 years.  I laugh…a real laugh….when I thought I never would again….  I do and go and be… when I thought for sure I would not.

Doing, going, being, laughing does not come free.  Each step I take is strategic and meaningful and I do it with him in mind.  I look at the pictures of me laughing and being with friends and I know that unless you are close to me – you do not see what everything I do and write costs me….  I am still torn and destroyed… I still cry daily and hurt even when I am throwing myself into the next big thing.  However there is a seed of hope within me…  I hope my actions through this crazy newness help others to see you can manage to go on.  It is not easy – I admire anyone who can get up and do it as I know for myself more often than not each step of the way still brings with it tears and pain and whispers…

“Lets do this kid.. this one is for you….”

I am still here.  I don’t plan on going anywhere and I hope you do not either.  I am reading… I need to get writing.  SO much to share….

Morning Meanderings… A RUNNING kick off to the year and MORE First Books

meme

“Well…

I guess we are doing this.  “

Little known fact about me…. that line above is how I usually think right before I have to complete whatever I agreed to do or signed up for.  😛  True story….  The first year of Wine and Words… we planned it – I envisioned it, found authors, held meetings, and then the day of the event…

I was all butterfly’s and twirling tummy… and thought…

“Well, I guess we are doing this.”

That still has not changed.

I sign up for things and agree to things- because they are who I want to be…  I want to be a runner.  I want to be a biker and a hiker.  I want to be a thrill seeker.  I want to be energetic.  I want to have events in my community that are fun and successful….   and so I plan things.  I agree to things… and I do them.

Yesterday was no exception.  Doing the Polar Dash on January 1st each year is insane,  The weather is usually freezing…. it is a 2 1/2 drive for me to get to the event to run in this freezing weather.

Yet to see all the people that do this…. I like being a part of that crazy.  I like to start out a new year with something positive and shiny.  And here is how it went…

picmonkey-collage

I ran with my two friends Sheila (yes another one!) and Belinda.  The weather was fantastic – in the mid 20’s…..  if my knee would have been feeling top notch, I would have loved to have does the 10k instead of the 5.  We ran, we got our free beer ticket at the end and we had a delicious lunch.  I felt I hit the mark for shining day one of 2017.

Also – if you did not see and read the First Book post from yesterday, please do.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the participation.  I had a few late comers to the party and I am happy to add them here today.  Look in this mix for our Emcee of Wine and Words, author Lorna Landvik.

picmonkey-collage8

Thank you to all once again for ringing int he New Year with me and with great reads.  I love looking at all the titles and seeing what I should be reading.  Also – did you find me in yesterdays post?  I am there.  ;P

First Book – 2017…. Day One To SHINE

18a

Happy New Year People Of The Book.

There is a lot I like about a new year.  It is indeed a fresh start… it’s a new deck to play with.  I retired my word of 2016 (COURAGE) at midnight last night.  The word has served me well and will always be a part of me now that I have spent a year learning to live that way.  Excitedly, today I have opened the door to my new world for 2017…. SHINE.  I hope to SHINE this year and be an example for myself as well as others that circumstances do not have to destroy you, that you can live with amazing grief.

And of course…. a new year is new book adventures.  Long before I had a blog, I was doing First Book by myself.  Every year I made a big deal out of choosing that first book of the year.  It is exciting to see by the outpouring from all of you from all over the world coming forth to share the excitement of that first book with me.

As I have done the past 4 years, I am very excited to present to you, the books that we are reading as we go into 2017:

picmonkey-collage1

picmonkey-collage2

picmonkey-collage3

picmonkey-collage4

picmonkey-collage5

picmonkey-collage6

Thank you all for once again joining me for one of my favorite events of the year.   I am off this morning to run my first 5K of the year, the Polar Dash In ST Paul with my friend Belinda.  I am excited to kick off my word right from the start.

Happy New year to all of you.

Shine Always,

Sheila

83

Save

Morning Meanderings…. Bringing The Year To A Close

meme

December 30th.

Does that just feel crazy to anyone else besides me?

This whole year really has been… different.  I started out the year just trying to breathe and honestly not really caring if I did.  That solid depression/funk stayed with me through June and only started lifting when I had to be a part of the Camp Board I am on… I went in planning to resign when the week was up… I came out…

renewed…

From there – I moved into August for Wine and Words and then I MOVED.  By that I mean, I got on my bike.  I went back to the gym.  I started walking with friends and signing up for runs.  I started to find me again, probably because I was actively trying to… for myself and for my son.  Reading, fell to the wayside this year…. its crazy to say that but true.  I kept my mind occupied with projects and going and doing.

It brought me to now… still and forever crushed by the enormous loss in my life… at the same time determined to do something with what I have been given as I am all too painfully aware many of us take our days for granted….  and I can tell you first hand – dont do that.  LIVE each one well.

So here we are.

Our winter so far has been mild with little snow.  I have walked a lot through our local arboretum with friends… more than I have probably ever been out in the winter weather before.  Yes yes… I am a Minnesota girl who is not a fan of winter – it is true.

If you have not signed up for first book yet – please do!  I love putting that together for the new year and it is so uplifting to see all the readers from around the world!  Here is the link to that post.  I look forward to getting back into my reviews and back with all of you as we enter 2017.

When Land Mines Turn Into Speed Bumps

10

It is Christmas morning.  I am sitting here in a very quiet house and I am reflecting on the past year… the past two years…  and how different things are now.

Christmas 2014 was our last Christmas as a full family.  Christmas Eve Justin would be in town and hanging out with me all day while we prepped or today.  No doubt he was wrapping gifts (he could wrap anything!) and seeing friends while he was in town.  In the evening we would have watched Harry Potter movies (I know we did!) and eat junk food, staying up way too late as always.

Christmas day would have brought me making an egg bake and orange cinnamon rolls, the house would smell delicious.  Brad would come over around 10 am and we would eat and then open gifts together.  Hang out for the afternoon playing board games, laughing, and just being together.  I can so clearly see that last Christmas together.

66

 

67

Which brings me to today.

I have a little tree set up on the kitchen table.  This is a step  Last year I did not put up a tree at all.  I wrapped a few gifts last night… also new.  I did not wrap gifts last year.

A few days ago I came across a message I had wrote on Facebook a year ago.  I spoke on how difficult it was to be out in the community because you just never knew what was going to happen.  I referred to it then as land mines…. what people said, what they did, or even the sad look they gave me created an eruption of overpowering emotion in me….  land mines.  And I avoided that situation at all cost.  In fact throughout last winter, I became so worried about the land mines I did my best to never go out into public situations where I might step into one.

I mean why put myself through that?

What caught me most about this year ago message….  was it made me think about those same situations now.  Yes, they still happen.  I still run into people who have not seen me in a while and there is still the question I usually can now answer “how are you?”, and yes still the sad looks especially this time of year, and yes the long hugs which are amazing and break me all at the same time.

However….

and this is where I was surprised…

the world landmine no longer applies.

These situations that a year ago flooded my mind with the need to escape to get away from all these people that know my loss, know my struggle….  now are more of a speed bump then an all out land mine exploding my world again and again.

Please understand me.  I actually LOVE that people still acknowledge my son and acknowledge the incredible loss that it is.  Because – it is.  And I do not want him forgotten or the reality ignored.  Yes… it hurt every day.  However, YES -acknowledge him.  Share your memories of him…  yes tell me that his eyes were like mine because mine are like my moms and that means SO MUCH.  And yes, be real around me.  Honestly – it does still suck.  It hurts like crazy and I just do what I can to be strong and live out even this as well as I can.

Often (like the Ugly Sweater party) I put myself in situations that I know are going to rip me up….  it is hard to be around all of Justin’s friends or be at events that I know he would be as well.  Yet – I have to be a part of that.  To be close to them and their hurt, is a powerful speed bump worth every hard minute of it.  I have no choice…. I have to go.  I have to be with them whenever I can.  They carry keys to my son.  I want to try all the keys and learn all I can.

One young girl at the party came up to me at the end of the night.  She said, “You don’t know me, but you used to work with my mom.  I read what you write on Facebook and I have to tell you that I love you.”.

This.  This.  This.

Tears flow while I type this, but I had to share  – the POWER of this.  The power of knowing what I say, being 100% real and raw, can speak to others.  Wow.

Soon…. Brad and I will go to a movie.  Later, I get to watch him open gifts.  We will eat together as a family….  which is sooooooooo bitter sweet.   Yet I know and I know and I know…. Justin is smiling on us.  He knows how incredibly hard it is for me to do it – but I do.  For all of us.

My message to you (you knew I had one!) is make the absolute most out of today.  See your Christmas through new eyes.  Whoever you are lucky enough (yes lucky enough) to be with today.  Make it magic.  Love unconditionally.  Let old hurts fade away.  YOU get to decide what you do with today and how it all plays out.  You never know what next year will be like so do not take for granted what you have today.

Merry Christmas my friends. 

 

Cruising Into The NEW Year

untitled

This is a sticky post up to the New Year.  Please do not miss the two events I host every year….

First Book Of the Year

One Word (your word for the year!)

All new posts will be under this one.

Save

Save

The One Word For 2017…. The POWER of One Word

my-one-word-300x180

It was in 2013 I started to promote a word to represent my year rather than a resolution.  A word, can fluctuate – take on new meaning depending the circumstances, and come out at the end with a whole new meaning then first anticipated.   My word from last year was like that and in the end – while we went through a lot together… it still was an effective word.

I have come to love choosing my word each year, and you are welcome to read the link above to explain my past words and what happened with them, but the rest of this post will focus on my current word, how it has served me and what 2017 will bring.

16

2016 has been my year of COURAGE.  Those of you who know me/follow me know what an impossible year 2015 was and coming into 2016 I needed a word that would lift me up when I needed it… that would help me take the next step whatever it would be.

COURAGE served me well.  There were times throughout the year I wondered if I could… if I should…. and COURAGE brought me to it – and through it.  My friends (God love them!) supported me, Kerri found me the word to put on my chain…

27

and Gail presented me with a cool key for my key chain that also reminded me….

28

COURAGE was the perfect word for me for 2016.  So perfect, the last couple of weeks have been a bit scary as I thought of moving away from the word to something new for 2017.  Courage helped me when I thought I couldn’t do something… or I just wanted to stay in bed and avoid the world as I now knew it.  Often it was the word that made me do things I was afraid to do.

Those of you who have participated in the One Word know that it can be a hard decision to choose just the right word.  I spend a lot of time looking at lists, watching descriptions of things… considering who I am, where I am at, and what I strive for.

After much deliberation for a while I thought maybe PERSEVERE would take me through 2017…. however the more I thought about it… the word felt heavy, like slogging through troubling times – everything hard but still moving on….

Honestly, I don’t want to slog through the year….

I kept looking hoping for something lighter, but still represented me well, motivated me, caused me to keep on going for me – for Justin….  for Brad….

So here is what happened today.

I was walking in the Arb with my friend Farrah.  I was talking about the one word and how I was still searching.  I told her about persevere, in the running but I was not feeling it.  I mentioned that the word “Shine” was one I liked, it felt positive, light, and represented who I wanted to be, but I was still uncertain.

After our walk we went out for coffee.  While warming up in the cozy coffee house Farrah suddenly looked at the rows of coffee mugs for sale and pointed.

This is what she was pointing at:

26

Tears filled my eyes.  Honestly I don’t think I have ever seen a coffee mug with the word SHINE on it.  It felt like it was meant to be.  Farrah teared up as well.  “I guess that is my word.”  I said.  And I like it.

The story should end there… it doesn’t.

I came home after our coffee and was bringing things in the house.  I glanced over at a picture of Justin and froze.  Next to his picture are the two medals I brought home for the run that my friends and his have ran for him the past two years….  right next to his picture, on the ribbon strap of the award was the word….

25

My breath caught.  My word.  MY word.

SHINE…. for 2017 I hope to shine in all I do.  I hope to reflect well in my doings, never settle for less than SHINE quality and be the person I want to be for myself and for Justin.  We got this kid…. for you I will shine.

I hope you consider choosing a word for you.  I have had an amazing experience every year with my word.  Each year has held something special because I had picked a word to represent me and I lived it out.  Here is a list of words however you can choose anything you wish.

If you do choose a word, I would LOVE to know about it.  If you blog, please let me know if you post about it as I would LOVE to cheer you on throughout the year as you make your word work for you.  If you do not blog, please consider participating anyways.  A word…can be a powerful thing.

Fill out the form below.  I would love to know your word.  🙂

Save

Morning Meanderings….Count Down To Christmas

meme

Good morning.

I hope all of you are well and snug and warm and ready for the week to come.

This season is odd for me now.

No tree is put up in our home.  I am not bustling around and wrapping gifts and making lists….

The joy of the season – for me is gone.  For now anyway.  And I hate even writing that because it makes me sad but it is also so true.

So what do I do?

This week I will do what I have been doing the last 5 months.  I will stay busy.  I will go to the gym, walk in the arb, have coffee dates and find my way through.  My friend Amy and I are going to make a make shift 5k for Christmas eve eve  (yes the eve before the eve) because having something to focus on works for me.

Enough of that though….

lets talk books.

WHAT?????  Books?

Yes yes.. ha ha.  I have not written a review in ages.  I need to.  I want to.  I am ready for a New Year in that sense as I can start my Good Read goal again…. the one I blew this year as I just…. didnt.

AND be sure to check out First Book of the year…..  AND soon to be coming/posting will be One Word…. our word for the year which I am still sorting through as I do every year…trying to pick just the right one.  It is a BIG DEAL.

So that is a brief what is happening with me.  I am off to the gym, making biscotti this afternoon while listening to audio and perhaps a walk in the arb with a friend.

Working my way back.

I am.

54