Morning Meanderings… It Is About Time To Talk About What Month It Is

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Where did the month go?

Seriously.  Where is it?

I swear I was prepping posts for Audio Book Month and laying out a plan of what that would look like and then I blinked and it is June 14th.

June 14th.

Are you kidding me?

So I am starting late but I do have a plan it just was a postponed plan due to life, and camp, and work, and everything else I cram into a day.

June is audio book month.

This is when I usually tell you all how much you are missing out on when not listening to audio.  Yes, this is when I try to convert you Laurel😉.  I have posts lined up with narrators who will share with you some interesting (and fun!)things about being a narrator.  I will post what I am listening to and why.  There will be giveaways.

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Let’s start here.  Ready Player One.  I have listened to this audio four times.  Yes.  Four.  Other than the Harry Potter books, I have never done this before.  Here is the review.  This is my go to gush worthy recommendation for anyone who loved gaming, dystopian and the 80’s.  It is a great combo, read by the amazing Wil Wheaton, and it will be a movie in 2017.

Recently when I was in Chicago I went by an audio display of the best audio books and included was this audio.  I started gushing about it to my roommate Candace.  Whenever that happens.. I usually fall in love with the story all over again and sure enough, I came home and started listening to it again.  It was every bit as wonderful as I remember.

Sigh.

So stay tuned.  Please. I am getting it together.  I am.  Camp wiped me out and this is a busy week but I will get through it.

I will leave you with this –

What audio book do you gush about?  Share here – I lOVE recommendations.

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Morning Meanderings… Coffee Monday and Why Orlando Hurts My Heart

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Good morning and happy Monday.  Or… well, it is Monday.

I lost a week of chatting it up here as I was at Camp Benedict.  I thought I would have time in the early mornings to post a little something, or write a review in the afternoons.  HA.  Think again.  My mornings at camp were absorbed with conversations with the early to rise crowd.  I myself was usually in the main lodge by 5:30 am.  My afternoons were filled with more conversations, prep for the evening, a few “camp-fires” as I like to call them to put out.

And you know what?

It was all really wonderful.

In case you do not know my Camp Benedict story you can read it here.  Camp Benedict is a camp for those infected and affected by AIDS.  It is for families who deal with AIDS, it is for children through adults who may be infected – or may be affected as they have a loved one who fights this battle daily.  It is, something I knew little about when I became involved in 2009 with the camp – and it something now that is dear to my heart.

In late 2011, my son Justin came out to me.  I remember the day, it was November 2nd and we were on the phone.  I did not know prior to this conversation.  I can tell you, that while it came as a surprise, it did not change the way I felt about my son.  I loved and love him with all my heart and NOTHING would ever stand in the way of that.  In fact, if anything, it brought us closer.  he knew he could talk to me about anything, and it was in the following years as he finished up College that we started our annual trip to Florida to go to Harry Potter world (always including the date of November 2nd in those trips – which is a little known fact but one we thought was meaningful).  We ran together in mud runs, and color runs, we went to movies whenever possible…. we talked on the phone weekly, he was and is a big part of my heart and often… perhaps the biggest part.

I share this now because at Camp Benedict I have a chance to talk with many people one on one.  Often I hear the story of when they came out to their family and they talk of how family members, a parent maybe, a sibling, has pushed them away.  That hurts my heart so much.  If I would have told Justin that day, that was fine for him, but I would not be a part of his life – look what I would have missed!  Look at my life now – not knowing then that I had less than 4 more years with him.  What a waste that would have been and my heart hurts for those who have been pushed away by loved ones.  As Hermione would say….. “Riddikulus!”

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We embraced our time together and I would not trade one second of it.

This past weekend, the shootings in Orlando made me think of those who lost their lives and their families.  I pray that the families of the victims had wonderful relationships and memories.  I pray that it was not tainted with prejudices and misunderstandings.

We never know how much time we have on this earth.  Life may be long – but it may also be short.  I live with that every day.  However, I also live with the fact that I loved (and love) my son unconditionally and I did not waste one minute on making him feel bad for his choices.  For this, I know I am blessed.  I had an amazing relationship with my son and if by sharing this today can help even one person, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.

We lift our coffee cups today to those who lost their lives this weekend in Orlando due to what?  Hate?  Intolerance?  A feeling of superiority?  What horrible words.  PLEASE no matter what broken relationship you have in your own life, reach out.  Even if it is not reciprocated, at least you made the effort.  You never know down the road what a difference that can make.

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If you would like to donate to Camp Benedict you can do so here.

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Morning Meanderings… What I Like About YOU!

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It is the start of a crazy week… a hard week…. an insane week. And it is coffee Monday.  I live in a world of mixed emotions of taking what I deal with daily, sometimes by the minute, sometimes in tears, the next moment doing whatever.  That’s the way it is.

Today marks 20 years since my mom and step dad were killed in a head on collision.  I think about how that moment changed the course of my life.  I live now, in the home I grew up in.  I raised my kids here.  I am thankful for that and still claim that if I could be anywhere in the world forever, it would be this yard on my back deck.

Family

History

Memories

In all of this – THIS that I live daily now… this is just another piece of who I am and what I have been through.

I sit here this morning, typing surrounded by my sleeping bag, my suitcase, my library meeting notes, and a few books.  Today I have the Friends meeting this morning, right after that, I go to Crosslake because it it Camp Benedict week….

That’s life.

No matter what I have going on internally…. externally keeps on going… days come on the calendar and I have to move to them and through them.  There are days like these, I would rather just shut down.  Turn off the phone, close the lap top and stop – just STOP.  And I can’t.  And I guess I won’t.

It is Coffee Monday.  Started by the awesome BEA Girls who ever since we have returned from Chicago a few weeks ago, send each other a good morning and a picture so we can all be together.  Seriously how cool is that?

Which leads me to the Monday Coffee Group.  Thank you to all of you who sent in a picture of your morning coffee so we could all have a cup around the world together.  On a day like this, looking at those pictures this morning made me smile.  My week had got away from me, posts I planned did not happen, today camp starts and I wish I had my posts written and I do not.

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But this… this Coffee Monday I can do.  I do not have time at this moment to tag and link everyone and I will try to get back to that, but for now I need to just get this post up, and get out the door.

This.  This is what I love about this community.  I just shared with you my heartbreak and now I share with you coffee.  It is a fragile world that we all walk daily with our own heartbreaks and joys and somehow, SOMEHOW we look for the in between.

Happy Monday all.  Do something awesome.  Make a memory.  I hope to.

Morning Meanderings…. Surreal Moments at the Bench

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Good morning.

I have a story from yesterday…. it involves the Library, and Justin’s bench – and well..

Hopefully you know the history of Justin’s bench.  Let me tell you in case you do not – that the bench came from amazing people like YOU.  It was the bloggers in my life and the Publishing houses that all collected money and put the bench at our library in memory of my son.

That bench…

my heart…

Oh.  I thank you.  I really don’t have words to say how much that means….

So yesterday…

I am leaving the library and I see a friend walking in.  Her name is Mary and Mary and I had met when our kids were friends back in grade school.  I asked her if she had seen Justin’s bench and she said she had but let’s go sit on it.

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Ok.

We sit on the bench and we talk about our kids, and how my son Brad and my husband Al are doing, and Chicago, my love of the library, and we talk about how awesome the bench is, and I tell her about the days I spent with my son before the accident.

We sit.  We cry.  It is the first time I have sat on the bench and shared the story of my final hours with my son.  It is the first time I put into full perspective what this bench means to me.

I told Mary, “Justin and I bonded over Harry Potter books.  It was a thing with us and even in his twenties we still talked about Harry Potter and JK Rowling and went to Harry Potter world because it was ridiculously wonderful and crazy to do and that is how we rolled.”

The power of a book.  I believe books have power.  I will always cherish the fact that it was a book that brought many MANY hours and years of joy to both Justin and I.  The memory of these times I will always cherish.  ALWAYS.

Every one has a story.  This is the one I hold within the pages in my heart.

Justin dechantal, brainerd public library

On another note – Audio Book Month starts today.  I have posts coming up and giveaways so stay tuned:)

The Monday Morning Coffee Around The World Post

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Good morning all! We are trying something a little different here this morning if you read my post about inviting you all to coffee.  If you read the post I just linked, it explains where the idea came from.  I think that it sounds like a fun way to start the week.  A few things that have come out of this discussion already I would like to clarify:

The Purpose:  To have us all wherever we are, sharing our morning coffee together.

  1.  Yes, it should be a current picture of you drinking coffee (or tea, or water, or with a bagel.. whatever you do in the morning)

2.   Yes, use a fresh picture every time you join us on Mondays as the point is to ACTUALLY be sharing your morning coffee what us as in we are all drinking our coffee at the same time.

3.  Let us know where you are at such as mine would be “Sheila in Minnesota”

4.  If you are reading or listening to something awesome currently share that “I just finished listening to Ready Player One for the 4th time over the weekend.  Or share something amazing that is going on in your area like “The tulips are in full bloom” or gardened all weekend can not wait for fresh tomatoes!”  or “Tonight I start swing dance lessons”

I will post this each Monday at 9 am central time to give people a chance to get up, take a picture, and send the picture to me at journeythroughbooks@gmail.com

You get the idea :)  This is new – lets see where it goes :)  I look forward to sharing coffee with you.

Ok… it’s almost go time… I need to do my picture as well…

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Thank you all who joined in this morning!  Let me introduce you to this weeks coffee group:)

Top Left:  Amanda from The Zen Leaf (I adore this chick and met her years ago at BEA)

Top Center:  It’s Florinda from the 3 R’s!  My BEA pal and always fun to chat with.

Top Right:  Me!  Coffee this morning on the deck and rocking the Navy hat in honor of my son Brad.

Center Left:  Kate from Midnight Book Girl (another BEA connection and I already have a meet up planned with her in New York in 2017!)

Center Center:  Elizabeth from Silver’s Reviews.  Elizabeth and I also have met in New York which really is the icing on the book blogger cake.

Center Right:  I had extra spaces this morning and Sammy wanted in on this photo shoot so including him, Sammy my reading buddy.

Bottom Left:  Jill from Rhapsody In Books who is claiming her pic was not working but we want to see HER next time!  ;)  AWESOME lady!

Bottom Center:  Judy from Busy Hands are Happy Hands stopped in with coffee!  YES!!!!

Bottom Right:  Blooper reel.  Sammy was not having none of my trying to get my pic for this mornings post. 

Thanks all!  That was fun!  Let’s do it again next week, and yes you need current pics – this one doesnt count ;)  Look at it this way, it is an excuse to get ready early and have coffee. WIN.  WIN.

Today I am working in the yard a bit, and I hope to sit on the deck and read.  I just finished listening to READY PLAYER ONE (yes again) and will be chatting that up soon as well as the BEA Books  – LOTS TO DO!  :)  Right now, I am going to visit all of these bloggers:)

Have a wonderful memorial day everyone!

Catching Up And Inviting YOU For Coffee

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LOL.  I do really like this picture of me.  It has just the right dopey relaxed look that I seem to have trouble finding these days.

I also felt this picture was good introduction to today’s post.  LONG over due post by the way…..how does that even happen?  I plan for the post, I picture what the post will include – and then suddenly the day is gone and I have not posted squat.

Not like you would want to see squat.  But you get the picture.

Last week Beth Fish Reads, Florinda, and I were chatting it up on Twitter.  We had completed the Monday share your morning coffee thing and I LOVED it and thought we should do it every Monday.  They liked the idea and somehow that lead into what if it was an open invite and any bloggers could join in – like having coffee together around the world?

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Morning Breakfast With the Bloggers start up crew – myself, Candace (Beth Fish Reads, Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) and Florinda (The 3 R’s)

 

That is what I am presenting today.  Anyone who wants to have coffee “together” to start off our week send me a picture of you and your morning coffee, breakfast, energy drink, whatever (but it needs to be a morning theme) to journeythroughbooks@gmail.com by 9 am central time on Monday(s) and I will add you to the Breakfast with the Bloggers post .  Join me… or I will drink me coffee alone and that is just sad.

In other news….. yeah I have had a week and all that activity in the world zaps me these days.  I have pretty much stayed home wince Wednesday and I love it.  I do need to get back on those BEA books though…. so much to share😉

Morning Meanderings… L3 Summit…. Libraries, Libraries, Libraries

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Good morning!

I keep thinking that it would be fun to have a little thing here at Book Journey that if you see me mention libraries or the word library in a post you win something…

Then I thought…. well that is just crazy.  I talk about libraries ALL THE TIME. 😉

Today I am at the L3 Summit in St Paul Minnesota.  This is pretty cool.  About 4 years ago I was involved in a study with two of our Librarians that involved two-day work shops in ST Paul for four different dates within a year to learn more about strengthening our Libraries, and how we can help each other grow.  It was a great program and I learned a lot.  In fact, Wine and Words came out of this training.

They worked with Minnesota libraries when I was involved – a mix of large libraries, and small.  Then after Minnesota they took this program to Wisconsin.   And then this last year, they worked with South Dakota.  Now, at this Summit is a mix of the three years,all three states, inviting back those that made the most progress with the program.  I am honored to be a part of this.

So today is a day of connecting and sharing our success with our libraries and our programs.  I am excited to hear what the others have done as well.  I brought along a few Wine and Words brochures as well as tickets – cause hey – you never know😉

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Last night they had a dinner which was nice.  I came back to my hotel room and wanted a little something so thought I would check and see if they had a little snack area.  I figured there are times that it makes sense to pay $5 for something sweet.  ;)  I found in a cupboard in the room the jack pot…. and yes, I paid $6 for a small jar of Dark Chocolate Toffee Pistachios.  They had me at toffee…. lol

I will be back to talk about the books of BEA and the expo itself…. just let the last few days get away from me:)

 

 

 

Welcome to the Audie Awards…. Your Ticket Awaits You At The Door

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Hello everyone and welcome to the Audie Awards post.  I so hope I did not keep you waiting to long but what is an event like this if you do not have to wait for it to happen.  Creates buzz I think😉

Last Wednesday May 11th, I was lucky enough to be the plus one to the Audie Awards in Chicago at the Planetarium.  I was the guest of our very own Candace, Beth Fish Reads, who won the Audio Book Blogger Of The Year.  WOOT!!!!  *Oops that wasn’t very lady like…. I mean *polite clap muffled by silk gloves to my elbow*

All kidding aside, this was quite an honor.  This is a $700 ticketed invite only event and we were there!  So let’s go in shall we?

 

We arrived at 5:30 pm per instructions for Candace to have a chance to go over what she would be saying when she gave out the awards.  I was an observer at this point but it was pretty cool to watch. Everyone was incredibly nice.  I even had a chance to go and look at the cool Audie Awards that would be handed out to the winners when the event began.  I looked.  I did not touch.  I wanted to touch.

And then, before we knew it, we were being ushered upstairs to the reception area.

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The signature drink offered at the door was ummm….. I don’t know.  It was good, kind of a grapefruit flavor to it but not bitter.

Candace and I mingled with the Narrators and some of the big name narrating names.  It was really amazing and I think we were both a little shell shocked as waiters and waitresses encouraged us to take the delicious little appetizers that I soooo wish I had taken pictures of (but did not want to look too fan girlish😉 ).

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Can’t you just hear the mingling?  It was the sound of many narrators at once.:)

Then the big moment came and we were all sent back downstairs for the main event.

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Paula Poundstone was the emcee and I have to say she was hilarious.  I do not belly laugh often, but this woman had me laughing until I cried.  Better yet, you do not even have to take my word for it, the whole thing is available on You Tube! (See Below)

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One of the hilarious moments in the award ceremony was when Paula asked that the screen be backed up so she could get a closer look at one of the audio book covers.  Her question?  “Why do we not judge the covers?”  There is a pretty funny give and take on this one with the narrator who was in the audience.

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Candace did a wonderful job of giving out the awards in four different categories.  I was the careful photographer behind the scenes trying to capture the moment.

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It was a wonderful event and it went by so fast.  It was amazing to be one of the first to know what audio books won the award for best of the year.  I loved watching the audio books show up on the screen and then hearing which one won.  Many I have read… there are many more that were added to my “must listen” list.

 

When it was over Candace let me take one of the audio award envelopes that announced the winners.  TOTALLY EXCITED!!!!!!  This was pretty awesome…. and I picked…

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After the awards we were back up stairs *should have worn a Fitbit* and into the hall again for dessert and champagne.  We had a wonderful time being able to talk with many of the narrators, and still looking at one another saying, “Yeah… that just happened.”

Thanks Candace for letting me be your plus one.  What an AMAZING experience!

 

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Note that the show does not start for the first 30 minutes so forward this baby and get ready to laugh and see our very own Candace of Beth Fish Reads give away a few awards!

Morning Meanderings…. Another Day – Another Book…. (and a little story about the beer)

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Another beautiful day here in Minnesota.  Ahhhhhh COFFEE CUP and I are enjoying the deck this morning.

I left you all in limbo yesterday when I asked you to get dressed up so we could discuss the Audie Awards and then I never wrote that post.  I hope I didn’t leave you all dresses up and nowhere to go for the last 20 hours.  That’s awkward.

As I am off to visit my Aunt the reader this morning the book I want to chat about today is one that has become an author my Aunt really enjoys thanks to the diet of books I have been feeding her over the past year.  When I seen this one at the expo, I knew I had to grab it – it is an author I really enjoy too.

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Oh yes.  Elin Hilderbrand.  If you enjoy great summer reading set around Nantucket and friendships – DO NOT miss this author.  I absolutely adore her writing and and can not wait to dig into this one.  I have enjoyed her books for years and highly recommend them.  The RumorWinter Street The Matchmaker.  The IslandThe Castaways.

Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver have two things in common.  They all deeply love a man named Deacon who they all have all been married to at one time…and they all have a passionate dislike of one another.

OOH – let me just chime in here and say is that not enough right there to make you want to read this book?

All three women are remarkable, spirited women and they could not be more different.  Laurel is Deacon’s High School sweetheart.  She is beautiful and a social worker.  Belinda is a high maintenance diva, and Scarlett is a sexy Southern bell surviving on her looks and her families money.

When tragedy hits, the women are forced to come together to deal with the aftermath.  The women try to do what is asked of them – but all have an unbreakable bond to a man…. and a lot of secret to hide.

 

OOH right?  And here is a cool thing about Elin Hilderbrand.  Every year she has a book signing at the Book Expo.  And every year that signing has included Corona Beer.  Admittedly, I love that.  It is unique.  Often you receive great swag with the books – book bags, candy, book marks, digital downloads, totes, recipes, tattoos…  there is something that says “Summer in Nantucket” when you think Corona.

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So this year, I asked the publisher about this tradition of Corona.  She said that it was something they thought of doing at Elin’s first BEA  signing because it was different and fun.  People sign a book in the late afternoon of the Expo, and they get a beer.  Definitely a cool idea and after walking the Expo for 7+hours…. yeah.

Today I am taking this book while I go visit my Aunt.  I am going to propose to her that we each read it and discuss it.  Then I will post about it.  I am sooo excited about this and I think she will be too.

And when I return…. we are going to the Audie Awards so make sure you are ready for that post – it’s going to be awesome.  Really.  Get ready.  I will post it today.  I will.:)

Late Meanderings… Lets Talk About That Bench

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Whoa… wait… what?

I lost the morning.  I had every intention of putting up an earlier post and then life just gets in the way.

I had a meeting at the library this morning and I parked where I usually do near the benches. THE BENCHES.  I was there yesterday as well and spent a little time at the bench and took a couple of pictures.

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You may notice a little something on the bench in the right hand corner…

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This little rock has the word ‘TRUST” written on it.  I have no idea where it came from, but I LOVE it.  Thank you to whoever for putting such a powerful message out there.  I have no idea what it means to the giver, but I imagine knowing my son there is a ton of meaning behind it.

So today, as I walk into the library a group of teens are approaching the benches (there are three benches) and the four of them choose to sit on Justin’s bench and the tears start to flow.  I can imagine that he would love this.  I also noticed the rock was still there which also warmed my heart through the tears.

When I left the library, a different person, a lone girl was sitting on the bench and again … oh my heart.

I did not get to visit the bench today due to the activity around it.  I did not want to approach and let anyone know my personal connection to that particular bench.  That’s awkward and unfair to those using the bench… although I secretly hoped that perhaps at least one of them knew Justin, or his story and were spending a little time with him –

just like the trust rock.

 

I am behind on the BEA posts, I had another post planned for yesterday but it did not happen.  Hopefully today will be the day I invite you to the Audie Awards.  Put on something nice😉

 

3BEA Book NOTE! 

Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson

Setting:  Revolutionary War, Valley Forge

Compact Synopsis:  The conclusion to the trilogy that started with Chains and continued with Forge. Isabel and Curzon are now reported as runaways.  They are determined to find Isabel’s little sister Ruth who is enslaved in a Southern state and danger of being captured is all around.

The Draw:  Hello! Have you ever read Laurie Halse Anderson?  If not, you are truly missing out.  SPEAK was the first book I read by her (a banned book) and I was hooked.  Known for writing about hard issues, this book excites me!  And the cover?  WOW.  That caught my eye even before I seen who wrote the book.

 

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