Morning Meanderings…. Making It Through


Good morning all!

Look at that – I disappeared again.  DOH!  For good reason this time I think – I was swamped with Wine and Words 2016 stuff and pretty much everything went to the wayside the last couple of months including, reading, and audio.  *sob*

I am however over the biggest event of the year and while there is still detail work to do – deposits, thank you’s, certificates, etc…  Ahhhhh….

So a quick recap.  Wine and Words was wonderful.  Pictures will be posted on our website soon.  Allen Eskens was fantastic.  Helen Ross Klein a delight.  Brian Freeman always a win. Joshilyn Jackson cracked everyone up.  Laura Childs shared her early on writing storing.  Lorna Landvik.. what would I do without her?

And then in true me style, I stayed over night at Grand View Lodge with our authors, hurried home, tossed Wine and Words out of the can and camping stuff in and drove 3 1/2 hours to go to my cabin and hang out friends for a long weekend.  We just came back yesterday evening.


One of our Wine and Words pics…


Biking at the cabin….


A little book store stop in Ely…. I have plans for this book.  Stay tuned😀

SO lots to catch up on today so I am off and running.  Have a super day…. by golly I hope to write a review this afternoon.

Morning Meanderings…. The Return Of Me… and Burning Pop Tarts


I am here.

Holy smokes I never planned that hiatus.  This summer has had an odd feel to it – not necessarily bad, but like I am moving in slow motion and things I need to get done… takes a lot longer than it used to.

My diagnosis of myself is… I think last year I ran so hard so fast to stay ahead of the grief.  I kept going, doing, blogging, events…  and then winter came… and I slowed down.  I had time to grieve and deal head on with the depression that I was out running.  There are crazy attributes to depression.  Low energy, lack of interest in outside things, and a desire to just stay home.  All of these attributes are still somewhat true and I fight them daily.  Yes I can get out and do things – and I am fighting through… but it a new and long journey still for me.

I still cry daily….  I prefer to stay home and there are days I do not leave the house.  I am trying hard to break that habit. And most days I write posts in my head that never make it to this site and I miss that very much.  My reading and audio are down… I miss that as well.  But know this – I am trying and I want to be back.

So – whats new and happening?

Well…next week is Wine and Words (EEP!!!) Today my big focus is detail work for that event.  I am working much with our Library which is always good and I enjoy being a part of that community.  Last week I helped with a Harry Potter event to celebrate the new book, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.  The kids worked on trivia, coloring sheets, and we made HP glasses out of pipe cleaner (because that is how cool we are)  and then we all watched the first movie.  That part was hard as this was Justin and my thing… and darn it all JK for coming up with another book that I know he and I would be chatting so excitedly about.




And because I promised you burnt pop tarts…

As a kid I LOVED pop tarts… but then they went and ruined them by frosting them.  Anyone else agree?  YUCK!  I loved the plain old pop tart filled with strawberry or blueberry goodness and then recently – HUZZAH our grocery store started selling a strawberry one without frosting!!!

SO now to my next confession…. I don’t use a toaster enough to justify the counter space.  My kitchen is not huge and that counter property is precious.  I don’t like appliances sitting around that I rarely use….  (yes yes there is a coffee pot – don’t go crazy on me…lol).   Anyway, I use my over to toast the pop tarts.   turn it on low and set in on the grate, prep my coffee – and POP TART!!!!  Except a few days ago – the tart fell off the grate and to the bottom of my over onto the heating coil where I son saw flames in my oven….   oh good grief ;)  LOL  Maybe… just maybe… its time to get a toaster again.  ;0

Have a good day all.




Morning Meanderings…. Want To See My Book Shelves?


Holy smokes… where does the time go?  This writing posts in my head is fascinating stuff bu t getting them here seems to be an odd challenge.  Life has been just day-to-day busy with writing projects, non-profit commitments, gardening, lawn care, home care, and get togethers, and …and…  that just surprise me how I blink and the day is gone and I have not posted here….


I do – for the record – plan to break that nasty habit.

I missed Coffee Monday.

Sort of.

Meaning I actually went outside and took the picture with me and my snazzy new coffee cup (LOVE FUN coffee cups) Thank you Brenda🙂.

3-jill b

See my super cool new cup that says “There Is No Place Like Home?”  Ahhhhh…. that is so true.

Next week I hope to be a better hostess to the Coffee Monday so if anyone would care to join me for coffee please email me at with your coffee pic and I will add you🙂

I did promise book room pics didn’t I?  I finally have cleaned up the Chicago BEA books and found a home for them.  Now the room is the creative work space of potential Wine and Words baskets so there is still a little craziness going on in the table area… but for the most part, it is back in peace giving mode.🙂


3a - Copy




There you go.  Not exactly to where I want it – but for this time of year that is about as good as it is going to get🙂

Have a super day everyone🙂

The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer, MD


Most of us have experienced a feeling of queasiness before walking in to a large meeting or to speak in front of a group.  Or we have had that “gut feeling” when we know something is not right.

What is that?

How does our mind connect to our gut ?  Why is the gut sometimes called “the second brain?


I love this kind of stuff.  I find it fascinating and I am honestly surprised that I have not thought about this before, why does my gut hurt when I have to do something that makes me nervous?

I can not even express how much I enjoyed this.  I learned so much about serotonin (where your gut stores the most) and had no idea that your gut actually has control of your over all well-being.

I enjoyed reading about the connections between what we eat and how our diet affects everything for brain functionality to over all gut feelings.  Literally. I know about diet and healthy habits obviously, but the connection of the mind and gut to the diet was something I liked reading more about.

Over all a thoroughly enjoyable book.  It has been a busy season here for me and I honestly have not had a lot of time to sit down and read. The book did not read over my head.  It is well written and easy to understand.   I was glad to find out this book was interesting, informative and held my attention.



  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Wave (July 5, 2016)
  • Language: English


Thank you to TLC Book Tours for connecting my mind to my gut. 


Morning Meanderings…. There Be Coffee and Camping my friends


Hey all.

I wanted to put this post up on Saturday morning as we were camping all weekend with friends, however the location we were at would not let me upload my pictures… and really, this post requires a visual. 😉

First… I don’t really camp.

I did, many many moons ago when the kids were young and we would do the tent thing and those days of camping and fishing and camp fires make for great memories – they do.  Yet, and maybe some of you will agree here – when you get a certain age…. you no longer wish to sleep on the ground and wake up feeling sticky like you were wrapped in cellophane as you slept.

SO…. when this idea was first presented I was not excited about the idea.

Then I talked with our friends we would be camping with.  They all have RV’s (we do not).  Where they were staying had tent cabins you could rent so it was not exactly outdoor sleeping and it was not exactly sleeping on the ground.  It did sound like a chance for Al and I to get out of the house.  We are not big 4th of Julyers or really any holiday for that matter, but a chance to be with friends might be just what I needed.


The tent cabin (above) was not bad and the weather was perfect.


We went Friday afternoon and came home on Sunday evening.

Then we pulled into the camp ground and seen all the RV’s and tents packed into the space I thought, “Why would you do this?”  Why would you spend all the money on RVs and the food and necessities to do this for a little patch of grass and a whole lot of bugs?

As the day turned to evening I started to see why people did this.  While walking through the campground with Al and seeing all the groups of people gathering around grills and campfires, many RVs and tents in an area were groups of family and friends.  I told Al, “It is social.  People do this to hang out together. It’s low key, not a restaurant and not bowling or a movie.  They are cooking together and swimming together.”

PicMonkey Collage

We did have a nice time.  It was a group of about 20 but people were in and out with other things going on.  Al and I had planned on leaving Sunday morning…. and then that changed to Sunday afternoon, and in reality we begrudgingly left Sunday evening.

As for coffee Monday this week… it happened.  A few of you sent me pictures and thank you and I will post them now:

Monday 1

I am out… Library duties today🙂


Audio Book Month: Let’s Talk About That Audio with Florinda

audio meme J

Holy smoly….  I have dropped the ball on Audio Book Month.  SO many plans and then life has a way of keeping you running in other directions.  The good news?  I am not derailed so easy.  JULY will also be audio book month here at Book Journey. Because….

  1.  I really love audio
  2.  I really want to talk about audio
  3.  I have some great posts lined up with others that want to talk about audio
  4.   YOU need to be listening to audio.  If not, you are missing out an excellent way to experience books.

Today I want you to meet my friend Florinda.  Florinda runs the 3 R’s Blog and LOVES audio.  She is fun she is crazy (as you are about to see but that is why we love her🙂

Please welcome her now.


Hi!  I am Florinda as Sheila said, from The 3 R’s blog.  I spend upwards of two hours every weekday in my car driving to and from my job. I’ve been doing this for over a decade, and there’s really no alternative…but since I started listening to audiobooks along the way, the drive’s been a lot more bearable–and productive!


Despite having a seemly ideal environment for audiobook reading, I resisted them for years because juggling tapes or CDs did not appeal to me at all. Once I got an iPhone and discovered there were apps available to listen to audiobooks on it, there was no more reason not to give them a try. I listened to my first audiobook just about five years ago this month, and I have never looked back. Ironically, my car has become the place I do the bulk of my reading, and when there’s a new book I want to read as soon as possible, I’ll look for it in audio first.

More than a third of my reading during the last couple of years has been audiobooks, I buy audiobooks from Audible and borrow them from the public library through the Overdrive app. I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to make my daily drive without having someone reading to me through the car speakers–and when the book’s really gripping, I’ll even listen to it on the weekend!

Want to see what Florinda is listening to?  Check her out at 3 R’s Blog. 

On another fun note….

Florinda is a big Dr. Who Fan and has participated in Cosplaying events  (and I am a bit jealous they do not do some of that around here )   I do not know a lot about this, but it looks like amazing fun and I wish we had something like this here!

PicMonkey Collage



Morning Meanderings… The COFFEE, The Cups, And Let There Be AUDIO!


Another Monday!  COFFEE Monday and thank you thank you thank you  to those who sent in your pics so we could enjoy our cuppa together ;)  I love the connections around the world.  Also… many of you have some pretty sweet coffee cups.  I love unique cups and now (totally coveting Florinda’s LUKE’s cup) I am on the look out for more fun cups.  I actually choose my cup each morning depending on my mood….

PicMonkey july

You will notice my coffee cup of choice this morning…  You  Had Me At Coffee.  LOVE that one.

Audio books.  Of my word where does the time go?  It is Audio Book Month and I have lost the entire month to commitments outside of this blog.  I am still posting but we are going to be an audio book month extension.

Audio books seriously changed my life 5 years ago when I started listening.  They have brought in a whole new dimension to books to me and if I needed to be an evangelist for something… it would be audio.  Or chips and salsa… but no really, it would be audio.  I LISTEN every day – in my car, in the yard, while planting, gardening mowing, cleaning, cooking, driving….  it gives me a BOOK when I can not do a BOOK.  In the craziness that life often brings… AUDIO is what keeps me up to speed on what is happening in the literary world.

Later today (and yes I mean it this time!)  Florinda will be back to talk about audio in her world.  Please stop in and check out what she has to say.  She is a valued friend and I love to read her audio reviews.

Have a super rest of your morning.  I am off to an author event at the library. David Oppegaard will be joining us to discuss his book, The Firebug of Balrog County.


Saturday Snapshot…. Putting In The Garden


Saturday.  My favorite day of the week.

Yesterday I finally went and picked up what I needed to make my raised bed garden. I had looked at the kits at Home Depot and for a small square kit the cost was $48.99.  I have been staring at this kit for months.  It was nothing more than wood that locked together.  Yesterday I decided I would build my own.  I went back to Home Depot and purchased 4 8 foot long treated boards for $3.96 each.  I bought clamps to nail the comers together (45 cents each)… my weed control sheets – and my plants.

I set it all up in the yard and while listening on audio to a little Oversees by Beatriz Williams I put together the frame in about 45 minutes.


Then…. I called Al and said “bring in the dirt”.  Some days it really pays to be married to an Excavator who also has a black dirt lot two properties down from our own home. 😉




I added some organic feed to the dirt and the guys helped spread it in the frame.  (FYI:  the guy tot he right is my son Brad.)


The cucumber frame, a gift from my friend Gail was the inspiration I needed to have a garden this year.  The frame is set up so the cucumber vines will grow upward into the frame.  Kind of excited to see that happen.  I planted lettuce n the center of the frame, and in the other space along the back side I have tomatoes, and bell peppers, string beans, a few strawberry plants and a basil plant.


Today I am thinking about setting up a second frame for squash.

So I can also add this post to Weekend Cooking.  Here is the recipe for my favorite fresh garden salsa.  Every time I make this people rave.

Fresh Garden Salsa

firm tomatoes – 4 to 6

an onion


jalapeno (optional)

3 tablespoons sugar

salt and pepper

Chop the tomatoes to desired texture of your salsa. I prefer it with chunky bits of vegetables.  Chop onion, and finely chop cilantro (s much as you like) and add to a bowl with tomato.   Chop in little bits of jalapeno if you wish.  Season with sugar, salt and pepper.  The sugar has been my secret addition, it seems to cut the sharpness a bit and adds a lot of flavor.  Serve with good chips.  Also delicious as a hamburger topper or on a grilled chicken breast.

You can see more about Saturday Snapshot here.

You can find great recipes for Weekend Cooking here.


Morning Meanderings…. Inspiration.


Did you know?

Did you know that I have been writing on this little space of internet since 2009?

Is that not crazy?

There have been times when I wonder if Book Journey is something I want to continue as I never dreamed when I started that 7 years later I would still be doing this.  But let me tell you a few of the reasons I keep going.

  1.  Of course is the great connections to all of you.  I love knowing you and sharing my love of books and Libraries and all things literary – and as you have come to see around here, other topics as well.
  2. My friends who read this silently but once in a while will speak up about something I wrote, or a book they are reading because I gushed here.

because of this space here, there is a Bench at the Brainerd Public Library with my son’s name on it.  Every time I think about the love poured out by YOU to make that happen….  seriously… how could I ever stop?

And this week….

I was coming home Wednesday evening from the City Library Board meeting and I listened to a message from a friend.  she said she had been on my Facebook page and was sucked into whatever I was babbling about there.  And then she said she made her way here and was caught up in what I wrote.  She said her whole evening was spent reading what I have been saying, and that made my heart smile.  I tend to forget there are people/friends out there reading that never say a word on the blog, but they are out there.

And then yesterday I was at the grocery store and a friend of my mom’s was there.  I do not know her well, but she knows my family and much of the heartaches of my life.  She said, “I get so excited when you write a Morning Meandering!  I love to read what you write and I love how you open your heart being real and raw and honest.  I had no idea she read me.

So today… I think of these to conversations this week.  As well as others through the years.  I especially think of the messages that come privately that say thank you for speaking your heart… you say what I wish I could.... or your openness about your loss has helped me deal with my own.

Honestly… knowing that – I will write for as long as I am able.


A visit to my aunt… a little gardening.. a LOT of audio.. and hopefully a little time to read as well.




Morning Meanderings – WHERE”S MY COFFEE and Other Nonsense.


SO many things.

First up – COFFEE.  I did write the Monday coffee post as I hustled to get out the door this past Monday to a meeting at the library. I hit send and it said that there was some sort of something something , can not recall the wording but would like I like to go back and try again.  Uhhhhhh…. sure.  I went back and my post was blank.  No draft saved – no nothing.


SO…..  with no further ado… let me please bring you the verylateMondayMorningcoffeearoundtheworld post.  No added sugar.

PicMonkey Collage4

Here we are (or were) on Monday.  Myself, Elizabeth, and Candace. I have not been doing a very good job promoting this so let me try now. The plan started by those super awesome BEA girls:  Kim, Candace, Florida and me the instigator, thought it would be cool to send each other pics every Monday morning so we could have “coffee together” just like we did in Chicago during BEA.  THEN that instigator (you know the one) thought what is we made it bigger.  What is we invited the blogging community and our readers to join us as well.  All they have to do is send in a picture of them drinking coffee on Monday so we are virtually drinking coffee around the world at the same time.

Kind of like we are the world, but more like we are the bloggers, and with caffeine. 😉

So in recap.

  1. Send a picture of you drinking coffee by 8:30 am central time on Monday to  Maybe say something about what you are currently reading or maybe something fun going n in your life.
  2. I will add pic to my Monday post.

That is it.  Anyone is eligible.  You do not have to be a blogger.


In other news, my sincere apologies regarding Audio book month.  I have not had time to get tot he posts and it is driving me bonkers.  This month has been much busier than I thought it would be.  I will still be posting – I just need to start writing them.

I will be back later today🙂