The Grief Books… A Shelf of Tears and Love



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.


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….

And Now For Something New…. Introducing Books, Burgers, and Brews


Yesterday I hinted a bit about this….. something new was happening….  here it is.  The Friends of The Brainerd  Public Library (my peeps!) are sponsoring a new event in the area that starts tomorrow evening – Books, Burgers, and Brews!

Ok let me back up and give you a bit of the history….

A couple of years ago at a Friends Board retreat, we were brainstorming the idea of putting a book club in a bar atmosphere.

Why Sheila?  Why would you want to do that?

Thank you for asking.  Here is why.

In our community there are many people who would love to get involved with a book club but for many reasons are unable to find one:

  1.  Most book clubs are a group of friends, co-workers, etc… it is hard to get into an existing group especially if you have no connections to them
  2.  Often book clubs meet in homes and 10 will not invite a stranger into their home 2) as the person looking for a group that is really intimidating to enter into a new group and new home of someone you do not really know
  3. Book clubs are often closed groups
  4.  Yes our library has an amazing monthly book club but some do not want to go and sit in a meeting room to discuss a book

So here we are.  Here are some cool things that a bar like atmosphere can provide:

  1.  A relaxed casual setting where you can sit with your friends
  2. Food and a beverage special so it becomes a dinner out or even a date night
  3. This format (and for me this is a big one) appeals to both men and women (where often men will not go into someones home and sit around and discuss a book, they are more likely to go with their spouse or friends to check this out
  4. No pressure to speak up.  Sit back and enjoy or share your insight
  5. No commitment – come when you can, bring who you can
  6. No one has to provide the snacks or drinks….  😉

This idea came from a sort of similar type event that is held in Minneapolis by a guy I sat on a panel with once discussing the future of books.  I have enjoyed hearing his take on books through the years and love what he started with a little thing called Books and Bars.  Here is a great video of what that is about:


So going off that idea – Books, Burgers, and Brews is born.  Or… almost born….  we are calling it a Book Club With a Kick.  ;P  We are partnering with Prairie Bay to create a fun literary menu around the book… a burger and beer special and what I believe will be a fun engaging evening of conversation about an excellent read.  This is a free event…. we just want to match people to great books.

The mission:

To encourage reading by offering a fun atmosphere with food, drinks, and fun; making non readers, readers; and dormant readers remember the enjoyment of a good book.

So… what are we reading?

I am so glad you asked…


This we feel is a great choice that will engage both men and women.  It is sci – fi, but it is also funny and light… not too heavy.  I will let you know how our first one goes.  We are sold out this time… lets see if we can keep the energy up 😀