Blog Archives

Morning Meanderings…. Seriously – Where You Been?


So sad to turn to this site today and see how long it has sat waiting for me.

Am I reading?  Yes

Am I doing?  Yes

So what’s my damage?  Why could I not get up like I used to… grab my COFFEE and write something funny(IMO) or amazing or ridiculous or hard or coming soon or….

Meh.  I don’t really know. 

I wont bore you with the details ( well.. any more than I already have)….  lets just rip the band-aid off and start again.


I’m Sheila.  I love to read and write and talk about both.  I love to do community and I love to create and dream and do.  I love to bike and run and I want to love kick boxing.  😉  I love to be outside the box because  A.  I don’t believe the box has ever been big enough.  B.  The box is so overdone I want to puke  C.  Life is too precious to contain yourself to such perimeters.  D.  All of the above

(yes… it is D)

That said… here is what I have been reading as of late…

The Girl With Seven Names is our Books Burgers and Brews selection for Monday November 20th.  This will be our first non fiction title we have read with this group and it should be interesting.  It is also the first selection we have had that I was unable to find any discussion questions on line (EEP) meaning I need to create the discussion…

The Bookies Book Club recently finished The Kind Worth Killing….  and ooh.  I will be reviewing this one at some point here soon….  Peter Swanson (IMO) knocked this one out of the park.  LOVED so much about this…

And finally … what am I doing on audio?

Yeah…. don’t be judgy….  every once in a while I like to listen to a true crime.  It’s been a while and this one is crazy.  Its one of those which I am seriously baffled why it took the police so long to catch him.  Trust I will have much MUCHNESS to say about this one…

Anyway – that’s my meanderings.  Stay tuned for a book review coming your way shortly.

Oh and yes….  I will again be hosting One Word here and I will again be hosting The First Book Of The Year here.  Stay tuned…..  it is coming 😉


WHAT are you reading?

Cruising Into The NEW Year


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.



The First Book Of The Year 2017


Yes.  YES!   We are totally doing this again.  This is the fourth year that I am thrilled to host the First Book Of The Year.  As always, I hope you will join in this fun event. I absolutely LOVE seeing the pictures from all over the world of all of you with your first books.

So what is First Book of the year?

The First Book is a book that maybe you have been wanting to read for a while but have not had time for, a coveted book, an old favorite re-read – whatever you want.  The point is that this is the book that will kick off the year for you.  What will it be?

Our posts of what we are reading will go live on January 1st.  You do not need to be done with the book on January 1st, just reading it on January 1st and yes, you can start on the 31st and be reading into the New Year.  I would like to link up all your posts here on the 1st as well so others can visit you and cheer you on!  If you are interested, please fill out the short form below.

Here are the pictures sent in from last years First Book:









Here is all you need to sign up and to know what to do.  Please help me to spread the word…. lets fill January 1st with the great First Books!

Good to be back all…. good to be back.

Morning Meanderings: We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Program


I do exist.

I have no excuses.  I just went about life and didn’t make it here.  I needed time to find me again… it is still a work in progress but I feel as though I may be getting there.

AND – I have been DOING.  Which…. is actually a great word.

I am going to quickly update you as I have TONS to catch up on with reviews and crazy things that have been happening (in good ways)…

Most importantly at this moment – YES to those of you who have asked if I am doing First Book again.  YES!  I love first book and this will be my 4th year doing it and I absolutely want to own this one again.  I will have the sign up ready today – I hope you will join.

Did I mention I LOVE First Book?

Next – YES I am totally doing ONE WORD again as well.  This will be the 5th year I have hosted the One Word and as you know from last years post, I LOVE this as well.  I am still thinking about my word……  posting soon on this.  Yes I promise 🙂

As for everything else….  I have been running, dressing up, biking, hanging with friends, getting out of the house, working with non profits, working with a fun online project, creating websites, walking in the snow, going back to the YMCA, lifting weights, saying YES more… and remembering that I am doing this life for two now…  and I can not let Justin down.   (Yes there are sample pictures….)






I miss all of you.  I just have not been taking the time to be here and I need to do that.  Minnesota is cold…. damp… and it s a good time to get acquainted with this blog again and all of you.

Thanks for waiting for me. 




Saturday Snapshot….Books Around The World


January 2…. how are we doing so far into this New Year?  I have been fairly busy with 2 small after Christmas gatherings with friends, a movie with my hubby, and yesterday – working on the First Book Of The Year tradition.  Let me just say out loud.. wow.  I am so glad I continued First Book this year for many reasons, yet the response was still so overwhelmingly positive that it made me so proud to be a part of this amazing community.

For today’s Saturday snapshot I am going to post all the pictures that came in from readers around the world sharing their first books into this new year.  Even if you looked at yesterday’s post, more than likely you did not see all the pictures as more kept coming in throughout the day and evening.  SO AWESOME.  But first I have to show you what Kathryn at Book Date did… she went a step further with her first book and blew me away.



Right?  Holy smokes!  When I seen her post yesterday I could not believe it!  Look at little First Book Of The Year become a video! Another couple of pictures I need to honorably mention for creativity when sending in their picture.  No, no one had to be creative, but I was amazed to see the fun efforts:

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Ahhhhh!  lol

And so with no further delay…. here are the First Books Of 2016.  If you look at my original post from yesterday in the comments people shared where they were reading from and it was exciting to see the readers all over the world.  Seriously….  wow.



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Thank you so much to everyone who participated.  This was a far larger response than 2014’s and it meant a lot to me to see you all join in as spotty as my attendance has been here over the past 8 1/2 months.  Thank you friends and fellow book lovers.  It is hard for me to explain this, but your participation in this made this entry into New Years a little easier.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I am adding this to Saturday Snapshot because…. it is awesome.

The First Books Of 2016

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Here it is.  January 1 2016. Thank you to everyone who sent in a picture of the first book they will be reading in this New Year.  This is my third year hosting this event and I love seeing all the pictures and books come in from around the world!  Thank you to the fellow bloggers, readers of Book Journey, my book club, and friends who sent in pictures.  Here are your reads of the New Year:

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Look at all of you!!!!  If traditions hold, a few of you will still send pictures in today and that is ok.  Send them to my email: and I will either update here or add another block in tomorrows post.

For myself, you will find me in the 5th block down, second row. Yes that is me holding a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – but not just an any copy.  This is my son Justin’s book, off his book shelf.  This is the copy he grew up with and loved so much that his Harry Potter books followed him to college and to his apartment after.  My son and I both love all things Harry Potter and after his accident in April I have been unable to watch any of the movies or look at any of the books that we loved so much together.  In fact, last Christmas he bought me the whole set with the new covers.  Today I am reading this book, the one he so lovingly took care of all of these years. ♥  I think it is a great book to start off my new year and honor him.


The link below is where you can link your own posts about your first book choice and why.  Be sure to link back here as well so others can see all of us around the world reading in 2016.  A question I really need to add to the form next year is where everyone is from… I know for sure Australia is represented and Hawaii.

When commenting below please share where you live and what are you reading for your first book in 2016.  Happy New Year.

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Retiring a Word…. Bringing In A New One


Here we are.

2015 has been the hardest year of my life.  I came into it with such high hopes only to feel I have been knocked off my ship and sent to crash again and again on the rocks along the shore.  You would think I could look at today as good riddance to a year that has been mostly pain… yet it still hurts to move away from the year, the last year of my son.  It’s hard to think I seen him and laughed with him and joked with him and talked books with him in 2015…. and I will not in 2016.

Emerge as you may recall, was the word that I chose to be my “it word” for 2015.  The plan for 2015 was to emerge into who I have always wanted to be… a full time writer between working on freelancing and on my own book…. no longer would it be a dream.  Well… emerge changed throughout the year with the loss of my son and my struggle to find a solid footing in what now seems to be an uncertain and shaky world.  Yet 8 months into this and I am starting to lay a path, starting to emerge again into something I believe my son would be proud of.  “Go Mom.” I can almost hear him say.


And so, as I retire Emerge this year, while it was different than I had planned – it still worked.  I believe as this word will be removed from my necklace and placed in a keepsake box I will add a letter as to what it has been like to live with Emerge this year.  A new tradition for the words that are to come.

For 2016, I have chosen the word COURAGE.

noun: courage
  1. the ability to do something that frightens one.
    • strength in the face of pain or grief.


I even already made a purchase so I have something to wear.  I still need to find it in a format that I can wear it on my chain much as I did with Emerge.  I never took it off, and I don’t want to this year either.


The new year is upon us.  There is still time for you to choose your word.  There is also still time for you to choose your first book.


Happiest of New Year to all of you.  Stay safe.  Stay well.  Love others unconditionally.



The Books of 2015

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2015.  what a year.
One  of my favorite anal-bookish things I love to do each year is keep track of my reading. I love to see the page count, the book count… I am a total dork when it comes to charts and all the bells and whistles.   I love keeping track on Goodreads each year and setting goals… however I lost track of everything this year.  I recall a big reading phase in late May and all of June just to keep my mind occupied… they were books with covers of cupcakes, and buildings, about friendships and businesses – safe books for me…. nothing deep but mind occupying.  I can recall bits of plot lines, but can not remember titles or authors – I am almost sure I did not review them and have no idea where to begin so they are among the missing.
In all honesty I probably would not have even tried to see where I landed on Goodreads for this year if I had not popped on there a few days ago and seen a super cool page to all the books I had remembered to record this year.  That love for lists and tracking sparked and I started to go through the ones I had not reviewed yet that I could recall.   And managed to come up with somewhat of a worthy year of reading :
goodreads 2015

click on image to go to report

I did not reach my goal that I set last year about this time, but I am surprised I was anywhere near it.  I like to see the books that I rated high.  I am not going to chat about them because honestly looking back they are all kind of blank to me (thank goodness for reviews!)
I do look forward to setting a goal for 2016.  And on that subject, have you picked your first book of the new year yet?  You can still join in the 2016 First Book Of The Year.  Come on… you know your going to read a book….. 😉

Do you use Goodreads to track your books?  Do you set reading goals?

Morning Meanderings…. Christmas After


It is so crazy what sort of negative anticipation a day can bring.

I was not at all looking forward to this Christmas… the first one without my son Justin.  We did not put up a tree.  I did not cook.  I did not purchase any gifts until December 24th when my husband and I went up town to find things for our son Brad who would be joining us for Christmas Day.  Until that point I had avoided retail stores as I did not want to see the decorations or the happy people eagerly choosing the gift that would make their persons day.

I had been told, from those who has gone before me on this painful path that the anticipation of the “day/holiday” is usually much worse than the actual day.  It is kind of hard to tell because I think by the time I reached Christmas Day I was numb.  I did what I had to do because my son was here and we tried to carry on with a little normalcy.  We watched TV and I gave Brad Justin’s IPAD knowing that I would never be able to use it myself and it would sit in storage until it was obsolete.  We had to guess at Justin’s password and by using his password hints we were able to figure it out, clean out his personal notes and register it to Brad. We also logged him off of his Facebook which 8 months ago was unthinkable.  As you can imagine it was a hard thing to do… but I know it was the right thing to do and Justin would have approved.

Al and Brad played cribbage on Justin’s cribbage board.  Justin LOVED cribbage and Al and he would play for hours.  It was sort of symbolic to use his board for the game.  I felt as though he were including him.


In the late afternoon we drove to the Casino which honestly Justin would have thought was an awesome way to spend Christmas.  We came up with that idea a few weeks ago as they have a seafood buffet.  At the time of decision I kept saying “Oh, we are those people you feel bad for because they have no traditions on Christmas…”  Once there, I seen my opinion on this was incorrect.  The casino was packed but not filled with sad and lonely lost people as I had imagined but couples and friends hanging out and having a good time.  Families were at the buffet and exchanging gifts and I had to change my attitude to maybe this was a nice way for families to enjoy a delicious meal and be together just as much as sitting at home around a tree.

Family traditions can be wherever you land.


I was wiped out by the time we came home around 8 pm.  Being “on” all day and the constant knowing what is missing while you try to keep going forward is exhausting.  I sat down and had a glass of wine out of a glass that Justin had made and hated that he was not here… and so glad I had climbed another milestone of firsts and made it through.  Justin wanted me to be happy.  I am trying kid…  I am trying.



Thank you to those of you who sent me a Christmas card.  That is so nice and I so appreciate your kind and encouraging words.


For those of you signed up to participate in 1st Book of the year, don’t forget to send me your picture!  Looking forward to the post!

Morning Meanderings… A Little Downton Abbey Moment


I am here.

I don’t know why I don’t post as much as I used to and I really wish I did.  I think about posts… and I dialogue them in my head… what I will say, what I will share…. a review, a funny moment, a hard one….

and then for whatever reason the days pass and I will think, “huh, I never did post about that.”

Really though… my whole life is like that now.  I struggle to get the simplest things done.  I would rather be at home than run an errand.  I still avoid crowds as much as possible, and I am working hard to avoid the retail stores this season as I just do not want to see all the decorations or the hustle of people happily gathering things for their soon to be celebrations.

But this…

is not about that.

I have been a Downton Abbey fan for the past couple of years since I first discovered this addicting PBS show.  Seriously if you have not watched this… you must.  All previous seasons are on Netflix.  In the past few months I have watched them all again…


That’s just good stuff.

A friend of mine told me that our local College Theatre was having a pre showing of the next season premiere that will not air in the United States until January 3rd.  It was a free event and people were encouraged to dress the era.  I was not up to dressing he part, but I was all in for going to the premiere.

The premiere was last night and it was fun to see those who did dress up.  Got to love our “Stars Hollow” style community.



The premiere was wonderful.  The gentleman in the above pic to the right had trivia for us.  Some of the questions were:

What is the first machine you see in the first episode, first season?

What is Mrs.Hughes first name?

What is the name of the man who came to an untimely death in season one?

What has just happened in the opening scene of Downtown abbey season one episode one?


We also received some swag..


That was my evening… and it was a nice one.

In other news, First Book Of The Year is coming along nicely and I am thrilled about that.  We currently have 65 signed up to participate!  I think this meme, and the book I choose to read will be my way of getting through the end of this year and entering the next.