Slice of Life Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”

This was week six of our Diabetic Fit programme through the YMCA and today we had a tour of our local supermarket with a dietician.
Half of us are prediabetic and the information was very beneficial. Most of it I had read or already knew, but the woman phrased it in new ways. Like talking about insulin as a key that will unlock the door to our cells so they can use the glucose but if it can’t unlock the door, the glucose stays in the blood.
We went from the produce department, to seafood, to bakery, and finally to the pharmacy. We compared products and talked about how different ones could be used. We checked out calories, carbohydrates, sugar, satured fats, and fibre and discussed what we should be eating daily.
Even though I was familiar with reading the info on packages, it made me realize that we really haven’t been keeping track of carbohydrates as we should. Time to buckle down and really take charge of our diet and meal planning. I’m glad we went.
At the end, the dietician prepared a delicious salad for us, with avocado, peppers, red onions, tomatoes, chopped lettuce, with a lime, oil dressing. YUM! I then made it for supper. I will definitely be making it again.

WOW – Women on Writing Blog Tour for “Catch a Dream”

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I was excited to have an opportunity to read and review Catch a Dream by Wendy Brown-Baez, as part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour.

(I received an advance copy to read and review.)


My Review:

Wendy Brown-Baez wrote a memoir about her stay in Israel. Catch a Dream grew from her experiences there and became a novel, a novel about a woman’s spiritual journey.

Lily felt she had to emulate the life of Christ and was drawn to Israel, feeling it was the ideal place to go to explore the Holy land. As she says: Jerusalem “has written herself all across my heart”.

She went with her nine year old son Jonah, her best friend Rainbow and her daughter, after traveling throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

We share Lily’s journey – of Israel, of the people there, both Jewish and Arab, and of her interior journey. We learn about the Jewish culture, about the political history of Israel and Palestine.

As she travels and learns about the country, she meets many people, including Levi, who she comes to love. But all is not all that it seems.

Lily is very honest about her past – her loneliness, her pain, her fears. She exposes her inner turmoil to us and the questions she asks at different times throughout her journey, are ones we have probably asked ourselves, or could ask ourselves.

I was drawn to read her book – as I faced a journey to a different place, with a different culture when I first began teaching forty years ago. I too came to love the people and the land of the far north of Canada.  Though I only stayed three years, to this day, I still feel the hold the north has on me. I can relate to Lily’s desire to stay in a country that had such  strong meaning for her.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Wendy’s novel and would highly recommend it. You quickly get caught up in Lily’s journey of discovery – both of Israel and her interior life.


Book Summary

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A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil. In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep?

Print Length: 196 pages

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: BookBaby (March 24, 2018)

ISBN-13: 9781543925579

 Catch a Dream is available as an eBook at BookBaby and Amazon.


About the Author

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Wendy Brown-Báez is the author of a poetry CD Longing for Home, the full-length poetry collection Ceremonies of the Spirit (Plain View Press, ’09), and chapbooks: transparencies of light (Finishing Line Press, ’11) and Elegy for Newtown (Red Bird Chapbooks, ’14).  She has published both poetry and prose in numerous literary journals and anthologies, both in print and on-line. She received McKnight, Mn State Arts Board and Saint Louis Park Arts & Culture grants to bring writing workshops into non-profits and community centers.

Wendy has facilitated writing workshops since 1994 including at Cornerstone’s support groups, the Women & Spirituality conference at MSU Mankato, Celebrate Yourself women’s retreats, All About the Journey healing center, The Aliveness Project, Unity Minneapolis,  El Colegio High School and Jacob’s Well women’s retreat. Wendy received 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants through COMPAS Community Art Program to teach writing workshops for youth in crisis. The project at SafeZone and Face to Face Academy developed into an art installation showcasing their recorded writings. When it was noted that students’ reading scores improved, she was hired as Face to Face’s writing instructor.

In 2012 she was awarded a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to teach writing workshops in twelve non-profit arts and human service organizations. She continues to teach at Pathways: a healing center, in Mn prisons, and in community spaces such as public libraries, yoga studios, churches, and cafes.

Wendy has taught memoir at MCTC continuing ed and through Minneapolis community ed.

In addition, Wendy has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator of Monologue Life Stories. Wendy studied alternative healing, ceremony, and spiritual traditions with Earthwalks for Health and lived in Mexico and Israel. She has collected wisdom teachings from these diverse cultures, as well as written memoirs of her adventures.

You can find Wendy Brown-Baez at:









Be sure to check out all the stops of the Blog tour:

Blog Tour Dates (in Chronological Order)

 May 21st @ The Muffin

Grab a muffin and a cup of coffee and read Women on Writing’s interview with author Wendy Brown-Baez and enter to win a copy of the book Catch a Dream.

May 22nd @ Memory Revolution

Jerry Waxler relates to the main character in To Catch a Dream as if she was a real person. His post reflects on lessons learned in this fertile ground between “memoir” and “fiction-based-on-fact.

May 23rd @ World of My Imagination

Exercise your imagination over at Nicole’s blog The World of My Imagination where she reviews Wendy Brown-Baez’ book Catch a Dream.

May 24th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Make sure to stop by Jill Sheet’s blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez fascinating guest post on conflict and peace. The author answers the question – is peace possible without forgiveness?

May 24th @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

You should also stop by Rebecca Whitman’s blog where Wendy Brown-Baez talks about free spirits and belonging. What if home is not where we come from but where we feel we belong? What are we willing to give up to stay?

May 25th @ Margo Dill’s Blog

Come by Margo Dill’s blog to catch another guest post by author Wendy Brown-Baez. This moving post is about motherhood and how can we be a good parent and yet fulfilled as a woman?

May 26th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Come by Ashley Bass’ blog to check out Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on trauma and healing. How can we stand up for ourselves? How can we reclaim our voice when we have been silenced by trauma?


May 27 @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog

Make sure to stop by Beverly’s blog to find out her thoughts about Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.


May 22nd @ Memory Revolution

In a second post, Jerry Waxler will share Wendy Baez’s own words about the choices she made to publish her true life story as a fictional novel.

May 29th @ Mari’s #JustJournal! Blog

Stop by Mari’s blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on journaling and self-reflecting writing. A must-read if you love freewriting or journaling!

May 30th @ Story Teller Alley

Come by Veronica’s Story Teller Alley blog and find out how Wendy Brown-Baez book came to be in the Story Teller Alley feature “Where Do Stories Grow?”


June 1st @ Words from the Heart

Come by Rev. Linda Naes’ blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on the topic loving someone who is not good for us.

June 2nd @ McNellis Writes

Come by Margaret’s blog when she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on the subject of travelling in countries during times of unrest.

June 3rd @ Margo Dill’s Blog

Stop by Margo’s blog where she reviews Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.


June 4th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Come by Ashley Bass’ blog and find out her thoughts on the moving book Catch a Dream.


June 5th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog

Take a look at Wendy Brown-Baez guest post over at Madeline Sharples’ blog where the author talks about writing to heal. A must read during these troubled times!

June 7th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Stop by Kathleen’s blog where she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on writing authentically about difficult or painful topics.


June 8th @ Words from the Heart

Take a heartwarming journey over at Rev Linda Naes’ blog Words from the Heart to find out her thoughts on Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.


June 14th @ Become Zen Again

Come by Shell’s blog Become Zen Again where she shares her opinions on Wendy Brown-Baez moving book Catch a Dream.

June 18th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Stop by Wendi Huskin’s blog Strength 4 Spouses where she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on writing to heal.

June 22nd @ Strength 4 Spouses

Stop by Wendi Huskin’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the book Catch a Dream. A must read for your upcoming summer vacation!

SOL Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”.


Today began earlier than I planned (8:45), with the doorbell ringing and ringing. I grabbed my housecoat and rushed to see who it was. A community health nurse was wanting a patient – she was obviously at the wrong house. She handed me my paper though, and so I stayed up to eat breakfast and read the paper.

My husband got up soon after, had his breakfast and then we showered. My son arrived by 9:30, first to fill one of our tires (OnStar diagnostic informed us a tire was low) and then to drive us to Hamilton for my husband’s transplant clinic appointment.

Normally my husband drives, but the distant from where we park would have exhausted him and I’m not driving at all now. My son has moved to our city to be there for us. Now he mows our lawns, does odd chores and even some driving. I could a nice meal on the day he comes.

I had hoped there would be some positive actions the doctor would take to help my husband – whether from this doctor, or his heart doctor. But each look at the numbers and say, everything looks okay.  Today, we didn’t even seen the doctore – we saw the nurse and the intern.

Yet my husband has trouble walking longer than a few minutes without stopping and huffing and puffing. He has gained at least 15 pounds in the past 4 months. He is discouraged, I am stressed and feel too little is being done. At least we are participating in a diabetic fit programme through the Y for 3 months – 6 weeks to go.

It is so hard to see your partner suffer  and not be able to do anything. I have gained some weight through stress eating as well. The past four years in particular have been a challenge for him. He sees the doctors saying “see you in a year” (heart dr) or “see you in 6 months (transplant dr) as a good thing – I see it as washing their hands of him – not knowing what to do.

All we can do, is go day by day, trying to eat well, take more steps and be there for each other.

Slice of Life Tuesday


Today id Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”.

As we drove home this afternoon, I shut the book and already regretted finishing it so quickly.
I had been waiting and watching for “Bellewether” by Susanna Kearsley for months and months. (She’s a Canadian author)

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I have read all of her previous books and loved them, many are a combination of historical and contemporary fiction, with a love story.
So, on Saturday, when I finally saw it in Costco, I had to buy it .I vowed, though, that I would stretch it out and savour it. Normally, I would read a book late into the night, finishing it often at 3 or 4 in the morning. This time, I forced myself to stop at 1.
I read a bit on Mother’s Day, a bit more on Monday. Then today, with only about a quarter of the book left, I took it with us in the car and read in between our stops. And then, I finished it.
What a consummate storyteller Susanna is. The back and forth between present day to 1700s America was so well done, with  so many connections. I highly recommend this book – and all of her others.


Check here for a review from Goodreads.

Slice of Life Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”.

Last week I read an interesting article by Kathy Ewing that had me looking back to my early years. She wrote “Remembering My Parents’ Bookshelf” and it definitely brought back memories of the banker’s bookcases we had while I was growing up. These glass-encased shelves held a special place in our home and housed the hundreds of books my father had (and all of which he had read.).
My dad was a reader, my mother not so much. Dad would rather read than entertain. Often times he would settle in his recliner to read while Mom talked to company.
I remember books by Churchill, books on WWII, Pierre Burton’s books on Canada, and even many classics gracing the shelves. Dad belonged to the Book of the Month club and it was a special day when a new book arrived.
I still have several of my Dad’s books on my own shelves, most with his signature inside the books. I wish I had been able to keep one of the banker’s shelves. I loved how the glass door swung up and back. (This was as close as I could remember the bookcase – although Dad’s were dark wood and had four shelves)



From him I received my love of reading and books. Now my own shelves are overflowing. At least now I have time to read every day.

Review of “The Vines We Planted” by Joanell Serra

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I was excited to have an opportunity to read and review “The Vines We Planted” by Joanell Serra, as as part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour.

(I received an advance copy to read and review.)


My Review:

Joanell Serra has crafted a poignant novel that reveals an extended family’s complicated lives. She expertly weaves together several story lines, from Amanda and Uriel to Elena and Jim to Gloria and Lourdes, with other interesting characters intersecting with them as well.

It was a fascinating read – from the lovely setting of wine country in Sonoma, to the tangled webs of lies that affects everyone in different ways.

It is like a puzzle, at times, that we piece together, story by story, until all the lies are exposed and the truths are revealed, even though these truths are so painful.

I would highly recommend this book – once started it was hard to put down. I wanted to know how each of the characters, especially the women, would react to the unmasking of the lies.


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Publication Information:

In the heart of the California wine country, secrets seem to grow on the vines that Uriel Macon’s family have tended for generations.

Uriel, the winery’s young widower, steers clear of complicated relationships. He prefers the lonely comfort of his vineyard and his horses, until he is reminded of his love affair with Amanda Scanlon; a relationship that ended when she abruptly left the country years ago under a cloud of mystery.

When Amanda returns to Sonoma because of a family crisis, she tries to mend the broken relationships she left behind. In addition, she seeks the truth about her parents’ complicated history and her own parentage.

But Amanda’s unveiling of the past has devastating consequences. In the midst of California’s beautiful Sonoma Valley, the Scanlon family struggles to overcome harsh realities with dignity and grace.

Both Amanda and Uriel stretch to take care of their families, which are facing immigration issues, marital crises, and loss. While navigating these challenges, the couple must decide if they trust themselves to love again, or to finally let each other go.

A Sonoma local, author Joanell Serra’s debut novel is captivating, poignant, and uplifting, demonstrating how seeds planted long ago continue to grow. Sometimes into a strangling weed, sometimes offering a bountiful harvest.

” …the story of a family facing struggles…delicately and expertly woven together in a saga set in California around Uriel’s family vineyards, where each relationship appears to have a bearing on others… the plot is credible and surprising at the same time, and yet it all blends together well and combines to make an exciting and believable novel. The characters are so good that they could easily continue in a sequel.  ” –Jane Finch for Readers’ Favorite


About the Author

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Joanell Serra, MFT lives with her growing children, husband and dogs in the lovely Sonoma Valley. After years of publishing short stories, essays and plays, The Vines We Planted is her debut novel.  She can be found polishing her second novel at a coffee shop, sipping a perfect Cabernet in a Sonoma winery or at her website:

Find Joanell Online:


———-Blog Tour Dates


Monday, April 30th @ The Muffin

Author Interview & Giveaway


Tuesday, May 1st @ Word Nerd

Elizabeth at Word Nerd reviews “The Vines We Planted” by Joanell Serra and interviews this popular author about her latest work!


Wednesday, May 2nd @ World of My Imagination

Nicole reviews Joanell Serra’s “The Vines We Planted” for readers at World of My Imagination. Don’t miss the opportunity to find out more about this fast paced novel!


Thursday, May 3rd @ Phytallic

Don’t miss today’s review of “The Vines We Planted” by Joanell Serra. Readers at Phytallic will be delighted and intrigued!


Friday, May 4th @ Write Happy

Catherine Brown shares her review of “The Vines We Planted” with readers at Write Happy. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn more about author Joanell Serra and her latest work!


Saturday, May 5th @ The Muffin

Crystal Otto reviews “The Vines We Planted” by Joanell Serra.


Monday, May 7th @ Beverley Baird

Beverley Baird reviews Joanell Serra’s latest work “The Vines We Planted” and shares her thoughts with readers at Beverley A Baird.


Tuesday, May 8th @ Lisa Haselton

Lisa Haselton interviews Joanell Serra about her writing and her latest novel “The Vines We Planted”. Don’t miss today’s informative and encouraging author interview!


Wednesday, May 9th @ The Constant Story

Fellow author David Berner reviews “The Vines We Planted” by Joanell Serra. Readers at The Constant Story will delight in learning about this beautifully written novel published by Wido Publishing.


 Thursday, May 10th @ Coffee with Lacey

Readers at Coffee With Lacey learn more about the beautiful “The Vines We Planted” as Lacey reviews Joanell Serra’s latest novel.


Monday, May 14th @ Choices

Joanell Serra is today’s guest blogger at Choices. Her article about Mental health is one you won’t want to miss. Learn about this and find out about Serra’s novel “The Vines We Planted”.


Thursday, May 24th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Joanell Serra pens today’s guest post with Kathleen Pooler – don’t miss Serra’s insight about mother/daughter relationships and find out more about her new book “The Vines We Planted”.


Friday, May 25th @ BookWorm

Anjanette Potter reviews Joanell Serra’s “The Vines We Planted” and shares her thoughts with readers at BookWorm!


Tuesday Slice of Life


Today is Tuesday Slice of Life – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teacher”.

I almost didn’t participate, but then saw a post by Paula Kaye called “Currently” and thought it perfect for my lack of focus.

Currently this First Day of May

Outside the Window
All day it has been lovely –warm and bright. A day for shorts and sandals. The flowers have started to bloom. Tonight though, the street outside is quiet and darkness has settle in.

I’m wondering how we can make changes to our meals so that my husband won’t snack so much at night. The diabetic nurse gave us some suggestions when we met today.

Right now the news is on – I am a news junkie. Earlier though, we watched “The Voice” – my favourite show.

I’m reading several books now:
A MG novel I am critiquing for a friend
The Secrets of Solace – the second book in a fantasy series by Jaleigh Johnson
The Last of August – the second of a mystery series by Brittany Cavallaro
Birds Art Life – a memoir by Kyo Maclear

I am taking part in several challenges – both art and writing:
Miniature May – creating a 5×5 collage each day in May

NaPiBoWriWee – National Picture Book Writing Week – I wrote my first very rough draft of a pb – hopefully I will write one a day this week
Story a Day – I am once again using “The Encyclopedia of Me” to write an entry a day, as a tribute to Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

I am learning new strength and balance activities through the Fitness programme my hubby and I are taking through the Y (2 days a week for 3 months – we are into our fourth week)

At the beginning of each month, I write out the plans for the month that I hope to accomplish – from projects, to tasks, to books I plan to read (to meet the reading challenges I have joined).
I keep this journal all year – to record monthly goals, challenges, quotes, information from books I have read and lists of different things.

What’s in the Kitchen
Tonight I made homemade spaghetti sauce (ground turnkey, mushrooms, peppers, onions, garlic) and served it over cooked spaghetti sauce.

A Quote to Share:
I read this post ( visit here) and loved it. I discovered this quote by Alexandra Franzen there:
Toss your pebble into the water and watch the ripple go, go, go, expanding outward into unexpected possibilities, opportunities, and invitations. There’s no telling where the ripple might lead.