Vilma Reynoso

Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being

Gary Bryne


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July Book Review: Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate by Gary J. Byrne

Gary Bryne

Having had the very important job of protecting President Bill Clinton and the First Family, former Secret Service Officer, Gary J. Byrne, in Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate discusses his observations of the character of the President and his wife, Hillary Clinton, inside the White House. He also discusses the culture that emerged during the Clinton presidency. In his book, he explains how his dream of being a secret service agent became a reality when he was given the chance to protect President George H.W. Bush and the Bush First Family toward the end of Bush’s term. Byrne was later assigned as Secret Service Uniformed Officer outside the Oval Office during the Clinton Administration.

Reading Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate by Gary J. Byrne educated me on the lifestyle and struggles of a Secret Service officer and the politics of the agency.  Author Byrne discusses the Clinton scandals including Whitewater, Vince Foster’s suicide, Travelgate, Filegate, Troopergate, Bill Clinton’s affairs (while president, in the White House and as former governor of Arkansas), the Monica Lewinsky trial and affair, and more. In every case, the Clintons denied allegations, and it came down to their word against others’ word. He discusses how Bill Clinton arrogantly denied his affair with Monica Lewinski until he was forced to acknowledge that he blatantly lied as evidenced by the taped conversations by Linda Tripp between herself and Monica. He also writes about what he witnessed in the White House from former First Lady, Hillary Clinton – her outbursts, rage, and violent behavior toward her husband. She also used abusive language towards the Secret Service officers on many occasions.

Byrne also explains how he was put in the horrible position of having to testify about what he witnessed in the White House (Monica Lewinski and President Clinton in the Oval Office alone on many occasions and more) while upholding his oath to protect the President, and having to balance that with telling the truth and not jeopardizing his job as a Secret Service officer! The stress it put on his family finally resulted in Gary resigning from his position with the Secret Service, then taking a job as a trainer, and then as a law enforcement officer for the Federal Air Marshal Service.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for the truth about the character of the Clintons from the perspective of someone who was assigned to protect them.  The author’s experience is an indication of what kind of culture we will have in the White House again, if Hillary Clinton should become president. There are positive and negative criticisms of this book that have arisen. I am not including them here.

A bit about the author, Gary J. Byrne:

Gary J. Byrne’s career was in federal law enforcement for nearly thirty years. He served in the U.S. Air Force Security Police, the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service, and most recently as Federal Air Marshall. While an agent for the Secret Service, Byrne protected Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Gary Byrne can be contacted via Facebook.

To purchase a copy of Gary J. Byrne’s, Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate, visit: Amazon.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

Dan Millman


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June Book Review: The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation-Powerful Truths For Making Life Work by Dan Millman

Laws of Spirit

“The universe does not judge us; it only provides consequences, lessons and opportunities to balance and learn though the law of cause and effect. Compassion is the recognition that we are each doing the best we can within the limits of our current beliefs and capacities.” – Dan Millman

No matter what you believe about the universe, about god, or about what makes everything jive, Dan Millman’s The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation-Powerful Truths for Making Life Work will help you to navigate through life’s ups and downs, or its beauty and exhilaration, with grace and patience. Millman believes the universe operates within certain “laws of spirit,” and if we align ourselves with these spiritual laws, we will positively transform and live happier lives. The book is a parable – a fictional tale of the author meeting a sage in the mountains who explains to him the twelve laws of spirit: balance, choices, process, presence, compassion, faith, expectation, integrity, action, cycles, surrender, and unity. Each chapter is a conversation with the sage and a learning experience for those looking for a deeper perspective on life and all that it is and is not.

This short book can be read all at once, or it can be experienced by reading one chapter a week, a day, or even one a month. Each chapter is rich with spiritual insight. I have to admit that when I first started reading it, I found myself wanting to slow down and thoroughly ponder what was presented. I recommend this rich book to anyone who is looking for a spiritual perspective on life and a transformation of the self.  It will demonstrate to you how to free the love trapped within you, so you could expand that love to the world in joyous service for the common good.   

A bit about the author, Dan Millman: Dan Millman

Dan Millman is a former world champion athlete, university coach, martial arts instructor, and college professor. After an intensive, twenty-year spiritual quest, Dan decided to write sixteen books (so far), conduct workshops & seminars, and lecture influencing men and women from all walks of life including leaders in the fields of health, psychology, education, business, politics, sports, entertainment, and the arts. Dan’s thirteen books, including Way of the Peaceful Warrior, have inspired millions of readers in twenty-nine languages worldwide. The feature film, “Peaceful Warrior,” starring Nick Nolte, was adapted from Dan’s first book, based upon incidents from his life. Dan and his wife Joy live in northern California. They have three grown daughters and two grandsons so far. His work continues to evolve over time to meet the needs of a changing world.

To learn more about Dan Millman or to order The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation-Powerful Truths for Making Life Work, visit: PeacefulWarrior.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

 


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May Book Review: The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams

Big tiny In the last decade, the Tiny House Movement has grown tremendously. More and more people are downsizing and embracing the simple yet rich life of minimalist living. Building their very own tiny house on their own land or in Tiny House communities, people of all ages are finding unexpected gifts and freedom from living in these very small spaces.  According to psychologists, the motivation behind the Tiny House Movement is the result of the ideals of environmental consciousness, self-sufficiency and the desire for an adventurous life (all of which I can relate to). Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir, is one of the pioneers of this movement. “I found a certain bigness in my small house – a sense of largeness, freedom and happiness that comes from when you realize there is no place else you’d rather be,” writes Williams.

In The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir, Williams details how she went from living in a three-bedroom bungalow with a detached garage, a fireplace and gas heat to making the decision to build, sustain and live in an 84 square foot (yes, 84 square feet!) miniscule house! The experience and the results of her endeavor are nothing less than exhilarating, frightening, completely jaw-dropping and inspiring. Dee details her plans, explains her frustrations and fears at times, and takes the reader on her courageous journey in this very personal memoir. I enjoyed her poignant, honest and sometimes, hilarious prose; furthermore,  an environmentalist myself, I was encouraged to look at my own carbon footprint and consider tiny house living myself.

Having recently visited the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, a three-day exhibition of tiny houses and information with the mission of motivating the public to live their passions through simplifying their lives and discovering what truly matters, I was amazed and inspired by the various types of tiny houses available for purchase at any level of the building process. Below is a picture of a “bigger” tiny house that I took at the jamboree. Tiny houses come in all sizes, shapes and styles to fit any taste or budget. Truly, they are very functional and beautiful!

Tiny House Living

I highly recommend The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams to anyone who even has a tiny interest or curiosity of what the Tiny House Movement is, and what it would be like to build and live in your own little house.  Her story and writing is very inspirational.

A bit about the author, Dee Williams:

Dee Williams Dee Williams is a builder, teacher, author, occasional rabble-rouser. She is the founder of Portland Alternative Dwellings, a company centered on the principle that everyone can build the life they dream. In addition to helping people make the conscious decision to simplify their lives with Tiny House living, Dee has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the NBC Evening News, the New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, and Time Magazine. Dee lives in Olympia, Washington, in her 84-sq. ft. tiny house, the magical place she calls, “home.”

To learn more about Dee Williams and the Tiny House Movement, or to purchase The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir, visit: PADtinyhouses.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being

 

Bernie Sanders


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My Voice Matters: A letter from an Immigrant to Bernie Sanders

Dearest Bernie,

You have truly done it.

I have not been one to get heavily involved in politics, but this year, I couldn’t help myself. The reason is you, Bernie Sanders.  You have reminded me that I have a voice, and my voice is heard.

You need to know, Mr. Sanders, that in the past, my voice shattered when I spoke. I stuttered badly as a child, because I was not secure in my skin. I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood in California as part of a working poor class family. My family and I were considered strange – Mexicans that were a nuisance who would not amount to anything (even though we were Argentine; no offense to anyone who is Mexican or Hispanic reading this). I did not feel accepted, liked, normal, and especially, heard. I had no voice then. It was not until decades later that I realized what had happened to me and to my family. Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for speaking for immigrants and the working poor. Thank you for reminding me that my voice matters, that our collective voices matter.

Bernie Sanders

I am a first generation, Argentine-American who is now a United States citizen.  Like most of the masses of people in this country, I believed that what I witnessed in the world around me and what I had experienced first hand was all there was or will ever be. I believed that no one had the courage to fight for what we need, what we want, what we should have and what we deserve as citizens of this country or of the world. I believed there was no way to change the corrupt system we endure year after year. I believed with every cell of my body that there was no way to change a system that has been in place for decades, even centuries. I believed that I would not see significant social change and significant betterment of society in my lifetime. You, Bernie Sanders, have taught me that I was wrong. I owe this to you and only you.

As the eldest of three children, I watched my father devolve from a fun-loving, gregarious, and funny man who was usually the life of the party into a silent, dispondant, depressed alcoholic until his untimely death of a heart attack at the age of 59.  Dad worked in a book binding factory in an assembly line with no air-conditioning or heat for very little pay (he was a legal immigrant who did not speak English) and with an unrealistic production goal from management. My father was the sole breadwinner in our family and would often have to work overtime, sometimes as much as sixty hours per week.  He eventually secured a job working the swing shift so he could avoid the heat from the sweltering summers and meet the production assembly-line quota. Because of this change of schedule, we only saw an exhausted version of dad on weekends. My mother was left to care for me and my siblings and hardly spent any time with her husband. We were the working poor class. Dad sacrificed his life working his ass off getting paid minimum wage or less doing a job that would drive anyone insane. I am now part of the middle class because of my father’s unrelenting dedication and sacrifice. I acknowledge that sacrifice and commitment from my papa. I have never forgotten that.  

Like my father, Bernie, there are many other fathers (and mothers) in this country working menial jobs where the pay is not enough to even survive month to month. This is the result of the unregulated, corrupt capitalistic system we have in place where greed flourishes and people are viewed and treated like machines for production. This is unacceptable. No person should have to work in deplorable conditions and earn a meager income. YOU, Bernie Sanders, are the only politician in a long time that has even addressed, (and much less cared about) the condition of the working poor or the immigrant, and I thank you for that. I thank you for standing up for working class families and fighting for an increase in the minimum wage in this country. June 24th would have been my father’s 82nd birthday. Below is a picture of him working at the factory. I often imagine what his life would have been like if he had been treated better at work. I wonder if he would have lived sober, if he would have not died so soon. I imagine how different my childhood might have been.

Dad

We have a long way to go in this country (and worldwide) to change or improve the systems in place that abuse and oppress people. It is your vision, Mr. Sanders, your courage and your passion that ignites the fire within each person to step up and do their part in changing our country for the better, not only for the plight of the poor and the immigrant, but also for all the other problems facing this country that you address. Thank you for your courage, your diligence, your inspiration, your unwavering conviction, your honesty and trailblazing spirit. You are the inspiration that we all needed to fight for change, to fight for freedom, to wake us out of our slumber. It is people like you who change the world for the better. You are our voice and have helped us rediscover our own voices. I sure hope you will be elected our next president, Bernie Sanders, but if you should not, I want you to know how truly grateful I am for you.  And, if my father were alive today, Bernie, I picture him shedding a tear (or two) knowing there was a candidate running for president that would have heard his voice.  He would have Felt the Bern, and he would have been SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL.

From one inspired immigrant who speaks for other immigrants,

Thank you, Bernie.

To learn about Bernie Sanders and his vision, visit BernieSanders.com or Bernie’s Facebook page, BernieSanders.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

 


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April Book Review: The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible by Kate Lawrence

peacemaker_cover_60_pct

An intriguing read, Kate Lawrence’s The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible explores the practical ways we can experience and spread peace on this planet. Kate analyzes and summarizes the obstacles to living in peace from the personal and societal levels. Each chapter explains how small changes can make a tremendous difference. She explores the damaging results of personal habits such as careless eating and drinking, packed lifestyles and schedules, instant gratification and anger, for example. Kate also explains the ramifications of some advertising, media saturation, general rudeness and prejudice, environmental degradation and overpopulation and how these things are damaging to a society seeking amity and harmony. In conclusion, the author summarizes how our daily actions do and will contribute to a more compassionate world.

I found Kate’s book an easy and informative read. I recommend The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible by Kate Lawrence to anyone who is looking for a way to make thoughtful and compassionate choices every day. I especially recommend this writing to anyone who might find themselves lacking joy or peace, or to those who are searching for how to live a simpler and more fulfilling life.

A bit about the author, Kate Lawrence:

Practical Peacemaker, Kate Lawrence

Kate Lawrence is a writer, an environmental and vegetarian activist, and a retired reference librarian. She spent ten years as a full-time church administrator, founded a Buddhist sangha, and has studied and practiced several other paths, both religious and non-religious. She has been consciously simplifying her life for the last twenty-five years. Kate lives in Denver, Colorado, where she is assistant organizer of Denver Vegans Meetup and educates the public about vegetarian issues.

To learn more about Kate Lawrence or to purchase The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible, visit her blog, practicalpeacemaker.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 


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March Book Review: Finding Quiet: Four Simple Steps to Peace and Contentment-Without Spending the Rest of Your Life on a Mountaintop by Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson, Vilma ReynosoFor many years, I believed meditation was only for people in India, those who were more spiritual or those who have nothing to do with their lives. As embarrassing as this is to admit, I now know better! I found Paul Wilson’s Finding Quiet: Four Simple Steps to Peace and Contentment-Without Spending the Rest of Your Life on a Mountaintop very helpful and extremely inspiring. I am not a meditation expert by any stretch of the word; however, after reading this book, I feel that I have the tools and knowledge not only to begin with confidence, but also to continue without ceasing.

Paul Wilson divides Finding Quiet into two sections – the first is for beginners of meditation and the second for experienced meditators who want to go deeper. I was especially thankful for the structure of this book because as a product of a western, go-getter and always-busy culture, I was a bit intimidated when I stumbled up on this reading. However, after immersing myself in this book, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that meditation is not difficult and is essential for our ultimate health, happiness and well-being.

Within Finding Quiet, you will discover what Wilson calls the “underlying quiet” and how to find it and experience it. He unveils why meditation is essential, (especially if you feel that you do not have time to meditate) and clearly demonstrates what meditation is as well as what he believes are the most important, three quiet practices: deep, directed and aware. The author explains how meditation enhances peace of mind, clarity of thought, emotional stability, creativity, general calm and physical well-being. I am excited about incorporating meditation into my life!

I highly recommend Finding Quiet: Four Simple Steps to Peace and Contentment-Without Spending the Rest of Your Life on a Mountaintop by Paul Wilson to those who are curious about what meditation is and how its daily practice can greatly improve your life. This wonderful book will also inspire experienced meditators.

A bit about the author, Paul Wilson:

Paul Wilson, Vilma Reynoso

Paul Wilson is known around the world as “The Guru of Calm.” He has taught meditation for almost thirty years, is a businessman, lecturer and renowned author of two novels and nineteen self-help books. Wilson began his meditation training in the Buddhist and Yoga traditions, experimented with Transcendental Meditation in London in the late 1960s, then synthesized what he learned from these and other meditation traditions and created a simple, secular meditation approach which he coined “The Calm Technique.” His meditation methods are taught and practiced throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. Learn about Paul’s mission to spread peace and quiet.

To learn more about Paul Wilson or to purchase Finding Quiet: Four Simple Steps to Peace and Contentment-Without Spending the Rest of Your Life on a Mountaintop, visit: calmcentre.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 


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February Book Review: DEconverted: a journey from religion to reason by Seth Andrews

Deconverted In DEconverted: a journey from religion to reason, author Seth Andrews describes his journey from Christian to atheist. Born the son of Christian ministers and raised since a very young age to follow Christ, Andrews relates his life experiences chronologically and demonstrates how he eventually embraces full atheism and becomes the creator of one of the largest atheist online communities. He explains some of the fallacious thinking exhibited by Christians as well as some of the discrepancies or contradictions in the bible, and as a result, comes to the conclusion that both reason and faith in the Christian god cannot be reconciled. He also summarizes the unfair characterizations and assumptions exhibited by society in regards to atheists.

I found DEconverted: a journey from religion to reason by Seth Andrews an easy, comical (although at times, very serious), informative and pleasant read. Even though I did not agree with all of author’s conclusions in some areas, I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about one man’s journey from Christianity to atheism or to those who are struggling to make logical sense of the Christian faith. This book is an encouragement to those who hear that never-ending, small voice of doubt that says, “This doesn’t make sense.”

A bit about the author, Seth Andrews:

Seth Andrews Seth Andrews is the creator of The Thinking Atheist, a community website dedicated to emerging and long-time atheists. The website includes resources, podcasts, videos and more to enlighten and educate the public on atheism. It is one of the most popular freethinker communities on the internet today. He is also the author of Sacred Cows: A Lighthearted Look at Belief and Tradition around the World.

To learn more about Seth Andrews, or to purchase his book, DEconverted: a journey from religion to reason, visit TheThinkingAtheist.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being