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

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 eight-four square foot (Yes, 84 square feet!) minuscule house! This 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, and takes the reader on her courageous journey in her memoir. I enjoyed her poignant, honest, and 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 discovered 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, and 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 eight-four square foot 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.com.

 


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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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January Book Review: you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps by Price Pritchett

Price PritchettA short, concise and very inspiring book (easily carried in a briefcase or small purse), you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps by Price Pritchett encouraged me to go after my dreams and omit the excuses! More importantly, the book helped me to realize that my dreams are in reach. And, yours are too!

you2 (squared) promotes an unconventional strategy for achieving breakthrough performance in everything you want to achieve. Pritchett presents this powerful method in eighteen key components and explains how these build massive success with expending less effort and bypassing the gradual and conventional methods. His books showed me how to “quit trying harder,” to think beyond what common sense would allow, and how to make a move towards my dreams before I feel ready.

Price Pritchett

I recommend this short book (which can be read in less than an hour) to anyone who needs inspiration, motivation and encouragement to take a leap towards their dream. If you want to be challenged and learn that you can attain your goals, read this book! If you find yourself living a dull life because you have settled for the “status quo” and have no idea how you will ever create a life of abundance, Pritchett’s book will inspire you to move and take action with faith and belief. It will show you how to take what he calls a quantum leap.

A bit about the author, Price Pritchett:

Price Pritchett

Price Pritchett is CEO of Pritchett, LP, a Dallas-based consulting and training firm with offices in numerous other cities and countries. Specializing in change management, corporate culture and merger integration, he holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is recognized worldwide as an expert on personal and organizational change. He has been featured on CNN, CNBC and other major television channels. Pritchett has sold over 20 million copies of his books and is one of the world’s best-selling business authors.

To learn more about Price Pritchett or to purchase a copy of you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps, visit his website: pritchettnet.com.

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

 

 

 


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December Book Review: Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life by Abby Seixas

RIver WIthin“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Attributed to Goethe

Abby Seixas in Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life explains why it is vital to regard the things that we love to do as those which matter most. In a world that implicitly and explicitly encourages constant “doing” over “being,” hurrying and multi-tasking over living in the present moment, and as a result, propels us to experience everyday general fatigue, Seixas demonstrates how we can find joy and excitement in our lives. The “deep river within” is a metaphor for the soul-nourishing dimension in each one of us that flows beneath the business of daily life. With guidance, we can attain that which we all crave: balance and meaning.

I have to admit that I have recently been living an unbalanced and very stressful life. I have allowed myself to stop doing the things that bring me joy in the midst of what seems like never-ending responsibility and commitments. Finding this book was a god-send! As a result of reading about my “river” within in this book, I have decided to re-evaluate my busy lifestyle and commit to creating a life that will nourish my spirit and not take from it. I am committed to learning to slow down and truly live in the present moment. I am committed to doing that which I love again (blogging being one love!).

After describing the disease of the twenty-first century – the disease of “to do lists” and “a thousand things to do,” the author then thoroughly reveals the six practices that we must do to tap into our “river” in order to live joyful and meaningful lives: taking time alone, making and practicing boundaries, befriending feelings, taming self-expectations, practicing living in the present and doing things we love. I highly recommend this book to any woman who is struggling with finding time for herself in a very demanding world or any woman who is constantly exhausted, over-burdened or feels like she is going to lose her mind. Yes, it is worth your time to read Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life by Abby Seixas. You will be glad you found the time to read it!

A bit about the author, Abby Seixas:

Amy Seixas

Abby Seixas has been a psychotherapist in private practice for over twenty-five years and has worked as a consultant and clinical psychotherapy supervisor at training centers in the United States and abroad, including England, Russia and the Netherlands. Her work focuses on helping women learn and practice the art of slowing down via her workshops, public talks, retreats, coaching, and her popular Touching the Deep River groups. Abby has appeared on The Today Show, and has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Self, Fitness, Body + Soul, and Woman’s Day. She is the mother of two grown children and lives with her husband near Boston, Massachusetts.

To learn more about Abby Seixas or to purchase Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life, visit: deepriverwithin.com.

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

 

 

 


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3 Simple Ways to Set Your Heart on Fire and Why it Matters

I love coffee shops! I love what I see and find in them: people conversing, reading, writing, sharing, laughing, creating, enjoying, loafing around, and day dreaming. We need more of this in this very troubled world, don’t we? Yesterday, in one of my favorite hometown coffee shops, I experienced three things that touched my heart, and frankly, made my day! After having experienced these three things, I realized how important it is for all of us to experience them. Why? Because a heart on fire makes for a much-needed, kinder and more compassionate world! So, without further ado, here they are:

Make eye contact with people. Making eye contact makes the other person feel important and acknowledged. It tells them that they matter, that their presence is important. We all want to know and feel that we matter to others, even to strangers.

As I was entering and exiting the coffee shop today, several people made eye contact with me. It was simple and non-invasive. It was as if they told me, “Hey, good to know you are alive; we are both here, at this coffee shop, doing our own thing, and that is okay.” It was a simple nod that made me feel like I was acknowledged and that I mattered.

Give someone you don’t know a compliment. When we compliment someone, it is more about us than about the other person. It is giving without expectation, and when we do that, we always benefit. You know the old saying, “It is better to give than to receive?” Well, not to sound cliché, but it is true: when we give, we feel something good, and that “good” is what this world desperately needs.

After time well spent at the coffee shop, I decided to get something to eat at a nearby restaurant. As I was walking to my table, a woman very unexpectedly complimented my outfit. I have to admit that I was thrown for a loop! I thanked her and smiled. Her kind gesture put a smile in my heart, not only on my face. I felt acknowledged and that I mattered.

Tell someone what they mean to you. Everyone wants to know that they mean something to others. If you know someone who has positively affected your life in one way or another (even in a small manner), please tell them! We all want to know that what we do for others makes a difference to them. When we make a difference to someone else, we feel complete – we feel that our purpose on this planet is fulfilled. Telling someone they made a difference to us is simple. You can send an email, a note, a text, or make a phone call. What is important is that you let them know how pleased you are with them.

Today, during my time at the coffee shop, a friend emailed me to tell me I had made a significant difference in her life. I was a bit shocked to hear this because I had no idea! I was so happy that she had taken the time to tell me because it made me feel like I mattered and lit up my heart.

If everyone would do these three things every day, our world would be changed almost instantaneously! Just imagine it. There would be no time for bouts of anger, unrelenting fear, despair, racism gone wild, injustice, oppression of all kinds, tyranny, and unnecessary wars. The world would be transformed! We would all feel like we mattered, we would all feel acknowledged, and we would never doubt our worth and purpose in each other’s lives. Planet Earth would see a beautiful transformation starting with each person.

So, if you are like me and love to hang out at the coffee house, try these three things and observe how much better you feel.  Heck, even if you are not like me and hate coffee shops, try these things wherever you are! Set your heart and someone else’s heart on fire. Do it because you matter and it matters.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being


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What I Learned About Life From My Two Cats; Yes, From My Two Cats

Two Cats

I have two awesome cats. It’s not what you think.

Yes, I love them both; one is a beautiful Somali-type and the other is a gorgeous grey and white mix. Both are humorous, sensitive, affectionate, loving, fantastic, and I love them both equally. They have similar, laid-back personalities, but there is one part of the day (every day) that demonstrates clearly to me their innate differences: meal time! They are fed at the exact same time, but my grey and white guy, let’s call him “Tentative One,” thinks long and hard before he eats. He is hungry, and sometimes maybe famished, but he will ALWAYS wait and not eat immediately. My other cat, the “Little Lion,” a name she inherited since she looks just like miniature lion, immediately runs to her plate and gobbles up her food! She does not hesitate for one second. She knows it is coming and jumps at the chance to eat her portion.

So what is the big deal, you might ask? Well, the problem is that when Tentative is too tentative, Little Lion eats his share as well, and he is left with nothing to eat! Many times, I have to make sure she does not eat his food in addition to hers, and I have to nudge Tentative One to eat before she gets to his. Some of the time, he appreciates the nudging, and other times, he remains indifferent. I would say once or twice a week, Little Lion eats his food! Why does this happen consistently? Why doesn’t Tentative One learn that if he is tentative, he will miss out?

Like a cat waiting for his or her daily meals, the universe presents us with gifts every day. Some of us are hesitant to take what is presented while others jump at the chance. Why do we do this? All of us are guilty at being hesitant or of being too rash at times. While noticing the differences between my two cats, I realized that they still manage to get along with each other. There is a lot that we can learn from animals (at least from cats). When the universe presents something, we need to take it in faith. And, if we hesitate, someone else will snatch it – whatever it is. How many opportunities have I missed because I was the “tentative one?” Or, on the other hand, how many opportunities did I snatch too quickly and got burned because of my rash choices because I acted like Little Lion? It is easier said than done sometimes, but I prefer to be on the receiving end. Ideally, we should know when to jump and when it is best to think before diving in. However, I believe many times we think too much before taking action. I prefer to be like my Little Lion. She anticipates, she waits, she never begs, she does not fear, and when she sees it coming, she runs after it!

Now, I want to be crystal clear: I am not advocating stepping over anyone’s toes to get what you want or using any form of abuse to obtain your desires. I am simply advocating for all of us to learn a simple lesson: anticipate good things, know you will get them eventually, wait for them, and when they are presented, grab them. Many of us wait and then do not accept what is coming to us because we question whether we deserve it, or we think too long and hard about whether we should take it -whatever “it” is; and then, like Tentative One, we lose that opportunity that we desired and would have propelled our lives into a new, more exciting direction. Little Lion is courageous and she is the example we need to follow.

So today, let me encourage you to embrace your “little lion.” She is the part of you waiting to snatch that desire you have when it becomes available. Look around. Opportunities are everywhere. Make that commitment today to seize what comes to you so you can create the life you would love. Believe it. Seek it. Wait for it. And, finally, go for it.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being