Vilma Reynoso

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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

 


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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 

Melanie Joy


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November Book Review: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.” – Adolph HitlerMelanie Joy

In award-winning, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, Melanie Joy explains why we, as compassionate and loving human beings, make the decision daily to eat and use some animals (cows, pigs, chickens, for example) but care for and not eat others (dogs or cats – at least not in the United States). Coining the term, Carnism, the invisible belief system or ideology that conditions people to eating animals, Melanie Joy exposes the lies we have been told to believe and explains why we think we have free will, when in fact, our freedom of choice has actually been eliminated. She discusses how the primary defense of the system of Carnism is invisibility – we do not see what happens to animals before they hit our plate. Invisibility reflects the defenses avoidance and denial, and is the foundation from which all other mechanisms stand.

After a thorough summary of what occurs behind closed doors to animals worldwide, Dr. Joy brings to light why eating animals is believed to be normal, natural and necessary, and why “free will” (as it relates to animal consumption) is actually a myth. She also highlights the mechanisms of psychic numbing in addition to the aforementioned denial and avoidance: routinization, justification, objectification, de-individualization, dichotomization, rationalization and dissociation. Melanie Joy concludes with how we can move from Carnism to compassion for all living beings.

As an ethical vegan (a person who does not believe in the using, wearing, or eating animals and their byproducts), I thoroughly found this book fascinating! It was easy to read and understand the concepts Dr. Joy presented. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the vegan lifestyle, and especially to those who want to learn about the psychological reasons why we eat and use some of our animal friends and not others or to those concerned about the destruction of our only planet and how Carnism contributes to that.

Dr. Melanie Joy

A bit about the author, Melanie Joy:

Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M. is a Harvard-educated psychologist, professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a celebrated speaker. Dr. Joy was the eighth recipient of the Institute of Jainology’s Ahimsa Award (past recipients include the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela), which she was presented with in the House of Commons in London. She also received the Empty Cages Prize. Dr. Joy’s work has been featured on stations and programs including National Public Radio, PBS, the BBC, Radio Canada, Germany’s ARD Luxembourg’s RTL, ABC Australia, Good Morning Croatia. Her work has also been highlighted in many publications including (but not limited to) The New York Times, Canada’s Le Soleil and The Huffington Post Quebec.

As founder and president of Carnism Awareness & Action Network, Dr. Joy has given her critically acclaimed Carnism presentation across the United States and in sixteen other countries. In addition to Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, she is also the author of Strategic Action for Animals and has written a number of articles on psychology, animal protection and social justice. To learn more about Melanie Joy and view one of her videos explaining Carnism, or to purchase a copy of Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, visit her website carnism.org.

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


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June Book Review: Will We Survive Climate Change? One Last Chance by Len Frenkel

It is summer in the northern hemisphere, it is warmer than usual in many places worldwide (including where I live), thus I found it appropriate to summarize the book, Will We Survive Climate Change? One Last Chance by Len Frenkel.Len Frenkel

There is a lot of misinformation floating around these days on the internet about climate change or global warming. Because of the confusion, many are quick to deem global warming or climate change a hoax or nonsensical. This decision is nothing less than a very grave mistake. There is an overwhelming amount of documented scientific evidence to support the theory that Earth is warming at a surprisingly alarming rate. If you are wondering why you should care about this situation, then you need to read this book! If we do not change the way we are living worldwide, the results will be nothing less than catastrophic: we, as human beings, will not survive.

Len Frenkel, in his book, Will We Survive Climate Change? One Last Chance, demonstrates why it is imperative that we are not only concerned about climate change, but why we need to take action NOW. Len explains, in very easy to understand terms for the layman, what climate change is, why the earth is warming, what is causing this situation, and what we need to do to stop this environmental disaster. Frenkel discusses how technology, scientific advancements, and factory farming are filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, and how these gases cause our atmosphere to warm. A warmer earth causes all kinds of worldwide devastation such as (but not limited to): extreme temperature changes, devastating floods, earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes and “abnormal” weather patterns. Having had the pleasure of supporting Len’s work as one of his editors, I will say this book is well documented and supported, and it is written with minimal scientific jargon so anyone can understand it.

I highly recommend Will We Survive Climate Change? One Last Chance to every human being who wants to continue living on planet Earth. This is a MUST READ! This is a quick read for anyone interested in or studying environmental theory. It is the perfect book to give to anyone as a gift. Those who want to understand the basics of climate change, why it is happening and what we can do about it will appreciate this book.

A bit about the author, Len Frenkel:Len Frenkel

Len Frenkel is founder and president of the Lehigh Valley Vegetarian Society in Pennsylvania. He is vegan and very passionate about educating the public about climate change and environmental damage to our one and only planet Earth. Lehigh Valley Vegetarian Society aims to teach the people about serious issues pertaining to environmental sustainability that need to be addressed: health and nutrition, animal brutality in factory farms and in other worldwide practices, and damage to the environment resulting from meat consumption. Len lives in Bethlehem, PA. Will We Survive Climate Change? One Last Chance is his first book.

To learn more about Len Frenkel, join his Facebook page. To order a copy of Will We Survive Climate Change? One Last Chance in ePub or paperback version, visit willwesurviveclimatechange.com.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings From One Creative Being

Earthships


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April Book Review: A Coming of Wizards: A Manual of Human Potential by Michael E. Reynolds

Earthships, WizardsThere is a magical, enchanting and beautiful plot of land on this planet that has inspired many to change their lives and follow their dreams. This spot is about 20 miles west of Taos, New Mexico, and is the inspiration for one man, Michael E. Reynolds, who is on course to change the world. An ahead-of-his-time visionary and entrepreneur, architect, author, environmentalist and inspirational warrior, Reynolds is nothing less than brilliant. His book, A Coming of Wizards: A Manual of Human Potential, is written to explain his method of thinking behind his revolutionary “Earthship,” a beautiful, fully sustainable structure made mostly from garbage (cans, tires, bottles, and dirt for starters) and recycled materials for off-the-grid living.

Do not let the title fool you! A Coming of Wizards: A Manual of Human Potential is a unique text in that it covers the author’s history and personal story and his thoughts and views on world ecology, architecture, spirituality and physics. It also includes Reynolds’ poetry throughout. This book is very engaging and thorough. The author shares many diagrams to explain his concepts and also pictures of his Earthship structures in New Mexico from the simple to the more complex. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a more sustainable way to live, those who are environmentally conscious or those interested in radically changing society for the better.

Part one explains the author’s state of mind, the human condition and the basic way of thinking required for humans to reach their innate potential. In part two and three of this book, Michael Reynolds presents the “wizard Information”(essentially, divine or innate wisdom that can only be attained with a proper and open state of mind) along with a real and practical way of applying it in our lives. He then explains the wisdom gained that enabled him to begin his architectural work and then expand it, and the type of thinking required to manifest such a reality. Thus, this book is about finding and moving toward our human potential and learning to work with and not against planet Earth. In his own words, “the way to ride the energy to its full potential is to know the nature of the energy, so that it doesn’t control or harm us, and to also realize we cannot control it. We are talking about an alignment or a union, or a merging with energy. This is the way of the wizard. Control is the way of the ego.”

I had the pleasure of touring some Earthships recently on a trip I took to New Mexico. I also had the opportunity to not only view the Earthships, but also to spend a few nights in two different, beautiful ones! It was an experience I will never forget, and one of my goals now is to eventually live in an Earthship myself. Below, are some photographs from my visit:

Earthships

Earthships

Earthships

A bit about the author, Michael E. Reynolds:

Mike Reynolds, Earthships

Michael Reynolds is a world famous architect who has spent the last forty plus years evolving the concept of “ home.” His vision is for the home to care for its inhabitants and not vice versa. With this logical goal in mind, he set out to design, build, refine and master the Earthship, which is now an affordable reality and can be built easily.  Designed with concepts that any person can adopt, these self-sustaining buildings can provide housing for all people on any place on the planet. To learn more about Michael E. Reynolds and his Earthships, visit: Earthship.com or GarbageWarrior.com. To purchase a copy of A Coming of Wizards: A Manual of Human Potential, visit: Earthship.com.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

 

E.O. Wilson


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December Book Review: The Creation: An Appeal To Save Life on Earth by E.O. Wilson

Influenced by his southern Baptist upbringing and the beauty and mystery of nature throughout his lifetime to pursue a career in biology and the sciences, E.O. Wilson writes to the pastors of the world in a plea to put aside science and religion’s opposing worldviews for the saving of planet Earth in this concise and well-written argument. In The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, Wilson explains scientific humanism while demonstrating a thorough understanding of the religious belief of intelligent design. The book is easy to read, interesting, entertaining, eye-opening and poignant.

E.O. WilsonE.O. Wilson begins with the definition of what nature is followed by why we should care about the destructive environmental changes that are occurring. He explains the symbiosis and biodiversity of life on earth, and in a surprising and interesting chapter, covers thoroughly why the ant species are so needed for our survival. The author explains why the decline of ecosystems, the demolishing of our rain forests, the overfishing of our oceans, global warming, and more are destroying our planet Earth and life as we know it. Demonstrating his love and genuine curiosity of nature and the origins of life, Wilson talks about the beauty in nature and how we have only begun to catalog the multitudes of species on our planet. His appeal ends with an explanation of what science is and its role in understanding the creation, and asks the “Baptist pastor” to work with him, essentially to allow religion and science to work together in the mutual goal of saving the planet (and humans) from its current level of destruction.

E.O. Wilson

I highly recommend Wilson’s, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, to those who are naturalists, humanists and environmentalists who seek an overview of biology and current environmental devastation. I also recommend the book to those who are Christian or subscribe to other religious beliefs. E.O. Wilson’s argument explains why denial of the above-mentioned ramifications will only lead to our extinction as a species and the ultimate end of life on Earth as we know it.

A bit about the author, Edward O. Wilson:

Wilson is a world-renowned naturalist, humanist, myrmecologist, former Harvard biologist, theorist, author and winner of two Pulitzer prizes and is the author of over twenty other books. Furthermore, he has written more than four hundred mostly technical articles and has also won over one hundred (very impressive!) other awards including but not limited to The National Medal of Science, Japan’s International Prize for Biology, the Presidential Medal and Nomino Prize of Italy, The U.S. National Medal of Science, and the gold medal of the Worldwide Fund for Nature. A brilliant mind and compassionate spirit, Edward O. Wilson focused his career on scientific research and teaching at Harvard University for forty years prior to retiring and founding The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. He lives with his wife, Irene, in Massachusetts.

To learn more about E.O. Wilson, visit: The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

To purchase a copy of The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, visit: Amazon.

Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.


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March Book Review: The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods by Julia Butterfly Hill

Today is Earth Day, and I feel it is appropriate to re-blog this book review again. Author and activist, Julia Butterfly Hill, who lived in a tree for two years to save the CA Redwoods, is one of my heroes. Enjoy!

Vilma Reynoso

Julia Butterfly Hill, Luna, VIlma Reynoso There is a moment in our lives when we truly come to  know and understand the relationship we have with creation and nature. Nothing is ever the same again. I, as well as this courageous activist and author, Julia Butterfly Hill in The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods , in one life-changing, delicate moment in the Redwoods, understood this.

My only visit to the Redwoods was in 1992. I spent about twenty minutes hiking in and around the tallest and most beautiful living beings I had ever seen! My heart thumped, my eyes and ears opened wide, and my spirit became ALIVE. I felt a connection with all that lived in and around the trees. All my senses became alert. It was that moment in the Redwood forest that taught me the power of stillness and appreciation of…

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