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FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME: A Novel ~Corran Harrington

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

“Daniel Arroyo has suffered a lifetime of guilt over the sudden death of his infant sister, who died when he was eight years old.  He now lives his middle years between that guilt and worsening episodes of PTSD from a Vietnam he left thirty years ago.  When a violent encounter on a dusty highway forces Daniel to face what haunts him, he finds himself pulled back to the neighborhood of his youth. Where old houses hold tired secrets.  What really happened on that steamy August afternoon?  The answer comes spilling from the old neighborhood, and Daniel begins to find his way home.  Corran Harrington takes the reader along the Rio Grande, from its headwaters to the sea.” (Cover)

Each chapter of this book flowed a segment of Daniel’s life and each was a collection of tight, incredible, descriptive words, which just held the readers attention.  One knew the wild asparagus and the movement of water in the irrigation ditch.  This was the place where Daniel value programmed, of his best friend, of his siblings and parents.  There are roots here – deep roots.  Wild roses tapped the window and the basketball bounced on the court, it was supposed to be safe.  I think on purpose the next chapter did not flow from the last, rather it was a jump into another memory and experience and at first I found this disconcerting until I began to expect it.  I think this was to show the confusion in Daniel’s mind and it succeeded.  The psychological dimensions of the story were revealed and explained out of sequence and made the reader work a bit to integrate the life being told.

By coming back home, drawn in by the wonderful next-door neighbor, Daniel is able to find himself and his own truth and it will free his life and propel him forward.

FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME is quite the read and I think I will keep my advanced reading copy on my shelf for a future read.  At this time in my life the “death” theme was a bit tough to take and I felt sadness as I read – a loneliness that made finishing the story a release.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review.  If you go to the link you can see all the other reader’s reviews of this book.

From the Cover:

“Corran Harrington is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Santa Fe Writing Project finalist, a Hidden River Arts Eludia Award finalist, a Bosque Fiction contest finalist, and a New Millennium Writings award semi-finalist who short fiction (written also as Connie Harrington) has appeared in number literary journals.  A former lawyer, Harrington also has a background in cultural and linguistic anthropology.  She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

NOTE: This review is several days late, I am so sorry I had a sudden illness and could not get to my computer to get the post into the schedule.  I hope this will prove to be a fine posting and not cause problems for TLC or the author.

Thirty Days With My Father
Once Upon A Lie
Water On the Moon

HOW TO BE ALIVE: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps The World ~Colin Beavan – Author of No Impact Man

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

“Colin’s work is about asking us to think about what makes us truly happy and what’s really important in our lives.” – Arianna Huffington

I was expecting a self-help book when I agreed to review HOW TO BE ALIVE for TLC Book Tours.  And yes, it is a self-help book and also one, which challenges the reader to know that as you help yourself you will also help others – you can change the world with one small step and repeat one small step strategies.  The author says: “That’s what this book is about – the quest for a joyous and meaningful life while living in a frightening, confusing world that needs our help.”

It is good to start this kind of living journey by knowing who you are and what is your life purpose.  The book is also a beginning workbook to assess those parts of your life and how they manifest.  Beavan also offers a free workbook one can download off his website – no lie, this is good stuff found here.  You probably will not be abandoning your cubicle after the first chapter but rather you will be writing down on paper the lists of happy moment in your life and remembering just how fabulous they felt.  How good you felt in various situations and experiences, which assist in your definition of self and how you could live a values driven life.

Early on in my life I embraced Voluntary Simplicity and a Green Lifestyle.  Our family uses bicycles and lived with only one car.  We walked the 50 minutes to school with the children and also to tennis lessons and soccer.  We grew lots of our food, shopped the farmer’s market and the free-trade store.  We worked at the food coop and did very little shopping. Our home had solar panels, and nothing toxic in the building materials.   I learned a great deal from HOW TO BE ALIVE even though I left the traditional work role early on and embraced alternative work early in life.   Actually, we live in a community that has a giant alternative life-style membership; lots of green living folks, and I still found more to learn and discuss from reading and working with this book.   Beavan also opened up my thinking about alternative folks in New York City and even in Texas – yes!  They do indeed exist.

Right in the middle of the book I discovered a quote from Kim Woodbridge, who is a blogging/Facebook friend from Philadelphia!   Delightful!

“Lifequester = Someone who tries to under stand her True Nature and uses that understanding to make a better life for herself and others.” (author)

There are lots of quotes from Religious leaders, political leaders, and famous souls and the writing is gently informative laced with great stories and examples.  There are good references and referrals to other projects and individual’s work.  I could have spent a month on this book alone; what a dynamic way to start the New Year without making resolutions and feeling better about one’s self with each section perused.  I would highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if one wishes to find more happiness and even more happiness for the whole world.  It will resonant and activate lots of tiny steps to leave the world a better place for all.

Colin Beavan
Colin Beavan Facebook

From the book, About the Author:
Writer and social change activist COLIN BEAVAN attracted international attention for his yearlong lifestyle-redesign project and the wildly popular book, No Impact Man, and the Sundance-selected documentary film that it inspired.  He has appeared on Nightline, Good Morning America, The Colbert Report, The Montel Williams Show and NPR, and his story has been featured in news outlets from Time Magazine to the New York Times.  A sought after speaker, he also consults with businesses on improving eco-friendly and human-centered practices.  He is the founder of the No Impact Project and a dharma teacher in Kwan Um School of Zen.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

“This is the book where self-help turns into helping the world – and then turns back into helping yourself find a better life. Fascinating and timely!” –Bill McKibben

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Eat To Live
The Pocket Guide To Manifesting
Code To Joy

Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit: Nourishing the Soul when Life’s Just Too Much ~Karen Horneffer-Ginter, Ph.D.

Monday, January 14th, 2013

I wish I had owned a copy of Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit when I was a young mother and working on balancing my life, with apparently no time for myself at any given moment.  Karen Horneffer- Ginter has taken her expertise and 16 years of work experience and put together a manual for all of us who are too busy and our lives are too full.   I wish I had had this book when I was doing counseling or working on a busy college campus, but the race was just warming up; the author’s words would have given us more balance as we  arrived at the started line. I would have referred this book to nearly everyone I encountered. People are so driven today; so busy.  It is here now and it is about time.

Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit is about time management but not just for work or school projects, it is about finding a new rhythm to your life which is holistic and assists one if finding their individual best life.  It is about couples learning who they are as individuals and then meshing their rhythms and activities to make a more complete experience.   It gives new meaning to partnership in relationships that does not just imitate a business model.  Our lives and our families are often very busy but they are not a business.  Corporations and Businesses are often held up as the ideal but these models are not very relevant for successful living and relationships.

Horneffer-Ginter uses a 6 step form to assist folks in finding their best, which includes rediscovering core values and integrating them into YOUR actual life not the imagined way one thought life would be happening.   She calls the steps – shifts:

Shift 1: Honoring Our Rhythms
Shift 2: Turning Within
Shift 3: Filling Up
Shift 4: Fully Inhabiting Our Days
Shift 5: Remembering Lightness
Shift 6: Embracing Difficulty
Ending with finding a balance that integrates the themes.

Searching for the spirit within ourselves can often be thought of as being part of a religious experience.  Sometimes that religious experience can be just more busyness to incorporate into our lives and may or may not give back to our best living.  This author is not preachy or evangelical in her concepts and ideas.  She is showing us how to find the magic in “no” and “intentionality” bringing us to our center and making our activities more beneficial to nurturing us and not just consuming us.   She shows us how to confront our imitation behaviors which are not working to our benefit, how to tackle perfectionistic expectations and to lift up what truly helps our best light shine.  Often these changes only take a shift in our perceptions and thinking and are not such a major workout or dramatic in their plan or intention.

The language in the book is conversational; the format is something that anyone could read a chapter or a section a day and find they are able to make the step by step changes on their own – Lots of ah-ha examples to explain and define.  I also liked that the quotes were inspiring  and were truly relevant to what she was explaining and demonstrating.  Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit was written after 16 years of practice in the areas of psychology, yoga, and contemplative practices.

Karen Horneffer-Ginter is the Co- founder of the Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness in Kalamazoo, Michigan.



I received a copy of this book from TLC online book tours and  Hay House, Inc. in exchange for writing this review.  The Publisher is giving away a copy of this book for a great comment.

If one purchases anything from Amazon  or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Thank you.  Donations also welcome.

Related Reading:
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Emotional Chaos to Clarity
Search Inside Yourself

It’s my ball and I am leaving the game!

Monday, September 24th, 2012

baseball_and_glove_over_whiteDear Good Friend,

I was so pleased to see your latest posting on Facebook and know that you are concerned about the welfare and future of what sounds like a very dynamic company.  How well they have succeeded and created a business that holds up their ideals; models their values.  I find joy in seeing the promotion of such fine people and their efforts.

My first response was to add the company name to the list of places I will not shop at or support.  It is because this group of fine people believes that their values will be compromised if they have to pay health insurance for others and for specific procedures that their values do not support.  They are predicting dire consequences and financial stretching beyond their capacity to share.  Paying for health insurance for all and all procedures is not part of their value system.  They worked hard and they achieved this success within their family.  They want their values honored in every aspect of life and in their community at large.  Well actually, they want to make the choice for everyone regardless of other’s values, hopes and dreams.

I do not shop at several mega retailers.  I do a lot of voting with my dollars and I share my concerns in letters and communications with the companies.  We work with these companies to get them to understand our values of energy efficiency, safety, and the environment. Two of the largest retailers only pay health insurance for their upper level employees, and they are exempt from paying to the state the sales tax they collect at the registers (which goes to cover state expenses as we do not have a state income tax) In several dynamic instances, we have developed a team effort which has created new products that developed new jobs and improved the environment.  I want to live out my values to the highest level and be consistent, but I still pay my taxes so that the employees of these mega retailers can have health insurance, bus service, the public libraries, sewers, water, schools, and our community health clinics.  I not only support my public schools, buy fundraising goodies from the private schools, but I also volunteer hours  of my time in assisting kids in the learning process.   I work at modeling my values in action 24/7; I hope my actions will inspire.

I do not believe in war and many of my friends refused to pay their taxes or they tried selectively paying during the past conflicts in particular the Viet Nam War.  I do not like to give money to war, and yet I live just a few miles away from one of the largest military complexes in the world.  All the pictures on my livingroom walls are crooked because of gun, canon, bomb, helicopter, and drone practice that goes on all the time.  The majority of homeless people on our streets are veterans and the majority of the children in our schools are from military families and significant amounts of our taxes go to support these families and provide logistical and emotional support.  All night long, tanks being offloaded at the port are rumbling through the downtown streets and the park around the lake is full of soldiers jogging and staying fit during the day. I cannot pick and choose what I will support and not support, if I want the best for my community.  I can only teach and share my values, and model them every day.

I must confess that two days ago when the Senators filibustered and defeated the Veteran’s job act – well the 4 Republican Senators who helped write the act – I jumped up and down, swore and screamed at the stupidity of it all.  I then sought reason and response.  These veterans risked their lives for us and now we have to scramble even more to help re-entry into the workforce and get healthcare!  That offended my values.

I have found that my values are best expressed within collaboration.  When individuals, communities, government and business work together the outcome enhances everyone and provides more inspiration, communication and creativity.  I have found when my values are confronted if I act to express my values and have them not abandoned within the process, the outcomes are more valuable.  I can relax my defensive posturing and be kinder and more respectful; it is easier to express and share my values in a constructive manner that builds and enhances others.

I would rather celebrate the millions that this company and their family has made and all the joy the hours of crafting has brought to many individuals and not write them off the list as people who cannot communicate outside of their values, who cannot enhance the whole community, and want to take their ball & bat and hit me over the head for not playing the game with only their rules.  What fun is that?

So I hope you will forgive me dear friend for not handing out the tissues and joining this “unfair” whine; I think I will take it on as another conflict that provides a teachable moment and just maybe I can enhance the process and provide a delight full outcome.  I do appreciate you drawing this to my attention and all your support over these many years.

With hugs and best wishes,

How has collaboration benefitted you and your community?  How do you feel when you have to pay for something you do not value?

If you purchase anything from Amazon    or Powell’s from the site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Donations are also appreciated. Thank you.

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