Rebecca’s Magical Mondays #5 – Unconditional Love

Welcome one and all to the land of unconditional love — to your heart and mine! I made you a 2-minute video in Carmel-by-the-Sea!

Here is to your week of beauty:

1. One of my favorite poets: Terry Spencer Edwards – read two poems here.

2. One of my favorite books: Zahrah the Windseeker – Nnedi Okorafor. A lovely podcast interview by Yin Change of 88 Cups of Tea is here.

3. Shaman Durek speaks unconditional love here in a great DENtalks LIVE podcast – stick with it – trust me. For more on Shaman Durek, check out his site.

Bring your light into this moment and know, the world is better because you are in it.

Here’s how you can help:

1. Write the words: I love you in a text, on a piece of paper, with sidewalk chalk out in the world.

2. Delight in the delicious: indulge in something you love.

3. Read a poem!

And remember: Find magic in the everyday. There are clues everywhere!

Rebecca’s Magical Mondays #4 – Shift into Ease

Greetings Earthlings and You Magical Beings Made of Stars!

I hope you have been able to find some snuggle time like sweet South, the ninja rescue dog pictured above. I have been snuggling under the covers as much as possible this week to recuperate. I am thrilled to share that during my #88WriterlyDays, I wrote 17,000 words for the sequel to my novel! I had already written 21,000 words prior to that so with the production schedule I developed, once I get confirmation from the amazing editors and designers on my team, publication is scheduled for December 8, 2020. Woohoo!

Speaking of publication, yesterday, I was honored to be featured the newsletter of acclaimed writer, Sarah Selecky, here.

As a reminder, this Magical Mondays series is a new experiment for 2020 and you can take or leave what serves you. I hope you find something that touches your heart and spurs you to action.

Onward to our inspiration list for the week:

1. Troop Zero on Amazon Prime Video is one of the most tender, beautiful and funny movies that I have seen in a long time. It comes from the same writer as Beasts of the Southern Wild. I urge you to take the time to watch it.

2. Mothering with the Moon – Free Preview Call on January 28 at 12:30 pm Pacific Time: I recently called Mariah Joy Soloy Belt, the “Yoda of Parenting” — and she is much more than that. Her upcoming course, “Mothering with the Moon” focuses on the energetics of being a mom and not going full throttle all the time. She has a much more beautiful way to put it. I encourage you to check out her page about the preview call here. You can sign up and catch the replay too!

3. Librate Mediation App: This is the only app made by and for the Black, Indigenous and People of Color Community. You can learn more about the founder on this news clip.

4. Grace Lin on The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelfthis is a touching, short, uplifting and eye-opening talk. And of course I enjoyed her 88 Cups of Tea Podcast Episode.

5. Make an Emotional Labor To Do List: This lifehacker article helps to raise awareness about all of the little things that don’t get put on the list whether you have a partner or not.

6. A Total Shift in Business: This podcast episode: You Have to Risk it All: Inside the Harrowing Creative Shift of Jennie Nash – WeGrowMedia–  was so revealing. It’s a conversation between two friends, Dan Blank and Jennie Nash, who share business goals and practices on a weekly basis. Jennie has a million dollar business and she is completely changing it because she was not paying herself enough and it was taking a toll on her wellness. It is very illuminating if you have been thinking about building a business.

Here’s how you can help this week:

  1. Take a walk and don’t look at your phone for 15 minutes. Just look around and notice what and who is around you.
  2. Visit the library or check out the Libby app for free access to books. Read!
  3. Want to Design a Life & Live It? Check out my Work With Me page to learn more.

And remember, Look for the magic in everyday life. There are clues everywhere!

 

 

 

Rebecca’s Magical Mondays # 3 – Mama Chelo’s Guac!

Greetings and Happy Magical Monday!

I’m writing to you while sipping homemade broth and tending to myself and my home. It’s been a wonderfully slow weekend as I can tell that my adrenals need some restoration.

This edition of Magical Mondays is heavily focused on the heart, mind and belly.

As promised last week, a step-by-step guide to Mama Chelo’s guacamole is at the bottom of this post. It is delicious! If you make it, let me know. And if you want to know about the woman behind the recipe, she is my grandmother and is featured in this HuffPost article about my novel. I wrote and recorded a poem about her and I also share 5 Life Lessons from Mama Chelo on this blog.

Here is our inspiration for the week:

  1. Renaming Fear: Tara Sophia Mohr, author of Playing Big, offers two Hebrew definitions of fear: Pachad & Yirah.  The former is the generally the not helpful one, unless you are actually threatened and the latter is very helpful as you expand into greatness. Check out the definitions and a short video explanation.
  2. Protecting Your Heart: While I write about love and healing a lot, I also have learned, the hard way, that boundaries are my best friends when it comes to my heart. As I laid in bed this morning pulling cards, reading Nancy Drew and Hafiz poems, a friend and I were texting back and forth about recovering. I was reminded of this post by Danielle LaPorte, “Open Gentle Heart, Big F*cking Fence. The Advice I Give on Love that Took the Longest to Learn.” It’s a keeper and also very helpful when raising humans to be feeling beings.
  3. Bouncing Back: This morning I also listened (and sobbed) to Dr. Maya Angelou’s inaugural poem and then decided to binge a bit. This recitation of her poem, “And Still I Rise” is so heartening.
  4. Beyond Heroes and Holidays: This book published by Teaching for Change, is an exceptional resource to explore today, as the U.S. celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  5. Mind Love for 7 Minutes: I sent this Birdsong Earth Meditation to someone this week and thought you might like it to start off your week.
  6. Inner Mental Strength based on Science: This Rick Hanson interview by Marie Forleo is a great way to get grounded and explore options for reprogramming your brain if you find yourself struggling. You’ll also find links to listen on your favorite podcasts.
  7. Unlocking Us: Brené Brown’s new podcast is coming. Enough said. And if you have never heard of her work, scroll down to “aisle two” of my post, I Love You More Than a Boy Cheese Sandwich where you’ll find both her Ted Talks and some other resources.
  8. Mama Chelo’s Guacamole Recipe: Enjoy! Ingredients: Avocados + Hardboiled Eggs (1 to 1 ratio), scallions, lemon and salt.

Scoop out avocados but do not mash them.

Slice the hardboiled eggs into small pieces.

Slice the green part of the scallions as shown above to taste. For two avos and two eggs, I estimate 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of loosely sliced scallions. (If you are out of the green parts, use the white section at the base of the scallions, but use less so they don’t overpower the taste. In the photo above, I am using the middle of the scallion because that’s what I had left.)

Squeeze fresh lemon juice to taste. For two avos and two eggs, half a lemon works.

Use a fork and a knife to cut the avos like you are cutting food on your dinner plate. Avoid mashing them at all costs. The goal is chunky guacamole so you can experience all the tastes.

Mama Chelo liked corn chips with her guacamole. Lightly salt the guacamole. Then taste it with the chip you are using to make sure it’s balanced. You can always add more salt.

We plop the seeds in to keep it fresh looking but in truth, squeezing lemon juice on top will keep it from turning brown. Keep it sealed if you don’t devour it on the spot.

Enjoy!

Here’s how you can help this week:

  1. Make yourself some guacamole and eat it right away.
  2. Meditate for 1 minute when you wake up and 1 minute before you go to sleep.
  3. Dance to your favorite song.
  4. Do one act of selfless service this week in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  5. Share this post with someone who needs it.
  6. If you’re not a subscriber, please enter your email and join the family.

Look for the magic in everyday life. There are clues everywhere!

Rebecca’s Magical Mondays #2 – Find the Clues

Greetings friends!

Thank you for the delightful responses to last week’s inaugural Magical Monday! I’ve been collecting some bits of inspiration for you all week. As always, use what serves you and consider if something feels edgy – it might also offer something for your heart!

Here goes:

  1. Local Author Day: As I mentioned last week, I served on a panel for Local Author Day at the Santa Barbara Public Library. It was a privilege and great source of joy to share and learn from so many writers. Here’s the link to the recorded livestream.

2. Writing Resources:

3.  Getting Grounded: Wolves at Your Heels: The Fear That You’re Always Behind, Doing the Wrong Thing, & Generally Screwing Things Up Royally by zen habits: This is a helpful post if you are feeling a sort of generalized anxiety and need help getting grounded.

4. Getting Yourself Organized Before Diving In: Here’s another great short post by Jason Lengstorf (the Yak-Shaving guy from last week) tapping into the french cooking tradition of “mis en place.”

5. Music: I love cello music and have been following Sheku Kanneh-Mason for a while. His new album dropped last week and here is a song. And if you are on Spotify, this is the link to the album.

6. Rebecca’s Magic Monday video: I made you a two-minute video in a tree after a hike and included a beautiful hawk way up in the sky with a reminder to look for clues in nature.

Thanks, as always for reading and following!

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Share this post with friends via social or email.
  2. Check out my book The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón or ask your local library to order it here or here
  3. Send a text or note to someone with gratitude for them being in your life.

Stay tuned next week for a short video with Mama Chelo’s Guacamole recipe.

I appreciate you and your heart. Look for the magic in everyday life. There are clues everywhere!

Rebecca’s Magical Mondays #1

Greetings friends!

I’m starting a fun experiment today called “Rebecca’s Magical Mondays” — a menu of inspiration for the soul, heart, body and mind. I run across so many resources weekly that I wanted to share them on a regular basis. I figured that since I recently completed #88writerlydays on Instagram when I worked on the sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon and #88mysticathletedays, perhaps I could share something weekly–that’s only 52 times!

As always, I invite you to enjoy what serves you. And perhaps if a resources feels edgy or out of your comfort zone, give it a chance. Sometimes resistance can be a great teacher and a pathway to expansion!

Here goes:

  1. Health: The Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine recently shared a round up of best articles of 2019. I thought that Herbs for the Immune System and Growing Medicinal Herbs in Pots would be helpful as many of you navigate your way through the winter.
  2. Planning: For years I have followed the approach of creating Core Desired Feelings based upon Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map book. However, this is the first year that I used her the workbook which helped me get very clear on how I want to feel in all aspects of my life–and how those feelings support what I want to create.
  3. Working: One of my friends/colleagues shared Jason Lengstorf’s short blog post called “Yak Shaving: On Doing the Work before the Work”and it has been a game-changer for me. This approach has helped me to view the tedious tasks of life in a whole new way.
  4. Money: Tosha Silver’s new book It’s Not Your Money has intrigued me. I haven’t read it yet, but truly enjoyed her books, Outrageous Openness and Change Me Prayers. Here’s an interview on the money book which I truly enjoyed.
  5. Music + Body: My sister friend sent me this song by Allen Stone called Naturally. It is one of my anthems this year for sure.
  6. Rest: My friend and #WalkInnBeauty mastermind leader, Ho’omalamalama Brown shared a blog post called The Ritual of Rest in 5 Easy Steps. It’s a wonderful and simple approach to consider integrating into your life.
  7. Meet me in person: If you or someone you know is in the Santa Barbara area, I’ll be on a panel for the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Local Author Day on Saturday speaking about the craft of writing. The details are here and also on their Facebook page.

I’m easing up on social media with the exception of a few posts on Instagram on my Writer account and Mystic Athlete account, so here’s how you can help me:

A. Share this post with friends by forwarding or sharing on social media and encourage them to enter the email and follow the blog.

B. Buy my book, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage Food and Friendship or tell someone about it or ask your local library to order it. It is available through independent book sellers, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes. 5% of net proceeds go to Teaching for Change.

3. Share info about my book through my website: RebeccaVillarreal.com

I hope that you enjoyed this quick gift of resources. I appreciate you and your heart. Look for the magic in everyday life. There are clues everywhere!

All the Gifts are for YOU

Hello beautiful people! For some time, I have been wanting to share a selection of my favorite makers, creators and healers with you. Now that the holidays are coming, I thought that I would share them all in one place. And many of them have created special discount codes just for followers of my blog! That was totally unexpected! I’m not an affiliate of any of these wonderful people, I just adore their work!

Consider these gifts for yourself and for anyone in your life. The links are a feast for your eyes and hearts! Please share widely!

And before you jump into the delightful rabbit hole below, remember you can buy The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón on IndieBound and Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you’re new to my book, check out The Huffington Post Article or information about how 5% of all net proceeds go to Teaching for Change here. Definitely check out their Social Justice Books site for ideas too. Or you can listen to this radio interview (skip the two minute intro) or watch my documentary about my time at Drop Out on Orcas Writer’s Residency. I made a silly trailer too about working on the sequel at Drop Out:

And if you are doing some big dreaming for 2020, do check out my Design a Life & Live It sessions on my Work with Me page.


Everything below has a wonderful sprinkle (or gallon) of magic, so here goes:

Simple Wealth Original Jewelry For The Modern Free Spirit.

I discovered these amazing pieces made from recycled materials and fell in love with her bracelets, earrings and rings. Below I’m wearing her gorgeous labyrinth earrings.  And guess what – use the code MAGIC15 for 15% off! Thanks Lizzie

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Noah’s Garden Creations

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see me beaming with my latest earrings made from flowers from one of my favorite places in the world – Toro Canyon. There are creations from all kinds of places and now ornaments and cutting boards! Check out Kathy’s creations – her earnings are helping her pay for her special ed teacher certification!

Inspired Inspiration Deck by The Collage Cafe

This deck has traveled around the country with me and is my faithful friend at home. When I need inspiration with a great question and meaningful quote to take me through the day or the week, I turn to this beautiful deck which is filled with super cool ART by Lindy Stockton.  And we are THE ONLY ONES to get a $5 off code with INSPIRE. Woot!

Mystic Oracle Deck by Lindsay Pera and Sarah Love Hannah McCoy

Looking for a magical deck which can lift you into a new perspective? This deck opens up a portal to a new understanding of your surroundings. I have used this deck to help calm me during stressful times, as a little extra guidance when I’m discerning and truly to bring insights into my current situation. Stay tuned for a 10% off code from Sarah! And do check out the rest of Sarah’s offerings on her site. Or you can sign up on her site and get a 10% off code.

The 2020 Mystics Almanac 

Lindsay and Sarah were co-leads for two masterminds in which I was fortunate to participate. I have watched both women do their larger work in the world with grace and generosity. This almanac includes Astro insights from the very talented Vanessa Cuoto, as well as numerology from Kari Samuels and Akashic Records from Priscilla Stephan. And, the almanac utilizes the cards from the deck above. There’s a video from Lindsay where you can learn more.

Terra Gold Plus – CBD Products

Shelly Stone and her husband own this highly ethical company and even recently lowered their prices when they gained savings from their suppliers. My two favorite products are their patches and their balms. They also have a helpful CBD buying guide.

Pura Luna Apothecary for Medicinal Teas and More

Owners and marrieds Ashe and Chris (photo by My World Productions) have created a sense of community at Pura Luna  Apothecary that is like no other. I found a home away from home there which has been so nourishing. I recommend Ashe’s medicinal teas for all kinds of needs. She’s a skilled and certified herbalist who makes custom blends as well. She reminds me that they are not always created for taste, but for function! Explore their online store for more inspiring and healing resources.

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Scafuri Bakery Italian Cookies

This was one of my two go-to bakeries when I lived in Chicago for twelve years. Founded in 1904, these recipes are old school and delicious. My favorite cookies are the Cuccidati (fig cookies) and the Pignoli (Gluten Free Pine Nut Cookies). My mouth is watering as I write this! And lucky for all of us, they ship cookies online! If you live in Chicago, head on over to Taylor Street and go to town! Their doughnuts are amazing too.

GLOWING SEASON — Molly Costello Art & Design

Speaking of Chicago, I’ve been following Molly Costello on Instagram for a while and I’m so intrigued by the images in her Glowing Season calendar. She was just voted “Best Indie Crafter” according to the Chicago Reader poll. $2 from every calendar will be donated to the Chicago Community Bond Fund. You may enjoy exploring her Etsy shop for prints too.

2020 – Myron Fowler Calendar “Navajo Mylo” on Instagram

Photography by Mylo Fowler is some of the most stunning imagery I have ever seen. He sells prints, teaches workshops and does humanitarian work by bringing light and power to homes across Navajoland. The link for the calendar, which benefits this important work, is included above. And do check him out on Instagram for a feast of beauty.

Studio Sauvageau Handmade Bags

I discovered River Jaguar’s bags during a trip to Ojai and love her creative spirit. Plus they are washable and so thoughtful — pockets in the right places, strong zippers and snaps. Check out her online shop!

One-on-One Regenerative Grief (and Joy) Sessions with Donna Helete

I’ve experienced a level of healing with Donna that has transformed my life. Her website says “let grief rewild you.” I call her my Grief and Joy Coach because she has transformed my relationship to grief and sorrow and as a result, I feel more joy and gratitude daily. She is the most empathetic witness, insightful coach and comes to the table with years of training in the area of grief. And most of all, she walks the talk because she has had a number of life experiences which deepen her knowledge. You can learn more on her site. Her sessions are sliding scale $60-100 per hour and her email is donnahelete@gmail.com. And we meet via video!

Mariah is brilliant. Working with her revolutionized my parenting and opened up pathways to communication in my marriage like never before. I spent more than a year in two masterminds (with a very small group of entrepreneurs) with Mariah. I watched her build this beautiful course and I had the honor of enrolling in her Family Foundations course. Here’s the testimony I wrote which you’ll see on her site: “Mariah carries a deep wisdom and with that comes the kind of compassionate witness we all need. I am a better mother, wife, friend and person after circling with Mariah.” Her course starts in February but she offers payment plans if you enroll before the end of 2019.

There are many other amazing entrepreneurs like B. Yellowtail, whom I follow or Nite Owl Ink whose t-shirt I’m wearing in the Noah’s Garden Creations photo above. (You will love his designs!) And if your furry family member needs a denim jacket like our South below, check out Flowerchild 93013.

I’m also deeply connected with more amazing entrepreneurs. Currently I’m enrolled in Ho’omalamalama Brown’s #Walk_Inn_Beauty mastermind and truly enjoying it. She is amazing and offers a ton of free resources on her WholelisticFit.com site. You might also like to join us for the last few days of November for our daily live plank 5-minute burst sessions. They are free and you can join here.

 

Oh and check out two of my favorite books: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz and Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okarafor-Mbachu

 

I hope you feel like your swimming in magic gifts! Please share this post widely so that more people can see the beauty of these amazing humans!

 

Let’s Do this: #88WriterlyDays + #88MysticAthleteDays

Greetings friends! I hope this moment finds you content.  And if not, may these words and the video below bring some joy to your heart!

Today I’m starting #88WriterlyDays — working everyday for 25 minutes on the sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon. And, many of you know about the Mystic Athlete way of life which I have had fun creating. I’m also launching #88MysticAthleteDays with a commitment to 25 minutes of movement per day.

And just to make it all a bit more magical, I’ve added #88DaysofEverydayMagic. Why? Well, that’s an invitation to notice the beautiful bits of life and the synchronicities that signal all of the good coming your way. It’s also a chance to create your own plan for the next 88 days or whatever works for you.

Want to nap more? Make a plan for three times per week. How about three distraction-free meals per week? Or maybe once a week, you’ll pick a home project and knock if off the list. By late November, we will celebrate! You can follow my writerly adventures on Instagram here and my Mystic Athlete adventures here.

In the video I mentioned, the documentary I created from my awesome writer’s retreat on Orcas Island. You can watch it here. I also mentioned that I am obsessed with the podcast of 88 Cups of Tea. It helps me to stay super motivated to keep writing. I also recently chose to become a patron of her platform. Finally, my experience with the work of Ho’omalamalama Brown and her Walk Inn Beauty mastermind has helped me to create 48 ideas for working on my book during the next 88 days.

Also, I promised to share some of the inspiring folks who keep me moving. Here they are:

@hoomalamalama

@getfitwithsarai

@joshzitomer

@iamchrissyking

@iamlshauntay

@stephgadreau

@themirnavator

May the next 88 days be filled with magic and grace! And no matter when you read this, the invitation stands. Join me, quietly or share it with friends, family or the world! If you choose the latter, let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oranges and Aluminum Foil – A Poem for the Unraveling

Oranges and Aluminum Foil

A poem for the unraveling

By Rebecca Villarreal

#viewsmyown

For the full impact and a lot of HOPE, listen to this poem here.

***

They call him

while deviants touch

the breasts of incarcerated innocents

at the border

between freedom and extraterrestrial accusations

Marketers analyze the product ecosystem:

Appoint them to kill the bees

so food becomes a novelty

and the Mafiosos of Monsanto

can reinvent what passes for a dinner plate

Whisper sweet nothings

into the ears of white supremacists

as they burn black churches

and chanters attack

“the others” now roaming the dome

Ignore planet earth agreements

Frack until there is no coming back

Add a portable portion of shock, awe

and a nation of shame

There are days when we remember human dignity

and also know the network

of he who shall not be named

was always working in the wings

Now though he hangs a shingle

on a wrought iron fence

These crags in human consciousness

were always there

Now they stand on a platform

of the make greats

of the again that never was

So how do we raise our heads

to a new day

Admit to the turning away

well before the up in arms of today

the share button

the scroll down to a new recipe

Let us turn toward the suffering

Flash floods insist upon it

Tectonic plates tell us

to drop, seek cover and hold on

we drown in buckets

of hopelessness and pills

to appease the gnomes standing on our chests

weighing down the divine feminine

but wait

We hoist our hearts up

Dig in our heels

with tendrils, roots from the mighty Oak

They call us global citizens

with our left hands outstretched

far beyond the crown

What they do not know is that

the pus oozing from the wound

is cleaning out

the raucous infection of disaffection

the empathy empire rises

She shall be named

in the face of your mother

daughter, sister, friend

She is here

Hands clasped in hands

Winning on the steps

of that swampy land chosen

at the power center

She has been plugged into the truth

of winning gold medals, CEO spots

and her microphone starts at the heart

the winning comes in the loving

in the little free libraries filled with food

in the children of Kampala

calling for climate change

in the tiny houses for the bedless

in the healing

because we are healing

We are healing

We are healing

We are winning

We have won.

Join Me on June 23 for a Magical Fictional Characters Writing Workshop – from anywhere in the world!

Join me for 2 1/2 hours on Sunday, June 23 via video to PLAY AND WRITE. It will be light. It will be magical. It will be fun. We’ll use our six senses – that’s right, your intuition and gut as well – to write one or more characters who want to come to life for you.

You can register by sending an email with your name to rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com and sending $44 payment via PayPal or Venmo.

Watch a short video I made about the doors opening for my workshop:

Here are the details:

WHAT: Magical Fictional Characters Workshop – Your characters don’t have to be influenced by magic, but our experience together will tap into the everyday magic that all of us can access. It’s a chance to use any senses available to you: sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing and intuition to craft characters who leap off of the page and meet you at the dinner table. You may choose one character based on a grandmother or someone you just met or on your imagination. You may walk away with a rough idea for a short story or even a book. Or you may have a project that just needs some focused love or a character who needs more dimension. All of these situations, and more, are reason enough to join me.

WHEN: Sunday, June 23 from 10am-12:30pm ET/1:00pm-3:30pm PT — check out this time zone converter to find the time from anywhere in the world.

HOW: Via zoom.us  If you haven’t used Zoom before, it’s free. You can check out tutorials here.

COST: $44 sent to me via PayPal or Venmo – If you prefer Zelle or another way to pay, email me at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com

REGISTER: Send an email to me at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com and send $44 payment via Venmo or PayPal

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Class size is being kept to under 20 people so if you’re thinking about it, go for it. You will get a recording of the workshop sent to you via email for future reference.

WHO: Rebecca Villarreal is Author of The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon, A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship. With more than 30 years of writing experience, she is published in literary outlets around the world including the Paterson Literary Review and Gargoyle, among others. In addition, she’s been featured in the Huffington Post, Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. Rebecca has taught writing workshops to public school teachers and students. She has also performed on stage, TV and radio. Check out her author site at rebeccavillarreal.com.

Here’s what people who work with me and read my writing say:

“You are such a natural…so engaging. I loved it! You never cease to inspire me. Your voice is so needed in this world. I’m so glad you’re not afraid to use it!”

–Stacey Aaronson

“You will be swept away in a magical tale about the curious Selma Calderon and her adventures with her best friend Hurley, her guardian Guadey, and household pet Uli. Selma will inspire you to dream and believe in magic. Rebecca Villarreal creates a world where anything is possible-both good and bad-and how patience, understanding, love, and belief in oneself can truly be transformative. I would recommend this book to anyone of any age. Selma is a good role model for young people and not so young people- she teaches us to approach life with an open mind and with gusto. You’ll experience life in Chicago as if you are actually there plus visit exotic locations. Truly a character driven story that will make you wait in anticipation to turn the next page for Selma’s next adventure.”

–John C. Kazmierczak

Read more amazon reviews here or the Huffington Post piece here.

Listen to my radio interview or check out my documentary from my time at Drop Out on Orcas, a writer’s residency.

Please join me or share with a friend!

#cucalacas

 

Here are the easy things and here are the hard things

I have been writing to you all morning — through discomfort and grace. I made it to church and I often don’t make it to church.

I love being in community.

I do not like being squished shoulder to shoulder with people like on airplanes.

I love the choral music.

I can never keep track of where we are in the service.

I feel unabashedly loved by God and I am finally starting to understand Christ love in my heart.

I still believe in other paths to faith and love learning about and asking for support from Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, learning and wisdom as well as Ganesh, remover of obstacles.

I believe in human rights which include trans rights and gay marriage as well as a women’s right to choose and control her own body.

I am friends with people who disagree with me on all of the above.

I feel pretty out of place sometimes sitting at church with mostly older wealthy white people.

I fail at listening to the readings and the gospel and forget what they are about immediately after they are shared.

I’m good at finding that sweet spot in the sermon which gives me something to hold as I exit.

I always need to use the bathroom partway through the service.

I get super bored, even during the good parts.

I stand up and sit down at the wrong times, every time.

I question why I go at all if I can’t be consistent.

I love, love, love getting down on my knees to pray after communion.

I almost always want to cry from joy and sorrow.

I am overwhelmed by the love of the Holy Spirit which I feel in community, in the music, in the readings that I can never remember.

I try to go to fellowship coffee hour and talk to people and then feel awkward and uncomfortable and pull an Irish goodbye.

And still, I love this church community. It is welcoming, well-organized and steeped in love and service.

I am sharing this because of the “yes, and” of life.

People will disappoint and hurt you. People will abandon you.

People will love you unconditionally.

Do you need people? Is it worth risking your heart?

Yes and….

Faith is messy.

Prayers are not guaranteed or warrantied.

The unseen is not visible and tangible and it is open to a level of doubt that belies its magic.

Community can be uncomfortable.

It is easier to believe.

It is easier not to believe.

You have nothing in common with the people who disagree with you.

You have everything in common with the people who disagree with you.

Do you need people? It is worth risking your heart?

Yes and…

Rage is holy.

Forgiveness is holy and hard.

Love is easy and impossibly difficult.

Hearts break.

Hearts mend.

I am very close to NOT hitting publish on this blog post.

Do we need people? It is worth risking our hearts?

Yes and…

If you feel like giving up and giving in today, remember this:

I love you.

You have everything you need inside of you.

EVERYTHING.

And that is divine.

You don’t have to believe what I believe. I don’t have to believe what you believe. And when in doubt, you can also call on Alvin or nature or whatever brings you comfort. Just, again, know that you are loved.