Ideas on doing what’s most important to you – plus my birthday celebration!


Oh happy day! How are you doing?  The land here is filled with wildflowers. I have a quick heads-up about my awesome magical birthday:

Bottom line: The Kindle version of The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship will be $8 and you can order a signed copy from me for $8 (plus discounted $2 shipping in the U.S.)

**If you’re new to my book, check out this article in The Huffington Post. Or listen to the first few chapters here and here.  I also have a recent radio interview here and here. (Skip the first two minutes to get to the conversation.)**

Please share this with someone who may enjoy the book!

Here are the details:

8 is my lucky number. On April 18, my 48th Birthday, you can get an $8 Kindle copy here for 48 hours. You can order an $8 signed copy by emailing me at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com.

In the video below I:

1. Take you on a walk through the field above on my favorite trail by the Pacific Ocean;

2. Lean against a gorgeous tree and almost fall down, and offer my trademark snort;

3. And talk about our different roles in life and how to create the best environment to do what’s most important to you.

In that video, I promised you a nature video and that can be viewed here and below:

In other very exciting news, I finished the rough cut of my documentary from my stay at Drop Out on Orcas writer’s retreat! If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to write a book alone in the woods without cell or Internet, this film takes you through some very intimate moments of one of the most transformative experiences of my life. It even includes exciting preview scenes from the sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon. Here’s the trailer:

If you want to be the first to see the rough cut, sign up for my newsletter at RebeccaVillarreal.com which will be coming soon! (I’ll only send out about 4-6 newsletters per year.)

In my video at the top of this post, I mentioned the short time management TED talk. It’s called “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time”. You can view it here:

Also, if you’re looking for a refresh on your approach to planning, I’m really enjoying the Panda Planner, which you can find here. You can start the planner at any point in the year. There’s a discount code you can use PANDAFAM at checkout for 10% off. (I don’t receive anything for sharing this–I just believe in the product!) You can learn more about the making of the planner (after its founder had a traumatic brain injury, he really went back to basics) in his welcome video. 

Thank you for cheering me on and supporting me in so many ways. Remember your magic, every day. Cucalacas!

Have a great rest of your day!

Some Sunshine for Your Week – radio recording, new poem & more!

FullSizeRender-3.jpg

Hello Beautiful People!

It’s such a thrill to share the recording from my recent fun and inspiring interview on KCSB 91.9 FM with LP on her Writers Almanac West program. If you didn’t get a chance to listen, and you want a dose of inspiration and a break from the negative news cycle, click here to listen on Soundcloud and here to listen on Podmatic. Both are downloadable! (Note: Jump to the 2 minute mark to skip the intro reading of Paul Simon’s Sound of Silence.)

We talked about all of my favorite things: food, poetry (I read a new poem at the end!), my novel, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón and the plans for the sequel. We also talk about staying in love, faith and hope for all humanity. If you find yourself curious about the many resources and books I mention during the show, I’ve added links to just about every topic mentioned at the bottom of this post.

Also below is a short “Broadcast from the Beach” expressing my gratitude for your support. I recorded it for you right after I wrote the poem “Birdfight” in the previous post.

In the video, I mention a luxurious time binge-reading the poet Mary Oliver, at my friend’s house. Here’s a poem I wrote about that experience:

IMG_2957 (1).jpg

 

On Reading Mary Oliver in Bed

I eat your poems

between bites of fig-filled cakes

or are they cookies?

forgetting to chew

because your words make me hungrier

for solace and weeping

for herons

suns

moose faces

and querying the soul

 

the chicory and hot milk

burn my throat

but I can’t stop devouring line

after line

fearful my gluttony

will spill on the white down comfortor

of my momentary retreat

 

how do you take a Sunday morning and make it urgent?

Volumes One and Two

and Felicity

again I want to be haunted by

all the space

on the page

your succinct seventy-seven year old

plunge into Cobb Creek

and your truth-telling of a girl raging

in dark corners

or the soul stolen from the blue Iris

I must go now,

for this pen is distracting

from my voracious consumption

If you’ve never read Oliver, here’s a link to some of her poems. There’s also a rare interview with her on the NPR program, On Being.

For those of you interested in writing or any other seemingly dreamy, yet filled with reality, kind of pursuit, this interview with the writer Cheryl Strayed was very inspiring to me. She’s so honest about the fact that she doesn’t write every day and also about her struggles with money. I have watched or listened to it at least 7 ½ times.

Links I mentioned in the Writer’s Almanac West radio interview

My website for The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship is rebeccavillarreal.com.  We have a page with links from the topics in the book and an area where you can sign up to receive the free Tribe and Family Book Club Guide via email. The book is available via Teaching For Change (they get 5% of net profits), Amazon, Independent Book Stores, iTunes and Barnes and Noble.

You can read and listen to the opening poem Bound here and The Slowdown—a parenting poem, here.

The Slow Food movement can be found here.

Those fish-shaped crackers and why they are not great to eat–more info can be found here. What I mentioned about the way wheat is treated with pesticides in the U.S. is covered here. And there’s more from Robyn O’Brien about the 2.6 Billion pounds of Monsanto’s Glysophate (which is linked to Cancer) sprayed on American farmlands.

CarrieHensley.com and info about her Sacred Sangha is here.

LindsayPera.com and The Mystic’s Society is here.

Brené Brown’s TED talks on vulnerability and shame are here and here.

There’s an NPR interview with Mario Martinez about his book The Mind Body Code and the concept of tribal shame here.

Whatever you do, try to find a way to watch Trevor Noah’s special “Afraid of the Dark” on Netflix. (Note: this is meant for adult audiences.) The official trailer is here.

One of my chosen teachers is the Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. The first book I was every exposed to by him is Living Buddha, Living Christ. I reference a number of his other books in “aisle 4” of this previous blog post.

Here’s the post where I did a round-up of all of my recorded meditations.

I mention my connection to Jennifer Lee’s Right-Brainers in Business and an interview she did with SARK. We talked about creating inner characters to help deal with uncomfortable emotions. Here’s a post I did about Matilda, one of my characters and another about My Noisy Neighbor, Fear.

I also mention Drop Out on Orcas by the poet, Jennifer Brennock which I’m not sure it exists in the same form, but just in case, here’s the site.

Well, my friends, that’s a wrap! I hope you’ve enjoyed hanging out with me. I’m sending you love and some delicious food and time in nature for this week! Nourish yourself, you deserve it!

Aunt Peggy’s Sweet Potatoes & Busting through Fear, Italian-Style

My aunt Peggy used to say, “Are you a ghost?” every time one of us stood in front of the big wooden television at my Pop Pop’s house. And then she’d say, “because I can’t see through you.”

And now my nine-year-old says it to me.

It’s got me thinking about all the things we pass down, like Aunt Peggy’s sweet potato recipe.*

1459051_10151852245593505_300966352_n

For my readers who want the bottom line(s), I include great books throughout this post as well as the following:

  1. Steps to get clear on your life purpose – why are you here?
  2. Identifying the two kinds of fear  – the one that is imagined and the one that lets you know you’re on to something big…maybe even connected to your life purpose.
  3. Major plans for the Sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship.
  4. The most inspiring cookbook called The Tiny Mess which is a great last minute gift for someone who loves photography, food and adventure. There’s only 4 days left to support the Kickstarter campaign.
  5. The Miracle Angle: How a tiny miracle named Jaxon turns three and the Alabama Prayer Warriors tipped the scales; how to turn your own tough experiences into skill sets.

I. LIFE PURPOSE

Whether you have children or not, do you think about what you want to pass on to others? Prized family recipes? Modeling kindness? How about living your best life possible? How about demonstrating how to dream and DO?

Recently, one of the people I love most in the world spent his birthday thanking me for all that I’ve been for him. He gave me a gift: it was a belief that in choosing my happiness, I was showing him how to do the same. This is in sharp contrast to the pangs of guilt I felt in the past over creating this happy life. And also, with the way I’ve worked hard at it (in the face of some internal and external demons), I embodied possibility. That’s helping him hold on to some of his dreams.

So in the video below, I’m showing up. I’m sharing a dream I have…related to staying in beautiful Italy! There’s a backstory to how I got there in my post on the book, The Four Desires. Author Rod Stryker provides an overview of the book here and which includes a short meditation at the end.

I’m reading Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr which is a game-changer for me. And I also started Steven Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life which breaks down the Bhagavad Gita (a 2,000 year old spiritual text) while illuminating the stories of regular people and famous ones like Harriet Tubman, Mohandas Ghandi, Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall.  These authors offer different views of the same story: what do you want to do with this life? It doesn’t have to involve things that are so big that you have to risk it all. All three books help illuminate how to suss out the small and big steps to stay connected to what truly lights you up.

Truth-telling moment: It has taken me a month to share this video because I’ve been too scared of my own dream. I’ve hesitated and hemmed and hawed and discussed with friends. I’ve experienced self-doubt. I’ve quite simply been afraid. But I learned in Playing Big that there are two biblical Hebrew words for fear according to Rabbi Alan Lew: Pachad and Yirah. (I love sharing this on the first night of Hanukkah!)

II. TWO KINDS OF FEAR

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Mohr explaining the difference between the two types of fear titled, “What You Need to Know About Fear” explaining the difference:

Pachad is “projected or imagined fear,” the “fear whose objects are imagined.” In contemporary terms, that is what we might think of as overreactive, irrational, lizard-brain fear: the fear of horrible rejection that will destroy us or the fear that we will simply combust if we step out of our comfort zones.

There is a second Hebrew word for fear, yirah. Rabbi Lew describes yirah as “the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly find ourselves in possession of considerably more energy than we are used to, inhabiting a larger space than we are used to inhabiting.” It is also the feeling we feel when we are on sacred ground.

If you’ve felt a calling in your heart, or uncovered an authentic dream for your life, or felt a mysterious sense of inner inspiration around a project or idea, you recognize this description.

We often conflate or confuse the two types of fear and simply call what we are experiencing “fear.” But we can discern them more closely, and in doing so, more effectively manage fear so it doesn’t get in our way.

III. THE SEQUEL

How I’m Geeking Out over the Sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón

So guess what!?! I’m practicing my Italian with the Duo Lingo app for free. I’ve told everyone I know that we’re planning a trip to Italy. As a result, I’ve studied the fascinating Slow Food movement which began in Rome. You can read about how the movement started and “How Grandma’s Pasta Changed the World” here. Yesterday while buying some gorgeous bread (the sliced one) and these delicious oranges from our local Farm Cart Organics, Jason told me all about Italy’s amazing organic farming techniques. And I started researching agroturismo in Italy (tourism on farms where you learn, work and eat fresh food.) And this morning at 6:10am, I finally figured out why Selma is going to Italy. It’s connected to what I’ve been uncovering about Slow Food Presidium foods like the pearl white corn at Ca’ de Memi.

img_1058
IV. THE TINY MESS

Oh and from the Farm Cart’s Instagram Account, I also found out about this amazing cookbook called The Tiny Mess. I can’t wait to get mine! These local adventurers have traveled up and down the west coast of the U.S. cooking and visiting with people living in small spaces like campers with tiny kitchens making delicious fresh and gorgeous food. And the photography is breathtaking! There’s only four days left to support their Kickstarter account and get yours. Check out their Intsagram pics and this video — they will strum at your hungry heartstrings!

Please #TellTwo 

A big giant THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me through another year of sharing my novel with the world. As I mentioned in the video, if you feel so moved, please help spread the word about The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship

Many of you have already done me the favor of telling two friends how you’ve enjoyed the book. Or maybe you’ll get a chance to read it over the holidays and share it on social media. Here’s a handy short link: http://bit.ly/BuySelma

And check out this cool graphic we used in the Chicago Latino Network’s newsletter:

aaosc-chicago-latina-flyer

There are a bunch of 5-star reviews here. The Huffington Post article is here.If you want to share more about the book, here’s the link to my website and includes links to all the different ways folks can buy it. Also, 5% of net proceeds go to Teaching For Change. And if you’re looking for inspiration and with a nice dose of vulnerability, here’s the video interview I did with yogini Carrie Hensley last year.

My novel is also on page 11 of Lindsay Pera’s Mystic Gift Guide in case you’re looking for some cool gifts for some of the magical folks in your life. You can also email me at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com if you would like to order signed copies for $12 each plus shipping.

V. THE MIRACLE ANGLE

Well, I’ve taken you through life purpose, fear, food, magic and my own dreams of taking Selma and my family to Italy. What’s left on Christmas Eve and the first night of the Festival of Lights? I’d say: A Miracle! The Miracle Angle links back to The Four Desires.

In the article titled, “Let Go and Find Your Miracle Angle,” Stryker shares an overview of this concept which is highlighted in the book:

History is full of remarkable individuals who — although they endured extremely hurtful and potentially debilitating things like the loss of loved ones, war, prejudice, abuse, disease and severe poverty — did not allow circumstance to prevent them from living inspiring and even extraordinary lives. The lives of Anne Frank, Victor Frankel, and Nelson Mandela, for example, remind us that we are each capable of creating productive and even glorious lives despite having to live through dire events.

Everyone who has ever overcome hardship or adversity has done so in large part because he or she has chosen, consciously or unconsciously, to “let go” of their past hardship and pain by embracing, what I call, a Miracle Angle — a way of seeing their circumstances that allowed them to transform their circumstances into a spark for positive change.

How is this possible? How, for example, was Nelson Mandela able to transcend apartheid and three decades of imprisonment when some of us struggle to forgive someone who cut us off in traffic?

dsc_0078

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I have shared personal challenges whether from childhood, or facing postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome or my most recent (as Brené Brown calls it) breakdown/breakthrough. What you know is that I believe that with faith (in yourself, in God, in any approach that fits you) + action, you can live an amazing life. What you may not know, is that when one of my loved ones had three consecutive operations, we had people all over praying for us. One group of prayer warriors based in Alabama have always had my back. And I, in turn, have always offered up my prayers for those in need–most of whom I do not know. Well, let me introduce you to Jaxon, who in January will be 3 years old. It was touch and go when Jaxon was born. I do know his grandmother. Just imagine a premature baby with all of the requisite tubes and the fear of the unknown. I’m sharing his picture as a big ray of hope to serve as a visual anchor. When you are swimming in doubt, depression, despair or a simple sadness, think of little Jaxon. We all had faith that he could make it.  And I’d dare say his parents and grandparents learned a lot about how to turn those terrible moments into gifts, that’s the Miracle Angle.

Because just like my obstacles have helped me to anticipate and scenario plan–like figuring out the logistics of how to move my family to California, how to project plan at my job and how to chunk out this enormously long blog post, your struggles can be the source of your greatest gifts including the compassion and joy of living in this very moment.

Thank you, my dear amazing open-hearted readers for reading and listening and believing in me!*

I believe in you.

Do you?

With peace, big-hearted love and Aunt Peggy’s sweet potatoes**,

Rebecca

img_1127

 

*This post is dedicated to my Selma readers and to Carrie Hensley and the members of my Sacred Sangha for believing in me every single day.

**Aunt Peggy’s Sweet Potatoes Recipe: Boil, then peel sweet potatoes. Use an electric mixer and add a stick of butter, orange juice, brown sugar and cinnamon, then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is browned. The top of course is covered in globs of butter and brown sugar.

 

 

Nourish Yourself – Granola alert and Book Two Sneak Peek!

IMG_0090.jpg

Friends, as I mentioned in the last post, I managed to nourish myself during the previous week even in the face of a high level of stress. I have received requests for my granola recipe, so I did a demonstration video here. First and foremost, this is not my recipe! It is from Mayi Carles magnificent and delightful Life is Messy Kitchen cookbook. It’s Gluten-free, vegan and the version you see in my video is 99.9% organic. I have adapted Mayi’s recipe to suit what’s in my pantry. I am also occasionally allergic to following instructions so you’ll see in the video that I went back and tweaked a few things. I hope it entertains and instructs! Regardless, I’m sharing this to remind you that if you work a Monday through Friday schedule, today is a great day to think about what you want to eat this week.

Click here for Mayi’s Heartmade Granola recipe. And dang it! I’m glad I just glanced at her recipe again because I realize that I forgot to add dates to my granola. Well, good thing it’s all still sitting on the counter. There’s a lot to be said about not cleaning up right away. And if you’re interested in Mayi’s Life is Messy cookbook, check out purchase info and her awesome 39-second video here.

See the instructional video below, remember to also add raisins, or dates or some kind of dried fruit like cherries!

I won’t use the term “meal planning” because that can feel overwhelming when today is a day of rest for many. My meal planning often consists of looking in the pantry and inside the fridge. Last week I said, “Oh I need to use that cauliflower,” so I happened to receive a nice email from Cookie and Kate in my inbox with 4 different easy recipes for roasting cauliflower. This meant that one day this week when I was on a 7-hour videoconference with a 30-minute lunch break during which I had 3 different phone calls, I could throw the cut and washed pieces in a bowl with some spices and coconut oil and then stick them in the toaster over to roast while I finished those calls and made my quesadilla with a side of avocado. This week, I’m thinking about tuna melts, chickpeas with indian spices and some quinoa. I don’t actually like quinoa but I’m trying to experiment with it so that I can gain the benefits of the protein and the fact that it keeps me full for a long time. There was one quinoa bowl I used to get in Chicago that included veggies and a ginger peanut sauce so I’m also thinking of making a ginger peanut sauce to have on hand for the leftover quinoa. The other thing I’m making is the Minimalist Baker’s Caramel Peanut Butter Truffles which are mind-blowlingly easy if you have a food processor. I’m experimenting with not eating white sugar so these satisfy my sweet tooth in a big way.

IMG_5296.jpg

In other news related to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon – A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship: I am participating in #NaNoWriMo which is National Novel Writing Month. It’s another way to encourage myself to continue working on Book 2! I spent this morning (after making and eating the granola), doing my own version of nature magic, researching, writing and singing. I’m very excited about the scene I created.  I share my process in the video below. If you want to get more inside scoop on Book 2 as well as some recipes and spells, sign up for my newsletter at http://rebeccavillarreal.com.  We will send out the first one by the end of the year. You’ll also get a preview of the documentary from my writer’s retreat on Orcas Island. In case you missed it, the trailer for the documentary is here and below my sneak peek.

Stay tuned for info on purchasing signed copies of The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon for the holidays! In the meantime, you can purchase it everywhere.

IMG_0105.jpg

The Fun Starts Here!

image

I’m so happy today I could not wait to write to you. I woke at 5:55am which was really 4:55am and today feels like New Year! In fact, for many of us, it is!

Today some very fun creative explosions start! It’s Art Every Day Month and it’s National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo! Both are free!

You can read about Art Every Day month started by Leah Piken Kolidas’ here. She started it a decade ago inspired by NaNoWriMo! There are even rules which are made to be broken! Those are my kind of rules. You can write, draw, take photos on your phone, color, sculpt, just create.

I’m starting Book 2 of Selma’s Truth and Magic Series today for National Novel Writing Month! You can sign up here if you’d like to join me: http://nanowrimo.org.

There are of course, fun ways to share your progress in social media and in other places, but if you are introvert (like me, yes, yes I have the Myers-Briggs results to prove it), you may want to do this on your own or with one or two friends.

Spread the word because there’s real research demonstrating the importance of creativity to our own vitality and life. It’s central to making us tick. Before some of you tell me, “I’m not creative like that,” listen to this interview between Brené Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert. (If kids are around, put in headphones due to some adult language.) I know I’ve shared this one before, it’s that good.

I also want to share some exciting news about my novel, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón, A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship:

  1. Discounted Signed Copies for Teacher Gifts and the Holidays: Individual copies are $12, but if you want to gift signed copies of the book to 20 or more people, it’s $10 each plus shipping. And 10-19 signed copies are $11 each plus shipping. I have one mom who ordered the 20 copies in the photo below and she is including a printed copy of my recent Huffington Post interview. It’s easy to order! Just send an email to team@rebeccavillarreal.com with the number of books and the mailing address and we’ll take it from there!

image

  1. Teaching For Change to receive 5% of the proceeds from Selma: I’m so excited that we announced my commitment to donate 5% of the net profits from Selma to Teaching for Change through 2016. And I’ll keep giving back to organizations benefitting youth in perpetuity, as in forever! Read the news story here and the official press release here. If you know of any media outlets, blogs, newsletter or websites that might be interested in this story, please share. I would love to inspire more authors to do the same. The novel is available everywhere, and I’m thrilled to share that you can purchase it directly from Teaching for Change’s online catalogue as well. It’s an honor to be included!

image

  1. Dharma Blazers Interview: Wowie Zowie! The amazing motorcyle-riding yogini Carrie Hensley interviewed me for her Dharma Blazers interview series. She published it last night and sent the interview to her community around the world. “Dharma” means life purpose. Carrie illuminated things for me about my own life purpose that were completely new to me. We laughed a lot. I shared in ways, I’ve never done in a recorded interview. I hope you brew a cup of something delicious, sit down and join us. You can view the interview here. She also included a link to a recorded meditation I shared on this blog to help you start your day with a playful heart (as opposed to a racing heart thanks to your to-do list). I got to know Carrie when I participated in her 30 Day Yoga Un-challenge. After more than twenty years of doing yoga at home, she is the best teacher I’ve ever had—kind, gentle and yet just the right amount of helping me stretch literally and figuratively! She offers a free 20 minute AM and PM yoga classes when you sign up for her newsletter in case you want to check her out.

image

  1. Huffington Post interview: Sometimes there’s a pebble in the water that creates ripples. For me, this interview was it. Dr. Brandi Megan Granett, a fellow author, asked such insightful questions. And my favorite part: there’s a focus on my grandmother, Mama Chelo, who was born Consuelo Calderón. She lived until age 105 which is why my novel is for ages 10-105. You can read the interview here. (And I also have to thank my sister-in-law who struck up a conversation with Brandi at her delectable restaurant, Thai Tida, and handed over her personal copy!) Kindness and magic abound!

image

Mama Chelo

  1. Recipes, Magic and Fun: We are gearing up to share recipes, ways to bring magic into your every day life and more inspiring content for readers. I’d love to invite you over to play at: rebeccavilarreal.com. You can sign up for my e-newsletter which I’ll send out every couple of weeks.

image

Finally, today is the birthday of one of my best friends in the world: Amheric! I wrote this 1 minute and 43 second video poem, New Month, for him a few years ago. I thought you might use it to help you kick off an amazing month!

Thanks for visiting with me this Sunday. And a special thanks for sharing so much Selma love! I’d be grateful if you would add Selma’s magical word #cucalacas to your posts. I want to remember to do the same!

I’m going to make some breakfast now. Remember how much I love you because there is only ONE you and the world needs your smile, your gifts and your big golden heart!

Making Your Dreams Real & 100 Thank Yous!

RebeccaVillarreallaunchesSelmawithpancakes

Readers and beautiful ones! I want to say thank you for buying more than 100 copies of The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship! Since we published the book on August 8, I set a goal of selling 100 books by September 30. Whether you bought one, told someone about it or shared it on social media, thank you! You can read all about why I wrote the book on my new website here. If you want to know the answer to “What if you could travel the world, go back in time, and eat your favorite foods along the way, all the while unraveling the mystery of your missing parents?” click here.

I’ve written this post with so much love and a desire to visit with you via video. That’s why I’ve compiled moments in the journey all together in this post. More than anything I hope this inspires you to go for your own dreams. No desire is too big or too small! That’s why I included a never-before-seen video of my own vision wall at the end. Here’s an appreciation video I made for you during my lunch break.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this beautiful story took me ten years to finish. To take you back to the moment we published the book, I’m sharing a video of me popping the cork to celebrate.

Here’s another video we created the weekend of publication which includes a delicious sweet potato pancake cooking lesson thanks to my favorite Life is Messy Kitchen cookbook by the amazing entrepreneur Mayi Carles.

It’s been so rewarding to read a mom’s Facebook post telling me that her daughter is staying up wait too late because she can’t stop reading Selma. And for a reader to send me this picture saying that she made a date night just for herself alone to read the book.

Selma Eat and Read Party

The reviews have been amazing! Here are some excerpts:

As soon as I started reading about Selma, I was hooked! — KC

I have fallen in love with Selma, her friends, family and adventures. Each page of this wonderful story takes you on a magical journey filled with love. This is a story you will want to share with the entire family. I can’t wait to find out where Selma takes us next. — Margaret S. Edwards

You will be swept away in a magical tale…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…she teaches us to approach life with an open mind and with gusto. – John C. Kazmierczak

Thoughtful, engaging and delightful–your entire family will enjoy this page-turner! – Jaqueline M. Crocetta

I set aside an evening to dive into this delectable book and fell in love immediately with the cast of characters. Selma’s got a big heart and a mischievous streak that lands her in a spot of bother more often than not. I loved being on this journey with Selma, Guadey, and Hurley & Uli. And I honestly can’t wait for more. I think kids of ALL ages will enjoy this magical journey! –Linda Stockton

I was transported near and far, and imagined myself taking all of these adventures with Selma and her family & friends. It made me laugh a lot, it made me cry a little and it definitely left me wanting for a sequel. –J. Sullivan

Selma and her companions will be in several Christmas stockings this year. Hopefully, we will not have to wait long for a sequel! –Juliann Uritus

Signed copies!

And speaking of stockings or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or any holiday, we now have a team ready to send you signed copies! Please send an email to team@rebeccavillarreal.com and we’ll send you a form. The book is $12 and U.S. shipping rates for one copy are as follows: Media Mail $4; First Class: $5; Priority Mail: $8.50. Once we get your order, we’ll calculate shipping one or multiple copies to you and your loved ones.

I’m a HUGE supporter of independent book stores. You can purchase Selma through your local independent books store by searching and ordering here.

It’s also available on: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Nook.

Stay tuned in the coming months, we’ll be announcing which organization shall receive 5% of all net profits from Selma!

Creating Your Own Vision and Making Your Dreams Real

And here’s the treat I promised at the top of this post. Remember how I moved across country from Chicago to California? That was part of a very big and beautiful dream I held for 20 years. I kept wishing for it and working toward it.

A key step in getting me closer to how I wanted my life to look was to forgive others and myself any and all hurts and disappointments. It sounds simple and we know it’s not but it clears the way for so much yes in your life. I wrote a post about forgiveness here and shared resources related to forgiveness here.

The other way was to constantly declare my intentions either to my loved ones or to my broader family here on this blog. You saw me apply for a scholarship and very nervously and excitedly declare that I’d finish the book. The other thing I did was surround myself with images that supported my dream. Here is an intimate tour of my giant vision wall while which was built over time at my home in Chicago.

Everyone has a recommended approach to visualizing your best future. You are the best judge of that. Monday, October 12 is the new moon. No matter what you believe in the world, we all live in the same one. Here’s what I’d like to share about this moment: You are worthy. As we move into a new phase, take a moment to sit with that. You deserve joy, happiness and a rich life. Think about how you want to feel.*

One recent interview I enjoyed which helped me break through some of my own fears, is this “Big Strong Magic” interview by author Elizabeth Gilbert of researcher and storyteller Brené Brown. If you have little ones, put on your headphones because there is some adult language in it. There’s an entire podcast series on this available on iTunes and Soundcloud. You can listen to the interview here.**

I love learning about and creating my own rituals alone and with my family. Tonight’s a great night to do that. Or tomorrow night with the new moon. What if you took some time to write down a few old hurts rip them up and toss them in the trash then write some new gratitude lists or wishes for your new beginning? I’m on Day 53 of a #yearofgratitude. You can follow my journey on Instagram and start your own journey!

Please keep sharing your Selma love with her magical hashtag #cucalacas!

Thank you again for your generosity in helping my dreams come true. I hope my vision wall and these words open up a bright space for you to reflect and set some intentions for your best life ever!

With love and gratitude,

Rebecca

*P.S. A fun free tool to help you visualize how you want to feel is the Desire Map Core Desired Feelings library and graphic maker. I used the latter for my vision wall.

**P.P.S. I can’t help but encourage you to read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Rising Strong by Brené Brown. If you visit Brené’s site, watch her brief book trailer video including the Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted. And I can’t help sharing her interview on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I broke through some MAJOR fear when I watched it. Enjoy!

Selma is out! Please #TellTwo

Today is the day! The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship is published!

Thank you for the love and support. It’s been ten years in the making. I’ve been sitting in awe all day, crying and laughing with joy.

Will you please do me a favor? Will you #TellTwo people who you think will enjoy the book? I’m hoping to share Selma’s adventures all around the globe. You can use Selma’s hashtag #cucalacas – it’s her magical word! The novel is for ages 10-105. And 5% of all net profits are donated to organizations benefiting youth.

AAoSC-9-cover and spine - for website - 2500

You can buy it on amazon in paperback and kindle.

And for my U.S. readers, you can support your local independent bookstore by purchasing through IndieBound.

It’s even in Ingram’s international catalogue so that my readers in Canada, Australia, the UK—throughout Europe, can ask their local bookstores to order it. Soon it will be up on iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Nook.

Here’s what two of my 5 star reviewers on Amazon already posted:

“I have fallen in love with Selma, her friends, family and adventures. Each page of this wonderful story takes you on a magical journey filled with love. This is a story you will want to share with the entire family. I can’t wait to find out where Selma takes us next.” – Margaret S. Edwards

“Even though this book is written towards young teens, it pulled me in from the first page. I was transported near and far, and imagined myself taking all of these adventures with Selma and her family & friends. It made me laugh a lot, it made me cry a little and it definitely left me wanting for a sequel.” – J. Sullivan

For more rave reviews by young readers and the Executive Director of Teaching for Change, click here.

What’s the novel about?

What if you could travel the world, go back in time, and eat your favorite foods along the way, all the while unraveling the mystery of your missing parents?

Recently moved to Chicago, fifth-grader Selma Calderón wants to use her magic to explore the world. She’s planning trips to Paris to taste a café au lait and a chocolate-filled croissant, to Uganda to see the mountain gorillas with her best friend, Hurley, and to Spain to visit the Alhambra palace. But she’s not supposed to use magic without permission from Guadey, her guardian, not even to do her homework, or to deal with the school bully, or to uncover the mystery of her parents who went missing when she was two.

Will Selma finally discover the truth about her parents and get to learn more magic, or will her impatience land her in some deep time-travel trouble?

You'll visit the Alhambra in Spain in the novel.

You’ll visit the Alhambra in Spain in the novel.

To see why I wrote the book, please visit my new website (hooray!) at http://rebeccavillarreal.com or just click here.

Cafe Au Lait with Selma in Paris

Cafe Au Lait with Selma in Paris

These photos are from my own travels to the same places Selma visits. Thank you so much for supporting me and Selma. And please, if you have a dream, take measured steps to make it happen. It feels so good and you’re worth it!

Will Selma get to visit the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Uganda?

Will Selma get to visit the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Uganda?

The Bravemakers are coming!

RBB Video Summit Logo FinalHurry! The Bravemakers are coming! The Bravemakers are coming! Today in honor of International Women’s Day, I want to share one of my favorite time-sensitve FREE resources for you. The theme for International Women’s Day is “Make it Happen.” On Monday, March 9, Jennifer Lee’s 5th Annual Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit begins. If you participate, it will give you that spark to make it happen! The summit runs through March 20th. (Guess what, it just might be the last one.) What’s a video summit? It’s an experience that’s open to anyone in the entire world who has access to the Internet. Just click here and enter your first name and email address to gain access to daily interviews with the most courageous and thoughtful creative entrepreneurs. Every weekday at 1pm ET, you’ll meet an “established” creative entrepreneur as well as a shining star. I’m excited that Katherine Carey, New York’s boldest milliner artist will be featured as a shining star. I’m tickled that I own one of her hats and even featured her on this very blog! Even if you can’t view the videos live, signing up will give you access for at least 24 hours after the video is aired. Here’s a peek at the line up: RBB Video Summit Final 2015 For more info, visit: http://rightbrainersinbusiness.com As Jennifer’s introductory video states, taking this time to participate, “gives you permission to listen to your deepest longings.” She speaks the truth. Two years ago, I listened, took a courageous plunge and made a declaration when I applied for a scholarship to Jenn’s premium group (you’ll learn more about that when you sign up). Here’s what I said: 

In the video, you can see how nervous I am to declare my dream in a public venue. I want to thank you, dear readers, for cheering me on because I won the scholarship. I’m forever grateful to Jenn Lee for giving me a forum (and the gentle push) I needed to keep plugging away at my dream. In the last line of my scholarship application video, I promised to give back one hundred fold. I’ve committed 5% of all net proceeds from the book to go to non-profit organizations benefitting youth. And then guess what happened? I got connected to a very supportive group of creatives from New York to Australia including Beth Barany and Stacey Aronson whom I hired to help birth my book, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón, A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship. I’ve worked on this book for more than a decade, but did not take the true leap to publish it until I took a risk and made that declaration. You will have the chance to read my book this coming August! I’m taking another leap at the same time and moving my family to our dream town on the West Coast. Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon by Rebecca Villarreal Without being surrounded by inspiring stories like these, I don’t think I’d be here sharing my PUBLICATION DATE–it’s August 2015! August 2015! Think about joining me and creatives from around the world at the summit from March 9-20. Make it happen. Join us any day you can. Take a chance and dream! For more information about Jennifer Lee’s Books, visit her author page and her website. The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón, A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship cover was designed by Alvaro Villanueva of Bookish Design.

Get Your Brave [Bot] On.

#weneeddiversebooks #bravebot #RebeccaVillarreal #cucalacas

Pick one thing!

Pick one thing!

Pick one thing!

It’s so hard, but I will try to focus on one tool that stuck with me from last week. I had a life-changing experience at The World Domination Summit (WDS). It’s taking every fiber of my being to share the energy in bits, because there was so much to take home for my mind, heart and soul.

WDS is the brainchild of author Chris Guillebeau. I can’t wait for his latest book, The Happiness of Pursuit, to to be released on September 9. Over the course of ten years, Chris has traveled to every single country in the world. After 9/11, he wanted to “do something.” So in time, he launched the World Domination Summit. He invited people to Portland to answer the question: “How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” With the core values of adventure, service and community, I joined 3,000 people at WDS, now in its fourth year. Chris doesn’t take a salary for the event and though there are a few staff members, the summit wouldn’t exist without the corps of amazing volunteers who truly wanted to be there. I’ve never felt so much love and commitment to service in one room.

I will tell you that as a human vessel, I was moved more than I’ve ever been moved in my life. Don’t I look like I’m about to explode with joy? Dominate the world? I intentionally took plenty of time alone when not in sessions to come down off of the excitement and soul-moving stories and insights. If you like TED Talks, this was like TED on steroids while being surrounded by some of the most kind and interesting people from around the world. I met scientists, software designers, day traders, writers, artists, musicians and world leaders. And when I say world leaders, I mean ordinary people taking small and big steps every day to change the world.

World Domination Summit #WDS2014  Armosa Studios

(Photo credit: Armosa Studios)

So here’s my one thing I’ll share today: Gary Hirsh launched Bot Joy to help people feel brave. One eleven-year-old girl with diabetes used her Brave Bot to inject her arm with insulin before every meal. She’s gone through several bots because she rubs them again and again, wearing the paint off. The impetus for this project is based upon Gary’s childhood memories of waking up with nightmares of monsters. His dad encouraged him to draw and name the monsters during their 3:00am kitchen table sessions. Years later, Brave Bots were born. At WDS, Gary asked, “What’s one brave thing you’ve done?” Stop and think about it. Brave things can come in small packages. Your answers might surprise you. He also asked,

What’s one brave thing you want to do, but haven’t?”

One of my favorite answers (from Gary’s friend) was:

“Write a book. What if it sucks? What if I get lost in the middle and can’t find my way out? What if nobody cares? What if it’s not funny? What if it’s not smart? What if it’s not truthful? What if it is? (And which is worse?) What if my mom reads it and makes that pursed-lip face and then has no comment beyond pointing out a grammatical error on page 47?”

Okay folks, so here’s my brave thing I want to do but haven’t:

I am taking some time off from working on my novel, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón, A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship. I decided to move publication to 2015. And for the very driven Rebecca, this takes courage. I am choosing to slow down so I can stay healthy while working and enjoying life with family and friends. This is a brave step in staying whole.

Here’s the other brave part: at the top of this post, I’m hanging with my bot. And for the first time, I’ve unveiled the cover of my novel just for you, dear readers! Isn’t it beautiful? I love, love, love it! Alvaro Villanueva of Bookish Design created it.

This makes it real, folks. As if it wasn’t already.

So what’s one brave thing you want to do, but haven’t?

To experience more of Gary Hirsch’s presentation at WDS, click here.

To see my fellow WDSers activating their bots, click here.

To steal Gary’s idea and make your own bot (really, he wants to you to), click here.

Sending you love and bravery, every single day from me and my bot, Olympia. (I just named her that.)

 

Rebecca’s Birthday Blog Giveaway

Today is my birthday! I want to celebrate with gratitude! I have so much abundance thanks in part to you, dear readers. I’m giving away some of my favorite books and other goodies.

How can you qualify to win?

Easy: enter your email* at http://www.rebeccainspiresnow.com to become an email follower. Remember to check your inbox to confirm it!

You can increase your chances by sharing this via Facebook and twitter and encouraging your friends to follow via email. Just let me know at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com which friends joined.

We’ll do the drawing late night on May 1.  Thanks for sharing!

Sample Post or Tweet: Get inspired! Win some amazing books. Follow Rebecca Villarreal at rebeccainspiresnow.com

[Style note: My fabulous hat is from Katherine Carey Millinery, http://www.katherinecarey.com. She’s the most amazing milliner for men and women. Treat yourself to art for your head. Food note: This video was shot at Davanti Enoteca in Chicago, IL, check them out at http://www.davantichicago.com. Always delish.]

*Current email followers will be entered to win. In the case of a winner outside of the U.S., you’ll receive some books in e-book format.