Thursday, November 26, 2020

12 Tiny Things: Simple Ways to Live a More Intentional LIfe written by Heidi Barr and Ellie Roscher reviewed by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dear Reader,


Nadie sabe el bien que tiene hasta que los ve perdido. 
No one knows the fortune he has until he loses it. 
We never miss the sunshine until the shadows come. 

From the book Refranes Southwest Indio-Hispanic Proverbs translated by Rubén Cobos

This month I have a wonderful new book by Heidi Barr and Ellie Roscher to tell you about: 12 Tiny Things published by Broadleaf Books and released January 2021.  I met Heidi through a writer friend on Facebook. We hit it off immediately and I knew she was a like-minded woman. A strong, wise, independent woman with lots of knowledge about lots of things. I've been enjoying Heidi's books during this global pandemic; her words lifted me up. I knew her new book would be inspirational. I had no idea how 12 Tiny Things would impact my life.

I suffer from severe depression that medication alleviates but does not cure. 12 Tiny Things became one of my favorite books of 2020. I read it twice in two days. I couldn't put it down. I studied the chapters and chose my favorite. Many of the chapters spoke to me. It fed my hungry soul. It made me contemplate on life, sorrows, joy and made me realize that I can change my world, the world, 12 Tiny Things at a time. 

When I focused on the tiny things, life ceased to feel so daunting. This book arrived in the nick of time, during the 2020 Presidential election. I'd been under a cloud of sorrow for four years, since the 2016 election when my hopes were dashed, and anger found a place in my heart. I know from experience that anger held in turns to depression. I feared going that direction, so I became angry filled with hate for my community that elected a man who promised—but lied. I let that anger brew in my heart, until reading 12 Tiny Things led me to a better way of seeing the pandemic and the turmoil of the last four years. I never gave up hope, but I was fearful of four more years of chaos. Heidi and Ellie asked me to do one tiny thing at a time instead of seeing the global pandemic and deteriorating country I lived in, but no longer recognized. 

I'm not a reviewer who tells the writer what they want to hear. Ask any of my writer friends, they'll tell you that I'm brutally honest, out of love, not meanness. Either I love your book, or I don't. 12 Tiny Things resonated with me in a way that no other book had in an exceedingly long time. I woke up. I'm woke.

At the end of each chapter there are questions for the reader. They guided me to improve my attitude about everything, the pandemic, the election, the racism, the misogynism, the xenophobia that have risen in my country the last four years.

12 Tiny Things brought me balance. I concentrated on me and making myself better, more loving, more forgiving of my community that had disappointed me. This book saved me from 2020. It brought joy and peace to my heart. I pre-ordered a copy for my comadre and told her she would love it as much as I do. I regained my courage to fight for justice 12 Tiny Things at a time. I didn't take on the world. I started with myself. And I'm glad I did. 

12 Tiny Things is an incredible book that has helped me adjust in this time of global pandemic and national hysteria. I recommend 12 Tiny Things to anyone looking to find a deeper meaning in their world. 

Let me explain why I give this book five stars. It's not just great writing and knowledge about living with joy during a global pandemic, it's about community. It came to me just when the second wave of the Covid virus was beginning and the pandemic fatigue was pulling me down toward a wave of gloom.

I handled the first wave.  I'm a writer so isolating in place was great for me. But it seemed like the world I knew had changed and or was gone and would not return. I also saw the world/usa divided and angry people everywhere. I wrote a will and prayed for better days. I began reading 12 Tiny Things and my eyebrows arched and a smile crept on my face. I felt a tingle in my yayas. I sat up in my chair and began writing. I felt inspired. That's what great writing does to me. It makes me want to write. So here I am writing and telling you, my reader, to read this book and let me and the authors know how it changed your outlook on life. It impacted me in a subtle way. 

My husband drove to Wyoming and went hunting for bear, elk, deer, moose, whatever they have in the wilderness. He was gone for 30 days and this was my vacation from him and his vacation from me. It works. I missed him and he missed me, and we appreciated each other just in time for our twenty-eight-year wedding anniversary. 

I'm a master gardener, or so I tell myself. I nurture my garden and it nurtures me back. It's therapeutic. So is writing but in the summer and harvest season my body craves fresh air and sunshine. It saved me from losing my mind during the first wave of the pandemic. But harvest season ended, and I returned to indoors and the onslaught of the pandemic.

12 Tiny Things spoke to me and then it sang. The song was beautiful, melodic, soothing, invigorating, and soulful. I realized how easy happiness can be. It's a state of mind and instead of letting my mind go cray cray, I set a goal to do one tiny thing for myself each day and increase it daily until I did 12 Tiny Things for myself every day. Time for me. Even if it was only 12 minutes of my day or 12 seconds of totally me time. For whatever, I need. 

Heidi Barr, thank you for your inspiration, your wisdom, your kind heart, and powerful woman love. Thank you, Ellie for allowing me to journey with you on this adventure into peaceful living and intentional life. 

If you want to know more about these authors or their book, then visit their webpage and let them know, Juliana, the Crazy Chicana in Catholic City, sent you. 

Peace 2020

Ellie Roscher is the author of Play Like a Girl and How Coffee Saved My Life. Her writing also appears in The Baltimore Review, Inscape Magazine, Bookology Magazine and elsewhere. Ellie hosts the Unlikely Conversations podcast and is a certified yoga instructor. She teaches writing at The Loft Literary Center, and theology at Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities. Through curious inquiry, commitment to the sacred ordinary and artistic collaboration, her work accompanies people to a more centered, whole, and embodied self. Ellie holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in Theology from Luther Seminary. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse and sons. Find out more on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or at

Heidi Barr is the author of Woodland Manitou, Cold Spring Hallelujah, What Comes Next, and Prairie Grown, as well as the editor of The Mindful Kitchen. She works as a wellness coach at Noom, Inc and occasionally coordinates with yoga teachers and organic farms to offer retreat experiences. A commitment to cultivating ways of being that are life-giving and sustainable for people, communities and the planet provides the foundation for her work. Heidi studied Health and Wellness at Luther College and has a Master of Arts degree from Luther Seminary in Faith and Health Ministries.  She lives in Minnesota with her family where they tend a large vegetable garden, explore nature and do their best to live simply.  Despite working for an app-based tech start up, she plans to put off getting a smartphone as long as possible. Learn more at


  1. Sounds like a must read... I'll order it on your recommendation.. thanks!!!!

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Julianna we're so glad the book proved a worthy companion during this time on earth.

  3. This is stunning encouragement. Thank you for reading it with your heart open and taking the time to share your thoughts.

  4. Thanks for this recommendation, Juliana. I will check this out.