I don’t need to tell you that January is a month of reflection on the past and goal-making for the future. Speaking for myself, January 2009 especially has been a month during which I’m looking for small changes that I can make that will lead to bigger ones.

I just finished reading the book Gardening Nude by Shawna Cornonado at The Casual Gardener. While the front of the book includes a provocative (and gorgeous!) photograph of Shawna, layin’ around “naked” (sort of) in the garden, the contents prove that you can’t judge this book by its cover. Gardening Nude is not meant in a literal sense.

Shawna has experienced some (okay, many) health challenges in her life that caused her and her doctors to reevaluate the fuel she was putting into her body as well as how she was spending her time and the level of stress that she carried around. After listening to her doctors’ recommendations, she put together a Get Your Green On Healthy Philosophy which did wonders for her life; the idea behind it is to reduce stress by bringing more of nature and specifically the outdoors into your life. Obviously the plan involves more than what I just very simply stated, but seriously, if I gave away the Get Your Green On Healthy Philosophy, well, there would be no reason to read the book, right?

I have to tell you two things right off the bat regarding my busy life and this book:

1. I DO NOT read. I mean, I know how to read. I enjoy reading. But I generally don’t take/make the time to read. And when I do, I’m typically not reading books that have educational/helpful content like this one. I thought this would take me bloody forever to read, but in actual reading time, it didn’t. (Translation: it took me many weeks to make time to sit down and finish it, but the reading itself was easy!!!) Shawna’s writing style is friendly and accessible. I found the facts contained within the pages of her book to be pretty fascinating and not boring at all. (Thank goodness!)

2. The fact that I don’t read as often as I like makes me a pretty good candidate to read this book. (Got Stress?) Maybe I need to Go Green, right? When I was finished with this book, I found that I made personal connections with certain little tips that Shawna gave, to live a greener life. Sure, the way Shawna lives (green, you know!) is not realistically attainable for most people *in an instant*, but by taking baby steps, you can get there if you want to. I felt a deep sense of satisfaction when I finished reading because I got it. And I was proud of Shawna because I imagine her goal in writing the book was to inspire people to take those baby steps, and in my eyes, she achieved it with me. For any writer to pour their heart and soul into a book (I know from experience!) like Shawna did and to see that readers GET IT, that’s an amazing thing.

If you’re interested and want to check it out for yourself, you can purchase the book here. Shawna also has a blog, and you can read it here.

*Yeah, I can’t wait to see what kinds of searches are going to bring people here now!