The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan


“At the end of the day, the money itself is just paper. What gives the whole experience meaning are the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that come with giving the money away in ways that make you smile and make your hearts sing.”

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they’re given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don’t overthink it; share your experiences; don’t feel pressured to give it all away.

Through Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and beyond, Kim and Brian face obstacles, including major challenges to their relationship. As she distributes the gift to people she encounters along the way she learns that money does not have a thing to do with the capacity to give, but that giving—of ourselves—is transformational.

My thoughts:

I came across this book while browsing the New Release section at our public library. The cover caught my eye. The colors looked like summer so I read the book summary and was drawn into the description. I traveled quite a bit for work and for pleasure prior to having children and for those of you that know me, know that I like to travel and dream of more in my future.  But that wasn’t the only reason I was drawn to this book. The idea of connecting with people all over the world and providing help was my main appeal.  I have a personal desire to do things in my lifetime to help others so I was very curious to find out what this book was all about.

I am not a seasoned travel memoir reader but I think this book offered so much more than what I expected.  Kim really opened up about her insecurities about her identity and her relationship with her husband. As a wife and mother, I think about my pre-marriage and mommy journey and occasionally remind myself that I must strive to continually build my wholeness. Ok, I am not trying to sound preachy but what I am trying to say is that sometimes we lose ourselves in “roles” of wife and or motherhood and there is nothing in the rule book that requires that. In this book, we witness Kim, questioning these very things for herself as she travels the globe with her husband. When taken away from the comforts and familiars of home, she is forced to address her feelings.

Kim also shares how she changes throughout this experience and grows in so many ways. For one thing, she recognizes the delicate balance of the ways to be of service for people that are in need. In one instance she is taken aback when a fellow traveler poses for a “selfie with a child they are helping”. She questions his motive and is forced to reflect on her own experiences. As I myself, try to insert myself into more humanitarian efforts, I keep questioning my motives and try to seek pure intentions with my actions.

Of course, I also enjoyed reading about the different places that she traveled but again, it took a back seat for me to all of the other topics she raised. It’s a very fast read but one that you can reflect on after. I would recommend this book and give it 4 butterflies.

Happy reading!


Title: The Yellow Envelope
Author: Kim Dinan
Copyright: April 1, 2017
Genre: non-fiction, travel-memoir
Format: book Pages: 341

It’s National Book Lovers Day!!!

Today is National Book Lovers Day! So today I am going to take a trip to Barnes and Noble with my boys. Today is a day to celebrate books and find a little time preferably in your favorite nook, to read.  Above is a photo from the new Amazon Books that has opened up near me. I love how they have all of the book covers facing out.

I also including a few pictures from this year of my boys reading and all of the different places I read. On the plane, on the beach, under a cozy blanket in my fun chairs, in my car at pick up, my reading nook in the winter, oh and especially on my deck three seasons of the year.

I hope you find even 15 minutes today to pick up a book.

Happy reading!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Tale of the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki


“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

My thoughts:

Have you ever wanted to read a book, bought it and then sit down to read it and about 10 pages in you stop to do something else and not return to the book? Sometimes I think I have ADD when it comes to books. Some books just suck me in and I can’t get enough. Others I have to put a bit of effort to finish. Then there are some that either fall after an amazing book and to no fault of its own, suffer neglect. So I started and stopped this book really quick a few years ago when I bought it. Then I tried again and got further and still ditched it.  But something in me said that I needed to read this book. I read for many reasons. Sometimes for pure pleasure other times for escape, and other times to grow. I put this book into the latter category. Which is why it might take a bit more effort for me to read.  Going into this, I wanted to explore Japan, the life of a Buddhist nun, the life of a teenage Japanese girl, and a writer. So I knew that sooner or later the right time would present itself and I would read this book. That time came in two ways: I found the audiobook version of the book on Hoopla and I wanted to read something for Japanese June. Japanese is an online book challenge created by a booktuber that wanted to encourage more exposure to Japanese authors and literature.

So I embarked on the audiobook version which was the best option for me for this book because the author read the book and she captured the essence so well with her voice. I saw Ruth Ozeki speak on a television interview and really enjoyed listening to her talk. Ruth is a writer, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest.  So I knew she would bring a wealth of first-hand knowledge to the book.

I first want to warn the reader that there is some graphic sexual content in a few places in the book and some pretty heavy bullying scenes. So if that might be a trigger then this might be a bit more of a challenge to read. I found them challenging but pushed through because I felt what the book had to offer outweighed my discomfort in a few sections.

The book switched back and forth between Nao, a Japanese teenager, and Ruth. The story of Nao was so intriguing. Even though she is Japanese, she grew up in California and when her family was forced to return to Japan, she is not welcome by the Japanese children at school. They call her names and bully her in unimaginable ways.  It was heartbreaking to read at times. The story of Ruth is her relationship with her husband, her thoughts about her life choices and how the discovery of Nao’s diary impacts her life.  I won’t go into it more than that because it will spoil the book.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this audiobook and loved her definition of a time being and how she intertwines both stories. I am glad that I persisted to find a way to read this book. For some, the print might work but for me, I appreciated the book more via audio format.  That said, I recommend if you get an option try reading it first and if you find yourself doing what I did, then check out the audiobook version. I give this book 4 butterflies!

Happy reading!


Title: Tale for the Time Being
Author: Ruth Ozeki
Copyright: March 12, 2013
Genre: fiction
Format: audiobook book Pages: 422

Belinda’s Book Nook: Social Justice Reading Project (SJRP)

In 2016, there were two books that stood out among all the others that deeply affected me. One was, “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson and the other was called, “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race Edited by Jesmyn Ward”. After I finished each one of them, I purposely took the time to thoroughly digest the information they provided.  With the book Just Mercy, I first saw Bryan Stevenson on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and his words moved me to find his book. I listened to the audiobook for this book which Bryan was the voice talent so he could capture his meanings even better than if someone else read the book. The book opened my heart wide to the injustice in our criminal justice system, particularly how it affects the poor minority. For me growing up, I was always raised with an awareness of the inequalities within society when it came to race. So I wasn’t completely shocked when I read this book but Bryan brings the reader into the depths of the justice system and shows you just how messed up it really is at the present. Being so inspired, I decided that I want to find a way to be part of the change. But guess what? Life took over and I put it on the back burner. Then I read The Fire This Time and was blown away by all of the essays in it by such talented authors. Many of whom I read before.  I remember stopping and sharing some of the information with Leao. Again, I felt that desire to be a part of the change.  But then, life happened again and I put it on the back burner.

Recently one of my book friends from Litsy (an online social community for book lovers) said that she had started a Social Justice Reading Project for her summer reading and create a list to read and discuss on her blog.  I finally felt the pull again and reached out to her to tell her I was very interested in creating my own as well. For these reasons, combined with all of the deaths of African American men and boys by police officers, I have decided to begin educating myself. Lastly, I am a mother of two African American boys and the thought of sending them out into the world sends me to pieces. The conversations I must have with them in order to keep them safe is heartbreaking. I wish they could be young and innocent forever, but that bubble must be burst and I have to do my job as a parent and prepare them for both the good and the bad. For these reasons, I am motivated to educate myself and then make myself available to create change.

I tend to want to sit for a while after I read such dense and heavy material so that I can reflect so I will not be reading all of these books over the summer months instead I will extend mine throughout the year and when she and I overlap, I will head on over to her discussions.   Partly because I don’t like to read anything until I have read the book so I can process and form my own opinions.

Please take some time to check out her blog – The Book Babe and see the amazing list of books she will be reading over the summer. We both have a focus on the criminal justice system as it pertains to African Americans. The important part is that we can be a part of the process of creating places (on our blogs) for more dialogue and education to occur. This is why I am so grateful for books. They allow us the opportunity to keep growing.

I will be integrating these books into my other TBRs.  So you will still continue to hear about the other books that I read. But I will tag and label my posts with SJRP (Social Justice Reading Project) so they are easy to find.

The following are a list of books that I would like to read for my SJRP:

I look forward to reading and sharing my experience with you. This book blog will help me to learn to articulate such important information so that I and others might grow.


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