Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sunroofs and Shoeboxes by Jaime L. Mathews - Book Tour + Giveaway

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This is my post during the blog tour for Sunroofs and Shoeboxes by Jaime L. Mathews. In Sunroofs & Shoeboxes, Jaime L. Mathews compiles the nuggets of wisdom she has found in the commonplace, so you can do the same.

This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours and the tour runs from 29 November till 19 December. You can see the tour schedule here.

Sunroofs and Shoeboxes book cover

Sunroofs and Shoeboxes
By Jaime L. Mathews
Genre: Inspirational nonfiction
Release Date: 2 November, 2021

From the health benefits of opening the sunroof of your car and letting the sun in, to turning shoeboxes into treasure troves of memories to cherish, Jaime L. Mathews shows you the positive side in the things of every day life.

Seeing the beauty in the mundane goes a long way towards leading a happy life. But the daily practice of gratitude is a muscle that needs to be flexed regularly. Jaime teaches you to look at life with a brand new set of eyes, every day. Eventually, you won’t even need to think about it, and you will start to see opportunities in the biggest challenges, see the extraordinary in the most ordinary things, and your outlook on life will be changed for the better.

So flex those muscles now, and take a deep dive into the unbridled enthusiasm and contagious optimism of Jaime L. Mathews.

- B&N



A Journey of Unexpected Health and Gratitude


grat·i·tude. The dictionary defines gratitude as, “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

When was the last time you heard someone say, “I am so grateful,” and actually mean it?

When was the last time you felt grateful? Not just a time where you felt lucky, but a time where your whole body and mind felt genuinely grateful and blessed all at once.

The word “grateful” is thrown around so much in our society. We send up our yogic prayer hand and bow our heads, which seems to have become the universal display of gratitude; much like the peace sign is the known signal of its meaning. But gratitude is a two-way street. It is not only the appreciation for the kindness shown to us; it is also the reciprocation of good to others. It is more than just giving thanks. It is returning that thanks so that others also have something to be thankful for. It is in these moments when we experience being grateful and in turn, our lives feel more fulfilled, healthier, and we ultimately feel happier.

So, how do you start feeling genuinely grateful?

Within these pages, you are about to read nearly a year’s work of intentionally looking for health and gratitude in situations, scenarios, and during times when you might least expect it. Do you think it’s possible to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic and find something to be grateful for? Can you eat pizza and feel so good and healthy that Paleo diet followers everywhere would be utterly stumped? What about losing your pet? Can you be grateful when Fido goes missing? You can, because sometimes we have to go through a lot of gunk to be able to see the good. Each challenge or hardship offers a gift. The gift is being able to see new gold that you would have otherwise ignored. Remember, the good and the bad exist together. You cannot see one without the other.

Sunroofs & Shoeboxes shares some (actually a lot of) stories that I hope will inspire you to know, feel, and then practice seeing that gratitude, which is one of the only things we can control in our lives. When we grab hold of what our mind thinks about, we empower ourselves to experience greater health, increased happiness, and gratefulness. Are you ready?


I wrote Sunroofs & Shoeboxes as a way to see hope, good, and gratitude, in my own life. I was frustrated by where I was in life. I was thirty-one years old, and I always thought that by then, I would be married with children, living in a white house with a picketed fence (or something like that). Instead, I was living with a roommate, my dog, and two cats, working at my dad’s business while I was also growing the hair salon I had purchased (and already disliked). Some of my friends were married, most had serious boyfriends, and I, on the other hand, had a hard time finding a date! I was so tired of being the third wheel, the fifth wheel, or even the ninth wheel at times. Not that living with roommates and animals or being single is a bad thing—it isn’t! But it was not where I pictured myself in my early thirties. If I’m really honest with myself and with all of you, I was envious of my friends who had already figured out their career, and found their fella, and were playing house for real. I also knew I wanted children and the fertility clock seemed to start ticking for me around that time. I felt stuck, I felt unfulfilled, and I felt powerless to know how to get myself out of my predicament.

So as I had often done from the time I was a teenager, I started writing. Well, let’s be honest, I can type way faster than I write these days, so I picked up my laptop and started typing. I decided that since I was having a hard time seeing all of the blessings I really did have in my life at that time, I would force myself to. I committed myself to writing every day for six months about the things I was grateful for. You see, I knew about the power of mindset. I had studied it constantly during my master’s program in holistic health education and nutrition. I knew the power of focusing on something in order to see it. But I wasn’t practicing what I preached, so I gave myself a challenge—a challenge to see good, health, and gratitude every day, even if I was having a horrible day, even if I was hung over, and even if nothing seemed to be going right in my life.

I decided to write for a hundred and seventy-seven days straight. I began writing on January 7 because beginning on January 1 seemed way too cliché for me. And most New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past the first month, so I wanted to set myself up for success right away. What’s funny about this is that when I counted a hundred and seventy-seven days, the final day of writing landed on my only sibling’s birthday. That was it! I knew I was meant to write it and I was meant to start that day. Because there’s no time like the present, right?!


What transpired as I was writing the book was nothing short of exceptional! Opportunities started coming my way. Doors started opening while other necessary windows started closing. I was getting more and more clarity because I was focusing on seeing what was possible every day instead of what was missing. Here are a few examples:

On what I thought to be a random trip with my mom to Boulder, Colorado one weekend (laptop in hand because I did not allow myself to miss a single day and catch up later—everything had to be present day), I stumbled on a magazine. Now it’s not like I found O Magazine in the bathroom and thought, “Oh cool, Oprah’s favorite spring décor is here.” It was Healthy Living Magazine that I was instantly gravitated to. I picked it up, read it cover to cover (and loved it!) and put it in my laptop carrying case to read again on the flight home. But it wasn’t until the flight home that I discovered the advertisement for the franchising opportunity. What the what?! Me, who had a background in journalism, a background in holistic health, and loved both almost as much as coffee, could own my own magazine? It sounded too good to be true, right? Well, about eight months later, I built and launched the local edition of that magazine. And I’m telling you, I would not have been receptive to the opportunity that was staring me in the face if I hadn’t been focusing on looking for what’s going right in life instead of what’s wrong.

Here’s another example: One time during my gratitude journey, when I was eating at my favorite raw vegan restaurant, Café Gratitude, in Berkeley, California, I noticed a flyer about a three-day workshop in San Francisco that the owners were hosting. So of course, I signed up. One of the perks about not being married with children was the freedom to spend my money on whatever I wanted instead making sure the kids had plenty of school shoes. At that three-day retreat, I met some amazing people that I am still in contact with today, and I learned about a yoga retreat in Hawaii. Well, guess what? A few months after this gratitude journey ended, I was on a plane to Maui, about to embark on one of the retreats that would change my life. 


So many things in my life began to change during and after writing the book. As you know, I found one of my business adventures with the magazine, which I sold a few years after launching. I experienced retreats that have been life changing. I have traveled to places I always wanted to see, like the Omega Institute in upstate New York.

In fact, within fifteen months of completing Sunroofs & Shoeboxes, I had launched and grown my magazine, I had traveled to New York City for a wellness retreat at the Omega Institute, followed by a wild and whacky girls’ weekend in New York City. I hopped on a plane with my brother and then-four-year-old niece and went to Ireland to visit our godmother and travel the country, which was a trip that I will truly never forget. And the cherry on top of all of these amazing adventures was that I met my husband Damon. We met, fell in love, got married the following year, and had our twin baby girls a year after that (followed by another baby and lots of farm animals).

But let me talk about our home for just a second. One day, after Damon and I got hitched, we went for our Sunday drive. We liked to see what neighborhoods we might want to buy a house in, which schools we wanted our kids to attend—you know, married people stuff. That day, he told me he wanted to take me to one of his favorite streets. He knew I wanted a country property (even if it was a total fixer), a little slice of dirt to call our own. When he turned down the street, I was totally unimpressed. I immediately thought, “Dude, have you been listening at all to what I’ve been saying?” It was a cookie-cutter residential neighborhood, which was beautiful, but not what I was hoping and dreaming for. He said, “Just wait.” As we turned the corner, the street completely changed (and we found out later that it was indeed built in two totally different time periods). The second part of the street was country as far as you could see. It was farm fencing and horses, flies and farm animals. I was hooked! We went to the very end of the street and on all the side streets, trying to look for any sign of possible home sales. Nothing. So we drove home to the house we lived in and knew we were already outgrowing.

Fast forward about a month and Damon and I drove to that street again. We now knew that we were destined to live on that country part of the street. As we turned the corner again, we saw it—“For Sale.” We stopped the car, I grabbed a flyer, looked it up online and saw that it had everything we wanted in our home—the home we would raise our kids in and the home we would make all of our sweet little memories in. We went back home, and I grabbed a post-it note and wrote, “Let’s get here.” I posted the home flyer with that saying on it, and I looked at that thing every single day. And guess what? After several months and a little financial help from family, we got there! I still drive into my home every day and think, “Man, I am one lucky girl.” Nearly nine years later and three babies, I am still living and making memories in that home and I am grateful every single day.

In addition to marriage and babies, I finally made the tough decision to close the hair salon that grew increasingly toxic for me. This was a hard one because financially, it was not a bad business. But emotionally, it was making me sick. But the unexpected health in making those kinds of tough decisions in life is that when we choose health, it chooses us back. My husband and I decided to open a fireplace retail store and remodeling business and within five years, it has grown to a seven-figure business—a business that has enabled me to grow wings and fly, to share with all of you that the health, the joy, and the gratitude that are waiting for all of you. It might be one sunroof or one shoebox away.

The Secret of Sunroofs

As I was driving to work one day, I came across my first unexpected health tidbit. I discovered the vitality I experience from driving with my sunroof open. Okay, I didn’t exactly have the chilly morning air rushing through my car, but I did have the cover pulled back to expose the sky. During warmer months, I almost always drive with my sunroof completely open, letting in fresh air and, of course, sunlight. Now that it was winter, I’ve kept my window to the sky closed to keep the heat in. What a waste! For those of you who have sunroofs, take this test: pay attention to the feeling you get when you have the sunroof open (at least the cover) and when it is closed. There is a distinct feeling of expansiveness when creating a little extra room and a little light in your car… and in your world. Even when the days are dreary, driving with the sunroof exposed can definitely lift your spirits.

Letting light in creates health. Sunlight provides the body with vitamin D, which is essential for all of us. Heat lamps nourish young chicks, facilitating their growth and, you guessed it, health. Light helps us see in darkness, both literally and metaphorically. If you are feeling a little dreary, as we all do at times, let some light in… even if it is just through your sunroof.

So the next time you are shopping for a new car, consider the sunroof an option worth paying for!


On one Spare the Air day, in an effort to do my part for the environment, I ditched my car, strapped the running leash on my dog (I am still awaiting the day that horribly long rope trips me while running down a major thoroughfare), tuned into my favorite music mix, and away we went. The morning air was invigorating, a perfect time for some good old unexpected health revelations.

As I ran to the beat of my favorite tunes, I couldn’t help but think about how healthy music can be. I stress the word can because as most of you know, music lyrics and artists can and have been associated with some devastatingly sad situations (take for example the song “Dust in the Wind,” the song most played by people right before they commit suicide). What I mean by healthy music are those songs you sing in the car or in the shower, hum at work, run to, dance to, and maybe most importantly, those songs that elicit memories. Music creates a perfect little moment for reflection. And reflection is healthy.

How would we ever know how far we’ve come if we can’t measure it against where we once were? Music gives us the time to reminisce about past experiences and past relationships, times of happiness and sadness, emotional growth and physical changes.

When we have these nostalgic moments, we have the choice to: a) dwell on the “good ol’ days,” wishing we were somewhere other than where we are right now, or b) realize that where we are today is the product of all those memories, all those experiences that we are flooded with when a song plays. Music is motivation. It can move us from a place of complacency to a place of momentum. Music can (literally!) move us out of stuck places.

So the next time you tune in to your favorite radio station, iTunes mix, or even an old-fashioned CD, remember that music will get more than your feet moving… it will get your mind moving as well.

Watch Out… and In

Once when I drove through town, I discovered some unexpected health benefits while people-watching. Let me start off by clarifying that I am not talking about making voyeurism your new hobby. But I do find that catching glimpses of others can elicit quite a sense of health and wellbeing.

Here’s what unfolded: while stopped at a red light, I looked to my right and noticed three friends in their mid-twenties. I must have looked over right as one of them said the punchline of a funny joke, did something terribly amusing, or had just witnessed a comical event.

I have no idea what the topic was and it didn’t matter. What I caught was one of the three laughing the most wholehearted laugh I have seen in a while. You’ve seen these types of laughs before, the ones that cause a chain reaction of events to occur: head tilts back, mouth opens wide, eyes squint because a face cannot possibly share both fully opened eyes and a clown-sized smile. These are the laughs that cause an almost instant grin on the face of any onlooker, and I was no exception. I couldn’t help but smile and wonder, “What just gave them so much joy?” I wanted to roll down my window and invite myself into the conversation. But, in a way, I did become part of their world. I smiled because I was watching them.

It is so easy to notice the unattractiveness in people: their hot tempers, their questionable fashion sense, their size, shape, hair color, nail color… The list goes on and on. I propose that we look for the obvious qualities that create contagious positive reactions in us.

So the next time you go for a leisurely stroll, look for those who help out an elderly person. Watch for the person who picks up trash that doesn’t belong to them. Notice those who let drivers in instead of gawking at the quick-tempered person who cuts people off. And, of course, pay attention to those who outwardly show their joyful emotions. I bet if you do, you will notice that a smile might just appear on your face. And who knows, maybe at that same moment, someone will be noticing you. Let the chain reaction of smiles begin. 

About the Author:
Jaime L. Mathews is the author of Sunroofs & Shoeboxes, a collection of the little nuggets of wisdom she has found in the little things of everyday life.

Educated as a journalist and an educator in holistic health, Jaime has had an eclectic career path which included journalism positions at the Orion and Natural Awakenings, being the wellness director of an exclusive fitness resort and the business owner of a hair salon and a fireplace retail store.

But between the many hats she has worn throughout her life, the one she is most proud of is that of mother and mentor to her little ones. Jaime, her husband, and their five children live on a farm in California.

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There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Sunroofs and Shoeboxes. Here are the prizes you can win:
- 5 winners will each win a paperback copy of Sunroofs and Shoeboxes (US Only)
- 10 winners will each win an ecopy of Sunroofs and Shoeboxes

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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