A "Holistic Health Book Swap" for fans of natural, holistic health and well being

  • Saturday, September 7, 2019

  • Carbondale Branch Library

  • 1-3 PM

Blair Bracken and Lisa Bracken are super excited to offer this first-ever community-centric book swap on the subject of Holistic Health!

Light, nutritional refreshments are provided by our valley sponsors from Basalt to Grand Junction.

Holistic health is a broad category beneath which reside all sorts of sub-categorical topics on natural, whole-person health and wellness. This includes mind, body and spirit focus on everything from preventive lifestyle choices like diet and nutrition... to fitness and meditation. And, reaches farther to include the naturopathic world of diagnostics, disease as well as alternative and integrative therapies.

Thanks to ancient and indigenous practices finding on-going analysis and scrutiny through modern scientific method, the arena of holistic health has become - more than ever - as promising, compelling and complex as it can be controversial and conflicting. 

Educated choices are key to living the best version of you!

A book swap is a fun, dynamic and casual event offering those of shared interests an opportunity to meet, discover, learn, share inspirations and ideas, and trade resources in the form of books, magazines and other media (print or digital) on the same general subject matter - in this case, ‘Holistic Health’ (books on Sustainability are also welcome for trading as a secondary preference).


And a BIG thanks to Paonia-based High Country News for donating a box full of great titles for our sustainability trading table! YAY!

Worried about finding someone to trade with? No worries, there will also be an Open Table for a take-one-leave-one option with 600 (yes, six hundred)  unique and diverse titles already awaiting a new home - all generously donated by the estate of former Rifle Natural Health proprietors, Joe and Donna Mason, to include their private collection and commercial inventory. 

Join the fun in this 'bring one-take one' share-fest! 

Very low-cost, great condition and excellent health-related books to trade can be found around the valley from library branch kiosks to thrift stores, even from friends looking to downsize. And remember, books on Earth's sustainability, like eco-system health, organic farming, bee keeping, clean energy, ect. are also welcome as a secondary trading preference!

For holistic health aficionados contemplating an out-of-town excursion, why not make this 2-hour Saturday event a fun, Rocky Mountain weekend day trip? The town of Carbondale is nestled at the foot of towering Mt. Sopris and offers beautiful views surrounding a funky, progressive town offering unique shopping, dining and associated sight-seeing opportunities! Carbondale is accessible through Glenwood Springs (which is off I-70) then take Hwy 82 to the Carbondale turn-off (about a ten-minute drive from Glenwood Springs).

Thank You for sponsoring light, nutritious refreshments...

  • Whole Foods - Basalt

  • Natural Grocers - Glenwood & Grand Junction

  • Sprouts - Grand Junction

  • Wal-Mart - Rifle


  • Thank You Garfield County Libraries for providing our location.

  • Thank You Carbondale Library Staff for providing outstanding logistical support!

  • Thank You Lift-Up, Feed My Sheep and Faith Lutheran Church for offering to coordinate and share surplus refreshments after the event with our locals in need...


Can't attend, or already looking for life beyond the book swap? 

Join the Facebook group below co-founded by Lisa Bracken and Blair Bracken to help carry the good vibes forward:
"Naturally Holistic: Sustainable Earth and Wellness"

Find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NaturallyHolisticSustainableEarthAndWellness/


Help us spread the word for this fun opportunity to meet, discover and share!

Hope to see you there!


Lisa Bracken - Author, Advocate, Educator, Speaker
newflightbooks.com and facebook.com/lisa.bracken.author 

Blair Bracken - Consulting Event Coordinator, Educator, Speaker 

whitedovemarketplace.com and facebook.com/blair.bracken

More details like...

The Way-Back Story...

commemorated and written by Lisa Bracken


Blair and I walked in the door looking for a little bulk Turkish rhubarb within the confines of a spacious sunlit space and were met by the enthusiastic grins of the elder yet ever-vibrant Joe and Donna Mason - long time health advocates and proprietors of Rifle Natural Health. I’d called ahead, so knew they had the herb in stock. 


After three hours of other random errands, I and my young daughter, Blair, were ready to collect our quarter pound of herbal goodness ahead of winter’s inevitably encroaching flu season.

Joe, with a widening sincere grin and thinish book in hand, approached for a hug while Donna rose from her short stool in the back room and rushed over for one herself – her huge wooden ‘sifting’ spoon barely avoiding a bonk on my noggin in the group jostle.


She waved the spoon away and collected both I and Blair in her embrace while attempting to avoid getting fugitive goldenseal dust in our eyes. Laughing with equal enthusiasm, this was a greeting among kindred, like puppies overjoyed to see one another after a long departure from the dog park. Blair and I hadn’t been into the store for several months, and Joe and Donna were both excited to share new insights gleaned within our mutually evolving worlds of natural health.


“Check this out,” Joe offered with a smile, handing me a new release for the store shelves. “It’s a book on enzymatic therapy – store copy – take it home, just be sure to bring it back!”, knowing, of course, I would scarf it and return it post haste.  Joe and I continued sharing perspectives on the necessary role of digestive enzymes (and hydrochloric acid levels), which he embellished with a shocking illustration of ‘auto-brewery syndrome’ – that is, the intestinal fermentation of carbohydrates and the subsequent creation of elevated blood alcohol levels. He continued, “Yep… purportedly died from a pancake overdose at a pancake eating contest..” Crikey! Joe always had intriguing and illustrative stories to tell, and naturally, I was captivated, peppering our discussion with questions such as, “Were there other disease factors involved? How old was this person? Were they overweight? Was there syrup involved?” I always came away from a visit to the store with greater insight into the very broad, always compelling and sometimes even contradictory world of health.


Donna had already hurried Blair off to the bulk herb room, eager to show her their latest acquisition. Blair shouted over her shoulder as I headed off with Joe to the book shelves, “Mom, they just got in more burdock!” Her enthusiasm surrounded a native herb abundant near the creek on our rural property. It was one she had been recently studying with her grandpa – a naturopath – for its tonic properties. Burdock would be a needed ingredient in our winter tea blend. ‘Yay!” I shout back, “Hey, have Donna bag you a half pound of slippery elm!” This was an ingredient which did not grow along our creek, but would be an important companion factor in our forthcoming tonic.


Turns out, that visit was a long time ago – longer than I had realized.


Over two decades later, on an early Friday morning whim, my husband, Thumper, and I were tooling about the area on a light-hearted, casual hunt for garage sales when we followed some signs and pulled into a cul-de-sac near a lovely home overlooking a green and sweeping valley. I walked to the open garage and was immediately drawn to an entire wall devoted to books lining floor-to-ceiling selves.  Naturally, I investigated, surprised and a little unsettled to find hundreds upon hundreds of titles devoted to natural, holistic health. Everything from nutrition to meditation, aromatherapy, herbology, reflexology, acupuncture, anatomy, first aid and Ayurvedic medicine. I more carefully perused the titles, instinctively knowing the answer to the question I was about to ask of the several bustling, yet somber people in attendance busily setting boxes of items onto the sidewalk ahead of any weekend rush. 


I was pretty direct, though choking to get the words out: “Is this the estate of Joe and Donna Mason?” The lady within nodded affirmatively with tears in her eyes that suddenly mirrored my own. They had both passed within a month of one another. The closing of their store had left a vacuum in our small town; and, now, their passing… their enthusiastic passion for health and wellbeing, their storehouse of openly shared personal knowledge now left an even bigger sense of emptiness.


I related deeply with their passion for personal health and wellness. My entire family had long pursued a bank of ever-broadening knowledge in the realm of holistic health and wellness. I, personally, had spent the past decade in pursuit of a much more rounded, detailed and applicable understanding of health - particularly the role of nutrition and toxicity since recovering, via a primarily raw vegan lifestyle, my own stress-induced crises of obesity, high blood pressure and border-line diabetes.


I, more than perhaps many, could surmise the latent value, the potential, resting on those shelves. And I couldn’t image what might happen to the hundreds of titles devoted to the subject of natural health, now that Joe and Donna had passed.


How is it that in our modern, incredibly fractured culture, people can live in the same region and not associate, let alone recognize the number of years that may have faded from one another, preoccupied with personal sagas until time immemorial itself bonks us on the noggin and says, ‘hey… you need to pay attention.’


I was paying attention. This encounter felt way beyond happenstance. More like serendipity. The kind of phenomenon that aligns and enables the best intentions forward, toward even greater good…

It turned out, few casual shoppers had been interested in the books offered at the estate sale, leaving the family unsure of what might be done with them, having already collected many volumes for their own home libraries.


Before leaving, I browsed every title and recognized many duplicates of our own – really good books with really good insight. So, I collected probably twenty to thirty more titles to contribute to our own home library, then asked that the family contact me if, at the end of their extended sale period, they still found themselves with tonnage to move.

Knowing the immeasurable value of health knowledge, especially for anyone interested in preserving or recovering their own, I promised the family I would do everything possible to find a way to reinvest Joe and Donna’s former inventories and personal library back into our broader community. Refusing to allow such knowledge to simply fade into oblivion, I left my number.


Two months later, I got the call, and Thumper and I brought every single title home... over 600 of them! 

Now it was me who had to figure out what to do with them. Thumper – always at my side with any support I may need as well as support I may not know I need, further suggested we make it not just a community event, but a family one.  I called Blair – who, lucky for me, not only has a strong background in natural health, fitness and Tai Chi, but is a consulting event coordinator and community-builder extraordinaire. As busy as she was, there was zero hesitation, and she echoed my enthusiasm for a project to honor Joe and Donna’s investment by reinvesting in a public they so long served.


A year later, we three had decided the best way to reintegrate the collection would be to host a book swap (the first in our valley) offering people of shared interests in holistic health and wellness a chance to meet, share inspiration and ideas, and swap resources like books, magazines and other media.


Knowing that 600 titles represented a lot of volume – especially in exchange for other volume, we further envisioned extended opportunities to share the bounty through farmer’s markets across the valley, via give-away tables. And Summer, 2020 was on the horizon!


For our initial, Fall, 2019 Book Swap launch, we solicited and won the enthusiastic support of sponsors who not only appreciated the idea but were eager to help us provide light and nutritional refreshments to our guests. Whole Foods – Basalt; Natural Grocers – Glenwood and Grand Junction; Wal-Mart – Rifle; and Sprouts - Grand Junction were all on board. Organic, veggie-based nosh – woot!


Our trading and munchie tables extended, we then broadened our invitation to include guests from Basalt to Grand Junction -- a gesture we were sure Joe and Donna would not only approve of, but doubtless encourage!


We then coordinated with Lift-Up, Feed My Sheep and the Lutheran Church in Carbondale to collect and distribute after-event surplus food to locals in need of a nourishing meal.


Full circle. Feeling right. Feeling good. And, hopeful that this early initiative would expand throughout our valley, inspiring more communities to share more knowledge and resources through local swaps.


My entire family is of the mindset: The best way to experience good in the world is to create it. And with the help of others in support of this idea and the event, the Holistic Health Book Swap is ON!


Please help us share word and keep the Mason’s community investment in a rolling state of shared returns!