BOOK REVIEWS

 

 

COMING HOME TO CALM
Awakening to Divine Intelligence
By Donna Strong
A regular contributor to Awareness Magazine, this is Donna Strong's first book, a memoir of creative spirituality and evolution. In these troubling and turbulent times, we all can appreciate a message that the grit of experience can be transformed into peaceful pearls of wisdom.

The author has found that we never get to a new level of life without passing through chaos. The "threads of my life" journey shared here illuminates the paradox of finding calm by surrendering in the midst of the storms in your life.

Strong begins by sharing with us a need to find her map in life. She begins with the story of her personal turning point, the separation from her husband, where she realizes she needs to surrender to the things in her life that are falling apart, in order to open the door to experience discovery of the good in all things. She goes on to share with us the process of her personal reorganization, reawakening of purpose and pleasure, as well as a cancer diagnosis that enables her to discuss different healing options, as long as we are open to exploration.

In order to live a life of fulfillment and peace, we need to claim our authenticity. We are here to allow ourselves to experience the intelligence, order, purpose and harmony within the nature of this earth and our lives. Surrendering to the sacred essence in all things offers an opening to allow the larger order of divine design to reveal itself.

In reconnecting with the truth of who we are, and in listening to our hearts and what they truly desire, we become more receptive vessels and can experience the blessing of true calm in our life.

Published by Jonquil Press, this book is available at your local bookstore or the author's website at www.DonnaStrong.com

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

THE POWER OF MIRACLE THINKING
By Randy Peyser
Another long-time Awareness Magazine contributor, this author's primary desire, when she interviewed people for this book, was to discover the "formula," if there is such a thing, as to how miracles are created. She is passionate about creating miracles and believes she has found that formula.

Beautifully written, inspiring stories about real people who have experienced a miracle in their lives are the basis of this book. Their beliefs, attitudes, thoughts and actions display how they have been blessed in this way. They have also inspired others to open up their lives in order to allow miracles to unfold.

For example, the individual chapters deal with how to cope with anxiety, fear and pain as well as hints for recognizing and developing trust. Often, when we are in the midst of a most difficult circumstance, hope and power may appear. For these situations, Miracle Thinkers bring the tough times back to a place of love.

There is also a section that discusses "stuck places" like apathy and how this can be turned around to our benefit. Hopes and fairy tales have a way of becoming true if you believe that they will happen.

If you have ever wondered how to create your own miracle, this book will teach you the "Miracle Thinking Mindset" and how to apply it to your life.

Published by Author One Stop, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.Author OneStop.com

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

CHOOSING TO BE
Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master
By Kat Tansey
Endorsed by Eckhart Tolle, this book is an introduction to the art of how to quiet the mind through the use of Buddhist meditation, as advised and practiced by the author's highly-evolved Maine Coon talking cat.

Author Kat Tansey is a writer and life coach who has been a meditation practitioner for fifteen years and has enjoyed a unique relationship with cats since she was young. After being struck down with chronic fatigue syndrome, the journey to regain her physical, emotional and spiritual health was the genesis for this book.

If you've ever had trouble with "getting" how to meditate and reach true inner calm, this book will not only entertain you, but will teach you the process in a unique way.

Published by iUniverse, this book is available at your local bookstore or at www.iuniverse.com

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

THE WAY OF THE BUTTERFLY
A Scientific
Speculation on God and the Hereafter
By Jim Rigas
Surviving into the eternity, postulated by Christianity and Judaism, is more threatening than reassuring. Available alternatives are basically heaven and hell. We must work on achieving heaven; however, we get an automatic demotion to hell.

The author, a retired professional engineer, examines the latest scientific theories about the dichotomy of religions and endeavors to explain why death should not be feared. This book avoids denominational issues, but rather takes aim at elucidation and inspiration, as opposed to interpretation. It is intended to inspire us to gain renewed insight as to how we are to care for ourselves, blending theology with science.

This book also touches on examining recurrence of miracles and events that may lead us to understanding our environment more clearly. A serious and inspiring blend of religion and science, we are left with a better understanding, as well as much additional speculation and contemplation of God, evil, our brains, souls and the hereafter.

Published by Pnevma Publications, this book is available at your local bookstore or at www.jimrigas.com

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

WHY WALK WHEN YOU CAN FLY?
Soar Beyond Your Fears and Love Yourself and Others Unconditionally
By
Isha
For the most part, if we find our lives to be mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling, it is because we chose to cling to things that are familiar to us. Although the possibilities for us are endless, instead of flying, we chose to sit on our branches of fear. The author is here to cut those branches so we are able to soar.

Isha, is a widely recognized spiritual teacher who has received unprecedented support for her extensive social outreach programs that are changing lives in high-security prisons, hospitals and with ex-guerilla soldiers.

The very simple Isha System is built around four powerful statements of true-"facets" - that expand consciousness so we can learn to love others and ourselves, unconditionally. The first four chapters introduce the facets of embracing the present moment - how to identify and cut the branches that hold us back - accepting what "is" without judgment, loving oneself and being at one with the universe.

Each facet represents an aspect of permanent peace, love and unity and is a powerful transformative tool for inner growth. The facets bring individuals into the experience of their true nature that is called love-consciousness. This brings us to what the author calls the "Diamond Portal" where you can incorporate these facets into your daily life through practice.

By practicing the facets and reaching the Portal, we will create radical inner change, moving away from our fear-based habits and insecurities so that we may fly towards a greater, better fulfilled life.

Published by New World Library, this book is available at your local bookstore or at www.newworldlibrary.com  IIsha will appear at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in W. Hollywood on Nov. 11 at7:30 p.m.

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

A RARE BREED OF LOVE
The True Story
of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere
 By Jana Kohl, Psy.D.
Baby is an adorable white poodle who was rescued from a puppy mill where she was mistreated for years, resulting in the loss of one leg. This is a true and astonishing story of how Baby has actually worked to expose and stop the animal abuse she herself suffered for many years.

Together with her adoptive "Ma," author Jana Kohl, Baby has been on TV, in the print media appearing with actors, musicians, lobbying politicians and with sports teams to rally against the inhumane treatment of dogs forced to live and breed in puppy mills.

It was an innocent trip to such a puppy mill that led Kohl to a horrifying discovery of the conditions confronting her, which led to more research, and the adoption of "lucky" Baby, the creation of this book and Baby's career as a "spokes dog," while at the same time promoting the welfare of all animals.

This book includes a helpful "what you can do" section to support the campaign and help bring about legislations that will promote Baby's and Kohl's mission to protect dogs and other animals.

More information about Baby and her ongoing mission is available at: www.ararerbreedoflove.com 

Published by Fireside/Simon and Schuster this book is available at major bookstores or at www.simonsays.com

Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

 

SAYING GOOD BYE TO YOUR ANGEL ANIMALS
Finding Comfort After Losing Your Pet
By Allen and Linda Anderson

If ever there were a manual on how to cope with the heartbreaking loss of a dear pet, this book is it. Highly praised and recommended by animal experts, humane societies and bereavement counselors, the caring and support it delivers is of immense value to anyone in grief or preparing for loss.

The Andersons wisely provide compassionate and sound advice on helping children to grieve, honoring religious beliefs, grieving for lost pets, helping others know what to say or do to console you, planning a memorial ceremony, as well as compassionate exercises to help with the agony of pet loss.

Having said goodbye to several of their own pets (to whom the book was dedicated) they have mastered the ability to comfort and support the bereaved reader which includes spiritual reflections and many healing practices.

Allen and Linda Anderson are the founders of the Angel Animals Network, inspirational speakers, clergy members and the authors of many books including "Angel Cat," "Angel Dogs" and "Angel Horses.

Published by New World Library this book is available at major bookstores or www.angel animals.net

Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

 

ANGEL DOGS WITH A MISSION
Divine Messengers in Service to All Life
By Allen and Linda Anderson
Having just read this book I am filled with awe over the stories it contains about real "service" dogs and their mission to serve humankind. The Andersons have collected and published contributions about these compassionate dogs that keenly illustrate the unselfish nature of our canine companions.

Within these stories it seems these dogs have "angelic" abilities to resolve complex problems, to understand their mission without a need for words, demonstrate emotional capability to determine where they are most needed and do right by their human companions despite whatever tragic circumstance from which they may have come.

These are stories that must be shared with the world for they contain inspiring messages about healing, serving and protecting beyond the call of duty without expectation of anything in return.

The book profiles stories of several selfless dogs such as Tuffy, who served as a grief counselor during the horrible days following the Virginia Tech shootings; Anna, a rescue dog who was credited in a US Today obituary with finding the remains of two firefighters in the wreckage at Ground Zero. The damage to her lungs eventually proved fatal. And Angel Eyes, an adopted, injured pup with just one eye that became a seeing-eye dog for another dog.

"Angel Dogs With a Mission" expresses the Divine through the spirit of dogs, affirming how deep animal-human relationships can be.

Published by New World Library, this book is available at major bookstores or www.angel animals.com. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of their books is donated to animal welfare organizations.

Reviewed by Kathy Descants

 

THE POWER OF BEING DIFFERENT
Embrace Your Uniqueness
By ReGina Norlinde
This book will suit anyone who felt like they never really belonged, was always misunderstood, or "weird" and unpopular while growing up, because it offers hope and help. Always feeling different, Online was teased relentlessly as a child and felt terrible despair most of her life.

By a miracle, she found a way out - through love and acceptance of her uniqueness! She bravely tells of her personal experiences eventually leading to the spiritual awakening that forever shifted her perspective beyond her wildest imagination.

A second part of the book was thoughtfully added with "Who Am I?" mental exercises designed to reclaim personal power, celebrate, accept and embraceone's uniqueness. It's a must read if you feel like you don't "fit in" and would like to feel better about yourself; if you struggle to know and express your true self in acceptable ways; if you would like to overcome fear of rejection and reach your potential.

Published by StarDust Healing, this book is available at major bookstores or www.stardusthealing.com

Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

 

PURE GRACE
Art & Inspiration
By Aliza McCracken
An awareness of universal friendship expands when opening Pure Grace. Beautifully designed and illustrated, this book captures the joy of creative expression.

Composed by internationally-acclaimed artist Aliza McCracken, this creation offers a treasury of artwork and inspiration. For readers seeking healing, they can feel the unconditional love, inner peace, and friendliness expressing through each page.

Becoming aware of our spiritual oneness, we remain an expression of loving friendship in the world. Thinking of ourselves as friends energizes us to be kindly to everyone we meet. Thereby developing a positive example, which connects us in heart, mind, and soul.

The author empowers us to create a life based upon the loving kindness and compassion that has been given to us to express in our community. During challenging times, this unique coffee-table book reminds us that we are never alone, for we are one with a gracious Spirit and a friendly universe. Finally, within Pure Grace, Aliza remains true to her passion for life while giving art lovers everywhere cause for hope and celebration.

Published by Grace Publishing Group, this book is available at major bookstores and www.alizamccracken.com

Reviewed by Suzanne Johnson

 


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