Review -Hi, God

Hi, God

Author: Father Jack Frerker
Illustrator: Gary Bilodeaux
Pax Publications

Hi, God cover

In his acknowledgments, Father Frerker notes that children’s prayers tend to be “spontaneous and heartfelt in their innocence”. It is his hope that this book of children’s prayers will encourage prayerful spontaneity in both adults and children. In my eyes, he has succeeded in presenting a wonderful tool for everyone to access prayer in a meaningful way.

The prayers here are presented as letters to God from children. Being from a child’s point of view, they come from the heart, and express what the child is feeling. Each prayer is only a few sentences, and is signed with the child’s first name.

Illustrator Gary Bilodeaux has gifted us with gentle, basic illustrations that add a sense of whimsy, including a kitten, a horse, a top, an ice cream stand, a church, an ocean scene, and more.

From the book:

Hi, God.

I was wondering if Jesus had a pet dog. I heard his people thought pigs and dogs were dirty and didn’t want to have them. I’m asking because I would like a pet dog. Is that okay? I hope so. I’d like a little brown one, but not if it’s a sin or anything. I can’t imagine Jesus not having some kind of pet.


Hi, God.

I just want to tell you how much I really like snow. It’s so pretty and you can do fun things like making snow men and snow angels. But I’m also glad when you make it go away ’cuz I really like summer too, although I’m not sure which time I like better.


“Hi, God” is a very empowering tool for the encouragement of prayer for all ages.

© November 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.

Review – I Was Born Into A Den Of Wolves

I Was Born Into A Den Of Wolves

Author: Clifton Davis
ASIN #B00639HH4O

Den of Wolves Cover

Life sometimes happens in very strange ways. While waiting in line at the DMV I had to very good luck to meet Mr. Clifton Davis and his wife. That chance meeting led to my reading Mr. Davis’ book. He has so much to say, on so many different levels, that I would like to share this book with you.

Mr. Davis was born in Alabama in 1932. This book, on one level, is his life story. On another level, it speaks of his spiritual center, and of the importance of family. On yet another level, it speaks of the inequalities and atrocities that occur in daily life, especially to black people, and which are swept under the rug. It is about those who allow themselves to take on the entity of a wolf, through becoming obsessed with material possessions, violence, greed, racism, hatred, and deceit.

I appreciate the fact that Mr. Davis is well spoken, and his book well reasoned. He talks about things that many of us don’t want to talk about, such as the fact that those who write our history write it in their own words, and reflect their own perception of events (or blatantly paint their own picture of history). He also talks about the five things that families in America pass on to their children … things that keep them from accomplishing their goals. These five things are violence, hatred, greed, racism, and the quest for individual power.

Mr. Davis takes us through the span of his life, sharing stories that pertain to specific people, in specific situations, and how this affected him. One very strong story was that of one of his teachers from his younger years, a lady who was clearly biased towards lighter skinned blacks, and who carried the thread through her teaching that the students ancestors were all slaves (this was an all black school), and that none of the students would ever make a meaningful contribution to this country – ever.

Through choice, Mr. Davis spent many years in Europe with the military. He found that he felt accepted in Europe, while in America he experienced both overt and covert racism.

“I Was Born Into A Den Of Wolves” is a thought provoking book – one that many people may not like, but one that I feel presents an accurate picture of America, good and bad. My hope is that many people will read this book, and will assimilate its lessons into their lives, so that real change can be made in this world.

© November 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Review – The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and Our World

The Sacred Ego –
Making Peace with Ourselves and Our World

Author: Jalaja Bonheim, PhD.
North Atlantic Books 2015
ISBN #978-1-58394-943-6

The Sacred Ego cover

Jalaja Bonheim is a teacher, public speaker, author, counselor, and circle leader, with formal study in the art of classical temple dance in India. It is from this background, and from years of work with women leaders, activists, and spiritual seekers from around the world, that she speaks. Another part of her background is that she is a German Jew who struggled to understand the Holocaust.

It is truly all about making peace with ourselves, and with our world. It is all about heart-thinking, and how this involves our body, emotions, mind, and spirit. As a physical practice, we listen to what our body has to tell us. As an emotional practice, we allow ourselves to fully experience our feelings in a conscious manner. As a mental practice, heart-thinking transforms our process of thinking, allowing us to discard limiting beliefs. As a spiritual practice, heart-thinking allows us to move towards the acceptance of oneness as an experience, rather than a mental idea.

The whole idea with the Sacred Ego is to facilitate a more peaceful world. Bonheim has facilitated circles globally in places which carry histories of long-term conflict. From this work, she offers personal stories and insights into what is at the root of conflict, and how we can change those roots by awakening our neglected hearts and souls, allowing us to create the inner and outer peace that we all long for.

Bonheim discusses some of the obstacles to peace, such as tribal conditioning, our need to control and judge, how we hold back our emotions, how we are not educated in the area of relationship skills, and how we neglect our physical and emotional selves. She shows how we can use the simple practices – rest, silence, stilling the mind, opening the heart, and really listening to our core to create beauty in our lives, to connect in community (especially in circles), leading us to create the peace that we desire.

There are exercises in each chapter that allow the reader to apply the ideas that have been discussed.

This is a feminist guide for conscious living and personal, as well as collective transformation. I highly recommend it.

© August 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission.

Review – “Mindfulness For Teachers – Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom”

Mindfulness for Teachers –
Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity
in the Classroom

Author: Patricia A. Jennings, MEd, PhD.
Foreword: Daniel J. Siegel, MD.
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
ISBN #978-0-393-70807-3

Mindfulness For Teachers cover

“Mindfulness For Teachers” is quite literally a book on mindfulness written by a former teacher, and current associate professor of education at the University of Virginia. In his foreword Siegel defines mindfulness as being aware of what is happening within us and around us with a clear focus on the current moment, which enables us to be fully present for life. In short, at the same time we are living our experience, we are stepping outside of ourselves and observing it. This concept applies to all of us, no matter what our vocation. In my opinion, this book is a must read for all people, of all backgrounds and cultures. There is no better way to be the best person that you can be than to live your life in a mindful manner.

Note: This book is part of a new Norton education series that builds on the interdisciplinary approach of interpersonal neurobiology.

This book reflects Jenning’s personal experience in a classroom, and as a researcher. We have all been in classroom situations, albeit most of us as the student, and not the teacher.  But we can put ourselves in the teacher’s place, and understand the situations being presented. And we can take that wisdom into our own professional fields, to make ourselves better people.

In her preface, Jennings notes that this book is a direct reflection of her forty year journey as a mindfulness practitioner, an educator, and a scientist. One of the first things that she learned was that mindful awareness has the power to heal.

In her introduction, Jennings talks about the challenging situations that teachers are facing, including the fact that teachers are not really prepared for the social and emotional demands of the classroom. Students are coming to school less prepared, yet at the same time new levels of accountability demand that academic improvement be demonstrated. She notes that the aim of “Mindfulness For Teachers”   is to help teachers cultivate the skills that they need to promote a calm, relaxed but enlivened learning environment.

In this book, Jennings covers an overview of what mindfulness is, understanding the emotional nature of teaching, understanding negative emotions, understanding the power of positive emotions, self-care in teaching, dealing with classroom dynamics, and transforming our schools through mindfulness. As you can see, a great deal of this information can be applied to any vocation.

Bottom line – mindfulness is present moment, non-judgmental awareness.  Sounds easy, but it is a concept that needs to be worked at to work. Jennings gives us specific examples, and solutions to those examples. Each chapter talks about behaviors that need to be developed. And how we can use our senses to our advantage. Skill sets are presented, as well as information on how to develop them. Each chapter is a stand-alone, yet it builds on the chapters before it.

At the end of the book is an extensive set of resources, including a listing of books on mindfulness, education, parenting, emotions, and children’s books; mindfulness-based programs; and an extensive reference section.

“Mindfulness For Teachers” is written in a manner that is in depth, yet easy to understand and apply. While directed at teachers, it applies to all of us. It is a book that one can use as a reference whenever experiencing difficulty. If you want to grow, if you want to make a difference,  become a mindful person!

© July 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Madenié Meets Mother Goose

Originally posted on Tarot Heritage:

The Pierre Madenié deck (1709) and The Tales of Mother Goose (1696) emerged from the same cultural milieu at nearly the same time. A small archive of letters has recently come to light showing that Cinderella, Bluebeard and their friends frequented a fortuneteller who read cards with the Madenié deck. Here’s the transcript of a reading that was delivered by post to a rather cautious prince.

The Question: While on a hunting trip, I discovered an ancient, crumbling castle in a forest at the edge of my father’s kingdom. It was so overgrown with brambles and brush I couldn’t get near it. Some villagers said the castle is haunted by ghosts. Others told me that witches hold coven meetings in the grand ballroom on the full moon. Then there were stories about ogres who drag children into the castle to eat them.

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The Marseille Sophistiqué

Bonnie Cehovet:

I have this one bookmarked for purchase!

Originally posted on Tarot Heritage:

These lovely cards are from the most antique-looking new deck in my collection.

The graphic novel artists who created the Marseille Sophistiqué followed the Conver Tarot de Marseille pattern very closely. They’ve taken great pains to make it look like an antique woodblock deck from the 1700s, giving us a standard TdM with just enough personality to make it unique, without destroying its charming, old-world character.

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Review – The Ears That Have Eyes

The Ears That Have Eyes

Author: C.L. Charlesworth
Page Publishing, Inc.
ISBN #978-1-63417-705-4

The Ears That Have Eyes cover

“I learned from my mother, who was once one of the highest paid fashion models, that great beauty opened doors. She never left home without impeccable attire, full makeup, and photo-ready hair. She said a woman’s sexuality was better than an American Express card, and if used right, the rewards were much better. Mother said her money was for pleasure and not for rent, food, or life’s other necessities. She had men-lots of men-whose generous wallets and bank accounts gladly emptied into her hands.” Excerpt from Chapter One

This, in a nutshell, describes Stephanie Moore, the main character in C.L. Charlesworth’s “The Ears That Have Eyes”. Abandoned by her mother at the age of ten, abused in a foster home, then adopted by a couple bent on replacing their deceased daughter, Stephanie was on her own (by choice) from the age of eighteen. Her mother had tutored her well – she was a mini-me who knew how to use men to her advantage.

Stephanie and her friends Rachael (partner in a law firm), Tara (a high powered real estate broker), and Jennifer (with her doctorate in English Literature ) meet monthly to share food, drinks, and stories. They live in LA, and all share a luxury lifestyle – the right cloths, the right addresses, the right parties, the right men. Each is running from her own shadows, each is walking her own path to finding herself, and creating her own life.

This is a work of literary fiction, worthy of Peyton Place status. Is a fake life worth it? Do material things make a life? Are any of these ladies going to survive their own perception of themselves and life? Is there hope, or is there only fate?

Each character has a story that is individual, and well developed. The storyline as a whole flows well, and accurately reflects the lives of its fictional characters. Perhaps readers will see bits and pieces of themselves here, and begin to ponder their own story.

This is the first book that I have read from this author … I certainly intend to keep her in my radar!

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written consent of the author.