Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spiritual Seeds

spiritual_seeds_mediumDr. Edward Viljoen and Dr. Chris Michaels have co-created a packet of Spiritual Seed Thought cards which are now available at Stepping Stones Books and Gifts. 

Each person attending services on January 1, 2012 at any of the three morning services will receive a free copy of the product. 

After that you will be able to purchase them at our store, and I think you’re going to enjoy them enough to want to give them as gifts.
Happy New Year.

This packet contains 30 spiritual seeds. Read one seed per day and open your mind to new possibilities. Repeat daily for best results. Select Seed Maintenance from the tabs above for additional free resources to support your personal spiritual seed thought development. When planted into your consciousness, these spiritual seeds will produce healthy results. The more often the seeds are read and contemplated, the more active they become in mind and assimilated into your routine thinking. When you have used these seeds for 30 days, plant them in the soil and water regularly. You will begin to see the physical manifestation of the spiritual seeds you have been planting in your consciousness.

Book Review: What’s Happening In 2012

A New Design for Living
Written by Ernest Holmes
Edited and Compiled by Willis H. Kinnear

Dr. Edward has chosen this book as the basis for our theme at the Center for 2012. (See a list of the 2012 Themes and Topics).  His first talk on Sunday, January 1, has been titled “Discover New Worlds” which is a subject heading inside the first chapter. We are in for a powerful journey through the Science of Mind and how to apply it and live it in our own lives in the coming year with Rev. Edward as our guide. Copies of this book are currently available in the Stepping Stones Gift and Bookstore. Might it be wise to procure your copy now before the rush? This one looks like a keeper.

In the Introduction: “A New Design for Living was written by Ernest Holmes near the end of his long and distinguished career as a spiritual philosopher, author, minister, speaker, and teacher. Published the year before he made his transition, it offers the fullness of his thinking about and application of the principles of Science of Mind to the conscious creation of a new and renewed life. In the book we witness a clarity of thought and precision of expression that make every sentence important, meaningful, and valuable to take within, contemplate, and then prove in daily living. We get here some of the best of what Ernest Holmes offers to the spiritual awakening of humankind.”
From a book review by By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat: A New Design for Living is one of the preeminent works by this founder of Church of Religious Science, second only to The Science of Mind. In 23 chapters, Holmes lays out a plan for redesigning our lives that includes probes on everyday wonders, our partnership with the Infinite, making the most of our creativity, the law of correspondence, the process of attracting what we think, the need of faith, the idea that life is not against you, the abundant universe, the power of love, harmonious relationships, and spiritual mind treatment.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Special Homegrown Community Event

After all of the holiday celebrations fade away we join with Dr. Edward in pairing his birthday on January 4 with a full out concert and raffle celebration that benefits and supports our Center. We join him in this selfless giving by donating incredible gifts and services for a raffle. This is our love in action for the Center and for our senior minister and all that he models for our community.

Written by:  Sanna Rose, RScP

Our concert this year will be on Friday, January 6, and features Singer/pianist/songwriter Michael Gott , a performer you won't soon forget. From his background in such disparate musical disciplines as gospel, pop, opera, musical theater, classical piano and jazz, he has developed his own unique and exciting performance style. He has been compared to many of the greats, but Michael is truly an original.

Michael is very much in demand for conferences and other special events. In recent years, he has shared the stage with such internationally known personalities as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and others.

Tickets are on sale in the social hall on Sundays and through our Book & Gift store. Children under 12 years of age are admitted free, and teens ages 13-19 years of age are asked to pay only $5. Adult price is $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

On a personal note: Dr Edward will be 51 years young in 2012. He states: "To combine my birthday with a community fundraiser for the Center has been a blessing and turns out to be making up for all the birthday parties I never had." He emphasizes that this event is not really a birthday party per se, but more of a community celebration of Life, of each other, and of course of our Center.

I asked Dr. Edward:

What is the proudest moment in your life? "When an 8 year-old son of a childhood friend asked his parents if he could have me as his godfather."

If you had a million dollars, what's the first thing you'd buy? "The iPad3 and then I'd pay off the Center's mortgage - after agreeing to a giant raise. Grin."

What's your greatest word of wisdom at age 51?"Trust your natural born kindness. It won't fail you."

Join us on January 6 for a Happy Birthday and Center celebration on behalf of our Dr. Edward.

Financial Freedom - Where to Start

You've decided to get control of your financial future.  Prosperity books are on your reading list.  But what's the first step?  How can you get a clear picture of your current position to map the direction to financial freedom?

Stepping Stones Books and Gifts
is offering a Free Seminar titled


Date:   Friday evening, January 13, 2012
Time:  7:00pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road

Ken McCauley, CPA, CVA - and a partner in AL Nella and Co, CPAs - will provide you with tools and step-by-step training to clarify where you are now in order to accelerate your financial growth.  Additionally, Ken will discuss case examples from his extensive work with individuals and businesses.  Common financial terms will be explained, like net worth, net case flow, and liquidity.

Ken specializes in financial reporting, cash flow and tax planning for individuals and businesses. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in accounting, Ken gained professional experience working for several multinational companies: He first served...
as senior auditor at the national CPA  firm, Main Lafrentz & Company and then as a financial analyst of international operations for Cooper Laboratories in Palo Alto. Subsequently, he became the manager of financial forecast at Genstar Corporation in San Francisco.

His experience at these companies gave him an excellent background in the development of accounting controls and procedures as well as budgeting and forecasting systems.

Ken started his own firm before merging with AL Nella & Company where he has gained over 20 years of substantial experience working with small and medium sized businesses.  Ken is currently the partner in charge of the audit and accounting services, as well as the business valuation service.

Ken is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is very active in community services and has served on the boards of the Golden Gate Business Association, 18th Street Services, the Stop AIDS Project and the San Francisco Historical Automobile Society, and he currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Center for Spiritual Living, Santa  Rosa.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

GOOD AT WORK - A Free Event

Stepping Stones Books and Gifts Presents

An Evening With
Dr. Edward Viljoen and Dr. Joyce Duffala

Friday November 4, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa

How was it that two people who hardly knew each other started to work together to produce Seeing Good at Work, followed by the CD “Rise in Joy, Sleep in Peace”?  

In this presentation, the good doctors share what inspired them to write together, as well as some of the meditative music and affirmative language from the CD they co-created.

Come and join us in this free, fun and informative evening.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Let My Soul Surrender - Grace Notes of A Journey

Author:  Rickie Byars Beckwith

Reviewer:  Lee Boyack – Member, Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa

A surprisingly funny and honest book about writing spiritual music—WITH an upbeat CD of the songs behind the stories!

I was not familiar with Rickie Byars Beckwith, the Music and Arts Director of Agape Int’l Spiritual Center and the wife of Michael Beckwith.  But the excitement generated by the announcement of her December 2nd, 2011 concert in Santa Rosa, moved me to buy her new book that comes with a CD of her music.    Wow!  I was not misled by the congregation’s anticipation of her appearance.  I feel I have been given a gift of peace and joy at a moment when it was greatly needed. 

The CD has 14 songs that have the kind of lyrics that move me into a calmer, more peaceful and joyful space.  But, unlike some of the “spiritual” music CD’s I’ve bought before—I like ALL of the songs on this CD and would listen to them even if they didn’t have a spiritual message.  To me, the music is a mix of R&B, Motown, and Jazz.  Sometimes Rickie’s voice reminds me of Tina Turner.  Sometimes the sound seems like Carlos Santana. There is a lot of variation in tone and beat which keeps me continuing to listen.

The book describes the stories behind the creation of each of the songs.  I love the surprising honesty of Rickie’s communication.  For example, the title song, “Let My Soul Surrender” was created at a meditation retreat Rickie considered a semi-annual “ordeal.”  “Sitting in silent meditation for three days…has never been

my idea of a good time,” she says.  (I love this woman!  That’s just how I would have felt.).  But from that place, she opened herself up and received a song that begins “What am I to do?  What am I to feel?”… and continues to discover that the answers lie in surrendering to God.

Another song was created by being hurried and running into a glass window! Another was created from being frustrated that it didn’t seem her prayers were being answered when three close friends passed away.  The situations in her life are easy to understand.  She doesn’t seem distant or removed.  And the music is very entertaining. 

I think this is a great book/CD and recommend it.  I have already purchased it as a gift for several friends and will probably purchase more for Christmas gifts.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Let My Soul Surrender, Grace Notes of a Journey, by Rickie Byars Beckwith

Review by: Bette Smith, Professional Prayer Practitioner

Rickie Byars Beckwith has been inspiring me with her songs since the mid 90’s when I first heard her sing at a concert in Marin. I remember she was directing the choir with no shoes on. She started the evening with little sandals, but soon they were off her feet and she was barefoot. I could relate to this woman right away. That night I remember hearing “Use Me and I loved the lyrics. Audience members began to mimic the choir members with arm movements. It really felt like I was giving myself over to God as I sang “Show me all that I must do.”

Shortly after that I went to the Agape Church in Los Angeles and heard Rickie and Michael in person. What a glorious service that was. She played “I Release and I got to sing along with the congregation and really tune into what it can be like to let go and turn it over to God. It inspired me...
to look at life in a new way by letting Spirit run my life and allowing blessings to come to me.

I attended my first Revelation conference in 2001 in Los Angeles and was very inspired by her music again. As a choir director she pulls the very best performances from all of the choir members and nurtures various solo voices who have since put out their own CD’s. In “Had a Revelation”, Otis Freeman and Tony Novell sing solos that are very moving performances.

In her newest CD and book, Let My Soul Surrender, Grace Notes of a Journey, Rickie tells us how the Spirit works through her. With humble gratitude she explains how each song was born. I especially love the song Mabel, which honors the wise women, the mothers and grandmothers who include prayer their daily lives.

She writes about her grandchildren, her children, her mother and her husband, the Rev. Michael Beckwith founder of Agape Spiritual Center. She has a trim, slight build, but her voice is full and rich. And it is filled with soul from her roots growing up on gospel and singing R&B in nightclubs. She is a powerful woman who has done her work. She constantly tells us how thankful she is for all that she has been given. Her selfless service and humble grace comes through her writing.

I’ve got my ticket for the concert in December. Don’t wait too long to purchase yours. See you there.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Asilomar Conference Center Mobile Bookstore Packs Up

After two weeks of serving Centers for Spiritual Living Summer Conference at Asilomar, staff and volunteers pack up the remaining inventory and head on home to Santa Rosa.


The room is empty!


And now it is time for lunch.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, Centers For Spiritual Living

Centers for Spiritual Living are holding their annual summer conference in Pacific Grove, California on the historic Asilomar Grounds.  Stepping Stones Books and Gifts is providing the mobile bookstore experience for conference goers.  Speakers in the main hall are available for book signing after their presentations in our books and gifts store - and during the day between sessions you can find friendly conversation, games and puzzles on the deck outside the store.
Here is the Stepping Stones Books and Gifts store volunteer crew under the direction of manager, Martha Salazar.  Week 2

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rickie Byars Beckwith at Stepping Stones Books and Gifts



Rickie Byars Beckwith appeared at the Asilomar conference grounds where our mobile Stepping Stones Books and Gifts store is hosting the bookstore for the conference.  She signed books and gracious got photographed with our staff, Manager Martha Salazar and volunteer, Rev. Ruth Barnhart.

Rickie’s products are available online from our store too.


Books and Gifts store crew ready to serve!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stepping Stones Books and Gifts Offers Specials

Did you know that Stepping Stones Books and Gifts offers special pricing on some of our popular items? To find our current discount selections simply go to our home page and click on the Specials tab.

Right now we have eight items priced at a 20% discount through September 30, 2011. Books, Music, and more!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Mobile Bookstore in Pacific Grove

The truck is unloaded and there are more around the corner.

Karen Drucker stopped by to lend a hand.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Metaphysical practioners seeing good in the “thick of it.”

SEEING GOOD AT WORK, a review by Julia Vose McClung

One day a small, wheat-gold book, with red and black letters, called to me from a bookstore shelf: SEEING GOOD AT WORK—52 Weekly Steps to Transform Your Workplace Experience, by Reverend Doctors Joyce Duffala and Edward Viljoen, Assistant and Senior Ministers at Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa, California. At last, I found that sage mentor I so long to turn to when I need a course correction by morning, or by afternoon-- slim enough to slip into my purse, keep in my car, or skim off a bedside table to read in bed. Unbiased, this work quotes wisdom from modern and ancient ages.

We labor at work or school for our livelihood in the tides of ambition, risk-taking, competence, accomplishment, mistake, failure, goals gained and goals recalibrated; in the interpersonal “sandbox” of creative cooperation, productive alliance, or jealousy and competitive threat. In any relationship context, the good at work between us is vitally about me, and also about you-- us! We know this intuitively, yet the tightness in our chest or stomach makes us search for how.
SEEING GOOD AT WORK is no glassy-eyed tome of recycled self-help themes. Inherent in the 52 weekly lessons is a respectful, shoulder-to-shoulder connection made by Duffala and Viljoen to the reader—to me and you personally. They speak to us, without question, as centers of awakened intelligence to move from powerless victimhood, to seeing the shared common humanity and bridge-building opportunities available to us as metaphysical practioners at seeing good in the “thick of it.” Each week illuminates a fresh aspect of me and you in the workplace (as easily the home place, group place, or one-and-one place): a luminary’s potent quote preceeds the one-page chat that seeds your awareness for the week; Application Exercise deftly captures our attention to the theme; and completed by a Remind Yourself, such as, “When I am willing to really listen, I open myself to a new world of understanding.” I’ve given this book to four young people so far, and they were grateful as I am.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: The Soul of Money: Transforming your relationship with Money and Life, by Lynne Twist

The Soul of Money: Transforming your relationship with Money and Life was recommended to me by Rev. Deborah Johnson. It is a potent read written by a woman who has life experience as a global fundraiser and activist. The reader is taken on a deep journey into the soul of money. She contrasts non-currency cultures with our own money-dominant culture. She offers an invitation to confront our challenges, fears, addictions, attachments, remorse, regrets and hurts around money, and then to embrace it all for our personal growth. In this, she says, we give money its soul.

Deep in the Amazon rain forest live the Achuar people. This village has no culture based in money, have not used currency of any kind that exchanges hands for goods or services. When a child gets married both families come together and build the new couple their home. All they will need to begin their lives together is provided by their community. When a hunter brings food back from the jungle all the people gather to feast and share the food. No one is left without support and sustenance. She contrasts this way of life with the life of our modern monetary culture by sharing the experience of a native of the Achuar who lived with them in the US. to learn our language and the culture of money. Our entire culture, purpose in living, and relationships as a community, is based on the accumulation and value of money and consumerism.  A person's value is based on their relationship and success with money. She articulates quite a contrast that leads one to the very soul of money.

Consider these Chapter titles:
·         Scarcity: The Great Lie
·         Sufficiency: The Surprising Truth
·         Money is like water
·         Collaboration Creates Prosperity
·         What you Appreciate Appreciates
This one packs a punch.

Sanna Rose

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Building Literacy and Self-Esteem for Children - October 21, 2011

Press Release - October 21, 2011 - Free Event - 7 pm at Stepping Stones Books and Gifts

In a Time of Transition for Millions,  An Organization Offers A “Bridge” for Adults While Gifting Books that Build Literacy and Self-Esteem to Kids

Sonoma, CA -  In these uncertain economic times where millions of people find themselves in transition, a “Bridge” is being offered that can help adults as well as children, teens and young adults.
The Bridge: A Seven-Stage Map to Redefine Your Life and Purpose is a book which offers support to those going through significant life changes such as job or career loss, retirement, illness, loss of a loved one or even surviving a natural disaster.

“Because of the enormity of change happening nationally and globally, people are being forced out of their comfort zones. They have a need for clarity and to be empowered in a new direction in their lives.” says author of The Bridge, Dr. Marilyn Powers of The I AM Foundation, an educational 501c3 non-profit.  “The Bridge” says Dr. Powers, “…is a map to help them move forward.”

While The I AM Foundation is supporting adults move through transition with The Bridge, they are also empowering children by gifting them with books that help them face their fears and challenges, inspires them to feel strong and confident while they may be going through their own difficult times growing up.

The I AM Foundation gifts a book to a child, teen or young adult for every copy of The Bridge that is purchased either online or at one of their book signings.  One of the books they gift is their signature book, The I AM! Affirmation Book which is endorsed by The First Lady of Sri Lanka and has over 165,000 copies in print.
It is being translated into 50 languages and been gifted in over 50 countries.

You can receive A 50 page sample of The Bridge or you can order The Bridge at The Bridge (ISBN 978-0-9645224-5-9) is also available at selected book sellers and For each copy of the Bridge sold (hard copy or eBook) The I AM Foundation gifts a book to a child, teen or young adult. 

Media and organizations may contact the author for interviews, speaking engagements and book signings to help impact their local community.  The I AM Foundation is a 501c3 educational non-profit based in Sonoma and La Jolla CA.  Established in 1998, it has gifted and distributed over 1 million books and products worldwide.  For more information, please visit

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CD Review: Dancing Into Silence, R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton, and Will Clipman

There are several book reviews appearing on our blog and I'm grateful to all the writers--I thought I might try my hand at sharing a different kind of review, an instrumental CD R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton, and Will Clipman's Dancing into Silence.

Dancing into Silence is a very nice soothing instrumental CD that I like to have playing in the background while I am working in the bookstore. The music features Carlos Nakai on the Native American flute beautifully played along with a mild drum and harp guitar. The rhythm is not so fast that it makes me jittery and not so slow that it lulls me into a non-productive meditative state. The CD plays a continuous easy sound that smoothly changes one song to the next without any notice on my part.

Some people love complete silence for their meditation practice, others prefer the gentle backdrop of music, still others love to be outside with the sounds and sights of nature. If you are one of those who has a list of favorite meditation music, or favorite music-to-do-things-by, please leave a comment below and let us know what you listen to. We'd love to hear from you.

love, Martha Salazar

What Is The Enneagram? Free Event

Douglas and Olivia Rosestone will be hosted by Stepping Stones Bookstore on Friday, July 22, 7 pm at the Center and they will be presenting an Introduction to the Enneagram

So, what is an Enneagram? There is a lot of information about this system of understanding and working with personality types. Here is some general information to get you started.

As you think about your personality, which of the following nine roles fits you best most of the time? Or, to put it differently, if you were to describe yourself in a few words, which of the following  would come closest?
Everyone emerges from childhood with one of the nine types dominating their personality, with inborn temperament and other pre-natal factors being the main determinants of our type. This is one area where most all of the major Enneagram authors agree—we are born with a dominant type. Subsequently, this inborn orientation largely determines the ways in which we learn to adapt to our early childhood environment. It also seems to lead to certain unconscious orientations toward our parental figures, but why this is so, we still do not know. In any case, by the time children are four or five years old, their consciousness has developed sufficiently to have a separate sense of self. Although their identity is still very fluid, at this age children begin to establish themselves and find ways of fitting into the world on their own.

The Enneagram can help us see what prevents us from remembering who we really are, the truth of our spiritual nature. It does this by providing highly specific insights into our psychological and spiritual makeup. The Enneagram also helps us by giving us a direction in which to work, but only as long as we remember that it is not telling us who we are, but how we have limited who we are. The enneagram does not put us in a box, it shows us the boxes that we are already in—and the way out.

This event is free, and you are welcome to bring a friend.

Sanna Rose, RScP

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Review: Words That Heal Today, by Ernest Holmes, Forwarded by Dr. Michael Beckwith

Words That Heal Today, by Ernest Holmes, forwarded by Dr. Michael Beckwith, is a delightful, and powerful, immersion in the teachings of Jesus as paraphrased by Holmes, as seen through the lens of metaphysics and New Thought. I have owned this book for a couple of years and I have yet to read the entire book. This is because the teachings of Jesus are so powerful, and Holmes articulates them in such an accessible way that I have to put the book down and take it all in for awhile. The wisdom of Jesus, the Spiritual Master, offers very simple steps to follow, that as a person in the 21st century I feel like I can do this, I can practice what he is proposing; I can love, forgive, roll away the stone of the past, and the certainty and enthusiasm of Jesus’ words as presented by the confidence of Holmes will support me, and back me up. This book is a keeper for the long haul, and I keep it within my reach.

A sample: “In the exalted concept of the Illumined One no weary journeyings of the soul were necessary to gain the heavenly Kingdom, no pain other than that produced through ignorance, no series of incarnations dragging themselves out through endless eons of monotonous drabness. Jesus said: Open the door of your mind and the heavenly light will enter. Open it today! You could have opened it yesterday. You may defer the divine event until tomorrow. Someday somewhere, you will open the door and the floodlights of eternal life will flow through you.” (Pg. 20) Ahhh….men.

Sanna Rose, RScP.

If you have read Words That Heal Today, please leave us a comment or email your own review to  We'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Review: All is Well-29 Stories of Guts and Grace, Courage and Compassion

Dr. David Bruner presented from his recently published book All is Well-29 Stories of Guts and Grace, Courage andCompassion at the Stepping Stones event on June 24th.  David Bruner is the Senior Minister at the Center for Spiritual Living, San Jose.  This was an interactive evening in which David spoke passionately about taking action to move through despair in order to achieve transformation, also the common theme in the 29 stories.  David Bruner will be appearing at the Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa on July 17 as a guest speaker and workshop presenter.  Tickets for the workshop are available at Stepping Stones Books and Gifts online and in the store.

Stepping Stones has been presenting free events to the community since October 2010.    These events have included published authors, story tellers, singer/songwriters, and an in depth look into professional music recording.  These Friday night monthly venues provide a relaxing atmosphere where folks can enjoy quality entertaining and informative events.

Watch this space for upcoming free events.  The next one is in July, An Introduction to the  Enneagram.  Click here for more information.

All Is Well Event Review

Dear Martha,

Lucky me to work in the bookstore the night of the event for book, All Is
Well, edited by David Bruner and Lee Hartley, for I got to join the pre-event buzz in the bookstore with Reverend David Bruner of CSL San Jose. Buzz is the word for his inimitable presence, for as each new person came into the store, David hailed them, and got their name and got them folded into a sudden story hive.

At his talk in Grinton Chapel, seat belts should have been issued, for his particular brand of storytelling and audience contact had us laughing like we were on a roller coaster, and yet the truths defined in the intimate stories from his congregants, chosen from All Is Well, were inviting, moving, hard-earned and healing.

Each tale in All Is Well is preceded by a beautiful, defining quote, and then followed by an inquiry for the reader to take the work of the story into the work of their own lives. These inquiries, each unique to the particular story, are written by psychotherapist, Lee Hartley, and sparkle with invitation to self-discovery.

This is an exciting portrait of the like-no-other atmosphere created by David Bruner at CSL San Jose. David is one of ten children, and he brings from that experience the natural activity of a family reunion--good fun and "we all belong." What a night of We Are One, Martha!

--Julia Vose McClung

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All Is Well - June 24 - Free Event

david_bruner copy.jpgStepping Stones Books and Gifts presents Dr. David Bruner, co-creator with Lee Hartley of the exciting new book All Is Well.

Dr. David will be appearing on Friday, June 24, at 7 pm to talk about the creation of this book and how it has enriched his Center community.

All Is Well is a book of true stories of guts and grace, courage and compassion. Each of the 29 stories was written by the man or woman who lived it. Every one of them tells how they found a way to create forward momentum as they experienced intense difficulties in their lives. They did it by changing their mind. Even though the decisions were difficult, they made them. The moments of choice are truly turning points that were crucial to each of them, and to all of the positive experiences they’ve had since then. The stories are exhilarating. Each story shows that they have experienced the fullness of the precept of change your life by changing your mind.

The questions that follow each story encourage the reader to share the gifts of each author’s learned lessons, potentially saving the reader from having to pay the same price that the storyteller did. The step-by-step questions are thought provoking and gently help to expand the mind away from a previous comfort zone to new potentials and other possibilities.

You feel upbeat after reading the book and come away with the belief that “if he or she could do it, so can I!”

Book Review: Why Faith Matters, by Rabbi David J. Wolpe

Wow, where do I begin to summarize Why Faith Matters by Rabbi David Wolpe? Well, Wolpe begins by sharing how he catapulted out of his religious beliefs in his teen years into despair after seeing film footage of the holocaust. He completely lost his faith in God, and came to the conclusion that God didn’t exist. His journey back to faith grew out of his intense, and what seemed like a desperate relationship with the atheist Bertrand Russell and his writings and philosophy. I was intrigued as I read about his journey back to faith through asking questions out of genuine seeking and curiosity.  
He finds Einstein and his two choices: “You can choose to see everything as a miracle, or nothing as a miracle.”

Wople discusses prayer; “Deep prayer is an experience like music or love—indescribable to one who does not pray.” He writes about Free will, Gratitude, the Bible, What is Religion, and the Mystery, to name just a few topics. He uses relevant quotes, and shares personal experiences of how life is not fair, and examples of his own suffering and pain. He brings his experience of faith to the reader by example, by entertaining perspectives that introduce faith to be strong and true in service to the human experience.

The parable of the twins (Pg. 151) has been used by Rev.Edward at the pulpit in referencing the experience of the Afterlife. Wolpe quotes Milton Steinburg (Pg.131) “The believer in God has to account for the existence of unjust suffering; the atheist has to account for everything else.” 

This book will take you on a journey and will pique your interest in your own insights into the faith you have or the faith you question. I say it is a worthy investment.

Book Review: Seeing good at work helps see good in LIFE!

Seeing Good At Work by Dr. Edward Viljoen and Dr. Joyce Duffala

Review by Jennifer E. Mann, RScP.

This little book is accessible, handy, mindful and delightful. It aids in harmonizing relationships, learning to recognize what IS WORKING at the office and metes out the useful information in 52 small bites--one for each week. It helps AVOID depression, situations that could turn into possible crises, and reduces the need for authoritarian style interventions in the workplace.

It is so universal in its approach, that the exercises and the philosophy of the book apply to life outside the workplace as well. This book makes a great gift for Human Resources/Organizational Development Departments or offers a fruitful weekend retreat centerpiece for building community among your colleagues. 

For more information, reader reviews, example exercises, a peek at the text, visit Seeing Good At Work's blog. 

Book Review: Gandhi, the Man, by Eknath Easwaran

Gandhi, the Man, by Eknath Easwaran is a most beautiful work on the life of an icon of spirituality in action. Easwaran has written a tender story of the man we know as Gandhi by combining the timeline of events in history, bold, beautiful photographs, and the spiritual beliefs and practices he adhered to, taught, and preached to his followers. 

I learned that Gandhi was a very punctual man, to the minute, that he created a number of communities where he taught non-violence with the understanding that his students would need time to adjust to the teaching, time to unlearn the violent way of responding taught to them throughout their lives and culture. 

This is a story of Gandhi’s personal development as a spiritual figure and a political innovator. An appendix by Timothy Flinders is titles “How Nonviolence Works” and has many quotes by Gandhi. This book is by far my favorite on Gandhi. A must for every library.

By Sanna Rose, RScP

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope & Joy, renderings by Hafiz, Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Poems of Hope & Joy:This prize has been on my bedside table for awhile now, and I have been flipping to a page before I sleep so that I can take the warmth of his words with me into my dreams. There are 60 or so poems translated by Daniel Ladinsky with a short biography of Hafiz and a bibliography at the end. Some poems in I Heard God Laughing I have seen in other works and some I have not. Here’s one I flipped to just for you:

Manic Screaming

We should make all spiritual talk
Simple today.

Gos is trying to sell you something,
But you don’t want to buy.

That is what your suffering is:

Your fantastic haggling,
Your manic screaming over the price!

By Sanna Rose, RScP

Monday, June 20, 2011

How To Stimulate Conversation: Powerful Motivational Words - Affirmation Cards

While working on the newly designed Stepping Stones Books and Gifts I came across some of the product that I have perosnally used in my past and remembered the powerfully worded motivational cards that we carry.  The Wisdom Cards by Louise Have have come to my assistance in class room settings when I used them to stimulate deep conversations among the students.  I let them choose a random card and ask them to share with a partner what the motivational words on the cards mean to them.  I encourage teachers to consider the Power Thoughts for Teens Cards for similar exercises with teens. Thoughts for Teens is a deck of 50 Affirmation Cards to "help teens develop their inner power."  It's wonderful to listen to what young people say when asked to comment on the thoughts on the affirmation cards.

Personally, I find that using these cards can stimulate spiritual practice and creativity during those 'blah' times.  I select one of the cards randomly from the deck and give myself quiet time to think about the inspirational symbols and motivational words on the cards.  I have also used these and similar affirmation cards at parties and have not yet been let down by the fascinating conversation that is stimulated whe people are asked to share what they think. 

It's a whole lot more interesting than.... oh dear, I better stop right here.

Edward Viljoen

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book Review: This Thing Called You by Ernest Holmes

Whenever I need a gentle reminder of how it feels to be in unison with the oneness of Creation, I often turn to This Thing Called You by Ernest Holmes. I am inspired by the many positive mental statements in this book which are meant to bring about the reader’s awareness of his or her own innate creativity, abundance, happiness, and well-being.

This is one of the most positive books I have ever read on being comfortable within the human condition. I enjoy the affirmations reinforcing the principle of Spirit within and also the words one can use to release the stumbling blocks that sometimes get in the way.

Allan Yeager, Trustee

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Book Review: True Meditation, by Adyashanti

True Meditation, by Adyashanti is a tiny book that is very large in content and is a gem for your spiritual toolbox. At first the title threw me off because I tend to resist anyone claiming their way is the one true way. However, what Adya presents here in his book, and on the very helpful meditation cd that comes with it, is the reminder that we must let go of the meditator, of effort, of manipulation in meditation. 

The beingness, the stillness, the awareness within that he brings our attention to in his narration is the same that we can all come to regardless of the technique, mantra, or visualization that we may use or have been trained to practice. “The art of meditation is allowing everything to be as it is.” There is a very rich experiential of “being” within this book/cd. I highly recommend it.

By Sanna Rose, RScP

Book Review: The Ernest Holmes New Thought Dictionary edited by DeVorss Publications

Ernest Holmes's New Thought Dictionary is a gem.  Whether taking a class or reading New Thought philosophy on your own, the vocabulary or jargon can sometimes by mysterious or misunderstood.

Having this accessible guide has enlightened me in many a passage or conversation. For example the term ‘subjective mind’ always crossed my eyes. In this little pocket book, there are 14 definitive descriptions of subjective mind, clarifying my confusion very easily.

Jennifer Mann, RScP

Book Review: How To Live In The World And Still Be Happy by Hugh Prather

How to Live in theWorld and Still Be Happy is a book that I picked up well over 15 or maybe 20 years ago.  I remember that edition’s sky blue cover and how it became worn with constant use, and also from being dragged around with me to work and to the beach.  Now the spine is almost illegible as the book sits on my shelf. 

Particularly useful in this book were the exercises to help getting through the day and staying on purpose.  One of them included an invitation to make a list of every contact I had with the world in one day, including those activities such as background television before work, phone calls, and the drive to work.  At first I thought the exercise was pointless and was tempted to move on to something else more spiritually and intellectually engaging.  However, one day I took the time to map out a typical day so that I could apply the second part of the exercise: to cut back on some of the activities.

What a revelation Hugh Prather’s exercise brought to my awareness and how much more living, actual living, I started to enjoy.  I recommend How To Live In the World And Still Be Happy to anyone who is feeling dragged down by life, appearances, work and who is looking for some gentle direction and support in living as a happy person.

There are chapters on money, work, relationship and one of my favorites “What is a Happy Person?” where I found this keeper: The rule is, do not allow the criticism to leave your mind; remove its source, and repair the damage to your mind quickly.

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