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The Jewel of Abundance by Ellen Grace O'Brian ~ Book Excerpt


A Grateful Generous Heart 

An excerpt from The Jewel of Abundance by Ellen Grace O’Brian 

Although millions of Westerners practice yoga simply for its health benefits, the philosophy and wisdom behind the multifaceted discipline have far more to offer. In The Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga, award-winning author and Kriya Yoga teacher Ellen Grace O’Brian reveals an overlooked aspect of yoga: its powerful teachings on prosperity. She draws upon the ancient Vedic tradition of yoga philosophy and practice and shows how spirituality and earthly success can complement each other, leading to realization of the higher Self. O’Brian presents a clear explanation of both the philosophy of yoga and the nuts and bolts of practice, such as setting up a daily meditation routine, incorporating mantras, discerning how to cooperate with universal principles for complete well-being, and cultivating mindfulness in action. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book. 

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A grateful heart is a magnet that draws to us what is harmonious and good. This idea is reflected in a playful metaphysical adage: not, “We see things as they are,” but, “We see things as we are.” In other words, our state of mind and consciousness color our perception and determine how we see and experience things. Taken a step further, this dynamic explains how we also then draw to us what corresponds with our consciousness. When our hearts are grateful, when we approach others and life itself with gratitude for all that is given, we generally reap more of the same. The opposite is true as well. When we’re down and depressed and can’t see much good anywhere — that experience will tend to compound itself. 

Life in the manifest realm is mixed — light and dark, hot and cold, day and night, up and down, fast and slow, and so on it goes. But beyond all duality and changing phenomena is the unchanging Absolute Reality that we can know as good, as whole and completely supportive of its divine purpose. Isn’t it better for us to call forth the good in every situation? To call it forth in every moment? We can do this through training our mind to extract what is good, what is praiseworthy or useful, and gratitude is one way to do that. Simply look deeply into any relationship, or any situation, and ask what there is to be grateful for. There is always something. When we find it, and call it forth, our heart opens and we become more receptive to the presence of divine grace at hand. 

Which comes first, gratitude or grace? They seem to arise together. Gratitude is our natural response to the gift of grace, and gratitude itself opens us to the awareness of ever-present divine support. When we work hard toward something and accomplish it, or desire something and attain it, we generally feel good, and along with that we feel some relief — a kind of “job well done!” out-breath. A very different feeling arises when we become aware of the powerful presence of divine grace that has allowed us to experience more than we ever could have without divine support. On those occasions, we feel something else. We feel awe. We are amazed, inspired, and yes, grateful. 

The distinction between relief and awe is a good indicator. It gives us a glimpse into how expansive our life is, how awesome it is or can be. 

Gratitude Practice 

Gratitude stretches us to be bigger, to expand our consciousness, to open our hearts and our minds more fully. When we begin the practice of cultivating gratitude, we often notice that it’s generally easier to feel grateful for what we like, for what we want or find pleasant. It’s more difficult to experience gratitude when what comes our way is unwanted. 

I once worked with a woman who had an amazing gratitude practice. It was so pervasive that it was contagious. I found myself feeling grateful for her because her grateful attitude made our encounters so pleasant. Her responses frequently surprised me and helped me to expand my perspective. This was her practice: Whatever I offered her, she responded with a genuine “Thank you!” Her response was always the same. If I offered her my praise and gratitude for something she did well, she would thank me. If I let her know that she had made a mistake or that something was not done well or right, her response was still “Thank you!” This was the key that made this practice so effective. She was truly grateful, her words accompanied by a genuine smile. She never gave one of those “thank you” nods accompanied by a smirk. How did she do that? I never asked her, but my guess is that she was a natural at cultivating spiritual awakening through selfless service. She did what she did as an offering, as her way of worship. She was grateful when it went well, and she was grateful when it did not because that gave her an opportunity to learn. 

Being able to say “thank you” to what comes, both pleasant and unpleasant, is unconditional gratitude. “Thank you” can be said aloud when appropriate, or silently as a prayer, but let’s say it! We can practice offering gratitude for something or someone that has pleased us and for something or someone that has not. The first is easy. The second, not so easy. It becomes easier as we hold that whatever comes into our life and experience always brings an opportunity for us. What will we do with that opportunity? When we meet it with gratitude, our potential to prosper and grow in love is multiplied. 

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Ellen Grace O’Brian is the author of The Jewel of Abundance and director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment in San Jose, CA. Ellen is a yogacharya (an esteemed yoga teacher), a radio host, and an award-winning poet who weaves poetry into her teachings on spiritual matters, pointing to the mystical experience beyond words and thought. Ordained by a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, she has been teaching Kriya Yoga philosophy and practice nationally and internationally for over three decades. Visit her online at www.ellengraceobrian.com.

Excerpted from the book The Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga. Copyright ©2018 by Ellen Grace O’Brian. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Grace in Mombasa by T N Traynor - Book Review

Book Description:
Inspired by true events. Betrayal and loss, romance and heartbreak, and one woman’s journey in faith.
From the day she was born, Grace Clifton has navigated a life of loss and heartbreak, without a mother to guide her and through the ravages of two World Wars. With England in the midst of a Second World War, Grace experiences the excitement of love and romance, but all too soon, it turns to heartbreak. Through it all, Grace is sustained by her unwavering faith in God, but when all she holds dear is ripped away from her, Grace is left devastated and doubting everything she’s ever believed in.
As the world slowly recovers from war, Grace too begins the process of healing from the deep wounds inflicted by life. However, her steadfastness to God is lost and she determines never to pray again. When an unexpected opportunity comes up in Kenya, Grace seizes the chance to escape the memories, hoping to find a purpose and build a new life for herself. In the city of Mombasa, Grace soon begins to realise she can’t ever distance herself from life’s complications, but if she’s prepared to open her heart, maybe her fragmented faith will blossom once more bringing her the hope, love and the healing that she desperately needs.
Grace in Mombasa is a story about a woman whose amazing faith is shattered when her life falls apart, but will God simply let her go? If you like heartfelt dialogue, stories seeped in fact and history, and memorable characters, then you’ll love Tracy Traynor’s moving and inspirational novel.

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Author Bio:
I have read lots of fantasy books, and many have been fab, but many more have been hard to read, making that escapism a bit too hard.  My story, therefore, is not full of complicated plots, and names you can’t pronounce, nor is it worded for the highly intelligent.  One of my favorite comments to date, from Rhianne Statom who has read my book, is that “Oracle’s Quest is like Lord of the Rings but for those of us who don’t have degrees in Middle Earth”!!
My dream is for people to be able to pick up my book and to get lost in the story.  I escaped my circumstances so many times by being lost in a good story and this is my driving wish for others, that they may get caught up in the people and places of Talia, and for just awhile, leave their own world behind them.

Book Review by Carmen:
There were aspects that moved a little bit fast for me, were skipped, or that I would have liked to have known more about. The first part of the story is about Grace Clifton's life in England; and I feel that this could have been condensed quite a bit if it had been done correctly. 
The second part is about her time in Mombasa - and for me - this was the interesting section; though I would have really liked to have known a little bit more; since I thought that the story in this section was really intriguing. I ended up giving this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

The Broken Branches by Becky Villareal - Book Review

Book Description:
A school project begins a journey for Sarafina Garcia that will change her life forever. In an attempt to gain a scholarship to a prestigious school, she is thrown headfirst into a labyrinth of family history that will confuse and deepen her search. Don't dig up old bones, was the response Sarafina received from her mother when she asked for help. What was it in the family history that was so horrible that she wouldn't discuss it? Only by delving into historical records will she solve the lingering mystery of her parentage and mend the broken branches of her childhood one last time.

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Author Bio:
Becky Enriquez Villareal was born in Dallas, Texas in 1954 to missionary parents who worked with the migrant workers who came from Mexico. She grew up in several different Texas towns but particularly loves San Antonio. For twenty-three years she has been teaching early childhood in Dallas Independent School District. For the past fifteen years, she has been completing family research. The grandmother of three she enjoys writing and spending time with her family.

Book Review by Carmen:
This book had a lot of potential - and would have benefited greatly if it had been a full length novel. The ending was most certainly unexpected. I would have liked to know so much more about Sarafina Garcia's life. I ended up giving this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

The Strange Curse of Breda by Steven Arnett - Book Review

Book Description:

It’s 1971 and a horrible murder has occurred near the town of Breda in west Michigan. A young woman, Jane Lucas, has been dragged into the woods and stabbed. The letters ZOSO from the Led Zeppelin album have been written in blood on her waist, which leads the police to think it might be a cult murder. Suspicion falls on the commune located on a farm near the town. The shock and horror townspeople feel after that murder, though, are nothing compared to the shock and horror people feel when another murder and then another murder of the same type occur. 
The Strange Curse of Breda is about those murders and how they are finally solved. As each murder occurs, the level of fear in Breda intensifies, to the point that the townsfolk either flee the town, arm themselves to the teeth, or fall into an almost catatonic state of fear. The county sheriff, the state police, and even the FBI are baffled. However, Jim Leiden, a young man who runs a small grocery in Breda, finds a clue that may link all the murders together: The hanging of a man named Obadiah Kurtz that occurred in 1889. Jim researches the story and finds that the victims are descendants of the people who were responsible for hanging Obadiah. After Jim’s discovery, he’s in a race against time to try to get the police to believe him and find the murderer before he can kill the only person in the whole world who really matters to him: His beautiful fiancĂ©e Julie Veere, who happens to be one of those direct descendants! 

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Author Bio:
Steven Arnett was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1951 and enjoys writing fiction and poetry. He has degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Maine. He currently lives in Johns Creek, Georgia, with his wife, Delphine, and daughter, Vivienne. His novels Winners and Losers and Death on Lake Michigan have both received 5 star reviews from the Readers Favorite Web site.

Book Review by Carmen:
Here's the thing about this book: From the beginning of this novel, you know who the killer is; what you don't know is why they're doing it. You get the idea that it's for revenge - but revenge for what? 
At the beginning of the novel, you get a small snippet of a hanging that took place in the 1800's, and from there you jump to the 1970's. This book focuses a lot on the murders that take place in this small town called Breda, as well as the detective, Bill Mathers, that tries to solve these murders. 
This was a fairly quick read as well as an enjoyable one. I ended up giving this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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Nora's Promise by Sedona Hutton - Book Review

Book Description:
She trusts animals more than men. He runs through women like tires. Will an orphaned child force them to change gears?
With her sister’s death, Nora’s life changed in an instant. Forced to raise her orphaned nephew, the animal rescuer doesn’t expect to be dumped and fired by her kid-hating boyfriend/boss. After her own close call and a message from beyond, Nora introduces the little boy to his handsome, fast-living absentee father.
Davey Johnson is a hot-shot NASCAR driver who never wanted to be slowed down by fatherhood. But when he finds out he has a nine-year-old son, he vows to be a better father than his old man. When his first efforts fail in a big way, he enlists Nora’s parenting help. But what starts as a chore transforms into something way hotter than a final lap.
When Davey’s sponsors clash with Nora’s vegan ways, he’s forced to choose between his passion for racing and his love of Nora. Will they be able to blend their lives or will their romance run right off the track?

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Author Bio:
Author Sedona Hutton finds inspiration in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and curly-coated retriever. In addition to writing, she's a Reiki Master and a certified Chopra Center Meditation instructor. She enjoys reading, yoga, gardening, and experiencing the great outdoors on boats, motorcycles, and Jeeps. Sedona pens a "Peace, Love, & Joy" blog on her website.
Sedona Hutton's novel Cloud Whispers was a Finalist in the 2018 Readers' Favorite Contest, an Official Selection in the 2018 Summer eBook Awards for New Apple Literary, and Shortlisted for the Books Go Social Best Indie Book of 2018.

Book Review by Carmen:
I enjoyed this book, despite some of the supernatural elements that I felt shouldn't have been there, though thankfully, they didn't make a lot of appearances in the novel. I enjoyed the romance between Davy Johnson and Nora Williams, though I felt as if Davy sacrificed a little bit too much for Nora, though I guess that's how love goes sometimes. Steph Daley had a nice warm motherly personality and I liked how her side of the story ended. I ended up giving this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

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