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Profile for Cynthia Danute Cekauskas, LCSW > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Cynthia Danute Cekauskas, LCSW "Lithuanian American Princess" (Savannah, Georgia)

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King of Kings [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
King of Kings [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £8.29

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving, spiritually inspirational account of the life and death of Jesus Christ., 9 May 2012
I think a previous reviewer fails to comprehend the importance of deeply understanding how the Jewish world in which Jesus lived and the Roman occupation the inhabitants of Judea endured are to really appreciating the message Jesus came to give us. I refer specifically to the expectation that the Jewish people had that Jesus deliver them from the Romans using his power in their physical world when Jesus was about delivering humanity from sin to everlasting life in an eternal unseen world. I recall the part where Jesus comes to visit John the Baptist informing Lucius that he has come to free John. Baffled, Lucius asks Jesus just how he plans to free John outside the prison walls. Jesus replied that he plans to free John WITHIN the prison walls. I also would suggest to any reviewer who might be similarly critical that they read Jim Bishop's book The Day Christ Died. This book originally published in 1957 and again released in 1991 gives the reader an indepth look at the life of Jesus Christ, the man, as he struggled between the human and divine side of his persona. I think if this reviewer would read that he or she would understand why this was incorporated into this film.

The film itself is phenomenal. I have been watching it since it first came out in 1961, almost on an annual basis, for years only on television. I was so happy when I finally was able to purchase a video of it and now I am buying a DVD. They just do not make movies like this anymore. I have seen a number of actors attempt to play Jesus but none with the depth of passion that Jeffrey Hunter did in this movie. The scene where John the Baptist meets Jesus in the river, looking him in the eye and realizing that he has no sin and thus no need to be baptized; the scene were John the Baptist is reaching up his hand to touch the hand of Jesus from outside the prison cell where John is confined; the scenes of the miracles that Jesus performed; the Sermon on the Mount; and the Passion and Crucifixtion of our Lord Jesus Christ. These are so powerful. The movie is truly an outstanding work of art to treasure for all generations.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2015 4:20 PM BST


Sundown
Sundown
Price: £5.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding "cruising" (in your car) music!, 9 May 2012
This review is from: Sundown (Audio CD)
Born and raised in the Detroit area I was one who grew up driving and/or riding in a car for long distances. I suppose anyone from long stretched out cities (Los Angeles comes to mind) would know what I mean. Well, Gordon Lightfoot's SUNDOWN is just the tape you need to listen to while "crusing" down the road. It really soothes the mind. We were listening to it in the car just this morning driving to Tybee Island to participate in a sporting event.

While his Summer Side of Lifealbum will always be my favorite (as it was my first) SUNDOWN comes in a strong second. The inner jacket of this CD states that "Released in the winter of 1974, SUNDOWN ranks among Gordon Lightfoot's most popular albums". It is easy to see why. The song "Sundown" may be the most popular on this album but there is a lot to be said about "Carefree Highway", "Circle of Steel", "Somewhere in the U.S.A.","Seven Island Suite" and "The Watchman's Gone." So very mellow...Just what you need to (calmly) finish your trip...Love it!


Successfully Surviving a Brain Injury: A Family Guidebook, from the Emergency Room to Selecting a Rehabilitation Facility
Successfully Surviving a Brain Injury: A Family Guidebook, from the Emergency Room to Selecting a Rehabilitation Facility
by Garry Prowe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, highly informative and deeply sensitive to both survivors of TBI and their caregivers,, 9 May 2012
This book, written by the husband of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor, is about all survivors of brain injury and the people who care for them. It is presented in a clear, straightforward manner, easy to read and use with the right blend of applicable practical information and real understanding drawn from personal experience caring for a survivor of TBI. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for more than twenty years, I would recommend the book not only to survivors and their families but to the many helping professionals who assist in their care and rehabilitation including physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, and many others.

After opening the book with the author's own personal story of his wife's injury, the book describes what brain injury is in ways that are understandable to the average reader. Chapter 4 "Brain Injury Basics # 1 A Brain Injury is Forever" admits that "For those without medical training, trying to comprehend the intricate operations of the brain can seem overwhelming....For readers seeking a basic knowledge of the brain, this chapter describes how the healthy brain works, what happens when the brain is injured, how the brain heals, why this healing is incomplete and how survivors contribute to the healing of their injured brains." In Chapter 6 "Brain Injury Basics # 2 Doctors, Comas and Quantifying Consciousness" the author introduces 'two important tools used by physicans to measure and describe the level of consciousness and behavior of brain injury patients: the Glasgow Coma Scale and the Rancho Los Amigos Scale of Cognitive Functioning". The author introduces the chapter with a very practical section entitled "Dealing with Doctors" making suggestions on how to "make your time with the doctors more fruitful and congenial" admitting that "there is a fine line between being assertive and being annoying."

Chapter 8 "How to Succeed as a Caregiver Focus on What You Can Control" is an extremely important one. The author notes that caring for a person with a brain injury can leave the caregiver vulnerable to at least ten emotions that can compromise their cargiving abilities. He then describes in greater detail how shock, denial, panic, anger, guilt, grief, helplessness, loneliness, fear, depression, joy and hope can wreak havoc in the caregiver and how the caregiver can best handle these emotions. The author does not neglect to acknowledge to caregivers "the comfort and strength they derive from their faith gives them joy, hope and determination they need to excel in their new responsibilites." He admits that "For certain believers, however, a brain injury is a formidable challenge to their faith" and offers twelve suggestions to those whose survivor's brain injury has caused them to start doubting their faith. The author completes this chapter with a list of Factors that Impact the Success of Recovery from a Brain Injury.

The concluding Chapters 12 "Life with a Brain Injury", and 14 "An Introduction to Rehabilitation" are particularly educational to those caregivers and TBI survivors working together to plan for long term care. The final chapter, Chapter 13 "Eleven Year Later" completes the book on a positive note as the author describes his life today with his survivor wife.

Impressively added is a helpful Glossary and a List of Essential Resources such as websites, books and state brain injury associations. As a former Department of Army social worker, I appreciate that he included the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center which "serves active duty military, their dependents, and veterans with brain injury through state-of-the art medical care, innovative clinical research, and educational program.


Break Time: Nourishing Yourself Through Unemployment
Break Time: Nourishing Yourself Through Unemployment
by Jim Stringham
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Promotes self care to help make unemployment bearable., 9 May 2012
I appreciate the fact that the authors acknowledge how really painful unemployment can be. They admit that in losing a job the unemployed individual will likely experience all of the emotions that are associated with grief and loss but will eventually feel better with time. However they state that although "part of finding a new job is preparing and sending resumes, perusing classified ads, searching for employment on the Internet, networking and interviewing....until you find work--and you will find work--your biggest, most important job is taking care of you."

In Chapter 3 It Boils Down to Health the authors point out that "Too often, we use our job to define ourselves, when in reality what we do isn't who we are." They admit that "Being employed gives you a sense of purpose and a place to go every day..." but that "Now is the time to rededicate yourself and find a sense of purpose." The authors then encourage the reader to "Feel free to reestablish your old routine" while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They encourage getting enough sleep, sufficient exercise, limiting alcohol use and learning to laugh more.

Chapter 4 Condensed Ingredients encourages the importance of maintaining quality relationships with family and friends.

In general the book doesn't tell the reader anything particularly new . It does however emphasize the importance of taking better care of oneself when one is going through an extremely stressful period such as unemployment.


Meeting the Enemy, Becoming a Friend: A Personal Journey and Challenge for All of Us To Become More Responsible Global Citizens
Meeting the Enemy, Becoming a Friend: A Personal Journey and Challenge for All of Us To Become More Responsible Global Citizens
by M. Gelder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Tends to be naive, inaccurate and overgeneralizing., 9 May 2012
I chose to read this book because, like the author, I have spent some time living and working in Japan, both in Okinawa and at Camp Zama, first as an active duty Navy Hospital Corpsman and later as a Department of Army Civilian (DAC). I have also been on temporary assignment (TAD) to the Navy base where the author's husband was stationed, Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan.

First of all, I felt that the author spent an inordinate amount of time attacking not only the military but Americans in general. She also does not seem to appreciate the effort that the Defense Contract Commissary System (DCCS) puts into insuring that fresh, appealing food of the local economy is available to the military food shopper there. She states that "The first thing that struck me as terribly odd was the lack of anything truly Japanese on base...The food was shipped from caterers in the states...people complain about the lack of variety and freshness in the commissary...". I would state that although supply may not be as comprehensive as what she might find in her protected little world in the United States, commissaries overseas do an oustanding job of providing what fresh produce they can as well as a variety of local products. For instance, there is an abundance of ramen noodles, yakisoba, soy and other sauces, Japanese "radishes", sushi, etc. etc. Additionally her claim that few people attend outings to local grocery story shops is unfounded. At my last duty station in Japan, at Camp Zama, such local trips as well as those visiting differenet parts of Japan were often filled to capacity. There was a deep interest in Americans stationed there learning about the culture.

Second of all, while I have also experienced what the author described as the "ugly American" i.e. speaking loudly pubicly when asked not to, insisting everyone speak English, flaunting one's supposed superiority I have also known of many Americans who have tried their best to learn the language of the land in which they are stationed, their customs and lifestyles and this INCLUDES the "active duties" she so denigrates in one chapter of her book. Good for you, Melinda Gelder, that you are an officer's wife but there are many, many enlisted individuals with higher education serving in uniform (AND their spouses) that ARE culturally sensitive and do not deserve your negativity.

Thirdly, the author seems to promote herself as some kind of expert simply because she lived in Japan for two years. She ends her book by stating: "My intentions in writing about my time in the military...."(note that she was never IN the military--she was merely the wife of a privileged military officer)"and Japan was to both inspire and challenge people to take an active role in making our world more peaceful." She directs this towards Americans accusing America of "presently choosing to remain a victim to terrorists, rather than recognize its own wickedness and responsibility." Excuse me, m'am, but with all due respect "Whose side are you on?" The truth is Americans HAVE been victimized both overseas and in our own country. It is the radical Islamists that tell US it is either THEIR way or the highway continuing on a conflict between Christians and Muslims that has been going on since the Crusades, long before America was even thought of as a country! You, m'am, do not know your history. Apparently also you never lost anyone in the Twin Towers in New York. You don't know what it is to be a victim of oppression. I do. My parents came to this country in 1949, five years after Lithuania had been occupied by Soviet tanks. If they had not left for Displaced Persons camps in the American zone of a then occupied Germany, they either would have been shot or sent to Siberia, like thousands of other Lithuanians. Of course you probably don't know anything about that either...

My own husband is a retired servicemember with half of his career spent in the United States Marine Corps and half in the Army--28 years total. Both of us would state emphaticially that "freedom is not free" and the military, no matter how much the author seems to dislike it, is necessary to protect our freedom in the United States as we experience it today. Therefore bashing the citizens of this country-- that we are not doing enough to promote peace in the world--is really uncalled for. Why doesn't the author address this to the Islamist fundamentalists just as emphatically as she does her own people? Now THAT would be a place ripe to be taught about diplomacy (and religious tolerance I might add--radical Islamist very edicts reward them for murdering those of other faiths!)


Born for Freedom
Born for Freedom
by Lina Zilionyte
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, passionate, engaging., 9 May 2012
This review is from: Born for Freedom (Paperback)
After finishing the reading of this book on the 27th of April 2010, I was left feeling all the better for it. The author has such an engaging style of writing that you do not want to put the book down. I hope that the author will consider writing a sequel to what happens to Lucy Ankute, the main character in the novel,

I myself am a American Lithuanian. Both of my parents were born in Lithuania and. as refugees from the Second World War, came to the United States in 1949 to begin a new life. Fortunately for myself and my siblings they were/are very intelligent and well educated people who understood the importance of preserving language fluency and having pride in one's cultural identity. I was born in Detroit, Michigan five years after my parents had come to the United States. This was two years before the author herself was born in Lithuania. What interests me so much is that, although she grew up under a Communist occupied Lithuania, Lina Zilonyte never forgot who she was. I don't know for sure but I strongly suspect this book is loosely based on the author's own life. Referring to Chapter 35 November 28, 1983 where the lead character's "aspiration for freedom was strong and unwavering" I suspect the author herself had a seed of freedom "given to her by Mother and Father" which "was growing and getting bigger." It most likely lead to the writing of this book.

As another reviewer once described, this is the story of Lucy, a Lithuanian woman born in Alytus, Lithuania in 1956 under a Soviet occupied Lithuania. It traces her life as she grows up, graduates from Vilnius University and works as a translator in her native country before she comes to the United States. It is an emotionally moving story as the author incorporates themes that were (and still are) very painful to the Lithuanian people such as the forced deportations at the end of the Second World War, the tragic deaths of the Lithuanian partisans in the forests, the Soviet securalization of the churches that were so precious to the Lithuanian people, the censorship of speech, not to mention out-and-out spying and invasion of privacy, the coercive pressure to join the Communist party to be hired for the best positions, live in the best homes, eat the best food, etc. Through it all, however, the Lithuanian spirit remained strong and persevered. The Lithuanian culture simply refused to die. The book depicts all of this as well as how this spirit was transferred to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It is truly inspiring.


Mary, Called Magdalene
Mary, Called Magdalene
by Margaret George
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating. What a wonderful book!, 9 May 2012
This review is from: Mary, Called Magdalene (Paperback)
I was lent a copy of this book by a fellow parishioner and a member of my chapel's Military Catholic Council of Women. She had listened to my enthusiastic praise of Jim Bishop's book The Day Christ Died. This book had been given to me years ago by my father as a Confirmation present but just last year I had started an annual practice of reading it every Lenten season. It is a historical novel just as much as MARY, CALLED MAGDALENE By George, Margaret (Author) Paperback on 27-May-2003 which I am now reviewing.

Reading this book has been a real joy right from the start. It is so uplifting to learn about the life of the first woman apostle and disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary called the Magdalene is depicted in this book as a married woman with a child who tragically had become possessed of seven demons from which Jesus rescues her. She was a woman with a bright mind who even then wanted to learn in a male dominated culture which often did not permit it. Jesus not only served to liberate her from physical demons but to help her develop the best that was in her all in the service of God. The final chapters of the book, in the style of the early gospels, are letters written by Mary Magdalene to the daughter she was forced to leave while still a young woman. The letters speak of the activities of the early church, how the faith spread throughout the known world, how its followers were persecuted for their beliefs and how in the long run the church was to endure despite all the obstacles it had to face. The book ends sadly with Mary being martyred before having the chance to once again reunite physically with her daughter.

Although this is a fictional account of the life of Mary Magdalene, what is factual and true cannot be denied: Mary Magdalene was mentioned in the four canonical gospels--Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--in connection with five events: (1) being delivered from seven demons by Jesus; (2) following Jesus, along with other women he had cured, and supporting him materially in his ministry; (3) being present at the crucifixtion; (4) coming early to the tomb on Easter morning to anoint him; and (5) encountering the risen Christ.

This is a beautiful book--one I would especially recommend to women who believe in Jesus Christ and his message to free us!


The Imposter: How a Juvenile Criminal Succeeded in Busines and Life
The Imposter: How a Juvenile Criminal Succeeded in Busines and Life
by Kip Kreiling
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Sincere effort to help hindered somewhat in its delivery., 9 May 2012
Although clearly this book is well intentioned, the author having suffered a very troubled childhood and adolescence and coming out of it successfully, it reads in a rather obscure way. Some reviewers have indicated that it needs better editing. I think I would agree with that.

For the first six chapters of the book there is nothing new that I learned by reading it. For many years I have known, both personally and professionaly (I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker) that your thoughts affect your feelings affect your behavior. To change your behavior then you need to change how you think about things. That is basic Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. That is what the author seemed to find a shocking revelation but nothing new to me personally.

I did not find anything really meaningful about the book until Chapter 7 Tragedy at the Altar. In this chapter the author refers to Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., the founder of the science of Positive Psychology. A description of what constitutes an optimist and a pessimist follow. It was very appealing to have it pointed out that the focus of Dr Seligman's work was a change "from focusing on eliminating negatives (depression) to creating positives (optimism)". Here the importance of faith is very much stressed: "If we believe life is bad, we make it bad, and it is bad. If we learn to think like an optimist we will learn to believe that life is good, we will make it good, and it will be good." The author points out that "We all experience failure but we do not all repond in the same way. Some people let failures devastate them and they quit. Others see failures as a temporary nuisance, a brief distraction on their path to glory." I liked this very much. I liked even more the author emphasizing that pessimists CAN change their explanatory style and become optimists themselves. Fortunately for Mr Kreiling his ephiphany came early enough in his life that he was able to complete higher education, marry and have "five happy healthy children". It is important to point out that this does not happen to everybody in quite such an optimal way. Nonetheless emphasizing the positives that we DO have (even if they don't quite compare to the author's massive successes) is important to our future happiness.

In closing, the author's quote from Sarah Ban Breathnach is very much appreciated: "Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend...when we choose not to focus on what is missing in our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present/ love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure/ the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth."


Mutiny
Mutiny
by David Hagberg
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating. David Hagberg at his best!, 9 May 2012
This review is from: Mutiny (Paperback)
This most memorable novel, a true story that inspired The Hunt for Red Octoberheld my interest like almost no other. I have been out of the (United States) Navy for over 28 years, never having actually served on a ship, but reading the book made me want to go to sea, I could actually feel myself aboard a ship traveling out to the open water. I remembered fondly just how beautiful the Baltic Sea was when I first saw it back in 1997.

I guess another reason I found the book so interesting was the author's vivid description of life in the Soviet Union during the Cold War and just how passionate and fearless (or foolish) one would have to have been to even think about leading a mutiny on a Sovet warship. Contary to what some previous reviewers wrote, I think the author was very explicit at describing what the punishment for dissent (of any kind)was in the Sovet Union. Whereas the public may be all too familiar with the murder of 6 million Jews under the Nazis too few even think about the 40 million men, women and children who were exiled, starved, beaten and murdered often by their own Russian breathen. The book describes how horrible it was living in a society where fear, intimidation and control were the order of the day. I myself am the daughter of Lithuanian refugees who left their native country in 1944 when Soviet tanks rolled through Lithuania and the deportation of thousands of Lithuanian citizens to far reaches of the Sovet Union began. The author describes the climate in which the mutiny was set with great detail. It is tragic that in the end the mutiny did not succeed, the political officer who launched it "got his 9mm" (in the back of the head, a punishment millions were condemned to) and even those who had nothing to do with the mutiny were subject to the harshest of punishments.

This is the true story of a mutiny on a Sovet frigate in 1975 off the coast of Riga, Latvia. It is also, however, about so much more. In an era where many take for granted the freedoms that are afforded to them living in the United States of America, this would be highly recommended reading.


The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
by James Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Contemplatives in Action" our Jesuit brethren., 9 May 2012
I first became aware of this book when it was featured on some television talk show I had been watching. I must admit at first I was disappointed because I thought it was going to be a much lighter read perhaps even a humorous account of some religious blunders a certain religious order had been found guilty of. On the contrary, I found the book to be very thoughful in nature, deep and philosophical. At first it intrigued me intellectually. Father Martin begins by informing the reader how the Catholic religious order of the Jesuits was founded by a recuperating soldier (Inigo de Loyola) in mid-sixteenth century Spain. Inigo, whose name in Latin is Ignatius, was ordained in 1537 and founded the Society of Jesus, officially approved by Pope Paul III, in 1540. What I personally liked was that although Ignatius "counseled the Jesuits always to carve out time for prayer, they were expected to lead active lives...they were to be active people who adopted a contemplative, or meditative stance to the world. The "contemplative in action", according to St. Ignatius Loyola, "not only contemplates the active world and sees wonderful things but also sees in those wonderful things signs of God's presence and activity. The contemplative in action is deeply aware of God's presence even in the midst of a busy life. It is a stance of awareness. Awareness of God."

The more I read this book the more I liked it. My favorite chapters, for instance, Chapters Twelve "What Should I Do? The Ignatian Way of Making Decisions" and Thirteen "Be Who You Is! Work, Job, Career, Vacation...and Life." were in the second half of the book.

Father Martin has a remarkable ability to reach others through his writing in a most compassionate and understanding way. I truly believe this is a gift he received from God. He left me with much to think about in my own journey. When you find yourself over 50, with advanced education, many years of experience and still not able to find a job after three years of unemployment, you start to wonder what purpose do you have. I realize however I am not alone in this. There are many out there just like me. I do feel, however, that deep prayer and meditation, keeping our faith in God, realizing he has a purpose for each and every one of us is the key. As Father Martin pointed out we all have gifts that come from God and prayer helps us connect with him to find the best ways of using them. I am left therefore feeling truly inspired and uplifed by Father Martin's writing. I strongly recommend this book to both Catholic and non Catholic alike.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2015 8:33 PM GMT


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