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Cynthia Danute Cekauskas, LCSW "Lithuanian American Princess" RSS Feed (Savannah, Georgia)

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Tietam Cane
Tietam Cane
by Lance Levens
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.50
33 used & new from $8.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive writing. An outstanding novel., May 26, 2016
This review is from: Tietam Cane (Paperback)
It has been a long time since I read such an interesting, thought-provoking and moving book. Born in Detroit, Michigan of Lithuanian born parents and only having lived in Savannah, Georgia for the past eleven years, I would often wonder why the descendents of those who lived and fought for the Confederate States of America had such an intense attachment to the Old South, even, to this date many still marking Confederate Independence Day. After all they had lost the Civil War, had they not? The thing is, as demonstrated in this book, the pride that many people experienced ran very deep, deeper than any defeat of any war to secede from a northern based union, could ever understand let alone feel empathy for.

This novel is the story of one Tietam Cane, a fifteen year old boy who is raised by a deeply disturbed maternal grandfather to hate Yankees to the point of wanting to bully even murder a fellow student whose family had moved to Georgia from Conneticut. His grandfather, one Junius Cane, had himself been subjected and taught to hate by his own father whose family (and himself personally) been victimized by an occupying Union Army. The hatred for northerners seem to have begun then and continued to be transmitted from one generation to another. This is complicated by the fact that Tietam was under the belief that his parents had abandoned him to "become beatniks" in some northern state when Tietam was only three years old. Thus Tietam grows up with Junius, his maternal grandfather, and Bean, his maternal grandmother, under the impression of a glorified Old South where slaves were NOT mistreated, lived happily and in peace, just like the masters that owned them. After a series of events, however, Tietam learns that what his grandparents had been relaying to him was far from the truth. Additionally deep family secrets come out that cause Tietam's life to change forever.

This is a fascinating book, one that you will not soon put down. Lance Levens is a truly gifted author whose writing will captivate you as few others can. I really enjoyed reading this book and strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a GREAT novel to tread.

The Vitality Map: A Guide to Deep Health, Joyful Self-Care, and Resilient Well-Being
The Vitality Map: A Guide to Deep Health, Joyful Self-Care, and Resilient Well-Being
by Deborah Zucker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.49
14 used & new from $9.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intensely powerful eye opening guide to self fulfillment and better health., May 19, 2016
It is crystal clear that the author, a naturopathic physican and transformational health coach, put a great deal of work and caring into this book. It is clearly an answer to those of us who feel, after we have seen our doctors and walked away with yet another prescription for pills and procedures treating SYMPTOMS of afflictions, that we have NEVER really gotten an idea of what caused us to become sick in the first place. Dr Zucker appears to be a very strong believer of the holistic school of health where the practicioner treats the WHOLE person--body, mind AND spirit. She writes this book encouraging the reader to take a more ACTIVE role in improving their personal health.

This journey to better health and vitality is to be accomplished by a series of nine steps or "keys" to deeper vitality. Each key is then detailed and the reader is encouraged to keep a journal as they work on their personal struggle to achieve a happier state of being. I personally liked the fact that the author advocated (in Key # 2 Facing and Embracing Your Shadows) finding out and working through those things -- whether they be physical, psychological or spirtual--that block us from improving our health before moving onto Key # 4 Cultivating Resilience and Key # 5 Aligning With Your Yes. Her Key # 8 Inviting Support and Connection then strengthens us even further into being able to enjoy the life we were meant to enjoy. I love it that the final key - Key # 9 is titled Living Like You Matter and believing wholeheartedly, like the author, that we really DO.

This is an outstanding book on learning how to self nurture, take better care of ourselves, take an active role with those medical practicioners whose job is to help us feel better, and working towards our happiest selves. Without hesitation I strongly recommend this book.

Defend Freedom
Defend Freedom
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening account of one patriotic Lithuanian-American following the Soviet occupation of the Baltics in 1944., May 12, 2016
This review is from: Defend Freedom (Kindle Edition)
Simply put, I would STRONGLY recommend this book. It is written by a Lithuanian-American patriot born in Kaunas, Lithuania who survived the firebombing of Dresden during WWII, emigrated to the United States and later became a decorated Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. Any truly patriotic Lithuanian, Lithuanian-American (or American for that matter) will find this book HIGHLY educational, informative and enlightening as to what happened to the Lithuanian (and the Baltic) people in the days following the final occupation of Lithuania by the Soviets in 1944. It would take decades for these countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) to regain their independence, having to wait for the fall of the Soviet Union, before they had their chance to regain their sovereign state.

Viva Labs Coconut MCT Oil - 100% Capric and Caprylic Acid, Non-GMO, Naturally Extracted and Sustainably Sourced, 32 fl oz
Viva Labs Coconut MCT Oil - 100% Capric and Caprylic Acid, Non-GMO, Naturally Extracted and Sustainably Sourced, 32 fl oz
Offered by Viva Naturals
Price: $24.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing., October 8, 2015
This product is advertised as "a rapidly utilized source of energy" which "supports weight management" and is odorless and tasteless. While I am not the one who actually tested this product, that individual being my husband, he found several claims made about the product were exaggerated. For example taking this product with his morning coffee, my husband did not find that it contributed to any discernable energy increase. He was also disappointed that taking this product appeared to not support any efforts that he made toward weight management. About the only claim that was validated about the product was that it was odorless and tasteless. Based on these findings I cannot in all honesty recommend this product.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2015 6:40 AM PDT

Water Aerobics - How To Lose Weight And Tone Your Body In The Water
Water Aerobics - How To Lose Weight And Tone Your Body In The Water
by Jennifer Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.99
61 used & new from $3.91

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice summary of an alternative form of aerobic exercise., September 29, 2015
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This nifty little book (only 94 pages long) is a wonderful summary of the benefits of participating in Water Aerobics, the procedures involved including warming up and cooling down, with chapters on upper and lower body workouts and water aerobics for physical rehabilitation. I was a little frustrated by it, however, when I saw that it was written in such small print. There are photographs in the book which would have been nice to have been in color and there are quite a few types of water aerobics exercises that were NOT included. I think the book was a good start but it does need to be further developed. I do appreciate that it even exists, however, and promotes water type exercises for those of us who have special problems such as arthritis of our knees or other medical conditions. As the author concludes "Water aerobics provides a workout platform for everyone, regardless of their age, physical health and current fitness level.....Water aerobics is one of the few forms of exercise that effectively offers an insignificant impact on the joints....ultimately you will be taking away a tremendous amount of stress on your joints and ligaments as soon as you decide to take your workout to the pool." THIS is why I personally started participating in Water Aerobics in the first place! Additionally I have met some of the nicest people in my Water Aerobics classes. I TOTALLY agree with the author's concluding "You just can't beat the effectiveness of water aerobics as a primary form of exercise. It is a great choice for conditioning, strengthening, improving endurance and limiting the effects of physical conditions and injuries. Further, working out in the pool is fun and easy, you won't even feel like you're breaking a sweat." This is a good book I would recommend.

People Tools for Love and Relationships: The Journey from Me to Us
People Tools for Love and Relationships: The Journey from Me to Us
by Alan Fox
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.92
82 used & new from $0.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy-to-read, practical advice for people in relationships based on the personal experiences of the author., September 29, 2015
I have to admit that most of what I read in this book I already knew and knew well partly because I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) by profession myself. That in itself does NOT by any means mean that I have all the answers (or come close to having them) nor have I necessarily been in the happiest of relationships. True I have only been married once to the same man for over fifteen years, however, there is so much more we can ALL learn from each other and each others real life experiences. What I appreciated from this book was that the author was able to glean from his own personal experiences what he can conclude as being "best practices" for people in general. Sometimes that is, in fact, the best way to teach, keeping in mind, of course, that what works for me may not necessarily work for you. I like the fact that the book seemed to emphasize taking personal responsibility in how a marriage/relationship works: "those who are happiest in relationships are those who work on it. They talk to each other. They read books. They seek help." I liked that the author felt one can achieve happiness at ANY age "We are never too old or to weary to enjoy the simple pleasures of life." I liked that he felt "Whatever the question, love is the answer." This is a good book. I would recommend it.

Desire and Red Wine: A Life's Journey
Desire and Red Wine: A Life's Journey
by Victoria Norvaisa
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
42 used & new from $6.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming, romantic novel, a very enjoyable read with notable historical significance, May 18, 2015
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This is a warm, romantic novel highlighting the loves and losses of one family through several generations. Originating in their native Lithuania but soon traumatized by three foreign power occupations (Communists, Nazis and Communists returning), this family would look to the United States for the safety and security they were seeking. The book ends up focusing on one Lithuanian woman and her struggle to find the love she was searching for all of her life.
While entertaining the reader with the love stories of the main characters, the book is uniquely educational historically. Many who may read it have never really thought about Lithuania, where she is located geographically and what kind of a tragic history she sustained at the hands of her Soviet Russian occupiers--one that failed to be documented in most American history books. Some may not even have heard of Lithuania until the recent illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russians and their stated objective to reoccupy their formerly subjugated countries such as Lithuania. It is thus that the book serves a dual purpose and makes it an especially worthwhile read.
One thing that I particularly liked about the book was how the author made the characters come alive! In reading this book you felt like you WERE the individuals the author was describing. It was a very human experience causing one to remember what it was like to be in love for the very first time, to feel the sting of betrayal when the object of your affection found someone else more desirable, to long for a sustaining love to whom you were the most important. This caused me to become so wrapped up in the book I felt like I was living myself! The author who is described as being "better known...for her arthwork" having exhibited her art in local and regional galleries, thus uses words to paint a picture of people experiencing their very real lives. I really DID like that as well.
All in all I find this to be a very fine book you can curl up to, enjoy reading while, at the same time, learning something most important. I would STRONGLY recommend the book NOT just for young people but everyone from young to old, Lithuanian-American (like myself) or of any other ethnic identity.

Just One Moment More: The Story of One Woman's Return from Siberian Exile (East European Monograph)
Just One Moment More: The Story of One Woman's Return from Siberian Exile (East European Monograph)
by Konstancija Bražėnienė
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $40.00
28 used & new from $28.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, powerfully written compilation of letters which will you bring you to tears., May 7, 2015
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This is an outstanding book-- a compilation of letters actually--written to and from the children of the author who in 1949, at the age of fifty-seven, was deported to Siberia by the Soviets from her native Lithuania to spend seven years there before being released. "She was never told the reason for her deportation, but later learned that it was because her two deceased brothers, had been priests, because her brother-in-law had been a member of the pre-war Christian Democratic Party, and because her deceased husband had been a member of independent Lithuania's first freely elected parliament, and also because her three children had gone to the West to study during World War Two and had not returned to living in Soviet occupied Lithuania." She, like many others, was a victim of the Russian occupation of Lithuania in the dark days during and following World War II. While World War II was ending for WESTERN Europe and V-E day was being celebrated in Paris, the people in countries east of Germany were only beginning a horrible nightmare which would not end for nearly a half a century later. During the first Russian occupation, which lasted from 1940 to 1941, roughly 185,000 Lithuanians were deported to concentration camps in the far reaches of Siberia. The author was among the 118,000 more Lithuanians deported in the years following the end of World War II. She and many others would endure a difficult three week journey by train from Vilnius, Lithuania to Irkutsk, Siberia where often infants, children under five, and the elderly would not survive the journey and end up dying enroute. After arriving in Siberia, she and thousands others would would be further humiliated by being seperated into work brigades to be displayed by local Russian directors of factories, coal mines, logging camps etc. in a type of twentieth-century slave auction. The potential "employers" would walk the hall around examining each group and bartering with the KGB agents to get themselves the youngest and healthiest work brigade. The author found herself assigned to work at a fishing camp as a housekeeper and cook of a group of enslaved fishermen. It is during this time, in 1953, the author's health started to fail after she developed hypertension which was not then adequately treated and resulted in heart problems.
The author, a widow, the mother of two sets of twin adult children and one singleton adult child, found herself alone in this Siberian work camp. Two daughters had left for the United States when the Nazis closed Lithuanian universities in 1943 during their occupation of Lithuania as had the singleton son. One daughter had already died as an infant and a son at age 22 after being conscripted into the German army and later sent to a Soviet prison camp where he developed health problems from which he later succumbed. She continued writing letters to her children and they to her.
After her release from the forced labor camp in Siberia, the author returned to her native Lithuania, now an occupied nation of the Soviet Union. Things improved little for her then. In a letter to her children dated August 20, 1956 the author wrote: "We were tossed out of our society as dangerous and were damned for all times...On paper we are free and many of us are returning to Lithuania. I have no right to my house on Darius and Girenas Street. " The author had no home, was not allowed to work and basically had to live from one family who accepted her for awhile to another. As her health was failing and both she and her adult children missed each other dearly, valiant efforts were made through diplomatic channels to allow the author to return to the United States to be reunited with her children. Several times this was out right denied by Moscow leaving the author heartbroken. In a 1958 letter written to her daughter Nijole the author lamented " It is very painful that in my old age I don't have a corner that I can call my own, or someone to care for me, an invalid, after all. Hope had made me stronger, had given me energy, now everything is dead...I won't be able to say anything better than that in this letter because my tears are covering the paper. I wonder who I've hurt, what I've done that's so terrible, that they don't even allow me to go to my children? I am old, after all, an invalid; why not give me the last few moments of my life to be happy? In my life I've known little joy; rarely did the tears dry on my cheeks. I've always waited for a better day, but it has never come...." Then, FINALLY, in 1966, the author's family is at last successful in having her reunite with her family in the United States. This was eight (8) years later and took much doing with the author's health continuing to fail. After reuniting with her family in the US, the author lived only four more years, passing away in 1970.
This is a remarkable book that will touch you deeply. I am astounded that despite all the suffering this author went through she NEVER completely lost her belief in God with an unshaken faith that one day she would see her family again according to God's will. This Lithuanian woman suffered SO much I tear up just looking at pictures of her. I strongly recommend this book for all those who genuinely have a need for the truth, the WHOLE truth, NOT the revisionist truth of the Russians, or the partial truth of those persecuted by the Nazis. Granted the Nazis were a HORRIBLE evil but SO WERE the Communists yet THEIR crimes have NEVER been documented to the extent that they needed to be nor have they EVER been prosecuted for them. After all, their arrest and deportation of tens of thousands of Lithuanians was a violation of INTERNATIONAL law. This book details in a very personal way what many victims of Communism had to endure. I STRONGLY recommend it.

Above Us Only Sky: A Novel
Above Us Only Sky: A Novel
by Michele Young-Stone
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.24
96 used & new from $0.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will move you to tears in admiration of the strength of the Lithuanian spirit., March 9, 2015
This is a touching story---one of the loves and losses of one particular Lithuanian-American family and its journey through several generations of individuals orginating in the beautiful country of Lithuania, proudly settling in the United States but powerfully drawn back to the country from which they came many, many years later. It is a ficitional story based on true life events that happened to Lithuanian people as they suffered oppression at the hands of both Nazi German and Communist Russian occupiers.
Born in the United States of Lithuanian parents who fled their homeland in 1944 as their native country was occupied by the Soviets, I found myself relating to this book in ways I could not imagine. My own family had had to endure some of the struggles that the families in this book had survived. Like some of the chracters in this book, they too were driven out of their homeland avoding the Soviet forced deportations to hard labor camps in Sibera, fortunate enough to be able to come to the United States and create lives for themselves. I too felt the strong pull to come back to Lithuania and come home to a land I had never been to before.
The book tells the story of a young American woman with Lithuanian blood whose Lithuanian paternal grandfather decides that it it is time she learn something about the people from which she had descended. After a seventy year absence, the grandfather returns to Lithuania for a visit accompanied by his wife, his son and his wife and the granddaughter he finally is able to meet and with whom he establishes a lasting bond. It is during this time the grandfather also reestablishes contact with the sister he left behind in Lithuania lead to believe, years ago, that she had been raped and murdered by the Soviets. In telling this story the book goes back in time and tells of the happenings of family members as they suffered the effects of war and occupation and how, despite terrible odds, they managed to survive and go on, while at the same time, celebrating the strength of their Lithuanian spirit. It is a book full of sadness and loss, joy and triumph, a telling of an unusual "birth defect" in some of the women of the family who are born with wings! The book is magical and moving. It will keep you spellbound and touch your soul. I felt honored to have had the opportunity to read it.

Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II (General Military)
Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II (General Military)

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue, well researched in some areas but inaccurate and incomplete in others., November 9, 2014
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This is a book which should have been researched, written and published years ago. Growing up in Detroit, Michigan,the daughter of Lithuanian refugees I was stunned at how little other students (even teachers) knew about the history of Eastern Europe let alone the Baltic states. As the author states in the Preface "The destruction and suffering endured by many nations during the Second World War are beyond question, but often the scale of the numbers involved can reduce their impact. The German atrocities in the Soviet Union, followed by Soviet atrocities in Germany are well known and widely documented, but in terms of the proportion of the population lost, the countries caught between these powerful protagonists--Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia--suffered far more than any other. Whilst the deaths in Poland are relatively well known, the suffering of the Baltic States is rarely mentioned, even though their population loss, at roughly 20 per cent was higher than that of any other country other than Poland."

Indeed the author wrote in great detail about the battle for the Baltics between the Germans and the Russians. There was no question by the middle of the book that it was a comprehensive accounting of how the two Superpowers clashed over their desire to occupy, possess and "convert" their occupied territories to conform to their ideals of the "good Nazi" or the "good Communist". Along the way many people were to be murdered outright often after being tortured, deported in cattlecars to forced labor camps in Sibera where thousands would die (without the West knowing a thing about it) or (like my parents) being forced to flee for their lives. Neither the German nor the Russian occupations were in the end to produce any lasting good results for their occupied peoples.

My problem with the book, however, begins with the Aftermath where the author seemed to take the position of the Russian occupiers of the Baltic states. I found it objectionable, for instance, that he resorted to citing ONLY what RUSSIAN writers thought had happened at the time. The FACT that, after the Yalta conference, the three Baltic States were left entirely to Stalin's control was NOT explained in any detail. It is significant that, on Stalin's orders, the Soviets carried out a program of genocide in 1941, 1944, 1948, and throughout the 1950's with the goal of subduing the local population and integrating it into the Soviet Union. Those who resisted were disposed of by being transported via cattle car to hard labor camps in Siberia. During these years the Soviets deported about 130,000 people from Lithuania ....In total about 118,599 Lithuanias died there. How can any of these Russian writers, the author cites, justify this and how can this author cite them with authority? He quotes them by writing "Many Russian writers, including those who have been active after the fall of the Soviet Union, have criticized what they see as Baltic 'ideology' or "dogma", for example in connection with the Soviet deportations during 1941 and after the war. Starting from the point of view that the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States was a legal event, Russian historians often regard the actions of the Soviet regime in safeguarding its rule as entirely legitimate. The deporations are seen as being no different in principle to the internment of civilians from Axis nations in Britain and in the United States during the war.' The author, to my surprise, seems to be backing this view NOT acknowledging that the occupation WAS, in fact, an ILLEGAL one and that the people of the Baltic nations-Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians have their own language, culture and history that is NOT AT ALL Russian. How can ANYONE compare the Americans sending Germans or Japanese to internment camps to the Russians sending Baltic peoples to Siberia where so many of them died? The Baltics were an OCCUPIED land not Russia itself. Rather than refuting these Russian authors this author seems to be supporting their point of view!

Furthermore, the attempted discrediting of thousands upon thousands of Lithuanian partisans (patriots) who fought for their country against Russian occupiers as late as 1965 when the last of their number was murdered, is outrageous to me, the daughter of Lithuanian refugees (formerly displaced persons) of the American occupied zone of Germany. The author again takes the Russian position by stating "It is felt in Russia,,,Many of those fighting against Soviet authorities...were not doing so solely--or even primarily--for patriotic' reasons. Some were deserters or were involved in plain criminal activities..." THIS COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Fulbright scholar, Laima Vince, in fact, writes that "As a result of the armed resistance, Lithuania was the least colonized of the three Baltic states and the most successful in retaining its ethnic heritage. The collectivization of farms was delayed in post-war Lithuania. The partisans sometimes attacked and temporarily controlled smaller cities, successfully interrupting the Communist elections in 1946, kept people informed about international events through their underground press, and tried to maintain order and morale in the remote areas of Lithuania." This, the author of Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II (General Military), did NOT explain and should have. In fact while he takes the time to cite the position of Russian authorities, he does NOT even reference the recently re-released book of a true Lithuanian patriot--one of the most famous partisans of them all--Juozas Luksa-- who write the book Forest Brothers: The Account of an Anti-soviet Lithuanian Freedom Fighter, 1944-1948. This man gave an eyewitness account of how horribly Lithuanian partisans, who were NOT criminals but the sons of farmers, some college students, some young men (AND women) refusing to fight for the Soviet Union which had occupied their country, were treated. At this point the author seems dangerously close to coming across as a closet Communist!

In conclusion I feel that a book that should have been written, COULD have been an outstanding account had it not taken such an ugly bias. It is clear that a lot of research was done in detailing the military battles but the author was WAY off the mark when it came to his characterization of the Lithuanian anti-Soviet freedom fighter partisans.

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