Monthly Archives: August 2014

Messages to the Heart on TV News

On Sunday, August 3rd, we had the opportunity to sit down with a reporter Megan Schiering from ABC WLOS TV News in Asheville, North Carolina to talk about our book, Messages to the Heart.

Pairing Art and Philosophy

We loved having the opportunity to talk about how the pairing of Art and mindful passages can be healing, inspiring and empowering to readers. Here is the interview:

Elise and Phil Okrend

Messages to the Heart Beckons You to Open its Pages

Here is an in-depth review of Messages to the Heart, by Kathleen Colburn, an editor of Asheville’s oldest and most read Arts and Culture Magazine, Rapid River.


“People are pulled to places. Sometimes they don’t know why. They just listen to the call.”

Elise and Phil Okrend have found home in Asheville. Elise’s art is at home here and things have fallen into place in many ways. They also saw the area as the perfect place to introduce their book.

These Messages To The Heart are gracefully spoken and beautifully painted. They are messages that my heart welcomes. Every image urges me to pause. Every passage speaks to me, carrying ideas and wisdom that remind me how essential this path of self-discovery is.

Phil says, “I truly believe that this book can help people make authentic changes in their lives. And I think that it can get them to a place of empowerment, wisdom and peace. It’s not by telling them what to do, but stripping away the illusions that limit their growth and potential.”

The passages are ordered so that you move from letting go, removing obstacles to your authentic self, feeling alive with trust and positivity, to an empowered place of wisdom and higher consciousness. This is the kind of book that you want to spend contemplative time with. We’re drawn to a passage, its image, and given an opportunity to reflect on a visceral connection; an emotional or intuitive understanding of what the image is saying.

I asked Elise about the connection between the images and the passages. “With some of the images the connection is immediate and clear. Others leave you to spend time with them and allow your own connection to form.”

This is not a book to just read and put away. It is a book that will continue to beckon you to open its pages for the wisdom that it holds. Wherever you open to, you’re given insight to move you along on your path.

Phil says, “In a world of distraction, this book calls you home.”

For Elise and Phil, their book is as much a celebration of creativity as it is a guide to help us get out of our own way. We are shown that, “We all have a purpose and if we can allow our wounds to dissipate and not own us, we see our purpose more.”

Messages to the Heart, available in Asheville at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, The Kress Emporium, Grateful Steps Bookstore, whiteSpace Gallery in the RAD’s Wedge Building, the Asheville Visitor Center Gift Shop and on line at and

If You Go: Elise and Phil Okrend reading and booksigning takes place Friday, September 19, 2014 from 5:30-7 p.m. at Grateful Steps Bookstore, 159 South Lexington Ave., Asheville. For more details please call (828) 277-0998.