Category Archives: Book Reviews

Sophie Magazine Reviewer Surprised

Sophie Magazine Review

Here is a wonderful review of Messages to the Heart from Sophie Magazine, Asheville’s premier woman’s resource. Thank you Betty Sharpless!


I have to admit, I was not expecting very much from this lovely little book.

In this day of e-books, it is a pleasure to see a beautifully designed and crafted book. The work is a combination of an artist, Elise Okrend and her partner Phil, a life coach. While they now call Asheville home, their joint venture was total serendipity resulting from both of them posting their works on the internet.

A Great Bedside or Breakfast Table Book

Messages to the Heart is a series of Phil’s observations on life, change and empowerment paired with Elise’s pastels. Each page gives you just enough to think about in a clear non-judgmental manner on a particular topic, such as forgiveness. This would be a great bedside or breakfast table book, to be read in little bites.

Favorite Page

All the commentary is positive and upbeat, with the actions suggested small enough to seem possible. My favorite page is the commentary on Destiny, not just because the lovely pastel happens to have a picture that looks like a Tuscan view at twilight!

Messages to the Heart is available from the authors at, and at Malaprops bookstore and Asheville area visitors center’s gift shop.

Messages to the Heart
 Elise and Phil Okrend

Betty Sharpless is a professional gardener, quilter and writer based in Asheville, NC

A Tool For Healing And Growth, Review In Choice Magazine

A Tool For Healing and Growth

It was our intention for Messages to the Heart, Reflections of Beauty and Truth to be not only designed as a beautiful art book, but as a tool readers could use to pull themselves through life challenges and find inspiration. We are grateful that the product reviewer for Choice, The Magazine of Professional Coaching agrees, and has recommended Messages to the Heart as a tool for healing and growth to be used by life coaches and readers alike.

Here is an excerpt from the Choice review written by Marcy Nelson-Garrison, MA, LP, CPCC

Shift Your Internal State

Inspiration is like breathing, we all need it… I love Messages to the Heart… there is grace, softness, and a sacred invitation to pause, reflect and open to a new perspective to shift your internal state… a beautiful reminder on your coffee table…

Inspiration for Journaling

Messages to the Heart can be an inspiration for journaling, used as part of a daily meditation practice or as a simple and beautiful reminder on your coffee table to pause, to open up and to breathe in a moment of inspiration.

A special thanks to Marcy and Choice Magazine. 

Elise and Phil Okrend