July 2007

Dear friends of Desert Rose Books,

My favorite time of year is underway. I love summer because I love to garden. Some of you know that I live in an area of Southern California that is known for ferocious heat in the summer months. We hit 100º more often than not. It took awhile, but I have learned how to garden under these conditions. After countless seasons of attempting to improve the soil, I have pretty much thrown in the trowel and have moved onto container gardening. This past spring I put together a soil mixture that allows me to water 2 - 3 weekly without plants wilting and withering away. On top of a bottom layer of soil, filling almost half of the pot, I add a generous amount of slow-release fertilizer, an equally generous amount of 'Soil Moist' granules and perlite to avoid soil compaction. This soil mixture along with regular fertilizing ( 2 - 3 times per month ) has given me the most happy, prolific garden to date.

This month's article most definitely reflects the importance of gardening in my life.

At the Desert Rose Books web-site, I have a few new additions. I've added a meditation page, along with an archival page of past meditations. If you need a lift at some point in your day, stop by and be inspired. I also conducted an experiment of sorts with a juicing regimen in the spring and had great results. To take a look at my juicing journal and an article on the experience just visit the recipe page and scroll down to the juicing link.

As always, you will find a recipe and some words to life by at the end-cap of this e-zine.

Every summer I like to offer a summer reading special and through August 31st, I'm offering free shipping when you order a copy of the historical fiction novel, 'Whispers on the Wind'. Simply print out the Mail Order Form available at the web-site and write 'Summer Reading '07' anywhere on the form.

The sequel is smoking along and I hope to have it ready for a professional edit by the summer's end. I'll keep you posted.

Please forward this e-zine to friends and family whom you think might enjoy it.

I hope all is well with you and yours and that you're finding time to enjoy the summer months.

May the road rise to meet you,


A Matter of Spirituality

by Bridget Geegan Blanton

With summer in full bloom just outside my door, I try to steal a moment in the morning and step outside while the air is still cool, the sunlight is soft and the world is quiet and peaceful. It clears my mind and instills hope for the day ahead. Back in April, when I devoted my free time to cleaning away the blight of winter in my garden, I would stop in midst of my digging when I came upon a small plant fighting against all odds to survive. I cleared away the debris and gave the little fighter a long drink of water. That little plant gave me hope. Suddenly the labor-intensive task before me was imbued with something more than the end goal of a tidy garden. What exactly is hope? Is it just a neurological reflex or is it something more? I've come to believe that it's something more than a mere emotional response to life. Nothing fires me up like the presence of hope. It's a stimulus to my spiritual self that is positive and uplifting. For me, life is a matter of spirituality and hope is a predominant theme.

Hope provides support when the winds of adversity are lashing at me. It is something to hang onto when I'm at the bottom working my way up. Hope in what, you might ask. That's a good question. From where does this fount of hope bubble to the surface? I can only share my own experience. Living my life according to spiritual rules of conduct provides me with a hope-filled perspective. I can apply spiritual guidelines to whatever problem I'm currently facing. Do I need to let go of a person or a situation or do I need to forgive? Should I stay the course or find the courage to forge a new beginning? All of which is based in faith. Yes, I believe in God, a benevolent source of love, and it is from this higher power that hope flows into my life.

My faith has been earned to a certain extent. Having spent most of my student years in the Catholic school system, I believed what was taught to me. A few years later, I went on to question what was taught to me. Continuing even further down that road, I turned away from faith altogether during a period of my life that can be best described as distracting and unproductive. However, when all seemed lost it was my faith that stayed by my side. I rediscovered it and when I got back on my feet, I took my faith with me.

Both the powerful and the fragile components of the natural world, work together to strengthen my belief in a power outside of myself. I began my life in an urban environment, yet as a young girl I was always delighted by the discovery of a flower that crept up between the cracks in the concrete. Today, I am surrounded by a rather prolific garden and I stop whatever I'm doing to watch birds and butterflies. When attempting to describe God to my children when they were young, I liked to use nature analogies. I would tell them that the sunset is God's final word on how the world lived life that day. I pointed to the four seasons as an illustration of the cycle of life; part of God's living design. Finally, I shared with them the guidance that I found in divinely inspired writings that impart spiritual tenets on conducting one's life. I did this because I believe that having some sort of a relationship with a Higher Power of your understanding provides hope in life and we all need hope in life.

God's hand isn't found solely in the expanse of a wild flower meadow; it's on the Battlefield, in the halls of Congress, the classroom, the office and in your kitchen. I haven't had any lightning bolt, burning bush type of experience; yet, I believe because in the midst of tragedy and uncertainty there is always the presence of hope and hope is God's hand outstretched towards us. We may not receive the desired outcomes for a particular situation and this may break our hearts and spirits, but hope remains. In the loss of a loved one by illness or by crime we may end up treading the road we dread the most, but hope remains. In our darkest hour a single candle flickers on and it reflects the hope available to us at all hours, as late as it might be. Hope means that we're not alone and that we're loved. If we're open to the notion of guidance, it will be given. It's intangible, it can't be bought or sold, but it exists, hope exists.

Among the nature analogies that I shared with my children in order to begin to describe this God of mine, I would point to a seed and discuss what happens to it when a little moisture and a little earth is added. To me, it's nothing short of miraculous. Hope has that power of miraculous transformation. For me, the only life that is comfortable is a spiritual life. It's a lifestyle that guides me to being the best person I can be. It adds beauty and peace to my life that I have not found elsewhere. It allows me to have hope and nothing fires me up like the presence of hope.

Visit Bridget's web-site and read an excerpt from her debut historical fiction novel, 'Whispers on the Wind'. It's available for purchase online or via mail order at: https://www.desertrosebooks.com


Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast

1/4 c chicken broth

1 t minced, peeled, fresh ginger

1/2 c chopped water chestnuts

1/4 c chopped red onion

1/4 c sliced green onions

1/4 c chopped cilantro

1/4 c lime juice

1 T sugar

2 T fish sauce

1/8 t salt

12 Bibb lettuce leaves

1/2 c chopped peanuts

Place chicken breast in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, broth and ginger to pan; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done; stirring often.

Drain and transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add water chestnuts, red onion, green onions, cilantro, juice, sugar, fish sauce and salt to bowl; mix well. Place a 1/4 c of chicken mixture into each lettuce leaf and top with peanuts. If desired, drizzle a bit of soy dipping sauce over all.

Soy Dipping Sauce:

3/4 c soy sauce

1 T minced garlic

1/4 c of water

And now a parting thought...

Heaven is quite close to earth

The Lord knows your desires

The Saints hear your prayers

They gather up all your sighs

The Blessed and the Holy Angels

Ceaselessly protect you

Of this all the Heavenly Host

Have asked me to assure you

- St. Thérèse de Lisieux

Desert Rose Books hopes you've enjoyed our brief publication. As always, your comments are welcome.

Please visit us at www.desertrosebooks.com Home of the historical fiction novel, 'Whispers on the Wind' Pick up a signed copy at our online bookstore for just $14.95. Experience the writing style of Bridget Geegan Blanton. Visit the sample chapter page that portrays a portion of the new historical fiction novel, 'Whispers on the Wind'

Enjoy your day. As always, thanks for spending a little time with us. Desert Rose Books