APRIL 2006

Dear friends of Desert Rose Books,

Happy Easter. In this issue of 'A Life Well Lived' I present part three of my series of articles on Celtic Spirituality. Visit www.desertrosebooks.com to read the first two articles in this series. I also want to take the opportunity to thank those subscribers who have purchased a copy(s) of 'Whispers on the Wind'. Truly, your support of my endeavor means the world to me. Thank you! If you know someone who might enjoy 'Whispers on the Wind' or this article, by all means please forward the newsletter to them. Take advantage of the Spring Savings Special. Details included in this newsletter. I also want to remind you that your reader reviews are welcome and I would be happy to post them on the site. Just e-mail your piece to me via the contact form online and I'll add it to the site. Visit the site from time to time as I'm always adding new articles, art work and recipes. In the spirit of Strawberry season, I'm including a recipe for Strawberries and Cream French Toast. It will follow the article. Remember to enjoy a moment to yourself! All the best! Bridget

Celtic Spirituality Series. Part III

'The Wise Woman'

by Bridget Geegan Blanton All Rights Reserved.

Although the title of wise woman conjures up an image of a matriarchal figure of a long ago clan, it was and continues to be a description of the hearth keeper. Just as in ancient times, women continue to nurture, heal and care for others. Quite often, their presence around the hearth was taken for granted, yet their absence was always profoundly evident. Some things never change. Woven throughout the varied characteristics of the wise woman is an undeniable presence of strength. It is this same strength that provided the wise woman with the courage to move from hearth keeper to celtic warrior. Women have been multi-tasking for centuries.

The celtic focus on a connection with nature and the rejuvenating quality of the hearth is combined and expressed in the life of the wise woman. She is more than a repository of herbal lore and orator of beloved stories; she is strength and intuition. The wise woman advises us to look into our hearts for answers instead of solely reasoning with our mind. She stokes the fire of spirituality within and prompts us to tend to our longing for a relationship with God. Just as it has always been, it is the woman's touch that makes a house a home. Her presence around the hearth, in days of long ago, tending to the needs of those entrusted to her care has continued to this very day.

We have all known a wise woman along the path of our lives. We have learned from her and it has prepared us to step into that role. It isn't necessary to adjust her image to fit within the parameters of modern life. Technology hasn't displaced the timeless nature of humanity. If anything, the emphasis on the material side of life has exposed a critical need for the resurgence of our connection to nature, as well as our connection to the spiritually replenishing hearth of the home. There is nobody better suited to this task than the modern day wise woman.

This must not be misconstrued as a plea for uber feminists to step forward and exert their will. As in all things, there must exist a balance in life. An over emphasis on the feminine is as unjustified as a solidly patriarchal system. The ebb and flow of life that exists in nature must be the foundation upon which any system is built. What happens out in the world needn't be recreated within the sanctuary of the home. If you work within an excessively patriarchal system, you should go home to a more balanced environment. Over the last few centuries, the patriarchal system has undeniably held women back. Prior to the twentieth century, women rarely received an education, nor did they vote or hold political office. Much has changed, as evidenced in Ireland itself, upon the election of a woman as a leader. In ancient times, women were accepted as leaders and were venerated for their wisdom. A belief invaded the collective thought process that women were by nature less than men in mental and physical capabilities. Feminine contributions just did not garner equal value in society compared to male contributions. Sadly, this falsehood has been deeply ingrained in western culture. In the last 50 years, women have worked hard to overthrow this myth. Although there continues to be a divide between men and women as the patriarchal system maintains a foothold, we've done much to close the gap. The challenge at this point in time, is to embrace balance as we move towards the middle ground.

The wise woman is equally at home in the world as she is around the hearth. Her strength, her intuition, her ability to see both sides of an issue is as crucial in the work place as it is within the family. Our society struggles in its move towards equilibrium as men begin to assume roles traditionally held by women. It is because of the deeply ingrained belief in our society that women's work is inferior, that these men question their contribution and the validity of their service. The singular positive outcome is that now a few men understand how we have felt all these centuries.

It is an equal responsibility of men and women to move towards reconciliation. As an individual, one must choose to be willing to embrace the inherent strengths of the opposite sex, as well as embrace the tendencies within themselves towards the feminine and the masculine. The time has arrived for all of us to cease buying into the myth and instill honesty and humility in our children and ourselves.

If a wise woman were to share her wisdom on this topic, she might say that the events in life call upon us to respond with strength in one moment and tenderness in the next. As women, we are being dishonest with ourselves if we consider ourselves weak and incapable to confront a challenge in life. It is upon our inherent strengths as a woman that many families are founded and sustained. If we give into a myth such as vanity, we forego the opportunity to enjoy life in our present shape and circumstances. We turn away from hope and rob ourselves of a chance to learn, to improve or to achieve a dream. The truth is that we are equipped not only to handle whatever life puts in our path, but to reach for the stars and believe in our wildest aspirations.


Strawberries and Cream French Toast

2 c sliced fresh strawberries 1/2 c sugar juice and zest of one orange

Combine in a bowl and set aside.

4 eggs 1 small container of heavy whipping cream (or ready made whipped cream). 1 T brown sugar 1 T vanilla extract Thickly sliced brioche or egg bread 1 container or mascarpone cheese or whipped cream cheese

powdered sugar ( for whipping cream and finishing touches) maple syrup

Combine heavy whipping cream and a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar and beat with a blender until peaks form. Store in fridge until needed.

Combine eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Dip bread slices in egg mixture and fry in pan until golden brown on both sides. Place french toast on plate, Spread a tablespoon or two of mascarpone cheese over hot french toast and spoon a serving of strawberries over all. Add a thin stream of maple syrup followed by a dusting with powdered sugar. Place a generous dollop of whip cream on top and serve. This is sooo good!!


Take $2.50 off the $14.95 price of the historical fiction novel, 'Whispers on the Wind'. This offer is valid only on mail orders and expires on May 16th, 2006. Visit the bookstore online at Desert Rose Books and print out the mail order form. Write 'Spring Savings Special' anywhere on the form to take advantage of the $2.50 discount. Just subtract $2.50 from the total of your order.

Next month:

Gardening and Cooking with the herb - Basil

Visit Desert Rose Books Community Page and view the Part I of the herbal series on Lavender

And now a blessing from Numbers 6:24-26

"May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord's face radiate with joy because of you; may He be gracious to you, show you His favor, and give you His peace."

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