Our Mission Statement

Francine Trtanj and Terri Chidester created this blog "Wise Women's Journey, Creative Self-Discovery and Wellness".

We are committed to helping women of all ages discover their strength and potential, find their creative self, heal from life's hardships and live a healthy, more natural life.

We promote self-discovery through art, learn about a healthier lifestyle living closer to nature, learn meditation and mindfulness techniques, energy work, and how to get back to basics by learning heirloom skills.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Wine Making Time!

It's wine making time again!  Every year I try to make at least one batch from the fruit we have growing around our home.  Last year was chokecherry, and this year it is plum.   We had tons of plums this year, so we picked them a little early and brought them inside to ripen to keep some of the more opportunistic critters from getting to them.  I boiled them with a bit of water and a teaspoon of lemon juice for about 15 minutes to create the juice.  I squeezed the rest out using cheesecloth and set it up in my gallon jug.  Add yeast and put the airlock on -- you can see the yeast in action in this photo.  Once the bubbles die down I will decant into bottles and seal it up until next spring.  Cheers!

-- Francine

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Choiceless Awareness...Thoughts on Meditation

At Wednesday night Meditation Group, this phrase in the 15 minute guided meditation, was used a few times. I have to admit, that the first time it was used I sort of disregarded it...but then after the second and third time it was said I became confused and perplexed on it's meaning...."Choiceless Awareness".
The guide was talking about letting those random thoughts come in and instead of being aware and then move on and past them the guide suggested...well, to actually follow the thought and acknowledge it and ponder. 

Ok, the word "choiceless"is one I have never used and the meaning; power of choosing between things. Choice implies the opportunity to choose. So choiceless is...to not have the power to choose.

Awareness: the state or condition of being awarehaving knowledge;consciousness.

I have thought about these two words used together all week. I get it now. Those random thoughts that pop into your head while meditating are not chosen...they just appear, right? But we are aware of them, almost within seconds of them appearing. I don't consider that powerless though. 

The meditation for that evening was different and there were mixed reactions when we discussed it as a group afterwards. Some liked the change and some did not. I don't have preferences at all...the time spent "being" with the group is inspiring, peaceful and many times a chance to discuss an "out of the box" experience.

I find the guided meditation a unique experience and I look forward to going each time. I have enjoyed meditating in many forms and this is new...in a group setting for me anyway as I have been solitary in my meditations. Well within Nature which really isn't being alone even in the dead of winter.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Good Bye Winter ~ Poem "Snow Shadows"

Blurred the boundaries
Along the moon path.
Winter birds were hushed
And the blue radiance
Became a chapel for creatures of the night.
Ghostly birches stood bare -
The ground littered
With white bones of their branches.
Stars semaphored to me
And I was drawn to the calm...
Where only the shadows moved.

Maude G. Booth

February: Healthy Eating ~ Nutritional Facts ~ Recipe Share

National Cabbage Day was February 17th and is the vegetable of the month. 

I celebrated with my two cooking classes on Valentines Day the 14th and just tonight (28th). 
I shared some interesting facts and a yummy recipe with my classes. I would like to share here as well.

From the French Caboche, meaning "head", cabbage comes in a variety of forms. The cabbage family is varied and includes Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bok Choy, Kohlrabi and Kale. 
Cabbage is an ancient food with origins in Asia Minor (Turkey today) and eastern Mediterranean.

There are over four hundred varieties of cabbage; from round to conical in shape, with flat or curly, tight or loose leaves in green, white, red and purple colors.
An interesting fact, Chinese cabbage (Pak Choi or Box Choy) is not a true cabbage but actually Chinese Chard. 

French explorer Jacques Cartier was the first to bring cabbage to America. 

Cabbage is versatile and can be eaten raw, steamed or saute'd. It is a popular ingredient in Asian, German, Irish and Latin recipes. It is a culturally diverse food!

Cabbage is low in calories, has no fat, cholesterol, and is low in sodium and carbs, plus a good source of Vitamin C. Since ancient times peoples from northern climates in the winter months ate cabbage for this excellent source of Vitamin C. Raw cabbage has more Vitamin C than cooked but cannot be recommended on a daily basis. The presence of goitrogens which are substances that block the formation of a thyroid hormone, makes it difficult for the liver to convert the plant form of Vitamin A (carotene or carotenoids) into the animal form which it needs for thousand of biochemical processes. Cabbage is rich in substances that block the formation and spread of tumors. Folk medicine values the cabbage for the stomach and recent research has shown that the juice of cabbage to be highly therapeutic for ulcers.

This was our menu for the month. We served saute'd Keilbasa on the side. It was a hit!

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Serves 8 to 10 
5 Tbls butter
1 onion sliced (2 cups)
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup applesauce or apple juice
2 Tbls Agave
2 lbs. (1 head) red cabbage shredded
1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium to low heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Mix in rest of ingredients and cook until cabbage begins to wilt, stirring often. Cover and simmer until cabbage is crisp-tender, stirring often. 
Serve with Pork, Sausage as a side dish or add into the cabbage the last 5-10 minutes to serve as a complete meal.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hello lovely readers!  As you can see from the posts below, Terri is the writer here. However, I wanted to post something at the launch of our new endeavor.  I was thinking about winter, and how symbolic it has been for mine and Terri's lives for the last few years.  Changes with life circumstances, with jobs, with our friendship itself froze us in place for a while.     For me, winter is the season of the Crone, who rules over the sleeping earth, the goddess of the crossroads, of the hibernating potential,  the one who invites us to follow her underground for a time to rest.  I looked at my biography that I wrote for this blog several years (!!!) ago now and wondered, how much of it is still true?  I see that I have been sleeping.  I garden only enough to have a few fresh veggies,  haven't canned in a couple of years, knitting is sporadic, not really doing holistic therapy anymore.   I have been underground with the Crone.   

So what is spurring the change now?  I feel like the snow is starting to melt, and a small trickle of cold water is starting to nourish my sleeping life.

The first thing that changed for me, was connecting again with community.  It is difficult to crawl out of the cave by yourself.  I am connecting with others, like Terri, who share a similar dream.  We feed off the energy of each other, and what we do together lifts us farther that any one of us can do alone.  I am so excited now for the possibilities of what we are starting in 2017.

The other thing that changed for me was how I was treating my body.  I was truly in hibernation mode.  I ate what I wanted, like a bear fattening up for winter, and I hardly moved.  The only exercise I got was the little walking I did at work, and riding my horse once every week or so.    A few weeks ago, I decided to make a change.  I joined Brightline Eating and started a sugar and flour free diet.  I am now feeding my body only whole natural foods.  It is hard some days, because I still get hungry and crave cookies or bread, but my body feels better getting the nutrients it needs.  I have energy, I don't get insulin highs and lows.  I'm actually up typing this blog at 10:30 at night an not even tired yet.  A month ago I was coming home from work and falling asleep on the couch in exhaustion.

Terri and I are on a similar whole foods path now, and we are looking forward to sharing our discoveries with you.  Terri's knowledge and wisdom and years of homesteading, gardening, and preparing organic whole foods as well as herbal remedies will be invaluable, and I know she loves to teach and share.   You may hear from me more on our sister site Gaia's Wheel, as energy work and women's spiritual journeys are more my bailiwick.  All in all, I am looking forward to sharing this new women's journey with you!  

Blessed Be!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Our Sister Site...Gaia's Wheel

Wise Women's Journey will have a sister site "Gaia's Wheel" where we will come together and celebrate the Wheel of the Year. Within the next month we will start reaching out, and setting up a calendar of events to celebrate together.
Francine and myself are in the planning stages...keep in touch and like-wise we will be doing the same with updates and ideas.

Our email is:

FYI...Gaia's Wheel was a networking group that Francine and myself hosted in the Brainerd Lakes Area quite a few years ago during the 2000's. We ran pretty strong for about 5-6 years and held group potlucks to celebrate the Wheel of the Year, study groups, published a monthly newsletter and were a support for those who enjoyed sharing and learning in eclectic alternative philosphies.
We'll be chatting with you soon!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Good Bye Winter!

Yesterday began our reprieve from bitter cold and it was gorgeous out! I believe it reached the low 40's. To celebrate a gorgeous weekend, I'd like to share one of my grandmother's poems. She was a published poet and as you will see, very talented.

Remembering Maude G. Booth

The Last Snowflake

I was the last snowflake to leave;
I pondered reasons for reprieve.

I spoke with sunbeams in command,
Who said they really had it planned.

They taught me how the flowers grow
And showed me where the rivers flow.

I saw the birds come flying in
With songs above the bullfrogs din.

The sunbeams told how leaves unfurl
And how soft breezes made them twirl.

The blue of sky turned bluer still,
With anxious rain clouds primed for drill.

Now April challenged my delay;
Regretfully, I slipped away.

Maude G. Booth