Quotes to Live By

Quotes can be uneven. Not all are really true. Not all are truly wise. Some just make you laugh while others can sometimes make you want to cry. The quotes I love best open up my mind the way a bee opens a flower when it is in the process of extracting pollen. They fulfill something inside that you always knew as a truth but somehow your mind was never quite able to express it. I love when that happens, don’t you ? I hope you will be edified by this sampling. - The Castle Lady

spa-roseA bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.
-a Chinese Proverb

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
- Epictetus

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
-John Wooden

TowerBridge_tnWhen a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
- Samuel Johnson


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The Uncommon Man

presidentsdayDoesn’t it seem that this holiday in particular is the most neglected ? What traditions Presid_Rushmore do we have for this day except for sales in every store. Do we all agree that this was hardly it’s purpose? That seems a bit of a shame considering how many good presidents we’ve had. For Presidents Day I thought I’d put up a long forgotten speech by Herbert Hoover who was our 31st President. This issue is very close to my heart and is often my raison d’etre because the most important aspect of our professional lives is contingent on the pursuit and achievement of excellence:

In my opinion we are in danger of developing a cult of the common man, which means a cult of mediocrity. But there is at least one hopeful sign: I have never been able to find out just who this Common Man is. In fact, most Americans- especially women- will get mad and fight if you call them common.
Smithson_100_mostThis is hopeful because it shows that most people are holding fast to an essential fact in American life. We believe in equal opportunity for all, but we know that this includes the opportunity to rise to leadership. In other words- to be uncommon.
Let us remember that the great human advances have not been brought about by mediocre men and women. They were brought about by distinctly uncommon people with vital sparks of leadership. Many great leaders were of humble origin but that alone was not their greatness.

It is a curious fact that when you get sick you want an uncommon doctor; if your car breaks down you want an uncommonly good mechanic; when we get into war we want dreadfully an uncommon admiral and an uncommon general.
I have never met a mother and father who did not want their children to grow up to be uncommon men and women. May it always be so. For the future of America rests not in mediocrity but in the constant renewal of leadership in every phase of our national life.

This article first appeared in THIS WEEK in February of 1949.

The Castle Lady

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Fake Engine Noise?

Chevy_58_I know you won’t quite believe this but brand new automobiles are going to sound like supercar jalopies this year. That’s right. Your ears aren’t deceiving you ! Look outside some time for a spell and you’ll find that what you thought was a gang car rally going on in your neighborhood isn’t anything of the sort ! At least you won’t have to go to the next town meeting to complain. No. You can send your complaints directly to the manufacturers of these auditory monstrosities and tell them off for disturbing whatever little peace we still have in 2015.
Camaro_Z-28_69It seems as though car dealers were having a hard time selling their Mustangs, F-150s, Porsches and BMWs without having a sound of what is perceived as power in a vehicle. Never mind that the noise has nothing to do with thrust- people must have their noise or they don’t think they’re getting their money’s worth ! What do you think of that ? For all those people ignorant of how a car runs these days I have only one thing to state: Without that noise your fuel efficient engine will perform just the same sans the mind-blowing roar that sends most people running for their earphones and plugs.
Corvette_Roadster_1954What the manufacturers have done is add fake engine noise through special pipes or digitally into the engines. Automakers are telling us that they resort to this chicanery because they understand a key car-buyer paradox: Drivers want all the force and fuel saving of a newer and better engine but with the classic sounds of the cars they gave up for dead a long time ago. If this makes sense to anybody then I’m definitely on the wrong planet.
FordFocusMustang now has what is called an EcoBoost and sound engineers developed an active noise control system which amplifies the engine’s noise through the inside sound speakers ! This was done with the approval of Mustang purchasers who were consulted through fan clubs on which “sound concepts they most enjoyed.” Oh brother! Ford’s spokesmen have stated that a vintage V8 engine boom “has long been considered the mating call of Mustang,” and additionally, “it is athletic and youthful with a more refined growl and low-frequency sense of powerfulness.” The same trickery is used on the new F-150 which is a six-cylinder job whose noise comes primarily from the speakers and not particularly the engine.
Cadillac_Eldorado_58Even manufacturers of electric cars are using artificial engine noise with the claim that these cars usually run so noiselessly that they can fool inattentive or hard-of-hearing pedestrians and even the blind- who are generally thought to have a keener sense of hearing out of necessity. So they get a thumbs up from Federal safety officials who will finalize the laws governing a requirement that all hybrids and electrics must play fake engine sounds to alert anyone within hearing range of the vehicles !
Mazda6_40It has it’s place, I suppose and I’m all for saving lives but I wish that they’d ignored the people who don’t seem to think anything is powerful unless it overpowers your auditory nerves to the breaking point. It’s unnecessary, insipid and inconsiderate. To use a very old adage: cars are just like children for the most part- made to be seen but not heard.

Castle_snow_funThe Castle Lady

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Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Hopkinsville_3-n-1Back in August of 2005 I traveled to southern Illinois as a side trip to an NFA convention which was held in Nashville that year. Luckily, flutists travel light so my other mission during that trip was to visit a long-lost sister in her home town in Illinois. Along the way I was able to see some of the places that she had called home for a large part of her life. This entailed a road trip in a 2004 Ford Mustang (40th anniversary edition !) which I obtained from an airport rental agency. (Don’t you just love showbiz towns ?!) It was the most fun I’ve ever had driving a rental car.Mustang_2004-40thanni_ed
On my way up north I went through Hopkinsville, which happened to be the town where my sister grew up clear into her teenage years and with information she supplied I even spotted her high school. I met up with my sister Susan at her Clark County home staying for about a week and we had so much fun just driving around her locale that we started discussing the historic landmarks, architecture and also some of the locals. When I realized that the hero of the next county happened to be James Jones, the author of From Here to Eternity, we decided to go into Robinson where he grew up and check out his childhood home and a few other buildings associated with him. I was surprised to find out, when I was doing my research on another trip, that when he came back from the war in the 40s most of his family were dead and he couldn’t even move back into his childhood home because it had been sold!
James_Jones_2That story got my attention and when I came home I started doing research- right in the midst of my work on castles- on my sister’s county and the county where James Jones grew up. A couple of months later, after I obtained a contract to write a book from all my research, I made another trip specifically to Clark and Crawford counties to collect photos and stories from the locals and found quite a few famous people who hailed from Crawford county. Additionally, the region had a rich and surprising history with prodigious leaders, builders, movers and shakers. It turned out that Robinson could have very well been the birthplace of Walt Disney, the bartender of the TV show Gunsmoke Robert Brubaker was also born and raised in Robinson and his family had been there for many generations. Burl Ives hailed from a border town of the county and he and his sisters and brothers went around the entire southern Illinois and border states area singing, while very young, and were known as those singing Ives. The Heath family of Heath English Toffee fame took up residence in Robinson in 1902 and the factory which was built onto an existing confectionery exactly 100 years ago remains- even though they sold out to Hershey only a few years ago.
I was certainly destined to write this book which was fascinating to work on. Being my first historical work published by a major publishing house, I was particularly painstaking in making sure the photographs obtained had correct information collected along with them and the publishers limited the word count on my captions so the information had to be interesting but brief. I love challenges like that, however, so the entire project was right up my alley. I even did the layout of the book, from the front cover to the blurb on the back, which is generally not handled by an author so it was a great learning experience on publishing a pictorial history book.
SOTHOnly seven weeks ago on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance day, I was reading through newspaper accounts about men who have lived past 100 years of age and survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Reading their stories reminded me of how much historical information I uncovered on James Jones concerning his involvement in the war, specifically at Pearl Harbor. Crawford County’s library files on James Jones are FAT ! James’ writing of that fateful day in From Here to Eternity was actually a highly dramatic first hand account of the event from the Scofield Barracks and it will be well worth your while to read it if you want to know more about that fateful day and WWII. My book on the county, however, shows what an illustrious background James came from and explains why he referred to the town and its citizens many times in his novels, stories and non-fiction. To obtain a copy of my book you can click the link below to get started. If you want it signed let me know and I’ll make personal arrangements to make sure you get a signed copy. My treat to you.


Salute !


Only the dead have seen the end of war. – Plato

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Beyond Good and Evil

First published 1886, Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche is worthy of revisiting if you have picked it up at some point in your life. If you have never read it here’s fair warning that it’s hardly light reading. The aphorisms make you think a little deeper or challenge your mode of thought and if you care for that sort of fare then this is right up your alley. Now applied to audio CDs and available in an unabridged version, the book has been narrated by Stephen Van Doren to great effect. Personally, I would have preferred an abridged version but Nietzsche’s irrepressible and brutal honesty were a vital viewpoint in his day. If he had been a part of the 20th century in America, he would’ve been deemed a hellfire preacher. As you listen, perhaps you will be amazed at how contemporary this philosophy seems to be- in rebuttal to the current popular clichés and morés of those tagged as liberals. In many unsubtle ways, this may be truly a prelude to a philosophy of the future.
- The Castle Lady

BeyondGoodandEvil_FNietzscheWhat is done out of love always occurs between good and evil.
(Evelyn’s note: This viewpoint should be reserved for God, not us.)

The degree and kind of a person’s sexuality reach up into the ultimate pinnacle of his spirit.

The following passage is edited and paraphrased for brevity:

In the…Old Testament…there are men, things and speeches in so grand a style that Greek and Indian literature have nothing to compare with it. These tremendous remnants…of what man once was…want to signify…the progress of man.
The taste for the Old Testament is a touchstone of greatness and smallness. Perhaps they will even find the New Testament, the book of grace, more to their taste. To have glued this New Testament to the Old Testament to form one book, the Bible…
that is perhaps the greatest audacity and sin against the spirit which literary Europe has on its conscience.
(Evelyn’s note: In defense of those 17th century scholars who did miraculous work in bringing these chronicles together to craft The Word- a solid piece of evidence of man’s faith and God’s mercy- I must say I disagree wholeheartedly with Nietzsche’s view. Reading this made me realize how strongly I believe the Bible, as it is widely published today, is truly the Word of God. I urge one and all to peruse a copy of the Spirit-Filled Life Bible NKJV published by Thomas Nelson publishers (pp. 1390 & 1391) to fill themselves in on the period of history between the two testaments.)
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) & The Seine River / Night View, Paris, France
and this portion came to mind after the Jan. 7th attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris :

At the time of Socrates, among men of fatigued instincts, among the conservatives of ancient Athens who let themselves go- ‘for happiness’ as they said; for pleasure, as they behaved- and who at the same time still used the old ornate words to which their long life had ceased to entitle them, irony was perhaps necessary for greatness of soul- that Socratic sarcastic assurance of the old physician and plebeian who cut ruthlessly into his own flesh, as well as into the flesh and heart of the nobility, with a glance that said unmistakably: “Don’t try to deceive me by dissimulation. Here we are equal.”
Today, conversely, when only the herd animal is honored and dispenses honors in Europe and when equality of rights could all too easily be converted into an equality of violating rights- …into a common war on all that is rare, strange or privileged, on the higher man, the higher soul, the higher duty, the higher responsibility and on the wealth of creative power and mastery- the concept of greatness entails being noble, wanting to be by oneself, being capable of being different, standing alone and having to live independently; and the philosopher will betray something of his own ideal when he posits:
“He shall be the greatest who can be the loneliest, the most hidden, the most deviating, the human being beyond good and evil, the master of his virtues, he that is over rich in will. Precisely, this should be called greatness: to be capable of being as manifold as whole, as wide as full.”
And to ask this once more: Today, is greatness possible ?
(Evelyn’s note: Only God is great and we stand under His shadow if we are so blessed. These blessings set us apart from the world and we only achieve greatness when we act directly under God’s will and not our own. Jesus said that “he was not willing that any should perish”.)

and from The Dawn:

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike then those who think differently.

How good bad music and bad reasons sound when one marches against an enemy.
( Evelyn’s note: …especially against a common enemy and in tandem…)

Qui vit de combattre un ennimi a tout interêt á le laisser en vie.

et pour mes amis Francaise :
Oui, je suis Charlie, aussi. Je m’exprime, aussi. Il est mon droit me donne’ par Dieu.

CastleSeeToujours tiens, Le Chateau Demoiselle

“The thousand mysteries around us would not trouble but interest us, if only we had cheerful, healthy hearts.”

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Poem_C.G.Rossetti_MarielWilhoiteThe wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof but canst not tell whence it cometh and wither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.

John 3:8


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Bon mots for 2015

castle_yoga_treeThe following is lucid writ by a friend and fellow flutist of mine, Jan Spell Pritchard. Some years ago she put this in her Flute Network monthly bulletin and I felt that it was so good that I have decided to share it with my faithful readers, as well. This is better than chewing on resolutions every year:

Everybody knows…
You can’t be all things to all people.
You can’t do all things at once.
You can’t do all things equally well.
You can’t do all things better than everybody else.
Your humanity is showing just like everyone else.
You have to find out who you are and be that.
You have to decide what comes first and do that.
You have to discover your strengths and use them.
You have to learn not to compete with others.
Because no one else is in the contest of being you.

You will have learned to accept your own uniqueness.
You will have learned to set priorities and make decisions.
You will have learned to live with your limitations.
You will have learned to give yourself the respect that is due…
becoming a most vital mortal.

Dare to believe…
That you are a wonderful, unique person.
That you are a once-in-all-history event.
That it’s more than a right, it’s your duty to be who you are.
That life is not a problem to solve but a gift to cherish.
Dare to believe in yourself and you’ll be able to stay one up on what used to get you down.


The Castle Lady


…to all my readers everywhere for making this the best year ever !

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2014 in a nutshell…according to WordPress !

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog and sent it to me. The interesting part is that much of what they came up with I had already noticed. One instance is that Have a Super Sparkly Day has been my most popular blog post ever during the history of this blog. I lost count more than a year ago but on my Dashboard it’s always at the top of the list ! Obviously children are my best friends. Have you seen the latest ‘castle’ toy ? It’s called  Cra-Z-Sand and is dubbed the ultimate sand castle creator. It’s a 25 piece set which includes four pounds of red, green, blue and tan sculptable sand and the pictures on the box look pretty incredible. For children four and up it’s sure to be a big hit. Only $40 ! Where else can you find colored sand ?o_brother

You can

Click here to see the complete report.  And have a great New Year’s Eve celebration but don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…. I can’t afford to lose a single reader ! Laff_hard_smilyLOL

The Castle Lady

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Christmas Day 2014

The only real blind person at Christmastime

is he who has not Christmas in his heart.

-Helen Keller



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The Nativity

Rudyard Kipling

NativiityThe Babe was laid in the Manger
Between the gentle kine*-
All safe from cold and danger-
“But it was not so with mine,
(With mine! With mine!)
“Is it well with the child, is it well ?”
The waiting mother prayed.
“For I know not how he fell,
And I know not where he is laid.”
(*archaic double plural for cattle )

A Star stood forth in Heaven;
The Watchers ran to see
The Sign of the Promise given-
“But there comes no sign to me
(To me! To me!)
“My child died in the dark.
Is it well with the child, is it well?
There was none to tend him or mark,
And I know not how he fell.”

The Cross was raised on high;
The Mother grieved beside-
“But the Mother saw Him die
And took Him when He died.
(He died ! He died !)
“Seemly and undefiled
His burial-place was made-
Is it well, is it well with the child?
For I know not where he is laid.”

On the dawning of Easter Day
Comes Mary Magdalene;
But the Stone was rolled away,
And the Body was not within-
(Within! Within!)
“Ah, who will answer my word?
The broken mother prayed.
“They have taken away my Lord,
And I know not where He is laid.”

“The Star stands forth in Heaven.
The watchers watch in vain
For Sign of the Promise given
Of peace on Earth again-
(Again! Again!)
“But I know for Whom he fell”-
The steadfast mother smiled,
“Is it well with the child- is it well?”
“It is well- it is well with the child !”

Rudyard Kipling


Joyeux NoelThe Castle Lady

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