Heart of a Champion

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.
I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty,
believe in them,
and try to follow where they lead.
-Louisa May Alcott

To try for a lofty goal is often considered by the world to be fodder of a dreamer. We are often not viewed as being practical, wise or normal. Frustration for the person who wants to make a difference in the world can be immense. One who senses that he/she can achieve great things, if given a chance, needs to be well-supported with encouragement and morale but often can be considered to be living in a fantasy world and abused with disrespect, downright discouragement and ridicule. Those who are the encouragers say we must simply turn our heads and disregard the negativity, spurning all the nay-saying as jealousy and envy. I also believe that people who will ‘stomp on a dream’ (like Frank Sinatra sang) are cowards who spend most of their lives living in shadows and aimless pursuits. They only wish they had the nerve it takes to get out there and take some risks.
I have found more stumbling blocks than this while I have been quietly working at the business of researching and writing about castles. I could write a full length book about the struggle of this pursuit and I’m sure one day I’ll do just that- but in the interim I will be continuing on with my dream until I’m ready to pursue a publisher who I think can handle my project the way I envisioned it from the start. No compromise. I never really thought that when I started, I would get as far as I have. My passion for castles started so young and I was only able to actively work on this book when I was financially able to just concentrate my life on this work. It has gone beyond a passion and become a full-blown quest which I’ll never give up. It’s that strong.
Let me be your encourager today. What is it that you think about when you’re walking to school, driving to work or just mowing the lawn? Where does your mind wander every time you have a chance? You have a passion deep inside you for something that was planted there by God. Everyone does. If you do not pursue it and let it remain in your head as if only a daydream you will become the jailer of your own mind. It may not seem like it now but it will turn into your worst nightmare if you only let it sit there and never do anything with it. Your passion is there for a reason and it would only be unattainable if you give up and only play with it as if it was a toy and not reality. Only you can make it a reality. Further, you are the only one who can make it happen for you.
Learn to prioritize and put your dream at the top of the list- not the bottom. Decide how much time you can feasibly set aside to work on your dream and make sure you do that every day. (Almost every other activity and surprise events will attempt to steal this time from you. Do your level best to guard that time and keep it.) Make sacrifices that you can to make way for your dream but don’t preclude people in your life who support your dream. They will keep you on track but detractors you can set aside. They will get it eventually.
My last words will set you up to make an inroad for your dreams and aspirations. The heart of a champion will always strive to achieve things greater than they perceive themselves. Don’t get in your own way but please don’t forget that you’re only human. Sometimes your greatness will fail you but you cannot afford to fail you. Take that one minute you have left to forgive what you thought was unforgivable. Learn to forgive yourself. Don’t give up.

Kissing the hearts of champions all over the world,
The Castle Lady

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Summer time is here…


Whereveryou want to go…





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In restricting certain freedoms

you gain others…


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Avant Charlie Hebdo- Le flashmob des Prodiges

It’s official. Miracles still happen amidst the fray. Check this out:


Only in France ?


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Odes for the Angels

Blessings from above often come in the form of angels from on high so I thought I’d take a moment to honor those who have been instrumental in turning my tides, towing me here and there, saving my skin and giving me the right words at exactly the right moment. Praise God for angels! What would we do without them? – The Castle Lady

angels_fiddlingAngels encourage us by guiding us onto a path that will lead to happiness and hope.
– Andy Lakey, artist

where e’er we go
attend our steps
whatever betide.
With watchful care their charge defend
and evil turn aside.

– Charles Wesley

Ideas sAngel voices,
ever singing round thy throne of light,
angel harps forever ringing,
rest not day or night,
thousands only live to bless thee,
and confess thee, Lord of might !
-Unknown poet

The best Jazz sounds like angels laughter. – Evelyn Wallace


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Florinda and Yoringal

456560A Bros. Grimm fairy tale has typical elements of castles, witches and magic spells but quite a few, in the original German, were much darker and gruesome than would have been considered appropriate for children in the past or even in the present! A new anthology was published last year by Princeton University Press, freshly translated by Jack Zipes from the original text and is packed with these raw tales. This comprehensive book will definitely appeal to adult readers hooked on reading fairy tales or watching them on T.V.   (i.e. ABC’s Once upon a Time or Into the Woods) .

9780867888317In comparing the stories in this new book with one of my old books which is nicely illustrated by Annie-Claude Martin, I noticed these very anomalies have an honestly ribald nature much like thrillers of today. I decided to put this tale up because I thought it was particularly unique, as Grimm’s tales go, keeping in mind the appropriateness for adult and child alike. My title uses the names given for the main characters from my old book but in the Zipes’ version the names are Jorinda and Jorginel and starts on p. 127…

Once upon a time there was an old castle in the middle of a great, dense forest. An old woman lived there all by herself; and she was a powerful sorceress. During the day she turned herself into a cat or a night owl but in the evening she would return to her normal human form. She had the ability to lure game and birds, which she would slaughter and then cook or roast. If any man came within a hundred steps of the castle, she would cast a spell over him, so that he wouldn’t be able to move from the spot until she broke the spell. If an innocent maiden came within her magic circle, she would change her into a bird and stuff her into a wicker basket. Then she would carry the basket up to a room in her castle where she had well over seven thousand baskets with rare birds of this kind.
Now, once there was a maiden named Jorinda, who was more beautiful than any other maiden in the kingdom. She was betrothed to a handsome youth named Joringel. During the time before their marriage, they took great pleasure in each other’s company. One day they went for a walk in the forest so they could be alone and talk intimately with one another.
“Be careful,” Joringel said, “that you don’t go too close to the castle.”
At dusk the sun shone brightly through the tree trunks and cast its light on the dark green of the forest. The turtledoves were singing mournfully in the old beech trees and at times Jorinda wept. Then she sat down in the sunshine and sighed and Joringel sighed too. They became very sad as if they were doomed to die and when they looked around them they became confused and didn’t know how to get home. The sun was still shining half above and half behind the mountains. When Joringel looked through the bushes and saw the wall of the old castle not very far away, he became so alarmed that he was nearly frightened to death, while Jorinda sang:

“Oh, my bird, with your ring of red,
sitting and singing your tale of woe!
You tell us now that the poor dove is dead.
You sing your tale of woe- oh-oh, oh-oh !”

Just then, as Joringel looked at Jorinda, she was turned into a nightingale singing “oh-oh, oh-oh!”
A night owl with glowing eyes flew around her three times and each time it cried, “To-whoo ! To-whoo! To-whoo!”
Witch_YoringalJoringel couldn’t budge. He stood there like a stone unable to weep, to talk or to move hand or foot. When the sun was about to set, the owl flew into a bush and then immediately returned as a haggard old woman, yellow and scrawny, with large red eyes and a crooked nose that almost touched her chin with its tip. She muttered something to herself, caught the nightingale and carried it away in her hand. Joringel was still unable to speak nor could he move from the spot. The nightingale was gone. Soon the woman came back and said with a muffled voice, “Greetings, Zachiel. When the moon shines into the basket, let him loose, Zachiel, just at the right moment.”
Then, Joringel was set free and he fell on his knees before the woman and begged her to give Jorinda back to him but she said he would never get her back again and went away. Joringel shouted. He wept, he moaned, but it was all in vain. “Oh, now what’s to become of me ?”
Joringel went off and eventually came to a strange village, where he tended sheep for a long time. He often went around and around the castle and always kept his distance. Finally, he dreamed one night that he had found a flower as red as blood and in the middle of it was a pearl. He plucked the flower and went with it to the castle: everything that he touched with the flower was released from the magic spell. He also dreamed that he managed to regain his Jorinda with the flower.
When he awoke the next morning, he began searching all over the mountains and valleys for the flower in his dream. He searched for nine days and early on the ninth day he found a flower as red as blood. In its middle was a large dewdrop as big as the finest pearl. He carried this flower day and night until he reached the castle. When he came to within a hundred steps of the castle, he didn’t become spellbound but was able to get to the gate. Overjoyed by that, Joringel touched the gate with the flower and it sprang open. So he entered, crossed the courtyard and listened for the sound of birds. WitchFinally, he heard them and went toward the room where the sorceress was feeding the birds in their seven thousand baskets. When she saw Joringel, she became angry, very angry. She began berating him and spitting poison and gall at him, but she could only come within two feet of him and he paid no attention to her. Instead, he went and examined the baskets with the birds. Since there were hundreds of nightingales, he didn’t know how he’d be able to find his Jorinda again. While he was examining the baskets, he noticed that the old woman had stealthily picked up one of them and was heading toward the door. Quick as a flash he ran over and touched the basket with the flower and immediately thereafter, he touched the old woman as well. Now she could no longer use her magic and consequently Jorinda appeared before him. She threw her arms around his neck and was just as beautiful as before. After Joringel had turned all the other birds into young women, he went home with his Jorinda and they lived together in happiness for a long time.

On the wings of doves everywhere,

King of the Jews ~ Holy One of IsraelThe Castle Lady

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The following poem was written by my good friend and fellow poet Leona. We met Mom'sDayon the internet when Microsoft had their own blog forum which was called Live Spaces. Eventually we exchanged books- my book of poetry Seasons of the Heart and hers, titled: Out of the Starting Gate. We have been the best of cyber pals ever since. We have very different backgrounds and are distinctly different types of people but the wonderful aspect of our association is that we share a love of writing and poetry in total equality and enjoyment. I am presenting this gem of Leona’s in honor of mothers everywhere. Here’s to a wonderful abiding friendship through thick and thin:


I have stood the test of time.

Once I lived a life of beauty,
sunrises excited me, sunsets comforted me.
Each morning I rose to greet a new day,
with outstretched arms reaching for heaven,
giving thanks to God for my magnificence.

I have survived through season after season.
Hence, ravages of weather brand every inch of my being,
neglect hastened my demise,

ignorance imprisons me.
Yet I stand, with outstretched arms reaching for heaven,
giving thanks to God for my endurance.

Mothers_Spec_DayStill I stand, though forgotten abused and forlorn
waiting to once again greet the sunrise,
to slumber peacefully in the sunset,
to serve a purpose other than despair,
with outstretched arms reaching for heaven,
giving thanks to God for my redemption.

August 3, 2012  © by Leona G. Shankle

Mothers_Day_15 from

The Castle Lady

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It’s a KO !

Run_4_RosesIt’s that time of year again. The Kentucky Derby is in full swing. Josh Groban just finished singing The Star Spangled Banner and this year It’s a Knockout is in the running to win along with American Pharaoh who is on the top of the leader board and OchoOchoOcho also is looking pretty good out there !


Kentucky Derby_2 If it’s not possible for you to be anywhere near Churchill Downs to watch the race today you have a little bit of time to get on the telly and put in your bets and watch !

    Good luck all !  



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Earth is Full of His Glory

Butterfly_I_12Today is coming to a close but I wanted to post something even though the real celebration of Earth Day is just getting out there and enjoying it. As much as humans may be in error in how we treat our home and even each other there is just something so exquisite about a celebration for our day that I cannot quite express.

Pass the garden hose, okay ?


“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” II Corinthians 4:7



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Kissing a Shadow

I seldom explain my poetry, if ever, but I wanted to mention that many poems are spiritual events expressed in a physical world. We are not beyond communicating with the spiritual world because we house a spirit within ourselves. The languages we speak are vastly different, however. Inspiration was a recent dream.The Castle Lady

by Evelyn M. Wallace
mind clouds framed in fear
grasping, but spun out of control
landed in a spray of tears
spluttering and then
gone…down a putting hole

a curio shop in my head buzzes with activity
she asked, what was the theme
awake now and retrograde emotion
momentum eternal it cannot be
we’re separate, together, forever

riding waves of elation now spring
go out and come in measuring
take courage in the shape of a sad smile
stay awhile…

it hurts
kissing a shadow.

All rights reserved by author
March 18, 2015

The Castle Lady

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