Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Long before our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, proclaimed and designated Thanks_PumpkPieThanksgiving an official national holiday in the 19th century, the founders of our country held similar celebrations about this time of year. As a matter of fact, it was on a Thursday, November 29, 1623 that Governor William Bradford called the people of Plymouth, Massachusetts together for one of the earliest feast celebrations dedicated to thanksgiving to God. His proclamation that day was very clear and precise:
Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest… and has made the forest to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and…has spared us from pestilence and disease, and has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims…render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
Perhaps we should contemplate what we are truly thankful for as the years pass by but I think that is actually irrelevant when we thoughtfully consider Governor Bradford’s words to the people of Plymouth who attended the feast back in 1623. In essence he was calling on them to give thanks to God. Many people will rise to the first challenge- i.e. for what they are thankful – but fall flat on who to thank. Perhaps if they cooked the majority of the meal they may give thanks that they had the energy to accomplish that feat alone. This means you would basically give yourself a pat on the back, flop on the couch, and finish up the day vegging in front of the Thanksgiving Day Football Game. I’m not saying that is evil or wrong but perhaps focusing on what we should be thankful for is simply too shallow and sidesteps the true reason for those early pilgrims gratitude during these feasts on through the centuries.

Thanks_turkeyIn God’s word, Apostle Paul wrote scripture which explains that “although [people] once knew God they neither glorified Him anymore as God nor gave thanks to Him. As a result, their thinking became futile (vainglorious) and their foolish hearts were darkened”(Romans 1:21). Ignoring thanksgiving to God is the first step on a path away from Him and that path’s end is disaster according to the scripture in the first chapter of Romans.
Will you spend this Thanksgiving only giving thanks for God’s gifts without giving thanks to God ? His greatest spiritual blessing was forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life in Heaven. Jesus Himself said that “My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). You see, “Christ died for sins, once, for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus paid the debt that you could never pay, even as you are now, then arose from the grave and ascended to Heaven in promising to send His Holy Spirit which would give each and everyone of us access to the throne of God. Jesus gave us all the opportunity to believe and to trust His sacrifice for us and faced torture and death to complete it. Have you accepted Christ as your personal savior?
If you know Christ as your Savior, your prayer of thanks could be like the Apostle Paul’s: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
This year let’s change a habit that we have all practiced for much too long and start thanking the giver of the bounty we enjoy every day of every year. Gratitude to Someone- the Almighty God- makes sense and keeps us humble before Him. All our blessings, whether they are physical or spiritual, come from God who “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17) and “daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah” (Psalms 68:19). Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day ! !


Check out my new salon web site !

Posted in Lest we forget | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Twilight

 by Madison Cawein

In her wimple of wind and her slippers of sleep,
The twilight comes like a little goose-girl,
Herding her owls with many “Tu-whoos,”
Her little brown owls in the woodland deep,
Where dimly she walks in her whispering shoes,
And gown of shimmering pearl.

The Owl      CastleMArdenFarm
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round,
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his roundelay,
Twice or thrice his roundelay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

Owls, owls… such fantastical fowls!

The Castle Lady

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Acorn and the Pumpkin



attributed to La Fontaine

(translated from the French)
Originally titled Le Gland et La Citrouille

God’s works are good. To prove this truth
I need not search the world, forsooth!
I do it by the nearest pumpkin!

“Fie! Fruit so large on vine so small!”  autumn_sdbr
Exclaimed one day a wise young bumpkin!
“What could he mean who made us all ?
This pumpkin here is out of place.
If I had ordered in this case,
Upon that oak it should have  hung-
A noble fruit as ever swung
To grace a tree so firm and strong.
Indeed there’s been a great mistake!
Had my opinion but been sought,
When God set out the world to make,
All things had then been as they ought!
All things had then in order come!
This acorn for example,
No bigger than my thumb,
Had not disgraced a tree so ample.

The more I think, the more I wonder!
The pumpkin on the oak should grow,
The Acorn on the vine below;
God surely made an awful blunder!”

With such reflections proudly fraught,
Our sage grew tired of mighty thought,
And threw himself on Nature’s lap,
Beneath an oak, to take a nap.

It chanced that during his repose,BarreDoyezGlandetCitrouille
An acorn fell plump on his nose!
He wakened with a mighty start;
He shrieked and seized the injured part!
“Oh! Oh! Alas! I bleed! I bleed!
This acorn ’twas that did the deed!
I see that God had reasons good,
And all His works were understood,
For truly, what had been my woes,
Had, then, a pumpkin whacked my nose!”

Thus home he went in a humbler mood!


Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Skeleton Dance

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(1749- 1832)

Halloween_grinThe warder looked out at the mid-hour of night, Where the grave-hills all silently lay;
The moon-beams above gave so brilliant a light, That the churchyard was clear as by day:
First one, then another, to open began; Here came out a woman – there came out a man,
Each clad in a shroud long and white.

And then for amusement – perchance it was cold – In a circle they seemed to advance;
The poor and the rich, and the young and the old, But the grave-clothes impeded the dance:
And as no person thought about modesty there,

They flung off their garments, and stripped themselves bare,
And a shroud lay on each heap of mould.

Halloween_ScreamThey kicked up their heels, and they rattled their bones,

And the horrible din that they made
Went clickety-clackety – just like the tones of a castanet noisily played.
And the warder he laughed as he witnessed the cheer and he heard the Betrayer speak soft in his ear,
“Go and steal away one of their shrouds.”

Swift as thought it was done – in an instant he fled behind the church portal to hide;
And brighter and brighter the moon-beam was shed as the dance they still shuddering plied;
But at last they began to grow tired of their fun and they put on their shrouds, and slipped off, one by one,
Beneath, to the homes of the dead.

But tapping at every grave-hill, there staid one skeleton, tripping behind;
Though not by his comrades the trick had been played –

Now its odour he snuffed in the wind:
He rushed to the door – but fell back with a shock; For well for the wight of the bell and the clock,
The sign of the cross it displayed.

But the shroud he must have not a moment he stays; Ere a man had begun but to think,
On the Gothic-work his fingers quickly he lays and climbs up its chain, link by link.
Now woe to the warder – for sure he must die – to see, like a long-legged spider, draw nigh.

The skeleton’s clattering form: and pale was his visage, and thick came his breath;
The garb, alas! why did he touch? How sick grew his soul as the garment of death
The skeleton caught in his clutch – the moon disappeared, and the skies changed to dun,
And louder than thunder the church-bell tolled one – The spectre fell tumbling to bits!

Happy Halloween

Hallow_decoThe Castle Lady


Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Longevity and so much more…

Q_Elizabeth_II_by_AndyWarholIn recent news, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, so crowned at the age of 25, finally achieved the longest reign of the entire U.K.’s monarchy over the centuries by surpassing her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria who held the longevity record up until recently. Elizabeth is one of only five other women to ascend the British throne. Victoria reigned 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes (63 years and seven months, basically) according to the exactitude of Buckingham Palace. Elizabeth surpassed that mark officially on September 9th and achieved her 88th birthday last April. A comparison drawn on that alone is impressive but the reigning Queen of England has had such an extraordinary life, even before she took the throne more than sixty three years ago, that I thought I’d mention a number of milestones in her life which will give the casual English and non-English reader alike a better idea of what she has really achieved all these years out of responsibility and loyalty to her country.


Coronation painting of Queen Victoria


1939 on outing with the Royal family

Only last year Lilibet (as she was lovingly referred to in childhood) faced one of the toughest decisions she has ever dealt with during her reign and it was all on a very personal level for her, concerning Scotland gaining independence. After all, her home castle and one she has known and loved as her familial inheritance most of her life (Glamis Castle) resides in Scotland. She has had the strongest of ties with Scotland as the Queen of Britain however, even as a constitutional head of state over no less than sixteen of the fifty-three commonwealth states, she could not intervene in a controversy which was brought to a vote of the people of Scotland. As a result, although she did make some statements as to her hope for the unified Britain to remain so, she did not use her sovereign influence to interfere and tried to remain as impartial as she could under the circumstances. After the results came in, Scotland was declared part of the U.K. once more and the Queen will keep her title as Queen of Scots, as well.
Even though many people feel that she has lived a life of privilege only, they cannot know what an onerous responsibility goes with the title of being an English monarch- or any monarch, for that matter- until they have taken the time to closely study the history during their time of reign. In Elizabeth’s case, how does the idea of not paying taxes until you reach the age of 66 sound? Talk about backwards ! That came about as the result of a decision in 1992 when the Prime Minister, John Major, and parliament conferred that all those holding royal title would start paying taxes on their personal incomes. At that time her personal fortune was estimated to be $11.7 million U.S. Fortunately, she and her son, Prince Charles, who is still first in line to the throne, were given the choice a year later to opt-out of the agreement.
On her ninth day of life, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was christened as a princess wearing the lace gown of her 16th century predecessor Elizabeth I (who reigned 44 years). As the first royal to be christened in the chapel of Buckingham Palace she was third in line to the throne on that very day reviving support for the continuation of the English monarchy. She found favor with the English before she even spoke her first word and her sense of obligation to them came early in life, also. When World War II broke out she was a preteen and joined up with the Girl Guides (the U.S. equivalent being Girl Scouts) and was quite serious about the training that she received through the organization. By the time the war was well underway she was working on military equipment alongside her fellow Englishmen and women! Her father, King George VI ( known as Bertie to the family) dubbed her an honorary colonel in the 500 Grenadier Guards in 1942, which is a regiment of the Royal Army and she made her official public debut in April of that same year with a review of the Guards at Windsor Palace where King George moved his family at the outbreak of the war.
Queen1949_PrincessMargar_LondonCasinoLater, toward the end of the war in 1944 she was made a member of the Privy Council and Council of states giving her the authority to act in the King’s stead while he was attending matters outside the country. This was an awesome responsibility for someone still in her teens but she had also trained her eyes on a Greek prince by the name of Philip Mountbatten and on July 10, 1947 the royal parents announced their daughter’s engagement to the prince who was a lieutenant in the British Navy by then. Their marriage on November 20, 1947 was a huge affair very like that of her son Prince Charles and Lady Diana- only in the reverse, with Philip as the consort because he renounced his Greek title and also became a British citizen becoming the Duke of Edinburgh in the bargain.
The day that her father fell ill on February 6, 1952, dying of lung cancer, she became Queen but there’s always the matter of pomp and ceremony especially when someone takes over the English throne by birthright. She is only the sixth female to assume the British throne so she is in a minority of monarchs but with distinctions no one can deny. She was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953 and has reigned as Great Britain’s Queen ever since. Her royal anniversaries are always celebrated on June 2nd and not her birthday- contrary to what many people assume.
Through the years she has had quite a few milestones so I’ll only touch on those which are especially memorable or notable to myself. My readers are welcome to put in comments of their own if they feel so inclined. Life has been a bit of a whirlwind for her in more recent years. Prior to that her life has run like clockwork but it is merely a sign of the times. Twenty years after seeing her own parents crowned as British monarchs Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, made a state visit to the U.S. in October of 1957 where she addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations. It was her very first visit to our shores and these visits have been few and far between. Most recently she has bought an apartment for herself in New York City- an unprecedented occasion to be sure !
A number of months after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, Queen Elizabeth dedicated a memorial along with one acre of surrounding land honoring our 34th president on May 14th of 1965 at Runnymede- the very place where King John was forced by the English barons to sign the Magna Charta in 1215. It was a significant gesture and one which has made the English monarchy popular on our shores ever since. It is only four miles to the southeast of Windsor Castle.
Queen1977_SilverJubileeSome years after the punk rock movement hit the London scene in the late 70s and Prince Charles had married Lady Di at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, a teenager by the name of Marcus Simon Sergeant fired six blanks at the Queen when she was on horseback during a procession in June of 1981 and was immediately arrested and charged with treason. A little over a year later a man managed to elude security at Buckingham Palace while the Queen was in residence and actually confronted the Queen in her bedroom. This must have been disconcerting to Elizabeth considering that even manservants have never been allowed inside her bedroom. It was an act that reminded the English of the importance of respect toward their royalty that had been a bit forgotten in the presentiment of the punk rock movement and the resulting talk of eradicating the monarchy.
Only a little over a year before in 1979, Margaret Thatcher had changed the look and heart of British government as the first woman Prime Minister but the institution of a conservative government prevailed only for a period of time where it made a definite difference. The Falkland Islands war brought everything into a different focus when it came to exerting power which had become mistrusted under Thatcher. Without changing the royal influence which continues to this very day Thatcher did make some inroads by privatizing several state-owned industries. After Margaret Thatcher was forced to resign in 1990 the Queen addressed a joint session of Congress in the U.S. on May 16th in 1981 becoming the first British monarch and the first woman to do so.
By the end of 1992, when the Queen celebrated her 40th anniversary on the throne, she addressed a packed venue for a luncheon in her honor on November 24th declaring the year an Annus Horribilis ( Latin for horrible year) and siting all the mishaps and tragedies which had occurred which included the separation of the Duke and Duchess of York- Prince Andrew and Fergie- also Princess Anne’s divorce from Mark Phillips and the estrangement ( and later, eventual divorce at the end of 1995) of Princes Charles and Diana. Perhaps the most personally devastating event for the Queen was the fire that broke out at Windsor Castle which started in the State Apartments during routine maintenance, destroying St. George’s Hall which dated from the 14th century. It was rebuilt within a couple of years after the fire reinstating the wing to its former glory. Two days after making the speech the Prime Minister made the pronouncement that the Queen and Prince Charles would pay taxes for the first time on their personal income. It was like being kicked when you’re down. True to English royal form, however, she bounced back the next year with a plan to restore Windsor Castle by opening up Buckingham Palace to the public, for the first time in history, in August of 1993. The new revenue would go to help pay for the restoration of Windsor and everybody was happy.
2002 ushered in the Queen’s celebration of her Golden Jubilee- her 50th year on the throne- and was a lift for not only the Queen but the public as well in the wake of years of tragedy and grief surrounding Prince Charles separation and divorce from Diana and her death in 1997. The Queen’s grief over these events were nearly visual despite her signature reserve and served as a clear milestone that Elizabeth was all too human as well. It paved the way for a live broadcast by Christmas of 2006 of her annual Christmas speech. She hadn’t delivered it live since 1960 and I’m sure she was ready for it by then.
By May of 2007 Elizabeth and Philip made quite a stir in the States when she and the prince consort spent a week traveling here to celebrate the 400th anniversary of America’s settlement by a British company in Jamestown, New York. While they were here they attended the Kentucky Derby on the 5th and a State Dinner at the White House on the 7th making the honors and visits complete. In April of 2009 the White House gladly returned the favor when Michelle Obama met the Queen at Buckingham Palace and were photographed after their visit. Controversy or no, I’m sure Michelle will cherish that meeting for the rest of her life.
Will_Kate_ring Come Spring of 2011, on the eve of her 85th birthday, Queen Elizabeth took it upon herself to announce the marriage of her grandson Prince William and Kate Middleton after giving her official consent to them. The Royal House has been on an upswing ever since. According to a law passed in 1772, called the Royal Marriages Act, the monarch must consent to nearly all royal marriages. It was carried out the same with Princess Diana and Prince Charles before they were wed even though many believe that it was practically an arranged marriage. That is all speculation. The two look quite happy, if you take in all the photographs and already have a family all their own with two children now!
bp1One of the most miraculous visits Queen Elizabeth has made in more recent years was her four-day foray to the Republic of Ireland in May of 2011. She arrived on May 17th of that year marking the first official state visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch. For a bit of excitement a bomb was discovered on a suburban bus a few hours before her arrival by plane and barely made a ripple on the Queen’s radar although she was informed. This was her first visit to the Republic of Ireland so I’m sure she was ready for just about anything. The next evening after her arrival she spoke at a state dinner given in her honor wearing her crown and all smiles to a surprisingly affable audience of the south Ireland public. In her speech she expressed regrets of the past between the English monarchy and non-incorporated Ireland and her words were full of hope to restore and build a new relationship with the country.
“To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy,” she said. “With the benefit of
historical hindsight, we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.”
The Queen did not apologize, as was the wish of many Irish, but an apology would have been inappropriate considering that she was not responsible for a portion of the history in question. The efforts she put forth in 2011 were well received, when all is said and done and the feelings during these years following have shown proof that her visit changed the strained relations between England and Ireland and hopefully will make a difference in the years to come. When the Irish people were interviewed many put forth positive statements which made her visit appear to be well spent:
“She’s a very nice lady and she told me she had a very nice time in Ireland,” said Adam Ryan, a 12 year old native of Cork. “I never expected her to come talk to us. You can tell she’s kind.”
“It’s the best thing that’s happened in Ireland in 20 years,” said baker Joe Hagerty, who runs Heaven’s Cakes in the English Market, the Queen’s first stop
in Cork. “She’s been very sweet and very direct and kept it very short. She said the right things. It was absolutely sincere. Everybody on our side of the world
was really happy with it.”
The next year her Diamond Jubilee, commemorating 60 years on the throne, set off serious celebrations and preparations which began in February ! Additional highlights included a special 1,000 boat flotilla which coursed along the River Thames and a concert at Buckingham Palace including fireworks afterward. The celebrations went on for months so that by November 20th her 65th wedding anniversary with Philip was a welcome peaceful affair. It was revelatory that by December, when she attended her first cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, everyone was captivated by her strength and energy. It had been more than 100 years since the last attendance of a British monarch at the cabinet meeting!
Queen_Elizabeth_VJDAY_stmartininthefields_LondonWhen June 2, 2013 rolled around she was, of course, in attendance for services at Westminster Abbey marking the official celebration day for her 60th anniversary date of coronation. Only eighteen days later her horse, Estimate, won the Gold Cup at the Royal Ascot signature race. Once again, the Queen made headlines by being the first reigning British monarch to win Ascot’s biggest race.
On April 8th of last year the Queen made another visit to Ireland and hosted a state dinner for the Republic’s president, Michael Higgins and wife Sabina. There were many British and Northern Irish dignitaries in attendance along with some of Britain’s most popular actors including Dame Judi Dench and Daniel Day-Lewis. In the hopes that the past tensions can be eased and eventually put to rest, I personally commend her for making the effort to do so and that she will be able to bring about a peace that has eluded the Irish State for many years.


(The Queen’s Christmas broadcasts)

Peace to all,

Queen_Elizabeth_II_RoseLady Evelyn, The Castle Lady

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Clear October Morning…

I chanced upon a poem years ago which expressed my dear love of autumn. I’ve written of it myself in poetry but this has become the quintessential fall rhyme for me. Enjoy along with me ! The Castle Lady

Going a-Nutting
by Edmund Clarence Stedman

No clouds are in the morning sky,
The vapors hug the stream,-
Who says that life and love can die
In all this northern gleam?
At every turn the maples burn,
The quail is whistling free,
The partridge whirs, and the frosted burrs
Are dropping for you and me.
Ho! hilly ho! heigh O!
Hilly ho!
In the clear October morning.
Along our path the woods are bold,
And glow with ripe desire;
The Yellow chestnut showers its fold,
The sumacs spread their fire;
The breezes feel as crisp as steel,
The buckwheat tops are red.
Then down the lane, love, scurry again,
And over the stubble tread!
Ho! hilly ho! heigh O!
Hilly ho!
In the clear October morning.


castle_harvestMy favorite time of year !

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

When an idyllic vacation goes wrong…

iwasonlyjokingcheck out the restaurants,

go shopping or dancing ! Don’t forget to have fun!

It’s all up to you !

The Castle Lady

Posted in Random Thoughts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Miraculous Legacy

A Book Review
on The Woman I Wanted to Be
by Diane von Furstenberg

DvFDvFAs far back as my teen years I remember being in awe of fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg and her likeness to my mother. She was born in Belgium the day before New Year’s Day of 1947 and sworn in as an American citizen the summer of 2002 while the ash from 9/11 was still settling and being swept off the streets of New York City. Prior to that she had held a green card for 30 years so her naturalization of citizenship to the United States was a hard won victory among many in her life. Her natural beauty never betrayed the confidence of a struggle for independence and freedom in nearly every sector of her life. She attained her goal after many years of doing everything her way and the American way, without compromising her artistic individuality or being available to her family.
What most impressed me about her life story are the circumstances she was born out of and how her life and her mother’s became a personal triumph. Even from the beginning, when she was born to Lily (a Belgium native- who had somehow survived the Holocaust right out of Auschwitz) her life was a miracle. Lily was engaged to be married to Diane’s father, Leon Halfin, before being separated from him and was carried off in a train to Auschwitz. Like many other Jewish captives, even though she had no idea whether she would ever see them again, she wrote a note to her parents and threw it off the train. Many Jews did not survive their notes. A photograph of it is in a picture section of Diane’s book and it is very touching to read in French or in English, as Diane wrote a translation of it in her book. Before she was reunited with her fiancé and married, Lily had lost all her body weight down to her bones. Diane was born not long after, within eighteen months of her release from the concentration camp.
Without telling you all the details of the book I do want to say how enlightening I found Diane’s very engaging narrative and how her determination matched that of her mother. Early on her mother quoted, “Fear is not an option.” This theme runs throughout her book and is a focal point in her life along with loving relationships and the empowerment she gathered in her chosen field of fashion. The truest and strongest mentor of her life was Angelo Ferretti, an Italian textile tycoon who hired her as a debutant. She wrote, “I don’t know what my future would have been without the generosity and support of Ferretti.”
Although Diane eventually got heavily into branding and diversification in her offerings to the public her signature fashion piece started out with the wrap dress she created and it has been her most lucrative and longest lasting item. Her most recent re-launch centers on this very same concept in dresses and it will certainly be her signature look and legacy when others are still searching for their niche.
In the 70s, where she quoted, ” Life was fun if you were young, pretty and successful”, she took off on her basic concept, traveling the United States, promoting her line and gathering momentum by diversifying into other fashion products. Tatiana perfume was the first touted designer fragrance, named after her daughter and was an unforgettable scent. It was popular for decades. There was also make-up and she personally did make-overs on women when she traveled from mall to mall. When QVC and HSN became popular she revitalized her line and jumped right into the shopping phenomenon which is still going strong after more than two decades. She was among the pioneers who made it happen.
An obvious turning point in her early life was when she landed a prince in marriage- Egon von Fürstenberg, and her love for him stayed steadfast even though she changed through the years in artistic growth and personal exploration. The Prince was another spring board in life which she was not able to hang onto but no fault is laid any where in the book and even though I don’t personally agree with the more free wheeling type of life she embraced in his stead, I do admire a lot of the things she wrote in her book about what she learned about life and love. Her words about her mother in her later years and about all her loved ones show that she did the best of her ability in trying to do right by everyone and still hang onto her personal goals and dreams.
On the subject of aging beauty she is quite honest and courageous in saying, “It is no longer about looking beautiful but about feeling beautiful and fulfilled.” A good deal of what she has written shows that she has embraced the proper priorities and it well showed when she spoke to a High School Graduating class quoting Margaret Thatcher. It was rephrased from the example on my October 10, 2012 entry, titled, A quote from The Iron Lady:

Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.

From page 39 she says, To inspire others to take their lives in their hands, be their best friends and go for it fearlessly. Also, she wrote, Love is about relationships but the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. That one really resonated for me.
In giving advice on page 57 she wrote, Lies are toxic. They are the beginning of misunderstandings, complications and unhappiness. To practice truth is not always easy but as with all practices it becomes a matter of habit. Truth is cathartic. Truth… simplifies life and love.
When recollecting her bittersweet relationship to the father of her children she wrote, Parting ways does not mean erasing someone entirely from your life. A relationship can evolve and be nurtured but in a different way. Not an easy task but as anything meaningful, well worth it.
The most telling part of the book is when she was approached in more recent years with getting her financial picture in order by her son. It is not easy to be reproached by your child, especially when one feels that they have done well in raising their offspring. With Diane, she weathers the criticism like a pro and admits that in business she did… “All of this without a business plan, without any market analysis, without a focus group, without a publicist without an advertising or branding agency.” She relied on her artistic skills alone and let the business run itself. Many people do this and are successful. I have myself always quoted: Do what you know how to do best. The money will follow. I also ran my own business for seven years without a business plan and it worked because I was doing what I knew best. A business plan puts extra focus on progress and I have learned without it that you can only go so far. I found that out and so did Diane. The business work is always best in the hands of the experts.
A lot of history, love, advice and determination shows in Diane’s story which shines like a diamond. The Woman I Wanted to Be will enthrall you if you are looking for a realistic but adventurous fairy tale. Diane’s legacy will be not only her wrap dress but her extraordinarily romantic life.



Posted in Arts, Books | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Life as poetry, Random Thoughts | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Summer time is here…


Whereveryou want to go…





Posted in A General Announcement, Random Thoughts | Tagged , , | 2 Comments