Saturday, June 27, 2009

What I Did for Twenty Years ! ! ! Part One

From Spring of 1977 up to two years ago my steady source of income was the profession of manicuring and artificial fingernails. What most people consider tedious and menial work was a creative and financially well-rewarding vocation for me. Even when I started my own nail salon in 1990 I knew that I'd never become a millionaire- busy as I was- but the rewards were in the personal service of people (mostly women) achieving their individual beauty goals- a perk unmatched in any other personal service industry, in my estimation.

I never consciously gave up the profession. I'm still licensed and stock the materials to continue at any time ! The changes to this industry, however, have brought the standards of the practice to an all time low and the evidence of that is empty nail salons with one or two idle Asian "nail servers". Their unsanitary and dangerous practices have placed the integrity of the profession to the point of non-existence. Most of the "discounters" are not licensed and the public remains ignorant that this is a requirement in nearly every state of the union.

The blame for this lack of enforcement remains with the state boards who are supported by the licensed professionals. The boards don't even bother to inform the public of these standards and rarely hire enough people to inspect salons.
As a result I have watched my business diminish to nil even though I offer an impressive array of services, unmatched by most of the people in the nail service industry- professional or no. The discount salons simply offer basic and shoddy services at ridiculously low prices- but where are their clients?
Well, the proof is in the pudding, as they say and I haven't failed to see today's legendary drastic pay-cuts and job displacement as a parallel to the undercutting of the true beauty professionals supported by those who are only out to save-a-buck. I'm more concerned about saving what once was a wonderful profession from vanishing altogether.
During all these years of working as a nail technician I have been an avid reader and writer. I wrote from the time I was an elementary school student and took creative writing courses in high school. Poetry has always been a great love of mine and publishing my own book has been a dream come true. This happened in 1988 with my book, "Seasons of the Heart", a few years before I took the plunge into becoming a business owner for the first time.
To be continued....

The Castle Lady with TLC for all !

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Have you hugged your Zoombak today ?

In a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to our children's safety it's nice to know that technology can work in our favor and not against us. This has come in the form of a new device called a Zoombak. If you haven't heard about them yet you owe it to yourself and your children to check into this innovative GPS locator. It is sized so that it can be placed in a child's backpack, on a bicycle or a laptop bag but I would suggest- for increased personal safety for the child- that it be placed in a pocket or on a neckchain which can be hidden under clothing.
When you log onto the device to find its real time location you can find out their position even from your cell phone. You set up customized safety zones such as "home", "school" or "park" and can be alerted when the Zoombak leaves or enters the pre-set zones.
Check out for further details.
The Castle Lady keeps you and your household safe ! ; )

Tomorrow ? More about me! Stay tuned !

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Life and Times of The Castle Lady

     Many of my readers seem to think I'm some woman of mystery because I don't write about myself very much. In truth, this particular blog isn't a daily log of my activities, either. If you've been reading this blog faithfully you've figured that out by now. All a person would have to do is read through all my entries to make that presumption.
     My original intention for this blog- which was the very first blog I ever started-was to chart my progress (on a frequent basis, if not daily) on my research and writing about European castles. If you jog over to you will see that it became a better forum and format for achieving that goal and I've used that ever since and even after I put up my official web site in September of 2006.
     I think of this blog as my unburdening and current topic opinion forum. it has served me well on that score. It seems to be irrelevant to my castles work. Just keep in mind that I am a writer first and foremost and I'm willing to write about almost anything that is interesting to myself and, hopefully, my readers. During the first three decades of my life I wrote a voluminous amount of poetry, then essays and short stories and plotted out several novels which I play around with since I started researching castles on the internet. I don't take my fiction writing any where near as seriously as I have my non-fiction writing. That may change with time. As long as I am happy with my work on castles, fiction writing will be kept on the back-burner.
     With that put forth, I propose to write about myself and my life for the next few entries. I only intend to write what I want my reading public to know about my life prior to my serious undertaking the profession of writing. Some people might consider my original profession to be equally as whimsical as writing but I can rightly state that it was quite lucrative and a steady, reliable income until only a few years ago.
     In my next entry you can expect to go back in time... to the year 1977. Until then...
Keep on keepin' on.... The Castle Lady 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Love Bears All Things....


Nequaquam nobis divinitus esse paratam
Naturam rerum; tanta stat praedita culpa
(Had God designed the world, it would not be
A world so frail and faulty as we see.) 
     I believe that the happiest people in the modern world are those who experience many deep friendships. We feel obligated to family (usually), and also to spouses and often, even our children. One purposefully forms friendships and this is where the difference lies. We choose our friends and keep the relationships alive through our own volition. Is it any wonder that many times, we prefer the love of our friendships over the love of family and family ties?
     This is not as unusual as many people seem to think. If you have never read C.S. Lewis' book, "The Four Loves" I highly recommend that you do so and as soon as possible. It is the single most book that I can point to and say it made a difference in almost every long term relationship I've had since. It has also been effective in shorter term and fleeting relationships as well. Those which were established before I read it- such as family and people I have known all my life have been a little more difficult to apply the principles to- but if you read the book you will understand why.
     There is a serious problem today of lack of affection between people who may ordinarily have closer ties or at least friendlier relationships for many complicated and not-so-complicated reasons. The increase in social-interactive crimes, identity theft, and a general- purportedly justified- lack of trust is mostly to blame. Our social ills also add to this general alienation between people and cinch the problem.
     If you have attended a church which includes primary Bible studies including regular services then you have been taught to know that God is love and that all love comes from Him. Additionally, we know that we cannot love without Him. Love has many dimensions, faces and duties- just like God. The same way we learn to trust God we can also learn to trust each other. This is possible even in the perilous times we live in if we learn to use discernment.
     Discernment has been a rather unused virtue for the past few decades and I don't see any improvements in wisdom or judgment either. We rely more on our general mistrust and skepticism than we do with our minds. It is a sign of the times but it's also sad. Are we to sacrifice relationships which might be more fulfilling than any other only because of fear ? 
     I believe there's a better way and my feeling is that great discernment is God-given. This requires trust in God first and then you can tap into this "mind" of God and know many things. This is scriptural. Look up Philippians 2:5 which reads "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." This is a verse full of power because it gives us awesome abilities with our own minds. If you repeat this scripture often it's like repeating the promises. Your mental abilities increase immeasurably.
Be blessed with abundance and my kisses !
The Castle Lady
It is impossible to understand the things of God
standing in the shadows of disbelief.
- Evelyn M. Wallace (2004) 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Resolute Heart

"The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one.
 Commitment is healthiest when it's not without doubt but in spite of doubt."
- Rollo May
     You may wonder why I would begin this entry with a quote from a known humanist and yet I believe that some of the best words which fit my criteria come from sources which most people would view as being from left field- given my dedication to being a Christian. Sometimes, however, pearls come from surprising sources. They often crop up where you least expect to find them and I don't think it takes away anybody's credibility to ask questions concerning matters of faith and belief.
     Faith concerns reliance on intangibles and speculations. Matters of faith are a challenge to the skeptic but those challenges should be made reciprocal. One of my favorite quotes by Francis Bacon is thus: "If a man will begin in certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin in doubts he shall end in certainties." Some of the best questions about faith come from skeptical people and when I take on these inquiries I find it strengthening. Perhaps because one must ask these questions of themselves to understand why they believe the way they do.
     I feel the same about my work in writing in general and  the castles project. I am not only committed to my projects but I am resolved to see them come to completion and fruition. A resolute heart is one which has moved beyond faith and into the realm of complete devotion and total possession of the object of desire. It's yours and no one can take it from you.
     Furthermore, I respect a resolute heart. This is the heart of God and we have the capability, by being his creation, to this inheritance. He is devoted to us and has made many commitments to us which is repeated over and over in the Bible that he will keep. Did you know we are God's favorite subject? We are not his only subject of interest but we are His primary concern. 
     Knowing this not only makes me feel secure in His love, it also gives me the impetus to emulate him. To be more and more like Him. All I have to do is be myself. 
With resolute kisses, The Castle Lady !