Friday, December 31, 2010

What Would Elvis Do ? ?


By now some of the readers of this blog know about the catastrophe of Live Spaces™ being taken over by WordPress™. Who would've known that such a great concept for versatility in blogs would ever be upgraded (actually, downgraded !) to the point of non-existence? You'll have to excuse me if I take a moment to cry. Let me explain.

I started that little blog late in 2005 and was in awe of the fact that I could put something up on the WWW all by my novice self. I had not started my official web site yet but I had purchased the name http://www.ilovecastles.com/ and had a marker in place years before I finally put it up in 2006 with all the castles I had personally visited. I started my Live Space Castlelady™ blog after this one, so this blog was my first attempt but I did not start it with a clear concept in mind. To me, it is an online diary for which I intended to write everyday. So much for that ! This blog became more of a mosaic of my thoughts, aspirations, trials and hopes put into small essay forms, often. Sometimes it is only a hodgepodge of my pet peeves, strong opinions and inspirational lightning bolts from heaven. This blog has served a special need in my life and I really appreciate it for every purpose I have set it to do. However, when I started the Castlelady™ blog my purpose was very clear and my concept was set in stone. After a couple of years, I knew exactly how I wanted to lay out the photos, text and the lists organized just so.

When I found out on September 29th that Live Spaces™ were being shut down and migrated to WordPress™, at our discretion, I was crestfallen. I thought of all the work I have put up on it. I have been saving all of my entries on it for quite some time and keep two types of backup files so the information put up will not be lost. What concerns me most is that it took quite a bit of time to finally get my lists, my WMP and the layout of the blog exactly the way I wanted it to look and sound. http://castlelady.spaces.live.com/ has been through many changes that would be almost too subtle for most people to notice but became very important to me. I have enjoyed it for some time in its present format. I wrote and formatted the text precisely to target a casual reading audience or professors on the subject. That wasn't easy, considering the vast difference in knowledge of the diverse audiences. Doesn't it figure that someone had to come along and start rearranging the furniture- so to speak? It almost feels like we all got an eviction notice on Live Spaces™.

So I have a big decision to make in a matter of days. Being at a crossroads is never easy and making a determination on moving or deleting my blog like this was certainly not on my agenda for this year. Obviously, I have bigger fish to fry. I need to sit down and rearrange a schedule to get more writing done, in general. There is a matter of finding my way back to a regular income which won't cut into my writing time completely. There are so many things to be done and yet I am frozen on this platform of resolution. It almost makes me angry that I have been forced to make a decision that I didn't ever want to have to make.

The other day I asked myself," If Elvis was put in such a situation, what would he do ?" It helped because it was a bit of nonsense. I think Elvis would sing his way out of the mess to cut the tension. He always did that in the movies. In real life, he would write a song about the problem and record it. Maybe that helped him make choices that fit but probably didn't always work because I remember he went through several divorces.

Well, I don't want to divorce my blog and I don't like anyone forcing me to change something I have grown to cherish. Every time Live Spaces™ has upgraded it has always been a removal of this feature.. then a removal of that, etc. Now they don't even want to be bothered with providing a free blog to their members. How can that be considered an upgrade? It reminds me of products that have the words New and Improved emblazoned on their packaging. The caveat emptor is taking it home and finding out they just put two or more less ounces of the product in the package than before. WWED ?? Probably punch their lights out ! Since that is not an option I guess I'll have to go with the change...
NOT!



The Castle Lady

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Drew We Knew

      Of all the actresses I have watched in the movies and TV through the years I think Drew may be the only one I truly relate to on several points. Her struggle with overcoming addiction, however, is one I can't relate to but I can definitely sympathize with and applaud her ability to overcome a generational problem in her family. This is a very difficult task and I commend her on all that she has accomplished in that area of her life.
     When I read articles where she is being interviewed I often find myself nodding because we seem to think alike. I browsed through the book she came out with years ago which recounted her struggles with addiction and her family problems. This woman of thirty-five was drinking at nine years of age, smoking marijuana at ten and by the time she was fourteen had moved onto cocaine because she moved with a crowd way beyond her years. By the time she was making the movie See You in the Morning at thirteen she had already been in and out of rehabs. The book came out in 1990- the year I started my first nail salon and I made a beeline for the book because I just couldn't understand why she would follow in the footsteps of her grandfather concerning addiction. Instead of learning from his mistakes it appeared she had fallen into every hole which he had inadvertently dug for her.
     Everyone struggling with addiction who is ready to do something about the problem should read her book. It was written semi-journal style but is an expose on how addicts are born and not just made. The making is in the codependency of those around them and they also have to undergo treatment in order to learn how to help their loved ones recover with success. Drew's last sentence in the book continues to resound in my brain.
     " All I can do is the best I can."
     Nowadays she is giving out interviews where she describes herself as...
     "I am just a big walking question mark with an open heart."
     This is really not surprising given the fact that she has been sober and in control for double the time that she spent her life trying to sort out the good and the bad of being a Hollywood actress a bit too early in life and trying to find a reasonable existence in the middle of what can be confusing circumstances. A USA Weekend interview she gave out at the end of summer shows me that she has been through a lot of relationships during her life of sobriety which may be a result of the rocky upbringing. In her book she talked a lot about difficulty in dealing with her mother and in this most recent interview she still says there is a problem.
     "We just hit our bumps along the way. It's not an easy relationship. I'd say it is still a work in progress."
      This is a key issue in her life and I feel the same has been in mine. I have never tried to work out such things as she has had to because there were no underlying problems for me but I can certainly relate to having to work at relationships- even close ones. When she was still struggling with the addiction problems she spoke of resenting being patronized and felt misunderstood. Anyone who has had autonomy such as Drew so early in life is bound to feel that way. I have felt that way most of my life because being in control was an important aspect of living. Had my early life been a little more tranquil it's possible I would not be quite so fiercely independent but I feel it has been an asset in my life regardless of my singleness. I have never truly felt lonely and I need a lot of space.
     Apparently, Drew also feels this way because she's currently talking about a new relationship with her Going the Distance co-star, Justin Long, and having children without the benefit of marriage. Apparently her mother being a single parent gives her confidence in the area with a little uncertainty but I believe if anyone can pull off such a daring prospect given the circumstances created by her mother I have every reason to believe she could do it. Maybe I could, too. Like Drew, I have never felt the need to strive with the status quo. I enjoy being in my skin and being free and especially feeling free even when you can't. Reading about Drew's current life has made me also think about what the next half of my life will be and what's is around the corner. 
     "I'm trying to figure out what the second half of my life is going to be," Drew confides to Mary Murphy, a reporter for USA Weekend.
     Touché Drew. I am, also but I've got a good plan and I'm prepared to continue working it. If you give yourself a chance it might surprise you what you can do all on your own. It's always best, though, to travel in pairs.
 
The Castle Lady
with a pair of kisses !    
 
  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook ! !

     Ever since last March I have been in a struggle to get control of an alternative e-mail address that I only use on public computers. I have had this account since before I ever owned a P.C. so that I could send e-mails from internet cafes, Kinkos and public access computers- such as at the public libraries. For over a decade it has been useful to deal with e-mails from this address relieving me from having to deal with it in my daily e-mail flow. This year that all changed when I tried to start a Facebook page with that e-mail address and because Facebook wouldn't DL any jpg, tiff or GIF photo I just gave up during that process and didn't continue.
     Shortly thereafter, when I would use the e-mail address I started seeing strange e-mails in Turkish. Luckily I didn't just delete them or I wouldn't have been onto what was happening later on. It turns out that some Facebook adherent using the name Kaan Toprak- which I've since found out is a rather common name akin to John Smith- seized the chance to use my e-mail address by using Spyware to hack the password and gain access. Once I figured out what was going on I changed the password on it twice and basically locked him out. When hotmail upgraded recently I was able to see sleezy female messenger requests for friendship and deleted about 30 women off the list and I changed the settings so it couldn't be used like that anymore. I had him locked out but when I checked to see if I could proceed with the Facebook account (this was on a hunch- I had decided against having it) I found out he was still using the e-mail address on Facebook even though I had locked him out. Because he was using it I couldn't proceed or finish the Facebook account. I am so glad I didn't use my primary e-mail.
     I contacted the Hotmail team by phone to find out how to report this illegal use of my e-mail address to Facebook and during the process of reporting I was advised to report it by e-mail to abuse. After reporting it to them they immediately put a block on the e-mail address even though I told them I had gained control of the account myself. They have been bungling on this account ever since by putting me through a validation process that I shouldn't have had to do. After the validation process which I passed  I changed the password yet again because you have to and then later I could not access it again because either the Hotmail team put another block on it or this Turk has been trying to hack the password again. Not only is Kaan locked out but I am as well. As long as he keeps trying to use this e-mail I will have to keep struggling to get control over this e-mail address. How's that for a vicious circle ?
     I have tried numerous times to get the Hotmail team to understand that Facebook cannot be reached and that the problem lies with them since they obviously don't check to see if someone's use of an e-mail address is legitimate or not. Facebook cannot be dealt with unless you have an account. I checked their issues page on this topic and there are countless people on there who have had their e-mail and Facebook blogs stolen and their only solution is to make them use yet another e-mail address to even have a Facebook account.
     Why doesn't Facebook have a contact phone number ? Well, only Zuckerman can answer that and I wish he would since every legitimate web site originating in the USA has to have one. If you are wondering why I didn't join you at Facebook now you know the reason. What would you do ? Play this stupid game ? Not on your life. If you have a Facebook account do me a favor- send Zuckerman an e-mail (yes, you can do that !) and ask him why no one can call his web site to complain and why there isn't a validation process for the use of e-mails. Blogspot has one, MSN has one... why doesn't he ?
 
Fuming !
The Castle Lady

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sunsets

 
     I don't do this very often but I felt the need to do this tonight. I watched an amazing sunset while my city bustled and drove and barked and talked all around me. I don't think anybody bothered to watch what I was watching. It was an exhibition by God and it was free and there will never be another one exactly like it. It was as if I owned it. I wanted to share it but instead I enjoyed it alone. There were many other things to do but I walked away from all that responsibility and just stood for the span of about fifteen minutes reveling in the beauty and serenity in the midst of all the unnecessary ado about nothing.
     As I stood there I started to think about what kind of a world this would be if everyone stopped, right at the time the sunset starts, everything they are doing and just watch the sunset. I think this would be a better world. It would be more beautiful. The people who watched it would become younger for every minute they stood there taking it in and they would never have heart attacks or influenza or gout. I think the people who stopped to watch sunsets would actually become more beautiful. Their interest rates might go down along with their blood pressure. They would be happier and not want to fight anymore.
     Sunsets are so beautiful aren't they ?
 
             Love,
The Castle Lady  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer Movies
























I didn't go to very many movies this year, in general, but who can get through a summer without seeing at least one during the season? Certainly not myself. The selection is thankfully short for my readers. I went to see Alice in Wonderland (the remake, of course, with Johnny Depp in it) at the dollar movies and how could I resist seeing Salt when I heard the preview on television say, "I'm Salt. My name is Evelyn Salt" ? I've never seen but one movie with Angelina Jolie in it prior to this summer and that was Hackers. Yes. A very long time ago. So, I suspended my basic feelings of seeing any of her movies and went with all female family members to see this sleeper of the season.
I wasn't prepared for the Lara Croft treatment and so here I was trying to stay focused on the action as she landed flat on her back from great heights several times within seconds of each landing for the space of about five minutes of humanly impossible action. This was very nearly the beginning of the movie. Needless to say, I couldn't help but laugh at the most inappropriate time of the movie. How could I help it?

The actual beginning of the movie was horrendous and I won't go into why but it seems to me that as I watched her receive brutality after brutality on the screen for everyone's so-called viewing pleasure I started to actually feel sorry for all women by the end of it. The violence was so bad I couldn't get over the trauma of viewing more than an hour of this thriller. I'm especially bothered by senseless murdering onscreen of which this celluloid blunder contains a plethora. I don't know who I'd recommend this movie to or why. I suppose it was the finest of its genre but I believe my problem is with the genre itself- not its expertise. A funny paper cartoon pretty much says it all for me:
(Please turn off your brain cells ! ! )


Conversely, the grown-up Alice movie was a delight from beginning to end with some real thought provokers contained within the now somewhat fractured story through an adult onset viewpoint. In it the 19 year old Alice (played by Mia Wasikowska) goes through the same moves (and not without a comment made about her apparent inability to remember the mistakes she made the first time !) It was so darkly colorful ( with Depp as the Mad Hatter !) that it was absolutely charming and would be fun for children and adults to watch together. If you are a parent you may have to explain a few things to your child about what they are viewing but it's all good and in good taste with a little sexy playfulness that is absolutely innocent. If you don't believe me on that count please view it first (it's on DVD already !) before showing it to your child. The viewing should convince you.
That should get you up to date with my limited viewing. There are so many I miss anymore but after seeing Salt I'm convinced that in many cases I'm probably saving myself a lot of grief after all.




The Castle Lady with no grief


and lots of love !

Sunday, September 05, 2010

My Lucky Life ? ?



Ambition is a dream with a V-8 engine.


- Elvis Presley



All the faithful readers of my Castlelady blog are probably wondering about where I've been lately since my castle entries have decreased dramatically since March. I have a very good reason and no excuses. The main reason for the seeming abandonment has been a financial situation which has become intolerable and I've tried to turn the situation around since April with only a little success and a big waste of my precious time. It has been frustrating and there's no sense in trying to put up a positive front in this particular case because the financial need is so great. I can't honestly say I've ever made scads of money doing anything- manicuring and nails (for nearly thirty years !), bank teller jobs or my current self-employed salesperson status. However, I have always been able to pay my bills, live reasonably well and travel on what I made before I became a published author.(Don't let anyone think they can quit their day job just because they've had a book published by a major trade publisher, had articles published on the internet for pay or have self-published a book!) Self publishing is a great way to get in print but it won't make you rich unless you pitch your product towards other people wanting to get their books published. The subject of self-publishing is booming on Amazon dot com and Barnes and Nobel but guess who's making the money? I'm being gut-level honest with you when I say that the trade publishing game is absolute cut-throat. (Trade publishing is when someone else publishes your book- not a book you pay to have published !) During the current economic woes, which everyone is experiencing, this situation will probably get worse before it gets better.
Recently, the Live Space ™ team made changes again which didn't make anything particularly better and took out a valuable research tool I use frequently which gives statistics such as which pages have been viewed and the link from which it came, etc. In my case, often, it was a Google question for castles. When we had this feature, I checked them everyday no matter what else I did on the internet. It has been my first agenda for years! Now that this feature is gone I am completely cut-off from the public who haven't a Live Space™ or even people in my network, for that matter. It makes me too reliant on fielding questions in my comments. I feel that many people who don't subscribe to MSN™, Hotmail or their many services such as the Live Space blogs will also suffer since they may be in need of the information I impart on my castle entries.

To be be perfectly honest, though, I did not start a castle web site or my Castlelady ™ blog to please anyone but myself. My interest in castles began in my teen years and gained momentum with reading books on the subject and then, finally, - a short ten years ago- researching them on the internet. My fascination with castles and architectural history has kept me at it long after opposition and circumstances started to make it nearly impossible to continue. My livelihood always came from being a beauty professional- not as a writer. However, I have been a writer for a longer period of time. As you can see by my latest entry on my Castlelady blog http://castlelady.spaces.live.com/

I have not given up nor will I be quitting for any reason. I have been asking God, for some time now, how to go about the business of writing and also go back to a livelihood that any able-bodied adult professional can expect to make. So far, I haven't seen any solutions materialize true success in this area, despite my greatest efforts. I haven't given up on God at all- I wish I could say the same for people. I'm just being honest. There are times I relate quite well to Socrates whose epitaph basically reads: He tried to make the people think so they killed him.
My request to all my Christian friends and contacts would be to pray in the area of my finances, stamina for all the work I will be doing and favor with publishers and the media, in general, for getting on with my vision for the books and the web site: http://www.ilovecastles.com/ Just lately I have been experiencing deception going on around and toward me which means that satanic forces are in force in almost every area of my life. I need clear direction from God in what to do next. Should I continue in my writing efforts ? Should I be seeking a grant and from whom ? These are just a few questions I need answers directly from God alone. I covet your prayers but not necessarily advice unless you're certain that God is saying something to you on my behalf. Your prayer efforts are priceless to me right now and I'm going to thank everybody ahead of time for doing so. God bless you and your household for taking the time to read this and pray on my behalf. If you leave a comment please also leave a prayer request and I will pray for your needs as well. That's how this whole thing really works.

Blessed kisses from The Castle Lady !






Friday, August 06, 2010

The House Your Heart Built









There is a right way and a wrong way to do everything.

- Evelyn M. Wallace April 2010



When I saw these two funnies in the newspaper only days apart it made me think of one particular parable of Jesus in the sixth chapter of Luke. I prefer this rendering of the parable (as opposed to Matthew 7) because it appears that Jesus is not speaking of a house but a castle. It is because of this parable that I believe I started to become interested in architecture as a very young girl almost without my complete realization. One could say that this parable is very close to my heart because it is so personally relevant to all of us. We not only live in houses (or castles !) we are houses in and of ourselves. In 1st Corinthians 3:16 it states... Do you not know that you are the temple of a Living God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you ? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. Jesus referred to his own person as a temple on several occasions, too.


If you examine the parable I mentioned in Luke it reads this way:


Whosoever cometh to me, and hears my sayings and doeth them I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built a house and digged deep and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose the stream beat vehemently upon that house and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that hears and doeth not is like a man that, without a foundation, built a house upon the earth: against which the stream did beat vehemently and immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great.

I have wondered many times, when this parable is preached in churches, why the minister or preacher refers to the stream as a storm. To me, a stream from a flood is not nearly as violent as a storm can obviously strike. A flood is not without warning, which in some ways is the insidious part, but it is more subtle. There is a great difference here which bears examination. My grandmother had a saying which she repeated often when I was quite little,


"It's not the first crack that breaks the rock."


which means that it takes an awful lot of continuous application to something to make it work. It can also mean that if you hit a rock many times with medium force you will achieve the same results as if you had taken an iron hammer and struck with all your might. If we apply this principle to ourselves then it is important for us to realize that as we live and make choices we are building our selves and our lives. We can choose to follow previous instructions which obviously worked or do everything our own way and suffer the consequences that the vicissitudes of life can bring. The results of our choices will make a difference what kind of longevity we can enjoy and the quality of our lives. Our happiness will be tied to the success in the choices we made and each life which has become intricate with our own will also be affected.


Following the precedents of God is viewed almost with disdain in our so-called modern world. We see a lot of people who live mostly according to their own whims and fancies and they seem to do better than those who follow a strict code of behavior which is laid out very well in the Bible or in old social mores. One does not necessarily have to be religious to follow such codes and precedents. Perhaps it's because I tend not to take people at face value that I see holes and rips in the fabric of lives which don't hold to these standards. Their hearts don't appear loyal, they don't impart wisdom and they very seldom put down roots that last or take hold. This is the foundation of a life, however.


Your life is part of the inheritance that you give to your progeny. They follow in your footsteps, they emulate you and they never forget you. Eventually, they live right inside the house that your hands and your heart built. It's best we build that on a foundation which will hold them secure for a long time. We don't know if a stream or a storm is headed their way.



The Castle Lady, with a stream of kisses !

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Avon Walks for the Rockies on June 26 and 27th !

     This year marks the eighth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer which starts in Washington, D.C. and draws a 45 state participation each year. It will reach Denver by the 26th and continue on throughout the western states culminating this year in New York City and Charlotte, N.C. Thousands of participants share the walk every year and they have raised more than $7.7 for research in finding a cure for breast cancer and to help patients to fund their care and treatment. 
     You may be aware that Suze Orman is the ambassador for Avon's Foundation for Women but you may not know that she personally raised more than $105,000 alone- the most any walker has ever raised for a single event ! Donations are being accepted for all the remaining events which will occur in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, New York City and Charlotte. For more information about how you can register to walk, volunteer or donate you can click here or you can call 1-888-488-WALK.
     This is one of the many ways that Avon is truly making a difference in the lives of people around the world and have made a commitment to help women most in need.
 
The Castle Lady with kisses you need !
    

Monday, May 24, 2010

How not to be a schlumpadinka !


I don't know how many of you remember (or happened to be viewing) when Oprah had a segment on her show- a year or so back- which centered on her friends and their apparent lack of fashion sense and customary appearance. I mention this because it was Oprah who coined the term schlumpadinka on the show~ although, to be honest, it sounds rather Jewish doesn't it ? No matter.


It turned out to be hysterically funny in one sense and yet also a head turner for everyone concerning the American penchant for dressing a little too far down most days. I don't know if it started with actors and celebrities hounded by paparazzi when they are obviously not looking their best but I'd like to know why the average citizen thinks so little of their appearance in public that they will show up at the post office, grocery store or other mundane errand stops looking like they just got out of bed or were run over by a truck ! Why don't they stay at home and check out the mirror first ? Huh. Your guess would be better than mine I'll bet.

Now this is not to say I haven't had my serious bad lapses in taste when I've little time to do my daily dozen and get on with my day. I'll be honest and tell you that I don't dress like Beaver Cleaver's mother when I work in a kitchen or wear tight clothes, like Blondie, when I'm sitting and pounding away at a P.C. I don't put on the dog to go take the dog for a walk but when it comes to meeting and greeting the public I am aware that video cameras are everywhere and I would rather make an effort to make myself look presentable for nice affairs and events. Sometimes I try to outdo myself and try to look at least as nice as Marilyn Monroe, although I am not making a comparison, trust me !

About a year or so ago, the wife of a good friend of mine sent me an e-mail called The People of Wal-Mart and there were all manner of folk dressed either wacky, demented, sexily inappropriate or completely disgusting. Completely disgusting, you ask? How about someone wearing a T-shirt that has, "I just farted", emblazoned on the back? I suppose we should call him schlumpadink-him ?


At any rate my feeling is that people everywhere ought to start making more of an effort at least when they are shopping in stores or making the rounds where a lot of people congregate. You might think this is nit-picking or even being hypocritical. I did say I have my schlumpadinka moments or hours depending on what I'm trying to accomplish. Perhaps adding a little style to something very casual isn't out of the question. French women have been doing that for years and with a true knack for accessorizing simple outfits. What's wrong with adding a hat, scarf or little bauble of jewelry?


This is just a passing observation, but many middle aged to advanced middle age women dress in clothes too large for their frame. I'm not sure exactly when that started but it seems to me that for a desperate span of years women ran around in sweat outfits to do everything. The sweat outfit decade! Phew! It's over and it's time to look for a much more flattering wardrobe. God gave women curves for a very good reason and I don't think it's out of the question to show them off a little. As Jim Morrison said, "no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." So my advice is stop wearing something that you think is hiding something unacceptable. God gave you those assets for a reason and if you're clever you can show off that wonderful waistline without knocking everybody's eyeballs out. You may have to make some outfits, by the way.

There are designers who have made a difference in the fashion world by creating flattering outfits for women of all sizes and just in case you think you would not want to make the best of your figure, I want you to know that Bali is still making undergarments that reapportion your figure to the acceptable curves standard. Why not make use of them ? They still are affordable and will help you be the best you ! I understand that even these beanpole sylphs walking around are using the very same type of garment as outerwear to make themselves look more like their better endowed sisters! How's that for a switch ?

Now, about that un-made-up face. I know. I know. Do I need to look like Heather Locklear or Pamela Sue Anderson to make a Hamburger Helper meal for this lump of a boyfriend? My advice is that if you want the kind of service you used to get in stores try putting on a little blush, some lipstick coupled with lip gloss so you won't look like Bette Davis or Joan Crawford on a bad day. Some light fragrance will do wonders for how you are perceived by store clerks and cashiers, too !

If you feel unsure of yourself with the amount of make-up you've applied you can always remove what you think is over the top. The whole idea is to feel more relaxed and confident about yourself so make yourself happy. If you feel like a clown you'll probably act like it, and if it feels like too much- it probably is too much. Just remove it to the acceptable level you want to achieve.
I suppose selling Avon got me on this new track of being more aware of my every day appearance. I would remind everybody that the way you look is the first perception people will have about you and it's better that they see something positive in almost any given situation. Well, you better get back to work....



Glamorous hugs and kisses from


The Castle Lady


Monday, May 17, 2010

Hear the other side.

That quote by Saint Augustine is a flagship citation for anyone who truly wishes to be a peacemaker.

I have met a few of those in my time. I have often tried to be one myself and have had some successes but I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that sometimes I have failed at it miserably. I don't know if that is a failing of my own but I can say unequivocally that when I try to make peace I am earnest and quite sober about it. People who are enraged are impossible to appease and I've never seen a person reach this stage of loss of control who can easily be laughed off. When someone is fighting to be taken seriously they refuse to laugh. They are also the most difficult people to live and work with on all counts. So what's the answer?

Remember that 70s quote that was on almost everyone's lips? (If you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem.) It's logic that's difficult to disprove and I find is most often right. In order to have peace it has to be in your head first. If you can't find it there and hang onto it then don't expect to get in the middle of someone else's affairs and make peace. This is not to say that everyone who has head problems makes problems for everyone else. That isn't my point. However, if you cannot make peace with yourself you're not an obvious candidate to make peace for the world. You basically have to be able to focus on being a peacemaker, make it your priority and then there's one other type of solution that always seems to work wonders. Learn how to listen to people. They often say things they don't mean when they are scared, lonely or just hurting. People will strike out at others when they feel bereft of any other recourse. People are basically selfish and are badly in need of attention. If you take these things into consideration and you really care about people you're half way to being a true intercessor to the world. It badly needs you.


Blessed kisses from
The Castle Lady

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A desire, a dream, a vision...

"Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-
a desire, a dream, a vision."
-Muhammad Ali
Very recently I have gone back to entrepreneurship to save myself from financial ruin in the form of becoming an Avon Lady again. I don't know how many women groan when they hear they word but they should be quite relieved to hear it. I can't name any other company more involved in women's rights and women's issues at this time other than Oprah. If you visit their foundation web site you will find a very committed newsletter to the issues of breast cancer and ending domestic violence. Avon was always a company primarily for women but that doesn't mean that men can't get involved in helping.
Avon's CEO wants to empower women by giving them opportunities for higher education and making an income when all other avenues have failed or are inadequate. The women involved with Avon in this cause are Amy Hughes, Reese Witherspoon ( who is their spokesperson and recently added her Avon signature fragrance In Bloom to the product line) and Suze Orman.
As a kick-off to the Avon Walks which will start on April 10th in Houston, there are products you can purchase of which 100% of the profits will go to these causes. They start from $3 items to $15 starting with the empowerment bracelet up to a beautiful pink breast cancer Sleepshirt and Crusade Strap Watch. If you visit my online store you can go to the newsletter and find out more about these items and the walks. Please check out "You Can Make a Difference" and "Help Us Change the World".
Concurrently, Reese Witherspoon will join many other ambassadors in Washington, D.C. to launch a global advocacy campaign involving Vital Voices and the U.S. State Department. This summit will bring delegations together from all over the world in collaborative solutions to the escalating issue of violence against women. Avon's empowerment products have raised more than $8 million in 50 countries to fund programs in stopping domestic violence.
I'm keeping a blog on my site as well so you can monitor my progress and also find out about some of the products I like. I love Reese Witherspoon's signature scent and I highly recommend it as a mother's day gift. You'll get a matching free gift bag if you order within the next month. Avon has great products for almost every member of the household now and they are on the cutting edge of technological breakthroughs in skincare and make-up lines. The Mark line is for the teen set and young adults and there are wonderful bargains to be had by checking out the Outlet tab when you check out my web site. Go take a look at:
You'll be glad you made a difference ! The Castle Lady

Friday, March 26, 2010

If you don't like the weather in Denver....

We've been having a rather unusual spate of seasonal changes in this city...certainly more unusual than a typical March. The truth is I can't explain it without the following saying I've heard since I was very young.

"If you don't like the weather in Denver, wait a minute."


That explains it in a nutshell and covers just about any time of the year and any season or semi-season you can think up. We have a special couple of sayings for March that puts the crazy changes in a succinct few words.

"March comes in like a lamb and leaves like a lion.


Sometimes it comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb."

The latter saying may have you scratching your head especially if you don't live here or have never spent any amount of time in Denver or Colorado for that matter. It simply means that we'll have a humongous snowstorm at the beginning of March and then true spring-like weather by the end of it or it will come in very mild and balmy, windy and end with a blizzard.

This year it came in very nice, almost like summer on a few days but the second half of this month has been extremely weird. Weird weather here is the kind that can drive you out of your mind. Today is a good example. It was sunny and dry after having a pretty good snowstorm Tuesday night which almost dripped off and dried up by Wednesday afternoon. At about 2:00 pm it went cloudy. At 3:00 it had gotten windy, then the wind quit and it started to rain. (It almost never rains in Denver. I can count our rainy days in a year on one hand, normally.) Then after it rained for about ten minutes it decided to quit and started snowing. It snowed for ten minutes tops and now it's just cloudy again. This could go in any direction now and it's 6:00 pm while I'm writing this looking at a cloudy but dry late afternoon.

Did you get all that ? Well, don't feel badly if it confuses you just be glad you don't have to leave your house everyday equipped with every possible type of defensive apparatus known to man to fend off an unknown weather. We laugh at weather predictions this time of year because they really don't mean a thing. All I can tell you is that if you come to Denver be prepared for just about anything.


The Castle Lady with unpredictable kisses !

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cead Mile Failte~ A Thousand Welcomes

     Well, it's time for another round of Irish folklore. March 17th always seems like perfect timing for lifting up our spirits for the sake of a heritage that is rather ancient and yet is still so young in many ways. Back in 1999 I wrote the story of St. Patrick as a reporter for a newsletter of a Denver bank while I was concurrently employed there as a teller. I decided to republish it on my castlelady blog some years back and this is the link for it:
 
     I have a special feeling for the authentic castles of Ireland that reaches back into my own Irish heritage which comes from both my mother's and father's side of the family. A good example is Castle Trim. While it has been said that Irish people are not exactly fond of castles I would challenge that supposition on the basis of knowing that not all castles built on Irish soil were for feudal purposes alone- the same as it is in England. I cannot hear Danny Boy sung without crying. Does that tell you something ?  
 
     There is, however, a bit of a tourist fascination which has been well-capitalized on Irish soil and everyone should be aware that when you mention castles in Ireland there will be a bill attached to it which you may find excessive. There are no significant bargains to be had but there are wonderful venues for everyone to enjoy and get a dramatic initiation into their particular world of castles and culture. Not only that but it's worth the price of admission !
     If you'd like to find out more just check out www.celticcastles.com and you can read about the featured castle this month, Lough Eske Castle which has been renovated and turned into an award-winning castle hotel. This wonderful site will be a great resource if you are planning a major event and you want it to be spectacular ! Tell them....
 
                             The Castle Lady sent you !  
 
 

Monday, March 15, 2010

PTL- An Incredible Day in the History of Haiti !

The following is an account I was sent in an e-mail about what is going on in Haiti. This is an historical event that reaches beyond the devastation and finally brings the good news to these spiritually starving people:


AN INCREDIBLE DAY in the HISTORY OF HAITI
-by Jerry Miel (Feb 17)
(verbatim)

Jerry Miel is a good friend and radio engineer who served as a missionary in Haiti with World Team mission when we lived there .
He worked with the Christian station, Radio Lumiere (Radio Light). He has gone back to Haiti to help in the aftermath of the earthquake and makes these important observations. - Boxley

I think that I will remember this day as one of the most significant in my life, not because of what I did, but for it's meaning . . .Today was the one month anniversary of the great Haitian earthquake.
About 3 days ago the Haitian President announced that there would be 3 days of holiday from work for the purpose of fasting and prayer. This is absolutely historic . If you have ever been in Haiti as a visitor or missionary, could you ever have imagined such a pronouncement? Could you image (sic) such an announcement from the U. S. President? This morning I saw a young Haitian-American woman, the leader of a work team, crying because the Americans could not understand the incredible importance of this day and wanted to go about business as usual. Remember, it was only about 6 years ago that a former Haitian president called the nation to come together to rededicate the nation to Satan.
This was not a minute of silence for the deceased or something as equally insignificant. Whatever the President might have originally intended, this became a real commitment for the Haitian people. As I sit here this evening, I can hear the preaching coming from a nearby church. Services have been going on all day . . . Let me tell you what I saw and felt today.
Peniel and I had planned an inspection trip up to the Artibonite Valley today. Right or wrong, I don't really know, but since it was the only opportunity, we went ahead with the trip. As we left the guest house abut 7:30 am, we were met by throngs of well dressed people headed to various churches. The sounds of Christian music and worship filled the air everywhere. the next observation was that there was NO traffic. Port-au-Prince streets are always clogged and overflowing with bumper to bumper traffic. This morning there were only a few vehicles on the roads, a few small buses (tap taps), some UN and military vehicles, and a few private cars. We had clear sailing through town. the same was true of foot traffic. Usually the streets are clogged also with people walking. Today there were only a few and many of them dressed for church. The only place that there were traffic blocks was in front of several churches where the congregations had overflowed the buildings and the yards and had moved out into the streets as well.
The next observation was that EVERYTHING was closed! We could not find even one business or gas station open. There were no intercity buses running. Whereas the sidewalks are usually overflowing with millions of street venders, we only saw a few here and there. The huge outdoor market near the wharf where thousands work each day and is spread out to cover most of the street, was EMPTY.
Where were all the people? They were in churches and makeshift meeting sites. Every church (except a JW church) had services going on, almost always overflowing into the streets. Beside broken down churches, services were taking place outside. In homeless camps, there were services. Everywhere the nation was gathered to worship and pray. No, I did not see any voodoo, Islamic, or Buddhist services. This scene was repeated in every
town and hamlet that we passed during the day.

Tonight, Pastor Ignace, who is sharing the room with me, asked this question: "Can people still say that Haiti is a voodoo country?" What has been happening and is continuing to happen in Haiti did not happen because of the earthquake. It has been happening because the Haitian people know how to pray. This is a tremendous outpouring of God's power as the result of prayer. Twenty years ago I started praying for the Gospel to change the Haitian culture . I think that I am seeing God do that work.
The only sadness that I feel today is for our nation . While a nation that has long been under Satan's domination is turning to God with total commitment, our nation, founded on Godly values has rejected God and is rapidly trying to forget that his name even exists. Let us pray for revival.
Pajanm bliye, Jezi remmen ou. M'ap priye pou ou !
Be blessed by Jesus today !

The Castle Lady with hugs, kisses and blessings !

Friday, March 05, 2010

Preach-y ? ?


I occasionally am inspired to write expository entries on all my blogs on the topic of Christianity and specifically God-given epiphanies and outright sermons (if you will) concerning faith. I hope I never come across as preaching heavily although given that my stance is basically fundamental by nature I'm sure it is unavoidable on certain points. I am not here to judge anyone and the Bible states pretty clearly "judge not lest ye be judged." I always keep that in mind when I write something I feel so strongly about- enough to write about it and post it on my blogs.

That being said, the following is my feeling about regular church attendance and why I think it's necessary for many but may be redundant for a few. There are a lot of variables here, so hear me out:

I don't know how many churches I've attended now and I've decided not to turn this into a mathematical equation or attendance record contest. I do know that any church I've attended on a regular basis eventually gets into the realm of repeating a sermon that invariably becomes an exercise in teaching a conditional type of faith based on works and not the love of a God who sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. I don't know how many people have said the sinners prayer and walked out of a church later- never to return except to the life they lived prior to attending the church but apparently it's so prevalent that John Bevere decided to write a book years ago titled, When the Heavens are Brass. I heartily recommend this book for those of you who witness to people and actively invite and take these people to church. Without prayer and careful watching, there is no one more vulnerable to spiritual attack than a brand new convert. Why do they get attacked so vehemently? They are generally the most enthusiastic people for the gospel. If a verse in the Bible describes them well it is in Jesus words in Matthew, Mark and Luke:


Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself but endures only for awhile. For when tribulation or persecution arises, because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, (but) the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful. He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.


Today the world is such that very little of what we see, hear and read is truly internalized. Perhaps we are too inundated and it becomes difficult to sift through the barrage we encounter each and every day. Very little should be internalized, in truth, but it is not that way in your communication with your creator. People who accept Jesus as their personal savior need to attend church regularly, get in a good study group and get saturated with the words in the Bible in order to gain understanding of what they have started in motion. You cannot build anything without directions or education and it is the same with becoming a Christian. You have to build your faith and you have to work at it.

As your Christianity grows your church should be sensitive to your individual needs and make sure that they provide you with the training you need to become an effective witness for Christ. If you stay where you are at you will become the Christian who stumbles. Witnessing is key to the growth of your faith. This is a time for a special type of sheltering which ultimately comes from God but should be recognized and encouraged. No one has to be perfect to witness for the gospel but your effectiveness will definitely be according to the level of training you have received to deal with vicissitudes and others concerns. Compassion for sinners becomes a key issue at this point. If your church is not helping you at this stage, find a church that does!

If you have reached a point where you spend most of your time in a church and you begin to become judgmental of the world around you- finding it almost impossible to share your faith and feeling that you no longer want to communicate with sinners, you need to stop attending church and ask yourself where you are headed in life. What are you doing for the Kingdom of Heaven ? It's very easy to continue to cloister yourself among the faithful and stay comfortable in your perfect little world but you are like the seed among thorns. All the people who get on your nerves and make you feel uncomfortable with your life as a Christian are your assignments. It would be better for you to open your mouth and take the risks involved than continue living a life which produces nothing. Re-read John 15:1-9 and then ask yourself what you are producing at church.

If you are one of those people who actively invite and take people to church or you actively witness at each and every opportunity remember to keep these people in your prayers. Watch over your seed like a mother hen watches over her brood of chicks. Stay involved in those lives you have touched as much as is possible. Keep praying over the words you have witnessed and ask God to prosper them. You're ready for the Lord's Army. Rejoice ! !


Not preaching...just teaching,


The Castle Lady

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Women Politicians and Election Loopholes




I have been watching the ongoing bipartisan skirmishes with a lot of apprehension lately and I have become a little surprised at what the traffic bears today in the way of TV ads and newspaper commentary along with all the political e-mails I receive from family, friends and outright foes.
Perhaps you may not know that recently Supreme Court passed legislation called Citizens United to allow corporations and other special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money in our elections. So what, you say ? If we value this country as a democracy we would not want these groups to unbalance the former fairness of our election system by allowing any individual or group to practically buy our elections. I would urge you to not let foreign governments and foreign corporations to place ads attempting to sway the American population to vote according to their needs rather than our own. These may include government contractors, TARP recipients, CEOs of companies who often hide but fund these special interests. The Tea Party convention in Nashville supposedly has no leader but believe me this is no time to stand around sipping evil nectar! Republicans didn't want this legislation when democrats dominated the house and senate but now they've pulled a fast one by pushing their own version of it because they believe they have the public bamboozled with their so-called true agenda. If that's true, why don't they come out and admit what they support and don't in those ads? The people want to know: who really paid for this ad ?
I guess the best way to illustrate what can happen with this is to point to republican Jane Norton who is running for something here in Colorado. She claims in her television ads that the current government spending is what put this economy in its tailspin. If you've been paying attention at all you'd know that isn't true but the problem would be traced back to Bush's last act of treachery with the so-called failing banks bailout. Turns out he didn't give that money to failing banks. He put it in the hands of well-to-do bankers themselves. He also did worse than that but I don't need to tell you this do I ? Eight years of nothing but bumbling speaks for itself, I believe.
Well, this same Jane Norton is proposing to put taxes on our groceries and medications. A tax we've never had to shoulder here in this state. (This shifts the tax burden off of the wealthy and hits senior citizens on a fixed income right in the wallet.) She says the government should have no role in health care which is bad news for Medicare recipients. She also says that President Obama cares more about the rights of terrorists than protecting Americans. The funny thing is that you'll never see that on her TV ads. These double-minded tactics have become a new high-strung way of pushing a different agenda but covertly and with plenty of money to fuel it. It also makes no sense.
All those who think this is harmless ought to take a good look at Sarah Palin who looks as harmless as a jelly-fish but her stinger is poised at destroying Social Security and Medicare saying that people are being oppressed by these programs when as a matter-of-fact these current economic times would require that they stay in place. She's Going Rogue alright and she doesn't aim at anyone she doesn't think is a direct threat to her spending sprees or mismanagement of funds. Whatever happened to Bush Sr.'s, "Read my lips"? They want to tax more and take our programs away. What are those funds for? Think about it. We have a lot of people in this country who have no health insurance. If Medicare dies what will our options be, anyway? If Social Security is privatized, only those with lower benefits coming to them will be out on the street at a time of life when you would not want to be homeless. Is this our future under the Republican regime?
Just in case you're wondering what a legitimate special interest group might look like, take a look at what Leonardo DiCaprio is currently supporting and quite openly. www.ThisIsOurMoment.org It's an organization that is trying to push forward with a Clean Energy Bill which will be aggressive in getting carbon pollution dealt with, create jobs and will be a defining moment in what Obama said he would tackle if given some sign or initiative to help. He was looking for someone to roll up their sleeves and here it is with no hidden agendas or underhanded dealings. This is about solving problems, not who wins a bigger piece of the pie.

The pie is not all,




The Castle Lady

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Don't travel funky ! !

     When I first started embarking on travel in earnest it was international all the way. My first trip out of the U.S.A. was to London which was probably the best place to cut my teeth with European travel since I was young. I was only nineteen and had never been outside my country- not even to Mexico (which I've never been to!) My first castle was the Tower of London and it was also probably a best first once again since I can't think of a better prototype model for a concentric medieval configuration of a castle than William the Conqueror's pride and joy in London.
     The other day I was looking in the travel section of my local newspaper when I spotted a book which just made me shake my head in disbelief. Actually it's two books: Beginner's Guide to Cruising and  Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation. Now, I ask you, if there is a no-brainer- just get on the plane and then get on the boat- ease of a trip, it would be a cruise. Why would you possibly need to read about how to go on a cruise ? Would someone please answer that in some way that won't make me accidentally shoot water up my nose through my throat again. That hurts you know!
     Taking a vacation in the current economy apparently involves trying to think up ways of making traditionally boring ways to spend your week off in an even cheaper manner than ever before. Why try to spice it up with knowing the ins and outs of your particular nonsensical idea of a vacation? I may be a little harsh in my assessment but it seems to me that if you cut corners too much or attempt too hard to make something out of nothing it may be more like just going to work than you care to think about.
     Amusing vacations are in as well. I found these links and thought I would share them with you.  
 
Head cam videos of heliskiiing in Alaska
 
 
     Maybe it would just be easier to stay close to home and find a nice spa to lay around in ! Good idea !
 
Ah ! Home again, home again, jiggity-jig!
 
 The Castle Lady
 
 
      

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Who wins ? McDonalds or Burger King ?

      I am going to give everyone a fair chance to express their opinion on something that isn't a major issue but got me to thinking about the way the media is always trying to sway public opinion for their own selfish gain. The other night I came across this article on the internet:
    
     It struck me as rather ridiculous that anyone would make their decisions about whether they will patronize a business based solely on what type of advertising they do. I'm not saying that the commercials aren't juvenile and at times even insulting to more than a few identifiable groups out there but since when do people make their consumer purchases based on the commercial they watched on TV the other night? Does anyone seriously do this or am I being silly myself?
     Assuming that you've read the article from the link I just provided please give me your opinions in the comments. My personal feeling is a practical one. Since BK has been in business I have preferred their hamburgers over just about every franchise hamburger chain out there. I don't buy hamburgers from Wendy's but I like their salads. Period. McDonald's quality has been down since 1969 apparently. I've never had a decent hamburger from them. Period. Their fries are the best and that's about it. Carl's Jr. can give BK a run for their money but we only have one in the entire state of Colorado and it's luckily reasonably near where I live. Sonic might be fun if I still drove around in my first car- a vintage '67 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Otherwise it's insanity to try to eat finger food with half the contents dropping on my steering wheel. Those drive-in days are over- believe it !
     I think that someone out there (guess who? ) paid this guy to write that article. Special interest groups will tear them apart the same way they tried to do KFC in about their so-called mistreatment of chickens. Pshaw ! ! Activist- smack-tivist ! I'll go where the quality is and for me a decent hamburger will always be the flame-broiled decent-sized beef patties in a plump, non-soggy bun that only Burger King provides ! So there. Thbbbph ! !
 
Don't forget to leave a comment ~ BIG KISS !
 
 
The Castle Lady  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Inner Beauty

   We can't do much about our appearance through normal means but we have
total control over the kind of person we become.
 
 
    One of the least prized attributes of our current culture is quite possibly the most important to our health and well-being today. That is truly a shame. In a time when we most need the fortitude and tenacity that inner beauty can impart to individuals and team players alike, we seem to be seriously lacking. I cannot remember a time in my life when politics have ever been this mean-spirited and divisive or when so much of old game conning and some insidiously new trumpery in business has been so prevalent. Our values are all wrong but we cling to them because it's what worked previously.
     I believe it's time for this country to take a giant leap in character-building and reset our priorities. Helping Haiti is our chance to show the world what lies beneath the surface of our flag-waving courage and pride. Perhaps if we stop thinking so much globally as we ought to think to those who are truly less fortunate and put a stop-gap on what we think is worth spending our money on, we will be helping everybody including ourselves.
     A new face cream is not going to change your face so much as a heartfelt, genuine smile. A brand new racing style sports car isn't going to give you any more dash than a hands-up to a few hundred people who have never known anything but privation. I cannot look at a hugely expensive or over-priced item without thinking how many meals I could buy with that money for people who are starving.
     Only a decade and a half ago Americans were being referred to as the Ugly American in most global capital cities around the world because of their blatant self-indulgence and tawdry life-styles. Wouldn't it be nice to change the world's view to one of inner beauty and radiance on our part? We could stop throwing epithets of liberal and fascist at each other and start showing a new face to the world which might truly make a difference globally. All we would have to do is change the way we act- here and abroad- but mostly here on our own shores. There isn't any quick way to wealth and once it's gone you cannot buy back your health. If you think about the impact you have in your own sphere and mind what you're actually doing you may be able to change the world for good without even fully realizing it. It's worth it to appear like a movie star without wasting the money on that Gucci rag, isn't it ? 
 
Putting a new face on and loving it,
 
 
The Castle Lady