Friday, December 04, 2015

Surrendering to God

  It's amazing what can truly happen,
how your life can be so grand;
when you give up trying on your own,
and let an angel hold your hand.
     Have you ever tried to make something happen that has been deemed by everybody to be impossible? If you have never taken on a challenge undaunted then I propose that you must do this as soon as you feel you have it within you not to give up. You'll have to go beyond passion, which everybody is so fond of calling it nowadays and go right into absolute obsession. That is where your fondest dreams lie. It is the hope you never give up and the quest you hold onto when everything else seems to fall by the wayside. Human beings were constructed for the non-surrendering life. Our brains are wired with the desire to solve even the most difficult problems. People's potential for achievement is unlimited according to tests which have been carried on for decades by teachers, scientists and neurosurgeons. If you read books by authors like Norman Vincent Peale, Earl Nightingale or Nancy and Sheila Ostrander you can get a sense of your personal power and what it takes to live up to your full potential. Human experience alone shows and tells us that all this is true.
     As children we struggle through some of our problems trying to solve challenges alone or figure out our own ways of dealing with difficulties. New math, when it was introduced mid-20th century in schools had parents scratching their heads and the children wondering where to look for the answers they needed. The old math was easier to convey to children by parents but new math was introduced to make math easier. None of the old, hard ways would help them write out equations correctly and so the children were left to figure it out on their own. It may have been a blessing in disguise. Educators started talking about independent thinkers shortly after the introduction so it was best to part with the old- even as parents watched helplessly while their children struggled through homework problems by themselves.  
     We are like this also as adults but more so. Our thinking becomes more set in certain ways of thinking or dealing with problems and difficulties. Often, we find that those ways no longer solve the issues we face in the real world. Tried and true is almost an anomaly, ironically, in today's fast hi-tech, (so-called) high touch and change-is-good philosophy and if you don't move right along with the current hit-and-run technology and strategies you can be left in the dust wondering how to handle challenges in the old way. Even I sometimes long for days when many aspects of life were a whole lot simpler or at least, not as complex.
     Change is not necessarily good but it is inevitable. A current popular quote supports this idea:
          "As a job seeker, remember this: You only lack experience if they want it done the same old way." - Robert Brault
     There is a certain type of wisdom in that which is refreshing and welcomed because long-term problems such as economics, ecology, energy and substance depletion, pollution and toxic waste continue to hamper modern life. Our stubbornness in continuing to do everything as if it is working- when it's obvious it is not- created many of these problems and they won't be resolved or at least tackled until we admit that changes are inevitable and imperative.
     In God's Kingdom, change is also inevitable, irreversible and eventually required. Repentance, in its direct form, is basically changing your independent mind and habits to being more dependent on God and what is laid out in the holy scriptures. The Bible is indeed our 'set of instructions' for everything from dealing with jealousy to breaking bad habits along with being freed from the slavery of sin. God is not out to change who you are- that wouldn't make sense since God created you. He wants you to change your stubborn attitudes, to make better choices in life and proclaim that His way really is the best way to do everything.
     Back in the 70s there was a song which was made very popular by the Carpenters titled, Love is Surrender. I'll let it play out here the way it was written by Ralph Carmichael:

The Castle Lady     

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What Would a Lady Do ?

At the end of last week an interesting scenario just popped into my head that made me wonder how many women would have loved to have the following final reply ready in such an embarrassing situation as the one I'm about to impart. Keep in mind that this is a piece of fiction and a bit fractured at that. The kind of words needed to vanquish an often suffered but rarely properly rebuked dragon of male human kind necessitated something the French call le mot juste often done l'esprit d'escalier. My setting is a type of semi-context imitating the set-ups of the wildly popular TV shows What Would You Do?  and Shark Tank  to give the idea a modern focus and yet relayed in the words of ladies, that is, when ladies were really ladies. Thus:

    A woman who had once been of extensive means and titles found herself without real estate and finances and began to inquire in the town where she lived how to obtain the food and shelter she knew she would need to survive. This type of inquiry was unfamiliar to her and as she went the rounds and given quite a few runarounds, she became frustrated and did not understand why these services seemed to be unavailable to her. As a titled woman she understood that anyone in need could obtain necessities but may not have been aware how her situation would appear much better off to the average recipient of such aid. Her clothes spoke of gold but her purse was empty.
     Finally, she stood in the street- baffled and not knowing what to do next- when, what appeared to be a gentleman (albeit a rather bedraggled version of such) stepped up to her and asked her if he could be of any assistance since she appeared to be confused and upset.
     "I need to obtain lodging and sustenance. I have been to all the bureaus which are accustomed to giving aid. I have worked in them as a volunteer. Today they don't know me and tell me I do not qualify and must go somewhere else for assistance. Where can I turn to now ?", she replied.
     "My dear lady, if you don't mind my being so bold may I suggest that a woman of your stature should feel quite uncomfortable to stand amid the throngs, all alone, begging bread? I say this only because I have been a man of position and know how I felt when I myself was reduced to such a predicament. Surely you have something you can sell or a service you can render to put yourself back into a more familiar situation. Am I wrong?"
     "What would I sell ? What service would I render, that I have not already, in serving the public as the public servant that I have been?"
     "I have suggestions. You hold one view of being a public servant about which the rest of the world has no idea or could possibly fill. No one today knows what a lady is or does. Please enlighten me."
      "I can tell you what a lady would never do but I shouldn't have to tell you since you are a gentleman. That is unless you are a wolf in gentleman's clothing."
      "I heard a lady once say that a gentleman is a patient wolf. Is this right?"
      "I would not know that since I am a lady and not a gentleman."
      "The lady I speak of turned out not to be a lady but a woman of ill-repute. A woman of ill-repute ends up selling her body- one way or another."
      "Dear sir, as I'm sure you are a gentleman, I would have you know that I am a true and bonafide lady. I have considered the propositions you have just relayed to me and with all due respect I'm going to have to reject them. I do, however, wish to offer a counter-proposal. I'm prepared to accept $500 for which I'll gladly slap you as hard as I can in the face with the back of my glove. That is my final and adamant offer."
Now that's a lady!
The Castle Lady

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Playoff Procrastination

I'm sure my regular readers are wondering why I hadn't written about the Playoffs which have been over for about three weeks now. Quite frankly I think I'm still a little stunned at what happened even though I'd been noticing photos like this in the NBA twitter camp:

That's Stephen Curry in the middle with the number 30 jersey.
It's very obvious to me that LeBron is going to be in the Playoffs every year whether he plays for the Heat or Cavs or the Mavs for that matter. I think he's an amazing player with plenty of days of championships ahead. Look what he did for Miami! This is in the face of some serious injuries which other opposing teams seem to disregard flagrantly as a regular thing. It's like he's the NBA punching bag or something. In sports it's very difficult to get respect. There are so many sports journalists who think it's their job to make snarky comments about every player that shows true ability. He hasn't escaped his share but he is so cheerful most of the time that no one notices that Mr. Bobblehead gets knocked around too much. On June 11th I watched the Warriors whip the hides off the Cavs in a 103--82 final score and LeBron's shooting was held to 7 of  22! The series had been tied up to that point and I started to get worried. 

Even so, Stephen Curry is obviously coming into his own. He was so happy after they won but also so incredulous he kept yelling at his teammates, "What ?" Even he couldn't quite believe what he pulled off but each game was so close regardless of the final score that I watched both teams struggle like fury to get the other contained and with LeBron it's just not possible. Even Stephen Curry would say so if someone was bold enough to ask him. The Cavs were actually doing very well at the beginning of the championship playoffs until the series switched to the West Coast- the Warriors home base. People can say all they want about teams generally doing better at home but that's not always true and the Warriors did lose twice in the playoffs at home against Memphis and Cleveland! I sat up and took notice of the GSW when they won over the Nuggets back in 2013 during the first-round playoffs. They were defeated by the Warriors then and haven't made it to the Playoffs since ! GSW happens to have Andrew Iguodala, who started out with the Nuggets and their coach Steve Kerr is a star coach. We're going to have to keep our eyes open on GSW because they've broken some kind of spell. Watch out NBA !

The Castle Lady

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Quotes for Success at Living

The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind.
Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?
- Henry David Thoreau from Walden

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends,
the old and the new.

The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings are never given solely for the benefit of the one who receives them.
- Dr. Myles Munroe from Maximizing Your Potential
(My condolences go out to the new ministers of the late Myles Munroe.
He was a wonderful speaker and intellectual talent beyond compare
and he will be sorely missed. )

The true task of education is to draw out the uniqueness in each person
instead of trying to pour into their lives what someone else believes
should be put into a student. If we discover someone's dissimilarity
don't rush to judgment because the other is not like us.
Listen to their thoughts and grow and change through the encounter.
I believe in being rigidly flexible. That strange statement means that
I believe in setting goals for myself and once I have decided what they are
then I can hang loose and be very flexible in trying many ways to reach those goals.
If I encounter obstacles and barriers, then I have the opportunity to use them
as a honing stone. These make me sharper to be more flexible in overcoming the barriers.
I can fail but I am not a failure.
- Dr. Ken Olson from 
The Art of Hanging Loose in an Uptight World
Successfully being
The Castle Lady

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Singing in the Rain

For more than a week Denver has experienced continual downpours accompanied by brief periods of sunny weather. Yesterday I looked outside after a ten minute cloudburst and as I basked in the sun for about ten minutes I noticed that heavy steam was coming off every rooftop in my neighborhood. This monsoon may be the only one Denver has ever had because I certainly don't remember any and I've lived here most of my life!
     When I lived in San Diego I remember one monsoon which lasted about a week but those are constant downpours which never quit. It's pouring when you run to your car in the morning. You go to lunch and it's still raining cats and dogs. Back to work you get drenched and then on the way home you hydroplane on the highway and swim from your car to your apartment or house. By then you're just glad to be in a place where it's dry and you can stay there for awhile.
    Since Denver always must be contrary, the rain has been ten minutes pouring then a little bit of sunshine for another ten. Today it has been overcast without any sunshine with dry spells accompanied by brief downpours. This has gone on all day long and when I've looked out didn't know what I was going to see but with the knowledge that it's only going to change again whether standing outside or inside. Every time I look out now I stand there and sigh for five minutes. I've never seen such schizophrenic weather in my life ! Anywhere. Sheesh.

     My lawn is now up to my knees and I can't have it mowed because it's too wet even when it's sunny. You should see the weeds ! They're twice as high and look abominable. I am literally going to have to take a machete to it before I even attempt to mow. I'm not making this up. I'll take photos to prove it if I have to and then you'll know this is for real. I always thought that people living in Seattle had a great deal with a mostly drizzling climate but in retrospect I'm glad I decided against moving there about a decade ago and I'm now checking properties in Arizona and certain parts of New Mexico.
     Isn't it funny that it really doesn't affect my mood ? Everyone else seems to find this kind of weather depressing but mostly I enjoy rain in Denver because moisture is so rare and unusual. After living in San Diego I took to keeping an umbrella in my car but the one I have in my twenty-five year old car usually has to have the dust brushed off of it before use ! That's how dry it normally is here in Denver. Well, one has to take the good with the bad so I'll sign off by saying that Denver has never looked so green and lush in May. There. (Sigh !)
 and dancing...

The Castle Lady

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April's Flowers, et al

     It is simply amazing how beautiful April has turned out to be this year! It's been at least a decade since I've seen Spring arrive so early. Denver, ordinarily, is either sparse, cold and overcast or, at best, blooming- albeit accompanied with torrential snowfall  or rain that threatens to destroy every blooming thing in sight ! (Pun intended.) It may be too early to tell but I think this is going to be an exceptional second season for Denver this year just like the old days. Ah! Even when I'm inside I can feel it. The air has literally changed to fresh and even if it is cool there's a sense of renewal and change all around me.
     As a result, I am enjoying this wonderful sudden transition- fully sprung- by taking clear advantage and finding excuses to be outdoors as much as possible. There were times in the past when I would read and write outdoors, especially in summer. It really will be like old times if our weather continues on this new trend and I'll be welcoming it with all the watering, walking, baskets and general outdoors activities I can think up to do. This has been an excellent time to restore my mother's old salon sign and it really looks beautiful. It appears to be a brand new sign but I'm going to add est. 1966 underneath it. Ordinarily, on summer's hottest days I avail myself of a shaded porch which is enclosed with flowering bushes and that is my place to hide out and read, write, keep up on collections, eat lunch and snacks or maybe daydream a bit. It has been two and a half years of mourning best put in the past. I know someone who would prefer I do just that and I'll be happy to oblige.
     My latest gross encounter of the household kind involved my refrigerator which I thought I couldn't budge. It's wide enough to be the equivalent of three tubas. Try to get your arms around that and pull back ! I had to get the help of my neighbor across the street and at first I thought he was going to have a tough time. We heard a crack and then he had it out of its tight corner. Come to find out it was literally stuck to the floor with dried soda (or something sticky- yuck!) and the whole area was in bad need of cleaning which I had to take another hour of time to take care of and get my newly released refrigerator back in place. Phew ! It's always something ~ ugh!
     I have found several similar messes like that ever since I took on the house and I've taken to holding my breath in areas where I've never ventured. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to find in any of them and definitely abhor nasty surprises. My constitution wasn't made to handle these types of vicissitudes. Hard work doesn't phase me but dealing with a mess or neglect that is totally unexpected drives me up a wall. If it happens to stink it's even worse. I never would've been able to change diapers so it's a good thing I never had kids! 
     Now, I have flowers to look forward to such as irises I planted three years ago. My lilac bushes really blossomed this year and I've taken to putting a bouquet of them in every room in the house. Lilacs are the best natural air freshener in world! The iris blades are coming out of the ground so it's a matter of time for them and my roses will be next which are a chore but a labor of love, nonetheless. My daffodils have come and are just now starting to wane. They don't last very long, unfortunately.
     Well, that's all I have to report for now. Earth Day has become a regular fete for me and I can't think of a better way to celebrate it than to just get outside and enjoy it. As a matter of fact it may be our duty as members of this planet. Tell your boss you're sick (of work) and go for it. Maybe he'll give you an Earth Day bonus and knock off early himself.
The Castle Lady     

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's Springtime in the Rockies !

Just like these bears here I have finally had my fill of winter. Even though this has been a longer and colder winter than I have ever experienced in Denver, it hasn't been without its drama and tenacity. I'm a native so the changeable weather is a norm for me which I have always appreciated. Even our weather can get tiresome, however, and winter is not an exception. Let's face it, does anyone really like shoveling snow, bundling up like an Eskimo just to go to the store or knocking icicles off one's nose? Verily, I say 'no' to all three. It's a blast for about three seconds, at best and then you just want to go back inside, drink some hot cocoa (or herbal tea) and curl up with a book!
     Happily, this month has changed into something more along the lines of Spring with rain instead of snow and the outdoors is growing and blooming ! I can hardly believe it. Yesterday's morning weather however, started out with a good rain soak, followed by freezing sleet then by 10:30 a.m. it looked like we were in for a blizzard. When I walked at 10:20 a.m. the sidewalks were just wet and I got by wearing a Mack. It was actually invigorating. By noon the sun was coming out and the snow, sleet and most of the rain had evaporated. It looked to be a nice day. Now you can't even tell it did anything at all but the lawn looks greener and the air is bone chilling cold. I walked outside to put out the garbage and almost froze in the process. That's just a one day sampling of Denver weather this time of year. We're really different.
     All told, I just want to get on with spring. A little bit more of soft rains and we'll be good for the junction into a rip-roaring hot summer by July. By then I'll have accomplished an incredible amount of writing and other work and I'll be able to enjoy a summer with a bit more reading than I accomplished last year and perhaps head for England by the time my birthday rolls around. Sounds like a plan doesn't it ? Well, keep your fingers crossed for me and say a little prayer.
     I could use the good words about now.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Monday, February 09, 2015

Fabulous February

Who would've thought that February could sparkle with busy-ness and excitement ? If Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow this year then he might want to take another look! This entire past week has been a whirlwind of work, new contracts, party planning for Valentine's and a general feeling of newness that I haven't felt for decades. If you actually look at the calendar it will give you a little bit of an idea of what we're in store for and why we feel this way, despite age or difficulties.
     Firstly, it's a perfectly symmetrical month with four of each day of the week ! I wonder when is the last time that happened since it's the only month with the fewest amount of days- leap year or no. Did I just write that ? Whoa ! We also have four major holidays in the same week ! Rest up for President's Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and Chinese New Year, one right after the other in the third week and that's right after celebrating Valentine's Day the previous Saturday. Be sure to eat your Cheerios with raisins. You'll need the stamina.
     It's really warmed up this week as well. I never thought January would end but usually enjoy the quiet and freshness of January because it's a new start and almost a blank page. Goals will be set, slates will be cleared, cleaned and ready to be wrote upon. Most of my goals have not changed over the years because I took on the mindset of reaching my first decade of the 21st century with making aspirations come true no matter what it takes. I have not resigned myself otherwise but I have taken on a new perspective which will help me achieve more in the long run and remove some stalemates that I have encountered for far too long.
     Resolutions were never a tradition with me but I do appreciate the chance to begin again anew and this year, somehow, feels like a genuine chance to seize my goals and hold on with a renewed passion for my love of castles and forge ahead. All my life I have always achieved what I really wanted and have only failed when I have let someone come in and take over. Rugged individualism has always been my strongest ally and I'm sure it will always be this way.
     Well, I'm off to conquer some more words somewhere else. This might come to a shock for some people but I actually prefer to write in longhand and most of my ideas for writing usually start with pen and blank book or paper. So many castles, so little time.
Enjoy the month !
The Castle Lady

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Animal Olympics

      Since the first of this year I've been keeping an eye on and feeding my neighbors cats which are tiger and black tabbies, respectively. They are as typical as cats can be but upon finding some extraordinary abilities in both felines I started thinking about why we don't encourage professional sports for our pets. I know it sounds crazy but hear me out because I believe that we may need a fitness revolution for pets. It's true that cats usually are the least likely to need an exercise regimen but even they could benefit and maybe even lead the way for dogs, hamsters, snakes, mice and even birds given the right circumstances. 
Take Po'ele'ele for instance. Tabbies are generally known as almost a run-of-the-mill breed and yet I saw this elegant black cat leap off a table vertically at least five feet to tackle Laulau, the tiger cat, like they were playing football. It was an awesome sight. I checked both cats for injuries but apparently they were fine and I may have ruined a score or something. Po (for short) also likes to eat tremendous amounts of food but I'm certain it's to maintain that great physique. Believe me, I checked for fatness and Po is pretty fit for a cat who does not need a mouse for sustenance.
Laulau is just a little love mostly but she has made her physical feats as well. She can make jumping high look like a magic trick. She makes no hesitations and always lands in or on her favorite spots. She has an extraordinary ability to hit a ball strategically to land right in an appropriate spot. She'd make a great shortstop. They both try to play some very strange form of tackle basketball with a tennis ball. I'm sure I've spent more than an hour of time just watching them play this fantastic secret game which beats my snow basketball by a mile. I'm not sure what the move of hugging the ball while trying to scratch the heck out of it with their hind feet signifies but it may be some sort of a high five, look-at-me victory dance maneuver. Whatever it is I highly recommend buying your cat a tennis ball to play with because he/she could become a millionaire and lift us out of this slow economy.
     Po'ele'ele for president ! (ahem!) and Laulau as running mate !
Never stop, that is- moving...
The Castle Lady