Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Day To Treasure

Okay, I'll admit, this isn't the exact way this past Sunday looked in Ligonier. But the temps were bone chilling and the wind whipped about. Yet so many amazing people came out to have a little fun and show support of the town they love, and the town I'd like to adopt.

You see, back where I come from, Beaver County originally, we close up shop over a few snowflakes. We cancel everything and then some when the weather turns on us. Not true Ligonier folks.

My book launch party which was held at Thistledown at Seger House went on as planned. And it truly was an incredible turnout. We had homemade cookies and hot cider, punch, gifts and giveaways. We had a speaker who told us about the history of the inn, and another who told us about history of the town. When I spoke about my writing journey, everyone was courteous and receptive.

No matter what time of the year my husband and I visit this town, we've made some new friends in the different shops. My book actually uses several real Ligonier locations at the owners permissions, and I felt as if I was a character in my own book, a very surreal feeling, as we introduced ourselves around this past weekend

Ligonier has been home away from home for my husband and I. the perfect getaway for the long hours he puts in at work. The time out so necessary from our hectic lives and living in the large, busy town of Monroeville. And every nook, every storefront is a writer's delight. My vivid imagination runs wild when I am there.

When visiting recently, I couldn't contain my excitement. For everywhere I looked, I saw scenes of my book as if they are true events and really occurred. There are two distinct chapters about the town, and I hope to convey not only to the people who love Ligonier, but to outsiders, what a wonderful place it is.

If you haven't had a chance to read the book yet, it is available at the link below on Amazon in e book format and paperback. Second Chapter Books of Ligonier also has a few autographed copies.

In closing, I want to thank you all again, those of you who turned out for the event and made it such a wonderful day, and thank you all for making outsiders feel a sense of belonging, if only for a weekend here and there.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fifty Shades of Wonderful

Love yourself unconditionally.

I'm not going on a rant. I'm not going to lecture anyone. This isn't your typical "Fifty Shades" bashing.

I've read many books and seen many movies. I've thoroughly enjoyed horror, love, literature and other types of reading pleasures. One of my favorite series is Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" books. There's plenty of everything in these books, yes, sex too, but I think we are all missing the point here.

I am no one to judge. Please carry on with your day and feel no regrets. I'm speaking today to our young girls. In that category I mean our very small children and young teens. In today's society, they are exposed to so much more than I was back in the dinosaur era. I grew up with television, movies, records and books. And yes, some of it influenced me very very much. Especially the lyrics to many songs. I became curious and began to wonder about such things that were extremely explicit at the time.

The main problem with "Fifty Shades" is simply this: it's teaching young ladies that it's okay to let a man dominate you even to the point of telling you how much you should weigh and how your body should look. I read a few chapters of this book at the suggestion of a friend, waiting for the love story that eventually blossoms. But as someone who has been in verbally abusive, controlling relationships, it sickened me. I cannot for one minute advocate a man telling a woman she MUST work out, she must be a certain "type" if she's to be with him.

Our poor young girls have enough with the razor thin models gracing the covers of our magazines and blatantly pasted all over the internet and television. So now they must believe that the only way to "get" a man and keep him is to totally obey him? Especially where it comes to looks?

Give me old-fashioned values and manners. Give me conscience and morals. Yeah, I've messed up, perhaps a lot in my life. There are times I'm not proud of and relationships I wish I could erase from memory, but please, young people, open your eyes. I'm not just another grandma lady preaching at you. Love yourself for who you are. Love your weight, your face shape, your eyes, your nose, your ears, whatever it is you think needs changed or worked on. Be content with who you are, who God made you to be. And never let a man abuse that confidence.

In a marriage in my early twenties, I was with a "pretty boy" who constantly made me feel less than. When we'd first met, it was all compliments and love. But a change began to occur. I had never known at the time what a manipulator he was. I hadn't known that there were multiple affairs and women calling the house, hanging up. I hadn't known he'd eventually leave me in the dust for someone "better looking." Oh yes, it happens every day.

My self-esteem suffered for years because of this. I never lived up to the distorted reality of what I should be, or what I should look like. I punished myself for years thinking I deserved this, and it was my fault, and if only I was prettier, thinner, whatever. I wasted precious, valuable time with this lifestyle.

The bottom line ladies is this once again. Love yourself. Be proud of who you are. Find healthy relationships with men who adore you, who want to see you grow. Don't let anyone make you feel less than. You are God's beautiful masterpiece, and remember, He doesn't create junk. You are who you are for a very special reason. And that is fifty shades of wonderful.