Creating An Ideal Life: Janet DeLee
The outer shell of an egg is quite fragile and can crack if the person holding it is not careful. Within this shell is the yoke of the egg and the whites what comprise the entire egg. Sometimes people find themselves living their life but only going through the motions. Others are afraid of failure defeat and making the wrong decisions. Ginny Lawther is someone at this very moment at the start of this book living within this fragile shell and afraid to break free of its confines and take that final step and break free hoping to create what she would call her Ideal Life. Everyone is capable of doing great things if you believe in yourself and have faith. But, Ginny, our main character is a defeatist and is constantly revisiting her choices, her mistakes, not believing in herself and sounding at times like a child not wanting to be chastised for giving a wrong answer in school. The story begins with an account of how Ginny spent her favorite summers with her Granny Sadie who owned her own landscaping company. Finding solace and enjoyment going along with her to pick out trees and plants at nurseries that seemed to young Ginny like they were on another side of the world, exciting and fun. Ginny loved going along with her as well as Great Grandpa Gus who had taken Granny under his wing, taught her the business and helped her to make living. Taking her younger brother Sam along made her adventures even better. But, Ginny did not stay a child forever and eventually she had to focus on a career of her own. Hearing her Granny’s thoughts in her head reminding her that she should choose something she loves doing would haunt her thoughts for quite some time. Choosing a job that you love makes waking up in the morning all the more exciting and special, as you never know what great things will happen during the day. But, frustrated and filled with anxiety Ginny decided to take a job as a market researcher instead of finishing her classes in college. But, sometimes snap decisions in this case would turn out to be 23 years of employment leading focus groups, doing market research and then something within Ginny snapped and she realized that a change was needed. After so many years how could she just quit a good job that paid well and find another career? But, she does in the one field that would make her Granny smile down at her from heaven: Landscaping! Working in this field proved difficult due to the water restrictions in Texas her home state and the lack of projects available because of it. So, being somewhat enterprising she found a job short-lived job in a nursery and then the recession. Although she worked hard in the landscaping company she was employed in revenue was lost, accounts were not coming in and just when Ginny was about to sign two lucrative clients, she was fired. So, what would she do now other than collect unemployment or take money from her father? What would she do that would give her as the title in the book states: An Ideal Life? Remember what Ginny wants to do with her life is not the same for everyone else and an Ideal or Perfect Life is not that easy to come by and sometimes not a reality. Needing some type of direction and no longer working in the landscaping business she decides to pursue her passion: WRITING! But, first Ginny has to do one thing first and that is decide on her goals, the asses her finances and go to Italy her lifelong dream where she just might find herself and gain the confidence to become a writer. Positive affirmations: Listing positive goals that she will have to attain and keeping a diary to allow readers and her friends to take the trip to Italy with her, visit the amazing cities, eat the decadent foods and understand the customs.
Once Ginny with help from her friend Cathy decides to take that leap of faith in herself and go to Italy the author uses Ginny’s voice to take readers on a tour of the country but first Ginny has to deal with the death of the
Father, saying goodbye and handling his estate and the guilt feelings that erupt about using his money, which is now hers to take this much longed for trip. Ginny has little self-confidence in herself and is constantly questioning her choices, her decisions and her ability to complete simple tasks. Using food and lack of exercise as her escape as many do, Ginny finds herself in the world of those that are unemployed, using her available resources and hoping that she will not wind up like so many, alone and with no money.
Laws of Attraction: She got herself a box and wrote: “Whatever exists in this box exists in my life.” She worked a budget, creating her expenses, where she could eat for less money, found a flyer for a laptop and bought it and she was on her way but where?
Ginny applied for Unemployment benefits, cleaned her house, created a budget, refused her father’s help before he died and then made a list:
Affirmation: Everyone is falling into place
IB: The road to ruin has been effortless
Affirmation: I can always find work
IB: No degree, fifties? Everyone’s dream employee
For every positive there was a negative voice to override it. Finding it hard to remain positive she let her inner voice take over and allowed it to win. Job offers were not there and the one interview she went on she did not even give it her best effort of best shot. Answering ads with sarcastic comments and dressing inappropriately for an interview would not get her where she seemed to want to go. Next stop: the airport and Rome! The author continues with a detailed description of Rome, the people, the churches, the art and the food allowing readers to experience the entire trip along with Ginny. But, every step of the way she has doubts, recriminations and all the while hopes to pursue her writing career not realizing that her simple emails with a touch of humor might be the spark she needed to realize that writing was in her blood and she just might write that five star novel.
There’s no drama and no suspense as we all visit Rome, enter the lobby of her hotel, read the email titled Hello Fellow Thrill Seekers and see the ancient heart of Rome. The hotel was in the vicinity of the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church and imagine this the Pantheon. Seeing that alone would entice anyone into wanting to visit this ancient city. From the al fresco lunch on the piazza overlooking the Pantheon to listening the musicians playing Vivaldi Ginny seemed to be really enjoying her trip. Pictures sent, photos of relics from St. Agnes of Agone and searching for her own self-worth or identity, this trip just might be the answer to her prayers but first, let me tell you of an incident on the plane that might have been coincidence or maybe caused by the Law of Attraction. What if she met a literary agent on the first flight to Chicago and what if this was not really by chance? From the streets of Sorrento to bargaining with vendors for items and making her point Ginny seemed to thrive yet still alone in her journey. Emails to her friends at home, encouragement from family she soldiered on from Sorrento to Orvieto and Assisi. The customs are quite unique and detailed as she describes the reaction of waiters in each restaurant to a lone diner. But, the church and God seemed to be her center where she was able to voice her doubts and her fears that she would not succeed in her goals. When would Ginny finally take hold of herself and take charge? From Florence back to Rome and then home again Ginny transformed in many ways fulfilling her lifelong dream to visit Italy but what about her writing? What would she finally write about and how would she present it to readers? With the help of her Aunt Eulalie and her Affirmations she forged ahead. “I am a best selling author. I am financially independent. I am a million dollar winner. But did she believe her own affirmations? Would she ever become an author? Will she define her Ideal Life? Is there such a thing as an Ideal Life or is there a map that we all create with our many paths that we have to follow as each fork leads us in many directions until we find the right one?
Read Chapters 17- 21, listen to Ginny as she decides her goals, begins writing her book and finds out just what it takes to become an author. Enter her writing group, hear the feedback and then wait with baited breath when she sends her manuscript after tons of edits to many literary agents. Will she succeed or will she remain in the shell of the egg watching it get harder and harder until it is hard-boiled and there is no way out? Ginny Lawther: What is her definition of an Ideal Life? What is Yours? Would you take that giant leap and chuck it all to pursue your dreams? This is a lesson in faith; trust in yourself, hope and the pursuit of personal happiness. Ginny can be anyone. She can be YOU!
Fran Lewis: reviewer