Burning At Both Ends

Thursday, December 30, 2021

This morning I plan to saunter over to my dear aunts and spend the morning hours picking greens for our New Year's meal. I could use some good fortune how about you? Do you have the new year's dinner (greens, cornbread, peas)? I don't bank on it by any means; it's just a fun tradition I've held since my youth. 

8 Things I, (The Little Mermaid) Learned The Hard Way About Divorcing An Olde Salt (Pirate)

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Is "Sarcasm the lowest form of wit", as granny Violet has said from Downton Abbey? I hope not because, in light of the topic for this post, I'm going to need some sarcasm with a bit o' wit. Why, because it's a heavy topic and who wants an all 'woe is me' while on holiday? (smile) I also do not believe in scandal, so I thought to dispel some of the rumours. 

My Helpful Tips And Ideas For Coping With Grief At The Holidays

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Hello dear friends,

I hope you are all having a dandy of a time preparing for the hustle and bustle of the season—what a happy time to be alive. However, just a little time ago, it was very much a struggle, having lost my dear son a mere three months leading up to the holidays. Believe me, I know first-hand holiday or not, heck, any time can be challenging to get through when there's a loss. Upon moving in with my folks, It was a typical day, and I was washing dishes when the thought came over me. I would never get to wash a dirty plate of my little boy's ever again. What I wouldn't give for some dirty ole' dishes to clean, but no. I fell to the floor in overwhelming grief, and Jeffrey had to pick me up off of the floor and take me to bed to regain my footing. Thank goodness for his broad shoulders and calming, restorative nature. Basically, my darling friends, I'm attempting to say that grief is complicated. Still, I'm here to be your friend and to help give you some ideas to perhaps bring some small comfort to you.

Keeping My Head Above Water And Merry Mermaid Musings

Monday, December 20, 2021

Hello dear friends,

The weekend came and went like a shot.

I have a nice little post for the blog about some sprinkled ways to help you dear folks like me that have also lost someone very special to your heart. But alas, I didn't want to come with hefty feelings of woe on a Monday. So I feel that sharing tomorrow might be a better selection for posting. So shall we have a chat and a cuppa and talk about the weekend.

Friendship—Allow Me To Gush (She's A Treasure)

Friday, December 17, 2021

(Warning, this post is long and drawn out, but who are we kidding, you're here for the long post, right. So if you're up for a sweet friendship story and a life metaphor lesson I learned, pour some tea, darling and let's chat.)

Hey there!

At one point in my life, I would eat my feelings. Meaning I would write them down in my journal to get them out, but then never actually blog about them, but I'm trying to let you know (who my cat is.) No, but seriously if I'm being honest, many folks eat their feelings, but I've always written about them. (Shoutout to Forever Amber for that sentence). That's a beautiful way of saying how I've always felt, too, with my writing. By the way, if you love redheads, sarcasm and the Scottish, you'll love Amber's blog.

Okay, where was I?

Yeah, okay.

Ask my mum, and she'll tell you, since living with her and my dad, when some debacle happens, she will immediately say, "I bet you're gonna write about this on your blog, aren't you?" To which I reply, "of course, mum." Writers write, and everything is material.

Well, today was not a planned post. As a matter of fact, I was going to try and make up for the time I lost yesterday (on a few various bumps in the road) and spend today painting lovely illustrations. I won't muddy the waters (especially since it's the Christmas holiday), and I refuse to turn this blog into a fandangled mess. However, what I will do, though, is share something I am yet learning about myself at a more profound level. The wonderful word is called friendship. Can I share a bit of an unguarded piece with you about me? I've not always been good at the 'friendship' thing. It's not ever been intentional, but when you go through years of quickly making friends, but then they go sour, there's going to come a time when you say, "hmmm... there seems to be a bit of a common denominator taking place here, and well, look at that, Raquel, you're the common denominator! You dork!" I know, I know you told me so. We all learn at our own pace. Love ya, mean it.

Yeah, so Friendship, that word used to baffle me no end. I could never grasp how some folks would remain actual friends for life, seriously though; I'd be like, how does one stay "girlfriends" for all of eternity. What is wrong with these kooks? Heh...

As I'm learning more about myself every day, I realise that being a close friend is a bit of a new learning curve. Not in the way of "I don't know how to be a friend", but more like navigating the waters of learning how to actually be a friend long-term while also remaining vulnerable. I know I am changing on a vast level because just recently, something came up with a dear friend of mine, and I actually didn't respond how I would've in the past. Instead, I conceded in a whole new way. Well done you, Raquel. (Those beliefs I'm sleeping with are actually working!) Woot woot!

I've written a lot here on the olde blog about women and wanting friendship, and in the past, I would do what I think many folks do and write folks off. I know now where this trauma of mine stems. Are you ready? I would make up my mind (this is all in the past now....mind you) that women were out to hurt me deeply, so I would subconsciously cut them out before they had a chance to hurt me first. I know it sounds barbaric, but this is me telling you the truth about myself. The way to help others and myself along the course is to analyse my actions deeply. I am happy to learn right in front of the world. Maybe someone else can relate to my story, and I'll get another friend along the way. That's sound like a great trade.

Anyway, I learned that I would be quick to back up my subconscious belief to attract the kind of women that would end up ghosting or stonewalling me. I would then go about my way and chalk it up to another person that confirmed abandoning me as a friend. The heart of this belief was that I felt unworthy of having close friends and that when I did, they would always like me at first and then abandon/reject me eventually. I was afraid to be hurt and rejected. Yes, there it is. My deep-rooted fear of being hurt and not chosen. How many folks also experience similar things? It could be in romantic relationships and not friendship, but I think it may be a common thing, but many people don't talk about it, though. Because again, it requires vulnerability, which can be challenging for some people. Exhibit A! So what happens? I would always get what I thought. It's a universal law, physics, my dear friends... Newton's law.

Can you believe it took me 50 years to figure that all out! Thank Gawd I did, though, because now I'm going to tell you how much I love having friendships and knowing that my mindset has shifted and what happiness I've found in friendship.

I made a dear friend on Instagram (she knows who she is), and I caught myself after she mentioned to me something I did. I could see that old belief could have bubbled up, but when I took a look at what my friend said to me, those old emotions that would have usually been there was no more. No conjuring surfaced. I thought to myself, omg, I think I've rehabilitated. So thank you, T, for showing me what true real friendship is and having kit gloves with me as I go through this experience with you. What a wonderful thing, who would've known friendship could be this beautiful! I love you immensely, T and thank you again for showing me, through example, how to be a friend.

Now, as granny from Downton Abbey would say, "are we going to have tea or not!" Who loves granny as much as I do? She's a hoot and a half, I'll tell ya.

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

Our Little Christmas Bunny Book Is Progressing (How To Self Publish A Book On Amazon KDP)

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Hello dear friends,

I told you yesterday (or maybe the day before) that I would share with you our little book. So let's get on with that, shall we? First, I may or may not succeed in reaching my goal of having this book presented to the world in the amount of time I wanted. I have come to terms with that. If I pull this book off, it will be a Christmas miracle, and I'm a woman with vast amounts of optimism, so we shall carry onward and upwards. Cross your thumbs, and let us hope for the best. I do not want to disappoint anyone, most especially you or myself. I had a moment last night and a sit down with my beloved. I shared with Jeffrey Shawn about feeling a bit down; admittedly a little discouraged that I may not be able to do it. I'm a little emotional at times. He has broad shoulders and said, "It'll be okay if it doesn't happen, baby. If you can't get it done, it's not the end of the world." He's constantly reassuring and knows exactly how to soothe my weary heart. 

When I set my mind to something, though, one thing you should know (if you don't already, which I think you is that I mean what I say, and I never take no for an answer. I am relentless. One should never underestimate me, smile. I had not a single hand (well, I was the one to draw, write the book and perform the editing, uploading and formatting). Still, (you know what I mean) I have nothing to do with how everything is working out so smoothly with this book. Logically, I received the actual bunnies a few days before Thanksgiving, and then the idea about a bunny book came to me so rapidly. There has to be some reasoning for all of the whimsical, bazaar crazy notions that I thought I could write, illustrate, and self publish a book within a few weeks, right? Right?
I think there's definitely spirits working on the other side of the veil guiding me onward. So today, I will keep my head down, continue working and have fun. A buttoning down the hatches, so to speak. 

Here are a few of the sketches. I showed you the cover, but here it is again (at the bottom) to get an idea of what it will look like as an actual book. I love these book mock-ups; it truly brings the book to life.

Yesterday, I spent several hours uploading the book description, keywords, manuscript, and author's page for the leaflet—the technical aspects.

I'm now painting the illustrations, and I plan to have them done by tomorrow. I completed all of the sketches, which I believe are near 25 in total. This morning after this post publishes I'll continue the paintings. I had to go back through each little face and make them look the same accurately. I believe the artwork will be quicker than the actual sketches, as I had to brainstorm what the art must look like. It took me years to come into my artistic technique and style. I'm also happy to announce that KDP (Amazon's Print on Demand) now has a hardcover option, which is thrilling to me. I had no idea. My dream is to have a tiny book size such as Beatrix's; however, that option book size isn't available unless one is with a traditional book publisher. 

I must love you and leave you, but I wanted you to know where we are on our little book. Isn't it exciting?

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

A Special Christmas Gift (And Why No One Ever Sees Photos Of My Beloved Gardener)

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Hello dear friend,

Okay, alright, first things first. Why am I writing about this? Who gives a wit, Raquel?

No, wait.

Allow me to set the stage for this post. To tackle things head-on, I've constantly ripped the bandage off and got straight to the matter, which on that score most definitely carries signs of my American blood. Furthermore, if I'm about allowing others to (know my cat), how else would I do this as an author? The best bloggers globally (which there aren't many nowadays) are personal and admirable, yes? Yes, I know this factually. Why? Because I have read blogs for over a decade and understand what compels my investment into a blogger. In a minor way, I'm like cousin Eddie in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation; once I like you and get to know you on a personal level Clark, I'll become committed.

I Made Zoë Kennedy Her First Velvet Tree Skirt (The Creation Of A Happy Home)

Thursday, December 9, 2021

"We are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime."- Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Zoë Kennedy and I are doing so well in our relationship. It's been quite a road with many forks, tears, and blood on the stairs. But it's Christmas time, and I won't weaken this lovely story with my tales of woe. I'm saving that for my nonfiction book that will be out next year. Stay tuned. 

The Great British Christmas And A Scant Observation

Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Hello dear readers and friends, 

This darling book, The Great British Christmas, is a sweet little confection that I spotted on my dear friends Instagram page a year or so ago. Anything about British really and I'm quids in my friend. I do bang on rather often for loving the English (in fact, I know how to take an obsession to new heights, smile) but understand this; it's because I feel it my duty to give rise to the notion that we must live our lives to the fullest. If we aren't really "Taking Joy", as Tasha Tudor put into action in everything that life has to offer, then what's the bloody point. I ask you?

Painting With Beatrix Potter And Forever Christmas With Tasha Tudor

Monday, December 6, 2021

Good morning friends,

I've been spending every moment working on illustrations for our bunny book, so I thought I'd show you one of the sketches. The enjoyable aspect is that I feel ridiculously thrilled about painting as Beatrix Potter did when she was alive. She painted her environment and often improvised, such as in The Tailor of Gloucester. Beatrix went to the V&A Museum to sit and paint the pretty fabrics. I recall once when I was researching and found that Beatrix wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit; she hadn't yet bought her home at Hilltop. She often would improvise this many more times, such as in The Tale of Two Bad Mice. Norman, her beau, had a niece, and Beatrix borrowed her dollhouse for the scenes with the dolls and mice. The green and white Tower Bank Arms village pub in Sawrey is in perfect detail in The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck. She did it again in The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. The scenes from Squirrel Nutkin show the squirrels rafting across a lake to an island in the centre around Derwent Water.

What I'm Learning About My Blog (Another Way Of Being Myself)

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Happy Saturday, friends! Oh, my word, y'all (that little country slang still sounds cute in British English, but I digress.) I thought I'd give it a go and try to write more often, even on weekends. I'm exercising my blog muscles, and we all know what happens if we let up on something, it will atrophy. Gawd knows I don't want that to happen. We can't have that, can we? Especially If I'm going to be the next Pioneer Woman. No. I'm just having a go with you. I don't want to BE the next Ree-Ree, but I will be my own version of success. 

One of the ways I will do my level best is to write on the blog every day. So we shall see where it goes? One of the main reasons is that I wanted to have a place where the slew of my favourite gals come together as friends. So there's no better place than for us all to congregate than over here on ye olde blog.

To emulate remarkable success, you take all the pieces you adore about those folks, then use your little handy victorian mixer and caramelise that into your very own creation.

This week, I spent the weekdays on the illustrations for our little Christmas book, "The Tale of the Christmas Bunnies". This weekend, the beloved gardener and I will work on home projects for The Carter Settlement. This morning I have to get several illustrations done. Still, the rest of the weekend, I'm working on the chicken coop, laying down winter rye in the garden, and planting many bulbs (Narcissus/ paperwhites) around Scarlette Rose Cottage. I want The Carter Settlement to eventually look like something out of an English countryside, tossed in with a bit of Tasha Tudor's Corgi Cottage and Beatrix Potter's Hilltop. Smile. We're also going to drive to Tampa to pick up our Victorian icebox I had on layaway. There's a sweet little antique shoppe named after the movie Fried Green Tomatoes called Debs Whistlestop Depot. I can't wait! I'll show you as soon as we collect it.

I'm also gonna try and sew a tree skirt in red velvet for Zoë Kennedy and her beau Ethan's Christmas tree. She called and asked if she could have her ornaments from childhood; I don't have all of them, but I do have a few. So I told her I'd send her a care package of what I had that was on her pink tree as a little girl. Do you have a tradition of ornaments? I began by getting a little dollar ornament for the children when they had their first Christmas. I kept it going until age 18, and they felt responsible enough to take their box of ornaments. I think Zoë Kennedy is ready to have hers now. This year is her first Christmas without roommates; I hope she feels like the little woman of the house now. I remember being her age, and the idea of having my little decorations was such an exciting thought.

Okay, I must love you and leave you. I'll see ya tomorrow, loves.

Most affably yours till my next swim, Rockxxx

I Took A British RP English Accent Course (And This Is What I Learned)

Thursday, December 2, 2021

(Image courtesy of my friend James in England)

It's no surprise I have an ungodly amount of fondness for the English. I live, eat, and breathe them, the culture, aesthetic, lifestyle, accent, the royal family, habits, idioms, etc., you name it, AND that's putting it mildly. It's a wonder I've not been boxed up and put in a white room. If you recall (here), this is why I was determined initially to take the course, and I'm afraid I'm never going back to the olde American accent. However, I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's crack on with a few bits that are indeed different. It's been interesting; I can say that. 

I will undoubtedly leave many aspects on the carpet; still, I wanted to point to some subtleties that took me a moment to realise. I must clarify, not apologise, which is the first aspect I noticed. If you've watched any amount of English television, I can freely speak on behalf of most Americans. The English will go round the house to explain or say something, but an American will blurt it out. The English lead a different instinctive modi operandi but do I believe one can learn their ways? Yes. I'm an eternal optimist. The English will say one thing, but they actually mean quite the opposite.

For example, If they describe someone, they might say, "he's a bit of a character." What they mean is he's the worst person they've ever met.

What might a Brit say: How are you?

What you think they mean: They want to know how you're doing.

What they really mean: please don't tell me your life story.

And then there is a stiff upper lip, and that approach is as natural to me as water off a ducks back. Carter's (Carter is my maiden name) is known for this; I think it's in our pedigree. Carter's hail from Sussex, the lot of them mostly. Recall I did the saliva test. I have 87 per cent English and the rest is Irish, Scottish and Dutch.

A prime example of a stiff upper lip is seemingly going on with life as if nothing happened when my son was brutally murdered. Whereas I may have appeared I didn't have feelings nor show them much, I certainly do. It's a matter of me letting it out, anxious I could never get it back in. So keeping a stiff upper lip is very normal to me, but to another, it's as though I've lost the plot.

Another one for giggles is the way an American will ghost someone. They're very sloppy, emotional and outrageous about it. They'll be blood on the carpet by day's end. The English, however, even have manners when they're stonewalling you, which for someone that's an emotional trainwreck can be maddening. No matter what language, both are beastly, cowardly and rudeness is not an English trait, not by a long shot.

A brit will cut you to bits, and you'll walk away thinking you're in good graces when in fact, they just insulted you no end, and you had not a clue. Any unpleasant comments from the English and you best be equipped to take it on the chin, in which I can because I'm bastardly a hard ass, so I faired well. Give me 20 more years of British RP, and I'll have it squared; you can bet your bacon. And that utter design to remain stuck in and not fold into change is another inherent trait. I like tradition, do not jumble with convention. Leave well enough alone is my motto. If I'm going down, it's not without a relentless fight to the bitter end.

I don't think I went into detail about the example I had about immersing oneself in culture. Still, it was about a little British lad (Sawyer's best mate, Ryan.)

Ryan had come into our lives at the spritely young age at somewhere around eleven years old. He was a sweet boy that looked similar to Sawyer; freckles, blue eyes, strawberry blond hair and a thick English accent. However, he was a very truthful child, an English trait. If someone insults you or has a go and takes the piss outta ya, it's a sure sign they like you. In comparison, an American would immediately become offended. They would call you out as disrespectful and think you were raised by wolves. How dare you! If you have a really southern backwoods mama, she'll give you an actual smack across the cheek. 

The English often say things that are entirely the opposite of what you think they mean. Some Americans have a bit of this trait in some parts of the south. Now mind you, this is not always the lot. Just as Americans are diverse, as so with the English, some Brits call us yanks and wouldn't bother. Then some adore us and believe Americans to be pure delights. As with everything that I attempt to teach, it's the way we think things to be. We create our reality, and the world is a mirror reflecting what we believe. Was I to have gone around feeling embarrassed I resembled a gargoyled fool attempting to speak with an accent, I would've attracted those sort of folks to mock me. Instead, I sent out happy thoughts that I love the English people. When Sawyer passed, I knew straight away; one should live life to the fullest; I must live as if I were dying, without fear nor regret. When my mum would tell me of Europe when I moved there as a child, I retained an instant love for EVERYTHING English.

I find it very hypocritical that, for some reason, a person learning an English accent gets a different level of scrutiny than other dialects. I noticed folks were quick to judge me pretentiously, but if I were an actress, method acting for a part, I'd get a pass. Or say I announced I was taking French or Italian, it'd be radio silent. I'd be all high hos' and sunny days, but with English, you'd have thought I'd murdered someone and needed to be taken out and shot. I even caught wind of an old adversary calling me pretentious. But, of course, nowadays, I'm not so lethal towards my adversaries. Still, I do believe she would've fair much better if she were to have followed suit as an English and carried on, swallowing her pride. It'd been in her craw long enough, and she displayed herself as a foolish American and came off well jel.

Okay, back to the story of Ryan.

He was just off the boat from Stratford Upon Avon. After he and Sawyer began spending many days after school playing at our house, I noticed Ryan sounded American. Still, he had very distinct undertones of an English accent. I pressed him more as a mum would and prattled on, asking questions about his home life, where he was from and all those bits. Well, I knew since then that the dear boy was plunked down in America and wanted to leave England behind. He wanted to become an American citizen. This same boy is now a man of almost thirty. He did, in fact, go on to lose every bit of his English accent (he sounds like a country boy from down south). He also became an American citizen one year before the pandemic hit. Although I find it astonishing that someone wouldn't want to keep their English accent, it caused me to reflect on the olde cliche that we always want what we don't have. As the years have waned on, it dawned on me when I signed up for my course that I had long taken this boys resilience for granted. As with Sawyer now being gone, memories and experiences will scour your soul and leave acid holes if one isn't mindful. I was never going to be that person, one that is peevish, point-scoring and petty. I would learn the brilliant brit from across the pond was my teacher; very much the same as me in many ways. I wanted to know British and abandon the American accent. He wanted to learn American and abandon the British accent. If you were to natter about with him these days, you'd not detect a remnant he was a British born bloak.

Whereas the English person will clarify by inferring something else, and everybody understands what they're talking about, they don't say it directly. But being I am internally born an American; I will get on by saying what I infer today; there's no denying we speak the same language. 

Life is a pattern—a beautifully crafted sandcastle with impregnable walls to be eaten by the tide every morning. But instead of the awful idea of wanting to return and build it more prominent, vow to accept the past and allow it to remain there. I want to live each moment where Merrymaids sing from the high walls. I want to live in a world (an English word) of perfect distillation that carries the take joy and permanence of Christmas nostalgia tradition every day of my life and not just one day a year.

Would you ever want to take an RP British English course?

Thank you for swimming by; I love you for it. It means the world to me that you take the time to see about me. Let's prattle tomorrow, alright. 

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

(The first picture is my friend James' cottage kitchen, he's from Wales.) 

A Farewell To November And More Artistry Prattle

Tuesday, November 30, 2021
I love to awake in the wee morning hours when the world is calm and sleeping. I spent the peaceful and quiet morning sketching illustrations for The Tale of the Christmas Bunnies. I painted the first two, and I consigned them to the tip. These are my first paintings in months, and it will take me a moment to get back into the saddle. I write 3-4000 words a day with pure ease and have always painted less. I know with more painting (because I always feel so happy when I paint), just like my writing, I get better with practise. It's taken me years to create my unique style, which happens with every artist.
I am breaking in my brush simultaneously with myself, such as a fresh pair of clogs. I know a few things about my art and what I appreciate most; I am not a complicated artist. I understand a simple painting with few details and backgrounds.

I'm not too fond of an image overly detailed with writings or scenery. I feel overwhelmed. That's the beauty of personal appreciation; we all have a unique style that resonates.

I'm attempting to get my brush to cooperate with me. At the start, I thought it was the paper, but now I believe it was the paint with a bit of trial and error. Believe it or not, I am genuinely finding that the cheapest watercolour paints I own I fancy the most. Isn't that something? You know the kind you can pick up nearly at any box chain store? Yes, those in the pallet with many colours; see the picture below. My paints remind me of women that use eyeshadows, and they love specific colours and will use them up to no end, and then need to keep buying more to get those favourite colours they use all of the time. It's the same for my paintbrushes too. I've finally established the tools (brushes) that I swear by, and it's the brand named Masters Touch. I fancy the generic Great Value pack of brushes from Walmart but collect fistfuls of the Master's Touch from Hobby Lobby. I've tried dozens; the very expensive and the total cheap. The paper I use is the cold-pressed block 300£ Arches. It's my absolute favourite of all watercolour paper. I enjoy a toothy texture to my paper; the scant of roughness seems to grip the watercolour, and for me, that's a lovely measure of how the painting comes alive.

Yesterday I finalised staining Henny Penny's chicken coop. My beloved gardener and I have now been dwelling at my folks for just two years. At the same time, I had no true vision of desiring to live forever at my folks for the most part. I have a picture of sheep in the pastures behind the cottage, little music shacks, stables, carriage houses, tea shoppes, general stores, a small Little House on the Praire church all encompassed behind a stone wall with iron gates. Well, anyhow, I had this vision for some time now, and until just recently, I realised to put my dream into action, one must become very specific in one desire. I wasn't dreaming of a particular place; to be quite honest, my forever home was all over tarnation. A dream must be imagined precisely (you must know what you want with stability) and shant waiver in the vision. This practice is the true nature of demonstrating the desired want to manifest. I have now decided that Jeffrey and I will continue saving our money and buy my folks home with all cash. Then, I will purchase up the surrounding land. This picturesque ideal is our objective, and I've left the rest of the details to the spirited gods. I appreciate that this little cottage was named by my grand mummy Carter's Cottage, and Carter Village was all of her land combined. She had all the things here once upon a time, and I want to resurrect that dream she had when she was alive and place many more aspects to become the magical place of dreams made. If you think of any person that was an Imagineer, they kept dreaming and imagining soothing over and over until it became a reality, and that's what I've always done and will do with this vision.

Thank you for visiting. Do you have any questions for me?

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

A Pleasant Surprise - My New Book and Cover Reveal (Just In Time For Christmas)

Monday, November 29, 2021

As many of you that read this here olde blog know, I've been prattling on about listening to new affirmations while I sleep at night. These beliefs shifted my foundational core prolifically and joyously (more on that in detail when another of my books (nonfiction) comes out in a few months.)

Where was I?

Oh yes.

A few months ago, I was sipping tea in the cottage, and the thought wisped over my mind. I think Sir Oliver Twisty Topsy needs some new friends; he seemed awfully sad staying sat in one spot all day; he looked dreadfully lonely. However, I placed the thought on the back burner (because Jeffrey Shawn and I) are still living with my folks. (My mum isn't too keen on inside animals. However, we moved in shortly after Sawyers murder, and my folk's sentiments waned. In other words, they felt horrible at what had transpired; they happily took in me, my hubby, chickens and house rabbit.)

Although I had sent the intention out into our forest of fools (the world) that I wanted: two more bunnies, must be boys, a similar docile breed as Oliver, had to be babies, so that they came with no previous issues and I wanted a black, and a mixed colour different in appearance to Oliver's colouring, I thought no more about it. I had felt it and let it go because of my circumstances. Then, a fortnight later, I was picking up rabbit's Buckaroo and Chappie. So one day, in a tea fuelled frenzy, my way of expressing the elated joy I felt was to sit and write a darling little story. I manifested my dream regardless of circumstances. Tasha Tudor always had the motto "Take Joy", so I also adapted the phrase to emulate her when Sawyer passed. I had managed to manifest my dream of having three cottage bunnies, and it made me feel as if I was in the likeness of my other favourite hero, Beatrix Potter.

For reasoning, only the spirit gods know I simply followed my inspired heart. I'm halfway through the illustrations now, and the book's release date is December 15th, 2021. I am delighted about this charming little Christmas bunny book.

My inspiration for the cover art of my book is an ode to Charles Dickens. Have you ever researched his backstory of how and why he wrote A Christmas Carol? It is rather quite an inspiration for authors.

Do you like the cover? 

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

The Currents Are Changing {A Change To My Blog Is Coming}

Friday, November 26, 2021

Last week I had a meltdown, not in the way you'd think, and not for the reason you would think, either. 

This post will be a bit of a prattling session that my dear olde American borne British speaking heart has needed to share for some time coming, and I fear I won't stop chatting from now on out. 

Have you ever had those moments in your life when someone you love (tells you the complete truth) and your spirit is ready to receive it? That happened to me, and it has caused a significant shift within. My life, career, and as we (together) advance, I will embrace my stories and what I share on this here ol' blog (which will be nearly everything.) 

I have so many stories built up inside of me, and I've always held back, and some things I've wanted to say, but the time didn't seem to be right or, to be quite honest, I was afraid of what it would cause to others. I am now ready to share what has been welling up within me for years. The truth is (when my dearest friend said the most heartfelt things to me) I cried with such a gutted force, and for the first time in my life, I didn't try to fix it, make a silly joke to counteract the pain, I remained in the feeling. She (my friend) doesn't know her impact on me. Thank you, Tracey; I love you, dear heart. 

This post is letting you, my dear friends and readers, know how much I love you and that you can expect this blog to be changing extraordinarily, and I couldn't be more jolly about it. 

I've always told you, of all the media outlets, such as social media, my blog remains my little world of happiness, and for me to remain true to myself, I must spread my wings and allow my soul to spill out, to write as if I'm dying. I will be sharing more of my beloved gardener, my children, family, love stories, experiences, home decor, spirituality, what's happening on the farm, my books getting published, etc., more of everything. I now have archived my YouTube channel, podcast, Pinterest and closed out Twitter and Facebook. The only place to follow me is on Instagram, this ole blog, and of course purchasing my books. It's the most exciting time of my life, and I could not be 'Taking Joy' more if I tried. I have so many books within me, and I've been feverishly writing, and I am so excited to share them with you. 

Have any of you ever had that happen? It's a random breakdown from somewhere you'd never have thought, but it's just the tonic your heart needed to create a change within you. Please say yes. 

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

The Art of Appreciating Pain

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

"Watch and pray, dear, never get tired of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault." ~Louisa May Alcott 

The clothesline was a gift from my littlest brother. No longer did my heart desire things that weren't important. Instead, I desired something to hold to, which denoted something. The small endeavour of a clothesline meant I was creating my dream, even if it was as tiny and seemingly insignificant as a silly ole place to dry clothes. When Sawyer passed and Jeffrey Shawn and I had to sell our little 1970's cottage in Tampa, Florida, everything was falling apart right before my very eyes. Honestly, I wept on the kitchen tile floor, pleading for the pain to release itself. I felt the weight of the world upon my shoulders. My son was brutally murdered, Jeffrey was fired from his job of 32 years, our only little chariot (vehicle) ceased to function, and then Jeffrey was hospitalised, nearly dying from heart failure.

Isn't that what has to happen, though? Everything has to fall apart to be made new again. So often, we spend our lives ignoring signs, pretending life is jolly when it's not. Why do we do that? It was a belief I created when I was a little girl; it was a trait I allowed to grow into an entirely made-up version of small insecurities along the way. I always felt less than, but if I could paint a perfect picture for others, it staved off the pain of rejection. If only they knew the real me, I would think to myself.

As difficult as things were then, I was handed a beautiful gift. If I had never known such pain and adversity, I could never have learned how to find my joy. I would have forgone what joy fills my soul up every day now. I would have lost out on the wonder and beauty of knowing deeply I am a wonderfully courageous person.

This Thursday, as you gather your wee little cherubs; and they tug on your apron strings while you cook yummy turkey and bake pies; remember how beautiful life is, cherish those moments and cling to them, for there will come a day you hold to those memories, for they are the only thing we have when the close of our days of life end.

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx