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

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 days 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

A Penny For My Thoughts (How The Instagram Hashtag Slow Living Has Made Me Want To Write About Religious Women And Their Duplicity)

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

How The Instagram Hashtag Slow Living Has Made Me Want To Write About Religious Women And Their Duplicity

Steady on. 

In writing this entry, I may seem as touchy as a schoolgirl losing her looks; however, the truth is, I feel this blog post theme is compellingly beneficial. Because of my past experiences, I think there's an ever-increasing necessity to shed light on the invariable consequences of women leading the charge in this narrative. I've matured in ways this subject no longer strikes a disadvantageous chord, and I am also brilliant enough to know teaching from my scars and not my wounds will be most beneficial. This precise reason is why often, I will wait on writing about particular topics. There's nothing more Ill~bred than to write about a topic that's apparent one hasn't stitched their heart but bangs on about the subject in the throws of subjective distress. I am also self-aware to be transparent that I once did this often; however, I retain now an accumulated understanding of this notion that to better advance change, I must first be healed myself and then write.

All Eggs In One Basket (According To A Landlocked Mermaid)

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The dawn lit dewy morning was all-encompassing as I collected the eggs from the nesting boxes the morning after.


If you've ever lived on a farm, having raised chickens, you have come round to know that the vast clutch of hens will select one box and lay their eggs. Although you may have provided many laying boxes, the hens have a way of taking yield of one they like and will hold with that same box.
I tend to spend much time sitting in one attitude with my animals; nature has a lovely way of teaching life lessons. As I evaluated this established habit of the hens, it directly influenced my notion of thought regarding our crafts and Instagram. When we have an insecure idea of what we should pursue, we begin placing our metaphorical eggs in many baskets, hoping each one will fill that capacity of lack. The explanation for this jack in the box mentality is a lack of self-worth, confidence and faith. For many years, there has been a perpetual reaching and urgency with women (of faith especially). I say that with the utmost compassion (as I was one of these women at one time), women must stop trying to do and be everything and fill in all the gaps by overcompensating for emotional instability. This need to always keep doing, being, and employing by constantly subsisting in an active mode reflects the woman's unworthy, inadequate and innermost insecurities. It's invariably one of those three aspects, and I dare say it's defeating and self-destructive to the spirit.

I will continue to beat on about this theme until I've made a dent. Today, two more lovely women left Instagram for good, and a family member left Facebook, so when I carry on with devotion to changing the climate and creating a revolutionary paradigm shift for social media (Instagram especially), I mean it no end. The unmasking is at hand.
I admonish folks to place ALL of their eggs in ONE basket. To run and perpetually carry on with the same way of handling fear by leaving Instagram or any other time we've used our nature of fight or flight, perhaps try something new. I dare say women that slip back (again, I speak as if I'm placing myself at the guillotine) it's a mark of certainty that we are emotionally unstable; respectfully, that's simply all there is to it. To jump from one project to the next, we must begin to see life in the now with fresh eyes, new ways of thinking and decidedly take back personal power by remaining still. I am unabashedly lending some good news here, and I mean to take advantage of this moment in your reading my writings. To face our foundational beliefs that provokes our fight or flight responses is the godlike nature of our inner being leading us with our gut. We must face our fears boldly, or change within will never occur.

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

All Hallows' Eve Victorian Style {The Costume-Planning Party}

Monday, October 4, 2021
I have infinite love and endless enthusiasm for All Hallows' Eve. A holiday that either brings about the angel in us or the witch. I have hitherto raised all of my children to enjoy the occasion of Halloween. There can be such fun in it. Whether Mama's like it or not, Halloween is a time for preparation unless one would have dear little Johnny end up becoming a friendly ghost for seven years running.
Trust your dear ol' Mrs Carter on this annual occasion of having one's maternal gifts so publically displayed. I carry on just as if I still had little cherubs at home as I insist I'll never tire of, mascarade parades, harvest frolics, All Hallows' pumpkin festivals and elaborate costumes. So I shall commence in sharing throughout October the particulars I have done in the past and continue even nowadays. Perhaps if you enjoy the occasion as much as I do (or have littles at home), you will derive some benefit from this month's posts and traditions that I am of such fondness.
Let us not allow costumes to become an emotional litmus test. It takes one to know one. Mama's be mindful that preparation is of crucial importance. Early on, the first Monday of October, I had an old-fashioned costume planning party for the children. These were activities in creating a space for the children to decide on their costume choice. If you so desire to keep the home circle surviving and intact miraculously, I enforced the rule of 24 hours. I provided the children 24 hours if they wanted to change their original costume to an alternative one. Warn the children ahead of time and be firm. If you waver, dear Reader, you will forever be in a purgatory of regret come each Halloween. Each October, vigilantly remind yourself just whom the Halloween costumes are for, and all will be well. 
Now armed with a notebook, pen and measuring tape, gather the children over for milk, cookies and invite them to confide what they would like to be. Discuss particular items crucial for their costume and write them down. Do not fret over whether the outfit is handmade or store-bought. If you possess reason and if little Johnny wants a store-bought garb, smile and say "delightful". Remember, any costume you help your child create with loving forbearance will be treasured. Inevitably, one year little Minnie May will decide she "really wants to be a princess" instead of a fluffy kitten, even as you are up to your ears in fake fur shreds. This domestic scene is alarming. Respond gently but with resolve, "That is a lovely idea, dear, for next year." The tradition worth preserving is not the homemade Halloween costume but the marked time and fun you set aside that together ensues.
I am going as Little Red Riding Hood, and I plan on making a paper mache wolf mask from a pdf template I collected on Etsy {MiesmesaBerni}.
Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

Treasured Tales

Thursday, September 23, 2021
"Momma, I'm a woman now. I know, baby. I replied with tears. I brushed the stray hairs from her brow and wiped away tears trickling down her peachy flush cheeks.

With my wrinkled, opaque, vanishing face of freckles, I returned, "I am so very sorry dear Zoë Kennedy; I love you so much. I never meant to hurt you. Please forgive me, will you forgive me?

"Yes, I do, Momma." She replied.

The emotions flooded me like a damn that finally broke open. No longer a desire to run, stance with defensiveness, nor fear fleeing from the rejoice of our mending hearts. No one else existed, just a mother and daughter, reconnecting, healing and closure after five long years.

I kept holding onto her as an overwhelming yet fleeting thought surfaced like a swift gust of strong wind, "will this same embrace be my last one of mortality duplicating itself as it did with Sawyer on Mothers day of 2019?" Will, I become childless without her pup once again." Those thoughts cross over a mother that's lost a child to travesty. I restrained the enormous impact of my pounding heart. I quickly diverted my thoughts. No, I said to myself. That is fear attempting to drive a wedge from my flourishing and blossoming newfound relations with my daughter of womanhood.

I slowly turned around, walked inside the cottage and leaned against the nine pane window cottage door of chipping rust paint, peering out, watching her leave, yet allowing myself the consent to feel uncomfortable for the moment. I gave myself the gift of release and the washing away of an olde chapter in my life that has now page turned. If you were to cut my chest open, that scar remains there carved into my heart, but today no longer a wound of injury and sadness. It is now a memory of a mother nicely tucking away a moment in time for safekeeping as you would treasure gifts in a young girls hope chest awaiting anticipation of a never-ending reopening of learning and discovery. Lodged deep within us all, we can see our life stories as beautiful tales with winding roads patched together in love.

How will your story end?

Sharing From My Heart

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Might I share a little piece of my heart with you? I shared this on my Instagram feed yesterday, and I felt it lent nicely in what I was trying to convey without spoiling my desire for grace. 

My first marriage is now a faint memory to me, and divorce was the only approaching antidote of something on a grander scale. One can only live for so long on a one-sided love; two hearts were passing like ships in the night. I fought for the eternal element, which made my desire to remain together for decades much more fierce. But, to put it gently, we could not abide together.

During those years, I would return to my writing and painting. When the mire of my thoughts became too much, I would collect my diary and walk to the pond laden with beautiful swans. Essentially I was going home; each time I fled, I was home, living in my words; writing, pondering, meditating, reading and questioning. In those fleeting moments, I never felt happier. To keep it brief, he created within me a fierce drive to find my own truth that otherwise external traditions of religious, generational conditioning would have contrarily silenced. That element of searching has been absent from my life for many year's now. I am on solid and anchored footing. I am complete, but not by the world's standards, such as clockwork with no magic. My God is not your God; my God is in my details. Just as you see the wonder in a long stem red rose, I know that similarity in a dewy fragrant petal of the white gardenia.

When I opened up this space (rejoining Instagram) with you initially, and truthfully, I was pinpricked, wounded and shattered. Yet, I am slowly beginning to reignite and illuminate the light from within myself. Each time I write a caption, portions of my soul resurface. I believe my purpose is revealing itself, and I'll continue forth, dreaming, breathing and wondering. Something will come of it; undoubtedly, something will emerge.

Victorian Fashioning After My Lifestyle Icon, Tasha Tudor

Friday, September 10, 2021

“I was very insecure as a girl, though I'm quite bold now. I was different, teased in school because I was so connected with the past, wore old-fashioned dresses, and wouldn't cut my hair. I didn't give a darn about that. I only wanted to work in my garden and milk my cow.” ~Tasha Tudor

When I first began wearing victorian clothing (comprised of the corset too) every day (which was October of 2019), I long had the notion since childhood. I needn't remind you how often I've spoken about wearing old-fashioned clothing when I was a young girl, along with the wild impressions that would fill my brain to the brim of happy endeavours with being an artist and author precisely like my hero and victorian girl Laura Ingall's Wilder. However, just as with everything we take on as a new voyage will take a bit of planning and implementation. So I've begun this feat as an experiment whilst living at my folk's and transforming their olde' storage house into a victorian one-room cottage. I've left out a few things to make this story (blog post) cohesive, such as the many flubs I've come up against. For example, I attempted to sleep all night in the cottage (without a small air unit) but had to return to my folks (big house) because I nearly fainted with a heat stroke. (Remember, this is a journey of experimentation, but I have implemented the lifestyle to the best of my ability (with where I am circumstantial, which is living with my folks), and I plan to keep it up forever. I'm not going back. However, I will note that I will be rather tickled to move into my very own authentic victorian with massive land. Now, won't that be something of extraordinary measures! Everything in due time. 

As many of you know or have watched my evolution from when I first began my transformation, you can quite clearly see my transitioning from average dress to living as a victorian as much as I'm am capable of doing. Unlike many folks, I have decided not to remain quiet as my conscience has prompted me to share my voyage openly with you, my dear readers. Furthermore, I think it's a lovely opportunity to share the various phases of a process. Understandably it's not for everyone. I think the theory is lovely for most eccentrics or artistic folks, but to actualise such a feat, it's not for the weary, I can assure you of that. I am the kind that never does anything by halves. I've held this trait my whole life long. I truly immerse myself in an aspect. It's the perfect way to sharpen my writing skills and, most importantly, for me to live my dream life as in olden times. What better way to write than having lived aspects of the stories I've written and will write. I can share details that make for a much more enriching tale. However, as I've spent these last two years living at my folk's little cottage, I have understood many beliefs about myself. I now know this was always my truest self, but because of limiting beliefs and lacking self-confidence, I faltered and began subjecting myself to other folks theories of how I should live. The lovely quote I jotted down on my Instagram page yesterday (above) is something Tasha Tudor stated in a book once, and no truer words were ever spoken. It's precisely my sentiments verbatim.

The below quote from one of my secondary sources is a wonderful explanation of what dress has the power to do for an individual.

"Dress, then, is something more than a necessity of climate, something better than condition of comfort, something higher than elegance of civilisation.  Dress is the index of conscience, the evidence of our emotional nature.  It reveals, more clearly than speech expresses, the inner life of heart and soul in a people, and also the tendencies of individual character."

—Sarah Josepha Hale, 1866.

Manners, 1866, p. 39. Quotations of Quality  

I am having such a delightful time with each new day of implementing more and more pursuits into my everyday. I thought I would give you a scant version of my daily schedule, sharing what I do each day as a victorian. This will not be a sharply detailed schedule, but you comprehend my objective, surely. If you enjoy watching me, you can follow me on Instagram, where I publish videos and post IG lives so you can actually watch the process. I make pies, loaves of bread, and all sorts of things on my live Instagram. It's rather delightful. 
Morning: I get dressed and make a cup of tea. I then put on my wellies and head out to tend to the farm animals and water the gardens. Next, I prepare my two buckets of boiling water to carry to the cottage (Scarlette Rose) to use for the whole day (washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking as there's no indoor plumbing, water or privy.) I then brush my teeth, fix my hair and put on a little makeup. I then apply my oils and do my morning meditation. I'll spend the next portion of the day reading, doing research for one of my manuscripts, painting and writing. When I have a fun project (sewing, altering an antique, or building something), I'll also add that in while it's daylight.

Midday: I stop for a bit of lunch, tea, make some bread or dessert, take some photos, plan supper, run errands if needs be and then have a lie-down. I strongly encourage naps. Tasha Tudor was known to take a nap every single day as well.

Evening: I pull the curtains, light a few candles/ lamps, set soft music and wait for my gardener to arrive home from his employment. Once he's settled in and comfy, I'll cook him a hot meal. We will eat, I'll clean the kitchen, wash down everything and put the kettle on for a cup of chamomile tea and a scone. I will head out at the start of the moon and close up the coop and collect eggs. I will take my tea and light a candle, and settle in for the night. After my tea, I'll wash my face, check on Sir Oliver, put on my nightgown and slip off into a slumber.

Do you think you could live as a victorian? I know I would miss two things for sure, living in the victorian era, which is dentistry and indoor running hot water. This I have learned most thus far. Do you have any questions? 

The Curious Mind Of Raquel Carter

Saturday, August 14, 2021

I've been steadily working on my Patreon supported series, writing and illustrating manuscripts. I wanted to get this video introduction sent out to allow you the heads up on joining. The first episode will be up before the end of August. I'm sure you'll love it. 

If you'd be so kind and feel moved upon, I would indeed be appreciative if you sent out a siren call to your friends and fellow mermaids of this series by sharing. Thank you so much in advance. 

I'm quickly learning how to use a more proficient camera for video, so bear with me as I navigate the waters. 

Have a lovely day and a most beautiful weekend. 

Wishy-Washy To And Fro ; Living Happily Ever After In The Hansel And Gretel Cottage

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The morning set off to be quite an adventure. Jeffrey Shawn and I were to make a trip to the small quaint town of Mt. Plymouth, where there was a little Sam Stoltz cottage I had longed to own for over ten years. It was a quiet morning; the only sounds heard were the two roosters crowing. I was rather thrilled and couldn't sleep a wink the whole night previous.

I fed the chickens and returned to Carter's cottage to finish up a cotton petticoat I was labouring over before we were to dash to the appointment, which would consist of a one hour and thirty-minute drive.

We stopped at the market, chock-fulled the gas tank, gathered a few snacks and began our excursion. Have you ever had a moment in your life when you've desired clarity on a particular matter, knowing it's vital to your soul expansion? I had spent the last six month's very much needing a gap to close out in a pattern of old cycles, and on this particular day, I got that answer. We as humans are prone to repeat patterns (often without even realising it). Yes, I felt something in my life needed to change (once again), but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. We, as landlocked folks, out of sheer resistance, tend to reject seeing things differently? For me, I have found that I have to be physically taken elsewhere to gain a new perspective. I had no idea this is what my inner being led me to on this particular day of seeing the cute cottage in Mount Dora. Humans are habitual and stubborn that way. I had been having one of those moments for a while (not realising it until the last retrograde), and I was determined to get an answer; I just had no idea going to a private house showing was the way I would receive my response. I spent many times in the previous six months curious about perpetual mental hurdles. Assuming it had to do with how I have always dealt with my adolescent behavioural patterns and why I have consistently used "running" as a source of eliminating my pain. (Running mentally and physically). Many years ago, I recognised that when I had issues and felt pain, I would deal by distancing myself from everything, going so far as even to want to physically move house, believing that physically leaving a situation would rectify the pain.

A tip that never works long term mind you. Because at the day's end, we are taking ourselves with us. I know today to feel safe means that staying sat is the only way to heal. Remaining in the moment and resting in the uncomfortable feeling, understanding my triggers has been the ultimate healing tool for me in my voyage of self-discovery and learning to love the woman I am. I had previously dealt with my trauma by believing that to feel safe; I had to run. I soon realised I was 'running' from everything in my life because running and hiding were how I felt safe as a child. That's what we do. I ran and hid under my bed, in a closet or the basement. We learn how to cope as children, and if those trauma discomforts in our lives never get stitched up and healed, we can live to be seventy years old and continue those patterns. Well, you know me by now, and I'm not one for doing things repeatedly once I've gotten the bit between my teeth, knowing the why of something. So if I see a cycle I am repeating that has not an ounce of serving value, I'm not eager in continuing the pattern. Especially since becoming a new version of the Raquel I am today. Change is inevitable, we can either change voluntarily, or universal laws will do it for us. Believe me; I'm not interested in that as it's much harsher when we refuse to change willingly.

Additionally, I realised what I have done my entire life is unfailingly make everything be about others, putting myself last, if at all. Then after giving of myself so much, I became resentful because there was never a time it became about me and my needs getting met. I went about serving others (somewhere in the back of my mind believing) that my day would come and everyone would see how wonderful and giving I was and return me the favour. Harsh incoming reality tick, that day never comes, my dear friends. We must achieve this of our own accord. The world is full of selfish beings. Selfish IS NOT an unpleasant word; it's a factual universal law. ALL humans (and I mean ALL humans are by nature; selfish.) When stripping everything from any subject, the genesis will be the direction to selfishness. We are getting a return for every solo action we take. Many don't want to believe me and go about becoming hearers of the word but not doers. Test it. Just test it, and you'll see I'm right. I don't need validation that I'm correct; I just am.

I have to meet my own needs, and if that comes with the price of letting folks leave my life, then they never belonged there, to begin with (and I no longer feel guilty either.) I had a Jesus complex and thought I needed to rescue everybody. When actually no, that's not my employment. Most significantly, folks honestly never want saving. They might give off that narrative, but they honestly wish to trust to believe that they can save themselves. Have you ever noticed those codependent folks that scrounge and scrape end up resenting the actual ones that helped them the most? This notion is because their inner being KNOWS innately they need to rely on self and not another human to save them. No one needs saving. If we were to look deeply enough, we would understand we (yes, we) are getting a feeling payoff for "helping" another. Whether that's to feel helpful or looked upon as a good person, we are doing it most often for selfish reasons. It's a hard reality when it comes to practising this; indeed, I know, but in the long term scheme of things, it's the greatest gift to bestow on others as well as ourselves. That is true unconditional love at its purest. Trust in others and know they have their inner being just like we do, and they WILL find their true north. They will follow their inner compass, I assure you. And as my Grandmother was always known to quote, "They'll figure it out" and boy was she right. 

It's impressive how fast one realises the folks that authentically respect and appreciate us truly when one decides to place themselves on the pedestal instead of every Tom, Dick and Harry. When we put our needs first, and they are no longer first, how quickly we become aware "they leave." It reminds me of the story of Hansel and Gretel. Speaking of Hansel and Gretel, that's what this cottage (above) is called, "The Hansel and Gretel Gingerbread Cottage".

If you recall, in the Hansel and Gretel fairytale (after they followed the stones back, the parents dropped them off again), the children left bread crumbs so they could once again find their way back, but what happens? Birds ate the crumbs, and Hansel and Gretel became lost. Think of why the parents abandoned the children in the woods. The parents were starving, and because of famine, they couldn't provide for themselves and their children too, so they left their children in the woods. The parents were SELFISH! They thought ultimately about themselves first. If that is not enough to realise we've been receiving teaching tools our entire lives through fairytales, I don't know what is. Indeed fairytales are harsh, but just as Doctor Clarkson states to Barrow in Downton Abbey about facing the truth of his sexuality, "the hard truth is much better than false sensibility." This truth is why I feel it's best not to sugarcoat life, life can be harsh, but it doesn't have to ruin a beautiful fairytale. We create our reality, and as sharp as life has the potential to be (if one chooses to believe), it also can be a happily ever after. I'm taking the happily ever after. Thank you very much. Happiness is a choice, a very determined choice. If we want and deliberately choose, we can be the happiest of all. I'm living proof of it.

We all do it, and that's perfectly fine, but once we know better and understand the 'why,' we will be the better for it. I'm not sure if it's because I'm a Pisces, but I know Pisces are very likely to become overextended and give ourselves to others first, putting ourselves last nearly always. It's often at a self-inflicted detriment. Pisces are lovely that way; however, I have come to understand that it's perfectly wonderful to place my needs and desires first and then assist others. If I continued the cycle of self-sacrifice any longer, I knew it would be a form of self-sabotage, and I was no longer desirous of repeating that offensive manoeuvre.

Furthermore, I will never be quite capable of inspiring millions of women if I am a sacrificial lamb at every turn. I believe one must be incredibly confident and have a spine of steel to handle the responsibility of encouraging women to follow their hearts. To influence is not a job for the weary. That's another aspect I saw clearly, as Jeffrey and I left the county line after witnessing the cottage. I have permanently shifted, and that old way of running as I was known to do was now gone. I noticed an old cycle that passed away, and how good that felt I had grown so profoundly. Now mind you, there's nothing wrong with leaving an area that feels awful; however, I'm going to explain why we leave and why it's essential to learn to control our thoughts and emotions in the place we are, working through the feeling first. After aligning, if we still want to move, then do so, but get ourselves emotionally on track first and foremost. Remember (we always take ourselves with us), it's always our right to move. Still, we will relive the same experiences no matter where we move to eventually, after states, countries, house after house; we will have to move planets or live in caves with squirrels because we can not outrun ourselves. Have you ever noticed after a move or a new job that we find about three months down the line that we are reliving the same experience we thought we left behind? This action is because, as humans, we weren't taught properly how to resolve inner conflict. We did the best we knew how, but now I'm showing you there is a better way through my teachings. We never get our lives wrong or make mistakes, so never feel that one journey is incorrect; each is specific and unique. Some folks take longer than others, and that's absolutely in accord with what is meant to be. So that's first on the list of not feeling guilt or self-loathing for anything we've ever done. To be accepting and loving to ourselves is vital for giving ourselves unconditional (godlike love). (All of the answers lie within our consciousness, and the only reason we do not receive answers as quickly as we would like is for sheer self-inflicted resistance.)

It has nothing to do with "the will of God." That is man's statute to feel better about not receiving the desires of his heart. If we can say to ourselves, "it's not Gods will", it makes us as humans feel better about not receiving what we know is rightfully ours by birthright.

We arrived at the cottage exchanged pleasantries with the realtor and broker, and then I went about the tour. As I walked through the house, it was lovely as can be, and just how I remembered it many moons ago; however, I felt my perception had changed. My soul felt the great inner convictions of what I knew I wanted, and the cottage list of lack to fill those desires began to pile up becoming less favourable by the minute. Whether it's age, wisdom, and having lived a life of feeling trapped, I now knew my list of non-negotiables, and I was not going to "make do" or accept the scraps of crumbs as I so easily would have done in the past. It gave me cause to reflect, too, on how often we as women will truly want certain things, but because our self-worth/concept is low, we begin compromising. We tell ourselves we could live without "that or this thing", but truly, why do that to ourselves. We must stop doing that and decree what we want. We must have the mantra; if it's not exactly what we want, we say, No, not good enough!" I want the exact thing I desire, and I know I will receive it. We have to be the initiator, though. If you grew up in a religious home (as I did), understand that every decree in the scriptures begins with us decreeing first. Read these claims: ASK, and it shall be given. KNOCK, and it shall be opened. SEEK, and ye shall find. GIVE US our daily bread, FORGIVE US... Those are just a few, but are you recognising a pattern? Indeed the pattern is we are the initiator, and we are DEMANDING what is to be done very clearly. There is no asking, pleading or begging. It's a declaration, no negotiating. That means WE are the operant power. This message is powerful, my friends. We must become unapologetic women. That doesn't mean I'm saying rude, arrogant or anything such as that, but utterly resilient. No wavering, to and fro. Unpenetrateable. That's our employment. To know we are worthy, always have been worthy and always will be worthy. The unfolding of my list had long grown stale, and the woman that once upon a time desired that darling little cottage has gone away. She doesn't exist any longer. I can't tell you enough what that small jaunt of a trip did for me; my inner being knew it was just the tonic I needed. I received every single answer to the questions I had, and I've never been better. Nothing visually changed that you can see, but what changed within me has set me on the road to the victory of self-confidence that you've not seen yet. With new desires that have become much more apparent. See, frequently we as women think we want particular things, and we place those desires on our trail to attain, believing (and perhaps it's true at one time when they were newly fragrant in our minds) that they would just set our heart aright. What I'd like you to understand is that when we desire something, and no matter its cause, of not happening, it's not because we aren't worthy of it. It's always because we either believe that having the thing will be what makes us happy, and we believed we haven't earned it or suffered enough, struggled enough, been found worthy enough. When the truth is our inner being always has our back. Women of faith, I have found from my experience, raised devoutly religious, become conditioned to believe that we are good but have to work (as in effort) to be found worthy of receiving. There's much to do about feeling inadequate in life. And somehow, for me personally (my story is, of course, my story), I could never be deemed worth the true desires of my heart. We're taught that with enough faith, we can have, but here's the caveat/ contradiction to that confusion brings a strong compulsion onto women, most especially young mothers. If one believes that we follow the abiding laws of one's faith, but we do not truly and deeply possess the faith within, it's a never-ending tug of war on a heart. When two distinctly opposing theories are laid before us, they sound lovely and flowery in theory, but if we have low self-worth (because we aren't taught that being powerful as a woman), is a godlike attribute, we will intentionally make excuses for not receiving. We are raised to believe we must remain subjected to those above us. Do you see the contradiction in the beauty, divinity, and all things holy that will elude women? That's not to imply fleeting moments when I was heavily into theology, surely I had moments of feeling happy, but that had nothing to do with me performing all of the acts of righteousness. It had everything to do with me aligning with the God within myself. If we are to enlighten the world with truth, it doesn't have to come with a price. It is that God Consciousness always loves me and always loves you. Period. Each person has a Godlike aspect. There is no other way. Because I am now different because I know the truth, I was especially judged most harshly by the women of faith. Now I could never display to you or give enough words to try and make you understand me, nor do I have to, that's not why I'm writing this. Still, the thing I will tell you is that I am here to speak on matters that most women shy away from. Women (little girls) look to their "God" in the same way they view the male figures in their lives. Humans mimic; little girls mimic their mothers, caretakers, etcetera and most often, how they view the men in their life is equal to how they view their God in the heavens. I know I have been placed here to do many things just as everyone has, for a special purpose, and I know it's to help inspire a spiritual revolution of removing the scales off folks eyes. I couldn't see how much I didn't want to ultimately live in that little cottage until I gained a new perspective. I wouldn't have gained a new perspective until I decided to go and look at the cottage. We are often so stubbornly busy scrolling Instagram and seeing the feeds of all the so-called ladies living the dream, and it's simply not true in the least. A dream, yes, their own, but I guarantee you, were you to be placed in their tail/shoes, you'd take your own life every single time. I promise you that. We are all dream makers, my darlings and don't you dare forget that for a moment. I can truly say, home resides within my soul, and I need not have to wander down trails or visit little places pretending to be somewhere I'm not. I found the true keys to my kingdom, and no power asunder can take it from me. I'm satisfied but always eager for more. This life is not about attaining things, it's about knowing our worth, and if we continue to place our worth outside of ourselves, we will lose every time.

The cottage is darling though, right? 

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx