I will do just about anything to see ALL the monuments wherever I am traveling. Caveat to that is if I'm pulling the camper, I can't very well whip over to the side of the road to see the historical marker sign. But if I'm out and about, heck yeah, I want to see them all!
So I have to tell you about my adventure today.
I went out in search of the Oregon Buttes, that the pioneers used to guide them on their way. They could see them for miles and miles and pointed their wagons right at them to help them navigate the South Pass. (This was the only place they could get through the mountains) It was a landmark that way a high priority for them to see, and so it became so for me.
I was GOING to be content, grabbing some picture from a distance, but a woman that was working at the visiter's center of the South Pass City, told me theres a little known road that could get me closer.
I asked, "Are there signs?"
She said, "Yeah, I mean, you'll have to look for them and then there's a monument..."
There it was... I had to do it.
So I take off down this dirt road... I can see them... WAY off in the distance... I could have been, should have been happy with that... nope. There's a monument.
Make a left at the highway. Once you pass the rest area and cross over the Sweetwater River, you'll make a left.
Uh... no signs.... I go a little further, cross the Continental Divide... Now I KNOW I missed it.
Turns out the only sign of any kind, is a street sign. So, I head down the gravel road in search for the monument.
It said it would be about 10 miles, so I knew to be patient. I was only going about 30 mph, and the roads twisted and turned every which way, uphill, down hill... and I could see the buttes in the distance, getting closer, and closer...
I am snapping pictures left and right, because I just can't wrap my head around all this beauty. It's just breath taking. I'm stopping, taking pictures, inch forward...
I'm getting some really amazing shots of these buttes and then the gravel road turns to a dirt road. Pause. Do I go? Do I turn back? There is literally. NOTHING out here. No humans, no other vehicles, no phones, gas stations, or cell service.
Maybe the monument is at the base of the buttes? That's how it's been at all the other places... I keep going and then, suddenly there's a heard of pronghorn antelope! I've been waiting my whole trip to see these!!
I finally decide to stop and turn around and am looking for a safe place to do this. This road is NARROW! So I slow down even more and then around the next bend, is some of the most beautiful scenery!! I know I keep saying that, but in my head, I can't understand how the next curve can be more beautiful than the last curve!
And then I think.... NO ONE gets to see this! This stuff, right here... this is like a private show! I am literally in awe, I can't even describe it.
I had to upgrade my cloud storage after this trip!!
Okay, okay, let me fast forward, so the dirt road eventually PASSES where the base of the buttes would have. been. (I never got to the base, but the road I was on. was now veering away from them all together. I had to turn around... no really, i mean it this time. So, reluctantly, I did.
I drove a few feet and a pack of wild horses WITH A BABY runs across the road in front of me!! Omigoodness! It was so ... so.... I couldn't get out my camera fast enough. I did get some, but... again... this was just for me.
I had to give up the monument, and while I might have been disappointed for maybe a minute, so many other things made this side trip SO worth it!! The views, the scenery- these mountains were painted!!! They had blue and red and peach colored stripes!! My God, is an awesome God. And they are hidden back here along a long, long (LONG) dirt road. I feel so very priviledged. (I will be sharing many of the photos in the History Revisited facebook group if you're curious.
On the way back, after getting back to the gravel, I look to my left and down this tiny little dirt driveway, is a stand. I start cracking up laughing. Is that my monument???? I whip the truck and pull up next to it. There it was... my monument/plaque to let me know how important the Oregon Buttes were to the pioneers.
And to think... if I HAD found the monument when other normal people would have... I would have missed the whole show.
And if just this story alone, doesn't have you believing in miracles and that He watches every step... then here's the rest of the story.
When I'm almost home, a warning light pops up on my dash. I can't do anything right now, so I go straight back to the campground to look it up. Tire pressure.
I'm so tired and worn out from this trip, but decide to go check it out, because I have another long drive tomorrow.
My rear tire on the driver's side is FLAT. Not low... F. L. A.T.
I call the good folks at the Roadside Service, I pay lots of money to every year and they send a guy out. Fixed. No problem.
But- IF that tire would have gone flat out there on that dirt road... I would have been in serious trouble. There was no phone signal. There were no cars passing by. There was nothing.
I am so thankful that God was watching over me and got me safely home. I do believe in miracles because I witness them on a regular basis, this time, today, they were happening to me.
Announcing Waiting for the Sun Release
Finally! My second work of fiction, Waiting for the Sun, hits the book stores today!
I was more than a little worried about this novel because it was SO completely different from my last book, Captive Heart. It's still in the same category or Christian- fiction, but while one is historical fiction, this new one is set in a contemporary setting. I am hoping that my readers will give this new work a chance.
But just in case they didn't, I decided to get some pre-reviews to hopefully open up to a wider audience. Here's a glimpse of the notes I have gotten back:
"I just realized that I am too soon to post my review! I did enjoy your book. I loved the fostering of the children on the huge ranch. Good job!" - Cindi Klemm
"I have to tell you that I love, love, love your book... I couldn't put it down! I can really see and feel the characters and setting. I am excited to be reading your book in a way I don't often get. I hope you have other books so I can read more!" - Julia Wilson
"Elizabeth Bourgeret! You have done it again! I am SO proud of you! I don't know what you were worried about!"
Needless to say, I'm feeling a little better about Waiting for the Sun being added to my published library! Being a writer has to be one of the neatest things in the whole world!! It thrills me to no end, and yes, I giggle every time, to see one of my books pop up on the internet or see my name in printed form. It's like... I am somebody now. Like, my work will be around long after I'm gone and my children's children's children can say, 'yep, that was my great- grammy!" It feels good.
Like anything made in a creative way, it's always scary to put it out there for the rest of the world to critique. And while I smile for days for every 5 star review I get, I ponder and question and doubt and dwell on every low star. (who rarely put a review with it so I am tormented as to WHY!!) But, so it goes. I am happy to say that the 5 stars FAR outweigh the low stars, and so I am encouraged to keep writing. Which I am thankful for because it gives me great satisfaction. I thought I was content just writing for myself and my family, but the joy I receive by being welcomed in the hearts of people I haven't even met yet, is too much for words. I am so very grateful.
So for those who might be interested, here is the little blurb from the back of the book to hopefully pique your interest:
Waiting for the Sun is the story of Gillian Sanders who's husband left her after many years of marriage. She took what might have been her darkest hour and turned it around by moving to a new state, opening her home to foster children, running a cattle ranch and teaching at the local theatre.
Making sure she is too busy for romance, she focuses on her "kids" until a man she never expects fits right into her life... or does he?
Sometimes hiding from love is the best way to find it.
Waiting for the Sun is available on Amazon.com, at your local book stores (don't see it? Ask them to order it for you!) or right here on this website!
BONUS: If you order from here, and purchase $25 or more (on any books) you will receive a free canvas book bag! Good while supplies last!
Order your copy of WAITNG FOR THE SUN today! Right now!!
I had something completely different planned for my blog today, all nice and neat and written out, but I was side-tracked. So please bare with me. I just have to get this out there...
I am participating in a marketing program that is taking my web-site, my blogs, my writings and the things that I offer and scrutinizing them to find my strongest areas and creating the best ways monetize them. This is so very overwhelming. First of all, yes, I do want writing and training to be a career for me. So, I need to change my way of thinking that I can't just write whenever and whatever I want. It has to shift into more of a business mind-set. When they asked where my heart was; what my passions and personal goals were, I told them MY personal goal is to be able to offer fun and interactive workshops for teens. I want to be able to travel from city to city and give them this amazing opportunity to become the best part of themselves and face their future with confidence. I've called it the Total Truth Workshop. I am really proud of it but have not put it into action as yet. (I was waiting until this marketing team gives me feedback, I guess.)
I enjoy all the aspects of my writing "career", but they, the marketing team, have a point, and it is that I am spreading myself too thin. Try as I might, I cannot be all things to all people. I was told to choose. UGH! The agony!! I want to help EVERYONE!!! Why can't I help everyone??
With my history and my happiness, I return, always, to teens. My work in coaching leads me in that direction as well. I enjoy working with families and I do well with relational coaching and seminars. I have been working with kids for over twenty-five years! Whoa! That's saying something!
That time in their life is such a struggle and it seems like we are in a weird "pretending it's not happening" to "micro-managing" to "it's someone else's fault" way of dealing with things. These kids on the verge of adulthood are amazing but no one gives them the credit or the directions they need to make that transition!! I want to help them get everything they want out of life. I want their teenage years to be happy memories. I want them to have the confidence to go after whatever their heart desires regardless of where they came from. There is no other program out there that is offering what I do. It's fun, it's interactive and it's a life-time of support and new friendships. I am excited to get it out there.
Back to the marketing people...
Teens don't pay for my kind of programs. That's where the parents come in. So they suggest that I work on things for parents and then lead the parents into the Total Truth Workshop.
I can do that. I would enjoy doing that... but...
At the moment, I am feeling so overwhelmed and pulled in several directions. I have my fiction followers, my motivational followers, my relationship followers, my Christian followers, my fitness followers and (deep breath).... I don't want to disappoint a single one of them. I do however need to eat. So I am trying to "chunk down my niche." Not sure how I'm going to do this and for just a moment, I wasn't going to do it at all. I was just going to keep on doing what I've always been doing for as long as I could do it... but then...
I went to a couple of the teen support group pages I regularly comment on, and was so overwhelmed by the sadness that was coming from the posts. So much sadness and confusion. They have no foundation within themselves to turn to for strength when times get hard. I help provide that. I can help them. My workshops for teens are created for them. My seminars for families can help heal them. This is where I need to be.
So, it is decided. I will start shifting things in that direction. Teens and family will become my main focus. I do have some projects that are currently in the works that I will complete but I need to narrow my focus to where my heart is needed most and I feel that I am called. So hang with me as this slow shift happens. The exciting thing is that I still get to do all the things that make me happy, write, travel, speak, create, motivate, help others, I'm just narrowing down my target audience even more than before.
So- if you are part of a family (and there's a good chance that you are) and you need to communicate with others, (my area of expertise) then chances are you still might be able to find some value here on my site.
No! No! No! You've got to stop me!! Don't let me try to go back to writing for everyone!! Lol!! I need you to help keep me focused!! I'm so weak!!
Thank you for letting me go off track and vent just a little... I will get things back on track soon! Please, feel free to leave your comments below. I love to hear from you!
Instead of Looking for the Right Person, Become the Right Person
"If you attempt to build intimacy with a person before you've done the hard work of becoming a whole and healthy person, every relationship will be an attempt to complete the hole in your heart and the lack of what you don't have. That relationship will end in disaster."
-Les and Leslie Parrott
If I may paraphrase the above, what that comment is saying to me is that if you are looking for someone to "complete you" then you have already lost. I believe they are trying to teach us to become the person we are happy and satisfied with by building our own self-confidence so when the right person comes along, he/she is merely a happy addition to our lives. We don't feel that obsessive NEED for that person. We don't have to have this person or that person because something is missing in our lives. We can be happy on our own, but we can also be ecstatic that they have joined us on our journey. Love will come to you. Maybe not in your time frame, so you need to be happy with your own company until that right someone does come along.
So how do we go about becoming the right person? How do we find the patience to wait on love while we are making ourselves into the right person to be loved?
Become the person that walks in love and not just wishes for it.
There's this saying: The way you do anything is the way you do everything. We can put that into practice here. Your "anythings" are your unconscious decisions that you make on a daily basis. Your way of doing things. The evolutional attitude you've created. And it can be observed in everything you do. We prefer to focus on what we want to see and hear, both for the good and bad. And that's true of everyone. But no matter how we try and taint or twist the evidence we present to others for our favor, actions reveal our true character. So make sure your character is one that can stand the test.
All of your "anythings" create your everything life. You are who you are in the dark. So, perhaps we should shine the light and look at who you really are and how the rest of the world sees you?
I am just under six feet tall and I have bright red hair. My mother made it a point to teach me, that no matter where I am, or where I go, someone is always watching me. She wasn't necessarily telling me this to frighten me, she was reminding me that I stick out like a sore thumb and if I do something stupid, I WILL get caught. And it worked. I took years of ballet to make sure I walk with poise and grace. I've studied etiquette to be sure I always have polite manners... so on and so forth... Now that I am a public figure, my character is up for grabs as well. (1 Timothy 4:12) I am not perfect by any means, and in spite of my many years of ballet, I still manage to fall flat on my face. But I do try and live an honest life. What you see is what you get. I try to walk in love. I have bad days, just like everyone else, but how you do anything is how you do everything. Even on those bad days, I walk in love. There may be an edge to my voice, or my eyes may not sparkle through whatever I'm going through, but hopefully you will know that I am sending love your way.
As you know, I am a big component of if you give love you will receive love. Sometimes not in the direction you were expecting, but the rule has always held true for me. Meaning, you see this totally beautiful person standing across the room so you send out love in his direction... he may not respond. But that love will bounce around the room and suddenly, someone will come up to you and tell you that you have the most beautiful smile. So, it may not be from the hot guy, but that only means that he wasn't for you. So keeping that in mind, are you giving love? Are you the kind of person others can love? Do you walk in love? Are you patient and kind? Do you show respect for others? Do you live a life of integrity? You can only pretend to be someone else for a short amount of time. The real you will always come to the surface. Who are you when no one else is around?
Love is sacrificial and learning to put others first. Are you in a "ME" kind of mindset?
If you have been making the same kind of relationship mistakes over and over and ending up in the same hurtful place, start with yourself. Do you love yourself? If you don't love you, how can someone else? Look hard in the mirror. Fall in love with the face staring back at you. Let love begin with you. Create a fulfilling, healthy, whole relationship with you. Make the changes that need to be made that will make others see how truly wonderful you are. How you do anything is how you do everything. Start with you. Walk in love. Put others first. Send love out and it will come back to you.
Did you know, the command "fear not" is the most repeated command in the Bible? There are over 365 references to calming your fears and anxieties. One for everyday of the year and then some!
Fear is something we all face and handle in different ways. Fear of loss, fear of death, of rejection, of the unknown, even fear of airplanes, spiders, heights, masks, clowns, the number thirteen.... Whew! The list goes on and on. No wonder God made it a priority for His people to know to "fear not, because He is always with us" And for His people, He is patient and reminds us again and again day after day... fear not.
Here are a few of my favorite verses that I use in my daily life and I hope that they are a blessing to you as well.
For all my worriers out there, I keep this one on hand. "Be anxious for nothing." Philippians 4:6 One of my favorites. I use this verse to remind me that things are out of my control. And no matter how much I want to worry and fret, it changes nothing. It doesn't help the situation it only makes me tired and more stressed. So stop worrying, be anxious for nothing.
When the bills pile up around me and I'm afraid I'm not going to have enough money to feed myself or my family, or I'm going to be tossed out on to the street and end up living in a cardboard box, (yes, I've stressed out this much before...) I rely on this verse in Matthew: Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on, is not life more than food and body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)
He has always taken care of me, and even though my poor choices have put me in some pretty interesting predicaments, He has always provided for me. It may not have been a steak dinner, but, I have never gone without.
We have all been wounded in love before and He tells us to guard our hearts, but He also thinks that love is the greatest thing ever. So, do not give up on love, ever. And when it comes to finding your mate, only the deepest, truest love will do. And you will know when you find it because 1 John 4:18 tells us: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whosoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Do you love in fear or need or do you love in peace and perfection?
In Joshua 1:9, He has no time for foolishness he just puts it out there: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord is with you wherever you go.
Any questions? Didn't think so...
There will be nights that I lay awake wondering, half-planning, half-wishing what I want for my future. I fear that I won't see my children grow and raise their own families. I fear that I'll be stuck cutting hair for the rest of my life. I fear that I will not see my dreams fulfilled. I fear that my body or mind won't be strong enough to get me through the trials of my life. But then Matthew comes to my rescue again and in the 6th chapter and the 34th verse it reads: Do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble.
Leave tomorrow's worries for tomorrow... and then, be anxious for nothing! (Philippians 4:6)
Often we get caught up in feeling the need to defend ourselves. How many times have you been accused of something that you were totally innocent of? Or people would just talk about you behind your back without any cause at all? Or being bullied. You want to shout out and defend yourself, but sometimes things get so escalated that your voice falls on deaf ears. You are resigned to think that everyone will believe the lies. But the Bible says, fear not. You will have your day and the truth will come to the surface. Exodus 14:14 says: The Lord will fight for you and you only have to be silent.
A most popular and favorite passage to deal with your deepest, darkest fears comes from Psalms. The twenty-third Psalm is one of the most read and recognized and most comforting passage from the Bible. Here is the 4th verse: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.
It calms me every time.
Another fear that used to haunt me day in and day out was my past. I was not a good person. I was frozen with guilt when I would recall some of the hurtful and hateful things I did once upon a time. And even still, I struggle with letting my past go and forgiving myself but luckily Isaiah 43:1 reminds me that I am saved. I have been forgiven. All my sins have been washed away. It says: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are Mine.
These verses have helped me and continue to help me in my times of trouble. You can take what you find useful and ignore the rest or go digging around for different ones that speak to you. I am not posting these to start any kind of debate or fall into a context argument, but to hopefully offer you peace in a not so peaceful world and bring up the point that if He took the time to tell us over 365 times to fear not, He must have wanted us to do it. I'm just helping you get started.
Trust, children of God, that He sees your fears and he knows what you are going through. Trust that He is faithful.
Fear not, for I am with you... Isaiah 41:10
When in Doubt, Take the Next Small Step
I was never a big fan of setting goals. To me it was a way to measure my failures. If I never reached them, it wouldn't matter because I never made them! What a surprise it was that I'd stayed in the same exact spot for so many years without moving forward an inch. Once I figured out that goals were my ticket to something, anything... everything else, they became a part of my regular routine.
My problem with goals is I would have all these grand ideas, (I never do anything small!) and then would have no idea how to accomplish them. So in my mind, I failed right out of the gate. And let's not forget the mentality I had, of needing it RIGHT NOW!! So, indeed, I was setting myself up for failure. These grand and truly wonderful plans I had, never made it off the paper because I wasn't patient enough to take the smaller steps it took to make them happen.
I have since learned that a large goal is simply made up of many, many smaller goals or steps. Sometimes we don't know how we are going to get to where we are going, but we have to get started to find out. Such is life.
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
You may not know where you are going to end up, but you have to take that first step in order to find out. God is pretty clever that way. He let's you see the big picture (that goal of where you want to go or what you want to be or just what you want next) but He wants you to rely on Him for the smaller steps of the journey along the way. He only lights your path as far as you can see, so we are never in complete darkness, because by the time you've taken that "last" step, the next one is presented to you. It's like looking down an avenue of streetlights. Each one illuminating their own little circle, but you can only see so far ahead of you. You must start walking in the circles of light to see where the street takes you.
Imagine you're in one of those motion sensor tunnels, like in a James Bond movie. As you're walking down a completely dark and scary hallway, the sensor picks up your presence, and it lights a few more steps for you. As the light comes on and the immediate surroundings are illuminated, they are not quite as scary. We are not meant to know every single step of the journey. It is a learning process. Work ahead as far as you can and then have faith that when you get there, the next instructions will be there waiting.
It actually all happens so smoothly that you never realize you were ever in the dark at all. When you look back at all of your steps, they were placed in just the right order. You learned all the things you needed to know to get to the next step. Eventually, as you look back, your starting steps are all but a memory. That first building you came out of into the darkness, was actually your first point of light.
And when those times come that you stumble or fall, get back up, brush yourself off and take that next step. The first steps are always the scariest. I have a friend that always told me that God IS there and He WILL steer the boat, but you have to get it out to sea first. He can do nothing with it still tied to the dock. This taught me that I can't wait for things to get "just right" or sometimes all the ducks refuse to get in a row until you wrangle the first couple. But trust. Have faith. Untie the boat and make those first few strokes to get it out into open water. See all the wonderful things He can do if you let Him light your path.
Make those goals. Break them down and see how many steps you can work on until you reach the edge of the light. And then, take one more step and watch the light in the darkness stretch out before you.
Get up when you stumble. And when in doubt, just take the next small step and see what happens!
Your word is the lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
What new goals are you tackling? How have you overcome your fears to "take the next step"? What other advice can you give to those who might be stuck?