The Whole Story
This is going to be such a hard post to write, so bare with me...
Things have shifted. And in a big way. Things don't always go as planned, and... you have to shift. The emotion is still really close to the surface so, I apologize if it spews out across the page, but... you've been with me this far, and you're still here so this won't be the first time. Lol
To start... my husband left me in February this year. I knew I was taking this trip alone so, that was just that. If I'm being honest, I didn't give myself much time to work through that grief because I'm a master of being busy. I am always going, doing, creating... all the things. Being a life student and a relationship coach... it is really hard to swallow that my own marriage wasn't a perfect and lovely textbook example. It is humiliating, if I have to put a word on it. It feels like I learned nothing if I couldn't even see and remedy the issues in my own marriage. I must be a terrible relationahip coach.
What they don't tell you in your relationship classes, and you have to pretty much figure out for yourself is that... sometimes, you can't control another person's actions. And by sometimes, I mean, MOST times. You have no control over someone else's choices.
I had no control over his leaving me... I just had to decide how I was going to respond and what I was going to do next.
Fast forward to half way through my trip...
My husband's health is failing. He suffered injuries while serving his country and they are tired of being ignored. In short- his vertebrae is crumbling and trying without success to reframe his bones and muscle structure to still give him support. It's not working. He's going to require surgery (or series of surgeries, and if it sounds like I'm making light of it, please understand that it's my defense mechanism. )
I need to get back and take care of my husband. I love my husband and this is that part "in sickness and in health" that I agreed to whether he did or not. I believe in marriage and I want a happy marriage, but I can only do what I can do. And do it to the best of my ability without judgment, or punishment and in an unconditionally, loving way. And what I need to do is get to Alabama to get my husband through this surgery and physical therapy on the other side, in the most loving and supportive way I know how. God is pretty amazing and is capable of turning this marriage around at any point, so I walk in faith.
No dates have been set, as yet for the surgery and I have come to realize that I will no longer be able to travel. It's a hard pill to swallow since I've worked so hard to finally get here and now I have to put it to rest. I am so very thankful that I was able to have this one last bang of a trip. (Sidenote: This is WHY you don't wait until retirement to follow your dreams or do the things your heart tugs you toward. Don't ignore it. Don't wait... you might not get the chance "later".)
I am beyond grateful that I got to follow The Oregon Trail... It wasn't the trip that was originally planned, but I'm not sad. I saw so many things. I learned so many things. I made friends along the way. I learned things about myself that I would have never discovered otherwise. I got to "meet" all of you. These memories will set me up for a very long time.
I have yet to go through all the photos, something to look forward to.
A lot of new wheels have been put into motion.
- I cancelled the PostCard Club.
As I have mentioned before, I did not receive an income from the Club, and more times than not, it cost more than it brought it. Plus, I will no longer be traveling, so it seemed the right thing to do.
I have decided that all the members will still get their ornament and the 2020 group will still get their digital copy of my book A Devil's Errand when it is released. I will still send out all the postcards for the month of September and for those who purchased for the full year, I'll send along other gifts instead to make up the difference.
- The History Revisited Facebook Group.
The group... oh... this is hard... I have enjoyed my time with you so much and I have loved getting to know you throughout the years. And those who popped in every once in a while... I saw and appreciate you too!
Seeing as how I'm about to be a full-time caregiver, I feel the best course of action is to delete the group as I won't have the time to keep up with it and again... not going to be traveling or visiting historical sites until further notice.
I will still be producing the Bag of Bones Podcast, for those of you who need your history fix. I'm going to turn all of my (spare) attentions on that and my author life. I'll be writing books, coaching and maybe creating some new writing or history courses, I don't know. I have no idea what my future looks like, but my writing is everything so it will continue in some form or another.
I would be so honored if you would follow me on my Facebook page(s)-
Elizabeth Bourgeret- Author and/or Bag of Bones Podcast
Perhaps we can continue our friendships there.
If neither of those are a fit for you, please know that I will miss you and again, have enjoyed beyond words your participation and presence in my life.
- The Wildwood Conestoga
I am grateful that I will get to visit with my children (both in MO) and my family (mostly in AR) before I get settled in Alabama where my husband and his family reside.
The Conestoga will be sold next month. It has served me well, kept me safe and the new owner gets a new set of tires! Lol!
What a good, mostly sturdy companion it turned out to be :)
Money is about to get extremely tight, so I am downsizing in every way.
I have been so blessed and so ridiculously grateful to have been able to come on this adventure. It truly has been an adventure of a life time and I am beyond thankful that I was able to make it to Oregon.
I have earned my Coast to Coast title and being an ocean girl at heart, that's no small thing.
I have SO many new story ideas that have come from this trip so I will never run out of book tasks. And being able to see what they saw, feel what they felt, touch the flora and fauna, cry with their pain, celebrate thier victories... I promise you to give their stories true depth and emotion so you feel as if you are there. Witnessing the land and their crossing (even the California route too!) I will have SUCH an advantage to creating an authentic Oregon Trail Series.
So, I am blessed. I'm not upset. A little sad, (okay fine, a lot sad) but I know that I will continue to be blessed in other ways, because my God loves me, and shows me everyday.
So I walk... and drive... in faith.
Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Thank you for being my penpals.
If this could NOT be a good-bye, but just a transition... that would be really great.
So... not goodbye... I'll see you on my author page or the Bag of Bones page
And don't count me out... there's more to come from this plucky author, I promise...
When to Say, "I'm Sorry."
Every couple is going to have disagreements, arguments and maybe even a few knock down drag outs, and all will be well, but I promise you, there will be times when a line has been crossed and your only way to mend the wound is by offering an apology.
Why is "I'm Sorry" so hard for some people to say?
I'm pretty sure it's a pride thing. When you are willing apologize to someone, you first have to admit that you did something wrong. And who likes to do that? Next, you have to put your partner's feelings above your own, and acknowledge that you have caused harm. A humbling task.
Pride is a powerful thing to set aside. But if you continually:
-pretend that an offense never happened
-downplay the hurt
-refuse to take ownership of the infraction
-avoid communicating (with the intent of resolution)
... then pride will destroy your trust, intimacy and may even destroy the relationship itself.
Don't let pride steal the intimacy from your relationship. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to the fact that you just might be at fault.
Avoiding the conversation is not the same thing as resolving it!! By pretending the offense never happened will do far more damage in the long run. You may be able to distract your partner a time or two or charm them into forgetting the offense this time, but believe me, it will catch up to you. No amount of charm or chocolates are going to save you now!!
So go ahead. Do the deed. Don't put it off any longer. Take responsibility for hurting your partner's feelings and do what needs to be done to salve it. Not sure how to go about it?
Here are a few tips:
- Just start by saying it. I'm sorry. (That will get their attention!) But don't stop there...
-address the problem (I'm sorry for...) Let your partner know that you are acknowledging the unhappy emotions you caused. This, usually means more than anything else you can say. Try to identify with your partner's feelings. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to your partner. Don't argue your point, use this as a chance to try and understand.
-really make an effort to say and show how you are going to change in the future in case a similar situation arises. What's the point of apologizing if you have no intention to change? Make sure your partner knows you regret causing the pain and that you sincerely want to work toward a resolution.
-ask for forgiveness. These words are truly humbling and powerful. By asking for forgiveness, it shows that you are choosing to start again with different behaviors. It encourages trust.
-do what you say. Trust grows when you demonstrate the changes in your actions and behaviors that will benefit the relationship.
When NOT to say "I'm sorry"
-when you don't mean it anyway and you're just trying to "move things along".
-not every conflict requires an apology- just be sensitive to times when you know you have crossed the line. You'll know. You'll feel it. And if you don't, the silence will usually let you know.
-if you're just going to deflect it. (When you actually turn the offense back on your partner- guilt) "I'm sorry if you think...." or "I wouldn't have ____ if you hadn't ___" "It's not my fault if you took it that way..."
-if you're just going to take your partner down with you. "I'm sorry, but remember that time when you did ___ to me?"
-and worst of all, if you're just going to repeat the same offense time and again.
Sometimes it may take a few hours or maybe even a few days before the emotions settle down and you can discuss the offense with your partner. Take that breath. Don't storm off or slam doors, just let them know you need a break. This is not the opportunity to hope they "forget about it". If you want to make things right, you're eventually going to have to address it. Just do it, and get back to loving.
Sometimes it may take a while to be forgiven. And that is their right. If you hurt some one and they need time to grieve, allow them that time. And when they do come to accept your apology, be gracious. Don't hold a grudge or get defensive, allow for reconciliation.
I hope this helps. Too many relationships are being slowly shifted a part because of the pride that blocks the apology. We all make mistakes. Take the responsibility to own up to yours. Make things right, make the changes and grow closer together.
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What Love Isn't
Ahh, the month of l'amour... (read in a very thick French accent) Love is everywhere. Flowers, gifts, cards, wedding proposals... February creates the feeling of passion, romance and long lasting love.
I don't want to be the one to pop your shiny helium balloon or anything, 'cause I'll be the first one to go all crazy for Valentine's Day, but just because it is the month that invokes the spirit of love... does not mean that love is what you are feeling!!
Sadly, I am here to tell you what Love. Is. Not.
And it breaks my heart to do so, because I want everyone who wants it to feel those butterflies and goosebumps of love. I want everyone to find that special someone that will stay with them forever- through thick and thin, good times and bad, fat days and skinny days, and all that stuff. But just because it is Valentine's Day does not make it so...
A client of mine had recently gotten away from an abusive relationship. He was both physically and emotionally abusive. He was her addiction. But she finally broke free and moved back in with family for support. She started going to church and became an active participant. Through our sessions she began to realize the destructive behavior and how it impacted her life and the lives of her children. She began to see that maybe this wasn't love, because love doesn't do those terrible things and cause pain to each other. Love only lifts you up. Love never tears you down or manipulates.
She had cut off communication and went out of her way to avoid seeing him and took this time to concentrate on healing. She had to realize that she could live without him, that she was addicted to him lustfully, and that she did not deserve to be treated in such a harmful, manipulative way.
Enter Valentine's Day. In walks Mr. Wonderful with a bouquet of flowers and a shiny helium balloon... oh, and one more thing... a ring. My client went blind, deaf and dumb but still managed to accept his proposal.
"He said he was going to change. The Lord told me to forgive him. If I am supposed to be a good Christian, I should give him another chance. He loves me."
I was speechless. She was in her moment of euphoria so, she wouldn't hear a word I said, so... I'm saying it to you.
What Love Is Not....
Forgiveness. Yes Forgive. Yes, always forgive. Because forgiveness is more for you than the other person. It allows you to heal and move forward and not give others control over your emotions. Yes, forgive. Even in the hardest, most painful of circumstances... forgive. But forgiving is not forgetting. Saying that, hear this- Just because you forgive does not mean that they should stay in your life. Let me say that again. Just because you forgive someone, does not mean they still belong in your life! Not all relationships are meant to last forever especially if they are abusive. You are not being a loving, forgiving person if you allow someone back into your life that is going to continue the same behavior. You know why? You are not loving yourself! That is unhealthy!! You deserve better!! Yes, people can change, but if this is the twelfth time you've forgiven and tried over... chances are, no change is going to take place. You've already proven to them that you will take them back no. matter. what. That is not love. To allow yourself to be treated anything less that amazing... that is not love.
Actions speak louder than words. Just because they say it, doesn't mean their behavior backs up their words. Sometimes we want to hear those words so badly that we tend to turn a blind eye to bad behavior. People can only be artificial for so long. Eventually their real, true self will come to the surface. You know it. You see it... but you chose not to. Those three little words are magic. But if the way they treat you and others contradicts those beautiful words, see it and believe it. It is not love.
Being taken advantage of is not love. When you are someone's second choice, and not their priority, that is not love. If they wait to find out if there are any other offers besides yours before they give you a commitment, that is being taken advantage of. And if you are willing to drop your plans because they called at the last minute, you are allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. If they can't put your first, get out of their way. You deserve someone that will be into the relationship just as much as you.
If you have to try to convince someone to love you... they are not for you. You don't match. It's not necessarily a bad thing! Not everyone is going to get along with everyone else! Don't try to force love. Don't look for things that aren't there. Don't try and change someone into your idea of the ideal mate because you will only be hurt in the end. Love is not forced. You shouldn't have to try so hard to make a relationship work. If there isn't a foundation that you can build on, that is not love.
Disrespect is not love. When someone realizes that they pretty much have a green light to do whatever they want, because you'll always take them back they will continue to respect you less and less. They will wear down your standards; coerce you to have you bend your belief system. They aren't as afraid of losing you as you are of them. When someone disrespects you, it is better to remove yourself from that person. They will never suddenly see your worth. And if you continually drop your standards ("yes, he cheated, but I know he was sorry") they will continually cross that new line. And soon, you will feel shallow and empty waiting for them to love you the way you imagined they would. Let them go.
Love is never hateful. Or abusive. Or harmful. If someone lays a heavy hand on you. That is not love. They may think they love you, they may honestly believe they love you, but love is not designed to hurt. More likely than not, it is an addiction. Addictions are possessive, love is freeing. If someone loves you, they would never, ever want to see you in pain. If they love you, they will not cheat on you. No exceptions. If they love you, they will not leave you. If they love you, they will let you know. You won't have to wonder. If they love you, they will have your best interest at heart. You won't have to force them to want to be with you.
Walking away isn't easy. We all want love. We want to feel the joy of love and sometimes we think that if we just keep trying, we can love someone enough for both people. That is not love. And when you keep trying and keep trying waiting for a different outcome, you only sink deeper and deeper into that loveless hole. They are not going to change. So you either have to tolerate their behavior or walk away, loving yourself enough to start again. I vote for the loving yourself option. The right one IS out there, when you are ready. But you can't really give yourself to someone else to love, when the love is not already there within you.
Don't settle for anyone just to have a someone. That... is not love. Be patient. Take care of you. Do what you need to do so that when love comes along, you'll be ready. You'll recognize it for what it is... and what it isn't.
The other day, I went out into my back yard and there, going up the step in the mix of some boring weeds, I saw the most brilliantly colored flower. Nothing has ever grown there before and I wondered what it was doing there now! It was so simple and beautiful and thought surely is was sent to grow there to give me a message.
So, I wondered what kind of message it could be? Let me give you some back-story... I feel closest to God when I am out amongst nature. I feel He is near me and I am more open to hearing his messages. The breeze suddenly feels like a caress. The birds sound like a choir. The colors seem so intense that I feel like I disappear. I don't feel this way every time I go outside, but I know that if I am troubled, that's where I meet Him. And he will comfort me. He will ease my pain. He will scold me. He will give me direction. Not that He whispers to me or anything... I've asked repeatedly for Him to send me a text message, but He must not like that option for me... Any-hoo.... So I feel this random flower was "sent" to tell me something.
Maybe, to look for the rose among the thorns? That would be the obvious choice. And sometimes I do need to be reminded of that. I can get pretty crabby some days and only see things that just irritate the tar out of me and only witness the annoying things about people, but sometimes, hidden underneath the perceived "annoying" there is something truly beautiful there just waiting to be noticed. It was there all along. I just needed an attitude adjustment to see it.
Or maybe, it was stop and smell the roses? Again with the roses? The point being that sometimes I get so busy and forget to notice the small things that make me happy. The little things that remind me why I work so hard. A sunset. The smile from one of my kids or grandkids. An ice-cream sandwich. I am pretty busy... I do work a lot and forget to watch the sun set...
How about, God has it under control? He took the time to create this beautiful, perfectly made flower and bring it to my attention. He's got the whole world in His hands. My troubles are nothing compared to his power and compassion. No problem is too big or too small to take to Him.
But no... none (or all) of those. Because as I was working all day, the next chance I got to go outside and check on my pretty little surprise, it was gone. Orange petals had fallen to the concrete and the center hung low. My conclusion was that the lesson must be: Nothing is promised. You don't know how long you have to appreciate the things and the people around you. Your world could change in an instant.
Yes, that must be it. The flower was here, and when I thought I could appreciate it another day, it was gone. So I pass this lesson on to you. Love those around you. Never let them doubt for one minute that they are important to you. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the sunsets. Kiss the babies. Take nothing for granted. The very breath you breathe is not promised. Make sure you use every one as if it was your last. Let no words of ill-will be said to those you love. Always be the best person you can be from one minute to the next. Life is short. Too short.
Forgive. Be thankful. Be kind. Show love. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Don't live a life of regret. Live every day to the fullest. And even if your day consists of having to go to work, or another day of boring mundane activities, do your best to find the joy in every day. There's a reason you are, where you are doing what you're doing. So when you go to bed at night, before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to be thankful for all the good things in your life. :)
Let It Go
Your blog post today is a product of the magical, distracting power of Disney. I've been trying to work on helping you to let go of your past troubles so they don't weigh down your future. And Disney's Frozen song keeps running through my head, "Let It Go." Excellent advice. "... the past is in the past..." While I will try to keep my singing to a minimum, there is some important and valuable keys to be learned here.
We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. We have all made painful decisions that we wish we hadn't. No one is free from that. No one. I wish I could take the pain away that is associated with your past, the fact is that it happened that way for a reason. You hopefully learned something; grew from your mistakes, and if that's the case- Good for you. Because you have learned to make your stumbling block your stepping stone. You are who you are today, because of the things in your past- good or bad.
But for the others who are carrying around guilt, self-loathing, bitterness and anger, I am here to say let it go. You are dragging your past into your future where it was not meant to be. There is nothing so big that you cannot be forgiven for (Acts 10:43), but the one you need forgiveness from in most cases is yourself. Let it go...
Your brain is a powerful thing. It obeys what you tell it to do. When you put it on auto-pilot, it can dredge up some painful images and show them to you over and over again allowing them to tell yourself things that just aren't true. "You weren't good enough for her." "You aren't smart enough to get into that college." "You deserve to unhappy." "You have done some bad, bad things." Every time you replay those images, they get a little bit stronger. They take over a little more of your thought process. Your brain is SO amazing that not only will it display those images, but it can cause you to evoke the emotions that go right along with it. So if you think on it, real hard, it's like the same painful thing is happening again, right now, making those memories and wounds fresh again.
Is that really where you want to be? Do you really want to punish yourself over and over again for something that you can do absolutely nothing about? You can't change the past. You can't un-do anything that has already happened. But you can make choices for your future. Did you know that your brain will also do what you tell it to do? You don't have to be at the mercy of your memories. When those thoughts come at you, make the conscious effort to change the channel. You don't have to let those memories have control over you. Change the channel.
Quit thinking about it.
Quit talking about it.
Quit replaying the disappointments.
Quit reliving the hurt and the bad choices.
When you can't close the doors on the past, you are practically locking the doors to your future. You know the saying, when one door closes, another will open. Well the new door can't open if you haven't closed the old door! Your future can't truly begin if you're still lugging around the pain from your yesterdays. Change your future by taking control of your thoughts and letting the past stay in the past. Those thoughts WILL come up again, but you have to choose to guard your thoughts. Keep moving forward.
It doesn't matter where you were born. It doesn't matter how you were raised. It doesn't matter if he/she left you. It doesn't matter if you didn't get the job. You are not a victim.
How long are you going to blame outside events for your shortcomings? How long are you going to mourn for your losses? When is it time to turn things around and take on the future that you really and truly want? I'm not dismissing the things that have happened to you. But we have all had things, bad things, happen in our lives that we wish didn't happen. You still have a choice! Let go of the victim mentality. Let go of the bitterness. Let go of the anger, the hate and the anguish. Let go of the ashes so you can see the beauty.
Sometimes not getting what you thought you wanted is the blessing in and of itself. If it was meant to be, then it would be. You are not your past. You can't change your yesterdays, but you do have some input on all of your tomorrows. Use your powerful brain to see where it is that you want to be in your future. See the things that make you happy. Focus on the ones that you love and love you in return.
At some point, we have to decide when to let go. You've done all you can do. Nothing else is going to change for the better. You have to come to terms that it is over and done. We may not ever understand how we came to this point, "but here I stand, in the light of day" and you have to decide to move past it. If you continue to hang on, it will only drag you down. Let it go. Cut off the dead weight and feel the heaviness come off your shoulders. It is not until you acknowledge the end that a new beginning can start. It is where you are unwilling to walk away, that you will be forever stuck. You can't go backwards. You weren't meant to go back. You have a whole new life waiting for you to live it if you will just give it a chance.
Every morning is a clean canvas. A new chance to start over. Unlock the doors to your future. Change the channel. Forgive your past. Let it go.
Forgive those who have hurt you.
Forgive the man that broke your heart.
Forgive the woman that wouldn't give you a chance.
Forgive the boss who passed you over for the promotion.
Forgive the circumstances that led to pain or feelings of unjust.
Forgive. Whether it was something that happened ten minutes ago or ten years ago. Forgive.
This does not mean that your life will be easy. There will be new trials and temptations and painful events that will blindside you, just repeat. Forgive and let it go.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."