Be Selfish- Help Others
We are taught to help others. I teach to help others. I, myself look for opportunity to help others. One doesn't really have to look far.
Simple acts of kindness.
We are also taught and I teach to expect nothing in return. Meaning, by you bestowing love and kindness on someone else, they don't owe you anything. You are not "one up" on them. The person being bestowed your gift of time, energy or physical product may not even acknowledge you. May not even show gratitude. Might even be crabby about it.
Be kind anyway. Help others anyway.
You are kind and helpful for the mere sake of being kind and helpful whether anything comes from it or not.
But here's the thing... something ALWAYS comes of it. I have been "catching" myself being kind, FOR the very reason that I KNOW I'll get something back from it.
I have become selfish... greedy!
I have found that when I am sad or depressed, if I focus outward, and do things for others... I feel better.
It may not come directly from the source as in say a "thank you" or a five star review, or even a smile... but, it does come back around.
I recognized this when I started being "kind" on the down low... and now it's my favorite thing to do. Help others when they don't realize they are being helped and if they did... they don't know where it's coming from.
Sometimes, I do things for others, only because I know it will make me smile. I know! Selfish!! Sure, it blesses the other person, but... oh how it makes my heart swell and feel light.
I know... I know... selfish.
I have a Book Club on this website. It's filled with books from brand new authors finding their footing in the author world which involves a heavy load of marketing. Things that most writers are not aware of when they embark on this journey. If you haven't seen it, you should really take some time to check it out... (Click here! Warning- be sure to block some time, because there is SO much to see!)
I charge a small fee to showcase their books here. I present them to you fine people and I help them build an audience. I could charge a lot of money for this service. I could do it for free. But I have found that charging a small amount allows them to feel empowered, and take the opportunity seriously.
I will not get rich from this service. Not monetarily anyway, but rich in so many other ways. I don't get to see the faces of these authors, but I remember the first time I saw my book's cover on the interwebs... it was amazing. And even if one new set of eyes saw it and remembered my name... that was progress.
Most authors don't get rich or even have a lot of money to invest launching thier baby out into the world, but one person at a time builds an audience. And so I give them access to my audience. And I get to impart small tips and tricks along the way.
I have found that when I offered to do these same things for free, it was a completely different vibe. I am treated differently. Not always, but enough that "they" trained ME how to better serve them. I still offer great advice, even if they don't order. I spend hours every day answering questions for authors, but it's different when you put money into the game. You treat advice and service with a bit more respect. You value the other person's time.
When I charge a mere $5, I am met with gratitude. I am met with eagerness to do more, learn more. I am met with a camaraderie of being inaugurated into the Author's Club. And I feed off it. Not the money... those feelings. I am selfish. I admit, I love the five star reviews. I love the thank yous and notes of gratitude sent to me... but mostly, I love seeing new authors spreading their wings and getting their work out into the world. It's no easy task. But when I scroll through the images of these books, most that are brand new to the market... I smile... selfishly, that I have them on my site. That my audience are some of the first that get to see them. That when I lay my head on my pillow at night, I know that I've helped my fellow authors in my own tiny way.
I believe I have more than one purpose. I believe we all do. I believe we are given clues to our purpose by the strengths we have been given. One of my strengths is to be able to help elevate others. It is a pure, selfish joy of mine to lift others who may be struggling in one way or another. It is a strength to help others find that missing piece of where they are to finding joy and happiness that is within reach, but they just might not be able to see it. And selfishly, I pursue this purpose. Or perhaps, it pursues me. It makes me happy. It helps me to suspend any grief I may have and I find happiness in helping others.
I am humbled that I am a person that people reach out to... to share with. It is fulfilling to me to lift others who may have stumbled. It's a privilege to be that hand they reach out to and together with both our strengths lift them back up on their feet.
When I am just focused on me... and my sadness or grief, I can't be of service to others. I am happy that my need, that selfish need to smile and feel proud of how my fingerprint was left behind on someone else's happiness propels me to stay up on my own two feet.
So, may I offer, if you are feeling sad, or disconnected or depressed... take a little bit of time to be selfish... and help others. You'll be glad you did.
A Change in Direction
The Travel Life Calls...
There's something about having to face your humanness that is very defeating. Not that I thought I was superhuman, by any means, but... stronger perhaps than others my age? Or so I liked to tell myself. Turns out I am just as human as the other fifty somethings and now a bit more fragile.
Because of the broken ribs, I've had to get my fair share of xrays over the last couple months. They have revealed more than two broken ribs. I am not one that seeks out the medical professionals at all if I can help it, so I honestly had no idea what was happening underneath my skin and I liked it that way.
Now don't be upset with me if I don't lay out all the dirty secrets here at your feet, but it should be enough to say that the doctors have discovered I have advanced scoliosis and my neck is... uh... crumbling away. They flat out told me things were going to have to change. My body was breaking down faster than it should. They said they doubt I can go on doing the things I've been doing any more and I would have to start treating my body a bit more tenderly.
I took this information and internalized it. I cried for a bit. I followed the doctor's orders and was a good, well-behaved patient.
I tried to envision the kind of life that he said was in front of me.
And then I thought... if this is really it... if these are the parameters of my future, I'd rather be happy than waiting for something to happen. What would make me happy? Being with my children, was my first thought. Since it's not fair for my children to have their adult mother sit on their doorsteps and interfere with their lives and be under their feet all the time... I had to think what ELSE would make me happy? That's easy...
Traveling. Camping. Revisiting History.
With my children's blessing- because they don't want me under their feet either, I decided to make that option happen... not sure how, but I'm going after it.
Right at this juncture, without all the sappy backstory, I literally have nothing. No home, no camper, no job, what few items I do have are sitting in a storage shed in southern Missouri. I have a truck. An ornery black cat and my lap top. I'm not in a wheel chair yet, and have no intention of going down that road until there are no more options.
I must shift my thinking. I must find a way to get back out on the road again.
This is the longest way around to have to tell you that A Touch of Spice will not be coming out December 2. Even if I finished the last word today, it couldn't get published in time. It's a Christmas story... and I want to keep it a Christmas story, which means it won't be able to be released until NEXT December. (It really is going to be a cute story and worth the wait, I promise.)
I opened up the History Revisited Group on Facebook again which I re-named Ginger Life Travel and was honestly a bit overwhelmed with the graciousness and amount of support that was extended to me. I felt so loved.
I really have no plan, but the group gives me hope. And... permission. Permission to be happy so long as I agree that they can accompany me on the journey via FB. And, I really am sorry the book isn't coming out this year. (It's been a really hard year, okay?) But I believe in order to be able to hear God's whisper,
He had to take away all the distractions and people that were in the way of me hearing my instructions.
He may tell me that I can't travel for long, and I need to be okay with that.
Also... and I guess this would be the "good news" there's nothing like getting a diagnosis that says you may not live as long as you thought to get your fired up about what legacy you are leaving behind. I have a LOT of stories I want ... NEED to tell. I guess I'd better get on it.
It's true, we don't know how long we have, but when someone comes along and so rudely tells you that you're not going to live forever... it changes the way you think about things.
Suddenly you don't want to waste time on people who don't deserve you. You don't want to waste time doing things you don't love. You don't want to waste a single moment not making sure those you love, never doubt it for a second. And... you think about the mark you will leave on the world. What will people say about me after I'm gone? I'd better make sure I have a good turnout while I still have some time.
My change in direction is... I am NOT going to "take it easy" and wait for my body to disintegrate. I'm going to go out and chase life. Meet new people. Tell others what I see in my travels and what I learn along the way. And I'm going to write. Write. and Write and Write!
So I am sorry you may have to wait just a bit longer for the next book... but not THAT much longer, I promise.
Broken Ribs and a Cup of Coffee
Here I am... just sitting... the temperatures are dropping outside and if you know absolutely anything about me, that is a sign of fear and dread in my world.
I have been a snowbird for the last seven years and was pretty happy with that way of life.
I'd winter where it was warm, 97% of the time. I was usually near water. I was able to get out and about to explore most days. (Hurricane season was sometimes tricky, but it's not like they sneak up on you. You have a pretty good idea of when they're coming and if you need to pack up or not!)
When the danger of cold weather was past, I could make my way up north to visit family and see what else I could find; dragging my camper along behind ready for new adventures.
I haven't owned a winter coat in seven years. I barely wear shoes, for that matter. I am SUCH a beach baby at heart.
Well... this year is going to be a bit different. I am officially trapped in colder weather.
The first weekend in October, I busted my ribs. I didn't think much of it at the time, but five days later, when I was still having trouble breathing, I went in and had it x-rayed. One rib broken, one fractured. Not a thing they can do for it except to tell me to be still for the next 6-8 weeks and don't lift anything over 5-8 pounds.
Trapped. Trapped in cold weather until at least the end of the year.
Trying the see the best in a freezing situation, I find myself inside a new experiment. How to make this the best winter ever? It's a big ask. The cold weather is not just something I complain about for fun (we all have to have our "thing"). The cold, damp weather is actually pretty painful for me since I have arthritis in a good number of my joints. But, it could be worse. I could certainly be worse.
I choose to fill my brain with happy thoughts. I flood my heart with gratitude. I reflect on all the ways that I am blessed.
I am near my family. A rarity since I have found wings... I haven't spent Christmas with my grandchildren in all those years of snow-birding, because... well... cold. (I transferred my Christmas spirit to Easter. Easter is my favorite holiday and I pull out all the stops for this holiday!). But this year, I get to spoil them EXTRA, actually ON Christmas! (Their parents may even INSIST I head back to the south by the time I get done! Lol!)
With out being allowed to do much other than sit around and forcefully WILL my bones to grow back together, it allows me to brainstorm and putter around with other ideas I've been wanting to do, but just couldn't find the time ... Boy, have I got time now! This is the best injury when you have a laptop close by! (Hint- I ALWAYS have a laptop close by.)
I'm ahead in my Bag of Bones Podcast episodes for the first time in... forever. That feels pretty good. I'm working on the new book that now I have NO excuse for it not being released on time at the beginning of December. Plus plans for a years-worth of new books to come out in 2023. (The way my luck runs is that I'll get all these things started then get released from couch therapy and be right back in the rat race!)
The damage was enough that I was informed that I probably won't be able to travel the way I was used to and that I will need to make some pretty severe changes in my future activities. If that ends up being the case, I am so grateful for my adventures over the years and wouldn't trade them for anything. I'll have to be more careful where I end of an invalid next time though, THAT'S for sure!
Okay fine... I know you're asking but how... how did you break your ribs? I was broken in the most loving way possible. With a hug. A hug from a 21 year old football player that was just trying to pop my back. And he did... just went a little beyond that. I heard a crunch, but neither of us believed that I was actually broken...
The evening wore on and I was hugged again and again and the more you love someone, you just want to squeeze them so tight so they know right? Can I just say, I am SO LOVED. Each squeeze probably added to the fracture.
Adding to that... I am pretty active and chest pain or no chest pain, work had to be done, so I pushed through it lifting and carrying... just doin' what I do... until I couldn't anymore.
My jaw dropped when I saw the x-ray.
So now I sit. Trying to figure out how I'm going to be able to NOT step one foot out the door until the crocus comes up. Not gonna happen, so I sip my coffee and snuggle under the piles of blankets begrudging letting others take care of me. I am so loved. I must keep my whining to a minimum.
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...
Month 2 Check In
It's hard to believe that I have only been on this adventure for two months! It feels like I've been out here for at least four. I've been spending like it's been four! (#funnynotfunny)
I was supposed to check in around the 11th, so I'm a few days late.
I was whining about gas prices being a whopping $2.54 per gallon and and I was struggling with that. I just had to fill my gas tank at $3.79 per gallon. Having $70 and $80 gas trips are the norm. (and that's probably about half a tank!!). So, that's the biggest change from last month to this.
The second, is the campgrounds. It's getting more difficult to find spaces available. I realize how great camping is and I'm excited that everyone else is finally figuring that out, however... it is leaving very little space for me! Campgrounds in the midwest average in the $20- $30 range... the further west you go, you start at the $33 range and it can go up from there... WAY up. The highest I've seen was $112. PER NIGHT! And that did not come with any thing special. It's crazy. I mean, really crazy. And I didn't budget for that... so I am SO over budget.
I am down to one pair of jeans that don't have rips or tears in them. To be fair, they were old to begin with. Pretty sure I haven't bought a pair of jeans in at least ten years. But I sure have been rough on them! I love my jeans. They are my favorite thing to wear, year round. And out of all the clothes, I packed, I pretty much only wear the same 6 or 7 outfits. So, if you'd like to rub it in that I didn't need all the things I thought I would need, this would be a good place for that... because coming right behind it is the kitchen items.
Turns out, I didn't really need all of those, either. In all fairness, I was supposed to be doing a heck of a lot more cooking! I still have yet to use either of my dutch ovens. The propane stopped working in the camper (yes, there's propane in the tanks), so I have no stove (or hot water for that matter). If I can't heat it up in the microwave, it has to be eaten cold. Or I have a crock pot, so I've been making chili a lot.
So, yeah... all of my mixing bowls and baking tools, pots, pans... just being carried from one place to the next.
Which means my food supply is still in pretty good shape. Since I was ready for the thought of not having much fresh food, I haven't had to go to the store for much. Since I am the worst pioneer ever, I gave up on trying to ONLY do and eat what they did, because I can't cook outside. (Turns out wildfires are a HUGE thing this way and it's no joke. They don't allow any type of out door flames during the summer.)
So, I will probably go home with 90% of my flour and 80% of my beans that were purchased for the trip.
I've eaten out twice this month... if you want to count gas station food. And I have cheated with bottles of Pepsi about 8 times. (In my defense, they sell vanilla Pepsi here, which I can't get in the midwest, so I splurge... plus it helps ease the pain of the gas price I just paid!) Other than that, I just buy my half n half for my coffee. I need to get some veggies here soon. All the produce markets are open and I love me some fresh produce! (And still don't want scurvy.)
The Wildwood Conestoga has really taken a beating for some reason. Do the manufacturers not know that the camper is going to be set up and taken down over and over again? Don't other campers do this? It shouldn't be so fragile! It shouldn't be having so much trouble. It's only a 2017!
So, I've already mentioned my propane tanks. (No hot water, and no cooking flame), now my rear legs won't extend, so I have to figure out how to deal with that. My ball hitch either won't lock onto the ball, or won't let go! So we have this dance every single time in hooking up and unhooking to make the ball hitch fits just right. It's so aggravating!
I rarely use the air conditioning, (that could be the problem) but I had it on yesterday because it was 106 degrees and it whined the whole time... and when I turned it off for the evening, some exhaust fan (somewhere) was blowing and whining... I don't even know.
I've had three flat tires. Two on the trailer and one on Xander. (I had to get four new tires for Xander, because they were all close to going out, so I bit the bullet and did that. Ouch, but I feel safer. I do still have to buy a new spare tire for the camper just in case it happens again.)
The temperatures here are SO hot and dry, and even though I don't speed on the highway, I'm afraid of the tires over-heating or something happening. I've had to call my insurance roadside three times so far on this trip, so I can't imagine what my premium is going to look like next month. Ugh... the price of chasing your dreams.
Let's see, what else... nope, still. no videos. Not gonna happen.
I haven't written the new book either. I'm just so busy taking everything in! Every morning though, just as I am coming into conscience my brain is writing. Not that I can remember by the time I get back to my computer... but it IS up there... so there's hope. I'm thinking that once I am finished with this trip, all the ideas and senses and feelings and characters will come bubbling up.
I've also been thinking about creating a book about the actual trip- talking about what I've learned and sharing some photos... like a more complete and orderly History Revisited on paper... and also a journal/planner for other people who are getting into the camping thing. I really do love this life. (And I will be so sad when I reach the end of this trip. It's all coming too fast. ). But for others just getting started or want to document their trip but don't know how or what to say.. this journal thing might help... that's just an idea though...
So, if you're reading this and are not yet familiar with my writing style, please don't see complaining. (Okay, fine, there might be some, because this life is sometimes hard!). This is mainly documenting. I just like to keep track of stuff and I thought you might want to see the other side of things as well. I'm sorry it's not more scientific... probably why it comes across as complaining, but it's really not.
I am so happy to be doing this. It is such an adventure and I am learning so much. And not just historically speaking! I am learning more about me every day. I've discovered that I'm a lot more afraid than I thought. It's one thing to talk a big game, it's another thing to be out here facing those fears (or side skirting them) on a daily basis.
This is something that will keep me company for years to come. I have SO many pictures to go through and I can't wait to cover my walls with them!
This history and this country is absolutely amazing. I am seeing things I've never seen before and actually seeing and feeling and using all my senses, gives me such a deeper understanding to those pioneers who have traveled this road over a hundred years ago. I am so honored to be. able to do this and be able to write about if for years to come.
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.
This morning I had a private prayer meeting at the sunrise service. It was just me, the Platte River, the sun sneaking up over the plains and God. The birds were the choir and a slight breeze kept the heat away.
The brand new sunlight caught the mist coming up from the water and gave it warm etherial look.
Per our usual conversations, I begin with gratitude. How thankful that I am that I can take this journey. It's come at a high cost, and I never want Him to think that I don't realize it. I also know that there will probably be a high cost when my travels end, and I let him know that I accept that too. I am grateful for the littlest things like a safe place to sleep and the beautiful orchestra of nature around me, but I am most grateful for an audience with Him.
Because, and I'm sure He knows it... it's not long before I begin to fret about all the things. "How am I going to afford this?" "What happens next?" "What if this... what if that..."
His answer, is always the same..."Let me take care of that, you take care of the things that are in your control."
At which, I instantly felt the tiniest sting of reprimand.
Am I doing all of the things I'm supposed to be doing? Maybe... but am I doing them to the best of my ability? Probably not.
I am easily side-tracked with the latest, newest idea and I usually chase it down for the length of my leash to see what I can do with it. Sometimes I have no business being there. Sometimes I can find a few nuggets to make the things I do better and sometimes, I think that I have the power to bend time... that's my biggest problem, I think. I WANT to do all these things, so I TRY to do all these things, but it turns out that I have the exact same number of hours in the day as everyone else. I'm not SUPPOSED to be doing ALL the things apparently. And He waits patiently until I can come to our meetings for Him to tell me so.
I have been given a great deal of success and growth with my podcast, Bag of Bones. I love it. I really love everything about it, but I'm not utilizing it as best as I could. Meaning, I'm spreading out, instead of digging the well a little deeper. I jumped into a second podcast before Bag of Bones was even a year old and one, both are extremely research intensive, and two, I wasn't able to give them the amount of time I need to bring forward the quality I desire. So, with heavy heart, I am cancelling the release of Trails of History. Maybe postponing it? I don't know, but for now, it needs to come off my plate so I can continue to grow and nurture and monetize the podcast I have currently.
The other thing I need to remove right away is the more public version of the Writer's Lounge. I am moving this branch of my company to a more niched down version. I am discontinuing the Facebook group. It takes a huge amount of time creating daily posts for people and it's just not being used. And I am also discontinuing the League of Authors Membership site for this year. I love the concept of this- but it's just too big for me to deal with at the moment.
I am going to switch my focus to smaller group coaching to writer's who are ready to get their first book written and published. Many people SAY they want to write a book but few actually put in the time and effort to do so. I want to work with those few and help them with all the crazy transition stuff to make it a dream come true.
And then finally, my readers have been most patient with me, allowing me to follow this path and that- not having a new book from me. I need to get back to that. I owe you all A Devil's Errand that was supposed to be released in May, but I will do my best to get it released before the end of the year.
So keep an eye out, these transitions will be happening slowly throughout the website. Things will disappear and new things will pop up, fear not... all part of the Master's plan...
I've never been so happy to do the dishes!
I have been without running water for a little over a week now and nothing makes you more grateful for the things we take for granted like having to be without them!
The hose for the water going into the Beach House busted and the hot water heater decided to call it quits as well. In all fairness, it was over thirteen years old, so it had every right.... however...
I ordered the necessary parts thinking that they would be here in two days (I mean that's why we pay the extra for Prime, right?) only for it to take five days. Ugh.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to function with no access to water? No bathrooms, no showers, no clean dishes, no coffee, no cooking, cause you can't rinse your dishes, (it IS sugar ant season and they are everywhere here in the South!!), no drinking water, no washing your hands.
There were times I would absent-mindedly still turn on the faucet expecting magic to happen...
Today, my hose came in. I hooked that sucker up so fast and turned on all the faucets just because I could... and water came out. It was a miracle! I heated some water up on the stove and set about doing my dishes. Such a glorious task that I will not complain about ever again! (Okay, at least for a week or so...)
This got me thinking about all the things that we take for granted. Being grateful doesn't have to be for something amazing or life shattering! Sometimes I think that we need something short of a miracle to remind us to be thankful. And then we chalk it up to luck. But life, in general is filled with uneventful days sometimes blending one into another. And yet, in the midst of our complaining and trudging through what feels like mundane lives-even on the worst days- we wake up in the morning, and our eyes take in the sights around us. Without any extra thought or effort from us. We take in the inside walls of our home. We're surrounded by "things" that bring us joy, comfort, security. Our heart is beating and directing our insides that serve us the best that we can.
And when we get out of bed, our legs support us and keep us upright. We flip the switch and darkness becomes light. Pushing a button gets the brown, flavorful liquid of life bubbling and gurgling away.
Take in that deep breath... because you can.
Feel the rain on you skin. Close your eyes, hear the birds sing their songs.
What are some of the things that you are thankful for that you take for granted?
The love of a faithful pet? The sweetness in your children's faces? (No matter how old they are.) A best friend? A key that turns the motor over on your vehicle? Tastebuds! A well-prepared meal. Money enough to cover the bills. That hidden money in a coat pocket. A reliable job.
Everything might not be where you want it to be at the moment, but there is SO much that you can be grateful for every single day. Every. Single. Day. I mean, I still don't have hot water, and I probably won't for a while until I can afford a new hot water heater, but life is still good.
Life is so good.
Don't let a day slip away without taking notice of those things that make your life just a little bit better.
What are you grateful for today? Right now, in this moment?
Let It Begin With You
With it being a new year, it seems like everyone automatically hits the “restart” button and is on a search to make their lives… better, more productive; their bodies, healthier, skinnier, stronger. Their thoughts more wholesome, or more private or public, learn more, change for the better.
We all seek transformation.
It makes sense. While the thoughts of these changes may flit about our thoughts for moments or months, the new year gives us a starting date. Walking up to that white line at the beginning of a “race” is intimidating enough, but when the rest of the world is joining you in their various audits, it doesn’t seem as impossible.
The trick is to find what works and what will stay with you for the duration of the project, the goal or the lifetime.
Change must begin with you. It can’t happen from the outside in. There could be circumstances that happen TO us that may force our hand, but in the end, it still has to be our choice. Our change.
The doctor may tell you that if you don’t quit smoking, you will shorten your life by X- amount of time. You must choose how important/valuable that time could be. And then take steps according to the value you’ve placed on his advice. Quit smoking? Cut back? He’s a quack…
In my line of coaching, unfortunately, I do not ask for quick changes. I’m not the one you seek out when you are looking for different food diets to lose a few pounds, or room customizations, or resolutions that will be let go in a few months. My teaching/training/coaching demands so much more. I deal with heart transformation. Life changes. Love changes.
We only have one life and how you are remembered by others, is a question I ask myself on a daily basis and then act accordingly. That is my line of “work”. It my calling to Lead with Love and teach others the same methods.
Now that I’ve lured you in and if you are still reading, perhaps your heart needs some tweaking and you are looking for some ways to take small steps to change your inner-love values*.
Here are just a few, simple suggestions to add to your New Year daily dose of becoming a better person adgenda…
You don’t have to get all creepy and stalker-ish, but don’t you love to be complimented? We are often so hard on ourselves that while we are so busy tearing ourselves down, someone out there thinks you are amazing.
It took me a long time for me to learn how to accept a compliment without downplaying the comment, but now, it is so appreciated because they didn’t have to say anything. They could have kept their comments to themselves, but they chose to share it with me. And so often, I am so surprised that I am twice as grateful that whatever it was had not escaped their notice. And belive me, your kind words will stay with that someone for a long time to come.
Another benefit of compliments, is it helps to build up another person’s self-esteem. And as we all know, the stronger your self love foundation, the stronger you are able to withstand harmful words, attentions and actions. Isn’t it better to give someone a stronger shield than to pierce it yourself? (P.S. It ends up building your self confidence as well! Win-win!)
Yes, be yourself, but you can also be considerate.
Remember your manners. Just because they are related to you doesn’t mean you don’t need to say “please” and “thank you”.
Don’t take and take and take- what can you do to give back? So many adults are angry with a family member because they feel they are not getting the attention they feel they deserve. My question to you is, what are YOU doing to participate with the family? How often do YOU reach out to each of THEM?
Aging Parents- It’s taken an enormous amount of time, money, effort, patience and love to raise you into adulthood. Don’t take it for granted. Be respectful. Be patient. It is such a difficult thing to KNOW that you are not as sharp or as healthy or as quick as you once were. It’s not like they don’t know of the changes happening in their lives. Life is busy. You have a life of your own. But don’t forget that at one time you were their whole life. Keep them in the loop.
I hope these simple starters are tiny little adjustments that you could add to your “attitude regiment” to have really and truly a happier and heart healthy new year and lasting relationships.
* For more reading, Love Begins With You is available on Amazon!
How Can You Help?
With the overwhelming series of unfortunate events surrounding my Leading With Love tour, I must say that your outpouring of love and concern have been so heart-warming.
So often when authors undertake something of this magnitude, we feel like we are "in it" alone. It makes sense; we do spend a lot of time alone. I write best when I'm alone... I research alone... I daydream alone... I create alone... And while all of my creations are meant to enrich the lives of others, they must have time to steep in quite and solitude.
My book signings and workshops are my main opportunities to really get to be with people and interact with them.
All that to say, I always just assume that I have to find solutions to my problems... alone.
So for the first few dozen folks or so, when they ask me "What can I do to help?" I've said, "Nothing, I just have to figure things out."
For person number thirteen, that was an unacceptable answer. I got the "No man is an island" speech.
So... (short of sending me food and gas money) I have come up with a list of ways you could help me keep my head above water with little to no cost to you.
This list will actually help any author on your love list but allow me to thank you in advance by participating in any, or all of the following suggestions!
1. Have You Bought A Book? (or several?)
Contrary to popular belief, I do not make much money from the sale of my books. However, every time a book is purchased through Amazon, it raises my status and ranking. I make more of an income when I sell my books at fairs, books signings or out of my trunk (lol). But the actual "public" sale of my books help me more in the long run. So if you haven't done so, go to amazon.com and search my name and purchase a book!
2. Leave a Review (5 stars?)
Once you read the book and realize how wonderful it was, while the moment is still warming your heart, head back to Amazon and leave a really great review. This too, raises my ranking (even more than the purchase. So if you have already purchased one of my books elsewhere, PLEASE, please, please go leave a review!) The higher ranking, the more Amazon will promote my books and get them in front of new readers. (A lot of new authors are purchased thanks to the "if you liked this book, you might like this.... method!)
Goodreads.com is also a really great place to leave a review!
Also- if you loan your book out to anyone else to read, please encourage them to leave a review as well!!
3. Amazon Searches
Every time you go on Amazon for anything, search my name. Type Elizabeth Bourgeret into the search bar, whether you need a new book or not. (Even if you are shopping for vitamins, fishing lures or cookware or... whatever) Again, it helps to trigger Amazon that maybe they might need to make my work a bit more accessible. If you are like me, I shop for everything on amazon! I also let Amazon know who I am similar to. For example, I'll do a search for Joel Osteen, Karen Kingsbury, Tony Robbins or Francine Rivers and THEN I'll do a search for my name. It starts to link the names together.
4. Social Media
Love it or hate it, I have to be a part of it. I do love it for the great way it allows me to connect with readers and give those who are interested quick updates of the highs and lows into the life of Elizabeth Bourgeret and her Great Dane, Meera.
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.
Whether you are on there sixty times a day or once a month, please like and follow my page.
I try very hard not to post too often and I am always considerate of inflammatory content. But my pages are a great way, like I said, to get quick updates, share stories and thoughts and be privy to new blog posts or books.
5. Share Posts
Yes, not only do I ask that you like my Author page, I do ask that you share posts or comment on them. (The demands are getting greater!! Sorry you asked yet? Lol) If you have found a reason to like me, there's a chance that someone connected with you just might like me too. Please encourage others to like my posts and hopefully, my page.
There are a lot of Elizabeth Bourgeret memes floating around with my quotes either made from my camp or elsewhere, but if you see one, PLEASE like it and share it!! It helps to build name recognition!
6. Local Bookstores
While you are out and about, stop in at your local bookstore (big or small) and request that they carry my books. (This can also link back to #1. If you want to help support your local bookstore AND me, this is a great way to do it! I love to promote and support the smaller bookstores! Just request that they order my book for you to purchase and maybe they'll get an extra to carry in their store. OR when I get around that city they may be more likely to allow me to come in for a book signing!!)
7. Invite me to your Book Club!
Book Clubs are SO fun! I'd love to support your book club! I am happy to help with book discounts for bulk purchases, I'm happy to Skype with your group and answer questions or if you are within a 60 mile radius of where I am located, I'd be most honored to make a live appearance, sign books and chat about whichever book you guys are reading!!
So, there you go. There are seven suggestions that you can help me get past this dreadful "hump" that I'm having trouble getting past. These are little to no cost, but just take up a bit of time. (Add a post-it note close to your computer to help remind you of your favorites so they can be done multiple times...!)
I can't say enough how much I appreciate your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement and now actions. I am thrilled that you have chosen me to invest a piece of your heart in. It reminds me that I am doing good things and am where I am supposed to be.
Thank you, and thank you again.