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...
The heart wants what the heart wants. How many times have you heard people say that to explain why they stay in a toxic relationship?
The statement usually goes along with a shrug. Nothing they can do about it. They just love their mate so much that it would do no good to leave because they would find their way back. The circumstances are beyond their control.
They want to be in a relationship so badly that they are willing to settle for things less than they deserve. Sometimes it shows up as abuse. Sometimes it's neglect. Sometimes the puzzle pieces just don't fit, but it's not uncomfortable enough to do anything about.
Oh! I just want to shake some sense into these people! That is not love! Love goes both ways! Love doesn't just take and take and take. The heart does NOT want that!
I believe that you believe that it is love. But if I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, love NEVER hurts. That is not the design of love.
The thought of leaving hurts, I know. The thought of being on your own is scary. Having to start all over again with someone new is daunting. But you are worth more than staying in a relationship that doesn't serve you.
I've got news for you.... the heart wants a loving partner. The heart wants love in return. We were built to give love and seek love in return. SEEK LOVE IN RETURN!!! Notice what 's missing??
We want to believe that love is a feeling... that we just are swept away, and we have no control over the flow of the current. Whether it's calm, or it pulls you under and you're gasping for breath.
But love doesn't just happen. Love is a functioning, growing system that two people are supposed to work together to create. When it's love, you are both building a foundation. One that will last and that you can stand on and feel solid ground when a storm comes.
When a relationship is only one sided, that is not love. If you are feeling alone, or that you are doing all the "work" to maintain this relationship, what kind of a foundation does it have to stand on? We all know that a foundation that is littered with cracks or chunks missing isn't going to last for long. And every storm that comes along chips away at those crack a little more each time....
How long can the heart really "want' emptiness just to have someone lay beside them at night? How many excuses do you need to make to others, or worse, yourself for the bruises... or the lonely times... or the neglect? Where does love say that you should tolerate lies, or deceit or unfaithfulness? Let me give you a hint- it DOESN'T!
The heart wants what the heart wants...
That is just romanticized logic for staying in a defective relationship. Because sometimes it's easier to take the neglect than it is to face the conflict that will come. The guilt that rises and gets caught in our throat. The emptiness of being alone. The pain of rejection. The fear of the unknown reaction. The terror of the known reaction...
Love yourself enough to know if you are in a toxic relationship. Love yourself enough to know when to walk away. Yes, it will be difficult. We have no control of what others do and do not do. We can't expect them to love us back just because we pour out love on them.
Let me say that again: You have not control over what others do. It is not your fault if your partner makes bad, unhealthy choices for your relationship.
You only have control over what you do. What you think, how you respond, your actions, and... what you tolerate.
I'm sure you can read the passion I'm feeling under these words. I'd say that at least 75% of your emails to me deal with unrequited love. And almost every single plea for help is the same... the truth, the signs, the red flags, are all right there, but we love him or her so much that we are blindsided. What many of you are looking for is permission to leave. The others are looking for reasons why... I don't have those answers, but I do know this:
You can't love someone enough for two. You can't; no matter how much you'd like to.
You can't make someone change if they don't want to.
You can't be someone you're not, in order for them to "love you more".
And sadly, most people don't change. If their behavior hurts you, most likely, it will continue.
No matter what you may think you deserve... I promise you, it's never so bad that you should tolerate abusive behavior. Physical. Mental or Emotional. No one else gets the right to mead out your "punishment" as they see fit.
Love yourself, just a tiny bit... just look inward, and see the smallest spark... it's waiting to be seen. You are worth more. You deserve love.
Take one step toward releasing yourself from a toxic relationship. Just one. Then do it again the next day and the next... That spark will grow and ignite a fire inside you and you'll look back and wonder how you put up with such nonsense for so long.
I hope to get that email saying that you have had enough and you are standing your ground; living life on your terms, loving the way love is meant to be.
The heart wants love. Real love. Don't just shrug and take whatever the wind blows your way. Let today be the day that you choose. Let today be the day that you take responsibility for what your heart wants. Just one step.
I'll be waiting for your email. :)
1 Corinthians 13:4
Comment below with #justonestep if you are ready to own your choices or you are showing your support for others in toxic relationships.
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!
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.
As many of you know, I am a hairstylist when I am not writing, and I have recently moved from my home state where I'd been living most of my life to someplace completely different. Adapting to the changes have been quite a challenge.
People fascinate me. Now, being an introvert, I like to watch from a distance, but being part of the human race, I eventually have to participate as well. When I was studying relational coaching, my goal was to use it for mainly teens, but I am surprised that I can use this knowledge in every aspect of my life.
I have been a hairstylist, off and on for over 23 years and have belonged to several different shops. The one I left was probably my favorite and the one that I developed the best friendship skills. Granted, this was also the time I was studying my relationship coaching training, so I learned a lot and put new ideas into practice of how to get along with other people. They essentially became my tribe. I belonged. We all looked out for one another. We played together, we worked together, we loved, we lost, we bonded. It was the first time in my life, I had multiple friends. In the past, I had only been able to concentrate on one friend at a time. This became a separate.... family, so to speak. (Like I said, I'm an introvert but never had a name for my "condition" until a few years ago!)
When I moved and started my new job here, it's been an excellent reference as to how complete strangers assimilate to become one team. These twelve people, my new tribe that I had been assigned to- some have worked together before, some knew each other in passing, and I, of course, was completely new... but all of us were new to this franchise and brand new store.
I like watching the natural progression of things grow. How people group together; find different ways to assert their authority; come together to weed out a common enemy, toleration, education and bonding together. It is amazing to watch.
I had been asked to be the leader of our motley crew but had declined. I wanted to devote my time to creating and not so much cutting. But knowing that I am out of the running for a leadership role, I am able to watch the process unfold without bias.
It's a good group of girls here, under a good GM and a positive owner. The shop will do well, and these girls look like they are here to stay. So I am anxious to watch the friendships unfold and to see if it stays "just" co-worker status among them or if they will bond together as a cohesive unit.
I am having a nice time learning who everyone is. They're likes and dislikes, things we have in common, their work practices (how they cut differently than me or customer skills or retail skills). I am fascinated with their family-lives, how many kids they have, boys/girls, ages, married/single. Their hobbies, their joys, their addictions, what makes them laugh.
While I miss the cohesiveness of the tribe I left behind, I am learning so much about myself and the others and this experience is only going to make me a better person by being able to love on these new people.
We have all been thrown together for about a month now, and in that short amount of time I have learned so much about these young women. Their heartbreaks and their trials and the things they are doing to cope. If they have a common denominator among them all, it's strength. I have heard of some of their trials; things that would cripple another human being, but these girls don't give up. They find a new way to keep going. They all have strong family ties and as with everyone, they are all struggling through something. I am humbled that they trust me, an outsider, to tell their troubles to. They don't tell me to "get" something from me, they are just sharing. I am honored that they feel comfortable in such a short window of time to share with me. Apparently, I fall into the "momma" role wherever I go.
It is true that people fade in and out of your life in seasons and that not everyone you meet is supposed to be in your life forever, and sometimes its hard to let go of your "comfort zone", but we can grow stale if we stay in the same "place" for too long. I have discovered that I am a wanderer. I physically need to move from place to place to stay inspired. I think I've known it for a long time but was too afraid to step out of the "norm". But when I say "place", I am more referring to a mental or spiritual attitude if you will. We as humans need to grow. We are created to want other human companionship, and yet its scary to face change. I wish for you to embrace change. Me, the introvert, says reach out and love people. All kinds of people. It doesn't have to be up close and personal, but we can love from a distance as well.
I will have to get used to meeting new people and leaving others behind. And while I feel the need to not settle- at the moment- I hope that I leave behind me a trail of affection and that I touched people's lives with love. I hope that those I come in contact with feel inspired and if I'm lucky, I will have the opportunity to watch their dreams come true. (Facebook at its finest! I can move about the country and still keep track of all my people!)
We all come in contact with people every single day. Make it a positive experience. And while we won't build tribes with all these people and they may only be in your life for a season, (or less), let it be a good experience for all involved. A little love, a little kindness can go a long way. Lead with love.
Simplify Your Life By Letting Go
It goes against everything we believe in. Letting go...
Hold on. Hold on tight. To everything. The more the better, right? Sometimes we get blinded by this theory. I'm not saying to sell all your stuff and move into an RV or anything... who does that? (teehee!) But if we take a step back and look at our lives in a different light, what can we let go of to make a little more breathing room? Thinking room. Living room. Loving room. Here's a list of a few things that came to mind when I was thinking on the subject. See if you agree.
Let Go Of Your Yesterdays- Let the past be in the past. Been there done that. Learn what you can from it but then, let it go. Don't carry around regret, guilt or bitterness. Don't carry your past into your future, it blocks you from new experiences and from clouds your judgement. We all make mistakes. Learn from them and then let them go. (For more help in this area, go here.)
Let Go Of Negativity- Let the glass be half full. Let there be a silver lining. Look for the good and you will find it. Look for reasons to be grateful instead of complaining. This slightest shift can do amazing things for your outlook.
Let Go Of Self-Doubt- Stop talking yourself OUT of living! Take a risk! Take a chance! What's the worst that can happen? You have been given the life you have to enjoy it! So get out there! What are you missing out on? What have you always wanted to try! Let this be your year! Stop looking for reason why you CAN'T! Take action! Go ahead, take that first step!
And since we're taking chances now...
Let Go Of Perfection- Not everything we do is going to be perfect. (Is anything we do perfect?) Don't expect it to be perfect. We are human. Enjoy the things you do in your human imperfect-ness. By taking new chances, that opens us up for new mistakes... it's okay. You're expanding your boundaries. You are on a continuous learning journey. Embrace it and don't expect it to be perfect.
Let Go Of Sources Of Stress- Chose people to be in your circle that will feed you and encourage you. If they suck the happiness from your very soul, it may be time to let them go. It may be painful at first, it's tough to change, but if it for the greater good, then go for it. A bad attitude is like flat tire. You can't go anywhere until it's fixed. So fix it and move on and away from those nails in the road. Chose to be around people that will lift you up, not stress you out.
Let Go Of Living For Others- Make yourself a priority. Love begins at home in your heart. If you can't love yourself, how can you expect others to love you. People will take and take- as much as you are willing to give them. Give of yourself, but be sure there is plenty left for you. Follow your own dreams. You are the only one that can live your life and if you are so busy living it for someone else, you are going to miss out on so much!
Let Go Of What's Not Working- Change is good. Not everything nor everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. People come and go, experiences come and go, life is a steady flow of change. And that's okay. See what is and what is not working for you at this juncture in your life and trim the fat where it needs to be trimmed. If it is not moving you forward, it is most likely wasting more time than it is giving you benefit. Let it go.
Hopefully this gives you the motivation to let go and simplify your life in order to enjoy it all the more! Have a happy day and a love-filled life!
Why On Earth Would You Want to Work with Teens?
This is a question that is often asked of me... a lot. Easy...
When you bring your new baby into the world, you are bombarded with "how-to's" and "help guides", support groups, play dates, manuals, classes, videos, blogs, books, cd's, and entire television shows on how to care for your new little infant. If you're a new parent or a repeat offender, the world has you covered to make sure you know what to do with your adorable new family addition.
But as your infant starts to grow and become a little human, your support groups begin to dwindle a little. Your advice columns that you checked faithfully everyday no longer apply to your family situation. And yet, the babies just keep on growing.
Soon, they reach the double digits in chronological maturity and you find you are all alone in the parenting community!! There is no support group, a smattering of blogs, books and videos and no television shows (except the ones showing how the teens are needing new baby help!). A parent can feel awfully alone as their once logical, emotionally stable child goes through these horrifying changes.
It seems that overnight, the baby that they have loved and cared for has become unrecognizable, sleep deprived, mouthy, emotional, secretive, and no longer seeks the advice or friendship with their parent. Suddenly, the parent is on the outside looking in not knowing how to handle these changes. And just as suddenly, the child is on the inside, looking out not knowing why these changes are happening but are certain that no one else could possibly understand.
I saw a gaping hole in the parental/family teaching world and I decided to fill the need. I became a life coach specializing in teens first, then family dynamics and then relationships. There just didn't seem to be much help for families as their children grew into young adults.
When I was a teen, I felt lost. And I made sure my mom was just as miserable as I was. While I know my family loved me and did the best they could with the knowledge we had, they didn't think to teach me the skills of living a successful life, much less what to do with all these surging hormones and changes going on in my brain and body. No one really thinks to do that. Society believes that when a child graduates from high school, they just... know. We turn them out into the world and just expect them to be successful.
Science has now proven that teens go through as big of a "growth spurt" as far as change and learning, during their teen years as they did in the first eighteen months of life! That's huge!! Remember how quickly your newborn learned and changed and grew almost right before your eyes!! Your teens are doing a second round of growing and that is why they are so foreign to you. Information overload!
I am here to support the teens and help them get through this trying season of their life without going too far to any extreme. I don't doctor them or analyze them, I just respect them and help them work through all the stuff in their life. I work with the other family members as well, trying to keep that cohesion which is so important but so very fragile during this growth spurt. I help them make choices and work through this new growth without hurting themselves or others! Lol. I love being a teen-life coach! But there was more...
So I came up with the Total Truth Workshop. A lot of common denominators were coming up in my sessions with teens and so in order to reach several teens at once and focus on some of the core materials and have fun with it, Total Truth Workshop was born!
The Total Truth Workshop is an intensive, interactive weekend that I created to present a small group of teens with the basics of getting through this time in their life and planning for their futures, no matter what they might be. I've made it fun and engaging so they will lock it into their memories and be able to access it for years and years to come. Anytime we can connect an emotion or involve our peers in an exciting way, the information is more likely to stay with them. The Total Truth Workshop is an entire weekend of just that. The teens have so much fun! They meet like-minded people that will inspire and encourage them. They learn valuable life transforming information and skills. Plus they (and I) have a great time doing it!
Speaking totally selfishly, this gives me my teen fix, and it gives me the opportunity to travel! I'll take the TTW to cities all over the United States one weekend at a time. It's a win-win! The workshop can be so beneficial to teens and their families. I have created this in such a way that they get the most information, in the shortest amount of time and still have access to me in case they get "stuck".
There is also a class that follows the workshop for the parents, so they can get an inside look into what was taught and how they can best help their teen get the most from the weekend.
I love working with teens! They have SO much to offer! They are bright, intelligent, creative, funny and coming into their "own". I think because they are caught in that battle of finding out who they want to be that many people get turned off, because while in that battle, comes a lot of attitude, anger, secrecy and rolling of the eyes.
And while their parents are totally thrown off guard at the changes taking place in their "babies", I have the opportunity to be welcomed in as an odd outsider that is still an adult but is still welcomed and usually even respected! And for parents, hopefully, I fill that need for support and encouragement and information, helping them raise their teens without killing them. :)
The Total Truth Workshop embraces and celebrates this valuable time in their life as well as gives them some basic guidelines and tools to help them make the best choices for their present life and their future. My workshop can't fix everything, but it does give them a leg up if they apply the principles.
These are the tools that they will not learn in any school. These are life skills. These are practices that I came up with from learning from my own mistakes and studying how to by-pass the pot holes in the "road of life". I don't pretend to know everything. I am still learning everyday. I do not have letters behind my name, and do not claim to be smarter than the rest of the "experts". But I can promise you that my study has been focused on these issues and this age group for many years. And while the information that I present to you isn't new, I have become an expert in creating memorable learning experiences so when the information that is being presented to your child would be considered boring and forgettable if just read in a book, will be retained, enjoyed and most likely executed because of the unique way I offer it up to them.
I had no idea the culmination of my creating summer camps, homeschool classes, coaching and writing would come to this, the Total Truth Workshop, but I love how all of my loves have joined together for this one special purpose.
Why on earth would I want to work with teens? Because I believe it was my calling, my specialty, my area of expertise. This is my arena. We can't ALL be baby experts! Lol!
I love working with teens.
I love teaching. And now, I can do both and change the lives of teens all over the world.
I can meet and bond with families.
I can see all of the beauty the United States of America has to offer.
And I can write at all the intervals in between!
How perfect for me!
If this is the last thing I do... travel from state to state and city to city working with teens the rest of my life... I couldn't be happier.
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.