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.
I love to travel. And the majority of the time, I travel alone. I am often asked questions about my adventures and I love to talk about the places I go and the things I see, but I also get a lot of questions about my thoughts on safety.
So while it's fresh on my mind- since I just finished up a trip from the West Coast- I thought I'd share a few of them here and then some tips I've learned along the way.
So, just to start- I never just wander. When I travel, I always have a destination in mind... and on the way there is pretty much the only time I am spontaneous. I do like to have at least 75% of my trip planned. I usually pull a camper, but this last trip, I lived out of my truck. (I can write an entire article on the pros and cons of just that! Lol!)
I love history, so most of my sidetrips are usually triggered from that but I am also a HUGE fan of natural beauty. I'm a sucker for a waterfall or a sunset and have been known to go out of my way for some beautiful scenery. And yes, I love being outdoors, so this kind of lifestyle fits me to a tee.
I absolutely love to travel and I am always looking for a new adventure or places I haven't been. I am working on the United States and have yet to visit other countries.
Okay, now to your safety.
I'm often asked if I'm I ever scared...
Yes. Yes I am. And there's a fine line between trusting your gut and realizing you may just be looking for things to make you afraid. Trust your gut. If you are ever in a situation and it just doesn't feel right, pay attention.
- Always let someone know where you are.
I am constantly checking in with someone in my circle when and where I stop for the night and when I leave again in the morning. Sometimes I'll let them know where I'm headed, or when I've crossed markers like state lines. Always let someone know where you are. My phone is always linked to someone else, so if anything happens, they can ping my phone... which makes sense that the next one is:
- Always have your cell phone on you. Carry it with you everywhere. Don't leave it in your car, keep it with you. You may need to make an emergency call. You may need someone to find you. You may need a flashlight. You may fall and hurt yourself... and if you ever feel uncomfortable or feel you might be in a dangerous situation- call someone and just talk with them. Even better, FaceTime them. They can see where you are and can see if anyone comes up to you and most times, it will deter anyone's interest in you.
- Always have self protection.
Now, before you dismiss this one with, well, I have a gun, hang on. If you are attacked, they are not going to wait until you fish down to the bottom of your purse or unlock the glove compartment to get your weapon before they proceed. You need some kind of weapon, whatever one you are comfortable with, on your person or in your hand whenever you stop somewhere or are alone. Always, Always, Always in rest areas. Make sure you have multiple options that are easily attainable no matter where you are. Meaning. have them in several places in your vehicle as well as on you.
A caveat to that... know how to use it. And be prepared to use it. If anyone gets close enough to me that I'm able to USE any of my weapons, I won't stop fighting until I am safe.
- Don't wear your hair in a ponytail. (Researching murders and serial killers, you learn weird things.). They look for this and will use your ponytail as a handle. Does this mean you can never wear one? No, just if you're by yourself and in a not-so-crowded space, maybe not then... or wear a low one or a close to the head braid.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Look at everything. Notice where the cars are parked. Hallways. Alleys. People.
-Don't wear headphones or earbuds. When you are out there on your own, you need all of your senses. You certainly don't want to make it easy for someone to be able to sneak up on you.
- Be aware of your cell phone usage. This falls back to "Be aware of your surroundings." If you have your head down, lost in your phone, you're not paying attention to the people around you. Also, try to have your back to a wall or lean against your vehicle while using your phone, so you have one less angle you have to worry about. And on that note...
-Women are the worst about getting into their cars and checking their phones without shutting their doors or locking them. I am guilty of this too. After I fill up the tank at a gas station, I'm usually checking missed messages or my gps... and I leave myself wide open for attack. Get in your vehicle, shut the door, lock it and then check your stuff.
-Make eye contact. Attackers look for easy prey. Shy or timid prey. Don't be that. Stand up straight and hold your head up. If you look at every person in the eye as you pass one another, it's not only a sign of confidence, but you already have a solid look at the person's face. They are less likely to attack you if you can identify them.
- Always park under a light. Make sure you can see and be seen.
- Don't let your gas tank get so low that you are dependent on the "next" gas station. You don't know what that place will be! Pick ones that are well lit and "bonus" if they have security cameras. (and clean bathrooms!)
We have to acknowledge that whenever you choose to travel alone, you are accepting that there is some risk. Something bad could happen. You choose that traveling solo is worth the risk so, even though this section might be uncomfortable, it's quite necessary.
- Security cameras. Always look for and AT the security cameras. Know where they are and always let them see you. If anything should happen to you, this will give the police a time stamp and a visual of where you were. Always look directly into the camera.
- When you go into a gas station, always say something to the cashier. The more unique the better. Ask a question. Pay them a compliment. Say something funny. Drop your change. Be memorable. If something happens to you; when the officers ask, "do you remember seeing this person?" Hopefully they will say, "yeah, that's the lady that complimented me on my hair."
- Have an ICE contact clearly marked in your phone or wallet. (ICE= In Case of Emergency). Make it easy for authorities to be able to connect to your people... just in case.
- Always let those you love know you love them, because... you just don't know.
I don't say these things to be morbid, and even by doing every single thing does not mean it will be 100% effective. But it might help.
Life is too short to pass up opportunities that make you happy or to stay in one place because of fear. But you can also be smart about it.
These aren't in any order, I just added them as they came to me... and yes, I follow each one. I love my family and as much as I love going out to wander, I love coming back home to see their faces. So I try to be as safe as I possibly can.
I hope these help you too.
Follow your heart. Make some memories. Have adventures! Leave a legacy. You only get one time around so make the most of it!
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...
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.
The Pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail from the 1840s - the 1860s didn't have GPS and for those early trips, they barely had maps!
What they did have are mile markers. No, not the ones we have today along side the highway, but they had all natural landmarks that they could use to guage their direction, how far they've come and to help others that come along behind them.
Just like being at Ft. Laramie on the fourth of July was an important date for me, reaching some of these other landmarks were equally worth celebrating.
The halfway point for the Oregon Trail, is agreed upon my most to be Independence Rock.
This spot is in the middle of nothingness of Wyoming. There are huge, beautiful bluffs and buttes pushing up from the ground and settling in with such character and raw elegance, but then there's this one, that kind of sets out on it's own. It's somewhat smooth and if you look at it in just the right way, it resembles an elephant that lay down to take a nap. You can only see it's back, but it's unmistakable.
And... I have reached it.
So, the folks that decided to name this beast Independence Rock, did so because it's where THEY decided to stop to celebrate the birth of our nation. which means they completely missed out on all the fun at Ft. Laramie, but... who am I to judge? Lol.
This became a signature point as well. This rock, however is hard granite, so unless they were willing to get out the tools to carve their name in deep, most just fell back on grease to paint their name. Sadly, most of those have washed away from the weather and time. There is an interesting collection of names still visible at one end of the rock which has since been protected with fencing, and plaques have been hung here as well.
It's SO cool to see, I still get goosebumps writing about it.
I was going to climb to the top, but was only wearing my flip-flops. Not good climbing shoes. Although, if it was cool enough a barefoot climb would have been possible. It was not, however cool enough.
And I found out later that there are a ton more names carved on top. Had I known that then, I probably would have made a greater effort to dig out my tennis shoes.
In spite of that, here I am... at the halfway point. My trip to Oregon is half over. I am both excited and quite sad. It always just seem to go so fast, even though I'm striving to make distance, I don't want it to be over.
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...
The birds are singing. The sun is shining. The days are longer. The air is warmer. The flowers are blooming and my travel clock alarm is ringing in my soul!!
It must be Spring!
I love this time of year and look forward to it with great anticipation. THIS, is MY new year. THIS is when my new year's goals hit the ground running. I LOVE the Spring!
Everything just feels so fresh and new. The winters hit me so hard, even in the South. It's still too cold, too dark and too confining. So when the first signs of Spring start to show, my soul perks up, and I know that my days of being trapped indoors are almost at an end. By this time, I am SO ready to kick my way out of my chrysalis and start my new adventures.
I am usually plotting out some grand adventure, surrounded by maps and destinations, historical points, and "must see" scenic views and lists of lists of lists, with high hopes and throwing caution to the wind... but this year, I must behave. Last year (and the year before, if I'm being honest) were a little too costly and I wasn't able to recoup my losses. So... sadly, this year, as promised, I will stay put.
But don't think I'll be idle!
The new book in the Leading with Love Series, Falling in Love with You, is scheduled to come out in May and for the first time, I'm also going to try and have the next FICTION (Miracles from Ashes) out by November. Two books in one year.... I dunno.... but I'm trying.
Plus this is a great time to try out the newer versions of the workshops on a smaller scale. Work out the kinks so when I AM ready to travel again, they will be fine-tuned and ready to be offered to the nation!! (Gotta think big, right?) And I am missing working with my teens so much that I'm thinking of pulling one or two of their workshops out of the closet and dusting them off too. (Have to keep busy so I don't think about relocating!)
I have gotten so much feedback from everyone and I am so grateful that you love my work, my stories and my mission. I just need to stay more focused and not let the lure of rivers, lakes and oceans (or the yellow dashes on the highway that always promise to lead some place completely new) distract me. Easier said than done. But keeping busy should help.
I will stay in Georgia for a while longer, but there should be plenty of new and exciting things to see right here in my own back yard. There is tons of history, and the scenery here is so beautiful. Plus with my writing, it should be enough to keep me occupied. (read: distracted!)
My heart longs for the open highways and the wanderlust whispers to my heart to go search for things I've never seen. So, I'll need you to help hold me accountable!
Spring means new beginnings...
A fresh start...
A chance to make this year amazing...
I have a lot planned for this "new year" and I hope it yields great returns!
Happy Spring, y'all!
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.
A Big Announcement
Now that the release of my second novel Waiting for the Sun has passed, I can move on to my BIG announcement!!
This has been a long time coming!! I am so excited to announce the official 2014/15 Nationwide Tour of the Total Truth Workshop!!
All year I've been doing smaller beta tests of the workshop to get out some of the bugs and to make sure I'm offering up what the kids need most and I am pleased with the results as are the kids. So the only thing left to do is to take it out on the road!
This is will be my first attempt to travel with this kind of event, but I see it as an adventure! So many new places to see and new families to meet! And lots of good information to be passed around to make a difference in people's lives and futures! I am so excited! (& terrified!)
"I'm so glad someone finally listened to what teens need and not what they think we need."
"I love this workshop. I think it will help a lot of people. Miss Elizabeth is awesome."
"The Total Truth Workshop wasn't boring at all. Miss Elizabeth always thinks for fun things for us to do and before we realize it, it became a lesson."
I'm kicking things off here in my home town of St. Louis, MO first on the last weekend of June, 2014 and then starting off slowly. A weekend here, a weekend there and when school starts back up, I'll really swing into gear hopefully offering two workshops per month through the winter months. What a life change for me! But I welcome it with open arms. I could use a good challenge to keep me on my toes!
I've been working diligently on the website which is now live. (I wish I was more tech savvy, but I am not! So, I had to work at it in bits and pieces at a time.) I am thankful for my support system at St. Louis Onsite (Shout out to Paul Arthur and Joey Felps) and to the newest addition to my tech crew, Ryan Lambert. Ryan is working on making the teen website pop with awesome videos. I am so very blessed to have so much talent around me.
I am also so thankful for my Personal Assistant, Sarah Arnold, she gets my phone work under control and helps keep me on track to what my most present task is. If you only knew how much I needed that!! Lol!
The workshop is starting to get press and is moving along faster than I'm ready for! So that just means I need to work harder and faster!! But I wanted to let all of you know first before it is released to the rest of the world! I am excited that it is getting positive feedback. I hope that helps the Total Truth Workshop get off the ground and have all the weekends sell out!
For those of you that don't know about the Total Truth Workshop, it is a project that I have been "working" on for about six years now. It was going to be just a book called Do It Now or Re-do It Later- and it still will be, but it seemed to me that teens would get more out of the information if it was presented to them in a live, interactive format. When we have the opportunity to experience something over just reading about it, those experiences are more likely to make an impact and stay with us longer. And since creating fun camps and classes are my forte, this seemed like a perfect fit.
So basically, for one weekend, these kids will come and hang out with me and we will work on life lessons, accountability, goal setting, and all the things they won't be taught in high school but NEED to know to be successful in the grown-up world. It's called Total Truth because I won't pull any punches or sugar coat the facts. The real world doesn't care whether you're tired or not feeling well or ran out of money. The world moves on and you need to be ready to move with it or get trampled by it! (I know the trampled part! I don't wish it on anyone!)
It's so much more than sitting in a room and being talked at for three days. I wouldn't want that... I can't think of anyone that would! There are games and dancing and a fun atmosphere. These kids will come out of this event with a good idea of where to go next to make their future one they can look forward to. Instead of waiting to see what opportunities or jobs "fall into their lap" they will have the power and the know how to go and get what they want. They will be given a set of tools to help deal with bumps in the road and letting go of harmful habits and replacing them with productive ones. The workshop also deals a great deal with relationships and communication. Two things that everyone needs to be comfortable with so they can be prepared to deal with the relationships of their future. Bosses, teachers, family members, love interests, co-workers. The information they learn at the workshop will be of use to them the very first day.
This workshop will be a huge asset for those kids who choose to use it. They are not only creating a future for themselves, they are linking with like-minded teens and developing a support system, a mentoring group and new friends that will last them a life-time. And me. I'll be there with them for as long as they need me. I've set up a members only Facebook group, their own membership pages within the website, on-going blog posts to keep them on track and they will have life-time access to me and to any webinars I host.
I am just so excited about this whole thing! This is my life's work. This is what all my years of experiences have led me to. I wish I had something like this when I was in my teen years. I certainly wouldn't have made as many mistakes trying to figure things out as I went. I hope you will come on board and help me spread the news about my new "baby"! I can't wait to share it with the world! I love this age. So many new things coming their way and so many things to learn.
Please comment below or shoot me an email if you'd like to know more information but I'll try and keep everything posted on here so you can see my progress. To find out more about the Total Truth Workshop, please visit the page on this website or you can bounce right to the brand new website to learn all the details! www.totaltruthworkshop.com
Please be happy for me and keep theses prayers and well wishes coming my way, because I need all the encouragement I can get!
BONUS if you or would like to sign up for the Total Truth Workshop (in the St. Louis area), please send me a message in the Contact Me and I'll give you a discount code for HALF OFF!! This offer is only good until June 17th.
(Not in the St. Louis area? Message me anyway and first, let's see when I'll be heading to your city and second, I'll give you a special friends and family discount offer that you can use!)
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!