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!)
Finally! My second work of fiction, Waiting for the Sun, hits the book stores today!
I was more than a little worried about this novel because it was SO completely different from my last book, Captive Heart. It's still in the same category or Christian- fiction, but while one is historical fiction, this new one is set in a contemporary setting. I am hoping that my readers will give this new work a chance.
But just in case they didn't, I decided to get some pre-reviews to hopefully open up to a wider audience. Here's a glimpse of the notes I have gotten back:
"I just realized that I am too soon to post my review! I did enjoy your book. I loved the fostering of the children on the huge ranch. Good job!" - Cindi Klemm
"I have to tell you that I love, love, love your book... I couldn't put it down! I can really see and feel the characters and setting. I am excited to be reading your book in a way I don't often get. I hope you have other books so I can read more!" - Julia Wilson
"Elizabeth Bourgeret! You have done it again! I am SO proud of you! I don't know what you were worried about!"
Needless to say, I'm feeling a little better about Waiting for the Sun being added to my published library! Being a writer has to be one of the neatest things in the whole world!! It thrills me to no end, and yes, I giggle every time, to see one of my books pop up on the internet or see my name in printed form. It's like... I am somebody now. Like, my work will be around long after I'm gone and my children's children's children can say, 'yep, that was my great- grammy!" It feels good.
Like anything made in a creative way, it's always scary to put it out there for the rest of the world to critique. And while I smile for days for every 5 star review I get, I ponder and question and doubt and dwell on every low star. (who rarely put a review with it so I am tormented as to WHY!!) But, so it goes. I am happy to say that the 5 stars FAR outweigh the low stars, and so I am encouraged to keep writing. Which I am thankful for because it gives me great satisfaction. I thought I was content just writing for myself and my family, but the joy I receive by being welcomed in the hearts of people I haven't even met yet, is too much for words. I am so very grateful.
So for those who might be interested, here is the little blurb from the back of the book to hopefully pique your interest:
Waiting for the Sun is the story of Gillian Sanders who's husband left her after many years of marriage. She took what might have been her darkest hour and turned it around by moving to a new state, opening her home to foster children, running a cattle ranch and teaching at the local theatre.
Making sure she is too busy for romance, she focuses on her "kids" until a man she never expects fits right into her life... or does he?
Sometimes hiding from love is the best way to find it.
Waiting for the Sun is available on Amazon.com, at your local book stores (don't see it? Ask them to order it for you!) or right here on this website!
BONUS: If you order from here, and purchase $25 or more (on any books) you will receive a free canvas book bag! Good while supplies last!
Order your copy of WAITNG FOR THE SUN today! Right now!!
The feelings of loss can be brought on by any number of events. Most typically we think of the death of a loved one. But grief in its deepest forms can also be the reaction to the loss of a job, family estrangement or betrayal. A break-up or divorce. The loss of a beloved pet. Or even the empty nest syndrome... The feelings or stages of grief can be different for everyone and we all process grief in different ways. I present them to you here, to "normalize" the grieving process and to work through it myself. Writing is a healing tool for me, so, allow me to heal and hopefully my words will come back to you when you are in your time of grief and they will help ease your transition.
The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, are common experiences people go through when dealing with loss. They surface in different ways for different people as grieving is such a unique and personal thing to have to go through. Not everyone will go through them in the same order. Not everyone will stay in the same stage for the same length of time. And once you have experienced each stage, that does not mean that you won't go back through it again. (Much to my disappointment. Being very aware of my emotions from the standpoint of "outside looking in" kind of way, I would mentally "check-off" the stages I felt myself go through happy that I was one step closer to Acceptance.... Not so much the case, my friends. Not the case at all...)
I hope you can use this article as an awareness tool. To help your body, mind and heart heal when it feels like you never want to see the sunshine again. I am hoping to help you understand the process and stand beside you saying, "You WILL get through this," as I tell myself every ten minutes or so. Because this IS a process and we WILL get through it...
Denial. This is where you've just gotten slapped in the face with news. Bad news. This stage is your defense mechanism to allow your body to deal with the shock. Your brain deflects your immediate emotions to allow you to attempt to process this new information. You're mind begins to swirl with questions and while you are trying to sort out the realities, the emotions will fight their way to the surface.
Anger. Reality of the situation, brings pain. And to protect ourselves from drowning in the pain and sadness, we express it as anger. We feel anger and resentment and hate to someone in particular or sometimes anyone who happens to cross our thought paths at the wrong moment. We use our anger to deflect the pain that if we give into it, it will surely kill us. David Kessler, a grief specialist explained it this way, "At first grief feel like being lost at sea; no connection to anything. Then you get angry at someone.. suddenly you have structure- your anger towards them. The anger becomes a bridge over the open sea, a connection between you and them. It is something to hold on to; a connection made from strength of anger is better than nothing."
Better than nothing. That's for sure. Anger gave me direction, and it DID feel better than feeling numb. Numbness and hopelessness are the worst feelings to have in my humble, heart-broken opinion. I'm really good at the anger stage and frequent it often...
Bargaining (Or depending on the cause of grief) Begging. This is another defense mechanism to protect us from the harsh reality we unwillingly find ourselves in. This is the land of "if only's". Most of the time, this stage happens in our mind. We fantasize different endings and outcomes to the situation at hand. Sometimes, we see a revenge, or a reconciliation, or a miracle cure. If we do happen to find the words or have the chance to "make things right", we bargain, threaten, cajole, negotiate, promise and throw guilt around like candy, anything to un-do the pain. But nothing works. You wake up the next morning and the pain is still there. It really happened and there is nothing you can do to change it.
Depression. This is where you really feel that the loss has moved in and is making itself at home. That feeling of emptiness returns and you know it's there but you just don't feel like doing anything about it. You even entertain the idea that it will be there forever. You tell yourself that this too, is part of the process and it will pass, but while you're in it... you feel... sadness, regret, worry, loss... emptiness.
This is your body trying to work through the grief. Trying to prepare you for what's on the other side. It's a time of reflection and also a time to allow you to accept a new... different future.
Acceptance. This stage does not mean that what has happened has been given our "approval"- for lack of a better word- but it means that we can acknowledge that the event really did happen and we can't un-do it. So we must learn to deal with it, make peace with it, and move on with our lives. Some people never reach this stage. I do not anticipate that being me. I know God has other things planned for me other than standing under the darkness of this raincloud. He knows that eventually I will accept my new reality and keep moving forward. But not today, Lord. Not today.
Grief has its own rhythm and you have to allow yourself to go through it from beginning to end. If you try and push it down or ignore that it is happening, it will only take longer to get to the Acceptance part. Linger in one stage or another if you must, but get to the Acceptance part. In some cases, the pain will never be gone and we have to learn to live with it buried in some compartment of our heart; in some cases, when you look back you'll wonder why you behaved so; and still in others, things happen that are out of your control and our only option is to deal with it the best we know how at this particular moment. One thing I do know, is that life is not meant to stop. Don't get trapped in the pain.
We grieve because we love. And because we cannot NOT love, there will always be pain in our lives. But our hearts are made resilient so they can love again. Our memories are created to hold on to the times that made us smile. Hope is forever bubbling down deep inside waiting to renew your spirit. Strength keeps us moving forward. And faith... faith is the promise that we will love again and continue to give love a chance no matter what.