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 know, I know, I said I was going to video all this amazing stuff, but I just can't wrap my head around it, so it's going to have to be photos. Best I can do, for right now until I get a "team" that I can hand off the editing and uploading process to.
I have put off these new recipe challenges for a time because of that- well, that and other things, like... fear. Which is silly, because, if it doesn't work out, I can just try again... these are things I have to remind my perfectionist self, because it's afraid of being embarrassed. #truth
But I purchased all of the supplies the pioneers had on their list, so I had better get to it.
I found a few bread recipes that I'd like to start with. Bread was a staple for them. The women made it almost every day. They sometimes were able to make thicker, more stout bread that would last longer and when supplies got low, they would scale back to "hard tack".
Hard Tack was a thick cracker that goes way, way back. It's pretty tasteless and was mainly used to thicken soups or be soaked up in beer or broth to make the... whatever... more filling. So supplies would last longer.
Yes, I'll make hard tack, but since I know I won't eat it the way the original recipe was made, I found a few tweaks that might make it palatable.
There's various forms of corn bread (some used it as in addition to a main meal- like with beans, and others used it AS the meal by adding bacon or ham or sometimes dried veggies to it.)
Biscuits. And fried breads. All on my list.
I found that I am missing a few things before I can use my cast iron dutch ovens... for instance, I have no way to remove the hot lid. I have nothing to redistribute hot coals... I knew that I wanted to cook outside... I guess just actually acquiring the dutch ovens was exciting enough that I didn't really think past that! Lol!
So when I get back into civilazaton, I will snag those few missing articles. In the meantime, I am mesmerized with YouTube videos and the like and can't wait to get started. Watch for the videos!!
Ha- just kidding... plenty of photos though!! Lol!
I am a workaholic...
When I sit down at my computer, you can plan on me being there for quite some time. Not on purpose, either I'm really "into" what I'm doing- hyper focused, or I get lost in a series of rabbit holes so I end up working on several things in bursts of attention.
I ALWAYS have so much to do! Every time I try to "streamline" and "systemize" the learning curve is so intense or there is SO much PRE-work that needs to be done before you days are care-free and running on auto-pilot. I'm still not convinced there IS such a thing. But that's a topic for another blog post. (which, I don't care what anyone says, cannot be automated.)
Anyway- see, what I mean? SQUIRREL!
The "plan" for this Oregon Trail adventure had so many side things that I wanted to happen as well.
What IS happening:
-I'm seeing some BEAUTIFUL landscapes! Some country I've never seen before! And since my imagination is super sensitive, I can immediately "go back in time" and see things the way they would have seen them, and story get wrapped around that... so yay for that.
-Along with these landscapes, I'm seeing landmarks that were pivotal to the pioneers- and those just feed the fire. It's like finding a piece to a continual scavenger hunt. I wonder if other people even notice these landmarks, or are moved in the slightest the significance they had on the travelers.
-I am getting to most of the museums and touristy traps that make me so happy. Budget is the only thing that gets in the way there. Budget is crazy tight.
-I'm keeping the PostCard Club on track. (I always lose money on this because I just want to get them just one more thing... ). But- they are on track and I'm pleased with all the goodies that I find along the way. I love postcards.
-I am staying pretty consistent in the History Revisited group. What a great group of people! I am so happy that everyone seems to be having a good time. They are not shy, and engagement is good, which of course builds my confidence- knowing that I'm on the right track and giving them stuff they like. That makes me happy.
What is NOT happening:
-As I've already confessed, I bailed on the podcast. And sure enough, the moment I said it outloud, my brain is writing episodes and trying to convince me that I made a terrible decision.
-I'm supposed to be doing videos. I don't know why I agreed to that. I don't know what I was thinking. I hate video. Always have. I love teaching, and experimenting and I KNOW the best way to share that with everyone is through video. But there is so much I have to learn before I can do it... so much prep time... editing... and then where to I store it or share it... so much. Which brings me to the whole purpose of this entry...
-One of the things I was going to video (or at least share) was recipes from the pioneer days. I'm so excited to try them! I bought a million pounds of flour for goodness sake!! The problem comes when I get lost in the computer and by the time a look up- I'm starving and don't want to take the time to build a fire and gather ingredients and figure out what I'm doing. So I end up drinking a protein shake or a snack... (which are running out and I'm not "allowed" to restock!). Maybe that will push me to do the cool stuff.
Do I need to make a schedule? Maybe I need to plan stuff as soon as I get up? Do I need to set up a time limit for the computer? Lol! Lol! I crack myself up.
Point is ... I need to start doing the stuff I said I was going to, otherwise I will severely regret it when I reach the end.
I would like to point out, that even though I am in front of my computer or phone screen for hours upon hours every day, I'm still enjoying my surroundings. I am looking at a beautiful view of the North Platte River surrounded by tall amber waves of grain.
The benefits of working from home. I don't take that lightly. Apparently I'm back to trying to figure out how to add MORE stuff to my day??
Which means by me giving up the second podcast, made zero difference.
...sigh. Welcome to my brain.
Man, I'm hungry.
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!
I recently posted a picture on Facebook about my struggles of having to change the sheets in my little travel trailer which is named The Beach House. And I realized that I never formally introduced everyone to my humble abode.
For those of you that don't know, "my story", I have recently given up the brick and mortar, stationary living in favor of the gypsy, transient life-style. It was about this time last year, that I bought a used, well- loved 2005 Keystone Cougar 31' camper.
The former owners painted the insides with the soft colorful tones of beach living- greens, pale blues, clean whites and decorated with seahorses, shells, driftwood and other items that scream "I love the beach life!"
I fell in love immediately. The Kirby's needed to sell it because of a debilitating cancer and they were unable to use the camper any longer. So with promises that I would love it and honor its purpose, I laid my money down.
The Kirby's used The Beach House only for weekend trips or short ocean-side vacations. It wasn't long that I saw I was going to have to make some adjustments to this quaint little camper to make it my full-time home.
The back end had four bunks (perfect for grand babies) but I only have two, at the moment, so I took the other two out to create my office.
And then there was a matter of my clothes. When I work, be it cutting hair, or doing workshops, I have to have professional clothing. As much as I'd love to live in swimwear, 24/7, it is somewhat frowned upon in certain places... not to mention cold... But the house, as is, offered minimal options.
It seemed like a lot of wasted space, so I came up with the idea to put the bed in the air... and use the space to add in dressers, and hanging space.
And when living in a tiny house, it's all about use of space.
So my step brother, Ed Wittneber, and my favorite Seabee, Barry Moyar and myself, completely gutted the bedroom!
And then put it back together again.
Barry cut and built the bed frame. His knowledge of angle iron was indispensable! A former Seabee and a craftsman in his own right, I was so grateful that he came on board with this project. And they didn't even look at me like I was crazy! Ed was quick to get the project rolling and helped me SO much!! He also bought and assembled the perfect cubbie shelves for me and my first beanbag chair for my new space!!!
Also, my wonderful brother, Scott Ide, created the perfect cabinet to hide all the wiring and add more storage space! He made it from scratch and it's perfect! It gives me a bit more space that is easily accessible from the bedroom or the "coffee station"! (okay, fine, it's the other side of the kitchen counter... don't judge! Lol!)
So, my bed is about 32" from the ceiling, so one has to be cautious when climbing up or down, or changing sheets... and heaven help me if something scares me in the middle of the night and I sit up too quickly!!
There is one large plastic set of dresser-drawers under the bed and another one at the side. I have room to hang clothes, store away other items in the cubbie shelf and cabinet. And room for a giant dog to lounge and a beanbag chair or two!
It is an adorable little place to live and I absolutely love it! Yes, there are things I want to do to it still, but it's all part of the journey!
I am so happy with this choice and I think I am living up to the promise I made to the former owners. The Beach House has certainly covered a lot of territory and seen many new campgrounds, and I hope this has just been the beginning! I hope she hangs on with me for a few more years as we continue to travel about the country.
Next, I want to re-do the bathroom and maybe even tweak the kitchen just a tiny bit. I'm learning so much as I go...
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