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.
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.
I had a birthday this past week. When I woke up, I was prepared to be sad and even depressed because I was alone. Far away from family and anyone who might love me... or even like me a little. Once I figured out that each day is a gift, my attitude changed just a little bit. But I was still so lonely because I knew that no one was going to do anything nice for me for my birthday. No cake. No party. No dinner invites. I was so sad!
(In actuality, no sooner did my eyelids flutter to life, my phone started chirping with birthday wishes and greetings of love and affection. I was not forgotten! And suddenly I felt worthwhile. I mattered now, because someone somewhere out in the world loved me.)
But the most poignant message I got was from my sweet niece and she said, "Happy Birthday, I hope you use this day to spoil yourself."
It dawned on me that I don't have to wait for someone else to do something nice for me. I could do it myself! As I am constantly trying to teach "my" teens that they should love themselves (before they can expect others to love them) this is one way of showing love to yourself. So I did...
I had an extra serving of bacon with breakfast. I took a long, long, extra long hot shower. I went to the beach with my dog, Meera. (There were dolphins!! They were swimming SO close to the shore I could have walked out and touched them!! There were hundreds of sand dollars everywhere too!) I wrote in my latest manuscript. I relaxed, stared out over the water and thought about the people that I loved. I ate an entire box of chewy Sweetarts. I watched a couple episodes of Bones and finished out the night with a favorite movie, a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine. The only thing I couldn't get my hands on was birthday cake. (Because, as you know, birthday cake is the only kind of baked good that has no calories...) But it was not meant for me that day, I guess.
Overall it was a good day. It was a good birthday. While I love being around my friends and family for the special occasions, this has truly been a lesson that my happiness is not dependent on other people. I could have easily chosen to spend the day in bed and stay sad that no one is doing anything nice for me, but every single birthday wish I got on my phone or on Facebook was enough for me. I am loved. I am treasured and not even birthday cake can say that any better!
This is the life that I have chosen for myself. To travel and be an author and create awesome workshops as I go. Therefore, I am going to be away from my "support group" quite a bit of the time. I need to know how to make myself happy. I need to love me in case there isn't anyone else around to remind me that I am lovable. And... it's okay to spoil myself every once and again. Because I am special. And I am worth it.
So this is me giving you permission to spoil YOURself! Love you for you. Celebrate your awesome uniqueness and know that you don't have to wait for someone else to celebrate you.
(By the way, thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! They really and truly made my day. Each and every one brought a smile to my face! It's good to be loved.)
Go ahead, think about it... You know you have one. The super powers I'm referring to today have nothing to do with melting walls with laser vision or soaring through the skies or even lifting automobiles and using them as batting practice... although, if you can do any of those things, that's pretty cool!
Dig a little deeper. What is your go-to move? Do you have the power to put others at ease in a tense situation? Are you the "glue" of the family or a circle of friends? Can you make people laugh and forget their troubles for even just a little while? Do you have the power of medicine? The power of negotiation? Does your super power require a paint brush, hammer or chisel? Does your super power come to life when you lift the hood of a vehicle, smile at a child, or sit around the board room table?
I know what you're thinking. "That's not a super power, it's just what I do."
I beg to differ. Any one can have a job, or skill, or talent, or characteristic, but it becomes a super power when it becomes such a part of you that you do things without thinking. Sometimes to reach this point, it requires hours and hours of practice, study or research. Other times it's just a part of who you are and how you react toward others and is a benefit to you or the rest of the world. Or... you might have been bitten by a toxic bug or been part of a scientific experiment gone wrong... there's that option too...
And not every talent can be classified as a super power. I CAN draw. I CAN sing. I CAN play instruments... but none of these are my super power.
I woke up thinking about it this morning. There are people in my life that I just have to stand back in awe when their super power is in action. It's amazing seeing people shine and the amount of self-confidence that comes off them is a beautiful sight to behold. At that moment, I am so proud to be a part of their circle. And watching someone figure out their super power? That's another "wow" moment. I love watching people, (usually kids) realize that one "thing" that sets them a part from everyone else.
And just for fun, let's take this one step further. Think about your super power... what other minor powers go along with it? (Example, if singing is your super power, can you also dance? write music? harmonize? sing in other languages? teach others to sing?)
How do you use your super power to benefit others? (with the singing example: Do you: give concerts? Sing for those in nursing homes or hospitals? write for new up and coming talent? teach your skills to others?)
How does your super power make you happy? (you make others smile? You earn an income? It never gets boring? It makes you smile?)
What is your Kryptonite? (smoking. alcohol. screaming. cold air.)
Who might you have in your circle? (other singers? a new style of singer? Super heroes who play instruments? Agent? Trainer?)
And who would your nemesis be? (Smokers, Another singer? Unsupportive boss?)
Now do you know what yours is? If you can't think of what it might be, ask someone close to you. I'm sure they can tell you! So I want you to take this one quick moment and acknowledge your super power- put on the cape or the tights, whatever you have to do- but take a moment to see yourself as a super hero; doing your part to keep the world running smoothly.
Share your super hero work-up with the rest of us below! Have fun with it!! Don't be shy... You are amazing and you should share your gifts with the world!
Sometimes in life we fall into patterns that seem to slow us down or even bring us to a complete halt. These are the times when we can feel defeated or overwhelmed. And we make the mistake of listening to those negative voices either from within or without and think we can't do something. It's times like these when making an Asset List will help get you through.
If you have been to one of my motivational speaking engagements, you may have heard me talk of a Victory Log (or Victory Wall). This is a tool I use to write down in a specific journal (or post-it note my wall) all the victories, large or small that I achieve. I sold X amount of books. I got new subscribers, I lost weight, I got a new gig, I got a letter of thanks or an awesome review... You get the idea. I write these down and when I'm feeling unaccomplished, I go back and look at all these victories and I am replenished again. I know that I can face whatever challenge because look at how far I have come! An Asset List can be a similar tool to use to help you through those "stuck" times.
If you were to go to a bank and request a loan, the banker would want to know about your financial assets, to make sure you are "worthy" of this sum of money. So you would write down your assets to assure the banker that, yes, you can repay the loan because, clearly, as it states on this paper, you are worth more than that sum. An Asset List is similar in how it is directly related to you. It clearly puts in black and white how valuable you are. What are those great qualities about you? What things can you do that come easily that to others may be a challenge? What are your talents? Your skills? Your gifts? Your experiences?
They are all right there, but sometimes we forget how wonderful we are, or sometimes, we have never taken the opportunity to look close enough. There's a story about a man who owned some property. The land was flat and dry and nothing could grow on it. One day a business man came along and asked if he could do some testing of the land. The owner said, "Sure," and scoffed at the man, warning him that the ground was useless. Well, the business man puttered around for a few days and ended up tapping into one of the largest veins of oil ever found! Of course, both men became quite wealthy from that big ole' hunk of useless ground. They never would have found it had they not scratched below the surface. Had they not looked at the land from a different angle.
What will we find if we scratch below the surface? What treasures would we find if we only took the time to search your beautiful heart and complex brain and worldly soul?
I'd like to recommend that you do just that. Get pen and paper and start writing, in no particular order, all the wonderful assets of you! Some of you will be able to pour out lists and lists, but for others, you might need some encouragement. So ask for help! Ask those people around you what they think your assets are and then write them down! Keep your list close by and review it regularly and alway keep adding to it as you grow and change and learn new skills.
Whenever you need a boost, take a look at your Asset List and remind yourself how valuable and unique you are and then go face whatever challenge is intimidating you! You can do it! If you can't do it personally, you can find a way to get it done! I believe in you. You need to believe in you too!!
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