When I first met Elise, it was to talk with her about her trip and to get tips and ideas for our own travels. I got that, and way more. I met Elise, through a friend-of-a-friend and I am so grateful that we connected.
She is an amazing, courageous woman who, over her lifetime, has made countless courageous decisions that shaped her into the woman sitting across the table from me. Like most of us, she doesn’t see herself as courageous. She calls herself an “action-taker.”
What was so thrilling for me was to learn more about her life. As she peeled back each layer, I was given an even more beautiful vision of who she is. Through most of our time together, I had goose bumps as she recalled stories and experiences from her extraordinarily unusual, and often frightening, life.
Elise is one of the most optimistic people I have met.
While she feels fear, she chooses to move forward expecting only the best to happen. She lives life that way and has created a home that feeds her soul and supports what she and Ben, her teenaged son, both need.
Here is a story Elise shared with me that I think sums up her attitude about life:
Ben was in pre-school, and they were in a rush to make it to school on time. She grabbed the paper bag of kitchen trash, planning to run it to the garbage can on the way down the driveway. In the shuffle of leaving, she accidentally left it sitting on the front porch.
Hours later, when she arrived home, Elise was excited to see a brown paper bag sitting by the front door. What could it be? Who might have left her a surprise? She was so sure it was something wonderful that she had to laugh when she looked in the bag and saw the trash she had left that morning. She still giggles about it, and I think this story is a great representation of her and her attitude toward life.
The conversation I had with Elise inspired me on so many levels.
Not only did I learn a lot that will help us with our trip, but I will remember her stories and her resilience and strength. I will draw on them in times when I feel fearful or uncertain. Every time I see a brown paper bag waiting for me, I will optimistically believe there is something fabulous inside, and I will laugh when I see it is my own junk I left there. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have met Elise and to have learned from her.
I can’t wait for you to meet her, too, through the book I so hope she will complete and publish.