Fire & Heart
What makes you fiery, passionate, and moved to action?
First up…The gorgeous, passionate, and inspiring
Michelle from Dust and Wanderlust.
I hate to pull this old saying into a new and beautiful series, but there is nothing that describes my philosophy in life more so then “to thine own self be true”. I spent more than a decade living true to someone else in my marriage, and in the end I didn’t recognize myself. I was drowning more every day, losing more of myself and not liking the example of a woman I was setting for my two young kids.
So I drove in search of answers. I drove to the piece of rugged, beautiful land where strong women in my family had lived before me, women who had taken chances that were unpopular and risky, but right for them. And I stood on the threshold of this old ranch where they had worked the land, wrote their letters, built valuable friendships and learned their own value.
And even with the Wyoming wind just passing me by slowly and quietly, I heard its message from my relatives loud and clear. And it told me to live my life authentically and without regrets. That women in history who had left their mark in a history book or on their children’s lives did so by living it on their own terms.
And for me that meant taking my life back. Enjoying the beauty in simplicity, honesty, laughter and in pure love. I hope to make that my legacy to my children, and to be a better friend and lover because of it. My wish would be that everyone would get to have an epiphany moment as I did, there’s no greater gift then a fulfilled life.
I spend my days now working to support my kids, my nights writing, gardening and building my friendships in an effort to continue the legacy of women in my family. So when I’m in my garden enjoying the sun on my back and I feel a breeze blowing by, I like to think it’s the wind from Wyoming that spoke so loudly to me, only now it’s telling me I’m exactly where I need to be.
This is an email that Michelle sent me telling the story of Elinor (pictured left) .. it’s a fantastic story. I couldn’t help but share it with you…
Elinore is my great grandmom, she’s also the author or “Letters of a Woman Homesteader” and “Letters on an Elk Hunt”. She took my grandmom, who was a young girl, out to Wyoming in the early 1900’s in search of a better life for her and her young daughter.
She was a single mom then, unheard of in the early 1900’s. And she did things people said she couldn’t, including “owning up” on huge acreage in Wyoming, one of the few states that allowed women to own land outright. The hitch was that she had to live on it for 5 years first, and not die. These two things were tough, but so was she.
And she ended up falling in love with her employer, and future neighbor, Clyde Stewart. My grandmom was raised in Burnt Fork, and used to tell me stories about it, which I gather is how I came to have my wanderlust and love of the West. There’s also a movie made about her life, it’s on TV sometimes. It stars Conchetta Farrell as my great grandmom (who now plays the maid Bertie on Two and a Half Men”.) and Rip Torn as my great grandfather. It’s called Heartland.