Is my dream to travel to Scotland a pie in the sky? Set the course and fly there!
Angela Breidenbach, Scotland Dreams

Angela Breidenbach, Scotland Dreams

As a child, a really young one, I already had Scotland dreams. All my life I’ve wanted to go. It’s never been far from my mind, never. Before we married, my husband asked what my dreams were. Yes, I said a month in Scotland and another in Sweden. Now I’m focused on making the first part of my lifelong dream, my journey to Scotland, a reality including the planning, the trip, and my reflections along the way. The more we focus on our dreams, the more they happen. Do you have a dream journey?

My Scotland dreams are finally in reach, but the planning is so important because I want to see the place my ancestors came from as well as research for myself and for my future books. I want to walk in my ancestors footsteps, learn who they were, why they emigrated, and why they were who they were. I’m on a mission of discovery and creativity. I don’t want to miss a thing because I didn’t know about it or because I could possibly run out of funds. (I did miss out on some amazing things in Turkey when I was twenty-one. I was so young I had no idea how many biblical places I could have explored. That still gets me in the gullet with what I know now.)

My plan for my Scotland dreams, if you’d like to follow it, is to write my journey from start to finish. I’ll write what I’m researching, where I’m going, how I’m getting there (or the choices and why), and what the expectation as well as the results are of that journey. Why? Because doing this keeps me heading in the direction I choose to go. I wondered if writing my goal, this goal, might not only help me achieve it but also help others decide to chase and grab their dreams. It doesn’t have to be the same as mine.

Curious? Me too. I love visiting other places and delving in deeply. I don’t want to go because of Outlander. But that’s been a funny coincidence that’s given me visuals of the countryside. I don’t really care if I see any of those sets. But I do want to know if any of my ancestral homes or lands still exist and see those. To be honest, I’d have gone this August but my daughter is getting married. I felt like that big event would be a huge summer focus and I didn’t want to split my attention between her needs and my dream. That worked out well. I think I’d have been rushing it a bit.

Here’s a few of my prime goals:

1. Can I find any proof of my ancestors David Nelson to his father Thomas Nelson Jr to his father Thomas Nelson, Sr. Then see if I can connect those to their parentage in Scotland (which might include England and Ireland). Get the documentation.
2. Three of my four ancestral lines trace back to Scotland (and might intermingle to Ireland and England). Find the proof and document it.

3. Find out the personal stories of these people and of those as far back as I can to document the family tree(s).

4. Share what I learn for others interested in genealogy, but also to share the stories through my novels. How did my people fit into major historical moments? Were my people involved in forgotten historical events that need to be remembered? Were any famous? Underdogs? Black sheep? Did they change the course of history for their future generations or for any monumental world events? Oh I have SO many questions!

What don’t I know yet:

  • What airline?
  • Should I use a consolidator or my air miles?
  • What overnight stays?
  • How long at each spot?
  • Which museums/libraries/family ancestral areas/event?
  • How long (3, 4 weeks?) I’ve always said a month. But now with family/work commitments, is that too much? Can I find a way to go back?
  • Costs
  • Choices of what to bring back for memories?
  • Can I find distant relatives to meet? (Would they want to meet me?)
  • Affordability versus comfort (where do the two meet?)
  • Where will the air miles and hotel points I’ve saved up be best used?
  • Smartest packing choices
  • Best way to see the country (walk, bike, car, horse, train, etc.) or all at different points.
  • Communication home (calls, Internet, texting…)
  • Photography options.
  • Writing options (laptop, tablet, pen/paper) Leaning toward taking a tablet and smart phone.

Now you have the beginnings of my journey too.

How long do I expect to do this? Probably eighteen months. Then we’ll see if I decide to go on from there. My ultimate goal is to be in Scotland mid-August through mid-September so I can attend the huge Edinburgh Book Festival and see the heather on the hills.

Here’s my first few tools toward my Scotland Dreams:
both in paperback.

(You can click them and check out what’s inside. I will use affiliates to help fund this journey.)
Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia Lonely Planet Scotland (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet


So the other day I made a great smoothie. High protein, lots of kale and spinach, strawberries…it really tasted great (contrary to opinions of kale haters, it sometimes works).

But I made too much. Wanting to freeze this amazing miracle (yes, kale haters, I did), I searched for an ice cube tray, having heard of this great smoothie hack idea to make leftover smoothies fast.

Creative ice cube tray?

No, no tray to be found. (Okay, none clean.) I’m on deadline, afterall. But I did happen to have a flexi gingerbread man muffin tray. So…

I know, you thought that was the humor, right? Uh, no. But it’s cute, right? And your kids will love this idea…

I toss these poor fellows in the blender expecting their buttons to burst and whirrrr. Nothing happens. (Can you see said author getting frustrated while trying to get a fast lunch?) #SmoothieFail

What? That hack was supposed to stop the ice jam. Then I look closer. No blades. Sigh. Add blades and… Hmm… Having trouble getting the smoothie ice to turn into a, um, smoothie.

Dawns on me to add liquid. And more water…a third time’s the charm. Voila! I have lunch. Don’t you hate it when gingerbread men are smarter than authors? But I did like the way it worked out 🙂 

Ever had a day like that?? Sigh. #OnDeadline #NeedFastLunch

Okay, back to work on Seven Medals and a Bride for Barbour Publishing’s Blue Ribbon Bride Collection coming out in Nov. 2016!


This true treasure, an antique Civil War era saddlepack Bible, published in New York City in 1864 belonged to my grandpa and to his grandpa. To me it signifies generations of faith. I love knowing the yellowed fingerprints on the pages belonged to my ancestors. They tell me where those that went before me spent their time in study and may hold clues to their joys and struggles too.


Birchard Nelson, preached from his grandfather’s Bible


Civil War era 1864 saddlepack Bible


This tiny Bible has a leather wrap for saddlepacking


Yellowed pages reveal the fingerprints if its readers


Josephus Hartshorn’s Bible

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