Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday with Words

The second half of my 2015 held some of the singularly most beautiful moments of my life, periods of heart-clenching grief, and the glorious feelings of taking the first steps of turning dreams into reality. I have both gained and lost family members during these months.  I have cried tears of despair and tears of joy - more than once.  I have wanted to share of each of those events with you; separately and in great detail.  But it all became overwhelming and too much to manage - let alone write in a coherent manner. As 2016 is in full swing, I am ready to begin sharing snapshots of some of the moments that continue to shape who I am and who I am becoming.

The Wedding

In August, I posted photos of my trip to Idaho for my Oldest Son's wedding.  His new bride is someone I liked from the moment I met her. And her family are the type of kind-hearted people you want your son to marry in to. 

My Dad

At that very same time, we were learning that my Dad's seemingly minor surgery prep (cataract removal to improve his vision) resulted in finding lumps.  A lump in his head. A lump in his lung. At the wedding in August, I learned that he was withholding information from me - he had three months to live.  

As soon as I was able, I asked him if that was true. He told me he'd be gone in November. My dad was an ornery, intelligent, hard-working man.  He was a man of his word. Even to the end. He passed on November 30, 2015. 

Me and my Dad 

My Grandbaby

I traveled from Idaho, back to Baltimore, then back and forth from Baltimore to Indiana multiple times.  I spent periods of time with Dad as he prepared to pass away. And I spent brief moments filled with great joy in my Youngest Son's family home. We chased each other with "spiderwebs" around Halloween. We watched Inside Out and I Lava You several times. And we just spent quiet time together. My grandbaby is precious and my son's presence is a healing thing for me.


I had a dog named Daisy.  I loved that dog and miss her to this day. 

While fostering a sweet dog named Sugar, people became aware that I was saving room in my home and heart for another rat terrier some day.  That day came when a rat terrier needed a home and Sugar's family contacted me. Was it coincidence that this dogs name was Daisy too? I think not. I agreed to pick her up when I returned from the wedding.  I am a three "baby" home.  Willy, Mittens, and new Daisy.


Now to some background - the beginning of all of the changes. Prior to the wedding (and prior to learning of my father's health crisis) I finally made the right decision to change jobs.  I was hired prior to the wedding and scheduled to begin after the wedding.  

As a brand new employee, I missed periods of time on a new job while traveling to see my Dad.  It was a surreal time. But I could not have made a better decision about changing jobs. Making that transition was one of the best decisions I've made in many years.  

Retirement Plans

Initially, I planned on transferring my meager retirement fund from the old job to new job. But the reality of the cost of travel quickly set in and I decided to cash out that retirement account.  I am vaguely aware that at age 51, emptying a retirement account is financially the wrong thing to do.  But I lived check-to-check, often with $12 to spare each pay period.  I needed travel money.  To assuage some of the guilty feelings, I promised myself to reinvest some of that money into land. Land that I could live on in my retirement.  And the closer I could get to paying cash for that land, the better.

The Shack

I have been dreaming of homesteading and moving to off-grid land for years. Much of my free time was spent browsing "land for sale" ads. I chose a small piece of land on top of a West Virginia mountain ridge. It includes a plywood "hunting cabin" that we lovingly refer to as The Shack.  

On a chilly autumn day, I drove from Baltimore to a small town in West Virginia for closing on the land.  I was not able to pay for it in full, but I managed to borrow a relatively very small amount. After I signed, I drove to the shack and sat for a bit. I sat quietly looking west across the valley. Wondering about the mysteries of life.

Then I hopped in the Jeep and drove west to Indiana to sit with my dad for awhile.

This New Year

It is now nearing the end of January 2016.  I am still reeling from all that has happened.  I am a changing person.  Oh, we all change. Whether we move forward or regress, we always change. There is no staying the same.  My dad used to say something like that. He'd say "you move forward or backwards, you don't stay the same".  He usually said that to me when I was a teen and not doing what I should. But oh how right he was.

My year was certainly full of change.There was not a nice and tidy linear timeline of events as each change completely intertwined with the next. Each event led me forward to today. And today is full of promise and love.


  1. I relish reading about the journey that is shaping you. You had a mega year to say the least. So many major life events. Easy to see why you needed some space before sharing what is on your heart and mind.

    1. Thank you. I've somehow been learning how to be unafraid. Which is something new for me. But something I highly recommend.

  2. Dawn Rae, thanks for sharing your 2015 'life' moments - the sad and the happy ones. May the new year bring you mostly moments of joy with your grandbaby, your new 'Daisy', and your 'shack'.

    1. Thank you Elf. I wasn't ready to share very much for awhile. Now I feel as though I have so much to share.

  3. Thanks for sharing your heart, Dawn Rae. It seems that, even with the grief, you have lots of wonderful memories to dwell on, and many more memories yet to be made. Blessings to you for 2016! I'll look forward to reading an update a year from now.

  4. I am deeply sorry for your time to cry, but I rejoice for your times to laugh and dance. I know 2015 was a very hard year for you. I pray 2016 will be filled with only those laughing and dancing moments.

    Ecclesiastes 3 (I rarely quote scripture online, put it seemed so appropriate here with you)