About Me

Focus on the Joy

The holidays are fast approaching and before we know it, another year will arrive. It is easy to get caught up in the flurry and the insanity of the season. Shopping, decorating, planning our feasts…the lists go on. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement.

It is this time of year I try to slow myself down. I can easily get overwhelmed in the chaos between work and the holiday season. I try to seek out those small moments which bring a smile to faces, my own and others. Sometimes it can be as small as holding a door for someone when their hands are full or dropping a couple dollars in the collection bin outside the store or just looking at my holiday decorations.

This year, I’m lucky enough to be able to step away from work for the Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks. It’s a first in many years where I will be taking such a break. I’m looking forward to picking up some of my favorite past times during this time of rest – decking the halls, binge watching holiday movies, and baking mostly.

If you follow my site, first of all, THANK YOU! I started this site December 22nd last year and am always amazed when someone takes a moment to like some of my creative works or follows my site. My followers surpassed 100 users this year which just leaves me in awe.

I’ll be continuing to post through the holiday season, but I hope you’ll all understand if I’m not here every day…but I’ll try.

As we embark on the coming weeks, may you find ways to focus on the joy of the holidays and find happiness this season!

Dawn Renee

About Me, writing

Write A Book!?

A voice boomed inside my head several years ago. Write a book!

Of course this voice came to me in the bathroom of all places….greatest source of ideas for thinkers, aside from dreams and long quiet walks, that is!

I ignored it. I write for a living…mundane and boring and precise writing mind you. But not for entertainment…well, at least not for a long time. What I have written could fill volumes…. Specifications and requirements to capture the visions of others and make them understandable for the magicians behind the code.

Why would I write….a book?! I kept pushing that voice aside. Not now. Not ever. Not, well, maybe.

I am still trying to figure it out. I haven’t written any books yet. But I started this site to push myself to find what I’d enjoy writing about. I hope you, the reader, are enjoying the journey with me. Some fantasy, some fiction, some travel, some things just out of this crazy head of mine!

I also returned to a long lost interest in reading too…I was recently engrossed in a series called Echo (https://dirtyscifibuddha.com/ aka Kent Wayne – Thanks for the trip!) If you like military fighting, mixed with mysticism, mixed with self discovery, check it out.

So, I’ll let you know if, no, when, I write that book. Sometimes we have to listen to that voice in our head, that beat in our heart, that tingle in our gut, to find the right direction.

At least now, I’m listening.

About Me, writing

Accidental Hike

It was 2004. Unemployed for the second time in a year and a half, I found myself needing to get away from the job search for an afternoon. Nature walks have always calmed me. So, I picked up my camera and decided to head over to the Alafia River park. It offered some fresh air and a much needed escape from the frustrations of a job search.

I parked my car at the Equestrian Trail entrance. It was marked with a hiking marker, so it wasn’t just for horses. I located a map and had planned a small loop I estimated would take about an hour, along the east end of the park, jumping between the blue, white, and green trails.

As I started out, the trail took me alongside some fishing ponds to the property line of a neighboring ranch. Cows dotted the pastureland adjoining the trail. I took my camera and focused in on a black cow with a white egret on its back in the distant field, capturing the moment and then continued on my walk around the edge of the ranch.

I heard a rustle nearby. Ahead of me, at a bend in the trail, a large steer with crooked horns peered at me. We were separated by a fence, but he watched me as I walked by, snapping shots. His horns made him look confused, as if he were asking a question.

I walked a little further along and found a shady spot to stop and take a drink of water. I looked around at the time, and thought I should have already come to my turn for the white trail, but did not recall seeing any markers. I must have misjudged the distance, so I continued on the blue trail, watching for any markers.

Along the way, I snapped some photos of a few birds, dragonflies, and butterflies. This was back in the day of film cameras, so I tried to limit my shots. I contemplated doubling back on my walk, but knowing I had already walked for an hour and a half, reconsidered and kept moving forward.

The trail led me to a clearing with no shade. At this point, I knew I had missed my turnoff. I spied some powerlines off in the distance and made my way to them. These would lead me back to the road along side the park hopefully.

An osprey flew overhead. I captured a couple shots and pushed on. I wished I had a way to figure out exactly where I was, but this was in the days where cellphones were just phones, not the smart phone contraptions. That, and there was no signal on my Nokia anyway to make a call.

I could hear traffic off in the distance and continued towards the sound. Finally, I saw a truck pass by on the road ahead. I knew I was headed in the right direction after what was now at least 3 hours of walking. As I approached the road, the trail I was on split into two directions.

Again, I guessed wrong, thinking I had doubled back on my walk, and headed westward along the trail. In 20 minutes, I found myself at the main entrance of the park. Relieved, but more than a mile from my car, I walked up to the ranger station.

Sweaty, thirsty, and exhausted, I asked for assistance from one of the rangers to get back to my car. The ranger smiled a knowing smile. “It happens all the time. Do you remember where you parked?”

I nodded, too tired to blush or be embarrassed, and muttered “The Equestrian Trail entrance.” The ranger drove me back over to the car. I climbed in my hot car, and blasted the AC. I was never more happy to have an air conditioned car in my life. My one-hour walk had turned into a four-hour unplanned hike. This is where I learned my first hiking alone lessons — always bring water and a snack, know your route, and when possible, don’t go it alone!

About Me, writing

Becoming Routine

Late last year, I set out on a journey for my own health. I am slowly making progress, but I have seen my second wave of good results this past month.

I began first by just tracking what I ate last October. No diet changes. It is eye opening if you’ve never done this before. Nothing was way crazy with my diet, but tracking made some bad habits very apparent.

As a note, I am a middle-aged woman who has fought weight battles since age 5. So, unlike guys who can just think about dieting and lose 5 pounds, I have to work at it!

Next, I straightened up those bad habits. By December, the 5 COVID pounds I had gained were gone. I still let myself enjoy food, just in moderation now.

Christmas Eve, while talking with my mom, a couple harsh realities smacked me in my face…not my Mom, mind you! One was the realization that I had gotten myself to a place I didn’t like….and it was up to me to address it.

I knew I needed to do more, but needed to set a why. Just feeling better should have been a good enough motivator. I found a beautiful location I would like to visit one day, the Jacob Hamblin Arch, in Utah. Now, for me to do that, I need a much smaller body, the ability to hike for two days with a pack, and the ability to use a rope to climb up and down in some spots during the hike. Hey, go big or go home as they say!

So, I decided to tackle the most basic aspect first…walking the walk! I built up my walking from an average of 2,000 steps a day to now over 10,000 steps a day. I have currently dropped another 12 pounds.

I have a long way to go, and there are days I’d still rather sleep or lounge all evening on the sofa, but I keep giving myself no room for that complacency. I’d love any hints and guidance from any hikers on where to go next!

I know I will hit plateaus, but I am going to work like hell to overcome them. I will be my own cheerleader on this journey.

If you are on a similar journey, don’t give up. We can do this!

About Me, writing

Gulf Side Memory

Moving from the cold frozen north of Illinois, I knew as a child I may never have to don a snowsuit again when we found our way to Florida. I had a yellow ten speed which I would ride from our condo to the front gate to catch the schoolbus, and then ride it back again at the end of the school day. I was the last to get on the bus, and the last to get off.

I couldn’t wait to be home each day. My mom and stepdad had rented a gulf front condo with a nice screened back porch, a lanai really. I was a latch-key kid as they called us back in those days. On my arrival home, I would grab a towel and my school books then go sit at our table outside to do my homework. The warm breezes and the glass like surface of the water calmed any childhood angst I had and allowed me to concentrate.

Like clockwork, around 4:15 PM, the rains would roll in. Most times, I was done with my homework at that point. I’d close up my books and stow them away to prevent anything from getting wet. I’d wrap my purple and yellow striped towel around my shoulders and sit there, watching as the rain would roll in from the gulf.

The small islets outside our condo would become blurry as the rain took over and the smooth water would give way to ripples and eventually waves if the winds were strong enough. My towel would protect me from the spray as the rain splashed against the screens.

The rains normally would pass in fifteen to twenty minutes. By then, my short cropped hair would be damp and begin to curl up. I’d wipe off any excess with my towel, then dry off the table and chair. If I had more homework to do, I’d wrap it up. Otherwise, I would sit there, trying to see if there were any dolphins playing in the water and watch the birds fly by until it would get dark when my parents would arrive home.

We only lived on the water like that for six short months. I occasionally find my way there as an adult to reminisce and enjoy the view, grateful for having had the experience.