Category Archives: Personal

Happy Birthday Dad

It’s not true, it really doesn’t get easier with time. All time does is remind me that my dad is really gone and he’s not coming back. Time will eventually try to fade my memories of him but time will never lessen the pain of not having him here.

Today my dad would have turned 67.

He needed more time. WE needed more time. I needed more time.

Some of my earliest memories of him include fishing, the lake and camping but some of my favorite memories of him now that he is gone are just the days we spent sitting doing nothing. The things I miss most are all those moments that when you are in them, you really don’t pay much attention to. I miss seeing him walk across the lawn, I miss the sound of him snoring in his recliner, I miss his annoying coughing in the morning, I miss his weird faces, I miss being able to call him up to ask him who someone is because he knew EVERYONE.

My dad loved that people’s initial reaction to him was usually fear. He was a big guy with a hairy face and always dressed in his dirty work clothes. About 15 years ago or so, I was working at a printing company in Fargo when my dad had to come and fix my car. He walked in the front door and rather than our receptionist greeting him, she snuck to the back and asked that one of the guys go out to see what the “scary homeless guy” wanted before she called the cops. He got a kick out of that but his tough scary dude persona ended the minute you really got to know him. When you really got to know him, you would find out that he was just a teddy bear with a heart of gold. And he was….if there is one thing I hope to have gotten from my dad….it’s his heart. He was a people person. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. While preparing for his benefit back in May, I went around to area businesses to pick up their donations for the benefit. Thinking I was just going to go in and out of all the businesses to grab their donations….I was tears as each person stopped to tell me something about how great of a guy my dad was and what he meant to them. I soaked in each word they spoke.

Dad was our hero. All three of his girls will tell you, he was always there…no matter what, when, where or why. He would drive in actual blizzards to pick us up or get us where we needed to be. When our cars broke down, he was always our first call. When my sister wanted to put her house up for sale, he drove to Colorado to help her get it ready to sell. He showed his love by doing. Perhaps one of my most treasured memories is leading up to my wedding day. He wasn’t much on hugging (unless it was my mom) and really never said I love you (unless mom forced him to) but he ran himself ragged preparing the farm for my wedding. The day before the wedding, I remember stopping to watch him as he buzzed between things, making sure they were exactly as I wanted. Seeing how hard he worked to make my wedding day perfect has been one of my favorite memories since that day.

Five years ago, my dad finally got a son when I met my now husband, Jesse. Apparently Jesse didn’t like my dad at first. As I mentioned, my dad loved intimidating people by his size and looks. Fairly early on in our relationship though my dad and my husband became the best of friends. He had his boy to buy tools for, go fishing and hunting with and do all the things he dreamed of getting to do with a son having had three girls. I secretly loved that those two would gang up on my mom and I. I loved that my dad would ditch me to take Jesse fishing or that he would only want Jesse to come into town with him from the farm. I loved that while I was gone all day to photograph a wedding, Jesse chose to spend the day with my dad. Without question, one of the hardest parts of losing my dad is that Jesse lost his best friend. I’m angry that Jesse only got five years with him. I got 38 and that wasn’t enough. They had so many more years of hunting and fishing to do.

My husband tells me often that I am a “mini Mike”. I’m not sure he always meant it to be a positive thing. haha! To me though, it is a compliment. My dad was SUCH a good man. When you die, people don’t remember what your job title was, how much money you made or how many trophies or promotions you got. People remember your heart. They remember that you were a good person. They remember that you loved even if you didn’t show it the way a person typically would. My dad was one of the best people I will ever know. His death will always leave a giant void in my life but how lucky am I to have had a dad that I can say that about?

Dad….I hope you are always going to “haunt” me from Heaven. I’ve always needed you and that doesn’t stop now. Giant hugs, birthday kisses and messy head rubs to say I love you. You were my photography muse and my favorite guy. I hate not having you here.

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At 8:15am on Friday, December 1 my dad passed away peacefully at the farm while surrounded by his family.

He was where he wanted to be, at home. He also needed to hear from my mom that it was ok for him to go. Seconds after she told him it was ok, he breathed his last breath.

We got him home. Tons of his family and friends came to visit yesterday and that made him so happy. While he wasn’t able to talk, he was still able to communicate and continued to be his goofy self up to the end. One story we like to tell is when Jan Rude came to see him yesterday. He told my dad that when he was here to visit him earlier in the day he had crawled right into bed alongside of him. My dad who appeared to be in a state of slumber immediately started to make kissy face sounds towards him. That was SO my dad. Throughout his time at Mayo these last few weeks he would also constantly be joking and making us all laugh.

The farm will never be the same without him. Today it feels like our world has stopped turning all together. But we are all at peace knowing he was ready to go be with God and his parents. And now we are left to figure out how to navigate this world without the greatest man any of us will ever know. The only man my mom has ever loved. The best, most loving and perfectly annoying dad and grandpa. The kind of father-in-law every guy hopes to have one day.

We love you always.

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I keep saying that I am going to be better at blogging and then I still just never find the time to do it. Here is to trying again! To start, I am the proud momma to a 7 month old Shih tzu named Diesel. We got him when he was 7 weeks old. He is absolutely the love of my life.

Here is is shortly after we got him. He was SO tiny! He weighed in at 1.6 pounds.


He is now over 12 pounds!

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My boys

If you know me, you know I have a fierce love for my nephews. They have, and always will, mean the world to me. This last October, I went to Colorado to spend time with them. I had also promised myself that I would not miss taking AJ’s six month photos… so off to Colorado I went.
I love seeing them interact with each other. I love seeing AJ’s face light up when his big brother enters the room. There is quite the age gap between them so it’s so fun to see how Jevan has transitioned from being an only child to a big brother. He’s so protective of him and so very concerned if he is hurt. He wanted a sibling for a long time. He is the best big brother!
I have heard many parents say that they wish they could keep their children from growing. That time goes by too fast and before they know it the kids are grown up. Because of my nephews, I know what they mean. I know how exciting it is to see them grow but, at the same time, a little painful. I know that even if I am blessed enough to become a mother someday….these boys will still feel like my own. They are everything. They are my “Baby” and “Punky Poo”.

melissa-dale-photographymelissa-dale-photography2melissa-dale-photography3melissa-dale-photography4melissa-dale-photography5melissa-dale-photography6melissa-dale-photography7melissa-dale-photography8melissa-dale-photography9melissa-dale-photography10melissa-dale-photography11melissa-dale-photography13melissa-dale-photography14melissa-dale-photography15melissa-dale-photography16A few funny outtakes! We spent HOURS taking photos, the poor boys were wiped out and annoyed but for the most part, they cooperated so we could get some great pics. Also, it turns out that AJ loves eating leaves. I have several photos of him shoving the leaves into his mouth. 🙂

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One year ago….

One year ago I made the very scary decision to quit my full time job as an Art Director to pursue photography full time… more paid insurance, regular paychecks, paid vacation. I wasn’t sure I was going to last long. I hadn’t really prepared myself financially to go out on my own. I just got to the point where it was too much. Being an Art Director required 60+ hours of my time each week and my photography business was getting busier and busier. Something had to give. For a month or so I seriously weighed my options…..I finally decided that I just HAD to go where my heart was and that was with my photography. That was one year ago.

This last year has been the scariest, happiest, rewarding and most exhilarating year of my entire life. One week after quitting my full time job, I booked 4 weddings! I felt like that was my first sign that I made the right decision. Since then I have been absolutely blessed with how busy I am staying and how amazingly well my photography business is taking off!

Two months after going full time I met the love of my life, Jesse. Second sign. I felt like God truly was waiting for me to get to the place in my life where I could say I was blissfully happy before he introduced me to the right man.  Jesse came along and was everything I thought I wanted in a man and a million things I never knew I could have. He took my happy life and multiplied it times a hundred. It’s safe to say, he’s my forever.

It is amazing to me what a person can do if they just believe in themselves. Because I refused to settle for an “ok” life, I worked for the life of my dreams and I couldn’t be happier.

I have a feeling year #2 is going to be even better…..

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  • Maris - Yay, Missy! Good for you for following your dreams… it was the right one!