Grandpa’s Girl

The Adventurer

My maternal grandfather, Eugene Ernest Dale, was a true adventurer. He was the youngest child in a very large family, born in May 1906 and he died on his 81st birthday in 1987. When I was born to my folks late in their lives he was already advancing in years, lived in the hills of West Virginia, and I didn’t see him very often. I remember him as a spry, handsome man with snow white hair and a twinkle in his eye. Grandpa Dale was a world traveler in every sense of the word. My Mom told us stories about his wanderlust; he was never content to stay in one place for very long. As a young girl, they moved quite often and lived in many different places. Grandpa served in the US Navy in World War II, learned a trade as an engineer, and tried his hand at many different careers throughout his life. For a time, he lived in Japan. I remember seeing black and white photos of him at what was probably a Japanese bath house that seemed a little bit scandalous at the time. When I was a little girl, he always wore white dress shirts and he wanted a supply of those shirts freshly laundered, starched and pressed at all times. So he bought a Chinese laundry business in Cleveland, Ohio. He gave me a Hammond organ when I was six or seven years old and told my Mom to make sure I took lessons to learn to read and play music. He was an organist and thanks to him, I took lessons and played the organ for sixteen years.

Embarrassing haircut aside, I played the organ while we sang Christmas carols with my big brother, Bob, and cousins (from l to r) Denise, Tracy and Scooter.

But what I remember most about Grandpa was his heart for adventure. The far-off places he’d visit by plane (before commercial airline travel was practical or readily available) and the cultures he experienced seemed completely foreign and strange to me and in truth, they were. Mom regaled us of the times when she was young and he would come home from work on Fridays and tell my grandmother to get everyone in the car because he was taking them on a weekend road trip. His excessive spontaneity drove my grandmother crazy but she was a smart woman and learned to have their bags packed every Friday morning in anticipation of the weekend adventures to come. Grandpa loved to travel and live life fully. Seeing the world wasn’t a choice; it was a calling to him. He lived a long, adventurous life.

The Traveling Gene

I have inherited Grandpa’s heart of an adventurer. Although I was raised in the same little house my parents built in a small, Ohio town from the time I was 2 until I was 19, I have always had an inexplicable desire to see the world and experience life beyond state and US boundaries. I believe it was more than a God wink that I met and married a military career officer. We have traveled, lived abroad, and spent our twenty-nine years experiencing the world together. What a blessing (and down-right fun) to be able to share all this with my best friend!

Many of you know we are now empty-nesters.  Our boys are happily attending Liberty University and doing very well. We’ve lived in a beautiful home in the Washington DC suburbs for the past five years. Aside from the horrendous commute times for my husband, it has been a blessing to be here. We made a promise to our youngest son to live in one place so he could attend the same high school for four years rather than transfer to another school during that time. We honored our promise but that season in our lives has come to an end. Kent and I have felt the tug for an exciting, new adventure for quite some time. Earlier this year we began taking steps to downsize in anticipation of a pending move although we didn’t know where we might go or when it might happen. We prayed about this decision and left it in God’s hands. 

I’m happy to say my sweet husband has been offered an incredible job in a dream location and we’ll be heading to the West coast soon. Other than a brief two years in Omaha, I have never lived west of the Mississippi River. We’re more than ready to embrace this dramatic change of lifestyle and new beginning. Fortunately, I can design, create and do everything I need to do in my quilting career wherever we live. So I am not leaving the quilting industry nor changing (for the most part) my teaching and travel plans. Only our home address and the airport I use to fly in and out will change. This will also allow us to visit our little cabin in the mountains whenever we choose! And I’ll be wearing flip flops a lot more often now. I envision many date nights, sunsets by the ocean, ballroom dancing, pilates and so much more in our future. 

We’re so excited about this new adventure. Would you send us off with a hug and a prayer? 

Yes, the heart of this adventurous gal is ready. I say bring it on. I think Grandpa would be proud.

Many thanks to Denise Stalnaker Bartram, our family historian, for providing these awesome photos of Grandpa Dale. You’re the best cousin anyone could ever have!



  1. Good luck Kimberly I hope it is California we could not wait to get out of there. Great weather great real estate but living there was crazy for a military family member. Sorry you are leaving Virginia but I do understand downsizing I have been doing that the last 4 years after our last overseas tours. Hope all goes well take care and I love your cats.

  2. West Coast?…Hopefully that means you will be teaching some classes in the Seattle area.

  3. Wishing you all the best in your new adventure! It sounds so exciting! I wish I had your courage! I’m sure you will be happy wherever you go as we all make our own happiness. With Mr. Kim by your side, you two will always find happiness! Congratulations!

    • Well, correct my spelling! Take out the f and an extra e. It’s still says what I want it to say from the heart!

  4. Best wishes for this exciting new chapter in your lives!

  5. What can I say but good luck on your new adventure. Thank God for the Internet. Though far away, we are still in touch. Of course I knew your parents well and their wonder lust. Just keep those creative juices flowing. We will follow your blogs with interest.

  6. Wishing you the very best as you take on this new adventure in life! The west coast will be a fun change for you and your husband. Enjoy your new location and friends that will make it home for you. I’ve so enjoyed taking your classes in Des Moines in the past, and I’m glad to hear you’ll still be teaching classes, writing books, and sharing your love of quilting with everyone. You’ll get to set up a new quilt studio again – what fun!

  7. What can I say but, Congratulations on your new venture. You’ve shared so much of your quilting knowledge and have made so many quilters happy. I still remember meeting you in Paducah and teaching that mystery class that was Sold Out first. From there you’ve taught, judged and became friends with so many in the Venice, Fl guild. My quilting friends up north also had this pleasure and have traveled to Vermont Quilt festival for your classes. Wherever you, Kent, Josh and Andrew travel too, you’ll only be an email away. Special hugs to Divot, Tuffy, Toby and Snickers….

  8. How exciting! So proud of you!

  9. Sounds like a great adventure awaits. Enjoy your new opportunities.

  10. Reach for the stars. I am happy for you.

  11. Congratulations and wave a gleeful farewell to DC traffic! You resemble your grandpa, and have that same delightfully big and friendly smile you had as s kid. Congrats to Mr. Kim on the dream job!

  12. Good for you, I am so happy that your dream has come true

  13. Wishing you all the best, so happy for you, we’ll deserved too. Lots of love coming your way <3

  14. Prayers, of course, for a grand adventure, and wish it’s all you imagine.

  15. That is so exciting, Kimberly!!! I am so happy for you and cannot wait to hear all about your new home. And of course, I can’t wait to take another class with you!

  16. Go get ‘m. Prayers and hugs.

  17. What a wonderful story. Yes, you do resemble your grandpa. I was a grandpa’s girl, but I have only tales of fishing in the nearby creeks and ponds with him. Small adventures, but fun none the less.

    Kimberly, I enjoy your Craftsy classes, your books, your blog so much. I wish I could take an actual class of yours. Who knows? Maybe someday….

    I truly wish you all the best in your new grand adventure. I am so glad you will still be doing what you do and sharing your wonderful talent with all of us. I thank you so much.

    May God add his richest blessings to this new phase in your lives.

    Sincerely, Linda

    PS…Your smile was wonderful in the picture playing the organ and singing with your family. You still have that same wonderful smile that gives so many people a little piece of your joy. Again, thank you.

  18. How smart of you two to make this change. Everything will be so different in your environment. You’ll have so much to experience. Best of luck to you both. See you soon.

  19. Kimberly, best wishes and prayers as you begin this newest chapter. I have done that in just transitioning from a classroom of students to being a grandmother always on the go, and in between a quilter, longarm as well.

    It will add adventure to your kids lives as well.

    Thank you for your Craftsy class as well, my Lonestar is quilted with a great deal of precision, much due to your teaching and writing skills. Please continue to quilt and teach on the web as well. We are flip flop girls in midwinter wherever we are. Always looking for the adventuresome inspiration of others.


  20. If you’re happy then I’m happy for you. Sad to see you go, I thought we would have more time together. Can we go to lunch before you leave?

    • Ditto what Caroline said! Would love to see you before you go! So excited for you. You have the best outlook – always looking forward with anticipation! God bless you!

  21. Very happy and excited for you, Kim and Kent! So gald we had a chance to meet this past year, via our common threads–our hometown, sewing, and Bob and Cheri! It’s been a pleasure, and I look forward to reading about your adventures in your new home. May God bless you with safe travels, great adventures, and lots of happiness.

  22. Hope you’ll be near the Bay Area! Would love to see you here. There’s many quilters here who could use your expertise. Good luck to you and your husband wherever you end up.

  23. Congratulations Kimberly on your new adventure. I know you will enjoy every bit of it. I live only about an hours drive from where you have your cabin here in Southern California & would give anything to be able to come for a class but at 85 & being house bound I don’t see that happening I have several of your classes tho with Craftsy & will use those & think of being there with you..good luck & God Bless you & your family.

  24. Safe travels, in your new adventure!…. I know you’ll do great wherever you are. Congrats to you both! Enjoy, it sounds like it could be my home state…. Hugs…

  25. How exciting for you! And congrats for your hubby. I can’t wait to hear where you’ll be and excited it’s closer to me in Sacramento as maybe I’ll be able to take some of your classes and workshops.
    Look forward to seeing you again out here in the west!!!

  26. Wow! What a fortunate turn of events! Congratulations! Blessings on you, both!
    Can’t wait to hear how you are doing in your upcoming adventures! Our paths will cross again, until then, may the wind be at your back, and the road rise to meet you!

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