A tornado was my wind of change: Seriously, it took a freaking tornado.

Written by Shasta Westaby

Edited by RNplusmommy

May 16th, 2017 was a day that turned the lives of so many upside down. Seriously, a damn tornado flipped my community. 83-miles of damaged homes, barns, crops, woods, businesses. It was and is overwhelming.

I won’t minimize my anxiety over storm season but I get to remember that the tornado did happen. It did take a life. It did immense damage. It also did incredible good. I have made the choice to not look at the tornado as pure destruction. I look at it as opportunity. It gave new life, it gave new chances, it gave new beginnings.

Photographs do not do my memories justice. The messy photos neglect to show the internal devastation I was experiencing. Shattered glass and water damage do not begin to tell the story.

The week started out normal, I had spread grass seed and was working. After bills got paid I probably had $20 in my account. I ended the week homeless, jobless, my belongings in boxes and totes in someone’s garage and with a check for $15,000.

I have put so much into my in-home daycare business. Not just money but sweat, tears, time, energy and love. Small pieces of my life were shared with the governor of Wisconsin. He saw what I had just lost and shared my story with a man who wanted to help. He heard my story and as a Godly man he knew what was being asked of him.

He wrote me a check for $15,000. No fanfare, just kindness.

With this monetary gift and the help of a recovery fund created by my amazing community, I could have minimized my debts and lived comfortably in a new rental. But this money provided an opportunity. With this money I could purchase a home and allow myself to progress from a struggling unlicensed daycare provider, to a homeowner with a licensed business. I figured if there was ever a time to take a risk, this was definitely it.

I lost a home but I purchased a house. I lost my business but restarted the daycare and the licensing process. I ended bad friendships but I gained a group of amazing friends. I finally started putting money into my savings! I saw Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers on field before they sent him away… (I am still not over it). I have learned to laugh and smile again in a way that I hadn’t for most of the last 10-years. I started drinking two cups of coffee a day because life is too short to not.
The point is, the last year has been full of unknowns and great risk. But it has also been overflowing with love and happiness.

It is said in the winds of change we find our true direction. Well, it took a tornado. A literal tornado for me to hear the message loud and clear. I was meant for so much more. For the first time I am living for that more.