Posted by: bree1972 | December 5, 2013

Where to Find Bree Now 12/5/2013

Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog and Bree’s Lake Blackshear Blog have been combined.

You can keep up with the Horton clan by clicking on Bree’s Connecting the Dots http://bree1948.wordpress.comCome on over . . . . and don’t forget to click on the “follow this blog” icon at Connecting the Dots so you’ll get a notice when posts are published.

Love ya’ll!

Posted by: bree1972 | December 1, 2013

And the Decision is . . . . . 12/1/2013

Header:  A not-quite-ready Thanksgiving family photo taken by bonus son Matt.  

I’ve been sitting here staring out the window for at least 20 minutes, wondering where and how to start this post.  There are so many things to tell you, so many trips taken, so many ideas born and buried, and so many decisions prayed over and made.  When I signed off in October I mentioned how tired Ted and I were – both mentally and physically.  Physically, we’re better now.  Mentally, this last month was at least, if not more, draining than October was.

Because there’s so much to tell I’m going to just stick with one subject tonight, and it’s probably the one you are most interested in.  As the weeks and months go by, I’ll fill in some of the blanks, but tonight I’ll hit the high spots on where our month of soul and house searching has brought us.

What you don’t know is for our last two weeks on Mackinac, Ted and I spent days discussing whether we should buy something else on the island.  We weren’t ready for our condo to sell – in fact, I think that last month we were truly shell-shocked to find ourselves without a place to live.  As we frantically searched for something to lease next summer, we also began to explore houses for sell on the island.  We found nothing fitting our criteria.  Next we looked at lots and seriously considered building a home in Trillium Heights.  We had the site picked out, and we found plans we loved.  But . . . just before letting our hearts take over and make the emotional decision for us, we stepped back and said, “We really, really need to get away from the island before we take this path.”  Our goal of being near our grandchildren and being near the beach would not be realized by building on Mackinac.  If we took that step, the house there would have to be our permanent home.  We would be further from the grandchildren for even longer periods of time.

After less than two weeks at the lake, we left for Florida.  On the way to Ormond Beach, we stopped in and toured a new boating community at Beverly Beach called Sunset Inlet.  Ted had seen it on-line and was intrigued by the homes having ocean views from one side and Intracoastal Waterway views from the other.  We both liked Sunset Inlet a lot, but it was our first stop.  We traveled on to Ormond Beach, where we spent time with Julie, Matt and the grandkids.  While they were at work and at school, we rode with a realtor for two days to look at houses we had called him to set up.  When we left there for Amelia Island, we had one home at the top of our list – an almost-on-the-ocean bungalow built in the 50′s that we both really loved – except there was no garage or even carport (NOT a good thing to be without in the salt air), and there was not room to build one.

We arrived on Amelia Island early enough to spend a few hours before dark with our realtor there.  We had lots of houses lined up, but the only one we were really interested in was directly on the beach.  We fell in love with it.  It was our dream to be ON the beach, and here it was.  But . . . it was only a little over 1,000 sq. ft. and it was a townhouse – which meant sharing a wall with someone else.  After five years in a condo, we had adamantly decided “no more shared walls”.  And once again, for the price, this would become our permanent home.  Could Ted and I spend months and months together without any space to occasionally get away from each other.  To be blunt, no.  We looked at houses all the next day, some with views, some without.  And then we went back and looked at the townhouse on the beach.  Could we make it work?  We left there undecided and started our trip back to Ormond Beach to watch Matthew play in his championship football game.

On the way back we passed once again through Beverly Beach, and we stopped again at Sunset Inlet.  We toured the model home once more, talked to the builder, and called our realtor out to act as our agent.  All of us were impressed with the quality of the homes (our agent said they were built like bunkers).  The windows could stand the impact of 140 mph winds without storm shutters, and the entire home is built above hurricane building standards.  But when we left for the lake the next day (Matthew’s team won!), we still had not made a decision.

Way back in the beginning of this process – in May – I said we’d be praying for God to open the doors He wanted for us and close those He didn’t want.  What WE wanted, of course, was a house on the beach on Amelia Island.  We loved that place, and one of the main reasons was it reminded us so much of Mackinac Island – a small community that swells in the summer and retreats in the winter back to the locals, a wonderful downtown, a historic district – even horse and buggy tours!  But, after we returned home and talked with our Amelia Island realtor, doors began to shut rapidly.  No, we probably couldn’t enclose the underneath parking or fence in the yard – or if we could, it would be difficult.  No, there were no single family homes on the beach in our price range.

At the same time, each conversation with the developers at Sunset Inlet ended in “Yes, we can do that.”

With all that said, last Friday we sent our signed contract in to Sunset Inlet to build a two-story home, which should be ready about the time we’d normally be leaving for Mackinac Island.  Beverly Beach is two miles north of Flagler Beach, two miles south of Palm Coast, and 30 minutes for our grandchildren.  We’ll have a new house, views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean, and a boat dock.

Our house will look like this - minus the third floor.

Our house will look like this – minus the third floor.  This is the back side, which looks toward the Intracoastal.  The front looks across A1A to the ocean.

Nature walk at the back of Sunlet Inlet that leads . . .

Nature walk at the back of Sunlet Inlet that leads . . .

. . . to the fishing pier on the Intracoastal Waterway.

. . . to the fishing pier on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Our house plan.

Our house plan.

Aerial view of Sunset Inlet

Aerial view of Sunset Inlet – between Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway.

IMG_0276.2

Our beach – cinnamon colored sand created by crushed coquina shells (something I admit I will have to get used to).

Site concept.

Site concept.

While all this was going on, I was having one heck of a time accepting that Mackinac Island was not going to be a big part of my life anymore.  I can’t tell you how many times Ted said, “You really don’t sound very happy about any of these places in Florida.”  I would reply, “I’m getting there, but it will take some time.”  As days went by, and with me not totally on board, I realized that Ted couldn’t let himself get nearly as happy as he should have been – it’s hard to be happy when your partner isn’t.  Since that realization, I’ve really begun to try and think more positively.  I know that Mackinac will always be with me, whether I have to enjoy it through memories or through periodic visits.  I’ve even come to terms with the fact that unless our lake house sells quickly, we might not get to Mackinac at all this summer, although Ted has promised he’ll get me there somehow – even if it’s only for a short visit.  I know that once the lake house sells, we’ll be on the island – as planned – for at least two months every year.

I came across two very good quotes today – one by Sarah Dessen in her book What Happened to Goodbye, and I’ll paraphrase it:  “Home isn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. Home is wherever the people who love you are, whenever you are together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”  The other is by Tad Williams: “Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.”

I know that’s what I have to do now.  I have to take all the memories from all the places I’ve loved and called home and put them together inside my head so I’ll always have them all.  To those, I’ll add what will be our Florida home at the beach – a place I know I will come to love with a passion over the years to come.  

So – what about this blog?

From the thoughts stated above I’ve realized I can’t continue to write a blog exclusively about Mackinac Island. To do so is to set myself up to never let myself completely love our future home.  The same is true about the lake blog.  When our house here sells, I will have to put it together in my “head home” with Mackinac, where it will live forever.

So here’s the plan.  Sometime in the next week or so, I will post a link here to a brand new blog – title undecided as yet.  In it I’ll continue to write about our family, our dogs, our new home and our old ones.  When we visit Mackinac, it will all be recorded, as will any other trips we take – for however long.  I’ll also continue to update you with photos from the Island (both winter and summer), but on this new blog – NOT on the Mackinac blog.  Both the Mackinac AND the Lake Blackshear blogs will remain on-line forever, and can be read in their entirety by new readers (and old) whenever they/you wish.  I do this with the full knowledge I’ll lose some readers who come here because of their love of Mackinac, and I am deeply saddened by that.  But hopefully many of you will continue to tag along with the Hortons as we start this new life adventure at the beach.  Surely there have to be a few beach lovers among you :)!

So there it is.  The decision is made.  I thank each of you who lifted prayers for this decision, even if the answer wasn’t what you prayed for.  To be honest, it wasn’t what we prayed for either.  But we do think it’s God’s next plan for us, so how can it possibly not be right.  Love and hugs all around, and I’ll be back in a few days with a link to the new blog with Horton Thanksgiving pics and winter pics from Mackinac!  

God bless.

 

 

Posted by: bree1972 | November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving “Top 10″ List 11/27/2013

Hello Everyone!

On Thanksgiving our table will be set for 8.  All of our children, bonus children and grandchildren are joining us – coming in the day before Thanksgiving and staying through the weekend.  Can’t wait to see them all and sit around our dining room table – making new memories.

We’ll also be remembering those who are celebrating the holiday in Heaven, and in spirit they will take their places at our Thanksgiving table.  We are all here because of them.

This will be the second Thanksgiving I’ve reposted this blog –  “A Thanksgiving Top Ten”.  There have been some changes since last year because – well, that’s what families do – we change as time passes. 

I’ll see you back here on Monday, December 2!

P.S.  For those of you who picked Thanksgiving as the day I’d show up again – you win!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Not being a regular television watcher, I don’t keep up with much on the small screen (or the big screen, as so many of them are these days), but I do know David Letterman has a “Top Ten” list for just about anything of relevance in today’s world.  Sitting on the sun porch this morning, sipping coffee and watching our birds happily munch away at “Horton’s Fine Feathers Cafe”, I conjured up my “Top Ten” list of blessings.  Here’s what I’m thankful for – from cherished to most cherished.

Number 10:  Sunrises, Sunsets – and Everything In Between.  Whether in Georgia or on Mackinac Island, I pretty much miss sunrise each morning, choosing instead to snooze right through it unless I have an early morning appointment somewhere.  Thank goodness there are others less lazy than I who bound up, ready to tackle the day and verify for all of us late risers that the sun does indeed come up each morning – signaling the end of night and the start of another day that the Lord has made – just for us.  Between the sunrise and sunset, I’m thankful for every single moment I’m given – to love deeply and to live fully.  As I’ve grown older, the need to cherish each moment God grants me has grown.  The whirlwind of younger days has been replaced with an appreciation of the finer things in life – sun sparkling on water, trees budding in the spring, the kaleidoscope of leaves in the fall, the long stretch and curve of dirt roads in the country, the clip-clop of horses hooves on Mackinac streets, the natural wonders of the woods in the South and in the North, the song of birds.  My comforts now lie mainly in what God has made, not in the man-made, rapidly replaced “stuff” we invent for our pleasures.  Sunsets herald the end of another day, the peace of slumber, and the hope that the daytime hours were well-spent – and at least somewhat pleasing to our Maker.

Number 9:  The Joy of the Double-Nest.  Ted and I both know how blessed we’ve been to enjoy summers in Michigan and winters in Georgia.  When telling strangers about our life-style, we often heard the phrase, “You have the best of both worlds!”  It was true, and we’d give thanks every day.  Selling our condo on the island was a painful, but needed event this year. Double-nesting will soon become a blessed memory, but the changes we are anticipating for the coming year are exciting!  Mackinac will always be a magical place we will return to in the summer for at least a couple of months - for respite from the “real” world.

Number 8:  Retirement.  What a wonderful time of life!  When I was very young I once said, “We do it all wrong.  We should be free to enjoy life when we’re young – maybe from college to age 35 – then go to work and work till we die.”  Oh, the stupidly of youthful thoughts!  How could I have possibly imagined the joy that would come from having worked and done a job well, while my brain was clear enough to handle it.  As a young person, how could I possibly have known the joy of the “light at the end of the tunnel” that would flicker more brightly with each year – something to look forward to.  Retirement – the joy of free days to do nothing if that is my choice, the joy of volunteering, the joy of grandchildren, the joy of being old and feeling good and NOT having to go to work.  I sure am glad the system works as it does – not as I once thought it should.

Number 7:  Pets.  What would we do without them!   Bear and Maddie and all those before them . . . Bud, Shotzie, Calico, Whiskers, Tyler.  They fill our days with undiluted happiness, even when they are at their most annoying.  They bring us unconditional love while they live and heart-wrenching sorrow when they leave us.  Our lives would not be as joyful without them, and when my final hours on this earth approach, I pray I will spend them surrounded by family – and with a good dog’s head resting under my hand.

Number 6:  Friends.  I believe you can have only one BFF (“best friend forever” – for those not into the modern initials of the texting world) -  mine is Helen McCorvey.  I don’t mention her often, but she knows she’s the sister I never had and always longed for.  She’s there for me always, knows all my secrets . . . and loves me anyway.  We don’t talk or see each other nearly enough these days; but I know – and she knows – that a phone call would bring us running to each other to help with anything.  Helen taught me English when I was a Junior in high school, and one day she praised something I wrote for a special assignment.  That praise planted the seed for what I do today.  Over the years she’s been my teacher, my boss, and my mentor, and now she’s my best friend forever.  I love you to the moon and back, my sweet friend!

Close friends come and go throughout our lives, and I’m thankful for each and everyone.  The ones who stick through all the ups and downs are the ones I remember and the ones who hold such a special place in my heart.  They’re the ones I call when I need a pep talk or want to brag about my children or grandchildren.  They’re the ones, although I don’t see them for months – or talk to them for weeks – don’t hold it against me, and pick up the next conversation as though we only spoke yesterday.  In the close-knit communities of the lake in Georgia and the little island of Mackinac, it’s those close friends I’d long to get back to when we were away.  In a perfect world, I would have hauled them all back and forth with us each year.  Practicality prevented that, of course, but it sure would have made both our “nests” pretty much perfect.

There’s another group that must be mentioned in this friend “thankfulness” list – those of you who have become networked together through these two blogs – one in Georgia and one on Mackinac Island.  You’re such a loyal group – over 1500 strong in Michigan and over 700 strong in Georgia.  I’m thankful for each of you.  A few years ago, none of us knew each other, and most of us will never meet face-to-face or even speak on the phone.  Nevertheless, we are friends.  We care for each other through our mutual love of a place.  I think that’s pretty doggone special!

Number 5:  Family.  Family is everything.  As an only child I always longed for sisters and brothers, and loved spending time with my first cousins (most of my aunts and uncles had large families).  Life being what it is, we’ve all ebbed and flowed into each other’s lives at different times over the years, and it is only since the deaths of the uncles and aunts that we’ve really become close again.  I’m so thankful for that, and I love each of them with a love born from the blood that courses through our veins.  We are kin.  They are my roots.

Cousins are very important in Ted’s family also, and I’m so thankful for Cathy and Charlie.  Although we lost Charlie this summer, after a courageous health battle which would have taken a lesser man many years ago, he will always be such a blessed memory to me.  We’ve added him to the list of those celebrating this holiday in Heaven.

Number 4:  Parents.  Mine were the best.  Tom Brokak called them “the greatest generation”, and I whole-heartedly agree.  As young marrieds, my mom and dad knew all about pinching pennies, and whatever they had was earned with long hours and lots of toil.  When daddy went off to war, mama went to work – and when the war was over, daddy came home and jumped right back into earning a living for his family.  My childhood was filled with love – but not the kind that spoils.  There were many “things” I thought I would truly die if I didn’t have – but I didn’t get them, and I’m still here.  We went to church together, and they taught me – through demonstration – their work ethic, which I’ve tried to emulate.  They loved me unconditionally, and of all the things I miss about them since they’ve left this earth, it is that unconditional love I miss the most.  I think about them dozens of times a day and talk to them all the time – just like they are here.  I will see them again, and what a joyous day that will be!

Number 3:  Ted.  When Ted and I married, my boys were 16 and 12.  What could he possibly have been thinking – marrying me when part of the “package” included two hormone-pumping teenagers!  But marry me he did, and we’ve never been sorry.  Ted brought a man’s 24-hour-a-day perspective to our home, and my young men thrived on it.  Even to this day, when we’re all together, I’m told of something that happened “back in the day” that Jason and Blake went to Ted with – not to me.  Does that hurt me?  Not one bit.  I thank God every day that we’re together.  Ted loves me, loves my children, laughs with me, cooks every night, volunteers because he wants to give back to the community, and is the most fair, unprejudiced person I’ve ever known.  He’s also the most stubborn man I’ve ever known and sometimes the most annoying.  I love him.  He is my rock.

Number 2:  Children and Grandchildren.  Our friend, Chris Ann from Michigan, called her daughters- and sons-in-law “bonus children”.  I’d never heard that term before, but Ted and I immediately claimed it – for in-laws AND each other’s children.  Julie, Ted’s daughter, is my bonus daughter, and my children are Ted’s bonus sons.  Sounds so much better than step-children, doesn’t it!

Jason and Blake are my heart, and God must have thought I was pretty special to bless me with these two.  Are they perfect?  Oh, please!  They caused every single gray hair I have to spend hundreds of dollars a year covering up.  But, as my parents loved me, so I love them.

Jason’s unflinching love of everything life has to offer partially rubbed off on me in my later years.  It was Jason who first pulled me onto a plane when I was well into my 40′s.  He couldn’t believe I’d never flown, and practically man-handled me into a tiny sea-plane in Panama City one summer.  The flight was almost half-over before I ever opened my eyes, but from that day on, I’ve loved to fly.  He can make me laugh even in the worst of a bad mood.  Jason is my favorite oldest son, and I am so proud of him.

Blake is the strong, silent type – until you get to know him.  Then he’s strong, and not-so-silent.  He is serious about his faith in God, has an abiding patience with life I wish I had, and can bring calm to most any storm.  He seems to care not a whit for creature comforts, preferring to live with a few necessities and go with the flow.  His years serving in China taught him a deep appreciation for other cultures, but he loves the United States and is so enjoying being back here.  Whether he will ever know earthly wealth is something only God knows, but even now he is one of the richest people I know.  Blake is my favorite youngest son, and I am so proud of him.

Julie – my bonus daughter.  If I had carried a daughter within me for nine months, I could not have asked for one more beautiful or sweet or loving than Julie.  She is a constant amazement to me.  I’ve watched and listened over the years as she and and bonus-son Matt have raised our precious grandchildren, Jordan and Matthew, and often wondered, “Where did she learn all this stuff?”  I think she could write a best-selling book on mothering, and I’d be glad to be her agent. Together, Julie and Matt make a great team.

Number 1:  God.  When I was nine I joined the First Baptist Church of Sylvester.  I was caught up in the annual revival meeting, and it seemed to be the “right thing to do” at that time in my childhood.  I was baptized the next Sunday, and my parents were so happy.  Did I have a clue what I was really doing?  No.  Oh, I called myself a Christian from that time on, but as years went by, I took all of it for granted.  Church was someplace I was expected to be on Sunday mornings, but when I left my parents’ home for marriage, other things became more important.  Children brought me back into the church because I knew they should be there.  Divorce took me away again.

Many years later, on a lonely road between our lake house and my job in Albany, early one morning in March as the sun was rising over a cotton field, I pulled over to the side of the road.  Blake had gone to China for the first time months before, and I could not stop worrying about him.  My every thought seemed to be for his safety, and it was affecting my whole life – my relationship with Ted, with friends, with my mother, with my job – everything.  One of the things I promised myself I would do when Blake left was to read the Bible straight through, and I started that process on January 1.  The more I read each morning, the more I realized my relationship with the Lord was not as it should be.  I knew I hadn’t made Him first in my life in years, and I knew I was miserable.  That morning, sobbing on the side of the road, I asked forgiveness for the sins of my life – naming them, at least all the big ones – and putting all the others under “and everything else I’ve ever done that I shouldn’t have” phrase.  I asked Jesus to come into my life that morning for the very first time – at least fully knowing what I was asking.  My next prayer was for Blake’s safety in China, and even before I could say “Amen”, a peace unlike anything I’d ever known filled me.

Do I still struggle with sin?  Oh yes.  But I know for sure now that when Christ died on that cross, he was dying for me – so my sins would be forgiven.  I know one day I will meet Him in Heaven, along with all the loved ones that have gone before. God is my anchor, and with Him, all things are possible.

God bless, and Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by: bree1972 | November 3, 2013

On the Other Side of November 11/3/2013

It’s amazing what a couple nights of good sleep will do for your attitude.  When I jotted off that note to y’all on Friday evening, I was not at my best – to say the least.  Almost 20 hours sardined in a truck with my adorable husband and cuddly fur-babies isn’t usually that big a deal.  But add to that the stress of I-75 traffic in really bad weather the first day and a big dog who couldn’t seem to understand why he shouldn’t ride in the front seat with the rest of us the second day,  and . . . well, let’s just say the only one of us NOT needing an attitude adjustment was Maddie.  Why should she?  Her cushy bed – with her in it – sat squarely across my legs for two days while she snoozed through rain, sleek roads, wall to wall semi-trucks, and enough road construction to make you wonder if there is a single stretch along I-75 NOT being repaved, rerouted, or reconfigured!

We slept SO GOOD in our king-sized bed Friday night!  For the first time in 5 1/2 months there was room for Ted, Maddie and I to spread out and have our own space – and a lot of it.  Oh Lordy, that felt good!  We’re slowly getting things unpacked, but we’ve barely made a dent in the 10 boxes that are already here, and we have seven more that should arrive on Monday.  Time is something we have plenty of though, so no rush.

Ted and I both rode down to our favorite lake hang-out, Booger Bottom (BB) on Saturday afternoon for the South’s most important event of the Fall – the Georgia vs Florida game.  I mostly sat outside with the ladies and enjoyed catching up on everyone’s summer.  Oh my gosh, it was good to see everyone!

Georgia won, by the way.  Go DAWGS!

It’s been an awesome weekend here on the ri’vah.  Temps in the low 70′s, with blue skies and a little breeze.  Perfect.

So . . .  what next?  I wish I could tell you a plan today, but the truth is we just don’t have one yet.  Over the next month, while taking a little hiatus from the blog world, Ted and I will be doing a lot of praying, thinking, planning and searching.  Our first  agenda item is a Florida trip to see Julie and Matt and our two grandchildren.  They’ve moved into a new home while we’ve been gone, and we can’t wait to see them . . . and it.  We’re also hoping to get a chance to watch Matthew play football and soccer before the season is over.  While there, we’ll be working with a real estate agent to look at houses/condos in the Ormond Beach/Flagler Beach/New Smyrna Beach areas.  We’ll come home through Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach and maybe spend a couple of nights there – again looking at houses and condos with an agent.  We really have to see what our options are down there before we can begin to finalize “what’s next.”  I’ll be chronicling all that house searching in photos so I can share with you when I’m back online Sunday, December 1.

Another decision I hope to make this month is whether to continue with two blogs – one here in Georgia and one on the Island, or just combine them into one blended blog so you don’t have to switch back and forth.  Another aspect of that is how much time we’ll be spending next summer on the island – something we don’t know yet.   As I’ve done in the past, I’ll continue to try and keep you updated on Mackinac Island activities over the winter . . . with a LOT of help from island friends!  It will help keep all of us tuned in to the Island, and there’s no place more beautiful covered in snow than magical Mackinac.  Winter Island updates will begin in December also – probably Wednesday, December 4. 

I checked on the article Stephanie Fortino wrote  on Bree’s Blog for The Town Crier and unfortunately the writing and photo is copyrighted because The Town Crier is not part of the Associated Press.  In a couple of weeks though you’ll be able to go online and read the article without a subscription – I’ll post a link to that when it’s available.  Ted and I were really excited Saturday when we received this week’s copy of the St. Ignace News and found they ran the article also! 

It will be a busy November, but no busier than yours will be, I’m sure – especially if you have folks coming for Thanksgiving.  Bear and I will get started back working with our Pet Partners group in a week or so, and we are so thrilled about that.  I think he misses it as much as I do . . . truly, I really think he does.

For those of you new to the Mackinac Island blog, the other one I mentioned above, which is active in the winter, is Bree’s Lake Blackshear Blog at www.bree1976.wordpress.com.  If you need something to read one afternoon, you can go to that link and see what we do to stay busy down here in south Georgia!  It’s a more personal blog than the one I write from Michigan – filled with friends we’ve known for years and years and with lots of family gatherings.  And you might learn a historical thing of two about our neck of the woods!  You can click on the “follow” button to receive email announcements of blog posts. 

I guess that’s it for now.  I’m sad saying good night because we won’t be “talking” for a little while.  But this little break is a good thing, and I’m expecting to come back December 1 filled with lots of news you’ll want to hear about.    Please keep us in your prayers, and each of you will be in mine. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving – filled with family, friends and good food.  Hold each other close, and make sure everyone you care for knows how much you love them. 

And so I say to each of you – I love you (BIG hug)! 

Good Lord willing, I’ll see you all back here on the other side of November!

Posted by: bree1972 | November 1, 2013

Home Sweet Home 11/1/2013

Hello from our sweet little home on Lake Blackshear in south Georgia!  Never has a place looked so good as this one did when we arrived this afternoon around 5:30.

We woke in Richmond, KY to sunshine and had great weather until we were past Atlanta.  Then the skies opened and we were in heavy rains again.  But we didn't care - we were almost home.

We woke in Richmond, KY to sunshine and had great weather until we were past Atlanta. Then the skies opened, and we were in heavy rains again. But we didn’t care – we were almost home.

About five miles from the house we stopped at Stripling's (You Never Sausage a Place) for some supper provisions.  For the first time since getting in the car this morning, Maddie looked interested in where she was  . . . . .

About five miles from the house we stopped at Stripling’s (You Never Sausage a Place is their motto) for some supper provisions. For the first time since jumping in the car this morning, Maddie looked interested in where she was . . . . .

. . . and by the time we turned down our road, her eyes were focused straight ahead.  Bear had it figured out when we crossed the river bridge and was bouncing off the doors and ceiling in the back of the truck.

. . . and by the time we turned down our road, her eyes were focused straight ahead. Bear had it figured out when we crossed the river bridge and was bouncing off the doors and ceiling in the back of the truck.

Home Sweet Home!

Home Sweet Home . . .

. . . with a Welcome Home sign taped to my car and a casserole, hotwings and brownies waiting on the porch - compliments of sweet friends Ed and Sally.

. . . with a Welcome Home sign on my car and a casserole, hotwings and brownies waiting on the porch – compliments of sweet friends Ed and Sally.

It’s almost ten now.  We’ve been unpacking since we arrived, except to stop and eat that great meal the Feagins left.  We still have a few bags to go, but they will wait until tomorrow.  Oh, and then there are those 17 boxes we shipped home – unpacking will continue for a while!

It’s so good to be here, but we’re so tired it will be a while before it really sinks in we’re home and that we are no longer also residents of Mackinac Island.  I can’t tell you how many times Ted or I one has said – in the last few hours – “We keep the utensils in the right-hand drawer in the condo”; or “I like the dishwasher we have in Michigan better than this one”; or, “No recycling at the lake like we do at the condo.”  And then the other one will say, “It’s not our condo anymore.”

On Sunday night, when I can make a little more sense, I’ll write another post,  Then – like last year at this time – I’m going to take a little break from blogging for the rest of the month of November.  Ted and I both are pretty worn out – physically and emotionally – and we want to rest up and get ready for a wonderful Thanksgiving with the whole family.

There’s no way I can thank all of you enough for your prayers over the last two days for our safe travels back home.  You are such good friends, and I’m so blessed by each of you.

I’ll be back Sunday evening.  Love, hugs, and God bless.

Posted by: bree1972 | October 31, 2013

From Mackinac Island to Richmond, KY . . . 10/31/2013

Hi Friends!

We have reached Richmond, Kentucky and checked into the Holiday Inn Express, our favorite pet friendly hotel.  It has been a long, long day – taking 11 hours to drive through Michigan, Ohio and 87 miles of Kentucky. 

And this is why.  Whatever storm system has been crossing the USA today has arrived just ahead of every place we've traveled down I-75.  It was very slow going, and when you add in doggy walks, potty breaks, and a couple of quick meals, it made for a long day.

And this is why. Whatever storm system has been crossing the USA today has arrived just ahead of us as we’ve traveled down I-75. It was very slow going, and when you add in doggy walks, potty breaks, and a couple of quick meals, it made for quite a day.

To say we were happy to see the "Welcome to Kentucky" sign as we crossed the Ohio River in Cincinnati would be a big understatement!

To say we were happy to see the “Welcome to Kentucky” sign as we crossed the Ohio River in Cincinnati would be a big understatement!

I was doing pretty good this morning in the crying department.  We were up at 5:30 and so busy I made myself not think about anything except what I might be leaving behind.  We caught the taxi (sweet Anna driving) and made it to the Shepler’s dock in plenty of time to catch the 8:00 boat.

But then as we walked down the pier to the boat, who should appear OFF the boat but Sue Conlon and her son Patrick (who works at the Grand Hotel).  Patrick was going to work, but Sue had driven from Harbor Springs this morning just to see us off.  Yep.  I pretty much lost it.

Almost over my crying spell here.

Almost over my crying spell here.  Bear was still checking on me.

Sue knew we were among the very last summer residents to leave, and she couldn't stand there not being someone there on our last day.  Sue, THAT was an amazing good deed in a long list you have already given me.

Sue knew we were among the very last summer residents to leave the island, and she couldn’t stand there not being someone there on our last day. Sue, THAT was an amazingly thoughtful good deed.  I love you, girlfriend!

We’re going out to walk Bear and Maddie one more time, then fall into bed.  We’ll have about an 8-hour drive tomorrow – a real cake walk compared to today!

We’ve felt all of your safe travel prayers today as we’ve traveled through so many rainstorms.  Thank you for each and every one.

I’ll pop in tomorrow evening sometime to let you all know we’re home safely.  Safe travel prayers will be appreciated again.

Love and hugs to you all! 

Posted by: bree1972 | October 29, 2013

Quiet 10/29/2013

Hi Everyone!

Just a quick note to say we aren’t leaving Wednesday as planned.  We closed on the condo today at noon, so we’re officially “homeless on Mackinac.”  We’ve been too busy today to get all our cleaning done, and now we plan to leave on the 8 a.m. ferry on Thursday morning. 

Ted and I hurried down the hill this morning to see Jill off on the 11:00 ferry.  Ted had seven more shipping boxes precariously balanced on his hand cart, but he managed to get down the hill with only one spill - and it was a minor one.

Ted and I hurried down the hill this morning to see Jill off on the 11:00 ferry. Ted had seven more shipping boxes precariously balanced on his hand cart, but he managed to get down to town with only one spill – and it was a minor one.  Grand Hotel employees were still leaving in large numbers, but Jill made it on board with no trouble.  She texted me a little after 4:00 to let me know she’d made it home to Lansing safely.

Mary Stancik was on the dock seeing someone off also.  I think we'll be leaving on the same boat Thursday morning.

Mary Stancik was on the dock seeing someone off also. I think we’ll be leaving on the same boat Thursday morning.

After we closed, we ate lunch at the Seabiscuit, then started back to the condo to start our second day of cleaning.  I think the Seabiscuit, the Village Inn (which will be closed the month of November), and the Mustang are the only restaurants open now.

After we closed on the condo, we ate lunch at the Seabiscuit.  Ted stayed downtown to run some errands, and I started back to the condo to begin the second day of cleaning. I think the Seabiscuit (which is closing soon), Cawthone’s Village Inn (which will be closed the month of November), and the Mustang are the only restaurants open now.  Hoban Street was very quiet . . .

. . . and so was Cadotte

. . . and so was Cadotte.  From Market Street all the way to the Grand, I was the only person on the street.

When I reached the Grand and turned around to look back toward town

When I reached the top of Grand Hill and turned around to look back toward town, the only other person was a lady pushing a cart filled with white bags. 

This is an entirely different Mackinac Island than most are used to seeing.  There were a few tourists in the Seabiscuit, but many more locals.  Awnings are being removed, shop windows covered, and painting has begun on several businesses.  All the outside maintenance has to be done before the snow begins.

As I walked up the hill, the silence was like slipping alone into a great cathedral.  As much as I love Mackinac in the summer – with bikes whizzing by, people laughing and talking, and taxi and dray and carriage horses clip-clopping up and down the streets – I may love this great quietness, surrounded by so much beauty, even more. 

These last few days have been spent exploring all kinds of options, but nothing has been decided except we don’t think we’re ready to only have Mackinac in our lives for one or two months.  We need to go home to think and pray it all through again.  And wait for God’s answer.

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Posted by: bree1972 | October 27, 2013

And the Days Dwindled Down . . . 10/27/2013

I’m finding it extremely difficult to stay indoors and pack when all I want to do is walk up and down Main and Market Streets, wander into the woods and along the trails, hike out to Arch Rock and Sugar Loaf, climb up to Fort Holmes, and stare out across the Straits from Sunset Rock . . . just one more time.

Coming back next summer is a no-brainer, but we’re having a pretty hard time finding a spot to roost for two months.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you choose to look at it), the condo selling so late in the season left us struggling to find accommodations – most of which have already been filled.  A couple of places have been offered, but for one reason or another, we’ve turned them down – rent too high, not enough room for Maddie and Bear and the worry their barking would be disruptive, and the months we want not being available.  It’s been a lot more difficult than we thought it would be.  We’re still waiting to hear from one other place, but it will probably be later in the winter when we find out the terms on that one.

But – we’re being optimistic.  If push comes to shove, we can always book a hotel room at the Chip for a couple of weeks and kennel Maddie and Bear.  We would hate doing that, but  . . . . .

FRIDAY

I had cleared my calendar for Friday through Tuesday and told Ted I HAD to get serious about packing.  But then we made an appointment to go look at a house up in Trillium Heights with our realtor and Mike Gamble, an island builder – so off we went at noon to meet them.  Why are we looking at a house, you ask?  I wish I could answer that question with some clarity, but just let me say this . . . we’re still keeping all our options open and trying to figure out what doors are closed, what doors are open, and what doors God is still planning to cut in the wall of our lives. So we went and looked at a house . . . but no bells and whistles went off, and that door closed.

After our appointment we walked downtown and ate lunch again at Mighty Mack (Mighty Mac has had several days this last week or so when they’ve donated their proceeds to the Save Our Statue campaign).   Ted biked home, and Jill walked me almost home before having to return for the second part of her split shift.

We've had several days now of rainy, windy, cold weather, and the Straits on Friday were

We’ve had several days now of rainy, windy, cold weather, and the Straits on Friday were pretty turbulent.

The flags at the Gate House weren't getting any rest at all as we walked by.  The winds had them standing straight out

The flags at the Gate House weren’t getting any rest at all as we walked by. The winds had them standing straight out or flapping back and forth with a noisy thur-rump, thur-rump sound.

There were a large group of art teachers staying at the Grand this weekend, and they were supposed to be painting at the Grand Hotel/Carriage Tours stable Friday afternoon.  We walked there to see if they'd come out in the bad weather, but we were either too late, or they canceled the session.

There was a large group of art teachers staying at the Grand this weekend, and they were supposed to be painting at the Grand Hotel/Carriage Tours stable Friday afternoon. We walked there to see if they’d come out in the bad weather, but we were either too late, or they’d canceled the session because of the weather.

All of the high-stepping Hackneys have left the island, and Friday afternoon the few remaining Percherons were out pulling the Grand omnibuses back and forth from the ferry docks.

All of the high-stepping Hackneys have left the island, and the few remaining Percherons were out pulling the Grand omnibuses back and forth from the ferry docks.  It sure seemed quiet in there.

Jill went back to work, and I got home in time to join Ted in walking Maddie and Bear.  As you can see, I’m using any excuse I can find NOT to pack.

The woods trails are not covered in layer after layer of fallen leaves.

The trails are now covered in layer after layer of fallen leaves.

We walked through the woods to Turtle Park, then up a trail and back into Trillium Heights.

We walked through the leaves to Turtle Park, then up a trail and back into Trillium Heights.

We wanted to look at that house one more time, talk to out one more time and list the pros and cons.  And once again we came to the same conclusion.  It wasn't for us.

We wanted to look at that house one more time, talk it out one more time and list the pros and cons. But once again we came to the same conclusion . . . it wasn’t for us.  We LOVE that neighborhood though, and we spent some time roaming around looking at other houses and vacant lots.

We came back home by way of the Carriage Museum and a took one more photo of the Grant stable - so beautiful surrounded by fall colors.

Home was by way of the Carriage Museum and I took one more photo of the Grand Stable – so beautiful surrounded by fall colors.

THE REST OF THE WEEKEND

It was a really busy weekend for the Island – there was the Great Turtle Race, bringing in 3,000 runners, and it was also the weekend of the “adult” Halloween party downtown.  I missed them both this year (finally got serious about packing), but thanks to Ted and Jill, I do have some photos for you!

Jill was SO HAPPY I wasn't coming out for the race because she was dressing in a turtle outfit to man the water station at Arch Rock for the runners.  She DID NOT want her photo taken.  But Ted went out there and snapped this one of her directing traffic, and of course I'm posting it!

Jill was SO HAPPY I wasn’t coming out for the race because she was dressing in a turtle outfit to work the water station at Arch Rock for the runners. She DID NOT want her photo taken. But Ted went out there and snapped this one of her directing traffic, and . . . here it is.  he tortoise and the hare.  Or maybe that’s the turtle and the rabbit.  Either way, Jillski, you sure look cute in that turtle suit!

Saturday night downtown was crazy, and all the photos below were taken by Jill – thank you very much, my trusty assistant!  Every year I think, “There’s no way the ideas can get any better,” and every year – I’m wrong.

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A variety of costumes, but my favorite is the bath PUFF!  

There were a lot of themed costumed this year, with several people going together to create a group scene

There were a lot of themed costumes this year, with several people going together to create a group scene – like these ladies representing different brands of beer!

The Star Wars characters!

The Star Wars characters!  I bet “Chewy” was the warmest!

Headless on Mackinac

Headless on Mackinac – I’m glad he has someone to carry it around for him.

A

A very, VERY tall . . . . person?

Ouch!

Ouch!

"We're off to see the Wizard . . . ."

“We’re off to see the Wizard . . . .”

Mr. B!  A sweet gentleman and one of my favorite Island people.

Mr. B! A sweetheart . . . and one of my favorite Island people.

My favorite group costume.  How clever is that!

My favorite group costume. How clever is that!

A COUPLE MORE FROM JILL

The line at Shepler's this morning.  3,000 runners came to the Island, and now they all have to go home!

The line at Shepler’s this morning. 3,000 runners came to the Island, and now they all have to go home!

Beautiful rainbow over Market Street!

Beautiful rainbow over Market Street!

After spending the majority of Saturday and Sunday packing, I’m about 98% done.  Tomorrow Ted will take more boxes downtown to ship, then make a trip across to start loading the car with luggage already packed.  We’ll spend most of Monday and Tuesday cleaning.  We close on the condo Tuesday, and the plan now is to leave on the 11 a.m. ferry Wednesday.

It’s very hard to say what I’m feeling right now.  I’m still praying for clarity and for peace, but for some reason the clarity is eluding me, and the peace hasn’t filled my heart.  The one thing I do know is I’m longing for friends I haven’t seen for six months and for our sweet little lake house.  Maybe there, clarity and peace will come.  I pray so.  

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Posted by: bree1972 | October 24, 2013

Slowing Down 10/24/2013

Hi friends!

Mackinac Island – the tourist destination – is shutting down.  When the Grand Hotel rings its closing bell on Monday morning and hundreds of Grand employees fill the ferries with their accumulated summer gear, the season will officially be over.

TUESDAY

Ted and I have been

Tuesday was “cover the gray day” at my St. Ignace hair salon – Leroy’s.  Returning to the island, I took a few minutes to wander the almost empty streets and pop in and out of a few shops.

October is sales month on Mackinac, and shops like Nephews - packed full of beautiful ladies and mens' clothing

October is sales month on the Island, and shops like Nephew’s on Mackinac - packed full of beautiful ladies’ and mens’ clothing in the summer months – are down to bare or almost bare shelves.

Market Street

Market Street was pretty empty also . . .

. . . and The Town Crier box awaits a refill.

. . . and The Town Crier box awaited a refill.

Our skies have pretty much looked like this for the last few days.

Our skies have pretty much looked like this for the last few days . . .

. . . but my camera loves this kind of light

. . . but my camera loves this kind of light.

As I topped the hill at Four Corners, I got lucky.  Some of the last horses were leaving the big barns.

As I topped the hill at Four Corners, I got lucky. Some of the last horses were leaving the big barns.

ggggg

These three and their leader appeared to be in a celebratory mood as they made their way to the ferry.

A lot of the taxis are already off the streets, and next week we'll be down to only one.

Many of the taxis are already off the streets, and next week we’ll be down to only one.

As I watch the few taxis still working move through the streets lined in

Is there any other place where horse-drawn taxis, moving down roads lined in colorful trees, can bring such a strong sense of bygone days . . .

or where a solitary buggy sitting beside an empty corral can look so lonely.

. . . or where a solitary buggy, sitting beside an empty corral, can look so lonely?

Even the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Exhibit sign at the end of our yard has been removed.

Even the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory sign at the end of our yard has been removed.

WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday, Ted and I went down the hill to ship more boxes.  Somehow Ted strapped three HUGE boxes onto a small rolling cart and managed to get them all the way to the post office without tipping it over.  After that we ran a few errands and ended up at the Seabiscuit for lunch.

Our favorite "hostess with the mostest" - Nancy, the cutest little lady I have ever met!

Nancy, our favorite “hostess with the mostest,” is the cutest and most energetic little lady I have ever met!  We love her!

We walked home via the boardwalk

We walked home via the boardwalk . . .

. . . and watched the clouds roll in

. . . and watched the clouds roll in.

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We decided to walk past our normal turns and walk to the end of the boardwalk, then a little further to turn into the woods and come out at the poolhouse of the Grand Hotel.

Walking past our normal turns and past the end of the boardwalk, we turned into the woods and came out at the pool house of the Grand Hotel.

Needless to say, the Grand Hotel pool looks a little forlorn with no water.

Needless to say, the Grand Hotel pool looks a little forlorn with no water.

gg

The storm clouds had moved behind the Grand by the time we arrived there.

These look like two trees of the same species to me.  But how can they be when one has turned a beautiful buttery yellow and the other remains green

These look like two trees of the same species to me. But how can they be when one has turned a beautiful buttery yellow and the other remains green as a grasshopper?

Workers were just finishing planting tulip bulbs.

Workers were just finishing the planting of tulip bulbs . . .

ddd

. . . and by the time we got a couple of hills from our condo, it started hailing.

These little pellets really sting when they hit your face!

These little pellets really sting when they hit your face!

THURSDAY

Jill and I left on the 11 a.m. boat today.  Bear had a grooming appointment, and then we were meeting Sue Conlon in Petoskey for lunch.  Poor Bear.  He never gets any attention on Shepler's ferries!

Jill and I left on the 11 a.m. boat,.  Bear had a grooming appointment in Alanson and then we were meeting Sue Conlon in Petoskey for lunch. Poor Bear. He never gets any attention on Shepler’s ferries!

The three of us spent two hours laughing so hard we could barely find time to eat.  Oh my gosh, we had fun!

The three of us spent two hours at The Side Door Saloon, laughing so hard we could barely find time to eat. Oh my gosh, we had fun!  Here we were trying to take a photo of ourselves with my iPhone.  Jill is holding it at arms length, and we can see ourselves in the screen, which for some reason we found hilariously funny.

After picking Bear up from the groomers, we hightailed it back to Mackinaw City to catch the 5:30 boat.

After picking Bear up from the groomers, we hightailed it back to Mackinaw City to catch the 5:30 boat.

Jill was riding shotgun so she was able to take some photos out the windows.  Although the rain and wind we've had all week have stripped away a lot of the leaves, it was still a beautiful ride.

Jill was riding shotgun so she was able to take some photos out the windows. Although the rain and wind we’ve had all week have stripped away a lot of the leaves, it was still a beautiful ride.

I wish we'd had time to turn down this dirt road and explore.

I wish we’d had time to turn down this dirt road and explore.

In between rain showers, a huge rainbow appeared . . .

In between rain showers, a huge rainbow appeared . . .

. . . stretching for what seemed like miles across the fields.

. . . stretching for what seemed like miles across the fields and over the trees.

A FEW EXTRAS

Molly, a tour driver for Gough's, took this photo through the back window of her carriage this week.  The plastic flap made the photo look more like a watercolor than a photograph.

Molly, a tour driver for Gough’s, took this photo through the back window of her carriage this week. The plastic flap made the pic look more like a watercolor than a photograph.  Scary looking sky!

First Shepler ferry of the morning.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

First Shepler ferry of the morning. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

In the week before the Grand closes, an air of anticipation begins to grow among the true Islanders, the men and women and children who live here year-round.  When the last seasonal employee has been ferried across the Straits of Mackinac, the 400 or so folks who have resided here for generations breathe a contended sigh and go back to a way of life few non-islanders will ever known.  The island is all theirs then, a beautiful paradise where they will enjoy whatever the winter brings.  If the weather is bad enough, they can live for days isolated from the mainland.  It is a hard life, but one they would never dream of leaving.

I envy them the peace they find on this island in the winter.  One day, good Lord willing, I’d still love to share that peace with them.

Posted by: bree1972 | October 20, 2013

The October Season 10/20/2013

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

Me too, L.M.  Me too!

When I was young and thought my days stretched before me for decades and decades, I seldom equated Nature’s seasons with the seasons of my own life.  As I’ve grown older though, I find myself doing just that, and doing it quite often.  My spring and summer seasons have passed - childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, becoming a mother, and raising children until they are out on their own – all of that is behind me now.  The Fall of my life – my October season – is upon me, and living out my Octobers on Mackinac Island these last few years is proving to be one of the most beautiful times of my life.

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On Mackinac Island, October is truly so magnificently beautiful it defies description.  Even with the chores of moving and packing up, Ted and I are finding time almost every day to get out and walk in the woods.  To not take these moments to inhale the crisp clean air and walk through these ageless forests would almost be sacrilege.

Gone two weeks ago were the days of finding a rust-colored leaf here and a gold leaf there.  Now they are all so brightly hued

The days of finding a rust-colored leaf here and a gold leaf there were gone two weeks ago. Now they are all so brightly hued it’s as though bits of sunlight have become gold coins that cling to every tree limb and twig. And then – at the perfect moment – they fall to carpet our path.

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Billions of those bits of sunlight – far above us – await a breeze strong enough to send them gently floating to the ground . . .

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. . . where the sun is absorbed from the leaves into the earth - to prepare it for next spring’s awakening.

The pavilion at Turtle Park will soon stand

The pavilion at Turtle Park stands lonely now, but during the winter island residents will gather here for Winter Festival, and children will use the hills to compete on their sleds.

Bear and Maddie love October too, but for them it's all about the smells!  Gone are the light aromas of sunshine - replaced by the rich, loamy smell of dying leaves and damp ground.

Bear and Maddie love Fall too, but for them it’s all about the smells! Gone are the light aromas of sunshine – replaced by the rich, loamy smell of dying leaves and damp ground.

We came out on the other side of Turtle Park at the cemeteries, where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

We came out on the other side of Turtle Park at the cemeteries . . .

where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

. . . where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

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Sometime I wish I knew every name of every soldier and civilian who rests here in the Post Cemetery.

Sometime I wish I knew every name of every soldier and civilian who rests here in the Post Cemetery . . .

If I did, it would bring me such joy to write each family and enclose a photograph of the beautiful place where their ancestor rests.

. . . so I could do the research and send each family a photograph of the beautiful resting place of their ancestor.

October is Bear's favorite season too . . .

Bear loves that the weather is cool,  the leaves are fun to roll in, and there’s always some edible morsel to be sniffed out.  Much more fun than just finding it on the ground out in the open!

And for Miss Maddie - as always - it's all about the hunt!

And for Miss Maddie – as always – it’s all about the hunt!

An old hose reel sits among the trees.

An old hose reel - nestled between two trees.

This totem pole sits on one side of the Spirit Garden burial mound . . .

This totem pole sits on one side of the Spirit Garden burial mound in St. Anne;s cemetery . . .

. . . and on the other side is a

. . . and on the other side is a wooden carved turtle.  The totem pole was donated by the Indian Drum tobacco shop and has been lovingly refurbished over the summer by Donald “Duck” Andress.  He removed rotted wood and repainted sections of the pole depicting animals like a woodpecker, beaver and bald eagle.  The wooden turtle monument was created by Cecil Pavlat and carved by Chief Duck.  The Spirit Garden burial mound includes the remains of Native peoples from both Mackinac Island and Bois Blanc Island.  The remains from Mackinac Island were unearthed during an excavation on Main Street in 2011.

Like I said - October is Bear's favorite month to be in the woods.

Like I said – October is Bear’s favorite month to be in the woods.

Through a gate at St. Anne's Cemetery.

Through a gate at St. Anne’s Cemetery.

A carpet of crunchy leaves led us back to Turtle Park . . . .

A carpet of crunchy leaves led us back to Turtle Park . . . .

. . . which is surrounded by trees brushed by every October color on God's palette.

. . . which is surrounded by trees brushed by every October color on God’s palette.

The park turned into a playground when we ran into Annie and Diesel and their owners.

The park turned into a playground when we ran into Annie and Diesel and their owners.

We finally called a halt to the playtime and walked home, leaving behind another October memory from Mackinac.

We finally called a halt to the playtime and went our separate ways –  leaving behind another October memory from Mackinac.

A HAPPY SHOUT-OUT TO AUNT BETTY and UNCLE BILL

Mary Stanick and I were having coffee Friday morning at Lucky Bean when Jill and her cousins, Steve & Nancy (from Frankenmuth) walked by and saw us through the window.  Steve’s mom and dad are Jill’s Aunt Betty and Uncle Bill, and Aunt Betty is one of my most loyal readers!  So this one’s for you, Aunt Betty!!

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The summer clothes have been shipped home, and Ted and I don’t go out these days without our layers.  We have snow in the forecast Tuesday-Friday of this week, but it seems like we heard that quite a few times last year before we actually awoke to a snow-covered Mackinac . . .on the day we left for Georgia.

We're prepared though.  Let it snow!

We’re prepared though. Let it snow!

Y’all have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you back here in a few days.  God bless.

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