A Rainy Day on Mackinac 8/17/17

Hi Friends!

The Horton clan awoke to heavy rain this morning on the island, and a few hours into the day it’s still coming down.  It’s one of those days when you don’t feel guilty for not going out and enjoying everything Mackinac has to offer, so I’m sitting here at the kitchen island, laptop open . . .

. . . looking out the front door glass at the rain creating little riverlets on the street, dog toys scattered everywhere, and pups watching the windows for any signs of Ted coming home from the weekly Men’s Breakfast at the Yacht Club.

After I wrote the last blog, I continued to push myself on my ankle, and I paid for it later in the week.  So, as of yesterday, I’m trying to do better.  I declared myself “off my feet” except for stuff I just couldn’t avoid doing, wrapped my ankle in the compression bandage the Med Center had provided, elevated it when possible, and really rested yesterday. This morning my ankle was less swollen than it’s been for three weeks, so I have the same plan for today.  Cough is basically the same.

And enough of that.

The good thing about “pushing it” is that I have lots of photos to share!

After church last Sunday I had to get a pic of the pots of geraniums lining the entrance to the church. Is there anything more welcoming than red geraniums?

On the walk home that day I slipped into the Grand Hotel’s gardens . . . .

. . . and came back out at the beautiful, curved red bench sitting strategically in a corner just off the sidewalk. It’s a great place to stop and rest on the walk up the hill or just to people watch!

Thanks, Jill, for getting this photo of two blog readers who stopped in the Island Bookstore recently. That’s Ashley and her mom Penny – both from Chicago! Thanks for reading the blog, ladies!

Loved these bikes with their “wheels of light” on Main Street the other night!

A typical busy day on Surrey Hill.  A visitor has pulled a chair out into the sun and is eating lunch (while texting, of course), people are walking down to the Grand stable to see the horses and the carriage museum it houses, and a private buggy, pulled by four Hackneys, waits in the shade for its passengers.

Bodie, in the closet and trying to figure out a way to get the dog treats out of my vest pocket.

Blog readers and friends Tony and Yvonne stopped by the condo one afternoon this week. They were at Grand Hotel celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. It was a nice day to sit on the porch and chat!

A beautiful sunrise captured by Max Jones.

Bodie and I left the island on Tuesday for his first grooming in Michigan. So proud of him – they said he was great for them in the tub and on the table. Still a little leery of the drying room, but he’s getting better at that too! He loves the ferry – and the taxi rides!

We were at a party downtown a few nights ago and got to enjoy a great sunset from the private dock.

Walking home after the party. We love Mackinac after dark.

We happened to get to this corner at the same time as a Mackinac Ghost Tour!

Beautiful Fort Mackinac.

Love this family of blog readers. You might remember Brittany as the college student who was in St. Augustine for a few weeks with her education major friends. She and the family called yesterday wanting us to join them at Sadie’s for ice cream, but I was determined to stay off my foot as much as possible. So I said, “Y’all come on up!” Loved visiting with Brittany, mom Lori, dad Craig, and brother Josh!


Blake landed at his destination this morning around 4 a.m., after leaving Jacksonville early in the morning on Wednesday.  He texted this last night around 11 pm, and I had to laugh out loud. I can so see him, earbuds firmly planted and oblivious to everything else going on around him.  Blake’s text:  “You know, there’s that point in your day when you’re jamming out to some Jackson 5, some Commodores, some U2 – and then BOOM – wheels touch down in Istanbul. Surreal, but a very good moment”. He later flew on to Ankara.  Thank you so much for all the prayers that lifted for his safe journey.  Please continue to remember him as he settles into this new life.  (Photo is from a few weeks ago in Colorado.)

We have company coming in on Tuesday (Dave and Diane Bennick, who we stayed with on the trip up).  We love that we’re getting to see more of this great couple.  More “new family” coming in September!

Y’all have a great rest of the week.

God bless.

Thank You for Waiting! 8/10/17


Ok.  I know I said I’d be here on Monday with a blog.  And here it is Thursday.

I’ve never had a year on Mackinac start off like this one has.  I’ve coughed continually for four weeks, and on top of that I slightly sprained my ankle in the woods this past weekend.  I’ve pumped myself full of over the counter drugs that basically have done nothing but make me want to sleep all day, and basically that’s what I’ve done.

So – Monday – after volunteering at the Stuart House for four hours and coughing almost continually, I dragged myself down to the Medical Center and said, “Help.”

I saw a young female doctor who was on her first day of a two week rotation on Mackinac.  I swear to you she wasn’t old enough to drink adult beverages, much less dispense medical advice and drugs.  But she listened to my sob story and examined both my swollen ankles (the one I sprained only slightly more swollen than the other one). Her diagnosis – one ankle is slightly swollen due to injury, BOTH ankles are swollen because I’ve obviously been getting a lot more exercise since I arrived on the island than I was getting in Florida, and my body is retaining water.  The cough is from a virus that is sweeping the country and lasting anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.  She added a cough medicine to my over-the-counter regime and said, “This might help, but probably not.”

So, I’m four weeks into the 8-12 week cough cycle and in a compression bandage on one ankle.  I’m drinking lots of fluids, elevating my feet when I can, and trying to talk myself into a better frame of mind.  I know I’m being a whiny baby.  I. KNOW. IT.

I promise to try and do better.  I promise.


Even when you feel bad you can appreciate beauty, and right now the island is at its full summer blooming peak. Here’s a little of what’s been happening since we talked last!

We were in on a surprise birthday party for friend Patty one evening at the Gate House. Her husband Buz did a great job of keeping it a secret, and several couples from Little Stone Church gathered for good food and fun.  (That’s Patty in the white jacket and Buz beside her in the turquoise shirt.)  Thanks, Jill, for this pic!

After dinner the birthday girl, Buz, Ted and I stopped for an ice cream at Sadie’s. What a great day!

Bodie got a chance to make friends up close and personal with one of the West Bluff horses. He continues to amaze me with his bravery around things that might scare a less secure dog.  He seems to have the attitude that the whole world is his playground, and if I’d just give him a chance he’d be “king of the island” in no time flat.

I walked him over to Governor’s Residence the other night and had him “up” onto the bench that sits at the top of Turkey Hill. Love how proudly he sat there overlooking his domain.

Passing by the Grand Stable at dusk the other night, I happened to find a farrier still at work.

Starting down Fort Hill. This view is one of the best on the island.

Blooms, blooms, blooms at The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

A West Bluff cottage that always has beautiful gardens. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Another West Bluff cottage. This one is for sale!

Sunrise at the marina one morning this week. (Photo: Tony Boom)

A backyard gate behind a West Bluff cottage.  Doesn’t it made you wonder what’s on the other side?

Gardens on the Governor’s Summer Residence property. (Photo: Ted Horton)

Hedge-clipping at the Governor’s Summer Residence.  Maybe he’s coming this weekend!

Full moon and the beautiful Grand Hotel. (Photo: Annie Lockwood)

Hollyhocks on the West Bluff.

Poppies on a road going toward Brown’s Brook – in the interior of the island. (Photo: George Piliouras)

The gardens of the Metivier Inn never fail to be jaw-dropping in beauty.

The top of Fort Hill just as dawn breaks.  (Photo: Ted Horton)

Bodie, on a final walk of the evening.  He’s getting this posing stuff polished to a fine art!

Hoping you all are doing well and thanking you for your patience with me this summer.

Love, hugs, and God bless.

Island Postcard #1 8/4/17

Hi everyone!  Last summer I introduced Island Postcards for those days when there wasn’t a lot of news – like today.  I’ll have a full blog out later this weekend (or Monday), but for tonight I had to share what many of us who were on the island got to see this morning.

We’d had pretty much 24 hours of straight rain, so when Ted and I took our coffee mugs out to the porch around 8:30 this morning (we slept in) we were happy to see a few breaks in the clouds, with some blue showing through.  Almost as soon as we were settled two tourists rode by, and one shouted to the other, “Quick, hand me your camera!”  Ted and I both got up to look in the direction she was pointing and saw this . . .

You can just barely make out that it’s a double rainbow.

Now this rainbow has been the talk of Mackinac for most of the day.  Nearly everyone we ran into brought it into the conversation (or we did), talking about where we were when we saw it.  Of all the pics of the rainbow on Facebook, these next four – taken by friend Pam Day from her home up near the airport –  are five of the best.  Thanks, Pam, for sharing!

Pam first saw it from her window as it seemed to dive past the Mackinac Bridge.

The beginnings of the second rainbow.

Pam said it was beautiful watching the progression, as it grew in size and radiance . . .

. . . and eventually became muted and disappeared.

Hoping each of you has had a good week and enjoys your weekend.  It’s going to be a busy one for us, so I think it will be Monday before I get a blog written with all the newsy news.


Blake and his team received their work permits on Tuesday of this week and are now frantically working on getting plane tickets and last minute details pulled together.  I know this is such a relief for all of them, and it is for me too because I want them to be able to begin teaching when they’re supposed to.  But, on the other hand, it also makes the whole thing very real to me, as a mom.  Thank you for your prayers, and please continue to lift them up.  I should have more details by the next time I write.

About three days ago a friend told me a regime of care for this blasted cough I’ve had for now going on four weeks.  It was what her doctor told her to do when she had it.  It involves nasal spray and antihistamines, and after three days I’m telling myself I’m noticing a tiny improvement.  Or maybe it’s just because I’m SLEEPING all night and practically all day!  I’m going to stick with it a few more days and see how things go.  A medical center visit may still be in my future.

God bless.


Notes from the Island 7/30/17

Hi Friends!

Today we’ve been on the island for exactly two weeks, and our routine is beginning to gel.  As usual, a lot of it revolves around walking dogs!  Ted takes Maddie and Bodie out (separately) before breakfast.  Depending on the weather (and his mood), that might be a five minute walk for each of them, or a 30 minutes walk for each of them.  When he brings Maddie back and leaves with Bodie, I feed Maddie.  When Bodie gets back, he gets his breakfast, and Ted and I take our coffee out to the porch.  Maddie sits in Ted’s lap, and Bodie’s leash is attached to something sturdy so he won’t go rushing after anything that catches his interest. We’re usually out there a good hour at least, and it’s one of my favorite times of the day.  It’s cool, there’s usually a breeze, the birds are tuning up for the day, and early morning workers are walking or biking by on their way to various jobs.

I take Bodie on a long walk (usually an hour – depending on MY mood) about the middle of the morning, they’re both walked again after their dinner (at 4:30) and after we have OUR dinner, I take Bodie out for another long walk.  All of that is modified depending on what we have planned for the day, but Bodie (and I) are getting lots more exercise than we were in Florida, and we LOVE it.  Most of it is off-lead in the woods, and so far he’s really good about sticking pretty close! 

Bodie on Rifle Range Road,  just before he and Ted walked up to Fort Holmes in the background.

Thanks to everyone who wished sweet Jill a Happy Birthday on Thursday. Ted and I took her out to lunch at The Chuck Wagon. We arrived at 11:45 (they open at noon for lunch), waited in line until the doors opened, and then slid into the last three seats available at the bar. That’s how good The Chuckwagon is!

The Hollyhocks are BEAUtiful on Mackinac this summer. These are growing near the sidewalk in front of one of the lovely homes on the boardwalk.

Looking across the school yard at Little Stone Church and part of busy Cadotte Avenue.

Bodie, running to catch up with Ted, after he came back to check on me.  This is a great trail for all of us.  It’s long, we’ve never seen another person on it, and as far as I know, it doesn’t have a name. You’ll know you’re on it though when you come to that teepee grouping of logs leaning up against another tree.

I was coming out of the condo one day this week to walk downtown, and this couple was walking by with their children.  Dad had on a boot like people wear when they’ve broken a foot, and he was using crutches.  Mom was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen – seriously she looked like a model.  None of which is that unusual.  Except for this.

This sweet couple have seven children under 12! This is not a blended family.  These are all their children.  They asked me about the condo we are in, and I ended up walking as far as Grand Hotel with them.  Their names are Bethany and Garrett Graupner, and they were on the way to Charlotte so Garrett could interview for a pastor’s job there.  This family just made my day.  I named Garrett SUPERDAD for walking on crutches up as far as the condos, I crowned Bethany SUPERWOMAN for the poise and grace she showed with seven kids, an injured husband, AND doing it all while looking like Cindy Crawford!  Prayers lifting for this wonderful family as they make their way to Charlotte and that Garrett’s interview goes well!


Please pray that our son and the rest of the team soon receives the work permits they need in order to begin their work overseas.  They are supposed to be leaving the middle of August for their assignment.  They all have jobs in place, but must have the government work visas before they can leave.  I understand this is pretty typical for the country to wait until the last minute, but they can’t make plane reservations and other last minute plans until the work visas are in hand.

Also, please pray for an end to a nagging cough I’ve had for three weeks now.  It started after we left home, and just won’t let up.  It feels like an allergy thing (coughing when I start to speak, just a tickling), but it is beginning to be a real drag.  I’m going to give it another week, then if not better, I will have it checked out.  Ted had exactly the same thing for almost two months BEFORE we left Florida, but his finally went away.

See you back here soon!

God bless.

Back in My Happy Place 7/27/17

Hi Everyone!

We’ve been on the island now for almost two weeks, and I think we’re about settled in.  I’m a little surprised that the first week was harder than usual for me – physically I mean.  I knew I hadn’t been exercising much in Florida since it had gotten so hot (short walks with Bodie just don’t equal “in shape” on Mackinac).  The first walk up the hill to our condo left me breathing hard and thinking, “Geez, what the heck is this?”  But, it’s amazing how fast that climb got easier each time I did it, and yesterday Bodie and I covered over two miles of trails – up and down hill – and came back to the condo feeling great.  It makes me feel better that Bodie is having to get in shape too, but for some reason, I think he’s having a lot more fun than I am during the process.

Weather – what can I say?  We came from over 100 degrees heat index in Florida to here where the temps haven’t gotten out of the 70’s for highs since we arrived.  Shorts and t-shirts during the day, a jacket at night for the last dog walk, and a lap blanket out on the porch in the mornings while we have coffee.  We’ve had a couple of days of rain, but that’s ok.  We’re on the island.  We just pull on the rain gear and keep on truckin’.

Bodie has amazed us by how well he’s taking the island busyness in stride. From the time he stepped off the ferry . . .

. . . and jumped right into the taxi, he’s handled it all with a maturity I really didn’t think he possessed yet. He’s been surrounded by horses, carriages and people and is amazingly calm about all of it.  Maybe Maddie’s “so what” attitude has rubbed off on him!  Still very excited though when he meets new folks one-on-one.  We continue to work on that!

The island is beautiful in July, and we were so excited when we got to the condos to find all the landscaping done, flowers blooming, and butterflies floating from bush to bush.

And, we’re excited that we’ll be right here in this same place until we leave mid-October!


We celebrated our first evening on Mackinac with dinner at the Chippewa (a tradition). The second night we went out with friends Buz and Patty from Oklahoma. They’re here until the middle of September, and we’re so excited we’ll be seeing lots more of them before they leave. I think it was the third night we finally ate at the condo, and then walked down to Sadie’s for ice cream.

One of those stormy days. It’s amazing how quickly I forgot how dirty a golden retriever can get on the wet streets of Mackinac Island! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

One thing all that rain produces are lush gardens all over the island, like this one of the west bluff.

As I was leaving the reunion, one of Ted’s newly-found cousins, Diane Caruso, gave us this wonderful pillow she had made because she knew of our love for little Maddie. It’s wonderful to have something “homemade” in the Mackinac condo, and when we leave we’ll take it to Florida, and it will find a home there.

You all know Ted and I have a morning coffee ritual – wherever we are. Maddie in Ted’s lap . . .

and Bodie guarding the front porch seems to be the theme for this summer.

One of cousin Dave and Diane’s sons, Scott, and his wife Tina and their boys spent the day on the island the week we arrived. They stopped by to say hello and added another “personal” item to the condo . . .

. . . . this great candid shot of their family on vacation!

Ran into artist Mary Lou Peters in Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island this week. Love this sweet lady!

Backtracking some now – I know most of you saw this on Facebook, but just in case you didn’t, Ted and I stopped in to see Lowell and Faye for a few moments as we passed through Olivet. It was storming and we had to leave the pups in the car, so we didn’t get to visit nearly long enough!

And one day while we were at Dave and Diane’s, I met Mary Saul and Frankie Thill in downtown Spring Lake for a girls chat session. So happy to see these two sweet friends.

I dropped by Mackinac Mud Pottery this afternoon and was just in time to watch owner Jay Barch creating at the wheel. Love this shop filled with original items. Ted and I use coffee mugs from Jay’s shop on Mackinac and in Florida.

Heading down Fort Hill this afternoon. There it is – that Michigan blue water and sky!

Pretty zinnias at the Grand!

Fort Mackinac on a gorgeous July day!


You’re just going to have to indulge me now for this section.  I’ve taken about 352 photos of Bodie since we arrived, and if left up to me I’d force you to look at each and every one. But I’m going to take pity and try and just put up a few of the best ones.  I promise, promise, promise I will NOT do this in every blog this summer, but for this one . . . well, please indulge me.

Mackinac, as seen through Bodie’s eyes his first week:

First of all, the cars here are pulled by animals called horses. Horses are much bigger than me, so I leave them alone. I don’t even bark at them. I have to admit riding around in a carriage is pretty cool stuff!  Would you believe there are people here who sweep up after the horses when they poop in the street.  I sure am glad, cause I don’t think they make poop bags big enough for horse poop!

Out my window I get to see horses in a corral. Seriously, I do.

Mackinac has woods, and being in the woods means I can be off-lead. That makes me very, very happy!

Mom makes me practice my Sit/Stay command all the time here (so she can take photos of me).

Mom said we didn’t have room in the truck for both my crate AND my bed. I’d rather she brought my bed. Maddie shares hers sometimes, but it’s not quite as big as mine.

Mom and I go on long, long walks – usually twice a day, and I’m really getting a full tour of Mackinac. Mom LOVES to take my photo at the different places we visit. Like the gazebo for Somewhere in Time . . .

. . .this place called Anne’s Tablet . . .

. . . . and in the Grand Hotel gardens!

Today we were in Turtle Park and this guy was kicking a soccer ball around. I figured he needed help.

I ran out to help him with the ball, and he stopped what he was doing and gave me great pets!  I thought that was pretty cool, but since he didn’t have treats in his pockets, I ran back to mom when she called.

This is absolutely the best place I’ve ever been so far in my life. It’s summertime, but it’s cool. There are miles and miles of trails to run on. Just about every person I meet wants to pet me. Everyone of you should seriously pack up all your pets and bring them to Mackinac!  They will thank you forever!


Jill and I sat downtown at Marquette Park this afternoon people-watching and drinking our Arnold Palmer Lite Ice Tea (99 cents at Doud’s).  I have it on good authority that Friday, July 28, is Jill’s birthday, so everyone feel free to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY right here!  Yes, she’s going to kill me for doing that, but that’s the way it is with good friends.  We can get away with stuff!


See you back here in a few days!  God bless.

Family Matters 7/23/17

As most of you know, Ted discovered his birth mother’s family last spring and has spent the last year phoning, emailing, texting, and meeting some of this wonderful group face to face, through visits by some cousins last summer to the island and visits by other family members over the winter to Florida.  He even flew out to New Mexico in February to meet one of his mother’s brothers, Uncle Ken.  Ted and I have said so many times how this whole thing could have turned out so very differently, but we will forever be grateful that the family he found welcomed him with open arms and open hearts.

Two very important members of this family we had not met were Ted’s two sisters, Sheryl and Deb.  Deb invited us to come by on our way to the island, and we did that on Wednesday, July12.  There we met her, her husband Jack, and Ted’s second sister, Sheryl.  We spent a special afternoon with these two gracious ladies and came away with even more wonder at the acceptance we’ve been offered. We’re hoping to see more of them this summer.

We left Deb’s and drove to Spring Lake MI where we stayed with first cousin Dave and his sweet wife Diane.

We spent four nights with Dave and Di, and besides welcoming us (and Maddie and Bodie) as though we’d all known each other for years, they drove us all around the small, nearby towns in Michigan that Ted had known during the first five years of his life.

One of our first stops was in Holland where we found the home Ted’s adopted parents lived in until he was five. Ted and Dave walked up and knocked on the door, and a lovely couple in their eighties invited us all to join them on their back porch, where Ted told his story. This painting hanging in the house shows the waterside of the home as it was when Ted lived there . . .

. . . . and this is Ted standing in the back yard last week.  He remembered several things about the inside, although some changes have been made over the years.  It’s still a beautiful place on Lake Macatawa – and perhaps where Ted’s lifetime love of living on the water began.

We also spent time that afternoon in a lovely old cemetery in the community of Conklin, where some of Ted’s aunts and uncles and his great-grandparents are buried.

That evening another first cousin, Marv, and his wife Ruthie, came over for dinner, and once again that unbelievable family resemblance was in full view.

A sunset cruise on Spring Lake was on tap for one afternoon with friends of the Benninks, Dale and his wife Jean.

A perfect ending to another perfect day.

It had been almost 20 years since the Lachmann family had gathered for a reunion, but through the efforts of Dave and other family members, and working on short notice, over 50 folks gathered at the home of Marv and Ruthie on Saturday afternoon.

They came mostly from Michigan, but family also arrived from Ohio, Minnesota, Florida (that was us), and from as far away as New Mexico. (Ted is second from the left on the bottom row

Near the end of the afternoon everyone gathered at the end of the property, in the shade of old trees and told family stories. This beautiful family laughed and reminisced about times gone by, and you could tell it was something they’d all done for years and years at reunions- a family tradition.   The stories were as familiar to them as old family albums. But to Ted they were all new, and he soaked them up like a sponge.

I had planned to leave a little earlier than most to drive back and take care of the pups, so I tried to slip out unnoticed.  That wasn’t happening.  Someone said, “Brenda’s leaving now,” and this wonderful group of family rose from their chairs and walked up the large yard to hug me and tell me goodbye.  Yes, I cried.

There are no words to express how special and how loved this remarkable family has made us feel throughout this process.  It’s been an emotional roller coaster, and there have been times of great sadness and times of great joy.  Through it all though, what rises to the top is the beautiful and courageous spirit of a young woman many, many years ago who made a heart-breaking decision – because it was what was best for her son.  Through her family we now know her, and through her family we now love her.

I like to think she’s watching over all of this from Heaven and smiling.  And I know one day there will be another reunion.  And it will be the sweetest one of all.


This Darned Computer!

Hey y’all! This is Lana from Never Enough Thyme. I wanted to jump in here for a minute to let you know that Bree is safe and sound and loving every minute second of Mackinac! However, she’s having some computer issues that are preventing her from posting.

Never fear, though. It’s an easy fix and she’ll be back ASAP. In the meantime, she’s posting almost daily on Facebook, so if you follow her there you’ll still be in the know.

All you Mackinac people have a lovely day and think a kind thought for us here in the 100 degree heat in Georgia 🙂