From My Heart 4/25/2013

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselvesAnatole France.

It’s been a strange winter for me.  I don’t mean the weather, although that’s been strange enough.  I mean strange as in introspective – not a quality I identify a lot with myself.  I’ve always been one of those impulsive, spur-of-the-moment people.  An idea will pop into my head, and without so much as three minutes of real thought, I’m off on some new project that usually turns out as well as it would have if I’d spent weeks planning each step.

Of course it doesn’t always work.  My readers can remember quite a few times I’ve said, “This summer I’m going to do (fill-in-the-blank) on the blog.”  And it just didn’t happen.  A perfect example is last summer’s “Dog-Eared Page” – Lordy, what a disaster.

A few of my impulses have worked out pretty well though.  This blog was an impulse.  I remember, as we prepared to return to Mackinac for our first full summer, saying to myself, “I think I’ll try writing about the season on the Island.”  I remember sitting down, opening the laptop, registering with and starting this journal of our lives that is about to enter its fifth year – 622 posts, over 650,000 visitors from all over the world.

An impulse idea that truly changed my world was when I said to Ted, “I think we should buy a summer home on Mackinac Island.”  After Ted stopped laughing, he sat me down – bless his heart – and shared with me all the reasons that was never going to happen.  I must have been temporarily deaf that day.  When he saw I was serious, Ted went through all the gyrations he always does when making any decision – whether it’s buying a vacation home or deciding the nutritional differences between whole wheat and white bread.  He studied all the resources available, made calls and wrote letters.  And after weeks and weeks of research, he said to me one evening, “Ok, I think we can do this.”

I remember giving him a big kiss, a bigger hug and whispering in his ear, “I thought we could!”

Last November, after we arrived home and had a wonderful Thanksgiving here at the lake with all the cousins, I arose one morning with a nagging thought that would not let me go.  I tried praying about it, tried to ignore it, tried to talk myself around it, tried to convince myself I was not really feeling what I was feeling.

But I was.

And what I was feeling was an intense need to nest.  When I was honest with myself, I admitted that the feeling had begun on the island last summer.  I felt as though as I was walking through the motions of living there.  Whenever I thought of something I wanted to do at the condo, my first thought would be, “But why?  I won’t be here much longer to enjoy it.”  The same thing was happening here in Georgia.  With all the work we’d done in the kitchen last spring, we left a week later and didn’t get to enjoy it for 5 months.  Yes, it was here when we returned, but I could look ahead and see similar events like that through the coming years. 

I have no idea why this has become such an issue with me now unless it’s an age thing – a deep internal craving to be settled, to be nested-in for good, to be at home – truly at home – at this time in our lives.  Another factor is our grandchildren.  They’re in Florida now, and we’ve seen them at least once a month since we’ve been home.  But they’re not going to be able to come north this summer, so for the next 6 months we won’t see them.  That was often the case when they lived in Arkansas, but now they’re only four hours away.

I finally approached the subject with Ted a few weeks ago and was so relieved to find he’d been having much the same conversation with himself – not the nesting thing, but concerns more on the practical side.  Two houses are expensive to maintain, and nearly all our resources go toward keeping them up.  We’d both like to travel more.  We’d both like a home that we can make improvements on and be around all year to enjoy.

Over the last weeks, Ted and I have talked and soul-searched more than probably any other time in our marriage.  After writing down list after list of pros and cons, what we’ve decided on is this:

Step one:  This summer we will put our Mackinac condo on the market.

Step two:  When we return in the fall (or if the condo sells, whenever we return to Georgia), we will put the lake house on the market.

Step three:  When both have sold (we realize, of course, that it may be three weeks, three months, or three years before any of this happens), we want to relocate to the east coast of Florida somewhere around the Amelia Island/Fernandino Beach area.

As I just typed those steps, I am amazed at the calmness of my spirit.  It didn’t come easily.  As usual, when I am going through a turmoil of emotions, I first try to “go it alone”.  It was only after I got down on my knees and turned it all over to God that I found my peace.  My prayer was this: Lord, this is a tremendous change to think about in our senior years.  I ask, whatever Your will is in our lives, that You only open those doors.  If this move is pleasing to You, it will happen.  If not, it won’t.  We won’t force it.  We put it all into your more than capable hands.”

When I stood from my prayer place on my knees by our bed, the peace came like a warm breeze whispering over me.  From that moment on, I’ve been calm about what we are considering.

I know to most of my readers, and our friends and our family that all this is more than surprising.  My deep love for Mackinac has not changed, and I believe it will forever be my heart’s home.  I don’t intend to give it up. One of our ideas is to continue to spend a couple of months there in the summer.  But we will be coming as visitors, not as residents.  There is no part of me that longs to let go completely of my magical Mackinac. 

Ted and I both deeply love our home and friends at the lake, and leaving here will be hard.  But most of our friends here are beach people also, and I have a feeling they will visit us much more often in Florida than they did in Michigan. 

Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that Ted and I both must have a pint or two of gypsy blood flowing in our veins.  Hopefully, if all this works out and we land ocean-side, that gypsy blood will have thinned out enough for us to ignore it for the rest of our lives.

Why the beach?  While I found my heart’s home on Mackinac, Ted’s heart has always belonged to the ocean – to sandy beaches and warm, tropical winds.  I love the beach also – not as much as my husband, but enough to think our lives would be rich, peaceful and fulfilled there.  The added plus is we would only be a couple of hours from our grandchildren.

So today is the beginning of the new normal for Ted and I.  We will pack up for Mackinac and move northward – just like the last six summers.  If the condo does not sell, we are planning a fabulous season on the island, and we’ll be back in Georgia in November.  If it does sell, we’ll be back earlier.

From now on, there will only be one blog – the one from Mackinac – although it’s name will change as our lives change.  From this point on, we will be focused on transitioning into our forever home.

I hope you choose to follow us on this journey.  You, my readers, have become friends not only to me, but to each other.  I love you all, and I’ve whispered your names into God’s ear on many occasions.  You are such an important part of my life – I don’t want you to go away.

I know this is a lot to process, but the writing of it has helped me put it all into even more perspective.  I can already fill the excitement of this next life’s journey taking hold.

Just as you followed me to Mackinac five summers ago, I hope we can take this next step together.

God bless.


66 thoughts on “From My Heart 4/25/2013

  1. It sounds like you and your hubby are set to take on a great adventure together! God Bless! 🙂

    PS I’m sure your Mackinac home will sell in the blink of an eye. It has always been my dream to live there, too…I love the island and have many great memories of the place.

  2. Of course we’ll follow you! You have the best adventures no matter where you go. If you heart and head are telling you to go, then go! We’ll love hearing about the new place just like we did the old!

  3. I truly know how you feel. Since we have decided to sell our home on the island, I have said my good byes to the island. When it is sold I will be ready. Having spent 33 yrs every winter here ( same home) I know that it will home.And you know what I feel good about the whole idea!!!

      • Just south of Fort Myers, — Bonita Springs. Although the bookstore is in Fort Myers. Have seen many changes. Kind of like dealing with happenings on the island. Fighting a development at the end of our quiet street that will involve an assisted living facility.

  4. Brenda and Ted I wish you joy in your new adventure. I wasn’t totally surprised since your blog kept you so busy beyond what retirement should be but we have enjoyed it. I am spoiled and live 4 blocks and 5 miles from my grandchildren and can’t imagine not being able to see them on a regular basis. God bless and we will be following your adventures this summer!

  5. Change is inevitable Brenda. Sometimes we are lucky enough to initiate it ourselves and sometimes other things dictate. I have been fortunate enough to have grandchildren near by and share in their lives regularly. That doesn’t go on forever so you are wise to make the most of those years. We only get to Mackinac every three years but take the whole clan and we all anticipate it with great joy. The Lord puts those lovings in our heart and it was good for you to listen to them.

  6. You are SO fortunate, Brenda. You literally live your dreams! You dreamed of experiencing a summer home on the Island and a winter home in Georgia, and you did it. You dreamed of experiencing a companion animal like Bear and sharing joy with him and with others, and you did it. Now you dream of a quiet home on the beach that will become, to everyone, a home base.

    You will do that as well, my friend. It will flow like magic. How do I know this?

    Because you’ve done it oh so many times before.

    • Oh Andrea. We know, we truly know how blessed we are. We’ll see where this next “planned” adventure leads. We’re praying the good Lord thinks it’s a good plan too.

  7. Brenda this must have been a hard decision for you both. WE are blessed to have had your beautiful blog to bring us all on your adventure.
    Please let me know when the condo is on market. We would be/ are very interested in hearing more about it.

    Thank you and best of luck and safe travels!!
    PS I will still be reading every time I can! Wouldnt miss the last blogs from there.

    • Connie, we will probably list it in the first week or two after we get up there. It will be listed with Mackinac Realty. How awesome would that be to have the condo purchased by a Bree’s Blog reader!

  8. From one island to another! Families are forever, and I think your friends will be, too. Grandchildren are only young for such a short time, and this will be a good thing for you to be near them. Godspeed!

  9. Sounds like a great chapter to start Brenda. 🙂 I’m very happy & excited for you both. Like you said, you have to follow your heart.

  10. I wish you all the best. I know how difficult it was to reach your decision because we went through the same thing last year before we moved to the island. We knew when we did, it would probably be for a limited number of years until our health and physical abilities make it necessary for us to move back closer to family. But, God has a plan and we have to put our trust in him. You’ve blessed so many people here. We’ll miss you, but will continue to follow your “adventures”.

  11. God Bless you both! When you finally put it in God’s hands do you feel at ease with your plans. In our later years it is important to be with family. For they are truly all we have. Enjoy your years with them. Enjoy the beautiful memories that you have of our “dear” Mackinac Island and your beautiful Georgia home. We love you and will follow you wherever you go.

  12. SO excited for you and Ted as you have both come to this wonderful conclusion on your life’s new path. I am in love with all you have to say Bree, and where you go, my eyes will continue to follow your words! Looking forward to following along as you set forth to make these wonderful changes. Wishing you both the best of luck and praying that all will work out exactly as you wish it to.

  13. Brenda, you know how much I will miss you and Ted. I’ll write you a personal message (on your Facebook massage) cause I’m crying and can’t write it here.

    • Joan, we will probably be right there in our condo ten years from now. And if not, good Lord willing, we will be back every summer for an extended visit (LOL, if we can find someone who will rent to us with our two fur babies). Love you and see you soon!

      Sent from my iPhone

  14. You are such an inspiration, Bree! I lOVED meeting you and Ted, and thank you for every one of your posts. But, family is a #1 priority . . .it is forever!!!! Thank you for sharing your love of the Island. God bless in your new adventures!!!!!!

  15. Although I had a little tear in my eye while reading this (Mackinac is a huge part of my hear too) I’m so very happy that you’re listening to your heart and doing what you and Ted wish to do at this time. I’m sure your condo will sell like a hotcake (heck if I were rich I would buy it!) and you’ll be able to find a great beach house in Florida! Best of luck with everything and I’ll still be following you every step of the way!

  16. Thumbs up! I think y’all have made a great decision (of course, I’m one of those beach-type people)………I’m trying to make some of the same type decisions…it will all work out

  17. Brenda,

    I certainly understand why you and Ted want to make a “nest” in Florida, but, being quite selfish, that doesn’t mean I like it. I’ll miss knowing that you are on the Island. Even though we’ve only met one time, it seems like you’ve been my neighbor for years. So -My plans are that if our son moves to Florida, as he wants to do, and we stay healthy enough to make the trip, to stay with him for two months or so in the winter, I would like to stop by to visit you, Ted, Bear and Maddie. That is, if inviting myself is alright with you? No matter what, I’ll sure be reading your blog. Please don’t stop writing it. I really do hope God’s will is the same as mine. I’ll just have to leave it in His hands, as you’ve done, and say, “Thank You,” no matter how it turns out.

    Only 38 more days! I wish it could be tomorrow. I guess God’s teaching me patience. I’m sure He thinks it’s a real shame that I need so many lessons.

    • Lowell, you always make me smile really big! If all this really comes to pass and your son moves to Florida and you come down to stay with him, our door will always swing gladly open for you and Faye. 38 days!

      Sent from my iPhone

  18. Although we don`t want ya`ll to leave the lake, I totally understand where you`re coming from. There is nothing in the world more important in a person`s lives than family; and you never know when a part of that family may be gone for ever. SO… Treasure every minute the Good Lord gives you with them and and enjoy being with them every time you can. We love ya`ll and wish you the best.

    • I have a feeling, Marianne, our house on the lake will be a long time selling. And that will be fine too. Love you!

      Sent from my iPhone

  19. Dear Brenda,
    As one who has not been able to live on Mackinac for many years, I can tell you that the pull of the island does not go away. You can, however, be happy other places and accomplish other worthwhile things – then go back and enjoy it all over again. It’s an old friend: it changes, yet it stays the same.
    I’m tickled for you two starting out on another adventure, and delighted that you will continue to let us know the wondrous things you see in our world.
    All the best!

  20. I wish you the best. I know this is a decision that was made prayerfully. I’ll still be reading. I can’t imagine Florida calling louder than Michigan, but I’m sure the grandchildren have something to do with it. 😉

  21. I have often thought about buying on the island through the years. The conclusion I came to was that it is more fun to be a visitor than a resident. You can create your own experience as a visitor with no stings attached. I think your decision although heart wrenching is a good one. I hope all your properties sell and you can move forward. And as others on this blog have said-family comes first.

  22. I wish you and Ted all the best of luck in your future. I know that it was a very hard decision for the two of you to make, but being close to the grandkids is a great move. Just think you just got your house in Lake Blackshear the way you wanted it and now you can work on redoing another home. Best of luck in your new journeys and I will still be following your blog, wherever it takes you.

  23. This is all in God’s blessing and your way will be lighted and very natural. You have said, “I Am (we are) ready”……..the most dynamic affirmation of certain change….you and Ted are co-creating your lives together, co-creating with God. Congrats on adeptly writing down this not-so-simple process, and leaving footprints in the sand, whether on Mackinac or Florida beaches. love to you.

  24. Bree, I just wanted to Thank You. I worked on the island in the summers of 2010 and 2011 than left in 2012 for what I thought was a better opportunity, and financially it was; but I underestimated just how much I missed Mackinac. I’m now on three and a half years working seasonally to travel; never working at the same place twice, and of all the places I’ve been, the island is the only place I truly miss. It is my home; where my heart is. I understand completely when you express your love for such a wonderful place. One day I was feeling particularly nostalgic and did a random search for Mackinac Island and found your blog. I want you to know, it’s not just a blog to me; you’ve given me a piece of my home; a way to keep it with me wherever I go. Words are not enough to express my gratitude for that. I am not one to write; I prefer to speak to people in person, but as I will not be returning home until 2014 I felt the inexplicable need to properly thank you for taking the time for all of us; for keeping Mackinac Island alive for all of us who can’t do it ourselves. I hope one day we do happen to run into each other. I would love to meet the woman behind the words. 🙂 Thank you again and I wish you well on all your future journeys. Daisy Linton Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 19:30:29 +0000 To:

    • Daisy, thank you so much for writing. I’ve always been amazed at how the Island grabs hold of some people and just won’t let go, and then to others, it’s just a bunch of fudge shops. I think those of us who stay there for an extended time learn the “real” Mackinac – the one that the day-trippers can’t possibly find. So glad Mackinac worked its magic on you and glad my blog helped you keep in touch with your heart. Write me in 2014 (and anytime before) and let me know when you’ll be on the Island. If the condo hasn’t sold, we’ll be right there, good Lord willing; and if it has sold, we’ll still be there for a couple of months. Would love to meet you! Hugs, Brenda

  25. Brenda, I’m happy for you and sad at the same time, but so glad you will be closer to the grandkids….that’s important. I wish I could move into your condo and take over, but maybe someday my dream may come true too even if for 5 years. I tell everyone about you and your blog. I’ll miss you but will for sure follow you if you keep writing. Good luck and the Pink Pony just won’t be the same without you and Ted huh?

  26. Brenda,
    I am sure you are relieved now that the decision has been made. I just had a feeling there was a big change on the horizon. As much as I am sad, I am relieved there are no health related reasons. I also have two homes and understand the choices and the pull between the two. It seems like something is always sacrificed. Nothing can replace family, you have made a wise but hard decision. I
    will always follow your blog wherever it takes you. Wishing you & Ted the best. Gail

    • It was a very hard decision, Gail. But who knows what will happen. We’re just going to wait and see what doors open.

      Sent from my iPhone

  27. I met you at the museum in 2011 when my husband and 2 sons came to the island in Aug/Sept. And though I don’t comment a lot, I faithfully follow your blog and love that you keep me up to date on my “home away from home” when I can’t be there. We will continue to follow your journey as you move on. I am so happy you have peace now in your decision…I’m sure it feels as if a weight has been lifted. When my youngest son learned that you were moving on, he said, “Does that mean she won’t work at the museum anymore?” “Does this mean she won’t live there in the summer anymore?” “Will she ever come back to visit?” LOL! He was so full of questions! I wish you health and happiness in the next stage of your wonderful life. Thank-you for blessing us with your friendship through your wonderful well-written blog! God bless!

    • Of course I remember you, Melody! Please tell your son that as long as we are island residents, I’ll be working at the museum, and even when we no longer live there we plan to be back every summer for at least a couple of months! Hoping to see you again soon!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • We’ll be visiting over Memorial Day weekend and the week of July 4th…maybe we’ll bump into each other! Hugs and God bless! 🙂

  28. Hi! I really enjoyed reading this post. We live in Michigan and travel yearly to Mackinac Island for a couple of days only. (In fact, we are planning on being there the first week of June!) We love that place and I have enjoyed following your blog. I wanted to write, though, and tell you that my boys and I just returned from five weeks on Amelia Island. We rented a condo there and it was wonderful!!! We loved everything about the Island and would return in a heartbeat. In fact, we already made plans to return next winter.

    Change is always difficult, but whenever we can simplify life, it is good!! It seems that the secret of contentment is being able to enjoy what you are doing now and being happy about what you have experienced in the past more than being sad that you aren’t experiencing it now – staying in the moment, I guess!!! Good for you for moving forward when your heart is telling you it’s time!!

    • Oh Rachel, thank you so much for writing. Your words “It seems that the secret of contentment is being able to enjoy what you are doing now and being happy about what you have experienced in the past more than being sad that you aren’t experiencing it now” sum up perfectly how we feel. I would live it if you’d write me at my email and tell me about your Amelia Island stay. We are keeping an open mind about where on the island we want to be, so it would be interesting to see which parts of the island you liked best.

      Sent from my iPhone

  29. First of all – WOW! This is so weird but I had a feeling all winter that you might be leaving the island. Maybe it was the loss of Chris Ann or the enjoyment that I felt when you visited your grandchildren but I feel that you are at peace with the decision.

    There was a customer who was at our shop last week and they have a house in our little town in Iowa and then winter in Florida. They love it but I told them even though Tony & I are in our 40’s I am not sure that we are the type to have another home. We chose not to have children but we are PROFESSIONAL aunt & uncle and love every minute of it. Our nieces and nephews are about an hour away and I would miss them terribly. Our oldest niece is getting married and will about 4 hours away and I am already having anxiety! (LOL!)

    All of our friends keep saying we will buy a house at Mackinac but I really am not interested in doing that. As Ted knows, it is expensive to upkeep and I just enjoy the freedom of going and not having to worry about a house.

    You have been a big part of my life and I love your blog but it is time for you to move on. I will always treasure the picture of my Bear with your Bear last summer!

    God Bless!

  30. Brenda, I am so excited for you & Ted. I pray all goes well for both of you. I know from experience that if you pray about something & put it in God’s Hands, it will all work out. You have taken me on your trips, I have enjoyed that so much. I live through you & Ted, now I will get to go to Florida. Thank you for all the Beautiful pictures & words you have given to me. I am June Knight’s sister & each time I go over to see Vicki, her daughter I think of you, looking at your mom & dad’s house.I sure do miss June since she went to be with Jesus almost a year ago. Sorry, so long, but you seem like family, again, bless you both, keep us posted as to all your goings & comings, God Bless, Hugs, Peggy

    • So good to hear from you, Peggy! Lots of doors have to open for our plans to come together, but it will be exciting to see what doors are opened. Please tell Vickie hello for me, and I’m happy to know you will continue to follow us on this journey. Hugs!

      Sent from my iPhone

  31. Bree, I wish you, Ted, and your ‘furry kids’ all the best as you embark on your new journey. I have SO enjoyed seeing the Island through your eyes! I absolutely love Mackinac, and have a far-fetched dream of some day being able to retire there. My children share my passion (my daughter mostly because of the horses), and our family tries to visit as often as possible.

    God’s blessings,

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! We’re nine days away from heading north and looking forward to another season on the island!

      Sent from my iPhone

  32. I wish you, Ted, Maddie, and Bear all the best with this new chapter in life. I will miss all your posts about Mackinac Island life. I get to experience a little about the island through your eyes, because I am unable to go at this time.

    Jennifer Freytag and my feline friend Izzie Marie.

    • Will still be writing from the island this summer Jen, unless the condo sells. And we’ll be coming back to the island every summer even after it sells, so you haven’t heard the last of Mackinac!

      Sent from my iPhone

  33. I applaud you for having the courage to follow your heart! We have grandchildren here in the same town, and I can’t imagine not being able to just jump in the car and 5 minutes later being at their home. I continue to look forward to your notes on Mackinac and also the news on the new journey ahead of you!

  34. How exciting!!!!!! God WILL lead you two exactly where He wants you to be and where He can use you the most!!!!!! I am happy to be going along on the exciting journey with you!!!!!!!! God Bless!!!

  35. Hi Bree,

    I hope I can comment on this older blog.

    Since I just “met” you (through your blog )I knew there had to be a story somewhere about your next move, selling the Mackinac Island condo. I finally found it. It was so heart warming and brought tears to my eyes. I, like you, have always wanted to live on the Island at least for a short time but my husband, like yours, comes up with all the reasons why not to. You got your condo, I didn’t. LOL.

    My husband’s love for the Island isn’t as strong as mine anymore but he still takes me there every year (so far) for 19 years. You were so fortunate to have your 5 years in the condo, but I totally get your “need to nest” as you put it. Mackinac Island will always be there and there will always be a room to rent (property tax-free and worry free too).

    Wishing you luck in selling your lake house and finding a new “nest” in Florida. Then relax and enjoy the “October” of your life.


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