Coming Full Circle 1/3/2016

Thank you, Stephen Blair Kopacki, for the amazing header photograph!

In April of 2009 I wrote the first post to Bree’s Mackinac Island blog.  I began it on a whim and as a chance to satisfy a life-long desire to write.  I’d always heard the easiest thing to write on was something you were passionate about, and Mackinac Island sure fit that requirement!

Over the past almost-seven years, that first blog morphed into four other blogs: Bree’s Lake Blackshear Blog (when we were off the island at our home in south Georgia), the VERY short-lived Dog-Eared Page Blog (about the dogs of Mackinac Island), Bree’s Connecting the Dots Blog (the transition from Mackinac Island and Georgia to our new home in Florida), and recently Bree’s To Be Clay Blog (about living in Florida).  To those five blogs I’ve posted a total of 1,227 stories.  That’s pretty much one story every two days – for approximately the last 2,340 days.  To those five blogs, and over that same time period, readers took time out of their busy schedules to post 20,124 comments.

Our sweet little cottage at Lake Blackshear in the Spring.

Bree’s Lake Blackshear Blog:  Our sweet little cottage at Lake Blackshear in the Spring.

The Dog-Eared Page: Maddie and Bear playing with Buddy, an island friend.

The Dog-Eared Page: Maddie and Bear playing with Buddy, an island friend.

Connecting the Dots - this mound of dirt eventually became part of the foundation for our new home in Sunset Inlet.

Connecting the Dots:  This mound of dirt eventually became part of the foundation for our new home in Sunset Inlet.

To Be Clay: The good life in Beverly Beach!

To Be Clay: The good life in Beverly Beach!

So – where am I going with all this.

As I do every year about this time, I’ve taken the last few weeks to think about how I can continue to write something interesting – or whether I want to continue writing at all.  And every year I come back to two truths.  I love to write, and I love my readers.

This year I’ve had to dig a little deeper though.  With age and with some health issues, I find the need to focus on the things I love to write about most. And – surprise! – that is still that tiny island sitting in the Straits of Mackinac.  In studying the comments, the statistics, and the overall feed-back on all my blogs, I know – without a shadow of a doubt – that same tiny island is also what you most want to READ about.

My latest blog – To Be Clay – has an average of 400 readers for each post.  Most To Be Clay readers are Mackinac Island fans who have followed me almost since that first island blog in 2009.  They have been my loyal “core” family, and I love them with all my heart.  They’ve continued to read whether I’ve been in Georgia on the lake or in Florida across from the Atlantic Ocean.  They are the reason I’ve continued to write for this long.

But – when I traveled to Mackinac in December to write for Original Murdick’s Fudge – my reader average jumped to almost 1200 a day.  That number continued throughout my stay there.

What that tells me is that ultimately “Mackinac Island” is what you want to hear about – what you want to see photographed, what you want to learn more about.  Just as when I first starting going to Mackinac and would search everywhere for news about the island, I know there is a group out there right this minute doing the same thing. I know there are those who already love the island – and harbor a dream of maybe one day living there.  You are constantly soaking up every single fact you can find about how to make that happen.  I want to help with that.

So – as of right now – there will only be one place I’ll be writing.  Right here on Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog – the first and the most loved – is where you’ll find the Hortons.

The content won’t really change.  I’ll be sharing our lives here in Florida, sharing photographs and news from Mackinac when we aren’t there, and – good Lord willing – taking y’all with us in July when we travel north for three months on our favorite island.

And hopefully, in between all that, there may be some visits to other places!

And hopefully, in between all that, there may be some visits to other places!

Instead of going back to the future, we’re going forward to the past. Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog is where it all began.  I’ve got stories to tell, photographs to share, people to meet. It makes me feel both excited – and quietly content – to come full circle.

Woo Hoo – we’re off!

St. Anne's by Tom Chambers.

St. Anne’s by Tom Chambers.

39 thoughts on “Coming Full Circle 1/3/2016

  1. I enjoy your blog about whatever you choose to write about or even wherever you are. Yes, I am intrigued with Mackinac Island and hope to visit one day. We are presently living at Lake Blackshear and I love hearing about lake life and I truly love the beach areas in Florida. Just keep writing. I enjoy all of your experiences! Thanks. Bobbie J, Gay

    • So good to hear from a “home girl”, Bobbie! I know you have to be enjoying your lake life – we sure did. Hope you aren’t getting any flooding. We’ve watched all the news and have been keeping in touch with friends there. Scary stuff! Stay dry – and think about planning a Mackinac trip. I think you’d fall in love with it like I did!

  2. Well hello Brenda! Can’t get rid of me that quickly!! Thanks for helping me figure out the ‘follow’ thing. I look forward to keeping up with the Horton’s!!

  3. My day always brightens when you post. And even when you’ve had to deliver not-so-good news, you find a way to leave us with a positive feeling. You bring new meaning to “Bloom Where You Are Planted”!! Thank you for taking us along and I’m so glad you’ll continue to write. We’ll be on the island in September – hope to see you this year! Love you Brenda!

  4. Hello Brenda, i am from michigan , born and raised. i have traveled to many beautiful states , i have to agree with you , there is no place like the island . it is so special!! i have to get my fix every few years , i NEED to go there, and when i get there its magical and as you said spiritual. i have also been to the les chennoux ,tell your husband i envy his chidhood there ,,, another beautiful spot in michigan .. i am very proud of being from michigan . i tell everyone , they must visit the island , its a gem! i found your blog by chance , looking for winter pictures of the island , you have such great pics…followed you for years , but never wrote you , this time i wanted to thank you for ALL your wonderful blogs , read them all with interest … VERY happy you chose to stay with the island blog … thank you again and happy new year!

    • Oh my gosh, Les, thank you so much for writing!! I know there are readers out there like you who don’t feel comfortable commenting – and that’s fine. But when one of you DOES pop up, you sure make my day!! Thanks so much for being such a loyal reader. Wow!!

  5. Love your Mackinac Island blog and am so happy you are going
    to continue to write. I have been reading it since almost the very beginning, and have enjoyed reading every single post from all your blogs. Hope to be on the island again this year and see you this summer!

    • Thank you, Jayne, for being such a loyal reader! Hope you get to the island this summer, and maybe we could arrange a quick meeting if you’re there when we are. Happy New Year!

  6. Hello Bree! What wonderful news, although I would continue to follow your blog no matter what you decided. I just love your style of writing and am always interested in all the updates of your friends and family. I have been following all of your blogs since I found the Mackinac one sometime in 2012. My husband and I plan to retire to Mackinac. Hope to settle in Mackinaw City with a view of the magnificant bridge sometime in the next 5 to 8 years. I have commented to your blogs a few times and my husband and I even had our picture taken at Ella and Ivy on the island once and showed up in one of your blogs. I’ve lived in Michigan my whole 56 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else! We’ve visited the island before when you were there, we stay at Park Place Inn with our Bichon Frisee, Cosmo. I have seen Ted and you before but was just too shy to introduce myself. We were also married on St Patrick’s Day in another year, 1978, yes we were married young. I just wanted to add my thanks to you and your family for sharing the wonderful person that you are with the world! Every time I read one of your blogs I am more blessed! Pam G

    • I remember Pam! My friend Anne, who owned Ella and Ivy, took you and your husband David’s photo! I just went back and pulled it up. Wish I could post it to the comment section, but I don’t have that function. In case you don’t remember, you were wearing a pretty mint green top! So good to hear from you, and I love your retirement plans! Happy New Year to you both!

  7. I am so happy to hear you are continuing your Bree’s Machinac Island blog. After visiting the beautiful Mackinac Island three years ago, I stumbled upon your amazing blog longing to be brought back there to the peace and beauty of that island. Your blog brings me back to that magical place (we’ll be there next August). Thank you for your amazing stories, incredible talent, and beautiful pictures you share. You inspire me and I love all the things you do with your life and how you are always willing to lend a hand. Sooo happy to know you will continue to write!!

  8. Brenda,

    I’m sure it goes without saying how much I’ve always liked Mackinac Island (and your writing and pictures have only made it more so), but I’ve enjoyed everything you’ve written. Although, I must admit that Maddie and Bear have probably given you “a run for the money” when you’ve allowed them to post (still can’t figure why they won’t talk to me though).

    I have also read every word you’ve written in every blog you’ve had, but I got started with the Mackinac Island Blog. I don’t remember when it was that I accidently found it, but I do know I went back 2-3 years to read every entry. How enjoyable that was! Just here I’ll tell you a secret if you promise not to tell anyone. (I’ve read some of them more than once!) It’s also wonderful that Faye & I have been able to meet a few of your blog readers “in real life,” as well as so many others through the comments.

    Now, Welcome back to Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog. I’ll be reading every word and seeing every picture (and saving some of those pictures to my Mackinac Island Folder). That folder is mighty full, but it’s going to continue to get fuller.

    PS: When I started reading this blog entry, I was so afraid you were going to say that all was going to come to an end. You don’t know how glad I am that you didn’t say that.

    • Lowell, you have been such a good, good friend to me over the years. Getting to know you and Faye – first through your comments and then in person – has been one of the highlights of my writing. I love you two so much – and I look forward to more visits on the island and more of our “discussions” online. Thank you, my sweet friend, for taking the time to comment over the years and to be such a good ambassador for Mackinac. Hope to see you this summer. We’ll have a “Greene” bedroom all ready for y’all!

  9. So glad you are going to continue blogging about our beloved Island. I also enjoy reading stories and seeing pictures about your life outside of Mackinac. You are such a talented writer and interesting subject. I get so excited when I see Bree’s Mackinac Island in my inbox. Thank you Brenda and Happy New Year to you and your family.

  10. I was so afraid that you were going to tell us that you were no longer going to write. I’m so glad you’re going to continue blogging. Whatever your stories are about I enjoy everyone one of them and look so forward to reading them. I pray 2016 brings you good health.

  11. Hi Brenda!
    I really enjoy all of your blogs! I look forward to them and I’m glad you’ll be continuing the Mackinaw Island Blog.
    I’m from Mi. and live in Tx. My husband and I now spend summers in Cheboygan Mi. where I was born. One set of my
    grandparents lived in Cheboygan and the other set in Mackinaw City.
    My grandma had a beauty shop in Mackinaw City for many years and played the organ for The Church of
    The Straits.
    My sister and I went to the island for a day last summer and enjoyed exploring by walking all over the place! I also went with my mom for a day, and once by myself last summer to go over to the Round Island Lighthouse tour.
    Now if I could talk my husband into moving to Fla. in the winter…
    Thank you for your blog, and Happy New Year!

    • Darcy, Your comment gave me a surprise. I’m from Michigan, lived in Texas, and graduated from Cheboygan High School in 1956. We lived on Western Ave, north of State St. My wife and I live in Southern Michigan now.

    • Hi Darcy! I just this minute realized I never replied to your comment, but I see Lowell, my trusty assistant, did. You guys have a lot in common!! Thank you for being such a loyal reader, Darcy – and Happy New Year!

  12. I would have followed you anywhere, to see what you write and admire all those beautiful pictures. I started following you on your island blog. I must confess it is my favorite, so very special, and the photos make me feel like I’m there. I am elated that this is what you have chosen, and if you travel, I’m right there with you. Thanks so much. Love to Bear and Maddie

  13. I held my breath as I skimmed through your post because I was almost sure you were announcing your retirement from blogging. No more Mackinac news? No more news about Bear and Maddie? That would be almost as sad as a summer without actually visiting our favorite island So glad you’ve decided to continue writing. (Yes, I’m breathing again.)

    • Louise! So glad you’re breathing! I don’t think you’ve commented before, have you? I think I’d remember because my mom’s name was Louise. Anyway – I love your comment. Thank you!

      • I’ve commented only once before, in reference to the Jamaican church services on the island. And I did win a small bar of soap from you by identifying the statue of the little golfer in Mission Pointe. And I rarely win things. Not that I’m expecting you to remember everyone who drops in here (Let’s face it, Louise is a sadly underused name.😉)

  14. I found your blog when planning our first trip to the Island in 2012. It contained great information that helped me plan better. From there, I enjoyed the warmth of your writing and continued to read your blogs. You are a gifted writer and I hope you intend to write for a long, long time!! Thanks for including us in your family!

  15. Glad to hear this! Love reading about your adventures on the Island. My wife and I get there twice a year and I always wish it was more and for longer. Unreal how the Island has captured us!

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