Visiting Mackinac June 1-9!

Although this blog has been officially closed down, I can’t think of a single rule that says I can’t open it up again!

For those who followed  Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog for so many years, but didn’t make the switch to the new blog when we sold our Island condo, this is just a note to let you know Ted and I will be visiting the Island June 1-9.  While we’re there, I’ll be once again posting Island stories here on this blog, as well as on Bree’s Connecting the Dots Blog.

I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to do some freelance writing and guest blogging for the Original Murdick’s Fudge ( folks; so Ted, the pooches, and I will be heading north in a matter of days.

God bless, and see you soon!


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!

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.


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.



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

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  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!

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.

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!