Coming Full Circle 1/3/16

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 of you are Mackinac Island fans who have followed me almost since that first island blog in 2009.  You’ve been my loyal “core” family, and I love you with all my heart.  You’ve continued to read whether I’ve been in Georgia on the lake or in Florida across from the Atlantic Ocean.  You 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.  Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog – the first and the most loved – will be where you’ll find the Hortons.  This will be the last post to To Be Clay.

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!

I hope those of you who only follow the To Be Clay blog will click here: http://bree1972.wordpress.com and then hit the “follow” button – so you’ll continue to be connected when there’s a new post!

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.

 

45 thoughts on “Coming Full Circle 1/3/16

  1. Glad you have decided to cut back a little. You know we will follow you wherever you go! Happy New Year to you and your family.

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  2. I held my breath when I saw your headline. I was so afraid you were going to quit blogging! It may sound selfish but I love, love your blog and can’t wait for the next postings. You have such a wonderful way of writing and I understand a time will come when you want to end your blog. It has to be a time consuming thing. But until then I will continue to enjoy your blog no matter where you are!

    Hugs from Iowa!

    Yvonne

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  3. If you decide to post a blog from a hut in the South Pacific, we’d still follow you! Though I must confess, as you know, Mackinac Island is also near and dear to my heart! Perhaps one day we’ll meet in person on that magical isle, or we’ll forever be virtual friends. However it turns out, I am glad that I am part of “Bree’s Community”. Take care.

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    • Well, Deborah, you brought a couple of tears with this comment. You’ve been with me for a lot of years, girlfriend – and you are loved a bunch. Tell Ron hello, and give that Danny Dog a big hug for me!

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  4. And, we are back where you began and it makes this reader very happy as long as you keep up with your adventures in Florida and beyond. Looking forward to a lot of Mackinac Island and more! Happy New Year to you, Ted and the pups!!🎉🎉🎉

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  5. Hi Bree thank you for your wonderful blogs. I always look forward to them. Blessings to you and your family for a healthy and Happy New Year!!

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  6. I got a lump in my throat when I first started reading this blog! I,too,was afraid you were hoping to discontinue! I know there are days when it must be hard to do this “highly” paying job! I am delighted to hear you are having a small change of venue (so to speak). Mackinac is a very magical place for me too. Perhaps some day we will meet there!

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  7. A bit of sadness reading this. I don’t know why. But as you came around to telling about going back to focusing more on the Island, the little girl buried deep inside me started hopping up and down clapping with sheer happiness. Yes, The island has my heart. But as you’ve called us family, I’ve just enjoyed you allowing us into your own life and sharing your journey here/there and everywhere. Thanks for opening yourself up to making friends of a bunch of strangers here online. I’m sure others are just like me….wondering if you guys are doing ok when its been awhile since hearing from you. Something friends do.

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    • Awww – thank you so much, Scotty. Love sharing our lives with my online friends – some of whom I’ve met over the years on Mackinac and who now I count as “REALITY” friends! Thank you for sticking with me over the years!

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  8. Thank you, Brenda, for letting your heart guide you! We love eeverything you write, but the Island is our Dream Place! May God Bless you and Ted with many more happy, healthy days in 2016 and of course we will see you in September!

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  9. Bree, I am doing a little happy dance knowing that you will continue blogging about the island and your life. I must admit, I was afraid you were discontinuing, but as I read further, my heart swelled with happiness. You have a wonderful way of making your life magical and we look forward to each post. Your research data does not surprise me. The island is enticing and many people like us yearn for as much contact as possible. So glad you are able to keep in touch with the community and post updates. We wish you and your family a safe and glorious 2016 and if you and Ted are on the island in October, we will see you.
    Again, thank you for all you do!
    Tony and Barbara Hill

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  10. I have to agree with the previous posts, so afraid you were leaving us. Thrilled to read you are not! I will follow your blog wherever it leads. Take care of your health first. We will always be here. ♡
    Gail

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  11. Brenda, you are too talented to stop writing plus many of us are addicted to your blogs. I love reading all of your blogs but, thanks to you, the one on Mackinac stole my heart years ago. So glad that you are continuing with it!

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  12. Good to know I wasn’t alone in being concerned when I started to read this blog. I do so enjoy the lovely way you weave stories about the mysterious, wonderful Mackinac Island and its inhabitants. Names and places come to life through your writings. How many years have I prayed you up and down 75 and through construction? Quite a few! May that continue for many more to come. But, if the time ever comes when it becomes too much, just drop it and know that we are forever grateful for all that you have already given us. We love the writing, but we love you more. Take care!

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    • Ok, Barbara. Y’all are making me weepy this afternoon. Love you, my friend, and thank you for your sweet words – and your travel prayers.

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  13. The last few years when you have mentioned rethinking your blogs, I always dread reading that you want to stop writing. This year was no different! With squinted eyes, I read your blog today. Hoping that would not be what you had to say! SO GRATEFUL, it wasn’t. You could write about a pretty rock you found on a walk with the dogs…..and I’d still want to read what you had to say ❤️

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      • And I just love you back! Oh my gosh, I really hope we can make it there this year! It is on my list of must have’s for sure. Take the best of care!! XOXO

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  14. Like so many others I feared you would not continue your blog. I’m happy to know that you will be keeping us up to date on your adventures in life on Mackinac Island and in general. I have enjoyed all of your blogs no matter when or what they were about. Happy New Year to you and your family.

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  15. I have to say I read this article with hesitation Bree, I wasn’t sure where you were headed at first. But…..as always you never disappoint us.
    I believe going back to your roots of writing about Mackinac will serve many purposes and leave you more fulfilled. As always I support anything you write. However, the Mackinac blog is where all or most of us first met you. Excellent choice to work on that blog full time now with snippets of Horton life and travels as they unfold.

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  16. Bree, I’ve read every post to each of your blogs. They just seem to leave the day a little better than it was before. Thank you for sharing your time and stories with us. May you and Ted have a wonderful 2016.

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    • Thank you so much, Brian! You’ve been with me practically from the beginning! Love knowing you’re ” out there”! Happy New Year to you and your family!

      >

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  17. Hi Bree, Being fellow lovers of the Big Turtle called Mackinac Island for 23 years, our love of your blog is 1st and foremost. We love news of Mackinac since we too can only be there at certain times of the year. Your blog has taught us so much. And there is a difference in your writing when on the island. A magic only felt by those who been there and captured it. It draws us back in a way that it is hard to explain. With that preference to your reading, I do also enjoy your adventures to other places. I enjoy learning about your life elsewhere and consider those places for us to check out some day. I do believe blogs take time to create a following. I wonder what 7 years from now will be like as you also blog about where you live now? As you meet people and follow you and in turn learn about Mackinac Island as a new place to explore. You have been a lifeline of sorts for those of us who yearn for more of the island. And that following will always probably surpass any following from other places. But Florida had many transplants yearning to connect with others about where they are now in their lives. It’s an opportunity for you to expand and offer that blog to them. It’s still early in your new adventure to Florida. But I have not doubt your blog will reach many others wherever you write from.

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  18. Thanks you so much, Elliotts, for your sweet words of encouragement. I laughed out loud about thinking “7 years from now”, calculating quickly that I’ll be 74 then! But you know what? I’ll be 74 then – good Lord willing – whether I’m writing or not! I just pray I’m still able to put a sentence together by then 😉! Thank you for being so loyal over the years. Love y’all!

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  19. Mackinac/Michigan holds a place in my heart the way few places do. We went on a sunset cruise out of St. Ignace a few years ago. The tour guide told us that while the Golden Gate bridge has a suicide problem that has never been the case with Mackinac bridge. The theory is that for so many it holds good memories of vacation and family. So yes, I love the blogs about actually living on the Island. Along the way though, most of the readers feel that the Hortons are friends so we want to read about wherever you are going.
    OTOH, when I go up to Mackinac in September, I’m still going to be keeping an eye out for Bear and Maddie and their humans.

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      • Right now the plan is to drive up to Gaylord on 9/15. The next day enjoy the scenery and some shopping through Charlevoix, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Tunnel of Trees, Mackinac City. See the Island on Saturday. Drive back to Frankenmuth on Sunday, and get home on Monday. Sounds a little hectic, but it’s 5 days and I don’t want to make the drive from Cinti to Mackinac in one day. 🙂

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