Farewell to 2015 12/27/2015

Just a quick note to say I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!   It was so much fun having our whole family here, and Ted and I will take the last one to leave – Blake – to the airport Monday morning for an early flight out of Daytona Beach.  The house will sure seem empty after all the laughter we’ve shared these last few days.

I’m giving myself another week’s “vacation” from blogging  (when you’re a blogger you get to declare vacations whenever you like – I love that)!  But I’ll be back next Sunday night – January 3, 2016.

As usual, the beginning of a new year will bring some changes in the blog, so stay tuned for that!

Have a wonderful, fun, and safe New Year’s Eve.  Our great neighbors, Todd and Brandi, are having a party that night, so we’ll be celebrating right here in Sunset Inlet.  Love it when you can just walk home from a party!

See you next Sunday with lots of news from . . . . everywhere!

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Trying out a Christmas gift – a selfie stick!  I obviously didn’t get the “sunglasses required” memo.

Mackinac Week! 11/29/15

Oh. My. Goodness!  Did everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving week?!  We sure did!

Jason and his girlfriend Jennifer spent the whole week with us, which couldn't have made this mom more happy!

Jason and his girlfriend Jennifer spent the whole week with us, which couldn’t have made this mom more happy!  We laughed a lot, ate a lot, chatted a lot . . . and just in general had a great week together!

On Thanksgiving, we had 13 gathered around our table. Matt (our son-in-law), Matthew (grandson), Matt's parent Carolyn and Jack, and Matt's brother (John) and his family joined us for turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings!

On Thanksgiving we had 13 gathered around our table. Matt (our son-in-law), Matthew (grandson), Matt’s parents Carolyn and Jack, and Matt’s brother (John), his wife Debra, and their three daughters joined us for turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings!

Missing were Julie and Jordan, who flew out Thanksgiving morning for New York City to celebrate Jordan's 16th birthday in December. Their Thanksgiving dinner was something Turkish from a street vendor.

Missing were Julie and Jordan, who flew out Thanksgiving morning for New York City to celebrate Jordan’s 16th birthday coming up in December. Their Thanksgiving dinner was something Turkish from a street vendor.

Bright and early Friday morning Ted and I spotted both Julie and Jordan on the plaza at the Today Show, and Jordan had her photo made with Dylan Dreyer.

Bright and early Friday morning Ted and I spotted both Julie and Jordan on the plaza at the Today Show, and Jordan had her photo made with Today Show weather girl Dylan Dreyer.

Also missing was Blake, who spent Thanksgiving with friends in Ft. Collins. Blake is back there working as a recruiter with ELIC. He'll be home for Christmas!

Also missing was Blake (that’s him on the left in white shirt), who spent Thanksgiving with friends in Ft. Collins. Blake is back there working as a recruiter with ELIC. He’ll be home for Christmas!

All in all, just a wonderful day!  Of course, we all ate too much, but hey – it was Thanksgiving!

Jason and Jennifer flew home on Friday, and Ted and I have spent the rest of the weekend decorating for Christmas.

I've never had a staircase to "deck" before, and this year I was ready to give it a try. I used a pre-lit garland from Target and added my own accents from Michael's.

I’ve never had a staircase to “deck” before, and this year I was ready to give it a try. I used a pre-lit garland from Target and added my own accents from Michael’s (red birds, red pears, pinecones, etc.).

I added the same accents to our pre-lit wreath on the front door . . .

I added the same accents to our pre-lit wreath on the front door . . .

. . . and for the first time ever, we used net lights over the shrubbery and accented our magnolia tree with white lights.

. . . and for the first time ever, we used net lights over the shrubbery and accented our magnolia tree with white lights.

Another first! We rimmed the second floor deck with lights . . .

Another first! We rimmed the second floor deck with lights . . .

. . . and used icicle lights on the skywalk railings.

. . . and used icicle lights on the skywalk railings.

We thought it all turned out pretty good!

We thought it all turned out pretty good!

Tomorrow we’ll (hopefully) get our Christmas tree(s) up, and we’ll have the whole month of December to enjoy the fruits of our labor!

Now here it is Sunday evening, and my thoughts are turning toward Mackinac.

Even though Mackinac has received a few very brief snowfalls (this is the school yard in a photo by Reaiah Ervin), the long-range forecast is calling for nothing but moderate temps and clear skies. I guess my prayers for a snowy Christmas Bazaar will be answered with a "no" this time, but that's ok. Just getting to go to Mackinac during December is a blessing, and - snow or not - I'm going to have a great time meeting friends, doing some writing and photography for Original Murdick's Fudge, and sharing it all with each of you!

Even though Mackinac has received a few very brief snowfalls (this is the school yard in a photo by Reaiah Ervin), the long-range forecast is calling for nothing but moderate temps and clear skies. I guess my prayers for a snowy Christmas Bazaar will be answered with a “no” this time, but that’s ok. Just getting to go to Mackinac during December is a blessing, and – snow or not – I’m going to have a great time doing some writing and photography for Original Murdick’s Fudge, visiting with friends, and sharing it all with each of you!

My flight leaves Daytona Beach at 7:20 Thursday morning, and I’m due to arrive in Pellston, MI at 3:05 that afternoon.  The last ferry to the island leaves St. Ignace at 4:00 p.m.  If I make that ferry, it’s going to be a miracle.  No worries though.  I’ll either fly over or spend the night with Sue in Harbor Springs (thank you, Sue, for the invite)!

Here’s the plan.  I’ll be blogging from my iPhone for much of this trip, so I plan to be chatting with all of you 3-4 times a day.  I won’t be able to change the header photo from my phone, so please just go by your alerts that a new post is up – NOT by a new header photo!

I’m excited to try blogging in a different way for this trip, and I hope you’re all going to get a kick out of it also.  So . . . . meet me at the airport on Thursday morning at 7:20, and let’s all go to Mackinac!

God bless.

 

Thanksgiving Week – Here It Comes! 11/23/15

Hi Everyone!

I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to get to blog tonight.  It’s been an incredibly busy day!

We had a surprise birthday party for Ernie Sund, a neighbor here in Sunset Inlet this afternoon.

We had a surprise birthday party for Ernie Sund, a neighbor here in Sunset Inlet this afternoon.  Hmmm . . . should I tell his age?  Will he still speak to me if I do?  I think I’ll chance it – Ernie turned a hale and hearty 75 today.  Happy Birthday, Ernie!

I left in the middle of the party to drive down to Daytona Beach to pick up Jason and his girlfriend Jennifer who flew in for Thanksgiving.  What fun we’ve had with them tonight . . . eating dinner, chatting, and watching movies.

Now – it’s 11:50 p.m. and instead of being sleepy and wanting to crawl into bed, I’m wired and can’t close my eyes.  So, I’m getting to blog after all!

Guess what they got in Michigan this week?

SNOW! No, this isn't Mackinac. It's the front yard of good friends Lowell and Faye. They got something like 12 inches of the white stuff!

SNOW! No, this isn’t Mackinac. It’s the front yard of good friends Lowell and Faye who live in Olivet. They got something like 12 inches of the white stuff on Saturday!  And Lowell got out and shoveled, which I expressly asked him NOT to do.  Sigh.

Mackinac only received a little powder here and there, and the weather forecast is calling for a warm-up before Thanksgiving. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

Mackinac only received a little powder here and there, and the weather forecast is calling for a warm-up before Thanksgiving. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

What Mackinac has had plenty of is rough seas and wind. This photo by Bruce LaPine shows huge waves breaking over the east breakwall.

What Mackinac did have this week were rough seas and wind. This photo by Bruce LaPine shows huge waves breaking over the east breakwall.

The island just keeps on awakening to the glory of God's artwork, and Bobby Lee just keeps on capturing it from his spot aboard the Mighty Huron.

The island just keeps on awakening to the glory of God’s artwork, and Bobby Lee just keeps on capturing it.

I got an incredible number of return comments from the blog posting from my iPhone, so I think my trip to Mackinac is going to be so much more fun as far as bringing you along.  Instead of having to wait until I get back to the motel to write and post photos, I’ll be able to “post as I go”.  The only thing I can’t do is add new “header” pics to each post from my phone.  I’ll talk more about all that in the next post.

Ted and I are so excited that this year we’ll be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our place for 16 friends and relatives!  Even though Julie and Jordan will be in New York (celebrating Jordan’s 16th birthday), and Blake is spending Thanksgiving with friends in Colorado, we’ve still managed to come up with quite a crowd to sit down around the table.  We have so much to be thankful for, and when we say grace that day, all of you will be in my thoughts.  You have blessed me over the years far more than I could possibly express in words.  I am so thankful for each of you.

Have a wonderful holiday week.  Overeat, watch a lot of football, get out and play in the sand/water/snow/mud/grass (whichever fits), hug your family tight, and remember we can always lose all the weight we’ll gain on Thursday before Christmas – when we’ll do it all over again!

Love y’all and God bless.

Note:  Thank you, Greg Main, for the incredible header photo!

 

Florida, Mackinac – and Thoughts on Paris 11/15/15

Hi Everyone!

We’ve had a busy week, but that’s pretty normal at the Horton house.  All my blood work came back normal from my annual physical – except for a little cholesterol elevation (no meds prescribed, just a supplement) – and I have a neck MRI scheduled Tuesday to see if they can figure out what’s been causing years of chronic neck pain (something I’ve put off as long as I can).  Volunteer work continues to be a high point in my week’s activities – especially at the Humane Society.  This week they gave me a list of almost 20 stray cats to be photographed – recently brought in and not even ready for adoption yet (still in the “being held to see if they are claimed” cattery).  Each has to be photographed though – for computer records and eventually website and newspaper “mug” shots.

My favorite kitty from the Flagler Humane Society this week. Meet Shelton, a 2-year-old male who just cracked me up with his antics. He posed like he'd been doing it all his life!

My favorite kitty from the stray list at the Flagler Humane Society this week. Meet Shelton, a 2-year-old male who just cracked me up with his antics. He posed like he’d been doing it all his life!  Surely someone will claim this baby – if not his owner, then hopefully a lucky family will adopt him.

The annual 72-Mile Yard Sale that runs along scenic A1A (the beach highway) was this weekend.  Ted and I and three other couples set up on the grass by the highway in front of our subdivision.  We enjoyed a great day of getting rid of stuff that had been clogging closets and cabinets ever since moving down here.  Very successful for everyone involved!

We finally got a break in the hot weather this weekend! The winds kicked up and by Saturday morning we were comfortable foregoing the air conditioning inside at the Java Joint and enjoying breakfast outside on the deck.

We finally got a break in the hot weather this weekend! The winds kicked up Thursday, and by Saturday morning we were comfortable foregoing the air conditioning inside Java Joint and enjoying breakfast outside on the deck.

Cooler weather means a happier Bear - so happy unfortunately that his increased activity resulted in what we hope is only a pulled muscle.

Cooler weather means a happier Bear – so happy unfortunately that his increased activity resulted in what we hope is only a pulled muscle.

He woke up limping this morning, favoring the same leg he had surgery on. He wasn't a happy boy when I wouldn't let him go out and chase golf balls in the parking lot this afternoon. Going to rest it a few days and see what happens.

He woke up limping this morning, favoring the same leg he had surgery on. He wasn’t a happy boy when I wouldn’t let him go out and chase golf balls in the parking lot this afternoon. Going to rest it a few days and see what happens.

On Mackinac, the weather is beginning to feel more like winter. There were even a few snow flurries this week, but nothing stuck to the ground. I'm still praying for snow for Christmas Bazaar!

On Mackinac, the weather is beginning to feel more like winter. There were even a few snow flurries this week, but nothing stuck to the ground. I’m still praying for snow for Christmas Bazaar, but plan to have a mah-ve-lous time whether the white stuff flies or not!  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Bobby Lee is a new friend on Facebook who spends his days on Arnold ferries making the crossing to the island. He takes incredible photographs, and I'm so thankful he's allowing me to share them.

Bobby Lee is a new friend on Facebook who spends his days on Arnold ferries making the crossing to the island. He takes incredible photographs, and I’m so thankful he’s allowing me to share them.

Personal Note:  It was after 10 o’clock Friday night when I turned on my phone and saw a text from Jill about the Paris attacks.  We’d been busy all afternoon and evening getting ready for the yard sale, and the TV hadn’t been on all day or night.  I immediately thought of Steve and Orietta, friends of ours from Mackinac who were spending a month in Paris after walking the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle St. James in northwestern Spain.  Thank goodness, my fright was instantly taken away when I read Jill’s next words: “Steve and Orietta are all right, but they can hear sirens from where they are.”

Over the next few hours we also learned three other Michigan friends were in Paris, and they were also ok.  Those three were hunkered down in their hotel rooms, wondering if they’d be allowed to catch their flight out the next day (they did).  Steve and Orietta remain there, although they may decide to come home earlier than their planned Dec. 1 flight.

Even though our weekend has been full – yard sale on Saturday, dinner out with friends Saturday night, Sunday activities – the events in Paris have been a constant on my mind.  It hurts my heart to think how much hatred is in the world and how much violence is being used to show that hatred. 

Alan Paton, who wrote Cry, the Beloved Country said, “There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.” 

Let’s all challenge each other this week to treat others as we would like to be treated.  If everyone chose to follow this one simple rule, we would almost certainly live in a much different world.

Our prayers go out to France and to every other corner of the world where people are being killed or tormented in any form. I know that God hears our every prayer. And I know He is the only answer.

Our prayers go out to France and to every other corner of the world where people are being killed or tormented in any form. I know that God hears our every prayer. And I know He is the only answer. (Photo: Bobby Lee)

Enough Already! 11/8/15

I love both of my volunteer jobs – each for different reasons.  At the Flagler Humane Society I snuggle with, pet, and photograph kitties to my heart’s content.  At Florida Hospital Flagler my ER buddy and I keep 31 ER rooms stocked with gowns, sheets, pads, washcloths, hand towels, blood pressure cuffs, heart monitor “stickies”, specimen cups, socks, Kleenex, gloves, etc.  Occasionally we’ll wheel patients to their rooms or deliver them to their cars when they’re discharged.  We provide chilly folks blankets straight from the warmer and do any other chores we’re asked to do by the nurses or administration.

While I’m mostly working alone at the Humane Society, at the hospital I work with a great group of displaced Northerners from New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.  Mike, who is my volunteer buddy in the ER, is the only true Floridian in the bunch.  The rest moved down here years ago to get away from the harsh Northern winters.  They LOVE Florida’s weather and are quite vocal during our breaks when I start talking about going to Mackinac in December.  They usually look at me aghast and shake their heads, wondering – I’m sure – why anyone in her right mind would voluntarily go north in the wintertime.

But – when we settled into our chairs around the break table in the cafeteria last Thursday (each of us bringing coffee or soft drinks and one of the fabulous muffins left over at breakfast and offered free on the food line to us volunteers), I distinctly heard one of my Northern friends say – quite loudly – “Enough already!”

“Enough of what, Mary,?” I asked.

“This hot weather!” she said adamantly.  “I moved down here for the warm weather, but almost 90 in November is ridiculous!”

I soooo agree!

By this time last year, we were in the 60’s during the day and having some 50’s at night.  We’re still in the 70’s at night, and I don’t even want to talk about the daytime (ok, I will talk about it – it reached 90 here one day last week).  It might as well be July!  The nor’easter that was supposed to blow in this weekend, lowering temps and bringing rain, must have made a U-turn somewhere and become a sou’wester.  No rain.  No lower temps.  Just hot, with tons of humidity mixed in.

Enough already!

It's hard to believe that a year ago this week Ted and I closed on our house and moved in with just a blow-up bed and two beach chairs. We made do for almost a week until our furniture arrived from Georgia.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago this week Ted and I closed on our house and moved in with just a blow-up bed, two beach chairs and a coffeemaker.

We made do for almost a week until our furniture arrived from Georgia.

We made do for almost a week until our furniture arrived from Georgia.  It was quite the adventure, and we loved every minute of it.  Well, except that first morning when we discovered we’d brought the coffeemaker but no coffee.

Over the last year we've sometimes wondered if we'd ever feel we weren't living in a construction zone. But one night this week, as I was turning down our street from a dog walk, I noticed that - for the last few houses on our block at least - we were almost looking

Over the last year we’ve sometimes wondered if we’d ever feel we weren’t living in a construction zone. But one night this week, as I turned down our street from a dog walk, I noticed that – for the last few houses on our block at least – we are almost looking “finished”.

Our little house looks all snuggled in and protected by those big guys on either size.

Our little house looks all snuggled in and protected by those big guys on either side..

Weather on Mackinac Island has been unnaturally warm also for November.  They’ve had some pretty gusty November winds a few times, but so far the really cold stuff hasn’t shown up – and snow hasn’t even been mentioned in a forecast.  I’m beginning to think my Christmas Bazaar visit the first weekend in December may be snowless.

A scene from Market Street by the folks at Metivier Inn. November is probably the slowest month of the year on Mackinac. A lot of the men are off-island at hunting camps, and many women are off the island visiting friends and family. It's a relaxed month after the super busy summer season.

A scene from Market Street by the folks at Metivier Inn. November is probably the slowest month of the year on Mackinac. A lot of the men are off-island at hunting camps, and many women are off the island visiting friends and family. It’s truly a time for relaxation – after the super busy summer season.

While Mackinac remains snowless for now, the island has hosted some rainy days and nights . . .

While Mackinac remains snowless for now, the island has hosted some rainy days and nights (Photo: Greg Main) . . .

. . . mornings when fog rolled up from Lake Huron to tickle Fort Mackinac's ramparts (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

. . . mornings when fog rolled up from Lake Huron to tickle Fort Mackinac’s ramparts (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

. . . blustery days when a ferry ride should have included sea sick pills (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

. . . blustery days when a ferry ride might have included some sea sick pills (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

. . . and one morning when there was just a hint of frost on the rooftops at Mission Point. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

. . . and one morning when there was just a hint of frost on the rooftops at Mission Point. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

For the most part though, November has been a beautiful continuation of October. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

For the most part though, November has been a beautiful continuation of October. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

And the sunsets continue to dazzle. (Photo: Greg Main)

And the sunsets continue to dazzle. (Photo: Greg Main)

It’s strange to me how slowly October passed this year and how rapidly November seems to be flying by.  Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and the week after that I’ll be heading north.  I sometimes wonder if the love and passion I feel for my time on Mackinac will ever change, but I can’t really imagine that happening.  In Joan Chittister’s wonderful book, The Gift of Years, she writes that “the beauty of the later years is that if we have learned through life to trust our own insights at least as much as we trust the insights we have been taught, we find ourselves at the end of a very long life with a very young soul.”  For me, returning to Mackinac turns on my “young soul” so quickly I’m almost dizzy with it when my foot touches down on the ferry dock.  I know many of you feel exactly the same way.

Thanks to everyone last week who added a comment about what you were up to in October.  I so enjoyed reading every one, and I know everyone else did too.

See you back here soon!

God bless.

Goodbye October. Hello November! 11/1/2015

Hi Everyone!

Oh my gosh!  This has been the LONGEST month!

I have to admit I’ve enjoyed my vacation from writing this month, but for the last week or so I’ve looked at the calendar more than once to see how many days of my self-imposed “writing vacation” was left.  I’m glad it’s over . . . because I sure have missed sharing and hearing from all of you!

If we’re friends on Facebook, some of what I’m about to share will be repetitive, but maybe there will be enough new stuff to keep you interested.

SUNSET INLET

Home sweet home.  So happy to report that – after exactly one year (as of October 31) – we are truly settled in.  I don’t know if Florida will ever be my favorite place to live, but two things are really beginning to make it feel like home.  First – wonderful new friends! While we were in Michigan, Sunset Inlet really filled up, as houses were finished and people moved into the neighborhood.  We spent our first week back meeting new neighbors and getting reacquainted with the ones who were already here when we left.

We've been doing fun things with new friends this month - like going to the Creekside Fair and spending a day recently in St. Augustine. Of course, any trip includes food!

We’ve been doing fun things with friends this month – like going to the Creekside Festival and spending a day recently in St. Augustine. Of course, any trip includes food!

At the Creekside Festival. This is the closest Ted will ever be to riding a horse!

At the Creekside Festival. This is the closest Ted will ever get to riding a horse!

The other thing is our home.  The longer we live in it, the more we’re making it ours.  Decorators are wonderful, and mine is the best . . . BUT!  After the decorator has come and gone, it’s all the little things you add that make a house a home.  That’s the fun part, and I love doing it.  Of course, Ted says if I bring home one more “throw” pillow he’s going to place a moratorium on his credit cards.  But that’s ok . . . I have my own.

I have such a thing about pillows. If I could get away with it, there'd be one or two is every chair in - or out- of the house!

I have such a thing about pillows. If I could get away with it, there’d be one or two in every chair in – or out- of the house!

The weather has been HOT (Ted would say warm – I say HOT) and muggy since we’ve been back.  We had a nor’easter blow in right after we arrived, with winds around 30 mph for three days straight.  THOSE days were cooler because of the constant wind.  I’m hoping the first week in November will see a cool down that lasts AND less humidity!

Even though the weather hasn’t been fall-like yet, I can’t say enough about the beauty of our surroundings.

While on an early morning beach walk with the dogs we got to watch God paint the sunrise. Brush strokes of sunlight crept into the dark sky - separating Heaven and earth for another day.

While on an early morning beach walk with the dogs we got to watch God paint the sunrise with brushstrokes of light – separating Heaven and earth for another day.

I had to pull over one morning as I drove to my volunteer job in the ER at the hospital to take a pic of this rainstorm on the horizon. What my phone camera couldn't pick up were the shrimp boats - one directly under the rain and the other directly under the brightest part of the sun.

I pulled over one morning, as I drove to my volunteer job in the hospital ER, to take a pic of this rainstorm on the horizon. What my phone camera couldn’t pick up were the shrimp boats – one directly under the rain and the other directly under the brightest part of the sunlight.

Our beach on a day when the surf was up. (Photo by Ted)

Our beach at almost high tide. (Photo by Ted)

A very vivid sun dog over our marina recently.

A very vivid sun dog over our marina recently.

The sleepy streets of Flagler Beach after sundown.

The sleepy streets of Flagler Beach after sundown.

And oh, those sunsets!

And oh, those sunsets!

View from our skywalk with the Flagler Bridge in the background.

View from our skywalk with the Flagler Bridge in the background.

Our walk this morning at sunrise.

Our walk this morning at sunrise.

Ted and I have both jumped back into our volunteer jobs.  For me that means the ER and the Flagler Humane Society.  After being gone for 2 1/2 months I was faced with almost all new faces in the cattery (although a few of our ‘regulars’ were still there – mostly our sweet little black cats).

fffff

This beautiful 12-year-old female really caught my heart.  Another sad tale of an elderly owner passing away and no one in the family willing to take this old girl.  Her name is Kitty Kitty.

MACKINAC ISLAND

What can I say?  I miss Mackinac, and miss it even more knowing we left just as “leaf” season was cranking up.  But, thanks to friends who were there and shared, we get to enjoy the beauty of Fall on the island through their photographs.

The sun and the Round Island Passage Light by Bobby Lee.

The sun and the Round Island Passage Light – in the wake of the ferry.  (Photo: Bobby Lee)

The Peace Garden sculpture against brilliant fall foliage. (Photo: Bruce LaPine)

The Peace Garden sculpture against brilliant fall foliage. (Photo: Bruce LaPine)

A peak through a Fort Mackinac window. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A peek through a Fort Mackinac gun port. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

I don't think I took a single photo of the Mission Point Resort gazebo this summer - no idea why not. Thank you, Jackson Pearson!

I don’t think I took a single photo of the Mission Point Resort gazebo this summer – no idea why not. Thank you, Jackson Pearson!

From a photographer for Joanne's Fudge: Another group of horses leaving for winter pastures in the U.P.

From a photographer for Joann’s Fudge: Another group of horses leaving for winter pastures in the U.P.

A peaceful Arnold dock. (Photo: Steve Fridley)

A peaceful Arnold dock. (Photo: Steve Fridley)

Colors, colors, colors. (Photo: Steven Blair)

Colors, colors, colors. (Photo: Steven Blair)

Same fort - different angle. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Same fort – different angle. (Photo: Kate Rise)

A view upward. (Photo: Steven Blair)

A view upward. (Photo: Steven Blair)

Rifle Range Trail. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Rifle Range Trail, with the newly reconstructed Fort Holmes in the background. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

I love everything about this photograph by Jackson Pearson. Horses going to rest, fall colors, a peaceful Market Street, even a street sweeper following along behind the horses!

I love everything about this photograph by Jackson Pearson. Horses going to the ferry, fall colors, a peaceful Market Street, bikes at the post office, the fort on the hill – even a street sweeper following along behind the horses!

A splendid photo of the sidewalk in front of Destination Mackinac and the Chippewa Hotel. (Photo: Kate Rise)

A splendid photo of the Fall-decorated sidewalk in front of Destination Mackinac and the Chippewa Hotel. (Photo: Kate Rise)

For the first time ever, Grand Hotel celebrated Halloween with a special weekend event. Wow! Would have LOVED being there for this!

For the first time ever, Grand Hotel celebrated Halloween with a weekend event – complete with special lighting. Wow! Would have LOVED being there for this!

BIG MACKINAC NEWS!

Guess who’s going to the Mackinac Christmas Bazaar the first weekend in December?!  Do you see me jumping up and down waving both arms in the air??

It’s true, it’s true! Original Murdick’s Fudge has asked me to come up to write about how they open for three weeks in December to make the fudge that goes out all over the country for on-line orders.  Instead of a complete summer crew, it’s all done by just a few special Christmas elves.  It’s going to be a great story, and I can’t wait to share it!  Ted is staying home for this trip – he is never going to be a cold-weather person.  Bear and Maddie were very happy to hear a pet sitter was not in their near future!

Ok . . . I know it’s a frivolous thing to add to your prayer list . . . but it sure would be nice if there was lots and lots of fluffy white SNOW during that weekend!!!  I’ll be flying up on Thursday, Dec. 3 and returning to Florida on Monday, Dec. 7.  So EXCITED!!

And here's where I'll be - good Lord willing - on Friday night, Dec. 4. Can't wait to stand right there for the lighting of the Mackinac Island Christmas tree - right smack dab in the middle of Main Street!

And here’s where I’ll be – good Lord willing – on Friday night, Dec. 4. Can’t wait to stand right there for the lighting of the Mackinac Island Christmas tree – right smack dab in the middle of Main Street!  See that snow on the ground?  This is last year – thanks, Nicole Doud, for sharing this photo!

BRAGGING RIGHTS

From Mackinac back to Florida! Our 13-year-old Matthew doing some serious surfing a few weeks ago!

From Mackinac back to Florida! Our 13-year-old Matthew doing some serious surfing a few weeks ago!

I think that about catches you up on what’s been happening with the Hortons.  Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and our list of guests for dinner is growing each day – which makes us so happy.

Notes:  I’ll be keeping the Mackinac Island blog open until after my December trip, then I’ll close it down until we return next July.

So . . . .  what have y’all been up to????  Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone reading this did a little one-paragraph version of what you and yours have been up to in October?  Happy events, prayer requests – whatever you want to share.

Ok- see you back here in a few days – or a week – or whenever I’ve got something to share.

Have a GREAT week.  I’ve missed you all!  God bless.

Settling In At Home! 10/4/15

Hi Everyone!

Just a note to let you know we are safely back in Florida, unpacked, and settling in.  We had a good trip to Florida with no problems of any kind.  Thank you so much for every safe travel prayer that you lifted.  We felt them all the way home.

We are so fortunate to be able to come home to beautiful Sunset Inlet! (Photo: Missy Freedman)

So happy to be back at Sunset Inlet! (Photo: Missy Freedman)

I’m going to take a little vacation from blogging for the month of October.  There is so much to do this month.  I’ve got to have some health concerns looked into (neck issues), start back volunteering, meet new neighbors, and just get all nestled back into our Florida home for the winter.  I’ll be back the first part of November, with news from both Florida AND Mackinac Island.

Speaking of Mackinac . . .

The day after we left the island, the temps dropped, the winds started to get crazy, and the ferry trip got a lot more exciting!

The day after we left the island the temps dropped, the winds started to get crazy, and the ferry trip got a lot more exciting! (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

We sure hate that we’re missing October on Mackinac – my favorite month on the island.  I know the trees are turning all shades of red, yellow, and brown, and oh my gosh I love walking through the woods there in the fall.

But – good news!  I’m pretty sure next summer we will be on Mackinac for three whole months, and that is going to be awesome!!

Prayer Request

When Jill left Mackinac a few days before we did, she was going home to join her mom and her brothers in caring for her dad.  Ken had been diagnosed with cancer a few weeks earlier; but treatment was being planned, and Jill thought she’d be back on the island in a few days.

Sadly, Jill’s dad took a turn for the worse and passed away on Friday afternoon.  His services will be Tuesday morning in Lansing.

In October of 2012, Jill and I left the island to go meet Lowell and Faye Greene for the first time.  We spent the night with Jill’s parents, Ken and Joanne, at their beautiful home in Lansing, before leaving the next morning for our trip to Lowell’s.

From the moment I walked into their living room, the warmth and love of this gracious couple embraced me.  Sitting down at the breakfast table with them for coffee the next morning was like having a chat with my own mom and dad.  They accepted me into their hearts and home – and made me feel like family.

Jill and her parents in October of 2012.

Jill and her parents in October of 2012.

I know Jill, Joanne, and Jill’s two brothers, Mark and Eric, would appreciate your prayers in the coming days.

Jill and Joanne, I wish my arms were long enough to reach you in Michigan. Please know – in spirit – you’ve been wrapped up in huge hugs from Ted and I since Friday.  We love you both – so much.  ______________________________________________________________________

See you back here in November – and God bless.