Posts Tagged ‘Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog’

fallI’m blessed to call Brenda Horton a friend of mine and an inspiring writer and photographer. She and her husband Ted, of Georgia Bulldog heritage, live part of their lives on Mackinac Island each summer into the fall.

You can read and see all about the beauty of this way of life on-line at:


But for today, we are just going to take a little autumn walk with my very favorite adopted dog, Bear, who lives his gifted life with mom and dad, Brenda and Ted.

All photographs are from Bree and I’ve left out many scenic ones on the walk so you will want to check out her website directly.   From there you can open to a full novel’s length choice of stories back through the years in Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog.

That is actually how we met and pretty instantly became friends. Bree was riding in the horse taxi on an early, cold morning departure date for my family from a week on the island. Well, I’m pretty apt to strike up a conversation with any writer, and sure enough I did. And I count that my lucky day. Since then, the striking stories, celebrations and history of Mackinac Island that have flowed from Bree’s keyboard have been matched only in quality by the amazing photography with which she gifts us . And both of those are topped by the personal friendship and communications we have enjoyed over the last several years.

Now for that walk with Bear, her incredible, honorable, handsome Golden, who stole my heart many years ago.

Bree’s descriptive line of her blog states…summers on beautiful, magical Mackinac Island….and I suspect autumn is “the cherry on top of it all.”  Just take a look.


“Fitness in the fall. Just take a fun little walk. I’ll lead the way.”


One must never lose their scent of curiosity! Humans need to know this.


“WHO needs a Stairstepper?  Save the money!”


Royalty, for sure.


“Just one more trail dad before we go home, huh, please?”

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Curtiss Ann's front porch chair

Order me one of those! This is author CurtissAnn Matlock’s chair. Curtiss Ann is a lot of things — vibrant woman, mother, grandmother, passionate gardener, but first and foremost, she is a writer — everyday, all days. And surely she is as she puts out book after published book with boatloads of characters, fictionalized towns and settings and puts numerous scenarios into action every day. she doesn’t spend the majority of her time in this chair — but what a luxury!

So her “just sittin'” time is pretty limited, I would guess. But I’d love to be just sittin beside her. When I saw that photo on her blog, my heart just went pitty-pat, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. We’d have only one rule between us. We would share the just sittin’ time in silence and well……….just sit!

All the other times, we are so busy in action or in our head, we don’t allow the just sittin’ experience to grace our life very often. Curtiss Ann describes the challenge, itself, to make ourselves “just sit.” And I share that with you below.

Author Brenda Ueland calls this time “moodling”. My workshop participants loved the concept and loved doing it and took it home with them as a new breast plate — a right they had that they could freely exercise without guilt.

Ueland says she used to imagine inspiration came like a lightening bolt and at once “a rapt flashing of the eyes, tossing of the hair, feverish excitement followed by the poet or artist beginning furiously to write or paint”… and that she didn’t experience anything like that.

She says it comes slowly and quietly. She says it can be dreamy time before you begin to write anything. And to know, you are going to at some time write -tell something on paper. You have to dare to be idle, for the letting in of ideas. You cannot will them in. This quiet looking and thinking is the imagination. Good ideas come from this. Big ideas come from this. Wait for them.

So she says to dare to be idle, not to be pressed and duty-driven all the time. So, here from CurtissAnn’s blog is her take  on this subject. When you connect to her website, you find many more fun and inspiring ideas to tinker with.


 Taking Time

“One day last week, by the time the sun had come up over the trees, I had gone through my morning rituals, cleaned the bathroom, started a load of laundry and set off on a bike ride. By the time I returned from the bike ride that I normally enjoy, I realized little joy had been involved. I had done it because I thought I should. I had done all I did because I thought I should, and with little thought but by habit and faint voices of generations in back of me.

Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.  ~Carl Sandburg

Yesterday afternoon–by a determined decision to look away from pages that I’d been struggling to write, the messy kitchen, the gardenia bush wanting planting, oh, and all those ragged bushes that need trimming, what would people think!– I made a glass of sweet tea and sat in the porch chair.

Then I found myself looking at email and Twitter on my phone. Purposely, and like some alcoholic with a drink, I sat the phone aside and just looked around me.

Oh, how hard it has become for me to just sit!

Sitting and praying is acceptable, sitting and studying, planning with pen and paper, writing something, reading something–all of that producing something tangible is highly valued because of production. But just sitting? Taking time to really look at the scenery around me, let my body relax, let my true self have a chance to catch her breath and begin to wonder and imagine and speak wisdom. Such a concept was not something practiced in my family growing up. Nor is it valued in today’s fast-paced striving world. Today we want to see produce from every minute.

I learned… that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.” ~Brenda Ueland

There is value in just sitting. Immense value, and if we really believed this, we would do it. The treasure we seek and need is inside, but it has to have time to come out. To be let out. We have to take time for sitting in idleness, and we have to deliberately take the time, because the world is not going to hand it to us.

Eventually yesterday I did get quiet, and my mind bubbled up with interesting thoughts on a number of things. I saw the chapter I had been working on with new insight. And I ended up later having energy, and time, to plant the gardenia.

Today I mark on my calendar: Take time to sit.”


I end Napkinwriter today with a beautiful photo from Brenda Horton taken at their summer home on Mackinac Island where she captured her husband, Ted, looking like he has not one bit of trouble “just sittin” with his dog, Maddie. 

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Bree, Sue, Devon

It is time to let my readers know about the marvelous Mackinac Island Muse. Memorial Day will be here within a few more days, school spring concerts are being performed, high school seniors have been released awaiting graduation and we, in Michigan, ………love to play!

The State of Michigan has a very high quality and popular tourist ad campaign running named, “Pure Michigan.” This year’s campaign has started out with glimpses of  our favorite island, visited by people from around the world, Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island has the blessing and good fortune — their own pot of gold at the end of an evening rainbow — of having Brenda and Ted Horton, from Georgia, own a condo on the island, fulfilling one of their own retirement dreams. At retirement, they did things “a little differently” from most people.

Their “downsize” included obtaining a condo, high on the island to benefit from the cool breezes, warm days, and “cooled-down” timeclock from their previous professional lives. Include lots of island land and landmarks, though not owned, they could call their own in their daily hikes and dog walks across the land and on the trails.

When they became “empty-nesters”, the island population fell in love with them, and became their own extended family, (with distant cousins checking in from far and wide who have been on Mackinac Island and miss it, and ones who just enjoy the way Bree helps them experience it)  through Brenda’s blog: Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog.  She posts frequently her experiences of the day and her posts carry the exciting energy of “new day – new opportunity”.

Bree has an enchanting blog with her words and her magic camera puts the wow factor up front. Many readers, on and off the island, start the day with her blog and a hot cup of coffee, or finish the day by viewing it and enjoying a cold iced-tea. I’ve not yet seen a blog that has so many responses as she regularly gets to any one of her posts. She is very well read and enjoyed.

You will be able to mark her blog a favorite and have your own virtual vacation on Mackinac Island all summer long.  You will find it a charming break in your day which may seem ordinary. But after a blog or two, you will feel refreshed and I guarantee that you will be more apt to recognize the blessings around you this very day.

Our family, kids and grandkids have had wonderful week-long vacations in June at Dufina Cottage, just up the hill and behind the Grand Hotel. We met Bree on the horse carriage taxi that came to take us to the Arnold Ferry Dock when we were leaving two years ago.

That day, Bree was riding with the taxi-driver and blogging with guests who were being taken around the (car-less) island. She blogged about us. I started following her writing and photography right after that. After you have visited the island, had your fun there, you kind of wonder what you’re missing after you’ve left. So you can easily check in and there will always be a topic of interest and photos to almost meditate to.

The following year, our granddaughter Devon Warriner , at age 15, had just published her first book, “Get Over It”, a teen story set on Mackinac Island with fictional characters but realistic island terrain, business places and tourist activities.  Jill, at The Island Book Store, arranged an author signing event for Devon and Bree came over to Dufina and interviewed Devon on the writing of her book.  We will be leaving for Mackinac Island in just about four weeks, and this year, the family gets to celebrate the wedding of Tom’s sister and her groom, at the Gazebo that was filmed in “Lost in Time” with Christopher Reeves.

In the meantime, Ted will probably be either enjoying his coffee on the front porch of their condo or be at the Museum, proudly conversing and offering historical facts of the island’s majestic background, layout of the land, and whatever else he can help with. Occasionally, he will be interrupted by someone who comes up to him and says, “You don’t know me, but I’m a friend of Bree’s…….” and he nods and says, “Yes, she has an awful lot of those around here.”


This is the blog about our taxi – ride and meeting Bree for the first time.

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