July 28, 2008

Pictures From the Island

We left home at 4:30am and arrived in Leland just before 9am. The night before, Tony was unable to sleep and I only slept for about three hours. The boat left the dock shortly after 10am and we were on our way.

The boat leaving the main land. No turning back now.

We made it to the island! This is the line of people unloading all of the packs.

We have all of our gear and are ready to go.

Tony is full of energy and excited to get started.

Camp for the first night. We had just finished breakfast and were preparing to tear down.

At this camp site we spotted a few eagles and a deer. Along the trails, there were numerous chipmunks and snakes. The island has an abundance of wildlife.

View from our camp on the first night. The waves were dangerously high and the beach was full of rocks. We had to make the climb up and down the dune twice to refill our water bottles.
This is on the west side of the island. We were hoping to watch the sunset, but the clouds were too thick and there was nothing to see.

Hiking day number two.

This is the beach we went swimming in. This picture is unable to capture the beauty of the beach. The water was crystal clear and refreshing to be in.
Unfortunately, there were an insane amount of flies so we tore down camp and kept hiking back to the ranger station.

This is the cemetery. The last person buried there was in 1988.

Starting the last stretch of the hike.

Resting. We are nearing the end of our 15 mile hike and Tony is exhausted.

This is one of the many historical buildings on the island from when people use to live on the island. Because they are unmaintained, you can not enter the buildings.

Camp site number 3, night number 2.

Leaving the island.

Back at the main land.

Unfortunately, the pictures were unable to fully capture the beauty of the island and the amazing sites we enjoyed. This trip was great. There were a few disappointments, but I would go again any day.

While we were there an elderly man that was on the northwest side of the island had seizures and had to be flown off of the island. We saw the helicopter flying over the island and knew something was wrong. It took eight hours for the search and rescue.

Also on the trip, a man named Fritz was quite comical. We happened to sit next to him on the boat ride home and he had quite the story. He also camped at Sleeping Bear Dunes and lost most of his belongings, then proceeded to walk nearly nine miles bare foot.

Once we arrived back on the main land, we walked to our vehicle and went to a restaurant to get some comfort food. We were on the road by 2:30pm and arrived home at 6:30pm fully worn out.

July 27, 2008

We Made It

After two grueling days on North Manitou Island, we are home. We made it there and back safely, walking a total of 15 miles and driving nearly ten hours.

We are tired and sore. We had a great time and saw a lot of amazing things. Hopefully I will post pictures and details later.

For now, I am going to shower and head to bed, my nice, comfortable bed.

Some highlights:

- Swimming in the pristine water of Lake Michigan
- BBQ chicken after a taxing nine mile hike
- Waking up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore
- Spotting dear, eagles, and other wildlife

July 20, 2008

Picture Overload

I started going through some pictures hoping to find some that would fill the frames we recently purchased at a yard sale. After looking through thousands, I still have thousands more that I could look at. I found a couple for the frames, but many stirred my memory and I thought I would post with some of our pictures from the past.

This one is from our last day at O.V.C.C.

The view from "our spot" at the lake. We have hundreds of pictures at the beach.

Why do all children have to grow up?

Spending some time at the park

Helping out at my grandparents' in the sugar shack.

My grandma Clements

One of our many days spent at the beach

Hiking with my brother

The corsica, our first car that we purchased for $500.

The tempo - post accident
Fourth of July in front of the Amazon.

Goin' fishin with Blake and Ashley

We spent a lot of time and money at Wesco - notice the price of gas.

Daniel's concept for a stage in the new FLC

After a long night of painting, Tony and Daniel pose for the camera.

It is starting to look like a stage.

There were several people that spent long hours finishing the FLC renovation.

Broderick and "grandpa Gene"

Beth and Julie - slumber party #1

Joe and Nicole at Great Wolf Lodge

View from our window after a blizzard.

On our honeymoon - on a helicopter over Niagra Falls.



Our second trip to Chicago - view from our hotel room

Bed and Breakfast we stayed in for our 2nd anniversary. We had the cottage all to ourselves.

The Petty clan in Arkansas

Our first day on the cruise

That is all for now... they were completely random. I have tons left to look through, so there may be another random picture post in the near future.

July 18, 2008

My Mom

One year ago I was not talking to my mom, and even though I wanted to find a way to fix things, I doubted that we would ever mend the wounds that we had created. After years and years of fighting and hurting, we had said and done too much to ever find peace. I was sure of it. I was ready and prepared to cut her out of my life completely.

Fortunately, things do not always happen the way we expect. Life, if you give it a chance, will surprise you.

Now, we talk nearly everyday. The anger that I had bottled up and wanted to spew at her is gone. We are able to gracefully let each other know when our feelings are hurt, without expecting change. I share more with my mom than with almost anyone else. She knows what I am going through, what I am up to, how I am feeling, and so much more.

She isn't perfect; she even still does things that annoy me, and I am sure I irritate her as well at times.

But we are able to spend time together and not fight. We can talk and not argue. We can share feelings and opinions without judging and criticizing.

***one ruined parental relationship down, at least one more to go***

July 12, 2008

The Beach

Tony and I love the beach. We always have and probably always will. Any day that we get to spend at Lake Michigan, enjoying the waves and soaking in the sun, is a good day.

Today was one of those days. We spent a good amount of time with my mom at her pool. For lunch we made brats that we bought from Creswick Farms and a nice salad. After relaxing we all made our way to Lake Michigan. The waves were decent and the temperature was great.

On the way home, we noticed the beautiful sunset as we made the drive along Maple Island. We even stopped to take some pictures, but the lighting made it impossible to capture. As we sped along the highway, we watched the beautiful purples and pinks fade into the darkness.

Yes, today certainly was a good day.

July 10, 2008

North Manitou Island

Three years ago Tony and I tried to go back country camping on North Manitou Island. We had all of our gear ready, our bags packed, and were making one last stop before taking off. Unfortunately, an unlicensed driver decided to run a red light and our car crashed violently into his. Needless to say, this put an end to our trip before we really started.

Each summer since has had its own reason why we either were unable or unwilling to go. As a last minute decision we are going to be trying to make it this summer. We have most of the gear from when we tried to go the first time, so the cost is fairly minimal. My back is doing pretty well so I feel up to it. In addition, Tony will be carrying the heavy pack and I will be carrying a very minimal amount of weight. We will hike as little or as much as I feel able.

While it isn't a six month cross country trip in a motor home, it is an adventure- one that we both desperately want to take. Who knows if we will ever make it on the motor home trip. Who knows what we will be doing next. But right now, in this moment, we are trying to enjoy the life we have and that involves taking risks.

So hopefully I will be updating in a few weeks about our fun adventure with some amazing pictures and there will be no accidents or terrible breakdowns to report.

July 06, 2008

Bike Ride

Tonight, Tony and I went for a three mile bike ride. We rode into down town and ate at Jimmy John's since they were the only place that was open. It felt great to be able to go without any pain.

The last time I tried to go for a bike ride was last summer and I ended up in so much pain I was on the floor for hours trying to recover.

This entire weekend kept us busy; driving, swimming, walking, driving, standing, playing with children, stressful family situations, and even more driving. This is a normal weekend of activities for most people, but before my surgery it would have been impossible for me to accomplish without a week of pain to follow.

And to top it all off, this morning we were able to sit through an entire service at Mars Hill, do all of our laundry at a laundromat, go for a mile walk, and later a three mile bike ride.

I am in no pain, and don't remember the last time I took medicine for the pain. That puts a smile on my face.

July 02, 2008


We picked up our order of strawberries tonight from our CSA that we are a part of. They were ordered from a farm in Bear Lake, which is owned by a distant cousin of mine (ironically).

We brought home a total of five quarts. As soon as we put away the rest of our goodies from the pick up tonight, we started hulling and rinsing the strawberries. We enjoyed a strawberry sundae and currently have some in the freezer, to be enjoyed at a later time.

I love strawberries. I always have. My grandparents lived right down the road from a strawberry farm that we had free unlimited access to. I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' growing up, especially in the summer. So there were many nights after dinner that grandpa would ask if we wanted strawberries for dessert.

Yes was always the answer and we would hop into the back of his pick up truck to go pick our dessert. We would return with a couple quarts of strawberries, hull them, rinse them, and thoroughly enjoy our dessert.

So I am used to getting free fresh Michigan strawberries each year. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to make it up north to get any, and we only had a couple quarts make it down this way from my dad.

Which led to us having to pay to get fresh strawberries. I was reluctant, and waited until the last day to place the order. These ones are organic, and absolutely delicious; needless to say, I am glad we made the purchase.

July 01, 2008


The recovery process has been long and full of ups and downs. I really believe the surgery was successful, and I have been more active in the last few weeks than I was able to for nearly a year.

Unfortunately, that does not guarantee it won't happen again.

There has been this lingering pain that comes and goes. It isn't that bad, and it is different than before, staying only in my back. Usually ice takes care of it, or worst case scenario I take a Motrin to knock out the pain (which I absolutely hate doing).

So I called my chiropractor to see what he thinks, and he suggested that I come in. I went in today, five weeks since surgery, and he adjusted me. He was very careful and gentle, but he did say that my back is crooked like before. It is complicated to explain, but basically, the two joints that were messed up before that led to the herniation are messed up again. (the surgery does nothing to fix this, it simply fixes the herniation)

The good news is that since there is no herniation there, he thinks my back will stay better. Also, I am aware of what is going on and am willing to do everything I need to (that I can) to make my back as strong and stable as possible to prevent another herniation.

But you can only control so much.

So I am staying positive and claiming that I am healed. Once I am able, I will get back into physical therapy to work the muscles to build them up.

All I know is I have already lost one year to this, and I am unwilling to lose any more time to a back problem. Happy thoughts only - I am *trying* to not allow any worrying thoughts or fears control my mind.