Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Island Reflections

So October 28, 2010 was my last day on the island. Therefore I know this blog is a little late and behind the times, but I decided I needed to write again, even if "Life on the Island" isn't a completely accurate title for where I am in my life now.

The last two months on the island flew by. I spent as much time as I could with the friends I had made there, knowing that it would all be over soon. Unfortunately, October was a rough month in terms of wanting to leave the island and being ready to go back home. I tried my hardest not to wish my time away, though. But eventually it did come to an end.

October 4-6 my mom, Kara, and Vickie came out to the island for one last visit. We had a great time! I was able to show them so many cool places we didn't get to go see the last times each of them visited. We made it out to Sunset Rock at sunset one night (by running to get there!) and what an experience it was! The sun sinks fast when you're watching it sink into the horizon. But it was beautiful and we got a ton of great pictures. That place continues to be one of my favorite spots on the island. After the sun set, we took the long way back to the hotel by heading up to Fort Holmes, the highest point on the island, and trying to wait for the stars up there, since it gets PITCH BLACK and is superb for stargazing. But we were a little early and there was still light in the sky so we couldn't see too many stars. However, it got darker and darker as we walked back down from the Fort and so I remembered one more spot I have discovered that I wanted to show them. The four of us walked down a little path out to an overlook. I had my mom close her eyes and led her out to the edge of the cliff and when I told her to open them, it was pitch black as we looked over the lights of downtown from the side of Fort Mackinac behind Marquette Park. Let me just tell you, this view was breathtaking and everyone just stood in awe of the island's beauty. Those were just a few of the highlights of my last vistor's trip to the island, but it was a good one.

Thinking back now, I decided I have so many good memories and moments from the island, most of which I shared with you on this blog. But my all time favorite experience happened on August 12th. After hearing that my two policeman friends were up at Fort Holmes looking for a meteor shower, my roommates and I decided to head up there close to midnight. We made it up there after a semi-scary walk through the woods and found a nice spot on top of the entrance to the fort. Laying there for a couple of hours, laughing and talking and listening to other people who had made the hike up to the fort as well, my roommate counted 35 shooting stars. It was truly an incredible experience hearing everyone's ooh's and aah's and looking for the next big streak across the sky. Awesome. A perfect summer night experience on the island.

Well, I guess that's all from the island. I'm back home now. And it's good but different. I miss the island sometimes. I miss my walk to work, looking at the changing color of the leaves, hearing the cannon blast and taps being played at 10pm EVERY NIGHT. I'm imagining what it looks like covered in snow. I want to go back and experience it for real. Soon. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Your voice was the soundtrack of my summer...

I'm back!

Unfortunately it's been too long since I've gotten a chance to write. A lot has happened so far this summer and I'm not sure if I'll have time to catch you up on everything, but I'll do my best.

When I left off, it was the middle of June and I was struggling with homesickness and taking my time here on the island for granted. I would love to tell you I'm completely over all those feelings, but sadly, I still struggle. Though I've gotten a lot better. Laura was awesome and came out to visit me for a few days in the middle of June. We had a good time exploring and hanging out with my friends here on the island.

At the end of June I was able to go down to Ohio for my best friend from college, Ashley's wedding. What a great 4 days off the island. I was so happy to be able to see Ashley, Holly, Traci, Lindsay, Krissy, Ashley L., Jeff, and everyone else for a few days and hang out like the old days in college. The wedding was awesome, despite spilling green beans on my dress right before the ceremony. Yes, I know, that WOULD happen only to me.

July and August are said to be the busiest months on the island. I was verrrry nervous about what this busyness would be like. But actually, I'm making it through. It's very interesting to look back and see the change from when I got here in April and the streets were empty to now when the streets are packed with tourists day and night. 4th of July was really fun. Originally we were supposed to go out on my friend, Cameron's, boat, but it was too windy and sprinkling so Mandy, Cameron and I just met up with Ken and watched the fireworks on the water by the library.

After that, my parents and my sisters came for visits in the middle of July. It was soooo good to see them! I took them all over and showed them all of my favorite places on the island. My parents and I took a carriage ride and then rented bikes to see all of the cool places that I've explored. It was so awesome to spend time with them on the island. It's amazing how much we forgot about it in the 12 years since we vacationed here. They loved Sunset Rock. It's truly an amazing view. My parents will come back in September or beginning of October. I'm so pumped for them to come back!

After that I got a visit from Julie and Kyle Oostra and a few people from my church back home. I love seeing people I know here on the island. It always helps the homesickness go away a little bit more.

The beginning of August brought a trip to Detroit to a Tigers/White Sox game and rafting down the Sturgeon River with Mandy, Cameron, and Ken. What a great time off the island with good friends. We all needed the break from the island. Rafting was by far my favorite. So many good laughs and funny moments that I'll never forget.

The next weekend I had an awesome experience. I went to my old college roommate, Hope's wedding in Mishawaka, but decided to take a little detour home and surprise my family, see my puppies, and sleep in my own bed. The drive home was awesome except my mom kept calling me to see what my plans were for the night, where I was, and what I was doing...all of which I couldn't tell her the complete truth because I wanted to keep my visit a surprise. When I was finally almost there, I was on the phone with my mom and she asked me "Where are you?" To which I finally replied, "10 minutes from home." And there was just silence on the other end. It was awesome. But seeing as how my mom and I are basically one person and she always knows what's going on with me, she immediately said "I just knew it! I knew you weren't at your apartment. I just had a feeling you were coming home." Walking into my house and seeing my mom and dad and my puppies was awesome. I was home for less than 12 hours, but it was worth the 7 hour drive to get there.

The wedding the next day was great. Jeff Hardman accompanied me and thank goodness he did. We had a great time. Hope was a beautiful bride and Luke was an awesome groom. Their wedding was perfectly planned with special touches throughout the ceremony and reception. That night, I spent the night at Jeff's house and hung out with his family. It was so good to be back in Mishawaka, too. The next morning I went shopping and drove through Bethel's campus, which made me sad that none of my friends went to school there anymore and that I didn't go to school their anymore either. I got really sad when I realized I had no reason to go back to Bethel anymore and visit, other than my awesome professors. After that whirlwind weekend, I made it back to the island and decided I wouldn't be leaving for a little while.

So that brings me to today. I'm going to church on the island for the first time in what seems like forever. I just need church right now. A girl I work with, Grace, is going with me to Little Stone Congregational Church. It'll be my first time going there and I'm super excited. I've wanted to get over there all season and just haven't been able to. Tomorrow afternoon is the Guns and Hoses Softball Game that I hope Mandy and I will get over to since we know a few of the policemen. Tomorrow night is the company cruise out to the bridge. Our company rents out a big Arnold boat and serves food and drinks. I'm so excited for that. Gonna be a fun time.

That's all for now. I'll try to be better about keeping you all updated and posting more regularly for the rest of the season. I can't believe I've only got 2 months left!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Be here

"Wherever you are, be all there." -Jim Elliot

I was a little homesick this last week. On Monday, I was just having a bad day and needed to be home with my family. But being all the way up here on the island, that isn't currently a possibility. My wonderful friend Craig told me to call him whenever I felt homesick because he knew the feeling. So that's what I did. We had such a good talk, like we always do, and after sharing all the ups and downs and what we like and don't like about our lives right now, he made a deal with me. We agreed that we would stop wishing for the next big thing in our lives and thus wasting away the time we are living right now. We agreed we would take in each day and live each day fully and enjoy our time in our current situations no matter what because we aren't going to get these days back. I've thought about that deal every day since.

I love life. I love this opportunity to be on Mackinac Island and have the awesome experiences I'm having, meeting the awesome people I'm meeting. Each day is a new adventure and instead of wishing for the next big step in my life, I'm going to enjoy everything I'm doing here. I'm here so I'm going to be ALL here.

Laura is coming out to spend the weekend with me next weekend. I'm so pumped! I can't wait to see her and show her all my cool little spots I've found and to hang out up here. It's going to be a great week!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Castaway and other thoughts

Hello! Wow has this been a busy week! The store has been busy busy with people which is a good thing, but can get a tad overwhelming. And it will only get busier come summer time!

Thank goodness for my trail map. For my latest excursions, I decided one evening to go visit "Crack in the Island" and "Cave of the Woods". This has been one of my favorite little trips because it took me deep into the center of the island that I hadn't really explored yet. I've more been on the outside near the edges. The last picture you see up there is the cave. There were no Indian bones that I could see in this one, and this one wasn't fenced off. I thought about maybe going up to it and sticking my head in, but then I heard noises. At first, it sounded like water trickling in there and I imagined crawling in there to find a massive waterfall in the back (Goonies anyone?). But when I really listened, I realized the sound I was hearing were bats! No thank you! So I snapped a picture and moved on.

I had a little bit harder time finding Crack in the Island. Until I realized it was right up a little hill behind the cave, haha. At first I wasn't that impressed, but then I really saw the big crack and it was pretty neat. The picture doesn't do it justice, which is true of most pictures of cool things, so when you all come out to visit me this summer (hint hint) I'll take you out and show you.

On my way to these two landmarks, I rode my bike by the airport. That's the picture above with the brown fence and the 2 strips of road that you see. It was really neat coming up to it, because I was biking through the woods and all of the sudden, I came to this clearing with the airport on one side and a big open prairie on the other and the sun just broke through since there were no large trees covering it. It was so amazing and being the only one out there it was so peaceful! Another God experience right there.

Oh and when the trail map says footpath, IT MEANS FOOTPATH! Not wanting to leave my bike unattended (on a road with absolutely zero people on it) I decided how bad could it be to take it along? Well I didn't ride my bike on this footpath back to the cave, but man, talk about roots and rocks and rugged terrain through those woods. I was so afraid to pop a tire or something. It's amazing my bike made it all the way through.

Okay last comment. I can now see why Tom Hanks made friends with a volleyball in the movie "Castaway". As I was taking this super long bike ride and dragging my bike with me through the woods on this trip, I realized how much I've bonded with my bike since being here on the island! I know it sounds absolutely crazy but as I was riding I started to think about Tom talking to Wilson (the volleyball) while he was alone on his island and how he began to treat it as a real person and have conversations with it just so he could feel like he was having some social interaction with something. No, I haven't begun having conversations with my bike, for all of you who are worried about me, haha. But I have thought about all the places we've gone together and the things we've seen. I used to hate bike riding, but now it's like I can't get enough of it! My bike is so darn cool and has been so good to me. As I was walking it along with me through the woods, I realized how much I was trying to protect it from getting hurt or damaged. And just having my bike there with me, surrounded by trees and unknown woods, I felt protected. Like my bike could somehow protect me if something decided to attack me, haha. My bike just makes me feel like I'm not alone, I guess is what I'm trying to say. Okay, so you can all think I'm going crazy now, but I'm not that bad, trust me.

I guess that is all for now. Other than telling you about a few of the pictures up top and why I selected them for this blog, I guess I will say, "Goodnight and Goodluck!"

Picture 1: I took this picture on the boat coming back to the island today so it's not the best. But if you click on it to enlarge it maybe you can see what I'm talking about. It was super foggy today when I got up to go off the island. On the way back, most of the fog had burned off, except at one half of the bridge and on up towards St. Ignace. It was so cool to see, it was like a huge puffy white cloud had floated down to the water and swallowed half the bridge and the bridge was coming out of the cloud. It was a little of what I picture heaven to be like :)

Picture 2: This one is just for my sisters and cousins, Colin and Devin. I just threw in this picture of the cabin because I found it on my way to the cave. It was a real life Lincoln Log Cabin! You can't see it well in the pic, unless you look closely at the right side where the logs intersect. Many a day were spent down at Grandma and Grandpa's building those Lincoln Log towns.

Picture 3: The picture with the flowers are the tulips in front of the Grand Hotel. I've been promising my mom and Shira that I'd go up there and take a picture of the tulips for a month now and I finally got it when they were blooming. Check that one off the list.

Picture 4: The airport. You read about that above. For those of you that don't want to drive..fly here.

Picture 5: Crack in the Island. It was deeper than it looks. But not so deep I'd get stuck down there forever.

Picture 6: Cave of the Woods. Bats live here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Only Place That I Call Home

I've officially been on the island for one month and one day. In some ways I can't believe it's already been a month, and in other ways I can't believe it's only been a month. Today, I became painfully aware of where I now live. I walk to work and back everyday and until today, I certainly didn't mind. However, today, it rained. And it was cold. Walking home wasn't as much of a pleasant experience as it is the other days. Guess I need to invest in some rain pants for future.

Last weekend, I got to go home for my best friend from high school, Kristin's, wedding. First of all, congratulations to Kristin and Brandon. I couldn't imagine two more perfect people for each other. Kristin was such a beautiful bride and it was such a great day of wedding festivities! We even had some hail during the outdoor photo shoot! Exciting :) Well after some great dancing and dining, it was time for the bouquet toss. Now, as my dear friend Laura Olson, knows, this is my least favorite part of the wedding ceremony. But this time, I actually got to catch the bouquet! And while I say this means I should be the next to get married...my uncle tells me this just means I'm taller than everyone else out there. Haha :) Always the funny man, that Uncle Mark is. What's even funnier is that a few years ago, Kristin, our friend Jenny, and I had a good talk about marriage and Kristin made it known to Jenny and I that she wanted to be the last of the 3 of us to get married so she could be single and have fun at our weddings. Look how well that plan worked out ;) Jenny and I had a great amount of fun at your wedding though, Kristin! So after partying into the night (well as far as I could go knowing that I had to get up at 5am the next morning to leave for my 7 hr. drive back to the island), I had a very emotional drive home.

I called my mom and told her I was glad I wouldn't be coming home again for the next 6 months. It's too hard. As much as I love being up here on the island, going home makes me miss home. And having a good time with my friends makes me miss having good times with my friends! On Tuesday I got to thinking about what I'm doing with my life. I love having my little adventures and crossing things off of my life's list of things to do like living on Mackinac Island. I still have places I want to go and things I want to see and I fully intend on doing everything! (Like learning to surf can be crossed off when I go visit Kelsey and David in Hawaii!) But as far as finding out what I want to do with my life, I've always kept in mind something my mom said to me when I started college. She told me that she knew I would always be in school. I love to learn. I really do. And I love researching. I really want to share that love of learning with other students! Especially a love of learning more about Christ! And going back to school to get my Master's has never scared me. I just don't know what exactly to get it in. But for the last several months, I've been thinking about the possibility of becoming a college professor. I don't know what I'd teach, whether it would be Youth Ministry, Bible courses, or Psychology. I love it all. And I certainly don't know if I'd even be qualified for any of it or how I would get qualified for it. But when I talked to my mom about my new plan, she was so supportive! Not that I expected anything less, she's always been encouraging of me. So while I still have a lot of things to figure out, I'm glad I have a new direction. I need to talk to some of my professors back at school to see what direction and guidance they can give me, but I'm excited to talk it over with them. And I do still have my love of Counseling that I would like to somehow incorporate as well. God's going to lead me just as he leads each and every one of us, and I hope you will pray for me for guidance in this area of my life.

Okay, I've rambled on and on and it probably doesn't make any sense. This whole post doesn't make sense, I'm sure. My next one will be more focused I promise :)

So I'll leave you with an awesome Bible verse I read this morning. Again, it doesn't really tie into anything that I've talked about in my post, but I just wanted to share a little bit of God with you today!

God chooses to forget our sins and lawless acts. Hebrews 10:18 says "And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin." Jesus paid it all. His death and resurrection have paid the price for our wrong-doings once and for all. What a wonderful God we serve.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The island is officially open for business!

So today was officially our first day open at Nephews. Yesterday, Kate decided we'd open up 2 days early, since we were supposed to open on Friday. What a surprise that was trying to get everything ready and looking presentable in a matter of a few hours. Needless to say, we put in a long night last night putting up the final displays and organizing things. We opened today just for a few hours from 2:30pm to 6pm and we had quite a few customers! Kate showed me how to work the register, which I think will be my favorite job. I can only imagine how busy the store is going to be in the summer as it already seemed crowded at times today. Tomorrow we will be open the whole day, so that will be quite interesting.

After that, it's home for Kristin's wedding weekend. This will be my only time home for the next 6 months and it's certainly going to be a whirlwind trip, but I'm looking forward to it. Getting to sleep in my own bed and see my family and puppies will be such a treat!

Monday, May 3, 2010

And the adventures continue...

So I had a really cool idea like a week ago to tell you about my new adventures. However...here I am a week later than that and I still haven't told you about those little excursions. Sorry 'bout that. :/

Well for starters, I finally found Sugar Loaf Rock. Wasn't really sure that's actually what it was since it didn't have a sign near it like every other site to see out here does. But I'm assuming it was Sugar Loaf since I found it about where the map (that I didn't have with me at the time) told me I would. The picture up on the right is Sugar Loaf. Exciting isn't it?

I've been told Fort Holmes is the place to be. So the next day I went out in search of that. It's a lot of steps but man is it worth it! Fort Holmes and Point Lookout are the highest points on the island. It was so beautiful and peaceful. I took my Bible up there and read for a little while. There was absolutely no sound except the wind blowing in the trees. A little piece of heaven. And with it being the highest point on the island, you can see forever. In the picture above looking at the Mackinac Bridge, you can see how I was wayyy above the treeline at that point. Fort Holmes was a neat place because it was just a little fort surrounded by walls of grass. You could definitely see any activity going on around the water from up there.

I thought I was running out of places to explore, but have no fear, I whipped out the map and found a place called Crack in the Island that will be my next venture. Also, Cave of the Woods. They appear to be right by each other so I'm excited to go find them. I'm going to take the map with me for that trip, though.

My first roommate, Kadeen, arrived yesterday. She's from Jamaica and has worked here 2 summers before. She will be working at the store with me. Such a sweet girl.

The island is abuzz with people now. Tourists are starting to arrive and we even had 2 schools have their prom up at Mission Point on Saturday night. I was in the fudge shop with Mandy and saw all the kids go by riding in the carriages in their beautiful dresses and suits. So cute!

Tonight I'm going over to my friend Mandy's apartment to watch Dancing with the Stars. So nice to finally be making some good friends here on the island. I'll have to be back home to catch the 2nd period of the Blackhawks game, though. They better do a better job than Saturday night, that's all I'm gonna say about that. Go Hawks!

I went back to Mackinac Island Bible Church yesterday. We met at Mission Point now since the group is growing with summer residents and visitors returning. Again, I really enjoyed the service and am enjoying meeting other Christians on the island. I'm finding they can be few and far between. Pastor Ken did say something about how the island is a little piece of heaven, but it is a little piece of hell also. I've found this is a little bit true, more true than I originally thought. But I'm just trying to enjoy every minute that God has blessed me with being here and hopefully I can be a positive, faithful, Godly influence on others here. It's such a comfort knowing there is a Christian fellowship here who wants to support me in this and is working towards the same goal. And just another little thing that I really appreciated was that the Pastor and his wife remembered my name even though I wasn't there last week and had only attended once before. So comforting and makes me feel even more at home.

Well I guess that's all for now. It's almost time for Dancing with the Stars!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Have you ever exercised in the woods? I have.

I went for another hike again this evening after work. I'm so motivated to get outside because there are so many places to explore here! While walking the trails tonight I saw a sign that would lead me to Skull Cave. That sounded interesting so I changed my course and took a little detour through the woods. The whole time I was walking I was thinking how much more amazing the hike would be if I had an exploring buddy! Adventure is out there! (A penny to whoever knows what movie that's from!)

So I found Skull Cave but couldn't go in it because it was fenced off. You can see the cave in the pictures above. However, after reading the sign about it, I decided I didn't want to go in it! Who wants to see if those Indian bones are still in there? Not me.

After leaving Skull Cave, I continued back over the cliff to the Grand Hotel and through the woods on that side of the island. There, I found a Vita Course. I'd never heard of a Vita Course, nor do I remember seeing the sign for this one before today, although I'm sure it must have been there. I had planned on just walking to the Post Office to check my mail and then go back to my apartment to make dinner, but when I read about the Vita Course, I changed my plan again. I started to follow the course and it was so fun! The picture above explains what the course is, but I'll tell you anyways. This Vita Course was a series of 10 signs placed along a 1/2 mile path through the woods. These paths twisted and turned and some of the signs were a little hard to spot. I had a hard time finding sign 6 and I almost quit. But luckily I found it and could continue on. When you walked or ran the path and came to the sign, you followed the directions and did the exercise on it. Examples were pull-ups on a nearby bar, sit ups, push-ups, toe touches, etc. It was really fun and a neat way to add a little more exercise into my walk. I completed all 10 tasks and finished my hike with a walk along the boardwalk by the water. Simply heavenly.

While I was walking, I prayed like I usually do on my hikes, and started worshiping and praising God about His awesome Creation. Every time I see the water or go out on the cliffs and overlook all the trees and the downtown area and the water, I can't help but thank God for this beautiful sight. So today I started thinking about the idea that God makes all things new. When one tree dies, God allows a new one to grow. When the sun sets at night, God makes it rise again in the morning. He's done the same with me. When I was trapped in sin, God cleansed me and made me new again. I am so thankful to have a God who loves me so much that he is willing to wash me clean so that I can be a new creation. Nothing I do is ever the final word with God. He is always there to make me pure again.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Things you should know (that I found out the hard way) when biking around the island:

Picture 1: Mackinac Bridge
Picture 2: Gorgeous scenic bike trail around the island
Picture 3: Absolutely nothing but beautiful water
Picture 4: I find these signs funny because they say "No Speeding". Now what exactly is considered speeding on a bicycle? And how does one determine if they are speeding?

I went for a bike ride today. I finally made it the whole way around the island. Took me a little less than an hour with picture stops (see above pictures). Beautiful scenery let me just tell you. And an educational ride as well. Let me enlighten you to a few of my "discoverings" while on this 8 mile ride:

1. Your rear end will start hurting about 2 miles into the 8 mile trek even if you have a cushy bike seat.

2. Watch out for random large snakes in the middle of the road. This happened to me. It made me want to throw up on the spot. I HATE snakes.

3. No matter how cold you think it is outside, always wear one less layer than you think you'll need. Biking up those hills makes you really sweaty and hot.

4. Even if it is cold out, bring water. While you will survive without it, it might be a nice thing to have. I didn't bring any.

5. No matter which way you go around the island, you're going to have to go uphill at some point.

This morning before my bike ride I went to the Mackinac Island Bible Church. Over the winter, the church meets in the Pastor's house, so this is where we met today. I really like Pastor Ken and his wife. His two teenage sons played guitars for worship in the living room. A group of about 20 people were gathered there today and they had to keep adding more chairs, which was such a blessing! In 2 weeks, they will move back to their normal worship spot at the Mission Point Resort theater. I want to try out all the churches on the island, but I really liked this one, so this might be my "home church" here on the island. We shall see! For now it's back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Here I Am!

Picture 1: Mom, Shira, Vicki, and I at the Seabiscuit
Picture 2: The Grand Hotel
Picture 3: My mom and I at the porch of the Grand Hotel
Picture 4: Awesome view of Little Stone Congregational Church from a peep hole at the Fort.
Picture 5: My store, Nephews, under the Main Street Inn and Suites
Picture 6: Amazing view from Arch Rock

Well it's day 4 here on the Island and I am LOVING it! A lot has happened since I stepped off that boat, so let me fill you in.

My mom and her friends, Shira and Vicki, and I drove up to St. Ignace, Michigan on Monday. It was an amazing trip. 7 hours have never flown by so fast. We even had to drive over the Mackinac Bridge (which was a little scary, I must admit). For those of you who don't know why this should scare me, it's a suspension bridge that spans 5 miles from shore to shore. Since we got there so fast, we caught the 2:00pm ferry and were on our way to the island. The first views were incredible and took me back 12 years to when I saw it the first time. I'd forgotten just how impressive it is when you see it for the first time.

When we got on the island, Kate, the girl I'm working for at Nephew's was there to meet me with carts. While my mom and her friends went to check in at their hotel, Kate took me and my things to my apartment. I live in a place called the Millennium. It's nice employee housing on the main street but down a ways from the hustle and bustle of the "downtown". Right now I have a 2 bedroom apartment all to myself! (So anyone who wants to come fill the other room, be my guest!) A Jamaican girl named Kadeen is supposed to be coming to fill that open spot in the next couple weeks, and in June or July, another girl named Anna is going to be living here, too. So at some point there will be 3 of us living here. The apartment is pretty spacious so that's awesome. I'm getting new carpet installed tomorrow (I hope). They've been working on it for 2 days while I've been at work, so hopefully the 3rd day's the charm.

While my mom and her friends were here, we ate at a couple different restaurants, of which Seabiscuit was our favorite. Mom, Shira, and Vicki made friends with the owner and got him to open up his restaurant a day early just for them so they could eat there (or so he said haha). In between eating, we walked and walked and walked over this whole island. Well, not the whole thing, but it certainly feels like it. We walked a lot. Things we did include: walking up to Arch Rock which is where some of you got the text message with the amazing lake-view, walking around the Grand Hotel at least 4 times and finally on the 4th time getting up on the porch and not paying the admission that everyone else will pay in the summer to do the exact same thing since the hotel is still closed, sneaking around the back of Fort Mackinac and going into the fort, again, without paying the admission that people will pay this summer because right now it's closed (who knew my mom was such a rule-breaker?). And we did more walking and walking and walking.

On Wednesday morning, mom, Shira, and Vicki left on the 8:15am ferry. That was hard, but no one cried, so that was good. It helped a lot that I started work that day, too.

I go in to work at 8:30am until 5:00pm. Right now, we've just been cleaning the shelves and sorting and pricing new clothes. I'm enjoying it but I think I'll enjoy it more once the cleaning is done and we can start putting up displays.

After work today I went for a walk. It was about 65 degrees today when I got out so I didn't even need to wear a coat. What a blessing! I tell you, the views of the water are breath-taking. Seriously just another reminder of how awesome God is and how creative he has been with his creation.

I also got my P.O. box set up, so please please please send me mail! Or give me a call or text or facebook message. I'd love to hear how everything is going back home with you or where ever you are. My address is:
Jenna Yabsley
P.O. Box 235
Mackinac Island, MI 49757-0235

Things you can pray for:
1. To meet new friends my age that I can spend my free time with.
2. The girls at the store that we can build solid relationships and we can share Jesus together.
3. That I won't get lonely being away from home and family and friends for such a long time.
4. That my relationship with Christ would grow all the more because of this experience on the Island.

How can I pray for you? Let me know anytime, I'd love to pray for you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Leaving Town

Well, here I go. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Mackinac Island. I can't believe it! It's come so fast. I think I'm ready thanks to my great packing buddies Laura and Andy. It's been a crazy busy week with Ashley and Ashley visiting, a surprise going away party with Suz, Laura, Jon, Andrea, Ashley and Amanda, seeing Craig for a brief moment in time, Kristin's bachelorette party in Chicago, finishing up working at the library and the church...and the list goes on. I think I've done everything I need to do before I make the big move.

My hopes for the trip tomorrow (and things you can be praying for): 1. That we won't miss our 4:15pm ferry to the island. That's the toughest thing about moving there is that I have to base all my travel times on ferry schedules. 2. That it won't be too cold up there for too long. 3. That all driving and traveling goes well and smoothly.

It's gonna be fine. And by this time tomorrow I'll be sleeping in my new bed on Mackinac Island.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

For as much as she stumbles she's running...

I have a feeling a lot of my post titles are going to be song lyrics. Just a fair warning.

So I've been doing a lot of running lately. 9 weeks of running actually. Can I just say the iPod Touch is one of the most motivating inventions for running I have ever experienced. I found an awesome 5k training program on there that has totally motivated me (again) to run in a 5k. Now, I know a 5k may be nothing to some people, but for me, that's huge. I want to take this time to thank God that he has given me the health and ability to run like I am able to. I'm so excited that I can actually run one without stopping. And the reason I know that is because today I finished the whole 9 week training program and I feel great. I have a lot more energy and I can tell a difference in the way I look. Love it! Over the past few weeks as my running duration has increased little by little, I've actually looked forward to each day's running schedule! So much so that when I realized I had finished the program today, I immediately downloaded another app that bridges what I've just done and pushes me on to train for a 10k!

Which brings me to my connection to Mackinac Island this summer. I have about 3 1/2 weeks left until I leave. Time is going by so fast and I'm getting more and more nervous and excited. Running has kind of given me something else to focus on and push for. Since I won't be home to do any races this summer, I've resorted to finding some on the island. I found three: The Lilac Festival 10k on June 12, 2010; The Mackinac Island 8 Mile Road Race on September 11, 2010; and the Great Turtle Half Marathon and 5.7 Mile Run/Walk on October 23, 2010. So, as you can see, if I want to run a race this year, as has been my New Year's Resolution/yearly goal for the past 2 years, I'm going to have to step it up and go big or go home. All three of these races are longer than a 5k.

So that's just one more thing I'm looking forward to experiencing on the island. Running. I should be able to train quite a bit since the only way to get around the island is on foot or biking.

Oh yes, and my sister wants me to seriously sit down and write a book. I guess I'll look forward to doing that AND running. God is so good for giving me this opportunity. Life is awesome.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The beginning...

It's official. I'm going. I'm following a dream I've had since I was 12 years old. On April 14th, I will be moving to Mackinac Island to work for 5 1/2 months and I am so excited! I applied for a few positions at different hotels and shops and a few weeks ago, I received a call saying that I was hired there to work in a store. I don't know that it has really hit me yet, but the reality of just how close April 14th is is a bit overwhelming.
I'm just very excited to have the summer to work a job that hopefully won't be too stressful, and that I can share my love for Jesus with people who may not have a solid relationship with Him yet there. I want to build relationships and meet new people and have a fun, exciting time on the island!
I am so excited to have time to write on the island. That's been a dream of mine for awhile now, too. Sit out on my front porch with a cup of tea and write my little heart out. Sounds so good right about now.
I've had so many questions in my mind about whether this is the smart thing to do or not, but I feel that God has been opening doors for me and now is the time to do it. While on the island, I'm going to start looking into Master's programs in either counseling or social work, and looking for other full-time positions in different areas. I'm not completely sure what I want to do with my life yet, but I know God is handling my life and is in control, leading me down His path.