Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beauty and Fear

Hi readers of my blog!

I warned you that I might not be writing too often....and I guess I'm living up to that warning. Life just gets so busy. Especially with a cross-country move!

I am happy to say that we are in our new home and settling in comfortably. It's taken much more energy and time than I imagined it would but, our kitchen is up and running

and now I'm just dealing with hanging pictures, chandeliers etc and unpacking the last of the boxes.
This is all going to be fairly slow going as I am also trying to keep up with laundry, working out, gardening, and just general life stuff.

There just aren't enough hours in the day,

arms on my body

or brains in my head

to do this all with any kind of speed.

Here's an idea of what is happening so far;
Dining Room
 Corner of Main Entry
 Main Entry

 Dad's Wall
 Office ( yes, one is mine, one is his)

As you can see we have a ways to go but it's really starting to come together.

Now for the other part, the emotional part of making a move like this.

It's just scary. It really is but I've never let a little fear slow me down..EVER.
If you know me at all, you know that if somethings scares me, I will stick my chin out and do it.

Which is exactly how I dove into this move. I just leaped and assumed the net would appear.
It did...the net appeared...but I have to say this is all so new. It's like living in an alternate universe sometimes.

I'm making friends slowly, which is how that process goes for me. I don't trust easily. I've been burned more times than I can say.

Mostly, I am spending time with The Boy and the animals and, on weekends, with The Husband.
 See, he works in Chicago but comes home every Friday.

God, how I miss him when he's not here. The first night after he leaves, I cannot sleep a wink. Mostly because I sleep better wrapped in his big gentle arms and also because when he leaves I am on guard duty.

Now, I know in my head, that I am perfectly safe here. We have all of the security we need and we live in a real neighborhood where people watch out for each other all the time. We've even struck up a friendship with our Chief of Police. Nothing bad happened here, ever.
Nothing will...but...but...but..try tellin that to my heart!

This past Sunday I was a wreck. Crying when The Husband left and awake all night.
It didn't help that we watched The Call that afternoon and the image of the girl being dragged out from under the bed where she was hiding, kept replaying in my head.

By 2:00 am ish...when I finally did fall asleep, I had a very realistic Zombie Apocalypse dream.

Jeez! I don't watch, The Walking Dead. I don't play video games. I read World War Z years ago and was fine. I've seen zombie movies but not recently.

Why the zombie dream now?

And why, dear God, did it have to be in black and white!!

I woke up at 5:45 in a sweat (which is nothing new....the sweat part....silly hormones.) absolutely sure that a black and white zombie with a dark suit and graveside flowers stuck in his chest was walking up my stairs to get me.

In fact, it scared me so bad, I waited until sunrise to get in my car and drive to the Sparrow Lab in Okemos to get my blood work done to check the hormones that make me sweat and cry and probably don't help at all with Zombie Apocalypse dreams!!

Then something amazing happened! I was driving on I96 West, and I saw the most beautiful sight I've seen in a long time. The sun was rising behind me in a big orange ball and the land all around me was waking up. Before me there were stand of trees...wooded areas surrounding large open meadows and fields of crops. The sky above was a pale blue, dotted with perfectly painted white clouds. The clouds looked like someone had pulled cotton balls apart and swiped them across the sky. Over every meadow or field there was a mist...like an Irish mist...just hanging there.

It kind of looked like this;

I was thunderstruck and immediately began to weep and I thought, "Does everyone on this highway see how beautiful this is? Do the Michiganders know what beauty there is to be found here? Or do they just drive their commute, not seeing any of it?"

I promised myself that I would never tire of the beauty that can be found here. Just as I've promised myself over and over that I'm not going to lose my excitement when I see a fireflies in my garden

So, I had my blood work done, (FYI-Michiganders, the women at the Sparrow Lab on Grand River in Okemos are amazing!!) then I got in my car for the drive back.

The sun was up and my GPS had me drive back using a different route. I was on the phone with The Husband when it happened again.

This time the sun was up and the mist was gone but left behind was a fine dew over everything. It looked like the landscape had been covered in crystals. everything was sparkling and fresh and new and ALIVE. I opened the window and could even smell it in the air...a crisp, crystalline freshness unlike anything I've known.

And right now, right this second, it all comes together....I've never known anything like this. This love. This view. This house. This life. This pace. This stillness. This peace.
Unprecedented serenity and beauty.

I slept like a rock last night for eight hours. I dreamt about farms and fields and sun and woke up happy.

I don't think I would really have appreciated the beauty of what I experienced unless I'd experienced the fear before it.

I mean, I'd have seen it but it wouldn't have been as impactful.

So I'm thinking that is the reason that everything is cyclical. Fear/Beauty..Light/Dark...Death/Life Joy/Sorrow...Summer/Winter.... Grief/Healing.

I can't have one without the other.  No one can.

So I will continue on this adventure and take what comes and try to appreciate every moment, nuance and season.
I mean, really, when you think about it, what other choice do we have.

I am off now to weed and prune in my garden.

It's time to cut things back so they can grow again in the spring......
and what was that I was just saying about cycles and seasons?......

Oceans of love to you all,


  1. Glad you were overwhelmed by the beauty of Michigan. I, for one, appreciate it like oxygen. I sure hope you will love your new home. <3 -sis

  2. Welcome to Michigan. I don't think Michiganders really ever get over the beauty of this place (at least I hope not.) I think that's why the Pure Michigan advertising campaign has been so successful. We're pretty darn proud of our state.
    Not sure how much you've ventured out and about yet but I have to recommend you visit nearby Kensington Metro Park. Really beautiful (although I'm a little biased - I grew up in Milford). Downtown Milford also has some great restaurant.
    Glad to hear you're enjoying your new state!

  3. Thank you Melissa, you're taking the time for us. Thank you also, that you tell us your feelings and thoughts (and dreams). So we know and learn what kind of a wonderful person you are. I've known you since you've started LHOP and I have at least 35 movies from you. Thank you

  4. I have never been to Michigan but you evoked a feeling of home that I could identify with. Looking for the beauty after a difficult time (or during it if you can) is a strategy that some people never master. You are indeed fortunate to be where you are. Congratulations on the new puppy by the way!

  5. I moved from MN to Michigan in 2004 - Big Rapids, MI and then moved to Kalamazoo, MI in 2006 and then all the way to MN. Moves can be so scary! And I know how you feel about making friends and then getting burned! I am glad you are settling in though. Michigan is quite safe and a very beautiful state to live in. My uncle lives in Omena, MI There are so many beautiful things to see. Anyway, I was going to say something about the dream you were having. I learned that its not about the dream itself but more about how it made you feel while you were having it. And those feelings are what you should try to deal with. Like if you felt inadequate or terrified or happy or not good enough or powerless. That is more of what you focus on. Our feelings and things we are actually going through in life manifest themselves in weird dreams sometimes. Food for thought. I wish you and your husband and family all the luck and blessings in the world Melissa. Thanks for Blogging. I love following blogs! Carolyn - CarrieFairyGirl on Twitter (Alison's friend)

  6. I was also going to say its worth the drive down to Marshall, MI and Chelsea, MI to see the different theater companies - especially the Purple Rose Theater and explore Ann Arbor.

  7. Melissa, I enjoy reading your blog and looking at your pictures. As a lifelong Michigander, I can totally envision this. We live on a 350 acre fruit farm, vineyard and winery in Berrien Springs which is in Southwest Michigan. If you and your husband would like a private wine tasting and tour of wine country, my husband Tim and I would be more than happy to coordinate for you. You can reach me at katielemon@lemoncreekwinery.com.

  8. If you took Grandriver to Okemos we probably passed each other, I agree!, the nurses at Sparrow Lab in Okemos are great also at Sparrow Hospital! I wonder did you drive through My town of Williamston. If you think the August beauty here is awesome just wait til you take a drive in all the snow! Glad you are coming to love us!, We are glad you are here... If you are ever in Okemos again check out Second Time around!

    1. Agree, used to take mother there for her blood work. They are so patient and gentle!

  9. Yes, we Michiganders DO see the beauty, and appreciate the mornings, dewy doggy rolling in the wet grass and all that comes with it. That's why we're here. I am so grateful that you had a recent chance to experience something I've awakened to almost every day of my life. I live in Lansing and have been in mid-Michigan all my 50 years. When the autumn comes - and it WILL come - you should visit Wacousta (northwest of Lansing about 10-12 miles) on the 2nd Friday of every month, Oct-May for the all-you-can-eat family-style fish fry at the Masonic Lodge. Don't wear your fancy coat - the smell clings to your clothes. My daddy used to come home late on Fish Fry Fridays (he cooked the potatos), and momma would make him strip to his undies on the sidewalk before he could come in the house. Many good wishes to you and your family from an age-old, small-town family. Sincerely, Lorraine (Chamberlin) Hickman

  10. Just wait until the fall colors hit. The fall colors as a backdrop for the old houses and barns is stunning!!

    I sure hope you don't let winter scare you. Winter brings on a beauty of it's own. This area can tend to be pocket of grey days in the winter but not too far north (just 30 minutes), the sun shines brightly during the winter.

    Have you checked out the Made in Michigan store in town? Their soap is the BEST!!!

    Enjoy this rural laid back life!

  11. You can live here and enjoy this beauty in peace in quiet if you choose because 99% of the people here won't bother you. Enjoy halfpint.

  12. I love Michigan! Reading your I-96 experiences made me smile from ear to ear and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This summer has been a bit odd, as it feels more like Fall weather, but it has been lovely all the same. I've visited many places, but am always glad to return to the big Mitten. :o) Howell is a nice little town that I have learned to appreciate in the last 4.5 years that we've lived here. Welcome to town!

  13. My family moved to Howell in 2003 from Detroit. My oldest son was 11 and my twin boys were 7. I knew they wouldn’t have any problems meeting friends but my husband and I were worried about us making friends. Our boys went to a small Catholic school when we lived in Detroit and it was a very close knit community where we had many friends. As it was, Howell was such a welcoming community and a fine example of it taking a village to raise kids. Folks are always willing to help out and I have to say in the 10 years we have lived here, no one has ever taken advantage of us or had ill intentions. We love Howell and Livingston County and its awesome residents – we have made some great friends! Glad you are settling in. Best Wishes!

  14. Glad you are loving Michigan like us life-long Michiganders do. I love the fact that you can watch the sun rise over Lake Huron, then if the mood strikes, you can drive across the state that day and watch the sun set over Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes are more than great, they are magnificent. I now live in Fowlerville, which I had never even heard of before I moved there, and it took a while to get used to the smells from the dairy farm down the street, but I love the peace and quiet the hayfield out back provides. I will always appreciate the beutiful sights and sounds of Michigan.

  15. As a proud Michigander, I loved this blog entry. As the others have mentioned, we do appreciate the beauty that this state has to offer and I can honestly say, that I never plan on leaving "home". Born and raised to appreciate the four seasons, I love autumn the most here in Michigan. Since you are close to Ann Arbor, I would recommend taking a drive on Huron River Drive all the way into Ann Arbor from Dexter so you can appreciate the canopy of color with a beautiful river located on your right. Although I like Howell, you would love the small community of Dexter and the Metro-parks that are nearby, it's a nature lovers paradise!

  16. I drive that stretch of I96 every day; also the quiet country roads through Livingston County. And I too often wonder if those sharing the way with me notice the world outside the painted white lines. Thanks for your fresh perspective God grant you & your family the serenity you're longing for as you settle in here.

  17. Michigan is all that! Thanks for your perspective. I feel fully engaged in life and awake to all that is possible when the beauty of a new day creeps in and I take advantage of it all. Or, sometimes just the opposite with the setting sun. I walked through the MSU campus gardens Monday night after dropping my daughter off at her apartment on my way back from Chicago. It was breath taking to see the very, very orange and large sun slowly setting into pinks and purples on the horizon. The gardens were magical and their was such a sense of serenity and peace. And the sweet smell of blossoms.....divine.
    p.s...and curse those hormones. Bah!

  18. Beautiful. I loved seeing your things in your new home. Through all the moves you and I have experienced, each home is still a reflection of the sum total of our lives. Thank you for sharing your sunrise. I love you BFF.

  19. What a precious post this is. About 10 years ago, I went thru a very difficult move. I was hoping to leave all my troubles behind and realized life doesn't work that way...troubles pack up and come with you where ever you are.But there is always the morning. Thank you for being so vulnerable with us here; I'm sure that's not easy for someone must live much of life being scrutinized. Hope Michigan becomes HOME very soon. Blessings to you, Melissa.

  20. You will love all the seasons. Michigan has many outdoor wonders. If you like to antique there is a place fairly close. With fall coming go to a few festivals. I am in South Lyon and we have a Pumpkinfest at the end of Sept. I believe the apple orchards are pretty good here too. One is Erwin's and there is another on Currie and 7 mile and a big one on 6 mile and Curtis

  21. I'd love to read a blog post sometime about what your son thinks about his new home. It must be a huge change for him, too. Thanks for posting when you can; it's always a pleasure to read your musings.

  22. I have had zombie dreams too, but mine i wasn't scared, i was defeating them and felt good. Strange how our mind works when we sleep!!

  23. Love and hugs. Glad to see you're settling in and finding your feet. I'm not worried about you. You've faced every challenge you've ever had with courage, balls, and unstoppable energy and made it into something wonderful for yourself.


  24. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words. I have been a huge fan, since LHOTP began. Luckily for me, my daughter also lives in Howell so I visit often. Driving I96, the scenery is amazing. May I suggest visiting places such as Frankenmuth and driving up north. With the colors of the leaves preparing to change colors, the beauty is breathtaking. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and I look forward to reading more. Welcome to Michigan...I live in Rochester Hills which is in Oakland County.


  25. Since you are already trekking to Okemos it would be easy to go the 15-20 minutes more to Lansing and check out the Michigan Historical Museum. It presents a nice overview showing many different aspects of the state through time. The Library of Michigan and the state archives are in the same beautiful building ~

    The library has a respectable genealogy collection, too. They used to have a certified genealogist on staff but I'm not sure if she's still there.

    This post made me laugh a little because someone from out west once told me that there's "no nature" in Michigan. No, we don't have huge mountains but we have a lot for those still enough to be awake to see it.

    I hope you get a chance soon to explore more. Autumn is especially gorgeous and there's a lot to see. My mom's family was quintessential Depression Era, landing in Detroit from Ohio seeking work but my Dad's family arrived in Keweenaw Copper Country from Cornwall in the 1850s and family has been running around all corners of the state ever since.

    There's a uniquely Michigan 5-mile walk on Labor Day? It's the only day possible for this route -

  26. When the buzz around the office a few weeks ago was "Melissa Gilbert moved to Howell" I said "Really??" and then "Why?" Somehow I stumbled upon this delightful and insightful blog and now I understand. The journey through menopause is a strange and wonderful one with much contemplative introspection and feelings worn on one's larger sized(how did that happen)sleeve. The love of a good man will also take you to places(and happily so)you had never considered. I live just down the road in Brighton. This area is indeed a lovely one and a safe one.

  27. I agree with facenoises and others who say yes, we Michiganders do appreciate our state's beauty. I'm a city girl myself, and just try to be negative about Detroit. But I wouldn't trade our cider mills, lakes and rivers or mountains of snow for anything. Welcome to the mitten - we're so glad you're here!

  28. Hi Melissa! I hope you find continued peace in your new hometown. Howell is a cool little town! Even though I no longer live in Howell, my horses still do! If you travel down Latson, you'll pass by Hardy Farms after it hits dirt. That's where my babies reside: a rescued Percheron mare and 2 of the cutest spotted horses you'll ever meet! There is nothing better than looking out over the fields of horses, listening to the birds, watching the sun set. Peace. Check it out sometime! Lots of good riding in our area, if you are of the horsey persuasion!

  29. You are a heartbeat away from the most beautiful season (in my humble opinion) of Michigan: autumn. However, at the park on Monday with my Ladybugs I noticed some of our trees are already starting to turn. The bright oranges and reds against the serene blue sky is definitely a sight to behold.

    Welcome to our paradise. :)

  30. Such lovely heartfelt descriptions of your new life! (and loved seeing the 'Real Happiness lies in making others happy' image on the fridge (-: )

  31. I feel the same way about Alaska--I try to notice the wonderful beauty around me each day, and even though life here is not always easy, it is amazing.

    I wonder if you've ever read any of Shauna Niequist's essay collections. Her book "Bittersweet" may speak to your heart during not only this time of transition, but in this season of, as you said, "Fear/Beauty..Light/Dark...Death/Life Joy/Sorrow...Summer/Winter.... Grief/Healing."
    (Plus, Shauna is in Chicago.)

  32. I'm in agreement with what every other Michigander wrote. Every season holds something special for you to discover.
    Thank you for your very honest post. Nights can be so long when our husbands are gone, and then to not have any close friends living by must make it even more lonely. Please know that you are right in believing that your neighbors would help. Small towns are like that.
    I hope you get the chance to explore Michigan. The Great Lakes, lighthouses, Port Huron where you can almost reach out and touch the freighters as they pass through the river. Mackianc Bridge and ...well let's just say that I love our state!
    I wish you the best as you find your place here, and I hope that you will find friends who will see you and not just the characters you've played.
    Welcome to Michigan!!

  33. HI Melissa, I also was there at Sparrow lab in Okemos Monday morning. When the door opened and I looked up to see who was entering. It took me by surprise because when I saw your face the first thing that flashed across mind was... I bet that woman often gets told she looks like Melissa Gilbert. You see, I had not heard the news that you moved to Howell so in my mind I knew it couldn't be you. What would be the odds! lol Well I finally was called back to get my blood drawn. Went through the routine of stating my name followed by spelling it...etc...etc Then you were brought in on the other side of the curtain. Much to my surprise... I did not expect to hear what I heard as you spelled out your name. It really was you. Smile...
    So Melissa... Welcome to our great state of michigan. I promise that with every season, you'll be in awe of the beauty presented to you. Go Well and embrace it all

  34. I am blessed every day by the beauty of Michigan. Enjoy! Hope you get to visit 'Up North' as we Michiganders call it. You will be even more in love and in awe!

  35. This is beautiful, thanks for sharing! I recently saw my daughter off to college for the first time...not an easy experience. You really captured it- cycles and circles. I love it.

    I also wanted to let you know that you make a difference. I visit a 96 year old lady, and one of he favorite shows is Little House. She watches it almost daily, and it brings back memories of starting school in a one room schoolhouse, cooking on a cookstove, and washing clothes on a washboard to name a few. The show instigates memories that lead to great conversation. I've learned so much from her!

    Thank you!!

    1. My little girl left for college one year ago - at age 17. THAT was hard! I could have kept her home for another two years! Now she's 18 and about to start her second year. She's already in her second apartment! When I was 18, I was barely into my first. LOL. The times are bitter-sweet, but believe me, they DO get better. Especially when she will come home and start telling you how much she appreciates you. It really does happen...sometimes it just takes time. Good luck!

    2. Lorraine,
      Thanks for sharing your experience! It's good to know it gets better. We sure are blessed to have such easy ways to communicate!

  36. After catching the hoopla somewhere in the Michigan news about your move, I felt compelled to write after reading this entry. I came to Michigan as a choice when my first marriage ended. I have been so enthralled with the state, I would not choose to live anywhere else. I've left friends and family elsewhere. But at this stage in my life (I'm now 57), there's a lot to be said for serenity and self-knowledge. Know that this move has been put in your life for a wonderful purpose, a learning opportunity, growth. Blessings to you as you find your way.

  37. Hi Melissa,

    If you're in need of a great pumpkin farm near Okemos, please visit us in Mason: Brimley's Pumpkin Farm, 294 S. Every Road, Mason, MI.

    Becky B.

  38. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and didn't get to see much of the rural setting, so when I moved to Livingston County 20 years ago I was so enthralled! Even though the area has grown much more populated, I am still excited to see the wildlife and wonders of living here. Last week we had a whole community of turkeys walking across our front lawn and driveway. There had to be at least 20 young ones. I love sitting on my patio and watching the hummingbirds fight over the flowers. I work in Howell and see wonders on my way to work all the time. Mists hovering over the wetlands, a fox every once in a while darting across the road...I hope you continue to see the wonders of our seasons here. The changing colors of late September and October are most everyone's favorite.

  39. I knew you would like Michigan :)
    Enjoy...just breath and enjoy <3

  40. Welcome to Michigan! I know the view you described well. I used to drive from Brighton to Lansing for work and saw it often. (In fact, my parents live in the neighborhood directly across the street from the Sparrow lab!) My beautiful Michigan view now comes in May driving down I275; there's a path along the Huron River that is lined by redbuds and when they bloom in the spring, and the sun rises just as I'm driving to work, it's a glorious symphony of reds, oranges, greens and purples...I love it! I hope you enjoy our slower pace here in the Mitten. I'm sure your EL husband provided much insight before you arrived, but the reality of living here is even better!

  41. Your house looks lovely and I'm so glad to hear you are settling in to the community. You are right about the beauty. I never tire of seeing the deer in our yard (in fact, I feed them)or watching the hummingbirds at my feeders. When the snow falls, it's a whole new kind of beauty. btw, I just bought your book. I had read every book by the cast of Little House but wasn't aware until recently that you wrote one. I've not received it yet but will be diving in soon.
    I hope for you that your husband will not have to work away from home for very long. I would hate that too. Thank you for keeping us all up-to-date on your move.

  42. Be sure some time in the future to take in the full amount that Michigan has to offer by heading north. If you haven't heard by now, "heading north" is a "Pure Michigan" tradition, though what is north is sometimes debated. As a native from the Upper Peninsula, I strongly believe one must be at least north of the 45th parallel to truly be north. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking Mount Pleasant or Grayling or Houghton Lake or Traverse City is "north." Soak in the sun on the shores of Lake Michigan, watch the sunset over Lake Superior, and get a pasty for lunch. Cross the Mackinac bridge into the 906 area code, take a ferry over to the Island and go back in time. Michigan truly is a wonderful state with much to offer.

  43. Melissa: Thank you for sharing your heart and you have touched mine with your words - you are truly a very special person and we are blessed to have you here in Michigan. By the way - though many people call us Michiganders - I prefer the word Michiganians, because, even though I've been known to be a silly goose at times, I'm definitely not a gander. (It appears though that my spell check prefers Michigander.) I loved your blog and you are a wonderful writer. There is a Memoirs group that meets at the Howell Library this Wednesday at 10:00. This will be my first time there, but you can call the Library to register is you're interested. It meets around the last Wednesday of every month. Ronnie

  44. Welcome to Michigan!
    We have just recently moved back to the Lansing area after a decade in Tennessee. Our first home was in Howell on Thompson Lake. Our oldest daughter (age 10) was born there and was thrilled to hear of your move. (She loves your work!)
    Blessings to you on your new adventure. As many others have said, I'm certain your love affair with Michigan will continue to grow.

  45. Welcome to our town! Feel free to contact me privately if you ever need a chat with a small town family in Howell. We are private, warm, welcoming people and aren't "star stuck crazies". lol! Amy - flemmingphotographymi@gmail.com

  46. Welcome to Michigan and I hope you find the Midwest hospitality will help make you feel more comfortable. I am sure you will find lots of new friends here but I certainly understand where you are coming from.
    Michigan is a little secret that not very West and East Coast people know. Even my boyfriend from NJ thought Michigan was just Detroit until I took him around and showed him what we are all about.
    I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to the ups and downs of you moving here.

  47. Hi Melissa! Welcome to your new home :) I have lived in Michigan my entire life, and I hope you grow to love it as I always have; I love the 4 seasons, and there is soooo much to do here. If anyone hasn't told you, watch out for deer on the roads, especially at dusk or dawn. Around harvest time, they seem to come out of their hiding places in the corn fields and woods, and again during hunting season in mid-November. You will find many a beautiful sunrise and sunset here, and lots of very real people to enjoy that are very laid-back. Again, welcome, and I hope you feel the embrace I extend to you as a new friend. God bless you, Kristina Vernon - Mason, MI

  48. Hi Melissa,
    I'm a special projects producer at WDIV, the NBC affiliate in Detroit. We're all big fans, and have been following your move to our neck of the woods on Twitter. It's great to see how much you're enjoying it so far, and we'd love the chance to talk with you about your move to Howell. If you have any interest in sharing your story, I can be reached at olive@wdiv.com. Thanks for spreading the word about how great Michigan can be! Hope to hear from you.
    All the best,

  49. Welcome to Michigan! I have lived here most of my life. I remember when I was about 8 years old that I must be the most lucky little girl on the planet to have been born in such a perfect place! I mean, really! So many trees and hillls! All of the wildlife and seasons! And the people! None finer, my love! Welcome! Welcome! I hope you enjoy the city you have landed in. I am sure it feels like a town to you, but my urban existence has mostly been with communities of 1200 or less. That's another nice thing about this state... never too far from nature... never too far from a city... and small towns are available as well. I am glad you enjoyed your experience at Sparrow. They have a fine staff. I volunteer there every couple of weeks and learned that there are at least 1500 others on the volunteer roster. Can you imagine??? What a place! OK. Done bragging. I just wanted you to feel right at home, welcome, and in a place that you feel that you can find joy and purpose. Best wishes,my dear!

  50. Dear Melissa, I'm so happy to hear that you are enjoying your new home and new life! Thank you for sharing your expieriences. I have never lived in Michigan, but I have only seen it from a plane and a layover in the Detroit airport. However i was awestruck, when i saw how BIG and beautiful the great lakes are and how lush and green it is there in Michigan. I hope i can see it in the fall, when the leaves turn. I dont do a whole lot of gardening, but I was so excited when my two tomato plants were sprouting some tomatoes this year. Enjoy every minute of your new found surroundings. I pray that you will have peace and pure joy in your life, as you make new friends.

  51. Our little town is a-buzz with “Melissa & Timothy” sightings. Though I have not had the joy, I do warmly welcome you! May you see daily blessings and find much joy and contentment in this new season of your life within a small community in such a beautiful state. Hold onto to your hat, Melissa, Michigan is about to change her coat as the trees begin to burst forth with a color palette that is rich beyond imagination. Hoping your heart feels it’s finally come home. ~ peace & joy from a home-town girl.

  52. We just moved too. Still in the "city" but also, kind of outside of it. I sit out back each night, with my head turned up, looking at all of the stars I couldn't see at our previous home. Like you, I've told myself that I will not take this wonderous sight for granted. Same with the silence. Oh I am loving the quiet calm of our new home!

  53. Ah, bio-identical hormones! I am glad you're not dealing with Premarin (urine of pregnant mares). Our hormones are more important then most doctors know. Men should be getting some attention for their hormones as well. I don't know how well your clinic is educating you on bio-identical hormones, but I highly recommend the books of Dr. Vliet. Her website is: herplace.com. She is a doctor dedicated to women's health. I had already figured out my problem prior to reading her books, but I bought her books anyway. I also bought copies for my sister. There are WAY more menopause symptom - very many of what I was experiencing. My best advise is for you to completely educate yourself on the subject so you can look out for yourself.

  54. That drive on I-96 west IS my commute, every morning as I drive to Lansing from Livingston County to teach!! I get to enjoy some beautiful mornings and occasionally do forget to appreciate them. It's always nice to be reminded not to take Michigan's beauty for granted!!

  55. I never ever, ever take the beauty of Michigan for granted. I grew up there and just recently moved to Idaho but I'm back at the moment, on vacation and waiting for my very first Grand-Princess to be born. :) This weekend I head north to Traverse City to see my boys. It's challenging having my only baby girl, preggers with her only baby girl, down state and my 3 boys all up north but a MiMi has to do what a MiMi has to do, huh? Enjoy your life here in Michigan and Welcome! If you're looking for a great place to eat try my daughter n' son-in-law's pub, The Blackthorn Pub in Holly. Great people. Great food! :D

  56. Bonjour je voulais juste vous dire que je vous aime beaucoup vous avez bercé mon enfance et de revoir la petite maison dans la prairie me r appelle beaucoup de souvenirs je vous souhaite pleins de bonnes chose pour la suite gwennaelle

  57. I'm so glad to hear that you're enjoying Michigan! It is a beautiful place, isn't it? We're up north in the land of million dollar sunsets, and love it (until we get over 200 inches of snow at our house...ugh). We talk about moving west to be closer to family...but I have a really hard time thinking about leaving my little cabin in the woods, so for now, we stay. It's truly a great place to live...and we're glad to count you among the Michigan Girls! :) Hope you can visit us in Harbor Springs sometime...it's worth the trip!

    1. omggg I was in harbor springs this past summer and Petoskey I loved it I plan on coming back to harbor springs this summer there are so many little shops and gorgeous homes!

  58. How are you enjoying our sunless days? Michigan is a beautiful state but I have a hard time getting motivated on those gray days.....

  59. Michigan & Ohio, beautiful states! Amazing sunrises!! Welcome to our neck of the woods. Beautiful sunrise this morning. Great people are all around you. Enjoy your new home!!

  60. Something I always wondered... Did Bunny really get hurt, when he/ she ran into the wire fence?

  61. I hope you're doing OK with the weather! It's even cold here in NC. Not Michigan cold, but cold. Take care - you can maybe get one of those full-spectrum lights to help you through winter, if being in that higher latitude starts to get to you. Much peace to you ~

  62. Hi, Melissa! I've been wanting to write and welcome you to Howell, but you have so many comments, I didn't want to intrude. But I decided, what the hell. We have a Victorian too on E. Clinton next to the (ugh) DTE substation. Other than that neighbor, it has been the most amazing home. I haven't seen yours, but the photo is stunning. You are obviously loving it :) We moved up here about 5 years ago and I have become a garden fanatic. We're from Winter Park, Colorado where a garden consists of a pot with something slightly pathetic and approaching rigor mortis in it. I've put in two raised beds for veggies, a massive bird feeder and lots of flowers. As you know, there are few greater joys. I'm agreeing with you about the winter driving. Holy cow. I drive to Ann Arbor every day to work and back on the smaller roads and except for the beauty, it has been living hell! It does not help that I hit a huge buck back in November - about 600 lbs and 80 antlers (OK - small exaggeration). He was fine - not a scratch. My car was tormented. And I much more cautious now. Yikes. Anyway - I really just wanted to say I am very glad you chose Howell and hope that you enjoy it well. I think it's a wonderful place and the people are so friendly! Even at McDonalds. My hubby and I thought there was something mysterious in the water... Best wishes - Sunny

  63. Hi Melissa,
    welcome to Howell, its a great little small town I moved to MIch 5 yrs ago from Ohio it was a slow start to like this state I live in but this past yr we recently bought a house by the water and I have decided after my first 2 trips to the UP that wow! I am really lucky to live in such a beautiful state I now get it! You were my fave child actress growing up watched little house on the prarie and when I had children introduced them to it! my little girl loved it! I love to decorate and I am into shabby chic and French cottage décor I have to tell you and you may know by now Howell has some great little shops and in the summer the watermelon festival! a little late to finding your blog but all the same lots of love joy and happiness in your new home!
    Kim Buca btw nicks log cabin pizza is really good!

  64. I moved from California to the Midwest years ago and spent many years in Michigan. It's one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. I now live in North Carolina but thought it so lovely, I placed my first novel in Northern Michigan. Hope you find a place to hang your hat. Carol Grace Stratton

  65. Wait....You're married to the guy from "Thirtysomething " ? He always reminded me of Richard Dreyfuss without the manic disposition and cadence

  66. I just found your blog thru the Yahoo article about your surgery (good for you for going back to being 'natural!' by the way) and I have to say, you are an amazing writer. You make me miss the Midwest with your description of the Michigan landscape (I grew up in NW Illinois and have lived in Phoenix, AZ for about 10 years), and you have a real knack for turning a phrase. (and by the way, I love your acting, too! lol!)

  67. Melissa congrats on your surgery. I hope you are feeling better. Also I just found your blog. I like your honesty, wit, pictures, and your gutsiness!

    I wanted to tell you that the fact that you have had both migraines and TMJ that you would be an excellent candidate for Neurofeedback. I was on medication for anxiety, depression, impulsiveness and insomnia and NF restored my brain to balance. I also used to clench my teeth at night. That is gone as well. I did The Othmer Method (www.eeginfo.com)

    Often times migraines, anxiety, PTSD and hyperactivity are linked to how the brain works (operating in high beta waves). Are you also overly emotional? Easily angered? Reactive to other people?

    I can't tell you how amazing it is to be free from all chronic symptoms at 51.

    Mitzi MacBain

  68. Melissa,

    Welcome to Howell! I have always been a fan but not just for the obvious reasons (great actress) but for your honesty. Congrats on the breast implant removal surgery. You continue to be an inspiration to women of all ages. Wishing you the best!!

  69. Melissa, love it that you & your family chose Michigan to be your home!! Grew up with Little House... and referenced different episodes in conversations with gf's, i.e., "Dang, she's a really "Nellie O."..."Don't be a Mary Martyr"..."I realized I was starting puberty when I was lying on the floor in front of the TV, watching Little House, and my boobs were hurting". Funny. Speaking of boobs, rock those B's, momma!! You must feel better with those big 'ens out. Turning 50 this April, myself. Pax, Robin

  70. You are one hopeless romantic. Your husband is fortunate.

  71. I don't know how I didn't find your blog before, but I love it! I've been a fan since I was a young girl, and now at 40 I'm still a fan... because strong women rock! I hope you're loving life here in our Great Mitten State. I also hope you love every single stinkin moment of this upcoming spring! Even though I've lived here my whole life, it still awes me how everything comes alive and awakens with new life and radiance and color after a season of cold and grey... just like your sunrise on I-96. From one Michigander blogger chick who followed her beloved man north to another, I wish you a year of much love, light and beauty. =) I look forward to more posts! Maria, from True Love Points North http://truelovepointsnorth.blogspot.com