Thought for the day . . .


Till I was 39, I had no idea what I was going to be in life.  The worst thing a person could ask me is “what are you going to do when you grow up?” because I didn’t have a good answer.  I didn’t realize then that I was preparing, learning, dreaming, laying down the foundation.  So this is my thought for the day, that you dream your dreams, try hard, have patience, and trust God. (And never ever, no matter what, give up.)

The only people who never fail, are those who never try. Ilka Chase

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55 Responses to Thought for the day . . .

  1. Nancy says:

    I am so glad you said that it took you until ‘later’ into adulthood to decide where your path was heading. I am 39 and am just starting to figure out who I am and where I’m going – I sure thought my life would be different but I’m learning to adapt and to see the blessings in what I used to see as negatives. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Anna Quindlen said, “A finished person is a boring person.” That made me feel better.

  2. Gert says:

    I had no idea what I would do with my life when I was forced into the workfield, but God had a plan (doesn’t he always?) eventually I found out my passion in life was accounting! I loved what I did for the next 30 years!! God is wondrous isn’t He?

    Bless you for helping us to remember to be grateful!


  3. Oh Susan…

    First off, that quote by Ilka Chase is awesome. I borrowed it and posted it on my status update on Facebook. I’m also going to post a link to this post as well.. You made me feel so much better today 🙂 🙂 I’m 37 years old and felt a bit like I”m floundering for years…especially when all my friends have steady careers and families. It was really neat to hear that you found your way at 39 and look at all that you’re doing. It’s absolutely gorgeous 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks for this encouragement 🙂 🙂 You rock 🙂 🙂 Extra love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Lorrie says:

    That’s a powerful quotation by Kinnell. Self-sacrifice is rarely spoken of today. But it is key. I’ve copied down the words into my quote book.

    Thank you.

  5. Jacqui Garver says:

    “If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.” T. Alan Armstrong

    One of my favorite quotes…and really, it kind of reminds me of you:)

  6. Christine says:

    This came at a perfect time…. I’m standing on a hill of despair today- so thank you for this quote and for your hope for the future. I’m also 39, and wasn’t ever expecting to be where I am…. it’s a nice reminder to read your post that no matter what happens with the current despair, there is joy ahead.

    • sbranch says:

      The hills of despair are good motivators — I look at my hills, wouldn’t be wild about doing them again, but glad I had them. Sweet dreams to you tonight.

  7. Virginia says:


    I am an illustrator today because of your story about not painting until you were in your 30’s.

    Thank you.

    Virginia Allyn

  8. Cheryl says:

    “Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams..Live the Life You’ve Imagined” H. David Thoreau

  9. Nellie says:

    Excellent “food for thought,” even for those of us who have reached our “age of wisdom and experience.” Each day presents a new set of opportunities.
    Thank you, Susan, for helping me to focus more on those that are before me.

  10. Gayle says:

    And look how exciting your life turned out to be! You just never know what wonderful things may happen.

  11. Carmel says:

    So like you to uplift others. It is the perfect quote for me today and some of my colleages/friends (teachers on the last day of the school year yesterday with whom we had a farewell girl’s night out dinner last night). We love what we do and our students, but there are other difficult factors that are disheartening us. This morning I decided to just go forward next Fall and keep doing good despite those other disheartening things. Thanks so much Susan for reminding us of the power of light.

    • Cheryl says:

      Thank you for what you do — teaching, caring, giving to your students who are part of our future! It is such challenging work and I have great respect and gratitude for teachers. May you be blessed as you face your challenges and keep doing what it sounds like you are meant to do. I pray for you today… that you’ll find rest as well as rejuvenation this summer. Blessings!

  12. Eugenia says:

    When I enter a valley of life, like the last few months, I often recall Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables:

    ANNE: Can’t you even imagine you’re in the depths of despair? MARILLA: No, I can not. To despair is to turn your back on God.

    This simple thought keeps me going. Dusting myself off, getting up and keeping walking forward. I will not turn my back on God or those that love me.

  13. Pat Mofjeld says:

    We, as a generation, were the first generation to have so many choices and options. I’ve always envied people who grew up knowing what they wanted to do, pursued it in a very single-minded manner, and were successful at it. I think my problem is that there are too many things I like to do and, as a result, I find it hard to just focus on one of them. 🙂 What is the old saying? “A jack of all trades, a master of none”? And as far as what one wants to do when they grow up, well–maybe some of us take our whole lifetime “growing up”. 🙂 And sometimes success is helped along by being in the right place, at the right time. But I really like that saying by Ilka Chase…

  14. Cheryl says:

    Great quote! I love quotes; there’s so much wisdom in them isn’t there? I’m almost 55 and still wondering what I’m going to be! I’ve seen enough of those hills for a lifetime (but I’m sure there are more on the road ahead). Who, really, has a life that’s turned out the way they planned? Does anyone get that? So today I’m grateful that I have a job, health insurance, a purring cat in my lap, and a husband who loves me — and that I have a little time to do what I love on the side. Blessings to you all! Oh… Susan, the PANCAKES book sounds delightful! Fresh blueberry pancakes with homemade syrup are my favorite 🙂 but I can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

  15. deezie says:

    I love that quote!!!
    I am one of the lucky ones that knew from when I was very little what I was going to do, be a Mom and an Artist. Though people have tried to get in my way 🙂 I think we all still have to find things everyday to go towards, theres always things to learn about, that passion needs to be there.
    Beautiful as always

  16. Pom Pom says:

    Susan, I am so happy you are blogging so much! It’s a super duper treat to enjoy your words and images on a regular basis. I know you aren’t looking for “atta boys” but you have made such an impact on women and you are a creativity ambassador. You’ve also extended true hospitality and encouragement from the storehouse of your soul. When I came upon your work years ago, I felt such a happy recognition of good things. I said to myself, “Self, this is what I like.” That feels good in this busy “any new thing” world we live in.
    Just a side note: I first “met” Gladys Taber because of your quotes on things and now I smile at my stack of her books and I’m so thankful.

  17. susan desimone says:

    thank you so much for this thought… of course its so incredibly true! I am healing from a terrible marriage that left me emotionally drained… gradually finding myself again.. I’ve been making jewelery for the last few years and finally got the courage to do my first show…this Sunday…scared but jumping into the fire!! thank you Susan…your books have given me much comfort over the ways you will never know.

  18. Heidi says:

    Thank you for your Thought for the day – very comforting. Thanks too for the free desktop wallpaper. It’s always a surprise to see the new designs and whichever one I select makes the monitor cheery. Love seeing pictures and videos ofyour kitty and the Vineyard. Thanks for being a bright spot in our days.

    Happy Summer!


  19. Kimberly says:

    Susan, I don’t think it was by accident that I happened upon your blog today. I am 55. And after working at businesses I didn’t really mind, but wasn’t in love with, I decided to finally step out in faith and try something I have had on my heart for years. It’s scarey and frustrating but I’m determined to see it through!
    Thank you for sharing and the encouragement. Wish me luck!

  20. Dawn says:

    This really resonated with me.
    I only ever knew I wanted to be happy when I grew up, but that alone seemed like something foggy and out of reach. I am so lucky I met my husband. We support each other’s journey, wherever it may lead, and live to help the other pursue their happiness.
    I will never forget when you told me that Joe didn’t feel like himself until he got older. I suspect I still have many years of getting to know myself ahead of me. Luckily, I got the ‘being happy’ thing down pretty good. 🙂
    I know you probably won’t believe me, but that rainy fall day that your book ‘Autumn’ arrived in the mail, and I read it all in one afternoon curled up in bed, I got a whole giant leap closer to knowing who I am, what I want, and what I want to give the world. Before that day, I hadn’t known that there were books like that and people like you.
    Thank you Susan!
    Love you,

  21. Lori says:

    Susan – you are such an inspiration! I remember when I went to college, I was an “older” student. I once complained that I would be twenty-seven when I graduated. (That seemed soooo old at the time.) A wise lady told me that I was going to be twenty-seven anyway, I might as well be graduating. That was over twenty years ago and I think of that often. Never let age stop you from reaching your goals! Thanks again Susan –

  22. Angie(Tink!) says:

    “Dream Your Dreams…Try Hard…Have Patience…And Trust God…(And Never Ever No Matter What, Give Up)” Oh My Goodness….Sweet Sue… Words of Wisdom….So Very True! Amen! & Remember…The Angels are All Around Us! Wishing You & Joe a Dazzling Weekend! (Hey We Finally Got Rain! Yay! so Ya Know that I am Singing & Dancing in it! SPLASH!) lol 🙂 Sending a Little Pixie~Dust with a Few Rain~Drops Mixed with a Little Sunshine & Some Star~Dust! xoxo Poof! Oh Look…A Rainbow! Hugzzzzzzzz & Kisses! & Kitty Hugzzz to Kitty~Girl purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! 🙂

  23. Ginny Stanley says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just wanted you to know that I love your work so much. I’m 48 and still haven’t found my “calling”. Age has never been an issue to me but in the months before I turned 40, I felt really sad that I had lived for 40 years and never left a mark on the world.
    Since I’ve become familiar with your work, I live my life through you. You are living the life of my dreams. First, I love your house. My dream house would be a Cape Cod, Victorian, Farmhouse mix with lots of flowers and a garden and a big front porch. Second, You live in Massachusetts. When I was in the eighth grade, we had to practice our letter writing skills by requesting info from the tourism dept. of two states. One of mine was Massachusetts and I’ve been in love every since. Third, You have the best job ever. Oh how I wish I could draw and write like you. I’d be thrilled to be doing something I liked – not just working in a plant. And to be able to travel as you do, I can only imagine!
    Keep up the good work and Thanks for all the goodies you make us. I so appreciate them!! I also hope you’ll consider doing a Spring and Winter book to go with my Summer and Autumn ones. Your books are such a blessing. As is everything you do, including this blog – Love it, Love you!!!!
    A Friend For Life,
    Ginny Stanley

  24. F. says:

    One of my favorite quotes comes from one of your old calendars. “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” Very powerful. There doesn’t seem to be a name with it, is this a quote from you? I have always wondered.

    You put goodness into the world, Susan Branch. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Was that on the 2000 Calendar? Down at the bottom next to the bird it says Rabindranath Tagore, that’s the author of this wonderful quote. Wish it was me that said it, but no. xo

  25. Thank you for sharing this, at 47, started calling myself an Artist, because in my heart that is what I am. Wondering where it will lead and trying to smell roses, enjoy the process and finally BLOOM.

  26. {oc cottage} says:

    Just what I needed to hear!

    m ^..^

  27. Carolyn says:

    Susan, this is such a beautiful quote! I am really curious….what did you do before painting your beautiful images?? Did you have an office job? Did you quit doing what you did before after being successful in a few pieces of your work? …or did you quit cold turkey and pursue your dream?

    • sbranch says:

      I was married to my ex husband, and mostly wondered what I was going to be. I was everything from an information operator to a waitress, nothing ever in the career vein…what I cared about was doing my creative things at home. I was in my ten years of “housewife college” — school of learning to cook, garden, sew, decorate. I also did my first watercolors then. All of it came to an abrupt ending when my husband wanted a divorce. Life as I knew it stopped “cold turkey” had to start over, and started over as this. “Lighting the great fire and throwing yourself in” — everything I ever wanted that mattered, seemed (s) to take forever and was hard, but those were the most valuable things — that quote inspires me to know I’m not alone.

      • Carolyn says:

        Thanks, Susan! Wow! Sounds like a familiar story except being successful in my dream… 🙂 I have had a dream for some time now to write children’s books and illustrate them myself. I am not an artist but do believe I could possibly have a chance if I nurtured that ability. After reading something you wrote a couple of yrs ago, I realized it was not a far-fetched idea to nurture a talent this late in life (53 yrs old).

        Thank you for always being an encourager to your fans in that way! 😀

  28. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Having patience, and trusting God, our 46 year old daughter is graduating from college in 2 weeks! Marriage, working, 5 Children and 3 grandchildren, 28 years after she began – but, she’s not a “finished person” – may be on to a Special Ed degree! Our 2nd daughter, college (teaching degree), working, marriage, 3 children, seems to not be a “finished person” either – just completing a Special Ed degree! They are amazing, and we’re so proud! Me now, I’m thankful that I am able to work on quilting, gardening, have family & friends, and am dreaming & trusting that we’ll do more traveling! I don’t plan on showing up at your door for tea Susan, but MV sounds lovely! Thank you for your beautiful Blog & I enjoy reading the wonderful comments from your “Blogettes”! xo

  29. Tamsen says:

    I don’t know how you did it but I really needed this message! It’s very Twilight Zone…

    At(gulp), 45 years young, I just graduated from college and am looking to (gulp) gently transition into another career (insurance to education – just love the kiddos) and I think I need to jump into the fire! My classroom would be FULL of heart and creativity – just like your work! I think I can…I think I can…

    • sbranch says:

      I asked my mom if she could be any age for life, what would it be, she said 45, and I concur. You would be the perfect teacher! They need you! Hurry!

    • Cameron says:

      Go for it Tamsen! My mom was a high school English teacher for thirty years (at an all-boys school, no less!) before she retired three years ago. She also taught a film class. For years now she’s been getting letters and e-mails and facebook messages from former students who have gone on to become writers, journalists, film students, and teachers themselves. They all credit her with changing the way they looked at books and/or movies, and with lighting a fire in them. She helped make their dreams come true, and often inspired their dreams to begin with. I can’t think of a more beautiful profession, and the world certainly does need more teachers with that kind of enthusiasm! Good luck to you!

    • Joan Lesmeister says:

      You can, you can!

  30. Linda Green says:

    Hi Susan, I’m so happy to see your new blog! I can never get enough of your wisdom and drawings, and just bought a used copy of one of your out of print books for my newly graduated daughter. I was thinking of sending her this post because she is also wondering what is next in her life, and then I suddenly realized I am not finished with my “careers” either! I have been a teacher, a wall street attorney, a mother and wife, and now a new blogger! What will come next? Just like the spring in New England, it is the anticipation and wonder of the future that keeps us excited! Linda

  31. Carmel says:

    Go for it Tamsen! And a big thank you and hug to Cheryl for your comment about my teaching situation which I just saw tonight (sorry to be so late!). Tamsen, there a many good teachers for whom this is a second career. It gets tricky to be creative with all the testing requirements, but we do it. We also continue no matter what to have heart in our classrooms. It’s not a small thing to help these children learn how to be in this world- how to live in it with confidence, taking care of others and themselves. It’s a mission and we need folks coming into the profession. I’m also in a Kennedy Center program for teachers that integrate the arts with academics (all researched based). So you’ll find opportunities for training too.

    • Tamsen says:

      Everyone’s comments are just fabulous and a great way to start a Monday! I am so inspired! My Dad always said “Follow your heart” and I really feel like now is the time do that on the work front.

      I want to share this too if I may….my Dad passed in 2009 and the “fog” is finally lifting…I feel like myself again and want to laugh, entertain, and enjoy every minute of the summer! If anyone would like to hear one of the beautiful songs sung at his bedside by a dear friend, check out this You Tube video by Brian Corcoran called “Safe in the Harbor”. It inspires me so…I apologize for any tears it may bring. Enjoy.

  32. Natalie says:

    What an inspiring post and what wonderful comments from your readers. I’m 44 and have been struggling for years to uncover my dream. How does one do that? From a young age, I thought I was destined to do something special with my life and so far I haven’t. I still believe I have something inside me to share with the world, but I honestly have no idea what it is or how it will manifest itself. I’m not necessarily sad about this, I’m baffled more than anything. For those of you that have discovered your life’s passion, how did you know? How does one go about figuring this out?

    • sbranch says:

      I know exactly how you feel! I looked for the answers too. I wanted “Ten Easy Steps to Finding your Dream” in black and white. First you do this then you do that. Poof! Magic! Done. I read and read, looking for answers. Joseph Campbell’s autobiography called A Fire in the Mind, was very helpful. He said to look at the things you loved as a child and pursue those interests, because, he said, that’s where your passion will be. Someone else said, don’t think of it as a whole, do baby steps. Build it like a house, brick by brick. And everyone, everyone, everyone! said, make time for quiet, go inside, find the still place in your soul. I’d love to read, like you, what other people have done in pursuit of dreams. I got a letter from a 16 year old this morning — hearing about her search was so uplifting to me!

  33. pam says:

    I love a sweet story like that.. no one tells it better than you !

  34. Sheryl says:

    Susan, you are such a bright and inspiring spot in my life. I turn to you more than you would ever expect. I know what I am about to say could be repeated many times by many people. I am a lot like you. I love our home, clean and decorate every inch of it, cook fresh and healthy meals, enjoy our tall pines and old oaks, on and on. However, we are in foreclosure and will move out in the next month or so. My heart is breaking, but then I started to get your blog on my home page and it takes my mind off the sad things happening in my life. As I pack up all my precious belongings I am able to look forward and dream about our next place and how things will be special there too. Thanks for blogging. Thanks for your website, cookbooks, pajamas and all the other things that you do that have touched my life and made it better. Love and Hugs to you…

    • sbranch says:

      (((((u))))) Feel so sad to hear that. Things will be special because you are; you’ll get to unpack each dear thing, and see it in a whole new way. Every cloud has a silver lining, but my heart is with you.

    • F. says:

      We are all with you Sheryl in spirit, uplifting you and helping you move forward. You are not alone. You tugged at my heart and I had to leave a note. My favorite quote from one of Susan’s calendars…”Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” Feel the light, it is around you even in the dark.

    • Becky says:

      Change,at first glance, is hard, yet always turns out to be a growth moment.
      This quote is one of my favorites….hopefully it will be a salve to your soul today…”Sometimes you meet your destiny on the road you choose not to travel.” Blessings to you and yours….

  35. Susan, Your (relatively) late in life discovery of your beautiful drawing/painting ability has helped to keep my own dream of one day discovering I, too, have that ability. If I do indeed have it, it is buried quite deeply…..but I will continue to hope, with the proper nurturing, it will sprout and grow, too!

  36. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    When God blessed you with this gift, he blessed us all. My heart is happy when I pick up one of your books, read your stories, quotes and recipes. I am 60 and still want to do something special but feel stuck. Maybe I’m supposed to just enjoy your talent and the gifts and talents of others . . . . . God Bless!

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