Feeding your Faithful Soul . . .

O my girlfriends, hasn’t it been a difficult time?   I am so sorry.  We need a wonderful old Christmas song.  We need to feed our souls.

 I burn a candle; sit in the dark with the Christmas tree lights, and say prayers. I let tears fall, and count my blessings.  Counting my blessings is what I do to honor those lost lives.  Loving the sky, the trees, the air that God gave us.  I bow to our humanity.  I watched the news for as long as I could stand it.  Then I did what feels right; I fought for my own child’s soul of innocence that still lives inside me; and turned the channel. Lincoln is playing at the movie theater in town, we are going today.  Last night we watched Miracle on 34th Street and after that White Christmas; affording me more sofa sobbing.  I made Cream of Rice this morning, with chopped apples and cinnamon  . . . I painted a little thatched-roof cottage in England; Jack never stops climbing into my lap with his ball; Girl Kitty wraps her warm self around my legs as I sleep.  I feel so very blessed, so very sad.  I wish I could do more.  But I won’t forget.

 Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 Kahlil Gibran

“We are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself…”  

I watched THIS, and cried, was reminded what a very beautiful world it is, filled with wonderful caring people.

It’s another day.  How will you honor the life you have?  Think small.  XOXO

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

459 Responses to Feeding your Faithful Soul . . .

  1. Vickie G (Little Rock, AR) says:

    Have been shedding tears since Friday. Those poor sweet babies, and the parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents. I know it made me savor the Christmas memories we made this weekend with our granddaughters (gingerbread houses, decorating the tree) even more. I looked at it all through a different perspective for sure. No taking it for granted. Hugged a little tighter, said I Love You more than usual. All over America we grieve with Newtown. Thank you, as always Susan, for the perfect words.

  2. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Such a horrible, unspeakable tragedy, magnified by the beautiful Christmas season in which it occurred. I believe the heart of God grieves with the families and with us all who hurt for them. From the words of the hymn “Does Jesus Care ” is this phrase: ” Oh yes He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my ( ‘our’ is appropriate here ) grief. ” Those darling children are safe in the presence of the One Who created them and loves them, a consolation we can cling to in the face of such an evil act. Let’s continue to lift up in prayer all of the families and community members , that they will feel the arms of God under them, holding them up and giving them strength and a place of peace.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      thank you, Susan, I loved what you wrote and I love that great hymn of the faith.

  3. Faith rose says:

    Susan Your words or so very true! One thing that we need to keep reminding ourselfs is that God is bigger than all this!And to believe that God is in control even in the bad. Thank you for your kind words! Faith

  4. Linda Pintarell says:

    My heart just hurts; and like many of you, it is just too difficult to watch the tv news anymore. I just can’t imagine the pain the families are feeling. However, after coming to your blog, reading your words and the words of other girlfriends AND skimming down the 26 stories of good – I’m a little better. I think that is what it takes…climbing back up the hill of “good” after sinking to the bottom when the news came out. Even watching the CBS Sunday Morning Segment on Beatrix Potter made me smile. We need to smile…at family, friends, neighbors, people on the street. We will climb back up…and thank you for helping to start us on this journey.

  5. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Thank you Susan and to all the girlfriends for such kind , encouraging, meaningful and faith-filled words today.

  6. tana G says:

    Thank you for your wise, kind and peaceful words. I had neglected to put an angel on top of my tree yet because I felt one was too small and one was too big. I put the big one on just now. I feel much better. I will wander the house for the perfect spot for the smaller one. Can’t have too many angels. Susan, this post has given me a direction of hope and faith.

  7. Susan, thank you for your lovely tribute to all of those touched by the tragedy in CT. I was thinking when I first heard this news on Friday afternoon that this doesn’t just touch the families in CT who lost the children/teachers; but, it radiates throughout the nation with all of their relatives and the people in this country who feel their pain. We went to see our Angela graduate from college on Saturday and we are so very proud of her achievements. As we were waiting for the graduates to enter the arena I suddenly felt this rush of emotion and as I caught my first glimpse of her coming through the tunnel flashing her bright lovely smile my heart lept into my throat and tears started falling down my cheeks and it caught me off guard. I truly think in the recesses of my mind I realized that 20 sets of parents will not be allowed to experience this with their children and I felt great sadness for them. I was emotional the entire graduation, and so thankful that Angela finished this milestone in her life and I was allowed to be a part of it. My wish is for her to be able to follow her heart and dreams and have a successful life ahead of her she has worked so hard and is so deserving. As I was sitting in Church this morning the terrible thought entered my mind that even in the secure haven of a Church evil can touch members as we sit there and worship. GOD is sad and hurt by this tragedy unlike what others think HE LOVES US, and there will always be people who feel hopeless that will strike out and cause pain in peoples lives. We need to stand united and not honor this act of violence by giving this young man notoriety; but, instead remember these children and the teachers who tried to protect them by loving one another and instilling in our children that as long as they love, care, and see the good in others and in their lives they can make a difference in this World. Love and Hug your Children and hold the goodness in your hearts. Blessings

  8. Kimi says:


    “The Children are a gift to all, it takes a sad moment in life to open ones eyes to a world fill with tomorrows and with this it opens the heart of the moment and helps us realize how important we all are. We send to each other comfort and its needed to mend A sad and broken heart….Love one another, and give from one heart to those who seek it. With the prayers God be with all of us….Hugs to all who are hurting and send one to me too. God Bless all.

  9. Cindy Tuning says:

    Oh Susan, finder of joy and keeper of faith. We need you and our kindred spirits more than ever right now. Last night our Neighborhood Restoration group fed 112 children and their young parents a hot turkey dinner and gave each one of them a gift from Santa. Today we drove 2 1/2 hours each way to take my 83 yr old uncle to visit his son in prison because nobody else wanted to do it. He was very grateful. Doing something for someone else seems to be the only thing that helps right now. Cried in church..cried making dinner…crying now. I hope the day never comes that we don’t cry this much. I’m glad you’re going to see “Lincoln”. Amazing movie. Thank you for giving so many of us a place to share and to vent. Have a better tomorrow.

  10. Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

    Dear, dear Susan ~

    I thank you so much for your words this morning….for reaching out to us with love and giving so many a place to share our feelings.

    Maya Angelou posted on her FB page how important it is that we reach out to each other in our broken-heartedness and say “I’m sorry.” We are all in this together, aren’t we?

    Much like American flags flying at half-mast, the Easter candle burned in our church today. That candle symbolized the wounds that Christ suffered at the time of his death as well as the hope that his life and resurrection gave to the world. Our priest spoke with a cracking voice and streaming tears. His message was difficult to deliver….and difficult for us to hear…but important to be acknowledged. We are all in this together, aren’t we? At times like this, we often feel helpless and hopeless….what could we possibly do that would make any difference?

    Think small.

    Make a heart-felt resolution to spend 5 minutes of everyday in silence and prayer for the families and friends of all who died on Friday. Offer a friendly smile and a helping hand to a busy, young family in your neighborhood. Send a card to someone who is homebound or lonely. There are countless small things that can be done to promote kindness and peacefulness.

    As part of my job of caring for children in my home, I find myself supporting and strengthening their families, as well. Tomorrow, I plan on talking to the children about times, in general, when they might feel scared or sad. Mr. Rodgers, one of the most beloved teachers of small children, spoke of his mother, who once told him when he was a child (and I’m paraphrasing, here): “When something bad happens that scares you or makes you sad….look for the helpers. There will always be helpers.” There are always stories within the story that will give us hope, that will help restore our faith in mankind, that will help us overcome sadness. In the coming days, more and more stories of “helpers” will come out. I hope we hear them. We’re all in this together, aren’t we?

    Let’s keep talking….let’s keep reaching out….let’s keep hope alive in our hearts….let’s keep loving each other and being grateful for all we’ve been given. We’re all in this together, aren’t we?


  11. Linda Petersen says:

    Thank you Susan for expressing your thoughts & feelings so beautifully. Thank you to all the girlfriends too for opening your hearts. Together we will heal our broken & bruised souls & send love & prayers out to those devastated families. We must keep our faith in the Lord~~~He is our Hope in this troubled world.
    Love & hugs to all,
    Linda, Chino Valley, AZ.

  12. Susie Kunze says:

    I will walk into my classroom tomorrow with a renewed effort to love every young soul that I have in my care.

  13. Deborah Norling says:

    Susan..Thank you as always for being there for us…I’d like to add my own thoughts and prayers, of course to the victim’s and their families, but..also for the First Responders…No one goes into …or should I say..no one used to go into Public Safety..be it, medical..fire..or police services, imagining some day they would have to deal with such a horrific scene…all these heroes will need our healing thoughts and prayers to help give them the strength to get through this terrible ordeal, so they can continue to do the jobs they love which are to protect and to serve their communities.

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      God bless the first responders – I simply cannot imagine what a living nightmare Friday must have been for them. As Deborah said, no one should ever have to endure that. And as with the families, recovery has just begun for them. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers – they’ll be in mine forever.

  14. Debbie S., IL says:

    Susan, thank you so much for yet another beautiful post, I have cried so many tears in the last couple of days and am shedding even more. I am heartbroken for those families and try to keep reminding myself that there is more good in this world than bad. I will try to be an instrument of love in my own life and with whomever I encounter, I think that’s the best we can all do. My children are grown and gone, but I will feel so blessed when we are all together for Christmas, that will be the best gift of all.

  15. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    what beautiful and wonderful thoughts at this time when we re all so saddened by what has happened. i con only think of what happened to me friday and i wish that mother had been there for her kids. one of my neighbors is a young mother, single and not too responsible at times. when her kids started school i gave the school my name and number for the kids to call if their mom ever decided to not pick them up from school. now how did i know that? simple she was always leaving them home alone and they always came over to me. i don’t mind watching them, as we have no kids and enjoy their company. well friday the school called and asked if i would please come and pick them up from school. i had been seeing the news all day on that shooting in connecticut, and i was hoping that the kids had not heard about it, boy was i wrong. they not only had heard about it, but the schools sort of locked down to keep the kids safe during the day. the teachers had explained as best they could what was happening, but since it was ongoing when the kids were in school, it was hard to explain. anyway when the kids came out i was waiting for them, and the teacher walked them over to my car and had me sign a paper stating i was picking them up and would be responsible for them. got them into the car, buckled in and they asked if that guy was going to come to their school and get them. i looked at both of them, i could see they were upset and scared by the shooting, and i told them both to get in the front seat, hugged them both very tight, and told them they were quite safe and that man was not going to hurt anyone ever again. instead of dropping them off to an empty house, i wrote their mom a quick note telling her where they were and she could come and get them when she got home, that they were safe with me, stuck it on her door and took them to my home instead. got them inside, and pulled out the christmas dvds and made hot chocolate and cookies for them. i wish that mom had been home to pick up her kids friday, and to hug them and comfort them instead of a neighbor. children are so precious, and need all the hugs, love and care we can give and more. i see them everyday and wave to them when they go to school and when they come home. what precious gifts children are.

    • sbranch says:

      They were so lucky to have you Pat!!! Thank you for being there for them.

      • mimi says:

        How very kind…

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          It really does take a village, Pat…. thank you so very much for all you did/do for those children. It may not seem like much to you overall – but you are making more of a difference in their lives than you will ever know. God bless… :>)

    • Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

      a lot of love goes a long way. I am so glad that you were there for those kids too!!! you know how they say it takes a village to raise a child. Kids need more than their parents and you are a special lady to help not only the kids, but their mom too. Good job!!

    • Jerri Ellen says:

      You are an angel.

    • judi says:

      angels are everywhere, you are one of them

      • Pat, what a true blessing you are for those children and I truly believe in the case of these children when a parent falls short of being responsible the Lord placed you a “Guardian Angel” in their lives. It isn’t easy being a good parent some have trouble giving up their “pretty years” (fun and being free) and the children suffer. Blessings to you for all that you do for these beautiful children.

        • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

          Pat, I concur with all these wonderful girlfriends…. you are an angel and so glad that you take the time and love for those kids when they need it!!!

        • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

          i just happened to be there at a right time for the kids, thank you all for the kind words. the end of the story is that the mom finally picked up her kids…on sunday. i told her that the school had called me and that i didn’t mind watching them, but that if she ever left them alone or failed to pick them up at school, school administrators were going to be reporting it to the authorities. i don’t mind the kids, they are so sweet, today they are coming over to make more christmas cookies, and there will be some fun christmas cartoons on for them…i found my “mr. magoo’s christmas carol” dvd. that should be fun and frosty the snowman.

          • sbranch says:

            Is she at work? How awful she just leaves them.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            What a difficult situation to be in the middle of, Pat. You’re even MORE than an angel – you’re a hero! :>)

          • Jamie from Virginia says:

            Holy Cow! She came back two days later? Thank goodness those children have you and a safe place to go. Hopefully they are a blessing to you as much as you are to them.

  16. Kathleen V. says:

    In light of this unbearable tragedy, it is good to be reminded of the goodness that is still left in this world. The world is grieving with the families in Connecticut and praying for them “without ceasing”. Thank you for sending us 26 reminders of that goodness. They made me cry too.
    Kathy in Holland Michigan

  17. Beth says:

    Oh Susan…I thank you for your beauty, your tenderness, your sense of peace and kindness…it’s such a haven from such deep sadness and heartbreak. I have a 2006 baby and it has been surreal to hear her giggles, receive her love notes and listen to her beginning reading while knowing the sudden, horrible absence of these very same things in homes in Newtown. I love Kahil Gibran’s poem and believe his words to be true. Like you, I sheltered not just my own inner child but the children that I love from as much of the news as I could. We are using our precious day today to be together, set up our North Pole village and treat ourselves to some favorite food. All we have is each other and this day…let’s fill it with kindness, love and peace. <3 Thank you for your sweet words. You always know just what to say! 🙂 ~Beth

  18. Sue G says:

    I am so glad I came to read your comments today, it did my heart good to hear what you so well expressed and what mirrors my own heart. I am a kindergarten teacher and I can’t even fathom what those brave teachers and children must have gone through. I too continue to lift them and their families up in prayer and I know when I see my wee ones tomorrow it will be with a grateful heart to know that they are safe and able to see another day.

  19. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan… i lit a candle on friday….. and it will continue to burn for the next 26 days on our mantle among the winter greeery….. your post was most comforting and i know that the power of prayer will be felt by those affected by this unfathomable tragedy…..these precious people have appeared in our lives and we cannot let them leave this world in vain…we must lead more compassionate kind lives and i for one am thankful for your blog that inspires us to do just that…… remember girlfriends..tell those you love how you feel, hold their hands and hearts close…and keep close in prayer…. wear green and white tomorrow..those are Sandy Hook School colors….sending heartfelt thanks to you susan and to all our girlfriends for being here in this time of trouble… xoxo love, cindy….

  20. Barbara Thomas says:

    Oh but if the world could all read Susan Branch it would be a better place. This was a perfect post to describe what we all feel this month. God Bless you Sue, for all that you share with us.

    Barbara :~}

  21. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Oh MY GOD!! I have been doing pretty good till I read your blog Susan and now the tears will not stop coming. I know what it is to lose a child/in part. M y first child a son was born 9 months still birth. I cried till not another tear would fall but still I was crying. I was down so far I had to look up to see bottom… He was born Christmas day in the eveing. I really think if all the tears shed for these children and all involved, and all tears that have been held back becasue the pain is to much to bare, the rivers would be rushing to the sea and the ocean would flood as in the days of Noah. Your blog is just what we all need to cope with this harrible loss.These words can touch our hearts in places we never knew we had. I will keep these words forever in my heart and pass them on to family & friends.

    • Oh Betty Marie! That is a pain that may fade but never really goes away – I am so sorry. My sister-in-law also had a still-born at nine months. It was the saddest funeral I have ever been to. Though it was nearly ten years ago, that child is still remembered in love. My heart goes to you! I am sure this tragedy has opened that old wound for you in an extremely painful way, especially considering the timing. Sending wishes for peace and healing to you and your family. ♥

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        All my love and sympathy Betty Marie – that is so sad. I can’t imagine that kind of loss. My mother lost her seventh child at eight months [one month after Jackie Kennedy lost her baby boy to the same lung ailment]. I never saw my little sister but I know someday I will – and you’ll see your little boy too. Big bear hug to you! xoxo :>)

  22. Pat C. says:

    Dear Susan,
    My heart breaks for all the poor victims. What a horrific, senseless killing of all those innocent lives. I have a bookmark I purchased 2 months ago in a Christian store that has brought me comfort. Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9

  23. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Thank you for your post Susan. We look to God in this time of tragedy and pray for an answer. We do know these innocent babies and very brave adults are in the arms of Jesus and He is comforting them. I will continue to pray for those families whose lives have been so abruptly and tragically changed. May God comfort their souls and hold their hearts in His Hand. Much love and blessings to you and Joe.

  24. Well-stated, Susan. We are all enormously sad. Life must go on or else the “bad guys” win. Hugs to you and yours.

  25. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    It is hard to put into words how comforting your posting is for those of us struggling to make sense of it all. We have a six year old, first grader grand-son who has successfully overcome (so far) a three year battle with AML (leukemia). Words cannot express the sorrow we felt with possibly losing him to leukemia, but I can’t even imagine the grief those parents are experiencing.
    Thank you for the painting and finding just the right quotes to share.

  26. Angeline Scott-Chavez says:

    Susan, today I remind us all that 110 years ago today, Beatrix Potter kindly gave all the world’s children Peter Rabbit! I think of you and all our Girlfriends who honor the Child by keeping alive the innocence of the book and all her later work. Thank you all for sharing the love of childhood. Those little angels are with us in spirit and we will never forget. Remember childhood and it’s sweetness. That is the best way to honor them. Remember being a child yourself and be thankful for the life we have. Beatrix Potter knew this. Susan, thank you for keeping her legacy alive in your own loving way. It is in the quiet solitude that healing begins. – Love to you, Angie Scott

  27. Nancy says:

    Beautiful post Susan. We should all look for and BE the helpers.

  28. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Thanks for your heartfelt words — really there are no words to express our
    sorrow for those families but we do the best we can. We rededicate ourselves
    to be a loving light in the world — loving as we go…touching as many hearts as we are able. Your friendly blog lifts hearts around the country every day … you have got it right!
    Thank you Susan.
    JoAnne from N.J.

  29. Judy Tracy says:

    We were reminded in church today that we don’t need to be riveted to the news or Internet or television. Getting on to goodness is a way of giving less attention to someone who perhaps sought negative attention rather than no attention.

    What I did for good was print your bookmarks out as favors for our annual Quilting Group Christmas dinner party for last night. We have just lost one of our group’s husbands so we were already sad. Your smiling Santa was a delight and a bright happy note, so thank you for your kindness and generosity to help balance things out. I have a few more gifts to do including a family with ten children and I am going to make your bookmark for each one of them, and a few more besides. Think simple, think kindness, think loving thoughts….and prayers….and hugs. They all help.
    Thanks Susan for all the gifts of love you provide.
    Judy Tracy, Newport Beach CA

  30. Paula B. says:

    Thanks for these wise and comforting words, Susan. I had to read all the responses, also. As a teacher it was especially frightening to see the horror that unfolded in that school, a place that should be one of refuge. I am so proud of how that staff, experienced and novice alike, conducted themselves. I remember when we first started to have these lock-down drills, and trying to calm the fears of “seasoned” ninth graders. I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for those little ones. Praying, having faith, holding on to every precious moment are some things we can do.

  31. Robyn Brown says:

    Thank you for this post. I have really struggled to understand this atrocious act. I have wept and prayed for these families and what they are going through. I struggle with the fear of sending my child back to school. Acts like these leave so much devastation in their wake, ripples that just keep spreading. I cannot fathom how any human can hurt children like this. It makes me wonder if we’re all monsters. Posts like yours help to shine the light and I really love the quote about faith. We must maintain faith despite the odds. It’s the only light that shines. I keep thinking of the Longfellow poem “I heard the bells on Christmas Day” and how he despairs that peace is dead and evil prevails but the line that says “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    ‘God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,With peace on earth, good will to men.'”

    • sbranch says:

      We are not all monsters. A true monster is very rare. But you know how some people are born with one brown eye and one blue eye? It’s like that, only with chromosomes … missing brain connections that make people unable to fix crazy thinking. They live isolated, unloved and loving, lonely, sad lives. It would be easy to feel sorry for them if the actions they sometimes take weren’t so heinous.

  32. Robin - New Mexico says:

    Thank you for your wonderful words…. they help us all in gentle ways.

    All the best.

  33. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Thank you Susan, for another wonderful post that helps us through difficult times. As a retired teacher of special ed children for 35 years, I think of my little students and how much they meant to me even on the most trying days and I cry for those Connecticut babies, their wonderful teachers and their lost families. I pray they will know how many hearts care about them and somehow make it through another day. Yes, let’s make the choice to be the help for someone in need, the joy for someone needing to laugh, the caring heart who looks for others to comfort and offer them our touch, a hug. One of the fathers said his little girl always made a card to cheer someone. Let’s continue her legacy and send those handwritten cards to friends who are struggling and yes, to strangers when we learn of their plight…

    • sbranch says:

      You must be a remembered teacher Sarah. xoxo

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      Oh, yes – the father who spoke on Saturday evening and said that he was “not mad…” His little girl was Emilie, I think. This young man is a credit to his family and the human race in general. Cannot believe the size and the quality of his heart! God bless all the families & help them as they face the most difficult thing they’ll ever have to do…

      • sbranch says:

        These quiet heroes such as Emilie’s dad, are the everyday people I’m talking about when I say, “we are the normal ones.” This is truly how people are, they just don’t get the space on TV so we forget just how wonderful people can be.

  34. Oh Susan, you have such a way of making us all feel much better! I loved reading how you started your day with cream of rice cereal and that you painted a thatched roof cottage. We all have to keep on going even when we don’t feel like it. It is important that we relish each day and keep busy, doing positive things in the world. Thank you for the essay, the wonderful link and the other positive things you wrote. I smile every time I think of Jack and know how much you and Joe love him and Kitty. Anyone could just look at Jack and smile. Thank you again, Susan. ♥

  35. Kate says:

    Loving with all your heart. Hugging with all your strength. Living as if each day was the last. Praying that God in his mercy will watch over and heal the pain these families are going through right now. Being the person He put you on earth to be.

  36. Victoria Miller says:

    Yes, Susan, you know exactly the right thing to say and do, and I’m so touched and thankful for your being here and there. It amazes me that we come here to play and share so much in fun and frolic, and yet when hard times happen, you have just the right thing to post and share. It is wonderful to have my personal friends, and wonderful to know you through your books and blog, and to be part of ‘the girlfriends.’ Thank you and all for being there, through the good times and the difficult times!

  37. Laura says:

    What a lovely and comforting post you’ve written…much needed words. My heart is sad for those poor, poor children and especially their parents.

    Today I am honoring the life I have by making cookies for Christmas presents and writing cards to the ones I love. It’s important to tell those people how you feel, all the time.

    And I’m thankful for you, too…each time you write a new post to tell us about your life I am filled with happiness. I feel as though we are friends. 🙂 Merry Christmas, friend!

  38. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Thank you, Susan — that was beautiful! I’m honoring the lives lost and their grieving loved ones today by baking Christmas goodies to take to my wonderful, angelic neighbors and neighborhood friends who have been so kind to my husband and me throughout his illness and recent passing. Their selfless and many kindnesses have seen me through this tough time and they are all truly inspirational examples of how high the human spirit can soar when faced with the difficulties and trials of others. God Bless them, and God Bless you Susan and all The Girlfriends!


  39. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    You always know just the right thing to say, Your words are always beautiful and touch my heart. I have been crying for days, as everyone else is. We live in CT, near Newtown so my neighbors know some of the children who were killed. Its hard to see this happen so close to home. We are all still recovering from the hurricane and now this. I love that we are all so STRONG!! I pray for the families and hope they someday will find Peace. Thank you for your beautiful touching blog.

  40. Thank you Susan….in all the sadness and the tears your post made me feel better. I really needed reading this today. Hugs to you!

  41. Sandy Malsberger says:

    As a retired first grade teacher I am so very, very proud of all of those wonderful teachers at Sandy Hook who saved their students’ lives on Friday. I know many teachers who would have done the very same thing because that is what we do. We take care of “our” children. So to all of the teachers out there, thank you for the terrific job you do loving and protecting children each and every day!

  42. Janie Phillips says:

    I’m haunted by the horror of this terrible event and by the unbearable grief the families, especially the families of the little children, must endure. I wish so much that I could take some of that impossible burden from them, that my grief could somehow lighten theirs. I know it can’t, but I know that love is the only thing that can. No matter what we call it, love is the only thing that gets us through times of unthinkable heartbreak, and if I can’t lift their burden directly, then I’ll try, like so many of us are, to keep the love in my heart burning brighter, and may the ripples we send out somehow ease the pain of this.

    Your post was a comfort, Sue, and an inspiring reminder to stay steadfastly turned toward the light. xoxo

  43. Marion Rose says:

    Thank you my friend for your wonderful blog. It is a sad time for all of us. All those precious children, and wonderful teachers. In church this morning our Pastor talked to us about how hard it is to understand the reasons why these things happen. We prayed together and while we prayed our church bell rang for each child and adult.
    We ended with a prayer response:

    Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay,
    Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
    Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
    And fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

    Peace and Love, Marion

  44. Pat Simon says:

    When I go to school tomorrow, I am going to hug each and every one of my 402 students. I am the school librarian – those are my kids for six years, from kindergarten through fifth grade. I have been thinking of my little Ks and 1st graders – could I protect them, keep them safe. Their parents send their most precious children to us everyday – what an awesome responsibility we teachers have. I think of the Newton Faculty and Staff and the horrific experience they went through on Friday. They had to put into action what we practice all the time – lockdowns. All of us at Mass this morning – crying through the priest’s homily. Heart aches everywhere. You are right, Susan. We can honor the victims by embracing and appreciating the child in us all. I know for me, Monday morning will be a different kind of Monday. Lucky and blessed.

  45. mary from il says:

    In addition to tighter gun laws banning assualt weapons society needs to stop feeding a culture of violence. Too many people find entertainment through violent films and video games. Guns kill people but it seems that our nations acceptance of these forms of entertainment make killing seem like fun ……. a disturbed mind can find glory in acting out the unthinkable.

    • Jan from Northern CA says:

      I really agree with you mary. The violence is getting so commonplace in our culture. I don’t think the disturbed person realizes what they’ve done until it’s over…and then realization sets in…..and then it’s too late.
      We finished our first responder-medical class for 23 volunteer firefighters today with their test and skills. After what happened on friday, we discussed our role in a situation like that. As Debora mentioned earlier, please keep the EMS responders and the Public Safety folks and Law Enforcement folks in your prayers also. What they see and have to deal with is more than you can imagine. We learn to compartmentalize it….but Friday couldn’t have been easy. Thank you Susan for bringing some sense of Faith and Hope to our F.O.S.B. . I can’t tell you how much I look forward to checking in. Be safe all, and God Bless us as we remember “the reason for the season.”

      • sbranch says:

        Such brave citizens, I am amazed by the work they do. These are the real heroes, our moms and dads, teachers, nurses, first responders, firefighters, the every day people just doing what they do and making the world a better place.

    • Laura says:

      I agree 100% although I doubt very much that the ladies here would purchase those as holiday gifts, if by any chance anyone has, I urge you to return them as a message of peace.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        i cannot imagine anyone purchasing for their child a game with such violence on it, at least i would hope no one would but some do. i think its time to spread the word to stop putting games like out for kids to play with and to stop glorifying people like that gunman ( i refuse to say his name and give him further honor) . enough is enough and it needs to stop now. lets all write our congressman, and senator and lets remove these violent games, dvds and toys from our children. something has to to be done, let do it now.

        • sbranch says:

          Excellent idea Pat!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            already working on it here. i emailed my senator and crongressman and demanded the removal of such violent games and movies. lets hope they hear us. oh to answer you about the mother of the kids, she does work, at the local Dutch Bros coffee stand, and there are days when she just takes off and leaves the kids. i have told them to just get dressed and come over to my house and i’ll take care of them. they are precious kids, today we bake cookies for the fire station, but i have no doubt a few of those cookies will end up inside them… 🙂 along with some frosting. 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I have a girlfriend who was raised by her dad who really had no idea what he was doing, he was forced into the situation because his wife left them. She pretty much lived at her neighbors house … there was never any food in her house, he was at work all the time and left his kids to fend for themselves. She is now the WONDERFUL mom of two children; somehow she came out of this neglect totally intact, and a viable part of the community she lives in. She blesses the people who stood up for her in her young years. That’s what you are doing Pat.

          • pat addison (cavejunction,OR) says:

            i try!!!

  46. Ann Y. - Adamstown, PA says:

    Thank you for such beautiful words, Susan. How can we ever understand this ? As I made my mother’s sugar cookie dough yesterday morning and listened to the horrific news I just kept praying that all the mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, and “other mothers” in heaven were rocking all those precious children in their arms. As a middle school librarian I know my students tomorrow will be full of sadness and scared…all teachers will do what we can to calm the fear and give them hope. I plan on wearing green and white – the colors of the Sandy Hook – as a way of honoring the memory of innocents who died and the teachers and staff who protected them with their lives. God bless us, everyone.

  47. Susan, are you familiar with Sweet Honey in the Rock? They are a Grammy award-winning African American female a cappella ensemble founded in 1973. Their version of “Your Children Are Not Your Children” is the best ever, imho.

    • sbranch says:

      I tried all day today to get on Youtube to listen to them, but something is down over there for me … all I get is a black screen. I will keep trying!

  48. Karrie Steel says:

    Thank you for the link – it truely does the heart good to witness the kindness of others. It gives hope.

  49. Claudia says:

    In this time that we are collectively “on pause” as a people, wondering how we might ever absorb the enormity of such evil toward innocents, may we as Americans consider giving thanks to God for whatever good we may hold onto in this life. May we consider how we may as a people, return to the principles and truths Jesus taught us during His short time on this earth. May we remember, each time we say “Merry Christmas” that it is God’s Son whose birthday we are so involved in celebrating this time of year, and that He deserves all honor and glory as the God of the universe, no longer the babe in the manger. We (and I include myself) are so quick to go our own way and forget Him, yet cry out “why God?” when such tragedies happen. I choose to focus on loving God with my whole heart, soul and life. He is the only true light in this dark world. God bless you Susan, may He comfort all who are in such pain.

    • sbranch says:

      I see a world full of people living out the blessings of the life we’ve been given. My grandma was a very spiritual woman, but she was quiet about her relationship with God, although we saw it manifested in the way she lived her life every day. I don’t think it meant she forgot Him, by any stretch, I just think she grew up in a time and place where it was a more private thing. That’s why I’m never sure what is right to say about this subject. I’m kind of like her. I believe that people have a personal relationship that shows in different ways, but the main way it I see it is through love of fellow man, lightening the burden of those around us. Believing in the good hearts of the people we are traveling through this period of time with is the important thing. Words can be misinterpreted but hearts never can.

  50. Karen Z Victoria, Australia says:

    Sweet Sue, the world is so small now. The ripple effect has us hit Australia too.
    My heart felt tears and prayers for America today. As one of the other Girlfriends said, perhaps this terrible event can be the start of change to your gun laws. I understand each of your States is responsible for their own laws, so a big job ahead to campaign to get these weapons, (whose only job is the kill) out of your communities. OXO

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for your caring voice Karen! xoxo

    • Karyl Dawn says:

      It’s a mental health issue- people will use guns or whatever else to kill- it’s their mental health that is the main issue! This 20 year old had asperger’s – Read up on it – It is time our society looked into helping people get the needed help for this desease and other desease’s that are causing our society such horrid consequences. Video games of killing and movie’s of killing- todays kids do not know the difference between reality and REAL HUMAN LIFE.

  51. Beth Keser says:

    Thank you for reminding us that there really are some wonderful people in this world and to always be thankful for what we have. This has been an awful few days, trying to listen to Christmas music and be positive, but it is so hard to get it out of my mind. Then I saw Emilie Parker’s dad on tv last night, and the courage and strength that man showed was amazing. I am in awe of his faith and strength. In church this morning we began with some prayers for the families of the victims and then sang Children of the Heavenly Father -not a dry eye in sight. Your post today was just beautiful -thank you for sharing your beautiful words and paintings.

  52. Silvia Niomi says:

    Thank you, Susan, for a lovely post. Today, I really needed to see something joyful and kind.

    I just finished putting some time in as a student teacher for a couple of elementary schools. I think back to being in those classrooms and for just a moment being a part of those young, tender little soul’s lives and it is so very difficult to fathom this ever happening in a setting such as that? Why should this happen at all in any setting? I know that I will do anything to help change this frightening landscape that seems to be all to common nowadays.

    I absolutely loved that poem by Kahlil Gibran. My son’s life means exactly this to me. I love to hug him.

    Take good care of yourselves today, dear Sue. This old world needs more of you and the gracious spirit that your blog celebrates.

    Thank you teachers for what you do.

  53. Teresa M. Young says:

    Thank you Susan… it is good to have a “friend” like you.
    Love to you! Will hug all 5 of my boys tonight for sure!!!!!!

  54. Donna Miller says:

    It is just so sad. I prayed over and over for my 4 grandsons to be safe at school on Friday. One is in college and three are at a private Christian school. That does not guarantee their safety. All we can do is pray. My sister is a third grade teacher and when she stopped after school that day, we hugged several times and I told her I was so glad she was home and safe. She is dreading the questions her students will ask her on Monday.

  55. Diane Harris says:

    Susan, thanks for the uplifting 26 stories. We need to focus on the good things while mourning the loss of the precious lives in order to deal with this tragedy of immeasurable proportions.

    ((((((GROUP HUG)))))))

  56. JoAnn H says:

    I knew there would be words of comfort on your blog. Thank you so much.

  57. Diane says:

    The most soothing words to calm my soul came to me from my 10 year old granddaughter who was spending the night on Friday. I was inwardly upset that she even knew about it. While we focused on making Christmas candy treats together, I had silently been preoccupied with how the parents were going to deal with such unspeakable anguish. We crawled into bed and she said she wanted to say a prayer for the little children who had been shot. She spoke so simply and sincerely to God saying she knew that the children were with Him, and she knew that He would “take good care of them”. Amen

  58. Ruth says:

    I had all 3 of my grandsons with me this weekend – I tried to explain to them what happened – I hugged my 7 year old, Tyler, extra tight. As sorry as I feel for the parents who lost their precious children, I do have sympathy for the young man who was so mentally ill that he could have done such an act as this. His poor mother will have to deal with this the rest of her life; each child will be on her heart and also the loss of her own. I don’t know how anyone deals with these tragedies that seem to come so frequently. Our only consolation is that they are now angels in Heaven waiting for their parents to come after them. So sad – and Susan how did you find the right words to put to these tragedy??? Thank you so much for the comfort you gave to us – it makes a world of difference to all of us. We can just pray for comfort for the parents and for ourselves living in such a world as we do today.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t really have the right words. I don’t think there are any, but I love hearing how people are drawing together. xoxo to you Ruth.

      • Laura says:

        He killed his mother first with one of the 25 guns and many, many rounds of ammunition she provided for him in their home. This just makes me angry…mothers should think of the safety and well-being of all our children.

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          i somehow think she is already dealing with it, i have no doubt the good lord asked her that question and she could not answer.

  59. Anna, Camano Island,Wa says:

    Finally friends, whatever things are True, whatever things are Noble, whatever things are Just, whatever things are Pure, whatever things are Lovely, whatever things are of Good Report, If there is any Virtue and if there is anything Praiseworthy, Meditate on these things. ——May God bless all those sweet little angels and all those who grieve for them. —-I am the very fortunate Granny of 8 beautiful grandchildren ranging in age from 8 month old to 7 years old, they are such a joy to my life and my heart aches for the families who must deal with their broken hearts over the loss of their sweet babies. But I believe Love and Goodness does and always will continue to prevail, even in the face of terrible tragedies. Love on everyone, and God Bless us everyone the good and the bad , the happy , the sad……….. so many people in this world are looking for hope and love, be aware and don’t hesitate to give all the kindness you can. I can’t help but think that if this young shooter had been helped somewhere along the way– this may not have happened.

  60. Janice says:

    Beautiful. Thank you…

  61. Sara in Placerville says:

    Oh Susan dear, how I needed to read your post today. I have found such comfort in your words, your light, your warmth. Thank you.

  62. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

    Susan~~~~ Thank you so much for your post today! Such a tragedy! I just thank God that they are all with him now, but oh, those left to deal with the days and months ahead! Thank you for sharing with us those 26 pictures and stories of triumph!! I also cried while I watched them… happy tears though. With God’s help, we, too will heal.

    Carol M

  63. Jane in Pennsylvania says:

    Thank you, Susan, from the bottom of my heart. Your voice is heard & appreciated when we seem to need it the most.

  64. Suzanne says:

    Dear Susan, It has been a very difficult time, the sadness that hangs over all of us is so overwhelming that sometimes I think how can we possibly get past this. Such innocent children and brave teachers but I believe that now that now they are beautiful stars shining down on us in the heavens. Thankyou for the comfort that you bring to us and to give us a chance to express our thoughts with all of our girlfriends. God bless you, all the girlfriends and lets never lose faith in our fellow man. ~East Longmeadow

  65. Pamela Jewett says:

    Dear Susan,

    Such a difficult, difficult time. It is so hard to lose someone you love….but to lose so many at once is unthinkable. We share the feeling of loss and beravement. God bless us all.
    xoxo Pam

  66. Karen C says:

    It’s Sunday evening, and I still can’t find the right words to express how terrible I feel. Thank you Susan & girlfriends. Let the Light shine! ❌⭕❌⭕

  67. Kathy Phenix says:

    Oh, girlfriends. It’s so special to have a blog like this that offers us comfort in times of stress and presents to keep us all smiling. Thank you Susan for all that you do and thank you to all the girlfriends for words of support. Having grown up in CT, I know this area well and many relatives still live in Newtown and surrounding towns. I discovered that a young cousin’s youngest son was in the school. He is fine but I’m sure his mother is very upset. Another reaction I had in watching the coverage, was pride. Proud to see the Connecticut State Police and the large group that responded so rapidly and did such a sensitive job in helping the survivors. I was deeply touched by the trooper who had given his jacket to a young man and then knelt down to pull up the zipper. It probably touched me more than some because my husband was a CT State Police SGT for 16 years. Thank goodness he didn’t have to experience this tragedy first hand but his brother officers did a splendid job. I don’t agree about all the calls for gun control (except for doing away with assault rifles) but I strongly urge a strengthening of our weak mental health community. We have completely given up on mental health issues. Is is fear of the unknown? There is such a stigma placed on people with mental issues. What they need is support and understanding. Well, I’ll get off of my soap box but thank you again Susan for your words of comfort at this stressful time. Love, Kathy

    • sbranch says:

      It comes down to two things for me. Assault rifles should be gone. And we need a better system for mental health. We used to have hospitals for mental health, but because they were government assisted and we needed to spend that money elsewhere, they have been closed. We need them for the families; I hardly know a family not touched by this issue in some way, and there is no help for them. Having something wrong with the brain is exactly the same as having something wrong with a liver or a leg. I like your soap box Kathy, I just hope there is room for all of us on there! 🙂

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        may i jump on that soap box for a minute??? i agree its not a question of banning guns, but to remove assault rifles and weapons from sale to the public, after all who needs an assault weapon except police and military personnel??? but we need better care for the mentally ill. and sad to say there is so little out there. time to get this issue on the front burner and do something, again write or e-mail your senator and congressman and don’t let up. we can do this, after all we did make a pink moon once, well lets do it again!!! thanks for letting me up on the soap box, jumping off now!!!

        • sbranch says:

          Leaping onto empty soapbox; I feel like we are in agreement. No more assault rifles, no more violent video games, and develop much better mental help for children. OK, Soapbox is empty for next girlfriend.

  68. patti says:

    Hi Susan, I read your blog tonight because I am trying to make sense of all of this horror. I could not bring myself to read it before. I still feel very bad. My granddaughter is in 1st grade right across the street from my house as my daughter and her live with us. I have raised 4 children and I can’t even wrap myself around the pain they must be feeling. Two of my boys are professional ballet dancer’s. One of them called me on Friday crying. He did not know how he was going to go on stage that night as it was opening night for the, “Nutcracker.” I told him he was going to have to get it together and do his job. I understood his pain. His fb post said, “Make-up, Costumes, Curtain Calls, it’s so not important.” Saturday we were going to the show at my other son’s performance of the Nutcracker. This is our family’s tradition to go to the Nutcracker’s performance. I was not looking forward to it because I was so sad. I really didn’t think that anything could make me feel better. But we went. This Nutcracker was more of a amateur performance w/kids from the community. My son studied at this studio so he goes back and is a guest artist in this performance. I told both of my son’s don’t ever think that what you are doing is not important. It gives people hope and a break from the harsh realities of this life. It brought much joy to so many people and I am so proud of my son’s for doing what they do. They don’t make a tremendous amount of money, hence the term, “Starving Artists.” But they give so much to the world. Thank you for what you do. It really helps us all get through this <3

  69. Christine Anderson says:

    As always I appreciate your blog, but today very differently. Thanks for the reminders of the good in mankind, of our love for each other and how to find some joy. As a retired teacher, some years in Kindergarden, I was moves to tears for the precious little ones lost in a horrible act. My heart and love go out to the entire community of Sandy Hook School and may God bless them and keep them!

  70. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    That Gladys Taber quote is one of my all time favorites. What a nice way to think of a new day, “honor the life you have”!!!

  71. Mary A. Brown says:

    As a teacher I was so proud of my fellow teachers in Sandy Hook. Some even laid down their lives for their precious charges. No one abandoned their class. They stood strong and even when they thought they were going to die, they tried to make it ok and take some of the terror away. My heart is so sad. Although I no longer teach elementary but now work with high schoolers, I can’t imagine losing any of my students. Your words are true, Susan. Thank you for grounding me. I will work tomorrow to ground my kids.

  72. Sometimes the world seems so crazy and out of control. How grateful I am to be able to go to my computer, see you in my email box, open your email and find so much encouragement here. Your post was wonderful and heart felt. Reading through all the comments reminds me of the hope that is still prevelent in the world. Good people have mighty voices … and those voices will get us, our children and grandchildren throught this terrible time. “Girlfriends” have a new meaning today…I’m grateful for all of you.

    • sbranch says:

      I feel the same Susan … and this gathering of good people that goes on all over the internet, this will change the world. Because we know we are not alone, and there is strength in numbers. It’s changing governments in the Middle East and it can help us be sure that these children and teachers lives will stand for something important here in America.

  73. kathy d says:

    beautifully said thank you!

  74. Cheryl Walsh says:

    You always say the right thing- thanks so much for these tender loving words.
    Smile, tho your heart is breaking, ….smile tho your heart is aching… :o)

  75. Donna Hirschler says:

    Your beautiful words made my heavy heart feel a little lighter tonight. It’s so hard to find words to express our sadness when something this tragic happens because it’s difficult to understand why or how it came to be. I’m going to surrender those questions to God and know that he is in control.
    Thank you for knowing exactly the right things to say. I needed to remember how blessed I am and you helped me do that. Life is precious, and I am grateful.

  76. mimi says:

    Susan, I thank you for your dear,dear words, but I also thank you for providing the opportunity for so many to share heartfelt messages to strengthen us…the tears fall and the heart hurts right now…my prayers to all…and my grateful thanks to those who share their hearts…

    • sbranch says:

      I’m watching the news this morning; they just showed the standing ovation given last night in Newtown for their first responders when they walked into the room, the policemen, the ambulance drivers, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, it was wonderful and heartbreaking … to think what these heroes have gone through — listening to the clapping and pouring out of appreciation and love was so touching.

  77. Jan says:

    Returned just a little while ago from our church’s yearly Christmas program and play. It was just the most uplifting and joyous evening. Little ones singing and shaking their jinglebells. Not to mention the adorable little girl in the front row waving her arms as if she was directing the singing too; and at the same time trying to get hold of the microphone. Just the evening we needed after the last couple of days. Children are so precious!

  78. Susan says:

    Thank you for thinking of all your GFs and bringing a little well-needed hope and comfort to us. I’m consumed with grief but know how lucky I am in that I can essentially resume my life Monday morning when I head into work.

    Someone asked what I’m thankful for this holiday season. I have two loved ones that, as of 9 months ago, weren’t expected to still be here. As exhausted as I am (I’ve been practically living at the hospital/nursing home), every single day is a blessing and a joy. The horror of what happened in CT just emphasizes my good fortune and the fact that I should never take even the smallest gift for granted.

  79. Julie (Omaha) says:

    Very difficult weekend. I just can’t imagine what those poor families must be feeling. Your post has reminded me that there are indeed tears to be cried but hope for a tomorrow, where we will once again have the chance to honor all life. What a precious gift.

  80. Dear Susan,
    Thank you for reminding me of those words from Kahlil Gibran.
    If I have learned anything in my life it is that we should grab the people who are important to us, hold them tight, and say the words out loud, “I love you.”
    On December 23, 2005 we lost our youngest child, suddenly and unexpectedly. I consider our family to be so blessed. We had fifteen amazing years with our Lizzy. She lived life to the fullest, met each day head on, and I can not remember one single ordinary day… they were all so special!
    My heart goes out to those dear parents who have lost precious children in such a tragic manner.
    I work in a high school. I am surrounded each day by beautiful, vibrant children who give me such energy, joy and hope.
    We sang a song in church this morning, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me…” It brought tears to my eyes then, as it does now… my hope for each of us is that we can somehow reach out in love to one another.
    Thank you dear Susan for helping us see the extra-ordinary in every day tasks and events. Thank you for sharing, loving, for being an insturment of peace. We are blessed to have you in our lives.

    • sbranch says:

      Just hearing the words to that song makes me cry … it’s happening all over the country, good people coming together to reaffirm what really matters in life.

    • With your loss of your youngest this time of year still so fresh you must be feeling extra sensitive to the grief you know the parents of these little children are feeling. May God’s comfort fill you as you endeavor to comfort others. I read another comment from Oregon about children being frightened there that the “bad man” might come to their school. The terror spreading can be just as real to children as the actual event, so we must be aware and diligent about helping ALL our children, across the country, to feel safe and secure. I think knowing they are loved dearly by someone will go a long way in helping. Posting guards in school (as I heard suggested) may seem to help temporarily, but it is a false sense of security.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        amen to that, ALL our kids need to know right now that they are loved and safe, and its so simple, just a hug says alot to them. so hug them tight and hug them often.

  81. Carol Landeis says:

    Dear Susan ~
    Your kind words are such a reminder of all the good in our world. Once again we are reminded of what truly is important in life and how precious life is to all of us. I too know the pain of losing a child but not to such horrific circumstances. I am a living testimony to the power of prayer. By God’s miraculous ways, He can mend broken hearts and bring purpose to it all. I know as we all lift these families up in prayer, they too will see a light at the end of the tunnel. We need to continue to throw love at hate in this world, and hopefully make it a better place. Blessings to you this Christmas season.

  82. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Thank you Susan. Your words were the exact thing we needed and I feel just as you do. It is the “small things” in life, sitting by the fire, watching a beloved Christmas movie, decorating with old treasured ornaments, being with the ones we love (including our sweet furry kids), that truly mean the most in life. Hopefully this will make us never take these things for granted.
    Bless you Susan.

  83. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Thank you, Susan for your lovely post. We ARE all grieving.You sent us wonderful reminders of the goodness we all share.
    Children are raised by their families but they are all our own. We watch them play and cheer them on in their academics, sports and activities. We see the world so differently through the lives of children. Their innocence, their sweetness, their wild times.
    As a person working in the school office (school nurse) we were discussing safety with an intruder. How many schools have bullet proof glass? We are pretty much all on ‘lock down’ every day once students arrive. Even with locked doors..the glass in windows shatters, the glass in doors shatters. Who is really safe..at school or at home if someone invades to destroy life in this manner?
    This morning we will start off the last week of school before we celebrate Our Lord’s Birth…school children coming to school wondering if they will be safe. My heart is so broken for these families and the loss of childhood innocence and safe feelings at school everywhere this news has traveled.
    I know that I will go in early because many of our little students won’t know if they are sick or worried, or scared. Please, Girlfriends I know you will pray for those sweet lives lost and their grieving families…please pray also for all the children who will be worrying about their safety at school. Thank you, again, Susan. XXOO

  84. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, Since I worked in a school office……..you deal and handle all kinds of things. Parents who are divorced and want to pick up their children but aren’t allowed and many other scenarios………..but, this is just too much for words. May all these angels rest in peace. God help their parents! Gail Buss, Fl XX

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      One of my friends works in the office in a school in Marinette, WI, where they had a shooting incident a couple of years ago. I thought of her immediately when the news broke. We have talked about it and she has told me the security measures they have had to put in place. It is really sad. She also has told me some stories of uncaring parents and “problem children” that are truly the result of unloving and uncaring parents…It really makes me sad to think how different life is for children now than it was for us in the 1050’s…

  85. Paulie says:

    I will skip reading the comments today. I am so sad for these parents, I pray for them constantly with every thought and I thank the Lord for all of His blessings that he has sent my way. That is what we can and must do.

    This time around, I pray that this viscious act will not be put aside and left to disappear in our minds as time seems to pass us by once again from such a horrible unexplainable act of violence that takes so many innocent lives.

    This time …..we must stand up for change. That is the least we can do and the best we must do.

    • sbranch says:

      This morning I am hearing media agree; they are very strong in saying what needs to be done, and making me cry because I think it means that we are finally truly going to do something. It will take all of us.

  86. Sue Rideout from Maine says:

    As a retired 1st grade teacher, I can’t express how heavy my heart is. I also had to turn off the t.v. and social networks.

  87. Lynn Gregory says:

    Dear Susan: Thank you for your touching tribute at this time of great sadness in our towns. Friday was surreal – my friend and I were at Radio City when a woman in front of us read the report from her phone. I have 2 friends whose grandchildren attend that school and my heart stopped. Thankfully within a matter of minutes I learned that they were safe and then we headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral – the only place I could think of where I really wanted to go at that moment. The nation and the world has expressed such an outpouring of love and prayers that it must bring comfort to those who have lost their loved ones. The tears continue to flow and undoubtedly could create a new river through our towns. I am proud of Monroe where I live – we are welcoming the students to one of our schools on Wednesday and little by little the healing will begin. I pray for the families as well as the first responders and everyone involved in that horrific tragedy. That lovely town will never be the same.

    • sbranch says:

      No, not for a very very long time. I love how MAD the media is this morning. My prayer is that this horrible tragedy, with the help of all of us, contributing now to your “river of tears,” is going to bring changes for the good.

  88. judi says:

    Thank you for your wonderful post. I have often used Tagore and Gibran quotes on my cards. I have tried to keep my mind and heart towards the light the past few days. This is a saying I put on sympathy cards, “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in Heaven, where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy”. – Eskimo legend I have to believe in the good in this world.

    Yesterday one of my best friends gave me your Autumn book. I was thrilled. And the week before my other best friend that moved to CA sent me your Girlfriends book. I am blessed. Keep your face to the sunshine girlfriends.

  89. Mary Baynes/ Indiana says:

    Thanks for this uplifting Blog! As always you seem to know what my heart needs but cannot find the words.

  90. Susan Joy says:

    My heart is so heavy. Those poor families. My oldest daughter is a 25 year old teacher and my youngest just left for school, it’s so hard to imagine anything so horrific. I feel like we are all part of a horrible nightmare that we need to wake up from. So sad.

  91. Liza says:

    Children are my passion. I’ve been blessed to have them in my life for almost forty years. Today and tomorrow I take my preschoolers downtown to see Santa and have hove hot chocolate. They deserve this happiness but I’m giving the parents a copy of you Gibran quote. Thank you for helping us all.

    • sbranch says:

      They deserve a normal childhood where there is Santa and dreams can come true, thank you Liza for giving them that magic. xoxo

  92. Chris Wells from West Texas says:

    My Dear Susan, We can never thank you enough for being here with us. Your words of wisdom and strength inspire us and quiets our soul. This is a gathering place of love and kindness that is so needed in this world. I am just recovering from 4 days flat on my back with the flu and trying to gather my strengh to go back to work tomorrow, but I spent most of yesterday catching up on all the comments. I cannot fathom this unspeakable act. May each of us love more, practice random acts of kindness and be less quick to judge.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Chris, for being here — I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Dear Chris,
      I am so sorry you’ve been sick! The flu/virus is going around in this area too. And it seems to last for awhile. Glad you got the chance to regain your strength and I hope today back at work was a good one for you!

  93. Marty says:

    Some of us may lose our faith, however we might want to hold on to it-but let us never lose our humanity or our caring for one another. We are blessed with life and for what reason do we enjoy vicarious violence and death? The culture must change and that is something that we can all work toward. If we are determined we will find a way.
    It is not scripture, but it is something that I like to remind myself of everyday “Promise me that you’ll always remember that you are braver than you beleive, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think” Christopher Robin to Pooh.

    WE need to believe that we are brave enough and strong ecough and smart enough t organize to ban assault rifles, strong enough to demand of our “Do nothing” legislators that instead of all of their “perqs” and”promises” to anyone but their constituents, they need to help eradicate bullying and violence that permeates many lives and allocate more funds for helping young people trying to raise their families, assist in promoting mental health and a tolerance of difference. We are smart enough to know that love and family, communiity and creativity ,compassion and education are what makes life valuble, not the latests electronics or newest car. For many this is the season of light –let it illuminate what is important and let all the rest subside.
    Love you Susan, for all that you do to help us all be better people and to take pleasure in one another’s lives.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, and I might mention that the money they have to spend, is actually not some sort of gift or “handout” from them, it is our money, it should be spent on all the things you mentioned, it should be spent to make America everything she is meant to be.

  94. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Thank you. 🙁

  95. Sally says:

    The dove picture is the very first one of your paintings I bought years ago. It reminds of my faith in God and that He will take care of these innocent children and their parents who are left on this earth to grieve. Thank you for your poetic nature, it does inspire me.

  96. I love your post, Susan. Faith . . . we just have to hold on to it tightly. I know I have been hugging my family a little harder these days. May God bless you and your wonderful family. Thank you so much for all you do. Sending hugs and prayers from PA . . .

  97. Cheryl Jasina says:

    What a beautiful tribute Susan..thank U!!

  98. Kristy Brandon, MS says:

    So beautiful, Susan!
    My husband and I teach 1st graders Sunday School and this has been very hard on me. I do not know what I would do if this happened to any of them. Those parents are dealing with something that is so inconcievable and horrifying my heart breaks for them.
    I was hoping that you would have a post about it because I really needed uplifting from your words to feel better. It helped me through Katrina and it is helping now. Thank you for all you do and I wish you, Joe, Girl Kitty, and Jack a Merry Christmas.

  99. irene talaasen says:

    Susan~Your post today and your Blog in general are most uplifting. There aren’t words to express the grief but there is Hope in Jesus. In Hebrews, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith! Praying for all concerned in this tragedy . Thank you for allowing all of us to share and the comments were all such blessings; we are all affected. I am a retired Kindergarten teacher and I can relate to how teachers love “their” children. Blessings on all teachers who go into classrooms each day and love and nurture children.
    Thank you sweet Susan!!!!

Comments are closed.