Isn’t the New Year the perfect time to talk about dreams???  Oh yes! Musica

Be your own little harbor.

Bubble baths are perfect for dreaming . . .

Nap with kitty . . .

Spend time with best friends . . .

Go on a date . . . 

Wish on stars . . .

Spread sunshine in your own inimitable way . . .

Make hot chocolate for someone you love . . .♥

Get some exercise . . .

Hug somebody . . .

Write down your dreams.

 I have a word to say about this one, because dreams need to come out of the clouds and down to earth before you can get your hands on them.  When I moved into my first little house on the island, (Holly Oak, in the photo in the post below), I didn’t know what my dreams were. I was flailing around in life at the time (even more than usual) and dreams were just too BIG; they were like infinity; I couldn’t begin to choose one; I couldn’t even bring them into focus.  I knew what I didn’t like about my life; I could go on all day long about that.  But the question, “What do you want?” was almost impossible to answer.  I was lucky because I ran into someone who taught me.

   I’ll tell you what I learned; it’s such an easy little thing to do; you will probably read this and think, that can’t work. But what better time to go looking for your dreams (or even just remind yourself of them) than the first day of the new year!  Doing this was the first step I took toward writing my first book.  And it starts with the easy part: just get out a piece of paper and write down ten or twelve things in your life that you don’t like.   Such as: I hate my job; I’m too fat; I’m alone too much; I hate my relationship with my brother; I hate the paint in the living room; I hate it that I don’t (fill in the blank: learn to quilt, write a book, practice the piano, learn French, get a kitty, go to England) ; whatever it is, just write it all down.  Now rewrite your list but change it all to choices:  I choose to have a new job; I choose to lose weight; I choose to invite someone to tea; I choose to improve my relationship with my brother; I choose to repaint the living room; I choose to get a kitty.  Notice how just reading those words unfurrows your brow?  Your dreams come into focus, they become smaller, easier to reach, possible; the kind of dreams that give you the life you truly want. It removes the negativity and puts in the true power of YU.  Voila, you now know your dreams.  Knowing is the beginning. Then it’s a series of small steps: to write a book, first you get out a piece of paper; to get a kitty, look up the number of your local animal shelter . . .

Here’s someone’s dream coming true . . . A lovely little video that always makes me cry.

 Vanna came out already this morning, half asleep but still more beautiful than a person should ever be in the morning … I almost don’t know why I let her live here!  But she comes in handy for the correct pulling of a name, with the proper flourishes and glamour such a moment should have. Who else wears high heeled satin slippers with little feathers blowing around on the toes and no socks on a freezing winter day?  No one.

She took her time, carefully going to the bottom of the hat, digging around touching them all,  feeling for the “warm” one, as she put it . . . she apparently found what she wanted, and handed it over to me, before taking her tea back to bed for extra dreaming . . .

Before I announce the winner of my first book, Heart of the Home, and before we really get going on this new year, I just want to tell you what a PLEASURE it’s been getting to know all of you this last year.  Connecting with you this way has been beyond my wildest dreams!  Thank you for your lovely comments, for being my girlfriends, and for loving the little things in life.

Life is better with kindred spirits . . . MUSICA

Now, please help me to congratulate our winner, DEBRA (who has a daughter named AMY G. — if you see this Amy, tell your mom to check her email!) I wrote Debra this morning to let her know she needs to make a little more room on her bookshelf!  When she emails me back with her address, I’ll sign her book, and off it will go!

And now my friends, off I go, back to the little awake-dream I’m in every day, writing this, our, book.  I was at Beatrix Potter’s on Christmas Day!!!  It was so beautiful!  I am so enjoying imagining myself taking you there . . . I also designed the cover and chose a title . . . I think maybe one of you suggested it . . . someone did!  Anyway, it fit perfectly, it’s called, A Fine Romance.  

 Love you!  Happy Happy New Year! xoxo

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  1. Susu S. says:

    Congratulations Debra!
    I’ve loved this book for years – both to look at and to use.
    What a lovely post. Thanks Susan.

  2. Nia Rhind says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Just wanted to let you know that I received a lovely gift from my husband on Christmas day, your 2013 calendar. It is now hanging proudly in my kitchen and blends in beautifully with my Laura Ashley duck egg blue walls. A very similar colour to the new colour you chose for your kitchen walls. I’ve read your January title page so many times already and I never peep to see what’s coming in the following months. I always wait to have a lovely surprise. It’s so inspirational full of wise words and lovely ideas. I’m going to try and make sure that I make some soup this week as I’m always sewing as it’s a part of my job. Thank you for another lovely calendar. x

  3. Gail Buss says:

    Dear Susan, Well congratulations are in order for Debra! I know shewill love your copy of this book as much as I love mine.

    Susan, sometimes as I’m looking through all your books, I’m so in awe of all the time you spent on each page and your lovely water color paintings and hand-printing that is yours alone. Hours and hours must have gone into each and every book. I just know you love what you do.

    And thanks for showing us how “I choose” can make such a difference. Those two little words are very (what is the word I’m looking for?) “empowering”! I will be making my list as soon as I close here.

    I love the title you have chosen for your new book, and can’t wait to see the finished product. May you and Joe have a wonderful New Year. Please tell him that I was also looking at my copy of “The Black Dog Summer On The Vineyard Cook Book” too recently. Just because it’s winter, that doesn’t stop me from looking at summer cookbooks that have yummy soups in them.

    Again, thank you. Hugs, Gail Buss, Florida XXOO

  4. Sreekala says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Thanks a lot for sharing Susan Boyle’s video. I have never seen it before and I was really moved. How do you manage to find all these is beyond me! Thanks for the most inspirational post for the new year!

  5. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    First off; Congratulations Debra!! What a wonderful start to the new year. 🙂
    Thank you Susan for the inspiring post. I am going to send this to my 22 year old daughter. She doesn’t seem to know what she wants from her life. I think this post will really do her some good. Hope this is everyones best year yet!

    • sbranch says:

      Tell her that 22 is really young to know, that it’s OK, if she doesn’t know yet, but to just keep bettering herself as best she can, keep learning, everything will fall into place. xoxo

  6. Donna Bradley says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you so much for reminding me how important it is to dream. I feel like you wrote this post just for me. Your words and sweet drawings have inspired and energized me to start dreaming again and make those dreams happen. You are the best girlfriend in the world! ;D Happy 2013 to you, Joe, and the kitties!
    Love from Texas~Donna

  7. Trish K says:

    Yay Debra! Enjoy your book! Happy 2013 Everyone! So many exclamations! I’m so excited to get started on my list, there are so many things I need to work on, but it doesn’t seem so impossible now.

  8. Crystal says:

    Dear Susan,

    I cannot wait for “A Fine Romance.” A perfect title. One of the positive things I am going to do this year is be more faithful in reading your blog as you always lift my spirits and help me to dream. Thank you.

    Happy New Year

  9. Katy Noelle says:

    Thank you so much for this post!!!! ….aaaaand I’m going to just leave it at that because, how does one truly explain the depths of their hearts? It never quite works. 😉

    Wishing you everything good in your New Year!


    Katy Noelle (in snowy, dreamy Vermont) xxoo

  10. Mazy from Maryland says:

    Happy New Year! Here’s hoping for lots of moments to take deep breathes and enjoy what’s around us! Many blessings and wonderful thoughts.

  11. Deborah Norling says:

    Hoooray for Debra !!…..Susan, Thank you for the inspiration to help us find our dreams..and most important…reminding’s n e v e r t o o l a t e…something sort of spooky though….. the section where you listed all the examples of possible things we want to change about our lives…. e v e r y o n e of them…pertained !….well, except the get a kitty part….thankfully I already have my kitty kids.

  12. Mary E Osborne says:

    Love you too Susan. Thanks for this wonderful blog. Happy happy new year to you and yours. P.S. I especially liked the entry you posted w/the picture in your first house, “… and raise my kitties to be fine, strong young cats!” LOL! Loved it!

  13. Congrats Debra!!! YAY! You are going to love Susan’s first book if you don’t already have it!
    And Oh my goodness, Susan! This post just brought tears to my eyes – tears of joy! You bring so much happiness to all of us, and I can’t tell you how much your blog has lightened up my life! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! No I am off to write down my dreams . . .

  14. Rosemary says:

    A beautiful, inspirational post for the start of 2013! Isn’t that amazing….2013? Congratulations to Debra! She will be so happy.
    I shared your post this morning..with my husband! It is so right on and he agreed. And…he actually read on to a few more posts. Thought they were great! I am like that, I share sometimes ♡. Now, I will share with our daughter who could use some suggestions as to the direction her life is taking. She is on an okay path but needs some inspiration. It amazes me how you have this wise, rich, and pleasing approach to life….not scolding or whining but more of a can-do attitude…positive.
    Well, anyway, I thank you that I can go to this little space and always find something to fill my cup. Happy 2013! OOOOOhhhh…the book! Perfect!

  15. Robin - New Mexico says:

    Sharing how to find your dreams was so sweet of you… I think it might be really helpful. How clever you are and gracious to share your thoughts.
    You said it has been a pleasure getting to know us this pass year….. the pleasure has TRULY BEEN ALL OURS!!
    Thank you ever so much!

  16. Cori Niehoff says:

    It’s funny how we can see God’s hand in everything. Just last night I wrote in my journal that I had no hope or dreams left in me and how sad that makes me. Then I get up this morning and read your post and feel renewed some how. I guess maybe my life isn’t over because I’m 64. There are still things I can do and lives to touch. Than you dear Susan for being a conduit for God for me. May this new year bring you as much joy and happiness as you bring to all of us.

  17. Janice says:

    Inspiring! What a great way to begin 2013. One of my resolutions for the new year: to never miss one of your posts.

    Happy New Year!

  18. Jane says:

    Happy New Year Susan, Joe and of course the kitties!! Just put up your 2013 calendar. I love your calendars and have been collecting them a few years and have introduced them and your web site to my friends. A toast to health, happiness and wonderful dreams!!

  19. Andi M says:

    Happy New Year! Big smile from me to you!

  20. Pat says:

    Thank you for those wonderful words–you always know what we need to hear.
    xo Pat

  21. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Write down my dreams. . . I can do that plus, it sounds so much more wonderful than writing down a ‘bucket list’. I usually write down the tasks I want to accomplish for the day/week and it works rather well to keep me focused on the list. How much more fun to write down dreams and be able to focus on them as well! Why didn’t I think of that! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas (sounds like you did) and wonderful New Year as well.

    • sbranch says:

      I had to laugh about the ‘bucket list.’ I’ve never cared for the sound of that either!

      • sandy says:

        I don’t know what bucket list comes from, tho I get the idea. I heard Bill Hybels say recently that he had one item on his bucket list–to sail across the Atlantic alone. After he did that, since it was empty, he could then kick the bucket…

  22. Mary Weir says:

    A treasure awaits me inside an old cookbook


    Hi again Susan,
    When I googled the “Touch Hands” poem, I came across this article from the Christian Science Monitor. You may have seen it back in 2005, but I thought it was so sweet how the writer’s mom reached out to her through her worn cookbook. I hope to leave such a legacy someday.
    I also meant to comment on your musings on homes…for years, I have consistently dreamt of houses and floorplans and details of homes. I wonder if this is normal:)
    Thank you again for the poem,
    Mary Weir

    From The Christian Science Monitor
    .By Jean Chapman Snow / December 19, 2005

    I pick up my mother’s tattered and coverless Crisco cookbook, its fragile binding threads hanging loose. Why had I carried it with me on this long-distance move? Time to get rid of it, I think, but first I’ll look through it.

    I smile at the inscription in her familiar flowing hand, “Ethel A. Chapman, Lake Oscawana, Dec. 1, 1930.” Below her name she had pasted fruit punch recipes. One is headed with a large red Christmas font. “Merry C” it says, the remaining letters hidden by another recipe.

    My mouth waters as I remember that lemon meringue pie recipe. I’ll make sure I have a copy before I discard her book. I’d often made it when I was in high school, and later as a wife and mother. Though I haven’t taken a pie to a potluck in years, who knows?

    Carefully I leaf through the brittle pages. Like Mother’s, my cookbooks have recipes on index cards or scraps of paper tucked between their pages. All bring memories.

    I recognize names of Mother’s friends. Here’s a recipe for a Swedish Tea Ring with “St. Christina’s 1910” written in the corner. Then I discover a treasure, a faded clipping. It’s not a food recipe at all.

    Did Mother cut this poem, “Christmas Thought,” by William Henry “Adirondack” Murray from an issue of Farm Journal? I remember as a child that the magazine regularly arrived by mail.

    Ah, friends, dear friends, as years go on and heads get gray,
    how fast the guests do go! Touch hands,
    touch hands, with those that stay.
    Strong hands to weak, old hands to young,
    around the Christmas board, touch hands.
    The false forget, the foe forgive, for every guest will go
    and every fire burn low and cabin empty stand.
    Forget, forgive, for who may say that Christmas day
    may ever come to host or guest again. Touch hands!

    I reach for a tissue and decide the book is a keeper. Gently I place it back on the shelf.

    When I moved a second time, I packed Mother’s old cookbook tenderly. I’ve read “Christmas Thought” many times since that first discovery and think I understand why Mother had kept it. Tears doubtless sprang to her eyes, too. Sentimental? Of course, but don’t tears often come when a deep truth touches us?

    I searched for the author on the Internet. He was called “Adirondack” Murray because he was credited with opening up the Adirondack Mountains to tourism with his first book, “Adventures in the Wilderness, Camp Life in the Adirondacks,” published in 1869.

    Born in Guilford, Conn., he graduated from Yale and attended seminary, later becoming pastor of the Park Street Church in Boston.

    Murray was a great lover of outdoor sports and spent his summers in the Adirondacks. After leaving Park Street Church, he continued to write books and gave lecture tours about his travels throughout the United States. His last book was “Holiday Tales, Christmas in the Adirondacks.”

    As my 8-year-old grandson snuggles against me as we sit on the couch together, I’m filled with the joy of living. Adirondack Murray was right: “Touch hands, touch hands.” It’s not just a Christmas thought. It’s a thought to treasure all year long.

  23. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Happy Happy Happiest 2013 Susan!!! Guess who Bret is bringing home for dinner??? 😉 He is bringing home Kim Crawford!!! So I’m thinking….. I should ditch the dinner plans of leftovers?! LOL!!! PEACE and LOVE!!! XoXDawn

  24. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Wow, I needed that video as inspiration to hang onto my dreams no matter what happens, no matter how old I am, what others think of me, or my dreams, or if setbacks occur, its just around the corner, ladies, so keep on dreaming.
    Never give up, never surrender!!! I am speaking to myself as well as every other dreamer out there!

  25. Ann says:

    Happy New Year, Susan

    This is a wonderful time to think about dreams and not giving up, no matter how old you are or how unrealisatic the dream may appear to be. That video did make me cry, but it gave me motivation to continue to look for a teacher job and not give up. I had been teaching for 30 years when my smalll Christian school had to close its middle school in August 2011. I have just had some sub work since. I have been on many interviews because I think my resume looks good, but after I interview, I do not get the job. I feel it is age descrimination. No one seems to want to hire anyone who may work for only another five years. It is frustrating to say the least…but as i continue to read your blog…I will take your advice and keep on trekking. If Susan Boyle can sing at 47 with no real experience, just an excellent voice…I can look for a job at 60. I have many years worth of experience!!

    • sbranch says:

      The right place will show up… there has to be a good fit for you out there! Sixty isn’t old. xoxo

      • Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

        Your love for teaching is a gift and there is a place for, perhaps, just around the corner. Keep the faith. God has a plan for you. I am 69 and am scoping out possibilities that can brighten my life. Consider yourself hugged! OOOO Pat from Paso Robles, CA

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      Girlfriend Ann, My college professor(second time in college for me) in MA still teaches and he is pushing 80!!! He has been teaching college, high school and now he is at the Naval War College in Newport! You go girl !!!

  26. Janice Chandonnet says:

    Congratulations to Debra! Enjoy! I know I am repeating myself Susan, but you are always such an inspiration. Have so enjoyed and looked forward to your blog all year long. Your artwork is amazing. You certainly have a God given talent. Love how you share of yourself. You are a real comfort! Thank You!! Happy New Year to you and Joe!
    P.S. Have to tell you I made the sugared fruit for my Christmas table. It turned out very well. I bought a small red pear and put it in the refrigerator. Was telling my daughter what I was going to do with it when my husband spoke up and said “The red pear in the refrigerator?” I ate that- never had a red pear before.” So needless to say I had to buy another one. Ha! Looked beautiful on the table, but as we sat down to eat we noticed a small bite had been taken out of the side of the pear. I have seven grandchildren; five old enough to do something like that, but amazingly enough nobody had done it. Ha! The joys of grandchildren! Another joyful and memorable Christmas moment.

  27. Elaine says:

    What a touching post! Happy New Year to you and Joe and to your dear mother too! I met the three of you at a book signing for your Autumn Book at Vromans Book Store in Pasadena Ca in 1984. I especially enjoyed speaking to your mother as we shared the joys of raising large families (I had 5 children). Such a lovely woman! Hope she is doing well. Can not wait for your England book! Hope you will be doing a signing in southern California!

    • sbranch says:

      She’s wonderful, doing very well — couldn’t have been 1984 though, I bet it was 2004 … Autumn came out that year. I hope I can come back to Vromans!

  28. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Great title Susan!!! We need to feed our dreams. As we dream, so shall we become.
    Here’s to a NEW year full of opportunities to make dreams come true!

  29. Elaine says:

    Sorry that was 2004……

  30. Jody says:

    Thank you, thank you, Susan, for helping me to realize that this 50 year old lady can still dream. The ideas are already tumbling in my head.

    Happy Dream-y New Year!
    With Love,

  31. Lisa says:

    Thank you, Susan, for another inspiring, uplifting post! Some days it feels as if you are writing just what I need to read…thank you so much for sharing your technique of sorting out one’s dreams. I am flailing around in my life right now. (Who does that when they are 51?!) This is such a simple exercise to help sharpen the focus – I will try it!

    Happy 2013!

    • sbranch says:

      Perfectly normal! If you aren’t flailing you aren’t growing!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Lisa, try 55!! At least Susan has just made some sense of the flailing part. She says we’re normal and there’s hope, so I’m hanging on to that.

  32. Lynn says:

    Your suggestion for listing what I hate and converting it to what I choose to do really hit a chord with me. Found myself thinking about it a lot today. You have inspired me in a great way!!

    Want to share with you that my wonderful 21 year old son treated me to a day in NYC today. We walked EVERYWHERE, from Grand Central to the Metropolitan Museum, to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and skaters, to a distance down town. On the way back to midtown, I discovered that the Morgan Library has a current exhibit of BEATRIX POTTER’S letters and early drawings! It was near closing time but I decided to take a quick peek anyway, and it was pure joy! Thought of you, your recent travels, and y our Peter rabbit room! Came home with the book, Beatrix Potter A Life in Nature. ~~ For the past year or so I have slowly been needlepointing her various precious characters (Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle, etc) to make ornaments for a Peter Rabbit tree for future Christmases. The exhibit was a fun way to see how these characters evolved from line drawings to beloved story characters!

  33. Ginny says:

    Absolutely LOVED this post! Thank You! This goes in my gratitude journal today!

  34. Susan says:

    Congratulations to Debra! Susan, I appreciate your words about dreams. I came through a period this year that kind of dampened my dreams, but I’m hoping to rekindle them this year. Thank you!

  35. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    You, Susan Branch, have been the bright spot in my life and I consider you the treasure sent my way when I needed to tackle the tough times. And then I realized that, yes, you brought joy and smiles to my face but there was more – you put me back in touch with life – learning, traveling, gazing at beautiful gardens in England, reliving Beatrix Potter and Jane Austen, taking in the sea from the Queen Mary !! Of course there have been oh so many other experiences along the way. ThankyouThankyouThankyou – is not nearly enough but it will have to do. Yes, I cried listening to Susan Boyle – just as I did the very first time I saw her on TV before those judges. And I wonder if she knows what an inspiration she is to others – probably not – she does what she does because she loves it and her dream came true. I pledge to take my dream and build on it – literally – adding a room onto my cabin in Northeastern Washington – my place to watch snow flakes and bask in the shadow of beautiful trees. I know there are other things as well and I look forward to the additional surprises – oh, yes – I am going to be a GREAT grandma this year! How sweet is that??? Happy Happy New Year to you, Susan, and to everyone who has shared this journey in 2012 – may all of your dreams come true. XXXXOOOO

    • sbranch says:

      Pat, you are an inspiration! I hope you know that. So much to look forward to for you! Thank you so much, love having you here! Happy 2013!

  36. Bobbie Ann Picard says:

    Happy New Year, Susan!!!!
    Thank you for reminding me to dream!! Thank you for all the pleasure you have given me this past year, with beautiful pictures, writing and traveling!!!! Thank you for teaching me to look at life in a sweet way and it’s okay, sometimes, to be a child again!!! I love you for all you have shared with me and all the other girlfriends!!!
    May you and Joe have a wonderful New Year, filled with good health and happiness! This is my prayer for all of us!!
    Bobbie 🙂

  37. Tina Mandeville says:


    You always feed my soul and make my heart smile. Love you so for that! All the best to you and those you love in this new year!

  38. Karen says:

    Happy New Year Susan. Just put your calender on the fridge…. looks fabulous.

    Thank you for everything you do.

    Keep dreaming!

  39. evangeline says:

    Happiest New Year…my friend Susan…how dear that sounds…this post has been such a rich rich blessing…I cried and clapped watching the Susan Boyle video over and over….how very deep it reached into my soul…witnessing someones dream coming true…how very very blessed I am…this past year has been very difficult…small difficulties in comparison to others …. but still “my personal heartaches”…. thank you for giving hope…there is a happy tomorrow “just around the corner”… love to you and yours from my beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains…God really is good…evangeline

  40. Carla TePaske says:

    Thank you! I am dreaming too. Yes, I will write my dreams down and take time to reach them.
    Thank you for the uplifting posts…they really do help on the hard days.

  41. Silvia Niomi says:

    Happy New Year Susan,
    Thank you so much for this post…. how very timely, this is exactly where I am at.
    Pursuing ones dreams until they come true, is sometimes very challenging – especially as you get older. There is plenty nay sayers (the number of them seem to pick up as our years increase) out there that try to nay say your dream into the ground. But, just think if that 94 year old had never picked up his paint brush he never would’ve been the ‘The Hottest New Thing.” How fun for him he has something new to look forward to and at the same time he enriches those around him. I’d like to believe that you are never to old to go after your dreams.
    – lovely post.

  42. Marcia in Brazil says:

    I’m so inspired and encouraged by this post! It’s beautiful! Thank you so much, Susan. You have no idea how much I needed this. Love,

  43. evangeline says:

    I am enjoying every day when I wake to check if u have written “me” a letter ha ha….and it is so wonderful to be part of your “girlfriends” … I am beginning to remember who each person is by their name and comments…very exciting..I love meeting new people and getting to know them….very wonderful!! I picture you in your kitchen early before the house is awake…having that hot tea and you smiling as you look out the window….how dear it is for you to share the “true you”and give us permission to be ourselves and actually say what we are thinking….and how we find joy…I ran away to the beach for just 1 day and just basked in the sunshine….even tho windy it was so so healing…our world is still beautiful….no matter the misery around us….there is still joy….I pray you have armfuls of joy this year….just like an armload of fresh laundry off the line ….evangeline…

  44. Ro from Rose Cottage, New Jersey says:

    Happy New Year Susan and Joe, and Kitties.
    Congratulations to Debra!
    After reading the other post, everyone thinks you are writing just for them, but I know you are talking just to ME!
    You are such an inspiration for all of us, telling us what we need to know just when we need it.
    Sometimes the year end is so dismal, endings of another year.
    But you bring us to remember it is a BEGINNING of something new!
    Thank you for being YOU!

  45. Rhonda P. in Woodson, TX says:

    Susan, have you ever considered making a “year-in-a-box” calendar? I receive one every year from my boss. I use it on my desk at work and have had several different kinds. We enjoy your blog so much and would really love to have your artwork/inspiration on every day of the year. Just a thought as we begin this new year…thanks for the wonderful blog and all the hours you spend sharing with us.

    • sbranch says:

      So far the company I design calendars for hasn’t requested this, but I will definitely check! Thanks Rhonda.

  46. Jackie P says:

    Happy New Year Susan and to all the girlfriends. May all our dreams come true!

  47. viv says:

    I’m reading a couple of days late, but so glad I didn’t miss all the lovely pictures and the encouragement contained in the post. I almost didn’t watch the video, but am so glad I did; I cried again too. Congratulations to Debra. I may not have the book, but I do have my 2013 Heart of the Home Calendar. Happy New Year.

  48. Jan says:

    Just read one the girlfriend’s comments asking about a year in a box calendar or page a day calendar. I agree it sounds like a wonderful idea. I, too, use one of these calendars and would love to have one designed by you.

  49. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Evening Sweetest Sue! I’ve Just Flown to Your Blog…Savored Every Word Then Read it All…Out~Loud to Herbster! 🙂 Goosebumps All Over & He Makes Me re~Read it Over…so He “Gets” it! Yay! 😉 Today Sweet Sue is My Birthday! January 3rd 1959 (Alaska Became A State The Very Same Day & Year) 🙂 My Mom Irene… & One of My Sister’s… Karen Took Me to The Movies…We saw “Les~Miserable” Beyond Amazing Movie~Perfection! (Still Singing Every Song I’ve Seen it On Broadway Twice!) First We went Out to Lunch Then The Movie Then Ice~Cream…a Pure Yummy Way to Spend My Birthday! 🙂 Then on My Return Home Herbster Greeted Me with a Magical Card & Champagne & Soon Steaks on The Grill & a Cute Ice~Cream Birthday Cake!(A Snowman!) 😉 Happy Birthday to Me! (I’m a Holiday Baby!) 😉 Anyway I wanted to Wish You & Joe & The Kute~Kitties The Happiest New Year! I Love 2013 Already! DREAMS….Amen Sweet Sue…. 🙂 This Weekend I will Put on The Christmas Carols & Slowly Take Down all My Christmas Magic My Tree is STILL Fresh He Drank so Much Water Amazing! I Shall Leave a Few Snowmen to Celebrate Winter! sending You Much L♥ve & Lots of Happy New Year Pixie~Dust! I Cherish Our Friendship My Sweetest Sue! Thank~You for All Your Magic that You Share with all of Us! xoxo Poof! Twirling into The New Year & Lots of Birthday~Bliss! Yay! 🙂 ♥♫♥♫♥♫ P.S. Congratz to Debra! Another Very Lucky Girl! 🙂 P.P.S. “A Fine Romance” Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfection! (Of Course!) 😉 ♥♫

    • Angie(Tink!) says:

      Sweet Sue after I Wrote My Comment…I Flew Back to Your Blog to Click on Your Pink Print about The Video that Makes You Cry & I Began to Cry while telling Herbster That You Have Posted The Song from les Miserable! Goosebumps & “Kindred~Spirits” & Great Minds! Whew…I Dreamed a Dream♥♫ xoxo ♥♫ 🙂

  50. Jennie says:

    Dearest Susan~

    I read your post today, and after I wiped the tears away I reached for a pen and the day’s ‘to do’ list and on the back I did just as you said . . . wrote out all I hated about my life.
    I thought the next part would be hard, but I was surprised at how easy it was to see the choices I need to make. Funny how none of the choices were ‘new’; just choices that discouragement has buried over the years.
    Thank you for the generosity of your care and encouragement. Your blossoming dreams are scattering dream-seeds all around you- may they all grow, grow, grow!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s just what happened to me! The list brought everything down to size and into focus! Happy New Year Jennie!

  51. This is the best post you’ve ever written! I have had it open on my computer since the first! I have read most of it to my hubby and written down some of it in my journal! You inspire and encourage us all! You’re like the ‘BEST’ best friend a girl could have! Thank you SO much and Happy New year! Sweet Southern hugs, Diane

  52. evangeline says:

    a quick hello….just got back from seeing Les Miserables’ by myself…what an emotional experience…I have loved Victor Hugo’s story for so many years…it makes me believe in goodness….and gives me the desire to be a better person…thank you for your encouragement….evangeline

  53. Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

    Happy New Year! Starting the new year with a clean kidney scan! No siree no cancer in me! Now onto my BIG dreams…need to start training for the Avon 2day walk June first in Chicago, want to learn Spanish so I can communicate with my students ‘ families, finish my quilt…last year’s dream lost 70 lbs…yes anything is possible when you dream BIG…love you dear Susan and all the girlfriends!

  54. Georgie says:

    Happy Happy New Year Dear Friend! I love the drawing of a read headded young girl reaching for a star… It so reminds me of… ME when I was younger. I’m still reaching for the stars!

    Thank You Dear Sue!
    XOXO Georgie
    Yardville, NJ

  55. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good Morning~
    Dreams don’t come with a number or deadline ~so who cares how old you are when you dream it or do it!
    ~Happy Friday~

  56. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Good Morning!
    I just finished taking down my Christmas tree, packing away my beloved nativity set, rounding up and tucking away various bits of Christmas flotsam and jetsam–and then I rewarded myself for all my hard work by toasting a slice of brown bread-in-a-can, making a cup of tea, and ordering a copy of your Original Snail Mail Willards!! I love the way my home looks all decorated for Christmas, but I must admit I love getting it back to “normal”, too. Your wall calendar is hanging on the kitchen wall, the magnet calendar is on the side of the frig (love the measurements guide–very handy) and the mini calendar is beside my computer. Love them all 🙂
    Happy, happy New Year, dear Susan and Joe and kitties!!!

  57. Carol says:

    I was in a thrift store in Napa Ca when your first book jumped out at me. I thought to my self .. YAHOOO! Came home and went through every page so carefully not to miss a thing. When I read your blog this morning I truly felt blessed that I have a copy of this very special book! I can not wait to make some of the yummy recipes. My husband asked why I was so tickled and I told him ” you know those birdies you always hear? Well I just found her cookbook! I so enjoy all your blogs. Happy New Year!

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

    hello, good morning susan and girlfriends. looks like it is finally going to be a good new year after all…we finally stopped that miserable varmint from getting into the henhouse last night and the hens had a peaceful night for once in over a month and a half. the reign of terror is hopefully over with for them, at the loss of 13 hens, 1 rooster and 1 female duck. i will keep my eyes peeled for free ads of laying hens and female ducks to replace the loss and i am hoping and looking forward to lots of busy nests filled with baby peeps, ducklings and young turkeys this spring and summer…lots and lots of egg sitterin’ this spring and summer. just had to pop in and let you all know the good news. noiw its off to go feed the birds and thaw out the water tubs and duck pool, and definitely concentrating on finding 2 female ducks to replace the one we lost, 1 female for each of the males to have and get them busy having lil ducklings this spring!!! hope you all have a wonderful day today and a great weekend. hugs……. 🙂

  59. Pink Rose Cottage says:

    Good morning, Susan.
    Just looked back on some older posts and just had to say I can hardly wait till your English book comes out!! Holy Cow!! So thought I’d send you words of encouragement since I would imagine that writing/painting is a lonely business.
    We are all so excited and the anticipation is half the fun. You’re doing great and we are going to love love love the new book! Keep up the good work …..but please hurry. 🙂 Your books are my prized treasures and always give me a lift and remind me that what I do here at home matters. It matters a lot. Bless you, Susan. Now go make yourself a nice cup of tea and get back to work!
    Love you, Carol

  60. Debbie '51 says:

    Dear Susan and Girlfriends,
    I would like to tell you, Susan, and all of you girlfriends how much I appreciate every one of you. There are so many girlfriends I have come to know and care about through your wonderful blog, Susan. Thank you for bringing us together. I so enjoy hearing about families, homes, vacations, dreams, family histories, funny stories, tips, ideas, accomplishments, failures, happy times and sad times. I have come to recognize so many of you by name and find myself missing and worrying about you when we haven’t heard from you for a while. I love that we cheer each other on, support each other, laugh and cry with each other. I love my Susan-girlfriends and am happy to have met you all. Thank you for the kind words I have received during the past year and a half since I found you all and ☼*clink*☼, here’s to all of you, wishing you a Happy and Healthy and Dream-Filled New Year!

    Congratulations to you, Debra, you hot blooded little chickie! Vanna was looking for the warmest entry and that’s you! Enjoy your signed edition and let us know when you cook something up 🙂

    Love to all!

  61. NancySue says:

    Thank you so much for reminding me to dream. You’re never too old and it made me remember what I dreamed of for my ‘elder years’ when I was young. I’ll keep dreaming it and maybe it will come true!

  62. Woodies Mom says:

    Greetings from South Florida, a Rhode Islander in gthe spring and summer. What a treat to find a posting today. Just getting rolling but the ground hog is just too cute.

  63. mika price says:

    Dear Susan,
    It seems like the post about flailing around and not being able to recognize what our dreams are came just at the right time for me! For this I am so grateful! I will make my list post-haste! haha–love those old phrases, don’t you?
    Thank you—mika

  64. Janet Miller says:

    Something’ s been in the back of my mind all day and I finally decided to do some searching on Google to find a book I want to recommend to you and your friends. it’s called My Secret War Diary by Marcia Williams. It is a beautifully illustrated diary of World War II in England. I think you would appreciate the artwork as well as the intrepid spirit of the main characters. One of the things I enjoy most about your artwork is that you can’t see everything in one glance. You make our eyes dance around the page looking for every detail and we are always rewarded with a surprise. That’s what brings us so much pleasure and why we all look forward with great relish to each new message we find in our inboxes. Thanks for every delicious brushstroke!

  65. Hi Susan, in many of your writings you mention drinking Hot Tea. I also love Hot Tea but don’t drink it that much (soda is 1st for me followed by coffee). I’d love to start drinking more Tea.
    Can you tell me some of your favorites and where you get them? I’d appreciate it.

    • sbranch says:

      You can get them at the super market. When I first started, I just had Lipton, and mixed it with honey and half and half. Joe still likes Lipton and that’s what I make him everyday. But I changed to Earl Grey, which is stronger and has a different flavor, and that’s what I love now. Tea is really good for you too Rosemary! If you want to try an herbal tea I just love Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice — it doesn’t need sweetening — just a little milk or half and half.

      • Rosemary try making your own chai tea. It’s easy and makes the house smell wonderful. It’s also caffeine free–the tea bags and drinks you order out usually have caffeine. It might be a nice transition for you in the afternoon. I have a recipe on my blog. Hope you like it.

      • Thank you….thank you….thank you. I’m in love with Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice. I also am enjoying Earl Grey as my second choice. Both are VERY yummy and now my drink of choice.
        Susan, that for these suggestions. I appreciate it!!

  66. marcia says:

    You are so talented!
    Love looking at your work.
    Is there anyplace in Albany, NY i can buy your calendar?

    • sbranch says:

      I really don’t know about Albany, but we got one more order into our web store … just go to the top of the page and click on shopping.

  67. Asha says:

    Hi Susan! Happy New Year to you, Joe and the kitties! I can’t tell how happy I was to find your website! I LOVE, LOVE your artwork and writings! Can’t wait for your new book! My husband and I vacationed on the Vineyard last September and may have stayed close to your home. We stayed at the Ashley Inn in Edgartown which was absolutely perfect! Our favorite thing to do was to walk to Edgartown Harbor and sit up on the upper deck to watch the Chappi ferry go back and forth! We couldn’t believe how much we loved it. Next time we visit the Vineyard, we will take that ferry across. Take care and thank you for being you! We are truly blessed to have you!

  68. Monica says:

    Dear Susan,
    I cannot believe I’m going to push the post a comment button! YOU ARE MY MENTOR! As a simple italian girl living across the pond, I had (still have!) your picture (together with Marjolein’s and ME’s) in my Illustrated Discovery Journal. That’s how I discovered that my biggest and wildest dream was to become a professional painter (even if I’ve an artist all my life, started a career as pro last year- see, I’m a late bloomer too :)).
    I won’t tell you I love your work, your writing style, your home, everything you share with us- but I’ll tell you I love England, Emma Bridgewater, watercolors, gardens, quilts, cooking, Beatrix Potter, journals, sewing, writing letters … and another ton of lovely things! 🙂 And I really really dream of writing and illustrating a book. Absolutely no idea where to start from, maybe I should just grab a sheet of watercolor paper, a pencil, and let my heart wander… This post of yours spoke volumes to me- that’s why I’m finally writing you… Thank you for all you are and all the magic and charm you bring into the world!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, thank you so much Monica, that’s very nice to hear! Yes, as William Wordsworth said so perfectly, “To begin, begin.” 🙂 Good luck!

  69. Linda L. Walker says:

    I thought I sent a question yesterday, but don’t see it anywhere. Would you please let me know if I am doing this right? Linda

  70. Yes, dreams can come true. In January 2011 I turned 50 years young. Inspired, encouraged (and urged) by my two daughters (both in their 20’s) and husband, I started to actually BELIEVE I could open a brick and mortar yarn shop (LYS to those that knit and crochet). My husband was recently retired and we were transplants to Northwest Arkansas, with me still working a very full time corporate America job in Finance.

    My daughters and I began to plan and strategize as to how this could really happen. At a time when yarn shops seemed to be closing up faster than they were opening, we forged ahead.

    We opened our yarn shop in September 2011. Many first-time visitors looked at us as if we were a bit bonkers — a yarn shop now-adays? When so much is available on the internet??? We had plans and dreams that I will not bore you with here but suffice it to say — so far so good. We have knit / crochet night each Thursday. We encourage people to come in ANY time to sit, relax, create, be inspired (and be inspiring). As long as we can continue to pay the bills, that will be our goal: create a sense of community.

    I’ve collected Susan Branch’s books and note papers for many years. I have been eagerly awaiting the new book and satisfy myself with her calendars — a new one gracing my kitchen wall every year. In our little yarn shop (less than 1200 square feet) we have a snack room. The 2013 calendar lights up the wall over our snack table (a 1930’s “hall table” from the first flat my husband and I rented when we were first married — in Downtown Detroit across from the Wayne State University Physics Building). By posting Susan’s calendar in our snack room, I hope to introduce others to the light and inspiration of Susan Branch.

    Dreams can come true — who’s gonna stop you!

    Thank you Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you Loralee! That’s just wonderful! I can’t imagine a community without a wonderful yarn shop that teaches and spreads the good word! On line is nice, but having everyone getting together in your store just sounds wonderful! Congratulations!

  71. Mary says:

    As ever, you inspire, instigate, and instruct….is it any wonder I keep reading how
    you are a mentor, role-model, preserver of hopes, comforter of hearts and
    encourager of dreams to so many? If anyone has found her niche and fulfills it to limitless capacity, it our beloved Girlfriend, Susan. You are the messenger
    that all things are possible, that God is in His Heaven and all can be right in our world if we but dream, believe and help to make it happen. I thank you for touching us all with your heartwarming magic.

    • sbranch says:

      What a lovely thing for you to say Mary! I’m humbled. I’m just like everyone else, trying my best to do good in life. My mom used to say everyday, as I went out the door to school, “Do good work.” And that just about sums it up. xoxo Thank you.

  72. Lisavi from Flower Mound, TX says:

    I realize this post is a year ago but I like to go back and read old posts. Especially easy with the archives! Thanks! I was wondering if the “care and feeding of dreams” at the top was done for a book or just for this post? I noticed a spot for page number after recipe box and that’s what got me to thinking it might be in a book. I definitely needed to read this post again before the new year starts. Thanks for all your inspiration! Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      You have a very good eye. Yes that page was done for a book that is and probably always will be, unfinished.

      • Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

        That’s too bad! It looked wonderful. Have you seen the book – Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life ? I’m expecting it in the mail today. I’m very excited! Again, Happy New Year to you, Joe, and the kitties!

        • sbranch says:

          My girlfriend Rachel sent it to me from England for Christmas!!! Eeeeek. (The noise I made when I opened the package)

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