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. I now have the Billie Holiday version of “A Fine Romance” playing in my head:

    Thank you for this post; I need to identify my dreams and figure out what to do about them. One would think that would be clear at this stage of my life. “Better late than never”, as they say. Happy New Year, Susan!

  2. Faith rose says:

    Dear Susan I think this is my favorite post . All thought i haven t been on here long! I think your advise is wonderful!I am so excited to start my Susan Branch journal that i got this Christmas! Now i can stop bothering you with comments and write them in the journal! But don’t worry nothing could stop me from writing a thanks to you ! So Thanks for the lovely[ like you] post! Faith

  3. LindaH from northern IN says:

    Yes, thank you Susan, for today’s inspirational blog post, and a Happy New Year to you and Joe! I do love the symbolism of the New Year, for the freshness of new starts and promise of unknown blessings. I find it easiest to begin large projects with small steps, and its good to see that works with fulfilling our dreams as well. It was fun opening my new 2013 Susan Branch calendars this morning! And I look forward to the publication of your English book!

  4. helen says:

    beautiful post susan! looking forward for healing in 2013….a tough 2012…but so much to grateful for. sending prayers for all who are struggling in relationships ….May 2013 be a year of small miracles of love and kindness.

  5. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Susan — I forgot to ask: will you have a booth at the Road to California quilt show this year? This will be my first time going and I’m so excited! I know you’ve had a booth in the past and I was hoping you will again this year.

  6. Lisa at My Ordinary Country Life says:

    Happy New Year!! I love starting my new year with you and your wonderful blog. Your drawings make me happy and excited to dream of some wonderful things for this next year. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but I’m only 48 so I have plenty of time to figure that out……:) I’m so excited to have a brand new year full of possibilities and pray that I don’t take even one day for granted. Have a wonderful day Susan!

  7. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    Happy New Year Susan. Thank you so much for helping me follow my dreams. Love and best wishes to you and Joe and Girl Kitty and Jack. xoxo ♥

  8. Chris Wells from West TX says:

    Dear Susan,
    How do you always know what we need to hear? Maybe it was the holidays, maybe recent tragic events, but I was feeling rather low this morning. I have already made my list of things I hate about my life. Wow that list was easy! Then I rewrote the list, with “I choose to do this instead.” Just doing that much made my heart lighter! I think I will look at that list every morning before I even get out of bed. You are a true blessing to so many. Thank you. Really thank you, Chris

  9. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Happy New Year Susan, Joe and little kitten cats! We had an awesome Christmas holiday with family and friends, baking (and eating 🙂 ). We have cut down on the gifts and enjoy the gifts of each person. We will be at a different house next Christmas so it was fun to decorate here one last time. We’ve been off work for 11 days…gosh…I sure could get used to it. But, our future depends on us working now! LOL Thank you for all of your inspiring gifts that you unselfishly share with all of us girlfriends. Here’s hoping we all have a ‘Blessed 2013’. Love you Girlfriend!

  10. Elaine says:

    Wonderful post ! I have always dreamed , it is good to dream lets you know you are alive and gives you things to aim for ! Your blog helps us to dream as well and you are such an inspiration to us all ! Happy New Year !

  11. Hi Sue!
    I was reading Yankee Magazine this morning and in the “Up Close” section, there was a lovely essay about Fannie Farmer. Did you happen to read it? At the age of 16, Fannie suffered a stroke! She later went on to finish at the Boston Cooking School at 32, and later started her own Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery at 45! Just think, her publisher origninally rejected her book of 1,200 recipes, so she agreed to pay for the initial 3,000 printings herself!

    We all love inspiring stories that lift our hearts out of dispair and fills them with the hope of being carried off on eagle’s wings! What a great flight!

    Someday, I’ll tell you my own story. I married quite a dreamer and God has blessed us with the most interesting life! Were there hurdles; you betcha! But that’s what my 95-year-old dad always refers to as experience! lol

    As I hung your 2013 calendar on the wall above my computer early this morning , I was thanking you for tweaking our hearts with so much joy!

    Here’s to a New Year of much, much more Susan Branch!
    Bonne année et bonne santé!

  12. Lois Burgess says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Thanks so much for adding joy to my year with your lovely blog. It is such a delight to read. I can’t wait until my 2013 pocket calendar arrives in the mail!! Wishing you a healthy, happy, and blessed 2013 with many simple pleasures along the way! Hugs from Nova Scotia 🙂

  13. Doreen Strain in Florida says:

    Happy New Year Sue! Thank you for the lovely post. I needed to hear your words of inspiration this morning concerning dreams and age. I’m 56 and in two weeks I am headed back to college to further my nursing education to obtain my masters in nursing leadership, a dream I had when I was just a young teenager and have carried it in my heart all these years. I may be getting older but I’m not giving up on the dream….inch by inch! My wish for all the girlfriends here on your blog for 2013 is for all of their hearts desires and dreams to become realities. Happy New Year and thank you for being you! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

    • sbranch says:

      Good For YOU!!! xoxo Fantastic Doreen!

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        So Doreen,
        As I’ve been told, those of us born in 1956, who turn 56, are in our Princess Year! So, you go girl. Get that masters in nursing degree! I’ve had a career in Dental Hygiene for 30 years and am now an Admin. Coordinator for a EMS/Fire training non-profit, and got my teaching credential. We can do it! I loved Susan’s advice about dreams. I’m going to make my list….and try and achieve them. More personal dreams along side the educational/professional ones. Good luck, I’m sure you’ll succeed.
        Jan from Northern CA

  14. Debbie says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring post! What a wonderful way to start the new year. For this year, I want to be more optimistic and while fulfilling my dreams, learn to be happy with enough. Happy New Year to you!

  15. Judy in Oregon says:

    Happy New Year! The video of Susan Boyle gets me every time. Not just because she has such an amazing voice but also because it is a reminder not to judge people.

    • sbranch says:

      I like that too, and how much her life changed in one minuscule moment… a person just never knows.

  16. lynn maust says:

    So fun to have found your blog, Susan. I have been buying your things…mostly stickers…and reading your post for several years…now to hopefully receive something from you more often MAKES MY NEW YEAR! Blessings to you and Joe and kitties and homes…

  17. Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:

    A Happy & Healthy 2013 to you and Joe, Susan! Thank you so much for a 2012 filled with creative inspiration, delightful hours, and meaningful discourse, ALL emanating from the Susan Branch blog!
    Congratulations to Debra for receiving the Heart of the Home cookbook! What a wonderful way to begin the new year!
    Happy New Year to all the Girlfriends and F.O.S.B. How I love your heartfelt comments, your sunny dispositions, and your shared life challenges. If Susan has book-signings for A Fine Romance (can’t wait!!!), won’t it be fun to meet one another!!??! 😀 God bless us all in 2013!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I just found out that I will be in California around November 8th for a book signing in San Luis Obispo …

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Yay! I know the way!!!

      • Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

        Please remind us of that when the time comes. Is that the only place in CA that you’ll be?What an inspiring blog, turning the negatives of life into positives. That’s really the only way to live. Congratulations to Debra – so happy for you !

        • sbranch says:

          I will be in other places, not sure where right now, but I will definitely give everyone a list when I get it figured out!

      • Sarah says:

        Really?!?! That is so exciting!! I can’t wait to hopefully meet you! I am in Orange County and you coming to San Luis Obispo is the most perfect excuse for my mom and I to have a fun girls’ getaway!!

        • sbranch says:

          This is good! At least we have plenty of notice! I’m signing at a huge flea market … so it’s going to be good in more ways than one!

      • Mary S. says:

        Oh, wow!! I am putting that on my calendar RIGHT NOW!!!! That’s only 3 hours away from me!!

        • sbranch says:

          Good! See? It’s already fun!

          • Deb Surman from Illinois says:

            Don’t forget your gf’s here in the Chicago area….a book signing here would be wonderful and just think! We have plenty of Culvers here and I remember how much you loved their cheeseburgers on your trip through Wisc. last year. Maybe our Culvers burgers could tempt you to put us on your book signing list, pretty please?

          • sbranch says:

            I promise, we will come there!

          • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

            Just got back from a holiday trip to Cambria, this is the perfect excuse to head back up the coast! It’s on my SB calender and I’m excited to meet you and all the Girlfriends who’ll be there, too. Maybe we should wear nametags with our blog names so we’ll recognize each other — how fun!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, what a good idea! I’m so looking forward to this!

          • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

            Susan, we are so thrilled to hear that you will have a book signing in the Chicago area!!!! There are so many wonderful, little independent bookstores in the western suburbs, too. Can’t wait!! I already told John that we must wait to make our travel plans, until we know Susan’s travel schedule. Please let us know as soon as possible!
            Have a wonderful day!

      • Sharon Byars says:

        So excited you are coming to SLO. I only drive 12 miles to get there. Is Nov 8 th the Remnants of the Past Antique Show?

    • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

      W.O.W!!! This is definitely F.U.N!!!! I finally return to my original comment and find Susan and so many Girlfriends chatting about a San Luis Obispo book signing!!! YAY! Remnant’s Judy is blessed to have you again. I know that you share a sweet friendship.
      Start your calendars, Girlfriends! Mark those dates and locations!! Thanks for sharing the date, Susan. ♥♥♥

  18. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    I feel greedy for posting a 2nd time…but…just got back from seeing Les Mis, waited until I was in the car to sob. Whew! What a powerful film – now I have that crying headache, well worth it. Tom Hooper is a genius; and so blessed to find his gift and then share it with the world. Like you Susan – bless your ex – like I bless mine AND his spouse. Thank the Universe you are a late bloomer!
    Now … time to put up my new HOTH calendar….

    Marcia in Sewell, NJ

  19. Ruthie P says:

    Susan you bring tears to my eyes,but good tears,always good tears.You have the keys to our hearts,and you always know how to unlock them,amazing.Our son is on his way home from a one year deployment in Afghanistan,we will see him soon!!!! It’s been a long year… to say the least.Your blog was such a comfort this past year.You might have some idea,I hope you do,how much you mean to so many.Thank YOU for being our girlfriend. LOVE the name for the book!!! BTW..I just put your 2013 calendar up,2012 just added to a large Susan Branch collection 🙂 xoxo Ruthie

    • sbranch says:

      I am so happy your son is coming home!! xoxo Happy New Year Ruthie!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        ruthie congratulations on your son’s homecoming, please thank him for his service from me and my husband (retired Navy) and give him a big hug from me. 🙂

      • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

        Ruthie…thankful for your son’s safe return from Afghanistan. Please give him my thanks for his military service. My husband, a Vietnam vet, sends his thanks, too.

  20. Mary in Mesa says:

    Enjoyed reading your Jan 1 blog with my beautiful daughter via I pads. Happy New Year

  21. You are my torch light. Wishing you and yours (especially Jack) every blessing in 2013.

    Big Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  22. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…and happy happy new dreams….i mean year!!! loved the post and inspired out the knitting basket, made the hot cocoa and sitting by the fire…know what you mean about making things to give away….no matter what time of year it is…it is always about the giving that makes people feel so good…so right..and the gift can be so many different things…from ooodles of cookies and jams to cozy scarfs to hugs and a kind word….warms your heart and the heart of others…my husband…farm-raised…always says this when i ask him of he needs anything…..”a few kind words and a little time” is the usual response….love that!! you far away friend, thank you for sharing 2012 with me and countless others for whom you’ve been a tireless inspiration through the greatest gift of all…yourself…happy new year and here’s to the joys to come… love, cindy xoxox

  23. Giovanna says:

    Happy New Year wishes to you and yours. I am going to follow your suggestion and take pen to paper and write down my dreams for this new year. 2012 was a challenging year and I pray 2013 will bring much joy, happiness and good health to all.

  24. Ginger says:

    I love your posts! Yes, my praise is redundant, but what else is there to say about how much the bring me hope and joy. And…a few months back I took the plunge and started making watercolor cards to send to my grandchildren. You inspired this. They love them. This gave me the courage to take in one of these children, too. With her here, I have less time for water color painting, drawing, writing, and journaling, but they are still my dreams. I’ll just have to be patient with the space between them and reality for a short time. Thanks again.

  25. Judy Dow says:

    Happy New Year to all of Branch Hall! Thank you for the new post for the first day of 2013. I am taking your advise already. Ethel (cathy mcc) asked me to go for a quick overnight to Indy for a granddaughter fix. I was hesitant but you are sooooo right. I am putting it on my calendar as my first fun activity of 2013. I will be writing my goals tonight. I will be retiring in June after 39 years of teaching. Such a big change coming my way and a great time to reassess my goals. Thank you for your constant inspiration. Best to you and all the ‘Branchies’for 2013!

    • sbranch says:

      39 Years! You will be missed!

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Judy, I understand exactly how you are feeling as the New Year begins. Last year, I was feeling the same way as my teaching career was coming to a close. Enjoy all of the special moments with your students the rest of the year! Retirement is a huge step ~ but I promise that you will LOVE it. You will have the wonderful gift of time to discover so many new things! It’s going to be a very special year for you! Congratulations, Judy! ♡Dawn

      • judy dow says:

        Thanks Dawn!! I am truly enjoying every last moment of this school year. Each time I read a favorite book or introduce a special unit I realize sadly that it will be my last time. But I am saving my favorites in hopes of grandchildren some day and I do look forward to some time to relax and play.

        • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

          Judy, you will always be a special part of your school and will stay forever in the hearts of your students. I discovered that last year, in all of the wonderful tributes from the children, their parents, and the faculty. So heartwarming!! ♡ It also made me feel so happy to give my teaching treasures to the young teachers. I only saved a few special books. (They are such a part of me!) The most heartwarming part for me was giving our whole classroom book collection to my second graders. I’ll always remember the days they lovingly filled their bags with books to take home and start their own libraries. They carefully chose the perfect books and could hardly carry their heavy bags of books home. It was a perfect closing ~ truly the gift of reading! The children and their parents still keep in touch. It means the world to me! ♡ Each time you go back to visit, you will get soooo many hugs! Just cherish the moments!

      • Cathy McC. says:

        Watch out, everyone — Lucy and Ethel (Judy and Cathy) will soon be hitting the road!!! Thanks, Dawn, for your encouraging words to my buddy! And Judy will truly be missed in the teaching profession. She was my daughter’s third grade reading teacher (yes, the daughter who now has baby Maryn, whom we are visiting this week, and who became a teacher and now elementary school principal) and our friendship developed at that time. Judy was pregnant with her daughter, had to do a lot of “please rest with your feet up” time, so I helped a lot in the classroom. And our friendship bloomed — 28 years and going strong! She’s been a marvelous role model for her students, her peers, her daughter, and many student teachers. So, Susan, your “lessons on dreaming” came at a perfect time for Lucy!!! Love and THANKS for such inspiration! Ethel

  26. Susan Havey says:

    Happy New Year, Susan, Joe, and the kitties! Thank you for your inspiration boost to begin the new year. You are so right to take the positive approach to life’s challenges, turning them into accomplishments. I just finished putting all important birthdays on my new Susan Branch calendar for 2013. I just love reading all the “small print” in the margins and which “moon” is coming up for each month. May your new book be a huge success as we already know it will be and may many of the girlfriends here, find their dreams and change the world. We need it!

    Susan in Spokane (where it was 11 degrees last night)

  27. Mary Anne Spradlin says:

    All of your posts touch me in some way but today’s was so perfect and inspiring I just want to say “Thank you for being you” and sharing your wonderful self and outlook with all of us. I had not seen the Susan Boyle clip but it is fantastic. What an inspiration! I do believe it is important to write it down and then take baby steps to do it, whatever it is. Peace and Love to all.

  28. Marion Rose says:

    Oh my, Susan, your post for the New year is beautiful. May we all learn from our Dreams. Sharing with our Girlfriends has been a dream come true. Our Pastor spoke to us Sunday about our dreams and asked us to write one of our dreams on paper and place it in the offering plate. He prayed over these dreams when received at the altar. It was a wonderful moment. What a nice surprise when I read your post today. You gave us more to dream about.

    Happy New Year to you, Joe and all my Susan Branch Girlfriends, and a Hug to your Kitties. One of my New Year dreams is your new book, love the title. Your book will bring more exciting artwork about your trip.
    Congratulations to Debra, you will love the book, Enjoy! Marion 1-1-2013

  29. Patty in Redlands says:

    Wow Susan! This blog is the perfect way to start the new year! I love your words, the inspiring quotes, the music, and of course, your art. Thank you for the inspiration and blessing. I also love reading so many of the responses and how something you’ve shared has helped someone. My heart goes out to Carol S and I appreciate Cindy’s way with words. Susan, you attract brilliant Girlfriends.

    Congratulations to Debra. I know your book will bless her. And hi to Marsha who’s now in Scotland! Can’t wait to hear about her trip when she returns. 🙂

  30. Jane says:

    Believe it or not, I had never seen that Susan Boyle video. I had chills up and down my spine…even hubby came to peek over my shoulder when he heard this beautiful voice singing! If that doesn’t convince you that dreams come true, if we just put ourselves out there and not worry if we fail. I find that inspiration in your books and blogs as well, if anything, they make me very cheery! I love that you followed your dreams and that so many of them came true. And that you continue to make your dreams a reality. You are an inspiration to so many women out there trying to better themselves or just find their place in this big world.

    Much love and many good wishes to you in this new year!

    Jane From Chicago

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

    good afternoon and Happy New Year susan, girlfriends. watched the parade, fed the birds, drank my tea and ate my cinnamon toast and i plan on a nap or at least a short one while watching Camelot. just popped in to say hello and congrats to the winner. off to my nap. we had a late late night last night, someone was shooting off fireworks all night long. so nighty night girlfriends, have a wonderful day. hugs….. 🙂 ps we were out critter hunting most of the night.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m watching Camelot right now … starts off so happy, gets so sad. Wonderful movie.

      • Mary S. says:

        Which Camelot? The musical? That’s my favorite!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, the one with Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave and that dratted “Lance”

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            yep that was the one. just sat and watched that, and went to to Hello Dolly, love that movie. now for today i am listening to Topper. got to love that movie. was another busy night critter hunting, and luck, that varmint got another hen.

          • Mary S. says:

            *sigh* Soooooo sad!!! :'(

  32. Terry says:

    Happy New Year, Susan! Happy New Year to Joe too!

    Thank you, Susan, you have just helped me get through the winter months. January, February and March are always challenging months for me, but this year I am going to apply your tip and plan something to look forward to each month. January is covered. I am going to Vogue Knitting Live NYC! I can’t wait. So now I just have to come up with something for February and March. I am already having fun just thinking about it. Thank you!

    Thank you for your blog. I love your blog! I look forward to seeing it in my in-box. You inspire me! You have been inspiring me for over thirty years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    May all your dreams come true.

  33. Mary Ann in Mexico says:

    Thank you, Susan, for another inspiring blog. I watched the Susan Boyle video for the umpteenth time and still cried. A very Happy and Healthy New Year to you, Joe, Girl Kitty and Jack .

  34. Cheyenne Renard says:

    Dearest Sue and Joe and the kitties, Happy New Year and many more. You are such a wonderful lady and joe is such a sweetie ,you both belong together . I love your blog and enjoy all the things u do for us. Thank you so much. I love and appreicate u so much. This year my mother passed away it was the hardest thing i could ever imagine going through. I am so wounded , i take it one day at a time lickin my wounds like a cat ha ha. I appreicate ur new years wisdom. I am anxious for your new book to come out. I only have one of your books and would love to get the remainder, i find that they give me hope and courage and now thats what i really need in this time of mourning. So if you know where i can get the books u have discontinued please let me know i would love to get them at a garage sale or a thrift store i keep on looking in hope that some one who has gone on to heaven will have given them up , so some one else can have the enjoyment of the books . Much love to you and Joe and to the staff at your Company. Also to the kitties that make sure the heart of the home runs well. Love to you God Bless u XXX Love Cheyenne still here in Henderson Nevada .

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, look for them in second hand stores or yard sales … every so often we find one for our web store … so keep an eye out there. Happy New Year Cheyenne!

      • judy dow says:

        Do you have Better World Books in your area?? I have found many of Susan’s books there. They are all second hand but I love reading the different inscriptions and then adding my own when I give them to friends.

      • Mary S. says: has a LOT of your books! I don’t know if they are the discontinued ones but people can check it out and see!

  35. Cheyenne Renard says:

    Dearest Sue. Where did you meet ur love Joe?? When and where ? Do tell i always wonder about that since u two are such soul mates. Happy New Year to you both XXX Meow

    • sbranch says:

      The first chapter of the book I’m working on right now, A Fine Romance, the trip to England … starts off with the story of how Joe and I met! So it’s coming soon!

  36. Deborah says:

    Excellent!!! Thank you, Susan for renewing our “hope springs eternal” thoughts, and allowing us permission to enjoy our creative steps to be small and fun! You really take the lead for so many of us to “JUST TRY”! I know the new year will be wonderful!!!

  37. Marilyn says:

    Dear Susan, I’m always delighted to see your blog come up in my email. This was no exception. I love your artwork. I always send your quotes to my son, who is a collector of quotes.

    Thanks for your encouraging words, and thanks too, for sharing the Susan Boyle clip. It always makes me, cry, too.

    Happy New Year!

  38. Nancy West says:

    Well, here goes…..I will write and say Happy New Year to Susan Branch, and thank you for your words and pictures that are always like little “secret pal” gifts, and seem to be just the thought that I needed on a certain day! I have been an admirer since your Country Living days, and I have every one of your books, your calendar on the wall, and your pocket calendar in my purse! So I guess you could say I am one of your biggest fans. But today, especially, I needed your encouragement. I am 62 years old, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. I AM so very blessed. But two months ago today my father passed away. He was my hero and my friend, and I miss him desperately. Since, my mom passed away when I was 8 years old, he was my mom and my dad. Your art and your words have such a nurturing quality. Thank you for always reminding us to keep looking up, and keep making the effort to accomplish something……even if it is only a small thing. I have a small remodeling project that has been on my “list” for at least 5 years. You have inspired me to start it ( and hopefully finish it) this year! Happy New Year from Texas.

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you Nancy… I’m so sorry about your dad … it must be so hard. xoxo Blessings to you for 2013.

    • Pam Gardner says:

      so sorry about your dad. I lost my dear mom this year in July but still have my wonderful dad, who is still vibrantly alive at 91. It is one of the hardest things to lose our parents. Love and blessings to you, Nancy

      • Cathy McC. says:

        Hi Nancy — I soooo know what you mean about your dad. My mom passed suddenly when I was 10 and thus, I became my dad’s shadow. (And, being the “baby” of the family, we had a special bond.) Dad passed away in 2000, 10 days before the wedding of one of our daughters’. He would have been unable to travel to the wedding so we always say he timed his passing so he would get the best seat in the house!!!!! I talk to him every day, and now being blessed with grandchildren, I think of his blood running through their lives, praying his wisdom will course there, too. You will find yourself continuing to thank the Lord daily for the gifts you received from your folks — and smile with the JOY! Ethel

    • Deborah says:

      Hi Nancy, Please know my heart goes out to you in the loss of your Dad, I know how very difficult it is. I hope your project can energize you and start your year off with a smile, I enjoyed your description of Susan’s blog, pictures, and quotes, I find them to be very nurturing also. Best Wishes!! Deborah in NY.

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      oH Nancy… I’m so glad you said, “here goes…” It sounds as if you were a darling of a daughter…..I watched a lot of Cary Grant this weekend and couldn’t wait to call someone “darling!” I am so sorry you lost your hero….my hero is gone too. We feel thankful and sad all at the same time. It will be four years this April…..time does heal….your Dad is so fresh in heaven…..and as time goes by… he may feel farther away from “here” with you on earth….. but he will feel closer inside your heart…promise! If I know my Dad…..he will read this and go say, Hi!” to your Dad…..and I’m pretty sure he will use the word “darling” just for me……and you! Thinking of you and if I was in Texas……I could take you to lunch at the Salt Lick for ribs…..yummy!…do you know of it? XoXDawn

      • Nancy, so sorry about your dad, but so glad we can all be your secret pals to help you get through the loss. That was a beautiful description, by the way, and exactly how I feel about this group of women.

        So Dawn, Nancy, and Susan and everyone else in Texas Salt Lick for ribs when Susan comes to Austin to share A Fine Romance with all of us. What a perfect setting!

  39. I’ve had all my grown children back home along with their cousins, friends and assorted hangers-on all week. It’s been a deluge of love and friendship for a good ten days or so (not including the 30 pound Xmas turkey and dinner) and they all left this afternoon for a movie leaving me with a few hours of peace and quiet. I chose a cup of tea in one of my old, oversized cups and saucers, along with a meander through some of your old posts with my Cavalier King Charles snoring at my feet. Bliss.

    I can hardly wait for your new book. It feels like the nervous excitement while waiting for Christmas day to come when I was little. I love that feeling!

    Happy New Year! Pam, from snowy Montreal

  40. Thank-you for the reminder about putting dreams on paper. I’m sick with a cold this week so feeling low and your post was just what I needed to give me a lift and a plan.

    I always enjoy your blog and your work. At one time I wanted a life like yours but God has other plans for me. This year I’ll finish the sequel to my novel, sooner rather than later.

    • sbranch says:

      I know what you mean, at one time I thought I might like to marry a French sailor and have six children, but God had other plans for me! Thank goodness, I didn’t know it then, but I get seasick!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        LOL!!!OH MY STARS Susan!!! Can you imagine what those books would have been like?! You could have been married to a Petey-man!!! I don’t think that life plan would have been books for you…… would surely have been a t.v. sitcom!!!

  41. Ann says:

    What a great New Year’s post! 2013 has potential if we all start it off dreaming. A dream is one thing that no one can take from you. I am a late bloomer as well. At age 60 I still feel that the most important thing God put me on this earth to do has not yet been accomplished. Congratulations Debra – I know you will love the book, as I have cherished my copy for many years now.

  42. Linda Pintarell says:

    Tears streaming down my face from the Susan Boyle video. WOW – I’ve watched it many times…still happens. Must be my day for that…watching the Rose Parade and the beautiful tribute to our canine warriors…then the bringing together of a father and son…then the gorgeous float tribute to the Korean War veterans. My heart can’t take much more of this today…but everyone – dream BIG and my best wishes for a year filled with joy and good health!

  43. Linda Wattier says:

    What a perfect day to dream about the new year. It’s quiet here after a week of spending time with children and grandchildren. Time to reflect on things to be thankful for and dream about things to come. Happy New Year to you and Joe and all girlfriends.

  44. Anita Birt says:

    Dearest Susan, Here it is, New Year’s Day once again, and I have been feeling a bit melancholy, wanting to GET SOMETHING DONE this next year, thinking I SHOULD set some goals (i.e., resolutions) yet knowing, KNOWING that I will be untrue to them oh so soon, and then will feel like an utter failure. Feeling that at 57 yrs., the best of life has passed me by, that I have always been a planner but not a doer. . . and hating where I am now yet feeling ‘what can I realistically DO to move myself forward?’ And so, I came to your blog, hoping that perhaps you had posted something to pick me up out of the doldrums and somehow come to BELIEVE again (in me. . . that’s the HARD part), and WOW! You’ve done it AGAIN! You have been sitting like a little mouse in the corner of my brain, observing these negative, ‘poor, poor pitiful me’ thoughts, and have take the perfect steps to counteract them! How is it that I feel such a kindred spirit (credit to Lucy Maud Montgomery for that one) with a woman who lives on Martha’s Vineyard and is so amazingly creative and talented, yet warm and down-to-earth, who has a following world-wide, and yet I feel that in the right circumstances, you could be my very own girlfriend? Somewhere along the way, real life has crowded in on my dream-life, and it has almost totally squealched the ‘real’ me-the woman I want to be, dream of being. And I have stopped believing, not in God or good or the beauty of the world in general. . . I have stopped believing in ME and my worth and my ability to accomplish beautiful things in this world, things that will live on beyond my time on earth. I try to relight the fire periodically, rekindle the flame. . . but it just doesn’t seem to work. Although I still don’t know the answer to ‘fix me’, you have given me a starting place yet again, and some thoughts about keeping on dreaming and not giving up, etc. You do so much good, Susan, just by being your wonderful, creative, imaginative self. I love your blogs, I love Willard. What the world needs is MORE Susan Branch! Blessings in 2013!

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet Anita! I think we are all very hard on ourselves . . . like the quote, the secret of having it all is believing that you do! xoxo Happiest 2013!

    • Pam Gardner says:

      take heart Anita! I think many of us (if not most) feel the same or similar to the way you do…dare I say esp. as we age. I will be 63 in 2013 and I keep thinking hurry up, hurry up…..time is going way faster than you are-but as Susan says we are too hard on ourselves. I guess we just need to take one day at a time and think about the small picture rather than the big one.
      Your friend-Pam

      • Judy Young says:

        We are hard on ourselves. I will turn 66 this year and inside I still feel about 35! However, my body feels like 66 and I know that 70 is just 4 short years away. Yikes! I like your advice Pam, to take one day at a time and think about the small picture rather than the big one!

    • Maria in CA says:

      Anita, I could have written this post myself. I’m 47 years old, a big dreamer, but not so much a doer. Frustrating, isn’t it? But each day is a gift from God full of so much potential, so there is no “best part of our life” behind us. It’s always in front of us. Hang in there! Sometimes dreamers and doers get together and create wonderful things :o) Happy 2013!

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Hi Anita….my name is Dawn and I am a dreamer! And that’s okay! Like Susan said women can be so hard on themselves! I bet YOU have helped make other people’s dreams come true and don’t even know it! That’s really cool….and all because of YOU just being here! Maybe the true gift in life is the ability TO DREAM with our eyes open….and cheer people on! Kinda like, I have always dreamed of being an athlete (my sister hogged all those genes! 😉 ……and know matter how much I tried growing up……the only sport I excelled at was downhill skiing…….where part of the sport was falling down!!! So when I watch the Olympic’s……I admire those athletes so much and tear up with pride and cheer them on….. They share their dreams with us….and we cheer for them…and maybe for a minute or two…a girl with two left feet can feel a little more athletic. I seem to be rambling but, I just wanted you to know……that I am a dreamer too! And it’s okay! Take care!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Anita–I think we all go through a period where we think thoughts like that. I don’t know about you but when I lost both of my parents, all of a sudden I felt, “Oh-oh, we’re next in line!” All of a sudden I felt like life was passing me by and at a very fast pace! I think this is natural and something that we all go through–might be hormonal and something to do with that time of our life? Maybe it is a good thing! Maybe it causes us to re-focus and be aware of fleeting time so that we can make choices and work on making our dreams come true! Just remember, 2013 is not only a new calendar page, it is a new calendar!!! It is an empty slate that you can write or draw on and no one can do it for you! Someone like Susan can inspire us–she does inspire me tremendously–but she can’t do it for us, we have to pick ourselves up and put one foot in front of the other, dream big, and go after those dreams. The important thing is to find what your heart really desires, set goals, and work towards those goals…and sometimes it is like whistling in the dark. You have to ACT unafraid and brave and then self-fulfilling prophesy sweeps you up and you are on your way! Just remember, it is like Susan says, “We are the normal ones!” LOL! 🙂

  45. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    Happy New Year to you, Joe, and the kitties. In the words of Robin Roberts’ sister, Dorothy, “All will be serene in 2013”. This is my wish for the coming year.

  46. Carol Norwood says:

    Great post, Susan … and wonderful suggestions! A great way to start the new year! Thank you for all the inspiration you provide; it means so much! Carol

  47. Pamela Jewett says:

    What a lovely way to start a New Year….dreaming dreams of fulfillment and challenges. Thank you Susan. You inspire us all. Happiest of New Years to you and yours.
    xoxo Pam

  48. Jan says:

    My New SB calendar is hanging in my kitchen and the old one is tucked away with all the others. I save them all! Hanging my new SB calendar is a ritual I’ve enjoyed for several years and it is the first thing I buy with my “Christmas money” right after Thanksgiving. Thank You Susan for giving us some food for thought as we begin a new year. First dream for me to make into reality – paint the spare bedroom! I’m going to stop whining about it and get it done. Happy New Year to you and girlfriends all over the world!

  49. Congratulations to Debra; love it well.
    To Susan, Joe and all the Girlfriends…may the worst of 2013 be from the best of 2012! Happy New Year with hugs and kisses to all…

  50. Marysol says:

    Congratulations Debra, you’re simply going to love this book!

    Susan, I do most of the things you’ve suggested above, except the part about sharing chocolate. And, needless to say, dating is completely out of the question (dear husband may not appreciate it).

    Seriously though, thank you kindly, for yet another heartwarming and inspiring post!

    • sbranch says:

      I meant date him! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        LOL! Yes, Susan is right–sometimes I think, after we are married a number of years, we need to make the same effort we did when we were dating our spouse. I’ve heard of “date night” for married couples and I think it is a good idea–too easy to fall into routines… 🙂

        • Really Pat the SAME effort do you remember that time and all the work it took to impress, look beautiful, the painstaking ritual??? Girlfriend, Jim loves me the way I am now and it only takes 1/2 the effort if that much so I am happy as a clam (what does that truly mean)?? LOL I think at this point in a marriage the comfort and bond replaces the pomp and circumstance?? Phew……thank goodness!!! Besides girl if you started all that “fluff” Norm would think something was up and it probably would scare the poor fella?? haha Isn’t “everynight” date nite when you are with the one you love?? Thats my story and I’m sticking to it!!!! Happy 2013…..

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Deborah–I MEANT “making the same effort” in that you set time aside to spend together like you did when you were dating–and going grocery shopping to Costco doesn’t count, sitting in the living room with eyes glued to the TV doesn’t count, painting the bathroom doesn’t count, etc. You get the picture. And the activities need not be expensive. Mainly I meant taking the time to spend time together enjoying each other’s company while not doing some mundane routine housework thing. You know what I mean! LOL! And if you want to comb your hair first or not and if you want to change out of jeans and sweatshirt–that is entirely up to you! 🙂

          • I know exactly what you mean…..I guess we have become “home bodies” since Jim retired and enjoy being together at home. Now, we are getting out more and travelling to visit Angela which always means going out and shopping, trying new restaurants so I have to admit that is fun. I also have to say it is good to get back home to our kitties who do not enjoy our new found adventures! I guess the “togetherness” whether eyes glued to the tv or shopping at Costco still counts and you can make that enjoyable too!! Just enjoy the time together and go ahead and brush your hair and get all guzzied up and go on that date…woohoo Pat you go girl!!!!

  51. This inspiring post has made me feel so much better. The artwork was so beautiful, too. I am going to make my list, thank you for all that you share with us. What a wonderful mission you have! Happy New Year, may 2013 be the best ever!

  52. nancy says:

    Love the Susan Boyle video, I watch it whenever I need a lift. Another good one is Taylor Mali ‘What Teachers Make’. Happy New Year from Hobbit Hill in Woodinville. nancy

  53. Jo in Western Springs, IL says:

    You have no idea what you’ve done for me. I’m sitting here, tears streaming down my face, feeling so empowered! I really feel that this is the year to make my dreams come true and you, my dear friend Susan, have given me the roadmap to get there. God bless you, Little Make-Your-Dreams-Come-True One!

  54. Jenny says:

    thank you for such an uplifting and cheerful post with lots of great advice. Happy New Year to you. I do love your blog.

  55. Marilyn says:

    Susan Boyle’s song gives me tears each time I watch it. Thanks!
    Lovely post, dear!

  56. Shawn says:

    Happy New Year Susan, what a sweet spirit you have!! Love your creative and inspiring blog.

  57. Esther says:

    Thank you for your inspiring New Year’s blog. I look forward to sending the link to my Woman’s Circle – the four of us have been sharing our dreams for the past 9 years. A trusted and talented journalist is Belva Davis – she recently retired, at 80! I remember as a young girl watching her on Bay Area television and then following her career through the years – she made a difference. Her quote and your artwork together are beautiful.

  58. Pat says:

    I have been dreaming and thinking since Christmas as to what I should make for next Christmas. I must plan in advance as I make approximately 35 gifts to give friends and family. They are not necessarily expensive gifts but something I made. This year I painted and decorated 35 small birdhouse ornaments. I have made some kind of gift for the past 7 years and sometimes get angry that I started it but I always say “it keeps me out of trouble”. I believe this coming Christmas everyone will get a pillow with a snowman head on it made out of fleece and the face decorated with beads. In my dream mode, they will look fantastic. I love, love, love you blog and always look forward to it. I have even forwarded it onto friends.

    Happy New Year to you and Joe and also those wonderful kitties. May you have a healthy and prosperous new year.

  59. Vickie in Olympia says:

    What a simply wonderful way to start a new year! Thank you, Susan, for such lovely inspiration. Thank you, again for having this space for the girlfriends to meet, comfort, challenge and congratulate each other. Congratulations to Debra (and Amy)! Happy New Year!

  60. Susie in Dewitt Michigan says:

    Happy New Year, Susan, to you and Joe, Girl Kitty, and Jack too! The picture of the little girl wishing on the stars reminded me of something I read recently and wanted to share it. It’s called The Windowsill of Heaven: Every morning lean your arms awhile upon the windowsill of heaven and gaze upon the Lord. Then with the vision in your heart, turn strong to meet your day.

  61. Carmen Piña says:

    I am so glad I made time to visit your blog today! Achieving dreams! I feel as though my dreams are unattainable. I feel content of where I’m at yet I have dreams of doing more and talk myself out of those dreams with excuses! After reading your steps to achieving your dreams and the quote, “By the yard…hard, by the inch…cinch” I feel empowered to take this beyond the first day of 2013 inch by inch starting with a journal and to write down the things I don’t like and turning it around. Thank you Susan!
    On another topic, I read something on your facebook page – Someone was saying thank you for suggesting being pen-pals. It may have started a while back but can you send more info? Did you refer them to a website or was it organized through your facebook page? I would be interested in finding a pen-pal to someone that I can exchange hand written letters with and little gift/surprises… I love snail mail ♥
    Thank you for any info you can send my way 🙂
    Happy ~Twenty-Thirteen~

    • sbranch says:

      Ask about it on the Facebook page–there are a couple of things that Peg has organized over there!

      • Carmen Piña says:

        Thank you… I have posted my request for info on the Facebook page. I’ve also signed up to get an email to alert me that a new entry has been posted to your blog.
        I have been a fan since I started scrabooking in 2001. I love your handwriting, fonts and your art. I recognize your art anywhere…Looking forward to the new book!

  62. Aloyce Levin says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you again for a wonderful post on New Year’s Day. I must say that one of my favorite posts to date (not counting the Charm Bracelet entry-loved!) was your, “Home for Christmas”. Homes have always been special to me-if not elusive. I’ve taken to two dollhouses for my home fantasy. One I built over a number of years, one I purchased. They also form the backdrops for some children’s stories that have been in the works. Since retiring from teaching last June I still need to “make them happen”. Your post today about dreams was perfect for inspiration.
    A very happy new year to you-so looking forward to your book about your trip to England. I visited for 10 perfect days in 1992 and would love to return.
    Aloyce Levin

  63. Mary Cunningham says:

    Happy New Year! And congrats to Debra…lucky gal! I read my devotional first thing when I woke up this morning…brightens my day and starts the new year’s first day on a pleasant note…dreaming,wishing ,hoping, praying for this year to be more simple,filled with bright colors,can’t wait for Spring….buried under 14 inches of snow since Christmas day…thus my having a whole week off from work…yea me! patiently waiting for “our” book to be debuted! Love, Mary “Barefoot Sparkler”

  64. Amy Sheffield-Gonzalez says:

    Yay!!!!! I’m the “Amy G” with the Mom that won your book!! Woohoo!!! 😀 I just introduced her to your blog and she loves you as much as I do!! SOO Excited that she won! You inspire so much and I am so very grateful to have you in our lives 🙂 Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Amy! How nice to hear from you. I sent your mom’s book today! I was happy that she won; so so sorry about your grandma. Thank you for writing, Happy New Year to you and your family!

  65. Karen Lange says:

    Hi there, Susan! Happy New Year to you!

    Your blog looks wonderful. I have to admit that I haven’t visited much lately, but I do read your Facebook posts!

    I look forward to seeing what you’re up to this year!


  66. judy c says:

    I want so much to share with you about this past year – the one that I almost missed and could not participate in. Yes, 2012 was lost because of illness for me… auto immune system shut down leading to vasculitis which attacked my lungs and kidneys. There were many bleak days, hospital stays and plain could not get off the couch days. The treatment for Wegener’s granulomatosis, unfortunately, is with chemo drug infusions with all the side effects but they did heal and rebuild.

    Every morning I went “looking for Susan” – needing to read your blog, to hear your stories, see your beautiful pictures, to feel the music and the beauty as only you could describe it. Not sure if you realize how much inspiration, hope and renewed resolve you provided me and I am sure a lot of others (by their comments.) Visiting England through the arm-chair travel log was the highlight for me this year – seeing every beautiful thing through your eyes and joy and the descriptions of places I have only dreamed about. I tried to keep my comments uplifting – sometimes not feeling as if I did – but I would always check back to see if you responded to them – even when there were 3000 comments – because your words meant that much to me through my recovery. Susan, you make such a difference in our lives – sometimes more than other times – and my heart knows the light of the love you give away so freely.

    I am so much better now mentally and physically. Even if I did break my left arm on December 13th – I new I could always follow Susan’s preparations for Christmas, eventhough mine came to an abrupt halt. I have such wonderful expectations for this year and I thank you for getting me through it – wishing you a lot of muchness and deliciousness. Judy C

    • sbranch says:

      Judy! What you’ve been through! But, and despite your arm, it sounds like you are on the way up for 2013! I’m happy to hear that, and happy you could come along to England with us … makes me feel good to think of that. xoxo Happy happy new year xoxo Much deliciousness to you too.

  67. Christine Anderson says:

    Thank you so much fir inspiring dreams! The best times include reading your blogs! Happy New Year to you and all of our girlfriends.

  68. Kate says:

    You have to be the kindest, sweetest, most adorable, fun, interesting, inspiring girlfriend a girl could have. I wrote about you on my blog today just so more people will get to know you. Thank you for all the wonderful things you write about that makes each day special. Happy new year to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Kate! Happy New Year to you too!

      • Judy Young says:

        I mentioned to a friend about your blog/website yesterday while chatting on Facebook. Later, one of her friends posted that she had been feeling puny and out of sorts and had spent the day on the couch. But then she saw my comment about your website, and although she didn’t know me, told me that she had several hours of enjoyment browsing through your site Susan! I think you have a new fan!

  69. sandy says:

    new year greetings! and happy congrats to Debra the winner! hey, we are all winners, sharing in all things Susan Branch. How sweet of you to say that you have enjoyed having us for girlfriends–I’m thrilled to be in that group! thanks to you, I recently watched Fred and Ginger in Swing Time and swooned to his singing A Fine Romance. What a perfect title for your new book! I love it.

    thanks for starting my new year off so rosy, xox sandy 🙂

  70. Diane from Poulsbo, WA says:

    Susan, this may sound crazy, but sometimes I will see a painting that will just take my breath away because of it’s beauty…..I saw several in today’s blog!! I will look at a painting and can “feel” it, if that makes sense….and your paintings make me feel like I could be looking through a window into that scene. Thank you so much for such a beautiful and inspiring blog today. I love the suggestions for dreaming…and how simple and practical it can be….and that it doesnt have to be some huge , extravagent, and unique thing. I appreciate that so much because I am not the most musical, artistic, dramatic kind of gal. I am so ordinary……BUT I do follow my dreams. I learned after floundering some in my life too that I needed to follow MY dreams, but didnt know how either. I love being older because it is much easier somehow to just begin! My dreams were to have a family and a home and create fun and happy memories by making the home comfortable and warm for my family. That was my biggest dream. Now I am dreaming of become more graceful as I age….and to feel a bit more limber….so my darling husband got me what I used to dream for: an AeroPilates machine. It sounds like a funny dream, I know, but it is MINE! I have longed for one for about three years! The girlfriends can picture me rolling off of the machine after using it! lol. Anyway….thank you so much for putting dreams out there as definite possibilites for everyone. What is life if we cant dream?! 🙂 Happy New Year!

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

    Congratulations, Debra! The book is such a treasure! I’m still reading through mine…I found it on e-bay a few months ago. I know you’ll love it!
    Simply beautiful post, Susan! Each one, it seems, is more beautiful than the one before! What a simple, perfect idea to change our negatives to positives by changing the way we look at things…the way we think. I’ve been working on this in my own life for a while now…it takes practice but definately makes a difference.
    I know I say it all the time but you, dear Susan, are a peach! God bless you!
    Happy New Year to you, the girlfriends here and to all those you love!

  72. sandy says:

    just saw this page I tore out of a book and thought this is a great quote to start this new day of this new year ~ “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” Robert Schuller. Let’s keep dreaming, but then get up and get going on them!

    thanks for all your inspiration.

  73. Sue Miller says:

    Happy New Year! (to you, Joe, and the kitties) I hope that your year sparkles with hope and happiness. I thank you for the inspiration you give so freely. Thank you for allowing us a peek into your world. and Congrats Debra…you must be thrilled!

  74. Happy New Year Susan and thank you ever so much for a lovely New Year’s blog about our dreams. I needed to be reminded of it. I recently had two of my furbaby cats pass on (10/15 and 12/28, Homer and Peanut) and the last one has left me so blue. They lived a good, long life and I was blessed to have them. I have two more but the family dynamics have changed. Making a conscience effort to start 2013 with dreams will help me focus. I get so inspired reading your blog and your love of family, pets, home, recipes, traveling, etc. You are a blessing!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Susie, I’m so sorry. So hard to lose a pet, they stick by us so well, through thick and thin, and with so much love. Wishing you all the best!

  75. Hello Susan and Girlfriends, Happy 2013 and wishing everyone good health, happiness, and always having love in their hearts. I want to say congratulations to Debra and also thank you for not picking me this time around because it would of given me a heart attack and I’m truly trying not to add that to my bouquet of problems!!!! Also, thank you so much for all of the joy and happiness you shared throughout the past year it truly does make our lives more enjoyable. I like to compare the first day of a New Year to a present because we are living in the “present”….and each new day we slowly begin to unwrap this gift and the anticipation is what gives all of us the courage to get up everyday and do the absolute very best that we can. Take the gift of life we are given and go out and shower your family and friends with love and hope for each day is truly precious. Enjoy your presents (364) after today and some days you will love and some you will hate; but, it’s the not knowing how each day will begin and end that is like a mystery and maybe if we think positive we can make everyday great and in turn share that happiness with each other. Blessings

  76. Texas Leigh says:

    Beautifully written and illustrated blog. I loved every little bit of it. I especially connected with this sentence: ♥ Connecting with you this way has been beyond my wildest dreams! I thought it was extra special because yesterday I chose my theme word for 2013: CONNECT. I choose to connect more with my family, friends, and creativity in 2013. I will be doing a lot of connecting through mail art. Your blog is a wonderful inspiration. Thank you for sharing yourself.

  77. Veronica says:

    Congratulations Debra ! Happy cooking and happy reading !
    As for you ‘Sweet Susan’ you do it again and again and again. What? Lite the world with love and inspiration. God bless New Year for you and Joe and yours.
    Veronica Sumerduck, Va.

  78. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Lovely lovely post, Susan! You had me crying with that amazing Susan Boyle video and feeling nostalgic with the Auld Lang Piano. All this after helping me make plans to attain some dreams and stay peppy this winter! Many thanks.
    I want to tell you that I just love being one of ‘the girl friends’. I love that we are privey to the process you undertake to make ‘our book’! This has been a fantastic journey for me. I feel very privileged to receive yout blogs, and Willards and sneak a peek into your homespun life. You are very much a lovely inspiration to me…and all the jolly girlfriends are too.
    Congrats to Debra the newest winner! I hope you are so thrilled!
    Thank you for bringing us so much joy and excitement, Susan! Here’s to your very good
    health! XXOO, Chrissy in Indiana

  79. Audrey says:

    Ok, I may be the last person on Earth to have never seen that video. So glad I saw it now. It gave me chills and put a full smile on my face! Beautiful post and such a good message…

  80. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    The perfect blog to start the New Year. I loved it so much, I even forwarded it to all the guys – won’t they be surprised? I know they’ll love it, but will pretend it’s just girl stuff. Who knows? They might even become Branchies. If we see comments with initials instead of names, we’ll know they subscribed.

  81. Debbie S., IL says:

    Happy New Year, Susan, and thank you for the inspiration! So much food for thought, I’m still trying to find my way at age 56! I cried all over again watching the Susan Boyle video – we just saw “Les Mis” on screen, and it was so moving and powerful. A movie you will not soon forget! I’m looking forward to another year of your posts and can’t wait for the new book, I feel pretty lucky to have collected just about all of your other ones.

  82. Pam Gardner says:

    Happy New Year to you too Susan and yours! I loved this post. 2012 was a very difficult year for my family-maybe the hardest yet. Your posts and this one in particular is so positive it makes me feel that way too. I am looking forward to your posts, and of course “our” book, for 2013.

  83. irene talaasen says:

    Hi Susan,
    Again what a wonderful post!! You definitely cheer us on! Know Debra will enjoy the book. I have my copy and love it! Many of your books can be found on for reasonable prices. This is my treasured one: I ordered your Girlfriends book and I knew it was a used book but that was fine. When it came it was inscribed to Friend Irene on her retirement. My name is Irene and I thought that was so extra special that that was the book I received!!
    Can’t wait for your A Fine Romance to come out; any chance you will do signings in Colorado Springs, Co. 🙂

  84. Brenda Caldwell says:

    I loved your mail today! It is just beautiful…I love reading all the comments too. I see that a lot of us are going into the New Year with broken hearts for lost loved ones. Although we will still grieve, you give us the inspiration to dust our selves off and plow on with new dreams and aspirations. Thank you so much and I wish you and yours a Blessed and Happy New Year! Also to everyone of your readers, have a Happy ‘Susan Branch style New Year!’

  85. Jack says:

    New Years resolutions ……so frustrating —– I just can’t come up with anything that needs
    Improvement …..

  86. Susie says:

    HAPPY New Year Susan and Joe..

  87. Mary Ann says:

    Happy New Year Susan, I love coming to visit and today has been especially inspirational!

  88. Happy New Year, Sue!

    The next time I comment on your blog I will change my location from Brooklyn. NY to Littleton, Colorado! Yes, my husband and I are making a dream come true and we are moving to live close to our children and grandchildren who live in Colorado!

    It will be a big change for me, as I lived in NYC my entire life, and love this city, but I’m looking forward to having quality time with my family again and learning all about the West.

    I hope 2013 will be a year where everyone’s dreams come true! Thank you for your friendship and inspiration!



    • sbranch says:

      I think I remembered you’ve been planning this move for a while, right? And now it’s really happening! To Littleton from the Biggestone in the world! I think you will love the change! So exciting! Congratulations!

  89. Pat Beckman says:

    Happy New Year
    can’t wait for this new book

  90. And a happy happy new year to you as well sweet Susan, hope you had a simply wonderful Christmas and that Jack left the tree alone! Our cat Sammy that we adopted this summer after Gwinny got sick after 15 yrs, got to running helter skelter through the room and kept running into the tree, thank goodness we didn’t put on our breakable ornaments! And he finally got the nerve to try running into and climbing the tree! Our son was here and got him down, and he had sap stuck in his fur! Boy did he smell good for a while! We finally got it out. He finally stopped doing that!
    What a sweet and encourging post today! Love your musica as usual!
    And congratulations to Debra and Amy, cause I bet mom will definetly share with daughter! I know she will enjoy Heart of the Home as much as the rest of us do!
    Hugs and blessings,

  91. Deb says:

    Happy New Year! … from a Southwest Missouri girlfriend.
    My Mom and I enjoyed reviewing all the lovely details of your January calendar page today – from the small calendar. Then we enjoyed reading your blog post for Jan. 1st and I showed her how to post a comment. 🙂 We saw your theme: Dreams! So, I started my dream list on a lovely sheet of yellow paper and I used different pastel markers to create the items on the list. And the top three are: 1) learn sign language, 2) learn to crochet (again), and 3) learn to knit. You are such an inspiration! Thank you!
    So happy to know that Debra won the copy of your first book. Hoorah for Debra!!!
    Blessings, Peace, Love, Joy, Happiness, Smiles, Fun, Glee and Contentment in 2013.

  92. Lynn D says:

    Dreams…I just got a new e-book about big dreams, and now your note is like whipped cream on the peppermint mocha. I am so grateful for your blog. My dreams for 2013 have had a kick start. Thanks so much! Happy new year, my friend.

  93. Cindy says:

    Happy New Year Susan! I have had a wonderful holiday season starting with Thanksgiving with family. You see, we are all spread out from Pennsylvania to South Carolina and places in between, so it is wonderful when we get together. Made the little “Merry Christmas” banner for my guest room! I found a dollhouse similar to one I had as a child and got it ready for my granddaughter to play with when she was here for Christmas. She loved it! Today I cooked our traditional pork and sauerkraut and we spent the day relaxing and watching football. I appreciate today’s blog so much. I have my new journal/calendar and have ordered my Christmas photos so I will be ready to work on my scrapbook….using your beautiful scrapbook papers that I have been saving! I love all of your ideas! Thank you. I wish you and yours a happy, healthy and wonderful 2013.

  94. bevy A says:

    Thank you Susan for your blogs. You have inspired me to dream, be happy, to love and believe.

  95. Happy New Year Susan. Love this post. It is challenging sometimes in our culture where everthing seems geared towards the young to make new dreams come true. Now that my little girls are now 21 and 17 it’s time for new dreams, and that’s just what I’m working on as this New Year begins. Thank you for your continued inspiration.

    • sbranch says:

      I kind of feel like, here we are, a jillion baby boomers, and we are just not done yet. Happy New Year Joanne!

    • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

      I couldn’t agree more with you, Joanne and Susan. It seems like I’m always starting over and making new dreams, even at the age of 57! I guess maybe we’re all “works in progress”.

  96. Linda says:

    Your painting of the red headed girl watercoloring is so magical……..what a wonderful rendering of a little artist……she looks so serious but you know that deep down she is very happy doing what she must love best. I love her looks like alot of the dresses I used to wear and also my daughter. Oh, is this for sale anywhere? You are so talented in so MANY ways…….artist, cook, author, blogger, photographer, and the list goes on……..God definitely picked you out for many blessings. Thank you for always including us in your little corner of paradise with your Joe, Girl Kitty and Jack. Happy New Year from me in Idaho……it was 16 degrees at 4PM today…..brrrrrrrr……..guess our snow won’t be melting anytime soon.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, no, you will be keeping your snow! 🙂 Thank you Linda, so sweet of you to say that … that little girl is actually Joe’s aunt! In the real photo she is playing the piano! I haven’t had prints made of it — I do have a few giclees (prints) in my web store, but she isn’t one of them (yet!).

  97. Jennifer D... says:

    Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you.
    Happy New Year.

  98. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Happy New Year Susan!!
    Thank you for the inspiration on this first day of the new year. It is just what I needed. I have many dreams, some have come true, some are still locked up in a box somewhere. It’s time to let them out this year, to fly like butterflies.
    Can’t wait to read your book.
    Here’s to a year of peace and happier days. XOXO

  99. sondra fox says:

    Happy New Year All! Susan, the way you simplify things on any subject is a wonderful gift. Your latest blog attests to this. You are an excellent writer, which I feel is a true gift. Thanks for being there for all of us. Even at 74 years of age, I have many dreams. Sometimes I have to wait to execute my dreams, as my husband is very ill & I want to be with him most of the day. Reality sets in at times, & I know it’s unrealistic to think that some of my dreams will ever come true. My life isn’t over though. I’ll just keep on dreaming. I’ve always been a dreamer. When I was a child of six, I recall day dreaming a lot. My mother didn’t like it when I’d do this, & would tell me to “pay attention.” I then thought that dreaming was a negative thing, until I got older & knew that dreaming was something wonderful. When I’ve feeling bad, I can dream myself out of my bad mood. I can change my attitude by dreaming. Sandy from Chihuahua Flats.

  100. Denise W Jose says:

    Thank you for this delightful blog. I love checking my e-mail and finding a new addition. They really make me smile. At this time my dreams are just in the print form. I retired from my nursing career of 38 yrs in Aug. made lots ofplans and did lots of little trips that I would not have had time for while working.
    While preparing for a super Christmas, I broke my tibia. So mu h for those dreams. Spent the holiday month housebound and hopping about on one leg. Your blogs have been wonderful bright spots of inspiration.
    With the dream list I have been compiling , watch out world when I’m Ba k on both feet again

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