Counting my Blessings . . .

Hello girls….do you need sweet Musica?  It’s a day for Counting our Blessings . . .

This is my idea of beautiful and good . . .

And I hungered after it. I’ve had a bad cold ever since my birthday girlfriends, and this is part of what is making me feel so much better today.  Chicken soup, for the body and the soul–rich, healthy, vitamin-filled homemade broth, mushrooms and chicken . . . Something we could all use a little of right now, some self-nurturing, considering all the terrible news this week.

This is one of those times that being your own chaperone, feeding yourself from the well of sweetness is the only way to have a little bit of control of this wild and crazy world we live in.  It’s been a hard time.  The TV, which takes up a much larger percentage of space in our house than Boylston Street takes of the globe, is bringing us terrifying news that makes us feel like the whole world is on fire.  I try for perspective, and it’s not easy with all this coverage and announcers making it much worse by using every ultimate word they can find.  Is what happened to those innocent people in Boston worse than the 30,000 deaths by gun violence that take place in this country every year? I’m coming to the conclusion that as long as there are weapons and madmen we are going to have to learn to live with this. Despite the incredibly heroic efforts by law enforcement and first responders (our knights in shining armor), or the uncountable numbers of kindnesses between strangers (people can be so heart-touchingly wonderful), what makes the biggest buzz in my ear is the bad news and the hopelessness it seems to sell. But what is different really?  This is going to go on. For me it’s sad because it thwarts the child-thinking fairytale world so many of us were raised to believe in, the world we wished to give our children.  As the down-to-earth and brilliant Mark Twain said . . .

“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”

We have to fight to hold on to our precious fairytale dreams of life.  We must steel ourselves — that’s one thing no terrorist can ever take from us, the belief in the beauty of our dreams.  So turn the channel (at least hit the mute button), and let’s feed ourselves from the well of sweetness.  If it gets us, it gets us, but on this blog, for now, we turn all our worries over to law enforcement, say a prayer to God for peace, and then we take a big deep breath, because remember, nothing even remotely like what is happening in Boston is happening at your house, or in the miles and miles of peaceful American neighborhoods and farmlands.  There are only eggs and bacon frying in pans,  roosters crowing, and kids getting ready for school . . .

There are wide open spaces and people doing the good things they do everyday, kissing each other good morning, saying good bye, off to work . . . If you are a lucky stay-at-home-mom, turn up the music, get the broom, dance when you sweep and then hang the clothes on the line . . . If you’re at work,  find a park bench or take a magazine to lunch, and look at the sky the sky the sky . . .

Yes, everything out there is truly tickety-boo . . . big red barns, rolling fields ready to be planted, and look at that beautiful sky . . .

Nothing’s happening on the island either — in Menemsha, flags are catching the morning light as they flutter from fishing boats in the chilly springtime ocean breeze.

All is quiet on the highways and byways of America, the snow melting, gathering strength in droplets, turning into streams and rivers, sparkling along the roadside in puddles and rivulets . . .

The breeze is still coming up from the Pacific,  blowing the grass on the California Coast, near Morro Bay. A few more miles, you can have tea in Cambria, visit garden centers, and there are lots of antique stores to wander in….

And let’s not forget, everything is perfectly normal in England; people are at Hill Top Farm, seeing it for the first time, falling in love with it, shopping in the Beatrix Potter gift shop right this very moment ….

And lucky people are driving across the Yorkshire Dales, ooohing and aahing at the beauty, stopping to smell the wildflowers . . .

Yes, life goes on . . . And here at home, birds are singing, Cardinals are pecking at the seed we threw on the driveway, Jack is drinking out of the kitchen faucet, I’m getting well, enough to walk out back yesterday to see the forsythia blooming . . .

And lay on my tummy in the grass. The ground was warm and smelled like grass and dirt, and the only thing going on there is wild violets . . .

  Our magnolia tree is in bloom too.

My birthday celebration was short, because my throat burst into flame the next day, but it was sweet.  Joe made us a birthday lunch and we ate it in front of the fire …

Fresh New England lobsters with lemons and hot butter for dipping, and fresh spring asparagus cooked al dente. Could a person ask for anything more?  No. But there was more . . .

Elizabeth brought me this family of bottle brush lambs for my Birthday present! 

I introduced them to my dog, now they are all together, getting along swimmingly.  Dog watching over lambs.

And these!  Handmade for me by twelve-year-old Maddie Honeycutt, the daughter of Sheri who works in my studio along with Kellee, someone many of you have spoken to when you order from the web store.  Maddie made the bird too, it has little wire feet.

Didn’t she do a wonderful job?  I was so surprised!  She dressed the lamb in a little British flag scarf — I think to match the lamb I painted for the book (and BOOKMARK, did you get your bookmark?  Click there if you want one).  How sweet is Maddie?  Lucky me. THANK YOU DEAR MADDIE ♥ ♥ ♥

and there were birthday flowers too, and the girls also sent us a box of oranges and limes they picked from our California fruit trees, and pretty new clothes from my dad and his wife Jeanie, and lots of cards and phone calls and everything anyone would want for a wonderful birthday.

And being sick this last week has given me a break, a definite transition from what was to what’s about to be.  I am feeling better, more energy today, and soon I will be my old self, and already, this is what I’m thinking of, revving up my engines, and starting springtime . . .

More than anything, this is a day to count our blessings.  When things are bad, that’s always what I do.  Something I wanted to share with you:  While I was sick, I got a note from the professional editor that did the editing on our book.  He’s someone my publisher found for me, and lives far from here, but he did a wonderful job of finding all the commas I forgot to put in, making me look smarter than I am.  I wrote to thank him and this is what he wrote me back to say:

Susan: It’s wonderful to hear from you. I am an overly cynical, world-weary editor whose editing mileage far exceeds his age, and that age itself is creeping up. Most of my work is on dry academic tomes, and it’s amazing the amount of contempt I can work up for authors on whose areas of expertise I know little about. But I’m very comfortable working on 400-page books on entirely obscure topics that would put even people interested in them fast to sleep.

 When Jan (she’s my publisher) told me about a handwritten book coming in, I don’t think I could have been more skeptical. When I found out what the book was about, I was strapping myself in for a slog of biblical proportions.
Page by page, you totally and completely won me over. My wife is tired of my saying how absolutely charming your book is.  She’s asked me a few times, “So, are you getting a copy?” I assured her that, yes, Jan usually sends one, especially if I request it. I don’t think I’ve heretofore used the word “charming” in conversation, ever.
So, he liked it!!!  Which makes him a “perfect” stranger!  His words were music to my ears (even stuffed with cotton) and made my sickness a happy time, one more blessing to count.  No other strangers have read it yet, my dad liked it, and Joe likes it, and I like it, so girlfriends, I think you are going to like it too!
M a k e   B e a u t y.    S p r e a d   L o v e.  
I’m going a little bit slow this morning, time now for tea and a nap.  But I couldn’t let another day go by without saying  hello to my girlfriends. Miss you!  Blessings on you all, and on Boston and West, Texas, and all you brave and amazing first-responders.  Thank you.  This too shall pass. xoxo
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587 Responses to Counting my Blessings . . .

  1. carolynn says:

    I knew you would cheer us all up! And even though you aren’t feeling well, that is exactly what you did. Thank you.

  2. Nickie says:

    thank you Susan for bringing a tear of joy to my eye today. These are things I have been trying to remember through the blur of the last week, but you brought the beauty through in clear form. thank you xoxo

  3. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Susan! Your post is beaUtiful…’s as if you gave America a little bottle of UNITED and it sprinkled itself all across the STATES!!!! WE just LOVE YoU!!!
    I am truly HaPpY for you and the response the “world weary” editor sent …rewarding and relieving for sure! I think when I finally have “A Fine Romance” in my hands….I won’t know what to do first! I don’t think anyone has ever heard me say, “I just love love to wait!” But, I am trying to be a good girl!
    You keep being a good girl too and wear those socks around your neck and sniff the Vicks okay? Wish I could send you a bottle of “all better!” But, honestly….the chicken soup…..the spa!…..the naps…..the old movies…..well, you kinda made it all sound quite wonderful….but then, you can’t help it…you are Susan Branch….. not perfect perfect…but just perfect! Wonderful!
    I would love to share a song I heard Friday morning and a movie I am so excited to see tomorrow….
    “Keep Your Head Up” by Ben Howard (from the uk even!)
    and….if you believe in “the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world” you may want to support and see “Girl Rising”
    Today feels better than yesterday and I am kinda happy they didn’t name America ….The States of America…sounds like a Minnesota mega-mall or something. “The United States of America” sounds perfect….not perfect perfect…but perfect! United we Stand! Feels wonderful….and makes me believe that together we can do great things!
    Have a : .} day and I really do think the violets look more purple than blue! xoxox

  4. Christine Anderson says:

    All I can say is Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, you are truly uplifting thought and reality!!!

  5. Nancy says:

    God bless you for your wonderful cheering up words and pictures. Hope you will be feeling tip top soon! Thank you.

  6. Bonnie Schoening says:

    Thank you so much Susan for bringing joy & love to all of us who read your blog. I so very much agree with you on just kind of keeping up with the news but NOT on watching it constantly and sinking into that deep hole of sadness & depression, so again thank you. Also how very charming are those little sheep/lambs both sets !!! And another question… do you remember the location of the lovely farm ( first one in the series above. It is so very pretty. Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      We were in the car (you can see by the speeding foreground), heading for Minnesota, across Wisconsin, and it was just so gorgeous I had to take a picture. I’m sure we were on a major highway, but don’t know which one.

  7. MaryAnn says:

    Thank you for your lovely words of optimism during this difficult week. I, too, try to look on the bright side of things. It makes the hard things easier to bear. Happy belated birthday! So glad that you are feeling better. Take care and get well. Tea and naps help! Blessings to you. And we are all going to LOVE “our” book! I can hardly wait!!

  8. ElFe says:

    Dear Susan,
    I read your heartfelt blog today with the greatest empathy. I had a major surgery 3/1, the ongoing recovery has been the most painful of my 71 year experience, and I’m not through it yet. But I’ve made a discovery I want to share with you. I have found that in my “altered state” everything sad is harder to overcome. My usual nature is somewhat like yours–sunny, hopeful, positive. But the horrible events shaking our world are hard enough to bear when we feel well. Your cold and my surgery haven’t helped. I, too, have leaned on nature to help set my world right. The 2-story cherry tree is in full bloom, the blue jays sing me raucous songs, the tulips bend in glory (before the deer nip their little heads off!). I even caught myself humming yesterday–something I haven’t done in quite a while. I thought of you on Gladys Tabor’s birthday (not knowing it was also yours!) and bless you for reaffirming my faith that what happens in my little world, how kindly I can treat the people I allow to inhabit it, is the only control I really have. I pray for the rest and trust it to God. It brings me peace.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, ElFe, I love to hear you are humming. God Bless you and praying for your quick and gentle recovery. xo

  9. salve says:

    Susan, thank you thank you thank you so very much for making our spirits fly so high in sad times like this! Be well and take care, regardsalve.

  10. Randi Bault says:

    Dear Susan,
    I hope you are are back to normal by the time you raed this. Stay warm and cozy and rest up till you are back to your chipper self! And Happy (Belated) Birthday! I have had to turn off the tv, and concentrate on my blessings too. Whenever I get discouraged about the way things are I just say a prayer and tell God I just can’t handle it anymore, so God, will you take care of this? I do my best to do what I can to make the world better, but God always has a good plan and I believe he has taken care of me pretty well and I am grateful. He will fix things as they should be and with faith we carry on. Thank you for your sweet photos and kind, happy thoughts. You always bring joy to me. I love your blog and I am so looking forward to your new book (which I pre-ordered!) I just got your new Counting Your Blessings Planner and it’s so cute!!! Keep doing what you do- you wonderful person you! —-<–@ Randi

  11. Siobhan says:

    Such a beautiful post, Susan. You are truly one of Mr. Roger’s famous and blessed Helpers.

    Thank you for sharing the exchange with your proofreader…I ADORE that your work won him over. And, how lovely of him to share his delight with you. He could so easily have said nothing at all, but your work transformed him and touched him so! Like it does for all the girlfriends, but that’s a given. Now, you’ve truly been endorsed by the Universe! Just in case you were ever in doubt at all!!

    Happy belated Birthday, so glad you are on the mend and looking forward. You’ve helped me today, and I thank you. ((big hug))

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Siobhan … and that’s just what I thought — he didn’t have to be that sweet, and he was! I don’t think he’s as much of a curmudgeon as he would have us think!

  12. Tina Mandeville says:

    You are so good at what you do….ya know, that “thing” you do that reels us back in, resets, recharges. I needed your words today…we all did. Seems there is such effort put into our emphasizing the silver linings these days because the cloud cover is just too much. This week got crazier, didn’t it? As if the marathon tragedy wasn’t unbelievable enough. Our eldest son works in the city a few blocks from the bombings and lives in Cambridge. Our dear nephew lives in Watertown. Enough said. No words for the relief we feel that this nightmare came to an end. Without any resolve throughout the day yesterday, night’s approach was most unsettling. We saw the worst of humanity and the best of humanity this week. I KNOW that in every story of courage, kindness, unselfishness, and heroism, God was there. I know we live in a changing world and unfortunately our children (and I have 4 of them ages 13 – 23!) have to learn to navigate it in a diligent and cautious way, but we need to remain focused on the good rather than the evil. The good is what it is all about and the examples and lessons in the midst of such tragedy will hopefully make a deeper, larger impression. My heart still aches, especially for those people and families unspeakably affected. I pray we never have to live through something like this again. As always, we can count on you to uplift and once again, I thank you for that. xo

  13. Linda Petersen says:

    Hi Susan~~~Thank you for lifting us & our droopy spirits! It’s still a wonderful life is it not?! Just put faith & trust in God & thank Him for all we have. Get well soon & if you wouldn’t mind~~~please consider finding the sheep family & put them in the web store~~~:0). They are way too cute!!
    XO, Linda

  14. carol pfeiffer says:

    Bless you, Susan you always know just what to say, you make me feel better just by reading your blog. I do hope you are all better soon.

    XOXO with love,


  15. Kate says:

    So sad you have felt poorly and glad you are on the mend. Yes, we live in a rather dangerous world, but as I heard someone say, there are far more good people than there are bad and God provides just what we need when we need it. All we can do is pray for those hurt and be good to one another and shine a light in our corner of the world. All may not be right with the world, but it is all right in most places and for that I am thankful.

  16. Danella says:

    Oh so glad to hear you are feeling better! Spring has arrived in your part of the world. So to here on the Canadian west coast. I just love the daffodils! Thank you for the very uplifting message. I try not to listen or watch the news because so much of it is depressing. Can’t help but catch some of it though. Must temper the bad news with a visit to your blog which always….always….lifts my spirits. Thanks for being you.

  17. Nancy says:

    I was on a wonderful vacation with one of my daughters and her family in Washington DC when the news of Boston reached us. (we’re from seacoast NH not too far away). It was so disturbing and sad to see, to hear and to read about it. The next day we were touring the sites and visited the WWII memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the Korean War Memorial, I was so overwhelmed thinking about all the people who had died previously so that we can have a life that enables us to sleep well at night and to look forward to our childrens’ futures that I wept. I wept thinking about these great losses and those folks who came home broken in some way and that we are still going through horrors like Monday’s, and all the previous events that have broken our hearts. Your message today was healing for me. You’re right, we have to go on, we have to see the good in things, Thank you for that Susan. You never cease to make me feel better.

  18. One more fabulous thing that we are all able to be glad for and that you didn’t mention… Your blog! It’s most certainly a little patch of beauty and gentility in a sometimes overwhelming world. Don’t underestimate your impact!

    All the best,


  19. Barbara (WA) says:

    I hope it’s okay that I printed this post to send to my 90 year old mother who doesn’t have email or a computer. I wanted to encourage her since her caretaker pops in every day full of the world’s sad news. Mom is pretty much housebound. I did look ahead of time to your link for asking permission but it didn’t seem to related to this.

  20. Julie says:

    I am so, so thankful to have your website to visit. It makes me feel like everything will be ok. The birds will still sing their songs, and we will all move forward even though our hearts are heavy right now. There is so much more good in this fabulous world of ours than evil and this has not changed in 4.5 billion years. Feel better Susan.

  21. Carolyne says:

    Yes~! I so agree with Siobhan…you *really* are one of Mr. Rogers helpers/heros: “Look for those who are on the sidelines, doing the real work….”
    YOU are an encourager and winner of hearts♥.
    When I read about your dear little editor being so blessed as he warmed up to your words on the page, my very *own* heart was blessed. Thank you for your words of encouragement to remember our Dreams and not forget what Beauty frames our Wide World.
    Your words reminded me of the ‘whatsoever’ verses in Philippians~”whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things……”
    Happy Birthday MONTH~~~~Get Well Soon~~~~Bless Your Heart

  22. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Dearest Sue, I have been MIA recently and am now on the BRAT diet for a tummy problem so I have been sort of preoccupied, but I DID read your last blog and rejoiced when I heard the word “finished”–I think I heard it all the way from MV! So may I say that I am just so proud of you and happy that you get to enjoy the outdoors (if it ever gets warm enough).

    So sorry you were sick, but don’t you appreciate your health all the more when you have come through to the other end?? I was on a 36 hour liquid diet so when I moved up in life to Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast I felt like I was living high!!

    It took me two days to get to the end of all the comments b/c I love hearing from everyone 🙂 I know I have said this before, BUT we have something very special within the borders of this happy land called Susan’s Blog. The comments are not one sided. We have become a community–we talk to you and, of course, adore you, Susan, but we also come to hear the news of Girlfriends across the nation and even across the seas! You always take me to a happy place with your words, quotes, paintings, creativity, colors, pictures, well, I could go on and on.

    What more can I say, but a “Thank You”, my dear girlfriend. You are more than a famous author! You are a girlfriend of many and have given us the gift of friendship with you and with each other.

    Oh, one more thing, all the trees are in bloom right now and it looks and feels like a fairy land.
    Love to you and all the Girlfriends,

    • sbranch says:

      Hope you’re feeling better Linda!

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

      Feel better soon Linda. Hopefully the BRAT diet will get you back to normal and then you can try that awesome Chicken Soup that Susan made.
      We had the news on at work on Friday and everyone commented on how green it was in Boston, forsythia blooming, cherry trees in bloom, so much green and so much color. It looks so beatiful back east….but that’s what snow and rain give you.
      Hang in there and get better, I have been missing you.

  23. Deb says:

    Sorry to hear about your cold. Had one- boy do they hang on. What really helped me once was this remedy (do before bedtime): Cut up an orange, lemon and grapefruit. Boil juice and peels in one cup of water for 10 minutes. Take out peels. Add whiskey and honey. Drink before sleeping. Works wonders!
    Take care

  24. Amy says:

    Susan, thank you for reminding us that we have so much to be thankful for.
    Saw an interview this week with Fred Rogers. He said,
    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

  25. Silvia Niomi says:

    Dearest Susan,

    Thank you so much for a soothing blog. Humans can sure make the world a crazy place to live. But, then there is nature… beautiful nature. Even though nature can unleash its fury, it does it for a reason, a sensible reason. On the other hand, humans (which are a wonderful part of nature) can wreak havoc, it’s so senseless, really. I’m convinced, the fairy-tale side of life; love, joy, peace is real, we just have to stop getting in our own way.

    Hope your feeling much better xxoxoxxo

  26. Jody says:

    Thank you, thank you for this break from the news headlines. It is peaceful here. The cows are calving, the snow falls in big wet flakes and I just can’t hang out the laundry quite yet. But I’m dreaming of it, and thanking God for the moisture we’ve so desperately needed. You’re a gem, Susan.

  27. Deborah Norling says:

    PBS has “60’s Pop, Rock and Soul” on this week end…might help to cheer up some of the girl friends…brings back lots of fun and fond memories !

  28. Marian (Orange, CA) says:

    Thank you for taking the time, during this terrible week, when you are not feeling well, to write this uplifting blog. Praying that you’ll soon be completely well, and back to full strength. Can’t wait for your book!

  29. Marysol says:

    Susan, I’m sorry you’ve been under the weather during your birthday celebration.

    May I suggest you keep your cake pants on and go back to bed (there’s something I’ll probably never utter again. I hope you’ll accept that comment in the spirit in which it was intended).

    Happy belated birthday, from one spring baby to another—fist bump.

  30. Dolores says:

    Thank you so much. You help so much to bring a little brightness to the world when it seems so crazy and unimaginable right now. A wonderful reminder of the beauty that our world does provide. Even to the jaded editor, what a delight that was to read and so sweet. Did you ever realize that your little drawings and words would be so powerful as to change the world around them? They do, they bring light and laughter and faith that our world can and is what we imagine it to be.
    Love and Blessings

  31. Dinahsoar says:

    I’m sorry you have been ill–but not surprised. You’ve been working non-stop for months now and it has all caught up with you. Soon though you will be 100%, good as new. I’m not surprised, not one bit, that the editor loves your book–and I love that he used the word–a word he never uses–charming. How delightful. Yes, we all surely love your book. I look forward to my copy of it. You put into perspective all the bad things that went on this past week. Yes, we must stay grounded–grounded in the truth of what is, not forgetting there is more than what surrounds us in the moment. And that there are many moments ahead that can delight us, all mixed in with some moments that might unsettle us for a brief interlude, but they too shall pass. C’est la vie. AND–love love love all your birthday gifts…adorable lambs, yes, yes, yes….the bottle brush lambs are soooo cute…and the dog!! cutest ever!! And Maddies lambs and the tiny bird–she did a WONDERFUL job. LOVE them too! Be well Susan Branch! Tis SPRING!..from the hills of TN

  32. cecelia says:

    Hi Susan,
    ALL your books are charming. I can’t wait to get this one and preordered. When will they be ready??? 🙂
    My husband and I are both getting over bad colds too. Sore throat the worst.
    Hope you are feeling better.
    Thank you for an inspiring post today

    • sbranch says:

      Supposed to be back from the printer September One. And they will start going out the minute they arrive! Glad you are feeling better — me too!

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        OH MY!!! that’s exciting news!! Exciting enough to write on my calendar!!

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

    Reading all the prior comments from the S.B. girlfriends have brightened this morning. Intelligent, heart-warming women who are doing their part to continue civilized life in their kitchens, gardens, and families. Keep it up, Ladies!
    Like others, I sought peace in meaningful tasks. I held my 3 week old grandson (a medical miracle). I dug and amended my garden soil. I had friends over for lunch. My hubby and I took our 2-1/2 yr. old twin grandsons on a picnic. For news, I turned to Diane Sawyer. 🙂
    As I reviewed your lovely photographs, Susan, refrains from “America, The Beautiful” came to mind. 🙂
    “O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea! ”
    Indeed, may we all experience God’s grace. Feel better, Susan!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Charlene, just exactly the song I was thinking of while choosing the photos! I’m better, maybe another couple of days for full energy level comeback!

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        “Intelligent, heart-warming women who are doing their part to continue civilized life in their kitchens, gardens, and families”. I LOVE THIS QUOTE! I want to write this down and keep it in my heart forever! Thank you Charlene!

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

          LOL…Cathy of Golden, CO, you are sweet! What a compliment! But it is only the Truth. As we all read our comments on Susan’s blog, we can see we truly stretch “from sea to shining sea”…and, actually, beyond. :).

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

        Good to hear that you are on the road to recovery!!! Also kudos to the editor for tapping into his “charming” side! :). What a tremendous validation for A Fine Romance and its author/artist!!! So sweet! May these blessings continue to rain down on you, Sweet Susan. I appreciate your talent, your intellect, and your even-handedness in facing the challenges and evils of this planet. Thank you for giving all of us this sweet respite.

  34. tracy says:

    Your post cheered me too! It was a difficult week to navigate with five home-schooled kids and a foot of snow in MN. I gave them a snow day to make forts and sled down a huge hill. The blanket of snow was almost a comfort – it was hushed and peaceful. We let our older kids watch very little news coverage, enough to spur discussion. Appropriate use of explosives (my gentle 9yo son loves explosions), world religions, the natural law written on our hearts, “nice is not a virtue” and how to be aware of the true character of people whenever possible. We have been so careful to preserve our children’s innocence and bring them up in a warm, secure, wholesome atmosphere surrounded by what is true, good, and beautiful. I want to GROUND them in this as a foundation for the adult lives, so they will not fall prey to the evil, cultish, radical weirdness in the world. So, thank YOU for making this world a more beautiful place! Your books and blog inspire ME to inspire THEM to seek beauty and goodness.

  35. Janie Phillips says:

    Thank you for this, Sue. I couldn’t agree more. We need to be informed about the bad things that happen in the world, but we need to focus on the good things. Change the balance of the focus and we change the world. Thank you for helping us do that.

    I love what your editor said about A Fine Romance, and I’m not the least bit surprised. He discovered what your readers have known all these years, and what a delight to hear it from him!

    I hope you’re feeling better every day and soaking up some spring sunshine. Love you always, dear Sue! xoxo

  36. BONNIE SHUCK says:

    Get well soon!!! The world needs your ray of sunshine, or at least I do! “And This too shall pass” caught my eye. It was what my father-in-law, and my pastor, told me when I lost his wonderful first born, Jim, eight years ago. Whenever it get tough, I think of those words. I look at how wonderful my life is with my new husband, how loved I am, and I know that this is true! Love Ya! B

  37. patti says:

    Oh dear Miss Susan, Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me a breath of fresh air. My little Italian grandmama use to always tell us, “This too shall pass.” A good friend of mine who I haven’t seen in awhile sent me a msg. on fb. She said I’m coming over to take you out to lunch this week. She said she knew I must be feeling bad bc of Boston, the explosion in Texas and I live in Chicago and have just experienced my 2nd 100 year flood. It is so comforting to know that I have a friend out there who thinks of me, and knows me that well. Oh one more thing, I too am just getting over a horrible cold (my husband gave it to me). We both were suffering terrible. But I made us both tea at night and it made it a tad better. Thanks for being here, Miss Susan…Patti <3

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll be over our colds just in time for the better weather!

      • Jack says:

        Sue —debs recipe of boiling the citrus chunks into a special tea laced with whisky and honey is in fact a miracle cure for. The spring colds that abound this time of year
        …..I had forgotten my own involvement in using this homeopathic treatment in prior years —it can cause you to break into a sweat as you sleep that kills the active virus and start you on the road to recovery !
        It really does work ! Dad

  38. patti says:

    Oh I forgot, thank you for the bookmark. I printed 2, actually 3. I give one to my sweet little granddaughter Gabriella and I keep 2 for all of my different journals. Thank you again, Miss Susan 🙂

  39. Deborah Norling says:

    After reading the extremely complimentary note from your professional seem’s you have won over yet another weary soul into your haven of peace and comfort and joy….I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes one of the new “girlfriends’ ! !

  40. I’m a little late reading this time so I hope you are healing well. 🙂

    When my granddaughter started collecting cookbooks, she was about eight (she’s all of eleven now and for her birthday I sent her the lovely Homemade by Irish chef Clodagh McKenna).

    However, her first books were yours for the very reason the gentlemen liked your new book. It was charming. She loved it and I’m certain it inspired her appreciation for “pretty cookbooks”.

    I not only started her as a cookbook collector but as a fan of Susan Branch. 🙂

  41. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    I have never seen wild violets like I see in your yard – growing thickly everywhere. Gorgeous. For some reason it makes me think of fairies. The nature in your yard is beautiful – so lovely. I planted pansies a few weeks ago (I love them as they have happy little faces) – I always plant them in March as we usually have pretty nice weather and pansies like cool weather. But, we’ve had several spring snow storms here. Snow is not bad as it insulates but about 10 days ago I woke up early and it was only 3 degrees! Way too cold for the poor little things. We are to get more snow tomorrow and Tuesday. So looking forward to warmer weather. Hope you are feeling much better.

    • sbranch says:

      I am feeling better today, still need to get my energy back, but it’s coming. Brrrr, 3 degrees! Ready for spring!

  42. Beverly Brewer says:

    Thank you for the post we all needed! Even when you weren’t feeling well, you sure made all of us feel better!

  43. Sylvia Johnson says:

    My Mom always said “This too shall pass” just like you did. You know what? She was always right! I miss her more than I ever thought I would.

  44. Faith rose says:

    Thank you Susan for your comforting post! Today is a day to cuddle up with an old movie and a blanket. It’s raining here which isn’t good sense we have snow on the ground! How lucky you are to have grass! Its seems like winter will never end !! But that’s all the more reason to grab a blanket and head for those old movies that I treasure!I have to enjoy it while I have it ! I kept thinking of the song from White Christmas , count your blessings instead of sheep through this whole post , and that’s what I’m doing!

  45. Lori H from WA State says:

    Hope you feel better soon, Susan. Fire belongs in the fireplace, not one’s throat:(
    And the picture of the wild violets in the lawn is completely “charming”…(there’s that word again!).

  46. Cindy says:

    Oh, how the world has need of you, Susan! You and everyone that believes in sunrises, gardens, kitties, little cozy homes, good cooking, ocean breezes, squirrels, aprons, childhood delight, holidays, little shops, twinkling patio lights on a summer night…any and all things filled with goodness and light, joy and laughter. Never stop writing, you always, ALWAYS, know how to uplift. Love conquers hate. Always…

  47. Pat Stansel says:

    You getting sick right after finishing A Fine Romance reminded me of my oldest
    granddaughter. She loved school and never missed a day—-she only got sick on weekends.
    Here we thought she was the only one like that. She’s a very conscientious person
    And doesn’t want to miss a thing or disappoint anyone. Sounds like S. B.

  48. Jack says:

    And keep on with keeping on with the chicken rice soup . Even if it’s merly Campbels brand from the Grocer .it has what the body needs to recover back to your own version of normal — and strong !

  49. kathy d says:

    thank you , thank you, thank you so much for your uplifting post! what more can be said.

  50. Marilyn says:

    My goodness but there are alot of comments here. When I see so many I often don’t write. But I am so glad “he” liked it and that you are healing. Take care and be well.

  51. Libby Unnerstall says:

    Oh where, oh where did your daughter get the bottle brush lambs (and dog)…I googled , but only found no longer available at Anthropologies. I collect dogs and sheep…would love these as a part of my stash! Thanks, Libby

    • sbranch says:

      We found some! They’re in our web store already — Sheri found them!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        That Sheri is awesome! Meant to write this before but she took the time to REPLY to a thank-you e-mail I sent just before Christmas. I had placed a last-minute order and couldn’t believe how fast it arrived – I sent the order online around 10 pm on a Thursday & the box was on my doorstep the following Monday! I’m sure things at the store were super-busy [not to mention her own life] so I thought that was truly “behavior above and beyond.” I’ll bet she solves a lot of problems for you too. PS – I ordered those darling teeny red-beaded hearts for all the girls in my family and they LOVED them. :>)

        • sbranch says:

          So nice to hear Janet, both about your girls and about Sheri which I love to hear! Both she and Kellee are truly amazing, smart and creative. I always wanted a company where people cared about what they do and about each other, and I have it! Probably because we keep ourselves small — everyone loves each other. And they just run things, I do my thing here, they tell me what they want me to do and I do it! 🙂

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Well, don’t ever let either of them get away. Most other things will generally work out well as long as you have Good People on the case. PS: my SIL sent me an e-mail on Valentine’s Day that she was wearing her little heart & getting a lot of compliments on how unique it was. This is the same SIL who handed me “Heart of the Home” when we were poking around in a bookstore together about 25 years ago and said “Here, Janet – look at this. This is your taste EXACTLY – you’ll LOVE it…” :>)

          • sbranch says:

            Oh — be sure to tell her I said hello! 🙂

  52. Elaine from MN says:

    I just want to piggy back on Cindy’s comment. I NEEDED to read your last few entries and experience your wonderful photos again……….and, yes, they made me feel better, too. You fill our needs and we thank you. Soooo many thank you!Glad to hear you’re feeling better. Things are in bloom there and we’re expecting snow again here so, yes, keep blowing spring our way.

  53. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    Thank you for your comforting blog and the peaceful, calm looking photographs. Sorry to hear about your cold but pleased that your strength is returning and you are enjoying springtime unfolding around you. From my Forsythia in the English Dales to your Forsythia in MV in America I send Spring greetings for it was only yesterday that I looked carefully at my Forsythia on a quiet sunny morning and thought how beautiful it was. Speedy recovery and time to look forwards and enjoy Springtime in all it’s glory.

  54. Sreekala says:

    Dearest Susan,

    I love the way you won over the weary editor! Having done my share of copy-editing boring scientific articles etc., I can guess what a grand treat it must have been to edit YOUR book. The lucky guy! I am sure everyone will love your new book, especially it has now the requisite amount of commas :). Looking forward to September and hoping you have completely thrown off your cold.

  55. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    Thank you so much for your beautiful words, Susan. This week has been a most difficult challenge. It seems to have brought us all a little closer and brought out kindness among strangers. We spent a lot of time traveling this week, and could just see and feel the caring American spirit as we waited in airports. On Tuesday, we went to visit my parents in Phoenix. On the second day of our visit, we received word that our home was flooding. Elmhurst was declared a State of Emergency. As we made our way back to the Chicago area, my brothers worked to pump the water out of our basement. Family and friends have been a true gift during this challenging time. The days ahead will be filled with a lot of clean-up work. Yet we are counting our blessings for all of the important people in our lives. The flowers in our garden are just beginning to bloom. I’m looking ahead to happy days in the garden. I’m also looking ahead with anticipation to opening a special package! I ordered your Willard collection on your birthday… and can’t wait to open it! As soon as our house is “OK,” I look forward to enjoying so many Willards on our front porch swing. Sending “Feel Better” hugs!

  56. Carol says:

    The madmen will always have guns. Are you supporting innocent people’s not being able to defend themselves from the madmen?
    I wonder how many of those 2,000 gun murders last year occurred in Illinois where the gun controls are the most strict in the nation.
    If you are an honest person and want to tell the truth, you won’t delete my entries.

    • sbranch says:

      I would rather, to be honest Carol, that the madmen didn’t have guns, or bombs, or any of that. I wish, along with 90% of the American people, that there were background checks throughout the system, as there are now in gun stores. This blog is not for arguing or anything like that. I’m not deleting your entry, so you can see that I’m not afraid of another opinion. I think you are wrong. I want us to care as much about those deaths as we do about what happened in Boston. That’s all. And after this, if you want to argue, go to an arguing website. As for gun violence statistics, further information can be had here. All my best to you Carol.

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~I believe in the right to bear arms and in background checks~ I also believe what
      Proverbs 20:22 says ~ Do not say, ” I will repay evil”, wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
      Our family are responsible gun owners BTW.
      ~Off my soapbox~
      Thank you Susan

  57. Mary S. says:

    So happy that you are starting to get back to your normal self!!
    The letter from your editor was so wonderful!! Of course he thought your book was charming – what else could it be!?! He should read your blogs!
    The little bottle brush sheep and felt animals are soooo adorable!!!
    Not sure where you got the info, but you will be maybe a little relieved to know that, according to FBI statistics, “In 2011 – the latest year for which detailed statistics are available – there were 12,664 murders in the US. Of those, 8,583 were caused by firearms. (FBI)” Still not good, but a lot better than 30,000!! Of even more concern to me is this: “In 2008, approximately 1.21 million abortions took place in the U.S.” :'(
    Much love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  58. Kay - North Central Texas says:

    I like the many have said before me, thank you. Thank you for helping us feel grounded when the world is so unsettling. Thank you for reminding us to take comfort in the simple blessings we can so often take for granted.

    I love Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will set your pathway start. I had one of those “I get it!” moments during a particularly trying time in my life when I re-read this passage.

    Hope you continue to feel better and for a better week than last week proved to be.

    • Mary S. says:

      I agree with you, Kay! Susan’s blogs are so comforting!
      And thank for sharing the Bible passage – that is where I get my strength, also. There are soooo many passages to turn to in times like these!!

  59. Kay - North Central Texas says:

    Yikes, where’s that editor when you need him?! **Above start should be straight. So sorry.

    • sbranch says:

      You know what’s funny — when I wrote to thank the editor, I wished I could submit it for editing first!

  60. Debby says:

    Of course, he liked it. That doesn’t surprise me one bit. We are going to LOVE it. Also love the word charming.

  61. kimberly allen says:

    Thank you!!! I have been feeling so blue lately I am very happy to have decided to take a moment and read your blog!
    Yesterday my family and I bought a dozen roses and stood in front of our grocery store and looked for someone who needed a smile and my very cute and loveing son who is 7yrs old just loved giving them out! We needed to feel and give a smile I would do it again and again! Happy Birthday and thank you for making me smile through my tears! I do still feel we can all live the fairytale I will try and try! Have a wonderful day and I hope you feel better!!
    🙂 fondly Kim

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

    Happy Earth Day everyone!!!!

  63. Linda Ishmael says:

    The lobster and asparagus sounds wonderful!!! YUM!!

  64. Thank you for this. I know I needed to refocus and this definitely helped. I’m glad you are feeling better.

  65. Regina Brown says:

    You are our Peace in this sometimes Crazy World!! Glad to hear from you! Happy late Birthday! Mine was April 13. Regina

  66. Margi Duffy says:

    Feel better Susan, the garden, birds and roadways are calling!

  67. Susan N. says:

    Lovely sentiments. Was feeling so sad as the terrible events in Boston occurred on my birthday, April 15, a date which also is infamous for the sinking of the Titanic and the death of President Lincoln. My son also lived on Boylston St. while in college in Boston, and we have many happy memories of that area. So sad. Your final thought was my grandmother’s favorite saying, “This too shall pass,” and she lived to be 99 and saw a lot of heartache as well as joy. I am definitely counting my blessings today and sending birthday wishes to you as well <3

  68. Hi Susan,
    Praying you are feeling better soon.
    Thank you for the uplifting post today. Thank you for cheering America on, the beauty of what America is, our HERO’S and our DREAMS.

    Bless you,

    • sbranch says:

      And all of us too, and all the people in other countries who understand and continue to cheer on and hope for the best for this “great experiment.”

  69. Jill Garofano says:

    oh my the music you select….just dreamy!! this John Pizzarelli….I am in love, his voice!! yum!! thank you, thank you!! I turned off the TV and just keep playing his music (that is rare that I turn off the tv!). this is just what I needed, some beauty in this world of horrors!! I wish more people would relish the small things that make us happy!! If they clone any human it better be you!! there are not enough of “you”, LOL.

    p.s. CANT wait to get your book!!

    • sbranch says:

      Now I have it playing again … be careful it’s my heart! I think there are lots of me when I read all these comments! 🙂 thank you Jill!

  70. Jack says:

    Can’t recall any headlines of “ordinary” people doing that. “Defending themselves with guns “

  71. Cynthia Isbell Krynock says:

    Hi Susan!

    I want to thank you for this entry in your blog….it is true that what has been happening this past week or so, has made it difficult to process….this world isn’t the one that we grew up in….mine was quieter, simpler, freer to be a child, or an adult… was so reassuring to read that we go on….we live…..we take moments to breath deeply….enjoy the new season that is now upon us, even though it is still a bit chilly! I have to say that I love you, I love your work and I love your art….and I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one….all of us girlfriends are happy that you are a part of our world and lives….I am excited for your book to be published…..I can’t want to hold it….sniff the paper (is there anything more wonderful that being able to hold a book in your hands and sniff the paper the words are written on?)….get a cup of hot ginger tea and read… is a delight that I am expecting….in the meantime, I am going to surround myself with good things….count my blessings….there are many of those! So happy that you love us enough to write books that brighten up our little corners of the world…and to be sure, we love you right back!


  72. This is my favorite blog (sigh).
    Happy Birthday Dear Susan and many more! xoxo

  73. Lisa Nelson jones says:

    Amen. Beautifully said. It’s times like this I’m glad my little family doesn’t have t.v. ( just Netflix). Thanks for this.

  74. carol s says:

    Hi Susan, Just now catching up on your blog…now over a week since the Boston horror…you brought tears to my eyes…you have reminded us of the great “little” moments of the everyday throughout this great country…I think of Americans who bravely resumed flying after 911..I think of resiliency. Your recollections of the little moments of each day…the photos…reminding me vaguely of “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder- the beauty and exquisiteness of each moment of our lives, including the most mundane moments…we remain, after all, a hopeful people. Acts of violence and terrorism seem to invade and permeate our culture more and more, but, we remain peaceful and optimistic in most of this country of ours…thank you for bringing a moment of calm amidst this terrible and horrendous storm of violence that we have once again experienced. Living in MA for so many years, and having each Patriot’s Day off work and always, always watching the Marathon- the happiest day of the year for Boston- this year, truly ” the end of the innocence”.

  75. Janine from CA says:

    This uplifting post reminds me of the “old” Elizabeth Goudge book “The Scent of Water”. It’s an intelligent, incredibly beautiful book. She’s a kindred spirit and it’s a peaceful book to be reading before bed.

    I’m looking forward to reading your new book before bed each night. I just love what the editor said and I’m glad you shared it!

    • sbranch says:

      I have her book but haven’t started it yet. Reading is on my new to-do list for the summer!

  76. Hi Susan,
    Here I am eating lunch at work and, once again, taking a walk through your wonderul blog. Your words and photos brought tears to my eyes, and a great big smile to my face, too. Thank you so much for being wonderful you. I think I may take my daughter outside after work today and ooooh and ahhhh at what God has created all around us!

  77. Phyl D. says:

    This comment may be late, but I just want to say that Maddie Honeycutt is a girl after my own heart!! Just wonderful…
    Thank you for making us feel so much better, Susan, hope that you are feeling much better too. 🙂

  78. Kathleen O'Connor says:

    Thank you Susan for the sunshine that you bring to others! Redirecting us with your gifts and focusing on exactly what is necessary – our Blessings!! You capture such beauty in your photography & with the pictures you share your wonderful spirit with us . You are a Blessing that continues to bless us all ! Thank you for allowing us to see from your viewpoint!
    PS with all of the pics from Martha’s Vineyard – WOW – you could frame & sell them !! Thanks Susan! And so glad you are feeling better!!

  79. Paulij says:

    I am late in commenting on this blog, Susan. I am playing Susan Branch blog catch-up today and thoroughly enjoying it! We have been out of the country (in Bolivia visiting our daughter, son-in-law and their six children who have volunteered to take care of orphans in their home down there for two years–currently they have four orhpans: twin girls, 3-years old and a one year old baby girl who was found in a garbage can shortly after her birth, and a baby boy about eight months old), so I have gotten behind on your blogs.

    I enjoyed this entire blog, but the letter from the editor was the highlight for me. God bless him for sharing how much your charming book brightened his life! I know it will do the same of all of us. Thank you for taking on this project!

    In looking for the spring banner in your web store (must have sold them all), I was thrilled to discover your new Book of Days. I have used your Book of Days for several years now and am thankful to see you have a new one, reminding us to count our blessings–of which you are a BIG one!

    I am thankful you had a happy birthday!

    Joy and blessings and many thanks,


    • sbranch says:

      Welcome Home Pauli! What an exciting visit you must have had with so many little children and what good work your daughter and her family are doing! Loved your recap of our last few posts!

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