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. Lori from MN says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for bringing us back to sweet reality. Your words are so true and calming. I, for one, have turned off NPR and CNN here at my house. It is one thing to be aware of what’s going on in the world but the constant reporting on what happened this week starts to make one ill if you are not careful. It’s time to take a step back, look out my window at the peaceful prairie and realize how good life still is and that there are still a lot of good people in this world.

    Aside from all that, your birthday dinner was simple elegance. Glad to hear you are feeling better. And, the letter from your editor was filled with honest kindness. Continue to take care of yourself and thanks for sharing “you” with us!

  2. Pam T. says:

    Oh no, dear Susan…we will not like the book…we will LOVE it!! Do not doubt that for a minute. That lovely editor has only had a peek into “our” world and his first impression couldn’t have been more accurate. We will find it just as charming and heart-warming as he did. How wonderful to hear an entirely spontaneous and unsolicited opinion from someone who read it with no presuppositions of any kind (well, except his admittedly negative ones!) You have blessed his cynical soul with a little bit of spring-time and I’m sure the timing couldn’t have been better. I hope that his kind words helped you feel better and you will be fully on-the-mend shortly. Just can’t wait to get the book and see for myself how right your editor is. Funny…I always thought it would be so interesting to be an editor, but his view definitely lends some reality to the idea. Although I do still think I might enjoy such a profession, all work does possess challenges. I just always thought what a perfect match it would be to be paid to read! LOL!

    Feel better Susan! And thank you for a beautiful post to divert from the awful stories of the week. It was a much needed break.

  3. Angela W in Oklahoma says:

    So glad to hear from you today Susan…hope you are better very soon…I know that when you’re sick…there’s no better medicine than a kitty to pet!!! I want you to know that your blog has become one of the dearest blessings of my life. Your word are like the “Balm of Gilead”…full of comfort and wisdom. I want to choose sweetness and happiness everyday…and I must confess that lately I’ve been wondering if I’m not in touch with reality. I’m grateful to know that there are other souls out there who are striving to dwell on the beautiful things in life as well…Thank you for bringing us all together to be like minded!!!

  4. “sniff”
    We could have told him all that and more! -big grin-

  5. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Thank you for writing your lovely blog with such uplifting verse. When I feel down about the world I can escape to your blog or one of your books and feel better. I also love Gladys, she always takes me back to another time and I like her perspective as I do yours. Hope you are well soon Sue and can enjoy the glories of Springtime like the little violets in the lawn.
    xo Sandy

  6. What a perfectly charming gentleman to review your book so nicely 🙂 I have to say, that HAD to be a boost to you!

    My TV is stuck on our retro-channel. I sit and watch the TV shows from yesteryear with my kids, and it is soothing. The news media have aggravated me by persisting with overwrought reports in which they try to instil mass hysteria. So the channel went back off and we relaxed again. Instead I find myself focusing on lovely books and fairytales.

    I AM a lucky stay at home mother (well, sort of – I homeschool the kids), but alas, the pollen from the pine trees is so heavy right now, I dare not hang ANYTHING out on our line! Oh well! In a week or two we’ll be over it (I’m kind of hoping the fierce winds this evening will blow all the pollen away 😉 ).

    I do hope you are feeling better now, and that you have some nice cozy books to cuddle up with. I’m looking forward to some nice biographies I discovered recently: Chrysalis (a biography about Maria Sybilla Merian), The Girls of Atomic City (about the ladies who were building the atom bombs during WWII) and another I forget right now!
    Here’s hoping you get well soon!

  7. peg says:

    Sue! So, so sorry you are under the weather….I can only imagine that once you relaxed after finishing you book, you body said, ‘OK! Now! REST!’ Probably not what you anticipated but probably really needed. So…rest and heal quick. Take care, dear friend. Let me know how you are doing! xoxoxoxo♥

    • sbranch says:

      I did need it, it’s the perfect hard transition between what I was doing, and what is coming next. xoxo Thank you Peg!

  8. Asha says:

    Good Evening, Susan. Thank you for your encouraging words so eloquently put which brought such joy to my heart. As the other girlfriends, I needed to hear from you today. It was quite an exhausting week in so many ways. Now that I have read your blog, all is right with the world! I was so sorry to hear you were sick but I know that Joe and the kitties took special care of you and now you are on the mend. The Spring sunshine will help you to recover quickly. Get out and enjoy. I don’t want to wish the time away, but I can’t wait for that book! Thank you, Susan, I’m so happy I found you! Love, Asha oxoxox

  9. Deanah from Suffolk Virginia says:

    I hope you feel better soon, because we missed you too. This week I preordered your book, and I sent a message about how you have recently inspired me. I did not expect a response back and to my surprise I received a beautiful email back from your staff.

    I have found every book I could find of yours. They bring me back to my creative, spiritual , and simple self. I have even checked out from my Public library Gladys Taber Yesterday’s ( LOVE IT), and order the Artist Way, Stillmeadow album, and The Book of Stillmeadow .Oh! which reminds me can you please tell me if this is the book about her living with her friend on the farm. I found she has written several books and some are reprints….Help!

    Thank you with Love from a new Girlfriend ( I will return to my wine while rocking on the porch on this beautiful Friday Eve.

  10. Mary says:

    Thanks for a great blog post, Susan. And so true. We must remember the good and count our blessings! Have a great weekend <3

  11. Ann says:

    You have such a gift for taking a rotten week like this and making us all feel a little better. Today has been hard for me because my youngest son lives in Boston and has been inside his apartment all day without being able to go out. He’s 25 but he is my baby and I hate that he is dealing with this. Boston is my hometown and I’m mad!

    Happy you are feeling better and loved today’s pics.

  12. Deborah Norling says:

    Thank you for lifting our spirits with your newest blog ! Oh my goodness…Maddie’s little sheep and bird..are some of the cutest little creatures I’ve ever seen…. I think they are so darling that people…( ME )..would want to buy them if she made more !! …( I hope Jack doesn’t see them..if he is like my kitty kids he will think they were made just for his entertainment )

  13. Pam says:

    So sorry to hear you’ve not been well and hope you are fully recovered very soon. The little lambs you got for your birthday are really sweet. I was trying to pay for the shipping on your new book yesterday and Sheri was very helpful, she managed to sort it out for me. And, I’m not at all surprised the professional editor thought your book was charming, I think he’s going to be an “honorary girlfriend” from now on! 🙂 I just know I’m going to love it. Anyway, Susan, take care I’m sure Joe will be looking after you. x

    • sbranch says:

      He is, thank you Pam. Happy to hear that Sheri could help … she and Kellee are two more of my blessings for sure!

  14. Heartsdesire says:

    What a drag to be sick on your birthday, the one day of the year that is truly yours to do with as you wish. Happily, it sounds like you are feeling much better. Homemade chicken soup will do that for you, and those California oranges will also help keep you healthy.
    “Charming” is the perfect word for the book, and your editor obviously knows a good thing when he sees it.
    Take good care of yourself, and Joe and the kitties. No more sickness now because it really is spring, and everything is bright and new.

  15. Francine Werlinger says:

    Blessings to you sweet Sue! I’m glad you’re feeling better! I loved your blog. Very uplifting!

  16. Donna Bradley says:

    Hi Susan!
    I am so glad you are on the mend! As always, your post today is lovely and full of encouragement for us all. I needed to be reminded to stop and count my blessings and to keep dreaming! Thank you for remembering the first responders. They are dear to my heart, as my husband and oldest son are both firefighter/paramedics. My youngest son is serving our country in the USMC. In just a few days he leaves for another deployment to Afghanistan. I think you wrote this post just for me! With that said, I am going to go plant some flowers!
    Love from Texas~Donna

    • Jan from Northern CA says:

      I will keep your husband & sons in my prayers!! In times like this we are reminded of the “service to our country that they do at home and abroad”. They take an oath…”To protect and to serve”. It is a good reminder for us all. Please thank them for their service…and yours. You hold up the ranks at home as the mom…..hugs to you.
      Jan from Northern CA

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Well-said Jan – that goes ditto for me. Especially today, we all say an extra ‘thank you’ & ‘God bless’ to our under-appreciated law enforcement and military members – for all they do and all they risk – everyday. :>)

  17. Martha Noon says:

    Hi Susan, Thank you for your uplifting post. I have been floating between needing to hear updates in Boston, to doing chores, to hugging and playing with our dog, planting pansies…and so on. Your thoughts and serene photos of our America the beautiful, have helped steer me back to thankfulness.
    You are a love. xx

  18. Susan, so glad to hear from you! Sorry you got the bug, but chicken soup for the soul and body! Get a little better every day, don’t do too much! Your inspiring words and quotes mean so much right now. It seems like every time we turn around something else bad is happening. I don’t turn on the tv much, just a few minutes is enough! Reflecting on the birds singing in our yards, the beautiful trees blooming, our elephant ears are popping up! And the joy of our grandchildren walking up from their house to play with grandma and grandpa, brings all the joy back and pushes the the sad things away for awhile. Yes our country far and wide continues to be beautiful, life goes on, snow covers our beautiful mountains (in some cases maybe a little to much?) and the merry little breezes blowing on the beautiful pacific coast, I looked out and I thought is that, could it be Morrow Bay Rock? It is! Haven’t been there in
    years! I miss CA but love the seasons in WNC. And pics of England, of Joe taking a pic in the farm shop! Oh, I am so excited to be getting the book later this year! Yes, I have my bookmark in each and every book I read, the little tail wagging at me! What a talented little girl Maddy is! Her sheep are so so cute! Love the scarf! And the bottle brush sheep, oh my! Susan I can just taste the sweet delicious lobster! Yum! Nothing like getting it fresh off the northeast coast! Such a sweet Joe to prepare that wonderful luncheon for you!
    I bet kitty girl and Jack were drooling in front of you! The flowers you received are just beautiful, and your spring is absolutely beautiful!
    Woo Hoo! Of course your book has won over a skeptic! How could it not?
    Hugs and blessings to you and all your dear readers,
    Get well Susan,

  19. Barbara (WA) says:

    Thank you for a perfect perspective on this week and on life! I’ve been battling a bit of a depression relapse – these events and the passing of a dear friend haven’t helped. But I already had remembered to “fill *my* life from the well of sweetness”. This is my favorite things you have ever said.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Barbara, all my best to you!

      • sondra fox says:

        Hi Barbara, Our dear friend, Jeanette passed away two years ago. Jeanette was like a sister to me. When I first came to CA, she took me under her wing, showed me around Los Angeles, & heard me say, “I miss my PA family,” at least a million/trillion times. I’ve been in Ca for fifty four years now. Jeanette was a native Californian. We used to laugh about how one day when I was especially homesick for my PA family, she said, “get dressed up, we’re going to one of the tourist traps of LA.” She drove us over to Forest Lawn. At her memorial service, Jeanette’s daughter told the many mourners about how her mom took me to Forest Lawn cemetery to make me happy. I’ve become accustomed to CA now, but when Jeanette passed, some of my hair started falling out from the shock of not having my dear friend in my life. So, I know how you feel about losing a dear friend. I found that when I get sad & miss the fun times we had with one another, I look to someone else I’ve befriended, another person who brings joy to my life. After all, we humans are social animals. Guess that’s why I love being a pen pal to all of our girlfriends here on the Susan Branch blog! Here’s to happy memories, cherished friendships, as well as new friendships. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

          If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.
          Winnie the Pooh

  20. Melina says:

    It’s been a heck of a week. Last Saturday, I attended the memorial service of a dear friend, the toughest “girly girl” I’ve ever known. At the last, when they showed the picture collage, they played Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”. Then, Monday. Tragedy again. Today, I turned off the TV, took a long, hot bath, and painted my nails purple! I still have lost a friend, Bostonians have lost friends, too. But as you have so beautifully pointed out, it’s still is a wonderful world.

  21. diana navarre says:

    I agree with the gentleman that edited your book, “charming” – everything you write! That is why I am hooked on your blog. thank you for sharing your life with us…anticipating the book!! Hope you are all better soon!

  22. Minette says:

    Hi Susan!
    First a very belated Happy Birthday wish and really hope you feel better soon from your cold! It has been a while since I have had a chance to respond to your posts but I certainly have been checking your website frequently these last few weeks. You see, your website is where I come when I need to take deep breaths and put myself back into a healthy and refreshed state of mind. I feed on the inspiration and creativity that is generated from your posts. I have been working on a huge project at work that is finally over but one that has kept me working long hours with little time left for my personal interests while also battling a sinus infection from allergies. That combined with the madness of what has occurred in the word over the last couple of weeks has just left me exhausted and overwhelmed with sadness and absolute dismay with the same conclusions that you have shared. However, I come to your blog for a reminder that I have the control to recondition my personal frame of mind, get healthy, and hopefully enable me in making a difference in the lives of those around me who may also be affected by these horrible events. It looks like you had a lovely birthday celebration and hope Jack does not become too fond of those adorable sheep! They are all adorable. Thanks so much for sharing all of this with us. I just cannot wait for the book to be published. Feel better soon!

  23. Jane in Pennsylvania says:

    Susan: As someone who grew up in the fifties (a pretty great time to be a kid in the USA, I think), it’s hard to comprehend the things we see today. Your uplifting words are so needed. We, as women, need to remember that we can do so much to change the world. Start with the children. We are powerful in so many unseen ways. You have shown us that with the beauty and basic goodness you share with us. A ray of needed sunshine. Thank you. And, by the way, that’s the most perfect lunch I’ve ever seen 🙂

  24. Peggy Cooper says:

    I’m smiling, at the same time tears are coming to my eyes. All I can say right now is “THANK YOU”! We needed that.

  25. cindy says:

    Thank you! Thank you. I just loved all of today’s blog. Hope you are feeling better. I could relate because since October I have been sick. I missed the holidays and even Spring! You hit all of how I feel about the craziness on the nail. I love your books and blog and Willard because for a few minutes each time you write or I reread your books I am in a sweet world! Also when work and the world get too crazy for me I garden or take a walk and take pictures. When all fails, I grab my collection of “Little House on the Prairie” books and enjoy a simpler time and then count my blessings that life now is “easier”. Can’t wait to get your book! Take care of yourself.

  26. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    Beautifully said Susan – and – so much to love in this world like yellow forsythia, wild violets, little lambies and birdies, birthday presents, homemade chicken soup, lobster, blue skies, nature, farmland and girlfriends!!! Thank you for the respite and hyacinths for my soul!

  27. Mary Ann in Mexico says:

    Thank you for today’s blog. With the crazy world we live in, it is nice to read something to remind us there are good people and places still around. I loved the lambs, the farm, the beautiful skies, the gorgeous forsythia and everything else. Very happy to hear you are recuperating; feel well soon.

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

    We all have heavy hearts this week, don’t we? We’re hurting with those that hurt, and that’s as it should be. Bless you for helping us to remember to look for life’s grace notes and the beauty that still remains in the world. We can be aware of the evil and yet still retain the child-like spirit that makes our days bright. Thank you for the pictures and thoughts that lift us all up. We all look forward to being charmed when we find our copies of A Fine Romance have arrived!

  29. THANK you for this! It’s been a difficult few days. Worried about friends in Boston (one of whom was in the race and felt the second blast wash over her body) and the relentless terrible news, some of it accurate, all of it serving to make me more stressed. Then yesterday, in our beautiful old apartment building that usually makes me feel safe (and also like I live in Manhattan) (in a Woody Allen movie) I got caught alone in an elevator with a strung out junkie who found an open door and let himself in for a look around. By the end of the day today, I was a shaky mess and you know what I thought? “I REALLY need me a little bit of Susan.” Seriously, short of going to England in my head, which is my usual calm down strategy, you and your lovely blog and beautiful books have such a calming effect that it makes everything seem okay again. I used to turn to Anne Shirley (she got me through university exams, as did the Narnia series, when things got too hairy) and I still do sometimes, but now we all have you and your blog. So I thank you. You have no idea how much your world means to so much of us. Especially on days like today. xoxo Pam, in Montreal

  30. Paulie says:

    Cold or no cold, YOU are just what we all needed! Thank you dear Susan, thank you for allowing us to take a deep breath and breathe in some hope for the future of our world. After reading this post I can smell the aroma of hope and spirits are lifted once again. Bless you and get better soon with lots of chickey soup and lots of nappy naps. You are the best!

  31. Psalm K. says:

    Thank you for the lovely post & photos! I love the violets! Focusing on the beauty around you and lifting up prayers for those trying to find all suspects in the bombing. Your post today was filled with hope & encouragement. And full of the right perspective. Happy Belated Birthday~

  32. Kathleen H. Williams says:

    Your blog is chicken soup for my soul, Susan. I think American could use a big bowl too. Get Well … have a good weekend.

  33. Kathy Dow says:

    AMEN! to everything you said, Susan.
    I’m just so antsy to receive your book. I’ll be doing a happy dance when I hear it has come in. Talk about a n t i c i p a t i o n!

  34. Marsha says:

    Susan, thank you for your heartening words. I agree wholeheartedly(too many hearts?!) I love reading your blog but today it meant so much. It is what we need to do, turn off the TV, remove ourselves from the sensationalizing media, say a prayer and be thankful for the joy we have in our lives. Hope you feel better and better!

  35. Nicky says:

    Thank you, Susan. Right now I have tears rolling down my face from discouragement, your cheerfulness and beauty in colors is what draws me again and again to your blog. Thank you again.

  36. Andrea from Ithaca, NY says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words of comfort. Many thoughts and prayers to those in Mass and in Texas. Peace and much love…
    Hope you feel better soon, girlfriend.
    As always, shine on… 🙂

  37. Sarah Powell says:

    BRAVO on all counts. Well done. God Bless America, and God Bless Susan Branch for reminding us to count our blessings. Beauty truly does heal. Glad you are feeling better.
    Bunches of Love to You – Sarah

  38. Lee Rose says:

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the beautiful words. You are such a light in the darkness. (If anyone could charm a curmudgeonly editor, it’s you) I hope you feel better soon.

  39. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Your blog was like the healing touch of a hand today…I know we all needed a breath of fresh air after the last few days. A very wise man said just yesterday that the greatest tragedy of all was loss of hope…May we never lose it!

  40. Mary A. Brown says:

    Hi Susan,
    Feeling better? Of course we are all going to love your new book! We are on pins and needles anxiously awaiting it’s arrival. Something beautiful to contemplate amidst all this ugliness is just what the world ordered. Mary A

    • sbranch says:

      Did you see the cheering last night? Made me so happy! Now that’s what I call beauty 🙂

      • TONI says:

        Dear Susan…I have a thousand comments…but decided on something you mentioned….THE CHEERING!!!!! Wasn’t it WONDERFUL:-))) Best part of the whole week! God is sssooo good to us, even after a tragedy. Get well…it will help if you pamper yourself MORE:v))) God Bless… Toni M.

  41. Juliene Bramer says:

    Missed you, glad you are on the road to recovery. Anxious for my copy so I may smile, laugh and cry.

  42. jan says:

    Thank you, Susan. Sitting here with my little pooch and can’t tell you how much I needed to read this today. You have brought a tear and smile to my face. Hope you are feeling better soon. jan and the “pooch” suzie.

  43. Sorry to read that you’ve been ill. Wishing you a good and speedy recovery. Thank you for giving voice to what is good in the world. I don’t watch the news as I find it to be soul-crushing in general- you said it well, “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.”
    It’s just too much for me in the end. I still see a bit but keeping all the drama at bay is a way to lessen the heartache. The world will always be a place filled with the good and evil of humans, if we nurture goodness and kindness there will always be a light to shine in the darkness. Thanks for shining your light every day. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone has what I call a “soul limit” — on how much your soul can take. It needs to be protected at all costs and you are doing that Gabi. xoox

      • There was a time we humans only knew what was going on within our immediate corner of the world. Now the whole world’s troubles are laid at our feet. I don’t think our psyche was designed to handle more than that without going somewhat numb. We just have to be careful we don’t close our hearts to our own corner of the world in the process.

  44. Shawnee Moschiano says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughts, dreams, Forsythia and Violets. I am sorry you’re not feeling well….Hope you are up and about soon. I am looking forward to your book. Take care of you!!! xoxo

  45. Audrey Patterson says:

    Dear Susan, Thanks for your lovely post today . I was just watching the Toronto news on the Boston tragedy and feeling for all concerned. We can get so wrapped up in the pain and forget the beauty of every day life. You are a wonderful source of encouragement and I pray God will richly bless you for all you do to shine light on darkness.
    Blessings from Canada.

  46. Tawni urrutia says:

    So wonderful to hear from you! It seems to me that you poured everything you have, heart and soul and then some into your fantastic labor of love. And your body just waved it’s little white flag(and in your case with darling flowers embroidered on the edges!), you needed to fill your tank girl! I’m happy you’re on the mend. As always, your words and pics and art fill our tanks…thank you a million times over.
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

  47. Lynne Blinka says:

    Glad you are feeling better. Your blog is always uplifting to me, especially this week. Belated happy birthday–I have an april birthday (12th), also. Thanks for the reminder of all the blessings we share.

  48. Get better Susan, we need you!!!!
    Kathy Meurell

  49. Beth Keser says:

    So, your editor knows our secret now!! Glad you are feeling better. Your blog was just what I need today to block out all the bad stuff going on in Boston. Your stories always remind me to count my blessings and to appreciate all the beauty around us. That is why I love everything Susan Branch 🙂

  50. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    What a beautiful post. Thank you! I am sorry that you were not feeling well. I am glad you are on the mend.

    I was wondering about those little lambs. Are they needle felted? I love to need felt!

    I am looking forward to holding your new book in my hands.


    • sbranch says:

      Yes they are needle felted! Have you made any animals? My girlfriend/employee Kellee made me a kitty one time, which I took to England with me. I haven’t learned, maybe someday I will take the time to do it, such cute things!

  51. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Hi Susan! Oh how I’ve missed your posts! I’m so sorry to hear you’re not well. Being sick is no fun. I really hope you’re feeling better very, very soon. Thank you for putting so much goodness and positivity in this heart-warming post! I read a wonderful article written by Patton Oswalt about Boston and this is the best sentence from it, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.” This says it all, in my humble opinion. Be well girlfriend, and very soon. ♥

  52. Tisa at Seattle Retro says:

    Dearest Susan, hope you’re feeling peachy soon 🙂 I enjoyed the ‘putting things into perspective’ elements of your letter; even though we know bad things happen, our indominable loving spirit is shocked (and bruised) each time we witness them. We are grateful & healed when we can hold each other a little closer at times like these, so thank you for your warming words. The blazing yellow forsythia against that bright blue sky was the perfect photo for today–the hope of Spring’s first blossoms against the ‘true blue’-ness of the everlasting sky, it brings a cheer to our spirit. We’re all in this together, one day at a time! (PS picked up ‘Girlfriends Forever’ copy at the Goodwill today…I know just who I’ll send it to tomorrow, a good friend in Calif who’ll have so much fun reading it for the first time). Thank you!

  53. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan….your sense of hope restored my tattered heart….thank you! you are a knight (knightess !?!) in shining armor to many…we are grateful. My son lives and works in the Back Bay as a personal trainer and fitness coach. He is an avid runner..has run in 8 marathons and the Boston Half….he is recovering from recent shoulder surgery repair and was at the finish line as a spectator on Monday. He left for home to ice his shoulder and prepare for a 5:00 client appointment….he lives 3 blocks away..he heard the first explosion just outside of his apartment….he had been standing in front of the now demolished Lens Crafter shop not 15 minutes before….we are all counting our collective blessings that he was not hurt…..he found solace in the goodness of people and the incredible support of strangers…it is tough to hear your child say, “now I know what ‘terror’ really is”, but through all of this…we have not been swayed from our firm belief that people are good and that together, we can accomplish anything… your beautiful pictures are a reminder just to that point..thank you for the lovely blog post today..perfect timing…glad you are on the upswing..we are too… “This too shall pass”…my mom’s most favorite most used saying as we were growing up and always….when I saw that you closed with it… well…you can imagine…take good care of yourself..I am so thankful to be able to count you as “friend” love, cindy

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

    in case you all haven’t heard the wonderful news, they got him, he is police custody and alive. somebody buy those wonderful police officers, EMTS and state troopers a long tall large drink, and hug them for me!!! well done guys. we all can breathe easier!! WOOHOO!!!! hugs.. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Was wonderful! Job well-done. I wanted him alive, and for a change, I got my wish! 🙂

      • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

        I’m so thankful that he has been captured alive! Now Boston can start to heal. God bless all those who helped get him and all those who helped the poor people who were injured and also their families.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        same here, maybe now we can learn why they did this and why they felt they had to bite the hands that helped them. I hope all those police, EMTS, state troopers and everyone else get a big parade for what they did, and I hope someone is generous enough to buy them all drinks…they earned that.

        • sbranch says:

          I just love watching the crowd applauding and carrying the flag for the first responders! Perfect!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            me too!! got a little carried away and hugged one of our firefighters today, when he asked why I said because of Boston. I think he liked it. going to make a point to do something for our firefighters and law enforcement, even if its a plate of cookies, just to say thanks.

  55. Tana Griffith says:

    What a grand and glorious posting! Just what I needed to hear.
    Sorry you have been under the weather, feel better soon.

  56. Kirsten Wichert says:

    Dear Susan and girlfriends,
    I’m so glad the whole Boston mess is over and hopefully, they now have everyone responsible. God bless everyone!
    I just love the cute sheep and lambs you got for your birthday! Both kinds! Thanks for helping us to refocus ourselves on nice things!
    Well, my new home is finally painted (inside, completely) and we are anxiously waiting for the floors to go in. Yes, I ended with a preposition! I should be able to start actually moving things next week! Yea! I’m not really going far at all but still, it’s moving everything I own!! I will re-register for your lovely blog after I get my new internet service. Thanks again for your lovely words and pictures. I will certainly miss them for a short time while I have no internet!

  57. Jackie P says:

    Glad you are feeling better! Sweet dreams.

  58. There is only so much “information” that we really need. More than that is just spreading despair and snuffing out hope. While bad things do happen, the whole world is full of good-hearted people who give without expectation of return. Just today, I needed a ride home from the hospital after a CT scan and my friend, Karen, said, please let me help you. Asking nothing for her kindness, she came to my aid. Goodness like this is everywhere if you know how to look. Turning off the sensationalist newsmongers is good for the soul.

  59. Susie in NY says:

    So glad to hear you are on the mend Susan! Seeing your post today was the icing on the cake. It was a difficult week and today my sister and her family had to put their 10 year old dog, Opie, down to doggie heaven. Life is so full of ups and downs. Having your blog helps us focus on the simple joys of life right in front of us every day. Counting my blessings is always something I do. I tend to be a Pollyanna, or should I say a Susan Branch. Sending hugs ~

  60. ginger says:

    My darling husband and I spent the last few days in Sequim Washington learning a better way to prune and mulch an orchard. We slept at George Washington Inn, which is across Puget Sound from Victoria Canada. The view was spectacular. It was lovely until the orchardist got bad news. Yes, we thought about the Boston tragedy and the Sequim tragedy but tried even harder to just move on. Thank you for your words of sanity. The insanity of the world must not make us insane. I’ll plant spring annuals tomorrow and dream about loveliness in the future. Life is good. I think it’s how we choose to respond to tragedy and such that makes us bitter or optimistic.

  61. Jennifer says:

    Thank you Susan. You wrote the words we all longed to read, to see, to hear, to think about.

  62. sondra fox says:

    Oh Susan, I’m sooooo happy to see your words today. I’ve been feeling so unsafe these past days, even though Boston is thousands of miles away. Our wonderful America is being polluted with people from far off lands who detest our American way of life. No matter what I do, or say, I won’t be able to keep the destroyers of our way of life OUT. Therefore, like you say, I can only seek beautiful thoughts, ways, & prayers for those that will have to live with their hurt. I wish, wish, wish that my magic wand (I keep it under my fluffiest pillow) could heal all of their hurts. God be with all of them.
    And so today, we called up our dear friends, made up a wonderful picnic, drove to a beach side cliff, overlooking the calm, blue Pacific ocean, & as we ate our picnic lunch, talked about happy things such as our grandsons taking beautiful, sweet girls to their upcoming Proms, and also the antics of our doggies & kitties, plus discussing the gorgeous weather we’re now having. We also watched for migrating whales. This wonderful day spent with cherished friends took the horrible edge off of this past week where sirens, blood, & lives changed forever, filled our family room. I made a vow that when bad things happen in this world & I seem to be glued to the TV to find out exactly what happened down to the very last statement & negative picture, I’m going to call up friends & plan a picnic. We didn’t see any whales, but we will again on another “picnic day.” God bless you Bostonians. I wish I could call you & you could come to our picnic. You are the very best of what America (& Americans), are all about. God bless America as well, for now & always.!
    (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      I hope that we never look at foreigners in general in a polluting kind of way, as they are what has made America great. We are from everywhere, and we left (for the most part) all the old grudges behind when we came here to become part of something bigger. It’s sort of a fight against the nature of man that we have managed to do this as well as we have. I love America, but I also love the earth and all people on it, most of whom are just like us, loving home and family, peace and prosperity.

      Ohhh, your day sounded so gorgeous Sondra, picnics are the perfect cure for almost everything.♥

      • sondra fox says:

        I totally agree with you Susan. Maybe I was misunderstood when I wrote “polluters,” from far off lands. I didn’t mean people that come to this country seeking a better way of life & adding many, many positives to our diversity. I was talking about people who come here determined to destroy us. And, as you know, there are many who want to destroy us. My father & his side of our family all came from Austria. I’m first generation American, so I also know how wonderful it is to live in such a diverse country, a country (USA) where people from other countries are welcomed with open arms. My family cherished German traditions that they brought with them to America. There are many, many people who join us (Americans) & add many “positives,” to our society. That’s without saying, & a “given.” I’m only talking about those who would destroy us, as being polluters of our American way of life. When I wrote that message last night, I was very, very emotionally angry. Forgive me if I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings. I know how it feels to be discriminated against. My mother told me (when I was around eight years old) not to let anyone at school know I was German. She was trying to protect me from being mistreated at school. That was back in the days when we were at war with Germany. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, it seems to be that way for any group of immigrants when they first come, same for the Irish too. They must be so brave is what I always think, but their children (like you) are the ones that make it all OK in the end. I’m so glad they’ve brought those traditions, otherwise there would be no uff-da, or lasagna, or potato latkes, or tortillas, or any of the fun things we have like pinatas, and even Christmas itself. xoxo Love you Sondra!

          • sondra fox says:

            By now Susan, you must realize how very much you mean to me, as well as to our other friends on this blog. You are woven into my life, a part of each day that I live. And so, your comments are an important part of my daily life. I thank you for your understanding ways. The life of that little child who died, his sister who lost her leg, their mom who had brain surgery, all of those horrible things that were going on, were buzzing through my mind. I’ve calmed down somewhat today. Sure slept well last night, as I was exhausted. Positive thoughts are floating your way Bostonians, as well as Texans. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • sbranch says:

            I know just how you feel Sondra. xoxo I’m off to get some of that kind of sleep tonight. Thank you for being here. Sweet dreams!

  63. Carolyn says:

    Thank you, Susan, for having just the right words. Glad you are feeling better.

  64. Laura Croyle says:

    Thank-you for another beautiful post and for reminding us to remember what’s important when the world is going crazy. So glad you are on the mend! At least you got to enjoy your birthday dinner before getting sick! (Looked fabulous,too!) Love, love , love your little lambkins! Sooo Cute!! Maddie did a terrific job with hers! Bet your editor has never read a book like yours! Makes me look forward to it all the more!! I just found another Gladys Tabor book today at a used book store. Love hers and Miss Read books, next to yours! They help give a more peaceful perspective to life. Take good care!
    Hugs and blessings,
    Laura C.

  65. Nancy B says:

    Dear Susan,
    What an “absolutely charming” note your editor wrote to you! I am now even more excited about receiving A Fine Romance! Thank you for your words of encouragement after being glued to the news reports today. I, of course, was concerned for my daughter in Cambridge. She is ok, just wounded in spirit as many are. So sorry to hear you have been ill, but glad you are feeling better and had the energy to send your very thoughtful message today.

    “Keep Calm, and Carry On”.
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      I wonder if your daughter was part of the celebration last night? I loved how the crowd applauded the police, FBI, first responders. I hope she was there, it must have felt wonderful.

  66. Pat says:

    We needed your very basic words of wisdom, Susan. Life will go on. We won’t forget what happened in Boston and we will pray for all affected by this tragedy. Thank you for your insights and your lovely words and images of hope. They mean a lot.

  67. Julie Brusca says:

    All I can say is “thank you”…a voice of reason on a crazy media day.

  68. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Good Evening Susan…perhaps Good Morning by the time you read this…*

    The best way, the very best way to describe your new post: “Counting My Blessings” is…it’s sweet. And we all need “sweet” right now.

    Midst all these 5 days of shock, sadness, anger, bravery, news alerts, more anger, tears, frustration, more news alerts and finally, resolutions, “sweet” is truly a blessing. Count our blessings, yes!

    One of my favorite quotes from your post today is by Gladys Taber.
    “Believing there is hope for the world is a way to move toward it”.

    I’m so glad you are feeling better and as you sip your tea, here’s something to ponder…When your day seems topsy-turvey and you feel as down as you can be, there is nothing quite as comforting and cozy as a brisk hot cup of tea!

    * Luv from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

    • sbranch says:

      Hunkering down at home, and today it’s raining. Perfect for sickness!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Hi Dorothy Ann, I had an aunt who said her two great comforts in life were her husband and her cup of tea. Then she added, and sometimes my cup of tea came first! Oh, the powers of a good cup of tea.

  69. Linda says:

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery! Thank you for the nice posting….it really does make you wonder what has happened to this world of ours when you can’t even attend a sporting event and have to worry about how risky will this be for you and your loved ones. I can’t even begin to imagine the grief for the poor man who lost his son, his baby daughter lost her legs and his wife was in critical care…….seems like way too much for any human to have to take in all at one time… heart just aches for him and the others who were affected by this tragedy. And I know this will be an unpopular thought but I also have grief for the perpetrators and their families…….brothers-19 & 26 –one dead and the other injured—they also have Mothers and loved ones who must be suffering greatly from their misdeeds. On a brighter note I love your “wild violets”..never heard of them but they are wonderful!! And your lambs are so adorable with your dog! I love bottle brush animals…….I have some I put out at Christmas! Still cold here in Idaho and tonight a huge thunder, lightning and rainy storm blew through…… skies! But they say “maybe” next week will start to get out of the 50’s. Thank you again for your wonderful posts.Linda from Idaho

    • sbranch says:

      I feel sorry for the family too Linda, crazy mixed up killer kids. Awful. Their uncle spoke up yesterday, saying how much he loves America and how bad he feels, saying he would fall on his knees to apologize to the people where were hurt, he made me cry.

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      I never heard of bottle brush animals OR wild violets – and now I want them both! PS – the uncle made me cry too. That was a courageous thing he said on TV yesterday [only now I worry about him].

  70. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Thank you for your calming, beautiful message. You are so right, if we don’t focus on the good things in life (and there are many) we’ll go crazy. Turning off the news is the first step to serenity and peace (though it is hard to do.)
    My parents lived in Cambria for many years until my Dad got too ill and they had to move. The town is so lovely, and they had the ocean right across the street. My Dad loved that place so much.
    I hope you are feeling better soon. It seems like this year no one escaped getting sick. The only good thing about that is it forces you to rest and relax. I’m sure you needed to do that after all your hard work. Take Care!!

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes, in the fog, Cambria is positively otherworldly isn’t it … magical place. Thank you Lisa.

      • Nancy B says:

        I attended summer camp in Cambria when I was young. I remember the spooky foggy nights if we had to walk to the restroom alone. Even the ocean had its own salty smell there. Some of my favorite childhood memories are Cambria in the summertime. That was over 60 years ago!

        Thanks for the memory.

  71. Ginny Petitt says:

    Hi, Susan, so sorry to hear you are recovering from being sick! Hope you are starting to feel better, but just so you know, your words and beautiful pictures make the rest of the world feel better!

  72. Terri says:

    Thank you so much for your soothing words and images. Your blog never fails to brighten my day. And a big hug to that editor, who obviously knows a good thing when he reads it! Hope you’re feeling oh so much better!

  73. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Tea & a Nap! Tea & a Nap! The perfect solution for the dreaded illness. And of course you remember how busy you were with the book and everything else. Your wonderful body is yelling “Don’t forget ME!!” And you have Joe & Jack to make you smile and take care of you. I am sure they know how to spoil!! I loved ALL of what you had to say. AND it does not surprise me to hear that someone read A Fine Romance and thought it was MARVELOUS! Susan Branch, you are soooo amazing! Keep smiling and sending us words to go “hmmmm” about and allow us to cherish your friendship. Sending you wellness, BFF! XXXXOOOO Pat

  74. Jack says:

    An oldie but fitting :
    if in thy funds
    Thou art bereft,
    And hath but on ute loaves left.
    Sell one my friend
    And take thy dole,
    Buy hyacinths ,to feed thy soul
    You have the power to be the fulfillment of that little verse with each and every blog that spreads and invokes the power of positive thinking to all……

  75. Veronica (Sumerduck Va) says:

    ‘Sweet Susan’ A happy birthday and a very happy recovery. Oh ! and a very very happy Spring ! You bring such a good kindness to a not sometimes kind world.
    You deserve a rest; A respite . . . My thoughts and prayers are with you as you mend. Thank you for playing the ‘Glad Game’,isn’t it just the most fun ? Good comes from good . . .
    Wonderful glorious day to you and Joe !

  76. Ruth Thomas says:

    So sorry you have been ill and especially on your birthday!!! I agree with so much of what you said, but I felt I had to watch everything from Boston as I felt I wanted to be “with” my fellow Americans and what they were going through. I also was concerned about the boy they were able to capture alive and maybe we can find out what turned a 19 year old boy into a person who could do so much to hurt so many. I was then able to cheer our law enforcement and first responders on a job well done and truly appreciate all of the rest of my life and family. Today I woke up knowing that Boston could rest safely and so did I.

  77. Rosanna says:

    First – hope you are feeling better – have to admit that when I didn’t see something from you earlier in the week, I was beginning to get worried! Selfishly, I need my dose of Susan Branch ‘happy’- but I quite understand that your resources were sorely tested this week with your illness and the week’s events.
    But in true fashion, you have rallied – and made everyone feel better – at least I feel better! 🙂

    Yes, we are all eagerly awaiting ‘the book’ – and I love that the editor has fallen under your spell – bet this was the BEST book he’s ever done!

    And now that I am posting this on Saturday – the day after the Boston nightmare came to and end – I am happy to say that once again, WE have come through the bad times – just as WE will every time – because WE are good people – and thank you for reminding us to count our blessings – and one of those blessing is you.

  78. Jack says:

    Well they GOT HIM! — as they knew they would — isn’t it poetic justice that in trying to escape , he backed his vehicle over his own brother ? Hmmm , I wonder if they will also charge him for Hit and Run , on that score.?

    • sbranch says:

      Yay, they got him, and alive! Wasn’t it wonderful how everyone applauded the police? Loved it!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        I hear people all over the United States are sending money to the man whose boat the suspect was in, now that is a great way to say thank you, maybe we all can contribute to the cause.

  79. Oh how I love new days with no mistakes in them! A beautiful rainy morning to be in the sewing room….I cannot wait to have your book in my hands Susan! Your post was a bright spot for all of us yesterday..xo E

  80. Susan in SC says:

    Like most of us, this week has left me feeling a bit battered which is why I found my way to your blog . . . and you did not disappoint. Your words and images helped return me to my reality.
    So this morning it is steaming tea in a china cup, warm toast under a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and a tiny bouquet of wild violets on the windowsill.
    Thank you for being a ” first responder” to all the girlfriends.
    You are appreciated and adored.

    • sbranch says:

      I love it Susan, cinnamon toast and wild violets are the perfect antidotes. xoxo Thank you so much.

  81. From Across The Pond prayers and love are being sent by so many. No, Susan, it isn’t worse, just different, and I think we respond differently too, when there is an all out attack against what we hold so dear. The only difference is the amount of dead and injured, and families whose lives will never be the same again.

    The news is a dreadful thing to watch these days, not only terrorists, but earthquakes, and all the financial crisis and more; thank goodness for an on/off and mute buttons. When I go to bed at night, I send out prayers and love to the entire world, and I count my blessings instead of sheep. You, and the Girlfriends here are one (or are you many?) of those blessings.

    As for the Welsh weather . . our swallows are returning *very* late, the migrating starlings are *still* here, the seabirds are only just begining to appear on the high clifs, and there are still only buds, no leaves, on most trees. Even my January flowering camellia is putting in an incredibly late appearance! Yesterday I filmed a precious blackbird singing his hear out in my garden calling for a mate and life goes on . . Spring is finally starting to spring in my little, precious corner of this incredibly beautiful world in which we live. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing about your precious corner of this incredibly beautiful world. Thank you Deborah.

    • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

      Thank you, Deborah, for the prayers that you send out to the world. We need more loving people like yourself to do just that. I, too, concure with Susan….. love hearing about your little corner of the world. You always paint such a lovely picture!

  82. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Thank you for the calming, reassuring, love letter to all the girlfriends. As a person, who probably sees the glass half empty, I try hard to surround myself with friends who have “the happy gene!” And I keep a gratitude journal, counting the gifts in each ordinary day. And mute the TV. I am like Treese and for years did not have a television, but one came with Jim!LOL. Sometimes it hard to balance it all.
    Evil will never win in this world, but it will always keep trying. It is hard to fathom what can possess 2 young men with all the opportunity that lies before them in this country. Enough of that.
    Happy you are on the mend, your Chicken Soup looks amazing, dark and rich and probably way more flavor than ordinary chicken soup. It’s on the must try list.
    And like the rest of the girls, love the bottle brush sheep. I bought 2 bottle brush rats (it was Halloween) from Pottery Barn. Love them, Stanley and Sylvia. But I only get to see them for a little while in the Fall. Sheep could be out all the time! And the wonderful sheep dog that watches over them.
    And glowing praises from the Editor! We are not surprised! But how lovely of him to write and say so! Now he knows who Susan Branch is!!!
    Well it is Saturday, my outside day, it’s going to be windy, now there’s a surprise, but I will persevere. Trying to clear away all the brush and piles of wood stacked around the barn and stables area. I don’t need any places for rattlesnakes to hide. My precious barn kitty, BB3, is doing amazingly well, but she lost one of her lives on that rattlesnake encounter. My feral kittens have turned out to be some of the most precious, sweet and loving kittens I have ever had. What a surprise. If you had only seen how wild they were….it’s a mini miracle!
    Continue to get well Susan, love and kisses to you for keeping us all sane, and prayers for all those affected by the recent tragedies. And Thank you to all the girlfriends who worried about me, thinking I lived in West, Tx.
    Chris……from Knickerbocker
    PS. Healing prayers for Gert….get well and hope you get home soon. Home is the best place to be!

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      Yay!!! As soon as I heard the words “West Texas” I thought ‘why does that sound SO familiar?’ Then in a second, I remembered. SO glad you are OK and well, Chris! :>)

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Chris! I am so happy to see you here safe and sound! The “west” part had me worried and now the “Knickerbocker” part has me saying…”Cute!”

      • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

        Now I will sign in Knickerbocker, W. TX. I never knew there was a West, Texas! And that it wasn’t in West Texas. Leave it to Texas!
        I am SW of San Angelo in the community, if you can call it that, of Knickerbocker. We do have a Post Office, at least for the time being. I am on Dove Creek, pretty much in the middle of no where! I have SLOW Internet! But I also have quiet…no traffic, beautiful sun rises and sun sets. Beautiful moon rises and lots of stars! Sometimes over on the Tweedy Ranch, next door, they have sheep. my favorite thing to watch from the front porch. It a quiet peaceful life…only the television can intrude. My job in town and this wonderful blog keeps me connected to the world. And I have Jim, my dogs and my cats. Jim would be pleased that I mentioned him first!

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Chris, Glad to know you are okay! And I am not surprised that those feral cats turned out so adorable with a “mommy” like you! Windy where you are and it’s been windy here a lot this spring. And we could get down to freezing tonight! I hope my tulips will be okay.

      • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

        Hi Linda,
        You seem to be caught up in the winter that won’t go away. My som has had some up and down weather in Ohio as well. Snow flurries on and off. Spring just won’t come and stay. Spring is coming….hang in there. You will probably have the most wonderful of summers…while I will be wilting down here!
        So good to here from you.

        • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

          Chris, Thank you for the description of where you live and what you see in your little corner of the world. I love when the Girlfriends do that because then I can really picture your life and get to know you even more! Now I will picture you on the front porch enjoying the peace and the sheep.

          And you can picture me in my backyard. At the very back, Kevin made me a little brick patio and I have two Adirondack chairs with stools there. I love to sit there and look out over the farmer’s field to the distant hills. It’s beautiful and restful.

  83. Jack says:

    The death penalty as now administered with a simple shot in the arm and you go to sleep is much too humane for people who create extreme horror ….such as he did His penalty needs to be life long and agonizing — with peridioc published world wide follow ups to explain what is in store for those who would abuse America! An example needs to be put in place . Just as they used to leave cattle rustlers bodies hanging by the neck as an example and a warning !

    • mary spring says:

      …such harsh words and so much anger…please stop, though, we are hurting enough…two wrongs don’t make it right….

      • mary spring says:

        I am so grateful that they caught him alive !!..

      • sbranch says:

        Everyone is just upset.

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Considering the number of lives that were ended/shattered, I really have to agree with Jack that the lethal-injection death penalty would not be Justice here. A nice long, no-cable-TV incarceration – with lots of time to think – sounds a lot closer to Right. End of soapbox [thanks].

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            have to agree with Jack, its too good for that guy, but we are a civilized country and we do have humane ways of dealing with criminals, and I say lethal injection for him, no regrets. that they caught him alive is good, and I hope they can get some info from him. but to keep him in prison at taxpayer expense…nope not for him.

        • mary spring says:

          …understandably so !!!…love you guys and thank you for all that you do !!.. (‘can’t wait till you feel completely better, Susan !…sounds like you were really sick !! )..with love and take care…

          • mary spring says:

            ..I meant understandably so that”everyone is just upset”…that’s all, I’m done..thanks for listening…take care and with love..

  84. Anne says:

    Awwww…..your post is such a nice, sweet tonic for a toxic week! Just what the Dr. ordered 🙂 So tired of all the hatred and the 24 hour news cycle….but you’re right….we can’t let it change us! Concentrating on my spring garden and cooking today. Glad you’re feeling better Susan! Love the little lambs and the tiny birdie is so cute! xxxooo

  85. Nettie says:

    My dear friend Susan, you are so like my dear friends that I surround myself with that I just have to call you by that too.
    Your blog is wonderful….we all need hopeful peace in out lives after this tough week. You have a way of sharing yourself and your life that gives all of us smiles and warm feelings. Thank you for that.
    I am very excited that today I am participating in a workshop to weave a peace flag. What better time than today as we all move forward to doing our part in peacemaking.
    I am grateful that you are feeling better and I so look forward to your book being in my mailbox. Namaste. Nettie

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

      Please tell us about weaving the peace flag. What is the workshop?

  86. One of my favorite quotes, courtesy of A.A. Milne:

    “What day is it?”
    “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.”
    “My favorite day, ” said Pooh.

    A lovely post, Susan — we need to count our blessings every day.

  87. Lynn Cooper says:

    We won’t just like your book; we’ll love it!

  88. Deb says:

    I also have been fighting a cold this week – and it’s my school vacation week! So unfair! I’ve been consoling myself with Midsomer Murders DVDs. They are set in England with beautiful settings. Hope you are well soon.

  89. Love the George Eliot quote at the very beginning of your post. It echoes my feeling – that after the grief of this terrible week I want to rededicate myself to happiness, and work to bring more beauty into the world.

    Oh the felt critters are very dear. I bought some little felted birds from a local artist, they have tiny bead eyes and are lime green and turquoise blue and scarlet and make me feel so happy. They also make Hodge (the cat) very happy and I had to hide them in a drawer (don’t worry, he has many other toys at his disposal!). However, I made sure to put them in a drawer I open every day. So I see them and smile every time.

    Happy birthday a bit late, glad you are on the mend, and that your new book has passed the “stranger” test with flying colors. Can’t wait to read it myself. Best wishes and peace to you and your household.

  90. Vicki in Cincy says:

    I was so happy to see your post. Thank you for reminding us to count our blessings. Sorry to hear you’ve been sick. Hope you are feeling back to your wonderful self soon! I love the note you got back from the reviewer of your book! You touched his soul just like you have all of ours and your wonderful blessings of house, home and love are truly a God given talent. Love you girlfriend!

  91. Jack says:

    NEXT— how many other fertilizer plants around the country are in the same jeopardy
    as the one that exploded –because they operate in the same manner? And who is reviewing this possibility ?

    • sbranch says:

      Very good question. All I can say is if there was one in my neighborhood, I would be looking at it a bit more closely now.

  92. Linda From Sudbury says:

    FYI there’s no “E” in Boylston. God bless Boston.

  93. Angeline Scott-Chavez says:

    Blessed, Sweet Susan,
    So glad you are feeling better and that you kindly shared your lovely thoughts with us.

    Your posts help so many people and I don’t think you have any idea how you engender the best in Life to your world-weary readers. I selfishly go to your blog when my personal world starts closing in with worry and responsibility. You remind me that all the ‘problems’ are just speed bumps and not a permanent condition. You, like my other love, Walt Disney, bring us the ability to believe in the ‘illusion’ that Mark Twain talked about.

    I really needed to see life through your eyes today after all that’s happened this week! Thank you for being there. The world is so much better for it.
    Love you!!!! A Devoted Fan and Girlfriend Forever – Angie Scott, California

  94. Lynn B says:

    We will love your charming book! Is that Joe capturing you capturing the Beatrix Potter gift shop? This was the perfect post for a very difficult week, thank you!

  95. angela says:

    It is NEVER going to pass for the father of that 8 year-old.

  96. Sharon of Morro Bay, CA says:

    Thank you so much for this blog!! Your photos are always so inspiring. Thank you too for posting the one of my little village of Morro Bay along the coast. Everyday feel like I live in paradise. So sorry you have been ill. There are bight and happy days ahead!

  97. Asha says:

    Loved what Susan in SC said = “Thank you for being a ‘first responder’ to all the girlfriends!” That you truly are, Susan Branch! Love ya! 🙂 ox


    thank-you for sharing your thoughts and hopeful words with us even though you don’t feel well. Last Sunday, 4-14-13 we took a ride up to Woodstock,CT and went into 2 charming antique/flea market shops. Everywhere I turned I could see something that you would love. I bought 2 dear little flower pots and my husband bought a claming pitch fork. Thank God that was Sunday and not Monday when our world turned upside down once more. Please if you can continue to send your beautiful pictures of simple gifts that surround us all the time Flowers, clouds, water , homecooked meals etc. God Bless you and yours.

    • sbranch says:

      How fun! Joe and I were just talking about maybe a road trip….Bless you too Karen, and thank you.

  99. Sheryl from Chico says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’ve been reading some of the first posts on this page. Your readers aka followers have a beautiful way of expressing their thoughts. I wish to be so eloquent. Here is just another “thank you for sharing” message for you. I have been collecting, using and enjoying all your books since they began. Somehow I “found” you way back when and I feel very blessed in this. Yes, every morning before pulling back the covers and setting a foot on the floor I list my blessings even in this troubled world. “They” say it sets your brain patterns for the day.

    One more thing….I didn’t have any large card stock so I cut a manila folder in half and used that. It works beautifully for the new “A Fine Romance” bookmark.

    I wish your spirit to keep on soaring. There are so many things about the post that I loved…I don’t know where to begin. Take care. Much love, Sheryl

  100. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan…your post is just what we all needed yesterday…forgive me..I read it and so enjoyed it. But being here in this Rehab Center can be different…you move on their schedule! lol However, today is Saturday, thus…no rehab…no nothing except Thus I am able to put up this comment!! First….I wish you a Belated Happy Birthday! It looks like you had an amazing “lobster” fest! ( very favorite!) and were able to celebrate in style! smile…as it should be! You are a very special lady!! I’m already looking forward to going home real soon….I miss my honey (of course) and my little Rusty!!….Sorry this is short..lovely lunch will be here soon!! smile..

    I pray you are feeling better as each day passes.


    • sbranch says:

      Just love to hear from you Gert! I know you’ll be home soon — I’m sure they miss your sunny self and can’t wait to get you back! xoxo

      • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

        Praying you get home soon, Gert. Hang in there….and rehab! You Go Girl!

    • Julia says:

      Hi Gert,
      I was missing you. Now I know why. Hope you
      are getting better each day. Said a prayer
      for you. Get home as fast as you can !

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      So glad to hear from you Gert! And that you are doing well. Soon you will be home and then you can really recover among all the people, pets, and things that you love most! You are in my prayers!

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