All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today . . .  Hello darlings! MUSICA

Sometimes, and tell me if this happens to you too, I have so much on my mind it’s overwhelming and because of it nothing really gets done! And I don’t like it when nothing is getting done! So when that happens, I do what my mom did, I settle down and make a list. I get rid all those overlapping worries that are subconsciously zapping my energy and blotting out my joy button; I get everything out of my head and onto paper. and voila! It’s like my worries go away. See my list? It’s that out-of-focus thing on the right. Stuff I want to do, like have a yard sale, paint the garden fence, write a new book (all the ideas for which books are on the list), paint for the 2018 calendars, fix the gutters, grind up the tree stump, plan a summer party, design some kitty dishes, wash my kitchen cupboards, plan another ocean liner excursion, etc. etc. Joe and I got home last Sunday from a six-week trip to California. And here we were, suddenly home, with all the choices in the world in front of us, free as birds, to seed the lawn or not to seed the lawn, to make sun tea or to not make sun tea, but for some reason, I found myself fretting. Our trip was wonderful, but I came home worried (I think 2017 in general is making me mad) ~ every little thing was weighing me down, missing my dad and worries about my mom, but smaller things, like turning 70, and about our world which now looks like a reality TV show, the media playing every detail over and over, like it’s all just a game, an addictive Xbox game, that pits the Democrat team against the Republican team, American against American, Avatars versus Aliens, no holds barred, no rules, and all that matters is winning and who cares what and who gets hurt. They treat our delicate world like old cowboy movies, as if when the cameras go away the dead guy just gets back up. It’s like our leaders are seven years old, not to disparage seven-year-olds, who are way better than our media (in fact, please put them in charge). Plus, the laundry soap my mom used, the only one I’ve ever used, is no longer being carried by our supermarket! Why? I don’t know. 😡 Everywhere I turned something was disrupting my equilibrium, plus, I had to flop over and be 70 when I really didn’t want to, because what 12-going-on-24-year-old can fathom turning 70? 😜 ~ all out of my control . . . Then I remembered one of my favorite quotes . . Ahhhh, yes. And remembered I do too have control, so when I made my new list, I called it “SEEDS.”  Because I need more flowers in my future, and I’m determined to have them. Oh yeah, you can’t keep a good girl down can you? NO. And then I took a huge deep breath, closed my eyes, and made my birthday wishes ~ I began to feed myself from the well of sweetness, and I gave myself some Red Letter Days, and you know what? I’m better. 

I turned off the TV and wrote in my diary, and took myself to England by reading this entire book! It’s always hard for me to read a book when I’m writing a book, so I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. A whole book, what a gift. Five a.m., still dark but I got up in my quiet old house, the only sound was the creaking of my footsteps on the stairs, Jack padding down in front of me, tail stuck up in the air, the ticking clock on the mantle, my cup of tea, sometimes a popping fire, curled in my orange chair with my grandma’s knitted nap blanket and Jack next to me, and my book. Heaven. The book was a good one too. A mystery. I figured it out though. I KNEW what happened to that baby. 🤓Total satisfaction. And then I went out into the cool salty spring air and inspected the garden.🌷

It’s still very early here, no leaves on the trees yet, just a few of the earliest flowers are in bloom, a couple of daffodils and about 3″ of tulip stem are showing, but out behind the barn, we have a dewy meadow of tiny Spring Beauty (squill) … mostly volunteers because they naturalize themselves. I didn’t plant them, which means Mrs. Bowditch did. She owned our house from 1949 to 1980 and I still bless her green thumb every time I walk through our garden. Until last year these little flowers were hidden under a thicket of blackberry brambles, which we finally ripped out, and this magic meadow was waiting underneath ~ just a little sunshine, that’s all it needed.🌞

Still so early, the old cherry trees (that Mrs. Bowditch planted) are just budding now . . .

And clouds of yellow forsythia have just begun to open in our neighborhood . . . on this day we opened all the upstairs windows in our house for the first time this year, and let all the old winter air blow out, and all this forsythia-infused fresh island air come in . . . we dried our sheets on the line and slept like baby lambs. Red letter day.❤️

We brought this bunny home from California, pansies are in at the nursery, so my porch Peter got his basket filled . . . doing my part to making a prettier world . . .

And my little vases are blooming,

And the top of my stove is ready for Easter . . .

And because I’m a lucky April baby and I’ve spent this last week opening cards and thoughtful gifts, and getting phone calls from everyone I love . . . My brother Stephen (an excellent cook!) called to say Happy Birthday . . . and he gave me a recipe for his favorite new healthy veggie dip … He buys cashew butter at Trader Joe’s, then he browns two large onions slowly in a little mixture of olive oil and butter . . . he puts the caramelized onions in a blender with 3/4c. cashew butter, whirls everything smooth, and then spreads it on celery. Doesn’t it sound delicious? I can’t wait to try it! 

My big vases are filled with birthday flowers . . .

It smells like a flower store in this house!

And sweet smelling bulbs, with interested parties standing by, as always . . .

And there have been birthday toasts and cakes . . . this one is Tres Leche Cake, made by Margot, and the new winner for best Tres Leche Cake ever 👏 I’m waiting for her to send the recipe.💝 I’ll be sure to give it to you when I get it, it was heavenly!

There’s Margot, helping me make a wish! We are very serious with our wishes, they look a whole lot like prayers!

Another birthday cake, this one was made by Lowely, but seriosity of wish-making continues. 💚

And the pink moon continued to watch over us all . . .

My Red Letter Days all have one thing in common, our morning walk through the woods, out to the pond, the very best part of our day . . .

And we don’t walk just because we love it, but also because it clearly loves us back . . . All these wonderful things that walking does for us, from boosting endorphins to burning fat! (So they say!) Plus there’s the sky, the clouds, the birds, the trees, the fresh air, the way it smells and feels, the wind in your hair . . .

Elizabeth and Mike came from California to visit us . . .

So we took them along . . . you can see, it’s still cool out there . . . and the beach roses look like stick piles!

Sea shell and sea glass hunting . . . Oooooo Elizabeth found a piece of blue glass! Very exciting!

Vineyard booty!

Easy to be happy when the seagulls are swooping and crying and you’re enjoying it all with your “little sister” BFF. . .💕

And when you get back, your “big sister” makes you a cup of tea in her brand new most enchanted bone china tea cups direct from England! 👏

Yes, the final samples of the new cups were waiting for us when we got back from California! They are in production now! For all of you that bought yours already (presale), yours will go out first, the moment they come in, which we are still hoping will be before Mother’s Day! If it looks like they won’t make it in time, we’ll make a little card you can print out and give to the person you may be gifting for Mother’s Day. Watch this space!💞

And these two cuties are finally back in stock, available everywhere, and we have them signed, here in our web store!  Let’s see, what else. . . Well, there was a wonderful Blog post about falling in love with New England, so sweet ~ I put a link for it on Twitter, but not sure you saw it, just in cases I don’t give you enough to read! Also, I’m going to be speaking and signing books for a Mother’s Day Tea Party to benefit the South Shore Stars on May 11 from 2-4 pm, at the Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston, MA. There will be more information later, but if you’re nearby, pencil in the date and try to come!

I’m filling my creative cup, plotting a new book, whooshing my paintbrush in my water dish, and loving every moment, making time for the things that matter, like playing with Jack, planning our garden, cheering my days with wonderful old movies on TCM ~ and next, month, in May, I’m excited because there’s something new coming along called Filmstruck ~ it’s a partnership between TMC and Criterion Movies, their new channel is projected to be available on Roku in May, and as far as I’m concerned, along with Masterpiece Theater, it’s all I will probably ever need TV-wise! All the movies on my favorites list will be carried on this new channel, available at any time! I couldn’t ask for more!

From my diary . . .

And if you have also been having trouble with 2017 . . . read this ⬆️ because it’s a big help, our own stress relief is up to us, and really, compared to many places in this  C R A Z Y  world, we are lucky people, by the simple good fortune of being born where we are. Pray for the world, cook something wonderful, hug your neighbor, be an elf. Thank you for all of your Birthday wishes, you make my day.  💛 HAPPY EASTER! XOXO

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869 Responses to SEEDS

  1. Debbie Noyola says:

    So sorry I am commenting late. I would have loved to wish you happy birthday on your actual birthday. Nonetheless, happy birthday dear Susan. By the looks of the cakes & flowers you had a really lovely birthday. Not to mention that walk you get to take. So beautiful. My older sister lived in Plymouth & would have been 70 in October. I miss her so much. Raining again today in Washington so I will be doing some sewing. I make quilted market tote bags. They turn out quite well, if I do say so myself. I follow a very nice ladies tutorial on the Missouri Star quilt company blog. First things first though, must have one of my cranberry orange scones that I made last night. It has a yummy sweet glaze made with powdered sugar, orange juice & zest & freshly grated nutmeg. Ok, gotta go, my mouth is watering! Loved this blog. Thank you Susan. Toodle-loo. 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Debbie! It’s been a luv-lee birthday month and I’m enjoying every moment of it ~ your message is perfect timing. And I hear how much you miss your sister and will never complain about my age again. It just snuck up on me. And suddenly I saw the glass as half empty. That’s over now. My cup runneth over.💖 Your cranberry orange scones sound like heaven. Next time you come to the blog, maybe you can bring that recipe with you! Would love that. Thank you, thoughtful woman. xoxoxo💞

  2. Terri Major says:

    hi Susan
    Lovely post. Always positive and up lifting. Two things, first coincidentally I am also currently reading The Lake House. Funny to see it pictured on your blog. Second, recently listened to a pod cast with Prince Harry in which he came out saying that he has suffered with depression since the very sad loss of his mother at age 12. The three royals are promoting a campaign to make other aware of mental illness and how is should not be stigmatized but talked about in the open. Bravo for such a needed and timely cause. In my own life, I have recently lost two co workers to suicide. I had no idea the pain they were going through preceeding these tragic outcomes. My own daughter has recently been plagued with some panic attacks. You can bet that I am going to respond to this cry for help. Really all we can really focus on right now is helping each other and paying attention to the things that really matter. God bless you for your wonderful self. You inspire me to become a better person.
    Terri Major

    • sbranch says:

      I saw that same subject discussed brilliantly by Lady Gaga and Prince William and was SO HAPPY to see it!!! I put a link to it on my Twitter feed. Mental illness is the unspoken epidemic that has been totally ignored for way too long ~ breaking hearts everywhere, because it’s not just the person, it’s the whole family. I never understood the difference between the broken arm and the broken brain! I don’t know anyone who isn’t touched by this illness in their families. And no help! All I’ve ever found are $6,000 a week psychiatric country clubs, but the everyday person is on their own. Yay for you for talking about it and caring about it Terri! I too was plagued with panic attacks for years . . . I was lucky and received help through acupuncture that actually worked. I never knew where they came from, but they were so debilitating and frightening. Imagery worked for me too, anchoring my feet into the ground, seeing roots coming from the bottom of my feet down down down into the earth, helped me steady myself. You already are a better person Terri. Thank you. xoxoxoxo

  3. Jackie P. says:

    Susan, I have your birthday noted on my calendar, and well, no excuses for a belated birthday greeting. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 70? Really? When did that happen. (I’m close behind you.) 70=new 50! 😄

    Hope this is the best year ever. Each one becomes more precious as time marches on.

    Two years ago I experienced the loss of my father and just seven months ago today, the loss of my husband — best friend and companion ever. Sorely missed. But we must go on and cherish the memories left behind by those whom we loved and loved us in return. Makes one realize how fragile and special life is. Enjoy each day and never take it for granted. I know that you never take it for granted.

    Lastly, love your watercolor of the hydrangeas at the top of the blog. Just darling.

    • sbranch says:

      Celebrating those lives we’ve lost by continuing to LIVE our own seems like the way to go. I’m trying to do that now, taking a little time to live the life I love, with my house and Joe and kitty and our friends and our walk, and the change of seasons and cups of tea and visits with girlfriends, and reading books and LUNCH OUT! I’ve been working so hard the last four years, I wanted so badly to get those books done and out there, that just BEING with my home and life is a true gift. Not that I don’t have MORE MORE MORE I want to do, art wise, but it is so good to see the flowers blooming. You should see my kitchen right now… spotless! Eeek. I just stand and stare at it. Thank you Jackie, for the good reminder of the glory of the sunrise. XOXOX

      • Rhonda D. says:

        I’ve been trying to do the very same thing Susan, taking the time to live the life I love, since I’ve come through all my health issues of the past few years. It feels absolutely wonderful. Puts you in a whole different place in this world doesn’t it? Very healing actually. I’m checking in to wish you a very belated 70th birthday, and hope you had a blessed Easter as well. My family came to visit, and everyone of them was sick. After they left, I had managed to pick up their cold and flu bug. Just starting to feel a bit better today, and popping in to send along my best wishes. Age is just an attitude and you carry yours well. Think about all the wisdom and life experience you’ve gained in your 70 years. Priceless! xo

  4. Melissa says:

    I can definitely relate! Seems I’ve been in a funk. Too many things to do and too many things to worry about it. So many of the things I worry about are beyond my control. Thanks for all the great advice about how to cope.

    Did you like Lakehouse? I love Kate Morton’s books. The Forgotten Garden and the Secret Keeper are my favorites! (Even better than Lakehouse). If you haven’t read them, I highly recommend.

    • sbranch says:

      I read Forgotten Garden and loved that … Yes, I did like Lake House, Kate Morton wove a good story, nicely complicated, definitely the kind of book that puts you in another world. I’ll read Secret Keeper next!

  5. Sally Geisel says:

    I didn’t know about Gladys Taber until I read about her on your blog. What a gift, diving into her world through her books. I am reading about Stillmeadow, and I am completely smitten. Thank you for the introduction! I don’t watch the news so much anymore; creating drama seems to be their main mission and I am not interested. Backed away from the political, too. Living as good a life as I can, being grateful for being able to (soooo many others are not so lucky), finding my happy, and refusing to be pulled in by the negative (and even the merely annoying) makes all the difference. I’m with you! Once again, you are spot on! As for age, the bigger the number the better! (Celebrating a year and a half of being breast cancer free, and looking forward to all the coming birthdays, including 70 if I am lucky enough to get there.). So, happy (belated) birthday and many, many, many wonderfully happy more!

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, happened just like that to me, smitten! Perfect word. I love the kind of politics Gladys writes about: Common sense, home, nature, animal-loving, self reliance, all the good things in life. I’ll take that any day! You are so right, SO MUCH LIFE to be lived in the big numbers, as with the small ones. Breast cancer free 👏 And many more 🎂s and all the blessings in the world to you Sally. Here’s to more happy! 😘

  6. Rosinda says:

    Happy belated birthday, dear Susan! Age is just a number, but let me tell you, you look aahhmaaaazing for 70! And two birthday cakes? You, lucky, lucky girl!
    May all your birthday wishes come true. You are so loved! P.S. It made my day today to see you following me on Instagram earlier today. Thank you! Take care! xx

    • sbranch says:

      I need a lesson in Instagram Rosinda! I only have one toe in that water, but I want to jump in! I wish I could do it from the computer, but it looks to me like it’s all phone? Anyway, your name popped up and of course, FOLLOW that girl! 💞

  7. Happy Birthday! Love the deep prayer-like wishes…I hope they all come true! I made your carrot cake cupcakes for Easter. BEST EVER! They were gone in a snap! I made them a week before as we were going out of town before Easter so just for the record, they freeze beautifully. I took them out of the freezer Saturday night and I put the icing on Sunday morning. Couldn’t have been easier. So! I have a little request…a little request with big hopes…I’m hoping you can do a post about the mediation you’ve used for years. You mentioned it at Apple Hill – recordings you listened to, I think?? I feel overwhelmed all the time and my lists help, but I need to bring in the big guns! I’ve gotten books about meditation off and on through the years from the library, but I get bogged down with all the yada yada and end up with nothing constructive, and I know it would help me (and all the girlfriends!) Oh, and just so you know…just in cases…no one would EVER guess you are 70! You wear it so well. I wrote down your mom’s quote: “It’s a privilege to grow old denied to too many.” I know you know that and we all look at ourselves and say, “Wait! When did that happen?!” haha but trust me, you are a total cutie pie! 70 ain’t got nuttin’ on ya!! And your heartache from worrying about mom, missing dad – put a lump in my throat. Sending you love and strength to carry the load XXO

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you dear Teresa xoxo I SO understand about bringing in the big guns, and the yada yada yada! I wrote a lot about learning to meditate in Isle of Dreams, but just quickly, during my “search for what the heck I was supposed to do with my life” back in the 80s, I took a six-week course in meditation here on the Island, and the recordings we listened to came through the teacher. I call it “guided” meditation because there were words, “take a deep breath and relax” “count backwards from ten to one” … which, compared to this idea of just “turning off your brain” (which I could NEVER do), really helped me … and eventually, and now, I CAN turn it off and meditate, at least in part, in silence. On my own, over the years I worked out a sort of structure to my meditation, guiding myself to imagery, and then quiet time. I’ve looked, but never found recordings that provided the kind of guidance that I learned in that class. What I would suggest is that you see if you can find a class, and see if you can find one where the meditation is guided. The TRICK, and there is one, is to actually DO it for six weeks ~ that’s what our class did, over the weeks we got into the habit of twice a day for six weeks, and after that, and forever (at least for me) it became very easy to do. It’s a true gift, and the most powerful thing I ever learned. What you hear and read about it is all true. All the tools we need for joy, for meeting challenges, and for reaching goals are already right there inside every single one of us. My hope is to record the guided meditation I use now (in my mind) and provide it through my website … just looking for the time to do it! Hope this helps Teresa! Thank you for asking because it’s a subject dear to my heart. xoxo

      • Oh, yes! Thank you! I appreciate your guidance and reminder that it’s worth pursuing! When I read in Isle of Dreams that meditation had become a part of your life, it seemed to me to be something of a key that unlocked it all for you and I was inspired by the idea of it all over again. I’ve been struggling for the last few years, sure that the universe is nudging me to do SOMETHING, but she whispers so softly that I can’t hear the message and I want to yell, “Louder, please!” I think the focus that meditation brings may help me find my path. I just read a book that my friend recommended called “Into the Magic Shop” which is a true story of a brain surgeon (so the beginning is a bit squeamish as we join Dr. Doty in the operating room and doesn’t last long) but he talks about meditation changing his life. He has since partnered with the Dalai Lama no less and began a Center for Compassion and Altruism at Stanford University. I think you’d find the book interesting (I listened to it on tape while doing housework and cooking). I will look for a class though – thank you! Great suggestion! So, I always print out your responses to me and tuck them in your books so when I look at them I can say, “Oh, look, there’s that letter Susan wrote me.” Haha You make a difference. How wonderful is that?! XXO

        • sbranch says:

          I had that same voice. Be sure to listen to it (but only when it’s speaking nicely to you). In Isle of Dreams, I also talk about not knowing what my dreams even were . . . and that the first night of meditation they taught us how to find them. Write down ten things in your life you really don’t like ~ such as: I hate my car, I wish I had more friends, I hate my neighborhood, I hate my laziness, I wish I was braver . . . whatever those things are for you. You can write down ten, but if you have fifteen, do fifteen. Then change them all around to: I choose to get a new car, I choose to have more friends, I choose to move to a place I deserve to live in, I choose to handle time better, I choose to be brave . . . and so on, and really, right THERE, in only moments, you have all your dreams, yours personally, not anyone else’s. So oddly simple it’s scary, but for me it was exactly right. You know what you want. You can add on extras, such as: I choose to write a book, I choose to take singing lessons, I choose to go to Paris, I choose to have a picket fence garden, whatever you want. Read your list every day. THOSE are the things you think about in your guided meditation. And voila, you shall have them. And the life you want.

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        This is a great testimonial for meditation! I am using guided meditation from Jon Kabat Zinn, who is head of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at the University of MA. You are so right about the “trick” being you just have to do it. Meditation has helped me a lot to manage stress and see my life more clearly. They should teach meditation to our kids in elementary school! Anyway, once again you are a force for good!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, once you have the habit, it’s clear sailing. Just takes practice, like almost anything worth having.

  8. Kathy George says:

    Wow, we can’t let this go by without a shout out…Happy, Happy Birthday. Remember it’s only a number but a number you should embrace. As always a great inspirational post that helps me appreciate the finer things in life. So glad you enjoyed your big day but go out and celebrate again today!!!! 🙂

  9. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    I have The Lake House sitting on my “to read” shelf! Maybe it will be next. I just finished a new book by Sarah Jio “Always”…A quick read that touches on mental illness in the form of TBI’s and love, of course! I hear what you’re saying about turning the big 70! I got through it (on my way to 72) and became more choosy about my activities & the people I love to be with💙 Thank you for another picturesqe post! The Cottage is back to Beach decor…even a beach decorated tree this year! Happy Spring girlfriends!

  10. Deanah Greene says:

    Happy Birthday!!🎂🎁🎉🎈💝

    Can you please tell me if you still have the ⭐️ and ❤️ bobeches for sale? I could not locate them.
    Thank you

  11. Debbie Boerger says:

    About Tide…the soapy kind. That’s been my go to since forever, and I missed the granulated stuff as well. I’ve gotten used to the liquid and even like that I can spot treat my daily food and drink dribbles down my front. It’s super concentrated, so you need to use just a little in each load. When I first began using it, I noticed my sheets and towels in the linen closet smelled a bit funky, almost mildewy, if they sat for awhile. My dearest friend here in Tampa said that the soap wasn’t able to rinse completely out, and that caused the smell. I cut way back, saving money and avoiding the funky!!

    Another Heart of the HOme story I’ve meant to share re ironing. When I sit on my porch in Maine it is sometimes at the old round oak table that my Grandmother’s much older oldest brother, Uncle Albert owned, then passed to her when she began producing my aunts and uncles. The lore is that he drove a wagon all the way over to Memphis to buy the table sometime in the 1880’s. It came first to another much older cousin, who “antiqued” it a really nice moss green. But when I got it, took that off. The top has several deep, black flat iron burns!!! I love picturing her leaving forgetting the iron when one of the 6 kids yelled, or the stove needed more wood!!! We lived next door to her until I was about 7. All those memories, and family stories. She used liquid starch and flat irons (would not change!!!) until she died. It was mine and Tom’s kitchen table in our beloved old house, and is now on our porch in Maine. We always have lunch and our daily game of cribbage out there, and supper with candles. Front row seat for the tides and all the wildlife!!! Grammaw would be so proud.

    As you say…..It’s the Simple Things 🙂

    Love to you, Sue,
    Debbie in Tampa……. for now

    • sbranch says:

      Funny, my dad’s wife Jeanie has the round oak table I wrote my first three books on . . . thinking that might come back to me someday. Funny how much those connections mean in a home ~ yours tells such a story!💞

  12. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

    A very happy milestone birthday to you, my dear Kindred Spirit! It’s so fitting that you were born in April, for you are a breath of fresh air, a beautiful flower amidst the dull and dreary, a ray of bright sunshine in a moment of despair! Reading your blogs inspires me to be a better person every day – – not to mention that your illustrations and photographs are a feast for the eyes! I pray that the good Lord will bless you with many, many more healthy years of life!
    I’m so glad that you were able to spend time with your precious mother last month. My husband and I just helped my 78-year-old mother to move into a new home, after living in her previous one for 48 years. It was a very stressful situation, needless to say, but she has surprised herself by actually loving her new surroundings! She reminds me of you . . . very creative, in tune with nature, a cat-lover, etc.! She tries very hard to have a positive outlook on life, despite life’s difficulties and the occasional rainy day! I guess you could say that you are both my heroes! God bless you, Susan, and thank you for being YOU!

    • sbranch says:

      You are so sweet Patti, thank you for your kind words. I love your mom. She sounds like a doll, hugs to you both!

  13. Sara C. says:

    If you don’t mind me asking, what laundry detergent did your mother use? Just curious!! ☺

    • sbranch says:

      Tide, the powdered kind. I never remember another brand in our house. So, I’m sort of hooked on it emotionally no matter any sensible reasoning that anyone has about it!

  14. Victoria Miller says:

    A belated Happy Birthday wish, Susan. My birthday celebration is coming up next week — 71! I look at it from here on in as just a very long amazing rocket launch countdown. But, truly, every day is a birthday! A whole new day to breathe in the joy, love, beauty and laughter. Do what you can towards fixing what is broken. And celebrate with amazement the fact that we live on the ONLY known habitable planet in the entire incomprehensively gy-normous Universe! As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “..The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” He was such a wise child. I know you must be familiar with this quote, because you keep adding to the number of things to keep us happy! Thank you for your most treasured and joyous contributions! And let us celebrate the 70s! LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Victoria, love the rocket launch idea 🚀 . . . the countdown has begun, start those engines . . . Love you dear! ⚡️

  15. Robyn Genau says:


    • sbranch says:

      Which one Robyn?

      • Robyn Genau says:

        Oh, sorry Susan. I forgot to say which one. The Lake House. and also let me say thank you for introducing me to Gladys Tabor. I have found her books on Amazon. Love that they are part of my collection now. I get them out and read them when I want to go back to a more slower,
        graceful time.

  16. Mary Jane says:

    Susan, I just want to take a minute and tell you how much you mean to me and how very much you have helped me. The way you have really let us know the person behind the books and the beautiful thoughts and ideas and quotes, the homey wonderful things you teach us, it means more than I can say. We all have good times and bad. I know loss only too well. I lost my daughter when she was only 15 in a ATV accident, right in our own very long country drive way.So I felt your pain with your loss of your beloved Dad.I don’t want to sound too corny, but it is the truth, you and your books and art, and your beautiful quotes, the way you love home and all the things we were brought up with really helped me to come back to enjoying life. I cannot thank you enough for what you do for all of us. I have been reading your books since your first one. I love them all. I just hope you realize how much you are loved and appreciated and how very much joy you add to our lives. Please always be yourself with us and share. It makes you even more loved and appreciated. God Bless you and your Joe, and Mr. Jack! Happy Birthday Month! I’ll be 69 this year so I am right behind you !! Have a most happy, blessed and fun filled year. There is so much more to come.

    Mary Jane

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my God, that just hits my heart, I can’t even imagine. I’ve always thought if I’d had children it would mean that my heart would then live on the outside of my body, perched on my shoulder, very unsafe and easy to hurt and always in imminent danger of breaking. I would have been a nervous wreck. I almost don’t know how mom’s stand it. There is not one corny thing about your words, Mary Jane. Thank you for taking the time to write. When we see people survive the unsurvivable, it gives the rest of us hope and inspires blessings counting.💞 Thank you. Sending a ton of Love. xoxo

  17. Nina says:

    Hi Susan! It’s funny I don’t think of you as 70. I see your pic on twitter and that’s the woman I see when I think of you. I think energy is the real indication of age anyway. And you seem to have a ton of that. I know that you have had a tiny slump and that you are over it…but I thought that maybe a personal memorial to your Dad might help with some of your grief. (maybe a spot in your garden?) Just a thought. I am also praying for your mom. It’s so hard to see someone so full of life lose their footing. Your heart just breaks. But angels surround her, I just know it. You have given me such good advice in the past…just through example if nothing else…I hope my words help…If not, just think about the other 705 people that gave you fantastic counsel:) I also wanted to share two positive stories about the world…Ga. has voted for Dem for a run off for Congressman (a bloody miracle in the red state) and did you hear the story on 60 Minutes about Chobani’s owner? It was so heartwarming to hear how he is first hiring local and also employing refugees to give them a chance at a better life.
    In short, I think that this country is a bit beleaguered…but we are not finished yet. Maybe we needed (you know who) to be elected to remember who we really are… . The greatest nation on earth. Well, that’s my two cents. Lots of love, Nina

    • sbranch says:

      I’m the person on Twitter, and the little kid in the black and white photos, and the one out on the sleigh ride . . . all those people! Your words are a balm Nina. Thank you. The cream always rises to the top . . . xoxoxo

  18. Charissa says:

    Well Susan, I don’t know how you do it, but you are always seem to be feeling the way we are all feeling. I am overwhelmed too with having to fix an inside leak new, get a roof, fence, and gutters (hailstorm), decide to fix other things here at the house that have been neglected, plan a 30th bday party for my brother, and still trying anything I know of to heal my stupid back. I am a list maker from way back and it has to be a handwritten list with real paper. Nothing on the phone or computer. For some reason that just doesn’t work for me;) I hadn’t done one this time and you gave me the nudge I needed. I also took 2 days off and and stayed in my jammies and watched Anne of Green Gables and a number of Escape to the Country episodes on Netflix. I went off my diet and ate whatever I wanted and my British friend, Jeanie, sent me real English tea today and I have made pot after pot with candles, old music, bubble baths and you. 🙂 I gave her your Girlfriends book while she was here visiting and now she is sharing it with her Wednesday Girls over there and she said they all LOVE it. More followers I am sure:) I made homemade Nutty Apricot Granola. It was so easy and I loved that I could make it gluten free with the fat and sugar content that I wanted. I used GF oats, low sugar cranberries, dried California apricots NOT Mediterranean, almond, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, shaved coconut, coconut oil, honey, and almond and vanilla extract, and Himalayan sea salt, Good with milk or straight out of your hand 🙂

    Anyhoo, I am feeling much less overwhelmed and getting on with things. SO THANK YOU AGAIN!!! You are always the perfect thing to soothe my soul. I can’t wait to see what you do next. If you do find the time to do the guided meditation, I will buy it and do all I can to promote it (that goes for anything you do, of course). What a help it would be to people who are struggling. Plus, I think you have the perfect voice for it. It is always so calm and steadying. I don’t know how you can possibly decide what to do with yourself. You have so many talents and great ideas.

    PS I wanted you to know that I am 44 and I always think of us as exactly the same age. You are a knockout. Please reference your LBD picture on board the Queen Mary 2 and every picture of you ever. Also, You don’t act 70. I am not really sure what that means anymore, but all the Girlfriends know, as you have taught us. Age matters not because… FAIRY TALES can come true, It can happen to you, if you’re young at heart. And you are that FOR SURE:) xoxo Wuv u

    • sbranch says:

      The first thing I noticed when I started this blog was that with no faces or bodies to get in the way (causing silly unwarranted judgements), we were much more all the same than not. There are 16 year olds here, and 22 year olds, 44 year olds and 87 year olds, all with the luv-lee wisdom they were born with … and I can’t tell how old anyone is unless they tell me! I very much like this aspect of US, more us than ever. Loved your first paragraph Charissa . . . all the best things in life! Thank you for being here and adding your good voice to the kindredness of the spirits!

      • Charissa says:

        Thank you for the nice compliment. I forgot to say that I am saying prayers for your mom!! I can’t imagine all of the decisions and worries you must have. Wish that I could wave MY magic wand for you there.

        And I am sorry about Sondra. She has been here for a while and from what I remember, she has always been wonderful. I just don’t understand. I thought your response was perfect and kind. It’s sad when people can’t see past their anger. Maybe she will reconsider. I guess we just don’t know what people are going through and perhaps they haven’t been afforded the opportunities in life to allow them to think differently. I like to think of it like you said… We are all just doing the best we can. Reading that really helped me. It doesn’t make it right, but I feel more at peace with it. I hate it for you and I hate it for her though.

        I had a neighbor that I had always been friendly with. One day she called me yelling about some perceived slight. I really couldn’t understand why she was yelling at me so I went to ring her doorbell because I figured she wouldn’t call me those names to my face and maybe we could figure it out. She came out still yelling and I just gave her a quick unwanted hug saying that I didn’t understand why what I done had upset her. As soon as I hugged her she started bawling. Her sister had died. I told her to just keep yelling and calling me names.

        That really taught me that you just never really know why people react the way they do. I know I am preaching to the choir, but I thought maybe that might help someone else. I like to learn from you and the Girlfriends here and maybe if that helped someone else, I would feel good about it.

        I just can’t think of a thing that you would actually say that would make me leave. Even if we disagree… You are my friend (in my head:)) of 25+ years. We are bound to disagree on some things, but we sure agree on all the things that matter in friendship. I don’t need a friend to approve my religion or my politics. I just need a friend that cares. And you care for all of us. That is surely evident in all that you do. Sorry if you were hoping to get rid of me;) LOL I know you weren’t… hopefully hee hee 🙂 xoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        hey there pen pal, see you are busy doing the same as me, fixing leaks, repairing fences and cleaning up after the storms. I can honestly credit one of the cats for finding a leak in the roof.. she was soaking wet, and looked a little mad about it…. ever see a soggy cat??? LOL!!! Tabitha was not too happy about that, and even less happy at be dried off… she hates her fur ruffled up. but since she needed drying it was either ruffle her fur up or throw her into the dryer. so I compromised, sat her on a towel on the dryer while it was on and dried her. such a fussy pussycat. still have the rains coming in, just hope Tabitha doesn’t find anymore leaks…. hugs…. 🙂

  19. Joyce says:

    Happy belated birthday! I’ve only recently discovered your blog! Where have I been, when you dear heart, have been right here? You are just a joy! You brighten my days and that takes a lot, since the last election. I don’t think I’ve progressed much since then. I, like many, seem stuck. I lost my best lifelong friend three years ago and took her college aged daughter under my wing for a while, to let the shock subside. She was lost for a time, wiithout her mom, but is doing better. I got a call from her a while back, she was in the airport, all alone, heading for Washington D.C to the Women’s March, I was so proud of her and told her how proud Mom would be! Thank you for your inspiration. Be well!

    • sbranch says:

      Tears in my eyes, I’m so glad she has you. Losing her mom, your best friend, I can’t even imagine how awful. Blessings on you both, for many many years of having each other. And welcome to the land of kindred spirits! Love is the theme and conquering the world with kindness is our quest. Or something like that! 💞 xoxo

  20. Danella on the Canadian West Coast says:

    I read some the previous posts and your replies and, as usual, think that all has been said. Wishing you a very happy belated birthday and thanking you for a truly inspirational, wise and very helpful post. Made my day!

  21. Pam says:

    Hi Sue, well I’ve only just caught up with your latest blog post. A very belated happy birthday, remember you’re only as old as you feel, as they say. I also hope you had a very happy Easter. We ate far too much chocolate so have to get back on the straight and narrow now! xx

  22. lani nelson says:

    My Dear Sweet Susan-Happy Birthday! (very belated sorry to say). Because I have been too wrapped up in the ugly current affairs, I was not giving proper attention to the beautiful things in my world- like reading your blog. Well, thank goodness I finally did because you kicked me back into the reality that a grateful attitude is what brings us happiness. So I am about to download and print out your stationary and write to our grandchildren. That always puts a warm smile in my heart. Oh, and my number 69 was in February and I have chosen not think about it till next year. Ha- Good Luck with that you say! Love, Lani

    • sbranch says:

      Choosing not to think about things is quite the powerful tool! Like Scarlett O’Hara, “I won’t think about it today, I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Thank you Lani!

  23. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Love the “Musica”! One of so many beautiful old voices! Garsh, maybe it’s the emergence of Spring, I too relate to your blog. My head’s so crammed full of stuff, it sure needs an airing and cleaning, as does my house! Your blogs and all the comments, so enjoyable! Thank you my dear, you really are inspiring! xoxo

  24. Ann Y. says:

    Oh – I am so late in wishing you a sensational 70th ! I can see your day was happy and my wish is that happiness sticks to you each day through the coming year. I have not been myself – big changes in our world. An apartment home we liked when touring a “senior” community suddenly became available…we toured it and decided to “shake it up” for the next time of our lives. Came home, called a wonderful young family who live in a tiny home on our street and have been asking us when we are going to move because they LOVE our house and said, hey, we have this place that we might want to go, do you really want our home….they came several times to visit ( once with their adorable boys age 4 and 6…who ran all over, opened bedroom doors and shouted “my room, lots of room for legos!”, and in 5 days we signed for a new spot to have our happily ever after and sold our home…without even a for sale sign out front. Happy, excited, love picking out stuff for the new place, will be perfect for us forever…but sad a little too, as we love our home. The only thing constant in life is change…and this is a good change, but a HUGE one. So, when I finally took a break from going through dishes and items to give to my dear great nieces and saw your post and your birthday….darn, I missed it. Happy, Happy days to you and Joe….enjoy the journey!

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t even think about it . . . in fact I’m going to another birthday party tonight! It’s a birthday month around here! Thank you for even thinking of me! Loved your perfect story … Especially that your home will be going to someone who is going to love it as much as you! And add to its history of happy families. Shakin’ it up! Love it Ann! xoxo

    • Charlotte Schultz says:

      Wow! Good for you for making that decision. You will have freedom to be footloose and make some new memories. I am sure the young family will cherish their new home. It sounds like those youngster will enjoy growing up there. 💕👈

  25. Christine from Willow Glen, CA says:

    I just read your blog….and happy to say Happy belated Birthday! ….and many more!! I was reading some comments (all so nice) but I particularly like the one talking about Instagram. Yes, you should Instagram!!! It is really easy to do and if you can do Twitter (I can’t seem to figure that one out) you can easily do Instagram. I think you can even link it to Twitter somehow but that is beyond my pay grade. Anyway, whats that saying… “Keep Calm and Carry On” !!! And excited to hear you have another book on the to do list! Yay!

  26. Hi lovely you!
    So glad you are home safely. I completely understand about the anxiety the world is bringing to us at present. We are overrun with incivility and disrespect, it erodes the goodness of the world. We can only combat it with the love that shines out of us through creativity and light. You are a wonderful beacon for that- don’t ever forget that. 🙂
    “This little light of mine- I’m going to let it shine!” is my motto these days too.
    Sing the joys of green grass and blossoms, full of sunshine every day.

    Be healthy, be happy and enjoy 70, you do it well.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m loving every moment Gabi, truly . . . every morning I go out to microscopically inspect the green things growing. Was cleaning out cupboards today, laying down new shelf-paper while “listening” to Miss Potter, stopping for the end in order to cry as always, seeing views of the Lake District . . . Red Letter Day!

  27. Judy Young says:

    Just wanted to say Happy Belated birthday to you Susan. I know you had a wonderful birthday filled with friends, love and cake! I really enjoyed this post (as I do all of them) but this one I could identify with because I will be turning 70 in September, and I’m not ready! I know how you feel. On the flip-side we are grateful that we are here and healthy and with all sorts of lovely things to do and to look forward to with family and friends. I can identify with the overwhelmingness (is that a word?) of it all as well. I am forever making to do lists. Sometimes writing it down doesn’t keep me from worrying about it. April 23 would have been my youngest son’s 36th birthday, so it will be a sad day around here. He was killed in a car accident July 5, 2016. While we can make it most of the time, when special dates roll around, it brings so many memories, it’s hard. My husband (who is 70) had back surgery last year and the anesthetic seems to have brought forth early dementia. Such a scary time for both of us, not knowing what to expect. We recently did some Trust planning and did an Irrevocable Trust, but now realize a Revocable Trust would probably have been better! On top of all this and not to mention all the bad news on TV, there are severe storms expected tonight. Thank goodness for this blog, you and the girlfriends are so uplifting and help more than you know!

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes everything lands on our plates at the same time, I’m so sorry Judy. Feed yourself, sweetheart, stop the world, get under a cozy blanket and watch a good old movie that makes you cry your eyes out, and then, go make a pie for your husband and eat it hot. While you do those things, watch yourself from the outside, crying your eyes out, rolling out pie crust, and count that blessing of how lucky you are to be cozy on the couch and rolling out pie crust. Love you dear. xoxo

      • Judy Young says:

        Susan, thank you so much for those kind words and good advice. You are absolutely right, we just have to keep marching ahead and taking it as it comes. Things do have a way of working out for the best sometimes. I feel very lucky to have found you and the girlfriends, you are my lifeline!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      I’m just stunned at how brave you must be, have to be…right? You must know that many, many of Susan’s Girlfriends are thinking about you right this very minute. I found that going back to the old blogs helped me when I needed it most.
      Your new friend,
      Debbie in Tampa

      • Teresa Goodfellow says:

        I’m with Debbie, dear Judy! In spite of all the things you’ve been dealt, I can tell you are a brave and positive person. Your comment tugged at my heart strings! I’m so glad we are all here and you can find us whenever you need a view that only Susan can provide. She gives a freshness to each day and a light to guide us all. Such a wonderful place to get lost in the beauty and wonder of the world we share. Take care of yourself and I will include you and your family in my prayers tonight. XXO

      • Judy Young says:

        Debbie, thank you, never thought of myself as brave, but you know, I think I am. I’m British and it is part of who I am. Keep Calm and Carry On as they say. It’s true! I have gone back through Susan’s blogs many times, and they never fail to sustain and inspire me. They lift my spirits and give me hope for the future. Thank you for being my friend.

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Talk about Grace in motion! That is you Judy! I want to give you a big cyber hug. Reading that you can move forward with kindness and gratitude still present in your heart after being confronted with the worst tragedy, is so inspirational. Love to you Judy, and your husband.
      Tawni Urrutia

  28. Anne says:

    Hi Susan, I’m sorry I missed your bday! It looks like it was grand (2 cakes!) Lots of other wonderful creative folks on your day too – Beverly Cleary (101!), Scott Turow. I definitely have to make lists! Otherwise, I’m lost, no control. You’re not alone☺️ I think I got the Spring fever too! Makes it hard to concentrate🙃 I don’t watch the news anymore – I agree with you, just too depressing. When I was a kid my parents and their friends all had differing political opinions and it was all perfectly normal. They didn’t hate each other for it like they do now. It bothers me a lot. I binge a lot on Create TV! I love them all- Rick Steves, Martha, Jacques!😍 It soothes the soul. DT better not take it away from us😠 I know how hard it is to be without your Dad – mines been gone 11 years now. Hang in there, it does get better. Happy memories help. 70 looks good on you😘xoxoxo

  29. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Dear Susan,
    It’s me again. I wrote to you last week, thanking you for your lovely Birthday-Easter blog. And I talked a bit (umm, a lot, rather long-ish post, I always end up doing that!) about how your art and musings provide a feast for the eyes and food for thought–and a much-needed release from world-induced stress, especially during this tough time for me when my son is deployed so far away. Your replies to me were warm and kind, and filled with girlfriend affection. And I also received a wonderful supportive reply from Pat of Cave Junction, OR, another Susan girlfriend, and a military wife. Bless you Pat, for affirming that my crying jags “come with the territory” and are normal; and Bless you Susan, for counting down the days with me.

    A number of blog friends have mentioned the difficulty of finding good meditation resources. So I’m passing on what I hope could be a possible help. A little while ago a friend showed me an App for Smart Phones called, “Calm.” You can use it with an iPhone or Android. The App includes a bunch of exercises that are free. I’ve used the breathing exercise and two of the calming exercises when I’ve been particularly anxious, and have had some decent success. It’s not for everyone, but pulling the App up on my cell phone is something I can do at home, when I start to feel stressed. I hope this doesn’t look like an advertisement; I’m not connected with Calm in any way. I also know this type of relaxation technique may not work for everyone. But my thought is, it can’t hurt, and it might help. And I’ve been given so much through your Blog and books and art and your friendship, if my suggestion gives one girlfriend some quiet moments, then I’ll feel I’ve done a bit of good.

    So, one more time–Thank you Susan for all you do, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for my mug and your coming art projects, for your next blog, for the next Willard, and for the joy of your friendship! Peace, Rosemary

    • sbranch says:

      That was wonderful Rosemary, you are not alone in your quest for “calm” ~ thank you for passing on good information that others may benefit from . . . that’s what friends are for! Still counting . . . 🔜💞

  30. Fan in California says:

    As always, thanks for your calm in the middle of the storm with all your lovely thoughts, photos, and drawings . . . . although the photo of Jack with the hairband in his mouth is the best!!! Thanks again!! XOXOXO

  31. Di Word says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! My 69th was on the 19th.

  32. Bev Brewer says:

    Happy Birthmonth to dear sweet Susan! I know it was full of joy and friendships and bouquets and desserts and well wishes from all over—as it should be for someone so special to all of us! A few years ago, when I worked at the Tea Room, Jo had a huge chalkboard and she asked me to write some beautiful thoughts and quotes relating to each month—new beginnings for January, love and sentimentality for Feb, Spring etc. You made it so easy for me to do as I looked through your calendars and books. So many customers commented on these quotes and how uplifting they were and how they brightened the day or their outlook. Some I found in Victoria magazine, too, and some personal favorites here and there, but the majority were from you! As you write this blog and continue to bring us all cheer on so-so days, we have all come to count on your positive attitude to help us make our days nicer and give us a little lift when we need it or appreciate our blessings more. I did come across one quote in a recent issue of Victoria magazine that I hadn’t seen before relating to tea. “Each cup of tea represents an imaginary journey.” To linger over and savor our tea and maybe daydream awhile is a nice little interlude in a busy day. Thank you everyday, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      So nice Bev, thank you so much! I bet they miss you every day in that lovely Tea Room! I’m so happy to have you here!💞

  33. Kathleen says:

    Hello Lovely SusanB 🙂
    As always, your words and artwork weave together a lovely narrative. This age and stage of saying goodbye to our precious elders is a tough one. Along with the enemies of our country who would love for us all to stay angry with everything, stress is eventual. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all took a deep breath and resolved that our speech would be edifying. And by speech I include Social media posts and tweets. Thank you for sharing your heart with your readers, you are a gentlewoman 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, indeed, it would be awesome and wonderful and amazing, and how timely it is that you suggest this Kathleen! xoxo

  34. sondra fox says:

    After reading your latest blog, thought I’d remind you that God tells us “not to worry about ANYTHING.” We (Democrats/Republicans EVERYONE) all need to pray for our leaders. God also tells us this. Trust in God. Now, where in the heck is that written? I think we all know.

  35. sondra fox says:

    please take my name off of your reply list.

  36. sondra fox says:

    I’ll no longer bother you with my statements.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s sad that we lose people we care about. That anger comes from somewhere I don’t understand. I wish I did, then I’d pull out my magic wand and with the breath of kindness, as the saying goes, I’d blow it all away.

      • Regina Carretta says:

        Susan – you are a friend to us….friends are to share ideas, and they are people we can hold on to when our world starts to feel surreal, and when hate and war are with us, or on the brink…..many of us have been holding tight to our loved ones, our critters, each breath of air….and many of us have been expressing in writing, or verbally, many truths – we learn from each other, and we take comfort from each other….I was just in London and it was so heartening to embrace the words, the opinions, the viewpoints of the people I met there….I want to email you with attachments of what I observed on my London neighborhood walks – can I do that? All over that city, painted, or sketched in chalk, or written at construction sites, words of love, of peace….that was an amazing thing to see….thanks for always being our friend, which means you get to say anything you feel….and we embrace you.

      • Regina Carretta says:

        dearest Susan…I think the computer gobbled my reply…thank you for your intelligent, heart felt words about our surreal world ….. speak your mind, your heart, and speak truth which is coming at us in very small quantities these days….and thanks for the encouragement to turn off the TV news – I had to. Walking my Rosie-dog, weeding, finishing my London scrapbook, and making soup….re-reading Rick Steves’ London book, now that I’ve been there….remembering reaching out and chatting with Londoners about being a visitor, a citizen in the world….thank you for speaking to us, for being a friend. And excuse the repetition in case the computer finds my old email and sends it to you! (p.s. – in London, there were words / poems of peace in chalkboards, hand-painted signs, etc. – how can I send you the 2 photo’s I took of these? should I send to the office email address?)

  37. Vicki says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Susan; when I turn 70, not so long from right now, I want to be you! Thank you for this pensive, beautiful post which echoes how so many of us feel right now.

    How do I feel? I have been observing myself for awhile, trying to better understand myself, and I really do think that I have this underlying current of not feeling safe. I find myself gathering things around me in comfort…reassuring things like, yes, the favorite old movies (I am glued to TCM), foods like Mom made, my best books whose stories I already know so well; like I’m looking for the sure things…in a world where things are no longer so sure. I find when I run into acquaintances here and there, we hug a little harder. Part of me wants to be the squirrel gathering for the winter, having all my ‘essentials’ around me…and holing up, safe in my little nondescript tree hollow; safe from the scary stuff out there in the bigger world (don’t notice me!). It seems when I finally feel like, okay, we’re fine here (be a grownup!); something else happens to pull the rug out from underfoot.

    But I can’t be preoccupied about being near L.A. and getting nuked by North Korea, anymore than I can worry about an earthquake, when there’s not a heckuva lot I can do about it. I just have to be my best self in my own little corner of the world, be helpful, be kind, love my life and not take an ounce of it for granted. I so, so GET what you’re talking about, Susan. You always have your finger on the pulse of your girlfriends.

    So, I’ll keep motoring over to the beach every chance I get. Breathe. See. Smell. Renew. (The wild mustard is still cascading over the coastal bluffs on 101 North/Rincon; it is DENSE, a carpet of Springish-green/yellow, like chartreuse-yellow in places; nature’s paintbrush, all blended and perfect.) The rain grew the old callas BIG in the backyard here, so we had bouquets of velvet-y, furled white lilies for Easter. My roses are plentiful and happy; so much gorgeous color with the reds, pinks, corals. Soon, the jacarandas will bloom in blue/purple-y glory. Apricot trees have budded back in the canyon orchards. We’ve planted almost the entire vegetable garden…all but my favorite lemon cucumbers, which I can’t find yet in the nurseries. Giving baby eggplants a try this year. Tomatoes are looking great already (well, no fruit yet…but, robust plants). We’ve heated up (was 90 degrees here, miles south of Arroyo G, 4pm PST); and it’s nice to be able to water everything without the heavy restrictions which were necessary last year (drought).

    And I’m also trying to focus my attention on decluttering at home (been really culling out the clothes closet). Good idea to make the lists and clear the brain over the nag of always something needing to be done! So much better if you can be organized about it. I like to mark things off on a list; chalk that one off…done!

    Work. Persevere. Serve where you can, even in little ways. Faith. Gratitude. Love. Hope. Joy. Live in the moments. Laugh. Eat clean. Try to relax. Sleep. Drink water. Yes, walk; it’s free! So goes the mantra…

    I ran into one of the girlfriends last weekend in a nearby town; haven’t seen her in probably 20 years. She leaves comments here on the blog sometimes; always glad to see her do that! We had a lot of catching up to do. I laughed when she said she’s a Susan Branch junkie (addicted in all the right ways!). She sews, so loves your fabrics. Anyway, we spent the better part of an hour wrapped up in Susan Branch and our own memories of when we were in our 20s…and it was like no time had passed; she’s such a dear person, gentle & sweet & so intelligent. But there you are…that’s the bond; that’s the connection; that’s a Susan Branch girlfriend. That’s what takes you from feeling uneasy, to feeling full and good again!

  38. linny says:

    Without sounding trite, bless you Susan. Happy Birthday!

  39. Debbie Boerger says:

    Happy Sunday, Susan and Joe. 🙂 Our Sundays are the same as they were when we were working…paying jobs, that is. And I love it that way. Quiet routines bring such comfort, almost like knowing where each full moon will peek above the trees, or the mountains if out at “the pond”. Tom Terrific makes “brunch” and we eat it on trays while watching “CBS Sunday Morning”. That’s the perfect show to begin the week. We’ve discovered so many good authors, artists, tiny towns we’ve sought out on our many long camper trips all across North America. Just a feel good program. I used to watch taped Meet the Press and Face the Nation…..but decided it was bad for my health. I see many of the Girlfriends agree. That many Wise Women couldn’t be wrong, Right? (Sorry, I just can’t help myself.)

    I just wanted to give you yet another English author to put on your list, if she isn’t there already. Jacqueline Winspear, who now lives in California. Her heroine is Maisie Dobbs. I just finished the latest, which takes place just as WWll begins. The first one is pre WWl. I’m totally hooked and wait impatiently for each new one, this one is #13. Winspear touches on all the things I love to read about, and judging by your reading lists, you would as well.
    And for great laughes and sweet animal moments, Gerald Durrell’s “Menagerie Manor”. All of his books are just lovely. (The Corfu Trilogy)

    Our departure for State O’ Maine, is tentatively set at May 10th. I’m hoping the peepers haven’t finished with their Spring serenades. And the tiny wild violets and wild strawberry blooms in the “grass”, which is our word for what ever cares to grow there. My wonderful neighbor on our dirt road in the big forest is a glass artist. I have probably a dozen of her teenie tiny little bottles. Perfect for these teeny tiny floweres. And the lovely dandilion greens, and the fiddle heads. I can’t wait to listen for the Hermit Thrush. He or his offspring come back within a couple of weeks timeframe every year. I usually begin my logs with, “Today the thrush came back” and backtrack to fill in the event. All observations of the “real” inhabitants of our spot. Which we are charged to protect and do as little harm as possible.

    And hoping there are still some flowering boughs to put in the vases. And the pussy willows!! I even sacrifice one bough from each apple tree to smell, usually ending up bring in a few highly insulted honey bees, which we shoo outside. Oh, Joy!!!!! Knowing you feel the same.

    Thank you, Susan, for gently reminding all of us to focus on the best Ourselves! And to share that with others.
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Tampa….for 17 more days!!!!

  40. Darlene says:

    Dear Susan, I’ve been away for a time & while reading through & catching up with the posts I saw that girl kitty had passed, I’m so very sorry…I lost my girl kitty of 15 years too this past September…Sweet kitty angels…Sending love & a hug to you xoxo Thank you for beautiful blog posts

  41. Susan, happy birthday! You are the youngest 70 year old ever. You embody the most wonderful qualities of youth but have the gift of wisdom to go along. So many people forget that being young at heart is one of the most wonderful things there is. Growing older needn’t mean abandoning hope and enthusiasm and a real sense of fun. Too many leave. Shins that little girls and. It’s in those black and white pictures and feel the need to be too serious. Too grown-up!

    I know what I’m talking about, too. I teach classes at a local senior living facility every other week and the average age of my students is around 83. My oldest attendee passed away this year at 96 and, right up until the end, was laughing and smiling and spreading joy. She never lost that youthfulness either.

    You are a great inspiration, but you are also an incredibly comforting presence in a time when comfort can be hard to find. Everything you talked about feeling in the early part of your post is familiar to me and so many others. But there ARE sources of solace. You and your blog and books… Miss Read, Gladys Taber and TCM! While it seems like the world is going crazy, there are countless people living good lives, loving each other, creating, baking, and doing all of the things that make life worth living. Happily, one can find a lot of them right here!

    So… keep doing what you do and know that you’ve made a tremendous contribution to making life so much more pleasant and meaningful. That’s a pretty wonderful thing!

  42. And that line about “shins” above? No… I’m not crazy, it was autocorrect! It was supposed to read that “too many people leave those little boys and girls in the black and white photos behind”. 😜

  43. Debbie Boerger says:

    Here I am again, writing before my previous one was even moderated. My excuse is that I’m soooo excited.

    Last night, I wrote to Stuart and Carrie in Oxford to ask for available dates at Holywell B&B in Oxford.
    Last week, Tom had another “episode”, a bit discouraging. We just got the bill for our new roof, not too bad, as we’re in a townhouse. We will have the one in Maine redone as soon as we get there, but….we’re throwing caution to the winds ;D Going forward as though we’ll be in England next Spring.
    Picking up my oldest and bestest Tampa friend at the air port tonight. She did the same thing. Booked a week on the Rhine with Viking Tours, and has spent the last week with her middle daughter, our dear Stacy, in Leicester!!! As a teacher friend said to me in 1977, “If you wait until you can afford it, you will never go”. I took a signature loan from our Teachers’ Credit Union for $3,000, and off we went to help the Queen celebrate her Silver Jubilee!!! The entire trip, including air fare, was just a tad under $3,000. We bought a sterno stove, a cheap sauce pan, and other things. We sometimes warmed up tinned stew in a lay by with a view. Other lunches were fresh bakery bread, fresh fruit, local cheese. Or a pastie. Suppers were in pubs….and let me tell you, if you don’t know, there were no gastro pubs back then! We thought we’d turn into filet of place or gammon steak…nor could I look at a large green pea for quite awhile. But it was marvelous.
    We were back in 85 and had come up in the world… had the pub food. Even stayed in a few inns and hotels.
    Tom says that after the year we’ve had of all the health issues, we will go and be revitalized. We’re blessed that our kids are financially secure, and our homes have lots of equity…..just sitting there screaming……”Use me for happy memories while you are able.” My bestest Maine girlfriend calls them “coupons” that any time you need them, just flip through your mental memory book, and cash in a “coupon”. My Tom, retired after 28 years in the Coast Guard, 4 at the Academy, still gets a bit queasy for the first few days at sea. Surely wish I could sway him toward the QM ll. Maybe for one of the legs of the journey!!!!

    I know….TMI. I just bounced out of bed with the future in mind…..well, maybe slowly groaned my way upright. Doesn’t matter how, I did it, what matters is that I Did It.

    I’m forever grateful to my friend and neighbor in Maine, who last summer left your trilogy of books on my hall table (we don’t lock our doors) That old convergence thing at work, finding you at the time I most needed it. You have been my go-to drug during this year of physical and emotional stress….body parts and He Who Shall Not Be Named!!!! I do have some things to send to you, but they are in my “studio” in Maine. A potting shed from Home Depot.

    Oh, and the Santa mug is beyond wonderful!!!!! When on Earth did you squeeze that in? You have been a Whirling Dervish since you got home from Cali.

    So much love and gratitude, Dear Sue,
    Debbie in Tampa…..for 16 more days

  44. Marty from NYC says:

    Hello Susan:
    It is heartwarming to see your reply and replies from other girlfriends in response to personal stories that were shared here.
    We all have to come to terms ourselves about God, the universe, why there are sorrows as well as joys in life and what we perceive as good and evil in this world.
    Sharing experiences doesn’t mean that everyone must follow each other’s lead. Anger often comes from rejecting or misunderstanding others, or feeling rejected and misunderstood. It is a destructive force in life.

    I believe that there is “only one river, only one sea’ flowing through all of us, but at the same time, striving for the good takes many forms and deflecting from the negative is sometimes the hardest part of striving for the good. If everything were easy, what would happen to purpose, satisfaction and creativity? Marty

  45. Vicki says:

    Someone reminded me of childhood the other day, when as kids we really didn’t understand what a Cuban Missile Crisis was all about (just something the adults seemed to be fretting over – Mom was trying to scurry together some food in a box, putting it at the back of the house and it made no sense to me, like why did we need to put food back there instead of in its usual place in the kitchen cupboard; why did we need extra food when Mom clearly was obsessing about not having any money to BUY extra food[?] – you know, these things kids pick up from background conversation…).

    Anyway, the person was saying that she feels right now, no different from the little kid she was back in that tense time; a bad feeling. Old, old fears…resurrected. I, too, remember feeling bewildered as to why my school friend, Barbara, had a new bomb shelter built into her garage here in SoCalif (her father was an aeronautical engineer; they had money and we, in my family, had pretty much none), so that she’d be safe from The Bomb, which then made ME feel NOT safe because we had no such shelter. I didn’t understand about The Bomb, but I was sure it was gonna get shelterless me.

    I just hope the kids today, often free to turn on the TV and scroll through their mobile devices at will, aren’t feeling that same kind of worry. We little kids (or young teens) of those early 60s were really sheltered in comparison, although some amount of headlines still sifted through to us. Kids don’t deserve to have the weight of the world on their shoulders.

  46. Pattihoover says:

    Happy belated Birthday! I had one too on the 16th. And my husband bought me roses that looked just like yours in the picture. Isn’t that a coincidence? Hope your year is bursting with joy!

  47. Anon says:

    How is the memorial for two perennial from V.H. Nsg. x1 yr ago doing? What did you end up buying?

    • sbranch says:

      I am too slow to understand your shorthand . . . better spell it out Carrie! 😘

      • Carrie says:

        Hey, what about my use of the cryptic “anon?” 😜 You blew my cover SB 👀

        Here are some clues:

        -A year and x2 weeks ago (approximately)
        -V.H. Nursery (Garden Nursery, not baby 😉)
        -Gift Card
        -Plan to purchase perennials
        – In memory of x2 of our loved ones

        Rather déclassé to bring it up and I do apologize but would like to picture what might be blooming (i.e., peony, lilac, (perennial).

        BTW, did you see the documentary on you tube “Mind Over Marathon?” It is extraordinary. William, Harry and Kate lead the charge for a most robust mental health campaign which I’ve been following for some time but culminates in this heartening 2 part documentary. Ten participants with mental health challenges are followed as they prepare for the marathon. The stories are compelling, particularly Rhiana’s (sp?), and will fill your heart to overflowing when you hear what William said to her. Gives an authentic insight to the challenges of mental health and does more than any other entity at mitigating the stigma. Better check it out before the beebs pulls it off you tube. (As if you’ve nothing better to do)

        Would love if this campaign could be brought over the pond, not dissimilar to what the Red Nose Day campaign did. I fear it requires the unique approach and vantage point coming from William, Harry and Catherine. It is Diana manifesting in her children and daughter in-law and a better legacy there is not.

        Carrie W. XOXO (did you see the ‘mini castle’ for sale on the northern aspect of the Cotswolds? It had the main house and an apartment on the property (apartment perfect for a perky anglophile). Great investment for vacation home come B&B on or the like, just in case you and Joe have nothing else going on. I know an Anglophile who would do a bang-up job as on-site manager)

        • sbranch says:

          Yeah, I stepped right over that anon. Like no one can figure that out! 😃 Now I DO remember, but I also forget! What did I get????? I know it was good. And I do have new peonies coming up, darn, I want to know. I hope I told you. Maybe it’s the two New Dawn climbing roses on the arbor? Not much is blooming here yet, we are still in tulip phase. But there are buds on everything. It should burst soon. I read a bit about the mental health campaign, SO PROUD of them!!! About time!!! I did put the video of Prince William talking to Lady Gaga about it on Twitter. It was wonderful. Such a torture for so many people I love. Where can I see the documentary? Netflix? No, haven’t seen the mini castle. We should move there just so everyone could come with us vicariously. I would love to. But then, I have the dearest most wonderful friends here who’ve stuck by me through thick and thin for years and years, it would be so painful to abandon them now . . . we just couldn’t do it. Cloning! Where for art thou? Love you Carrie W, xoxoxo

          • Carrie says:

            Yeah, I’ve looked at past communication to see if I could find the actual perennial and I don’t see it. That’s ok. I’m going to think of the peony, which is a most favorite flower of mine.

            The 2-part documentary is on you tube, here:




            Remember me telling you about one near and dear to me who suffered depression? Come to find out, she was on a toxic dose of blood pressure medication (well outside therapeutic dosing ranges) for yonks and now is on 1/10 the dose and is “lightening” up from the depression. Hope springs eternal. She tried all methods of treatment for depression and yet the bugger returned. We are grateful and optimistic.

          • sbranch says:

            Me too, sorted through everything even DM’s and couldn’t find it either. When I see something really gorgeous coming up, I will label it “for us.” I know I did something, but last year was SUCH a blurrrrrrrr, never blurrier! Thank you for those links! I can’t wait to watch them! I am so happy to hear about your near and dear one. Love when the fix is something easy, like flipping a switch, changing a dose, and voila! So important that people never give up!

  48. Holly Field says:

    Hi Susan, Your post hit me right in the heart, as I’ve been feeling similarly for awhile now. My Dad passed in August, and I still cry when remembering how wonderful he was, even with no memory after 1960 he was sweet & funny. I was so blessed that he still could remember me some how.

    Last month my girl cat, who I hadn’t fixed yet, woke me up in the middle of the night meowing wildly. I got up & she followed me to the living room, jumped up onto to nap blanket on the sofa next to me. She then proceeded to pop out one very chubby yellow & white kitten in less than 2 minutes. I didn’t have a clue she could be pregnant. She has only been outside twice in her short life, and always with me in the yard. So, apparently where there’s a will, there is a way! Amazing in my book. The kitten is a girl, named Marigold. They both have appts next month at the vets for the fix. When I was a little girl, my Dad would bring home kittens from the dairy barn for me. I know it sounds crazy, but I think in some miraculous way he brought me just one more.

    I love what you wrote about lists. It helps me too Thank you for another great post and belated Happy Birthday!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness, you got a baby kitten, just like that. Wow. A virgin birth! You are so lucky! That really is lucky, you have to admit, I wish Jack would do that! Your dad is sending you little gifts still. xoxo So wonderful.

  49. Stacey says:

    Hi Susan!
    Happiest Birthday to you, may you have many many more lovely birthdays with serious wishes and lots of flowers!
    Generally I keep most of my plans in my head, but when it really all gets to be too much I make lists or write things down in a planner date book—hey, that’s what us Girlfriends need! A Susan Branch planner book! It would be so lovely…

  50. Sandy says:

    saw a sign in a great shop today–Fieldnotes in Sequim–in the Spring at the end of the day a lady should smell like dirt. and the author’s name was there, but I apologize to her, I don’t remember it. xox

  51. Bobbie Calgaro says:

    Happy belated birthday Susan. My husband and mother are April babies too. Mom turned 90 last week! Good month! I feel your 2017 pain. Everything we read is so negative and depressing, but there are many happy joyful things too. I turned 64 in February and have just been going around in my head that how could I be the age of the Beatles song when didn’t it just come out yesterday when I was a teenager. Lol. But I am embracing my age and knowing you’re only as old as you think you are. (Some days I’m 80, some days I’m 12.) I also wanted to commiserate with you about products you loved for years disappearing and usually not for the better. Right? Anyways spring has been beautiful here in the South but the weather has been up and down. I wish you happy spring days and lovely flowers to cheer you. I have to enjoy them outside. I’d bring some in the house but Lucy our cat deciminates all house plants and flowers. She’s a cute hot mess! Again happy birthday and many more to come.

  52. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Belated wishes for a very happy birthday and an amazing trip around the sun and many more. Your blog was a very needed boost to my immune system and I thank you, Susan for all the sunshine you bring through your art and your thoughtful commentary.

  53. Mary Whiting says:

    A belated remark, Susan….I don’t know if this has been mentioned as I didn’t read all the previous comments, but you can buy powdered Tide, original scent, on Amazon. Just an FYI

  54. Katherine Larkin says:

    For the woman who was looking for a meditation……she might enjoy yoga nidra. No yoga postures….you just lie down and follow the guidance on the Cd. Lots to choose from on amazon…just search yoga nidra. Hope this is helpful.

  55. Debbie Boerger says:

    Hi, Everybody, Is anyone else having posting problems?

    Debbie in Tampa

  56. Gerta says:

    Just got a chance to read your wonderful Birthday post! First, Happy Birthday!!
    Second, your post was just what I needed. I agree with everything you wrote. From the stress to the relaxation and all the mess in between. Thank you for putting that into words. I too have felt so overwhelmed lately by everything, so it was great to read you story. So true, so true!! You have made my day!

  57. kim J says:

    Hi Susan!
    Do you have a preferred mail order flower bulb company? I live in New England and want to plan ahead this fall to order some of the flowers you take pics of.. squill being one of them..

    • sbranch says:

      Not really, I get everything locally. Although I have this new idea to get things from my friends gardens instead!

  58. Barbara Irvine says:

    Dear Susan,

    I posted a long comment last night and thought it went through, but now I don’t see it, even waiting approval. So, I’ll try again, and apologize if it ends up posting twice.

    Yesterday I traveled to Kent, Connecticut, and had a lovely day despite the cloudy sort of drizzly weather. Lunch at the Fife ‘n Drum was yummy, and someone has planted thousands of daffodils all over Main Street. Kent has lovely shops, antique stores and an independent book store called House of Books. And what did I find? A new book titled, “Over the Hills and Far Away – The Life of Beatrix Potter” by Matthew Dennison.

    It is a lovely little book … one of the reviews on the back cover from The Times (London) says, “Fascinating. Dennison’s clever, searching account of her life shows the incredible fight she had to make herself into the kind of woman she wanted to be.” I believe that quote can also be applied to our Susan Branch … I’m not sure yours was an “incredible fight”, but rather strength and determination on your part.

    If you and Joe are ever in the area, do plan to visit. Kent is not far from Stockbridge, Mass., also a lovely town with wonderful shops and antique stores, the Norman Rockwell Museum (you would love it!), and plan on lunch or dinner at the Red Lion Inn.


    • Barbara Irvine says:

      Oh, sure, as soon as I hit Post Comment, up popped my original post. Sorry, everyone … gremlins in my computer again!

      • sbranch says:

        Something going on around here, but I’m just glad you found it Barbara!

        • Vicki says:

          Yeah, it’s weird; my two comments got separated but eventually printed several days later, but it’s no matter; the main thing is if you hear us, Susan. We LUV ya! You’re busy! Love that you look at Spring Cleaning as a fun thing; gave me some good incentive.

          Wow, and my name just came up as Toni Moriarty with her email address. That’s not such a good thing; hope my email address isn’t doing that elsewhere here!

          • sbranch says:

            Everything seems okay here . . . I think everyone sees something on their side that isn’t showing up on mine! But I’m forwarding the emails to my computer guy and he’s working on it.

    • sbranch says:

      She had to go through the rules and morals of her day in order to find her dreams, which were so restricting for women, but she did it. And I am so proud of her. I know she would say she was just doing what was normal for her, but it was quite amazing, even to me, all these years later. We love Stockbridge area, I ran the Norman Rockwell Museum as soon as I found out about it! Thank you Barb!

  59. Lauri R. Hyde says:

    Wonderful blog, Susan! I read through it once, but I have to do it again, because there is just SO much good stuff in there. And the same goes for the comments, it’s so heartwarming to read everyones thoughts and feedback. Some not so wonderful, unfortunately, but that simply is about them. As my mother in law likes to say, people give what they have.

    Anyway….I was just wondering, if you don’t mind my asking..what brand of watercolor paints do you use? I was trained to use Winsor Newton, but that stuff is so danged expensive, and then when you need the cotton rag paper…Yeow!! Major sticker shock! So, if you get a chance, I would love to know what you use as I am considering changing the product due to the expense, but as you know the old expression…you get what you pay for…and oh, my sort of new favorite…cheap people pay twice, sometimes three times!! (not you of course!) I will be looking for your ever so enlightened response. Many thanks,

    • sbranch says:

      Look at the top of my Blog at the little icons that go across the page . . . click on About Me, and there’s a dropdown where I write about my art. I talk about watercolors there, but in a nutshell, I just buy all that I see where there are interesting colors available. I don’t care about brand. I like tubes and also paint boxes and get any new ones I see, just to try out.

  60. Lauri R. Hyde says:

    oops! I messed up my email address! I fixed it below, sorry about that!

  61. Lauri R. Hyde says:

    I thought I fixed my email address so I am adding it again,

  62. Sharon C. says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love what you said about God giving us free will. I often quote from “East of Eden” about God giving man free will–“thou mayest”. We can all choose to use that free will for good! I love your wonderful outlook on life and all the moments that make it so!!!

  63. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    Dearest Susan, I am too thrilled ! I just ordered my set of 3 china mugs!! 😄 . They are absolutely darling, and I cannot think of anything more cheery than having a hot mug of tea in them. I also have some open cabinets in my kitchen, so they will be beautiful on display too. I hope you will indeed create more so I can collect those too. Xoxoxo

  64. Sandra says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan; may you celebrate many more in good health and happiness. My 64th (the new 46…lol) was the day prior to yours and I want all of ’em I can get. I’m pretty sure Dave would feel the same way except the 6th anniversary of his death is this Autumn. I feel a lot more positive about 2017 than I did about 2013 and I do wish all the sniping would stop. It’s not doing any of us any good and, probably, causing a great deal of harm.

  65. Suzanne says:

    I’m sooooooooo late to this party,
    but happy that I’ve left your sweet
    post for a moment when I could truly
    relax and enjoy it with a cup of tea
    and my favorite Walker’s shortbread
    cookie : ) You have the most amazing
    gift for uplifting souls, and I am very
    blessed by it each time I read your
    words. Thank you! I hope you had a
    lovely Easter and the happiest of happy
    birthdays! (I’m also an April baby —
    aren’t we lucky??)

    xo Suzanne
    PS: Wonderful to see you on Instagram!

  66. Lauri R. Hyde says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday to you! And your beautiful blog! Three cheers!

    But I have a confession….I wanted to send you a line about a wonderful discovery I just stumbled onto while ordering a birthday gift for my very best friend, Jennifer.

    I was in Etsy’s website and was ordering a Beatrix Potter keychain for her. In the process, I accidentally discovered the incredibly beautiful naive work of Amanda White. In Etsy, her store is listed as AmandaWhiteDesign.

    Now, this is not to disparage or compare apples to oranges or better or otherwise. The reason this artist’s work appealed to me is that she loves English history. And just what does she do? Collage art. She loves all the beautiful historic castles, manor houses, every wonderful place you visited in England, she created a line of greeting cards and you better hang on when you visit her page, because you might fall off of your perch! I mean that she did Vita-Sackville West’s place, OK??? Please, please, please take a look at her work and let me know what you think. She is such as inspiration, just like you!

    Who knows? Maybe she might inspire an idea or two with you? Not that YOU need any more than you do, but I am dying to know what you think! I haven’t even looked to see if there is a bio on her yet. Apparently a Chinese magazine did a story on her, but I have no idea of the details, she just has a picture of the open page on her website. I swear, when you look at her work, if you didnt look too carefully, you might think you were looking at 18th century primitive artwork. The giveaway is the bright colors.

    Anyway, enjoy and I look forward to seeing your feedback!

    Best wishes,


  67. Carol On the farm in Iowa says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Sorry I missed your DAY. Just now reading this blog post. We had old friends visiting. The friends that God used to save my life and sanity when my husband took his own life. I was 30 with 4 children, ages 15-2 1/2. It is always so good to spend time with them. Sometimes now I think I have a bad day…. aaahhhaaaaa!! That never lasts long, all I have to do is look back. I get thankful real quick! Thankful all those kids are happy and healthy in every way, good spouses and good parents. God turned it all around and used it for good. ( not that I believe it was His plan). Occasionally Way back then, I would lock myself in the bathroom fill the tub and pray they didn’t kill each other while I soaked. 😬
    My 70th Birthday in February is hard to wrap my head around when I think how fast the last 20 years have flown by. I am rambling… we have a lot to look forward to, you have books to write and I have a lot of quilts in my head.

    • sbranch says:

      Even though your words are serious and touching, I come to the part about locking the bathroom door and I have to laugh, because it’s just such a truthful thing about the difficulties of being a mom, and why moms deserve so much more credit than they get. I used to babysit while my mom and dad were away, and my BROTHERS were crazy, so once in a while I would lock them all out, and just keep me and the girls in (they were babies) . . . so I get it. My brothers don’t remember this, they could have cared less! They probably thought they were locking me IN! Lovely to glimpse your grateful heart. We take what life throws us, and go with it. Perennials! Say hello to Iowa for me! xoxo

      • Carol On the farm in Iowa says:

        I’m glad you got the locked door thing, and it made you laugh. I was sure you would. Iowa says hello to you! It is snowing lightly this a.m. With a little accumulation on the barn roof.
        Today I am making bibs for my identical twin great grandsons who live on Long Island. It’s rewarding to create things for all the family, especially since they love and appreciate it so much. Have fun today Sue! xxoo

        • sbranch says:

          And they’ll have them forever! Such a gift! Hard to imagine snow right now, although we are still very capable of it here. But hearts are so very SET on spring right now!

  68. Deborah Simmerman says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thank you so much for reminding us of Julie Gold’s beautiful song “From a Distance” in this post. I’m having a hard time with 2017 too, and I’ve now put that song on my playlists and it’s become one of my anthems. It helps to take the long view.

    Your blog is always uplifting.


    • sbranch says:

      It’s such a wonderful thought, that song . . . brings us all together. We need each other, the world is so small, this war stuff, this “we’re better than you are” feeling just has to go away. Thank you Deborah!

Comments are closed.