Stress Makes You Fat? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Was talking to best friend Diana (the Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams Diana) on the phone the other day . . . girl talk, about the Oscars, about her granddaughter being accepted Cal Poly ~ (oops, yes, MUSICA!) Anyway, the conversation was gradually moving toward me telling her how shocked I was to discover that the thing that may have been keeping me from losing weight in any sort of a sturdy, healthy, long-lasting way, without cravings, for years, no matter how I starved myself, was stress. Up until lately, I thought stress was just one of those things, like the weather, you see it and ignore it. Diana’s a nurse, and her answer was, “DU-UH? You’re shocked? I’ve been telling you for years, you need to rest more!!!”  Normally I ignore her (for obvious reasons) because I don’t have time for resting, it’s boring, I feel fine, I’m busy! But this time, after all my recent investigating, I knew better, and replied, “Well, all you had to say was, ‘Stress makes you FAT’ and I would have listened!” 🙃 I’m probably last on my block to know, but just in cases, I thought I’d write a post about it . . .Interestingly I wrote this (above) in 1999 in my Girlfriends Forever Book. And it’s still very good information! Too bad I haven’t been paying much attention to it! And, because I didn’t it know then, I didn’t mention, ‘Stress Makes You Fat!’ But it’s even worse than that, if anything could be worse, too much stress has a life of it’s own, like the flu or diphtheria  ~ it affects EVERYTHING: your thoughts and feelings, your relationships, everything from mood to skin to hair, your vital organs, your belly fat ⚡️, your nervous system, your mental acuity, everything that is you, even the quality of your sleep, your ability to lose weight or even be happy. Ignore it at your peril! What I did get right was, “It’s cumulative and it sneaks up on you, especially when you are too busy to notice.” That’s what happened to me. For a long time, maybe the last ten years, I’ve had lots of happy stress, but sad stress too, and I’ve been extra busy, applying self-imposed pressure, with book writing and publishing, travel, speech-a-fying, and there were huge losses, like my dad, my brother, and Girl Kitty, worry for my mom, her brother, my dad’s wife, making sure they are all cared for ~ so busy with everything, I didn’t notice that stress was building up. It’s stuff we all have in some form or another, some so much worse than mine, which makes us take our own for granted, and just plow through and do what needs to be done, because that’s life and we are brave and amazing people.I think what saved me from total disintegration was how much I LOVE what I do, plus the automatic exercise and walking I do most everyday. Meditation, too. And girlfriends. All of them, big de-stressers, but there is so much more we can do to help ourselves if we have awareness!

And for any of you suffering, as I’ve been, from constant dietus non-workingus . . . complete with spare tire, nagging sweet tooth, cravings, and little irritating symptoms that seem to be disconnected, it just might be stress-related inflammation talking to you! It’s a stressed-out world these days, we’re all feeling it. Down-time is almost nil. Phones, blue lights from electronics, mind-numbing news, sugar squashed into everything, bad fats, dis-HEART-ening DIS-information, icky drug commercials, bullies on social media, we’re up against a lot. If we don’t take care of ourselves, and rid ourselves of as much of that as we can, no one will do it for us. The Internet is a wealth of information, if you’re curious, and careful who you listen to, and don’t believe everything you read ~ If you’re saying to yourself this could this be me, there’s lots of help out there. I’ve been having a field day with it!  My favorite thing about aging, one of them, is the discovery that you never stop learning! There’s always something to make it a red letter day! It’s been just over three weeks since I began to investigate stress, and five weeks since I changed my eating habits. I’ve lost fourteen pounds without cravings and without feeling hungry!I learned about healthy brain chemicals ~ serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, melatonin, and oxytocin, and how they relate to stress. And best of all, I learned to take a little more time each day to feed them the healthy lifestyle they need. Starting with food . . . they love the whole foods I talked about in the last post. They especially adore that big filling breakfast up there, anti-inflammatory brain-food that helps neurotransmitters protect against stress-causing disease. I mean Dis-Ease. The tension and worry-causers that keep us from noticing how sweet the world can be.💖 I found out that there’s a really good reason we kindred spirits have such an affinity for the little things in life, it’s our natural feminine wisdom telling us something ~ Common sense! Everyday things DO heal our stress and release all those luv-lee brain chemicals that bring happiness and joy to our ordinary extraordinary lives. We just naturally know that a cup of tea is good for us . . . . that puttering around the house . . . . 

. . . and putting flowers in a little vase feels good.

That some sort of yard-sale rescue-operation of a lifetime can make our hearts sing. That clean counters can promote prideful staring. That ironing with a favorite radio program can be a good thing. 

That feeding birds makes us happy.

So does rolling out a pie crust.

Or making chicken stock . . .

. . . and so do the flickering shadows dancing through the trees onto our walls.

Playing with our pets. Pure health.

Girl-talk. Communing with nature. Going barefoot in the grass. Checking things off our lists. Counting our blessings. Doing absolutely anything creative.

Fun thing is, my research told me these everyday little things in life actually have a basis in science . . . doing them releases those brain chemicals I was talking about . . . that reduce inflammation, balance our systems to keep cravings at bay, help us sleep, and cause happy feelings! How wonderful to discover it’s possible to heal yourself, without medicine, by doing more of the same! When we see stress coming, we can learn to trigger a relaxation response with deep breathing and immediately begin to feed ourselves from the well of sweetness. Tra-LA! Once again, who’s in charge? We are. 💞

Other natural healers include basking in morning sunlight, sewing, planting flowers, building something, watching CBS Sunday Morning, getting rid of clutter, turning off the news and turning on Turner Classic Movies, meditation, writing in your diary, keeping little bottles of Lavender oil or Vanilla (soaps, bubblebath, candles) nearby for fragrance therapy, making and giving gifts, donating to charity or volunteering, and as noted above, books, Musica, and movies that fill your heart and send you to the moon. Because what we do matters . . .
We women are natural givers, caretakers, nurturers, but it’s important to ask yourself, what am I going to GIVE myself today? 💞 Stretch out in bed before you get up, go for a walk, take a cooking class, an art class, learn to quilt, knit, crochet, all creative endeavors that provide self-sufficiency and release luv-lee brain chemicals that help to keep you healthy. That’s why you feel so happy when you do them! Vote, recycle, love thy neighbor, be an elf, because when you do something for the earth, for your neighborhood, for your family, even putting a wreath on your door, or planting tulips, making compost, or planting a tree, you feel good about yourself. Be a citizen of the world. Pet your kitty. Put something fun on your calendar. There are no photographs in our family albums of my mom exercising with 
Jack LaLanne’s TV program because she was the one who took all the photos! But I remember coming home from school and finding her on the living room floor with two or three little ones around her, everyone flailing their legs in the air. She set a healthy example that has lasted a lifetime. Exercise, another natural way to overcome the worst effects of stress. Free endorphins right there for the taking.

I do these little exercises with weights every other day. I’m like my mom in another way, food isn’t food to me either. It’s protein, starch, and ruffage, it’s dopamine and melatonin. And yes . . . what you feed your body matters, in more ways than one.

You’ll never go hungry again if you feed yourself from the well of sweetness! Oatmeal with apples, blueberries, walnuts, mixed seeds and cinnamon, melatonin galore! And you won’t be hungry until lunch.

Check out the delicious dopamine ⬆️ dripping with Omega-3s and antioxidants! Learn about good fats and bad ones, especially watch out for trans fats in packaged food. And you know what stress thrives on and not in a good way? Sugar, which is in almost everything, and processed carbs. Stay away, eat healthy cage-free eggs, avocados, spinach, nuts and seeds, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, artichokes, and beans. Steam, scramble, saute, and bake. Drink lots of water and green tea.

Hope this keeps you busy and healthy for the rest of the winter! It’s been making me happy, I hope it helps you too!

 So, perfect timing, our little handiwork embroidery project (where you will definitely find joy in doing and giving) ~ Jack and his Quilt Kit has arrived! I have him here in my studio, and cover him with his quilt at least once a day, I tuck him in. He’s even softer and cuter than he looks.💞 Has all the attributes of the Pillsbury Doughboy. 

As for our butter dishes and tiny Courage vases and the rest of the little dishes and things, I’m so sorry how late they are. I have been sending distress notices to the manufacturer, lighting small 🔥 fires . . . not yelling per say, but beginning to think about it! 📢 I’m being told all the time, “soon.” I know they ARE coming, just when I’m not sure. I asked yesterday for an exact ETA, estimated time of arrival, but have not heard back yet. Last clear-ish picture I received was “two more weeks” and that was three days ago. But two weeks from when is what I want to know. I promise to keep you updated. I’m so sorry!

But, look what DID come in for approval! Took ‘er out for a test drive this morning and she passed with flying colors! All four cup designs are approved and being made in England as we speak. ETA: end of March, beginning of April depending mostly on what happens at customs. I also placed an order for the new A Year in the English Countryside Wall-Calendar for 2020! Thank you for preordering so I knew how many to get!

I had the girls over for TGIF last snowy Friday night. T’was wonderful. Fed them soup and salad in front of the fire.

Solved all the world’s problems and laughed ourselves silly. So good for what ails you. I wob my girlfriends.So that’s it for today ~ at ease my darlings . . . and please, stay that way.💋 It’s almost spring!


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476 Responses to Stress Makes You Fat? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

  1. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Loved this blog…and the comments too! Best morning this week was Ash Wednesday, then coming home & standing in the cold, quietly watching a HUGE flock of ROBINS flying in and out of our trees and the neighbor’s! It was a morning miracle..we haven’t seen flocks of robins for years! Some little guys, finches & titmouse, joined the swooping and tree resting! The flybys lasted about an hour then off they flew! Grateful for that spectacular show, helps with the not so spectacular moments! Thank you dear Susan for your uplifting words! XO

    • sbranch says:

      We started getting flocks of robins in the very early spring, also out of nowhere, maybe four years ago. I wonder what they’re up to? xoxo

      • Beth T. says:

        We are in NW Oregon, and just today we were talking about all of the robins that are in the yard. Having grown up in Southern California and moved to this colder climate fairly recently (well…15 years ago!) we are still getting used to which creatures migrate, which stay put, and the robins keep surprising us by taking over the yard when there is still snow. Were they always here? Have they come back? I fall back on the poem my mom taught me: “The North wind doth blow, and we shall have snow…” and say to John, “Well, I guess they don’t migrate, if Robin is going to keep warm in the barn…??”, at once wishing I knew with more certainty but also grateful for a mother who taught me poetry by heart while she did the dishes or pulled weeds.

        • sbranch says:

          I never see robins in January, I don’t know if they migrate, but they sure come back early if they do! Yes, you are a lucky girl. xoxo

  2. Jennie Lou says:

    Wow. What a cathartic posting this had been! It has given me courage to share a bit of my own with all of you: It is Lent. I was raised RC, so that has always meant giving something up for the good of my soul, and all my life it was meat or bread or chocolate, the usual things we think we can’t live without. Many years ago, as an older worker, I was naturally at odds with all things technical, and as such found myself at odds with a younger woman hired for her tech skills. She was there to take our office into the next generation and I was the guardian of the corporate knowledge she needed to shove into the computer. I did everything to avoid giving up what I saw as my rightful place as the knower of all things and developed an unhealthy relationship with the young woman who was not only very good at her job, but very tired of banging her head against the brick wall that was me. Our boss had meetings with each of us, but there did not seem to be a way around the roadblock. I was afraid of technology and afraid of the younger person making me obsolete. Then came Lent. After much soul searching, I chose to give up IGNORANCE. For 40 days, I decided, I would put aside my fear, open my ears and learn everything I could about computers and the software my co-worker was designing and gave her every opportunity to pick my brain. I apologized to her for my bad behavior and together we took every advantage of those 40 days to collaborate and learn from one another. It was a life-changing experience I have never forgotten.
    This year, after three years of way too much politics and aging changes in the world and in my body, I have decided to give up FEAR for Lent. In just a few days, I am already feeling less stress and more ease. There is so much that I have absolutely no control over, so why worry about it? I can effect change in my own life, and I know how to do that, so no fear is required. If things don’t work out, they don’t. We try again tomorrow. I pray for strength and fortitude and another tomorrow. Only 38 days to go!

  3. Lee Rose says:

    Oh Susan, the timing of this couldn’t be more vital for me. I was on the verge of losing it at work today, and it’s all because of stress. My brother is battling cancer and things aren’t looking good, but of course, it’s so easy to let the little things take the place of the real problem. I’ve known for a while I need to take care of myself and you’ve given me the shove I need. Instead of spending my Saturday worrying about my brother I’m going to look at my life, make a plan, and get started. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back … blessings on you, and on your brother Lee . . . xoxoxoxoxoxo Take care.

  4. After a cold and dreary day, this post lifted my spirits so much! Love all the healthy tips and sweet illustrations and positivity – is that a word? It is now and I feel it! Thank you. xo Karen

  5. Warwickshirelass says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring blog! I’ve often thought there are so many little pleasures in life that go unnoticed. After I’d read your post I looked out of my window, it was a sunny morning with a bitter March wind blowing, and in the branches of an oak tree at the bottom of my garden was a little grey squirrel, curled up and fast asleep in a patch of sunshine. It made my day!

    • sbranch says:

      I understand . . . we’re surrounded with wonderful moments, we just need to look! xoxo

      • Bev Brewer says:

        Dear Susan—the snoozing squirrel would be a darling picture for you to paint! How smart that he took advantage of the sunny spot for warmth, similar to kitties basking in sunlight by a window. Years ago, there was a comic strip about a young family and their cute baby used to find her sunspot by a window, too. Love from Bev

  6. Crystal Burns says:

    Dear Sue, Loved your blog as always. Yesterday while I was filling my two suet feeders, I was treated to two strangely honking trumpeter swans flying overhead. I always wonder if they are the spirits of loved ones from heaven, passing over to check on us and say, hi, I love you.
    Love, Crystal from Cannon Falls

  7. Anne says:

    Spot on post as usual dear Susan! I’ve been on the straight and narrow this winter as well! I’ve been diagnosed with something called “Leaky Gut” 🥴 sounds icky, doesn’t it? It causes the dreaded INFLAMMATION!🔥 And, STRESS makes it worse! I knew something wasn’t quite right so I consulted a nutritionist and I’m on the road to recovery 😅 Just needed clean diet changes and no devil sugar. (I’ve also been repeatedly watching Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing “Shallow” for my mental health #swoon❤️). We’re all going to be so healthy come Spring time we won’t know what to do with ourselves 👏🥰.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I know what it is! But the good news is you can heal yourself!!! I know, we will love it!

  8. Kristina says:

    The last 3 years have been a horrible time for our family. Both of my husband’s parents were diagnosed and succumbed to cancer (we did hospice care for them both), my husband had to have a hip replaced, our son badly injured his knee which ended with 2 surgeries, and now we are on the verge of losing our farm (all I will say about that is sometimes death brings the greed out in family members). I’m not saying all this for sympathy, just that I understand stress! Your advice is so inspiring…I have not looked out for myself at all in several years and I’m going to remedy that! Spring is coming, there’s always hope, and things always get better, one way or the other. Thank you, Susan. Love to you and all the girlfriends here.

    • sbranch says:

      There is always hope Kristina, I’m so sorry for all you’ve had to endure! Blessings on you and yours. Be good to yourself. xoxo

  9. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    I agree, stress not only makes one fat, but I’m convinced it was the cause of my stage 3 colon cancer nine years ago! I’m fine now, and happily retired from a very stressful job. Exercise and simple joys are essential to a healthy life – I turn my television to oldies music from the 70’s and 80’s (my youth era) and DANCE for 15 to 20 minutes each night before going to bed. Gets my heart rate up and fills me with simple joy! Each morning my familiar (my dog, Willow) and I take a good 2 to 3 mile walk in our rural community — love seeing flowers starting to pop out here now and lots of beautiful birds, including Western Bluebirds and roadrunners – who better watch out because coyotes are especially active in my canyon now due to mating season. Nature is a perfect antidote to stress – Hygge to you Susan and to all the Girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      I wouldn’t be a bit surprised! It’s a sneaky thing . . . you have to actually deal with stress before you even feel it! Love how you’re doing it, hugs to the familiar! xoxo

  10. Care Woodard says:

    Dear Susan, I loved your wonderful post and all the comments from the incredible girlfriends. Last night was Anna’s (aka snow flake girl) last supper home before she returns to college after Spring Break. She wanted all her grandparents to come for dinner:) and asked for… Your lemon pasta and beach comber cajun shrimp! Ta Da! for you, creator of family favorites! A leettle pasta good for the soul, I hope:) Very pretty snow here in CT this morning. One of my patients told me, Spring never comes until you see a robin in the snow:) So Spring can come now! Have a blessed day

    • sbranch says:

      Yes it can! And you made me very hungry! Anna chose a delicious menu!!! YOU, creator of family LOVE! xoxoxo

  11. Therese says:

    wow. Well, first of all, dear Susan, congrats on the weight loss! You have expressed everything I love about your blog and your books in this one post.
    Beauty before me, behind me, to the right, to the left, above and below me. I find it rather miraculous the way we naturally gravitate toward what heals us. Thank you so much for illustrating that point in your lovely way.
    Your space here has long been a refuge for me when I need a break from the stress. I think of it as comfort food for my soul.
    Thanks for the photo of your new mug with that yummy-looking cookie moon.
    How are you doing with circular needles for your knitting? And, are you yearning, as I am, to get out in the garden and dig? I am occupying myself sketching imaginary garden designs and sewing sundresses, dreaming of summer while the cold winds blow out there. Also, I have been enjoying an anti-inflammatory alternative to my tea called golden milk. It’s delicious; made with turmeric root. recipes are easy to access on the web.
    Thanks for everything, especially for staying in touch with us kindred spirits.
    love, as ever,

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Therese! So sweet! Yes! I’m yearning to get out in the garden, in fact, I went and stared at the frozen thing yesterday and then went around back and picked up fallen branches and twigs from our winter storms. It was so beautiful in the sunlight, I didn’t want to go in, despite the fact that I was bundled head to toe! Found points of daffodils just breaking ground! Spring is on the way!

  12. Janet perez says:

    Hi Susan
    Thank you for all your Inspiring emails. I have decided to visit Martha vineyard
    And wondered if the end of May is a good time and if you can recommend
    A place to stay like bed and breakfasts.
    Thank you so much.

    • sbranch says:

      May is a wonderful time. It’s still coolish, but things are budding, and Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer here on the Island. A very festive weekend. I’m sorry, I’m no good at suggesting places to stay because I never stay anywhere but at home, so do all my friends and family who come visit! There are tons of places, and our Chamber of Commerce is a really good starting place to find one. When you get here, get the local newspapers . . . every fun thing (and restaurant) there is to do here is listed there. Have a wonderful time!

  13. Susan Keffer says:

    This blog was wonderful, and just meant for me! Thank you for making so much sense. I’m going to rest my weary soul, exercise, eat right, pray, stop worrying so much, and enjoy the beauty around me. And most importantly, I’m going to say no when I need to, and not feel guilty about it. Thank you so much. ❤️

  14. Pamela Butterick says:

    Susan! This was your usual wonderful blog and yet angled differently for a perfect spring tune up! You can add to the de-stresses that you’ve gifted to yourself the pride of your accomplishment and the fact that you feel good! Really good. You give us gifts all the time of art and encouragement and sweet sentiments and now this is a gift to yourself as well! And to Joe too! You all benefit! We all benefit! The happy gene in me feels happier!! Thank you from the heart of My home! 😍😍😍

    • sbranch says:

      It’s always just girl talk! I’ve always felt the connection between me and my Girlfriends, we’re sort of in it together! Thank you Pam! Happy day, another day of sun here on the Island… almost 40 already this morning!!! Yay!

  15. M Barber says:

    To Patricia who responded to my post about losing a pet-

    Thank you so very much for writing such kind words. It just goes to show that Susan and all of us girlfriends keep the support going for one another. I am so grateful for this blog!

  16. Sara J. Harrison says:

    Your wonderful blogs really make my heart sing! Your beautiful artwork makes me smile every day as I look at your calendars hanging in my kitchen & A little one in my bedroom. Like your sweet kitty my two boys, Sammy & Cheddar make me laugh every day at the funny & crazy things they do. Thanks for sharing your life with all of us, very much appreciated, also your mugs etc. are definitely worth the wait!

  17. Janet says:

    I am a late reader as I was away on vacation but I must say this blog was meant for me. Just read Jennie Lou’s comment on being RC and giving up something for lent. Well I gave up “Worry” this year as I am the queen of worry. Susan, your post on stress gave me so many ideas on what I can do to worry less and become “stressless”. I have even changed one of my passwords to stressless.
    Hopefully I can take some of the ideas from your blog and put them into practice every day. I will be doing this for my mental and physical well being.
    Thank you!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy Janet! I don’t think very many of us notice (in a timely manner) what stress does to us . . . It’s hard to do something about something you can’t quite feel! Have to though, because it can feel us!! Good luck!

  18. Carol Andrew says:

    Oh, there is that lov-er-ly red transfer ware bowl again! (I mean the tall one with the scalloped edges holding cereal & cut fruit, last blog it was oatmeal.) Could you please post a picture of the hallmark on the bottom? Or please just give whatever information is on the bottom? I am new to transfer ward and would so love to track down this bowl or a similar one. Those scalloped edges are proving elusive in my search so far. Pretty dishes are my de-stress! Many thanks, Coco

    • sbranch says:

      I understand completely. I couldn’t believe my good luck when I saw this in an antique store for $15! The marks on the bottom are so tiny I’m not sure they would even show up in a photo. BUT, with strongest glasses I can read rectangular STAMP (not a colored mark, but an actual indentation into the china, the words are INSIDE a rectangular indentation) that says WOOD. That’s all. Next to it, in pink transfer is the small number 24. That is it in a nutshell. I hope you can find one!!! Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

    • Barbie says:

      Copeland Spode’s Tower Pink Condiment Bowl 4 7/8″ Old Mark England Red – on Ebay for $10. Lots of other pretty dishes too.

  19. Jeanne says:

    This is such an informative and truly helpful post. You do a great job in describing the benefits of reducing stress.

    I have a silly question that I’m hoping you have the time to answer. I’m in love with your Luna Mug. It spoke to me immediately because the night moon is so beautiful and comforting to me. Is the background dark blue (like the paper mock up) or black (like the approval sample)? Thank you so much

    PS: Throwing in a vote for a mug celebrating the coziness and freshness of rain (we’re finally getting some in CA!)

    • sbranch says:

      I hate to tell you, but it’s blue-black! Not just dark blue, but not just black. Hope this helps! No matter which photo, I can tell you, it’s prettier in person, and everyone who’s seen it so far, mostly my girlfriends, has told me this. A very good sign!

      • Jeanne says:

        Thank you so much Susan for taking the time to describe it to me. I am a huge lover of a really dark midnight blue so this is actually serendipitous! I can’t wait to receive it.

  20. Elizabeth Back In NY says:

    Sitting here with a kitty on my lap and another one wrapped around my left arm with his head in my hand (makes it kind of hard to type, but I’m not moving him), and wanted to tell you that I just finished The Fairy Tale Girl and LOVED it. I especially identified with how you felt about the library as a little girl, and the number one thing, in my opinion, was your statement about how everyone has an age where they felt like life was the best (mine was 10). You and I have had some similar experiences, and when my life was shattered by death and divorce, I thought it was over.Today we celebrated my older “bonus daughter”‘s 16th birthday, and life is so very different than it was just a few short years ago. Thank you also for inspiring me to do art-I’m teaching myself to draw, and so far have produced a hippo, an otter, and an elephant that people can actually recognize! Woo hoo! Very stress-relieving (once I quit worrying about making them look perfect). You are a light in my life. 🙂 I hope to meet you one day, it’s on my bucket list. My friend Annie used to live on Martha’s Vineyard and she’s met you, so jealous. Blessings-

    • sbranch says:

      Joe and I huddle on the sofa sometimes so we don’t have to disturb Jack from his spread-eagle position on the other end. Because he’s one of us! We laugh at ourselves. Don’t disturb the cat! Love hearing your story, isn’t it funny when the worst things happen, how they can turn into the very best? Life is so odd. XOXOXO

  21. Hi Susan! Thanks for the awesome and informative blog post about stress! As I sit in the parking lot waiting for my16 year old daughter, I was feeling overwhelmed because my mom’s dementia is getting worse. Your post made me feel so much better. I will be going home to relax and meditate a bit before going to bed. And I will not be turning the TV on either!! Thank you once again!! And congratulations on the weight loss, too!! Woohoo!!

  22. Jenifer Mitchell says:

    Ohhhhh Susan… stress, stress stress! A new ailment has cropped up for me (might not remember but I’m the lupus gal) and after a visit with one doc this morning who seems to have diagnosed the problem yet was unable to treat, advise or prescribe for it, I now have an appointment tomorrow morning with a neurologist. Such fun! On top of that, this evening I received an email from my sweet sister who is schizophrenic (these emails are almost never good) and immediately then received one from my mother who is 83 and overwhelmed with the problems presented by my sister in her email and asking for help with everything. Ai yi yi!!! After sending reassuring replies to both of my loved ones with promises to help sort everything out as best as I can, I was floundering. Just absolutely floundering. THEN, like a light from the heavens, like an answer to an unspoken prayer, I noticed your blog email in my Inbox. Hallelujah!

    Although I was exhausted, mentally and physically (this new ailment is painful and has been with me for over a month now), I knew I had to just sit quietly and let the magic of your words (and the words of all you girlfriends) wash over me. I can only say that ALL of it, the words, the beautiful and cheerful pictures — ALL of it is a balm to my spirit. It has calmed me, reduced the stress I was feeling, and has given me a much needed perspective on my daily life. Truly there are no words that adequately describe the gratitude and spiritual sustenance I’m feeling at the moment. Taking everything one day at a time and giving myself the biggest pleasures in the smallest of things is what keeps a life as it’s meant to be. Joyful and joy-filled. A cross-stitch piece that I did that hangs on one of my living room walls states, “Blessed is the life that finds joy in the journey.” I find so much joy here and I thank you for it. I wish blessings on all of you here! We need and deserve to be caretakers of our own selves, yes?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we do Jennifer, how wise you are, and thank you for your wonderfully uplifting words every single girlfriend will love to read. Only way to it is through it, as my friend Margot’s mom used to say. And there you are. Blessings on you and yours and for everything. I don’t think I know many families untouched by mental illness . . . and that is very hard, on top of what you’ve already got to deal with. Sending love, and lots of deep breaths of fresh air to keep you grounded and secure. xoxoxo

  23. Wendy Olson says:

    Happy Spring – I just finished reading your latest blog, Spring Fling and as always I loved it! But I find myself coming back to this one, over and over again. The first time I read it I thought to myself “this is a keeper.” I read every comment above and see everyone feels as I do. What a great blog – and so uplifting, as least for me! Just seeing your email in my inbox, before I even open it, makes me smile – because I know something wonderful will be there when I open it. Thank you for all you give to me and all of the girlfriends out here……..

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Wendy . . . All the time I’m amazed at what kindred spirits we are, and so often on the same page! Wonderful hearing from everyone!

  24. Rita Wandro says:

    ┍———- /ᐠ。ꞈ。ᐟ\ ————┑
    ✧You Rock Ms Branch!✧
    ┕————(..)(..) ∫∫————┙

    • sbranch says:

      You do pretty darn good yourself Ms Wandro!!! Not everyone can make kitty paws, tail, ears, toes, so very CUTE!!!

  25. Ellen Botts says:

    So glad you got to visit Carter’s Grove. I am a descendant of Carter Burwell and his wife Lucy Grymes. When I visited there a number of years ago their portraits hung near the “Flying Staircase”. Hope you also got to Yorktown and the Thomas Nelson, Jr. home. He was my 5th great uncle. The area along the James River is gorgeous. I have family in the area and have visited Williamsburg
    more times than I can count. Hope you got to enjoy a ginger cookie at the Raleigh Tavern bakery. Your trip sounds so fun. Ellen Botts

    • sbranch says:

      So fun to visit homes of your ancestors, and you definitely have a wonderful one here!!! We just loved it. Wish we could have taken photos inside, it was really wonderful. We met your 3 year old twin cousins who live there now!!! I think maybe 12th generation! Little boy was named Hill, can’t remember little girl’s name. Haven’t been to Yorktown yet, but we’re going! We’re having a wonderful time! Thank you Ellen!

  26. Sherri Fabbri says:

    Hi Susan, Thank you for all the distressing tips! I’m a caregiver now for my husband so I’m always stressed. I do a lot of those things you mentioned; but I need to do some of the others also! You looked great and slim when I saw you in SLO! I think I’ve put on a few pounds since then! Maybe from stress, I think; and not enough exercise due to arthritis pain this winter! So now I’m going to go lift weights and then knit!💖 Sherri

    • sbranch says:

      Beautiful Sherri! I even brought my weights with me in the van! Haven’t got them out yet, but they’re here in Williamsburg!!!

  27. Mary Eva says:

    OMGoodness, how I love going through your pages. I went out to the “shopping” site and when I saw your kitchen prints I had to smile. YEARS ago, I cut out the ginger man tree and the crescent cookie pages out of my Colonial Living Magazines and I still have them. I use them as book markers in my (your) cookbooks. It keeps them safe and I always know where they are. I have always been in love with your art work. Thank you so much!

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