Hello? Are you still there? I’m singing my song: “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again!” Despite it all, I’m back, ready to free those pie plates, tell a story about my diaries, and announce our lucky winners!♥️👏♥️

You’ll need a cup of tea while I catch you up! I’ll wait . . . Here we go! I sent out a post last Sunday and about 3 seconds later, everything about my website disappeared. Instead of sweetness and light and all good news, this ⬆️ was the message you received in the mail… Forbidden” ~ rudest message in the world! I’m so sorry! Then I started hearing from you, then Twitter, then Facebook and Instagram chimed in, and I found out I was NOT alone! I called my IT guy, crying, “HELP!”

I hope this did not hurt your feelings, I would never say Forbidden! We, my darlings, were attacked by some sort of hacking machine. I thought for a moment this meant we made the big time.😂 I asked my IT guy and his response was, and I quote: “In the overall scheme of things your site is insignificant!” 🤣 So, it looks like we were just roped into this with scads of other victims, which makes me feel SO much better than thinking someone intentionally did this to a purveyor of good news and the sweetest kindred spirits ever! Luckily, we have the BEST IT guy who had to practically reconstruct the whole thing, so here we are, intact, healthier than ever, ready to go, and grateful. Thank you for holding in there! Here is the post I TRIED send you last week:

How’re you all getting through summer? Hasn’t the weather been crazy? One day it’s unbearably hot, air warm and thick as sea water, the next day unbearably beautiful ~ and the day after that, it’s freezing! Horrible floods in Europe! Canada rivaling Death Valley for high temps! Crazy! We made it through our yard sale despite the relatively benign early-morning on-and-off rain ~ I thought you might like to see a bit of it . . . while listening to best MUSICA in the world… the soft melodic voice of young Frank! Take a deep breath, relax, and here we go! 💞

We rented a bunch of tables, spread them out, putting them as close as we could to the garden so no one could go around the back of them!

We brought out the old picnic benches to surround the bird bath because our number-one consideration was to protect the flower beds from the pitter-patter of thundering feet!

Looks kind of organized don’t you think? Well it didn’t stay that way! Which helped me to understand why churches call these things jumble sales! Blue skies . . . but changing . . .

We parked the van in a tricky place ~ gave us privacy from the road as we brought the boxes from the well-seasoned barn, a mish-mash of homey things to unpack, sort through, and organize.

I was thinking “department store” while arranging things, a born store-keeper-decorator ~ there was a linen department,  a garden department, a kitchen department; there were sections for dishes, baskets, furniture, and applicances ~ like a pop-up store! I had a little store in California at one time and my favorite part was making it look cute! So I was having a good time! 

This organizing kind of worked until we began to run out of time and gave up on it, and started just getting things OUT of the boxes ONTO the tables!

Birds, boxes, bowls, and baskets, . . . all good. Throw in some cups, vases and a thermos … variety, the spice of life, here at my favorite and most-spontaneous kind of recycling center! Everything going to new homes, spicing THEIR lives just like these things did for us! (At the top of this blog you will see “Home Sweet Home” … click there for talk of 100% originality about making a wonderfully original home from recycled things!)

We opened at 9 am ~ the line to get in was down the block ~ neighbors, islanders, and tourists, all together ~ my girlfriend Lowely had a yard sale that day too, and also Martha, and a few others in our neighborhood, so it was a lot like Halloween, people going door to door! Fun for all! And unfortunately I forgot to take pictures when the people were there!!! Too busy! And they were the best part! Everyone was in SUCH a good mood, toting cups of coffee, stopping to chat, they even brought their kids and dogs, I had to get a big bowl of dog water! ~ Summer Saturday morning ~ who doesn’t love . . .

It really wasn’t a beach day ~ it stayed overcast so what better thing to do than go to a yard sale!? You can see the line still going on the other side of the hedge ⬆️! They pretty much cleaned us out and I have to say, there is lightness of heart that comes with watching the pie plates run free! Everyone spoke of their incredible gratitude for the vaccine, that we were able to come together to do this! It really was sort of a mini celebration of the normal things in life! And I decided, if I ever really miss something, if I wish I hadn’t let it go, I won’t mind because I can put it on my list and start hunting for it all over again. A win-win! A great yard sale, all cleaned up now and put away for the next time!

So, I have to share with you what we did on our cold rainy days . . . we had about three of them in a row, I had to FORCE myself not to turn on the heater! (Almost feels like a dream now!) I just kept adding clothes, then blankets! And we made it cozy with this delicious tummy-warming lunch:

Maybe today it’s 115º where you live, in that case, this would probably NOT be the right thing (try my icy GAZPACHO!), but this Mexican White Bean and Chicken Stew is SO good, I had to give you the recipe. Joe and I tasted something like this on our travels, I wrote down what we thought was in it, but never tried to make it until now … oh what we’ve been missing! If you can’t make it now, save it for later! Because look!⬇️

It’s actually even better than it looks! Great if you have leftover chicken, but worth it to quickly sauté enough to make this! Gluten free, chock full of vitamins, and relatively low calorie! Easy to make! Pop, pop, pop, it’s done! Serves 6 . .

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 c. chopped yellow onion
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 2 c. jarred salsa verde (we used Stonewall Kitchen)
  • 2 c. cooked, shredded chicken (we always use thighs!)
  • 2 15-oz. cans of white beans, drained and rinsed well
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, sauté garlic and chopped onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil until onion is soft. Stir in rest of the ingredients, heat through and serve with all, or your choice, of toppings: chopped avocados, squeeze of lime juice, minced cilantro, sour cream, minced green onion, grated cheddar cheese, and/or taco chips.🥑

Hope you love it! So, what else do I have to tell you? Oh, yes, this: (I hope you are sitting down.)

Look what I did. Can you tell? Actually I’ve been debating whether or not I should tell you because everyone I HAVE told has gone, Oh nooooo! It’s okay ~ I always knew I would do it ~ to me it’s just like “Fly little pie plate, fly…” Freedom. Yes, you may have guessed . . . those are the shredded remains of my diaries! Don’t be upset! Let me explain! I am the mommy of these books, I brought them into the world, and it was time to take them out.💝

They gave back more than they were ever given, they lived a good and useful life but it was time for them to go. So this is how I spent my early mornings during most of the pandemic, reading, laughing, blushing, crying, tearing out a few pages to keep forever, and shredding the rest.

All gone! Blowing on fingernails, polishing on shirt, so proud of myself! I’m glad I have pictures of them. Before and . . .

. . . after. I kept the covers. And that’s not all . . .

I started by trying to burn them in the fireplace . . . and found out it was a very slow and cumbersome way to do it and guess what, they don’t burn! It was a romantic idea: dark winter day, world in turmoil, snow blowing, a cup of tea, crackling fire, reliving memories, burning old diaries, but, no…it wasn’t working.

So I moved the shredder into the wood room in front of the big flat box that holds the true pandemic treasure of Turner Classic Movies, put Jack next to me in the chair, and shredded a few pages every morning … listening to Shirley Temple sing, watching Fred and Ginger dance, realizing, as I read them how smart I was not to leave them lurking around! I stayed young and ignorant forever, searching for life, love, and purpose. I kept those diaries for me, not for posterity. I wrote “Your service is undeniable” in the back of each one when I finished it. They did their job, were a HUGE help in the beginning years of being a grown up. So there they are in that big bag behind Jack! And I didn’t throw the bag away, or put it in the yard sale.

Most of you know I’ve been keeping diaries for almost as long as I could hold a pencil. I’ve always loved writing, my diaries have been SO helpful for growth, and helpful for writing books later on! But I didn’t have what it took to begin trying to save them until I was in my twenties! (My mom kept a few of my things in my baby book!💝) I lost all my teenage diaries, all my little girl ones. Probably a good thing! But today, when I talk to children who say they want to be a writer when they grow up, I tell them all I know, “Read everything, keep a diary, and don’t lose it!”

You’ll be glad to hear I didn’t shred them ALL. I kept this one. It goes from from January 1996, to June 2007! Lots of good things in here. It’s at a bookbinder now, being rebound, it was a pretty book with a cloth binding that wore out with too much train travel!

To this diary, as you see in the lower right, I was was “your obedient servant.” Actually to all of them.💞

So I kept it.♥️ And as you can see, I never stopped trying to figure things out.

The diaries I shredded were filled with little bits and pieces . . . old letters, cards, ticket stubs, photos, tucked between the pages. Sometimes I would be somewhere I didn’t have my diary with me, so I would do addendums. I kept all this stuff and much much more!

I saved lots of whole pages, the happy times . . . and wasn’t about to shred this! Buying my first little house here on the island, Holly Oak! The doorway to my new life. But then I wrote all about it in Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, used the good handwriting, and added pictures too, so I no longer needed the diaries!♥️

And this, trying to learn how to “Think Like Leonardo DaVinci”… 🤣 ~ I was reading the book, and put it down to try to do what he did one early morning, curled up all alone on a big overstuffed sofa in front of a huge crackling woodfire in the very quiet lobby of the Mt. Washington Hotel in New Hampshire, I drew my first “Mind Map.” Finding out who you are is a process.

And this, a wonderful Mary Engelbreit card Joe gave me in 1987, exactly 3 weeks after our first date. Read the top. I tried not to melt.👏

And then . . . the topper, My boat had come in!🙃 I wasn’t ABOUT to throw this away!💘 He already loved me. At the time, I thought, NO WAY . . . but then he set about convincing me ~ the fun part. My mother wasted no time, she was thrilled immediately.♥️ I transferred that whole story of our first date (that lasted a lifetime) from my diary to A Fine Romance, so I didn’t need to save it. Just all the cards and sweetness tucked between the pages. See? It’s not as bad as you thought!

And there are lots of other diaries I will never get rid of! My dinner-party diary is going nowhere . . .

My first English Garden diary . . . where, among other things, I figured out how to make cute fences like the one I saw at Great Dixter!

I kept all my English Diaries of course . . .Not to mention those journal BOOKS  so many of you have read, where ALL my memories are saved .. . so I just feel good about the whole thing!

And Joe had a brilliant idea. He thinks I should send Cliff one of the new cups when they come in (for all of you who’ve ordered, they’ll be here to help us celebrate fall, 🍂 hopefully by the end of September) and use my shredded diaries to pack it in! Isn’t that perfect? Cliff’s a big fan of the cups! Perfect closure. I’m sure he’ll love it! A big relief, he won’t have to hear his most dreaded words anymore, “But I have the diaries!” 🤣 The torture has ended!Speaking of which, I’ve started keeping a NEW diary! I kind of stopped writing during the pandemic when I couldn’t focus! But I’m back! And that’s not all!

The other day I came into the kitchen and grabbed Joe’s hand and said, “Come with me… I  want to show you something!” I was so excited. I pulled him through the living room into my studio to show him what I’ve been doing ~ working on my new book of quotes again! All laid out on my counter. My Creativity is back! Here are a couple of the pages . . .Joe was so happy ~ gave me a big hug! After the pandemic, I needed to get a new “foundation for the creation” and it took a while for it to form! Sometimes I wondered if it ever would, the waiting is always the hard part…but every day feels better and I say to myself, life is soooo good.  Makes me happy. I am still my own science project! Trying to figure things out, forever and ever! My dad called me “Grasshopper” (he got it from the 70s TV show Kung Fu) ~ I was his inexperienced idiot student and he was all-knowing master! True then, true now. Learning something new every day! 

And for the learning part and the beauty part . . . we finished listening to Hamnet while out on our walk (Joe gets one ear plug, I get the other, book is on the phone!). My review? Excellent. Beautiful writing. Lovely lovely lovely. They’re going to make a movie out of it! My favorite books are the ones that send me to Google, wanting to know more, about the characters, the subject, the time period, or the author. This was perfect for that.(It starts slow, don’t give up.)Blessings on all the geniuses the world has produced who have charted a path, and left their brilliant discoveries behind for us… you will love my quote book, I’ve collected them from the beginning of time, it’s going to be all the secrets of the world.♥️

More of the beauty part . . . good old tablecloth, of course did NOT go into the yard sale despite small hole from over-love! The pillows, made with my fabric from Spoonflower, were our Christmas gift from Kellee and everyone at the Studio last year!

We lit up the twinkle lights and had dinner under the arbor (Tea House of the Vineyard Moon”) with friends for the first time this summer. Everyone beautifully and inspiringly vaccinated and safe. Gratitude galore! Mutual admiration society! Tons of fireflies blinking in the lawn . . . corn on the cob, salmon, my mom’s potato salad, and root-beer floats! Do you butter your corn with hot bread? I’m so far behind, one of our guests just told me about this, I tried it for the first time! More genius! It’s everywhere!🤣

And roses . . . Joe brought them home, not from our garden, but very pink and very beautiful!

I love summer nights on the island when it’s all quiet in our neighborhood of old houses, and I hear dishes clattering, and music playing from other people’s screen doors, and then the boat whistle blows . . .like a dream.

So here we go my dear girlfriends. You’ve been so patient! Time for our drawing! I so hope YOU win!!! And if you don’t, don’t worry we will try again and again and again! ❌⭕️ So here we go . . . for the 4th of July cup . . . our lucky winner is . . .ta daaaa!🎵



And for the two Springtime cups, we have two winners:

MARY from Forest Grove and ALLYSON BILLINGSLEY..

How exciting!👏👏👏 I’ll send an email soon so you can send me your address and your new cups will be winging their way to you before you know it.💞 Thank you ALL for entering and trying, you never know, you still have a better chance here on this “insignificant” blog 😂 than you do with the lottery! Keep that happy thought in mind! ❌⭕️Last but not least, for all our fellow travelers to the English Countryside next May 🥳 . . . Kelsey at Discover Europe ( and I worked out a new tour to add to the list … this one goes from the ship by train to the Lake District ⬆️, then across the Yorkshire Dales, to York! This tour will NOT come back to join us for the picnic at Stourhead with our English girlfriends because travel time is a little longer than the others, but it’s still so very wonderful and you can read all about it and sign up HERE. And FYI, The Cotswolds tour is sold out, but they’ve made a waiting list because they are trying to put together another one💞, so be sure to contact Kelsey if you’re interested in that. There is still room on my favorite tour (they’re all my favorites as you know!), that’s taking everyone to Sissinghurst Garden


And although Sissinghurst Garden is a little bit of heaven on earth, this tour also includes Anne Boleyn’s Hever, Winston Churchhill’s Chartwell, Vanessa Bell’s Charleston, places we LOVED, plus so much more! All in the gorgeous “Garden of England!” History, gardens, cottages, pubs, and charm, oh my!😘

And BTW, P.S, Here’s another surprise! Guess who’s flying from England to New York to board the Queen Mary 2 along with the rest of us? Guess!! Yes!!! Rachel!!👏 Bringing her darling husband Paul! It just gets better every day! There are more fun things to come, but I have to make sure they are 100% definite! So hard to keep my mouth shut . . . stay tuned!♥️  

And, there is still  a little space on the Salisbury tour that takes you to Lacock ⬆️, and to everything Jane Austen.♥️ Read about the four tours HERE.

And yes, if you don’t have time to take the ship, you can fly over and join any of the tours, and all but the one to the Lake District will bring you back to our picnic on the lawn in front of the grass bridge ⬆️ in Stourhead. Or fly over and just come to the picnic (May 15th, 2022, BYO picnic!) before you head out on your own. SO many choices! For a red letter year!

So off I go. In all my memories today I was reminded of something my darling brother Jim said to me once, “All I need to know about love I learned from the song Hey Jude . . .” ♥️ As usual, I’m thinking what an idiot. So of course I ran to read the words (insight into a brother’s thinking is not something one takes lightly) . . . And realized how right he was when I read . . . 🎶🎵 “Remember to let her under your skin, then you begin to make it better . . .”🎵🎶 One more reason to fall in love with the Beatles (and my brother Jim💞 ~ John Lennon’s OTHER song works for him too, Beautiful beautiful beautiful boy….💝) That’s him with his son Ben in ↖️ that picture.

Sending love, cooling breezes, dry days, soft rains, and starry nights . . . . ❌⭕️❌⭕️ Your Pal, Anna Susana Branchburger the third.♥️

P.S. 🎶🎵 “For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool, By making his world a little colder . . .”🎶🎵

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  1. Pam Buell Erselius says:

    What a fabulous blog! Well worth waiting for ❤️🤍❤️🤍❤️🤍. I love that you share so much of the wonderfullness of your life. Thank you for all the photos so we could vicariously attend your yard sale. And the recipes! I look forward to fall (or when the hubby turns the A/C down to low 😂) to make that soup. It’s often triple digits here. May you have Many happy times in the Tea House of the Vineyard Moon with your Ship that came in. 😇

    • Merry says:

      Just finished reading these beautiful words, memories and love. Each day I have a few words, quotes, spiritual wisdom that come up on my phone everyday. I added,
      “It is perhaps a more fortune destiny to have a taste for collecting shells 🐚 than to be a millionaire.” Robert Louis Stevenson

  2. Ruthi Nicholson says:

    Oh to go through the past. What a poignant remembrance in this long year. It reminds me a bit of Mother Teresa NOT wanting to have her diaries kept. But, they did. And they found that she had dark periods & doubts. So in one way, it shows how even the most devoted, sacrificial person can have struggles with faith, but perhaps it also shows that it’s ok to question, but still stay strong in action. For the rest of us mere mortals, I agree that we want to remember the best. ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      For me it was a matter of immaturity!🤣 Went on too long! If you read ALL the diaries, you could see the growth, but if you just started with one,…. eeek.

  3. Jeannine Kinder says:

    Lovely blog post! You are my sister (never really had one…just 2 stinky brothers) if you let me join your family. What a romantic Joe is!!! Do you think 65 is too late to find that kind of relationship?

    • sbranch says:

      I think anything can happen! But you should put yourself into making it happen too. I mean, just BE where you can be met!

  4. Maryellen says:

    Gosh, first I was heartbroken about the diaries. Then I remembered that they are your diaries and your life AND you have shared so much with all of us. Then I thought some more and thought about what a good idea this is actually. I need to do some sorting and reading and put things in order, keep the good stuff, cry over the bad stuff and preserve only the best memories. So glad you are back on the air (or floating in the cloud or zipping through the wires).

  5. valerie says:

    Yay, I’m un-forbidden! Thank you IT man, the new super hero! My son is an IT man and he has rescued me several times.
    Wow! What a massive yard sale. You can tell that a lot of preparation went into it. Love going to yard sales, even if I don’t buy anything. Just fun to look and see and visit. Extra wonderful to come home with a treasure.
    I first was sad to read you shredded your diaries, but realized you are right, some things you don’t want shared and it was for your prosperity and growth. Hopefully Cliff won’t piece them together, haha. Great idea Joe.
    Congratulations to all the cup winners.

  6. Sherry Winchester says:

    Absolutely breathtaking blog entry, Susan. So much to think about! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And as usual, a big SMOOCH to Master Jack….And hi to you and Joe, too! A lovely, lovely Summer to you all!

  7. Denise Anderson says:

    As always a great blog Susan, just love reading & seeing the pics. . . .Keep up the good work. I will be looking for your book of quotes . . . . . Hugs to you three!

  8. I’ve journaled for years. Since our daughter died I have no one to leave them to. A friend asked me not to destroy them, she will take them but I don’t write like you and figure they will be boring. Another friend agrees with her. I’m still not sure.

    • sbranch says:

      Find at least one you like, and save that one. ALL diaries have value. xoxo

    • Julie Buck says:

      I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our daughter almost 10 years ago now, and it’s a pain that lingers. May find the joy that surely lies in wait for us, even though it will be different than we thought.

  9. Karen says:

    You know something? Your life is FULL to BURSTING! Isn’t it just SO wonderful? Even MORE wonderful – you ‘get it’ and appreciate every single moment . . . You GO GIRL!!

    PS When I saw your picture of your yard sale – my eye went immediately to the wool plaid throw – it was beautiful:)

  10. LanaWertz says:

    Dearest Susan, I so identify with you! A woman of my heart! I was born in Ohio and have lived in California for 50 years! I have always loved the idea of going to Martha’s Vineyard so you have taken me there in the most wonderful way through your life story and newsletters! Thank you so much for being true to yourself and sharing with all of us your adoring fans! Someday I may get to Martha’s Vineyard! Take care and I love you and your work! ❤️👏❤️

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I think one just knows when it is time to destroy diaries…or well, whatever one wants to call them…some details will fade with time…and maybe no reason to remember them more. For me, was moving that motivated me…it was writings I had done, plus many photos…if not a good photo with no meaning to my offspring, no reason to keep…but I kept some…tried to find the best photos of kin and kept a few…and I imagine as time goes along, there will be more I grind up too. But I am working on some memory books for my daughters now…and hopefully it will fall into the hands of the grandkids one day…focusing on mainly the 3 best kin I had (my mom and her parents). And how much things have changed…and in some cases, being humans are what they are…not changed…in all the years. My grandma was born before 1900 and lived to be nearly 92…so lots to say there. Maybe having reached this stage of life, tis time to downsize a great many things? Hah…cute idea for what to send Cliff!!

  12. Kathy Kuhl says:

    I kept checking to see if you had posted anything and got the forbidden message.
    I finally just gave up. I am happy for the winner’s of the cups. Have a wonderful evening Susan.

  13. Anna in Ashland, OR says:

    Yay, we are no longer “forbidden”! I am so very happy to read your blog again. But when I learned about the shredding, I gasped so loud, my husband came running from the other room. I would have loved to go to your sale. Oh, well. Treasures for all. Thank you, Susan. Reading your blog does brighten my day.

  14. Glenda Slanina says:

    Wow! What a blog and so worth waiting for. I loved it…the yard sale, the reflections, the inspiration, all of it. However, I must admit that my favorite part was Joe’s card. You melted and so did I when I read his note. What a sweetheart you found.💕My sister and I will be in England in May on our own adventure, but I am trying to fit in the picnic. I know it will be an unforgettable and lovely afternoon with all the girlfriends. You do make us all feel as if we are best friends. Thank you so much for all you do💜🌸🌼 You are a ray of sunshine 🌞

  15. Jane says:

    Dearest Susan,
    You cannot be insignificant. The way you have brightened my days with your posts and my tea shelf with your mugs brings a smile to my face and warmth to my kitchen every day. Much love to you, and to your fantastic team

  16. Beth Robson says:

    I love your blog! Looking forward to trying the recipe too! I have two of your scrapbook, make it your own cookbooks and I LOVE them! Everyone loves to sit and flip through them. Now I will have recipes from your blog to add!
    Thank you!

  17. Barbara Scott says:

    I am glad it wasn’t just my computer or me, that received the “Forbidden” message. I was afraid that you had been canceled somehow. Crazy! Today’s email was very welcome and I couldn’t wait to read your blog. They are always bright and cheery. It makes me feel warm inside. Best wishes for the rest of the summer.

  18. Dawn R. says:

    I’m so glad that your IT guy was able to fix everything right up, although he was incorrect on one thing- your blog is significant to so many!! I look forward to your blogs when they arrive, I usually get myself a cup of tea and it is just a treat to read and I enjoy each one! the pictures and recipes are just wonderful. Many thanks for all the cheer you bring and love you spread 😊

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I think he was comparing me to the Social Security site, or comcast or something like that!❌⭕️

  19. Linda Reilly says:

    Loved not missing your blog. I thought I had done something wrong when I couldn’t retrieve it. So happy your IT worked it out!
    Was wondering have you ever thought of designing blank diaries? With your cover artwork and little drawings throughout the blank pages. (Lightbulb idea) I know I would certainly buy one! I love your clipboards and use them on a daily basis. Thanks for spreading the joy👍😚

    • sbranch says:

      I have! It’s on the list! xoxo

    • Meg Cooper says:

      I remember years ago a lady commented on the blog that she uses Susan’s “Days” book (it could be used as a planner or journal) as a journal and she had a whole stack of them from many years past. I started doing that 9 years ago and I love it because the spaces are smaller for each day and I don’t feel pressure to fill them up. I start my new journal on my birthday each year, instead of Jan. 1.

      I once heard very good journal/diary advice: “Never write something you wouldn’t want someone to read.” I stick to that and I don’t feel like I have to hide my journals from anyone- I’m an open book!

      • sbranch says:

        Yes, but then, I would think, my books, as my own private in-house, in-brain, psychiatrist, might lose some of their oomph!♥️

  20. Julie Buck says:

    Thank heavens you are back! I was so worried I would never get to read your luvlee blog again! I shouldn’t have worried – I should have known that you would make it happen. Thank you for being you and saving the all the things you saved. I must admit that I was shocked, and yelled “no!” when I read about your shredding your diaries. But, it’s clear that you saved the best and a lot of the rest is in your books and in your designs.

  21. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    I don’t believe I ever mentioned in a comment that when I first saw your art in Country Living magazine in the 1980s I fell in love with it, but also loved your name so much because my very first niece was born Susan Anne Branch. At the time, of course, I didn’t know Branch was your married name. But from that time forward, your art and your words have been such a source of beauty and inspiration. I’m so thrilled about your quote book.i started a book of favorite quotes in the 1980s and reading through it is almost like reading a diary.

    Your yard sale would have been a dream to attend!

    I’m so happy you are feeling better, dear Susan!

  22. Janet Johnson says:

    Welcome back! That yard sale would have been so fun to go to and full of things I loved, I’m sure! Wonderful post as always.

  23. D. in Louisiana says:

    Yes, still here, Susan! I was watching and waiting for everything to get fixed and today is the day! YAY! I love reading your blog posts. So much beauty and joy and creativity. Makes me smile. Thank you!

  24. Carol K says:

    The internet —love it and hate it at the same time. So glad to know I wasn’t black listed from your blogs. Love hearing from your corner of the world. We just had a massive thunder storm stall over central NJ. Hope it’s not heading your way. This is no fun especially when ones cellar springs leaks! Glug, glug, glug.

  25. Carolyn says:

    A joy to read, as always, Susan! I was just thinking today that I was sorry I hadn’t kept journals for years and years—just very sporadic diary or journal writing. There are so many details I can’t renew—what came when, am I remembering the facts of something or the facts of the story about something? And now photos live in my phone and not in an envelope or photo album…. Ah, well! Just have to start now! Never too late! Glad you’re enjoying lovely summer nights!

  26. Carol says:

    Oh, that card from Joe three weeks after your first date! Be still my heart!

  27. Ann Woleben says:

    It was a treat to see this post in my email today. The “forbidden” message last week was “earth shaking” and I was wondering what in the world I had done to be forbidden to read your post. The photos of your yard sale were full of wonderful “treasures.” Wish I could have been there. So many good quotes in this post – looking forward to your quote book. I’m happy to know that you are feeling much better. The past year threw many of us into a “dark place.” I feel like I am emerging from a shell. Every day is special.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, NOBODY could be THAT bad!!!🤣 And PS, I’m finding the more “out there” I get, the better I feel!

  28. Lucia Donahower says:

    Hi Susan,
    I freaked out when I open your blog post and it kept saying Forbidden! I was so scared I had done something with my computer, so I called your shop in San Luis Obispo and I’m still waiting 🤣, but I just finished reading your post and all is great in the world!
    This post is wonderful. I so enjoyed seeing all your diaries.
    I have 3 of your cups: the 4th🇺🇸 Of July, Spring, and my favorite Summer. The winners are very lucky to have two of the three I own.
    Thank you Susan for all the beauty and happiness you bring.
    Lucy in California

  29. Patti from Pleasanton, CA says:

    Dearest Susan,
    My very favorite part of your wonderful blog was the card Joe gave you 3 weeks after you met and him expressing his “desperate love” for you! So romantic and a love you can count on for eternity!
    3 weeks after Paul & I had our first date, he proposed! We have been married
    31 1/2 years this month… it is so splendiferous (my new favorite adjective) when God blesses you with a good man who puts your well being above his own.
    So happy for us both!!
    Thanks for sharing your insights & creativity with all of us!
    Sending love and a hug,
    Patti from Pleasanton, CA

    • sbranch says:

      Agreed Patti! Such a find! I meet lots of people still in mad love with their spouses, very blessed!

  30. Marybeth Rogers says:

    So beautiful and jam-packed with creativity and love and warmth. It made me cry. God Bless you Anna Susana, fondly, Marybeth

  31. Karen Holly says:

    Welcome back, Susan! I/we missed you earlier this week. Thank you for another wonderful post! I am glad you are feeling better and can return to your quote book. Best wishes to you, Joe, and Jack for a nice weekend!

  32. Sharon Crane says:

    I am so happy that your IT guy sorted everything out,Susan! I was alarmed when I saw the “Forbidden” message but my IT guy (my recently retired husband) was in the room at the time, and quickly assured me that it was a problem that would probably be resolved. Thank you, as always, for the inspiration and beautiful pictures!

  33. julia walker says:

    Dear Susan, I’m so thankful your wonderful blog wasn’t “forbidden” forever! It is so very much appreciated. So glad your creativity is back!! As always, thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

    Your friend,

  34. Marge says:

    Congratulations to the three winners! And thank you, Susan, for the delightful post as usual. BTW, Joe’s handwriting is as nice as yours. Until next time, Memarge:)

  35. Andrea McVety says:

    I was sad at first about your diaries, but as soon as you said you started a new one, I felt better. New beginnings, adventures and memories. How absolutely marvelous. Especially after the past year, gulp! xoxo

  36. Christine Morgan says:

    I kept a diary every year growing up. When I met my first husband he gave me a journal for our first Christmas and I wrote in it everyday. Pasted concert and movie tickets in it. Everything was there. I continued through the years but when kids showed up I was so busy I did not keep it up. I got rid of all of them except or that one special diary. 2 kids and seven years he decided he wanted a divorce. I was devastated. That was in the 70’s. I kept that diary. Never read it. I would see it in the drawer. Never read it. He passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. I did not expect it to affect me the way it did. That night I got it out and read it cover to cover. I am so happy I kept it. I am so happy we had the three years we dated and the 7 years of marriage. Thanks Susan for sharing so much of your life.

  37. Jane Alexander says:

    I was so glad you shared about the yard sale. I loved seeing all the tables filled to overflow. Very thankful your creativity is flowing well. My hubby and I are downsizing from 2700 square feet to 1260. We bought an apartment at a huge independent living place called Eagles Trace. It is extremely stressful downsizing and letting go of favorite things. For sure I will save my Susan Branch items.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, feels good doesn’t it. I’m not finding it hard, at least so far… congratulations on your new place!

  38. Tania says:

    Your yard sale looked awesome. Wish I lived close enough. I would have bought a lot of items.
    And thank you for sharing the Mexican White Bean and Chicken Stew. It looks absolutely delicious.

  39. Claudette M.Jensen says:

    So happy to see a new blog filled with delightful little tidbits and always something to reflect on. What a fun looking yard sale! Living in northwest Wisconsin I would never be able to attend! I could hardly believe it when “Forbidden” came up when I tried to bring your site up. Kept trying and so glad that is no longer an issue. Happy to see you are enjoying dinners again with your friends!! Happy days to you and Joe!!

  40. Saralyn Alexander says:

    Thank you for writing about your yard sale. My daughter’s were there before me and figured out it was you because of your handwriting on the yard sale sign! I was able to go and instead of looking at all your wonderful treasures (and I’m a die hard treasure hunter) I was so excited it was you. Thank you for taking the time to chat and take a photo. I wish I had one of your books with me for you to sign! I left with so much happiness that I found the best treasure! Thank you Susan Branch for bringing so much joy to this world (and if you have another yard sale I’ll remember to look around next time!).

  41. Jennifer L Espinoza says:

    This is my favorite of all your blog posts. Thanks – Jennifer

  42. Karen Seward says:

    I just bought your Summer Book I had to get it off ebay,I brought the book to the Beach with me and read only about 3 pages so far but I read every detail every word I have the Book displayed in my livingroom on top of my vintage table with a beautiful April Cornell floral runner and vase with flowers it looks so pretty now I have to discipline myself and read more,I Love your Cat Jack I believe he’s the same age as my 2 Cats 10 yrs. Old,be well,healthy &safe……

  43. Jo'l says:

    I applaud your bravery in shredding your diaries, saving the bits and pieces from within them. Need to take some direction from you and get on with life now that we have them again.
    Thank you for telling us about the things you weren’t doing during the last year and a half plus, makes me feel more normal.

    • sbranch says:

      I thought so, I knew I wasn’t alone. Each day gets better, I hope for you too! It wasn’t easy to “get on with life” in the beginning, but a little more every day. That entire thing was AWFUL, we have every right to need some recovery time! xoxo

  44. Melanie in Houston says:

    After reading the whole thing, I can understand your decision on the diaries. I’m glad you kept the extra special bits. Oh man, what Joe wrote inside that card! *swoon* Does Mary Engelbreit know that one of her cards played a part in the beginnings of your romance? You and Joe were made for each other!! I’m still hoping for the movie to be made. 🙂

    The picture of the outdoor dinner under the lighted pergola is SO, SO happy! Happy days are here again!! Thanks for the comfort & joy, Susan!
    Melanie in Houston

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I don’t know if she knows … if she reads my blog she does! Yes, it’s SUCH a treasure to me! And I hope for the movie too! Would love to see our first date on the big screen! Happy Sunday!

  45. Kari OBrien says:

    Dear Susan, it is so wonderful to read the excitement of the cup winners!

    Your “Blessed” cup is a beautiful version of My Cup Runneth Over and so wonderful! And what a brilliant idea from Joe to pack it in the shredded papers to Cliff.
    Congratulations on releasing your diaries. Your courage continues to inspire! xo

  46. Sherri Fabbri says:

    I am so happy your blog came back! I was really sad when I discovered it had been messed up! So glad you were able to work it all out! Thank you as always for your wonderful words and everything! You are very brave to go through your diaries and do what you needed to do with them. I have a hard time getting rid of things but I know at some point I’m gonna have to do some similar types of getting rid of other things also! At some point, being age 70, my husband and I will need to downsize to a one level house. We also want to move a couple hours away to be closer to our children and grandchildren. I wish I were able to take the trip to England with you; I’ve always wanted to do that and never have been able to! You mentioned a while back you were going to be going the to SLO area. Did that already happen? I was there in April. I was very sad that the gift shop and Resturant of the Apple Farm were not open at that time. I guess they are now. I plan to be back there again to visit my parents probably in September. I loved seeing you at the Apple Farm a few years back! That’s my favorite place to stay! I hope you will still have your things in the gift shop! Bless you!

    • sbranch says:

      Looks like the gift shop comes back in September, perfect timing! But as a completely different thing! I’m just glad it’s coming back at all! I’m not sure if they will have things like mine … looks like it’s local things like jams and honey and things like that.

      • Sherri Fabbri says:

        I wish it was going to be just like it was! Especially them having your things there! I think that they really should have your things there because you used to be a local there and still are in the neighboring city right?

        • sbranch says:

          I wish it was the same too, I loved shopping there! Probably depends on whoever is doing the buying and what their “theme” is … it sounds very food oriented. I’ll check in when we get out there and see what they’re up to!

  47. Minette says:

    So glad you are back! Even though I don’t post much these days, I love reading your blogs and becoming inspired to live and share the joy of living. We as a country have been through and continue to go through so much and we need voices and words of love and goodness that you share with us all to keep going and make it better again. We are going through the agony of letting go of our collections of things from the past fifty years of building memories and so I read your experience of selling things in your yard sale and shredding your diaries with great interest, empathy and understanding. It has given me much to think about! I think I have the courage to let go now and move on to our next new life phase! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, just like Pollyanna said, there is something good in everything! xoxoxo

      • Minette says:

        PS-can’t wait yo see your Dahlia garden! I absolutely love dahlias but cannot grow them in our garden as the young shoots get eaten up by the influx of critters we now have coming onto our property. If it’s not the deer or rabbits, it’s the chipmunks digging up the tubers! Just really excited to see yours grow and blossom!

  48. Karen Williams says:

    What a relief you’re back and Vanna has drawn winners!! Lucky, lucky peeps! What a wondrous blog to receive today – am wishing I was out near the coast so we could walk our boys down to the beach in the heat we are having over here in Blighty!!! 🇬🇧 We will hit the dizzy heights of 29 degrees C today around 3.00 pm…we have every curtain and blind drawn where the sun hits – just to stay cool. Phew! 😅😅
    Thank you once again for sharing your beautiful photos. You should feel very proud of yourself for managing to shred your diaries – getting rid of anything so personal is really hard. Likewise your yard sale – I’m sure most of the girlfriends would love to have attended!! I have been trying to get rid of ‘excess’ things as we downsize to a slightly smaller house to make a home – two houses have already fallen through – fingers crossed for third time lucky on this next one!! I’ve been gifting all my old treasures to our local charity shops – should have done a yard sale, like you have!! Still, the charity shops will make some money: one man’s gash is another man’s gold as you have often said!! Which leads me on to your latest book! How lovely it will be to have your chosen quotations from eons ago 😊 another gem from you.

    All good wishes for more of your garden gatherings with friends under clear skies.
    U.K. 🇬🇧

    • sbranch says:

      However you do it, that you do it is what counts! Our “thrift” shop, Charity Shop, was so overrun at the end of the pandemic they wouldn’t take anything else. Now you have to make an appointment, we have one next week! We had a very full barn of old things! Stay cool Karen, it’s the same here, plus very strong humidity. ♥️

  49. Terrie Trebilcock says:

    I am glad that you got the tech worked out—I wondered if it was computer that was refusing to open it! These hackers and ransom ware people are dangerous!
    Happy Rest of Summer!

  50. So pleased you are back. That was very worrisome. Felt that a piece of my heart had been torn! What memories and what a new beginning…..thank you

  51. Nicoline says:

    Hi Susan,
    So glad you’re back! Really enjoyed seeing the tables in your garden full of goodies and treasures; I would have loved looking for something!
    Your new book looks wonderful! Do you have many pages finished already? Do you think it will be finished this year?
    At the moment Gabri and I are also on an island…We’re on Texel which is the largest of 5 islands just off the Dutch coast. We’re here for 2 weeks, and after a few cool, dull windy days, summer is back!
    We were on the beach at 8AM and walked and walked, looking for shells along the way, hardly any other folks around…..our idea of heaven!
    Sending you both lots of salty sea hugs and kisses,
    Nicoline & Gabri

    • sbranch says:

      I have about 80 pages done. And I think I might have to do two or 3 volumes, there are so many, and too good to leave them out! I hope I can get it done by the end of next winter… printing time included… that’s the plan, we’ll see! Rachel said you’re coming to the picnic next year …is that true? Enjoy your lovely time on your island! xoxo

      • Nicoline says:

        Hi again,
        Wow, 80 pages, you have been very busy! Can’t wait for the new book/books!
        Yessss, we are so excited about the picnic, and yessss we’ll be there! It’s good timing, my birthday the 13th of may, so what better way to spend a b’day weekend!!
        Keeping fingers crossed IT WILL HAPPEN!!!!
        More sunshiney salty sea hugs

  52. Marigold says:

    So so so happy your talented IT person was able to rescue your website, Susan! It is an anchor on a stormy sea for many of us. The beauty, the joy, the honesty, the encouragement is always like a tall glass of iced lemonade or a steaming mug of comforting cocoa (depending on the season), and we just drink it in. Thank you for your faithful friendship.

    • sbranch says:

      I say that right back to you Marigold. Shall I tell you for the umpteenth time how much I love your name! It always cheers me up when I see it, here, or on that “other place.” xoxoxoxo

      • Marigold says:

        Thank you, Susan. It is a cheery name, I agree. Glad to know it brings a smile to your face! LOL @ that “other place” — I’m sure it’s been called worse, but I happen to like it there. That’s where I found you and the girlfriends!

        • sbranch says:

          I do too… look at all our girlfriends!💝 Would miss them so much if there was suddenly no more Twitter! xoxo

  53. jeanie says:

    I am transported and inspired — a always — so thank yo ufor that on this quiet Sunday morning! Ah, the diaries. A number of yeas ago, before I learned to put things OFF the floor in my basement, most of my old journals became soaked to the skin, beyond repair, in a flood. I was relieved. I still have a bit and will probably do as you did, saving pages, shredding most. Ah, the angst! The euphoria. The ordinary days listed less and now they matter so much more. That said, one box not destroyed was my grandmother’s journals from a 25-30 year period and what a slice of life they are — I would have been far more crushed to lose her history!

    How I would have loved your sale! And it would be the last thing I need, as I must do the same. Life works that way, yes?

  54. Margie Terry says:

    Hi Susan!! I’m so glad to see/hear your blog is back up and running!! I tried I don’t know how many times to have it appear on my screen but NO – only that awful message!! My first thought was I had been removed from your mailing list!!?? Too much going on here in PA so I didn’t check back and now I’ve missed the drawing – oh well, such is life – maybe the next time………..Our Travel Group is visiting Martha’s Vineyard in late August for a few days – maybe we’ll see you out and about………Take Care, your CA to PA transplant friend, Margie

  55. Larkin Myers says:

    I also said good bye to my journals during the dam-panic. I wasn’t smart enough to shred them; just threw them away after I read through them. It felt good. Thank you for being here and recovering from cyber terror!

  56. Margie Terry says:

    It’s me again – CA to PA transplant friend – when I opened your email it wasn’t the usual format – it began with a list of items similar to a to-do-list and then a lead-in to several blog postings plus some computer language items?? Is there still an underlying problem going on somewhere??

  57. Patty Husker says:

    Thank you for giving me inspiration. I made dozens of photo books of every trip I ever took and have been thinking who would want them after I’m gone. Most every day I pick one up and relive the joy of my trip but there is no one to leave them to. I thought burning them to ashes felt right but now I think shredding page by page is the way to go. “I kept those diaries for me, not for posterity.” ABSOLUTELY! When they serve their purpose I can let them go. I will keep one, not a vacation memory, but a book I put together called ‘Cats and Construction’ which may serve my great nephew’s children as a story book.

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds perfect! One of my favorite quotes “There ain’t no rules around here, we’re trying to accomplish something!” Said by Thomas Edison. Your life, your loves, your choice. xoxoxo

  58. Jackie says:

    Susan, you are such a dear heart to so many folks, I hope you realize that! Looking forward to your book of quotes! So good to read your post and glad to have you back…so much love heading your way!

  59. Geraldine B says:

    Susan, I so look forward to reading your blogs and when I saw FORBIDDEN I thought what is wrong with my computer. Desperately tried to retrieve and to no avail. I then sent an email and quickly received a response that I wasn’t alone. Waited patiently for it to be fixed and wa la now I feel so relived all is well. Glad your back writing and I especially enjoyed your Mind Mapping How to Think like Leonardo DaVinci and Good Old MOM. I request you make them both into book makers. I am going to try and print it and make my own for now. Thank you for all your inspiration. You make my day.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Geraldine! Tell me how that turns out for you… I’m thinking I can’t make it skinny enough and have it still be readable …. Tell me how you’re doing it! xo

  60. Jen Pen says:

    That was a hard, long wait, but worth it! Great blog!
    I have been a “Harriet the Spy” my whole life. When I returned from my honeymoon I took the drawer filled to the brim with my diaries and walked them out to the trash. My new husband tried to talk me out of it, but I felt we didn’t need to drag all that baggage into our new lives. (I probably wrote about my two neighborhood friends not being nice to me and other childhood slights.) At the time my journals were live giving. I am grateful for them. But I am also glad I let them GO. Still, when I lead creative writing workshops I recommend that women hold onto the writings they have that record their unique LIFE. Because as Columbus Dispatch columnist Mike Harden always said, “Writing lets you taste life twice.” I also took apart my childhood scrapbooks, crammed with matchbooks, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia. I took PHOTOS of the pages. That’s enough. I couldn’t even remember half the stuff I had written down. No clue what I was talking about! But at the time IT MATTERED and gave me joy. I love documenting the day’s joys and sorrows. That’s one of the reasons I relate to you – you value that solace. It’s now called a doing a gratitude list or mental health mind dumping, but we know it was our souls attempt to understand and celebrate our life journey. I am grateful to the Susan Branch Girlfriends circle. I love the fellowship here. Thanks for giving us all a safe place to share. I lift my “Small Things” china mug in a toast to you and will lift my birthday mug (purchased ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD in 2019!) on the 27th as my body begins its trek towards 60. By July 27, 2022 I hope to report I have gone skydiving. That’s the newest To Do. I know you will not be joining me. Ha! I am glad your muse is back! I am also very grateful for vaccines. We are holding our first dinner party next weekend. Readers, Claire Cook wrote a book during the pandemic called, “Life Glows On” about creativity. Check it out.
    Sorry I can’t join you all in England. I have plans to escort my mommy to her college reunion. Have fun! I’ll be reading the Instagram posts and enjoying the vicarious travel. Continued hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, no, I will not be joining you!!! 🤣 But I do send you great big Happy Birthday wishes! Happy Sunday!

  61. Lynn Cooper says:

    Wish I was at your tag sale; I would have bought the three bandboxes.
    The card from Joe was a sign that he was a keeper. You lucky girl, to have such a wonderful man in your life all these years.

    I have been big on quotes for years, and used to write a quote of the day on a large whiteboard in the elementary school I taught at for ages until I retired. People always thought the quotes brightened their day and got them off to a good start. Therefore I can’t wait to buy your new book when it is done. I have your book Gratitude and love that one. I frequently write some of the quotes from your blog on a piece of paper that I put on my desk so I can see them for inspiration and good feelings. “Go. Be. Love. The world needs you.” That is one of my favorites. Maybe you should have that printed on a tee shirt or sweatshirt. I’d buy one.

    When life is stressful with negative news from all sides it’s peaceful and calming to read your blog. It is filled with things about life that keep us connected to our friends, family, and those we meet and interact with. Keep writing, Susan.

  62. The internet, as we/you/we just learned is fickle. And paper is GOOD. You can TOUCH it. Have you ever seen anyone run their fingers over a computer screen in admiration and affection? Didn’t think so. SO…. have you ever considered publishing your newsletters in book form????? Maybe a couple years in a go?

    I sure would collect them! I’ve got a purchased-when-it-came-out first edition of Summer, and a 9th printing of the original Heart of the Home from about the same time…so I’ve been a fan-girl for a good part of both our lives. I love traveling along with you. I was a US diplomat, then a mom, now a textile artist and artist, and all along as I traveled the world, you’ve come with me.

    THANK YOU for the journey–here’s to many more years! If I win a lottery, maybe a future Atlantic crossing! Cheers, Sarah

    • sbranch says:

      I would need to find someone who could do it for me… Not sure how that would work! I can WRITE a book, but making one from a blog is different! At least the posts are all still here! Not the same as paper though! Thank you for letting me join you on your travels. Honored! xoxo

  63. Sharon says:

    It’s a cloudy, rainy Sunday, a lovely day to read your letter to us all.
    As I often do, I read your post out loud to my husband and share your photos and pics. We both enjoy your stories, struggles, successes and outlook. My husband was astounded I hadn’t asked to drive up to Martha’s Vineyard just for your yard sale! 😂 He knows me well but as we are also in the phase of paring down our treasures I felt it better to let others enjoy your treasures. Besides I would have needed to get rid of even more of my stash to accommodate other items. 😊 We both have boxes and boxes of family memorabilia to explore still. (Just yesterday my husband shared with me a small family bible he uncovered with an inscription showing it was given as a gift in 1749! We are in the process of trying to decipher all the hand written notes in it!)
    I have been an adoring fan of your talents for decades and my husband is fast learning the joys of your work too. We are both thrilled to be joining the voyage you arranged for next year and I will finally get a chance to show him where I lived for several years in my youth.
    Thank you for being you. Thank you to Joe for recognizing your value and beauty. Thank you for all the gifts you share with all of us.❤

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness, that bible!!!♥️ Love that you are coming along! It’s going to be so much fun!

  64. Sophie T says:

    This is what I wrote the night your blog post first was released (I see now that there were a few pictures missing, and of course the names of the lucky winners), and right when it became forbidden (luckily I was able to save it, hoping to be able to copy and paste it when your blog was up and running again… what a story, it must have been frustrating and unsellting).

    Oh Susan, I can’t believe how much stuff you had on the tables of your yard sale!!! And that you got to sell of most of it (well, actually, it looks like such quality stuff that I’m actually not that surprised!)! And I can’t believe you shredded your journals… OMG! I don’t think I could ever do this… I would feel like I’m shredding part of myself (although my journals are those of a teenage girl and aren’t that important!). I’m glad you kept some of the pages… and even more that you shared some of the content with us in your wonderful books!

    Thank you for the recipe, I will try it out! I love how you added some color to the stew with the toppings!

    Enjoy the summer, hot and cold, busy and lazy! 🙂

  65. charlotte m. says:

    So glad your IT guy got things sorted out. What a mess. I loved looking at your yard sale. The way you write, I always feel as though I am right there, having a talk with a girlfriend. It feels so cozy and homey. That is the life I strive for always. I am also happy to hear your creativity is returning. I think we all took that hit during the pandemic. Struggling to find a reason to create and move forward, while waiting for the vaccine.I found little ways to muddle through for months, and then BAM! one day I had so many creative ideas I could barely keep up and it hasn’t stopped yet! Thank goodness. Congratulations to all the cup winners. I have 4 of your cups, but I have decided they will have to suffice. I need no more, even though they are the most beautiful cups. Welcome back to your space and have a wonderful day!

  66. Ann Meads says:

    WOW. What a true story. That took courage. ANN M

  67. Anna says:

    Oh my, I wish I could have visited your jumble sale – I saw so many treasures!
    It is surprising how we hooman beans accumulate things.
    You were emotionally ready to let go of your diaries, whatever the method. Tho burning in the fireplace or a firepit does have a poetic satisfaction to me.
    The card from Joe – your ship has arrived … was so very touching even these many years later. Love lasts in words, too.
    You, Susan, are one of our treasures!
    Take care – Anna

  68. FayE in CA! says:

    Dear CEO of Necessary Insignificance!!

    I knew what your IT wizard meant when he referred to this site as insignificant. Girlfriends feel that this Blog is a most significant addition to their enjoyment. Yes, it is the little things that are most significant, so thank you for years of loved insignificance!!

    Well, I join the gang that literally gasped out loud re: shredding of journals…my husband looked up to see what was wrong! I agree with you that they served your purpose and were for your eyes only as you indicated in your first diary’s “ownership statement”…I laughed out loud at that pointed warning for intruding readers.

    Your yard sale looks like a collaborative neighborhood yard sale. The difference is that a Susan Branch yard sale has SO much to drool over! My eyes went to the two green wicker (?) chairs…nummo. AND! The FAB shaker boxes. Fell in love with them years ago while visiting Nantucket in 1993.

    Your progress on the quote book looks just like I envisioned it. Beautiful. Can’t wait to purchase one. Bet it will turn out to be the first in a series.

    The words on the Mary Engelbreit card read JUST like you wrote them about your mother. Joe had you figured out in just three weeks.

    Farewell for now, Spring Chicken. So happy that you are scratching your soul and clucking with glee as you strut through your life.. spreading joy. You are a blueprint for living, my dear.

    I am on my husband’s new computer and can’t figure out how to get an imoji, but know that there are three hearts here for you. FayE!

    • sbranch says:

      Green wicker was the FIRST thing to go! To a good home!💝 Ha ha on the emoji … new computers can be so much fun! (not🤣)

  69. FayE in CA! says:

    🧡🧡🧡 !!!


  70. Ellen Botts says:

    FORBIDDEN! What a horrible word. So glad the glitch was short lived. What would I do without my Susan “fix”? Looking forward to the quotes book.
    Cheers, Ellen

  71. Julia Miller says:

    My 12 year old granddaughter is writing her first novel this summer. She loves to write! I encourage her by sharing you with her….thank you for all you give us🥰💕

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t let her ever lose it! Someday, she may rewrite it, publish it, and become a number one bestseller!❌⭕️

  72. Christine says:

    So nice to have IT people; how do they do it?? Now that I am retired, I may take some classes to learn even more about computers. I had read Country Living magazines back in the 80’s and 90’s, (which I think was the magazines better years). The first Susan Branch illustration I came across was included with a recipe for blueberry cobbler. I cut that page out and it is still in my “dessert recipes” binder! This is when I also started to follow your work. I also found Mary Englebreit around the same time. Both of you have been inspirational because of the art alone. You, Susan, have been a blessing because you have shared so much of your life in such inspirational ways. I started recording my thoughts and life events in a journal/diary while waiting for my first child. ( I never thought of keeping a diary as a child, or maybe felt I had nothing to say, plus I had 4 brothers who got into all of us 5 girls stuff!!) I have kept the journals over the years and probably have about 6 or 7. When my husband passed, suddenly, (over 6years ago) I poured through them right away and tore out the pages that I wrote when I was mad at him. I did not want my adult children to read those words because, after all, we all err and I loved him so much in spite of it all. I am reading some of my mothers writings and I feel so blessed to have these, so I will keep most of the pages of my journals/diaries for my kids, so they can see who I was and how I grew over the years. The journals might just explain a few things!
    I am also glad you were able to come out of that slump! I know how that is and all I can think at those times is “how do I get out of this”? Well, that is the beginning of the way back up. Thank God for good folks who inspire, encourage and lift up! (that’s you, Susan!).

    • sbranch says:

      Just loved every word Christine! Thank you for sharing! Diaries are really something aren’t they. xoxoxoxoxo

  73. Patti Gill says:

    My favorite photo is of you and friends enjoying your first meal together under the arbor of lights joined by the fireflies. Our little Village of neighbors also had a celebratory meal together as soon as the last person was vaccinated (youngest). There was something so joyful about that! I still feel the warmth of those hugs after so many months of deprivation. Sure we stayed in contact via phone, texts, FaceTime, and Zoom. But being able to be in person! Wow!

    What a freeing thing to destroy old diaries whose memories were ready to flee into the atmosphere! I must do that. I think I have been a hoarder and need to let go of some of mine, too. Another type of celebrating! I have freed many of my thousands of books. Boxes and boxes of them with more to go.

    You inspire me so often!

    • sbranch says:

      Wow is right! I won’t ever take it for granted again. My prayers are that this thing will end forever. xoxoxo

  74. Sue Davis says:

    I Just read your lovely blog and got down to the part where there was a picture of you and your brother, Jim. You commented on his love of the Beatles song “Hey Jude,” and it reminded me of my husband, Broox, who died over 3 years ago. That was one of his favorite songs and he used to say to me, listen to the words. I had not listened intently before but I just heard them now and it brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for the memory.

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure. I lost my brother in 2016, and just wanted to hear his voice again. Sharing your 💔 and love of the memories. xoxo

  75. The first thing I thought to say after reading the beginning of your post was … AMEN! I was sooo worried I would no longer be hearing from you. Now I’m going back to read it all over again…now that I can focus.

  76. Laura Brown says:

    Soooo grateful to know the site is fixed! I pulled it up then, bam! FORBIDDEN.
    Several days now, I’ve kept checking, holding hope – remember what you know, Susan’s our friend, something must have gone wrong, it will always get better, and here you are! I’m so grateful!!!

  77. joan hutchins says:

    A wonderful attitude about life …a wonderful blog. Thanks so much, Susan. All good things your way 🙂
    best, joan hutchins

  78. Melina Bush says:

    Thank goodness you’re back!

  79. Susan,
    Your website is QUITE significant to so many of us.
    Thank you and your techie for getting it all back up for all of us.
    I literally gasped when I saw what you had done with your diaries, but then you talked me down from the hysteria, and I so love how you saved essential entries. Your memoirs will live on forever. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

    The picture you posted from the yard looking back to the house all lit up in the darkness is what I enjoy about having gatherings here on our small farm. I love looking at the house from the driveway-seeing the lights illuminate the property, hear the sounds of friends and family, and when everyone finally goes home, I love to sit in the kitchen and revel in a magical time.

    It’s been since Thanksgiving in 2019 since we’ve had a large gathering. We typically have them here in August for my birthday and in October for our annual “Smells like October” gathering, but this year we’re still not quite ready for so many people to gather inside. Possibly Thanksgiving for family (I too come from a large family of 5 kids).

    As to the tour next year, I so wish I could go do ALL THE THINGS but it’s during the school year, and as a teacher, it’s so hard to take time off.
    I will absolutely be joining you all virtually.

    Looking forward to reading your new quote book AND Enchanted when it’s published.
    Hugs from Aromas, CA.
    -Susan Shirley

  80. Rosanna says:

    So glad the blog came back from the Land of Errors! For some unknown reason, I was able to access it in the original form and then it was ‘gone’.

    BUT, I was able to copy the soup recipe (!!!)
    Yes, despite the heat and humidity, because I love soup so much, I made it the next day. It was perfect! Loved every spoonful! Plan to make it again real soon (despite the continuing heat/humidity) as my husband also loves it!

    Journaling is good for the soul. I journal and have for several years – even if it is just one line every so often. In my humble opinion, memorable or important things need to be recorded and remembered. And sometimes when I go back months or even years later, there is always space for me to jot down what happened – or didn’t happen – when there was some troubling event in my life.

    • sbranch says:

      I just got the stuff to make it again too! It’s delicious, glad you all liked it too! I think writing it down is a way to honor our precious lives and feel gratitude for all we’ve been given. And continue the memories for what we’ve lost so it’s never really lost. ❌⭕️

  81. Cheryl Roblyer says:

    Everything you write is precious! Thanks so much!❤️

  82. Jeanne Jorgensen says:

    Dear Susan,
    I saw “Forbidden” and said to myself, “How dare they!” I didn’t know who ‘they’ were, but I was pretty sure they were not nice. I am so glad your IT guy knew how to save all your wonderful words, drawings and photos to share with us.
    You do nothing but good, and the bad guys are now thwarted! That is only right.
    I also shredded most of my writing notebooks and used it as mulch on the spring plantings: like minds.
    Keep sharing with us please – life is too much without your brand of love.
    Jeanne of Iowa

    • sbranch says:

      The Lone Ranger and Tonto strike again! White hats rule! I’m sure your garden is BEAUTIFUL! xoxo

  83. Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

    I kind of “lost my breath” when you said you’ve shredded your diaries; just so shocking. But, I understand. I got rid of mine years ago. I didn’t want any evidence left behind. 😂 I would have loved to attend your yard sale, but the truth is, I need to be having one, not adding to my collections. Glad it went well, and there were no injuries. I had a yard sale years ago that was so successful, I had almost nothing left on the tables at the end. What I had left fit in a small grocery bag and went in the trash. Now, that’s a successful sale!

  84. LindaSonia says:

    Yikes – all I can say is each and every one of your blog posts is like a novel in and of itself. LOL!! Thanks for sharing.

  85. Karen Mac says:

    Susie Q…I’m so thrilled that you are back. I thought I was banned or something. I had everyone I know try to get on your blog and then realized they couldn’t either. I was so happy to hear that it wasn’t just me and that I wasn’t FORBIDDEN for life! I have a little suggestion. Maybe you could do something with your diary shreddings. I think your girlfriends would all love a piece of them and take them off your hands. Perhaps you could throw some in a cup, or put them in a tiny little net satchel, orrrr…who knows the possibilities if they haven’t already been tossed out or thrown in the fire! 😩 Thank you for sharing and brightening my day. I’m so happy you’re back and just where you belong!

    • sbranch says:

      Not thrown out… I might have gotten rid of the diaries, but so far I saved the shreds! 😂 xoxo

  86. Barbara Weaver says:

    This was the cheeriest blog post! When I finished, I realized that I had been smiling the whole time I was reading. We are all so glad to be out again and it’s great to see how you and Joe are enjoying the new freedom. Congratulations to the drawing winners, too. I’ll bet they’ve been smiling, too!

  87. Theresa Kane says:

    Seeing your diary page from 1957 (I was born in ’58) brought a tear to my eye!! Your writing has always held such love and feelings! xo

  88. Nancy Reinford says:


    I almost fell off my chair when I read you shredded your diaries!! You are brave.
    When we moved, I packed all my picture albums and after we were here 2 years, I took them apart and only saved favorite pictures. Some of them I thought, why did I take that?? It is hard to declutter, but it feels good when we do.
    I am glad your yard sale went well.

    Nancy R. from PA

  89. KARIN says:

    Thank you so for all this good cheer, never did I ever expect this pandemic to hit so hard or last so long, strange times for sure. Glad to read all your upbeat words and the sense that life is on the mend. Peace and love to heal our souls, blessings be, so glad your on the planet. Karin

  90. Tracy O says:

    Susan, love your blog posts! At first I was aghast that you shredded your diaries, but having done so myself with the few diaries I had years ago, I understand.

    After reading the last Willard, the stars and planets aligned and my best friend of 22 years and I booked a trip to Martha’s Vineyard in October! It was sort of a whirlwind thing that happened all at once (think magical!) and all of a sudden, before we knew it, we had a trip to look forward to.

    I quickly read Fairy Tale Girl and Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams for insight about the Island. We are very excited, and I’m afraid I won’t want to come back home to the Midwest!

    Congrats on a successful yard sale (wish we could have attended) and the epic shred-fest!

  91. Sherry Coleman says:

    Dear Susan,
    This post really warmed my heart. Hearing the word normal is like music to my ears!
    I’m sure I’m not alone. Anyway, my heart became happier and happier with every word you wrote. You’re a gem!💗🌸💗🌸

  92. Kathleen R. Helland says:

    So glad you got the problem solved. Have missed hearing from you! I had kept diaries forever. When my mother got sick she asked for them. I wondered why. She said that she knew that I didn’t write about the weather. Which of course, I didn’t. She said she was worried that if something happened to her, someone would find them. She insisted. Finally, I gave them to her. She burned them. My father said I must have about some hot stuff! He had never seen a fire like that before. l didn’t understand her reasons at the time. Bur after I lost her, I knew something’s are best left in the past. I am forever grateful to have had such a wonderful woman for a mother.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, all that matters is that you’re okay with it and you’ve protected the memory of your mom! Such wise words!

  93. Paula from Long Beach says:

    Hello, truly inspiring blog! When I retired 7 years ago, I sold my house and prepared to move back to the beach where I grew up. Moving created unexpected emotional moments when I was going through old boxes I hadn’t looked into for many years. I didn’t keep diaries as a young girl, but I kept scrapbooks. I looked through all of them and made the decision you did to get rid of them. There were so many memories I had “packed away” and was very glad I was able to enjoy each page before disposing of that part of childhood and early teens. I remember your little shop in AG and visited several times. It was adorable and had the sweetest things to choose from! Your Joe is definitely a treasure! Lucky you!!

  94. Kay says:

    Oh my, I was clutching my pearls when I read about your diaries! Thank goodness YOU’RE okay with it. I love your newsletters so much. Always look forward to them. Congratulations on your successful yard sale. They are a lot of work! Currently enjoying the Hulu mini series with Paul McCartney. I think you would too. Happy Summer!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kay!

      • Debby Rickett says:

        I love love love to read the girlfriends comments to Susan’s posts. I have to say, I laughed at your comment! I don’t even know you, but I saw you in my mind “clutching your pearls”. I know how you felt….
        Have a lovely day, dear!

        • Kay says:

          Thank you, Deb! I’ve kept diaries/journals since I got my first one on my12th birthday. I can’t imagine shredding them. LOL

  95. colleen says:

    Hi Susan! I am SO excited you’re woking on the quote book. It’s amazing how a little phrase can change your perspective, pick you up when you’re down, inspire, mend your heart, etc. Thank you for being such a positive light. Happy Summer!

    • sbranch says:

      I so agree, for me many of these were life-changers. Definitely the best education, from the very best teachers! Happy Summer Colleen! xoxo

  96. Debby Rickett says:

    Sweet Sue,
    It was torture knowing there was a blog post and yet being “forbidden” to access it!! I was beyond relieved when it finally came up (thank you, IT guy) What an impressive yard sale!

    Congratulations to the winners 🙂
    p.s. I want to clone Joe!

    Love, Debby

    • sbranch says:

      Was torture for me too… I had spent a couple of DAYS writing it, and for all I knew, it had just disappeared forEVER!!!😲 Scary! But it all turned out wonderfully … and in fact, maybe even better than ever… I’ll explain that later because my IT guy is thinking we can now do something we never could before! Stay tuned!!!👏👏👏

  97. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    I LOVE all your posts but have to say you really have touched my heart. So many sweet memories. Be still my heart…. BTW, only 10 months to sail. Still so excited and planning, planning!

    • sbranch says:

      My prayer is that they will require vaccine passports. I really don’t want us trapped on some sort of sick-boat… a little worried with all this new virus running around. But 10 months is a LONG time!!!🚢🥳🥂♥️

  98. MargotB in Sister Bay says:

    Good Morning Susan!
    When I was nine or ten and a Girl Scout I had gotten a diary, but I had a terrible time writing “Dear Diary”. So I stopped. If only I knew about journaling 📔. I have scrapbooks, travel ones, and back then I wrote poems and letters to my girl cousins.
    I think you did the right thing to shred, because as you said, you have your books now. I love the idea to mail the shreds to Cliff, with or without a mug!
    I left New England at the time of that Halloween 🎃 picture you posted. I did like it better than our “New Englandy”part of WI. The boys and I miss the hiking 🥾 and I miss the Ocean 🌊! If I wouldn’t have left to Virginia, I wouldn’t have met my Arnie…💞❣️
    Glad you had a good IT guy! The world is a crazy place now. If only people would learn what you wrote on that note above the newspaper clipping from 1992!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I have never known the difference between keeping a diary and journaling! When I heard of journaling, I’d already been keeping diaries for a long time, and so I thought journaling was kind of fancy, like maybe an upper class diary… 🤣 LOL! Isn’t it true how the little moves we make change our worlds? If I had never met Cliff, I wouldn’t BE here!!! That’s almost scary! Love you dear! xoxoxo💝

      • MargotB in Sister Bay says:

        Hey that is one way of looking at it! If I wouldn’t have met my ex-husband I had planned to go West in my twenties. I still want to travel out there.
        Kitty/Buddy is back with John now Eric’s friend David is coming to visit. Poor kid has never been out of Wyoming or mainly Arizona, so he saved to go to Japan…then it happened. So he decided to see our fine state instead. We have met many people by moving around!
        Love you too! 💝

  99. Bambi Willard says:

    WHOOP! WHOOP! YOU. ARE. BACK!! 🙂 I was concerned when I read you shredded your diaries. But Like you said they were for you, only. I will say I’d LOVE a garden book from you. 🙂 How you made your gardens, pictures and of course quotes and fun information!.

  100. Hello Dearies,
    Glad the blog is back from the ether.
    Also glad you have a new foundation under your creativity. It is always good to reinforce and renew.
    Just sending love your way and hoping everyone on the trip has fun. I have quite fond memories of our picnic with you at Stourhead.
    Bee well and bee love- beeloved!

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