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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And my little vases are blooming,

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

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

My big vases are filled with birthday flowers . . .

It smells like a flower store in this house!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vineyard booty!

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

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

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

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

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

From my diary . . .

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

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799 Responses to SEEDS

  1. Debbie Noyola says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  2. Terri Major says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  3. Jackie P. says:

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

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

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

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  4. Melissa says:

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

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  5. Sally Geisel says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  6. Rosinda says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

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

    • sbranch says:

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

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

        • sbranch says:

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

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

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

        • sbranch says:

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

  8. Kathy George says:

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

  9. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

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

  10. Deanah Greene says:

    Happy Birthday!!🎂🎁🎉🎈💝

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

  11. Debbie Boerger says:

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

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

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

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  12. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  13. Sara C. says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  14. Victoria Miller says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  15. Robyn Genau says:


    • sbranch says:

      Which one Robyn?

      • Robyn Genau says:

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

  16. Mary Jane says:

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

    Mary Jane

    • sbranch says:

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

  17. Nina says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  18. Charissa says:

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

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

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  19. Joyce says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  20. Danella on the Canadian West Coast says:

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

  21. Pam says:

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

  22. lani nelson says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  23. Joan Lesmeister says:

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

  24. Ann Y. says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

    • Charlotte Schultz says:

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

  25. Christine from Willow Glen, CA says:

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

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

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  27. Judy Young says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

    • Debbie Boerger says:

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

  28. Anne says:

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

  29. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

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

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

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  30. Fan in California says:

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

  31. Di Word says:

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

  32. Bev Brewer says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  33. Kathleen says:

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

    • sbranch says:

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

  34. sondra fox says:

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

  35. sondra fox says:

    please take my name off of your reply list.

  36. sondra fox says:

    I’ll no longer bother you with my statements.

    • sbranch says:

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

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