1124 13th Street Aurora, NE 68818 susansbooks.ne@gmail.com 402-694-2244

Notes from You

Sometimes after receiving Thursday newsletters I receive back encouragement and further ideas on what to read. Also I receive notes from those that have been in the store that I can't help but sharing. (grin)  I will list some of them for you to see what others are reading, or how we are all in the process of learning and changing and trying to develop ourselves.  Thank you for your notes to me.  Thank you for your ideas for what to carry in the store, and for what you suggest that I read.  I hope that you find encouragement, motivation, and comfort when you've read some of my notes and some of the responses below. 


Thanks, Susan.  I read ‘Grapes of Wrath’ years ago, but never internalize the vivid description of, Ma.  Reminds me of my mother who lived through the dust bowl, on the farm with 3 little ones. Such strength and faith.  (5/5/22)


Well worth the trip – thanks again Susan from your two new Omaha friends!  (4/2/22)


Hello, Susan!  Today I received the copy of “Secrets of Divine Mercy” from you.  Thanks!  And I appreciate especially your special note with the poem, and guiding me to your business. Blessings to yours in the joys and pains of life.  God some of both here!  (3/31/22)


Lovely Spring quilt as a backdrop.  Hoping to make another trip soon from Hastings to your wonderful book shop.  Enjoy a marvelous day.  (3/23/22)


I’m so looking forward to a little drive over to Aurora and your beautiful bookstore!  (3/21/22)


You are a shining light in this world.  My visit to your shop Tuesday was a much needed balm.  I’m in Aurora once a month to provide hearing care at Westfield Quality Care…Now I have one more lovely place to go before driving home!   (3/18/22)


What a delightful, magical place for a book lover!  I was excited to have met Susan yesterday when I stopped in.  As promised, coffee and conversation was on.  I was able to browse with cup in hand and soon to be big stack of books I found.  It is worth the drive form Lincoln to come find some small town warmth and good books!  (3/3/22)


We loved our morning spent in your shop!  Anyone that loves to read needs to stop in and check it out!! (2/17/22)


We visited for the first time today!  What a wonderful store!  I can’t wait to read all my books!  (2/12/22)


My daughter, her friend, (both 15) and I are planning a road trip to Aurora on March 4th.  We recently returned to homeschooling, and your bookstore caught my eye.  I was very surprised to learn just how much there is to do in Aurora, and we will be spending 2 days there; we are really looking forward to it!  (2/7/22)


Wonderful store!  A gem in small town Nebraska.  I wish I lived closer!  (1/29/22)


I’m thankful for these posts because I enjoy perusing the spines.  I ordered for the first time this evening after seeing this post.  I’m looking forward to my first box from you!!  (1/24/22)


Loved my order!  And it came so fast!  Thanks for the great customer service!  (1/24/22)


Another successful mother/daughter trip to Susan’s Books and Gifts today.  We donated some books and came home with twice as many!  (1/22/22)


I want to thank. You and let you know that I appreciate the letters you included with the books.  Especially the one you wrote on the anniversary of your mom dying.  That is such a heartfelt message.  I’ve lost both of my parents, too.  Your letter made me think of my cousin who died a few years ago.  She wasn’t that old yet, but had kidney transplants that failed and on dialysis for years and battled with Lupus most of her life.  She was tired and tired of it and chose to go on hospice and be done fighting.  When I went to see her towards the end she said to me, “It’s okay, Carolyn.”  Thanks for sharing.  (1/6/22)


Beautiful, Susan.  Your thoughts and words always lift me.  Happy New Year to you.  (1/3/22)


Love your store!  Happy New Year!  (12/30/21)


It’s an awesome place to go to.  I could spend all day there.  (12/30/21)


We need to visit this store.  Perhaps a little day trip come summer?  I think I could let some books go as it looks like a great way to get books into people’s hand easily and inexpensively.  Could also load up a bunch from Gma’s.  (12/30/21)


This looks awesome and the prices are unbelievable!  I’m in Omaha but when I make it to Aurora I have to stop here!  (12/29/21)


I would love to check out this lovely bookstore!  I will see if I can find a friend wanting to do a quick road trip from Omaha!  (12/29/21)


Love your store.  I stop in every time I come to Aurora.  (12/29/21)


Visited today for the first time. This little shop is eclectic and amazing! Walking in, you get the old mixed with new feeling. A free book for everyone, and a smile! Found so many great gifts here! We will definitely be shopping at Susan’s for gifts from now on! And their collection of charms took me back to my childhood! Walked out with a few books as well. (12/29/21)


Just placed an online order last night!  So happy to find another used bookstore still out there!  It’s a bit of a drive from Omaha, but I might have to make a road trip when it starts to warm up!  (12/26/21)


I love your store!  (12/26/21)


Love this store and picked up six books today!  (12/26/21)


Love your store, Susan!  (12/26/21)


I picked up four Harry Potter books a couple weeks ago.  I read two in one week, just started the third and won’t stop until they are all read.  Of course, after I find or buy others.  Love coming into a store and walking out with a handful because they are so affordable!  Can’t wait until my next visit!  (12/26/21)


I LOVE this place!   Some of my favorite books I’ve gotten here!  (12/26/21)


Such a beautiful store with joyful treasure.  (12/26/21)


I have been in your store a few times and I really enjoy it.  I plan on getting a few books that you can send me.  (12/26/21)


Love, love, love this store!  (12/26/21)


Love your shop.  My daughter and I can’t wait to make another trip from Hastings.  We’ve told our friends and family all about you.  Merry Christmas Susan.  (12/17/21)


What a lovely shop this is! We were referred by @EscapeAurora and absolutely loved it! Everyone can pick one free book and there’s something for all ages! We were able to finish our kids Christmas lists here and got them strong/ durable educational toys. (12/16/21)


Love this store!! (12/1/21)


“Old Jules” is my Great Grandfather!  My Great Aunt Mari wrote it!  I’m P.R. for her Estate!  Fun to see it for sale here!  (11/22/21)


Happy birthday, Susan’s Books & Gifts!  What a wonderful little store!  My grandchildren loved our visit there in July, and still love playing with the items we bought there!  (10/27/21)


We appreciate you, soooo much!  ___ read from one of his new books tonight.  (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).  Thank you for being a light in our afternoon and for loving on our family!  (10/18/21)


Was there yesterday!  Oh my!  My first wrods were, “Wow! Wow! Wow!”  What a good time we had!  (9/18/21)


Right off of I-80, I was pleasantly surprised to see prize awarded educational children toys and left with my arms full of birthday and Xmas presents! My free Warren Buffet book was the cherry on top.  (8/10/21)


Love this!  You have a great store.  This picture makes me miss Aurora, my hometown…(6/1/21)


So many neat toys and books! This place is so inviting, I loved it! The owner Susan took the time to speak with my dad and me. I highly recommend this place!  (3/24/21)


Books you can afford.  Plus you are supporting a local business!  (3/2/21)


If I ever get to Nebraska, I am stopping in…this is so very inviting!  (2/19/21)


Beautiful store!  (1/15/21)


I needed a new place for used books for my boys and ordering online from this place has been fabulous! Highly recommend!  (12/18/20)


Always so helpful and kind! Large selection of items for all ages for special gifts!  (11/24/20)


Love your store.  Love that you were always appreciated for stopping in.  First place I used to look for birthday and Christmas presents for my grandchildren.  (11/18/20)


You have a wonderful store!  (10/23/20


Got my items SUPER fast in the mail!  Thanks!  Love the books! (10/10/20)


Huge Shout Out to Susan’s Books & Gifts for sponsoring our Math Walk Event today in Aurora, NE. Please take some time to not only watch this video, but to check out all the cool stuff she has to offer. I could spend hours in her shop!  (9/19/20)


Thank you, Susan!!!! My order arrived in a very timely manner and included a personal note. That goes above and beyond any Amazon Prime delivery.   (8/16/20)


So much fun things for great prices!  We got sticker books and princess painting canvas the other day.  Love them all!  (6/6/20)


Susan, I just love your store and you.  You and the store are and have been such a blessing to me and my family, God bless you sister.  (5/21/20)


Susan, you have always made everyone that enters your store loved.  My 6-year old granddaughter still talks about the popsicle you gave her the day she had two teeth pulled. Now she is 6 almost 7 and wanted to come into see you and the shop.  Now that is home-town love.  (5/21/20)


We love your store and are so thankful that it is part of our community!  Noah has been missing coming there and playing and having his cookie date with mommy lol.  I’m praying for you guys.  Our community wouldn’t be the same without you and your shop!  (5/21/20)


I remember the feeling I had when I left your store, a feeling of complete contentment.  I had never experienced customer service quite like that.  I don’t know if I should call is customer service.  A better word would be love.  Lifting you and your store up in prayer, Susan.  (We visited from Grand Island several years ago.  It was fantastic.)  (5/21/20)


I love buying my things from you! ___ entire room is full of all her imagination play from Susan’s.  Even my 12-year old is in love with your store!  Your store is a gem!  I can’t wait until you open back up and we can come play and visit!  Always in my prayers!  (5/21/20)


Thank you for putting everything that you do to help families in Aurora!  It is always a special break to sto into Susan’s!  (5/21/20)


Susan, I love coming into your store!  Everyone is so friendly and inviting!  I’m always looking for a graet book and it’s fun to see all your antiques!  (3/18/20)


An awesome place to browse and buy!  I took a lot of books to Susan when we moved!  (3/2/20)


A great local store to shop; I like the used book section!  (1/16/20)


Every time I leave your shop I drive home with a smile on my face. Thank you for providing such a wonderful place in the community! (12/23/19)


My kids are having a blast at Susan’s Books and Gifts in Aurora! Such a cool place! Every visitor gets to choose a free book to take home as well! It’s a great way to get the kids out of the house this winter, I think!  (12/21/19)


Aurora is blessed to have your store.  Local businesses in small towns are vital to USA’s success. (11/30/19)


Susan is incredible! She’s hardworking, creative, dedicated, and genuine. You must see her shop if you have a chance as there’s something for everyone.  (11/16/19)


We were greeted so friendly and the whole family enjoyed looking at everything from kid toys, clothes and books.  (9/20/19)


We had a great time at your shop yesterday!  (5/23/19)


Love this place need to get in there more often.  (2/26/19)


You always make it so fun to come visit!  (1/28/19)


We made our first trip to the store today – what a wonderful store!  We had such a great time and plan on coming back very soon.  (12/22/18)


I love Susan’s!!! (12/22/18)


Susan greets you with a smile and a hug…there is something for everyone in her delight shop!  (12/20/18)


This adorable store is amazing! Books, children’s items and so much more. The small-town love in a store!  (11/19/18)


Such a fun time shopping here!  (10/14/18)


Susan and employees are all super friendly and helpful! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will definitely be back!  (8/9/18)


Thank you for telling us about Susan’s!  We stop every time we go to Aurora now!  (7/23/18)


I loved this place while in Nebraska.  This place is special.  (6/29/18)


Good morning, Susan.  I meant to send a response yesterday and failed.   I read your opening paragraph and was relating well to your allegories until you mentioned the butterfly.  My thought was, whoa, it’s too early for butterflies.  :}     Imagine my surprise when late in the afternoon on my walk back from the mailbox, a pretty colored butterfly alighted in front of me.  Aha, Susan is right on!   My most liked quote is by George Washington:  “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.  True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”  George Washington.  Thankful for another day of sunshine.    (4/27/18)


Love when I take the time to read your words. God has given you a gift and I am honored to share in your World the thoughts and feelings that inspire you to rise to a new day and be excited about the visits and people that God will put in your way today. I am Blessed every time I read your words. Hop to make it over soon for coffee.  (3/29/18)


Loved seeing the store today! I always enjoy bringing out of town folks to see the gems of Aurora! It’s such a unique and sweet place!  (3/20/18)


Thank you…..so lovely!  “little tulip bulbs beginning to awake from their dreams”!  Made me think of my mom and so many other women.  I love! (2/22/18)


You gave me thoughts this morning which will sustain me when there is drought in my soul. Thank you beloved Susan for your beautiful gift of taking time to share your gifts with us.  (2/22/8)


We are on the same wavelength!! Using this poem along with a few Kipling stories this week in class!!!  (2/18/18)


Lordy, I memorized “Gunga Din” for a Lit. class instead of a nice sonnet by Shakespeare (Like the rest of the class did!) A sonnet had 14 lines as opposed to “Gunga Din” which had about 100! ( I am spelling Gunga wrong!) Not to mention the pronunciation of some of the narrator’s words! Not to mention that the class almost fell asleep as I spoke my 100 lines and “my throat was bricky dry”……..!  (2/18/18)


Thank you for sharing the words man so much to me at this struggling time in my life. My Son tried to commit suicide and by the Grace of God it didn’t happen as I take this time to reevaluate our lives I am Thankful for my faith and these words knowing there is always another Sunrise. I will help him to pick up the paintbrush and paint a different journey for his life Amen.  (2/9/18)


Thanks for the “reprint” Susan – no matter how long it has been, I still need to read this for my two brothers and a sister that I have lost.  Life is really not the same, but it is as same as we want (or need) it to be.  I shared this with some of my church family – wasn’t sure if they were on your mailing list or not.  (2/9/18)


Dear Susan, I was deeply touched by Thursday’s note and thank you very much for sending it.


Blessings and Love (2/9/18)


Wow!  thanks so much!  I am currently writing my story for a book my clients and I are working on and this is so helpful.  I will also be sharing my story at a support group for infant/child loss in Kearney in may and this will be helpful for that too.  great timing and it will help so many!  (2/9/18)


Well done, Susan. Thank you … we are surrounded by so much pain and death right now, it has been difficult to process. So many in our community are suffering unbelievable grief and heartache. My prayers have increased daily.  (2/8/18)


Making the flowers from the strings…powerful image.  (1/18/18)


I love that story! “Everyone joins a band in this life.” May we play beautiful music as we live. Mitch Albom tells a wonderful story in each book he writes.  (1/18/18)


Thank you Susan..always for your beautiful words to brighten up each Thursday morning.  (12/14/17)


Finally got a cup of coffee and read this post. It is so beautiful in many ways. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming, it was wonderful reflecting on the important things,  even for just a few minutes.  Blessings to You! Thanks.  (11/13/17)


Yes, memories, precious memories dear Susan.  A gift from our Lord.  (11/9/17)


Precious Susan – all of your writings touch me but this one – really does – for so many reasons.  (11/9/17)


Ann Frank, Hellen Keller,Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain, some of my favorites. Heart-warming thoughts, Susan  (11/2/17)


I liked your email—heard something on bbc this morning thought you might like.  Link below: starts at 19:50 near the end of the story.  It’s a about an woman that doesn’t clean her main cooking pots because of the memories…  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csvsby   (11/2/17)


Susan, my dear. Not every writing of yours can I take time to digest but each time I do I am rewarded beyond my words to express. Keep writing. You lift me up. Thanks you, as always. Hope to sit an sip coffee with you again soon.  (11/2/17)


You did it again – blessed my heart with a whole page of good “stuff!”  Thanks for taking the time to let it speak to you, then write it & share it.  Praying it will impact my day.  God bless you.  (10/19/17)


Good Morning Susan,  Oh how I loved  to read your ‘letter’ this morning…..It is special when one gets down the “years’ road to see things that bring back lovely memories…  Like clay figures molded by each child in maybe 1st-2nd grade….Shawns of a head with cowboy style hat that lifts off and reveals little dots of clay…”Brains”  he said  J   a little dish that had indentations like an ash tray painted a pretty green…but only “Gramps” smoked… (10/17/17)


Good Morning Susan!  Thank you for your beautiful Thursday letter!! What a gift you have shared with me today!! Kindness is on my agenda.  God Bless you for what you do!!  Thank you again for the wonderful visit to your store! All of our retired teachers group loved you and your store and what you do!  (10/19/17)


Thank you! Having lost three siblings in three months, thank you!  (10/13/17)


Hi Susan,   As usual, I love reading what you write.  Today was the best, in light of events here this week. As you no doubt know, Grace University announced its closing this week–after graduation in May.  Kids and teachers alike are kind of stunned.   “We can’t go on.  We go on.”  Thanks!  (10/5/17)


Dear Susan,  I love the quotes you shared!  Thank you!  I wanted to share something a lady in Bible Study shared yesterday….she quotes the same bible verse I do….This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  She repeats it seven times and emphasizes different words each time she says it.  Repeating it seven times meets the number 7 which is the number of completion.  I just like what she had to say so I’m going to try it also.  Have a most blessed day my friend!  (9/13/17)


Hi Susan, I just read your post and can say I have been a recipient of a book from you.  Loved your message and I thank you kindly for how sweet and generous you are!  Your words reinforce the knowledge that sometimes it is just ok to sit and think and ponder.    Thank you Susan!  (9/6/17)


Hi Susan,  Oh I loved finding your message!  Believe me I understand a mom’s feelings when children drive away for the first time.  Where do the years go?  And so fast!  (9/5/17)


Oh Susan! This is so moving and so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.  (8/31/17)


Thank you, Susan for your Thursday morning sharings!!  Especially today, I really appreciate it.   (8/31/17)


What a wonderful way to position my day for joy.  Your writing never fails to move me, to amaze me.  “the sun wearing light orange pajamas begins to show her faithfulness”  And it has been years and years and years since I read Babette’s Feast.  Your summary is so moving.    (8/31/17)


Enjoyed your beautiful quotes of the Moon, especially one of my favorites–Willa Cather  (8/25/17)


Thank you my dear moon loving friend- for a beautiful start to the day! (8/24/17)


Hi Susan,  I got your emails!  Oh I am glad to be back on your mailing list!  I just finished reading the Agatha Christie one….loved the memories!  (8/10/17)


Once again, so beautifully written, my friend!!  I can’t WAIT to get my hands on this book – what an inspiration she is!!  Thank you!!!  (7/27/17)


Good Morning Susan,  What a wonderful rain we recieved “from above” last night.   The girls had such a good time at your store the other day,  and it was good for me to give ( and recieve) a hug from you  :)      Laurel was so excited to start her little cupcake, but was disappointed that the beads did not ‘come out’ right when she came to the outer edge row.( shown in picture)      Do you think all the kits in your store are like this?    .   We are busy sewing other things today…they all leave tomorrow morning and will be missed.     “There is no greater joy than to know that my children walk with the Lord”….   (7/27/17)


Loved reading the words from Hellen Keller.  It really convicted me of how much I take for granted God’s gifts of the senses!  I praise Him for we are fearfully & wonderfully made’!  Created in His image.   I pray I will bring glory & honor to God in living this gift of life He’s Blessed me with.  Thanks for sharing this.  (6/15/17)


Susan, what a wonderful completion to my thoughts for today!  Thank you for sending it.  I’ve told you before, but Bess Streeter Aldrich was one of my mother’s favorites.  I was thinking about ___ today, as every day, but your writings made my thoughts more special.  Thank you for coming into my day.  (5/31/17)


Beautiful!  Thank you Susan for sharing. We spent several hours yesterday  at the cemeteries, cleaning the stones and putting out the flowers and remembering all the times we had together with those we loved and are now gone.  Let us all take time to Be Still.   Blessings to you.  (5/30/17)


Dear Susan,    HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to a sweet friend.   Thank you for your Mothers day letter.  It made me think of my own mother who has been in Heaven now 27 years.    I’d love to hear her voice.  Watch her bake in her kitchen which she loved to do… See her taking clothes off the line on the farm we lived on all my growing up years.  I am coming to love Bess Streeter Aldrich also …..getting her books one by one and passing them on to my grand daughters… (5/13/17)


Susan, Your words are always touching, but particularly so today.  I love that I can picture you, and that you resemble that distant grandmother.  I love that you are so willing to share your grief – and your gratitude.  We lost my sister a year ago to cancer, and her newly married daughter is still in the midst of crippling grief.  I am hoping I will find a time, a way to share your words with her – and that she will also be encouraged that it is okay – or that some day, it might be.  (1/20/17)


Oh Susan! This made me cry. I SO understand all you said. My Dad died 23 years ago on September 30, 1993 and my Mom died 3 months later on Christmas Eve. My sister in law was carrying her 8th child of which my Mom knew nothing about. I was carrying twins of which I wasn’t even sure about yet. I lost them in February so my parents were there to welcome them home and got to hold them before I even could. As well as the babies I lost before. They are in Heaven together and having such an eternal celebration with all their loved ones and friends and NEW friends that I can’t wish them back but oh I so KNOW what you went through. I talked to my Mom every day on the phone. I still miss her and Dad. The first canning season after she died, my pressure cooker was giving me fits and I wanted so badly to call her and ask what I should do. I just started bawling. My hubby came and asked what was wrong. I told him and he just silently fixed the problem. I probably could have done it too if my emotions hadn’t been such a wreck. My mom’s last words to me were “I love you too.” I had just told her I loved her as she went into a coma. Those were the last words she spoke on Earth.   It’s hard – I like to think they can see the happy stuff too. Because Heaven is a happy place, I don’t think they can see unhappy things but I think they can know we need intercession and that they provide it with God. What do I know? Nothing but I just like thinking that.   You have many angels holding you Susan. You are SO loved.  (1/20/17)


Susan,  Your words are always touching, but particularly so today.  I love that I can picture you, and that you resemble that distant grandmother.  I love that you are so willing to share your grief – and your gratitude.  We lost my sister a year ago to cancer, and her newly married daughter is still in the midst of crippling grief.  I am hoping I will find a time, a way to share your words with her – and that she will also be encouraged that it is okay – or that some day, it might be.  (1/20/17)


Susan, I too woke up without my mother today.  She left us 11 years ago and just as you said, I wish I could call her up for chat.  Just want to let you know how refreshed I am today after reading your message!  Thank you.  (1/20/17)


Dear Susan,  I believe I met you once at the store 5 or 6 years ago.  And I admit that I don’t always read your notes but something or “someone” made me read it tonight.  This was so well written that I cried even before I got to the end of it.  I have never lost an unborn child but I did lose my Mother 6 years ago.  I’ve always said daughters lose a piece of themselves when their Mother passes on “to the other side.”  My Mother also told me “It’s OK” many times in my life and I always learned to make lemonade out of lemons because “it’s OK.”…  But Parkinson’s and Cancer cut our marriage short.  Much too short.  He always encouraged me and said that I would be OK.  I would like to think it is true but after five months and 20 days, I often wonder if I’ll ever be OK.  I know it takes time and I’m fortunate to have many close friends and family to get me through the rough days.  Maybe it will hurt less in time but everyone seems to understand that tears come easily.  I do believe “Life is Beautiful” and it was great to hear you say it too.  I’m not sure why I wrote to you but I was so touched by everything you said especially your last sentence before you signed off.  My angel holds my hand every night and every day.  Thanks for listening and keep on writing  (1/19/17)


Dearest Susan, You are blessed with heavenly intuition as your words written for today are a eulogy for my beloved daughter-in-law.  She passed into God’s kingdom this morning.  She has been battling a major brain tumor for 11 months.  You’d have related to her so incredibly well as she was a great gift to our family.  Thank you, thank you for your gift of words. I am passing them on to my son Bill, her husband.  In Christ’s love and promise of life eternal.  (12/15/16)


I absolutely love hearing the background of song and meaningful expressions.  THANK YOU FOR SHARING.  (11/26/16)


Hi Susan, I enjoyed reading your thoughts and quotes about the moon.  Yes, it has been gorgeous recently!  This brought thoughts of other moon songs . . ‘By the Light of the Silvery Moon” and “I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me”.  When ___ was on a month-long mission trip to South America,


I was swinging __ and __  (then ages 2 and 4) at the park south of Arnold, NE, and sang this to them:
” I see the moon and the moon sees me, down through the leaves of the old oak tree;
Please let the light that shines on me, shine on the one I love.
Over the mountain, over the sea, back where my heart is longing to be . .
Please let the light that shines on me, shine on the one I love.”
Thanks for bringing back a memory from the late 60’s!  This was allso a reminder that we are reflectors of the Son . . sometimes vibrantly, other times more quietly and subtly.  Some day!  We will show up with boxes of used books for you. :)  Need to do more sorting first.  There must be thousands in this house!!!  (11/16/16)


Dear Susan,  Yes, here I am, and although it seems I seldom make it to see you deliver a Hug,  my thoughts and prayers go frequently “South’ to you  J   I just re read this a week later.   Going to the Mailbox ( after she died)  was the hardest thing to do  , as she was the worlds best letter writer !!!  Every week for years and years even as her Beautiful Palmer Method  changed with her Palsy….it was always written with love.  Thank you for all the time you spend putting your Thursday letter together.. Your store amazes me.   I have to stop by for a quick visit soon.  (11/16/16),


This is beautiful, Susan. Thank you so much. I lost my mother 14 years ago and still miss her loving kindness.  (11/8/16)


Sweet sweet Susan. I miss my Mom so very much too. And my Dad. Dad has been gone 23 years as of Sept. 30th and Mom will have been gone 23 years as of Christmas Eve. So many times I have wanted to call her but I cannot. L Or the phone rings and I want it to be her. She LOVED talking on the phone. I really am not like her in that respect but I would so love to talk to her.  (11/8/16)


Susan,  I don’t know why but your writings hit home at the most important moment!  I’m going thru some stressful times with my granddaughter, and I just needed your inspiring words this a.m.  My trials certainly are about mourning…been there, doing that…but about things that were, but are now gone between ….  I’m praying for the best for … in the future, but I need propping up also!  Your story hit the spot this a.m.!   (10/20/16)


Dearest Friend Susan, I will never see the moon again in the “same light”.  Your thoughts this morning were exactly what God wanted me to read.  Love you and I ask the Lord to bless you as you do me.  (10/20/16)


Hi Susan, As usual, I read and enjoyed your Thursday writing–this time a little more than usual.  Jeff’s family are from Elmwood, and knew her personally.  We used to have some autographed books, but I think they ended up being given to a teacher of one of his cousins.  Her house is right next to the park in Elmwood where our kids often played when they were little.  Jeff’s grandparents are buried in the same cemetery she and her husband are buried.  Even though we have no relatives living there any more, we still get our taxes done by the brothers who own the bank they started, so we go there at least once a year.  We also are part owners of a farm about 2 miles from Elmwood.  There is a society to keep her home kept up.  We have given to it and used to get the mailings, but haven’t for years, so I’m not sure if the house is ever open any more.


I love her books, too.  I read A Lantern in Her Hand and A White Bird Flying when in high school,and have read several others more recently (from the autographed copies!)  Haven’t read the one you wrote about, but will try to find it and read it.  (10/14/16)


Hi Susan!   My name is Jeff Ross– I am a former Auroran who lives in Gilbert,Arizona now. My uncle, Valta Ross, lives over on 10th St. advised me to contact you.   This past week, my novel called The Auroran: Cold Front Redemption became available in print. (It has been available  in Nook and Kindle form since September 11. (My publisher is an eBook outfit, but they have an agreement with Amazon Createspace to provide print-on-demand copies.)   The book, simply put, is about a fellow who is rather depressed but finds happiness and true love after spinning out in a snowstorm on I 80 and walking into Aurora during a blizzard. We call it a “mature romance”–  August and Sarah,the couple, have had bad relationship experiences but find joy in honesty, companionship, and city of Aurora.  The heat level (in terms of modern romance novels, is probably 2/10– the emphasis is on reflection, not romance.  I have changed some place names and business names in the book — but the courthouse and Streeter Park figure prominently. (August and Sarah also enjoy cheeseburgers at the Goodview Café and coffee at the Expressions and shop at Red and Black Grocery) Plus, August decides to buy a house near 10th and N Streets. (9/28/16)


I am just completely blown away by your words……you have such an amazing gift my dear!!!!   Hey, do you by any chance have the book, The Gift of An Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir in stock?  If so, I would love to drop by and purchase this.  Thank you so very much for being who you are, and for taking the time each week to share with the rest of us out in the world!!!  And God bless you!!!!!  (9/22/16)


Thanks for the writing on “change” today Susan–always look forward to your writing & this one today especially speaks to me. Thank you!  (9/22/16)


I love it! Thank you my dear friend for reminding me I have Moxie! I have it…but I put it somewhere and haven’t been able to find it. Today I will go looking for it and find it again!  (7/28/16)


I like the words you shared today!  I’ve never thought of myself as  warrior in any form…..but after reading these words I can see that perhaps I am.  Patience, courage, and imagination.  I believe I am growing into these!  Life is a journey indeed.   (7/1/16)


My moms birthday would have been tomorrow June 2nd and we never forget these things do we? My mom has been gone since I was 16 and that is a long long time ago, but we never forget. My dad was killed by a drunk driver when I was 15 and 9 months later my mom was killed in a car accident as well…so although the years have flown by, they are always in my heart as I know your dad is in yours as well….and Yes, I really enjoy reading your beautiful thoughts and you write so well…and sometimes, it is exactly what I need as well…so Thank you too !!!   Have a beautiful evening Susan…thanks for your note.  (6/1/16)


Thank you, Susan, for making the day bearable.  What a WONDERFUL story…and I would not have  experienced it, if not for you!   One of my favorite sayings is from Erma Bombeck…” When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say ‘I used everything You gave me'”.  (5/30/16)


Hello, Susan. You knew I needed this post! Hope and Perseverance.   “And I recall an account of Trollope going up to London to pick up a rejected manuscript from a publisher, getting on the train to return home, laying the bulky bundle on his lap face down, and beginning a new book on the back pages of the rejected one.” (Unattributed)  And the quotes. Hope and pray you are well. I need to get to your store—It’s been forever!  (5/12/16)


Hi Susan – I love that first prayer especially.   Prayer at Morning by Robert Louis Stevenson.  “The day returns and brings us the petty round of irritating concerns and duties.  Help us to play the man, help us to perform them with laughter and kind faces, let cheerfulness abound with industry.  Give us to go blithely on our business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undishonored, and grant us in the end the gift of sleep.”  (3/31/16)


Good morning Susan!  You have made me shed happy tears.  The part where your Dad wrote your name into Corinthians and put it in your Bible was so touching to me.  I wonder about love everyday.  We all try to be important to our families, our friends and most importantly to make someone’s day we hardly know.  A smile speaks a thousand words, and I BELIEVE in that and sooooo…..much more.  Having strong faith can move mountains.  Have a BLESSED DAY everyday Susan!!!   (2/12/16)


Hi Susan, I just want to let you know how this message struck me!  Just had mom to the eye dr. on Friday with the result of the words legally blind.  Mother is legally blind in one eye now with no option of further surgery due to her age and already having had 3 surgeries.  She can still function as she has sight in her other eye.  Anyway, this message shared really struck me.   Thank you for sharing!  (2/1/16)


I adore how you write and I can’t thank you enough for sharing Helen Keller’s essay, Susan.  I thought of her words in church today.  She “opened my eyes” to the many blessings I overlook each day.  I looked at my children and their various expressions over and over today and I’m so grateful to God.  (1/17/16)


Hi Susan!  Just wanted to tell you how much I look forward to your Thursday emails.  Your posts are always entertaining and inspiring.  For instance, this wonderful essay by Helen Keller has encouraged me to finally read her autobiography, which has been on my shelves for years.  When I taught school, Helen Keller was one of the remarkable people we introduced to our first grade students.  What a lovely piece you chose to share!  (1/14/16)


Susan:  Bess Streeter Aldrich was/is one of my favorite writers, though I must admit I have not read her books for a very long time.  Fran and I toured her house one time..  I remembered the quote, Abbie talking about how the young could not understand that the old have not always been old, that they once had a “tryst with youth.”  I had forgotten how beautifully she phrased it.  It was nice to revisit those quotes.  Thanks.(12/26/15)


It interests me that we are helped most by someone we’d never have dreamed when we are at our lowest—SO True! I love your words…always words of hope…hope for what’s around the corner of our lives.  (12/17/15)


How I loved these pieces, Susan! You are a writer and a teacher. I’ve never read LANTERN IN HER HAND, but I will after your recommendations and beautiful reflections! My favorite book by Aldrich is MISS BISHOP. I have thought of that story so often during my long teaching career.  (12/17/15)


Have you ever been to Elmwood to see her home? I won a little short story award and went there to collect it. The caretakers if her house, now a museum, gave me some of her lilies then! I’ll make sure I give you some cuttings next summer since you are a Bess Streeter Aldrich kindred spirit. Thank you for sharing your wonderful writing with me!  (11/17/15)


Oh my goodness, what a beautiful, beautiful post! My mind is full of the image of old Oscar Lutz and the cottonwood dying together. How very, very moving that passage and your own reflections are, Susan! What a gift you have – thank you for sharing it with all of us! I can’t remember if I told you that I have some of the very lilies that Bess Streeter Aldrich grew herself in my very own yard! It makes me feel very close to her, and I ‘m glad you love her as much as I do!  (11/14/15)


Thanks again Susan.  May you have a blessed day.  I am growing to cherish your emails.  I’m glad I’m back on your list.  Loved the quote- The most loved by God….  that is really nice.  (11/7/15)


Susan – this was one of favorite emails of yours- going to forward to my mom who is dealing with my Dad and dementia. (10/22/15)


Your offering today is “treasure beyond measure”. Thanks dear Susan.  You are one of my dearest treasures.  May you find something that shines like a diamond for yourself; that will strengthen and encourage you as you do us.  (10/6/15)


This is such a joy to read, Susan—in the morning, as I start my day—or in the evening, as I prepare to end it.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, as well as beauty and wisdom from writers over the centuries.  I don’t really have time tonight to write my thoughts, but I had to at least say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart, dear heart.   It is such fun to watch your business grow and expand—how wonderful for Aurora and the area, how exciting!!!  My love and thanks to you, dear Susan.  (9/3/15)


Had the opportunity to have my first visit to Susan’s Bookstore last week! It far exceeded my expectations! Enjoyed the wonderful merchandise and surprised by the variety and quality in this unique little shop! However the best part was meeting the delightful, joyful and special Susan! May have entered as a stranger but left feeling like a friend, who will visit again!  (9/3/15)


Well this makes me cry! So poignant!!!  (9/3/15)


Dear Susan, Today’s quotes are treasures. Thank you so much for sending them out. They convey such intense and true meanings, – you have a true gift for finding the most meaningful thoughts in literature and poesy. I love them all. And I thank you for giving them to us people out there, out here.  (8/13/15)


Thanks Susan.  Your reflections exactly met my need today.  (7/23/15)


Susan,  I came across this quote today and thought of you: “He who does not read, has no advantage over he who cannot read.  Keep encouraging the world to read and sing.  (7/20/15)


Susan~Oh how your words touched me this morning.   I lost my mother unexpectedly almost 16 years ago this coming November.   Each and every except from your book has touched a place deep in my heart~~words and feelings my heart has held for almost 16 years.  Deeply true words. Painful words.   What I wouldn’t give. … My mother never knew her great grandchildren.   My grandchildren.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to sit and share a glass of tea with her and hear her laugh and watch her hold them on her lap and talk softly to them.  What I wouldn’t give for just one more moment.  Thank you for sharing….  (6/19/15)


I can’t even tell you how many of those passages touched me, and generated a lump in my throat and tears brimming, threatening to escape with the next blink of my eyes.  How dare you…?  You dared because you know many of us are somewhere in that continuum or will be someday, and it is necessary to expose it and band together in support of each other and a realization we are not alone.  You will likely get either a lot of feedback because it is so personal and touching, or very little feedback because it is so personal and touching.  (6/18/15)


Loved this!  Thank you!  I was grown and had little daughters when my mother died (I was 34, she was 68) but I still identify with so much of your underlined material!  Thanks for sending this out!  I was in your store not too long ago, but you weren’t there!  Picked up some great toys for the grandsons!  (6/18/15)


Susan:  I felt compelled to write you after reading the excerpts on losing your mother.  My mom died nearly twenty years ago, hard to believe.  The line about encouraging the daughter to play the piano made me tear up.  I was ready to quit lessons after the first piano recital piano, but my mom talked me into continuing.  I am so glad she did.  Playing the piano is such a part of who I am now.  Thanks for sharing these thoughts.  (6/18/15)


My favorite, with lump in my throat for my family…“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember.  You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.  But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you.”  And shared with my coworkers: “Organization is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.”  Love it.  Picturing the “little salty house”…(6/6/15)


What a beautiful way to start my day! It’s been a long time for me to sit & read poetry!  But my love for flowers, birds & Spring are always gifts from God!  Thank you for this small gift of enjoyment this morning!  May your day be filled with joy!  (4/30/15)


Life can get busy, you help us see the beauty in each and every day. I enjoy the same moments, sometimes I don’t get to enjoy them as long as I would like to, your words let me slow down for a moment and enjoy the things that really count! Thank you again, for taking the time to write!  (4/23/15)


Oh my goodness Susan, your words were soothing to me this morning and I needed that as I am very nervous about a veterans ceremony I have put together for this afternoon.   I want to say the right words to honor and pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans and I am unsure of the program I have put together.  Just hearing from you was the encouragement I needed.  (3/30/15)


We are taking our kids (4 and 5) to Big Apple Fun Center in Kearney for the first time today, and I just told them that we are going out of town to do something fun. When I explained to them what the fun center is they were both a little bummed that it is not “the place with the Legos and the books”. Thought you’d enjoy hearing that they really really loved your store (almost as much as I did!) . We will definitely be making a trip to see you in the near future.  (2/28/15)


You nailed it!  “My angel has arrived at my door again this morning, slightly irritated with the brutal winds on her face, but determined to arrive at my door nonetheless.”  (2/26/15)


Thank you Susan for adding so much beauty to my day.  (2/13/15)


Thank you once again for sharing your poems.  They are soothing to a busy mind.  It occurred to me, only yesterday, why poetry soothes me the way it does.  It occurred to me because in sorting through my old books , I came across a book of Children’s prayers , in verse, and a second book of Children’s verses.  These books were given to me by my old maid, Aunt Ann.  She gave me the first book the year I was born, 1940.  Of course I couldn’t read it, ha,ha, but my mother read it to me over and over.  The second book was also from Aunt Ann when I was 2 years old. Not only did my mother read it to me but when I was old enough, I read it over and over.  The age worn cover and pages tell the love that turned those pages  70 years ago.  So I always look forward to your newsletter to see what you will be sharing.  My question for you is,   when and how did you acquire your love of poetry?  (2/12/15)


We visited auschwitz and bierkenau as well as stutthof. In Poland this June  a survivor of one of the camps told us to never cross the line lest we become a beast like them.  I was moved to tears by Elise prayer to reconcile with god, it was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. We read dozens of books about that era and visited the areas where our ancestors the Mennonites lived for 250 years. (2/3/15)


Tears as I read through the priest’s history.  And that was after my smile thinking that you wrote this phrase just for me…”the winds send their greetings”  (1/29/15)


The way you crafted this sentence is amazing to me, and tops any of the quotes from others that you included…I think I read it 10 times in my head, then a few more times out loud and smiling all the while.  “Little brave birds all week singing their winter songs.  Letting us know they truly still are out there, tucked in down, practicing incognito behind the scenes preparing a full encore in only a few weeks.”  (1/23/15)


Was beautiful to visit with you via your newsletter today and enter into your world that bubbles over with creativity and a sense of God’s gifts.  Wish I could journey over to share a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes in person.  Since I can’t, I am grateful for this means of communication.  God bless.  (Jan 16, 2015)


Happy 2015!  Week after week I look forward to your Thursday letter.  This week you WOW’ED me.  I loved the speech from the Navy Seal and learned a lot (opened my eyes) and reminded me how to look at life.  Each email I receive from you I hear your enthusiasm and passion.  Thanks so much for sharing.   (Jan 9, 2015)


I’m so glad I stopped and read your newsletter.  I’ve been preaching making beds for at least 60 years!!  Now I know why.  Your little store brightens up my days just going to my car and looking across the street.  You are an inspiration to me every time…I never thought I could think of a mouse having a quiet breakfast just before her “last supper”.   (1/9/2015)


Good Morning Susan,   Just a note to thank you for writing such a beautiful Thursday ‘letter’.    Tears in my eyes as I feel the same “Thankfulness”( a word? ) for this beautiful Season.     Joy IS a choice of the heart.   Daily I hear comments from Larry that there is ‘no hope’ for our Nation…. How can that be when we have children and grandchildren who will live on in the best way they have learned to Believe in the Savior and look UP for their Joy and Strength…no matter what…I may try to find Bess Aldrich’s book for Antonia… Love the tablecloths to represent the earths surface J Love and Many Blessing to you and your family…  (12/18/2014)


Thank you Susan for your recent email.  I particularly relished your own words when you said … “This beautiful season.  Where the children still can hear the bells as they are rung.  Shiny reflections from lights in eyes, puddles, windowpanes, glass.  Beauty.  The season that takes our minds into the past.  That somehow has the ability to bring all of the seasons of our particular songs into one consolidated moment for a few measures.  The season where our minds easily take us the past.  Can we train our minds to focus on this year?  On what is beautiful in our lives this year?  Regardless of what is not in our scenes any more?  Will we consciously make an effort to realize that all around us are gifts.  As Winston Churchill wrote above.  Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasure…”  Today.  We are given this gift.  For a reason.  To look into the eyes of those we see the next few weeks.  To smile.  To show the moment as worthy of living for them and for us.  Today.  So beautiful.  This season.  Our gift.  The manger.  Our creche.  Our nativity scene.  Can we picture ourselves not thinking of ourselves, but instead on our knees in the live scene welcoming the baby?  Welcoming the one that makes this all meaningful and full of wonder.”  These are words that speak to the joy and desires of my heart, today.   Thank you so much for the gift you have given to all of us this year – your thoughts shared through emails.  May you continue to hold the deep blessings of this season in your heart.   (12/13/2014)


Last Friday, I stopped in to check this little store out. I was met at the door by Susan, who stated she had just made a pot of coffee and would I like a cup?! With some Hazelnut?! Absolutely, the most divine greeting I think I have ever received upon entry to a business! But this is more than a store, more than a business. This book shop, gift gallery, is a wonderful little respite from the world. Thanks, Susan, for being the coffee break, in my life!   (10/14/14)


We can’t pick just one thing we love about Susan’s. Everything is wonderful. Susan will remember your face whether you go in once a week, once a month, or every few months. She is always welcoming with a smile, offer of coffee, and all the new things she has in the store. I have a three year who asks every time we go by Aurora, to stop at the store and play. My favorite part of Susan’s is that she has a space for kids to play, learn, interact, and grow their imagination, while giving us parents the ease of shopping without a helper. I can never leave the store without buying something, but never once has my son asked to bring a toy home or get mad when he gets nothing, to him it’s just a place to play. I love that. There is not enough positive things to say about Susan’s, you must experience all the store has to offer.  (10/7/14)


Thank you for the poems today, Susan! I’m reading the Julia Donaldson one with my 6th grade class this afternoon! You truly did enter our Thursday in a wonderful way!  (10/9/14)


So many little treasures all over the store. Friendly staff and something for kids to do while moms and dads are browsing through books. Besides, all the educational games and toys for kids are simply the best. The best place Ever! Planning to do a lot of my Christmas shopping there this year.  (9/15/14)


Thank you, Susan, for sharing your readings. Reading the quotations was like hearing from an old friend.  (7/10/14)


Again Susan, you have come into my day with the perfect words. Yesterday I sang at the funeral of a young person and asked “why?”– today your quotes gave strength, hope, wisdom. (4/3/14)


If you are in the mood for something serious:  “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest Gaines is very good.If you are in the mood for serious but short on time:  “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros is a collection of vignettes from her neighborhood
If you are in the mood for something fun/romantic –I found an author I love and can’t believe I didn’t know about before..Susanna Kearsley.  Check her out.  I will wait to hear how the Samurai book turns out.  Thanks for a great shopping experience, as always.  (3/16/14)


Thank you, Susan, for your words and the words of others.  Home” is a wonderful word; the mere pronunciation of it is a calling to me to return to a place of nurture, nourishment, refreshment, and life. I love the feel of the “o” and the “m” when the word is drawn out as if carried on the wind over great distances.  Emerson and Keller had it right: home is a place “to strengthen our will for accomplishment and store up courage for the vicis-itudes of life,” a place that “fosters the art of living completely and harmoniously that keeps us young and builds fresh loam in our minds for future harvests.”  I enjoyed the prayer Begin the Day with God by Thomas Blake. By taking a moment each day I seem to fill my heart with a gratitude that sustains me through my little stressors of the day.  (2/22/14)


…..the winds of time continue to blow…beautiful life.   I love this line the most! Thank you for helping me to pause and breathe.  (1/9/14)


Good morning Susan, I was in your shop on Monday and picked up some FABULOUS things for my twin 2 years olds.  We will be back in Aurora tomorrow and Friday for a funeral, so I will be bringing my boys in this time!  I am so thankful to have stumbled upon your lovely shop, and SO sad that I’ve been coming to Aurora for 18 years, and have just now discovered you!  From now on, you will be a “must visit” place in my book!   Thank you, so much, for your help in finding perfect games and toys for my guys!  They LOVE the cupcake shape sort game!  Mackey played for almost 30 minutes.  Nothing ever gets his attention for that long!  I’m going to start a wish list so Grandma and Grandpa can do some one-stop-shopping for all upcoming gifts!  Thanks, again, for being so amazing!  (10/23/13)


I have been reading “One Thousand Gifts” a little each night before bed—would like to read more but outdoor work is a constant right now—and all I can really say is “Wow!”  Ann Voskamp is writing so many of my thoughts and feelings that I have to stop quite frequently and re-evaluate how I have lived my day.Thank you for the gift—it is indeed offering a “dare to live fully right where” I am.  (10/9/13)


Hi Susan!   Just wanted to tell you that last week I (finally) read ‘Gift from the Sea’–a book you gave me several years ago.  Thank you!  It was inspiring.  And thanks for your compilation, once again, of great quotes and excerpts, your own as well as those gleaned from your readings.  I really enjoy this Thursday letter.   (11/21/13)


Wow Susan! You’ve done it again!!! Made a connection with me.  Gene Stratton Porter is the only author I collect. My love of her books began when I was around 10 years old and read a book that belonged to my mother. “Girl of the Limberlost” was my introduction to this author. I love the covers as well as the text.  We accidentally came across one of her homes when we were on our way to Rogers sister in Indiana. I can’t recall the name of the town, but as we were tooling down the highway I saw a sign that said “Home of Gene Stratton Porter”. Roger nearly drove off the road when I loudly exclaimed to him “THE HOME OF GENE STRATTON PORTER”!!! Poor guy had no idea what the excitement was all about when I insisted he backtrack to find this home. It is now a museum. Closed on that day but we returned later in the week to tour. Tears came to my eyes when I walked into a room with one wall completely covered in a glass case with moths and butterflies. The area behind this house was her limberlost. The reality of my childhood fantasy’s came to life. Quite a moment.   I have the Harvester but have not read it. Might just stick it in my reading bag when we begin a road trip tomorrow morning. Thanks for the reminder of how much I enjoy this author.  (7/11/13)


Paid my first in-person visit to Susan’s Books & Gifts yesterday.  Possibly the most charming little book/toy/gift shop I’ve ever encountered!  (6/28/13)


Hi Susan.  Thanks for sharing Louise Driscoll’s poem–I ‘d not read it before–inspiring for a new day.  Will be thinking of you on the anniversary of your Dad’s accident–today in Streams in the Desert–” when a good person’s life comes to its final sunset, the skies of this world are illuminated until long after he is out of view.. …..when he departs he leaves much of himself behind–and being dead, he still speaks.”   Thanks to you for telling me about this book when I found it in your store!  (5/31/13)


I don’t know why I never finished it, but I never finished reading 1000 gifts.  I just picked it up today and it is again filling my heart with gratitude and giving me the peace that has been missing lately.  Aaaahhh.  Thanks for finding that treasure of a book. (5/19/13)


Ah….sun streaming thru my window, sunshine on my face, coffee in my hand and Susan’s Thursday morning note…BLISS! Thank you for the beautiful start to my day!!  (4/25/13)


Susan, I’ve only just had a chance to read last week’s newsletter…(and that at the expense l later on ,  if that person only takes the time to seek them.   Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!   For taking the time to share..  (4/18/13)


Ah! See how guilty I am of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of my world and neglect to feed my soul! I missed last week, as I couldn’t see straight at work.. I was so busy! But, here I am, taking these few moments this morning to read your words and I am enriched. I feel strengthened.  I know every time I read one I say the same thing, ‘this one is my favorite!’ But, I don’t know, I think this one definitely TAKES THE CAKE! I am the biggest offender when it comes to being bogged down with guilt and regret and worry for what tomorrow will bring. I work every day at “letting go and going on.” It is an everyday challenge. So, these excerpts were truly appropriate and hit home for me more than you know.  (4/25/13)


Dear Susan, Thank you for your words today.  God has a tendency to have other people gently remind us of what we already know but have somewhat forgotten.  The last lines of your writing today are that reminder for me.  That life is not life without a few harsh notes.  We can not stop them from happening but we can choose how we go through them.  Deciding to carry on with as much grace as we can muster and open ourselves up for God to do the rest because, many times, we don’t have the rest within us.  I’m going to keep playing and make the harsh moment as beautiful a song as it can be.  Thanks again. (4/18/13)


Thank you for sharing so much. I was struck by what you said in closing. The stillness is so important.  I too find it is important to take “time to pet my cat long enough to hear her purr.” This is a good “check” for me to verify that I’m living in the moment. Taking time to smell the fresh air and notice how the sky is painted, too, is now so important for me. I need to work on “watching the same movie,” however.  (4/6/13)


Thank you for your reference to Streams In the Desert.  It was what I needed for my current stage of life.  I walked to the bookcase and pulled it out.  My copy was given to my mother by her mother in 1962 after my mother was diagnosed with a fatal cancer.  I could never let the book go, although I was never drawn to read much of it.  Today I’ll begin with the April readings, thanks to your input.   (4/4/13)


Thank you for taking the time to share these thoughts. There is so much here for me. I appreciate the comments on the distracted and wandering heart. Just bringing my heart back to the Lord is time spent well.  Thank you.  (3/16/13)


I wanted to tell you how timely your Thursday emails have been for me.  Last week when you wrote about ‘The Keeper of the Bees’  it could not have come at a better time with me.  My father passed away one year ago on February 26 and I had stayed with him that night at the nursing home.  He went very peacefully and as a victim of Alzheimer’s to the deepest degree we could not wish him back in that state.  Then on September 15 of last year my father-in-law passed away.  Once again I was with him as my husband had just left for a short time with two of our daughters to grab some lunch, but I said I thought I would stay behind.  It was if he waited for them to leave his room and then it was just over.  He had been riddled with two strokes and several mini strokes, so he was wishing to go for a couple of years.  How peaceful they both were.  When I was with my father and I had dozed off as the nurse was encouraging me to rest as he would be in this state for maybe a week or so.  I had just dozed and heard a very relaxing sigh.  When I looked over to his bed there was a bright light shining a few inches above his body and he was at peace and so was I.  My father in law had started to jaundice and when his time came the presence of the greater being was there, as he just stopped breathing and his skin became instantly snow white.  Thank you for listening.  My question for you is if you can order the book “The Keeper of the Bees’ for me?  (3/5/13)


Thank you. My grandpa died in his sleep Monday morning, so this email hit home. In death there is beauty. I’ll remember that.  (2/28/13)


Susan, My soul food! These emails always come at the perfect time for me… When I’m tired and cranky from the stresses of the week and just want to throw my hands up and give up…Thank you for bringing me back and putting it all into perspective :) what a gift God has given  me in Susan’s Books!   (2/28/13)


It takes a mighty act of will power to get me to my desk to do all the things I have to do there.  But when I did that, about an hour ago, I found the Thursday email from last week that somehow I had missed.  ___ usually hands that one to me, but somehow it got missed, and I think I’m glad.  I was quiet and able to think and how it resonated with me!  I felt I wanted to copy at least three of your quotes and put them in a frame – but really, I need to just read this until I have it deep inside.  The first quote of Mother Teresa – about kindness — so much opportunity  to put that in practice – everywhere, but certainly here at the Center.  Loved the quote by the Rabbi – Israel Ben Eliezer. The last one by Kent Keith was so very poignant to me as I needed the encouragement to be kind, anyway!  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  (2/22/13)


I love reading your observations of what you love…all those little things that are really the big things.  I’m starting my own list. (2/14/13)


Susie,  And the greatest of these is LOVE. I read the letter 3 times. My heart is heavy today for losing _____. She was my day care provider for ____ from 6mos to 10 years. She saw her first tooth, her first step, potty trained her, taught her how to cook, fold clothes, and to be kind and giving. She took her on camping weekends with her family, gave her so many memories, gave her LOVE. Left us with memories, lessons and LOVE.  Thank you for always having the right words…whether we are aching or joyful. Reminding us there is LOVE in a smile, hope in our hearts.  (2/14/13)


Susan—If you are still wanting suggestions for books, I have been thinking about favorites and wanted to share a few.  Favorite baby books are the “Pat the Bunny” books and then 2 that are probably not in print anymore  “Hurry Scurry Mousie!” and “Leap Froggie Leap” . Both are written by Judy Hindley and were published by Readers Digest Children’s books.  They are heavy cardboard and have a mousie and a frog on an elastic string.  they bounce and snap (gently) thru holes in the pages and are absolute favorites of my grandson, and were favorites of my son when he was 1 year old!   Also, for a baby book, another huge favorite of grandson’s has been a fabric book with all sorts of kitty tales sticking out the side in all sorts of patterns and textures of fabrics.  I cannot remember the name of the book….I will babysit him this afternoon and get that info.  I got the book for him at an interesting little shop in Tucson, AZ, but I think it was made in Britain.


Susan-I love that you have such an awesome book store in Aurora. I wish I lived there instead of Omaha! Anyway, here is a list of my most favorite books!

Unbroken: A WWII story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
(Best book I’ve ever read. I think every American should read this book!)

-biographies and memoirs/non-fiction/true accounts
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
While We’re Far Apart
The Light Between Oceans
Mystery and Thrillers-Psychological and suspense/historical/fiction
Little Bee
Sarah’s Key
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels- A Love Story –
The Uncommon Woman – this is a women’s self-improvement book. We used it for our Mom’s Book Study at church this last fall and everyone loved it.

Right now we are about ready to start Growing Grateful Kids (as soon as I get prepared- Ahhhh, another thing to do!)
The kids’ favorite books -all pre-readers:
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Little Black Bear
Room on the Broom (halloween)
Snowmen at Night
Now I’m drawing a blank on their fav’s! Sorry!
A beginning reader Ella loves is Custard Surprise, along with Drip-Drop, Chub in the Tub(?), Splish-Splash… Etc.

Ok- so there are so many more but I’ll have to go searching all the piles of books and its too c-c-c-cold to get out of my warm cozy bed to look right now!   (1/21/13)


Susan—I am so glad I signed up for your newsletter!  Your Eleanor Farjeon poems were so touching!  I have a set of old, orange Childcraft “encyclopedias” that were  favorites of my older brothers and I during our growing up.  The first 3 volumes are all children’s literature, and there are several Eleanor Farjeon poems that I remember so fondly.  They came back to me when I read the 2 you included in your newsletter.  I am alone for lunch today, so I enjoyed my leftovers while reading Eleanor!  My pork sandwich became a real feast!  Also, I love your Latin quotes!  My mom was an English major, (and that is a whole ‘nother story in itself) who had Latin classes in high school and college.  I suppose I found it silly and tiresome when I was growing up, but if we asked what a word meant,  and it had a Latin root as so many words do, she would expound on “it comes from the Latin root  ——  which means —— and is related to the Spanish word ——– ” etc.   There is  What a great way to teach kids language!  I really wish Latin was offered in school now!  Anyway, thanks!  You brightened my cloudy day!   (1/10/13)


Hi Susan,  I have a couple of quotes for you.  I keep this saying framed at my bedside, “Tonight may the lion of contentment place his warm heavy paw upon your chest.”  Roosevelt, “Yesterday is a memory.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That is why they call it a present.”

Heraclitus,  “The soul is dyed the color of it’s thoughts. think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the full light of day.  The content of your character is your choice.  Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is what you become.  Your integrity is your destiny.  It is the light that guides your way”  (1/28/12)

Hi Susan, one of my favorite sayings was on a magnet in New Mexico.  I have never forgotten it.  Just four simple words—–We Plan.  God Laughs!!     Aren’t we so into planning our days and vacations, but then things happen that we didn’t plan and it changes everything.  I like God’s plan!   Thanks for the uplifting sayings.  I use some of them in my classroom.  (1/26/12)


Hi Susan!  When I read your message this morning I immediately thought of a quote that I have had pinned to my fridge for at least 30 years, and in at least 5 houses.  It’s still the original paper–amazingly.  I don’t know who said it–could easily find out with google, but it never seemed important to me.  Here it is:

“I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”  (1/19/12)


Susan, Here’s one I have kept at my desk since Sept 2008…a quote from Chad Hymas: (Chad is a quadriplegic from a farm accident when a large hay bale crushed him.  He is a motivational speaker I’ve heard a couple of times – so when you know his circumstances, this quote is even more powerful)

“What is behind is only as important as what can be learned from it.  Use that 20/20 hindsight to see the truth clearly.  Then let the past go and use what you learn to move ahead.  Focus on your vision and let its power move you ahead.”

Here is a quote I found and put at my desk when I learned my job/team/department/division were eliminated at work (sometime in 2010):  “Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”  Bernice Johnson Reagan  (1/19/12)


Susan…… Years ago I cut a comic out of the daily paper which was grandmother talking to her grandson and it said, “Why should I have such a good memory when there is so much of my life I’d like to forget”.  I had that on my refrigerator for years and now it is in a drawer.  Taking its place is the same grandmother talking to the grandson saying “Do like I do, lay your troubles down some place and you’ll forget where you put them”.

Simple little things that stuck with me.  I always tell people I don’t carry grudges because I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to be mad about.  Makes life simpler.  (1/19/12)


Susan, This poem was shared with one of my daughters when my husband died one year ago.  She read it at the funeral, and we enclosed a copy in the thank yous after receiving many requests.  It has been such an encouragement.


You Can Shed Tears   by Charles Henry Brent

     You can shed tears that he is gone,

           or you can smile because he has lived.

     You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,

           or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

     Your heart can be empty because you cannot see him

           or you can be full of the love you shared.

     You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

           or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

     You can remember him and only that he is gone,

           or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

     You can cry and close your mind, be empty

           and turn your back or you can do what he would want;

           smile, open your eyes, LOVE, and go on… (1/19/12)


Once again, your Thursday musings are an answer to prayer.  I am struggling with what to get …(the teenager!) for Christmas and a “crystal” sounds great!!  She has an east window and has a hard time getting up in the a.m.  What could  be more inviting than the sun shining on a beautiful hanging crystal to inspire one to get out of  bed!!  And a book written in 1500s – so inspiring, even back then.  Makes you wonder how many people were educated enough to read something so wonderful.  Maybe only the royals??  (12/1/11)


Somehow this is the first email I have received from you and it could not have come at a better time. Thank you for the inspiration and reflection – it was just what I needed to hear today.  What a wonderful gift you have for words!  I am so eager to get back to your store in Aurora and start Christmas shopping!  (10/13/11)


It was comforting to sing along with your “Child’s Evening Hymn”.  It’s a memory from my childhood; don’t have evening services now so haven’t used it nor sung it for years.  But reading the words this morning, I find them a nice evening prayer.  Thanks.  (9/29/11)


Again your thoughts, reflections & tidbits from books encouraged me this morning.  The writings from Helen Keller are good reminders to boost our thankfulness for all our blessings.  (9/29/11)


Read a fabulous book recently: The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher.  Very Good book!  Think you would love it!  (9/10/11)


WHY!!!!! Must you make me do the UGLY cry this morning.  Simply put….. That was beautiful! This morning I envisioned what my two sweet twins will look like when I get to meet them in Heaven.  (9/8/11)


I heard about a book this weekend that made me think of you right away.  I’ve held it in my hands, and skimmed a couple of pages, but that’s it. However, if one COULD judge a book by it’s cover and feel…this one would be great.  It is Monestary of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life by Joan Chittester (sp?)  She’s part of a Benedictine Community in PA.  (6/16/11)


Hi Susan,  I had the fun of being in your store for the first time on Friday!!  We popped in and dropped off some used books! I love all the wonderful things you have for children!! I have an 8-month-old granddaughter and found a wonderful board book for her.  I also enjoy the quotes you put in your newsletters! Thanks for sharing!!  (6/14/11)


Susan:  Our book review for this month is “Buffalo For The Broken Heart” by Dan O’Brien.  Our review was written by Ron Pauls.  It may be viewed at www.heartlandbeat.com.  (6/14/11)


Susan, I love your weekly newsletters.  I just wanted to tell you that the book you quoted several months ago, The Lamplighter, caught my eye.  I downloaded it to my Kindle and was finally able to finish it this week.  It was a great book.  I never would have even known that it existed without your newsletter.  Thanks for the great book suggestion.  (6/10/11)


Susan:  I loved the Anna Quindlen quote about hoping her children’s idea of decorating is to buy enough bookshelves.  When we were first house-shopping, we looked at a house that had not a single shred of reading material:  no magazines, no newspapers, no books.  There was a tv with a rocker close by, sort of like a shrine.  I felt I could never live in a house that had previous owners who never read.  We have, as a matter of fact, bought bookshelves throughout our married life.  (In case you’re wondering, we bought a house eventually, we knew the previous family, they were readers.)  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  (6/2/11)


OH SPRING!  I’ve been digging in the dirt all week, made me feel earthy, so I picked up some Emerson.

“To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature.  Most persons do not see the sun.  At least they have a very superficial seeing.  The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child.  The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.  His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.  Nature says, he is my creature, and in spite of all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me.  Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight: for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight.”

I just love his words, makes me wish we were pioneers to see nature how it once was.  Anyway, I also read Reed’s A Spinner in the Sun,  it is all about forgiveness. It is kind of morbid, but nonetheless beautiful.  (5/17/11)


Susan:  I spoke with you a few weeks ago about the heartlandbeat.com online publication over here in Henderson.  I was wondering if you could mention either in your newsletter or website our site.  We just posted our new monthly “Good Read” book review of Mildred Walker’s “Fireweed”.  Our publication is www.heartlandbeat.com.  Thanks so much!  I know your audience would love to read it and maybe you can get the book for them, too.  (5/12/11)


Susan, You’ve nailed it AGAIN!   How do you DO that?!?!?!?  Last night I read the book Heaven Is For Real.  You build upon what is in my heart and mind when I haven’t even told you what has happened in my life’s last day or week or month sometimes!  This is the same theme of what has been today’s “background music” for me — that constant thread of conversation with God.  Since I finished the book, I’ve been feeling so excited that I get to spend time with my mom, sisters, and grandmothers again when I get to heaven.  Then I read this passage and it blows me away.  (5/5/11)


Good morning Susan!  I haven’t emailed you for a long time, though I’m still one of your email readers.  I still love Beth Streeter Aldrich too and it was good to visit some of her “people” today in your note.


Do you hold dreams in your heart of when you see someone that has died in your head?  I do.  Sometimes I just can’t wait to get to Heaven to see my Noelle again.  She is my daughter who died at three months.  I always picture her at whatever her current age would be, which now would be 32. I also get excited to see my grandma again, who always made me laugh and never a harsh word crossed between us. The dreams we all long for that rarely come? And I know that no matter what,  my son will be restored to me there.  As well as my animals that have died.  :)     I relate so with that line, for whenever I have the privilege of only a small smile from mom or dad in my dreams – I wake up…pondering the dreams in my heart.   (5/5/11)


Thank you so much for the poem, “High School Senior”.  So beautiful and aching all at onceI, at once, sought out my oldest daughter and held her close.  It is not an unusual thing in our home to hold each other close, but the poem provided an urgency in me to do it more.  Thank you!  (5/2/11)


Hi Susan!  Just a note…if you ever get the book Nearby by Elizabeth Yates in the Used Store, check it out. It was in our basement for many years and I have no idea how it got there unless it was from the old country school that was on our property on the farm (there were still books in the book closets). A few years ago, I finally read it. It’s one of the best books I’ve read. It’s about a teacher in New England that takes a position in a country school and lives with a family in the area. It’s written in 1946. My edition is 1957.  Just think you might enjoy!!  (4/28/11)


I was so comforted reading the poem “Two Religions”.  I believe wholeheartedly that it is true–and I needed the reminder it brought.  I am sighing because before I read your post  I had just come in from a tromp in the snow with my 9 year old Gracie and my 7 year old Tait.  I have laundry, supper, bills, etc. etc.etc.  but I refuse to allow my mind to be in tatters over any of them. Today –I chose what was most important.  Thank you for the encouragement!   On that note as well, “Romancing Your Child’s Heart,” by Monte Swan is my favorite book for parents.  I can hardly have a conversation on this topic without mentioning it.  The man conveys truth with such tenderness.  I am also grateful for your recommended book list.  I plan to begin with something by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  (3/3/11)


I just want to thank you for taking the time this morning to visit with me. I was afraid that I wouldn’t understand the book Gift from the Sea and with your help it is meaning a lot more to me then I ever thought I would be able to get from it. I just love coming into your store… (2/26/11)


Susan, …God tucks these little people into our bodies and hearts and with the gift of their birth, gives also the gift of purpose.  Growing up, being a mother was never my aim.  It honestly did not cross my mind to long for children.  In fact, we “put it off” until I was almost 30; Then our daughter was born, and my horizons were transformed completely.  I heard a new Mom say once that having a child was “like taking your heart out of your body and letting it walk around….How true.

I thought about the “high-thoughted” words you give your readers each week.  They are valuable and rare. Words matter.  I have what I think of as a banquet of books on hand each day.  For my main course lately, I have just finished, “The Excellent Wife,” by Martha Peace.  Beth Moore’s “David” has been the one teetering on the book stand of my treadmill through the month of January.  Edith Schaeffer’s “The Art of Life.” has been one I’ve picked up lately too,  reading bits here and there.The “sweets” on the menu has been Anne of Green Gables.  I have never read it, and honestly have a hard time giving myself permission to read fiction.  But long winter days of being snowed in loosened me up considerably….(smile).   (2/19/11)


The ancient understanding of memory was “to make present”.  I love that something that brings us joy…even simply a smile…can retain that power for our lifetime.  Am re-reading That Hideous Strength AGAIN.  As a youth I liked it the least of the space trilogy…now it’s my favorite.  It’s about marriage!  (and Merlin…)   (2/17/11)


Susan, I need no reply.  I just wanted to tell you I started The Masters Violin.  I am in love.  “I have deliberately forgotten all the unpleasant things and remembered the others.  When a little pleasure has flashed for a moment against the dark, I have made that jewel mine.  I have hundreds of them, from the time my baby fingers clasped my first rose, to the night you and Lynn came to bring more sunshine into my old life.  I call it my Necklace of Perfect Joy.  When the world goes wrong, I have to only close my eyes and remember all the links  in my chain, set with gems, some large and some small, but all beautiful with the beauty which never fades.  It is all I can take with me when I go.  My material possessions must stay behind, but my Necklace of Perfect Joy will bring me happiness to the end, when I put it on, to be nevermore unclasped.”  BEAUTIFUL.  I can find no present words to tell you what I have found and felt so far in these few short pages I’ve begun.  I love that you love books, thank you for this beautiful gift.  (2/12/11)


Thanks again for the inspiration!  I thought of you this week when I read something that made me laugh, so thought I’d pass it along.  I’m trying to read some Bess Streeter Aldrich books, as she is a shirt-tail relative of my husband.  From “Mrs. Mason”: “Father went off as he was told.He was one of those men who have learned to have implicit faith in their wives’ management.  If Mother had said, ‘Henry, take this pail and bring me some milk from the Milky Way,’ he would have unthinkingly reached for the bucket.”  Here’s to the books! (1/28/11)


WONDERFUL!!  Just what I needed to hear tonight.  I loved the ant carrying the kernel of corn – sounds like my life – and then I hear of someone who really has a thorn in their flesh and I’m humbled.  I will keep trying to get that corn to the top of the hill!!  Thanks for always bringing me down to earth.  You are my soil and help me connect with who I am.   (1/27/11)


Thanks so much for your quotes today- especially as I sometimes feel guilty about NOT agonizing over a  grocery list :)  Anyway, thanks to your note in the weekly email about our online book club, we have just finished our first month having read “Unbroken” by Laura Hildebrand. There are now twelve of us in the Happy Hour Online Book Club and we have a book for the month that we discuss using email the last week of the month. The shared email comments about the book have been terrific and we’re excited to read February’s book “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton. Anyway, just wanted to give you an update on the book club.  Our members are from all areas of Nebraska and one from Arizona. Thanks again for promoting the idea and getting it going.So far it’s soooo fun. (1/27/11)


If you need something fun and light to read, check out “gone to green” by Judy Christie.  It is about a big city newspaper woman who inherits a newspaper in small town Louisiana.  She is having issues with her faith and finds it renewed in dealing with small town politics and great new friends.  Not as deep as most of your reads, but sometimes you just need to have fun! Thanks for all of the great recommendations! (1/24/11)


I heard an elderly lady say the other day, “Oh how I just hate these long evenings. They make time go by so slow.”  I couldn’t help by think how differently it is for me.  I just LOVE them!!  We tend to not be out and about in the evenings as much this time of year and so after our nightly routine of supper/homework/bath etc., there is actually TIME left for those “friends” of ours that have been waiting so patiently on the book shelf!  Bed time comes far too quickly for me and I don’t feel I have enough time to read all the different books I’d like to cover and still accomplish the other things I want to do.  I hope I can remember these feelings when my life changes and I think the evenings drag on.  (1/21/11)


Thanks so much for this wonderful bit of news and brain food.  What a great way to start the day!   And it is so true – the soul does find respite in books.  (1/13/11)


I ran across a children’s book that I hope that you have in your store- and if you don’t…. you MUST get…It’s called “Our Tree Named Steve” by Alan Zweibel.  Check it out.  I bought 4 of them.  (11/26/10)


Hi Susan:  Just had to write and tell you how much I liked what you wrote about our thoughts in our attic space!   Love the analogy and I will remember it.   We’ve had some challenging  days recently and I need to remind myself not to worry but trust….so thanks for the words. (11/18/10)


Two new books:  Lesley Kagan “Tomorrow River” and Barbara Kingsolver “The Lacuna”.  A little over 1/2 way done with the latter but so far it is wonderful! Have a box full of books to bring down someday soon! (11/14/10)


I thought of the name of the movie I was trying to tell you about today. “Definitely Maybe” starring Ryan Reynold, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher and others. I like the part about the book, “Jane Eyre”, that Isla’s character is looking for. My daughters also really liked this movie- they usually have excellent taste. (11/6/10)


We had a great time Saturday.    Sorry you weren’t in the store but you will just have to stop by when you are in Grand Island.  We sat Warren down in a chair and I started piling books in his lap.   All this was in your used book store.  I love it!!!  (11/1/10)


Susan, I’ve only just had a chance to read last week’s newsletter…(and that at the expense of doing my homework!)  It reminded me of a story of St. Francis.  He was walking in the woods, and it seemed too quiet to him.  So he told the birds to praise their Creator…and the trees and sky were FILLED with birdsong!  (I always loved that story!)  (10/18/10)


Hi Susan,  Such good stuff again today!  I was tired this morning & your “Tonight we’ll write an epitaph for the moments we use today…will we use them in a way worth writing?” was just the encouragement I needed to get off my duff & do my work.  Also from “That’s My Son,” what an encouragement to be the kind of mother who has learned to handle the bumps of life & to teach my grandkids that as well.   I live too far away to visit your shop regularly (Wichita, KS) but thanks for your encouragement by e-mail!   (9/23/10)


Hello!  Of COURSE we were thrilled by your amazing store, amazing vibrance, and amazing generosity!! That was exactly what we needed Saturday morning, and you can be sure we will make it a point to be back soon and often. :)  I can’t wait for you to get Life is a Verb… I think you’ll love it!  Patti Digh (the author) comes along with her business partner David Robinson and works with us and educators in our area on systems change (making schools better) and we are really passionate about getting community members involved. They will be back in March for two days and May for two days and we’d love to have you join us if that’s a possibility for you.  You will LOVE them both, they have a very unique approach to their work.  (9/21/10)


Susan, I just have to tell you about the best book I am reading.  It is called The Help and I see it is on the best seller list.  If this book doesn’t get to number one I would be very surprised.  I highly recommend having it in the store if you don’t already.  It would appeal to everyone you sell to.  (9/9/10)Oh, my goodness – Just spent hour in your “new” store!!!  It is beautiful, inviting, enticing and just plain fun!!!  (9/3/10)


This year I told myself I can’t live the next thirty years of my life that way, so get a grip already. I put a stickie in front of my desk that says, “CHOOSE JOY”. Well, I haven’t totally escaped the grims, but I am working hard to fake it when I’m not quite there yet.  I also am working really hard (like I told you) to nurture relationships with those people whom I admire, and who leave me feeling happy and peaceful and revitalized.  This summer I saw this really funny quote from a businessman who said, “Do you know the way to have a happy work place? Fire the unhappy ones.”  It made me realize that I’m not dreaming it when I feel like some people suck all the life out of me and leave me discouraged, and that I have to stop letting those people live in my brain. I can still be a compassionate friend to them, but I can have some protective distance.  (8/25/10)


Susan:  Please know I appreciate your weekly messages.  I read Anne Lindbergh’s book “Gift from the Sea” years ago, but your quote struck me tonight.  Tonight I am older and at a different phase of life than when I first read her words.  Thank you.  (7/28/10)


An outreach effort to consider on the personal level. If you’ve read “Three Cups of Tea,” you are familiar with Greg Mortenson. If you have not read this book, I rate is as a book that will have a profound impact on your thinking. The first 100 pages are just background; wade through them to get to the heart of the story.  (7/25/10)


Thanks……………….are you aware…………the words “silence” and  “listen” have the same letters ?!  (7/1/10)


Two thoughts, I truly agree with your observation but hadn’t really thought of it before that how much more we can learn from the writer of a journal of his life above reading a biography.  I have a bit about Florence Nightingale but not the in depth you are getting.  I also like the proverb/quote of Eleanor Roosevelt.  I want to share one that came to me yesterday which seems to fit me somewhat.  Japanese Proverb:  Fall seven times.  stand up eight.  I continue on.  (7/1/10) (referring to Florence Nightingale writing)


Hi there!   I just finished reading Kristin Hannah’s book “winter garden” last night.  Oh Susan, I just cried and whimpered and bawled for the last 30 minutes I was reading it.  Wow, what a book.  I devoured it in just 3 sittings – 400 pages.  She was recommended to me by some of my friends in Bible study, so they loaned me the book, and I understand their passion for her writing now.  (6/23/10)


Susan, We were in your store last week and were treated with the best customer service I have experienced in a long time.  We travel quite a bit and so I feel I can sepak from experience.  I love your assortment of educational toys.  We will be bringing in our grandson the week of the 4th for more toys.  :)   Thanks to your helpful, courteous staff. It was a pleasure shopping at your store.  (6/17/10)


I have given Gift from the Sea to 4 of my good friends now and one of them has given it to 5 of her friends! You have started a gift chain and so many women are now reading the inspiring words of Anne Lindbergh!  (6/14/10)


This was one of my favorite ones yet….. I loved and NEEDED every word today!  I feel like I’m being swallowed up by my children, but today YOU reminded me to go outside and enjoy them.  My toilets can wait another day, week, or grossly month probably.  My soul is smiling.  (6/3/10)


Perfect Thursday note for me! I could hardly pull myself from the house this AM as I look into the eyes of (grandchildren), just woke from their sleep wide eyed and full of laughs and giggles…their little faces so perfect that I could hardly quit looking at them to get myself dressed!Those are the moments of perfection that I just want to keep in my mind forever….or as Wadsworth puts it…fast in my fortress, down into the dungeon in the round tower of my heart! (6/3/10)


Oh my goodness…..  have you been a little mouse in the corner of my life lately?????  The last quote was an utter blessing today… read it tonight after I sought refuge in a long hot shower, trying so hard to rinse the ache of life away—  and I felt that incessant call of “weariness”——  it hit me really hard tonight and I was getting sucked into self-pity and self-loathing.  I got out, took a little rest, and got up, knowing that no matter what, there are four young people in this house who rely on me.  I shuffled down to the kitchen, pulled up my email, and there was my friend, once again knowing just what I needed to read most, just the exact words to keep me going.  How do you do that????? Nothing short of a blessing.   I can do this. I can get through this part of my song, listen to those minor chords, knowing that the beautiful harmony is sure to follow eventually… No worries– nothing major that should give you cause for alarm or feel like you need to come rescue me—  because even though the issues are minor in the grand scheme of things, you have already rescued me today with your choice of words to share.  (5/20/10)


I spent most of yesterday captive on airplanes and took the opportunity to commune with your wonderful “Gift from the Sea” offering to me.   I was coming back from a weekend in Houston, where I had the pleasure of helping one of our international host students celebrate her graduation from Rice University and the dreaded task of helping her relocate four year’s worth of “stuff.”   This was after spending the previous weekend helping my husband’s family (including 5 far-flung siblings) find the energy and wisdom to agree on end-of-life decisions for my father-in-law.   And after a week that included sobering diagnostic news on my Hodgkins survivor husband’s “late effect” symptoms of rapidly degrading heart and lung functions.  In other words, I was seeking refuge and balance.  And I found it in those pages.  You were sitting on my shoulder as I reflected, regrouped, and regained a sense of calm amidst my purposefulness.  Thank you.  (5/17/10)


I cannot think of a more perfect message for you to put in your newsletter on this day.  It is my birthday (!) and I’ve been thinking all morning about my life’s purpose.  Contemplating whether or not I am “in tune” with the composer.  Am I living my life to the fullest?  Your thoughts this week are certainly marching to the same beat as mine!  Thanks again for the words you write.  (5/13/10)


My husband hates that I sigh! Last night I did workshop on Sabbath Keeping – so hard to do in our busy world – the one you describe here- but so necessary. Our productivity does not keep the world going……God does.  Observing even Sabbath ‘moments’ allows us to hear God’s quiet voice (even when we are sighing!) I recommend “Sabbath Keeping” by Lynne M Baab, if you don’t already carry it.  (5/13/10)


Susan, I was watching NTVs Good Life and the co-host Leslie Means has authored a children’s book. here’s the link: www.lesliemeans.com  I think it looks like a neat book that would fit your store’s niche! (5/12/10)


Thank you so much for sharing. So many jewels here! I will save this email so I can read it again from time to time. And I think I need to get some more Anne Lindbergh so I can have my own little shelf of treasures. :)  (5/6/10)


Last week I had probably my first experience of what I think it means “Be still and know that I am God” means.  While I had 2 hours to myself, I sat in my new room to read the Bible and our Bible study lessons.  Before I started reading, I looked up and saw such a peaceful and heartwarming sight!  I looked out my window from my oversized chair and saw layers of trees with different colors and textures while the wind from the window gently touched my face.  Through the layers of leaves, I saw a bird house high above the ground.  Oh, how sweetly the birds were singing as the sun shone brightly on them.  In that moment, I was still for one of the first times in my life.  I didn’t think of anything else but God’s gift he had given me in that moment.  All the beauty and peace.  I seem to always have a recording in my head telling me everything I need to do or replaying something that has happened.  What peace in just being STILL.  ____ told us that she liked that verse you wrote about today.  Now I understand it a little better.  Thank you for reminding me of that moment again today with your Thursday note.  (5/6/10)


Ran in real quick to get my emails and check office stuff. Got all bad emails, then gave myself permission to stay and read your email…overwhelmed be all the things that spoke to me..then I get to Be Still And Know that I AM GOD…..blubbering sobs creeping up in my throat!! You..YOU…always giving us hope… (5/6/10)


Well, it really didn’t take me 4 months to read “Gift from the Sea“!  I am just that bad about sitting down and emailing!  And I am VERY EMBARRASED it has taken me so long….time just slipped away.  I originally wanted to sit down and email thoughts about different sections but I just never seemed to have the time.  Which is why the book was so good for me…..I’m not good at balancing everything in my life!  Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a cottage by the sea to go and relax for a time.  I am amazed how much she wrote “back then” that still holds true today.  We women are pulled in so many different directions with homes, jobs, husbands, and children that we rarely get time for ourselves.  And when we do we feel guilty about it because we are leaving behind so much that has to be done!  I just loved how she could write with all women in mind and make us feel like we are NOT the only one who feels overwhelmed with trying to balance all the aspects of our lives.  It was a fantastic book and definitely one that can and will be reread over and over.  Thank you for introducing me to her work!  (4/30/10)


Just wanted to thank you again for Streams in the Desert.  I read it every day and just love how it keeps me connected with the word.  (4/29/10)


Books on the loss of a child.   I can’t say I know of any particular good ones.  I lost my daughter Noelle Petrice when she was 11 weeks old.  Outside she was perfect, and  so beautiful,  with a full head of dark hair.  But inside she had heart defects.  We did everything we could for her, but God brought her home to Him.  I don’t know why.  But I do know for sure, that He had a really really good reason and that it was an act of kindness and wisdom on His part.  I trust Him in that decision.  She is so safe with Him.

When she died, (this was in 1979) I was only 20.  Funny thing, I wasn’t even saved yet but having been raised in a Christian home I knew she was in Heaven and I planned on seeing her again.  My salvation story is a whole  “nother” thing for another day. At any rate, people would say to me “What kind of God would let her die” and even then I would tell them “I’m not mad at God.  I know He had a good reason”.    At the age of 20, it felt like such a long time  to wait out the rest of my life to see her again.  But I told my dad a couple years ago that now it doesn’t see like it will be very long at all.  Time goes so fast, and His return is so near.   It won’t be long at all and in fact could be any moment.  I just can’t wait. I don’t have first hand knowledge of any good books on grieving.  But I would recommend anything that speaks of God’s perfect love and wisdom, such as that book you quoted from some time ago that I like so much:   Gold by Moonlight by Amy Carmichael.   Everything He does is actually because He loves us so much.    The specific “why” is really not important now.  We’ll know all of that when we see Him face to face.    Sometimes He does let us know the “why” now,  but when He doesn’t, He longs with all of His heart,  for us to know Him well enough to trust Him with our most valued treasures of all……those people we love.   (4/28/10)


Susan, you’re the only one I’ve ever heard mention that book, Michael O’Halloran.  ___ read it as a child and has warm memories of it and another Gene Stratton Porter book, Freckles.  We have them both on our shelves.  Now I’m going to have to finally read them!  (4/15/10)


Susan, This tells me it is time to take popcorn to the cemetery, that was Lynn’s favorite food, so I scatter it on his grave, squirrels and birds love it.  So he gets new flowers and popcorn Have a wonderful spring.  (4/8/10)


Dear Susan, Thank you for sharing your thoughts this morning.  Wow!  And thank you for letting me share my heart with you as well ….  and then you’ll understand why what you wrote today touched me so deeply.

Here is a poem I wrote on August 29, 1997:  The Journey Home by Way of the Heart

Fingers and noses pressed up against the large airport window, eyes
Peering into the Chicago darkness.
Gate 26 … O’Hare Airport … November 18, 1982.

Then the silver stork landed and ever so slowly eased up to the window,
Where four little children watched it grow as it came closer,
Bringing their new sister home —
And where a Mom and a Dad stood bravely behind
Their row of two blondes and two ebony tresses,
Fighting back the tears of anticipating and excitement.

The airport lights … the hustle and bustle of a Thursday night in Chicago,
Our daughter is coming home!
From Seoul, Korea, her birthing process spanned
Twenty hours and half the globe …

And oh, my, there she is, that’s her, I know that’s our Sarah!
She is bundled up in wool and plaid, no other luggage in hand.
She is wrapped up in a lineage of sad goodbyes and hesitant hellos,
Baggage accumulated over her seven years of odyssey …
A litany of tears — a liturgy of hope.
Sarah’s little fingers lingered in the palm of her Korean escort —
[An interpreter telling about eating chicken for dinner,
A midwife showing us a picture that her “newborn” drew
While flying over the ocean,
A loving lady who now had completed her mission work ….]
She placed Sarah’s hand into mine,
And suddenly the noisy homecoming seemed very quiet
As the family of seven eased into the stream of the concourse.
Sarah stopped, turned to look over her shoulder at the lady
Who loved her across the threshold of a crowded orphanage
Into our hearts — hearts that had decided we had room for one more!

Our van broke through the darkness as we traveled westward home;
A pillow fight punctuated by giggles gave way to
Sighs and childhood snores that created a melody line
To the clackety-clack of the tires along the interstate.
I squeezed Steve’s hand as he proudly steered his family home.

As so the history of Sarah Jin’s final fifteen years began.
She jumped feet first into our family;
of doing my homework!)  It reminded me of a story of St. Francis.  He was walking in the woods, and it seemed too quiet to him.  So he told the birds to praise their Creator…and the trees and sky were FILLED with birdsong!  (I always loved that story!)  (10/18/10) 


Hi Susan,  Such good stuff again today!  I was tired this morning & your “Tonight we’ll write an epitaph for the moments we use today…will we use them in a way worth writing?” was just the encouragement I needed to get off my duff & do my work.  Also from “That’s My Son,” what an encouragement to be the kind of mother who has learned to handle the bumps of life & to teach my grandkids that as well.   I live too far away to visit your shop regularly (Wichita, KS) but thanks for your encouragement by e-mail!   (9/23/10)


Hello!  Of COURSE we were thrilled by your amazing store, amazing vibrance, and amazing generosity!! That was exactly what we needed Saturday morning, and you can be sure we will make it a point to be back soon and often. :)  I can’t wait for you to get Life is a Verb… I think you’ll love it!  Patti Digh (the author) comes along with her business partner David Robinson and works with us and educators in our area on systems change (making schools better) and we are really passionate about getting community members involved. They will be back in March for two days and May for two days and we’d love to have you join us if that’s a possibility for you.  You will LOVE them both, they have a very unique approach to their work.  (9/21/10)


The Bookseller of Kabul”  Makes me VERY GLAD I was born in the USA!  (2/4/10)  (Referring to Jane Eyre)


Check out “Clara’s War”.  Very good book-think you will like it.   (2/3/10)


I am about 20 pages away from having finished “A Lantern in her hand”.  It is such a great book.  What I really appreciate is that it’s not something I would have ever picked up on my own, without your recommendation, so it’s been very nice to explore this new insight and I love all the Nebraska history.  That’s why I wanted to join the book club, too.  I read so much and all the time, but I wanted to kind of branch out and get new ideas and suggestions.  Thanks so much for your recommendation.  I’ll come in again and get the other one by Bess Streeter Aldrich that you recommended.  (I think I’m bringing my friend from Grand Island to your store tomorrow.  She’s never been and I’ve been talking about it so much and told her she just HAS to come!!)  (1/29/10)


For some reason, this week your newsletter hit my heart!!!  (as it has many other weeks, just hadn’t taken the time to let you know)  I love the Telepathy poem.  In fact, I sent it on to my two daughters and a couple of really good friends.  Plus the Heritage piece is precious.  Wouldn’t that make a good birthday gift to have a Babushka and that piece inside the package?   (1/29/10)


I do have one Anne Lindbergh book – Gift from the Sea – sitting on my bookshelf that I have yet to read. I have never read any of her writings but I do look forward to it. But right now I have 4 books in my Susan Box that I must read first!!!. Here is the interesting thing – I had never read any of Anne’s writings and I saw the Sea book in a small display at a local antique store. There were 3 copies sitting there and I bought it mainly b/c I thought it was a pretty book. I loved the seashell on the cover b/c I always gather shells when we are at the beach. At the register, the shop owner said that she sold that particular book faster than she could put it out. The book has been sitting in my home for at least a year now but I will make it a new priority since you recommend it.  (1/28/10)


Wanted to keep reading rather than working!!  I am thoroughly enjoying this little gem. Reading about Abbie’s heartaches and trials Is a great reminder that these times in our lives really can develop our character or break us if we allow it.   (1/27/10)


We finally made it home several hours after we intended. As soon as I changed my clothes and moved all the clothes from the suitcase to the laundry basket, I sat down to open my box.  The Stepping Heavenward book was on the top – I briefly read the cover and wanted so much to start on it right then since you had indicated that it was another of your favorites. With great fortitude, I put that book aside to dig deeper into the box. The other two Bess books were just an intriguing – but on the very bottom, lay the one – the one that so touched me when I first found your website and writings. I lifted it out as if it were a delicate jewel and just holding it in my hand gave such pleasure. I just sat there holding it and studying the bleak yet peaceful painting on the front cover…I read the back cover all the while thinking of you and how I would have never even learned of this book had I not been led to “stumble across” your website…and I sat there speaking gratitude to the Creator for the manner in which our paths crossed just since Christmas. Then I found your note inside the front flap. You said that you hoped I would find a treasure here, too. Well I’ve read three chapters now and yes, I’ve found a treasure.  (1/25/10)


Last night, my husband was at a church meeting late, and after I put the kids to bed… i decided to not turn on the tv and I did dishes, picked up the house and folded some clothes in complete silence for about an hour.  I had lost my phone and didn’t go to the computer.  Just silence.  And I kept thinking of Anne LIndbergh and Gift from the Sea.  Then I sat down and read more of “A Lantern in her Hand“.  I couldn’t put it down.  I wanted to keep reading… and I did until 12:30.  I’m so tired.  It’s a life’s story and maybe ordinary… or maybe no life is ordinary.  Unfortunately I have to work today and have quite a bit I need to accomplish but I am so glad for the silence and the alone time of last night.  :-)    (1/21/10)


I just slipped out of bed…only because my self talk reminded me it was Thursday and maybe the “note” was done, and that was reason enough to forcefully start my day… And here it is perfect words…from the ancient wisdom of men…these are the only men I trust you know….the ones that are wise and dead! How brilliant are the words of that fable…to remain as true today as then. Thanks again sweet Susan for my feeding my brain with wisdom of the ancients!!! Me smiling ready to face the day… (1/21/10)


I bought two more copies of “Gift from the Sea” for 2 of my friends.  You gave me such a wonderful gift and I want to pass it forward.  I started reading it Wednesday night, but didn’t have much time and I finished it on Friday on the drive to Colorado.  I can’t even tell you how I felt connected to that book and to the author and then to you because you gave it to me and had also loved it!  I really connected to the part of the Oyster shell and have now put seashells in my bathroom as a reminder, there’s even an oyster shell in there.  It made me feel better about my feelings of not being a perfect person, having a perfect marriage or feeling so scattered all the time.  It helped me look at things and re-prioritize.  I’m just starting that and I want to read and re-read this book to soak it all in and I want more by Anne Lindbergh.  It was amazing that she wrote that in 1954… I felt like she was talking to me today!  I just started reading “A Lantern in Her hands” last night and so far am really liking it, I will let you know what I think as I keep reading.  It feels peaceful to me… and calming.  I need some of that.  I think that’s why I liked what you wrote about it and how to gain more time.  (1/20/10)


This is one of my favorites so far.  I think I will have a hard time adjusting when the kids are more and more self sufficient.  It reminds me to value and cultivate my relationship with ____….. I needed to be reminded that it will be just he and I for the majority of our life and our labor intensive years of raising children will come to an end before we know it.  (1/18/10)


Are you familiar with that book – No More Dreaded Mondays? I started that as my latest self-help book this year (I usually read about 2 self-help books each year – read one chapter a week repeatedly so that I can absorb the material). No More Dreaded Mondays is all about finding what you are suited to do and then finding a way to change your life in order to do it – hence you will not dread going to work each Monday. I am still looking for my hidden talent and wondering what I should do with my life other than being a supportive mother and grandmother. But this I do know (thanks to Simple Abundance), I want to make the most of each day and remember to enjoy the ‘rest of the journey’.  (1/10/10)


I read this out loud to Matt.  He LOVES McManus.  He was reminding me of one we read about Pat and his buddy and sledding with Rancid Crabtree.  If you haven’t read that one…you must…hilarious!!!  (1/7/10)

So as I moved into the story of the woman entering heaven, my mind’s eye was seeing my own mother (already in heaven’s gate) and another mother whom I have never met…your mother. But my mind’s eye was also seeing my own precious daughter. B/c during the Christmas season of 2006 my daughter suffered a miscarriage – the Christmas season of 2007 she had another miscarriage. Therefore, she often talks about meeting those two babies some day in heaven.

When I got to the part about the mother not seeing her “precious babe who came here so many years ago”, I had to stop and take a breather – couldn’t read through the tearing eyes. Had to take another break when I read about the angel saying “though shalt see her wearing most precious pearls”. All I could think was that my daughter’s two babies would have a long strange of pearls!

Then your own darling child sleeping sweetly beside you as you wrote.  Your ending was inspiring and uplifting. Thank you for a wonderful start to the new year. I have printed this article and read it several times already…and I anxiously await next Thursday’s treasure.  (1/3/10)


Awesome email……. Moved to tears.  I never put that perspective on our little kiddos that you and I never got to hold.  They are up there with the Lord who loves them…. Maybe they are friends.  (1/2/10)


Susan, thank you for this.  I am many time to busy to read all your stuff but I started reading this and couldn’t stop until I was finished.  My son was murdered in 2003 and my wife died in 2004 of breast cancer.  At first I thought she had gone to care for him.  I have come to realize that he went first to prepare the way for her.  She was afraid of death and I’m sure his hand reaching out to her was a comfort. (1/31/09)


How wonderful!!  Thank you!  I think for once in my life I  am speechless.  (12/31/09)


Love this one : )  After having 2 miscarriages this makes you think!!  (12/31/09)


Thank You for sharing today’s thoughts !!  I practically cried! Really hits home when you’ve lost a loved one, and how it all just seems like yesterday when “it” happened, Life IS Short, it’s neat how kids see it all in a different perspective than us seeing the bad parts, my boys have shared the same thoughts as Camden on a loved one, or pet in heaven, makes us adults feel so much better!  It’s special to see it all through a Childs eyes!!  (12/31/09)


Couldn’t help but connect your short story this morning by Eugene Field with his poem here.  I memorized the poem years ago.  With the rhyme and rhythm so strong it is easy to remember (I don’t know why I learned it–probably for school, or why I picked this one.)  Here is the site where I found it–you might recognize other poems by Eugene Field. Eugene Field’s son had died which ties into the short story you found.  http://www.mamalisa.com/field/index.html#boyblue  (12/31/09)


Thank you for taking the time to share all these thoughts.  I enjoyed reading every word, and feel compelled to read the whole book!  I am still reading Gift From the Sea and enjoying it very much.  I feel it is so rich I can only read a few pages at a time.  Then I need to go back and read it again!  Thank you again for sharing it with me, it truly is a gift!  (12/20/09)


What is the Latin phrase for “things are the devourer of time”?  Seems that is the realism of my life.  Love your emails!  (12/18/09)


Oh, Susan.  You just gave me the nicest gift this morning to sit and read your writings on what sounds like a WONderful book!  (12/18/09)


Dear Susan, I read through all your quotes from “A Lantern in her Hand”!  Wow!  I must read that book. You would like “Nothing to Make a Shadow”.  Have you read it?  It’s written by a woman who was a young girl when her family moved up here close to the area where we live–Winner, South Dakota. You would like it!  I’ll bring it some time if you’re interested.


I love your quote from C.S. Lewis at the beginning of your website.  “I am a part of all that I have met.”  I have recently read some books that I found very moving;  I want so much to be moved by them, to be changed, to find someone to discuss them with  . . .  .


Time is an awesome mystery. When we get to heaven, we will not be confined by time or space.  I can’t understand that with my finite mind, but I do look forward to it.  Time and space are so confining!  (12/18/09)

Susan, My emotions are running high this week before Christmas, tears in my eyes as I read this… You could not have posted a more meaningful message today!  My “baby” turns three tomorrow – the youngest of three.  (My husband and I were married in 2002 and I had three babies by the end of 2006!)  The wind has certainly rushed by.  I have been in a whirlwind for the last three days, just trying to catch my breath!  Or has it been for the last three years?  I’ve been referring to it as “multi-tasking”, but now I’m just thinking it’s CRAZY!!!  Thank you so much for sharing this message.  It reached out and grabbed me.  God bless your aching fingers!  (12/17/09)


Susan, thanks so much for the Lantern in the Hand this morning. One of my all time favorite books that I haven’t read in years. I sat and read every word although I don’t have time — funny, huh? I don’t have time. Ironic. Thanks so much.   (12/17/09)


My dear Susan – you are a lantern to my soul – I want that book.  It amazes me how much I can relate to the emotions Abby is going through.  The difference is the “time” of the year in which it occurred.  She moved out west and I out east.  Same thoughts, fears and feelings.   (12/17/09)


Hello SUSAN!!!!   I loved your passage today on her daughter not wanting to be a mother…   makes me love my kids even more… if that’s possible!!   (12/17/09)


Dear Susan,  Me…weeping with hope.  The quiet stable.  (12/17/09)


I just wanted you to know that “A Lantern in Her Hand ” is one of my most favorite books of all time….I received an old copy of it from Alan’s father when Alan and I were first married and I have read it nearly every year…it is in a shambles…but I just hold it together with a rubber band….. (12/17/09)


Susan — Thanks so much for your letter.  I read it once, but now I’m printing it to read again.  Excellent!!  I appreciate your encouragement—-what you wrote about is exactly what God has been laying on my heart in the recent months.  A great reminder for the coming weeks with all of the kiddos at home. (12/17/09)
I cannot even believe I’m going to admit to you that I have never read any of her books.  What is wrong with me SUSAN????  This is absolutely beautiful and made me cry.  Esp. the part about losing her husband so young.  I can’t even imagine losing my husband and yet it is probably the thing I fear the most.  Most days I too feel like time is just floating by me and I can’t do anything to slow or stop it.  I HATE THAT.  There is so much to life.  So much I want to share and enjoy and so many people I want to love and appreciate.  Thank you for reminding that there are some AWESOME books out there, that can express my feelings so much better than I can ever express them myself.  (12/17/09)


Susan.  Woke up this AM and thought is was Thursday…ran to my computer for Thursdays note…disappointment started my day! Anticipating tomorrow!  (12/16/09)


Hi, Susan!  I’ve been a reader of your Thursday emails for quite a while now, and I thought it was time that I introduced myself.   I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your weekly emails.  As a writer, I share your love of books, words, and all things literary.  I know that writing is often a lonely, even scary, endeavor–sending your once-very-private thoughts and words out into the world and wondering where they land.  So this is a note to let you know that your words have “landed” on me–and for this, I am deeply grateful.  Your words have encouraged me, made me smile, reminded me to look up to God instead of in at myself, and sent me in search of many books.  Thank you for the ministry that you have undertaken and the excellence with which you carry it out.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  (11/19/09)


Susan, just wanted you to know that I finished “No Time on My Hands” last week.  What a wonderful book!  This is one that I’ll read again – probably several times over the years.  :)  Thank you for including me in your emails or I’d have never found this gem.  :)   (11/19/09)
I would like one of the little Warburg books – perfect for my six year old son.  I am so glad your “Hi from Susan” emails arrive on Thursdays.  This daycare mom is usually tired and in need of inspiration at the end of the week!  At the end of this email you said, “Go, look in others’ eyes.  There is someone that needs your smile, no matter your own story.”  That is so true, especially with children, and it just made me feel wonderful – the little lift that I needed this morning.  That, and the laughter inspired by your three Thanksgiving responsibilities… I can totally relate!  It’s like a page from the book of my life. :)  (12/3/09)


I mailed all the books to her for her Christmas, birthday and wedding.  I told her she could open now later, whenever she wanted to.  She chose to open immediately which I knew would happen.  I got a message on my answering machine when she received them.  You could tell she was so happy and excited just by the tone of her voice.  She was especially pleased with the seal of the store on the first page.  She said, “she didn’t know how much help Susan gave me but she was pleased with all the selections”.  She was going to read all the prefaces and then start reading according to the preface.  Thank you for all your help and I’ll be back to make more selections.  Books are Emily’s toys and adventures in life. (11/16/09)


Susan I so enjoy your newsletters that I get but yours this morning was especially well written. There are so many that need comforting right now and those poems and words from you are so comforting.  (11/5/09)


Every moment counts…perfect words for me today…gratitude and peace.  I finished reading Dark Nights of the Soul this morning…so perfect for me today.  Last paragraph of the book…


You become the wounded healer, someone who has made the descent and knows the territory. You take on the depth of color and range of feeling. Your intelligence is now more deeply rooted and not dependent only on facts and reason. Your darkness has given you character and color and capacity. Now you are free to make a real contribution. It is a gift of your dark night of the soul!


And this was the book I rolled my eyes at when you gave me almost 2 years ago!!  (11/5/09)


Spiritual Wisdom from Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VII   “You are not the owner of your life. Let him who owns it do what he likes with it, affirm his will, and be his slave—be free, be happy, meanwhile enjoy your place, and enjoy your portion, That is HIS will.”  These words give me such peace.  (11/3/09)


Your message once again hit the nail on the head.  I am my own worst enemy – I can read until I’m blue in the face and I can’t seem to change.  I try to be different and people (my granddaughter) respond the same way, no matter what.  I’m told that she’s just being a teenager, but I am one that wants things perfect…God made me that way, so why does He give me a teenager to raise?????  Actually, I’m not one to believe “He” gave me a teenager, that’s just the way things happened.  Now, if I could just let him figure out how to get me through this!!  I raised them when I was young, and that was okay; but now I can’t seem to handle it.  AND, I’m not one to sit back and wait patiently for an answer…MY DOWNFALL!!  Anyway, thank you for always, always knowing what is going through my head!!  (10/31/09)


Thank you so much for the wonderful notes – I read every one of them.  You touched on so much that I have been feeling – my Mother died last September, my Father died last November and my Father-in-law died last December — I am in the midst of the first year anniversaries of their deaths – at times it overwhelms me and at times I have peace.   I am not an avid reader, but I do like to read and have read more this year than any other year of my adult life – your notes have me more inspired to read than ever.   Please add me to your email list for Thursdays.  (10/27/09)


I also wanted to share the name of two OUTSTANDING books…   “Same Kind of Different As Me” is true story of a homeless guy and an art dealer and his wife who meet him at a soup kitchen type setting.  It is one of the best books ever!!  “Sarah’s Key” is also one outstanding book.  It kind of haunts you after you’ve read it, tho because it’s centered around the life of a young girl who escapes a camp where her parents are sent to Holocaust.  (10/16/09)


Have you read this book. I rate it as a must read for anyone who values the education of women. This man is doing more for peace in Pakistan, with minimal funds, than the U.S. military can imagine. (10/15/09)


Sad how the most important things for your soul….get shoved aside for trivial things like work. I’ve been reading the book you gave me nearly 2 years ago, The Dark Nights of  Your Soul. Geez…I thru it aside then because it looked …yucky! But it really is an awesome book…thought provoking and gentle for the wounded spirit we all have sometimes.  (10/2/09)


To me, there is no greater gift on this earth than a book. When I was a little girl, my parents did not have the money to buy a book—however, I did have a cousin who was a teacher and she gave my sister and me some beautiful little books which, to this day, I still have in my possession. (10/1/09)
Just wanted to drop you a note.  I always enjoy reading your weekly notes! But today God must have planned just for me!  I am here this am checking e-mails before we start the day and go to my Dad’s Memorial service.  Thanks for your words, I will be looking toward the hills.  (9/17/2009)


Susan:  Loved visiting your store last August.  As a library director, I thoroughly enjoy your reading recommendation list.  May I add a new two newer titles for you?  Both of the them are inspirational but from very different points of view.  Still Alice by Lisa Genova on the topic of dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s and the second Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper about life with a blind cat.  (9/17/2009)


Have you ever read North River by Pete ?Hamill.  Fascinating fictional look at the times/culture of New York City through the eyes of a  physician who survived WWI and heartache to work in his poverty stricken neighborhood–I am not explaining well, but quite good book.  If you have some extra time, check it out.  (8/27/09)


What a beautiful poem.  I really like that.  But I am here to tell you enjoy those dirty little fingers. You will miss them so some day way to soon. Some times when I get upset about something the kids have not put away or done I have to stop and think two more years and its all over .  My baby will have graduated.   Thank you.  8/27/09


I needed your note this morning!!   I have been so looking forward to my Thursday and Friday of painting my kitchen.. and little Jane was up sick all night… here I was, feeling sorry for myself and getting crabby that MY plans were now going to be sidelined…. and your note reminded me that she is such a precious gift to me.. and how lucky I am (and how blessed) that I can be home when she needs me!!  How do you DO that?????  You knew what I needed to hear.  (8/27/09)


Susan – thanks for the message.  I love the little hands.  I still look at my 15 year old’s hand and wonder how they got so big.  And I cherish my 9 year old’s.  I really wish she could stay 9 forever.  And the time alone in the house is nice, but after about 30 minutes, I miss them all!  (8/27/09)


Thank you for a reminder of what is SO important, and yet we take for granted, every day.  Time is fleeting and far too soon those pudgy little hands turn big and strong and then will only occasionally allow the mother to hold them close to her face.  When the house and the car stay clean it means they are gone and we will only have the memories of the mess.  I often wonder how much of their memories will be crowded with mom or dad’s voice howling to “pick that mess up”!  (8/27/09)


We have a built in kitchen “hutch” that I covered in shiny white paint last summer.  Between the top and bottom is an open shelf…not very tall, but big enough to put a sugar and creamer or teacups..something like that. Anyway, as I was painting, I thought about the “ceiling” of the shelf.  No one can see it.  Why would I paint it?  THEN…I thought of the grandkids that hopefully will grace my future.  I painted it with just as many coats as the rest of the hutch because I could picture a tiny person looking up at me as I got out the plates to set the table, looking up and seeing the “ceiling” of that shelf…and I would know in my heart that I had painted it for their own little sakes….and the white paint will show off all their tiny fingerprints!  (8/27/09)


I am reading a very old book by Robert Hughes titled “The Fatal Shore” about the settling of Australia by the convicts of England.  Interesting…(8/24/09)


One tiny little hint that has done more than any one thing for my organizational behavior, (and believe me I have to work at being organized.) You probably have already read it or heard it, but it has been so helpful to me, I thought I would share it anyway….I refer to it as the Rule of Five…do just five small things to get the day started and give yourself permission to stop after you do five things. Generally what happens for me is that it is just a trick to get me started, and then once that happens, I gather some momentum. It is a daily struggle for us all to set priorities and keep life balanced…one of those things that is a perpetual work, at least for me. (8/21/09)


I was reading your email this morning, and wanted to recommend this great book to you, Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist.  Its subtitle is “Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life” and that’s just what it does!  I just finished it, and it was wonderful.  (8/6/09)


I have this quotation framed above my desk here at work:

     Earth’s crammed with heaven.

     And every common bush afire with God;

     But only he who sees takes off his shoes –

     The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. 

                      Elizabeth Barrett Browning

                      from Aurora Leigh  Book vii  (8/6/09)


My husband uses the music from Les Miserables in his vocal music classroom to teach some important life lessons.  He doesn’t belabor the adult themes in the story but the kids always, always are drawn into to story and LOVE the music.  He teaches Middle School vocal music and has found that teaching through story (in music and story telling) is a great opportunity to touch kids where they live and to lift them up.  I fall to pieces each time I hear ‘Bring Him Home’, “I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘On My Own’, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’.  (8/3/09)


LOVING the book and the author. Finding so many great lines from her, my favorite was a line about how us mothers put trapeze artists to shame, we balance so much more than they do in our everyday lives! How true is that! You couldn’t have referred this book to me at a better time in my life, thank you again!  (7/27/2009)


I think we all feel we know a number of those “so guided from a soft cradle to a calm and late grave…” and who’s to know who thinks that of us!  When people write to me of “days at the pool with the kids”, or vacations that are beyond my imagination….or even cars that work most of the time (!) I immediately class their happiness level as much higher than my own.  (I’m not proud of admitting that) However, I DO know grace in my life that I know many people never experience.  This was an excellent reminder to me to selige felicitatem.  (7/27/2009)


I jotted some of these onto stickies and placed them above my desk immediately.  ‘Cheerfulness’ is a daychanger.  Thank you!  … just heard interview of author Matt Crawford on the Bill Bennett morning talk show:  Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matt Crawford.  Title says it all!  Awesome interview.  Soulstirring.  The title registered with us.  Can’t wait to read it.  (7/27/2009)


Your Thursday email last week was jammed with good stuff. I haven’t read Bronte for years – about time I revisited her. I’ll add, “not the shape you dreamed” to good lines in her paragraph. What to read? We listened to Fellowship of the Ring as we drove home today. Is listening to reading reading? Who is the authority on this argument? The debate rages at the library where I work. Frankly, we have stayed out of the fray – we are too busy ‘reading’ (call it listening, if you prefer) Tolkien with Rob Inglis. Wishing you well on all fronts, your home, your store, your writing. (7/20/09)


I love the excerpt from Streams in the Desert. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. (7/18/09)


The harder it is to turn out the lamp, (as in, there are too many books in front of it) the better the reading! I LOVED Villette! (i went through a Bronte summer where I read 3 or 4 of their books…no regrets. Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy…I hope you enjoy it. Not a light book, but a very good one. (7/16/09)


Susan, was that email just for me? I am printing off the quote from “Streams in the Desert” I’d like a copy of that book too. Do you have them in stock? It’s amazing that your emails put words to my thoughts almost every week. (7/16/09)


Susan, Today’s note was sent just at the right time as I feel a bit weary and tired today. I spent 13 hours straight painting in our new room yesterday while watching 3 kids. I felt so tired before I slept last night; but I did start praying. I think I feel asleep before I was finished. (7/16/09)


You have inspired my reading some books I haven’t read for some time, Susan—like Anne Morrow Lindberg’s writings.  And I think perhaps you mentioned Beryl Markham’s WEST WITH THE NIGHT in a column sometime ago . . .?  If not, you do want to read it—it’s an incredible life saga.   And if you haven’t discovered the book THE HORSE BOY:  A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son, by Rupert Isaacson, please get yourself a copy asap!  It is the most incredible true story!  I can’t believe it hasn’t hit the non-fiction best-sellers’ list yet.  I quote from the back of the book jacket “Rupert Isaacson has conjured a nonfiction journey that reads like an epic novel.  It is a book of endless amazements.  The world of Mongolian shamans, the details of adventuresome travel, the mysterious world of autism—all are amazing.  Soon you realize that the world of horses is mysterious, too—and, yes, amazing.  By the time you are in the grip of this book, you’ll see love, marriage, and parenthood as realms of magic, profound power, and further amazements.  The Horse Boy can change the way you see your life, and it’s a terrifically good read at the same time.  It feels like a classic.”  I couldn’t agree more!!! (7/9/09)


I recently read An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden…as well as Five for Sorrow, 10 for Joy . Both were wonderful, although the latter was quite dark. Am reading an EXCELLENT book published last august by Our Sunday Visitor called Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire. I highly recommend it. (7/2/09)


I’ve got to tell you the magnetic ice cream cone maker toy I bought to keep at our house is one of their favorite things when they are over. Even Jay’s 7 year old brother loves to imagine with it. (6/30/09)


Susan: I didn’t see it mentioned in your newsletter, but I recommend Wednesday’s Letters. I read it with the Shack and thoroughly enjoyed it. (6/18/09)


Just want to tell you that I loved your ‘words’ today – I always do but really enjoyed this one and wanted you to know it! I’m one of those who enjoys this kind of weather – I get more done whether it be housework or reading or writing. Anyhow, keep up the good work! Kim brought me the book about the canteen in North Platte during World War II and how I enjoyed reading it. I didn’t know that had even existed – and how much pleasure it brought ‘our boys’!!!! (6/11/09)


To hold the note is to stop the song… is now written in my Bible under favorite quotes. I love that phrase.  ____ spoke at church on Saturday and she said that thru all her dealings with her granddaughter she “understands God less, but loves him more.” I wrote that in my Bible, too. He’s too big for us to try to understand, but that should make us love him more. If I understood God, he’d be less of a God to me and he’d fit in a box, I’m glad he doesn’t. (6/11/09)


I’m sorry that you miss your dad so much. You’ve inspired me to call my dad…. We need to talk. He’s on this earth and is my father, why do I not have a relationship with him? Can I rise above the fact that I have to be the parent in our relationship? No matter how much I fuss or pray (I should be doing more of the latter) my dad is who he is and he is here. That won’t always be the case…. Thank you for reminding me of that. (6/4/09)


If you have the opportunity, check out ” The day the world came to town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland”. It is very uplifting. (6/1/09)


I have been sitting at the computer this afternoon rereading some of your Thursday messages to us. It is chilly, windy, and gray outside and I’m just staying in. I know I have been wasting time today but I needed to just slow down and think. Thank you, thank you for the Thursday morning writings. I look forward to them and sometimes you hit exactly what I’m feeling at the time. That is the Lord working, I know. (5/26/09)


Thank you so much for taking care of the order for the Nantucket Briar Room Spray. It arrived, packaged so nicely, with that sweet treat, and an exceptionally memorable personal note. We are in between travels, so I haven’t had a moment to check out your website. However, I can already tell that I will want to get Thursday notes from you. (5/26/09)


Yes, the minutes of life are ticking by quickly. (5/21/09)


I read your comments about making decisions. Yes, I made the decision in the middle of the night to make homemade french bread…..since I could not sleep. So I crawled back to bed at 3:15 this morning. But I woke up with 2 long beautiful loaves of french bread on my counter. :-) Yes, the minutes of life are ticking by quickly. (5/21/09)


Thanks Susan. Been there, done that. Still have moments. I would add, “listen, deeply listen to music.” (5/21/09)


Thank you for your message. I saw Michael J Fox on Dateline how powerful. My mother suffered from Parkinsons Disease horrible thing to live with. His book sounds like something I really need to read. (5/21/09)


I loved this newsletter! Oh how I can relate. I appreciate knowing that I can leave the wet laundry in the washer and go play with my kids instead!!!! (since that is what I usually do anyway :)) (5/7/09)


I’m wondering how long it would take to embroider this whole “edition” onto a pillow! Rob has been working full time with hospice for almost two years, and he has NEVER mentioned anyone regretting that they didn’t tidy up more often! Order matters…I know it does, but so does balance and sanity and laughing and reading and playing.. Thanks again for a wonderful beginning to my Thursday! (5/7/09)


First of all, I love that you are reading Henri Nouwen. I loved The Way of the Heart and Peacework. Reading him in college was a major factor in entering Occupational Therapy School. Living in NYC has reminded me that of the sad truth that our natural response to suffering is often to look way…..to pass on the other side of the road. Reading his words have caused me to enter into a field, I had rarely considered. And it constantly challenges what it means to be a friend.

“Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it. As busy, active, relevant ministers, we want to earn our bread by making a real contribution.  This means first and foremost doing something to show that our presence makes a difference. And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer. Those who can sit in silence with their fellowman, not knowing what to say but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life in a dying heart. Those who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief and to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship, the fellowship of the broken.”-Henri Nouwen (5/3/09)


Awesome…. Friend. Loved the poem…. Ryan’s hair smells like spit up…. Never thought to cherish that…. Thank you. (4/23/09)


Ohhhh…”Lady” I have filled my head with fruitless thoughts lately…you are so right! Why not be reading those things that I love!! Those quotes are the ideas and values that fuel me!! What have I been thinking or “not thinking”! (4/9/09)


And I esp. loved this quote from the book you’re reading (although it sounds like a tough book emotionally?):
“Never any bitterness about what was done to them, but always love for those who knew how to bear so much although nothing had prepared them for such burdens.” (4/2/09)


Anyway, I read this last Thursday and was sad for my mom. Made me cry when I read There is your book, just as you laid it down,
Then I got some legal documents in the mail Thursday afternoon with her signature on them and cried s’more. And here are the last words your fingers wrote…
It’s just awful lately and even this morning I cried just because I need her and she’s not here. She’s just not here. WHERE IS SHE!_)#$(*&@#_)
And again I wonder where is my mom. Just a cup of coffee with her, please? A game of scrabble? A phone call? A touch. I was out at the farm by myself for a while this weekend – the farm where she grew up. Where Dad carried her out the door to the hospital for the last time. Where her decorations still hang on the wall where she herself put them more than a decade ago. Her books on the shelf. I just can’t take it today. But I have to. Fake it til you make it, then cry on the drive home alone if I have to, when I can sob in the car and hope my eyes aren’t still red by the time I get home. Be cheerful. Be patient, and push the heartbreak back until it pushes through the surface again. This is not fun. There you have it, my friend. Here I am! (3/30/09)




My friend brought one of our dear friends into your store recently. She sent me a message you had sent out for March with excerpts from a book by Etty Hillesum. The quotes you chose to use were very powerful for me today, as I am writing a letter to be shared at the funeral of my stepmother this Saturday…I had already decided that my letter was not to be a pastoral letter written from the chaplain/minister in the family, but needed to be a love letter that would strengthen our connection to God, to Lori, and to one another. As I read through the message you had sent out, I was confirmed. Thank you again for your message. It did my heart well today. (3/19/09)


I had not read your message yet, when my friend reminded me to read it. It was like I was meant to see it today. I have just received an update on my brother (who has multiple myeloma) and find that he has a spot on his hip and will be starting another round of 10 treatments of radiation on Monday. I have faith and believe and am a Christian, but I am so sad for his news. I ask why to my God. Life is hard.

Also, I had to reread to see where your quotes ended and you wrote about yourself. You lost a baby? I am so very sorry to hear that news. Yes, life is so precious. I am grateful for all the blessings in my life – one of which is you, your store, and your emails. (3/21/09)


My heart is heavy for you because of the loss of your little one. I know that feeling as we lost 2 little ones before our family was complete. Isn’t it exciting to think of meeting those children in heaven someday? I wonder if we’ll know who they are? Of course we will. I can’t grasp that. (3/19/09)


How sad I am for you, Stu and Camden at the loss of your precious child. For awhile, after reading your email and trying to come to grips with what you said, I noticed how quiet the office was. Not a sound. Then, all the sudden a bird chirping outside the window. He was telling me you would all be okay, but that you need prayers. (3/19/09)


In the first couple of weeks after I lost our baby, I had to remind myself that our God is the same as He was a month ago. He is good and He is in control. I don’t know how that all works together in these situations, but I know those things are true. One of my favorite songs since then has been “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns. I typed out the lyrics and hope they will encourage you. (3/19/09)

“Praise You In This Storm”

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away


Thursdays note (read Friday morning) reminded me of my favorite “lady” from many years ago…she died about 3 years ago and her entire service was around the Proverbs 31 theme! She was the perfect example of those words in so many ways…I haven’t thought of her for awhile and it brought a smile to my face think of her today..thanks for that! (3/13/09)


I am still trying to meet the mystery woman who sends all those wonderful emails on Thursday. I was in your store on Saturday. I brought my daughter and my 4 month old twin boy and girl grandchildren. they live in Waverly. Cara loved your store!!! (3/11/09)


This week’s “Good Morning” message was especially resonant for me. We know in our hearts the virtues that Natalia Ginzburt writes of, but an occasional reminding is indispensable. I’ve shared your excerpt with my dearest friends here in New Hope, PA and thought you should know. (2/19/09)


Thanks for another wonderful start to a Thursday. It reminded me of a line in a book ( something about a cottage, I think). It was “hold close with open hands.” (2/19/09)


I haven’t seen you in awhile now that our kids are back in Grand Island. Just wanted to let you know your message and all your quotes (which I love) really lifted my spirits today! My dad has been battling cancer this last year and just yesterday God chose to bring him home. While I have many emotions bouncing around inside me, the best feeling is remembering how much he loved God and looked forward to seeing Him face to face. It’s true we can make our lives miserable by worrying about tomorrow. True happiness is not based on our circumstances, but rather our “reaction” to our circumstances. I’m choosing to remember who he lived to please (his Creator) and that is enough to get me through today. (2/5/09)


Again, just what I needed to get through the day!! It’s been a tough week and I think, will be a trying next week, but I copied the paragraphs about burdens and will staple it to my desk! (2/5/09)


I wanted to thank you again for a fun “first time” at your store when I came over (I believe in early December?) to shop on the day your store had no power! And thank you also for the gift of “Stepping Heavenward” that you gave me! I enjoyed following Katherine’s life, and her desire to know God better. It’s a desire that many of us have, and I could truly relate! (1/27/09)


Thank you for another great Thursday note. I loved this one so much, that I felt the need to reply again! I just wanted to add to your list of quotes on the subject of living in the moment. I have two:
The first is my favorite Bible verse. I have this on a picture hanging over our kitchen table reminding us over breakfast: This is the day the Lord has made: Rejoice and be glad in it.
The second is my favorite morning prayer. I got it from the Lutheran Portals of Prayer and have saved it for years: “Thank You, heavenly Father, for the gift of another day. Give me an appreciation for all the blessings You will give me today. Help me be Your servant, speaking Your words, doing my tasks in Your name, holding fast to Your promises, and using the power that is mine because I am Yours. From Your bountiful store, give me love for each person in the day’s path. The past is gone, the future is uncertain to me, but You have given me the gift of this day. Help me live it as joyfully and completely as if it were the last one I have on this earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
I love those two so much! I have a feeling you will too! Anyway, I just wanted to share them. (2/5/09)


Thank you so much for sharing this, I needed to read every word of it. (1/24/09)


I especially liked the paragraph comparing one’s life to a burning log — smoldering and dismal vs. blazing and singing. What a wonderful description and visual image! (1/24/09)


I just wanted to tell you what pleasure it was to stop in your store Saturday. I wish now that my friend and I had come months earlier. My kids LOVE all three of the Mindware games I bought, but they are CRAZY for the Tantrix set. We spent several hours on Sunday doing the discovery puzzles. I am so glad I bought the full set for them. My students already this morning are intrigued by the Tantrix teaser set I bought for them to try! I can hardly wait to bring my kids to your shop! Thank you so much! (4th grade teacher, Grand Island 1/19/09)


You might check out: “When Invisible Children Sing” about Bolivian Street Children. “Everyone loves children, as long as they belong to someone. When they belong to the street, few love them. And the children know it. These cupped hands never ask for love, they ask for money.” Heartbreaking and hopeful both. (1/18/09)


Simple Abundance is great…. it has been on my bookshelf many years, but I recently dug it out again. My plan was a daily entry in my gratitude journal. HAH!…a book I LOVED!!!! Ask him to loan it to you. It is by Leif Enger, same guy that wrote “Peace Like a River”, which I loved. But even better…”So Brave, Young and Handsome”. This writer is an artist with words. It is adventure, romance, just plain wonderful! (1/15/09)


It made me think how sometimes when I haven’t a really good book to read I’m not reading…but I know I never stop reading —something. I could not live without doing that. To learn, to inspect , always curious to see what or how someone sees their world. (1/15/09)


Guess what my reading goal is for 2009?! I’m going to read the “Waverly Novels” by Sir Walter Scott. They were historical novels about Scotland at the time when the history was only seventy years old, but were written in the first third of the 1800’s or so, so now it is VERY old. Ivanhoe and Kenilworth are the familiar ones, but there are 15 or 20 or so. When they were written they were the most read novels in the world, but now they are kind of unknown, but really rather interesting. I happened to inherit them (along with two full bookshelves of ‘antique books’) when a library was dumping them and the niece of our piano teacher rescued them. So far I am about 3/4 of the way through the first one, so it may take two years to finish them. (1/12/09)


Hi Susan – I wanted to let you know that this is so in line with what God has been telling me all this week. Actually He’s been telling me for the last 10 months, since my son suffered traumatic brain injury in a car wreck. He’s 28 and in a nursing home, expressing minimal responses. Though I do expect full recovery and if you could take a second to read Job 33:14-30 it will tell you exactly why. God led me specifically to this passage when my son was in a drug induced coma and I sat in his cold dark ICU room (he was not to be stimulated at all) and flipped through my Bible by the dim light of the hallway. Anyhow, as time lags and progress is so slow, it takes all the more effort to keep emotions in a vise grip and keep looking past the “facts” to the “truth”. God has been reinforcing the “Never Give Up!” encouragement to me this week and this is another affirmation. I highlighted in green those parts which jumped out at me today. Thanks so much for taking the time to share these writings. (1/9/09)


I can’t tell you what a blessing and comfort your letter is this morning. It’s early and my heart was broken again over things that are far in the past. Your letter was like a letter from God himself. Thank you so much. Somewhere in my soul is a writer; of songs and other matters that concern our hearts. I will keep this particular letter as highlighted in my bible. Bless you. (1/9/09)


Susan, I want to thank you so much for the incredible way you handled my order earlier in Dec. The little wooden “puzzle” birthday cake was a HUGE hit with my three year old grandson, Johnathan. He served cake over and over to all the guest at his party–too cute!! I gave our granddaughter, Paige, the pots and pans and veggies and she loved them and she and her cousin, Johnathan, played with those amidst all the wrapping paper and gift bags around the tree!! I received that order in record time and would recommend you to anyone and everyone, and have. After just reading your Dec. 18, the newsletter, I can’t wait to read some of Bess Streeter Aldrich’s work. Sounds just amazing!! I just finished “Finding Father Christmas” by Robin Jones Gunn–a sweet little story. I never ready anything too heavy. hehe I plan to visit your store in 2009 and want to wish you a Happy New Year! (1/1/09)


I have a confession. I often don’t make it all the way through your Thursday letters, as some of them seem too sad for me. However, today’s I read with tears in my eyes and couldn’t stop reading as I usually do. Maybe it’s because I’m the mother of 4 girls, and maybe it’s for the same reasons you love that story (we know why we would love to “go back”). At any rate, I just had to email you to thank you for sharing it. Also, I LOVE how you closed, asking us to pray for all in our presence and smile at all we meet. (I love how you remind us all hold a story…all need a smile) I try to instill that in my girls. You never know what someone on the street is going through, and you never know what your smile may mean to someone. And in your case, you never know how your email may touch someone and remind them to be grateful, faithful and prayerful! Have a great Christmas. (12/18/08)


Bess Streeter Aldrich:
“But the woman kept all these things and pondered them in her heart….”
Luke Chapter 2, verse19:
“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
Probably one of the most perfect verses in the Bible, in my opinion. (Such a woman… I fall so short so much of the time!!!) (12/18/08)


Good morning, Susan… I haven’t written for too long to thank you for your contributions to our lives…and encouraging us to read – for the purpose the purpose of uplifting one’s thoughts. Humans often confuse the seasons of life…. Too often – when we are experiencing something painful – it seems as if it is the harvest season – a result of something…and many times – it is a planting season…breaking up of the soil (potentially painful) – preparing for seeds that will lead to a beautiful harvest in time. So good when we can look positively at any event of life… (12/4/08)


Susie…you are perfect inspiration. I have not had time to read everything in it’s entirety as of yet…but I can tell it will be just what I need (tonight under my covers)!
My favorite ( I skimmed) so far….
always trust yourself and your own feeling…if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. (12/4/08)


Wow, that made me cry. Thank you. (11/21/08)


Today is the 4th anniversary of my mother’s death so your words were much needed this a.m. (11/20/08)


My daughter is one of 4 covers for Northwestern College’s web site – She is an English/Writing & Rhetoric major – Senior this year – In her “cover” info she included this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke “…learn to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and books written in a very foreign tongue…Live the questions now. Perhaps then, without hardly noticing, you will live along some distant day into the answers.” (11/20/08)


I haven’t heard the work “moxie” for 20 years!! I love it!! My dad used that word all the time! (11/13/08)


(on dying)… Thank you, dear Susan. Another feeling that has come to me (I don’t know about other people) is a small degree of separation from this life and world. I love this world but I also see that it is not everything, I just have a slightly detached perspective. I hope I can hold on to that while the dentist is drilling on my cavities later today!!! In the words of Galileo’s daughter, I bid you adieu from my heart. (11/13/08)


When those two books that I ordered come in will you please let me know so that I can make a fruitful trip over to your bookstore. Also, my father committed suicide 5 years ago, and your excerpt in this morning’s letter really touched my heart! I have always known that God is present in events of our lives, but I have always felt that he doesn’t control what we do to ourselves. God was present with me during that sad time, and I grew from it. Isn’t it interesting how we can cope with disasters with God’s presence? Thanks for the message that you sent to me this morning! (11/6/08)


My daughter is one of 4 covers for Northwestern College’s web site – She is an English/Writing & Rhetoric major – Senior this year – In her “cover” info she included this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke “…learn to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and books written in a very foreign tongue…Live the questions now. Perhaps then, without hardly noticing, you will live along some distant day into the answers.” (11/20/08)


David had it. Goliath didn’t. Perfect. Moxie. Our family quote has been found. (10/30/08)


Susan — I am going to come in to look at the book that you quoted from today — With Open Hands. One of the most powerful songs our choir has done was in one of our programs — it is entitled “Still.” It is based on the scripture — “be STILL and know that I am God!” It is one of the most difficult things to do. It is incredible how much “noise” creeps into the mind when I am trying to be “still” and listen for God’s communication with me. I assume it takes discipline, patience and time to let it all begin to happen. I haven’t given up but do find it to be a challenge. Maybe the images that the author of this book is conveying can help to be a tool for me to use. There is another thing that puzzles me about prayer and that is how to prayer for other people no matter what their challenge may be. There are so many people in similar (referring to a friend with reccurence of cancer) situations and it is so difficult to know how to be supportive and what to ask for when lifting up these people in prayer. Keeping the lines of communication open with God is so important and to “pray without ceasing” is as difficult at keeping the “noise” out of my brain when trying to be “still!” One’s relationship with God is truly a journey of a lifetime. (10/23/08)


I thoroughly enjoyed “revisiting” the book, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank which I read several years ago. Music is one of God’s greatest gifts to the human race, and this book lends a new and in-depth element to one’s enjoyment of that gift. I will “step forward” today, happy that others have shared that book with me. (10/2/08)


One of the things I remember telling my mother before she died when she was particular hurt by something my sister had said to her was, “I am glad you were the mother you were or I would not be the person I am today.” I wish that I had not experienced some events in my life but God did use them to make me the person I am today so Romans 8:28! I have learned to be thankful for the trials because God uses them to make us the people He wants us to be. (9/18/08)


Cocoon — I like that, and needed that definition of where I’ve been. I want to fly free, but is it time yet? Some days I think we are flying free and beautiful, other days I think I search for the cocoon and try to crawl back in. (9/12/08)


I saw a great frame that said, “Not everyone who wanders is lost.” I loved it…. I should have bought it…. Maybe I will go back. It gave me the okay to wander every once in awhile. (9/11/08)


I like this quote from Robert Louis Stevenson: The saints are the sinners who keep on trying. (9/7/08)


As a mother of four boys ages 7 to 9 months, I was touched by your thoughts on raising my “quiver of arrows”. And I quickly jotted down a few notes in my journal lest the thoughts be forgotten in my typical much-interrupted day. Just this week I re-dedicated myself to regular prayer and your email was an encouragement to me to keep praying for my boys with a future perspective. (9/3/08)


…I was talking with … [my 18 year old son] this morning…as adults, but as mother and son as well. Feeling the pull on the bow. (The other two were throwing tomatoes at each other, so the pull wasn’t quite so tight!). (9/3/08)


Just you know that I have brain cancer and it is not operable. Pray for miracle. (9/3/08) (Personal note from Susan: This is the note that inspired my writing for the morning of 9/4/08).


Thank you for the Anne Lindbergh book, Gift from the Sea. I read it last week while taking in the beauty and serenity of Lake Pelican in Minnesota. And with true Susan inspiration, I then passed it on to my sister-in-law. I am trying to live simpler, in that I’m trying not to let the daily drudgeries of life eat at me, but rather embrace the closest treasures God has sent to me … my family & precious kids.  (7/31/08)


I read Gifts from the Sea and Loved it…have recommended it to so many people…especially if I know they’re going to a cabin for week…or something along those lines. Yesterday someone lent me the book Jesus by Pope Benedict XVI. I’ve been really excited about reading him, having only read interviews and snippets by him, so that’s next on my list. Am also looking forward to getting some books by Hans Urs VonBalthasar…in fact will order through you. I need to scour my Ignatius Press Catalog and get the proper titles since he wrote about a million books!  (7/25/08)


I just got home from work and am sitting down to read your newsletter and unwind before I go to bed. I just had to reply this time because of the picture I got in my head of a UPS truck that smells of Crabtree & Evelyn, I love that that!  (7/18/08)

I also have some more Latin for you;
Veni Vidi Visa; I came, I saw, I shopped!


How deep do we have to go before we’ll see the simpleness of things and that God is always there for us? Why do I have to be reminded of that every day?!??!  (7/4/08)


And “my cup runneth over”?? Wonderful analogy of a visitor. Reminds me of the professor in “The Bishop’s Wife”, a Christmas movie. His cup was always being filled mysteriously when he was talking and visiting with Cary Grant and Loretta Young in the movie…one of my favorites!! And now, even more so, as I watch his cup being filled with God’s hand.  (6/19/08)


This e-mail is exactly what I needed after the past few weeks. In the mess from the tornado that still is consuming our lives here there are a lot of beautiful things to be so grateful for.  (6/19/08)


Just ran down to your store the other night and stocked up on novels and puzzles. The girls loved the Noah’s ark floor puzzle. I accidentally referred to it as a boat and the 5 year old scolded (and corrected) me. Hmph. Light reading: Iris Johansen, Julie Garwood, Jayne Ann Krentz, Tami Hoag, Linda Howard, Christina Skye, Janet Evanovich, Elizabeth Lowell to name a few. Those I buy as soon as they are released. I like murder mysteries too. Let me know when recommendations are up and running. If you have a chance, check out goodreads.com –might interest you.  (6/11/08)


I’m trying to read some of the classics I missed. Everyone should read “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown (I consider that a classic). It made me cry, a lot, but I came away with a real understanding of what misunderstandings and ignorance can do. I have read “Flags in the Dust” by Faulkner and am currently reading “Rainbow” by DH Lawrence.  (6/6/08)


Here’s a great line for you from our Greek friend, Epictetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher….”She bears GOD within her, poor wretch & she doesn’t know”.  (5/29/08)


That poem was one of my dad’s favorites!!! He had an OLD framed copy of it that hung in his parent’s home, then in my parent’s bedroom as long as I can remember. One year he had it reproduced, made frames for them and each of us kids got a copy for our birthdays– Made me teary to read it though–like dad was saying Hi. Rather fitting for this Memorial Day weekend, don’t you think?  (5/23/08)


Did you know in Greek mythology, Aurora was the goddess of the dawn? She drove a pink chariot across the sky to announce the arrival of Apollo driving his golden chariot. She fell in love with a mortal Tithonus. When she ask the gods to make him immortal so they could marry, she forgot to ask for eternal youth. The gods took pity on him when he got smaller and smaller and shriveled and turned him into a grasshopper. Aurora cries over her love as she goes across the sky in the morning and leaves her tears on the ground as dew.  (5/15/08)


I talked to you about one of my favorite books, Illusions, (The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah) by Richard Bach. I notice you have it in stock, but I doubt if you have had a chance to read it, or you would have some kind of reaction. It’s very easy and quick to read, but has some ideas that will slow you down. He includes excerpts from a handbook for Messiahs, and I thought of you when I ran across this one:

“There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you
in it’s hands.
You seek problems
because you need their gifts.  (5/17/08)


Thanks for all these excerpts and your thoughts — lots to ponder. I especially liked the thought of being tied to God by a string and that our failures ultimately bring us closer to him.  (5/17/08)


This has forever been one of my favorite quotes…no matter what happens in my life, the world…whatever…this quote always seems to make sense out of it all! Feel free to share it at our favorite little bookstore!

All things are woven together and the common bond is sacred, and scarcely one thing is foreign to another, for they have been arranged together in their places and together make the same ordered Universe. For there is one Universe out of all, one God through all, one substance and one law, one common Reason of all intelligent creatures and one Truth. Frequently consider the connection of all things in the universe. We should not say ‘I am an Athenian’ or ‘I am a Roman’ but ‘I am a citizen of the Universe’. ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations  (5/8/08)


I have been trying to expand my knowledge of American history. I had watched an Elie Wiesel documentary during a multicultural class in high school and he made a huge impression. It is my firm belief that everyone should read “Night” by Ellie Wiesel. If we don’t understand our history/past, we will continue to make the same mistakes (as we continue to do). It is rather intense, but the people who suffered through the Holocaust deserve, at the very least, our acknowledgement of their lives, deaths, and the sorrow they suffered.

On a lighter note, “love walked in” was a fabulous story about the connections formed between people of all walks of life. It was a fun read that left me with a warm glow for humanity (much needed after more intense book). Great for a summer read. Author ?Marisa de los Santos?? Need to check on that.  (5/8/08)


What a wonderful day it was on Thursday when I got home after an unusually busy day at school and found in my mailbox Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea: 50th Anniversary Edition! Thank you so very much for sending it and I love the message you wrote to me…….I already treasure it in my heart! The intro by her daughter, Reeve, is so beautiful and I love the part where she writes, “This book makes it possible to quiet down and rest in the present, no matter what the circumstances may be. Just to read it–a little of it or in its entirety—is to exist for a while in a different and more peaceful tempo.”  (4/26/08)


Susan, thank you, thank you and thank you again and again for sharing this Eat That Frog, with me! How I procrastinate! I have begun reading again…so important in my life, but I put it off until I have time. Playing the piano, which I enjoy but putting it off until I get other ‘stuff’ done. Oh, how this message has touched my life! 4/24/08


…what you wrote about the ships passing to the harbor was good, my folks are not well, my dad in the last stages of cancer in hospice care now, and my mom has Alzheimer’s and found out Monday she now has leukemia… so my thoughts naturally are a lot on death right now. I do have that eternal perspective and assurance they will be in eternity with the Lord and am glad for that, but yes, I know you understand the tears are often as I see they are very near the harbor, but I am sure happy for them to be safe & sound! So thanks for the words. 4/17/08


I was spending an hour in church last night (we do this on Holy Thursday– after Mass, we have Eucharistic Adoration, time for prayer in front of the Holy Eucharist…. from 8-midnight, people come in and sit, kneel, pray, meditate, read, etc. for as long as they like. It is the perfect time to just “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM.” 3/21/08


There is a lovely blanket of snow covering my little golden crocuses—yet, somehow it helps just to know those little flowers are under there, and I have every confidence that they will bloom again. So like us, don’t you think? It may seem cold and dark at times, but even those times have purpose, and our destinies will yet unfold, for the sake of the kingdom of God. 3/16/08


It seems rare, these days, for people to take the time to read—and especially to THINK about what they are reading. Our house is filled with more books than it can hold, many of which have not yet been read, at least not cover to cover. Nevertheless, these books are friends, and there is a comfort in the realization that their pages hold yet undiscovered thoughts that might touch me in some way. I can so relate to your delight in quoting those special portions of books, the parts that reach inside of you with the potential of actually making a change, however small, in the way you think, feel, and act….I can also appreciate the fact that you carry quality merchandise that will LAST. We are almost done with our home schooling adventure but we always felt that it was better to have FEWER things (toys, educational materials, even musical instruments)–but to make sure that what we DID have was of excellent quality. We were also given the advice, early on in our journey of home schooling, that we needed to teach our children only three basic things; to read, to write, and to THINK. As far as HOW we did that, well, there are many, many options. But when we were overwhelmed with the massive amount of curriculum and books about what your kids should know, we would come back to that concept. Our children love to read, and when you read extensively, that goes a long way toward learning to write and think as well. 3/15/08


Once again, she had us laughing, had us crying and now has us thinking!! 3/13/08


Two weeks ago I took your challenge to read. I started a book that night, but I couldn’t read for 15 minutes. I was so good I could finally stop after 1 1/2 hours. This book would have remained unopened if you hadn’t encouraged me to read every day——-however, I haven’t read everyday, but I am reading more than I did before. 3/13/08


Susan, just wanted to tell you how very much I am enjoying GIFTS FROM THE SEA. It is priceless. So very meaningful to me as the main theme throughout my house if of the beach. I want to look for each of the shells represented in the book to decorate with so that I am continually reminded of the inner self and the peace that is attainable. 3/6/08


The Secret Garden is another one of my favorite books – but, one I haven’t read for too long…will need to get it dusted off…=) This morning, I read the song that Moses and the children of Israel sang after crossing the Red Sea…and realized that thankfulness is a real key to turning thoughts from despair to hope, from fear to courage, from restlessness to contentment, etc… and so many times, what we read will feed thankfulness. Reading about people that have struggled to beat great odds, reading words penned by positive thinkers, etc…all encourage a thankful heart, encourage us to rise up…look up…move on, etc… I believe the saying, “What we feed on, we become.” Have a grand Friday… and, I am hearing the birds sing this morning… 2/29/08


The few minutes I have spent reading this book I have managed to glean quite a bit that now I am going to just contemplate. So far this excerpt has my attention, page 17, “But I want first of all–in fact, as an end to these other desires—to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact–to borrow from the language of the saints—to live in grace “as much of the time as possible. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am not sure, this may be the same passage you shared in another email but I guess I didn’t really “hear” it until now. So Susan this is just what I need! Thank you for being a friend and putting this book in my path. 2/28/08 (On Anne Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea)


I love that Eleanor Roosevelt quote – it was good to be reminded of it again. I need to be more intentional with my conversations too; I appreciate your encouragement along that line. Book reading for me happens much like you described it…in short amounts of time here and there. I also love to underline in my books.:) I never thought of putting the date in the front of the book or by something I underline – nice idea – I’ll have to try it! 2/28/08


Do you ever wonder why the hurting, grieving process has to take so long? Can’t God just speed it up for us a little? But, I know He knows what is best for us, and just maybe it takes so long in the darkness, because we are stubborn and willful and then when we do find our healing, our days become happy and bright and that is so much more meaningful to us since we waited so long for it. Just thoughts I had from your little e-mail this morning. Oh, and I am proud to say I am reading. Maybe not daily, but I do have about 7 books going right now at one time! That a big step for someone who used to read one at a time. 2/28/08


Susie Q., my blinds have been open this morning even before I read your e-mails. I need to get that precious book out again and read it also. I love that woman’s dedication and love for her Lord. 2/25/08 (Referring to Stepping Heavenward)


This poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay holds a lot for us all:
   Pale, where the winter like a stone has been lifted away,
   we emerge like yellow grass.
   Be for a moment quiet, buffet us not, have pity upon us,
   Till the green come back into the vein, till the giddiness pass. (2/22/08)


I thought of you this morning when I was reading my devotional. The book was Gifts for your Soul by Sheila Walsh. The devotion is titled “The Friendship of Books”. Ecclesiastes 1:13 – “I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven.”
She writes: So many books have influenced me. I love television and movies, but for me nothing will ever take the place of a good book. I have learned from the wisdom and folly of real and fictional characters. I have shed tears with weeping poets and laughed aloud at humorous or joyous scenarios. When I am sad or discouraged, I can pick up a book, find a quiet corner, and be reminded by the author of who I am in Christ. When I am being selfish or cold, a book can touch my heart and melt me to my knees. I love to study the lives of men and women of faith who have gone before me. The light of their stories still shines, challenging me to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ. I pray that what I learn from the lives of others will be used by God to make me a more compassionate woman, more willing to serve, more grateful to God and of more use to others.
Sometime, when you feel a little lonely, consider a visit to your local bookstore. Ask a trusted friend to recommend a book that will lighten your spirit, deepen your wisdom, or widen your vision. Find a new friend — in a book. There are friends waiting on every shelf! Of course I thought of you! And isn’t that the truth – I think of many of my books as friends. I can look at a book and immediately be taken to that place in my life when I read it. 2/21/08


Your reflections moved me to tears just now. Thank you for sharing your insight. By the way, I am thoroughly grateful for Gift from the Sea and Return to the Sea . I finished the former and began the latter yesterday on a return flight. When I landed in Omaha, I had dinner at Mom’s and I brought the other copy of Gift… out of the guest room and she gasped, “Oh I’ve read that many times- I’ll go find my copy, it has my notes and highlights. Oh and do you recall the retreat I went on in Florida with my colleagues- Anne Morrow Lindbergh was our inspiration.” 2/18/08


Are we becoming more like Christ? I ready this week in a devotional God Calling – The same power that Jesus used in the Garden of Gethsemane in his lowest time of tears – the same power he received we have available to us when we ask. I loved that. And then the devotional continues We must only worry and do our best with TODAY – not tomorrow. Let God give us his power for today. He will then give us his power tomorrow when we need it tomorrow. 2/15/08


Here is today’s tidbit from Oswald Chambers. At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him. “What I tell you in darkness” – watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.
After every time of darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation (if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all), delight in hearing God speak, but chiefly humiliation – What a long time I was in hearing that! How slow I have been in understanding that! And yet God has been saying it all these days and weeks. Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now. 2/15/08


Oh my goodness dear friend!!!! What an amazing poem and thoughts!!!! They brought me to tears—stirred something inside me! It makes me want to write! I think I will! 2/14/08


Happy Valentines Day. By the time I got to the end of this Thursdays “letter” there were tears in my eyes. Yes, love is pretty quiet some or most of the time…. 2/14/08


We as mommies of little ones (especially boys!) seem to always be in a rush to go here & there, not stopping to think about how our actions/moods affect others. I must admit that I’m always running from place to place and have to make myself slow down sometimes to just enjoy the “getting there” time. It’s so refreshing to get your weekly e-mails – thank you again for doing them & reminding us about the importance of making time for ourselves…2/7/08


Here is a picture of the kids and their puzzle they received from you. They love it!! Colt has put it together around 10 times. Before we went to church on Sunday he even had our cousin which is 3 years old putting together that stayed the night with us. wish mine were 3 again!!!!! Oh well. Smile! 2/5/08


I loved “may you continue to love even though in loving you will lose.” 1/31/08


Poem this AM took my breath away. 1/31/08


I sit reflecting on your email and the past several years of my life…There was a time of loss for me…During that time, I felt raw. The fear of loss was great within. So vulnerability was a difficult thing…more so any type of trust in long-lasting goodness. A realization that happiness is fleeting. I realized that the things I expected as a part of “normal” life were really blessings and for a time. Does that make sense?…However, through it all, I was witness to the same feeling of Joseph. What you meant for evil – the Lord meant for good. (Gen 50:20) Do I welcome the losses that are to come? No, I do not. Do I welcome the outcome that makes me desire to go home? Yes, I do. Soon we will have more to go home to than to stay for. Now we are but “pressing on — reaching to what lies ahead.” Pressing on….not a leisurely happy-go-lucky word by any means. I just praise the Lord for the new Jerusalem. Thanks for letting me take up your time. I pray for you often. I feel those things you feel and the Lord has seen to it that I can empathize rather than sympathize. And thus another “good” thing from loss…we can pray in a different way for each other when we understand on a different level than the norm. 1/31/08


I have to say I have had a hard time adjusting every time we’ve moved some place- even a place as beautiful as San Francisco! I don’t know quite how to explain it. I need to have a relationship with the landscape I live in. And it takes time for me to develop that. I still don’t quite feel it here, I’m not sure why but I am working on it. Last time I was in Aurora I walked to the Aurora Mall (I still call it “Jim’s”) and I noticed how quiet it was. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon and there was hardly a car or person around. All I could hear was the wind in the trees and an occasional train. It was heaven. Ever since then I’ve been aware of all the noise around here. It’s hard to hear nature. We live across the street from an arboretum with a path through it and I love to take walks there but it’s right next to a busy street so you hardly get a break in the traffic noise to hear the wind in the trees. That’s what makes Nebraska special to me- what it doesn’t have. And that’s what makes it difficult sometimes too! There’s “more” here- but more of everything- good and NOT so good. Do you know what I mean? 1/31/08


How beautiful Susan….I needed that message this morning…..I will keep and cherish this one…full of wisdom. 1/31/08

From Dark Night of the Soul:
“While one of the great and inspiring mysteries is the fact that we care for each other, befriend each other, and heal each other, this can only be accomplished if we also care for ourselves, are kindly toward ourselves, and heal ourselves. If we don’t do these things for ourselves concretely and wholeheartedly, then in each case we will feel a painful gap between ourselves and those who care for us.” I have been rereading this book, This line spoke volumes to me today, and it makes perfect sense to me. I have been doing just this– trying to take care of me. I am getting stronger and better– and learning to focus on what IS. 1/30/08


Sometimes trying to forget, or keeping busy, or turning our backs, or submitting in despair can seem to help with our pain and loss for a while, but I think that only when we finally come to the place of accepting every event and circumstance of our lives as allowed and planned by God for whatever purpose He has in it, will we finally have peace. It sounds like you’ve come to that place, in saying that you wouldn’t have wanted to have not gone through loss because of what it’s taught you and where it’s brought you. 1/21/08


I just read what you wrote. Isn’t it strange that all of a sudden that “feeling” starts to get better? You don’t feel like throwing up anymore, “the tightness in the chest” starts to go away? And yes, it’s about 7 years. But, truth be told, my mother has been gone for nearly 20 years now (don’t know how that’s possible), and I still suddenly think about her, long to call her, to talk to her, and I miss her again as if she left a week ago or yesterday. I guess when you really love someone, that love never goes away — but the pain gets better. I’ll be thinking about you today . . . I know just how you feel. 1/17/08


Thanks for sharing. As my son, said at the age of 21 (on loss of his father), “We feel pain because we loved so much….and isn’t that really a wonderful feeling!” 1/17/08


Grief- the price we have to pay for loving. Not for a second would we ever want to give up that love we had for our mothers, nor would we ever want to think of our lives without their love. I read a book last summer that had an analogy between the Russian peasant dolls and the heritage we receive from our mothers and grandmothers, and their mothers before them. If I remember correctly, the book is by Sue Monk Kidd- a non-fiction book. This past Christmas I had planned to give a set of the peasant dolls to my two sisters. Well, I didn’t get around to it, and now I’m glad I didn’t. I loved the poem by Maria Gillan. It expresses the thoughts I was going to try to write for my sisters. Thank you so much. Your email made me cry… but now I’ll think about those tears as a pillow. 1/17/08


I, too have lost my mother to lung cancer in 2000 sept 3rd. June 14, 2000 I lost my 45 yr old husband to prostate cancer, today would have been our 28th wedding ann. I am letting the tears fall as you say. 1/17/08


Today’s message about your Mom was especially great because I can relate not only after the death of my own Mother 13 years ago, but my brother, nearly three years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of one or the other. It is all I can do to keep from my phone to call them – as I did every day for many years! And now, as you say, the tears will come again – not as often as they used to, but it is a comfort to let my feelings out – even if I am selfish and only keep them to myself. Yes, I love my God. He is my fountain of Life and My Savior. He keeps me going day and night. Without Him, I am no one. But with Him, I can do anything. Christ is my strength. 1/17/08


This was so lovely, I sent it to the nine women I consider sisters, all of whom have lost their mothers. And I am archiving it for that sad day in the future when I join that group. 1/17/08


Aren’t there days when the hours seem to heavy to carry and that’s when getting an email like this one helps so much. Yes, I think we have to give ourselves permission to cry, to release the grief inside us. 1/16/08


I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your thoughts this week! I really liked the image of the wall between 2 gardens. Sometimes we are tempted to stay beside the wall too long and huddle in self pity. It takes lots of courage to open the gate and see what God has on the other side of the wall. Another garden — probably different from the one you came from, but with God at your side it will be even better! We’re moving into the new garden ~ God is working in great ways in our lives! Our lives are being purified and changed. God knows and allows and uses everything that comes into our lives. Enjoy your garden ~ stop and smell the roses! 1/10/08


You made me cry this morning with your Thursday email. That was a great interpretation of that phrase about sadness being the wall between two gardens. When you said that to me yesterday I had a hard time grasping what it meant but you put it down so beautifully! Thank you for that. I loved it. And I did start Return to the Sea last night. I’ve gotten through the first 2 chapters. There’s already some good stuff I’ve underlined…the one that hit me the most right now is: “Now, if while I’m putting my daughter to bed, I catch myself reciting a litany of chores I have to do in my head, I slow my breath down, let go of the company of my thoughts, and feel present to the moment…”I need to do that and I want that! I realize how little time I am truly giving to Adrianna when I’m not truly “present” with her! Thanks so much for the book. Reading this one makes me want to go back and really finish and try to really get more out of “Gift of the Sea”. 1/10/08


I am making my way quickly through my new book “The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality.” One of my professors had recommended this book because the author writes about several of the places that I visited this semester, like Sinai. Although the book is written about far away places, I think it comes close to articulating why I love the vast plains of NE so much. The author speaks of the solace given by the indifference of the wilderness to the chaos of our lives. this loving indifference, he argues, is what pushes us to recognize a much larger mysterious grace. The author really likes a particular quote by a man named Andrew Harvey. One afternoon Harvey had lost himself in the beauty of an Indian landscape, and wrote the following:
“‘The things that ignore us save us in the end. Their presence awakens silence in us; they refresh our courage with the purity of detachment’
The author of my book unpacks the quote in this way:
Becoming present to a reality entirely separate from his own world of turmoil strangely set him free. By its very act of ignoring him, the landscape invited him out of his frantic quest for self-fulfillment.”
Wow, I love good books! (almost as much as I love NE) 1/6/08


I’ve read my book while traveling – it sustains my mental health like a drug. I’m getting a journal too. 12/29/07


I’m sorry if my diagnosis had to make you sad. But, as the doctor said, it took this 30 years to develop so who knows…My feeling is this: this life has been a great adventure and another adventure awaits me. ( I just won’t be able to let people know what it is.) 12/27/07


I heard John Denver on my radio the other day— and there was an awesome line that made my heart swell up
     “Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the streams,
      Seeking grace in every step he takes.
      And his thoughts have turned inside himself to try and understand
      the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.”
I love that part about seeking grace… good time of year to be thinking that way, huh? 12/23/07


Gotta tell ya: The human body book you recommended for the Colorado granddaughter thrilled her. She’s a scientific kid and is taking biology and this book was the perfect level for her. So, thanks!
And the night sky for the Lincoln kid was perfect. His mother whispered to us that the next day those kids would be getting a telescope. How’s that for serendipity. My sister exercised great self restraint in not wrestling the book away from him to keep for herself.
The 3-yr-old loved the wooden birthday cake and she served cake for a long part of the night. And so it goes. The science kits were great and so were all the other books. So there is a lot of pleasure and info going on thanks to you!
Remember the address book for the 13 yr-old? Turns out she has a lot of addresses. These kids have pen pals. Her name is Angelica. She and I exchange craft ideas and she had made me a fabric doll. We wanted a name for her, of course, and Angelica said she thought we should name her Susan. So, you will have to come over and visit Susan the Doll. 12/26/07


After putting the family to bed last night, I busied myself with my “to do list” for the following day and then went to my big chair to turn on the TV for some “mind numbing” escape as I have done for longer than I care to admit. But instead, as I have done for the last few nights, I didn’t turn on the TV – I picked up my book from my friend. I read it with a highlighter in one hand and turned the pages with the other and felt a new understanding of myself unfolding. I’m learning and growing and I believe this journey unfolding before me will make me a better person…12/13/07


…may change my life. I hope I am ready for it. I took the book, and “walked past the cluttered counter and dirty sink”, “which is not an easy thing for me to do” and read the book my dear friend left in my mail box. I’m going to bed, instead of staying up late and writing and writing to you – I’m choosing rest – which is not an easy thing for me to do. 12/11/07


This Christmas I’ve decided to revisit Little Women for the holiday season. I just picked it up today and have only got so far as the chapter title…..playing pilgrims…the book begins with a focus on life as a spiritual journey. With a quick glance through the chapter, I’ve quickly found my favorite part. After reminiscing about playing pilgrims during earlier childhood Marmee issues a challenge to her girls–
“We are never too old for this, my dear, because it is a play we are playing all the time in one way or another. Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes the peace which is a true Celestial City. Now my little pilgrims, suppose you begin again, not in play but in earnest……………”
…I’m starting to believe that one truest part of us is our choices in daily action. ‘Your daily life is your temple and Religion’…says Kahil Gharib in his short novel the Prophet. We often do not have choices in what happens to us, sometimes our minds even wander unwillingly, but the one thing we were granted supreme control over is our daily actions…What can be more powerful than getting up each morning, making a strong cup of coffee and then plowing through the day?! What is more true than honesty about our human condition? 12/4/07


“I especially love how she described their new awareness of each other. That line in itself was what I have desired – to be aware of details, to be aware of touch, to be aware of colors, to be aware of what seems to be such “trite” parts of our lives, when those are the most beautiful pieces in our lives if we truly think about it. We must surround ourselves with what we love. Details. Details. They make us aware.”
These are the words that describe the essence of being an artist… not the ability to paint, not the ability to write, not the ability to sculpt, etc, the ability to truly see, to be aware… everyone has that ability, but we don’t always nurture it and allow it to grow… ;-) 11/29/07


“This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul.”
Someone very special gave me this wonderful book! I have read it slowly, sometimes only a few pages before I fall asleep, often re-reading paragraphs trying to commit words to memory. I am amazed, comforted and inspired by her words and insight – and I am only on page 39! Thank you, Susan. Once again….Isn’t it amazing how its so hard to think of where we can fit in a couple of hours to visit with friends? I need to go read. 11/27/07


A baby as a mystery, an open door, an adventure….let me add another….an eternal soul. Someone with whom you could commune for all of eternity. I love birth control, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it feels like a burden (in terms of “weightiness”) instead of a blessing to have to
DECIDE whether or not to bring an eternal soul into existence. Do you know what I mean? I feel far too finite and limited in my understanding to have the burden of making that choice. For me it helps to think of babies in philosophical terms – mysteries, open doors, eternal souls – rather than
practicalities – diapers, money, college :) I’m ever trying to evade reality though :) 11/20/07


It’s November…I’m burrowing in, delving into the recesses, craving quiet, calm, meaning. I’m a little sad. Grieving the realities of marriage, mourning unmet expectations. Mourning the idea of the person I thought I’d be by now. I get this way every year at this time. I quite enjoy the melancholy of the season, and if that means some sad introspection, so be it. 11/20/07


Last night opened the book Return to the Sea by Anne Johnson.
(Anne of Green Gables
Anne Lindbergh my top 3 books!
Anne Johnson)
I believe last night’s opening of that book & what all I read was another new movement in my song – one of the sweetest movements I’ve yet entered in almost 40 years. There was a new movement in June with book Gift From the Sea and all of Anne Lindbergh’s books this summer/fall. Then last night just seemed like a new song for me…letting go. Oh the peace of this exact moment in my life. The last two nights are two of the best evenings for my soul in my lifetime. Since I have in my mind felt like a woman. New movement. Many trills, runs, fun lines, fun measures. 11/11/07


YES! If it is as brief as Gift from the Sea, this will be an enjoyable journey tonight! This is the part I’ve experienced and that spoke loudest to me…building upon her feeling of preoccupation, bolding some key words/phrases. I want to keep discovering the real ____, the fun-loving, sweet, spontaneous, smiling, positive, caring person deep in my heart!! To get right with myself again – and with God, as she says later. 11/10/07


“Lean” – never thought of it in terms of God. I will take on the day. 11/8/07


After your post today, I wanted to share the end of a writing with you.
“So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn.”
n from “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau

It made me think about your walk in the woods… 11/8/07


First of all I just want to say that I LOVE receiving your emails. I always read them and often forward parts onto others! Secondly I wanted to let you know that I am in southern Morocco right now just lovin the Sahara desert. I rode a camel this morning a memory I will want to hold onto for the rest of my life. A huge thank you to you and Beth for encouraging me to study abroad this semester! I also wanted to share my love of Anne Lindberg with you. im reading a gift from the sea right now. It is absolutely perfect for where I am in life right now. I just read the section on security in relationships and trusting in the ebb and flow of life. I feel like these passages were an articulation of a concept that my mind has been struggling to wrap around. Thank you if you were the one who recommended this to my mom. 10/24/07


Hi Susan, I knew I had an old copy of “Gift from the Sea” and when I got home today I found it on one of my many bookshelves. Inside there is a magazine clipping from the August 1975 McCall’s magazine. I’m going to make a copy of it and send it to you because it is written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her feelings after rereading her own book written 20 years earlier. (After I said this I find that it is included in the “afterword” of the 50th anniversary edition) but I’m sending it anyway. I was pleased to see that I had underlined a lot of things in the book, so many years ago! 10/13/07


Susan, I just love your emails. Wanted to let you know that I’m thoroughly enjoying Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which I bought at your store a couple of weeks ago– dare I say, it may change my life! I know you can’t reply back to every email, but I just wanted you to know that I think was MEANT to walk into your little store that day, and that book was MEANT to be where it was for me to find ;-) Take care! 10/11/07


I have only read the first chapter and I am moved beyond words! There are certain books that you just know from the first sentence they will leaving a lasting impression. Is it possible to feel happy and sad at the same time? Cant wait to talk more with you! I want to reserve 8 copies of the book. I need just 1 for right now – cant think of a better gift for my daughter-in-law who just gave us our new grandson. The rest of the copies I will need for Christmas gifts. Thank you again for being my friend a true gift from God. 10/11/07


Your writings remind me to stop and take a breath and enjoy the beauty of family, friends, and even the change of seasons. 10/8/07


You can even find strength in the darkness of the new moon! We all find strength in our losses, tho we don’t look at it that way at the time. Time is what it takes for us to realize how much we grew and gained from that loss. I often think of my daughter and how much she struggles. We prayed so hard for her to live that I wonder if she would be much more content with my mother in heaven than on earth with us now. But we don’t know at the time how what we pray for will effect us, and we have to do the best that we can and pray for strength daily. And there lies the answer, we grow and make it through with His help. 10/5/07


“Self respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet place, when we suddenly realize that knowing the good, we have done it, knowing the beautiful, we have served it, knowing the truth, we have spoken it.” -A. Whitney Griswald 10/4/07


My daughter’s hamster died yesterday and we told her this morning. She cried long and hard about it. When she had cried for about 20 minutes while I held her and patted her back, I told her that one of Snowball’s babies(Camden’s) had a funny story! She stopped crying as I told her the story of him leaving his cage only to come back each morning and then how he decided to set up camp in another part of the house and all! She LOVED the story! I think it encouraged her! See how your emails encourage even the littlest person???!!!!!!!!!!!!! 10/4/07


We so enjoyed your store while on vacation. I do think it’s a wonderful way to reach out to the community and bring people together. I’ve never been to anything like it. It was such a relief to have a place where the little ones fit right in. Usually I’m holding my breath chasing them around hoping they won’t create too much havoc. Thank you for providing such a wonderful atmosphere for us to linger and enjoy!! 10/1/07


This one today really hit home. THAT IS IT!! I AM INVISIBLE – I never really thought about it like that before, but that has got to be it! I have gone thru most of the scenarios in the story. (Not only am I invisible to my children, I think sometimes my husband doesn’t see well either!) I just wanted to thank you for the bit of hope – THEY DO LOVE ME – they just can’t see me!! :) I will just have to keep in the back of my mind the “great cathedrals” that are coming out of my sacrifices!! And give thanks to God for seeing my hands deep in the peanut butter!!
Thanks for the inspiration Susan! 9/27/07


Way too often I have felt like the author. Like I’m carrying the world on my shoulders and it will all fall apart, if I don’t keep fixing everything. Maybe we are doing our families a disservice, by always being there, fixing, doing, going when they need to do some things for themselves. A thought. Have a wonderful, fall day. 9/27/07


Thanks, again, Susan…. On this particular morning – it brought tears and renewed purpose….not bad, eh? Hope you are having a wonderful Thursday! 9/27/07


I have already read this in an email or something. I printed it out and put it in my dresser drawer (with my underwear ha!) to read from time to time when I am having the same thoughts. Thanks for the reminder! 9/27/07


Yesterday was 13 years ago for my Dad’s death… and 13 years ago this morning I wrote his obituary. He built a Cathedral as well. (Thank you for your words…) 9/27/07

…through God’s plan reaching out to me this week. I got tears in my eyes as I read about the Invisible Woman. It’s sad, true and so uplifting. I know your loss, my mother died 20 years ago now, and there are days when I miss her so much and wish I could share with her the joys and scares I experience. Sometimes it hurts when others talk about dealing with the elderly parents and their forgetfulness and their demands, as I think how lucky they are to still have their parents and then I realize in our own way how lucky we are to have the vision of our “too young to leave this earth” vibrant and energetic never aging mothers always in our heart and guiding our actions with our own children. 9/27/07


Being a “Cathedral” is not what I pictured myself as, so I must start “rebuilding”. I picture a cathedral as being a calm, quiet place to bring one’s problems. I must admit this cathedral has blown its roof off a time or two! (9/27/07)


I think that such a huge part of maturity is accepting things (and naming things) the way they actually are. I live in such a dream world most of the time that I never can admit things for what they actually are for fear that they’ll actually be that way if I say it aloud. There’s a lot of freedom in saying “This is the way my relationships I can’t change are.  I wish it were different, but it’s not. I will learn to live within that framework, although I will try to change it.” So I think that we show a lot of maturity by simply saying, “This relationship makes me sad,” and
giving yourself time to grieve it.  9/20/07


I would love to order the book you talk about below. The Sound of Paper. It’s interesting, My friend and I were just talking about this kind of thing last night. She had just been to a workshop where the leader talked about our defense mechanisms when we’re stressed (by conflict, hurt, anger, whatever) and how we immediately go to the “worst case scenario”. He suggested writing down our own worst case scenario, then letting it go. Then turning the paper over and writing down the best case scenario – and find a happy medium! Anyway, ____ and I had been talking about writing things down, taking a different look on life – the challenges, the stresses, the hurdles. My cancer diagnosis has changed my life! I used to be a worrier, a stresser, and liked to focus on the what if’s. Now, I take things day by day and really try to focus on the good and positive. I let God take my worries, stress, fear, and any of that negative energy! What a burden lifted! I don’t know how I would have gotten through this summer without turning that over to God. 9/13/07


I ran across this quote a couple of days ago from CS Lewis (maybe from Surprised by Joy??) and thought of you…”Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me. I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented…. [In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself, and am never more myself than when I do.” I love that we love the same books. There’s an undercurrent of understanding that makes conversation comfortable and UNDERSTOOD. That’s a precious gift. Have a great week! (From the Great Divorce) 9/9/07


Silly you… I just now closed my eyes & cracked open Anne of Green Gables…here is my escape! That bridge led Anne’s dancing feet up over a wooded hill beyond, where perpetual twilight reigned under the straight, thick-growing firs and spruces; The only flowers there were myriads of delicate “Junebells”, those shyest & sweetest of woodland blooms, and a few pale, arial starflowers, like the spirits of last years blossoms. Gossamers glimmered like the threads of silver among the trees and the fir boughs and tassels seemed to utter friendly speech. Giggling me…perpetual twilight…..gossamer threads of silver….happy talking trees….what bliss. Back to work… 8/23/07


I read this at the end of an e-mail and thought it sounded like something you would put in one of your weekly newsletters relating to “waiting”. :o)  Kind of a different twist on it anyway. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) 8/7/07


You should see me at my desk here at work….READING THE POEMS OUT LOUD!! It’s too hard to read in my mind and get the full effect. Oh my. You’ve touched my soul again. 8/2/07


When I was getting ready this morning, I had this song in my head and thought I would share it with the two of you . . . it’s a good way to start the day!
We have come this far by faith, trusting in the Lord.
Leaning on his Holy Word, He’s never failed us yet.
Oh, oh, oh we can’t turn back, we’ve come this far by faith.
This is just from my memory and don’t know if I got all the words right and I’m pretty sure it’s just the chorus, but I thought it was a lovely way to start the day. Remembering that God has never failed us yet and reaffirming in our minds that we can’t turn back! 7/26/07


Thank you for your wonderful “Thursday morning sermon”. An important little word, that “wait”. You just jostle my mind when I read your “awakenings” – that’s what I call them because they awaken my mind to ideas that I hadn’t thought about. “Wait”. It’s a powerful word and one that I need to think of more often. (Very hard for an impatient person to think of that word, “wait”.) Seems they should never be in the same sentence!! 7/23/07


The tears are flowing–thank you Jesus that you sent my song near maybe the end of my life. What a jewel you are. What a great analogy–I’m a long time friend of Richard Paul Evans too and just starting on The Sunflower. God Bless you. 7/21/07


A book that is simply wonderful is Margaret Wheatly’s book Turning to one Another….Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future.
I use some quote from her book about courage and conversation and chaos…the necessary chaos that needs to occur to have change occur at the first Health Ministry (national) Board conference call that I held last week. She has such wonderful wisdom…she has written other books on leadership which have been meaningful to me in all of the roles I have held in leadership…I have met her and heard her a number of times…she is simply wonderful.
She writes where do we find the courage to start a good conversation? The answer is found in the word itself. Courage comes from the Old French word for heart (cuer). We develop courage for those things that speak to our heart. Our courage grows for things that affect us deeply things that open our hearts. Once our heart is engaged, it is easy to be brave.  Conversation is the way we discover how to transform our world, together. 7/19/07


From St. Alphonsus Liguori…
“… St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, when she held any beautiful flower in her hand, felt herself on fire with love for God; and she would say: “Then God has thought from all eternity of creating this flower for love of me!” Thus that flower became, as it were, a dart of love, which sweetly wounded her, and brought her closer to God.” 7/13/07


I went home on my lunch hour and read my newest treasure while sitting on my beautiful porch….I already have new hope and understanding for the necessity of us to suffer!
My favorite part so far…. “It is, after all,” as another writer has stated, “the only treasure, the only heirloom we have to leave–our own little grain of truth”. Truth that is locked up in the heart—or in a diary—is sterile. It must be given back to life so that “the hour of lead” –of others—may be transmuted.
Our own little grain of truth! Given back (shared) so someone else can benefit from it!
…thank you for being brave enough to share. It’s raining… 7/12/07


Play on with the music dear Susan….remember the quote over my stairs???
Dance to the song of life~ Katherine HepburnSo while your music is “playing: over there remember it’s okay to dance too!! 7/10/07


All of our favorites rolled into one message today! .. My faith is shattered…nothing is as lonely as the loss of my faith..and then….my faith is sustaining me, to have felt the loss of my faith was more devastating than __________These words are so powerful Susan, thank youfor sharing them with us & reminding us that as long as we hold onto our faith or “recover it”…we can endure anything. 7/5/07


I loved your story about Anne Lindbergh and her love of cereal and her “mismatched bowls”. We were in New Mexico a couple of weeks ago and I went to an antique store (something I NEVER do) and found a set of two bowls, PERFECT color for only $10 and wanted them sooooo badly, but I’m saying to myself, “they don’t match anything I have, I don’t really need them”, and I walked out of the store not having purchased them. I’m sooooooo sorry now, wishing I had “splurged”. I would have had to throw away a set of bowls that I use all the time, but were given as a wedding present 39 years ago! I’m such a “holder on” – thinking I should never change things, must use things until worn out or broken. But, really, if I want I can give the old ones to Goodwill and use the new ones!! (Now all I have to do is figure out how to get to Ruidoso, NM, in the next week and purchase the bowls!!) 6/28/07


I’ll have to say – that even, now – with a family to raise and many other obligations – it is the quiet time I value most. There is something about an hour of quiet that can reconnect the body and soul…6/21/07


So many quotes jump out at me with this one that I think I might have to have a journal and start scribbling!!
The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (translation by Peter Heinegg) (It is from Liguori Press.)  This book was written back in 1768, and it is all connected to Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians (the first one.)
Love love love this book.
Quote I am working on right now: Liguori quotes St. Francis de Sales “I have made a pact with my tongue not to speak when my heart is disturbed.” (hmmm.. a little too much hollering at my kids this weekend!!!!) 6/17/07


When I read the words, “Come to me.”, it made me think of being a child and approaching the lap of my father (heavenly father). Then I read further to find that is how Oswald Chambers describes that also. It makes you feel vulnerable and feeling like you are or should be opening yourself up to whatever the heavenly father has for you. 6/11/07


I had read my devotions and prayed that morning about what I see in the mirror—I’m not kidding! Mirrors show spinach in my teeth (I think that’s good to know), flabby arms, a wrinkled neck, cellulite, etc. I asked God to help let go of those things that bring me down and result in judging, critically of course. Then I read your email about looking in the mirror, into your own eyes, and “Who are you trying to find?” So in a roundabout way, I had the spiritual gift of trying to let go of some of my baggage in my mirror, and I think maybe you were trying to do the same. P.S. There are several scripture references to mirrors—I need to write to that someday. 6/9/07


I was thinking about how much of my life is done in a BIG RUSH and I don’t even have time to breathe. But I can BREATHE in your store. Thank you for providing such a wonderful place to come. You are definitely on for coffee, You definitely inspired me to pick up something I wouldn’t normally read. 6/8/07


Wonderful! Want a big book that I just LOVED??? – Try Wally Lamb’s “I Know This Much Is True”. It’s fabulous and took me three weeks to read it – I spent every spare moment I could muster reading it and it was actually a moving experience. 6/7/07


The first morning I’ve been able to read Susan’s Books from home in my PJ’s with fresh cup of brew…how delicious sitting in my own home reading your sweet words! Anna Karenina….still on my to read list…urghhh….on more reason to keep living…books left to read! Here’s my favorite line from this AM …
You can not read these books if you get easily upset by those without your exact beliefs or morals. If you close books off for this reason, you will never open your mind to understanding those that think differently than you, therefore closing off major avenue of thought for yourself. I was giggling as I read it…thinking someone has ticked my angel Susan off in the past and she is getting the last word!!  More coffee off to read..before work..bye…(later by same friend) I was late for work this AM…looking for a favorite short story I have from Tolstoy…lost in one of my book piles! But I was excited to read it again after all that talk about “Anna Karenina”. It’s entitled “Where love is, God is also”…I always read it at Christmastime to remind myself of HIS love and our choices to receive it. It’s a delicious little 10 minute read…I brought it to work & marked the page for you…when the store is slow come over and get it… 6/7/07


…my daughter often speaks of the smell of books as “her most favorite smell in the world”. 6/7/07


I hope you know that I know how much you miss your dad. I know that feeling of wishing he could see you and play with Camden and watch him grow… I feel that very same way about my dad… and I hear him laughing sometimes when the kids have done something so completely naughty and I get mad and start fuming like my mom used to…. it cracks me up (later of course) because I have that overwhelming sense of joy. Crazy, I know, to miss someone so much it hurts, and then in that same instant to have such utter happiness in my soul that I had such an amazing father. I know how he felt about me– he loved me so completely and he knew I would be okay… I know this without a doubt. Incredible to have that bizarre balance of pain and joy at the same time.
We are so truly blessed, Susan. We were given such amazing men to lead us into this life– and they gave us enough strength to carry on even after they left us too soon.
You have to smile. We hit the jackpot. 6/1/07 (Another friend whose dad died young).


Susan Thank you so much for your words of encouragement this week. I really needed them. My husband died Wed am. 6/1/07


Sometimes I feel I have to embrace the “sad” until it subsides. I guess. What do I know?…Between losing my home, my job, my friends, my family, my father, my history and heck, even my dog, I’ve pretty much lost a lot of who I am. I have had to start over with a whole new life…reminds me that I really do need friends here and that my friends away are always going to be there – but I need to start experiencing new ones here. I have a lot to learn ahead of me. Part of me doesn’t want to lose what I was and what I had in my past life because I LOVED my friends and my life there so much – but I have a new life ahead of me – a life I prayed for – and I’m starting to feel ready to venture out and embrace it. 5/25/07 (loss of her father and a move to NE from out of state)


Have you ever read anything religious or not about what happens to the spirit when it is in a body like my Dad’s? I just wonder where it is…what he’s doing while his body is trapped in that chair. Does God let him cross over part way? That is the question that continually goes through my mind. (Affect of Alzheimer’s) 5/25/07


Susan, Thank you so much for sharing from your heart and being willing to be transparent. It blessed me. It must be a season where the Lord is saying stop looking back on who you were and look forward to who I am making you to be. I have been going through something similar myself. Not being satisfied with where and who I am, and looking back to see who I was and where I lost myself. The Lord recently brought to mind the verse Phil 3:13-14
“Brothers (and sisters!) I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heaven ward in Christ Jesus”
This was a great encouragement. I don’t want to go back, but forward. His mercies are NEW every morning.
Thanks again for sharing, I pray the Lord’s blessing over you, your family and all that you put your hand to this day. 5/24/07


Our experiences and new knowledge and the variety of people we are with and our growth in God’s wisdom are all shaping us and changing us. I guess we never are the people we used to be — and that’s probably good! :) Grow from the past, take a deep breath in God’s garden, and just enjoy being the Susan God is shaping you into. (I need to say that very same thing to myself — so often I wallow in the “if only’s” of the past or the “what if’s” of the future!) 5/24/07


I have found a quote I really enjoy that makes me feel peaceful by Maya Angelou, it is… I am working toward a time where everything gives me joy. That makes me realize I need to live in the present and not look to the future and do the when this happens I will be happy. Does that make sense? 5/24/07


Susan—I enjoy reading your letters each week. I sang In the Garden at my grandmother’s funeral and my uncle’s funeral, among other times. That song has always touched me. Another song than gives me peace is “Turn Yours Eyes Upon Jesus.” It is so beautiful. All four of my grandparents died in either the months of May or June. This is a time of year when I reflect upon them and miss them very much. 5/24/07


Susan- This is so beautiful. Such a good reminder for all of us that even though we long for moments of our past, we could never go back (nor we want to go back to) being that person. I love it. I think this is why I’m so thankful for the sovereignty of God. I fight the things he brings into my life, but would be much less whole and Christ-like without their refining presence. Funny how we fight against the refinement and soul growth no matter how mature we are. I’m missing your dad along with you. 5/24/07


Your words “Death and events out of my control have changed who I am, to the extent that I continually desire a different time period of my life, thinking that will bring me the peace and energy and joy that I desire.” I am such a different person today then I was 3-4 years ago. I keep trying to find a new me and never seem to get it right. Maybe I just need to be “who I am now”. I so needed to hear that. Thank you! I think of you often even though I don’t write. 5/24/07


I found a good book called…Loving What is….by Byron Katie…..it is a strategy on inquiry….that we can use to ask ourselves questions like…do I want to keep thinking this thought? does this work well for me? etc…
I just returned from a 4 sister retreat in Evergreen CO…it was wonderful and very inspiring…and I just want you to know that I have spent tons of time wondering who I am and what plans does God have for me….??? And i no longer feel urgent that I have to do something….I just am….it just is the way it is….and I am going to listen and listen and listen….to God, self and others….what messages does this world have for me? How is that?? 5/24/07


I laughed about your thoughts about who I am now and not in the past. This is because I am going back home to Imperial for my 20th class reunion this weekend. You may have hit on something for me as well. I am a different ___ than 20 years ago, but in many ways the same. I’ll try to remember this as I go back to greet all those who knew me back then. Thank you for your thoughts today. 5/24/07


I just read your weekly letter and really appreciate your honesty…I can look back now and see how God has had his chisel out and chipping away the rough edges in my life. I can say now that I feel I am a more patient person and am still learning to not let disappointment destroy my day. You mentioned that you are trying to find “Susan.” Take this from an old man who has had his share of ups and downs. You are not the same person you were last year and you are not the person you will be next year. Thank God for who you are today and anticipate who God is making you to be next year. I visited with our neighbor who build all his own furniture and was impressed with his handiwork. As I looked at the dining room table chairs he made I asked him how he shaped the bottom of each chair so that they all looked the same. He then told me that he once saw a wooden elephant that a fellow made and he asked him how he was able to make such a perfect looking elephant. His response was, “I started with a block of wood and anything that didn’t look like a elephant I chipped away.” Today God is looking a the person He wants Susan to be and is “chipping away anything that doesn’t look like the Susan He wants.”Now go out and take on the day and appreciate who you are today. 5/24/07
PS We all miss you mom and dad. What a testimony they both had and impact on the community they lived.


You mentioned in one of your Thursday messages that you were not always tied to a devotional book. I appreciate you saying that. I sometimes read from five books. If I miss a day, then I try to make up the lost readings. It actually becomes a burden and my mind is not very “devotional”. Thank you for freeing me of the self-imposed burden. Devotions are worship, not a burden, and I was not always worshipping.
Loved your message last week about Anne of Green Gables. 5/23/07


I wanted to tell you how much your story meant to me today. I lost my little “Ladybug” Maltese two months ago and I feel like I lost my baby girl. I have been toying with the idea of adopting another baby girl. Our bond was so special that I know it will never be replaced. She will always be in my heart. Right before I read your email, I got a call about a little girl “shih-tzu” who might be available for adoption. I feel like your quote today came right from God telling me to think about how much love, devotion and loyalty she gave you. It will never be replaced, but be open to accepting a dog’s unconditional love again. It’s all they have to give, and they do it because they love you. SO thank you for your dog story. Your words spoke right to my heart. 5/17/07 (Rilla of Ingleside)


Like you, I sandwich my reading into my day in snatches. I can’t not read. 5/10/07


Loved your note today….but I can’t resist teasing you a bit!!!……is that how you get 18 empty tide boxes in your laundry room…by reading????? 5/10/07


Thanks for your email story this week. I laughed so hard!!! We all do some pretty funny things that we don’t want to own up to. I use the grocery sack method when someone is coming over and I need to clean up the house clutter. You just quickly start shoving anything that you want out of sight into a grocery bag. Well I will admit that the other day I opened the closet by my front door and there sat 5 loaded down grocery sacks. Ha! It’s pretty bad when Gary says, “What happened to the such and such on the counter?” And I reply, “Look in the grocery sack in the closet.” I know I am in trouble when he looks in the closet and then says, “’Which bag?” After your story I guess I had better sort out those bags this weekend. I don’t think my closet would hold 18 bags! 5/3/07


A girl from my own heart, I think I have 3 era containers now but did manage to throw 2 away last week, my house is never spotless, I would have to have a cleaning lady come to remove the dust but I would have to clean before she comes, so funny how the house is not the most important part of my life until I HAVE COMPANY COMING OVERNIGHT, Heaven forbid when this happens I go nuts. 5/3/07


Susan, Your E-Mail is so funny b/c my husband just recently commented how frustrating it is to find the bottle of “ERA” with detergent in it since there are 6 other “ERA” bottles on the washing machine that are empty! A couple of weeks ago (after an entire weekend again frantically trying to catch up on laundry, cleaning, etc.) I decided I was going to get organized. I found a website dedicated to helping you find a routine for yourself so your life is CHAOS free. The jury is still out how I’m going to do, but I’m trying!! 5/3/07


I tape Oprah and there is a organizational guru guy on her show that helps people organize their “stuff”. His book is “It’s all too much” – an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff. You might already carry it Susan. We recently moved and the house we moved from (family farm house) is still full of stuff so don’t feel bad about your Tide boxes! Thanks for sharing! 5/3/07


I wanted to respond to this one because it resonates so much! I’m as guilty as any of getting caught in the past (or more commonly) anticipating the future that when I do finally stop I marvel at where all the time went! But as an artist (and I believe there is one in everyone, as God is THE ARTIST!) I feel lucky that I do have those times of really living in the present– whether its while creating something or stopping and observing the world around me, or cooking a wonderful meal, or what have you! So thank you for such an insightful email, keep them coming! 4/19/07


Your emails are my church! Again – you have touched me.  Thank you :) 4/19/07


Thank you for your early morning thoughts! I have often thought that maybe time goes by so fast because I am always looking ahead and not enjoying each day fully. Your reflection on the quote by the Russian priest confirmed my thoughts. 4/19/07


Almost as much as visiting your store, I enjoy your thoughts on Friday mornings when I have a moment to read your musings. I especially needed your words this morning that said seize the day, the moment, the things happening to you right now…not yesterday or tomorrow. 4/20/07


Hi, Susan-I read your email today. I loved the quote about the barn burned-now I can see the moon. We have an old barn I see from our dining room window-I hate to see it come down even though it is decorating slowly-but now I know if I let my husband tear it down I will see the moon!!! 4/12/07


I am so happy to be on your “email” list now…I’m from Grand Island and I stopped in your store a couple of Friday’s ago after I had gone to the cemetery to visit my mom and dad. I was one of those customers that came in not needing “anything” but left with not only some great merchandise but a feeling of “contentment” and “satisfaction”. I thank God that he guided me into your store that afternoon.  I am extremely excited about the new “Quotable things” coming into your store as my home and office are just plastered with all kinds of those little uplifting treasures. I love the devotion book that you gave me….thank you!  4/12/07


I like the advice about not talking about others, only discussing ideas – I’m going to try and do that too. 4/5/07


My friend – After putting the family to bed last night, I busied myself with my “to do list” for the following day and then went to my big chair to turn on the TV for some “mind numbing” escape as I have done for longer than I care to admit. But instead, as I have done for the last few nights, I didn’t turn on the TV – I picked up my book from my friend. I read it with a highlighter in one hand and turned the pages with the other and felt a new understanding of myself unfolding. That’s your gift to me. I’m learning and growing and I believe this journey unfolding before me will make me a better person.  12/13/06


I do believe you may change my life. I hope I am ready for it. I took the book, and “walked past the cluttered counter and dirty sink”, “which is not an easy thing for me to do” and read the book my dear friend left in my mail box. I’m going to bed, instead of staying up late and writing and writing to you – I’m choosing rest – which is not an easy thing for me to do. Thank you. I will see you soon. God Bless you. 12/11/06