Beginning Anew & A Giveaway!

This past year has been one of great joys and great sorrows for me personally. The birth of our very first grandchild (he’s a wee bit camera shy, but suffice to say-and this is my totally unbiased opinion- that he is the cutest baby in the whole world…) followed by the incredible wedding celebration of our son to his lovely bride, were both the happiest of  occasions.

Let's Dance 2016

But, those extraordinary events were overshadowed by the diagnosis, illness and subsequent death of my mother,

Mom Green Sweater

(their beloved grandmother and great-grandmother) who passed away recently at 89 years young from cancer. To say that the events of the past year were overwhelming is an understatement. Each presented its own set of unique demands and daily challenges, and each was equally important in its own right. So, during that time, blogging was most definitely not in the forefront of my mind. Getting through each day, surviving until the next dawn broke was about all I had the time and energy for…and so it had been some time, until quite recently, since I had put “pen to paper” to write my stories. But time marches on, as they say, and life settles down, and we move forward…or in this case, backwards…to a time when I was happily painting and sawing and sanding and DIY’ing and sharing it all with you on social media.

Vintage Americana Heart Logo

In the past few weeks, I have started (and finished!) some new projects, remembered to take photos

Hail to the Whale Finished Logo

and share them on social media-which, in itself, was pretty amazing! So, I am finally beginning to re-furbish and re-love the pieces that have been lying dormant in the basement…and the barn…and the shed during this long and lonely winter. Loving this sweet little side table I recently re-did but completely forgot to write about.

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But I do have one problem. I recently moved my blog server back to WordPress.com (a long and frustrating story for another day). But with that move, I was not able to bring all of you, my lovely readers along with me! Those of you who had joined the ranks of my blog followers over the past few years will no longer receive my blog posts…unless we take action…so I need your help! If you wish to continue receiving email notices of my blog posts and DIY escapades (and, remember, we never, ever, EVER use your email for any other purpose : ), and I hope that you do, you need to click on this link to the home page of my blog https://countrydesignhome.com/

Blog Home Page

scroll down to the right side of the screen until you get to the line that reads “follow my blog”. Fill in the little window your email address, click send, and you will receive a confirmation email from me via Word Press. Just hit confirm, and you are done! Now, I know this is a pain in the neck and you are thinking, “well, this is a pain in the neck”, so I am going to sweeten the pot a wee bit. All of the email confirmations I receive by April 15th will be placed in a random drawing and one lucky person will win a $50 Amazon.com gift card…as a personal thanks from me to you…

Amazon Gift Card

…because we can all use a little fun news on Tax Day, right? So, thanks for understanding, and thanks for being part of my life and allowing me to share my stories with you…and I am hoping that we can now we can finally begin anew. Susan xoxo

 

Friends of the Heart

Many years ago, in a college psychology class, I participated in a group discussion regarding friendships: how we enter into a friendship, how we maintain it and how friendship fades away, despite the best of intentions. Although much time has passed, an observation that one of my classmates made has remained with me to this day. That there are essentially two types of friends: Friends of the Road and Friends of the Heart. What does that mean, exactly? Friends of the Road are those that we encounter along the way while being busy with life. A childhood neighbor, a classmate, a co-worker, a teammate or dorm-mate, these friendships are formed due to time, place and circumstance. At that moment, the friendship appears to be unstoppable, an unbreakable link formed from a common bond that you promise will last forever. But once you change jobs, move away or graduate from school, the friendship, despite your most ardent efforts to keep in touch, fades into fond memories and Facebook reminders.

Friends of the Heart PM

Ah, but Friends of the Heart. Those people you meet along the way whose paths are forever intertwined with your own. They are not your family, but these are the friends you can turn to in a moment’s notice, in joy and in sorrow, in illness or trouble. They are your people. Your back door friends. The “I-don’t-have-to-clean-up-the-house-because-I-am-having-company” kind of friends. Because they see you, know you and love you just the way you are. I have been so very blessed, in my life, to have found a group of friends of the heart. We started out as neighbors, bonded by our children who shared classrooms and ball fields. The dads coached, the moms cheered on, brought the water and snacks and patched up skinned knees. As we proudly watched our children grow and thrive, we stood side by side on the sidelines, in the bleachers and auditoriums and cheered them on, comforted their sorrows, rejoiced in their victories, agonized over their defeats. And while that business of life was happening, our friendships became those of the heart: strong, unstoppable, unbreakable bonds. And then, once our children were grown and happily on their own, our friendships did not waver, but instead, grew stronger. We traveled around the world together, planned birthday parties and weddings and showers together and spent many an evening over dinner and drinks just enjoying each other’s company.  Recently, I lost one of my dearest friends of the heart after a much-too-short battle with pancreatic cancer. She was the youngest of our group, so much fun, full of life and eager to see whatever the world had to offer. Now, each passing day brings a fresh reminder of how very fragile and sometimes too short life can be on this earth.  If I could tell her one more time, if I could show her one more way, if I could only have a few more precious moments with her, I would let her know again just how special and truly blessed I was to have her in my life. Now, if you are fortunate enough, like me, to have a friend of the heart, choose today to tell them you love them. It doesn’t need to be a holiday or special occasion. You don’t need chocolate or fancy flowers, greeting cards or expensive gifts. Just text them or tweet them or Facebook message them or call them or even send them a copy of this and tell them how much they mean to you. It may be weirdly out-of-character, feel funny or awkward, but do it anyway. Because you never know when it may be your final chance to let them know how you feel.  And so, I would like to say to all of my dearest friends of the heart, I love you. You have enriched my life in immeasurable ways, and life will never be the same without all of you in it.

XOXOXO Susan 

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