Most of the photos here at Rabbit Run Cottage
can be enlarged just by clicking on each one!
There you go...see? Easy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Thing Called Gratitude...

I am squeezing the last bit of Autumn Blessings from this final sweet week in November...the quiet peace of heart and warmth of spirit that Thanksgiving always brings. Yes, I too love the Christmas holidays but it is Thanksgiving that lifts my soul in a way I often find difficultto explain. It often seems that this holiday, and it's true meaning, get lost in a flurry of early Christmas decorating and Black Friday shopping sprees. All fun and
exciting true...but as one who loves this special week far more than I can adequately express, it is sad to see it come to an end. I am blessed by this time of year...I am grateful for it.

Gratitude is usually defined as a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. “Thank you” probably ranks right up there with the first sentences you taught your children to say...right? Why? Not only because it is the polite thing to do, but because we all need to feel appreciated. Thankful people are just more pleasant to be around.  Of course they are! And heck, if that alone is not enough reason to be more thankful, and to teach our children to be more thankful, scientists have linked gratitude to mental and physical well-being. Uh huh. It's true! These studies show that truly grateful people report higher levels of life satisfaction, vitality, and optimism while also feeling less depressed and stressed during those inevitable rough patches. The best thing you can do to help your children develop a thankful heart is to be a good role model. Feel grateful and you will radiate gratitude! It will positively ooze from every pore!

Remember to say thank you to your children when they clean up their rooms, even if the job they do is not exactly up to your specifications or even those of the local board of health. Say thanks to the rookie waitress who, although trying her very best, still forgets your baked potato & brings you a regular Coke instead of a Diet. 3 separate times. Say thank you to your wife for always being there for you, yes, even when you leave your boxers on the bathroom floor and toothpaste in the sink.

As you lay your head on the pillow each night, think about the good things, the often little, overlooked things that made you smile, laugh, and feel good. Those things are there, I promise you that. Even in the midst of frustration, emotional pain and sorrow, they are there.

A beautiful sunset, a cooling breeze on a sticky Summer night. Perfectly brewed iced tea, a good, really engrossing book, a song that gets your foot tapping in spite of yourself. Life can be so sweet when we take the time to be thankful for those small things that all alone, never seem to amount to much. Yet, when we put  them all together, oh what magic they can perform in our lives.

At Thanksgiving, and every day, I am filled with gratitude for those things that lift my spirits, sustain me and lighten my husband, my children, my brother, sister in law and nephew. My Mom and the memories of my father and my mother & father in law. Our precious friends who truly are family to us. The family pets...Kipper, Lucy, Henry, Abby and Casey.

Our cozy home, Rabbit Run Cottage, and the dear neighbors who surround us. These are my most precious blessings...well those and my collection of Brian Dennehy movies but that goes without saying right?

I am also so very thankful to have each and every one of you, my dear blogging friends, in my life. You bring me joy, laughter, inspiration, support and love. Each of you owns a piece of my and forever. Happy Thanksgiving...may God bless you and all those you love.
Love and Hugs,
Susie Q

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sweet Music

This week was the annual 4th and 5th grade student's strings concert. The children from all the elementary schools in town gather to play together...and play they did! What a joy to listen to these young people who have worked so hard to learn these songs.

Our Grace is in her 2nd year of violin and really enjoys it!

It is just wonderful to see the number of people who attend this concert to show their support for  the arts in our local school. Music is truly a gift from God!

I hope your Thanksgiving was a sweet one...Bill, Dan, Grace and I had dinner at my Mother's, sharing the day with my brother, sister in law and our nephew. We all contributed delicious dishes and oh how good it all was! The turkey was so, so good. There were green beans and green bean casserole, scalloped corn, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, cranberries, yummy stuffing, rolls, crudités...
Then we finished dinner a liitle pumpkin and apple pie...oh yes. AND a decedent ice cream turtle cake from Kipper's favorite place, Ritter's! Oh was it gooooood.

And tellme. Am I the only adult woman who HAS to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for it to BE Thanksgiving? *grin* Well, that and our family's traditional Turkey Day movie, "Planes, Train and Automobiles". It is not the holiday without sharing it with John Candy!

There is something so special about this day...a day set aside to share a meal with loved ones and to count our blessings. I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday for just that fact...a quiet day to reflect on all the sweet things we have in our lives.

Tomorrow the lovely Fall decor will be put away for another year...but oh what a beautiful Autumn it was. That alone is something for which a say thanks!

And thanks to all of you who remain my friends even when I stay too long away from bloggy world...I am so, so blessed to have each one of you in my life.

Love and Hugs,
Susie Q

So Many Blessings...

From all of us at Rabbit Run Cottage... all of you so very dear...

...we wish you blessings in abundance, a joyful heart, peace of mind...

...and a holiday that warms your spirit. No matter what you do today, no matter where you spend this Thanksgiving or who you spend it with, stop for a moment and think of all you have been blessed to have in your life.
Each one of you is a blessing to me...blessings I am thankful for every day of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving dear hearts!

Love and Hugs,
Susie Q

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Wild Gourd Studio

Every November we look forward to visiting Cynthia McDonald's Wild Gourd Studio near Yellow Springs, Ohio. Her one of a kind art work is so beautiful, so full of rich heritage and meaning. It is always such a joy to be there, to listen to the wonderful and unique sounds of the Native American musicians, share some mulled cider and warmth and friendly conversation.

And we always make special friends with the animals that live there...

I wanted to share some of this day with all of is always a joy.

I hope all of you are well and enjoying this special time of year!

A special wish to Sally S...Happy Birthday
to you dear friend! I hope your day was sweet and that this year brings you many joys!

Love and Hugs,
Susie Q

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Weekend End Everyone...Oh Yeah, And...

...get your flu shots! Protect yourself from this evil, maniacal force that is the flu.....bwhabwhahaha. Scared ya didn't I?
Okay, yes. I HAD a regular flu shot but that didn't protect me from what they *say* was a lovely strand of H1N1. And Grace had BOTH shots. But the flu caught her before the shots took hold sooooo...oh what fun she and I have had playing "Pass The Bug". We laugh and laugh and then we cough and cough and wheeze and wheeze. Oh my. But we are quickly becoming human beings again. Or at least, SHE is. It has never fully been determined WHAT I am. Ahem.

Thank you for your sweet emails and comments. It is always nice to know that a friend cares! And I love ya'll back. *smile*

Thank you also to my husband who actually gets online every now and then and posts for me! Not that *I* consider him the "lucky" one as he is ME who is blessed. He has been so good and caring and even Dan and Grace have been fussing over me. Or were they just fussing? No...they were actually being sweet. Grace would make Chicken and Stars soup (Don't ask. It just tastes good to me when nothing else does!) and bring it to me when I didn't think I could eat a thing this week. Dan went out to get me drinks and even fluffed a pillow or two. Thanks guys...*smile*

I was dragging due to this asthma phooey while in the Windy City but still loved seeing our friends Jim and Meredith, Sheila, Tony, Tony Jr. and Lisa, Kate and Ginny and Amy and Jolee. Chicago is ALWAYS wonderful and never more so than on a sweet, warm and sunny Fall weekend.
I have some pictures of the kids to share and will as soon as I can. So much to catch up on! As I just wrote my friend Sue, I MAY catch up by next May. IF I am lucky!

But we HAVE begun our Christmas shopping (Shopping online and thanks to my sweet husband who slogged through the crowds on Veteran's Day to get Dan and Grace their *Big* gifts!) and planning Thanksgiving dinner. Wow is this month speeding past! Weren't there just trick or treaters at our front door? Whew.

Thank you for your prayers for my sister in law. Her surgery went well and she is without pain in her back for the first time in weeks. She has a bit of recovery to do but things are looking up! I have been able to help with Brady this week so my brother didn't have miss more work than he needed to. But Boo has been good and loves to play Wii with his cousins so they keep him well entertained!

I hope all is well for each one of you. This glorious season is just flying by so I do hope you have had the chance to get out and really enjoy all it's beauty. Life is so short and filled with so, so much joy. I hope you are able to reach out and grab a lot of it for yourself! You are SO worth it!

Love to you all!

Love and Hugs,
Susie Q

Monday, November 09, 2009

Blowin' In From The Windy City...

Just a few of Susie's pictures from this past weekend in Chicago. We had a great time visiting with good friends and seeing a little more of this wonderful city. As you know, my girl has been fighting a bug and not quite up to snuff of late. Her asthma is really taking a toll on her so I have asked her to rest and take it easy. She will be back blogging and visiting all of you soon! I can not keep her down for long!

She and I would also like to ask for your prayers and good thoughts as Susie's brother's wife undergoes surgery tomorrow.

I hope each one of you is well and having a nice November!
Thank you for always being so good to my girl.

Susie's lucky husband Bill

Friday, November 06, 2009

Under The Harvest Moon...

"I'm just wondering how we know where we belong

Is it in the arc of the moon, leaving shadows on the lawn

In the path of fireflies and a single bird at dawn

Singing in between here and gone..."

~Mary Chapin Carpenter

Love to you all...have a sweet weekend. I will see you soon!
Love and moonlit hugs,
Susie Q

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Brilliant Days...Deep Thoughts

* Update on my giveaway. I have the books ready to mail.  *grin* I will be away this weekend so all three books will be mailed on Monday. I apologize for being late. Bring sick is one thing, having a really sick kid is another! I know you all understand that! I am slow but I do get things done eventually! I promise!

I wanted to share some of our glorious Autumn color with you...I am glad I was able to get out and do a ltttle photographing before the last of this brilliant color was gone. I was so ill with whatever virus is upon us and then Grace came down sick too. We are both on the road to recovery, she more quickly than me for which I am very grateful!

Our seasonal color was just amazingly stunning this year. I would just ooh and ahh as I ran my daily errands around town. What a lovely area I am blessed to live in and what a beautiful world we ALL share!

I wanted to thank those of you who left such sweet comments on my previous post and those who have also sent uplifting emails. As some of you guessed, I have been in a bit of a bloggy funk. These 3 years have brought me so much joy but lately, I have been re-thinking my place in the blog world. I came very close to deleting Rabbit Run Cottage, the blog, on Monday. This will be news to some of you who I speak with often as I kept it to myself. *smile* I have decided to keep at it, albeit differently. I am, and will always be, so grateful that so many of you have been loyal friends and visit me even when I am a neglectful poster and visitor/commentor on your own blogs. You have been so understanding that I just don't have the time I once did and have had to face the fact that blogging must take a back seat all too often to real life!

PLEASE know I am not asking for comments telling me why you read my blog or that you still love me (Heck, IF you come here to visit, there must be somethin' you like right?) as I know who does and I love ya back. *grin* I never set out to blog for *numbers*, for glory, for money. The good and special friends I have made through blogging made every moment I have spent writing and working at improving photos, well, well worth it. But I write for me, for those who I KNOW I reach and who share many of my passions.

I write for the 22 people who have, over the last year, sent me emails that shared how a post I wrote made them laugh while they were under going chemotherapy, or made them feel good for the first time since they suffered a great loss. Some let me know that they shared my silly sense of humor and love of life,the joy that IS Brian Dennehy, the imperfect home and busy family. They *got* me. They said I *got* them. These 22 emails, these 22 people made it ALL worth while.

I have never taken blogging lightly. I spend far too long on most posts and stress when I can't or if I don't feel one is done well. I spend way too much time making sure each photo looks good and is something that you might like to see. I know I do not always get it *right* but oh how hard I try.

Still, the funk came over me. It has been there for months now but darkened last week. Let me explain. Among the 22 emails that were so positive and spirit lifting were 5 that were sour indeed. How did I expect to have blog visitors when *I* was negligent in commenting and making rounds myself? That was just one of the 5 but all had the same bent. Well, to sum it up as succinctly as I can, I DON'T!  If the only reason you come here to visit is because I visit you, well, I release you from your duty! I have no desire to make anyone adhere to such a silly rule. 'Nuff said. I have been *told* I am too long winded in my posts. Well, I am a talker. Born and bred. If you don't like to read, I give you my blessing to pass me by. I was told I needed to do more posts about home decor. I will address this in a second...

I was left feeling angry, more than a little flummoxed and ready to shuck it all.
But then I realized that I do not blog for those 5, I blog for the 22 who found *something* of value here.
I once had a much wider base. There was a time that a giveaway post would net over 100 comments. Did I like that? Hey, I am human right? Now, if I get 25 on such a post I am lucky. But, as I mentioned earlier, I never set out to write for *numbers*. I write for those 22 and for the loyal and dear friends that I have met along this blogging path. I try to visit you all as best I can and yes, I fall short often. For that I apologize but it is my reality.

I also do not post as much decorating as I once did. I know those posts get a lot more traffic. But the time I have to DO them has decreased dramatically. So the traffic will just move on down a different road I am afraid. *smile* But I WILL do posts about our home, our very much less than perfect abode.
I have projects that are still waiting to be finished and many that have yet to be started. Yes, we have lived here for almost 8 years and yet *SHOCK*, *HORRORS*, I am still living with what I see "lovingly" referred to in many blogs as "boring, stock" cabinets, "ugly, builder light fixtures", non exceptional counters, floors and furniture. 3 long years ago I thought I had a pretty sweet house but reading blogs almost had me believing I was living in cluttered squalor! Egads! All right, so I am indulging in a bit of hyperbole here but you get my point. So I posted less and less about home and hearth. I LET it get to me. But after receiving an extraordinary email from a reader, I now know that MOST of us live in less than perfect homes. I have written about this before but it kept rearing it's nasty head and I had to face it once again.
After adopting Grace, our pot of available monies for home projects dried up. But I also began re-thinking my desire to always want to change something. I had to but I needed to.

I came to realize that I was happier driving around snapping photos than I was cleaning and painting.
I was happier hitting garage and estate sales with my buddy Sue than I was going from store to store looking for the perfect home accessory. I am happier planning the next trip or get away than I am planning a home project. Do I LOVE home projects? You bet your noodle. And I have a few on the back burner that will see the light of day when we save up for it. I have tossed all the home to do lists and replaced them with
 to do lists that include weekend getaways, parks to visit, trails to walk, cities to explore. If you don't find that interesting, I give you permission to take me off your blog rolls. If you don't see the humor in a middle aged lady having a crush on an aging actor, pass me by. If you expect to see me do a weekly mind altering tablescape, I am not the blog for you. I am not wealthy or creative enough for that I am afraid! You have to be one or the other and I am neither! I will always look for those who make their homes warm and cozy via creativity rather than bucks everytime. It is just more ineteresting to me! If you don't like that about me, say bye bye for your own sanity! *laugh*

I will alienate some I know who will think I am being hard edged or that I am being unfriendly. I know that those who actually KNOW me will know I am neither of those things. But I must be truthful to myself.
I wll continue to write posts that are often long. I will continue to be silly and write about Brian Dennehy from time to time. I will try to be funny, often missing the mark. I will write more about family and movies and books and trips and my area far more than my skills as a decorator which are vastly limited. I WILL show you my house but in its all too glorious imperfectness.
I will share my inadequacies as a home maker, decorator, mother, wife and human being.
I will write for me and hope you find something that makes you smile or think. I hope most of you will remain my friends. Those who do not, I wish you well and wish you a sweet life. I may ever stop into your blogs from time to time. I may even leave you one of those coveted comments!

For those who, like me, have little time to post and visit my blog or others, I will be understanding and never chide you for it! Hey, you will do what you can when you can!
I will just love ya, admire ya and send ya lots of hugs. We are in this together. Together as imperfectly as possible. And, as I have said before, being IMperfect is PERfect in my eyes.

Love and Hugs,
Susie Q 

Monday, November 02, 2009

Wow...What A Life!

A wonderful, wonderful  life as Jimmy Stewart, as George Bailey, would surely agree. *smile*
 But a life that doesn't always allow me time to post here as I would like. Yes, I know I am so behind in writing and visting. I feel just awful about not getting around to see you all I as love to do but I am sure you understand why. Life just gets busy doesn't it?
I have been neglectful in posting my birthday fun, save for my perfect British Tea afternoon with Mom and 2 of my dearest friends in the world, P and M. Oh it was a sweet 2 weeks of birthday fun...I would still like to post some of it this week but wow. Things would really get out of hand then huh? *laugh* For a quick re-cap...
 I spent an evening with Bill, my brother Jim and some wonderful friends listening to my favorite local band, The Stumps. They even sang Happy Birthday for me as we munched on cupcakes from my beautiful friend J! The lovely B. gave me a bouquet of the prettiest flowers and well, that evening was a sweet, rocking good time! The next day we had a little family celebration at Mom's with lasagna and all the fixings, complete with a yummy german chocolate cake for dessert! The next night, Mom, Bill, Dan, Grace and her BFF K. joined me at one of my favorite restaurants for dinner.
The next afternoon found me with my buddies T. and C. at a great local restaurant. T. even brought a delicious cake for us! Then, tonight, we met more dear friends, T.C. and family, for Mongolian BBQ...a scrumptious way to end my October birthday extravaganza! I need to post pictures of the surprises for sure, but some very precious and special friends sent me wonderful cards and gifts (The most beautiful tea cup and yummy cookies ever! Thank you dear Sue A.!) and flowers too. The most beautiful peach roses in an Autumn inspired arrangement from sweet Sheila O. And yes, I KNOW I am blessed beyond measure. I never take it for granted. Never. I just hope that each of my friends and family members know how much I love them.
You already know I have been ill with respiratory problems and that has kept me from being here as often as I like. I needed to make sure I was recovering as quickly as possible since I am Grace's class homeroom mom. I had a big Halloween party to arrange and present! Thankfully I felt great that day and we all had fun!
They are a super group of kids and were quick to say thank you and offer a hug. Sure made my day!

Then came Halloween! I wanted to share a couple is Grace and her BFF dressed as London and Maddie from the Disney Channel show, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody". If you have ever seen the show you will know how great they really look!! They even had the voices and characterizations down pat!

Here are the girls with my nephew Brady, the Boo Man! He was a brave fire fighter, just like his late Grandpa Frank! My dad was surely looking down from Heaven and smiling a proud smile!

And then came our last football game of the season. Our squad had been undefeated this year in regular play. We went into the tournament and won the first game handedly.

Here are the football squad's Team Moms with a banner the team presented the girls! They were asked to run through it as they took the field! The girls LOVED it!

But as hard as the girls cheered, and as hard as the team played, this game was not to be theirs.
Their first loss and now the tournament is over for us. It was a fun season and the kids all had a great time.
Gosh but it was busy as any of you who have been, or are, sports parents will attest! It will be be good to have a little more free time on weekends, still, we will miss seeing our squad at practices and games.

I know this was a whirlwind catch up post and I will try to do a better job as a blogger!
Tomorrow is Ritter's Dog Night and we have promised Kip we will go!
Thursday is Grace's class play and she is involved so I will try to report on that as well!
Then it is off to Chicago for the weekend! *sigh* I KNOW! I KNOW! But as crazy as it often gets, I would not trade it for the world. There were days in the past, while stationed far away from this area that holds my heart, that I was so, so lonely. I never take for granted that I am back where I belong, back with old friends and family that mean more to me than I can say. And I well remember how I felt, wanting to be a mom so badly and praying that we would know the joy of parenthood. At long last our Daniel came to us and we loved each moment raising him but I always knew our family was not complete. Grace came to us when we were almost 50 and, even with
two arthritic knees, fibro and asthma, this 53 year old mom never loses her joy at having this gift of raising another child. I am slower and more addle brained but delighted each day!

So please try to forgive me when I neglect to post and (even worse) fail to get around to visit all of you, or visit and not leave a comment. For that I am truly sorry...but I adore you all! How often I think about each of you...each one of you is so special.

Until next time, have a sweet week, happy November to you all  and remember to be kind to yourselves!

Love and Many Hugs,
Susie Q