Friday, April 15, 2011


{Written for Define Your Blog,
at Modern Country Style.}

Two weeks ago,
seated with my buddy
from New Zealand,
pinching myself that
we were really together
after nearly five years,
chatting as if we did
it every day, she opened
her bag and gave me
the most wonderful


Words that I had sent
to her over the years,
encased in protective
mylar sleeves....

Articles that I'd found
inspiring ~

An e-mail I'd written during
a period when we were both
 coping with disappointments,
where I urged her to see
the world as half-full and 
not half empty ~

And a Dear Abby, which
had moved me enough
to cut it out and send it 
halfway across the world so that
she could absorb its wisdom, too.

I was so astounded that she'd
not only saved these words
all these years, but read and 
re-read them for comfort or
hearing my voice through
their messages, across the miles.
{Thank you for your belief
that I had something meaningful
to say, Helga!}

I love the written word and the
power that it has to uplift, embolden,
edify and move one to smile, laugh
or even cry.  When I began sending
those words to New Zealand, the
internet was in its infancy {as were
our first children} and I never
dreamed that 15 years later I
would be offering up similar 
inspiration to kindred spirits 
around the world via a web-log.

A BLOG : )

I stumbled on blogs by chance,
and like a child with her nose pressed
to the window of a fascinating
shop, I was drawn in immediately.
A month later I had a blog name
and a month after that, I was up
and running as Privet and Holly!*

I didn't set out with a definition
of what I intended my blog to be.
Rather, I just set out to chronicle 
the small things in life that I  found to
 be inspiring, from vintage and
antiques to travel, photography,
books, cooking and special 
moments with family and friends.

The most heartfelt responses that
I received from my writing were from posts
 where I had shared an observation about
life that many of you could relate
to ~ and you let me know with
your own kind, sweet and most 
buoyant comments. 
I am so grateful.

Your words have lifted me up
and helped me to pause and really
SEE this journey that we are all on.
And if I, in turn, have gifted that sight
back to you even a little bit these last
12 months, that gives me 
amazing satisfaction.

I want to close this post with the
Dear Abby that I mentioned, above.   
At the time I read it in the paper it
was an encore column, so perhaps
you've also seen it before.  But to me,
it sums up a life lesson better than
anything that I've read in a long, 
long, time.  As my friend and I
caught up on that special day two
weeks ago, we found ourselves referring
 back to the power of this little
column again and again, by simply looking 
at each other after sharing a sad or
miraculous or silly story and 
simply repeating: 


It really says it all.

Dear Abby: 
 In response to Livid in Salem, Mass., who was fed
up with people who put their children on their answering
machines:  All I have to say is she and the other women in her
office need more adversity in their lives.

If their biggest problem is having to listen to small children
sing before they leave a message, they should get down on
their knees and thank God.

After the death of my 11 month old son six years ago, I
learned not to sweat the small stuff.

As the perceptive author and minister Robert Fulghum
said:  One of life's best coping mechanisms is to know the
difference between an inconvenience and a problem.  If you
break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house
is on fire ~ then you've got a problem.  Everything else is an
inconvenience.  Life is lumpy.  A lump in the oatmeal, a lump
in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of
lump.  One needs to know the difference.

Abby, I am constantly learning.  You may sign my name.
~ Peggy Hart, Bel Air, Maryland

Dear Peggy:  I, too, am constantly learning.  Thank you for
reminding me of something I knew, but need to be reminded
of from time to time.  There are many who will read this and
appreciate the reminder.

~ San Francisco Chronicle, 1994

All of our lives have lumps.

My prayer is that yours will only 
be lumps of inconvenience and not
true problems, but after a year of
reading your comments, your
blogs and your e-mails, I know 
that there are plenty of wonderful
people dealing with the big ones.

If you are one of them, I hope
you know that you are not alone.

Writing Privet and Holly has taught me
 that and so very much more.

Thank you,
thank you,
thank you.


Visit Sarah for more definitions!

*To learn more about how
I named my blog, go here.


Happy Homemaker UK said...

Love your lumpy post! I think this is a good visual remind for my kiddos too. I love it, and I love your blog!

I love how our blogs evolve from not knowing what we are doing to having our voice and purpose better defined. It is an honor to be traveling down bloggy paths together.

May your lumps always be small :) XOL

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Here is a LATE wish for your birthday, SISTA! Thank you for allowing me to include you in my follies! I hope it was a great celebration! What a wild week I have had.....may love surround you always, Anita

Alicia said...

so good suzanne, it is something we know but always need to be reminded of...don't fread about the little things, relish in the good.

you are truly and inspiration and i'm so glad you decided to start blogging. :)

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Hello lovely,

What a fantastic Dear Abby letter that was. It bought tears to my eyes.

And I think I do need to learn more to differentiate between real problems and mere inconveniences.

I find your blog so inspiring and life-affirming. Thank you so much for sharing in the way you do. I love it and I truly feel honoured to know you!


Al said...

Oh my goodness, what a heartfelt post. The strange thing is, we must be on the same wavelength, if not a similar one. Check out the post on my blog, that I put up just last night. I have goose bumps now. I agree, the written word is so very precious. I am a new follower of your blog. I'll be back to visit soon. Have a wonderful day.

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Wow, wow, wow! This is a great post. Wish I had your way with words. From the heart.

I'm reading Laura Bush's book now and like her words. From the heart.
xo Jenny

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

Lumpy indeed! I think we all need to be reminded of this from time to time. I struggle with it constantly ~ trying to live in the moment and appreciate life's gifts while at the same time seeing the big picture, not just the microcosm that is "MY LIFE." As always, your words speak volumes. Thanks for brightening my day!


paige said...

your words are always kind and full of encouragement. i'm amazed (but can clearly see why)that you friend gave you such a priceless thoughtful gift!

Mona Thompson said...

Suzanne, Your words are always very meaningful to me. You have a very special gift and way with them. How appropriate that I would read this post about lumps today. So true. I was driven back to a favorite book of mine just this morning. Calm My Anxious Heart. The power of the words that we listen to in our heads everyday is amazing. We definitely need to focus on words of life and affirmation. I always get that here. Have a great weekend. Mona

deborah said...

seriously suzanne?!?! you've put to words so much of what i've been feeling and thinking lately. from why i blog at all to where my perspective of wonderful comes from. the *lump* analogy is spot-on. i can whine with the best of them--but i really am working on sucking that up and getting on with it. i have little lumps and in perspective they are just sweet sugar lumps.

Claudia said...

Great post, Suzanne. I love your blog and your writing style.

Interestingly, my post today has a lot of similarities to yours!


Just a little something from Judy said...

What a well written post expressing some powerful words that uplift and inspired me today. I am so thankful that I discovered your blog.

Linda said...

This post gave me goose bumps, too, Suzanne...beautiful. You always have a way of saying what I need to hear...Thank you, my friend! XO

Farmgirl Paints said...

well i'm forever grateful you started a blog. you bless me so much! doesn't surprise me a bit that you would pour into your friends life with words. that's just you!

Morning T said...

Somehow your posts/words always leave me with lumps of the tingly/goose bump/teary eyed kind. Another great post Suzanne and one that I will remember for quite some time.
Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Anonymous said...

Oh I'm saving this one. Thank you for sharing. I've been so fortunate to only have the little lumps in my life, and boy do I thank God every day. I prayer for all those who have the "big ones."

Biz said...

As always Suzanne you have opened my eyes again today. Not that I hadn't seen this type of message before, but that I had blinked and lost sight.
Thank you for sharing.
You are a blessing to all of us!

Blondie's Journal said...

You have defined your blog to a T. it always uplifts me, you have the gift of words.

The Dear Abby column is something we all need to remember and hold close to our hearts. Although the big lumps in life can throw us for a loop, we can accept them and deal with them better if we are always aware of those small things to be grateful for.

Thank you for a great post!


Laura Ingalls Gunn said...


The power to hurt, the power to love.

They can make a difference. Your words, whether they were yours or those you sent on made a difference for your friend.

XO (ditto for 2 mere letters :)

Jemsmom said...

Wow... you just put out there something I have been trying to connect with for while. I am in the mode to learn to be content with life. I have a wonderful home, beautiful child (for which I am eternally grateful for), a perfect partner (grateful again!), and so many blessings. I (very fortunately) have no lumpy lumps right now and I am profoundly grateful for that. What a wonderful post to open our eyes! Have a great weekend!

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

It would be so handy if I could tell my customers that call with their "inconveniences" that if those are their biggest problems they are blessed indeed. Of course, being a customer service rep I'm there to assist, but sometimes I would just like to say "really?"..."really?"
You know what I mean, I'm sure of it!


These words are so beautiful and so true. Lumpy . . . reminds me of my sister. At the time of her diagnosis of lymphoma, a young mom was killed in a car accident. Every morning, my sister got up and said . . . those young children would give anything to have a mom with lymphoma. And she went about her day . . . some of them with big lumps . . . with perspective.

I really enjoy your blog.


June said...

Another amazing post my friend!
Oh boy, is life ever lumpy...but it is also blissful for those who choose it to be.
sending hugs...

Sunshine and Lavender said...

Wow... your post gave me goose-bumps. So touching and what a great reminder as to how blessed I am. Thank you so much, you have a new follower here!

~Alison :)

Marie said...

Brilliant post Suzanne! I loved it. I blog for many of the same reasons as you do. If I only ever touch one heart then it is worth it. Love the lumpy allegory. Beautiful. xxoo

Beach House Living said...

How lovely your friend kept those notes and treasured them...

Life is lumpy true.

Many times people work hard to mask those lumps and it all it takes is something so simple to have their shell crack....In other words it's not example used of children on the answering the machine or each individual lump unto itself it's the whole bowl of them at once.

hilary @ the upcycle furniture co. said...

thank you suzanne... as i have said before... for opening my eyes many, many, many times. : ) one lump? or two? happy saturday! : )

Frizzy said...

I am one who sweats the small stuff. That's how my hubby came to give me the nickname Frizzy. Give me a big problem I'll tackle it w/o stop. Throw silly things in my way and I lose it. Doesn't make sense but I'm learning and this article must have been written for me. Thank you for sharing. It's one I'll remember always.

Low Tide High Style said...

Suzanne, your love of words from way back clearly demonstrates that you were born to share that love with others!

How lucky for us that you went from clipping the words of others to creating your very own words of wisdom that all of us benefit from reading!

I love the Dear Abby piece, and the author is from the same town my where my brother has lived for over 30 years!

Kat :)

Deborah said...

You are just so beautiful Suzanne..
I'm so glad you decided to blog...look what we all would have missed out on...xo
I'm sending you the biggest and warmest of hugs...I am..really :)xo

Much love,
Deborah xoxo

Jane said...

In tears in Hobart, Suzanne. You have such a knack of moving me, you gorgeous soul. As you know, my life is very lumpy now - the big lumps. All at once. This post has helped me obtain a better perspective of exactly what I'm dealing with now - thanks. J x

koralee said...

Oh my friend..your posts always leave me touched. Thank you. So glad to be able to come visit you. Hugs for a blessed week

Style Attic said...

Dear Suzanne,

This is exceptional and so well laid out. It's was like seeing the sunshine move across a page. I got a lump in my throat from the Dear Abby! Oh my goodness. I have always believed that it is our obligation to lift each other up and never tear down. We are all woven into the same fabric and are connected somehow. I always think that someone has to be on the fray, and I would not want to be the reason they came unraveled. Positive words and a quick smile can do such good! XO, Kelly

Beth said...

Beautiful words as ever Suzanne...
You have a way of writing that makes me want to keep scrolling down and reading to devour the post and then go back and re-read slowly, just to take it all in again.

Stitchfork said...

Timeless advice. Very inspirational words Suzanne.
xo Cathy

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Hello again, gorgeous,

I thought you'd like to know that I told my husband about this post. Sounds like a small thing...but I can tell you there aren't many of other people's blog posts that I think he'll like!!

It suddenly popped into my head last night as we were going to sleep!! The whole life is lumpy thing (but different kinds of lumps), and how important it is not to confuse the two has really spoken to me. Thank you!!

I thought you'd like to know that your blog is changing my life!



pretty pink tulips said...

Not only do I love your words....I love your photographs! :)

I got a lump in my throat just reading this. Such a poignant reminder that we must all remember that life is full of lumps and to know which ones matter and which ones will fade away.

Love to you!
xoxo Elizabeth

lisaroyhandbags said...

What a great post. I'm so glad I popped by today because my week has been filled with lumps - but not the problem kind, just the inconvenient kind. And once again, reading your blog has left me with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Thanks for the reminder xo

Anonymous said...

I loved this--I just had a lump--only a minor lump and it is past--but having and taking your lumps--sure makes one grateful when the lump is past--and you can look up again. Thank you once again for inspiring*smile*

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Suzanne, you are such a gifted writer. You are able to stir deep emotions in all of us.
This is such a beautiful post and reminder of what is truly important in life.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift of words with us.

"Create Beauty" said...

What a lovely post. Recently I looked through a box of letters and art a dear friend has sent me over the years, re-reading some letters, wondering how so much time has gone by, and thankful for her friendship over the years and miles. Perhaps someone is saving mine also.....there is nothing like holding in ones hands a hand- written letter from a friend!

Thank you for your words, images, and the beautiful music....

Bless you

"Create Beauty" said...

P.S. The Anthropology gift give-away, how wonderful! Just another comment to say I am a follower : )

~ Violet

Jeanie said...

First of all, I'm glad you got to visit your friend. What a treat to know the things you sent were so saved.

I chuckled a little when reading Lumpy and what came to mind is my good friend who had surgery for a brain tumor yesterday (successfully). Earlier this year, her husband had prostate cancer, and a few years before her beloved son -- who was born with cerebral palsy and faced numerous challenges throughout life -- died at age 12. And we all know these issues would have flattened a lot of people. But for whatever reason, Judy has thought of them as problems but treats them as lumps -- inconvenient in that they stop the perfect world, but they are what they are, so let's find the gratitude and joy. A role model for me.

Another lovely and thought provoking post -- thank you!

Sherry said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Life is Lumpy and we all need this reminder.

Susan T said...


How I missed this I will never know.

What can I say that hasn't been said already. Sometimes you find someone in life who makes an impression - a little dent in your heart that is filled up again when they are around. You aren't a lump you are one of the dents.

Such a beautifully written post, as always.

Sue xxx

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Oh wow, this is such an amazing post, Suzanne. And that "Dear Abby" column! Oh my! I think I will learn so much reading your blog. Thanks!

Amy Arnaz said...

Thanks for the Lumpy article. I have not seen it before. A lump in oatmeal, lump in the throat, a lump in the breast. Very different indeed. Food for thought. Thank you ~ Amy

Lili said...

Gosh Suzanne I can't believe how many posts I missed of yours that I'm just getting caught up on, and this one was definitely one that stands out. I love how you wove this wonderful "lumpy" reminder into your story. As usual, you have the most amazing way with your words and posts. Loved this. xo ~Lili

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