Starting with a Kitty Picture . . .

Hi Girlfriends!  I have a story for you today!   But to get your interest, I think I better start with a kitty picture. And your reward for wading through this will be a kitty movie at the end! 

Girl and Jack are “playing” except I think if she could get her paws on him she would box him up and send him into outer space. 🙂  He doesn’t know it.  He thinks she loves him and wants him to follow her everywhere.

OK, here’s that  story, it’s about why I’ve been answering all your wonderful comments, but we have to start at the beginning . . .

A long time ago (all stories are best told with musica!), when I was told that my first book was going to be published, I was beside myself with shock and happiness. I hadn’t met Joe yet, I didn’t have Martha or Lowely in my life; I knew very few people on the island, so I was alone, jumping up and down in my kitchen when it happened, getting on the phone, screaming for joy into the ears of my parents and friends in California!  But that event paled (slightly) to what happened a few months after the book came out.

It was a day I’ll never forget . . .  a freezing January afternoon. I’d gone to the post office to pick up my mail, parked my old green Volvo (which I still have!) in front of a gray snow bank and left the engine (and the heater) running.  I picked my way over dirty parking-lot ice, through the glass doors at the post office; it seemed like just a normal winter day; I was feeling a little isolated and alone on the island, freezing, dark, gray, wintry Martha’s Vineyard.  I was still a relatively new transplant, a stranger in a strange land.  When I got back to the car, I flipped through my mail and saw a pale blue envelope with a return address I didn’t recognize, written in unfamiliar handwriting. It made me curious, of course, so I opened it right away.  It was a letter from a woman I didn’t know telling me, in the most beautiful words imaginable, how much my book (Heart of the Home) meant to her.  I couldn’t believe it; I sat there in the snow and cried tears of gratitude.  Suddenly, my world had changed; I wasn’t isolated!  I wasn’t alone!  My heart overflowed with happiness; I clutched that letter to me, would have hugged it if it was bigger!  It had never occurred to me ever that someone might take the time to write and tell me they liked my book.  It changed my life.  From then on, every time I sat down to my art table, the first thing that came to my mind as I looked at the clean white paper in front of me was, “What shall I give the girlfriends today?  What would they like?” 

From page two of Heart of the Home . . . go little book.

The darling letters kept coming and for several years, I answered each of them individually. And I kept them, in shoeboxes; I couldn’t think of throwing them away.  I taped them on my studio door.  They were my inspiration.  But, and this is where it got to be unfair, pretty soon there were too many.  Although I read them all, I couldn’t answer them anymore, and then I felt guilty; such nice letters!  And my mother raised me to answer my mail!  Plus, I truly enjoyed the connection it was giving me with people from everywhere!  I had always been the Pen Pal type!  It put me in a terrible conundrum.

And so, as next-best alternative, Willard was born.  My first newsletter, via snail mail, handwritten like my books, named after my grandfather, with news from the Heart of the Home, went out for the first time in October 1995, and from then on, it was a yearly event.  As some of you know, I wrote Willard as a giant thank-you note (which is what it still is!), and so he came bearing gifts; tucked inside each letter were post-it notes, stickers, or a bookmark; maybe a little appointment book, or a gift enclosure.  Since I’d saved all the mail I’d received, I had all those return addresses, and that’s who the first snail-mail Willards went to, to about 2000 of the nicest people I’d could imagine.  It wasn’t as good as a handwritten personal note, but it did take away some of the guilt, and everyone seemed to like it.  I got more nice mail, thanking me for Willard! 

Each year, more girlfriends signed up for Willard; the last snail-mail Willard, sent in 2003, went to almost 25,000 people!  What started out as me, at the dining-room table, folding Willards and sticking on a couple thousand stamps, turned into me, and Joe, and three of my girlfriends, at the dining-room table folding Willards and sticking on 12,000 stamps!  And then, when it got too big for us and our table, Willard became a full on, hired-out, print job, with all the stuff that goes with it, including a bill for $26,000.

The miracle turned out to be that the last snail-mail Willard went out at almost the exact same time I got my first computer!  And a web site.  It was also at a time when the economy was changing, and not for the better.  It was a very difficult decision to stop sending the snail-mail Willard, but I just couldn’t afford it; I was SO grateful when I realized I could still send Willard, and for a LOT less money, if I sent him via email.  Much better, I thought, than nothing!  Plus, it would also allow me to do it more often, not just once a year, but once a month!

♥     ♥     ♥ 

These days Willard goes out to almost 45,000 girlfriends each month, we have more joining us all the time, and despite the fact that it’s no longer in an envelope, I still do my best to make sure there are thank you “gifts” enclosed. And it’s all happened the very best way, by word of mouth!  You made it happen, two by two, mom to daughter, sister to sister, girlfriend to girlfriend — and now, because of the BLOG, I can communicate, the way I love to, person-to-person, with everyone! 

The letters I received were always wonderful, filled with the breathings of hearts; it gave me such hope for the world to read the kindness in these letters, the stories of families, their joys, their sadnesses, their escapades; moms, daughters, grandmas, sisters, aunties, and best friends, plus the occasional wonderful man, talking about the things that matter to all of us.  I always thought how great it would be if everyone could meet each other.  We had so much in common, united in our love and dedication to home, family, and friends, connected through the same kind of energy, nurturing spirit, creativity, good heart, and a true belief in the world. I thought if everyone could meet each other, if we all could come together, we could give each other hope.

And now, here we are!  It’s all come true, here in kindred-spirit land.

I’m hoping this answers any questions you might have had about why I’ve been replying to all the wonderful comments left here!  I’m sure, with this story, you can see why, but it would still be a good question, because, as you know, I should be buckling down to write my book!  And I’m going to.

I knew, when I started answering almost every comment a few months ago, I wouldn’t be able to do it forever (my experience with the letter writing told me), but I SO wanted to start this blog off right, to welcome everyone, at least once, with a word just for them, even if it was only “thank you” because . . .

You’ve been so good to me, as Joe put it, I’ve been “wallowing in your lovelight!”  Thank you all, you bring me such inspiration! I still think, every day when I sit down at my art table, “What can I give the girlfriends today, what would they like?”  I think I know what you would like — you would like me to keep blogging and sending recipes, decorating ideas, kitty pictures, teapot photos, moon shots, island videos, and to finish this book. Right?  So that’s my focus for the next few months.

When I’m done writing the book, I will have a GREAT surprise for all of you.  A really great surprise!! In the meantime, I will read and adore every comment made here.  I hope you connect a bit with each other too, and when you don’t see me reply to your comments, you’ll know that I love you for being here and I’m painting and cooking new recipes as fast as I can, all the while thinking, “What shall I give the girlfriends today, what would they like?” 

And now, with no further adieu, I will set the Random Number Generator into motion to choose the winner of our drawing!  Soon, two of my signed Love books, one for our winner and one for her to give away to someone she loves, will be winging their way across country along with a special Valentine just for . . . .  Yoo hoo, RNG?  The name please?

♥ J O C E L Y N  

RNG only had a first name, but he also had her email address . . . so I wrote to Jocelyn and will probably hear from her soon.  One more hint, he says she’s a quilter!

And now because you’ve been so good, here comes a kitty movie.  This is four days after Jack had his surgery.  I know you’ve been wondering how he is . . .


Yes, and after today, I promise to keep my posts a little shorter too! 🙂  Don’t forget I’m taking you all to New York with me at the end of the month!  Have a wonderful day! 

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395 Responses to Starting with a Kitty Picture . . .

  1. Rita says:

    Don’t ever apologize for a long posting. Short, long or in between I enjoy reading (and listening to) every one. Jack looks none the worse for wear. They must have removed his cooperation ’cause he wasn’t going to bring that ball back was he? Thanks for the explanation of why you answer so many of us. The first time you responded to my comment I was thrilled! Told my husband, “Susan Branch talked to me!” Called my sister to tell her, “Susan Branch talked to me!” Thanks, Susan, for “talking” to all of us.

  2. DeAnna Passmore says:

    Susan! Thank you so much for replying to all of us. I think we all wondered how long you would be able to respond to SO many of us! I love Willard, your long posts, your videos and pictures, recipes and stories. Thank you for sharing with us! Don’t ever stop…no matter how short!

  3. Cindy Tuning says:

    Well Joe has to be pretty happy! I’ve often wondered when I see all the times posted and how much time it takes to read and respond that Joe must also be one in a million( as you are).When I’m missing in action for a computer is upstairs at the other end of the house..Ted( my FF) will say ” What were you doing? On your Blog again?” He says “my blog” because yours is the only blog I’ve ever been to. Yes Susan, I was a Blog Virgin until you came along. I’m still a Coffee Virgin but I’m not giving that one up.Loved your Willard this month…my favorite one yet!

  4. Sarah Anne says:

    Hi Susan,
    I wrote to you in 1998 asking for a WILLARD. You mailed me WILLARD #4 with a note written on it. I still have it in the drawer of my old writing desk and it’s in the envelope that you addressed yourself with a yellow rose 32 cent stamp! Of course I saved all my snail mail WILLARDS too. Thank you for being a continuous friend for so many of us all these years. It’s just good to know you’re still producing all the beautiful goodies that we love so much!

    And to all my friends out there…I wish there were some way we could all get together!

    • Ann says:

      Hi Sarah Anne-
      I’m also an “original” Susan Branch fan. One of my treasures is the hand-lettered envelope that brought the June 1997 WILLARD to my front door… my stamp being one with a sweet little cherub under the word “LOVE”.
      Can you imagine how much fun the SB Girlfriends would have if we all got together???

  5. Joann says:

    I am SO happy that Jack is up and at-em!! I knew he would be in no time—he hasn’t missed a beat…. I love the fact that just when you’re filming him, he plays a little hard to get….just like a kitty, isn’t it?

    OK, we’re expecting an amazing and long-awaited book…..and we truly love you!!

  6. Diane says:

    Susan, your blog truly touched my heart….you are soooo kind and thoughtful! Willard is always such a huge treat and to know and understand now your heart of hearts toward your readers (who adore you!) in such depth, really got to me. How sweet of you to care so much! I want you to personally know how much your pictures and words have meant in my life over the years, but also to know that I don’t feel that you should ever have to worry that you could ever disappoint all of us if you are not able to answer each one of our messages…or any of them any more! It isn’t a huge deal at all if you don’t. This blog and all that you are sharing and allowing us to share back is so special and greatly appreciated! It feels like there is a real connection with other like minded girlfriends! I cannot wait for your trip to New York….but don’t forget the romance by taking too many pics for us…haha! You are the best! p.s…..Jack certainly looks like his surgery gave him even more energy! Lol….it didn’t have the calming effect on him, did it? Lol.

  7. Chris S says:

    Great blog….you are so great in thinking of all of us all the time…Thank you for that.
    Looking very forward to your next blog and the many after that…
    Take care & don’t work so hard.
    Chris S.

  8. Oh Susan, your blog is the best ever, and so much easier than some others I have gone to, to comment on! I have been coming to your blog party since you started, thinking how much fun it would have been to receive your snail mail Willard!, but glad I found and met you! It’s funny, but I don’t remember right now how I found you! Jack looks well, but a little tired, now running as much, dear healing boy! Hugs to all!
    So enjoyed the history of Susan, and I don’t know how you have done all that you have!

  9. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    It is perfectly okay that you are not going to respond to every comment. I was amazed that you were doing so. I kept telling my husband, “I don’t know how she does it.” I’m anxious to buy your new book, so that is really good news that you will be working on it.

    I am so glad that Jack is okay. He is so precious. Girl kitty is precious too.

    I just got back from Vogue Knitting Live in NYC. I met Jo Packham! I attended a lecture she gave. I told my husband, “Meeting Jo Packham was a dream come true. Now, I need to meet Susan Branch.” I was shaking so when I was talking to Jo. I even had my picture taken with her. I have been a fan of yours for thirty years. I may actually pass out if I get to meet you.

    I will connect with others on your blog. I have with a few already. After all, we already have something in common – our love for you and all things Susan Branch.

    Happy writing!


  10. Marilyn says:

    Congratulations Jocelyn! Winning a contest is a great way to start out 2012! 🙂

    Susan, I’ve often wondered how you manage to write a blog, a book, Willards, paint, cook etc., without missing a beat. I’ve always feared that you would burn out trying to keep all those balls in the air.

    I think you should focus on what makes you happiest and what keeps your creative vision, fresh. If that entails cutting back in certain areas, than you should do it and do it without guilt. The girlfriends aren’t going anywhere. 🙂

    I have to tell you something that I think you might enjoy. I work in a predominantly male field with lawyers, PhD’s, engineers. At the end of the year, I cut up the prior year’s Susan Branch calendar and post pictures, motivational sayings etc. onto a bulletin board in our fax room.

    I’ve often caught them reading and reflecting on those little postings. It’s like breathing a breath of fresh air during a highly stressful day and WE all need that!

    You have more fans than you will ever know! 🙂

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  11. Tina in Ky says:

    I love Jack’s little “Hercule Poirot’s” moustache!

  12. Mary Weir says:

    I knew that you being so kind in answering so many posts was too good to last; of course you have to get back to your book and other projects. I just want to say again how grateful I’ve been for your correspondence. It’s meant so much to me since all of your work has made such a difference in my life. I continue to be inspired by your creativity, your positive energy and your generosity. Your blog really makes me feel better every time I check in. I wish you the best as you settle in to focus and work through the winter. I sure look forward to the book when it is done!

  13. Paulie says:

    We are responsible for the energy we bring into a room and it would appear by all evidence here that certainly you Susan have brought so much joy into our hearts and our lives by your joyful words that it is no wonder you cannot keep up with the wonderful growth of this blog you have shared with all of us. We understand your need to devote your time to completing your next book and we look forward to its publication with great anticipation. With much gratitude for the joy you give to so many, we truly remain, the Friends of Susan Branch.

  14. Susan Bryza says:

    Ahh, just made a pot of your Kale soup from Heart of the Home. I made the chicken stock a couple of days ago. It smells wonderful! I’ve been looking for this recipe for since I moved back to Dallas from Denver to remarry – thought it was in my Victory Garden cookbook and was delighted when I discovered it again in yours.

    I just found your blog last month and posted a couple of times. I couldn’t believe it when you responded to each of them!!:) How did you have the time with working on your new book, new kitty, Joe, friends, etc.? I’m sure everyone completely understands your decision – afterall, there is only so much time in the day!

    Thanks again for everything you do!!!!
    (from someone who has been there from the beginning)
    Sue, not Susan.

  15. Donna Miller says:

    your posts are perfect, long…short, we don’t care, we just love to hear from you! I “heart” Jack…

  16. CindyK says:

    Oh I just loved your story! I remember writing you back in 1992, when I just got diagnosed with Lyme disease (still battling by the way). My dear husband would take our young daughter, 5 at the time, to the library. I was too sick to go, so they would bring me back a book each time. One day they brought me back your Heart of the Home. That’s when I first found out about you. I LOVED the book, and have since purchased every one of your books, and a lot of the other wonderful goodies that you have put out there for us. One time I wrote to you telling you how I found out about you, and you totally made my day when you wrote me back!! That little note now has a special little pocket in your Heart of the Home book!! See, now people are saving YOUR letters too!! You make me feel like one of your real girlfriends. It’s especially nice when I’m feeling low because of my illness. Thank You so much!

  17. Tracey says:

    Thank you for the kitty video. I have been
    wondering about Jack since I read he was
    going in on Tuesday. I love to see Jack and
    Girl Kitty

  18. ♥Duff says:

    just a quick note to say I made the chicken stock on Wednesday, then ate soup on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday! Also, I was able to share it with 4 other people! amazing! they think I can cook! Our secret♥♥

  19. Pat Beckman says:

    Just had to say thank you one more time…love what you the dish towels came,love them too but most of all I loved the tissue paper they were wrapped in….my first thought was to save it and wrap my grandsons valentine things in that will be going to afganistan for valentines day. We miss this young man soooo much and try to send a little piece of home every week or so.the hearts on the paper will send all our love to have become such a good friend I’ve included your love too….think I’m nuts but this is all your fault you know,the sharing and the caring just rubs off every where
    Thanks so much

    • Cindy Tuning says:

      Hi Pat, I know just how you feel. My daughter was in Afghanistan a few years ago and is now in the Arabian Sea for 6 months. She has a 2 yr old daughter and I don’t know which one I feel worse for. I’m sure your grandson will love the little tidbits of love from home.I wish him a safe and speedy return. Take care, Cindy

    • Karen Saunders says:

      dear pat, i will put your grandson on my prayer list and pray for his safe return. We’ll put him in a ‘safety-bubble’! ks

      • Ann says:

        Pat and Cindy-
        God bless your grandson and daughter-
        I thank them both for their brave service to our country.
        Ann C

  20. Gert says:

    Dear Susan.. What a lovely post…I love to hear all about how your career got started! I can’t imagine how you were able to answer so many letters, but knowing you I can believe it! You are such an amazing woman and a true friend to all of us. Thank you for all your comments, but continue to enjoy our comments as we thank you for your wonderful blogs and Willard’s!! Take this time write your book and living your life!

    Oh my gosh Jack was adoreable! I can’t believe how “smart” he is!! smile….how I love to see those funny videos! He is truly a star! Love him & Kitty too

  21. PauliJ says:

    I love history; thank you for sharing a bit of yours.
    I discovered you way back when you were alone on the Island, Susan, and have scouted for your stickers, books, and such for years. It is nice to have a website for your products and a blog to hear from you regularly and more frequent Willards!
    Bless you for sharing; it takes a lot of your time and energy. And thank you for responding to each comment as long as you have. That is an amazing feat to add to your already full life!
    Much love to you, Pauli

  22. Karen Saunders says:

    I am just here to agree with everyone…that we are behind you, and don’t take it personally. (I think if they weighed your heart it would be as big as Man of Wars). I hardly want you to take the time to read this because I want that book!! We love you and yours. ks

  23. Wendy says:

    Very sweet story, Susan. It must have been so bittersweet to receive all those hand-written notes. I can relate to that feeling of wanting – almost NEEDING – to reply to every single one but knowing there aren’t enough hours in the day. Soooooo thankful for the World Wide Web. It really has made correspondence so much faster and easier. Instant gratification rocks, doesn’t it?!
    I love your kitties. Very much. 🙂

  24. Jeanne Hedin says:


    You sprinkle us with sunshine
    and moonlight, too,
    you spread hope and inspiration
    by all you say and do.
    We love you, dear Susan,
    just because you are “you”! 🙂

  25. Cyndi Harp says:

    Your blog posts have brightened my days this last week. I still miss my little Mia but it gets a little easier every day. I love seeing your kitties and learning more about you and looking at all your pictures. (I love pictures!) I’d have loved to have one of those cupcakes too!!!! Love cupcakes. You all take care and have a great week.

  26. Bonnie says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just love reading your blogs, and I’m surprised when you do answer the comments. I know you are one busy lady! I kept watching to see if you were going to be at the Road to California, but it doesn’t look like you’ll be there this year. I’ve flown out from Colorado the last several years for it, and I missed you the last time you were there. But, I’m looking forward to seeing your booth and picking up one of your books this year. Usually I buy your beautiful fabric!
    Hope you have a lovely Sunday!
    Bonnie in Colorado Springs, CO

  27. There’s no better feeling in the world than following your bliss and knowing that what you do brings a smile, or brightens someone’s day. Your books have brought happiness to so many people over the years, and the fact that you’ve managed to maintain such a personal connection with your readers and fans is nothing short of amazing.

    And if your comments here are fewer and farther between, we’ll all know you’re immersed in the next book – and will be cheering you on, and anticipating it’s publication!

    Happy Creating!
    ♥ Carolee
    PS – Jack is just adorable, and sooooo smart!

  28. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Thank you for continuing your blog, I was so worried while reading your story that maybe the blog would end. It is my special cozy and happy place to visit. I learn so much from you and all of the Girlfriends who visit, too! I will always treasure your kind words to me in your replies. A Susan Branch television show would be awesome!!!!!!!

  29. Linda says:

    PHEW! What a relief–as I started reading your blog it sounded like you might be leading up to telling us that you were no longer going to have your blog(which no one in their right mind could blame you for abandoning as your work load is tremendous!) Sooooooo relieved it is just a case of not answering us individually! Also glad to see a sort of picture of girl cat (is that the name?) as I wasn’t sure if she was still around!. Good luck on finishing the book and have an amazing trip to NY. Thanks also for the info on how Willard started……you are so kind hearted!

  30. Charlene Hisayasu says:

    “I THOUGHT IF EVERYONE COULD MEET EACH OTHER, IF WE COULD ALL COME TOGETHER, WE COULD GIVE EACH OTHER HOPE.” Upon initially reading your words, I actually thought…”This is IT! We’re going to have a Susan Branch Convention! Susan has rented a convention center and is going to invite all of us for the first Girlfriends Gathering! Seriously! 🙂 L.O.L. (shaking head…) (We could go on record for the largest Slumber Party EVER!)
    🙂 No…I totally understand, as do all of us, that commenting, one-to-one, eyeball-to-eyeball canNOT continue. Dear Susan, thank you for your heartfelt posting. We understand. We get it. I am most thankful for the personal comments I did receive from you, acknowledging me as a person. You do have that gift of making us feel so special. Shoot! You make cooking…special. Decorating your home…special. ETC. ETC. ETC.
    I echo those comments before me…please continue sharing your joie de vivre with us through your blog postings and Willard. (Long is OK, reeeally!) May your creative energy be freed up to flow in your art and writings! Thank you for all these sweet moments! God bless you! charlene
    p/s Glad to see that Jack is doing well! 🙂

    • Patricia says:

      I confess to my heart skipping a beat at first too. 😉

    • Wendy says:

      Let’s do it!!!!!!

      • Cindy Tuning says:

        I’m in!!

      • Charlene Hisayasu says:

        Dear Patricia & Wendy…This is exactly what Susan wants us to do…c-o-n-n-e-c-t. I laughed over my cup of coffee this morning, knowing that you two were kindred spirits. I live in So. California. I do love Girlfriend Gatherings. In fact, in two weeks, I have 3 girlfriends from Illinois, Michigan, and Oregon coming to our humble home for some sunshine and fun.
        Have a blessed Sunday! Hoping that you do see this message…charlene

    • Chrissy Thrower says:

      I’m in such agreement with you Charlotte! I thought the very same thing was coming.. A Susan Branch Girlfriends convention! Ha. But, how would our dear Sue Sue have time?.. I echo your sentiments(saves me time too! LOL!)…Chrissy p.s. Sue Sue..I love that you always ask yourself, “what would the girlfriends like”. Jack is a RIOT! Tah Tah for now……..

  31. Lori from Maine says:

    Hi Susan and “my” many girlfriends. Susan, I’ve never been involved in any blogging, yours is the only one I participate in. It’s such fun…I’m starting to recognize different names. Sweetie, there’s no way you can answer all of these postings, bless you for trying though! I’ve alway been thrilled when I’d look back and see that you had responded to my posts – my ramblings about Bella Luna the kayak, my Dad, my Mom – they meant a lot. But my dear, you DO have a life! You’re amazingly talented, but you have books to write, kitties to play with and don’t forget about your Joe. Thank you for letting me be involved in this lovely group. My “bestest” friend died six years ago – the kind of friend you have once in a lifetime – but I can see part of her personality in many of the girfriends here. So, kick back, know you’ve done something wonderful in bringing us all together and let us chat among ourselves! (You most certainly may join in here and there 🙂 !!) Take care and be good to yourself. xoxo from SWH.

  32. Sandy Artman says:

    Hi Susan-
    We obviously don’t have to worry about that Jack-boy of yours! What a cutie-pie and his enthusiasm reminded me so much of my kitty-kid, Sammie, when he was a little tyke. His toys of choice were grey toy mice (no Mom, real ‘micies’ don’t come in pink and blue!). He would drop them on me in bed, first thing in the morning, so that I would throw them down the stairway. He would bat them down the stairs, fetch and drop them at my feet to be thrown again. He would do that until he came up huffing and puffing. My boy will be a teenager this year-13!

    When I sent my first comment to your blog last week, I wondered how in the world you could respond to all of them. Just to respond to my emails is a major commitment, so I totally understand your need to make a change. It is a thrill for me to have gotten a personal response before this change, I must admit. I really do appreciate the generosity of your heart, which is at the center of your story about why you have answered all comments. When you come from the question of asking what you can give to your girlfriends, what would they like, I just know that the good Lord puts in your heart and in your hands the perfect response. Thank you for being such inspirational teacher!
    Love and blessings,

    • Pamela Jo says:

      I had a “Kitty-Kid” named Sammie, too! Spelled the same way! Your post touched my heart, as I lost my boy in 2007 (I was lucky to have him for 17 1/2 years). My Sammie batted his toy mice down the stairs and then I had to toss them back up again so he could start all over…opposite of your boy’s routine. However, Sammie also played ONLY with grey toy mice (every now and then he would play with a black one). My dad (who lives next door) kept him supplied with grey mice, as he would bring one home from the pet store every few weeks. Isn’t it funny that other colors would simply not do?
      Also quite something that both names are Sammie!

      Now I have another kitty, named Molly. I rescued her from the SPCA just days before she was scheduled to be put down…she is older and nobody seemed to want her. I’m so thankful that she tugged at my heart when I saw her b/c she is so sweet and so full of love. Molly is by my side all the time, and she also loves to play. Her favorite toys are her balls and her tunnels. She is not at all interested in mice! Maybe it’s a “boy thing!” You know how boys love things like mice, snakes, etc. LOL!

      Well, I just wanted to thank you for bringing my Sammie to mind. We surely do love our furry babies, don’t we? They bring much happiness into our lives!
      Pamela Jo

  33. Philippa says:

    I posted a comment to your Moon Redux post and it was ” awaiting moderation”but there is no sign of it. Hope I didnt do anything wrong.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure you didn’t, so many comments at one time caused gremlins, although I thought everything went through — there is nothing “waiting moderation” except for the comments that came in over night. Sorry! It wasn’t you!

      • Robbie Hall Raker says:

        Hi there – I’m glad to read this about ‘lost in space’ comments! Not glad that Philipa’s comment didn’t go through – but glad to know that comments can get lost out there in the ‘ether-net’! I, too, posted a comment that didn’t show up and wondered if it had been culled out during ‘moderation’! Haha! I figured that it was just a blip, but nice to know that it does happen!

        Susan, nice to know you’re taking care of yourself and cutting back where you need to! I know all the girlfriends understand – I sure do!

  34. Marie says:

    Long post, short post, and everything in between I eat up every word. You have a fabulous talent for making people who have never met you in person feel like you are somehow one of their bestie mates ever. That is pretty wonderful. I love that you used to answer all your fan letters in person. I am sure that anyone who was lucky enough to get one felt and feels very blessed indeed. I don’t think it’s ever a bad thing to recognize someone’s love when given, be it in letter form or comment form and once again, everything in between. That’s what makes you loveable, special you. Love that Jack is doing obviously very, very well! xxoo

  35. Nancy Helton says:

    I love seeing Willard in my email! It always brightens my day! So very glad to see Jack doing well. 🙂 Bless you, Susan, for the joy you bring so many.

  36. Patti says:

    It makes my morning when there is something new from you to read. Short or long it is always such a treat. Pictures, art, news from your home…it makes my heart happy and I am inspired. Thank you. XO PS- Love FS playing in the background of Jack’s antics vid.

  37. Doreen Strain says:

    Good Morning Sue,
    Please don’t feel you have to apologize for writing a long post. We love hearing from you. I also loved the fact that you opened your heart and told us just how you feel when you know we are loving what has been your hearts desire. The woman from within you is proud, you are overwhelmed with the fact you are successful. We are proud of you. Your story really startes out as a woman who has a dream…and goes on to tell of a woman who’s dream comes true. But not only is your dream of yourself but of all of us. As little children we all have dreams and wishes and I think all of us in our own little way we are all now womens who have a dream we’d like to come true. Just knowing we are part of your dream helps to shall I say blow on the embers in our heart setting aflame the dreams in our hearts. At least for me that’s what I get most from you. This IS a “kindered-spirt land” and you SHUOLD be “wallowing in your lovelight”. I think it’s wonderful that so many of us can connect with the woman from within you. As a matter of fact, I think we’re the “spirit” where the kindered-spirit part comes in. I think the woman from within each of us has connected to your woman from within and we just love the feeling….we “wallow” in that. Maybe I’m wrong….but what ever it is… ( and I feel comfortable speaking for the other “girlfriends” here…..”WE LOVE IT !!!!!. I’ll let you know when my dream come true. As seeing you made yours a reality, lets us know…there is nothing we can put our minds and hearts too that can’t take us to happiness in our lives. I’m happy you are so happy Susan and I,m happy to be one of the woman who’s inner woman can connect to yours. Its puts a smile on my face sometimes when I read something you’ve post about. That’s what it’s all about…bringing happiness to each other and making each others heart smile if only for a moment in time. Thank you for being who you are and for having a DREAM. FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  38. I LOVE Willard coming in my e-mail. As for the comments – I don’t know where you find the time. Love, love, love your posts – long or short, but waiting anxiously for your new book. Want to thank you so much for being such an inspiration to me, you and your books have helped me through a lot. Jack is so sweet! I am sure Girl Kitty doesn’t think so, but she will survive. Much love from Missouri – Raquel XO

  39. Patricia says:

    Confession: I gave a copy of your Christmas book to someone this Christmas and when they exclaimed over how pretty it was I said “my friend Susan wrote it.” And the two replies I’ve had from you from letters are kept in my “Girlfriends” book. xx

  40. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    45,000?!???!!!!! OMG! Your personal touch makes each of us feel as though we’re part of an inner circle of your closest friends! I’m going to see if I can round up the other 44,999 girlfriends and organize a Susan Branch convention… then we can all get together under one roof, see you, and meet up with some of our blog friends! Oh!oh!oh!… think of the Susan Branch booths and cafes with your delightful recipes! So much shopping! Of course, we still want (need) the blog, Willard, books, etc. This will just take it to the next level (and on the horizon I see a Susan Branch Girlfriend Day as a Federal Holiday!) Love and Hugs!! xoxox

    • Laura says:

      Yes, let’s all meet in Paris at the Jules Verne restaurant inside the Eiffel Tower….or, if that doesn’t work for everyone…how about meeting in the food halls at Harrod’s?? The possibilities are endless:)

      • Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

        Great idea! Wherever we go, it will be the gathering of a lifetime! And TEA is a must! can you imagine all the excitement?! Let’s start the movement! Any interested girlfriends step up. We’ll have Susan design the T-shirts; we need hotel reservations, airfare, programs, tickets… oh so much to do. I suppose we should first see what weekend works for Susan. Susan dear… any free weekends on the horizon? 😉

        • sbranch says:

          I will be going on tour with the new book. Joe and I are going to drive around the country . . . next fall. . . hmmm.

          • Karen Saunders says:

            I hope you’re somewhere near Oregon…. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. (are you taking Jack-man?)

          • Karen Saunders says:

            i forgot, don’t answer that…..

          • Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

            My heart is racing! Any chance your book tour could swing by Denver? Depending on how many girlfriends commit, we could do a book signing in a huge room at the Denver Convention Center or a smaller, more intimate group of 75-100 for a tea party luncheon. How many people do you need to “make it worth your while”? We can make this work! There are many hotels along the corridor of I-25 from Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs. Oh! Oh! I have a whole vacation week with your name all over it! Have your people contact my people (that would be me and my hubby!) I know there are girlfriends who will help get this off the ground! We’ll do all the work and all you’ll have to do is show up, smile, and be pampered!! xoxox

          • sbranch says:

            Sometimes, local bookstores will put on a larger event in another place — if there are enough people. 100 would be good for me!!

          • Mary Ann says:

            Well I think it would be a good time to come back home to Long Beach, CA. I would bake something very special to share with you and Joe and all your

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          Butter Burgers in Wisconsin  !

  41. Trish K. says:

    Congratulations Jocelyn! (I love the name Jocelyn!) And when will poor Jack recover? Haha. I love how he layed down and looked back toward you, as if to say, “are you getting all this on film?” Soooooo cute! Thank you again Susan! I dont think your posts could ever be too long, since they always seem that they are just for me! Just like your Willards have always been, they always seemed like a letter from a dear friend, I would want quiet time just to savor them. Your blog and books give me a calm happy place to go, I dont even have to close my eyes for a happy place! Thank you for sharing who you are with us, and for letting us know you care!

  42. Betsy Brunette (and guess what....I am blonde!) says:

    Great story of your history. When you told us that you had left the car running while you went in for your mail, I was thinking that you were going to find the car missing when you returned to it. (but that doesn’t happen on Martha’s Vineyard probably!) I have never seen one of your books but will make it my mission to purchase your next one. Thank you for all of the energy you share with us and for the little videos that let us peek into your life and let us hear your voice too. Best wishes on the labors ahead of you and may God continue to bless you and yours! P.S. I just made your chicken stock 3 days ago for the first time…..and the house did smell wonderful! : )

  43. Francine says:

    Good morning Susan! Those words you mentioned – feeling isolated and alone sure hit home with me! Sounds like the definition of caregiving! And I have found a friend in you! Thank you for sharing your life. I always look forward to hearing about your parties and travels, your recipes and your pets! And when I do get a answer from you regarding my comments, I’m over the moon with excitment! But I sure do understand why they must now be limited! You truly do go above and beyond! We still have things to look forward to! Your New York trip, your new book, and who knows what else! And that’s exciting! Bless you.

  44. Carol says:

    Thank you Susan! Sending prayers up for you, your travels, and your projects!

  45. TeriGrace says:

    On your blog…. long postings are FUN! Thanks for sharing…. I look forward to each post and can hardly wait for your next book! Me and Jackpot (black kitty) like to watch your Kitty Videos….. while ShortieGracie (Corgi/Cowdog X) lies under my computer desk (old kitchen table w/ red bandanna table skirt)….. Oliver & Chub (orange kitties) sleep away on dolly bed next to my chair. The chirping bird does get them to open an eye now and again.

  46. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for Willard, your blog, your books, your generosity, your giving spirit, your time with all of us. I get so happy when I see you’ve posted a new blog! It actually makes my day! Glad to hear (and see) Jack is doing so well. Enjoy your time focusing on your new book, don’t worry about us, we are totally behind you! Wishing you a safe and wonderful trip to New York with Joe. Hope your time there is fantastic, and you come home many new memories to treasure.

  47. Melanie E. says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    We have some snow on the ground in upstate NY (it turned out to be a snow/rain event – but we got more snow than rain) and it’s a nippy 0 degrees out – finally feels like winter. I also have a cold and have been sneezing and blowing my nose all morning, I look like a thera-flu/nyquil commercial! In any case, I love how you connect with all of us, and find a way (and the time) to respond to us. I wrote you back in 1995 because you inspired me so much and was shocked when you wrote me a personal letter back. I have that letter and bookplates you sent me, and honestly, they are prized possessions because you are a celebrity to me. (!) What inspires me most is your talent (!!), creativity, humility, humor, and your ability to share the everday events of life with all of us. You are so gifted, and so humble. In this busy world there is so much ‘stuff’ in our lives, so many little distractions, that often times we forget that there are many simple things around us to enjoy – like gazing at the moon, or taking a walk, baking cookies, or hanging laundry outside to dry. It is so easy to get caught up in all the other ‘stuff’ (a lot of times the situations and emotions that bring us ‘down’) that we don’t see the forest through the trees. Every time I read something you write I am inspired to live life with my eyes open to all the good things around me – and to be more grounded in the things that really ‘matter’. Also, you remind us to surround ourselves with the things that bring us joy, be it a kitty, or a set of pretty dishes, or sitting with a cup of tea and an old movie. Thank you for sharing yourself and your life with all of us, and touching our hearts. X’s and O’s!

  48. Cynthia Krynock says:

    Susan, I got the paper version of Willard for many years….it astounded me, that you, an artist and author, would take the time to connect to us who loved YOU and your books so much! I love that you have continued this tradition through the years and have not given up on sharing with us…now your blog brings so much joy to this old heart of mine…I truly feel like I AM your girlfriend, that you write ME newsy bits of your life and share your family photos and your ‘home movies’ of the kids with me….Girl and Jack warm my heart whenever I get to ‘see’ them! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, for caring for all of us the way that you do! I do not know of a single author/artist that does this! I love that I get to be your girlfriend on this wonderful blog!

    As always, looking forward to the next one with joyful anticipation,


  49. Tricia B. says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just wanted to say thank you for your cheerful blogs. Love the pictures of Jack and Girl Kitty. The movies are so cute too. Jack seems so to have so much energy since his little ordeal…bless his little round head!! I love your entries about cooking and decorating, tea and gardening, the sweet little kittens and your trips!! Love all of that so thank you!! I feel like Cynthia does..I feel like we are all your girlfriends and you take time with us and share with us. You are awesome!!! So keep up the wonderful work my precious friend!! Love to Joe, Girl Kitty and Little Jack!! GOD Bless!! Hugs and Love, Tricia B.

  50. Karen L. says:

    Susan – Your frequent gifts of writing, quotes and drawings are so special. I think it’s fate that has drawn us all together at this time, in this place. Just when it seems that we are all being taken somewhere we don’t want to go, here you come and everything seems alright after all. That’s a lot to put on one person and I hope it’s not too much pressure. Thanks for everything.
    Karen L.

  51. Judy says:

    Susan you have the best blog on the internet! Don’t ever feel bad that you can’t answer everyone of us, it is too much to ask of you. I so much enjoy all the artwork and inspirational quotes that you give us. I loved the video of Jack and if Girl Kitty ever gets him in that box to send to someone please let it be me.

  52. Tiina says:

    Susan I just love the blog. It always cheers me up and I enjoy all the pictures. I check it every day, my husband says I’m stalking you I tell him I’m just checking in with my girlfriends and that its nNOYB (nun of your bizness). I love the pics of check and all of the receipes and just the things around your house. Thank you for sharing your daily life with us.
    Have a great day!

  53. mari says:

    Susan ~ your blog always is a ray of sunshine no matter what the weather. Thank you for being so real, so in love with life, so thoughtful to all of us girlfriends ♥ I’m so glad that you will continue to blog. I will admit that I was a little concerned as I was reading your post this morning! I treasure every reply and tweet that I received from you. I treasure all my Susan Branch books and love sharing your art, books, “things” and blog with everyone! You, my talented friend, are the real treasure! ♥♥
    Jack looks great! Looking forward to your new book. Looking forward to your blogging. You have inspired me to just skip winter and go right to Valentine’s Day in my house ~ and it looks great 🙂 🙂 🙂
    big hugs to you and Joe ~ we love you!!! ♥♥♥

  54. Beth Keser says:

    Can you just imagine a huge Susan Branch Slumber Party with all the girlfriends?? That would be a blast! I love hearing how your fans discovered your books. I know that I have given many as gifts just because I love the books so much. I discovered your books because my cousin Shirley, my older “cool” cousin had your Christmas teddy bear tea party set up at her house and was serving your recipes. I was instantly hooked! It is amazing to me, how many fans you have -I think it is because you bring out the best in all of us! That is why we all love you and your work so much 🙂

  55. Karen Saunders says:

    My dearest Ladies!
    I, as well, think it would be so great to have a SB ‘Chat-Fest’. We could have a state chapter….then later all get together for a national one! (would there be a law against so many nice ladies in one confined area?) How fun would that be? Come on girls…. we’ll call it ‘KS of SB’. (Kindred Spirits of Susan Branch). I live in Southern Oregon….anyone close to me???

  56. Cheryl says:

    Oh Susan, I have tears in my eyes! What a beautiful letter to us! You always make me feel so special, when it is you, my dear, who is the special one. I love reading your “letters”. Each one magically transports me to a beautiful world of kitties, music, snow!, lovely kitchen things, and lazy afternoons. I want to stay there! Can’t wait for our next “gift”! I am lifting my cup of tea to you! Love you!

  57. julie says:

    My dear Susan, you cannot imagine how happy your posts and your books and your calendars make me. I’ve been through some pretty rough times in the last few years, and whenever I feel defeated and hopeless I come here for a little reminder of how easy it is to just be happy. I love you and thank you for getting me through it!

  58. auntie m says:

    Oh, my goodness! I’ve wondered how you could possibly keep up with such a daunting task. Not only sweet replies to all the comments, but googling your neighbors of long ago (Sophronia D. Brown). 🙂 I’m so glad to know you’re not super-human after all. I was beginning to worry!
    That little Jack is a peach.

  59. Judith - Texas says:

    Myself, I think we should have a family reunion convention –
    Susan Branch – A Gathering of Sisters. Any thoughts or interest??

  60. peg says:

    Sue! I was (am!) one of those who wrote to you, sent you a small tin of shortbread, sent you a copy of the stories of Annie & Pete….and each time, you responded to me by snail mail! I remember writing to tell you the our local bookstore had told me that you were not going to do a book signing for your Autumn book and how disappointed I was. Your note back said, “Oh, yes I am going to do a booksigning…!”. I’ve got every one of the cards and snail-mail Willards you sent out….yes, I’m a groupie from the beginning. You are a life-line to many, and an inspiration to all. Thanks so much for taking the time to blog…even if it means taking a bit of time from your book. Your blog keeps us ‘on the edge’ waiting for more….it’s a juggling act, to be sure, but, in the end, it will be well worth it! xoxoxo

  61. Sheri Franek says:

    Susan, you are an inspiration to me…whenever I am in a kinda blurrrr, I come here and read your blog. You brighten my day with all the wonderful things in life that really mean something…family, friends, sharing a meal with the same, a loving pet, pictures of a “picture perfect” place and you have talent to boot! You also have the talent to see the world with such beautiful prose. Everyday when I log on, I come here first! I can’t think of anything you can do differently. Nothing pleases me more than to come here each day and discover what you have in store for us, it’s always so very special. Don’t ever leave us…what ever would we do without you?!?!

  62. I am a true blue fan of yours since way back in the beginning. I have almost all of your books and have given a lot as gifts. We are truly kindred spirits (I always felt that way) and I was so happy to find your blog recently. The fact that you actually read and responded to all of the comments you had received was amazing to me. Truly. I always knew you were special, but now I know for a fact that you are way beyond even very special.

    Your blog is so genuine and lovely. It makes me feel good. Right now, we are in the process of moving from Massachusetts all the way to Park City, Utah. It is a big move and I have lived in Boston for 20+ years (30 years before that in my home state of Pennsylvania–okay, that makes me 50-something-I admit it), making it a real home away from home to me. And we not only had to sell our home here, but we also sold our get-away weekend home that I LOVED in New Hampshire. SO a lot of change. And as much as I find the west beautiful and know that we are lucky to move to a great place like Park City, I am in turmoil leaving my friends and family and homes (I even had to give up my small backyard flock of chickens which devastated me). We know no one in Utah. It will be me, my 13 year old daughter and my husband (plus 3 dogs, a cat and 3 birds), so I am not alone, but feel that way as my husband has a wonderful new job and work friends already and our daughter will have new school friends. So I already feel lonely. So your most recent post really struck home with me. And I can turn to this blog, which I can take with me anywhere, and still feel a warm feeling which I really need. So I just wanted to thank you. SO, thank you 🙂

    • Gala says:

      Hi Janice–I moved recently, too. I had only lived there 11 years, but that was where my kids grew up and had so many lovely friends. I could go on and on, but just wanted to say, “I understand.”

    • Jacquelyn Wirthlin says:

      That is a big move! The Park City area is beautiful and full of nice folks. My husband was born in Ogden, UT and his mom lives in Southern Utah in the city of St. George. Park City has a wonderful ski area and so many great outdoor activities, restaurants, etc. I do hope you enjoy the area. Best wishes on the move. Jackie in Las Vegas

      • Jacquelyn: Thank you so much for your kind words. I am scared a bit, but excited as well. It is so beautiful there. And the people there that I have spoken to are so nice and friendly.

    • Mary Ann says:

      And Janice if you are a quilter/crafter there is a large group of local sewists (and bloggers) who will make you instantly feel a little better.

  63. OK….I just literally slapped myself because I think for just the 1st page of comments I transformed into YOU SUSAN…..and was answering the girlfriends like it was my new job?? Sorry….hope you don’t mind, and I’m back to just say after reading how you were going to have to pull back I got off the computer and told Jim “well Susan is going to have to slow down for awhile” and bless his heart he said “WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH ALL YOUR TIME NOW”?? I said oh she will send out blogs from time to time just not comment like she was…..hmmm if I were a sensitive woman I would think he was suggesting I was spending entirely too much time with my Susan?? haha I think all the talk about us all meeting here or there….travel might be hard for some so we might could meet in each of our States or Tri State areas on the same weekend…now, the only problem with this is which group would Susan choose to come and visit?? Nah, that wouldn’t work because we all know that favoritism isn’t nice and Susan would be put in a hard spot. Whatever she has in store for us will be greatly appreciated. Carry on Susan I have officially retired from playing you for 1 hr. phew it is hard work how do you do it?? LU

  64. Linda S says:

    I’ve loved your calendars and “Willard” for years, and how can I not consider you a kindred spirit with your furry children??? I had 2 that were remarkably similar and hope to get 2 again in the near future. Somehow playing with them is a good use of time even if the housework waits. Thanks for the blogs-keep them coming of any length 😀 They are a bright spot of shared interests and companionship (shared with my best friend). Enjoy New York! Look forward to the news!

  65. Linda Pintarell says:

    Visiting SLO (Susan’s home town) on business when Susan first published Heart of the Home, I bought it immediately and sent my first ever “orchid” letter telling you how much I loved it. Sometime later on I received a hand-written thank you letter. I was shocked, impressed, happy – and have been a fan ever since. I kept the note tucked in the book for years but it was destroyed when I lost my home in the San Diego wildfires of 2003. It has been such a pleasure watching her career grow and her fan base become an immense amount of people from all over the word. Thank you Susan. Looking forward to your new book.

  66. Christine Dougal says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for all the love & friendship you send out with each and everyone of your posts. I don’t think anyone expects personal responses but I totally understand that you’d love to. Your talent and your heart keep me lifted with each post! Take care, with much gratitude,

  67. Lynn McMahon says:

    Hi Everyone~
    Short & sweet today  !

  68. Janice says:

    Thank you for your kitty pictures and your Blog. I check in every few days and it always warms my heart.
    I have to share got to the kitty movie and my Missy meow heard the bells and jumped right on top of the laptop looking for the ball. to funny…

  69. Peggy Cooper says:

    A wonderful post as usual. Don’t ever feel you’ve gone on too long – we love them. I moved to a new town last year, and still haven’t found any real friends here, so I understand where you were coming from. I cherish my visits and correspondence with my old girlfriends which thank goodness are somewhat regular. But reading all the comments from you on-line girlfriends who I consider kindered spirits helps too. Jack and Girl Kitty adorable as always. I’ve never had the “Love” book, so since I didn’t win, I’m going to have to do a search for that one.

  70. Janis says:

    Just loved the story of the creation of Willard and oh how lucky the girls are who actually received a handwritten note from you Susan! The stars had me finding out about you and Joe, and Martha’s Vineyard and Jack and Girl Kitty much later, but I do so adore the Willard in my email every month. So glad to see Jack up and about and playful as usual. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us, and all that you love, and it’s nice to know we are all kindred spirits as well. <3

  71. Alice says:

    If Joe says things like, “wallowing in your lovelight!” you’d better get him on your staff/payroll! I was among those who received your snail-mail Willard and it was such fun to find your generous little gift in each one. One of my cats plays “hockey” with the little red fuzz balls – after SO many disappearing (I’d buy a bag of them at a craft store) – I assumed they had gone to never-never land through the large heat grates in my old house. One day I saw one stuck in the cover of the cold-air return that runs under my kitchen floor. I took that cover off, got a hand mirror and flashlight to check – ended up fishing out 95 of those little buggers! Needless to say I had to use the sticky lint remover to clean them off. Now I’ve lined that cover with window screen so no more red balls can go down there. Glad YOU and Jack got through his fixin’ okay.

  72. We all love to read your posts Susan, no matter how long or short they are. Please continue to post and don’t ever stop that whether or not you have time to reply to every comment. :o) I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen next in your life or the kitties lives.

    Hugs XX

  73. Sheila says:

    What a lovely story! Thank you for adding beauty to our lives. I have your blotter on my desk at work and have had your calendar in my kitchen for years. I catch myself looking at the blotter a few times a day for a little break from work, the pictures, sayings and designs are so lovely and peaceful. When I am cooking or waiting for the microwave, I can look up at my calendar. Looks like Jack is recovering nicely after his surgery, he is such a handsome fellow with his little moustache. Thank you for working so hard to bring so many people happiness!

  74. doris minear says:

    Dear Susan
    I love your web site and blog. I live thru you. You see I live in S.Cal, but living on the Vineyard or Nantucket is on my bucket list. But my choice would be my husband or New England. Not a choice! So reading your blog about the seasons and flowers lets me live thru your experiences. I love your books and I have most of them, some even autographed, lucky me. I miss your little store in San Luis Obispo.
    Your look forward to starting each day with your blog,
    love, Doris

  75. Carolyn Ann says:

    Susan, I loved your story soooo much! Thanks for everything… warm hugs!

  76. Siobhan says:

    Oh, Susan Branch, you are a goddess! And you have brought us all together with your sweetness and creativity. Truly divine!

    Of course, you do what ever you need to do to keep your book rolling forward, and the Willards coming. We understand, we really do!

    I’ve tried commenting on the last few posts, but they never seem to make it sadly, so not sure in the technical world of what is happening, but I’m trying again.

    A million thank yous for all you share with us. Every little bit!

  77. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing through your blog. You inspire me, not just to be more creative, but to take time to enjoy each day. Yesterday morning, I took the dog out before dawn and I could see the moon through the clouds, the snow sparkled and in the distance, I could hear geese. I credit you with making me more aware of the beauty that is part of each day. Thank you girlfriend!

  78. {{{Susan}}}

    When I found you many years ago, you pulled me into a new happiness. Oh I was happy 🙂 but, you know. Things happen that pull you down and your beautiful books always pulled me through. There’s only one other author that does that for me and, as you know now, that’s Dear Maud Montgomery. You and Maud are my heart and soul. I love all your books, the both of you. They reach right into my heart and take any hurt away and bring me back to my happiness. I always ask myself what is it about them that does this?

    With Maud, it was her way of writing. Anne seemed like myself, as I know many others think the exact same. Maud has a way about her, she held on to the old ways and hated change. I’m the same way. She held to kindred spirits, bosom buddies, sisters at heart… and I found it, it’s that that holds me to you and Maud. It’s sisters at heart.

    You are like myself and so many other girlfriends around the world. Every so often I’ll find another lady like myself and I’ll love her and be thankful for her. your books keep us in a place of joy, happiness, and cosiness.

    Don’t give it another thought about responding. We all want that next book with all our hearts <3 It'll be wonderful and so cherished in each of our 45,000 homes all over this wonderful world.

    If I had known I could write to you all those years ago, I definitely would have, for i've been pen friending for almost 20 years now and still do, although i am so slow at it the past few years… bad me . You're a treasure, Susan <3 Just as Maud is a treasure <3

    Thank you for sharing yourself and your family and wonderful kitties 🙂 now it's time for you 🙂

    Thank YOU, Susan for bringing girlfriends together and helping us feel that specialness we've been missing.

    Denise of Ingleside, PEI

  79. Sandy Richmond says:

    I love the videos of Jack! They make me laugh out loud. Was glad to see Girl Kitty had the “upper hand” in the photo. : ) Keep up the good work Susan!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      And, Sandy, when are you going to get a new little “Jack” for YOUR house so you and Al can be amused and entertained again? (For other Susan Branch girlfriends, Sandy and her husband lost their last kitty a couple of weeks ago…) Remember that saying: “A house is not a Home without a dog?” Well, the same thing applies for a kitty (that is, if you are a kitty-person instead of a doggie-person!). 🙂

  80. Julie Cavrich says:

    I was hoping you would take us to NYC with you. I can’t wait. And, long or short, I LOVE the blog. So happy to see Jack is back on his feet, and pestering Girl. You deserve and award for answering all the blogs! Don’t worry, we are here to stay! Your “LOVE” book is on my fireplace mantle right now. Happy Sunday to all!

  81. Marie (from Virginia) says:

    Susan~you’re so sweet to explain. We, your Girlfriends, only want the best for you. Looking forward to anything you send our way, whenever you can. Can’t wait for the book!

    Jack is looking good post-op. I’m sure Girl Kitty has figured out…Jack is here to stay.

    Congrats’ Jocelyn!!

    BTW Susan, wish I still had my Volvo. I had “Vivian” for 18 years. What a gal!

    Marie xo

  82. Debbie Boudreau says:

    Thank you for Willard it always puts a smile on my face when I read it. I feel like we are old friends. I will look forward to getting your new book. Have a great day!!

  83. Kelli says:

    Thank you for the wonderful blog! I love reading about your kitties and everything you do. It brings inspiration! I can’t wait for the new book. It will be a great addition to my collection! Keep up the great work!

  84. I love you…really, you are my sister and such a leader among women. I love your blog and Willard. I recently found you and you have been kind enough to visit me a couple of times, thank you so much, I didn’t know what a following you had! I am going to look for your book and any thing I can find that you have produced next time I get out of this little town. Closest big town is 2 hours away! If one can live on love then you will live forever with all the love you have following you, me included! 😀

  85. Deanna Briscoe says:

    I aways love hearing from you. It’s like we are best friends and you’re filling me in on all your doin’s. Your posts always make my heart smile and inspire me to be more than I am. Wish you were my real life next door neighbor! Can hardly wait for the new book. Hope I get a chance to pre order. Blessings to you and those you love, Deanna

  86. Gumbo Lily says:

    Your gifts to us are your art, your books, your calendars and your kitty videos…but the best thing is that YOU are embedded in all of them. Thank you! Thank you!


  87. Janet Slee says:

    I have all your books and I love them. I am excited that you are writing another! They inspire me to be good to my girlfriends.

  88. Sue says:

    Hi Susan
    Don’t expect answer back…:) just want to say thank you for the tip about the tofu noodles….I love them and have shared the info with friends and family. I have several friends who need gluten free so this works for them.

    Thank you for all you do to brighten all of our lives….when I read your blogs I feel as if we are sitting together at your table eating your yummy food and chatting away…

  89. Amy Lynn says:

    I love your blog and all of the special goodies that you “make” for us. One of the things I Love the most about you and all of the other girlfriends is how much we all have in common! How much we appreciate the “small” treasures in this life!! I think that we should have an annual “Friends of Susan Branch” conference! Yay!
    New products, craft & recipe sessions, and of course a Susan Branch meet & greet!! |) Oh my! I think I was asleep and dreaming….
    P.S. Thank you so much for the pictorial on the chicken stock! Mine came out wonderfully and we had the most delicious home made chicken noodle soup for lunch today, and will be having home made chicken pot pie in just a little bit for supper.
    Happy creating Susan! I pray that your creativity just flows right out as you work on your new book!

  90. Gail says:

    Thank you so much for all of your creativity, encouragement, artistry and love. I am grateful to find your blog after all of the “from afar” years. Other souls are reminiscing about letter writing. You might like this too:

  91. Bernice Patterson says:

    Susan, I loved reading the story of how you got started with your first book,
    it inspires me to keep on with my dream.

  92. Annie says:

    I’ve been a fan forever and I thought it’s about time I took a leaf out of your (wonderful & uplifting) book and put fingers to keyboard – remember when it was pen to paper? You’ve taught me so much about taking time to notice all the little treasures in everyday life and Jack has now become one of my ‘treasures’ by proxy. When I was a little, little girl, I used to speak back-to-front and always called cats cattypusses (instead of pussycats) and still do! Susan, I love your cattypuss!
    My best love, Annie

  93. Annie says:

    PS: I used to search high and low to buy (I think it was called) Country Living in the ’70s as you used to have illustrated recipes published. I’m in Australia and it was no mean feat to be able to purchase ‘foreign’ publications way back then!

  94. Karen P. says:

    Thanks for being so real and sharing from your heart. We love the time you take to answer our comments but understand that there are other more pressing things to attend to…like your BOOK! So excited for that to come out. Hope you’ll be printing TONS ’cause they’ll fly off the shelves. Love you!! xoxo…kp

  95. jane zamudio says:

    Im sorry..but is that a dog in cat’s clothes?. I have a half dane-lab mix that does those exact same tricks!! Kudos Jack!!!!!!! What a sweet soul!.. Once again Susan, well done! Smiles from Puget Sound!!!

  96. Karen from New Hampshire says:

    You know I really enjoy reading the comments left by everyone – Susan has a special way of making us all feel connected 🙂

  97. Mary of Menlo ParK says:

    You are the greatest! All you have written is priceless. I love the recipes and the pictures you paint which gives us a complete look into your life and heritage. Your Mom was just like my Mom. Thank you so much! Mary B

  98. Suzanne in Sydney, Australia says:

    Hi …. I have a question with Valentine’s Day just around the corner – if it is too personal then I’ll understand if you don’t respond. You mentioned in today’s reminiscence about “pre-Joe days”, so…How did you meet the lovely Joe?? :). I think way back in Willard or somewhere you must have mentioned, but I cannot remember. Each time I read your blog, I wonder.

    PS I, like all of the girlfriends (45,000 wow!!). are so glad you started your blog,loved checking the original website but this always feels like it is written as a personal letter waiting in my inbox. I imagine everyone else feels the same and cannot wait to check each day for new musings.

    Have a special day. xx

    • sbranch says:

      I have say I’ve been saving that — it’s a very fun story that I thought I would write about in my autobiography, the story of what made me come to the island and how I met Joe. Thanks Suzanne! Have a wonderful day!

      • Suzanne in Sydney, Australia says:

        Ah, now you have me intrigued :~). No good saying “I can’t wait to read that” because I will have to, but I’ll put that on my ‘reading bucket list’. Have you started putting your autobiography to paper/computer yet?

        • Suzanne in Sydney, Australia says:

          …an afterthought. Having just checked through my Days from Heart of the Home for a birthday and then used my H.O.T.H Address Book – I can only DREAM of the artwork that you may include in this now anticipated autobiography!!! Ecstasy awaits me.

        • sbranch says:

          Yes . . . but trying to stay focused on the other book first . . . then I’ll just work on the autobiography. Can’t wait really!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            I think the idea of doing an autobiography is great, Susan! Yikes, how many copies have to sell of a book to get it on the “best seller list”? But don’t forget someday you are going to do a Winter book similar to the Summer book? I think it is called “job security” for you and promises of good reading ahead for the future for all of us! 🙂

  99. Bridget says:

    Dearest Susan,

    Through many years, your art has brought me so much joy. My daughters grew up knowing you and your art. Recently, my oldest daughter (26) exclaimed, “Mama, Susan Branch books are really cook books!” I replied, why yes, I guess they are. To me, they are my art books, filled with beautiful pictures, lovely handwriting and thoughtful quotes. You see, I really don’t like to cook. Cooking is just not my thing. My daughter loves to cook and since I introduced her to your blog, she has been busy making your chilli, corn chowder, cocktails, etc. and she tells which book the recipe comes from. She is a wonderful cook and she wanted me to tell you how much she enjoyed these dishes. Of course, this was after I floated around saying that Susan Branch actually “talked” to me, too.

    My plan is to start giving her her own collection of Susan Branch books over time. What a wonderful gift you have given us and future generations!

    Thank you with all my heart,

    P.S. Her daughter (my grandchild) knows how to spell your name and pull up your blog, too. Three generations……spreading the love.

  100. Bridget says:

    Oops, one more thing. Thank you for this gracious post. It warmed my soul. You truly make us all feel loved and welcomed.

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