I’m Home

MUSICA I’m Home! 


Just in time for Mini-Jack’s first Christmas!  We’re going off-island this afternoon for a book signing on Old Cape Cod, in Sandwich (1pm at Titcombs Book Shop in case you’re in the neighborhood) — but I wanted to say hello, and let you know (something many of you have been asking for) that we finally, hooray! put our Archives up! Look in the column on the right next to this post, scroll down and there they all are . . . links to all the posts I’ve done since the beginning, by month and year!  You never have to get bored with my blog-slowness again!

Oh yes, and be sure to look here under From Me to You with Love for new holiday computer wallpaper, writing paper, bookmarks and things you can download . . . 

And now, for hme . . .  we made it back alive!  Such a relief!  And except for the supreme happiness I feel to sleep in my own bed and play house again, it’s as if we never went away.  It’s cold and crisp here, the streets are quiet, the tourists have all gone home, the downtown is decorated for Christmas, lights are everywhere, its beautiful in the woods out on our walk, and Jack never lets me out of his sight.  He’s here right now, next to me, sleeping on my art table.

Those are his paws.  I mean, really.  Kiss one, then kiss the other.

My girlfriend Elizabeth is here with her cousin Diana  . . . everyone is asleep upstairs right now.  I got Elizabeth those flannel jamie bottoms for Christmas a couple of years ago and I got me the same ones, so we are a very cute pair in the morning with our tea talk-talk-talking in the wood room, with Jack right there at all times.  Elizabeth, you might remember, is my dear California girlfriend who bought a little cottage here on the island last year, just down the street, and is remodeling it.  She comes to check on it and that makes me so happy.

Since I got home this house has been wildly Domestic, it’s all I want to do, it’s

I couldn’t wait to cook — So far I’ve made cold slaw, chicken soup with homemade stock, and we had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner last night — I’m about to go make a crust for the banana cream pie I’m bringing to a party tonight ~

I filled vases with flowers and ironed this made-for-Christmas cross-stitched table cloth I found in an antique store on our way home  . . . musica is playing and . . .

. . . Girl Kitty watches every movement.  She was so happy to see us, rolled over on her back for a tummy rub; she cuddles next to my legs at night.

We still have the cake that our Girlfriend Jane made and brought to our book signing in Oklahoma City!  This cake is too cute to give up and as long as it continues to look this cute, we need to have it on the table!  It’s a decoration now, but it also tasted like heaven.  Thank you Jane! 

And while I put out Christmas things, hang bunting and banners and sparkly things in the kitchen, Jack keeps his eye on the bird feeders and the wild turkeys that have been coming to the yard every morning.

And while I make soup, Jack never takes his yes off me.  I’m so madly in love.

We’re here Girlfriends!  Things are getting back to “normal.”  My computer is plugged in, I have a printer again, I’m downloading photos, soon I get to start painting for our 2015 calendar . . . I’m back!  There’s news and I have surprises coming for you, but Jack is saying, “play with me” and I have to get to that pie crust before we go. I’ll be back!  Happy!  Thank you for coming along, see you soon . . . xoxo


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467 Responses to I’m Home

  1. Bonnie Crawford says:

    I am so glad you and Joe made it home all in one piece! 🙂
    It was wonderful seeing you both, and ‘hanging out’ with you at the Studio! We all miss you, and Sam and Sasha are still looking for you!
    We have been super busy with LOTS of fun Christmas orders, and playing elves to people everywhere. It is fun to see the special gifts people are ordering… (and not just the girlfriends….there have been a lot of men ordering lately as well. I think it’s cute that they are ordering their wives wishlists!! )
    Enjoy this special Christmas season, and your beautiful home!~
    Merry Christmas, and love to you both….!! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you elf Bonnie!! I miss the kitties too… now I have kitties to miss on both coasts! xoxo to you and everyone and Tom too!

  2. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Welcome Home!!! And hello Jack 🙂

  3. Heartsdesire says:

    Glad you’re home safe and sound. I knew those cute kitties would be so excited to see you. Jack looks blissfully happy. What a wonderful Christmas table cloth you found. It will look perfect on your holiday table.

  4. Vivian Price says:

    Started reading your blog this Fall after I bought and read “A Fine Romance”. I enjoyed the book immensely and look everyday for an update on your blog, Guess you could call me one of your “girlfriends” from Tennessee. Jack and Girl Kitty are so cute. Girl Kitty has the same markings as my cat Fritz who lived to be 16 years old. I don’t have a cat now, but I miss having one around, they are so comforting. I do have a Maltese dog names Raleigh, and he is sort of a dog/cat combo. Haha. I love your artwork, your recipes, and reading about what’s happening in your life. Merry Christmas! And looking forward to hearing all about your ideas in 2014. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Judith - Texas says:

    So glad to hear you’ve safely arrived Home; I kept watching for your e-mail alerting us of your return.

    FYI, I have made your recipe for Blueberry Corn Cakes 4 times already; it has become my hubby’s favorite breakfast; it’s on the menu docket for Christmas morning – so delish; thank you for sharing the recipe.

    Kisses to the Kittens; hugs to you and Joe.

    • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      We fell in love with this breakfast also. It is Jim’s new favorite. What a great idea for Christmas morning. We will be having it also!
      Have you thawed out yet or are you south?

      • Judith - Texas says:

        Hi Chris….I’m in the South…like Houston. Where in West Texas are you?
        So glad you enjoy the corn cakes as well – we like them better than plain pan cakes.
        Wishing you a Merry Christmas1

        • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker W.TX says:

          Outside of San Angelo! We still have ice on the sides of my road where the sun has not gotten to it! But we have at least been in the 40’s for the last 2 days, but I will tell you it was quite a storm!
          Merry Christmas Judith and I will think of you Christmas morning when we serve up our Blueberry Corn cakes!

  6. Lesley says:

    How lovely to be home and preparing for Christmas! I have your Christmas book now to inspire me and VERY!! excited to have received my Angel Chimes they are wonderful, I am so glad to have seen them on your blog and in your shop.Best wishes!!

  7. Deb from Dixie says:

    There really is no place like home. Warm and cozy,
    filled with Kitties, ( full size and mini) friends, and flowers.
    Sinking into your favorite spot in front of the fire, smelling the chicken soup bubbling…on the stove.
    The simple joys of home….and the holidays.
    I know you and Joe are cherishing it all!
    Have fun at the book signing… More Girlfriend fun!
    And thanks for the archives of the blogs. So many times I would hunt
    for a certain blog or quote or comment from a girlfriend and this will make
    it so much simpler to find.
    Have a joyful weekend!

  8. shirley burt says:

    Happy Homecoming to you and Joe. So happy you are nesting in your own home, and love the tablecloth you are pressing, already celebrating home and the holidays. Jack is so cute watching every move you make. Kiss those little feet for the rest of us.
    Love and bunny hugs,
    Shirley in iced in Aledo, Texas

  9. christine carpenter says:

    Love all your postings about your cats -what a lovely gentle and kind blog – not to mention how wonderfully creative you are . Loved following your travels and do hope to meet you some time .I am also really enjoying your book. You make me feel good. From Vashon Island ,Washington state.

  10. Kelly from eastern PA says:

    Kelly from eastern PA says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    December 7, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Good morning, Susan!
    I just finished (savored) A Fine Romance, and loved it!!! It was a kick reading your ‘driving on the left stories’ along side your recent blog travels. You and Joe could write a whole book just on your road trips! Ha! Glad you are back home & cozy It is ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ especially when it is spent at home….enjoy and thanks again for the wonderful gift of A Fine Romance!

  11. Lynn says:

    Welcome home! All seems right when Susan and Joe are home, cooking, walking, and playing Jack games.

  12. Maryellen says:

    Hi Susan, it’s the anniversary girl from Ohio. I planned a party at Miss Molly’s Tea Room in Medina, Ohio two weeks ago and presented my two best friends from high school with the signed copies of your book from the Learned Owl in Hudson, Ohio. They both had tears of happiness in their eyes. I told them I planned every moment until I arrived at the signing table. I hadn’t really thought further and was very tongue tied 🙂 !

    Glad you are home sweet home. It has been fun to follow the adventures of the Fine Romance Road Trip across the country and see all the book stores and special places you visited! And thank you so much for the archives. I know what I will be re-reading this winter!!!

  13. Barbara F. says:

    Welcome home, Susan! Your friends are so lucky to have you. That cake stil looks good. I am also thrilled to say that I won your 2014 calendar on a blog giveaway hosted by my friend Nellie, at Berries and More! Cannot wait to receive it! xo

  14. Joan Ramseyer says:

    Welcome home Susan and Joe. When we get home from a long trip my husband always says, “Isn’t this a nice place?” or “Let’s stay here for awhile.”
    There is nothing better than one’s own bed and in your case also your cats. Enjoy, relax and take your time getting ready for Christmas.

  15. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Whew! Thank you, God, for getting Susan and Joe safely home to the kitty-babies.

  16. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan..looks like a happy homecoming was had by all!! glad everybody is safe and sound your way…isn’t crazy close to Christmas!?!?! we barely got the Thanksgiving stuff put away!! I sent you a Jacquie Lawson advent calendar via email..hope you get it!! Our Missouri Tigers are taking on the Auburn Tigers for the SEC Championship today, so I have been preparing by making chicken noodle soup and a pot of ham and beans…. WE ARE READY..wish us luck 🙂 Have fun at the party..that banana cream pie sounds delightful!! Cheers!! love, cindy

    • Ricki says:

      Cindy, my daughter sent me the Jacquie Lawsone advent calendar that looks like Donwton Abby. I have enjoyed it so much. She is amazing. Just right for our Susan . Ricki

      • Danella on the West Coast says:

        Hi Ricki and Cindy, I too love the Jacquie Lawson advent calendars. I have three on my computer. My husband thinks it’s funny that I can’t wait to check it out every day. It’s just so Christmassy and so like Downton Abbey. One of my favourite shows. Merry Christmas!

  17. Pat says:

    Truly there is “no place like home”. You have been very busy for the past few months . It is so nice to know that you have been missed by your pets. I have traveled with you to England and now through the United States. I am glad that you have had safe travels and are now home again. And now onto the holidays.

  18. Jane F. says:

    Oh Susan!! I had to laugh out loud when I saw the cake! I can’t believe you kept it all this time!! I am — or I should say the cake is — honored indeed to be enshrined in the annals of Susan Branch’s Blog! lol So good to see you back in your natural habitat! And to see your adoring “children” keeping tabs on all you do!! I can only imagine how wonderful it is to be BAAACK!!! It is great to have wheels rolling under your feet, but only makes home so much more wonderful!! Just to UNPACK again!! It’s always such a relief. We are soooo enjoying being snuggled in right now! You probably heard about our big snow storm here!! 8-10″ and not a plow in sight!! Its’ wonderful!!! Well thanks again for you accolades about the cake!! It was a pleasure, not only to present the cake but to meet you and Joe. Our lives are all richer for knowing the both of you. Have a WONDERFUL Christmas!!! Blessings!! <3 🙂 xoxo

  19. Cyndi in NC says:

    Welcome home!! I knew the kitties would be happy you were home. It’s great to travel but there’s nothing like your own bed and your own things around you. I’m a nester so I know how you feel. Even if it’s only a grilled cheese sandwich there’s nothing better, sitting on you own chairs. I know you took a lot of things so you could do limited cooking and have your tea but it’s still not the same. So welcome home!!

  20. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    Welcome home Susan and Joe. Thank you for visiting all of your friends and family, but now is time for you to enjoy home and the kitties. 🙂

  21. Giovanna says:

    Welcome home Susan 🙂 Thanks for sharing your trip. I loved checking in to see photos of all the girlfriends enjoying your visits. Enjoy being home!!

  22. Judy Dow says:

    I so enjoyed ‘our’ trip and all of the pictures from across the country. But I must say that kitty photos are still the best! Welcome home. Ethel had her annual holiday luncheon last week. Among tons of other goodies we had pear cider and cranberry apple crisp from September’s calendar. We all wished you were there with us. After lunch we made banners and laughed ourselves silly! Enjoy your home time during this happy month. Tata. Love, Lucy

  23. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    Welcome home Susan/Joe, I’m sure your kitties are so happy to have you back home I know you will enjoy every minute with them. I’m on bedrest and have been for almost a week now and I cannot tell you how very depressing this is especially during the Christmas Season. I had a relapse during Thanksgiving and my treatment had to start all over which is horrible. I will not be able to bake (there goes tradition) or decorate so for this year anyway I am just going to try and get better and enjoy the “Reason for the Season” and Praise God for all HE does for us. I will refrain from being a “Debbie Downer” (sorry for that pun) and once this pain leaves me so I can think of all I have to be happy for in my life vs whoa is me….I want to wish everyone a beautiful season filled with everything that gives you/families happiness. Blessings

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Deborah,
      Thinking of you and sending you prayers for healing. I hope that you begin to feel better soon. Also, sending Christmas hugs and hopes that maybe you can start a new holiday tradition ( since the baking is a no go this year)……maybe a crafting project you can do by the bed?
      Something that brings you some holiday cheer.
      And you’re right about the reason for the season……and part of that is feeling the warmth of friendship….and blog girlfriend…….sending you loads of good mojo!

      • Debbie R says:

        Sending loads of hugs and prayers to you this holiday season. From one Deb to another. 🙂

        Debbie R from Valencia CA

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Aw, shucks, Deborah, I am so sorry you are back in bed. It is not fun to regress with your health. I will pray that God will heal you and that soon you will be up and around again, free from pain. Don’t forget to look for things to be thankful for each day–that’s a good depression buster. Write them down. Keep a list. Maybe you already do this. After I read 1000 Gifts, I decided to get serious about looking for little things that I am thankful for.
      We all love you, Girlfriend!

      • Ricki says:

        Saying prayers for you Deborah. Sounds like Susan’s old movie list with some tea and chocolate is just what you need. Wish I lived closer and I would get these for you.

    • judi says:

      Hope each day finds you feeling better. Be open for new things to filter in …a silver lining is there. Cookies can wait:) Blessings to you. judi

    • sondra fox says:

      Hi Deborah!
      Pain is an awful thing to deal with. You have my sympathy. My doctor says no one should have to deal with pain. Have you told your doctor? Hopefully they can provide a pain killer. Do you enjoy reading? If so, this is the perfect time to read, although if your pain is intense, it’s also difficult keeping your concentration. As for the decorating, baking, & a “must do list,” lower your expectations, which will enable you to enjoy the things you’re capable of handling. How about relaxing & just enjoying the wonderful music of the season? Stay calm & save your ideas & projects for next year. I was having a difficult time dealing with the season this year, & then I read, “ENDURE & keep yourself for days of happiness.”
      Best Wishes, (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • Pat Johnson from Paso Robles, CA says:

        Pat from CA is sending you a “Keep the Faith & know you are loved.” YOU are what is important right now. Turn on the Christmas music and put one little decoration out and you will feel more in the spirit even though you don’t feel like it now. I will be thinking about you…..XXOO

      • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

        Thank you Girlfriends for your wonderful good wishes for my health it means so much to me. I do enjoy reading which is hard to do lying flat (horrible)…I will reserve that for when I can sit up. I have already made up my mind that all the “Traditions” will have to be on hold or else someone else can take them on this year?? hmmm I do know how blessed I am to have my family especially my Wonderful Husband who has been an Angel. I must tell all of you this man can cook and has made me some amazing meals (he told me not to get use to it) ha. My darling daughter sent me the most lovely rose (white & peach) arrangement in of all things a beautiful teacup/saucer!!! I try to keep my spirits up and the darkness out and I am so thankful this is happening during Winter vs Summer because it is time to hibernate isn’t it?? Again, thank you for all the kind words girls it truly lifted my spirits. Now, do me a favor and get on with all the Holiday Preparations and bake, bake, bake (I can smell the cookies from this bed)!!! Blessings

    • Laura says:

      Thinking of you Deborah! xoxo

  24. kat says:

    So glad you made it safely home. I’ve a favor of sorts to ask, since you mentioned the bookmarks and such above. I have a friend who adored your bookmark of the 2013 Full Moons. (As did I.) Are you going to make one for 2014? She has asked me if you did, as she would love one. (As would I.) (And no, I’m not making up the friend – it was she who reminded me of your lovely bookmark and sparked my desire for another. As though you aren’t busy enough.)

  25. Joey Steele says:

    Welcome Home, dear Susan and thank you so much for taking us along. I’m sure we all had a wonderful time….I know I did!!! Glad to be home with you now. xoxoxoxo

  26. Susan from the VA Highlands says:

    Welcome home…in plenty of time for the holidays! Jack is getting so big! And what sweet paws~~~:)
    When you start painting for the 2015 calendar, you will consider a desk calendar again, right? They have been a staple, and I will miss it next year!
    Happy decorating!

  27. Pam Gardner says:

    So glad you are home safe and with your kitties again. Traveling is wonderful But home is best and you have lots of time to get ready for Christmas!

  28. Ann Y in PA says:

    Welcome Home ! Fun to travel, but wonderful to see your house and get back to normal, too. Have fun getting ready for Christmas…it’s cookie day at our house – cut outs (using my mom’s recipe that she got in 1936 from a home economics instructor) are done with my dear husband/elf doing all the sprinkles. Wish I could post a photo of one here…some artists work in water colors ( like wonderful YOU), some in oil, some sculpt, but my elf works in SPRINKLES !!! Making snowman cookies now, listening to Christmas music, candles, tea, BLISS. Wishing the same to you !

  29. Debby Suovanen says:

    Oh, Susan, you have such a way of making us feel like we are right there with you. Getting home after a long trip and seeing your babies again. My three kitties are just like yours. When I get home after being away for awhile, they are right by my side for a few days – they lay in my suitcase while I’m unpacking. And now I want to make Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and soup for dinner tonight. It sounds delightful.
    I too am grateful for the archive of your blogs. I discovered your blog less than a year ago, and I’ve been reading your older ones but it’s been somewhat of a chore clicking on the “back” arrow to follow it backwards. Thank you so much!! I’m happy you and Joe are safe at home. Kiss the kitty paws for me.

  30. Donna Erickson says:

    It’s so good you both are home and settled in. I love traveling, but it’s so nice being home, routine, friends, and pets!

  31. Francine Werlinger says:

    Welcome home! It’s a joy to see pictures of your cozy home, and your kitties once more!

  32. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    So glad you and Joe are back home with the kids. Jack may be sleeping, but I thinks he’s also praying for you not to leave on any more long trips. He’s too cute…you, too, Girl Kitty.

    Susan, I think hot cocoa and the Archives (BIG thanks) will be calling my name tomorrow afternoon. Rain expected to continue in Williamsburg…how perfect!


  33. Mary Ann says:

    Oh so glad you’re home, as a famous girl once said, “There’s no place like home!” Thanks for taking us all along on your trip, its been so much fun!!

  34. Ann says:

    Welcome home. I love the settling in, too, after a trip away. Congratulations on a successful book tour.

  35. Welcome Home and a very Merry Christmas to you!
    Just wanted to let you know my husband and I were out Christmas Shopping stopped at Chicago Pizza for lunch and behold Pear Cider on the menu ! Of course ordered a glass and let my husband try it ! Who knew what we were missing! Have you and Joe to thank for that .
    Just a little reminder of you and your lovely trip to England. I first tasted it at your book signing in Kansas City .
    Glad you made it home for the holidays!

  36. Christine says:

    What a wonderful trip and such a joy to meet you in Pasadena, but i am sure being home is such a comfort and pleasure. Thanks always for the post!!

  37. Lee Rose says:

    When you were writing the book we said, “You go girl.” Now we can say, “You went girl!” So happy you are home safe. Wish I could have met you, but I am sure it will happen some day.

  38. Maureen Wheeler says:

    Woooohooo! Welcome Home !!!!!!

  39. Lisavi from Flower Mound, TX says:

    Welcome home! So glad to see you are safely home with your sweet kitties. We are having an interesting Christmas with our two 7 month old kittens. They are into everything! The tree hasn’t fallen yet but we’re afraid to put ornaments on it, just in case. We’ve been iced in these last two days with temperatures in the 20’s so we are staying warm baking cookies, your cranberry apple crisp, and corn pudding. Plenty of time to do puzzles, watch Christmas movies, and get some decorating done. Luckily I have your blog for plenty of inspiration!

  40. Sue says:

    Ahhhh, home again! So good to know/see you’re back in your own environment:) — Girl Kitty, Jack and now Mini-Jack perched in his own little space! Yes, home for Christmas! So happy for you!
    How does Jack feel about his mini-likeness? Any comments from him so far?:)

  41. Nancy says:

    So good to see Jack happy and content that you’re home and Girl Kitty so regal and poised.
    My Lucy ignores us if we’re away on a trip but then is curled up on my legs in bed too. Life is sweeter with cats! Happy Homecoming!

  42. barbara miller says:

    I have always thought I need a pair of ruby slippers to wear on my last day of traveling back home. I would click them together and say “there’s no place like home. there’s no place like home.” welcome back to your island! b

  43. Mary S. says:

    How wonderful to know that you are cozy at home again, with your two babies!!! And to see your wonderful photos of your home!! And, as usual, every picture of Jack makes me laugh!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  44. Mary S. says:

    Susan, do you know when you will be getting more of your Private Blend Tea in stock? I was going to order some for my tea-freak son for Christmas!

  45. Gert~Iowa says:

    So glad you guys are home safe and sound!! Oh, isn’t it sweet to be in your own bed?? Traveling is exciting and adventitious….but nothing better then to be back home! You were so wise to pre decorate your home before leaving! Bet it just felt right when you walked in the door..didn’t it? smile….

    Oh Jack looks soooo happy to have you home, as does Kitty…smile! And to have your friend there to visit with! Wow…life doesn’t get any better does it?

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Gert,
      Just wanted to say hi and wish you Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
      Hope you are doing well….and feeling better.
      Stay warm and cozy!
      Holiday hugs,

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        Hi Deb…Thanks for asking…I am doing okay! Excited about the upcoming holidays…hopefully will get to see and visit with family..especially our Great Granddaughters! Hope you have a blessed Christmas holiday!

        • Deb from Dixie says:

          I just had to tell you what a cute picture that is of you
          standing next to the red Santa’s Mailbox. You were brave to go out in the freezing weather! Brrrrrrrrr….

  46. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Hello Susan and Girlfriends!
    I hope somebody remembers me! Just took a hiatus for awhile, but followed your journeys. I have to admit that I feel more settled now that you are at home again! So glad you are back with your kitties!

    Baby Button had a bad infection on his neck and had to take him to the vet. Actually, since he is really my neighbor’s (but we-BB and I-adopted each other), my neighbor took him but I HAD to be there to hold his paw. It was very traumatic for me to see him yowl. But I spoke words of comfort and gave him kisses (I also paid the bill.) I feel now that BB is really mine!! And he has been very affectionate recently. When I am stretched out on the sofa, he sleeps on my chest and stretches a paw on my hand. Speaking of paws, I know what you mean. Absolutely irresistible!!

    Some comments–Elizabeth looks adorable in those jammies; and the cake–well, I sampled just a sliver!–very good; the tablecloth looks like it could multitask for other holidays, too!

    Nothing more to say–just SO GLAD YOU ARE HOME!

    • sbranch says:

      Sleeping on your chest? Stretching a paw to your hand? Oh yes, he is yours! ♥

    • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      OMG….I have been so worried about you! It has been over 2 months! That’s my mother-like admonishment! Now SO glad you are back, I have missed you!
      Glad to hear it was nothing more than taking a short break from all the travels. I trust your Thanksgiving was fine and you are moving into Christmas. I guess we will be ready or not.
      We had a very quiet Thanksgiving. For the first time in 16 years our Ft Worth family could not come, so there was only 3 for dinner. Small but lovely just the same. They will be here for Christmas, so that will be nice.
      I am trying to decorate the house, a little here, a little there. It should all be done about the time it is time to take it down. :). As I get older that up and down the ladder stuff begins to wear on you.
      So glad your BB is recovering. You know you cannot own a cat…they choose you and it looks like Baby Buttons likes it much better at your house. I have an old friend in Ohio, who’s neighbor’s cat keeps having kittens and they all seem to migrate to my friend’s barn to live. She thinks there is a sign on her property that says “all strays welcome here!”
      So glad you are back! Know you were missed! Glad everything is OK!
      From way down here in Texas!

      • Deb from Dixie says:

        Happy Holidays! I have been meaning to tell you that ever since Susan posted you and your familys photo from one of the AFR book signings……well, it has made it even more special reading your comments, because…… I can really picture you now…..and your whole family.
        I think we have been on the blog since the beginning…..I remember way back when you were writing about computer issues and getting service….way out there in Texas…….hard to believe we all have been chatting for years now!!!!
        Merry Christmas, wishing you lots of joy and laughter!

        • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          Hi Deb,
          Really, the Susan Branch book signing in Hudson, was definitely the highlight of my year. I could not believe how the timing worked out. I am almost always in Ohio the first of September to spend time with my son and his family and all the friends I left behind when I made the trek to Texas. I know how Susan feels when you are pulled by two parts of the country. I love Ohio…I am a Buckeye and always will be, but now after 20 years, how hard it will be to leave Texas. As soon as I figure out a way to live in both places…perfect!
          I have been on the blog a long time and then took me a while to comment…but now since the archives is up, I can catch what I missed and figure out when I got on board.
          Just finished reading Susan’s Dad’s comments, I think he said it for all of us! She is just a very special person and her followers, loyal! and as Susan says, “we are the normal ones”
          Still have computer issues and have to go to the big city to get them fixed….the joys of living in the middle of nowhere. In Ohio I thought I knew the meaning of rural……NOW I know the meaning of rural!
          Hugs back to you!

          • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

            P. S. Deb, Belated Happy Birthday! My Jim, his daughter, and I, all celebrate our birthdays this month!

          • Deb from Dixie says:

            Happy Birthday to you too!
            From your Michigan Wolverine blog buddy!

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        Hello there my dear deary Chris!!
        I have missed you and am so glad to get in the swing of everybody’s lives again! When I saw your picture from the book signing (with maybe a daughter and granddaughter??) I went nuts! I looked long and hard and thought to myself–“Yes, she really looks like a BFF!”

        As I write this, it is snowing! I came right home from teaching Sunday School and was so glad I did. It started snowing shortly after that. The ridge bordering our neighborhood is getting that fuzzy brown look with the snow swirling all over the place. “Sprucie” (named when our boys were taller than it) is reaching toward the sky, all its top branches coated with snow. And our own Christmas tree is lit here in the sun room where I type.

        We celebrated Thanksgiving with all of our boys, their wives, my sister and husband, and her son and wife. It was simply wonderful! Especially because we have a new addition!! Yes, really! A little girl–finally! Her name is Raylene and she is adorable! She’s five weeks now! I can remember holidays like yours, though. But it is just good to be with family no matter the size.

        I am over the top thrilled to hear from you! I won’t be a stranger again!
        Love, Linda

        • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          So glad we are all back together!
          No one was more surprised than I when that picture showed up. My guys at work spotted it first and told me to look. That’s my Jim and then our oldest granddaughter, Annabret (Jim’s daughter’s only child) from Ft Worth, then my son and daughter-in-law and my two grands ages 5 and 2. We are a wonderfully blended family and I always say, when I got Jim I got a bonus….his family. Annabret turned 16 this year, and now has a driver’s license and a car……I am still in shock! Her mother took it all in stride, I am still getting over it. 🙂 time just keeps marching on….and how that can be since we are not getting any older!?
          Congratulation on the newest little one. The only girl? She won’t be too spoiled! Raylene is such a pretty name. So happy for you. Keep in touch now, no more long hiatus.

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Linda,
      I am right there with Chris…..oh my gosh…I have been looking for you for a long time, hoping to see you post a comment. So glad you are back…and hope that all is going well for you!
      Sorry to hear about BB….but glad he is on the mend….those furry friends make all the difference. And the paws….so cute! B.K. and I play a game, I say……. “buddies?” and she actually lifts her paw up and puts it on my hand. She was a hit on Thanksgiving…..as everyone knows about dog tricks….but “cat tricks” was something new. I just told them….it was all about heart……purrs and connection….LOL.
      Hope your holidays are merry and bright! I am with my family in Florida. Mom turned 93 last week, and I had a birthday yesterday…so we celebrated together……cherish each day!
      Well, blog girlfriend…..so glad to see you back…..!
      Merry Christmas,

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        Dearest Deb,
        Hey there, you are another blog BFF and I am so glad to hear from you! So you are back in Florida! Did you read my letter to Chris just above yours? It’s snowing! And are you spending time at the beach? How special you can be with family right now. And to celebrate another birthday with your mom! You give that special lady a hug and kiss from me, please. My mom has passed away so I love to “adopt” other people’s moms!

        And the cat trick!! All I can say is–I’m amazed and wowed by BK’s ability! THAT is cool! She is probably very smug and proud of all the oohs and ahhs!

        I have most of our decorations up and am playing Christmas music, but often I just enjoy the quiet:)

        Sooo glad to hear from you! Love you, Linda

      • judi says:

        Happy Birthday, Deb. Hot down here isn’t it? How nice to celebrate with your Mom.

        • Deb from Dixie says:

          Hi Judi,
          Thank you for the birthday wishes!
          Hope your holidays are merry… And full of cheer!
          Yes, while the rest of the country is in the deep freeze,
          here in Florida ( at mom’s) … A heat wave. Weather wise
          always hard to feel like Christmas without a chill in
          the air and a fireplace! Palm trees … Swaying. However, the news said today … A cold front is coming… I looked at the
          temperature for the cold front …it was 84 degrees….LOL.
          Guess that is cold compared to 89
          Merry holidays,

    • sondra fox says:

      Linda, I’m originally from New Castle, PA. A CA transplant. Love PA. Just had to tell you that I have a black cat, Blackie, who isn’t really mine, but comes to our house everyday. I feed him a can of cat food every morning at 10 A.M. He’s very patient, even when I’m late. Just sits there waiting for me. He’s very well fed, has meat on his bones, so I think he has double families that feed him. He’s never cold when I pick him up, so I think he lives somewhere near us. Anyway, he came to our house a couple of years ago with a broken leg. I took him to our vet, who put a cast on his leg. Blackie hobbled around for a couple of weeks, just like his leg was supposed to be, healed & was fine afterwards. Of course, like in your instance, I paid the vet bill. He has one fang that hangs out of his mouth. I “may” take him to an orthodontist. Just kidding. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  47. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Dear Susan,
    Even though I’m sad you didn’t visit Milwaukee, I am so very, very glad that you and Joe are home safe and sound. Hope you both enjoy some down time and the holidays.
    Sending virtual scritches to the kitties, as always…..

  48. Peggy Cooper says:

    News? Surprises? Don’t think I missed those little hints in your last paragraph. Can’t wait to hear what’s up! So glad you made it home safe and sound and in time to get ready for the big kahuna of holidays. It’s been extremely cold here in Colorado this week (cold even for here) and will continue into next week. A pretty dusting of snow, but I’ll be so glad when it gets up into the 30’s on Tuesday – Heat Wave! The wood stove has been keeping us toasty, and I finally got in the mood to get the decorations up. Actually I think Bob was worried when I hadn’t made a move toward decorating, and started carting boxes up from the basement. Just needed a little push to get started, and then I was good to go. Pulled out your Christmas book today, so will spend the rest of the evening reading it from cover to cover like I do every year at this time. A fire, some candles, and a glass of wine, and your book – doesn’t get much cozier than that. Thanks girlfriend!

  49. Kimberly says:

    I enjoy your blog very much. I don’t know when you ever sleep doing all that you do! I had to leave a comment because I just finished reading Girlfriends Forever and wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed it.
    Glad you are home. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  50. Oh Susan I’m sooo glad you made it home! I was worried when a friend in Worcester MA said the interstate was closed, that it was a solid sheet of ice there last week-end! There’s no place like home! So so true! I can imagine the kitties went CRAZY when they heart the car come up and the door open, and there YOU were!!!! Meow meow purr purr! Your friend looks so cozy in those comfy jamas! Welcome home, I bet you found lots of goodies when you were antiquing! Isn’t it the most fun? I’ve been getting my decorations out all week. It’s so much fun seeing all the stuff again, I am such a collector! So many treasures that I enjoy with each season, but most of all at Christmas! Old Gurley candles, tins, pillows, dishes, toys, you name it! I love it! Now, on to the baking!!!
    Hugs to you both!
    Chirp chirp!

    • judy young says:

      Hi Jeannie, you sound like me! Antiquing is so awesome the shops always have the most welcoming atmosphere. Ones near me usually offer silver trays of cookies, and have hot cider or cocoa available free of charge. Christmas music is playing, all the booths are decorated for Christmas. The worst thing is spying something fabulous and then finding a NFS sign next to it! I love to be surrounded by all the “goodies” gleaned over the years. They make the house so cozy and special. We were iced in this weekend and I had a ball! Rereading Susan’s books, baked some English Muffin Bread and Pot Roast (with horseradish – makes it soo good). Planning my Christmas baking! Have fun! Judy

  51. Ann says:

    Welcome Home! And YAY, YAY, YAY……….for the archives! Thank you SO much.
    Merry Christmas.

  52. Irene Talaasen says:

    Oh, Susan, So thankful that you and Joe are safely home now!! There is no place like home 🙂 And Jack and Girl Kitty look so happy you are there with them! Thank you for the new stationery to print; the designs are so wonderful.
    Merry Christmas!! Such a beautiful time. I am reading Ann Voskamp’s ,The Greatest Gift and what a blessing it is.
    My Susan Branch “Christmas Joy ” is out on my coffee table but I had to reread it last night before I went to bed. I love the part ” The Best Gifts are Tied With Heartstrings!”
    Blessings and Love,

  53. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Hi Susan,
    Glad you made it home safe and sound. Wanted to share with you a visit to the calendar store I had a couple of days ago. You see, I needed a blotter calendar, and have had a hard time finding one to replace my very favorite Susan Branch one. (I know, 2015, yippee!) Anyway, I did find one I could get by with this year, and also your pocket calendar for my purse. The last one on the shelf. When I was checking out, the very helpful, kind gentleman said, “oh yes, Susan Branch is a very popular artist”. And I told him I had picked up the last pocket calendar, but he said he did have a few more in back, but they would soon be gone. He said again, “Yes, everyone loves her, she is very popular.” ….. Just wanted you to know there is lots of love out here for you. Enjoy your domesticity and kitty time!

  54. Arlinda says:

    Welcome Home Susan!!!!

  55. Vida Howard says:

    Having traveled a LOT this year, I totally get it. I crawled into our bed one night saying “Hello Lover!”. My husband laughed when he realized I meant my pillow and blanket. Oh Well…

    So happy you made it home for the Holidays. Now sit by the fire a bit and have a cuppa.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  56. Gail Buss says:

    So happy you made it all the way home with no problems even in the snow. Yes, I’ve been reading your blogs when I can and its been a busy, busy time but I always manage to catch up. I was so happy you got to your family in AZ & CA and to see everyone out there. So enjoyed seeing your studio there as well and how Joe started your garden from the beginning. I’m sure it was fun traveling the highways and byways but you know the old saying is so true…………..there is no place like home! God Bless you both and may you have the Merriest of Christmases. Warmest Wishes, Gail & Joe Buss xoxo

  57. Judy from Maine says:

    First…welcome home, New England missed you…well, at least I did. Now to the thank you…for putting up the archives. I found your blog on the day you boarded the QE2 for England… and of course have traveled along with you ever since, but now I can do a little time traveling. Back in time to the beginning…or at least to 2010…can’t wait to start my journey. The only trouble will be pacing myself, I’ve promised myself only do a time travel when you make us wait to long for a visit. Oh heck, I already broke my rule… I traveled to Nov 1, 2010 this morning…after just having read your We’re Home entry. Well, starting now I’ll pace myself

  58. Alicia says:

    SOOO glad you & Joe have made it safe & sound to home & are happily cuddled up with your fur babies!! I have been hearing all week about the bad weather out west, moving east & was concerned it might slow you down. I love to travel, but even more, I love that first sigh of contentment when I walk through my doors & realize I’m home. Like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”

  59. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Oh yeah, an archive, such a great way to start our day! Thank you for the archives! xoxo

    • judy young says:

      Yes….thank you Susan for putting up the Archives. So wonderful, and so easy to get to. Can’t wait to re-read all of them. I have to return to work tomorrow, so will enjoy getting a cup of Gingerbread Spice tea and a cookie and settling down to read one of your posts before I go to bed each night!

  60. Lucy says:

    Thank you for taking us cross country with you. Your book is a wonderful part of my Christmas holiday and I’ve enjoyed each page. Thank you for the “From me to you”, link. I was wondering if you could also include the monthly moon cycle calendar that you printed last year. Each month my husband and I got a big kick looking up what the name of the moon was that month. Have a blessed Christmas!


  61. So glad you are back home! I enjoyed your travels but I love your beautiful home and your precious home companions…:) The photo of Jack watching you from the living room is absolutely precious! I love it! Welcome Home Susan!

  62. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Yay!! Susan and Joe are back home just in time for Christmas preparations! Wow, your trip has been epic since August, and I have been so excited for you and all of your successes with the new book. It has been great fun reading about each stop and seeing the photos of all of the fun together. What a memorable Fall for everyone!

    And Jack! Oh, how I love to see him sooooo very happy that you are home once again. The little darlin’!! That face of his just tells it all. Kitties do have great devotion and loyalty to their owners, despite what non cat lovers would have you believe. Just look at that contented sleeping smile while FACING YOU! Hahaha, he is just the best ever@!

    It is good to have you home safely and I look forward to hearing more about the Christmas celebration on the island in all it’s natural and quiet beauty!

  63. Susan P. says:

    Good Morning, “HOME” Such a lovely word! I am sitting here enjoying a cup of tea out of my new HOLLY MUG…watching another beautiful sunrise over the palm tree and liquid amber trees, out here in CALIFORNIA…last night the sunset glowed setting everything on “fire”. After the rain and chilly weather it was so warming to the soul to experience such a sight. Yes, in my home next to the fire…eating dinner and enjoying the sounds, smells, and sights and the “soul” of Christmas. So happy that you both are home where you can put your feet up…take a nap in the most comfy chair in the room..and have a kitty or a puppy or in my case a sweet smelling little warm baby Audrey or Emma or Josiha come and call your name.”.Granma cuddle with me.”…aaaahhhhh Home….Heaven…So enjoy your well deserved HOME and Winter Rest…You have given so much to many of us. Thank you again ….the soap box lady…..Susan P.

  64. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    Hi Susan! It makes me soooo happy to know that you are home again! Home for Christmas, with friends visiting! What could be sweeter? We are celebrating my birthday today with a visit to the cute little town of Geneva, on the Fox River. Little shops, carriage rides, and soon snowflakes will be falling. Can’t wait to make special birthday memories!
    Warm hugs,

  65. Yes, indeedy, welcome home! Now you can cozy in for the winter, safe and warm at home.

  66. Julie Marie says:

    Welcome home!… it’s so good to be “back on the island” too!… loved seeing the kitties!!!… and mini~Jack looks so adorable!… I do hope that he and Squirrel Nutkin are good friends!… Elizabeth looks adorable in her jammies… I love love love cozy ones like those… I am getting some “Hello Kitty” ones for Christmas… yes, I am still a little girl much of the time, and I love Hello Kitty!… I can hardly wait to see your Christmas decorations, although I have been looking at last years every night in my Yankee magazine… I have not read all of the comments yet… have you told us somewhere where you and Joe ended up spending Thanksgiving?… would love to hear about it!… I also can’t wait to see and hear more about your morning walks in the woods, the quaint little shops on MV, your birdies, squirrels and all your little critters who visit you… and EVERYTHING!… Happy “Being Home”!… xoxo Julie Marie

  67. Melody says:

    I was so happy to read that you are both home safe and sound! I can feel the joy in your words as you settle into your beautiful Vineyard house again. And, what joy to have your dear kitties at your side! Thanks for the lovely post.

  68. So happy you made it home safe and sound. Your kitties sound extremely happy to have you back…please be careful not to trip over them as I’m sure they’ll be constantly at your feet! Oh Susan, I wish I had your “happy gene”. When I read your blog it really lifts me up. Thanks for posting all of your blogs, it will be fun to go back and read the ones I’ve missed. Welcome home!

  69. Julia says:

    You know what? I don’t know about the other Southern girlfriends but
    I’m sort of feeling sad that we didn’t get to meet you on your tour but
    I have an idea! Maybe I’ll charter a bus and the Dixie girls can take a
    trip to your beautiful island. I think we could work it out with the
    island bookshop. It’s just a nice thought. Maybe next fall.

    • sbranch says:

      What a fun bus ride that would be!! Oh My Julia!

      • Ricki says:

        Can Texas come with you, Julia? We can meet you half way there. Susan,I think Jack grew some while you were away.

        • sbranch says:

          He’s a little kitty. Not a big guy. I kind of like it that way, seems like such a kitten.

        • Julia says:

          Sure, everyone should come. It’ll be great!
          We’ll call ourselves “the leftovers.” I’m not
          going to be outdone!

          • sbranch says:

            We are hoping to get down south next year. You are not left over! We save dessert for last.

          • Julia says:

            Didn’t mean leftovers as a bad thing, only
            the ones who didn’t make it to a signing
            already but would love to be a dessert next
            year! Yippee!

    • sondra fox says:

      While on a Southern trip last year, we found out how welcoming & friendly Southerners truly are. So, could a northern girl at heart come along? I’m thinking we have so many girlfriends all over the country that we need to hold a yearly convention. What do you think? I’m really serious. Any of you girlfriends out there think this is a good idea? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • Julia says:

        I think it sounds good. I’m half northern so I want
        everyone to come. I’m serious, too. Sandy, I can tell
        you are a doll by your replies. I lost my husband 7
        years ago so you have been in my prayers. I had 40
        years of wonderful so it’s really easier to accept
        and I know you had wonderful years just like I did.

      • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:


    • Yes….I’m from Alabama…..I’m in! I would love to go!

  70. mari1017 says:

    I just read your dad’s comments, and I was so touched by them. He captured the essence of why you have so many followers and readers and admirers! You are truly blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive dad (and mom too!)…as I did…what a blessing their love is in our lives ♥♥♥ You are a reflection of that and truly our inspiration, and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your Heart of the Home with ours 🙂 Have a blessed Sunday – the month is flying & isn’t it just wonderful to be home at last! XOXOXO from mari1017…from a warm and cozy Christmas home in dark, cold & rainy coastal Virginia today!

    • sbranch says:

      He made me cry Mari! My own Dad, just too much. Stay warm ♥♥♥

      • Jack says:

        Don’tcha just love Mari101? So perceptive!

        • sbranch says:

          LOL! We are getting spoiled!

          • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

            Susan/Jack, the relationship the two of you share is touching, special, jovial, inspiring. Susan, I think it is sweet how your Dad is blown away by your sweetness/spirit of generosity….Jack, you obviously set a good example for your daughter and now she is giving to you what you taught and gave to her many years ago….LOVE. I am fortunate to also have a very loving Dad and the legacy a parent leaves to us to be the best person we can be, give of ourselves to others, and to always share the love we hold inside our hearts is the gift that keeps on giving. I wish you both many years to enjoy the friendship that you now have which is the icing on the cake of life with an adult child/parent relationship. Blessings

  71. Vicki Panzarino says:

    There is no place like home for the holidays…..glad you are safely in your nest again. We have snow predicted here which will take the Christmas magic to a new level….Hugs and Hot Cocoa! Vicki

  72. Cheyenne Renard says:

    I am so glad you are home. Also that your fur babies are so happy to see you. My prayers were answered n your home safe n sound. So glad u had a great trip u will look back at this time as such a blessing. Peg has kept us going. What a dear sweet lady, such a great person of worth. I want to get your new book , but i def would love for you to write some thing in the first page besdies autograph it , how would i go about doing that since you send the books out from Ca. ? Please fb me n let me know fb is under Cheyenne Renard so if you could message me. I would appreciate it so much. Since we have know each other for so many years i was in your Willard 9 i think or before that one . Love to you n Joe n the fur balls . i would love to be in the vineyard at this time of year. Esp after tourist season when its real quiet. A friend said John Balucci wrong spelling is buried there, i loved his acting on Sat nite live he has been gone along time Dan Ackroid is still doing well. I hope ur party is a great success . Love Cheyenne n fur balls XXX

  73. LynnMarie says:

    Isn’t HOME wonderful??!!! It is my most favorite place to be. With the blustery winter weather, I have started my hibernation period. Have fun nesting and a merry holiday season to you and Joe.

  74. Gina P. says:

    Hi Susan! So glad you and Joe are home safe, sound and cozy! Now the festivities begin! I am looking forward to seeing your house decorated for the holidays! Did my tree yesterday – quite the production with going round and round and getting lights on (no man around to help with that)! and getting all the ornaments on. When I finally finished, it was beautiful and really put me in the Christmas spirit. Each ornament brought back a special memory, either from picking them up on a shopping excursion with a friend, getting them as gifts, or even having made them in school when I was little.

    When will you be putting up your tree Susan? I always think you have the perfect place for it in front of those lovely windows… Enjoy!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve got my kitchen all decorated with garlands and greens, my stove shelf has the little house on it, I’m feeling the spirit with Christmas Carols playing. But right now, I want to make sure a few special gifts get wrapped and sent, that cooking gets done, that I get to read my book and go for walks, and a tree is not the first thing on my list. I think I need Chris’s granddaughter to come put mine up too!

  75. Martha B says:

    Glad to hear you are home! Wishing you happy holidays. Still haven’t finished the book (too much going on), but it’s such that it can be picked up and read in parts anyway, no big plot to follow!

  76. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    welcome home Susan, glad you are back and safe, Joe too. now go play with Jack and throw his ponytail holders for him and love him and love Girl Kitty. been busy taking care of one our babies, Little Midnight has been sick for awhile, thought we were going to lose him for awhile, but he has turned the corner and is doing well, he lets us know when he wants attention and love and is just about back to his old self giving us hugs and love and playing bump bump with us. he bumps us with his head and wants us to pet him, play with him or love him. so life is good here, time to finish up the cards and get them out on the mail, and finish painting the window in the front for the holidays. have a great day, stay warm and cozy and Happy Holidays everyone!!! hugs….. 🙂

  77. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Welcome home!! I dreamt last night that I was at your house for dinner. Must have known there was a lot of cooking going on over there! It was a sweet dream, we ate and talked and had tea on your porch. Enjoy playing house and getting your home ready for Christmas. Hugs!

  78. Rebecca Walsh says:

    Wonderful that you made it home to the island and now onto the holidays. I am still corresponding with one of the girl’s we met in line at your Kansas City book signing, so thank you for that.
    So glad you survived the Oklahoma road conditions, they can be tricky. I did order the heart ribbon and now trying not to drape it over everything.
    Have a wonderful holiday.
    Rebecca W.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I know what you mean about that ribbon, that’s how it got tied around my lamp shades!

      • Rebecca Walsh says:

        Hi, I was trying to use the hyperlinks on the Willard Christmas cookies jar (email) and I am not sure if it is my computer, but the links are not going to the correct recipe. Might want to have your Tech team check the links.

        • sbranch says:

          Hmmm, it’s working for me. Can you try it again and see if it’s better and let me know? Thank you Rebecca!

  79. Karen Stefanelli says:

    Welcome Home Susan and Joe! Again what a wonderful journey you have included your friends on! I read to my Mother your travels through Kentucky (her home state) and it just made her day. Thank you for all you share, it lets us daydream we are on the same trip! Enjoy your home and holidays and sweet kitty babies!

  80. Faith rose says:

    Oh Susan! Your home! I am soooo happy for you ! I am practically bouncing of the walls for you! You and Joe home with your kitties, what a wonderful site! Susan you are truly a blessing in my life!I pray for you and I hope that you enjoy being home as much as I am enjoying having you home!

  81. Pat Johnson from Paso Robles, CA says:

    HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS! I can now rest easy knowing you are in your wonderful house getting preparations done for the holidays. Now I think I can get my Christmas decorations out and prepare for my holidays. That you both had such a wonderful trip across the US is marvelous – but there is no place like home. Would imagine there are so many stories tucked inside your head and they will come out along the way and you will share. Perhaps another book. Laugh – enjoy – bake – decorate – make merry with friends – play with kitties – and thank God for all of the fabulous adventures you have experienced. I am proud of you!! Sending lots of hugs…….XXXXOOOO Pat

  82. Terri (from Downers Grove, IL) says:


    So happy to hear you have made it home safely – that was sure a long trip!
    I am so happy that your “blog archives” are now on the blog. Will be much easier to use than Google when trying to search for something to share with a friend or one of my sisters.

    My daughter, Sarah, and I were at your book signing in Downers Grove this fall, you even posted a picture of us on your blog – belated thank you! While we there she mentioned how much she loves your “Girlfriends Forever” book which she will be getting this Christmas. I was able to find a brand new copy through Amazon – so excited!

    Have a very Merry Christmas with Joe, the kitties and all your family and friends.


  83. Sandy Richmond says:

    Hello Susan and girlfriends! Susan, it must feel so good to be back home! I like the archives available now! Thought I would give you an update. I finished radiation the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and they had me stop chemo the week before because my platelets started to drop. (They are coming back up!) So now I am on a four week rest period! and then they will do an MRI, and see how the treatment worked. I have been overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from family, friends, my church family and co-workers. I want to thank all of you that are praying for me, and may I say a special thank you to the anonymous Susan Branch girlfriend that has sent me gifts, Whoever you are, I really appreciate the thoughtfulness…In addition to my treatment, my husband has been hospitalized nearly my entire treatment, with a foot surgery and rehab! I can’t drive because my whole brain cancer thing began with 2 seizures. I have had to rely on others , so you can see how overwhelmed I am by the kindness of others! I had some family here for thanksgiving! and will have family here at Christmas too! Sorry this is so long.. Looking forward to Christmas and ringing in the new year, and my baby granddaughter coming in March! Wishing all of you the blessings of family and friends, and thank you for praying for me! Sandy from Attleboro MA..

    • sbranch says:

      So wonderful to hear from you Sandy! Very tough times you’ve gone through, but the kindnesses, that’s the true miracle and wonderfulness and just the right thing for the season of love, thank you for sharing them with us xoxo.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        So good to hear from you Sandy. It’s wonderful that you have been surrounded with so much love and care during your treatments. I think about you often and keep you in my prayers. (I’ll add your husband to the list as well). I hope you have a very Merry Christmas with family and friends. You have a special New Year to look forward to with a new grandbaby on the way. As I came through my treatments, I marvelled at the way God had placed people, help and events in my path to take care of me and keep my mind focused on the good and positive…and He’s watching over you too. Sending God’s blessings Sandy as you continue on this journey.

        • Deb from Dixie says:

          Think of you so often and…..
          Just want you to know too, I am praying for you . Wishing you a joyful Christmas and many blessings in the New Year.

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Sandy dear,
      I am sooo happy to hear from you. I’ve been praying for you, Girlfriend! And you can write as much as you want because I really wanted to hear from you. It also helps me know just how to pray for you–and your husband! If I don’t get another chance, enjoy these wonderfully festive weeks and Merry Christmas to you and your family! It sounds like you have an amazing support system! Keep trusting our great God! And it is great that you have to look forward to a granddaughter in March. Guess what?? We had our first granddaughter in October. She is such a little girly-girl already with a darling little rosebud mouth. We all are enjoying her. I know you will have fun with yours too. Take care, rest, laugh, enjoy and remember how many SB Girlfriends love you and are praying for you, too!
      Love, Linda

    • Martha Ellen of VA says:

      I’m so happy to hear from you today. You have been in my thoughts and prayers and it’s so good to get an update. Friends and family are so important–it speaks well of you to have been so blessed with them. Sending healing thoughts to you and your husband. xoxo

    • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Dear Sandy,
      You are yet another girlfriend I have missed hearing from! My boss’s wife is also going through treatment for brain cancer, after battling ovarian cancer for 2 years. She is a marvel also. The hardest thing for her is not driving, she’s a very independent person. But I told her chauffeurs are lovely things to have! Not every one can have one you know!
      We love you and we keep you in prayer! Have a blessed Christmas and write whenever you can!

      • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

        Hello Sandy, I always think of you and I am so happy that you are on a break from treatments. I want to tell you that you inspire me to always look for the positive when things are tough. Thanks. I want to wish you and yours a Beautiful Christmas Season with all the Brightness and Joy that you deserve. Blessings

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Sending prayers for healing and comfort for you and your husband. I am so glad that you are surrounded by friends and family with kind and loving hearts.
      Wishing you the simple joys of the holidays …..
      God Bless,

  84. Asha says:

    Click your heels three times and you’re home! I think you and Joe clicked many times before you finally made it home! WELCOME BACK!!!! So happy to hear you are safe and back on the Vineyard with kitties to pet! Make up for lost time and prepare for a joyous Christmas. Thank you so much for taking us along! Asha oxoxoxox Merry! Merry!

  85. Nellie says:

    Dear Susan,

    It was good to hear that you arrived home safely! Very soon, though, you had to head back off-island for another book-signing! I hope that went well on Saturday.

    Mini-Jack appears to be settling in and finding a place for himself. Just like the original Jack who still is carrying on as he should – following your every move, watching the wildlife from the window, napping in nearby places! He is living the “life of Riley!”

    Girl Kitty is such a lady! She assumes such a regal pose!

    Elizabeth looks so cozy there! She is definitely the lucky recipient of your gracious hospitality.

    We are having lots and lots of rain here, with no chance of ice or snow. Will this latest storm dump any ice on you? I don’t like the ice at all! Snow is much preferred.:-)

    Busy days ahead as Christmas preparations are made. Not the first Christmas cooky has been baked here! Someone has to really get busy!:-)

    xo Nellie

  86. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Afternoon~
    Just wanted to say welcome home!~ I must get back to my decorating~ Take care! ~

  87. Kit in Montana says:

    Yay! For being home. Those kitties of yours must be so happy! Enjoy getting ready for Christmas. 🙂 Kit

  88. Gail says:

    I always have the best memories after reading your posts. I live out west in AZ but have been lucky enough to spend a week on Cape Cod for three years now. I wish I was there at the bookstore in Sandwich. My very favorite antique shop is there as well 🙂 I love your beautiful photos! Happy Holidays!!!

  89. Michele Perkins in Woodstock, Vt. says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,

    Welcome Home! It was wonderful to find your note yesterday and to know that you had arrived home safe and sound and just before a wintry storm is approaching! You and Joe can curl up with Jack and Girl Kitty and enjoy the “elements” as they unfold knowing you don’t have to travel on all those interstates.
    Have so thoroughly enjoyed all your news and photos from your trip out to Ca. and back. Hearing about those terrible storms in Oklahoma and Texas really concerned a lot of us and now we can all relax and know you are home safely.
    Jack certainly won’t let you out of his sight for quite some time and even Girl Kitty looks a little more lovingly towards you since your long absence plus, she does seem to have her eyes on that cake which looks delicious!
    Just wanted to tell you that my son’s girlfriend in Ireland sent me your new 2014 calendar and large photo album for my birthday today – they were the first things I opened and what a wonderful surprise! I have told her about you so many times that she surprised me by her thoughtfulness. And, my husband gave me the Emma Bridgewater mug that I purchased from your shop for him plus my sister gave me the Flopsy mug – a special day indeed!
    As always Susan, you are such a wonderful person and I feel so happy to have met you and Joe and to be a tiny part of your life like all your other girlfriends!
    Stay warm tomorrow and Merry Christmas! Love and hugs to everyone there!!

    • sbranch says:

      Woke up to white this morning, but I can already hear the rain taking it away! Nice to hear from you Michele!

  90. Michele Perkins in Woodstock, Vt. says:

    P.S. It was the Peter Rabbit mug that I purchased.
    Michele 🙂

  91. Kay - North Central Texas says:

    So glad you made it home safely. I know the kitties of the house were glad to see Mom and Dad home.

    The weather in north central Texas has been treacherous at best. Being iced in has meant soup, turkey chili and meatloaf. If the wasn’t going the dish washer was.

    Enjoy your time at home with Joe and the kitties.

  92. Pat C. says:

    So glad you and Joe are home safe and sound. Reminds me of that saying, “All hearts come home for Christmas.” I love the jammies your friend is wearing. Very apropo for Christmas. It’s wonderful to see your decorations and see the cats. Looking forward to seeing lots more wonderful Christmas blogs!

  93. miss winnie says:

    It warms my heart to know that you & your sweet kitties are reunited! I can’t imagine being away from mine for such a long time. We appreciate you & Joe making the trip so your girlfriends could see you in person. Enjoy those sweet babies!!

  94. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Thank you for providing the archives. I immediately checked to determine when I first started to follow your blog and it was around the time you had your ‘colors done’. I can now go back to all the previous blogs I missed to learn about more interesting things from/about you, like catching a falling autum leaf brings you a wish (I didn’t know that!), great recipes, wonderful quotes, your fun travels. . . the list goes on and on! As I have said before, your blogs are the best! BTW – I love Elizabeth’s slippers!

  95. Denise from Wpg Canada says:

    Welcome safely home !
    Heartwarming pics of your felines ! we are at -40 today , I am thinking about all creatures and sadly ..homeless people out in that . We have so many Blessings, we all take for granted. Lets all spread the Love and Goodwill in any way we can. Do you know of Jacquie Lawson , they are UK based and do beautiful E cards. I have been daily enjoying their Edwardian Advent calender
    it is a nod to Downton Abbey …..musica too ! my # 2 fav site after yours
    of course!! Cheerio Denise

  96. Denise from Winnipeg ,Canada says:

    Welcome home ! The photos of cats are charming and heart warming. We are at -40 today , I am thinking of all those poor souls and creatures out in that. We have so many Blessings, lets Spread the Love whenever and wherever any way we can. Do you know of the Jacquie Lawson website UK based and beautiful ecards with Musica too! I am daily enjoying their Edwardian Advent calender its a nod to all things Downton.
    Cheerio Denise

    • sbranch says:

      Minus Forty!??? What does that feel like? Do you have a little electric heater at your feet? Not fit for man nor beast! Stay warm Denise! xoxo

      • Denise from Winnipeg ,Canada says:

        Thanks for the reply, we keep warm with hugs and warm hearts. Smiles to perfect strangers and simple acts of kindness go a long way too ! Your site brings a lot of joy to many.

  97. Laura says:

    So glad you are home safe & sound!! Can’t wait to see more of your photos.

    Hugs & kisses!
    Laura in Illinois

  98. Hello,
    I am so happy you made it home. I love the photos of your kitties. My favorite is the one with Jack keeping an eye on you. 🙂

  99. Marysol says:

    I see Jack is praying to the ceiling cat, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray this cushy life to keep…’

    Of course Jack and Girl kitty are happy to have you back home, but so are we. Welcome home.

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