Hey Girlfriends! Our world has turned to marshmallow fluff, it’s been snowing here! I knew you’d like to see it! Let’s turn on the  MUSICA . . . my mom used to sing this!

This, through the kitchen windows, my room with a view! Birds make such nice kitchen decor!  This window is like a fish tank, but the fish are birds, squirrels, and turkeys!

From window to window I go . . . camera in hand.

Standing back, you get a better idea of the situation.

Snow is good night and day! A person needs a change, and snow is a good one, because when snow comes EVERYTHING changes. The way we dress, eat, live, how many feather quilts are on the bed. Everything.

And then there’s this! Joe put some apples outside.

From the bathroom . . . there’s the arbor where we have summer dinners.

Our flying Valentine . . .

Here comes the dawn . . . I’m standing on the kitchen porch.

But we’re keeping warm . . .

Background TV is festive . . . I don’t even remember which movie this was … but it had Bette Davis in it. But this room with the Christmas tree was wonderful . . . I got all my decorating ideas from old black and white movies! I wanted to grow up and live in one, and I kinda do! Mrs. Miniver’s house was one of my favorites. Also, the house from Holiday Inn! Wonderful fireplaces and curtains, not to mention music . . . so many great old movies! 

I’ve been keeping up with my reading . . . Love the King Arthur catalog. Lots of baking, warm-up-the-kitchen holiday-inspiration between these pages!

Plain, quiet, nothing much, perfect end of an extraordinary ordinary day.💞

Still eating my delicious healthy (plain) (whole) food . . . that’s bean salad there, I used balsamic vinegar with the olive oil and it turned the white beans dark, but tasted great!

Good Morning Moon! Me, before dawn . . . wearing my winter warmies.

I had to go out and take pics of the Long Night’s Moon. (Did you all get your 2020 full-moon bookmark? Here you go, it was in the last Willard!) The one thing my camera can’t do justice to is the effect of a full moon on a blanket of snow! It’s so bright, it wakes you up! It looks lit from within ~ I peek out the window to see moonlight bouncing off snowy roofs and church steeples, illuminating picket fences and white chimneys, sending patchwork light through window panes to make square reflections on the floor. Here it is peeking through the bedroom curtains. ⬇️

Days are shorter, nights last forever, I’m decorating, but I’m loving the feel of quiet in the house. I filled a table with Christmas things, and it suddenly became noisy, so I took it all away, and now it goes well with the marshmallow world.

I’ve been writing a Christmas Story! I’ve been thinking about this idea for years, but recently I saw The Man Who Invented Christmas again, my newest most favorite Christmas movie, the story of Charles Dickens, and it inspired me to try to put my story down and make it real . . . It won’t be HIS Christmas Carol, but it will be mine. If it turns out, maybe I’ll publish it for next Christmas. I would have a lot of little children to paint! It would be a story for little people that big people would like too. Writing it has been a lovely place to live during this most wonderful of seasons. 👏

See, peace and Christmas can co-exist. I know it won’t last, soon this old tablecloth will be covered with candy, cookies, and cards, but while it does, I’m taking pictures!

I love it when her slip is showing.

Little bits of color are seeping in . . .

My bird tree looks wonderful on the kitchen table against the snowy window!

And the top of my stove is decked with my favorite traditional decorations.

There are little bits here and there of times gone by . . .

Yes, our old stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

Our history shows if you look real close.

Then the sun came out! Sun on snow is JUST as wonderful as moon on snow!

Time came, as it always does, for napkin counting and dresser-scarf ironing!

This is the curtain from the bathroom. I wrote about it in my book Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams . . . remember? It was a tablecloth I bought in Cambria. I turned it into curtains for Holly Oak and this, after all these years, is the last surviving fragment, cut in half and remade into a curtain for our downstairs bathroom. I keep stitching it back together, starching it the old-fashioned way, ironing it stiff as cardboard.  When you like something, you like something. I never want it to go away. Mas Musica?

This scarf goes on the little table in that same bathroom. The one with all the photos on the wall. The one my friends don’t come out of!

We’re going to have a party, can you tell by all my preps? Two parties to be exact, a little one and a big one . . . I’m getting ready, the long slow way. Ironing, doing dishes, looking at recipes.

Time out for the best apple ever invented, the juiciest most delicious “Honey Crisp,” so good, it must be a miracle!

I invited my dearest girlfriends to a gift exchange at my house and asked everyone to bring a “healthy appetizer.” I made coleslaw . . . chopped two honey crisps into matchsticks, mixed them with thinnest sliced white cabbage, sliced almonds, golden raisins, celery seed and chunks of lobster to make it just a bit “more.” I tossed the salad with mayonnaise thinned with fresh squeezed lime juice and zest, salt and pepper, and sprinkled over radish sprouts for a Christmas touch . . . The recipe is on p.66 of the 30th Anniversary edition of Heart of the Home, in case you’re yearning for something healthy and delicious ~ and just as good without the lobster!

While I was cooking, I tried not to trip over my shadow. My small treat blends too well with the kitchen rug!

Getting ready for my Girlfriends . . . fire is lit!

Here they are! It’s definitely what’s on the chairs that counts! I’m now 30 years knowing these wonderful, talented, creative, positive, livers of life. They are all artists in their own ways, moms, grandmas, volunteers, small business owners, hard-working girlfriends. They are the gift that keeps on giving. When they’re not at our house, we’re at theirs. Winter on a small island is perfect for this. WE are in charge of the entertainment!

We drew names, and watched as each received their gift. I gave Annie a pair of bobeche! Jaime gave Margot a poem she’s reading under a candle held by Lowely (you can read it here, it’s called Enchanted!). ‘Twas a wonderful evening. Big parties are good, but small parties connect.

You remember Margot, I’m sure . . .

I wrote about Margot before, but in case you’re new here …this is such a good story ~ she’s the mural artist who took on the challenge of returning the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown to its original splendor by repainting the flat walls with a complicated trompe l’oeil design originally done in the 1840s. It had faded away to nothing over the years, and was painted over. All she had to go by was one very old photograph. In the photo above, she’s in the middle of the job. Hard to believe that wall is really truly completely and perfectly flat.

The only surviving photograph . . .

We came on a winter day to check out her progress. Contemplation. Awe.

She painted 60′ in the air. Margot-angelo. That’s her coming down. Fearless, committed, passionate, talented, and generosity personified.

It was all shades of gray to get lights and depth … she’d visited another church that had been painted by the same artist, but in a different design, so she had an idea of his choice of color ways and style of art. 

Gray and gray and more gray, but this paint won’t fade.

See the board at the very top? Yes, she sat up there . . . makes my hands clammy just looking at it.

How old is Margot? I forget but this was two years ago, so I would say maybe 65. She took her gift, her years of self-teaching, her wisdom, and did something pretty darn wonderful.

This is the Old Whaling Church from the outside, built in 1843, six years before our house was built, when Nancy Luce (the chicken lady) was 29. Connecting little teeny dots.

They have lovely events in the church, now that Margot’s work is done. We went to our Community Chorus Christmas Program the other night (I waited until everyone was gone to take this photo). It’s truly hard to know what on these walls is real, and what is just paint. The windows, are real! The rest of it? Not so much.

And what a backdrop it makes for one-hundred-and-twenty-voices raised in song that sound like prayer. There is something moving about small-town events like this, where everyone has a job, as either entertainer or audience, and everyone does her part. I can’t say enough nice about it. It makes you believe and know the old values survive. Look in your newspaper, see if there’s something spiritual going on, go, be a good audience, have community connection. Appreciators are a wonderful thing! 

I took this photo inside from the window of the church looking out over Edgartown, the old buildings, all silent night, lit up for Christmas.

The Bishop’s Wife was on the other day🎥, so I had to paint these touching words from the Bishop’s Christmas sermon, spoken in the clipped and perfect English accent of David Niven. “The stretched out hand of tolerance . . . “ Isn’t that JUST what we need? For peace on earth, nothing less will ever do. Let’s make it a stocking stuffer! TCM is knocking me out this time of year.🍿 Such goodness. It’s on right now (6 am), there are about 60 women dressed like fuzzy “kitty-kats” tap dancing and singing about sitting on “a back yard fence,” in 1933 Footlight Parade. Pure silliness, good for what ails you. The charming antidote for an angry world gone wild, wearing us all out with our boring one-note news media. And the perfect background “musica” for Christmas-Story writing!💖

It’s Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.

And this is where I find it!

We’re still out there walking, it’s COLD, but fresh, smells like pine and salt air, and the sun on our faces feels so good. Joe is trying to make a dog shadow with his hand.

On the way home we popped into the Christmas tree lot on Main Street . . .

Joe’s trying to figure out if this is too tall for the living room . . .

Big decision made . . . off to see the wizard . . .

Some of our one-way side streets are too narrow, we had to go around the block to get this baby home. But imagine this on the LA Freeway! Ha! They would arrest us!

I LOVE looking out my kitchen window this time of year and seeing the barn light on and knowing Map Man is inside making something work for our house . . .

Yup, there he is!

And there HE is . . .

All is well in La-La Land. I hope things are good at your house! Be sure to stop and smell the flowers . . . sing those jay-i-en-gee-el-ee bells!🔔And think about the most wonderful gifts 🎁, the ones that keep on giving, most of which are FREE!

Merry Merry my darlings.

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480 Responses to MARSHMALLOW WORLD

  1. Carol says:

    Susan, I asked this on another page where you showed your cute bathroom but wasn’t sure you would get it as it was from a few years ago so……how do you keep your kitty from knocking down all your wonderful nick nacks? Your window sils etc. have so many little treasures but kitties are notorious for swiping them to the floor. I would love to know your secret! Do you use gorilla glue and glue all of them or…? ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t think there is such thing as kitty-Kontrol! He does what he does. My furniture still shows the years under the claws of my darling Girl Kitty. But Jack doesn’t do that. He likes to eat leaves and grass, that’s his main thing. He doesn’t walk on my window sills. Why? I do not know! Right now he is squished next to me in my chair. He is definitely his own person. 😂

  2. Martha says:

    This post was completely enjoyable, a true holiday gift from you! 🎁 Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to share these photos, thoughts, quotes and so much of what’s special and important to you at this time of year. ❄️ As the comments represent, we girlfriends are very appreciative and thankful for… you! ❤️
    Wishing you & Joe a wonderful holiday! 💫

  3. Patty in Redlands says:

    Oh, I not only love your blog, Susan, but also the wonderful comments that follow! Through you, these mostly girlfriends teach me what a strong force of love is out there in the world. We don’t come across on the nightly news, but we make families, homes, communities, and the world a safer, more loving place. Thanks to ALL who comment today and other days, and THANKS to you, Susan Branch, for giving us beautiful reminders of the what and how of lives lived well and a community to express ourselves. Blessings for the differences as well as the commonalities! Peace and love during this magical season!

    • sbranch says:

      So MANY wonderful people in this old world of ours! xoxo

    • Karen Howell Burton says:

      We are kindred spirits ❤️🎄❤️🎄❤️🎄

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Yes, Girlfriend Patty, This is exactly why I love reading All the comments. All of you, via our teacher/leader in Love and Generosity, SB, keep me from forgetting that we can hang on to these things until their polar opposites land in the dust bin of Time.

  4. Sophie T says:

    Such a beautiful gift for the Holidays, this post is! I loved looking at the pretty picture and festive inspiration! And Margot working on the church walls… Wow!

    Have a happy Christmas on the island! I’m looking forward to reading your Christmas story, as you are such a wonderful storyteller!

  5. Ro'se at her cottage says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan and Joe. Thank you for your post and reminding me to stop and look at all the treasures that are around us for Free! Blessings to you on your wonderful Island.

  6. Linda F says:

    Merry Yule, Happy Christmas! What an enjoyable, uplifting read this was. Thank you Susan! And now on to decorate the mantle and carry cheer in my heart and out into the world, to sprinkle on others.

  7. Jennifer J Lauri says:

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe! Your home looks lovely, as usual and it’s the touches here and there that make it so special.

  8. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Dear Susan, you have so inspired me again to make Christmas magic in our home. It’s raining here on the Cape and I fear you as we have lost all our snow! Will have to wait until the next storm to have that white magic again. Wishing you, Joe and Jack the merriest of holidays and will patiently wait for your next blog! Merry Christmas from the Cape!

  9. Sandi Skeels says:

    Guessing that’s “The Man who came to dinner” Great blog ! Happy Holidays to all!!

  10. Shirley Graham says:

    & I hit the wrong key & jumped down! Merry Christmas to you & Joe & to your beautiful kitty!!!

  11. Kathy dohack says:

    I loved everything in this post. The photos – the words – the nostalgia. Thankyou for your slice of sanity and peace in a crazy world.

  12. Susan Chatelain says:

    The Bette Davis movie is “The Man who came to Dinner”. I just ordered it from the TCM store. Amazon does not have it. I love Bette in this. She’s so happy and bright, unlike many of her roles. It’s so much fun! I, too, have been glued to TCM. “The Bishop’s Wife” is my favorite. I am also rereading some British Christmas Novels by Trisha Ashley. They are light reading, but fun: lots of cooking in these books and a real sense of community. I’m in Texas, so we don’t get the snow, but I’m living vicariously through your photos. Thank you and the Merriest of Christmas wishes to you and Joe.

  13. Kim says:

    Thank you, Susan, for all the beauty. It is so needed right now. I love your warm woolies. They definitely look cozy. That green sweater is the bomb. Those buttons! I’m so weary of the news media and government nonsense going on right now. And now they’re trying to hijack our holiday season! Will they never stop?

    Keep creating, my dear. You’re a gift! We need you!

  14. Judy Haueise says:

    Oh Susan-I needed your blog today-Actually everyday! But today hit all the right cords. Thank you for being a beacon of hope in this world.

    Merry, merry Christmas!

  15. Anne B. says:

    So pretty! I thought of you when I saw the New England snow report….Susan’s snapping photos!❤️ I become a child again when it snows at Christmas-time.❄️ I love your neighbor’s yellow house in the snow😁 You and the girlfriends are awesome 👏❤️ Merry, Merry Christmas to you and Joe and Jack on your beautiful postcard island🥰

  16. Mary Jane says:

    I have been checking for another blog everyday!! You certainly did not disappoint! To read you talk about your home, Joe and sweet Jack, and friends and your beautiful outlook on life is such a gift to us all. I can get so worked up about silly things that are not important, trying to make everything perfect! Then I read a blog like this and it just makes everything come into focus. Your outlook on life is just beautiful, a true gift to us all. I want to truly thank you for reminding us that so many wonderful things in life are free and just waiting for us to embrace them. I wish you and Joe, Jack and all of the Girlfriends the most Merry Christmas .

    Love and Peace,
    Mary Jane

  17. Maggie Bresz says:

    Once again I so enjoyed your post. I’m amazed at Margot’s church wall painting. Such talent she has! Your posts are such a joy. It makes me remember that there are more of us kind people than mean ones. They just make he news more often. Merry Christmas to you and Joe. I’m sitting by my lit Christmas tree smelling a roast beef, potatoes and carrots cooking.

  18. Ashley says:

    Thank you for sharing all the beautiful things in life….I am a first grade teacher and I have often thought some Susan Branch children’s books would be wonderful….any book you write is wonderful. heart. heart. thank you for always inspiring….have a blessed December and Christmas!

  19. Tara says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and to Joe and Jack! Thank you for your words and inspiration. You are truly making my “season bright”!

  20. Dawn says:

    Hello from Maine! Thank you for all the love that you share. Lots of continued merriness to you and Joe!

  21. Merry Christmas Sue & Joe & Jack,
    Loved this most inspiring post in every way! Aren’t we blessed to both live in Marshmallow Worlds? Not bad for two S CA gals (best of both worlds).
    Thank you, Thank you for the mention of the Moon Bookmarks! How did I ever miss it in your Willard? It was truly one of my favorite gifts that kept on giving with each new month.

  22. Mary Alice Peterson says:

    Oh Susan you make my day! There are parts of your blog that bring tears to my eyes (being 75 and wanting to be a child once more for just one day) and then there are the parts that bring a big smile or awe. Thank you for sharing all your holiday cheer with all of the girlfriends. May you and Joe have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year. You make all of our lives so special.

  23. Eileen says:

    God Bless Us Everyone! I thoroughly enjoy all your posts. This one touched me especially. You see I am a “fish out of water”; in other words a displaced New Englander. There is nothing worse for the soul. It’s just in you blood ,DNA, veins and soul. It’s who you were, are, and always will be. This blog and the photos just reminded me so much of exactly what was and what it should be. I grew up in Lexington Massachusetts. After marrying , moved to S. New Hampshire which in the 70,s was considered “the wilds”. Been to Nantucket many times. The Cape a “2nd home” for many, many yrs. Have lived in the armpit of Michigan (S.E. For over 30 yrs. I try not to keep count. I know, “bloom where you’re planted”. I came with a good attitude and made the best of it, not complaining, joining community, church, active in and involving family in whatever. Got back to New Eng. every summer most years. The feel of life, the look of life, the activities of life and community, church; just wasn’t the same as good ol’ N.E. So you go on making the best of it for family. Yet silently longing,aching. Children grow up and have their own lives(as they should) husband takes up with the younger secretary and runs off to Calif. dumping me here. Blah, blah, blah. My family back in Mass. friends in N.H. all die, no way for me to get back. Not to put a depressing cloud over this festive and jolly season; but as I said the photos, blog, happenings all reminded me of the quaint New Eng. I lived, loved, and is in my veins. The holidays are difficult for many reasons for many people. I seek them out and try to bring them some kind of a plus. I appreciate and love the true reality of Christmas. Jesus Christ left Heaven to come to earth to die for our sins so we could be with Him in Heaven! Glorious! P.S. I will be buried in my hometown with my sister and brother. One way or getting back– HA! Merry Christmas and thank you for such a lovely, vibrant post!

    • sbranch says:

      I think you should be moved back to New England by this time next Christmas. Put it on your calendar. Start finding old friends and see what they’re up to. It’s your life now. I’m only saying this (because it’s the right thing to do for someone with such a yearning) in case you wanted to hear it. If not, just ignore me. Sending all my very best for a wonderful, exciting, adventure of a New Year. 💞💞💞💞💞💞💞💞💞

      • Me2 says:

        I second the motion!
        Be retirement home researching/culling, assisted living set up, or selling everything and renting at those hotels who rent long term (yrs), ferreting out old friends/classmates, researching in the back part of yankee magazine, or aarp magazine, etc, etc…

    • Terrie in Atlanta, GA says:

      Eileen, honey, Sue is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! Begin right now by going on Zillow and seeing what kind of houses, condos, or living facilities are available in Lexington. I bet you’re going to find that things haven’t changed as much as you think. It’s New England, after all! Then maybe plan to take a trip in April when the town does the re-enactment of Paul Revere’s Ride and the Battle on the Lexington Green. That’s in four months, and the snow will be melting. Everyone in town will be there. Maybe you could check on Facebook and see who is still around before then, and arrange to get together. Enjoy flying into Boston and see what you think! Life is too short to stay stuck, unable to bloom. You have nothing to hold you back…by next Christmas, your dream could come true! Love, Terrie in Atlanta, GA | Formerly Transplanted Southerner | Lexington PS Teacher 1989-‘92

    • Peggy Willoughby says:

      Eileen, it s time for a new adventure! Be where YOU want to be. Follow your heart. Take a trip back to Massachusetts and explore. Can you afford it!? Will it make your heart happy?
      I have done it a few times. Lived inland, but the sea kept calling me back until I lived where I wanted to be. Life calls you where you are needed. Next adventure calls you where you want to be. I am not young anymore, but I am still ready for the next adventure.
      Just do it. Start with a mini vacation and see where that leads. Re-read Susan’s Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams.
      Good luck and keep us posted.

  24. Gili says:

    Lovely as always ,enjoyed thoroughly,I wanted to grow up and be like Judy Garland in Meet me in St Louis(one of many old classics I love) and live in that house and eat a big slice of cake from the huge cake(it’s big!!) the housekeeper made, and wear Judy lovely clothes and fall in love with the boy next door,just watched the movie again the other night and the same feelings came over me like a little girl, and I’m almost 60!May you have a lovely healthy Christmas with all your loved ones and thank you for sharing your talent with us mere mortals,it brings us a lot of joy!

  25. Eileen M says:

    Just added a can of dark cherries to my grocery list—-that recipe sounds delicious. I have never bought sherry to cook with—do I need dry sherry? Any recommendations?

  26. Lynn Marie says:

    I LOVE everything about this Christmas post! It truly seemed like a gift as I sat and enjoyed it. The church is beautiful! Christmas truly is a magical time of year. My favorite time of day right now is when the sun is going down and all the twinkly Christmas lights get plugged in. Merry Christmas Susan and Joe! (A christmas book sounds superb ☺.)

  27. Mary Seidman says:

    Oh Susan,
    Thank you for your lovely gift of words, art, photos, and inspiration.
    Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack.

  28. Kathleen Hansen says:

    I so love hearing about your Christmas activities. The quiet, snow and blanket of marshmallow fluff! You are so blessed to live where you do. Just reading about it all gives me a sense of peace and joy….a sense of Little Women life style. I do get the chance to walk in nature and enjoy the still brightly colored trees. Here in California we have not lost all our leaves. We are having Christmas with family that live near the Sierra’s so we should be able to enjoy the snow and they have a fire place! California has all but prohibited real fires. Nothing is better than sitting by a fire with a book and a cup of hot tea. Merry Christmas!!

  29. Sandy H. says:

    I agree with another reader – the movie in the photo was “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” I watch it every year at Christmastime, it’s charming. My personal favorite old movie interior is from the original “Christmas in Connecticut.” I’d have married that dull architect in a heartbeat if it meant I could live in that fabulous farmhouse 🙂

  30. Helen O'Donoghue says:

    This is my third Christmas with my wonderful husband – best friend – soul mate. It’s very hard to be joyous but I try. Your wonderful blog has helped instill some of the spirit of the season in me. I love Martha’s Vineyard and especially Oak Bluffs. Always thought I’d like to live in one of those beautiful Victorian on the old Methodist campgrounds. Have a wonderful Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure it’s difficult . . . missing someone so dear at such a memory-laden time of year. Lightness of heart is a gift from God, I hope He blesses you with lots of it this season ~ I do, bless you, and send all my love! xoxo

  31. Nancy says:

    Merry Christmas to you both. And my vote..yes, yes, a thousand times yes to a Christmas book!

  32. Barb says:

    Loved your winter pictures!! Thanks for the apple coleslaw…sounds yummy! Blessings to you on Christmas.

  33. Ellen S says:

    I just love reading your blog posts, especially this one. It feels like a big, comfy hug, which is much needed during these challenging times. I’m listening to vintage Christmas music from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, sipping my tea, with my two kitties and two dogs close by as I’m catching up on some work in my office. Looking forward to watching my most favorite version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Alastair Sim very soon, and getting some holiday decorating done. Thank you so much, and Merry Christmas to you and Joe.

  34. Peggy Leone says:

    Hi Susan – I just wanted to wish you and Joe a very Merry Christmas. I seem like I have followed your success for a very long time. Your Mom, Pat, always talked about you and that’s when I bought your first book when I was working at McDonnell Douglas in Huntington Beach with her. She worked with my husband, Tony, who is deceased but she was always fun. The last two years I sent Christmas cards to her I didn’t get a response so I don’t know how she is doing. I know she would remember my husband, Tony Leone. Please have a great holiday.

    • sbranch says:

      She actually doesn’t remember very much these days Peggy, I’m sorry to say. But she is still happy, she just has that inner joy that nothing seems to affect. Thank you for mentioning her. You know she would respond if she could! She was always a wonderful correspondent! Blessings to you and yours, Peggy.

  35. Darla says:

    Thank you for such a nice blog so true we are all little kids in adult bodies. Lol I didn’t realize you had pots and pans above the sink.. Very convenient! Have a great Christmas!! Thanks for the year of all the wonderful blogs.

  36. Kathi S says:

    Oh my goodness! The painting Margot has done on the whaling church is absolutely spectacular!! What a talent, and what a gift for her to give your community! A legacy to look upon for a lifetime in the future. I am completely amazed at the size and complexity of her masterpiece. Must be good – and sad – to be finished with, but what a sense of accomplishment for her (and all in the community) to be able to attend concerts and events with that as the “frame” in the background has to be very satisfyling. Thanks for connecting the dots between the building of the church, and your house, and the life of the chicken lady. So cool to be a member of a small and historic town where one can indeed all play their role in events and occasions and every-day life. Here’s hoping that you and Joe and your friends and families have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us also! Merry Christmas!

  37. Christine from Covina says:


  38. Vickie in Olympia says:

    A Christmas Story Book! I just finished rereading Isle of Dreams for the third or fourth time. I needed a Christmas book full of cozy and snow. It fit the bill perfectly. It took me all week to read because I didn’t want it to end. It’s that way with all my favorite books. Thank you for sharing your blog of life with us. Reminding us all it is people in all their peculiarities and delightfulness that make this season Christmas. Merry Merry Christmas to you and Joe and Jack!

    Fred Gailey: Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.

  39. Kate says:

    This blog post was like a wonderful Christmas present to all of us reading it. I get such a warm, happy feeling when I read your blog and know that there really are more loving, good, talented, creative, spiritual people in this world than we hear about on the “one note news shows.” Merry Christmas to you and Joe and a very happy new year. I hope the new year brings that movie contract so we can all enjoy more wonderfulness. Love you.

  40. Susie (Rocky Point, New York) says:

    Merry Christmas to you Susan, Joe, Jack and all the Girlfriends across the land! What a wonderful blog. Magical. I received a box from Susan Branch today, another gift to give. It will create many endless days of delight for the recipients. Camper bird house. I love shopping at your shop. I saw Santa Claus two times today and each time I got goosebumps! Our fire dept. takes him around on the fire truck and gets the children in the neighborhood (and me) all excited. Today I am decorating a bit. Little by little, enjoying each item I dig out. Happiness and blessings to you all.

  41. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi, Susan, Greetings from Midcoast Maine where its not snowing, it’s raining. It almost feels like Spring; however, Christmas is in the air everywhere we go. Wreaths abound; they are everywhere we turn and the scent is divine! About 5-6 more months to go and our new home will be finished! In the meantime, we are looking forward to the quiet peacefulness of the holiday season. A very Merry Christmas to you and Joe and Jack! Be well & be happy! Love, Karen

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Greetings, Karen,
      I remember a post of yours saying you would be in a new home in the Midcoast of The State O’ Maine. (Think that was you.) I spend winters in Tampa, FL, and summers in Down East Maine. The Midcoast is the place that 33 years ago or more first captured my heart and instilled that yearning for Maine. So very many wonderful things to do on and around Penobscot Bay.
      I believe the Balsam smells even more wonderful in winter.

  42. Jean Burns says:

    Thank you for this wonderful blog and for all the blogs throughout the year. I so enjoy reading each one. It is so terrific that you and your friends get together frequently for gab sessions and frivolity. How special! Enjoyed reading about Margot and her amazing artistic skills. She certainly added beauty and life into that building. Wishing you, Joe, and Jack a very Merry Christmas and happiness in the new year. Jean🎄💕

    How special!

  43. Naomi A Jones says:

    I know it’s a couple weeks away, but just wanted to go ahead and say Merry Christmas!!

  44. Elizabeth A. Barrett says:

    Wow. You are the embodiment of loveliness. What a charming post! {And I, too, was thrilled to hear you’re working on a Christmas story. Can’t wait to read it!}

  45. Carol in the Herbal Haus says:

    Hi Susan in Marshmellow World, I love your inspirational blog and all your artwork and sayings. Here’s wishing your and yours the best Christmas ever. Looking forward to a healthy, happy, peaceful New Year too. Carol in chocolate pudding land (it’s rainy, muddy and just plain yucky outside)

  46. Sherry Reis says:

    You just filled my heart with Christmas spirit with your cozy home, Joe bringing home a gorgeous Christmas tree, the girlfriends around the fire ….so inspiring…and Margo is an amazing artist. Yes to a fire in the fireplace with only Christmas lights and playing Silent Night on my guitar. Blessing to you and Joe during this magical season. Love and holiday hugs from Sherry in the Pacific NW

  47. Emily from The Berkshires says:

    Thank you for this blog post, Susan. It was such a delight! I feel as though I say that all the time, but the love and goodness you put out into the world is truly a gift. And, thank you for sharing Margot’s beautiful work. What a feat! If I ever make it to Martha’s Vineyard, I’ll be sure to stop at the Old Whaling Church. I do love a good dose of historical restoration/preservation. How wonderful that you’re working on a Christmas story! Happy writing! I am currently reading Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva. Have you read it? I have been on a bit of a Dickens kick lately, so I will have to check out The Man Who Invented Christmas. Enjoy the rest of the season. Merry, merry!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a good kick to be on! How are you liking that book?

      • Emily from the Berkshires says:

        It’s been a fun read so far! I’ve been savoring it, but the countdown to Christmas is on and I should really think about finishing it. 🙂

  48. Yvonne sullivan Sullivan says:

    Merry Christmas Susan Joe Jack.Love your bird tree thanks for the recipes and I wish we,could have some of your snow here in Ohio.We had a light dusting that was it.Always great to hear from you

  49. Jo Ann Christian Hassell says:

    I love your blog this time, but of course, I always do! I visited Edgartown years ago in the 80’s before I knew about you. I loved all of Martha’s Vineyard, just sad I didn’t get to visit again. But, through you I relive that memory. In the ‘90s I opened a small antique business and sold your cards. They flew out the shop. I also have collected all your books. I am a Texan by birth and love Texas, but have always enjoyed my visits to New England and it speaks to my soul.
    Jo Ann Christian Hassell

  50. Naomi Huddleston says:

    Oh, Susan, I just love the picture of Jack on your kitchen rug … his mustache and those three black polka-dots under his chin. He has got to be the cutest thing ever!

    Thank you for your post, it has filled my heart with warm and cozy Christmas joy!


  51. Donna says:

    Great post …made me inspired

  52. Joan says:

    Your gift of time, love and friendship is really all one needs !! That’s why you are the BEST girlfriend ever. Have I laid eyes on you personally–NEVER, but I have read every book since the 80’s…own each and every one of them….and look forward to your wonderful pictorial stories in your blogs and Williard. It takes a certain knack to be such a unique friend virtually– and somehow you just do it ! My holiday gift to You, Joe & Mister Kitty Jack is a simple one– good health and happiness, who could ask for anything more ? Merry Christmas dear ones xoxo

  53. Karen Howell Burton says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, Joe and Jack. I sit by the fire, Christmas tree lights aglow, still dark outside and my furball love Charlie curled up next to me reading your delightful Christmas cheer. Thank you for all your efforts and hard work that bring us such joy. Simple pleasures are the best gifts…reading your words, gatherings, good food, hugs, laughter , walks in the snow and furballs curled up next to us! Blessing to you and all our kindred spirits in 2020. (Can you believe it’s 2020! That was so out in the future not so very long ago!)😬😂

  54. Darlene says:

    Wow that was a beautiful post. I miss the seasons and seeing those beautiful pictures of your window scenes was magical! Thank you for sharing your talents with the world! I made your sweet potato casserole for two parties so far. It’s always a hit and a chance for me to tell people about you and your beautiful books! I have the all!
    Merry Christmas, Darlene

  55. Amy from Wisconsin says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe!

  56. Pam Butterick says:

    This blog was alternately heartrending, thrilling, pleasing, surprising. Thank you a million times over for all of the details in it that bring happiness home. ❤️🎶💒🎄🏡❤️

  57. My “doing” is mostly complete….except for the baking and I’m adding to that each day! Hope you and Joe and Jack have the happiest of holidays! Merry Christmas!

  58. Flo says:

    What a wonderful Christmas post! We moved to Virginia from Massachusetts a couple of years ago in part to get away from the long winters and heavy snows, but I must say it’s been delightful experiencing the beauty of snowfall from afar through your photos and marvelous descriptive narrative. Also, what a surprise to learn that it was Margot who did the fabulous trompe l’oeil at The Old Whaling Church! When I’ve attended concerts there, I’ve caught myself more than once concentrating on the amazing job the artist did, rather than the performance! Bravo to Margot! And, Merry Christmas to you and Joe!

  59. Kitty DeMento says:

    Dear Susan:
    I couldn’t wait to see your new post! I love your home and your blog. Such a treat for us to enjoy!
    Happy Christmas!!!
    Kitty D

  60. ANNA R BAKER says:

    Thank you for probably 40 years of art and happiness. I have been a fan forever. Love the quotes and the illustrations, I will admit to sneaking them into the newsletters I work on for Master Gardeners. Keep up the Wonderful Life and have a Merry Christmas!

  61. Joy from Ohio says:

    I just want to say thank you for helping us refocus on the little things that we can do to make our little part of the world a happier place. love and hugs!!!

  62. Annie in CA says:

    Just when I needed some serenity, there you are! Thank you for restoring calm at this busy time with one of the best posts ever. It’s so fun to live vicariously through you, imagining the charmed life on MV. Many thanks for being a positive force in this crazy world. Wishing you, Joe and Jack a Merry Christmas and healthy and happy New Year.

  63. Layla says:

    Hello Susan!
    I just discovered your blog and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to find this inspiring space you’ve created! What a treat to find another kindred spirit today! 😀
    I’m smack dab in the middle of Martha’s Vineyard- Isle of Dreams but I already know it will forever be my favorite book. I’m struggling with panic disorder and agoraphobia right now (and breathing in blasted brown paper bags- ack!), but your words have inspired me to keep pushing THROUGH my irrational fears so that I, too, can move PAST what’s holding me back. Thank you, faraway friend. Truly!

    Layla Palmer
    The Lettered Cottage


    • sbranch says:

      So nice to meet you Layla, sorry about those troubles, they are no fun. I was helped out of them, really after years, with two things; acupuncture and meditation. Those brown paper bags are getting hard to find! I also have a visualization, of roots growing from the bottom of my feet deep into the earth, anchoring me there. Very nice thing. Good luck! And thank you for the kind words. xoxo

  64. Maxine Hershberger says:

    Your photos are so lovely. If I may ask, what photo editing/organizing software do you use? I have used Picasa for years but now would like to switch because Google no longer supports it on Windows 10. We live in a rural community so using Google photos is not an option because of our limited internet access. I know, it’s hard to believe! So I’m exploring other options. Thanks for your blogs and any information you may be able to send my way.

    • sbranch says:

      I hate to be so completely oblivious (I actually really do hate it!) but I have no idea what exactly Picasa is … I just use Photos ~ it comes with this computer, a Mac Laptop, used to be called iPhoto … does that answer your question? With iPhoto you don’t even have to be on the Internet. You likely know that. 😂

  65. Patricia Randall says:

    Dear Susan,

    There is nothing that brightens my day as reading your latest newsletter!!! Thank you!!

    Christmas book?? YES PLEASE!!! 💖

    Enjoy your wonderful marshmallow world and have a very Merry Christmas!

  66. Jan Jasper says:

    I feel so blessed as I’m reading your blog. Definitely my best gift so far! Thank you so much for reminding me of all of the beauty this season brings, Susan. Wishing a Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack!

  67. Dianna Unruh says:

    “creative, positive, livers of life” –my favorite quote of this post! My intention for this next decade is to indeed be a creative, positive liver of life! (but liver is not my most favorite dish, thank you very much anyway!)

    • sbranch says:

      I know, me either, but when you put “of life” with it, it tastes much better! Merry merry Dianna! xoxo

  68. Terrie in Atlanta, GA says:

    Sweet Sue (and Joey, too!) ~ O, What a Wonderful World you gave to us with this Christmasy post.❄️ By reading bits at a time, I was able to make it last all day long. First, the just-girls party ~ everyone looking so happy. Why is it that I always think Carly Simon should be one of your extraordinary, creative girlfriends? Only, knowing how shy she is, I look for her boots sticking out from under the new curtains, or imagine maybe she is the one hiding behind the camera. Then Margot and her amazing restoration of the whaling church: it makes me want to say, “HERE is what a BOOMER truly is!” to those young ‘uns who think “Ok, Boomer” is an insult. If they only knew what this generation has accomplished! Finally, I thank you for capturing the full moon … for the Christmas tree packed in the Volvo … for the ironed linens and good food and cute powder room … everything that always makes us feel “at home.”

    I know this is a long post, but wanted you to know exactly how much these details mean to your girlfriends. ❤️ Especially those of us who maybe don’t have family or a home that embodies all of the Christmas love shown here. Just as our nation is divided over politics, so families can also be. And our jobs, homes, health are all things that can be lost no matter how safely we plan. BUT! We all are invited to live vicariously through your stories, hoping for a bit of magic, and that truly helps soothe the soul. So this year especially, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Sue Branch, Joe Hall & Kitty Jack. Y’all are the very best of Christmas 2019! ❤️🌟🎄

  69. Linda dolhay says:

    Susan, have a very wonderful holiday time with Joe and of course kitty. This blog was so wonderful. Due to a very ill sister we are unable to do our holiday time from Oct thru Dec
    Your notes of love and cheer have warmed my heart and I can’t thank you enough for that.
    Thanks so much for all the holiday time blogs and the Willard truly amazing.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  70. FayE in CA! says:

    Happy December, Susan. So good to be feeling your contentment as you ooze through your holiday days. Contentment…you really seem to have conquered the word and placed it in your soul! That is your personal triumph and it comes through to the rest of us.

    Winter snow…Valentine bird…lights from the barn. Heck, I get excited when it rains here in my region of CA!!! Needless to say, if I used the rain as my only trigger for excitement, I would RARELY be so. So sad…boo hoo…this native Californian LOVES it when Mother Nature pouts, screams, bangs the clouds and crashes wavesl I, too, should be living where Mother Nature spends more time ranting or sprinkling marshmellow snow, but I truly hate to be cold and definitely can’t tolerate humidity, so here I stay in sunny CA. Some people would love to live where feet are bare a good part of the year, but it gets kind of samo-samo. Your winter photos are like scenes on a beautiful Hallmark card…warm-hearted. Mother Nature painted/redesigned your outdoors for ALL of us to see through your window panes. Thank you for sharing.

    It is exciting to hear that you may actually put your paint brush and words to create a book for children, and we “older children”…I will definitely be on a pre-order list when the time comes.

    Your energy is like a woman half your age…or less!! Like your role model, Beatrix Potter, you are a bottomless pit of energy, creativity, positivity and generosity of spirit. AND! There is your caring/sharing heart of pure gold. Beatrix and you are sisters born decades apart. You are living in the comfort of a life that you spin your own special way, just like Beatrix.

    Thanks for wishing us a Merry Christmas. You are wished the best of what makes you happy…always and for eternity, my dear.

    Cheers to the three of you in your Vineyard Haven love nest. Pet Jack! I’ll send some extra CA sunbeams to his favorite window so his fur will get toasty- warm.

    FayE in CA!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi honey! Loved your Christmas Card! As always, I melt at the kindness of your words. Thank you so much! I kissed Jack AND Joe for you! Happiest 2020, may everything GOOOD come your way! 😘

  71. Dixie says:

    Such a heart warming post. I love the tune “I’ll String Along With You.”
    A very Happy Christmastime to you and yours!

  72. Karen Wills says:

    Thank-you so much for the best blog post ever! Everything is so beautiful, I laughed, I cried…Merry Christmas to you and yours, and thanks again.

  73. Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing so much of your charming world with your readers. I’m going to make that coleslaw later today, sounds perfect! It’s amazing how delicious a really good apple is, an edible gem straight from nature. We rented a house across from the Whaling church, loved the sound of the bells… it’s one of our favorite people watching benches (out in front) on cool evenings when in Edgartown. Your friend did an outstanding job….. Wishing you and Joe a wonderful holiday season.

  74. Ellen from New Hampshire says:

    What a pleasure to read your blog today! So many wonderful thoughts and quotes and photos! Feeling the Christmas spirit, the coziness of winter arriving, the warmth of good friends and sweet memories. Thank you, Susan.

  75. Rae Ann R. says:

    🌲Merry❤️Christmas to you and yours🌲

  76. cathy says:

    the Bishop’s wife is one of my favorites! The message could not be truer. We have turned off the tv at dinner or we watch the food network, one of our locals is in the Christmas bake off on Monday nights fingers crossed she wins.
    I have my house decorated so when I walk in the the house after a long day at work I feel sweet relief and happy to see my vintage decorations. My husband too!
    Merry Christmas

  77. Heather Ebb says:

    Dear Susan, I feel as though I’ve just had THE most wonderful Xmas gift – a blissful sojourn through your blog – so beautiful I have tears in my eyes.
    Now to print off the delicious looking Cherry Chicken recipe ( I accidentally typed Cheery chicken but that possibly fits!) and copy the quote about the “stretched out hand of tolerance” to go on my fridge. As for Margot, words fail me!! The merriest of Merry Christmases to you and Joe! XXXX

  78. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan, I loved this post! I think I mentioned we were sending you snow (on Twitter) but sure didn’t know you’d get that much. Ha! But it certainly is beautiful ! Love your party with your friends..that is always so fun! Friday the Bible study girls came and we had a little gift exchange and a bite to eat! Wish I’d seen that Apple salad revipe sooner! I see our grocery store was advertising it. They look delicious! Your home, your friends, your hubby, your outings all look so enchanting! Can’t wait to see you tree when it’s all decorated!
    Blessings and Merry Christmas to you both!

  79. Sharrie says:

    When I read the part about the full moon making a bright winter’s night, it reminded me of the scene in By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder where she and her sisters, Carrie and Mary, went ice skating by moonlight and saw …! I will leave the answer blank for those that haven’t read it. 🙂 I’m such a fan of the Little House books.

  80. Deborah Hatt says:

    As always … Thank you, Sue!

  81. Care Woodard says:

    Wow. What beautiful post:) I really love you for how you elevate us all and connect our hearts through the things that really matter; Light, love, laughter, and the little things that make our homes so cozy. A Christmas book by you?!!! That is big joy! You will sit on my shelf with Dickens and Louisa May Alcott; actually you already do!!! I hope it is red:)
    We are having a sleet day here in CT; it is beyond cozy:) Anna and I are going to make gingerbread houses by the kitchen fire. My heart bursts love, joy and glad tidings to you and to all the girlfriends!

  82. Sandra Walton says:

    Happy Christmas Susan and Joe
    Have a wonderful that snow
    Many blessings for all 2020 will bring
    Greetings and love from
    Sandra in Birmingham Uk

  83. Maureen says:


    I always enjoy your posts; they have such joy and inspiration in them and are always a respite for me from the crazy world we live in. This was filled with a lot of love & joy, friendship and inspiration, which they usually are, but this one seems extra special. Thank you for this wonderful holiday gift to us.

    Speaking of gifts, I love your painting of the gifts that keep giving, which as you know, is on the Susan Branch calendar for this month. I have it hanging in my kitchen. 🙂

    I just watched the trailer for “The Man Who Invented Christmas” and emailed it to my husband with my desire to watch it! I’m really looking forward to the New Year. I’m also now looking forward to your Christmas and Enchanted books. Fingers crossed!

    Wishing you, Joe & Jack a Blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year. May it be filled with lots of love, joy and many blessings. And as my family in Ireland would say…In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship and never in want.

    Merry Christmas,
    Maureen from Corona, CA

    • sbranch says:

      You are going to love the movie . . . it’s full of the energy that Dickens was supposed to have had in his life. It’s so much about inspiration, I loved it! Happy Christmas Maureen. xoxoxo

  84. Jill says:

    When I saw Mrs. Miniver, I watched the movie twice just to absorb the scenes of the house. I’ve gone to bed imaging a home remodel to make my house look like that one!

    It is a bad day for me in the education world. I feel so inadequate. Your blog lifts my spirits; I connect with someone who has thoughts like me and my discouragement is gone. The time you take to write affects so many of us in such a positive way. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

  85. Terri Brewster says:

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe!
    Thank you for this blog post, the snow looks exactly like marshmallow fluff and is beautiful. There is nothing better than fresh fallen snow under moonlight. It offers a peacefulness unlike any other. I say absolutely yes to a Christmas book, please do write it. The long night moon was beautiful in a clear California sky, I stood outside and watched it, amidst the noise of Southern California. So happy to have gotten my Full Moon Bookmark for 2020. It hangs on the bulletin board in front of my desk, just up from my Susan Branch desk blotter. So many tiny treasures tucked in my office from you and things I love. Thank you for making our girlfriends world a much better place.

  86. Grace says:

    I enjoy visiting with very much. A wonderful read today…thank you.

  87. Susan Webb says:

    Merry Christmas! Please! Where can I locate the new Moon bookmark? People love them!

  88. Bless you for the gift of beauty and joy all your posts give to us, your “appreciators”. Truly you have blessed us. I’ve had a scary few weeks with my son in the hospital but reading your lovely blog can make me feel peaceful and soothed and comforted. Thank you.

  89. Anne Endler says:

    Oh, Susan, thank-you with all my heart for taking the time to visit with us via your blog.
    I love each and every word and picture and thought, and always feel happy and inspired after reading what you have shared.
    Merry Christmas to you, and Joe, and Jack, and to all of the girlfriends that you have brought together! Sending love and thanks!❤️❤️❤️

  90. sal says:

    Such a wonderful post, Susan! I love to see all the activity going on in your life. Thank you for sharing your pictures with us…it’s our ‘eyes’! Keep writing, being creative, loving, sharing…and we will try to also. Merry Christmas to you and Joe.

  91. Debbie Boerger says:

    Cookie making day for the Lovely Tom. They will go up to Maine with Kristin. I’m making your cherry chicken for our supper. Pan grilled green beans. Not sure if I “need” a starch, egg noodles?

    All the elves, Santas and nutcrackers are having a ball every night after we go to bed. This is a childhood fantasy, but some of those are still wonderful to imagine.

    Hoping for beautiful, soothing days and nights for the next week. I have sworn off the tele news. I will read only the WaPo headlines online. I love their travel, and recipe sections. Anything food is much more to my liking than what’s going on in politics. Did I tell you guys that I sat in reserved box seating for about 8 during the Watergate hearings? Did anyone else do that?
    You just needed to know someone such as the secretary of one of the congressmen. They all received a number of tickets for that seating. We could stay as long as we wished. Regular seating was a very long wait in a very long line. Plus, they shooed them out after about an hour. I was so very impressed by the demeanor of those doing the questioning. Those days, alas, have flown the coup. Actually, the memory I treasure most is of being just a few feet for hours on end from Roger Mudd. He was just fabulous looking in profile, which we never saw. And Leslie Stahl was stunning in her tight, short red dress. Ahhhh, history. Well……………

    Feliz Novidad Dear, Dear Sue, Joe and Jack and All the Girlfriends,
    Debbie in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      I watched it on TV. What an education! And oddly (I thought at the time) interesting, even for the vacuous 20-something I was at the time! I was also impressed by the serious demeanor. It was a true search for truth. I pray it goes that way with this one and we get to the bottom of what’s happened with actual witnesses so far blocked from testifying. Cross your fingers. Hold on tight, 2020 is going to be a roller coaster! Love you Debbie, Happy Merry! xoxoxo

  92. Libby Gleason says:

    Hi Susan,

    I love old movies too, but I have trouble finding them! I was curious how you get the movies you mention? Do you own them? Do you know of a good place to stream old movies?


    • sbranch says:

      Well, Turner Classic Movies comes up with most of them, sooner or later. Our TV remote has a red dot on it so that if we want to record a movie and keep it we can. So that’s what I do. Go forward on TCM channel and record all the ones I want to keep, maybe even weeks ahead. This time of year is PERFECT. Great ones on all day around Christmas. Old movies are hard to get … I do own a few.

  93. Laurie Nico’s mom says:

    Thank you for this lovely Christmasy post. I’ve lost some of my Christmas spirit in the last week. My mom passed away last Tuesday. She was 94. She laid down for a mid morning nap and didn’t wake up. We are very grateful that she went so peacefully.
    Thank you, Susan for always being here to cheer and inspire me. Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack.


    • sbranch says:

      Oh Laurie. I’m so sad for you. I just sit here, tears, shaking head. Virtually throwing my arms around you, burying your face and tears in 3 layers of my knitted winter-wear. Love you dear, no words for you except, love love love, a world of beautiful memories, a heartfull of peace. xoxoxo

  94. Melissa Wood says:

    Holiday Inn! My favorite Christmas movie!

  95. Kari O'Brien says:

    Beautiful Post, Susan.
    You know how there are Blue Zones around the planet where people seem to thrive and live longer? They have the essential components of the Okinawa Centarians: movement, healthy eating, sense of purpose and spirituality, and community. Well that is what you have created here on your blog. It is the Blue Zone of the Internet! Thank you for sharing.
    Many, many blessings to you and Joe and a Very Merry Christmas!
    Love, Kari

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhhoooo How I love that! The Blue Zone of the Internet. We are all cozily ensconced inside. Safe from danger, loving in tone and action. Thank you darling Kari. xoxoxo Merry Christmas!

  96. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    “Happy Christmas” Susan. When you wrote this beautiful post, you had a lot of love in your heart 🙂 —Michael W. Smith said: “Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.”
    Thank you for all your LOVE that you have given everyone this past year.

  97. Debbie Boerger says:

    The Chicken in Cherry Sauce was a Rousing Success. Just for the 2 of us, but Tom was expressing his satisfaction all through the meal. I used Stone Wall Kitchen’s Bada Bing Cherries in a glass jar, grown organically in the Pacific NW. Didn’t have chicken stock, but always have a box of Imagine Free range, organic broth. I put some some celery and carrots in to simmer 3 cups down to 2, and it was next best to stock made from scratch. Used Matua Sauvignon Blanc in place of the sherry, and we each had a glass with supper. Love, love it. Thank you for the recipe. Tom says he can’t wait for the leftovers tonight! 🙂
    Stay safe in slippery roads and sidewalks.

    Debbie in Tampa, which has nice cool weather today

  98. Ginny Evans says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe! Thank you for the wonderful post, filled with all the atmosphere, cheer and recipes to help make our own holidays so much more fun! I especially loved how you talked about the specialness of small communities. I was blessed to live in one for a time and it was wonderful and quaint, too. (in Nova Scotia). I eagerly look forward to another year of friend-sharing with you and all the girlfriends. Blessings and joy, dear Susan. You’re the best!

  99. Mame says:


    You mentioned that you enjoy honey crisp apples. Have you ever tried SweeTango apples? Unfortunately you will probably not be successful in a search now, but check for them in early to mid-September. They are a cross between honey crisp and Zestar apples. They are so amazingly delicious with a tart crisp bite and juice running down your arm as you relish their goodness.

  100. jeanie says:

    If I wasn’t already in the Christmas spirit, I would be now! What a beautiful world your marshmallow world is! I can wait for snow but I have to say, when it looks like this, I’d jump in with both feet!

    Love hearing the Marshmallow World. Another couple and we two do an exchange every year based/inspired on a Christmas song — and that’s this year’s song! Yes, marshmallows will definitely be in the holiday package. Oh, and that church. Everything! MERRIREST to you! Thank you for the joy!

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