Love, Groundhogs, and Memory

Good Morning . . . We have it all today! Love, Groundhogs, and Memories, on this first day of February. But first off I need to tell you about our new favorite TV series, the Detectorists. Have you seen it? It’s a comedy about the little things in life and the extremely eccentric members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club as they search for ancient treasure in the English countryside. What’s not to love? You can see it on Amazon or Acorn. So funny! Rachel told me about it, and she was right. It’s adorable. I’ve fallen in love with the theme MUSICA. The lead players remind me of the guys in the Full Monty, only they keep their clothes on. Watch if you can! Let me know what you think!

Okay, get something hot to drink, grab a Kleenex (just in case you cry) and come back. I’m about to jump around, subject-wise!

Hello! ‘Tis Moi! Rabbit Rabbit! Happy February! So much to tell you! Starting with Groundhog Day because it’s happening TOMORROW! 

Treat yourself to a cozy evening and this delicious comfort-food winter dinner . . .  If you click on the link, you’ll see I wrote that the recipe for Onion “Punxsutawney” Pudding “wasn’t in a cookbook yet” ~ at that time it wasn’t, but it is now! If you have the 30th Anniversary of Heart of the Home, it’s on page 76. The Pineapple Spareribs are on p. 105.❤️ (Ooops, just noticed I left the 2 cups of pineapple juice out of the recipe above!😜 It’s in the book though!) This dinner does double duty ~ it’s perfect for Groundhog Day; light a few candles and it’s a romantic Valentine Dinner. I am hoping Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow tomorrow! Although, I’m enjoying this lovely quiet winter now that I’m finally over that flu or whatever it was that attacked us in January!

I’ve been painting like crazy. Back to my normal ways of up early, dialing up the heat, filling my water dish, getting my tea, feeding Jack, turning on lamps as I walk through the house to the studio, quiet, just me and my kitty. Joe’s asleep and wants nothing to do with us! I’ve been painting for the 2021 calendars. I laugh because I signed the contract to do the 2021 calendars in 2019, they will arrive at our studio in 2020. This is why I never know what year it is! 

I don’t know what I’m going to do with this, maybe put him in a calendar, but I decided I couldn’t live any longer without a Jack finger puppet, so I painted him. That was a few hours of joy! 

He ignores me. Although he just walked across my lap to curl up here . . . 

. . . in my open desk drawer. Next life I’m coming back as one of my cats.

Hope you’re enjoying your calendars this year! For all of you with the English Countryside Calendar on your wall, I thought you might like to see February in the 12 x 12 wall calendar ⬆️! 

And for you with the Wall Calendar, here’s February in the English Countryside! Don’t want you to miss anything!  Hooray for February!

No matter which calendar, time-wise, they have everything in common! At the end of the month, we’re getting something we’re always wishing for, MORE TIME …it’s Leap Year! Make a plan for the 29th because you won’t see it again until 2024! If you haven’t seen the the movie, Leap Year , this would be an excellent time to do so. Such a fun movie, filmed all over Ireland, Amy Adams and Mathew Goode (Mary’s husband), put it on your calendar, you’ll love it. Mas MUSICA? . . . Speaking of putting things on your calendar . . . I promised to tell you about 
the Mother’s Day Tea/Twine booksigning events in Duxbury, Massachussets as soon as the dates were firm ~ And they are! It’s going to be amazing. Picture a room filled with spring flowers, teapots and garden clippings, with grandmothers, mothers, daughters and sisters (Husbands, grandfathers, dads, and brothers are welcome too!), a room filled with friendship, community, connection, books, hats, England, joy, kindred spirits, and a catered meal (they’re making recipes from my books!) that has both a Julia Child, AND a Prince Harry and Meghan connection ~ all in celebration of Mother’s Day!!! YES! YES! YES! We want everyone who would like to come, to join us … so we decided to do not one, but two events to make sure everyone gets a ticket. The first event will be a catered “Light Supper with Wine” (Twine!) on Wednesday, May 6, from 4 to 7 pm. The next day, on Thursday, May 7, from 1 to 3 pm, we’re having “An English Lunch with Tea.” For both events, I’ll be doing a presentation ~ I’m thrilled to be doing a show and tell with my favorite photos of the English Countryside, a little bit about history, maybe a dab of ancestry, and every wonderful thing I can think of about Beatrix Potter, including our Picnic at Castle Cottage. On top of that, each guest will receive their very own copy of the first chapter of ENCHANTED, my new book-in-progress! Andrea, the person in charge of this event, has many other little surprises, but they’re a secret . . . she’s as excited as I am. So, what’s on your calendar for May??? Registration begins 8 am, March 24th … online at ~ they’ve put nothing on their website yet, it’s too early. Put “Tickets!” on your calendar for March 24th so you don’t forget! Bring your mom, your sister, your best friend, and come! New England is beautiful in May!This is where we’ll meet, at 10 Mayflower Street in the charming New England seaside town of Duxbury (settled in 1632), just up the coast from historic Plymouth (where the Mayflower landed), and about 45 minutes south of Boston.

So how about a few more reasons to love February ~ the month that celebrates LOVE! …  But, first some flowers, and then a story, and then a surprise.

Joe stopped at the florist on his way home yesterday and brought us this big breath of fresh air. Aren’t they the cheeriest?You know I’ve always said that Valentine’s Day is for women, because it’s US who’re crazy about it, the idea of it, the romance of it, the hearts, lace, chocolates, musica. But there’s all kinds of Valentine love isn’t there? And for so many of us, best friends, moms and sisters are the best Valentine’s we could ever hope for. We should make sure all of our beloveds gets a Valentine. A card is enough, via snail mail, in a real envelope with a real stamp!💖We’re lucky, we found so many kindred spirits when we found each other! From EVERYWHERE: the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, England, Wales, Canada, France, and Spain, to Texas, Georgia, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Washington, Tennessee, Ohio, California, Minnesota, Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, and Kansas ~ from sea to shining sea and across this beautiful world that gets smaller every day. And we found everything in common, kindness, tolerance, acceptance, home, family, petty-pets, cooking, sewing, beauty, England, tea, memories, china dishes, little vases, creativity, table settings, books, yard sales, movies, quilts, the moon, sunrises, and sunsets, to name a few.

We’ve been through all seasons, we’ve fed chickens, celebrated first snows, first daffodils, 4th of July, and fireflies. We’ve gone back to school, and sent our thanks and encouragement to our teacher and nurse girlfriends. We’ve branched out to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram ~ to bookstores, picnics, and even ocean liners … where we’ve connected with even more kindred spirits. We’ve shared our laughter, our parents, our children, our holidays, and our travels, our joys, our silliness, and yes, our losses. Every so often our hearts break when we lose someone; we do it together, say goodbye to a pet, a husband, a dad, a sister, a child, a best friend. But that’s what life is, it’s sunshine and shadow, it’s connection, it’s EVERYTHING, and that’s what we are, Everything. Which brings me to a sweet memory and a kind of miracle. Three years ago, just yesterday, we lost our Girlfriend Karen Peterson. Many of you remember her, those of us that met her saw the lovelight in her eyes. She is gone, but her sweetness is remembered, and she left a legacy of love. Read on, you’ll see.

Got your Kleenex? This is me with Karen. Yesterday our Girlfriend Doreen left a letter in the comment section of the blog. I knew this story would resonate and asked if I could share it with you and she said yes ~ so here we go, to you and me, from Doreen: 

Hi Susan, I have a little story I think might bring a smile to your face and a warmness within your heart.
Many years ago….I came to your blog and met some of the nicest women. One of the was Karen Peterson. I’m not sure if you remember her but Rosie had you autograph a napkin for her and so did Joe during one of your book signings. Well anyway… Karen and I became good friends after meeting here on your blog. We’d chat on the phone, send messages by snail mail, buy little gifts for each other and became such good friends.
If you remember me, you will remember my husband was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor back five years ago.( I shared that on your blog). Karen would get up in the middle of the night and check on me online. (Richard was unable to sleep because of the steroids he was on) . She’d bake cookies and mail them to him. (which he loved) Then when he passed, Karen was always just a phone call away. She’d cry with me and provided me with such loving emotional support.
Well, about eight months later, Karen herself was diagnosed with the exact same thing. She passed three years ago today. Karen would share with her husband Gregory that if he need any emotional support or had questions, to call me. Gregory knew who I was because of Karen telling him what was going on. I’d call and talk to Karen while she was on her cancer journey. Gregory would call every so often just to talk, share his grief and we’d cry and share memories together.💔 We did this for several years until around 8 months ago when we started talking more often to each other. Then one day he said something and it caught me by surprise. I said, “Greg…are you flirting with me?” He responded with “Yes…I think I am!” and that is when it all started happening. We are now currently engaged to be married. He proposed to me on Jan. 21st. of this year. We are looking forward to marrying in the near future.
So…needless to say…we have both found happiness again. Something both of us thought we’d never find. Especially because I live in Florida
and he lives in Wisconsin!!!! This, my friend, is all because of your blog! If I hadn’t met Karen here…Greg and I wouldn’t have ever met each other. It goes to prove…becoming friends and maintaining that friendship has really nothing to do with physically meeting… it has to do with the connections of hearts… the hearts of kindred spirits. I look forward to continuing my loving friendships with the others I’ve met here like Rosie, Georgie, and Cynthia to name a few. Our ability to share in the joy of finding happiness because of this blog has not gone unnoticed. We’ve formed friendships that will last as long as our earthly journeys do. I would share with you the picture of the napkin you and Joe signed for Karen, but I don’t think this page will allow me to upload it. It’s in a frame hanging in the bedroom. It’s a reminder to me how so many different women found and share a wonderful friendship….all because our kindred spirits met here…beginning with you! You tie to altogether for us. One beautiful sisterhood! EMC!  ~ Doreen ~

Wasn’t that beautiful? It’s all of us together, really. I’m so happy for them, for Doreen and Greg, and for the memories of Karen and Richard. Somehow I think Karen pulled this whole thing together. Unbelievable, Florida and Wisconsin! You just never know what life has in store for you.💞 

And so, before I go, before the surprise, I have a few little Valentines I thought you might like . . . little things to help make someone’s day.💖

This is Joe’s Valentine breakfast ~ waffles! Kids love them too! We have heart-shaped waffle makers that use no electricity, cook on a burner, and work like a charm ~ they come complete with my waffle recipe and make you look like magic!

For you, a Valentine bookmark to keep or tuck in with your Valentine cards… click HERE, print on card stock, and laminate if you like.

And back, by popular demand, Secret Notes!!! A little box of 32 love notes to put into pockets, backpacks, purses, and gift bags!

And Banners!!! Janie made us lots of darling banners . . .  And, here’s the SURPRISE . . .  my Valentine’s Gift to you . . . a giveaway . . . 

. . . two of my favorite cups, good for Valentines, but good for year round! Just leave a message in the comment section and you’ll be entered . . . in a few days we’ll have a drawing and off they will go to the lucky winner!❤️ You will be happy no matter if you’re left-handed or . . .

. . . right-handed . . . big, 16 oz, thin-lipped, fine bone china, limited-edition cups made in luv-lee England.And this reminder, from me to you with love. Take a deep breath and remember, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. We need you. xoxox

Heigh-ho heigh-ho, it’s back to work I go . . .  don’t forget to leave a word or two if you’d like a chance to win those cups! Look right there ⬇️ for a tiny number and the word “comments” … click there and leave a message. Have fun Girlfriends, Happy February! ❌⭕️

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2,411 Responses to Love, Groundhogs, and Memory

  1. Joanna Devine says:

    Susan, I am truly grateful for discovering your books in the library this year. Then I discovered your blog! I find joy and peace in all your beautiful illustrations, photos, quotes, love and energy that you share with all of us. Thank you for all that you do to reach so many people with your devotion to beautiful moments. Now, my husband and I are planning a trip to England just like the one in your book! Thank you for your inspiration! You are a dear Valentine’s Gift!

  2. Sheila pepe says:

    Thank you for all things brown ! Would love to win a mug 💗

  3. Julee Collins says:

    Hi Susan! Loved your blogpost, as usual. Spotting that in my crowded emial inbox never fails to lift my spirits, even though I might be drowning in work — no, ESPECIALLY when I am drowning in work! Just as when I catch one of your posts on Twitter: My heart does a little flip, as if spotting an old friend, knowing it’ll be a message from a kindred spirit. I forgot to leave a comment on your Cozy post: Being a desert dweller, my “brown” surrounds me year-round, but it’s of course quite different from your brown – very light and “sandy” colored – but no less “cozy” though I could use a little less of it creeping into my house! And here, a Desert Ttortoise has replaced Punxatawny Pete in discerning the future strength of Winter……

    • Karen Lawson says:

      Hi Julee, My goal this year is to make some Susan Branch kindred friends based on a random read & something I have in common in addition to SB. I lived in the desert too Scottsdale,Mesa for a long time now we are in Mo. I miss those sunsets! Your comment about your heart doing a little flip was so cute! I too feel that way too about SB, she is so awesome! Have a great day.

    • Cyndi Vossler says:

      I am also a desert dweller….Peoria, Arizona…and I get so much joy from the comfy, cozy, wintry blogs. I came to Arizona 16 years ago and still miss snow and the deep cold of a winter morning, but the blogs are a nice way to remember. Although I am enjoying semi-retirement, as of June 2019, I remember the crazy busy days of teaching and through them all I enjoyed the blogs because they inspired me to slow down and enjoy some girlfriend time. Here’s to girlfriends and the one who ties us to one another…Susan!

  4. Lindy munday says:

    A great love story. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Helen (MAGGIE) Giltmier says:

    You my dear friend are a blessing of love and giving. I have so enjoyed my cook books from long ago and then reading your books has brought my heart such joy and love and pleasure. I feel like a kindred spirit and thank and pray for God’s Blessings for us all. You bring beauty to us with your gifts, but you bring love with your heart. I look every day for God’s love and blessings! YOur blog is a blessing! I would love to win one of your beautiful cups and hope someday to be able to meet you. God Bless Us All! Happy Valentine’s Day too you and Joe. Thank you for sharing the story of caring friends and now a loving romance! It does’nt get better than that.

  6. Meg Reilly from South Carolina says:

    I love you! I love the heart mug especially because your “valentine” help with the design. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  7. Susan Green says:

    Thanks for such an inspirational blog! Your words always brighten my day!!

  8. Sydney Ellen says:

    What a LOVE story! So beautiful and touched my heart strings.
    Adore your mugs and the deep thought and beauty that go into each mug design.

  9. Melissa & Minnow says:

    Perfect post for a snow day. Love, love, love. Pick me, Vanna! Can’t wait to hear what she’s wearing this time…

  10. Jill moore says:

    What a beautiful story. I believe in stuff like this!

  11. Shanna says:

    Your posts always make the day better. Thank you for another one.

  12. shay says:

    Susan thank you for the beautiful story filled with love and magic during this month of LOVE!

    Love to you and all the girlfriends

  13. Nancy says:

    Perfect post for a blustery February day

  14. Thanks for the blog. What a great story.
    Keep my fingers crossed.

  15. Linda Schauer says:

    Thank you Susan for all the love you share.

  16. Jay says:

    One of my all-time favourite shows and I just adore Sheila. So glad you love it too. 🙂

  17. Joy says:

    Happy Valentines Day to you, Joe, and all the girlfriends. I love this month of love. Your post was one big beautiful Valentines Day basket filled with goodies, thank you!! I’ve been divorced 14 years, my kids are gone and living in different states. Being a mother of adult children now (Wow I feel too young) feels somewhat like getting kicked out, but maybe I’m the only selfish one who feels this way. Finding some new ways to fill my happiness bucket in the small things, all the beautiful things this world has to offer. This community of girlfriends you’ve created here is a joy beyond compare. Thank you for sharing your talents, your life, and your love with this world.

    Sprinkling love and sunshine,


  18. Vicki says:

    Your blog came to my inbox a week ago, but I cherish it so much that I wait until I have no interruptions and a steaming cup of tea to take my time to read it.
    Thank you for that pleasure.

  19. sharon says:

    Cheering for an early spring as I’m in a full love affair with this snowy winter day I’ve been blessed with…..yes it’s true. When Susan says grab a Kleenex……beautiful, my heart! I do adore your love story with Joe, I read it each February.

    Love Sharon

  20. linda says:

    would love to win the mug
    hope you come to the Cape this summer

  21. Judy H says:

    Love you posts as always. Such beautiful stories of love and friendship.

  22. K. Sanborn says:

    Grateful for the HEART you bring to this world!!!

    Have a beautiful V-Day…

  23. Susan says:

    I so enjoy reading your blogs! This one is especially sweet! Congratulations to the newly engaged couple! God works in mysterious ways! I have several of your China cups and them all! I need to check out more of your books, too! Have a lovely Valentines!💕🌷

  24. Renee says:

    Thank you for the gift of you !
    Sharing your art and kindness – lovely snippets from your life w Joe and kitties and all things cozy! This month a little sparkle of something to look forward to – a meet up with you in May! A recipe or 2- your beautiful work woven in – book marks and treasures and even a love story brought about by this forum. So happy I chose to click here tonight. Always a treasure Thank you and Im. So happy to hear you are feeling better both hand and flu! Happy Valentines day to you and your sweetie!

  25. Stephanie says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Love everything about this!

  26. Stephanie says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Love this post and would love to win that cup!!!

  27. Karen Saunders says:

    God works in mysterious ways!!! What a lovely story.
    For such a long time I picture you so clearly pattering around your house early in the morning in your slippers or socks, tea in hand walking towards your studio….all quiet with Jack following close behind. The morning belongs to you!! Even though I have a studio more often than not I sit in my rocking chair in front of the fire and draw and paint. It’s hard because my WHFT Gabby loves to sit on my lap. Your blog and the girlfriends make a big impact on all our lives….I so wish I could join you for that special get together but I live in Oregon😢

    • sbranch says:

      Oh how I love those quiet mornings! I’m at my best before anyone else is up … all downhill from there!🤣 Nice to hear from you Karen! xoxo

  28. Pam Lewis says:

    Inspiring love story! Thank you for all your work. Love the mug. xoxo

  29. Mercedes says:

    To win one of these lovely cups would be an encouragement for me each day as I sip my morning tea. Thank you for the inspirational story, a reminder of hope, love and friendship.

  30. Janet Conn says:

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful love story. Your blog truly is magical. Thank you for the Valentine’s give-a-way. Happy Valentine’s Day to both you and Joe.

  31. Theresa says:

    I am still crying at the beautiful tale…thanks for sharing.

  32. Charlotte Bates says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day! I would love to come to your event in May . . . Maybe!

  33. Julie OH says:

    I like everyone else love and adore your writing, drawing, cooking, books, blog,
    holy cow the list could fill this page…
    You, Susan are truly an inspiration!
    Plain and simple. Thank You.

  34. Suzanne says:

    What a blessing to have this breath of sweetness and inspiration. ♥

  35. Julie from Michigan says:

    Enjoyed your blog Susan!

  36. Debbie Boerger says:

    Greetings on this rather beautiful day in our neighborhood. Not walking due to some foot surgery, but I can bundle up and sit outside with my face turned up to the sun.
    I was “traveling” around on Google Earth, and for some reason, ended up in Crete. Have English friends who visited Bulgaria a couple of times. It was a short hop over the Black Sea and into the Mediterranean. (Guess I have too much time on my hands right now.) I did the research and presented it to The Lovely Tom. Hmmmm. He wasn’t all that enthusiastic, but he is a Love and will go where I want, within reason. I commented that I thought he may be tired of going to England. Oh, no, he said. I’d like to go back, just no driving this time. Wow!!! Talk about Gobsmacked! I think he really loves his afternoon or evening rambles around villages or city neighborhoods, and of course nipping into a pub for a pint of real ale. Watching all the British mysteries must whet his appetite. He’s actually a bit shy, but he seems to draw people to him.
    So, Dear Lady, now I have a new head of steam up for Old Blighty. Of course it all depends………………..Of course it does, LOL.

    I know reading so many comments from The Girlfriends regarding losing their husbands, reminded me that life really is short. That sounds silly, because of Course it is. But it sometimes takes reading or experiencing love stories and losses of women just like yourself, to make it personal.

    Thank you so very much,
    Debbie in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      Take care of that foot! Be well soon Debbie! xoxo

    • Dianne says:

      I had to smile when I read your post. I, too, am recovering from foot surgery! Although I am progressing well, the road to recovery is longer than I anticipated. I was in a cast for seven weeks, non weight bearing. I am now in a boot with increasing lengths of time on my foot. I am still unable to drive, so I, like you, have been traveling via the internet. I did a walking vacation in England in September with a company called the Wayfarers. It was absolutely wonderful, and I am planning another for this coming Fall. I spent additional time in England, before and after the Walk, visiting Chester and Bath. I traveled by train between destinations and walked the rest of the time. I am quite sure that those living across the Pond are thankful that I was not behind the wheel on the “wrong” side of the road. Not to mention the roundabouts! The previous May, I traveled to the Lake District- again via train. Although I hit a few “bumps”, I was able to navigate them well and consider them part of a learning experience. I was traveling on my own for the first time (and I’m not a youngster!). I would love to hear about your travels, as I hope to be able to visit England at least once a year. It’s a walker’s paradise- and I do look forward to rambling again. Have a wonderful day

  37. Julie from Michigan says:

    Please make more secret notes and tea notes 🙂

  38. Carla says:

    This is a beautiful post! I love the stories and pictures! Thank you for bringing a sense of calm and warmth to the world. My husband is dealing with stage 4 cancer now. When I can afford to, I hope to read your books!
    The mug and all your work is beautiful!

    • Cyndi Vossler says:

      Dear Carla,
      After reading Susan’s books and loving them so much, I saved them. I am anxiously awaiting her next book. I can’t think of anything in the world that I would rather do with them than to “gift” them to a SB “girlfriend.” If you are interested please send me a note (reply) with your mailing address and I will happily mail them to you. I will gladly pay the shipping as well. Sometime when you are able, they will be there for you to read. They are absolutely delightful (thank you, Susan for sharing your life with us) and will fill you with joy. May you find comfort in little things as you and your husband go through this terribly difficult time and know that we all care.

      • sbranch says:

        Ohhh Cyndi, how sweet you are to make such a nice offer, I hope Carla sees this!!! Girlfriends forever. xoxoxo

        • Cyndi Vossler says:

          Thank you, Susan. I just thought she could use some girlfriend love. I hope she reads it, too! Your beautiful books will bless her.

  39. Pauline from Wisconsin says:

    Happy Valentines Day Susan!! Every time you post a blog it makes my day a special one!

  40. Laura M. says:

    Dear Susan. Your words of love and joy jump right off the page and into the hearts of your readers. I loved every single thing about your post. It was just what I needed. I especially loved ,”The Detectorists”, what you were painting, the vintage Valentines, Joe’s flowers and Doreen’s story. Thank you for your beautiful perspective.

  41. Sandy H. says:

    Susan, I enjoyed your blog post as I always do. Saved it for the weekend when I had time to really enjoy it. Thanks so much for all you do.

  42. Pat Suraco says:

    What a surprise to find so much joy on a website!

  43. Suzy Gloth says:

    This is such a heart warming story! May they be happy forever and ever! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  44. Ginny says:

    Susan, above is my order number. I ordered these little notes on Feb 1st. I wanted it by the 14th for Valentines Day. I have sent an inquiry to customer service and received no response. The order has been paid for and it is still pending. Are these notes back ordered? I have never had a problem ordering from you before and I am so disappointed. Would it be possible to get an update on this order?

    • sbranch says:

      So sorry Ginny . . . Not sure WHAT has happened ~ no one is in the office right now, it’s Sunday. But I forwarded your comment and marked it Urgent. They’ll get them to you in time even if they have to overnight them at our cost. So very sorry. If you need to you can write directly to sheri@ … she’ll be in tomorrow.

  45. Sharon F says:

    Oh, my goodness! Doreen and Greg! Even while I was reading it, I did not see that coming.

  46. L. Bindu Van Camp says:

    Greetings Susan
    thank you for sharing, again, magic that can happen out of seemingly ordinary beginnings …thinking of Karen’s story et al. Sending you and Joe sweet Valentine wishes – you continue to be an inspiration to so many and ME!
    sincerely, L. Bindu

  47. Dorothy in California says:

    Yes, it’s funny how friendships happen! I still remember the one time I met you in person at a tiny little shop in Menlo Park, California–you were lovely–but I now meet you constantly through the blog! When you didn’t post during your January illness I worried so much about you!–that is the kind of friendship that we on the blog have all developed with beautiful you!!! We care about each other!

  48. Mercedes says:

    I would enjoy sipping my morning tea from either of these joyful cups.

  49. Mary Meyers says:

    I stumbled upon your Martha’s Vineyard book and soon found myself yearning to travel to that area! You make it sound so welcoming! My book club (at my insistence) will read that book this year. Thank you for such beauty! And oh! how I would love to win a mug!

  50. Delcia Rosenow says:

    The Jack finger puppet is so precious–I could use that! I show the little ones at school pictures of your Jack and they love his moustache! They laugh when he fetches the hair bands.

    • sbranch says:

      Jack is famous among those who truly matter! 👏❤️❤️❤️ Tell them Jack’s mommy says hello!

  51. Jan L Whaley says:

    I hope you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day! You deserve it! Thank you for making the world a happier and more beautiful place. I have enjoyed all your books for many years, and have loaned some to my cousins, who have loved them as well! But I’m always happy to get them back! Love from Illinois!

  52. Keri Spears says:

    The Karen/Doreen story is simply the best example of how love will overcome many obstacles. Thank you for sharing. “Love is all around” said the MTM theme song and it’s so very true. It shines through the darkest times in each life. We just have to watch for it.
    Happy Galentine’s to you all!

  53. Ann Davis says:

    Oh Susan! What a beautiful love story created by your blog! There are no coincidences, ever! I would love to win your mugs. Please pick me! ❤️

  54. Bobbi says:

    I love the story of love and how your blog brings people together ! Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  55. Amy from Wisconsin says:

    Dear Susan-
    You have been the “calm” in this past crazy couple of years for me, thank-you!
    If I am down and out or have watched too much news, I pop up your blog or look through one of your many cookbooks that I am grateful to own or start to reread “Isle of Dreams”.
    Inevitably a calm comes over me and usually a smile. I love that you keep creating and are forever inspiring.

  56. Laurie says:

    Such a beautiful post,, and I’m so happy for the to be married couple, love lives on, perfect Valentine’s Day story!

  57. Beth Keser says:

    Beautiful story you shared. Your blog is such a blessing in my life, especially when I am having a bad day. I love every single one of your books too. Your Christmas book started my Susan Branch book obsession! Happy Valentines Day!!

  58. Janet Williams says:

    Thank you for your beautiful posts. One could never stay down after reading one of your posts or books. What a miracle God did for Doreen and Greg all through you.

  59. Rose Wood says:

    That was a lovely story! We need to hear that there is love happening in our world. Thank you Susan for sharing your fun blog and more importantly your interesting life full of girlfriends that we can connect with. ❤️

  60. Michelle says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day girlfriends.

  61. Judy Huska says:

    Been watching the Detectorist. Enjoying…it makes me laugh, think, ponder and wonder all at the same time. Thanks for recommending it.

  62. Gail R. says:

    I love reading your blog. It is so heart warming and always interesting. Love the story about Doreen and Greg. I have just finished reading “The Fairy Tale Girl” and “Isle of Dreams”. I loved both. I could not put them down. I felt like I was truly in the story. I hope the book that is in progress is more about your life from the end of “Isle of Dreams”. I want to read something about how you and Joe are “living happily ever after”. Thank you for all that you share through the blog and the books.

  63. Cassandra says:

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely story. It’s good to remember that sometimes after heartache comes happiness…

  64. Inez Schlueter says:

    Look forward to your blogs, enjoy so much. Happy love day to all.

  65. Patty says:

    Hi Susan,

    The story about Karen and Doreen is so beautiful! My daughter and I are hoping to purchase tickets for the event in Duxbury! Thank you for all the joy you continue to bring to so many of us!

  66. Krista Lunetto says:

    We need more love 💗 in the world right now. Thank you for such a sweet and uplifting post (as usual).

  67. Cindy Roberg says:

    Loved this post. ❤ I have also made new friends thru your pen pal section. I would LOVE to come to Mass. for your tea party. I love your blogs. They keep me going, when days are dark and dreary. Happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy 1st Date Day.
    Cindy in So. UT

  68. Cindy Roberg says:

    Do you have a projected date of when the new book will be released? Will it be about touring England, or have a guide to tour England? My daughter and I want to go, but I would feel more confident reading more of your suggestions. Thanks.
    Cindy in So. UT

    • sbranch says:

      It won’t be for a while, my broken wrist put me behind, I’m sorry to say…but go to my website, click on I Love England, at the bottom of the drop-down, you’ll see appendix for A Fine Romance . . . there is more information there. But, I have to say, be brave, and GO. It’s easy. They speak English. If you forget anything, they have stores where you will know what you’re doing. You can rent a car and drive yourself. Or, there are drivers and tours EVERYWHERE that will take you. If you drive yourself, Google “rules of the road in England” …makes it so much easier! Once you get the lay of the land, you’ll be fully confident and so proud that you didn’t let anything stop you! Have a wonderful time! XOXOXO

  69. Connie Bloom says:

    Thanks for the new series idea, will give it a go. I love your beautiful cups and hope I win one!! Have a beautiful day!

    • sbranch says:

      Just in cases, Detectorists is rated PG 13, so if you’re over 13, you should be fine😊 . . . No violence, no sex, drugs or rock and roll — well, maybe a bit of rock and roll. It does start off with salty language, but doesn’t affect the overall sweetness of this show. FYI xoxo

  70. Jo Ann Tobias says:

    About 30 years ago my coworker introduced me to your books. I was hooked!

  71. Ann Britton says:

    Hi Susan, I am a new admirerer (Isn’t this a word? Spellcheck doesn’t seem to think so!) of yours. I just discovered you about a year ago and you have opened my eyes!!! I always thought I was so odd because no one in my circle of family or friends loves British TV shows or old china or many other things that I find charming. For the first time in my life, and I am 57!!!, I feel like I can say that I like something and know that I am not the only one. Somehow, reading your blog has given me the permission and the confidence to embrace a part of myself that I have always kept quiet about. I cannot express to you what a wonderful feeling this has been. God Bless you and your positive attitude! I would love to come to one of your talks sometime and hopefully will!!!! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!! Ann

    • sbranch says:

      There should be an island for just us kindred spirits, it would be SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Spread it around Ann, have fun with your exuberance! xoxoxo

    • Dianne says:

      Dear Ann
      I, too, understand what it means to feel “odd”. I felt that way for years. Having followed Susan Branch for many years (since the mid 80’s when I purchased her first cookbook), I have learned to embrace the person I am. When you think about it, aren’t the things we love, the very things that make life beautiful and give life meaning? If you ever have the opportunity, please treat yourself by attending a Susan Branch gathering. I promise you, you will be surrounded by kindred spirits. There won’t be a negative vibe in the room!

  72. Pat Bates says:


    Hope you are enjoying that beautiful Snow Moon, that is hanging in the sky!!

  73. Michele Bottorff says:

    Thank you for your spirit lifting newsletter! It came at just the right time! Now if only the sun 🌞 would cooperate!😊

  74. Katherine says:

    Dear Heart of the World,

    A most lovely post. So much beauty you fill us up with. Yes, hearts go pit-a-pat when we see the latest love letter in our box! Thank you to you and your team for putting all the love and kindness out there in the universe. You give us the Good News we need so we can share it too.

  75. Sherrie Collins says:

    Thank you for the Dectectorists recommendation – I’ll definitely check that out! Also, the story about finding so many friends because of you rings so true! I know I’ve been blessed with “meeting” so many wonderful women via Twitter through following and commenting on your tweets. I’m also very thankful to have met you in person, and for the conversations we have had. You are truly an inspiration! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  76. Dana says:

    I appreciate your effort to spread political updates. Please continue. I basically turn on my computer to read your blog and your twitter account. Keep up the good work.

  77. DebbS(from Minnesota) says:

    I always feel uplifted after reading a blog post from wonderful Susan! I love cooking a recipe knowing so many others have joyfully prepared the same thing! Deep appreciation 💓

  78. Annette Carrozzo says:

    Hello from California, Susan!
    I really enjoy your beautiful newsletter every month. When I see you’ve written, I make some tea and sit to enjoy your sweet stories. I definitely teared up this morning while reading that sweet and heartbreaking story. What a blessing to that couple that they found each other after so much loss. It’s raining and cold here today and we’re enjoying being tucked in, reading, doing embroidery, and making Italian Wedding Soup.

  79. Amy Turner says:

    Happy Sunday Susan!
    Thank you for your sweet letter to all us Kindred Spirits! What a joy to hear from you every month. You are such an encouragement to me to live a full and joyful life. I live in Michigan and we have a beautiful blanket of snow on the ground and the trees look like they are covered in white frosting. Most people I speak to are looking forward to the change in seasons, but, I am learning through your example, to be present in the moment and enjoy each season’s beauty. I love British television, thanks to my mom and Agatha Christie, so I will definitely check out the Detectorists. Thanks for the suggestion. Love and Hugs!

  80. Cheryl says:

    Love is grand ❤️ It will always find a way! You are such an inspiration Susan! Thank you for sharing the adventure with us!

  81. Sharon Silva says:

    I’m late to this Valentine’s Party! What a beautiful story! Lisa Hay told me all about Karen when we met in Texas last year. I remember getting teary just listening to Lisa describe how special Karen was. Thank you for sharing! Wish I could go to the tea in MA, but we’ll be on our way to Disney World with our daughter and her hubby. Hopefully, there will be more such gatherings in the near future. Blessings to you and Joe
    Love and Friendship,

  82. Virgi says:

    Luv your site! What a beautiful store about Karen and Doreen. Thank you brightening my day. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  83. Dana Abend says:

    I just love all your work and talent!

  84. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    Full disclosure: I already left another comment ‘way back in the thread.

    But I just keep thinking about something so thought I’d ask. You’ve mentioned you and Joe are on diff sleep schedules; I think you’ve always been an early riser from what I recall of what you’ve written. How do you guys work this out, one awake while the other sleeps? I grew up in a household where everybody went to bed at the same time each night, then woke up at the same time the next morning. Was ‘a rare day in May’ that Dad would make pancakes on Sunday so that Mom had at least ONE morning where she could stay cozy in bed and not have to be taking charge, seeing to everyone else’s breakfast and sack lunches for school. My parents ran a tight ship, and there was no guesswork for a kid in knowing what time which next thing would occur. Carpool, homework, meals, etc. No deviation in the day-to-day organization of a day.

    In the name of healthier living in 2020 for myself (ala your current eating plan; I’ve paid attention to your ‘diet’, Susan!), I’m TRYING to change, by going to bed earlier like my friend who gets up at 4:30-5am and is sound asleep by 9pm (sometimes, she says, nodding off as early as 7:30pm). She’s single; can organize her days and nights to her own liking. But it’s a little hard to try to retire early for the night when, like me, you’ve got a newly-retired husband ‘paddling’/puttering around in the home until midnight or beyond. (I’m a light sleeper.)

    If you’re ever first to bed, considering your early-morning start, do you wear earplugs? I’ve been thinking of earplugs. Of course I realize something helpful is that you have a good-sized house on more than one floor. Unfortunately, my home is a small ‘box’. And the old dry wood floors are very creaky/noisy.

    Are you like Martha Stewart who once said she only gets 4 hrs of sleep per night? Seems personal/too personal to discuss, but I swear I don’t know anybody right now, at least in my age group, who is getting adequate, restorative sleep, which includes me. “Sleep” seems to be a topic of the moment (other than politics [we all have too much on our minds]…).

    If I have to keep trying to adhere to my husband’s late-night schedule (I’m hoping the novelty of it will wear off; I know he’s enjoying the absence right now of an alarm clock), I’m gonna have to take a nap during the day. (Actually, I had a biology teacher in high school who said there’s nothing wrong with that; put your feet up for even 20 minutes in an afternoon. Re-charge.) But, just curious, Susan. You seem to live a lot more sensibly than I do. I envy your early, quiet mornings. It’s good ‘me’ time. And you can capture the best part of daytime/daylight when not sleeping in so late in the a.m.

    PS: Do you take your walk to the sea about the same time every day? What do you find is the best time of day to be getting in that kind of exercise? I know you’re often weather-dependent. I had a doctor once tell me that he felt 3pm for a walk was optimal (to promote better sleep).

    Health and wellness; it’s everything!

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone has a personal sleep clock and they seem to be as different as we are. Night people can not FUNCTION any other way, and I get that because I couldn’t function if somebody made me stay up to 2 am! And Joe and I have learned to like it, because everyone deserves a little alone time. Joe gets his at night, and I get mine in the morning. I feel fine on 6 hours sleep, but I usually go for 7! I’ve never been a person who can sleep until 10 am. Eeeek. Yet my girlfriend visiting right now does that very thing…it’s her happy spot. She stays up late. Joe wears earplugs sometimes … so I have to shake him when I take him his tea in the morning! LOL, and we live in the quietest place in the world. But he likes them! Everyone has to do what comes naturally to them is what I think. I like to walk in the morning. . . but I have to WAIT till Joe gets going. So we usually go around 10 am … Health and Wellness to you Vicki!

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Thank you for replying when you’ve got like 2300 commenters. It really helps me to know what others do. I just read a VERY good article with advice from a neuroscientist for warding off older-age dementia, which is: Have a consistent daily sleeping schedule. Be excited every day. Do 10 minutes of social activity daily. Exercise every day. Smile. (Smiling ‘releases happiness-causing chemicals…giving your overall brain health a positive boost…your smile doubles as a natural anti-depressant, while the endorphins act as natural pain relievers’ … per Dr. Sabina Brennan; have no idea who she is, but I’m taking these tips to heart!)

  85. Fiona Hart says:

    I owe you such a long letter, your work has helped me through the most difficult of times, and has helped me retrieve my true happy self. You fill me with energy and ideas, and help me to add something to each day which I thought had been lost. Just this week, I inherited some pot holders and tray cloths which had belonged to my grandmother and great aunt- you and your fans are the only people I know who would appreciate what that means! I’ll always be an avid and grateful reader.

  86. Irene from Valley City says:

    Hi, Susan,
    Hope you had a great weekend celebration. Will share the beautiful Love bookmark with my 1st grade granddaughter, Elizabeth. She is a prolific reader and loves you. Last week she found my copy of Fine Romance and I think she took it over!! She wants to learn cursive so she can write “fancy like Susan”.
    Happy Valentine’s Day.

    • sbranch says:

      She will love my new Christmas Book . . . it’s going to be good for Children and Big People too!

      • mary spring says:

        …hi Susan…’just reading “comments this morning” and saw this !!… I can’t tell you how excited I am that you are working on a new Christmas book !!! <3 … btw, I really enjoyed this post… I remember Karen back several years ago as one of your first readers…she was so special and kind ! also'happy for Doreen and her new found love !… I hope you and Joe have a wonderful Valentine's Day …with lots of love, as always…

  87. Shirley Forsm as n says:

    What a lovely story about Karen and a legacy of of love that keeps on burning brightly.

  88. Valorie Veld says:

    That was a beautiful story about Karen. So much love. My heart longs for a friend like that. Running my own Montessori preschool/kindergarten takes a good deal of my attention. So much contentment in friendships. Thank you for the recipes and giveaways. Your blog always brings a smile to my heart.

  89. Ava lewis says:

    Dear Susan, this may be the first time I’ve left a reply, I just want to say how much I enjoy
    Willard, when I read it I feel like I’m almost transported to the places you visit and write
    about, I love your cat and wish I could be near him like you are, your free clicks for book
    Marks I adore, I’m not sure I have access to your items that are for sale but if I ever saw one
    Of your mugs I would just have to buy it, thank you for being a breath of fresh air to so many
    admirers including myself, I look at my calendar everyday and just try and absorb all the
    great information, have a blessed day and happy painting

  90. Marina Datthyn says:

    Hi Susan! I hope it’s not too late to enter for the mug giveaway! I was waiting to look through your blogpost until I could look at it on my computer (because they’re too fun to look at on my little phone screen!) Too many exclamation points! <3

  91. Sharon from AB Canada says:

    What a beautiful love story. Thank you for the warning to grab a kleenex. It was needed.
    Happy Anniversary and I hope you have a beautiful Valentine’s Day.

  92. Thank you dear Susan for posting that love story!! I’m so happy for them! Yes life has its twists and turns and you never know what is just around the corner! I am turning 84 this March and my life has been full of miracles not expected but greatly loved! I can’t get down in my garden and dig and plant and weed all day like I used to but in January all the seed catalogs come and I read them like novels haha! A true gardener always plants seeds with the faith that they will grow , flower or bear fruit for another season! I liken that to daily life as well! Thanks for spreading the love ,laughter and hope in your blog and books! I look forward to your new one! 💕💕Norleen

  93. Brenda Bathurst says:

    What a beautiful love story, thankyou for sharing. Its always exciting to have the opportunity to win something so lovely from you Susan. Be well.

  94. barbara lassiter says:

    I was just getting ready to address some Valentine cards I have been creating for family and friends and thought I should check your blog and see what’s going on. I’m so glad I did because this love story is perfect for the day. When you’re reading a good love story in a book, you think how can the author create a story like this from their imagination! And then here is this story from real life and it’s even more wonderful! Life is beautiful! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  95. Jane says:

    So grateful for your beautiful craft…. stories of love, inspiration and friendship. Perhaps you could hold an event in the beautiful berkshires of Masssachusetts sometime soon.

  96. jan lane says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Susan and all of our friends on this Blog. I am looking forward to Spring which will hopefully be just around the corner.

    Thank you for taking time out by sending us these messages which are always so positive and creative. I look forward to them as they brighten my world.

  97. Ruth Bollman says:

    What a love story! No Kleenex necessary. Just happy tears!
    Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan! Boy, that cheesecake with strawberries looked awful yummy (posted on IG).
    Greetings from Ohio (The Inklings)
    Ruth Bollman

  98. Rosie from Illinois says:

    Haven’t said much in the last couple of years, but I always check in and catch up regularly. Not wanting to bring folks down, but yesterday (8th) was the third year “anniversary” of my dear Hubby’s passing, and I “had a sad.” So it was interesting to find you telling Karen’s story, as well as her husband’s, which led into Doreen and Greg’s story – cancer was what my husband had as well. Cheered me up some, so thanks so much! Hugs and love – oh, and I love ♥ love ♥ love red coffee cups, haha! 😀

  99. Lori Montgomery says:

    Dear Susan,

    What a lovely blog post! I love your Jack finger puppet. So cute. Here’s wishing you a Happy Valentines Day!

    ❤️ Lori

  100. Janice, in Eastern Washington says:

    Beautiful post, as usual. Thank you for sharing with us.

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