HOMEWARD BOUND

rms_queen_mary_vintage_passenger_ship_sticker-p217215363289977330en7l1_216Good morning! By the time some of you read this, I will likely be standing in line at the ships doctor to get an injection for seasickness. Yes! The ships doctor! We leave today! And word on the street is that we are, eeeek, going into 50mph gale winds and high seas, and all that other kind of wording that sends stabs of trepidation into my stomach. HOWEVER, onward and upward, off we go full speed ahead! Pray for us! Homeward Bound!👏

I got up early this morning to say good bye and because I just couldn’t leave without a quick explanation of what’s going on with my last post. Right now, there are 969 comments in moderation waiting for me to read! Shocking number! So far I’ve been able to read and comment on almost the same number, 921.  Some of you that have written may wonder what has happened to your comment and I didn’t want to go off without explaining. I’m going to have to close my computer this morning, and it’s very likely it won’t work for me again until we get back home, which is a couple of days after Thanksgiving. They say there is “Internet Service” on the ship, but if there is, it’s from 1865 and only 3 people can be on at one time ~ is my experience of shipboard Internet. It also may seem to some that I pick and choose which comments to answer, but the reason it might look that way is because the comments show up, last ones, first. So if I go to bed with 300 comments waiting, when I wake up, those 300 comments are at the bottom, and 400 more are on top of them, so I just go with whatever is in front of me and work down until until I can’t anymore (because of things like having to sleep, or packing, or the frown on Joe’s face when he sees me on the computer for many hours). So that’s the situation right now. No one has been deleted, those that don’t see your comments, are still in “moderation.” And that will be true for the comments you leave on this post too, I probably won’t see them until I get home ~ and by then it will be time to get the Christmas tree, and write a new Holiday Willard, and all of this will be old news.cruis-boat-art

I will also add, in case you decide to read the comments, it’s become a much bigger discussion than I ever imagined, most of the comments are wonderful. Some aren’t so wonderful. Be careful of your heart. I suggest you go watch an old movie or cook something afterward to get rid of political cobwebs. I tried, with every good intention, to talk about how Americans are being divided, that no matter who is president, nothing seems to change, except things get worse for the middle class. I tried to say we are all upset about the direction things are going, not just one side or the other. I pointed out it didn’t used to be like this, we used to be able to disagree, and still like each other. Divide and conquer. United we stand. These are truisms to take to heart.

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But as you’ll see, a few Girlfriends, who have been longtime readers of mine, even good friends, have “unfriended” me because I talked about election specifics. I probably made a mistake by telling who I voted for and why I chose her over the other guy. I was naive. I thought I could do that in this country, especially because of our years together, and all we have in common, and everyone would still like me. Don’t worry, I keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness, I blow the rest away…Girlfriends

My cup, I want you to know, is more than half full. From BOTH SIDES, both Republicans and Democrats, and those that are neither (like myself, by the way, a long time registered Independent), have sent supportive messages for which I am SO grateful. It does hurt to have people so mad at me. Some are upset because they considered this blog their “happy place” and for them I have ruined it by inserting politics. I’m sorry for that. I don’t intend to keep this up when I get home, but I saw something, like when I go on a walk, or make a pie, that I wanted to share with my girlfriends. I’m not asking for us to agree on everything, I’m asking us to look at what is happening to us.  Families and old friends are being torn apart. Its wrong.

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The photos of the women I put in that post are there to show how much we have in common. If you found out one of them was a Democrat or a Republican, would you instantly hate them?  Thank goodness that has never been part of my agenda.  I think we girls eating applesAmericans are amazing, all of us, and it breaks my heart to see what’s happened in the last 25 years. While we have been goaded into hating each other by the rich and powerful in this country, by corporate media, fake news and shock jocks, lobbyists, and many of our government leaders, the powers that be have been getting away with murder. Follow the money, who is profiting from us not getting along? It certainly isn’t us. We’ve been dragged into two wars (unpaid for, on our backs, they made millions maybe even billions on that war), they have sent our jobs overseas, turned our small towns into ghost towns, let our bridges fall down, and let the banks run away with our tax money, our homes, our retirements. They have decimated the middle class. And where has all that money gone? Look how many billionaires there are now. Now, they want to get rid of health care, because the insurance industry, the drug industry can’t make as much money on us, that IS the reason. It’s not perfect, what we have, but neither was social security when it started. It gets tweaked. But the Congress WON’T do it. They want it to fail. And it’s OUR money. Watch how they keep taking things away from us in order to please the corporation lobbyists. And, while we argue among ourselves, they line their pockets with our tax money. It’s a true thing. But some people, for some reason I cannot fathom, do not want to hear it, bigtime. Hence, we have some rather vitriolic responses.img_7561

I am sorry from the bottom of my heart if I have offended anyone. Truly I am. I just thought I would shine my little light on this thing I am seeing. In many countries across this planet we all share, citizens are being put into prison and killed, simply for disagreeing with the people in power. It could happen here. This anger, blaming and vitriol is the first step. Demonizing the press? Isn’t that like Nazi Germany? Next comes … what? Violence? Is that really where we want to go as a nation? Is that our vision for our children? If someone tells you your neighbor is no good, tell them to take a flying hike off a rolling donut. K? OK, I’m done. That’s all I wanted to say. I love you, I’m sorry for anyone that I hurt with this. You’ll never know how much in my heart I want to help. That desire has been with me since I was five years old and I can’t help it. 💞 Wish me luck on this rock and roll of a ship. I still have lots of England I can’t wait to share with you when I get home. And Happy Thanksgiving!  May your hearts be filled with the spirit of this lovely season we are about to embark upon. gifts

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PS. The sweet letters in this post are from children who wrote me after their teacher read the story I wrote about a Martha’s Vineyard woman who lived in the 1800s named Nancy Luce . . . in case you were wondering.

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576 Responses to HOMEWARD BOUND

  1. Dana says:

    Dear Susan, I have watched in utter disbelief as people work so hard to tear us apart as a nation. We have a new president-elect, our constitutional system of 229 years has worked once again to achieve a fair, free, and open election process, and yet the powers-that-be (the media and their handmaidens in the rent-a-mobs) are working overtime to destroy an administration that hasn’t even started yet. You are right when you say that the middle class is being undermined and our pockets are being emptied out. And we are pitted against each other as if our family and friends are the enemy, and many, many people believe that to be so. We have family members who no longer speak to us because of political differences (and refuse all attempts on our part to reconcile). So we think differently! So what else is new?? There are so many elements of our culture that have been destroyed that the best we can do is escape into our sweet old movies, good books, charming and romantic homes, food, furnishings, art, pets, the natural world around us, and loved ones who can forget about the differences and remember why we loved each other in the first place. I agree with the follow-the-money theory. It always leads to the answer. If only more of us could see behind the curtain, keep a firm grip on our brains and wallets, and put up a strong defense against the cultural elements that are tearing us apart. It isn’t right vs left, it’s the people vs the elites. I wish you hadn’t mentioned who you voted for and I know you regret doing so. I don’t like you less for it, though! I hope you don’t like me less for feeling differently. I want the sun to come up on our country, and a new morning of security and prosperity dawn for all of us. Happy Thanksgiving and hope you don’t get seasick! Safe travels, and thank you for sharing everything with us.

    • sbranch says:

      Well said Dana!

      • lynn says:

        You may know that during the ‘civil war’ (1861-65) families were also divided and didn’t talk with each other over whose side was right and wrong. Nothing new here today.

        • sbranch says:

          The only thing new today is social media and 24-7 news media pushing it even harder, fanning the flames, blaming cultures, religions, parts of the country, and of course that there are now about 300 million guns in this country. A little more rocky than back then.

  2. Thank you Susan for saying what needed to be said. You did it in a very nice way. No one should have been offended by it. Unfortunately, there are those among us who do get offended and they are usually on the right. I agree with everything you said. Keep up the good work girl….we need YOU!;-)
    Maryellen

    • Marilyn (Ohio) says:

      Maryellen, it really wasn’t necessary to point out the offended ones are usually “on the right”….that’s where I am, & I’m not offended. I love a good, intelligent discussion on issues. I think the “left” has their own problems with feeling offended, so there we are…agreeing to disagree!

  3. Jennie says:

    Hi Susan, Are there any plans to write a new book based on this latest trip to Great Britain? Would love to see your itinerary chronicled along with photographs and artwork in book form! I think you are a terrific travel journalist. Safe travels.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jennie . . . after Christmas I’ll start thinking of what to do next. I kept a diary of the trip, we’ll just see…sometimes I think I might like to do a book about HOME…

      • Beth L. says:

        PANCAKES, Susan!!!
        Your Pancake Book at long last…PLEEEEZE!
        You can throw in some English/Scottish Breakfasts too but there’s nothing more COMFORTING than Pancakes and thick-sliced bacon!!!
        Ohh how we need PANCAKES to recover these days!!!

      • Christie says:

        Did I hear you say ‘I might like to do a book’? YAY!!!

      • Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

        I would love to see a travel companion to A Fine Romance. Interest is high since you are just returning from your trip. A book about Home would be lovely a lovely addition as well!

        • Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

          Did I mention it would be lovely? Why yes, twice, I believe! Everytime I think I have proofread thoroughly,well, see for yourself!

      • Charissa says:

        I lost my response. It was probably user error;), but sorry if I posted it twice… Perfect post and great sentiments on summarizing your thoughts. You are my hero xoxo

        • sbranch says:

          I think the computer finally had enough while we were at sea, now we’re home, it should soon get back to it’s normal abnormalities!

      • Charissa says:

        A book! a book! any book! meditation cd! or whatever your little heart desires, will be the right thing for me xoxoxo

  4. Annie in IL says:

    You mentioned a while back that when you got home you were going to start watching ‘Downton’ all over again. In late summer, I did just that. Taking the episodes slowly and savoring. I’m just up to Season Three right now. In July of 2017 we will be going to England again and will visit Highclere. I can hardly wait! Loved your picture of just you and “Downton’. I know returning home is bittersweet. I have so much enjoyed all your pictures and ‘tweets’.

  5. Sharon C. says:

    Hi Susan! I hope you and Joe are having a good return trip! You are entitled to speak your mind on your blog! I don’t understand why people get themselves so upset. Thank you for what you do–always makes my world brighter! I made your bean soup recipe from Heart of the Home last night–my husband loves that one!

  6. Mary says:

    I come to your blog routinely and I will keep coming here. The reason—twenty years ago when my life was blue I found your first cookbook in a bargain bin at my local bookstore. You, like other favorite authors of mine, gave me a window to a bright place. And that bright place gave me hope when things were dark. And right now, things are dark again. Thank you for what you have written and what you will write, for what you have drawn and will draw, for the good you have done and continue to do in the world.

  7. Merry K. from Alabama says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just want to wish you as many happy days you can have and want. You deserve them.
    We all do.
    *HUGS*
    -Merry K.

  8. Becky says:

    Bless your heart Susan and Happy Thanksgiving. Becky in OK

  9. Sue says:

    What I don’t understand is how anyone could take offense at your choice and explanation when we have been bombarded with offensive remarks for a year and a half. The division and demonization started and ended with one side. I wouldn’t worry about that side’s “hurt feelings” since hurting feeling of others didn’t seem to bother them before.

    • Barbara A Case IN says:

      Perhaps too many people have chips on their shoulders…..I don’t know what is going on……it is so sad. Are there enough of us to have any influence? All us boomers…we were taught to respect others….be kind to one another. Maybe we should start a flood of randoms acts of kindness. Everyday do at least one a day…if you don’t get out much make a special trip. I’m afraid I feel like TV is to blame for a lot of the disrespectful things you see and hear from kids. I feel at such a loss. Sorry just airing my frustration . Luv’ u all !

      • sbranch says:

        Two years of even more divisive talk than usual probably didn’t help us much … two years of running for a four year term, and in two years, do they start it all over again? Can we take it? Other countries have much shorter election seasons, only a few months, maybe we should look to that.

        • Marilyn (Ohio) says:

          Susan, that’s my fear…as soon as the inauguration is over, all the predictions (?) & discussions (?) will start all over again! Please give us a break, media & politicians!!! 😉

          • sbranch says:

            It’s going on BEFORE the inauguration. It’s the game they play. I agree Marilyn, give us a break!

    • Marilyn (Ohio) says:

      I think there’s probably enough “blame” to go around on both sides, don’t you?

      • sbranch says:

        It’s the overt racism that upsets most of us I think, the tone has been ramped up, among other things. “Go back to your own country, Trump is president now.” How scared so many people must feel now, including American citizens, because of their color, or gender.

        • Anne Miller says:

          Yes, Susan, it’s the racism, so offensive, so hurtful and while President-elect Trump didn’t create it, his campaign has “unleashed it.” I’m Heartbroken. So grateful for your willingness to express your true feelings AND as always, your LIGHT. “live light, travel light, spread the light, be the light. Thank you, Miss Beautiful Light.

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you Anne! I know how you feel . . . but buck up, we still got us, and where there’s us, there’s hope!

  10. Becki Hardman says:

    This has nothing to do with anything but I have just been reading your Christmas From The Heart Of The Home book and it’s making me happy.
    I needed happy. Thanks!!

  11. KellyV says:

    I am such a fangirl. I love your books and actually lived in magical SLO from 73-75. I wanted to stay. I loved it there. I even applied at Warehouse Sound Co. but, alas, I had no true marketable skills back then. Your Fairy Tale Girl took me back to that time when I was young and a sandwich at the Network made my day.

    Your last two posts were like sunshine on my sad and frightened soul. Brave girl.

    Thank you for being you, for being brave, for being kind.

  12. Barbara Seibert says:

    Love the idea of a book about Home. Please that would be lovely, some photos of Holy Oak maybe?

  13. Dawn says:

    You go girl! I absolutely loved what you wrote. After all we live in the USA ..need I say more.

  14. Marty from NYC says:

    By now, your thanksgiving is almost underway. You will have to tell us how it was celebrated on the ship! I cannot imagine, despite all of your adventures over the last few months, anything more welcoming than your own home on Saturday.
    Everyone has said almost anything that I could say, so all I will add is thanks for being you and being willing to stand by the consequences, some inevitable and some unforeseen. We are good people in a great land and our parents and grandparents suffered many hardships to bring us to this day. I hope that we will all have the courage, grace and support of others to do what needs to be done for the next generations. With love to you, Joe and Kitty Jack ( whom I suspect will totally ignore you for your first 10 minutes home!) Marty

    • sbranch says:

      You are so right. We are good people in a great land, all of us! xoxo Yes, I will probably have to wheedle Jack into liking me again!

  15. Gwyn Whelband says:

    Many, many hugs, Susan, it hurts me to see that people hurt you. Huzzah for your courage to speak from your heart, boo to the people who cannot cope with your honesty and grace and peace to them for they surely need it! Grace and peace to you my friend, may your homecoming be blessed, and your hearth be warm. Here in Australia many of us have been following your election and are very concerned about its ramifications for us and for the rest of the world, for what happens in the US doesn’t stay in the US, it dominos all over the world!
    I so appreciate your writings and pray that heart stays whole through all this turmoil.
    More hugs,
    Gwyn from Canberra Aus. 😘

  16. Leslie Scutellaro aka Mrs. S. says:

    P.S. Our national motto, on every coin, is “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one).

  17. Gina P. from NY says:

    Susan:

    It’s your blog, and you are entitled to speak your mind. If there are those who were offended, angry, or judgmental, they don’t need to come back here… While we all have different opinions and perceptions, that’s what makes this country so great – that we are allowed to have them. There is no way I would ever abandon you Sue, no matter if we agree and disagree, this girlfriend will be here always…

    Safe travels,

    Gina

  18. Susan says:

    Much Love to you! I was thrilled to hear what you said, a bit surprised at first but then delighted! Thank you on this Thanksgiving Day and Everyday for being you and sharing all that you share with the world!!!!

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Susan,
    I read your recent posts and some of the comments. I so envy your passion. This election left me feeling emotionless. Having said that, I loved that people felt passionate about either candidate. I usually do, but not this time. The news made me doubt the candidates and my ability to choose. I am 68 years old and have always been confident in the candidate I supported. I just don’t know what to think anymore. Yet, I totally respect your choice and you voicing what you believe. As I said, I envy your passion. This is America and you have every right to voice your beliefs. You are a writer and of course you need to express yourself in writing about your views. Just because you want to vote for someone certainly doesn’t change the way I feel about your blog, books and talent. By the way my best friend and I argue about politics all the time, it doesn’t mean that if she disagrees with me, I am not going to still be her girlfriend. And Susan, I feel the same way about you.
    Karen

    • sbranch says:

      It’s just really hard to get the truth any more. Seems you can run on one set of rules, then change them when you win. So how are we to know what we’re getting? And I feel the same about you Karen, thank you so much!

  20. Janette J. says:

    Bless you, Susan for your courage. I wrote back immediately, scathing Mr T., but deleted before posting so as to save myself from being riled even more. Sorry you’ve lost “friends”, but glad you’ve kept your Friends ;). I’m still genuinely puzzled about the overlooking by so many Christian churches of locker room talk. Losin’ the faith here. Still love your blog and it’s still a safe haven for me. I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving!

  21. Anna Morey says:

    So very glad that you wrote about what is happening in this country-thank you for taking that chance. I have been reading and buying your books, stickers, material since your beginning. It is important for an author of your quality to talk about what is real as well as what is happy. Bravo!!

  22. Sandra Flagg says:

    Where is the “Days from the Heart of the Home” diary, that I have bought for many years from you? I can not seem to find it on your web site.

  23. Angie says:

    I am so excited you are home, or nearly so. I look forward to all your lovely Xmas ideas and pictures. You are an inspiration. PLEASE do not feel like you need to respond to every comment. As a reader, I don’t expect that.
    Maybe you can add a HEART or some cute little symbol, we click on to let you know we read and/or like your blog. That is a High Tech solution from a Low Tech reader.
    Welcome home.

  24. Julie says:

    People tell me that no one belongs on a pedestal but I cannot get you down, especially after sharing your thoughts on this election. Thank you for having the courage to share – I could not agree with you more. You nailed it.
    And whatever else you chose to write about on your blog will always be well received by me for I value and cherish the things that come out of that wonderful & intelligent brain of yours, hence, the reason I have followed your blog, received your snail mail newsletters way back when, and bought all of your books for years. Keep up the good work and the goodness that you bring to the world.

  25. Lindy says:

    Susan, I appreciate /love that you felt close enough to all of us that only know you through your blogs of “you can make it happen”, your art written and with paints, but I am one of your friends that was sad from your political voice… not for whom you chose to cast your vote, but that “my” safe blog had gone political. Even with our family, that I adore, I have learned when and how to express my differences (most of the time). ALL the candidates were flawed… men that say crude things about women ( have you heard the jokes that some Sr./elderly men tell)?NOT funny!!! Lies and not realizing that there are a lot of people that WANT the hope of jobs and not only handouts. NOT funny!!! Being a public figure, like you… Susan Branch ( your brand) carries pluses and minuses. I love and respect your work. I don’t look at your blog , buy your art and share the quotes you give us for political rants or raves. Our prayer is our USA will get behind our leaders/country. I have heard the words “WE” more than I ever did in 8 years of “I”. In prayer and plan to support our military. The term “uneducated” was bantered around after the election. I can assure you that many educated ( with enough pedigree) to fill this page voted for someone you or I didn’t think the best choice as president. We all have our passions & opinions, but sometimes better to only share with your hairdresser:) I feel safe there.

    • sbranch says:

      But my last post was about Thanksgiving, and wasn’t political, so I’m wondering why you chose to go here? I think everyone cares, and has an opinion to express. Blessings on you and yours.

  26. Kit says:

    Nice to have you back! You are sorely needed by all of us! Rest up and take care. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip. Hugs, Kit

  27. Nancy McCarty says:

    Like The Reverend Mother told Fraulein Maria, “You have to live the life you were born to live” So you do that Susan, and know you are loved!! XOXO

  28. Barbara says:

    We have just finished our supper of a plate of “Turkey in the Straw” from your Autumn book. I make it throughout the year but it’s especially good with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I have your Christmas book out to read later this evening as inspiration for the holidays ahead. I’ve not commented before but want you to know how much I love your writings, musings , and artwork. It is familiar and a comfort.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. I can’t help but believe that there is more that unites us than divides us.

    • sbranch says:

      You’re a sweetheart to tell me Barbara! And I couldn’t agree with you more, much more that unites than divides, wish we could concentrate on those things a bit more, for the welfare of our country, and for US! xoxo

  29. Carol Lichwala says:

    Welcome Home!! I hope you will take the next few weeks adding up to Christmas to take good care of yourself. I knew Jack would be so happy to see you.
    I love the photos you take of your beautiful home all decorated for Christmas.
    Love and Hugs to you Dear Susan.

  30. Ilona Taylor says:

    Welcome home, Susan! Just catching up on your posts… I am sure your kitties are thrilled you’re home. We were off visiting my sweet step-daughter for Thanksgiving and ours missed us a lot. She’s made it clear that “sitters” just don’t cut it. 🙂 Love the letters from the kids! Thank you for sharing them! Have a quiet and relaxing Sunday! Wanted to tell you that since all the lovely pics you allowed us to see, I’ve been pondering ways to add some bunting to my life! Absolutely loved what you shared of your travels and your fun and your heart with us – so kind of you!! Thank you! Sending you a hug!

  31. Jill says:

    Love you, Susan. Thank you for your philosophy and your heart. Much love and hope. ❤️

  32. Karen England says:

    I love you. Please always feel you can tell me what’s on your mind and heart. I may not agree or I may. I will tell you what’s on my heart and mind too when asked. You may not agree or you may. That’s how it works. Doesn’t change how much you bless me by sharing your happy genes.

  33. Gwen says:

    My mom has set out your books for the holidays every Christmas since I can remember. Now that I have my own home, I’m getting ready for December and setting out my own copies on the coffee table to enjoy–and started thinking, wondering what you were up to, and ended up here, on this post, and it touched me.

    Without getting too specific, I work as an organizer trying to fight back against corporate greed and help folks get together and try to stand up for their communities, their kids’ right to a good education, their right to live with dignity. It means the world that you’d take the risk of explaining what you believe in and use your influence to push folks to imagine making decisions that will allow our communities inclusive and beautiful and just. Don’t apologize!

    It’s brave, and the fact that some people may not be able to deal with it quite yet reflects poorly on them, not you.

  34. Eileen says:

    Season greetings to you, Susan. Hope that by now you are safely Home.
    I love all your books, some I have reread many times and was thrilled to meet you on your book tour this summer in N.C. In your recent blog you included your political views of this recent election. Your certainly have the right to state your opinions, it is your blog. Your sincerity came through and I respect that. However I was very surprised that politics entered into your blog. I wish it had not.
    Susan, I would never befriend you, you have given me so much joy over the years, you are a real blessings. So looking forward to more of your books, blogs and please more details of you recent trip.
    Cheers!!

  35. lynn says:

    Dear Susan…this is on the topic of GMO foods….I am about to fry up your lovely looking Blueberry Corn Cakes from Isle of Dreams….when I thought to first research the corn in the Jiffy corn mix….lo and behold, it DOES use GMO corn and I am chagrined….but will still make them anyway as they sound so yummy. But do be aware….THE MIX IS MADE WITH GMO CORN!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Almost (90%) all corn grown in the US is GMO, even “organic” ~ they changed the seed in the 90s ~ so Fritos, corn oil, corn on the cob, etc, etc,, are all GMO! And so much more…you can Google GMO vegetables. GMO foods are banned in the European Union.

  36. Beth Fagundes says:

    I have to skip reading all the comments for now, because I need to be WORKING, but I want to say how thrilling it is to see some of those beautiful letters from the school children are written in cursive handwriting. That blessed my heart big time today!! Good job to their teacher for making that available for them to learn. It is a lost part of education that I think we will be sorry for someday.

  37. Heidi W. says:

    Still love you no matter what! We all have our own opinions, and that’s what they are, opinions. Not wrong, not right. And we should be able to share them with our girlfriends without fear of being judged or “banished”…lol. What you wrote is true and thank you for being honest. Glad your back. Have a wonderful Christmas! Can’t wait to read your future blogs.

    • sbranch says:

      Yeah, good hearts sharing with other good hearts, sharing what we’ve learned, helping each other grow, that’s what womanhood has always been about! Would we FIGHT about which corn pudding is better than the other, fight to the death, cut each other off? Never! I’m not sorry. Thank you Heidi!

  38. Kathy says:

    Oh boy. This was a situation that you just couldn’t win. I refrained from wanting to have any conversation about it. I didn’t care for either one. I never cared for either of them long before this election. I know that annoyed people too. Both sides would get aggravated they couldn’t sway my opinion. I’m too old to keep falling for the same old tactics. And yes, those of us in the middle can be sure we’ll get the short end of the stick. It never fails. I’ve avoided pop culture for years. I don’t find it mentally healthy. I’m very selective which novels I read. There are so many delightful ones that were written up until the 1950s. I’m sorry you received such strong reaction from some. It doesn’t surprise me. Odd with all the PC and antibullying polices it’s never been worse.

  39. Adelia McFall says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I’m a new reader, whose search for ways to steady and uplift myself through these troubled times brought me to you. …Perfect! Wonderfully uplifting, delightful, and with another whole community of kindred souls.

    And I see that your community of Girlfriends faces the same challenge of so many communities in our world now.
    For so many of us, it’s been a painful shock to discover how much the concept of healthy dialogue, and the appreciation for the way our differences enrich us, seems to have been lost, even among those we thought we had everything in common with.

    I guess it should be no surprise that the constant glorification of incivility and sociopathic behavior across all media has actually moved the dial of what is considered normal. Yet this election season and its results has shocked many of us.

    I am grateful for your recent courageous words reminding your readers of the values we all have in common. Reminding us too, that at the birth of our nation and other crucial times in our history, we have vigorously disagreed with each other, and from those exchanges came a far stronger, wiser and more resilient nation.

    I think we face a far graver danger now than we have ever in the past, and our chances for survival depend on our ability to:
    1. Give ourselves compassion, recognizing the shock, pain and anxiety we are in, and taking steps to heal ourselves

    2. Then to respectfully and compassionately hear each other, to hear each other’s pain and dreams/hopes–especially for those we don’t agree with.
    We’ll need to develop our empathic listening to a fine art, and support each other in constantly practicing and modeling it

    3. Come together to reflect until we recognize what the problems actually are, and focusing together on solutions instead of our disagreements.

    While my mind and emotions are trembling, something deep inside me has a calm sureness that there ARE creative and lasting solutions patiently awaiting us below the noisy chaos.

    And in the lovely world & community you have created, Susan, you have the ability to model this. It’s the only hope we have. It’s what sustained people throughout history in dark times: that the islands of light in individuals, families, communities continue to deepen and shine brightly…

    Sorry for LONG comment. I see so much hope and promise in what you do and wanted to support it and you. Feel free to edit as much as you want.
    xoxox Adelia

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to have you here Adelia. These are times that try men’s (and women’s!) souls! But everything will be okay, we are all praying for that. Love your 1,2,3 suggestions…thank you for your thoughtful words. xoxo

  40. lynn says:

    Hi Susan…back again with a quick question: do you use COLORED PENCILS, too, for the outlining of your drawings? I know you use the Rapid-O-Graph pen for your copy, but what about other tools for outlining your drawings in some instances….? Thanks for your info when you can get to it!
    Blessings to you and your for the Christmas season!

    • sbranch says:

      I rarely, if ever, outline. I have done, lately, maybe two small things, outlined in black pen, but other than that, I’ve never outlined. Thank you Lynn! Merry Christmas to you too!

  41. Elizabeth Jackson says:

    Susan,
    You are precious and delightful and indeed an American treasure. I am glad when you share your heart. It is why we all love you with whole and pure hearts. I am glad you vote your conscience. Be true to yourself. Hold on to your beliefs. I, for one, hold you in very high esteem. I wish you were my next door neighbor for I feel like you are a very dear friend. Thanks for helping us see both sides.

  42. Karen D says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you so much for your blog,every bit of it! If nothing else this election has caused ,at least for me, great introspection. It helped me focus in on what really matters to me and what I need to stand up for. I have never been a very political person at all but when I see and hear things that go against all I hold dear in my heart it is frightening.
    I think we all need to continue doing good locally in our own little corner of this beautiful country. Love should be the motivator always,never fear. Fear is a poor foundation for rational,logical,heartfelt decision making.
    Continue your beautiful creative ways. Your blog is made from love. All of us who have read it and your books know your heart is true.
    Have a beautiful every day and thank you again for sharing girlfriend ❤️💕
    With love and hope,
    Karen

  43. Sylvia in Maine says:

    Susan,

    I want to thank you for sharing your opinion with the world. Whether I agree or disagree with someone’s opinion, I always use it as an opportunity to learn and understand more about a situation. It is limiting to only be able to view the world through my eyes. Considering the views and opinions of others helps me to see a situation from multiple angles and get a better “handle” on what is really going on. Thank you again for all you bring to the table! =(^.^)=

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, Sylvia! We all have to face truths sometimes that we might not like to hear, me included of course!!! I don’t like it that Hillary backed the two unpaid wars … but she did, that’s the truth, and I won’t deny it! My dad said once (after we heard about a relative that went to a psychologist and totally lied about everything in his life), it’s one thing to lie to others, it’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax to lie to yourself.

  44. Kelly B. From Pittsburgh says:

    Susan,
    You have said nothing that requires an apology. You expressed your opinion and your true Girlfriends, no matter who they voted for, love you. We’ve been friends for many years and know your ❤️. Thanks for taking us all on another amazing trip, welcome back to your home sweet home on the most wonderful spot on Earth. Enjoy reconnecting with Jack and decorating for Christmas, and after all that, perhaps consider another book of your adventures? As always, thank you for all the magic!

    • sbranch says:

      That is so kind of you to say, it goes with “and with the breath of kindness, we blow the rest away…” Thank you back Kelly! xoxo

  45. Lindy B. says:

    Dear Susan,
    It is truly sad that some people did not have the ability to read the meaningful and heartfelt words you wrote with an open mind and heart. At the age of almost 70 I now fully understand the value and importance of being authentic. If your honesty offended or disappointed the people who wrote negative things to you then they really were not your friends. It is upsetting to lose people by speaking our truth but it is also a deep comfort to our souls to have the friends who give us unconditional love and acceptance. You being you is why you have many friends. Regarding your next project my request is that you write a little book on enjoying the simple and yet exquisite joys in life. I can’t count the number of times I have read a post by you and it has perked me right up. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      It is upsetting Lindy, I won’t pretend it’s not, and I know not everyone is going to agree, just hoping it doesn’t mean The End. Love your idea for a book, there are so many of them, that would be a very fat book! xoxoxo Thank you for your kind words.

  46. Tina says:

    Hello, Susan: If Donald Trump, as he said, could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and still not lose his base, then I want you to know that no matter what you say, I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would not continue to love you and all you stand for. You bring such pleasure and peace to so many lives. Please don’t feel discouraged.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, thank you so much Tina, I really don’t! I keep thinking I’m being a help and that makes even the sad stuff okay. xoxo

  47. Marge says:

    Dearest Susan, I’m an Oklahoma girl who has followed your work for so many years. Your writings and artwork are uplifting and lovely. It’s like reading a smile! Your blog is a sweet gentle reminder of friendship, simpler times, and filled to the brim with happy thoughts! You’ve shared your life and wonderful adventures with us for years allowing us to share in some of the most beautiful places. I’m saddened to hear that you’ve lost followers over sharing your thoughts. Isn’t that what makes America so great is our diversity? We are all privileged in the beautiful country to be able to have our own thoughts , choices, dreams, and aspirations. Isn’t that what we’re all about? So… to me, you’re a gifted, lovely, caring lady. One who brings joy to others through your work. I follow your work because you bring so much joy in your books, and all that you share with us. You’re always kind and smiling and that’s what brings me to buying your books and reading your blog. Your political or religious beliefs are your own, whether someone agrees or disagrees with your own personal beliefs should have no bearing on whether or not you care about someone. Geez… if I stopped shopping at, reading, or avoiding people who didn’t share my exact beliefs…… I’d seriously never be able to leave the house! In this great country of ours we have the “privilege” to choose, the right to vote, the right to free speech. In the grand scheme of things the way we live our lives, the compassion we show to others, and the kindness we share is the legacy we all should be striving for. So, thank you Susan for sharing your gift with us and I look forward to many more books, calendars, artwork and adventures galore! :0)
    ~ Marge ~

  48. Merci says:

    Just home from our Thanksgiving holiday visiting family and friends so just catching up. So sorry you were seasick, I’m sure even though it was fun you are happy to have both feet planted on the ground again. As for your thoughts on where our country is today, bravo to you! You spoke honestly and from your heart, if others can’t understand “agree to disagree” then I believe they have a problem, not you. Continue being Susan, we all love you dearly! Looking forward to your Christmas blogs musings…

  49. CJ Love says:

    I’m still a huge fan, Susan. You can vote for whomever you like and we’ll still be girlfriends =)

  50. Jayne Lind Nelson says:

    Susan, so many of us are hoping you will do a book about your most recent trip. My favorite book so far is Fine Romance because I love the descriptions and photos of your travels. Please consider it. Thanks, Jayne

  51. Amanda Peak says:

    Dear Susan,
    I am reading this late because of the holiday craziness but wanted to suggest that you do a children’s book about Nancy Luce! I know I would love it- also I am glad you shared your election views. I was so upset after Election Day and it was helpful to read your post- you helped express what is so upsetting to so many. It is not only policy but his total disregard for common decency that is so disturbing. Happy new year & think about the Nancy Luce book- also I think you should be artist in residence at Victoria!
    Love from Amanda in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful idea about Nancy Luce, I will keep that in mind Amanda! She is the perfect subject for children! xoxo Thank you!

  52. Ericka says:

    Very well stated, Susan. Holidays had me busy, busy, but I saved every post email and am going through them now. Thank you for sharing this. <3

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