Yours always, HOPE!




When the ‘first flicker’ of creating my blog site, “Living winsomely” entered my heart, I envisioned it to be a site where every writing would be colorful, felicitous, resourceful and filled with beauty, as my whole concept of writing these blogs has been to inspire you,living winsomely my readers, to bring more beauty, joy and winsomeness  into your lives. I stared thinking the other day, about how much strength, beauty and life, HOPE brings to our lives. HOPE changes everything… The hard part of it is, that we usually have to be in a difficult place, or “season” of our life, to really appreciate the powerful gift that lays within this resplendent bestowal. I decided to write this blog on loss and hope, because loss is a part of all of our lives in one way or another...especially peaking its head out during the holidays, as we have such a treasure of golden memories during this festive time, of those we no longer have with us. In this blog, I want to share with you a writing about the loss of a love that only comes once in a lifetime. It is a true story that I wrote, when something magical happened, in facing the loss of my my best friend for 33 years, my mom.beautiful mom I want to  share it with you, because it is a writing of HOPE and when I  was given this gift in my ‘letting go stage of accepting her death,’ it truly changed me inside, bringing a peace I never wanted to leave my soul, and it changed me prodigiously… I will always love this word HOPE. ( But it is so much more than a word,) 🙂 …I look for it everyday in the small things that come about that are in need of its help, but always know I can count on it 100%, when the monumental storms of life hit. Hope never fails!

We all suffer losses everyday, in many forms… relationships, our health, jobs, a miscarriage, financial stability, our beloved pets, a friendship, a dream deep within our hearts, a home or the loss of  ourselves, from being abused.

When we experience loss, there are such a wide range of emotions that flood our soul…we try to “avoid those emotions,” for as long as we possibly can, but they always seem to surface and come out in some other way. (Don’t they?)   (I always have loved the “numb stage”.) 🙂  Someone very wise once told me that when we suffer a deep cut physically upon our bodies, the body goes into a place of numbness and we do not feel the injury’s “real effect and pain”  until later. The human body is built that way…it protects us. In the same way, our minds protect us from our emotions that seem unbearable to allow ourselves to feel. When we do “Feel” and embrace them, the  miraculous gift, that begins to unravel, is the gift of becoming whole again and  healing. I myself would not dare to “feel” loss, alone…that is where my faith comes in. We all have different ways of coping, different beliefs, faiths and tools for accepting and grieving our losses. For me, it has always been my faith in God. (Not to say that at times, it took longer to get to the place to be able to receive the precious gift of hope that comes in our losses, than others.)jim and I When I lost my brother Jim unexpectedly, ( who was also one of my best friends in life,) it took me a lot longer to connect with God and for some reason, I took the elongated way around!  But the HOPE came, then the healing and now instead of sadness and what seemed an endless well of despair,  when I think of Jim, I feel a warmth, love and a joy... I miss him now more than words can say, but  with such a gratitude that I was able to  love someone so deeply, that in loosing them,  I could feel such a magnitude of grief and loss. I thank God for allowing me to have him in my life on this earth  for 52 years, as he was one in a million.  I smile now, (inside and out,)  at all of our treasured memories, (which are many,) and my tears are happy tears, celebrating that I had such a phenomenal person as my big brother, in whom I KNOW I will see again one day. HOPE CHANGES EVERYTHING…

To give you some background for this writing, let me tell you a little bit about my mom and I… We were like two peas in a pod…knew exactly what the other was feeling, thinking, loved to spend time together, were each others confidants, and she taught me so much in life about Love, forgiveness, family, etiquette, cooking,snowmen27 decorating,beautiful kat  joy, fun, makeup, apparel, humor, laughter, truth, unconditional love and acceptance. She was actually the one who introduced me to the Lord , as she had been praying for me , (and all my 6 siblings,) for many, many years. I was blessed beyond words to have  her for my mom and best friend. My mom got married young and started her family early with a beautiful baby girl, then after four  baby boys in a row, (she whispered to the Lord;cathy “I’d like another little baby girl again…these boys are wearing me out.”) 🙂 (Sorry guys…) and low and behold, she had twin baby girls, my sister Kathy and I. (One of us was a BIG surprise as she had no idea when giving birth, she would be delivering two babies into this world, instead of one.) 🙂 It was a happy time for her as we were her special gift from God, fulfilling a place in her heart that she had prayed and longed for. Suddenly and unexpectedly,  my twin died when she was 8 months old and my mom , (as well as our entire family) suffered a tragic loss and went through a very dark time… I was told that It was in loosing my twin, that my mom and I began to form the close bond that we were blessed with in life…bebe 18192She protected me like a mother hen looks after her baby chicks, never wanting to loose her other precious ‘care-package,’ God had just given her. ( Three  years later, she did have one more baby boy,) declaring to the world; “Okay, 8 is enough!” 🙂  ( My baby brother was not only magical, but a true bundle of joy to my mom, family and everyone who knew him, and he still is, )  but that will have to be a whole other story! 🙂

As we enter  into this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, and you are personally going through the loss of a loved one, or a loss of any kind, I hope that “my story” will bestow upon you a ray of hope, and that in some way, you will feel a strength and peace in the midst of your journey and season of loss.

 Yours always, HOPEbeautiful kat2

I will never forget the arduous day that changed my life forever. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, late in the month of June. I drove from Irvine California to Laguna Niguel to visit my folks just like I did a few times each week. I loved going to parents lovely home. Every time I’d open their front door, I would always get that same warm, gregarious feeling.allabaster2 I don’t know if it was because of all the heavenly and familiar aromas cooking and simmering in my mom’s kitchen, (her legendary shriharbormp creole with a ‘southern touch,’ savory brisket stewing together with red potatoes,carrots and onions or  her scrumptious, (secret sauce,)  spaghetti and mouthwatering, “seconds please,”  beef stroganoff.)  Perhaps it was the buoyant and content sounds of laughter, a favorite television show playing,  melodic music wafting from my fathers study upstairs or the voices of one of my 6 siblings, harbor10conversing over a cup of freshly brewed chicory coffee with my mom and dad. All I know is I always got so excited knowing I was going  to my ‘second home.’ I headed upstairs to see my mom as I knew she would be resting. merriment14 Her cozy, southern style, beautiful bedroom had become “the gathering place” for our family since she had been recovering from her illness. Being a southerner and a connoisseur of coastal, daunting yet thrilling, summer lightning storms, (  Southern California did not offer that amenity very often,) 🙂  she always  asked me to put her “Thunderstorm tape” in her boom box beside her bed …she played it over and over again, as it soothed her body and soul. 🙂 ( Twenty-two years later, I find myself listening to that same tape, feeling its magical comfort  each time.) 🙂   Everyday, she looked like a radiant angel, in her pretty nightgown and matching robe, always smiling as she greeted us and asked us about our day… You see, my mom’s whole life was about her family and she was ALWAYS interested in every detail of our lives…each one of us could talk to her about ‘anything,’ and WE DID! 🙂 Even our friends felt the same way!

My dad met me on the stair landing, where he stopped me and spoke the very words my heart had dreaded and feared the most.

“Susan, after your mom’s appointment today, her doctor told me that her cancer has returned and has spread throughout her body. He doesn’t expect her to live beyond six to eight weeks time, though they are going to run more tests.”

All of the hope, faith and confidence I had clung to that her cancer was  healed and gone, deserted  me. I felt as if the wind was knocked out from under my feet, and I truly  believe it was at that moment, that God Himself, filled me with His strength and grace. His arms were holding me on that stairway as I didn’t collapse or run out of the house, screaming in despair.  Without preparation, notice and totally unexpected, I was just told that the best friend I had ever had in my life was going to die. I was flooded with so many fearful and angst emotions. A deep sadness overcame me and I felt that a part of me inside was beginning to die as well. The HOPE was gone. I don’t remember what I said to her that day, (as she had not been told yet.)  I don’t even remember driving home…

merriment13My husband Kit held me close as I shared the news with him that evening. He tried so vehemently to comfort me in every way he knew how, but his loving arms and kind, compassionate, words could not penetrate the pain in my soul. Oh, the awful painI never knew a heart could hold something so massive.


The warm summer days passed. All I remember is  that I was merely functioning. Although brideI was a new bride and should have been feeling blissful joy, and pure felicity with Kit, the man that I had always dreamed of being married to, I felt lifeless. Going to visit my mom , with the knowledge that this time she was not going to recover, I felt empty, helpless, dismayed, fearful and my heart was overwhelmed with anguish, especially because she had not yet been told the full truth. ( Amongst my melange of multifarious emotions,  I TREASURED every moment spent with her, holding on so tightly to everything she said, her smile, touch, the scent of her favorite perfume that she wore everyday, (Carolina Herrera,) not wanting to miss out on even  one moment of the precious time we had left with her.)  I remember the afternoon I sat in my grandmother’s old rocker, caddy-cornered to my mom’s bed. She was sitting up that day, her animated, beautiful brown eyes filled with excitement as she spoke to me in her sweet southern accent about us returning to her home town in South Carolina the upcoming fall.

“Susan, won’t it be wonderful to visit Marion and see all of our cousins this autumn?harbor2 The fall leaves will be so beautiful with bursts of reds, amber and yellows, and the air will be harbor1so crisp and cold. Maybe we’ll get a few thunderstorms while we’re there?  We can drive down to Pawley’s Island and Murrell’s Inlet, see the Spanish moss on the huge old oak trees and eat as much fresh crab and shrimp from the inlet waters as we want.”

My heart was breaking inside as she spoke these words for I knew that this trip would never be. How I hid my pain from her that day, I will never know. (She knew me so well.)

I begged the Lord not to take my mom. I prayed like I had never prayed before for a miracle… (I believed with the faith of a child that God could do anything and I ached for Him to intervene in this paralyzing news my heart kept trying to reject.merriment1 The heaviness in my soul would not lift for somehow,  I knew in my heart, that this time, her cancer was not going to be healed, the way it was the year before or in the way we expected .  I had a knowing, deep down, that the Lord was going to take her home to be with Him and that would be her healing. At other times, when my mom was ill and I felt the fear that the Lord was going to take her home, (her cancer when it first  arrived, and the 90% blockage in the major artery to her heart), He would always assure my heart that it was not her time. This time, He was silent.

My visits to see my mom were much more frequent and more difficult, (yet in a  strange way, a bit  freeing,) now that my dad and the doctors had shared with her how progressively her cancer had returned, spreading throughout her body and that unless God gave us all a miracle, she was not going to live much longer. One of the hardest days of my life, yet now one of my most cherished, was the day my mom and I sat together on her bed talking.IMG_0272  With her captivating and warm smile, ( almost as if she was reliving time, 24 years earlier,)  she told me that she wanted me to have her grandmother’s Haviland rose china, because when I was a little girl, I admired and reveled in its beautiful roses, each time she took it out for special occasions. She cried as she shared how hard it was for her to know that she would never meet my children.merriment18 She and I had always talked about the day that Kit and I would have a little baby girl …’Kathryn Anne’, (named after her of course.) 🙂  She told me that she was so happy for me that God had brought Kit into my life, that he was a great man and that she  truly adored him, and knew I would always be taken care of. Lastly, we both acknowledged that God had given us a bond like no other and what a wondrous and special  blessing it was in both of our lives. Our tears at that moment were endless as we embraced and held each other, allowing our selves to feel the pain and fear of her death, our loss and having to say goodbye,  together.

One evening in the midst of all of the disquieting and daunting  pain and sorrow, Kit asked me to take a drive and get out for a little bit with him. (He is always so thoughtful.) We decided to drive down to Dana Point Harbor. (The place we met, courted, fell in love, and got married, so YOU KNOW it brought great comfort every time we visited it’s maritime charm .)  Upon arriving to this quaint port side community, we drove up to the marina . harbor5There before us were an abundance of admiral boats, tied up at the docks, bobbing up and down from the strong wind and choppy waters. The harbor was astir and alive with all of the summer visitors, bright lights and the sound of musical bands that often entertained during the summer season. I needed and longed for a quiet place where Kit and I could be alone. Kit drove further down the road, and we arrived to the jetty.  This long strand of jagged rocks with the ocean waves  calmly caressing their intricate banks, was perfect.  Kit and I were the only people sitting upon the serene and quiet quai that evening. It truly was the place my soul needed.harbor9 Kit held me so tight as we sat there in silence. It was a bit chilly with the  cool wind blowing off of the ocean,  but we did not care. Together with Kit, yet so terribly alone in my despondency, I looked out into the vast ocean, the grey, damp fog and the darkness. It was then, I cried out to God.


“I need you Lord so much! Please will you speak to my breaking heart.”

Loosing my mother, my dearest friend in life for 33 years was the hardest thing the Lord had ever asked my family or I  to walk through. harbor15 I was so frightened and terrified,  of what life would be like without her. Outside of Him and His power and grace, there was no way that I could go through letting her go. I absolutely, no matter how hard I tried to muster up the faith and BELIEVE we would all be OK without her,  could not surrender her to God.

As we continued to sit on the jetty looking out into the ocean, I saw two brilliant lights together out at sea, looking as if they were floating in mid air. They were the lights upon the main masts of two boats traveling side by side.two lights The darkness and fog hid their forms so that all I could see, were two shining lights nestled together. Suddenly, one of the lights disappeared. I found myself surprisingly impelled to look for the lost light. I searched everywhere to find it, but it was no where to be found. I only beheld the one light.  I felt a stabbing pain in my heart, as the lost light reminded me that soon, my mom would be gone and the ‘fearless duo’ and best friends we had always been throughout my entire life, would no longer exist. In this uncertain and capricious world, she would no longer be beside me to share my heart, laugh, cry and pray with. I would be without her presence for evermore. I became overwhelmed with a sense of devastation and fear, in an even greater amount than I had been feeling since my dad told me the news. I began to speak to the Lord again;

“Why God are you allowing me to feel this horrible pain as I am crying out to you? Where are you Lord? I felt chilled to the bone and so alone… It seemed like God was silent.

The fog began rolling in, becoming more dense.  As I looked out to sea, I could barely see any light at all as the heavy mist continued to thicken. I stopped searching for either light for awhile, very aware of my despairing emotions, until in a sudden moment, I looked up to my left and there to my surprise, adjoined to the shore line, were the two lights together again, beaming ever so brightly. merriment4It was at that moment that a peace, (I had not felt in weeks,) permeated my soul…  I Knew it was Gods presence and I felt the Lord begin to show me and minister to me in a way that changed everything…

This is what I believe He was speaking to my spirit;

” Susan, look. Now the two lights are together again, safely arriving to the shoreline. It was but for a SEASON that you did not see your light that you thought was lost out at sea. Like the fog, hiding from your sight the glowing light out in the ocean, the light was still there….you just could not see it… so it is with your mom’s parting.merriment5 Your mom is only switching places, she will still continue to live, only she will be with me in a new place. It will only be a season of time before you see her again. And Susan, oh what a glorious time of reunion the two of you will have together in heaven.”

With this new revelation, and the peace that had laid rest upon my soul,  my heart felt so much lighter. My spirit embraced a hope it had not known. I felt a new strength to face my days ahead, as hard as they may be. I thanked God over and over for ministering to me as He did, and enjoyed the  HOPE and peace that continued to fill my soul, praying it would never go away.

I  do not believe that it was a coincidence that Kit and I drove to the harbor that particular evening or that God used the ‘lights’ to set my heart free from it’s hopelessness.snomen 19 He knew that I could not bare to loose my closet friend, my mom. Gently, He showed me a new perspective, His perspective and through His mercy, power, grace and kindness, I was able to begin to let her go, with the knowledge that one day, she and I would be together again, and at that time, we would never have to say goodbye again.


It was but a few weeks later when we were all called to my parents home in Laguna Niguel. The day was August 14th, a Wednesday morning that will always be engraved upon my heart. The hospice nurse said that for all purposes, my mom should have died in the midnight hours, but she would not give up, and continued to fight for her life. It was not until the last of her seven children arrived to her bed side, and she had the opportunity to partake in her goodbyes, that she was free to “let us go.”  I remember when all  of us arrived that morning to the house, my father told us, that it was very important that  we each  let my mom know that it was OKAY for her to go. (She needed to hear those words.)   Because of the revelation and HOPE the Lord had given me that night at the harbor, I was ready and able to do just that, truly LET HER GO.

As she and I looked at each other, we both knew with confidence (and I spoke it as she could not) that our goodbye was but only for a season of time and not forever. I told her how much I loved her and would miss her beyond what my words could express, but for her, it would feel like only seconds when we’d all be together again…her yes smiled.  She took her last breath after the last of her seven children said their goodbyes. My father was holding her, and we, her devoted and adoring children, surrounded her as she was laying in her beautiful bed . What a wonderful gift that God gave us all to be with her, as well as with one another, as He took our beloved mother to be with Him.merriment6 She was no longer in pain or sick with cancer, but free and full of joy, already having a marvelous reunion with the Lord, her mother, her little girl,( my twin, Kathy,) her grand parents and all of her loved ones that had gone before her.


I will never forget how God rescued me that chilly summer night… His peace, loving words and the HOPE He bestowed upon my soul and spirit was undeniable.harbor6 His  Hope changed everything. The days were not easy, as grief never is, but there did come a day, I was free of the devastating pain, and instead of that heaviness and mourning, my  heart began to fill up once again with joy and happiness and a grateful heart that I was given such a beautiful gift and stupendous mother and friend  for 33 years of my life. I knew  in my spirit that she was not “gone”, she was alive, just in a different place.I think of her every day, always with a humongous smile or tears of joy, I miss her augustly, but I am assured and looking forward to that reunion day that God so graciously showed me. His wondrous gift of Hope…


Hope never fails…Hope changes everything…Hope is not a word, Hope is God and a very real gift to us, His kids.


PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the graphics or photos, it will display where the picture originated from.

“Angels in Fur Coats.”

 “All God’s Angels come to us disguised.” ~  James Russel Lowell




fountainThese angels are filled with  UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, likened to a bursting fountain that never run dries , a welcoming smiling face when we arrive home everyday, our biggest cheerleader in life, an endless listener and jump at the chance to protect us from all danger, (real or imagined.)  They are the most wonderful co-pilots we could ask for, on long road trips, a true and faithful companion on the gloomiest of days, a  teacher, companion and best friend to our children,  the best medicine that could be subscribed on a sick day and an overflowing fountain5bucket of wonderment, surprise and awe. They bring us more laughter than any classic comedy, are a warm, bundle  of assurance, they love us even when we don’t love ourselves and are more fun to cuddle with than an eiderdown comforter.  These amazing bestowals to our lives are indeed an amazing and very patient  teacher  to us of new languages for they have a unique and captivating vocabulary all their own, are a welcomed sleeping companion, (even when they take up half the bed, ) and the best ‘sound machine” ever… calming our souls more than a babbling creek, the ocean waves or songs of the night birds. They never say “no” when we dress them up in (our human clothing) for the holidays, and motivate us to exercise when we know we should, but really ‘just don’t want to.”  fountain6  Their presence alone lowers our blood pressure, releases the ‘happy endorphins’ within our bodies, reducing our stress and they would gladly give up their lives for the ones they love in a second, if needed. They are a God given gift for those who do not have a child of their own, not minding one bit, being called “your baby, and adore playing the part. 🙂 These grandiose creatures are a constant and steady reminder  with their faithful  devotion and love, that “yes, you are fully accepted,  needed and loved every single day.”fountain4 Their presence creates a warm and cozy home, they make a great photography wall as well as ample, showy and felicitous scrapbooks. They will allow you to dote upon them no matter their mood, are a whimsical melody of  music to your ear and a beautiful site to your eyes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without even taking credit, they are a noble and tangible source of comfort in times of  great loss, a gift to teach us to nurture and love…( and they turn around and give it all back to us, and then some.) These ANGELS may be in disguise but they do not remain anonymous…They freely give you the privilege of  giving them their name,  yet they are known  within our society as the DOG…AKA, doggie,  canine, pooch, hound, tyke, pup or puppy. (and many ‘nick names, I am sure.” 🙂

Cutiepie5 If you are a dog owner and a connoisseur of these miracles on paws, then you have probably already thought of a few things I did not say in my introduction.For each person, their experiences with this beloved creature is very unique and heartfelt…In this vignette, I want to share with you “just a few ways,” in which these little, (and big) guys,  “Rock our world.” In America as well as nationwide. I know that I could pick just one of the above descriptions of what these angels mean to our lives to blog about, because each proclamation is a definition of what Grantham is in our life…I know that many of your have an entire novel you could write on just what your dog(S) mean to you. I have countless friends who are parents of 4, 5, 6 , even 7 of these furry sensations…these friends are rescuers  to an abundance of little lives that would not be present today, if not for their ‘bringing them home and loving them.’ What a wonderful ministry within itself…my highest regards to  those of you who have a heart for taking in and loving all these precious lives. I also hope to reveal to those of you who do not own a dog, that they have indeed touched your life in some way, for they truly are a wonderment, fabulous entertainers and  inspiration to our lives as well as a “hearts wrapped in fur.”


DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNERrose100 “Dogs are miracles with paws.” ~Attributed to Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy “My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet.” ~Edith Wharton                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.” ~George Eliot doggy70

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. “~Ben Williams

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.” ~Gilda Radner

“One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that he doesn’t try to find out why. “~Author “Unknown

angel500“I talk to him when I’m lonesome like; and I’m sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that.”~W. Dayton Wedgefarth

If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. ~Max Eastman, Enjoyment of Laughter

A dog can express more with his tail in seconds than his owner can express with his tongue in hours.”~Author Unknown

doggy71“Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog’s face he gets mad at you? But when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window.” ~Steve Bluestone

Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear. “~Dave Barry

“We have a queen-size bed, and the dog sleeps in the middle. John and I are sort of these little quotation marks on either corner.” ~Rachael Ray

angel508“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”~Roger Caras

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. “~Josh Billings


“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, filling an emptiness we don’t even know we have.”~  Writer Thom Jones

angel501“Whoever said that DIAMONDS are a girls best friend, NEVER OWNED A DOG.” ~ Author unknown

“Once in awhile a dog enters you life and changes EVERYTHING! ” ~ Author Unknown

“No one appreciates the genius of your conversation as the dog does.” ~ Christopher Morely


When you pick up your newspaper or turn the evening news on, every once in awhile , you can be sure to hear of an extraordinary Dog story…You put everything on hold to get to the ending as these stories will undoubtedly bring you hope, laughter, joy, sometimes a lump in your throat and a few tears welling up in your eyes.


Whether your cherished canine(s) are a purebred or a ‘mixed breed,’

  flanders80 mixed breed flanders 81 purebread

rescued from the kennel, or bought as a puppy,flanders 68 rescueflanders 70 litter of puulies

inherited from a friend, a family member or found on a street comer in the rain, flanders 78 inheritflanders 65 rescue to you, YOUR little, (big) guy, will always be one thing for sure….your real life Hero.






brutisMy old pastor used to tell me, “Susan, Graham is just a dog, not a human being.” (Those were fighting words. 🙂 ) He never met Brutis. A vivacious and courageous 7 year old Golden Retriever who has an enormously huge heart for the little ones… One day, a coral snake was sneakily slithering directly towards a child…in seeing this, Brutis jumped up and ran interference, attacking the snake and saving this innocent little life. This bold and gallant dog was bitten by the snake, but was able to get the medical help he needed and after a time of recuperation, Brutis was flown to Los Angeles to receive a National Hero award.


brutis7Neo, an alert, exceedingly intelligent and loving 11 month old Siberian Husky rescued his owner Marci Snead from a life and death situation. Being a diabetic with fibromyalgia and arthritis, she had gone into hypoglycemic shock. Neo, knowing that something was drastically wrong, left her and ran to a near by building, grabbing the attention of a few people who followed him back to his unconscious owner…they called 911 and Marci  was saved…The paramedics commented that they got to Marci in time because of Neo’s call for help! (Seems’ pretty humanistic to me.) 🙂

brutis2Katrina, (Its  ironic, this stunning dog’s name fits perfectly with the timing as well as the life that she so heroically saved.)  A gorgeous Black Labrador saved the life of a drowning man as the flood waters arose after New Orleans horrific hurricane Katrina had devastated their land. After her  brave and ingenious endeavor, she too had to be delivered from the waters by a rescue team . At the Genesis Awards ceremony, she as given a standing ovation. In my book, she gets the most selfless award as she truly did lay her life down for a stranger.

brutis5HERO, (yes, this dogs real name.) This crafty and honorable Golden retriever,  came to the aid of a former soldier, Gareth Jones who was paralyzed.  Hero saw that he was trapped within a bank of mud in his wheel chair and was in need of help to get out. When Gareth threw out some rope to Hero, he began to vigorously pull the rope until he released Gareth’s wheelchair from the mud embankment. It amazes me how our dogs have the innate ability to know when help is needed and are so willingly ready to assist us however they can.




brutis6Trakr! This handsome and brave German Shepherd, (posing with police officer James Symington,) helped dig through 30 feet of unstable debris at the World Trade center, Ground Zero Site and located the last survivor of the 911 Terrorist attack. Heartening and astonishing!




Moti. Youbrutis3 would never know by looking at him, but Moti saved the life of his family as he took a bullet from an intruder. One day, the Patel household was broken into and the this big guy didn’t waste a minute by barking loudly and continuously, drawing all the attention to the Buttinsky with intentions of harm…not expecting or appreciating the alert  Moti was giving to the family member’s,  the gunman shot Moti and fled the home. Moti had a total rectory and not one member of his family was hurt. BRAVO Moti! 🙂


brutis4Honey. What a cutie pie. This adorable 5 month old Cocker Spaniel actually saved the life of her owner Michael Bosch. One afternoon while driving, Micheal’s SUV was involved in a horrible car accident and rolled into a deep ravine, the car laying upside down. His only hope was to get his faithful pooch Honey released and out of the car, telling her to “go and get some help.” She was unharmed and able to run for about a half a mile where she found a man who would actually listen to her…she continued to bark, leading the man to the truck. Again the rescue team concluded that Honey had saved the day as Michael  was able to get to the hospital and get the help he needed.

brutis9Nemo. This Burly and quite noble German Shepherd was a veteran of the Vietnam war. Nemo was fortunate in the fact that he actually got to come home to the states after the war. After being trained to be a sentry dog at Lackland Air force Base in Texas, he was shipped to Vietnam in 1966. After his original handler left, he developed a strong bond with Robert Thorneburg, a second class airman.On December 3rd, 1966 after a night of fighting, Thorneburg and Nemo were out on patrol when Nemo sensed something was up. Before he could radio for backup,  Thorneburg was shot in the shoulder and Nemo was shot in the muzzle. The bullet entered under his right eye and exited through his mouth. Shrugging off his own wound and the pain, Nemo ran after the 4 gunmen which enabled Thorneburg time to call for reinforcements. Both Nemo and Thorneburg  were rushed to the Emergency Room. Nemos’ right eye had to be removed and he received skin grafts on his wounds. Eventually he was flown home, where he would receive the best veterinary care possible. After living out his life on the Lackland Air Base, Nemo died on March 15, 1973. (And I truly believed that only happened in the movies.) 🙂


DOGS THAT SERVE, with their only reward being  the smile and love of a patient.


Is this not the cutest photo ever? This is “Ralph” a very popular therapy dog to many pediatric patients. Not only does his  animated, gladsome face, wagging tail and galvanic personality bring hope and cheering up to his little residents, but he also helps in getting his patients  through rigorous and challenging chemo- therapy and radiation treatments, as well as physical and emotional rehabilitation. fountain500

Here is precious “Ralph” again, helping a little girl to take her first steps in her healing  process, after a difficult surgery. fountain 500

This arresting and charming hospital joy is “Bailey,” a popular and much loved Labrador retriever at a children’s hospital, eager to help his little patients recoup form surgeries, and long stays in the children’s ward. The children immediately bond emotionally with these therapy dogs, which is a wonderful inspiration for them to begin to move and heal. fountain503

Beautiful and friendly “Annie” is a therapy dog at the hospital in Columbia South Carolina, helping both the little ones as well as the elderly in physical and emotional therapy. fountain505

Living in  Michigan , this gorgeous German Shepherd is “Moose”…he works with children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. With his love and warm hugs, he comes with a big incentive for them to stretch and move in their physical therapy.  It is just amazing what the presence and love of a dog will do! 🙂 fountain508 Last, but certainly not least, little Zoe, a 3 year old Yorkie loving on a 13 year old heart patient in Covenant Women and Children’s Hospital in Lubbock, Texas. I can’t tell who is kissing who? 🙂 fountain509




Q: Which gender, male or female, owns more dogs in America? Britain? briard and girlboy-hugging-newfoundland A: In a recent poll, it revealed that in America more than 3 in 5 people own pets. Women 69% are more likely to own a pet than a man at 55%. In Britain, the canine race is twice as likely to have a woman owner than a male.


fountain22  Meet the dog with the longest tongue in the world, “Puggy,” a male Pekingese from Forth Worth Texas.  His tongue measures 4.5 inches.  Do you think he has  ever been asked how long it takes to get to the end  of a Tootsie Roll Pop?


amazing dogs 11The highest jumping pooch in the world is Cinderella, an amazingly beautiful greyhound. Her record is 68 inches. “You go girl.” 🙂



amazing dogs14The tallest dog in the world is a sightly, rare greyhound named Zeus. He is 7 feet, 4 inches tall weighing in at 155 pounds. He gained his world record after Big George died in October of 2013.



Zues great daneThis is Big George. (He looks like a little pony!) 🙂 He weighed in at 245 pounds and was 43 inches tall. Both of these awesome dogs are a wonderment and sight for sore eyes. Absolutely amazing.




zues hercules for realThe  LARGEST dog in the world is none other than Hercules, an English Mastiff weighing in at 282 pounds. I would sure want to be on his good side. 🙂




amazing dogs12The  tiniest dog in the world is this darling little creature, Miracle Millie, a Chihuahua from Puerto Rico, only a mere 3.8 inches tall. This is one dog I would be afraid to let sleep on our bed… 🙂



fountain 11The tyke with the longest tail is a very dapper and debonaire, Irish wolfhound from Calgary Canada, “Finnegan” with a tail measuring 28.46 inches. Beautiful dog!




amazing dogs3The most human looking dog…his name is Tonik, a 2 year old poodle mix… (You know , he actually does remind me of someone I went to high school with.) 🙂





amazing dogs2The oldest dog in the world… “Bella.”This faithful and much loved Labrador cross, living in Lincolnshire with her family, lived to be 203 years in “doggie years” and 29 in human years. Now that is amazing!



amazing dogs4 This is Champ. AKA One of the Worlds happiest Dogs! (A Google POLL 🙂 )






amazing dogs 5The runners up? “The Happy Twins.”







flanders 86 most expensive dog Lastly, the worlds most expensive dog… A Tibet Mastiff puppy…bought for a mere 2 million dollars! 🙂




I don’t know about you , but Kit and I love to watch The Westminster Kennel Club, Best in show…They never pick the dog that “we would pick,” as the winner, but it is so much fun to watch , just to see all the amazing breeds of dogs that exist.  This years 2014 winner was SKY, a distinguished  Wire Fox Terrier.flanders51 sky winner of best in sow

Two absolutely breathtaking contenders were SWAGGER and ALLIE… Swaggerflanders66 contnerder in show



Three eminently “Exotic breeds” I had never heard of or seen before that will melt your hearts.

These two adorable dogs are called ‘Cotton de Tulear’s.’ Originating in Madagascar, they are eager to please, playful and exceedingly intelligent.exotic2 The Schapendoes is from the Netherlands. This shaggy dog is very friendly, affectionate, lively and smart.   exotic1 The Komondor. This winsome dog is very affectionate with children, friendly, loyal and a great protector of his family. exotic



I was amazed to see such a beautiful array of mixed breed dogs…some of these dogs are rare breeds from birth, where as others are created by breeders, mixing 2 different breeds together. Either way, these dogs are worth seeing…showstoppers for sure!

Natures rare breeds…

The  Catahoula Leopard dog. Intelligent, energetic, a great protector and loyal.amazing dogs 20 The Otter-hound. There are estimated that there are only 1000 Otter hounds in the world. They originated in Britain and are a hunting dog. (What a cutie.) amazing dogs 17 The Tibetan Mastiff does not like apartment living. 🙂 From Tibetan, he adores being outside, is very friendly, strong willed and gives great bear hugs. 🙂 tibetan-mastiff_ph The Leonberger. This beautiful creature is from Germany…nicknamed “Leo the Lion,” is definitely  a family dog, loves children, loyal, playful and a faithful protector to those he loves. (You have go to love that face.) 🙂Leonberger_curious.ashx


Here are  a few beautiful and heartening breeds  that were created when two breeders got together… 🙂

The Dalmachshund, a mix of the Dalmatian breed with the dachshund. fountain30 The Goberian. A mix of the Siberian Husky and Golden Retriever fountain 34 The Yorkshire Terrier and poodle. (NO name given so I guess you can make up your own.) 🙂 Maybe a Yorkie-poo? fountain33   This is The Sharp Asset, A mix of the Basset Hound and a Sharp-Pei . fountain 36 And one of my all time favorites; The Labradoodle…An adorable mix of a Labrador Retriever and Poodle. fountain 38



The AKA has not yet created a device to measure “Love-ability” in a dog, but they do have a top ten list of the BEST dogs for your little ones. (Great family dogs!) (In order of photos,) The Pit Bull, Beagle, Bull Terrier, Newfoundland, Collie, Vizsla, Golden Retriever,  Irish Setter, Poodle and Labrador Retriever

Pitbull1pitbull2pitbull3 doggy101pitbull5 pitbull6pitbull7 pitbull8pitbull9lab

The top five recommended dogs for elderly people who are wanting to add a new member to their family are the French Bull Dog, ( Martha Stewart’s “babies,”) the Poodle, Shipperke, Maltese and The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, ( Queen Elizabeth’s royal companions.)

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GREYFRIARS BOBBY -The famous Skye Terrier of Edinburgh. When his owner, John Gray, a Police officer died, he was buried in the old Greyfriars churchyard in Edinburgh. Bobby spent the rest of his life, (14 years,)  sitting and sleeping at his masters grave. Later, Lady Burdett-Coutts had a statue and fountain erected to commemorate this very faithful and loyal dog. ( It is just amazing how these little guys have a heart full of love for their masters. 🙂 histroydog10


OWENEY This precious pooch was a stray dog taken in by the Postal workers in New York. Oweney loved the smell of the postal bags, (but I think it was much more than that, ) 🙂 that he followed the workers on all their mail runs, including an abundance of train rides. The New York Postal branch gave Oweney a collar and ID in case he ever got lost. Many other branches did the same , including medals of honor. He  became the Post Office’s ‘unofficial mascot.’ His medals can be found in the Postal Museum in Washington DC.history dog5


 Meet STRELKA and BELKA. These two cuties were launched on Sputnik 5 in 1960 for a one day mission into space. They were the first to return alive. Strelka later gave birth to a litter of puppies in which one of them was given to President John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline. histroy dog 9


This awesome dog will bring a tear to any dry eye. FAITH is a bipedal female who was born in December of 2002 in the U.S. Her back two legs were fully developed, but her one front leg was deformed and had to be amputated when she was 7 months old. Her owner, Jude Stringfellow rescued her at 3 weeks old and even though she was told by several veterinarians that Faith needed to be ‘put down,’ she and her family saw things differently. They had hope. With using spoons full of  p-nut butter as an incentive, Jude taught Faith to hop…but it was Faith (along with the help from the family Corgi,) that taught herself to walk. She brings joy , inspiration and awe everywhere she goes…People say she hops like a rabbit and walks like a human. 🙂 Her perseverance and the love of her family is both extraordinary and amazing.   histroy dog 7


BOBBI. A story of hope… Bobbi left with her family in Oregon to go on a family Road trip. While stopping over in Indiana, Bobbie disappeared. Her family looked everywhere for her and stopped the search when they felt she was nowhere to be found. 6 months later, Bobbi showed up on their front door step, having found her way back  home, from 2,800 miles away. Upon her return, Bobbie became a National celebrity.  bobbi


These stories are not about dogs that have made the headlines, the history books or America’s greatest hero list…they are just a few heart warming tales of some precious, beloved dogs that have brought joy, smiles, tears and a will to live to their very blessed owners.

CHEYENNE, AN ANGEL IN DISGUISE.” ~ A true story written by Catherine Moore (This heartwarming story is a bit longer, but truly worth the read. ) :)

“Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!” My father yelled at me. “Can’t you do anything right?”

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle.

“I saw the car, Dad . Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving…” My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at  me, then turned away and settled back.

At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts… dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him? Dad had been a  lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the  forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack  competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his  prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift  a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him  outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever  anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man. Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s  orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone..

My husband,Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small  farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would  help him adjust.  Within a week  after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed  nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At  the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed,”I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article..” I listened as  she read. The article described a  remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had proved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.. I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon.. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair.

As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly. I pointed to the dog. “Can you tell me about him?” The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we’ve  heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.” He gestured helplessly. As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror.. “You mean you’re going to kill him?” “Ma’am,”  he said gently, “that’s our policy. We don’t  have room for every unclaimed dog.” I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I’ll take him,” I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me.. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch… “Ta-da ! Look what I got for you, Dad !” I said excitedly. Dad looked, then  wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it” Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house. Anger rose inside me.. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. “You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!” Dad ignored me.. “Did you hear me, Dad ?” I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.. pointer1Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees  hugging the animal. It was the  beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the  community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams,  angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet. Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad’s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends.

Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne ‘s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night.. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face  serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the  night. Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind. The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” “I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said.  For me, the past  dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article… Cheyenne ‘s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter ..his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.


“A LADY, friend and companion like no other.”

Living in a new state, feeling down, missing family and friends, and dealing with physical pain from an illness, a dear friend of mine was surprised with a gift that would not take away all of her ailments, but it was sure to “lighten them”… This gift? A mixed breed dog that was given to her…She had always owned show dogs, purebreds…but this little dog, (named Lady,)  was totally the opposite… As they began to get acquainted…a bond she never expected birthed…suddenly, she did not feel so alone, she had a new joy as well as a new little friend to take care of...Lady needed her. They began doing everything together, watching classic movies, cooking, (Lady loves the delicious tidbits that just happen to fall upon the  kitchen floor,) 🙂 they snuggle at bedtime, plant their beautiful spring  garden together  and keep each other company in the ominous  mid west weather. Who would have known that such a loving heart and handpicked companion would show up like she did ‘at just the right time.’ virginia


“Hey guys when I said I wanted to be a part of your family, I really meant it.”

The perfect weekend….Kit , graham and I arrived to one of our favorite places on earth…Mystic Connecticut. We had rented a little cottage adjoined to an old seafaring Bed and breakfast on the Mystic River.We got a fire started in the living room hearth, poured a glass of wine and went out to the jacuzzi…(another one of our ‘fav’s’ in this world.) 🙂 It was the most beautiful night, crisp with a soft breeze, the sky, Stygian black embellished with thousands of glittering stars…Graham was happily laying down on the wood planked deck. (If there is one thing he absolutely hates, its  water  and ‘hot water‘ is an absolute “No -Way-Jose,” in his little world.)  If you just say the word  bath, he goes running.  As we sat in the hot tub, reminiscing and relaxing, suddenly, without any warning, Grantham jumped into the jacuzzi… His eyes were as big as saucers…Kit and I were shocked, perplexed and quickly guided him to the deck where we got out and dried him off…He just kept looking at us…(130 pound of wet) as if to say, “I just want to BE WITH YOU , that’s all. 🙂 We went inside by the fire, got warm, and put on a movie. (The three of us snuggled up together…does it get any better? )     graham111











“Who is the alpha in this family anyway?”

  I laugh so hard when I think about my friend Sara and her black Lab, Obediah…”Obie” for short. Obie arrived to her  new home at only 8 weeks and had turned 6 years old when it all began… (now we are talking about a dog that was trained, exceedingly obedient  and well, almost perfect.) First, Obie began “marking her territory”  whenever Sara’s company left from a wondrous evening of entertaining. (It took a lot of ‘Natures Miracle cleaner‘ to get her carpet back to normal.) Then Obie began sneaking food, (anything left out on a table..chocolate chip cookies, a whole stick of butter, but what really did it was an entire block of Brie cheese.  Obie’s tummy reacted, (very predictable) but it happened in the middle of the night before Sara’s (very classy) ladies luncheon the next day…she was up all night cleaning, but just could not get rid of the smell. A call for help was needed…(For Obie, not the carpet.) 🙂 When the dog trainer arrived, his questions to Sara and her husband were quick and easy to answer. (In which they answered yes to everyone.) “Do you allow Obie on the couch? Does he sleep with you? Do you walk him without a leash? Does he walk ahead of you every time you go outside?  Has he stopped responding to your “No’s?” His final answer?  “You have allowed Obie to become the alpha in your home.” …Who would have thought? I am happy to say, everything turned around after a few changes were implemented and Obie now knows who the Big cheese is in the family… and it’s not him…(no pun intended. ) 🙂




“Hey Susan, I think you dropped something.”

It was a beautiful, sunny South Carolina morning. We were staying with my cousin and his family who lived on  several acres of beautiful land out in the country. My exercise routine was to run (OK, walk-jog) around their property until I couldn’t breathe any longer. 🙂 I always jog-walked with two hand weights…Graham just had to come outside with me every morning… either because he loved being with me  so much or he was protecting me in case a big bear came out of the neighboring woods…anyhow, as I ran each lap, he just stared at me, wagging his tail playfully as I would run by him. (His endearing presence made my endeavor a lot more bearable. 🙂   I decided to lay one of my hand weights down after about 20 minutes and run with just one….a few minutes later as I looked up, there was Graham…running towards me with a pink hand weight in his mouth….he ran right up to me and dropped it at my feet and sat down, out of breath. I could not stop laughing at this hilarious and captivating moment…how thoughtful of him to bring me my weight…but that is just who Grantham is. 🙂


(My last story about Grantham, I promise.) 🙂

“Don’t worry guys, I am not going anywhere.”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, our 12 year old Grantham could not get up…It shook our entire world. Kit began using a bath towel supported around Grahams waste to help him stand up to a limping-walk to get outside or he would carry him…We took him immediately to our vet and upon examination was told he had literally torn the tendon in his back leg off the bone. Their thought? “Because he is so big, (105 pounds,)  surgery wouldn’t work so it may be best to put him down.” Our hearts were broken as he is our baby… The other option, was to begin laser treatment and massage therapy…we prayed and felt that was the way to go. The one thing the tech told us was; “The Laser therapy will only help if Graham will take walks every day, even if he doesn’t want to…” (and he has to lose weight.) Graham became our full time job…Laser therapy three times a week, massages day and night and  walks and exercising his leg several times daily. What began happening was truly a miracle…He stopped fighting us with his walks, (the diet took a little longer as HE LOVES TO EAT,) 🙂   he was eager and ready everyday to ‘get moving’…(he loved his massages and his therapist. 🙂  In a matter of months, he was out running again, chasing the bunnies and squirrels…just like he did as a puppy. He has lost weight and is very healthy and happy, and we just celebrated his 13th birthday this month. He knew all along, it was not his time…his body, (at the time,)  may have felt like it needed to give up, but his big, beautiful brown eyes were saying something entirely different…He wanted to live. I thank God everyday that He has given us more time with  one of the most wonderful gifts He has ever given us.

(Grantham now.) 🙂


Lastly, for those of you who do not own a dog, I am sure that you got a “tug at your heartstrings” from one of these Hollywood movies, where the lead actor/actress was none other than a famous, loveable D-O-G. 🙂 .

The delight-some “Air Bud,” and comical and entertaining “Zeus and Roxanne.”

flanders50 airbudflanders47 zues and roxanne

Who can forget the suspenseful classic, “White Fang,” or ingenious “Fire House Dog?” flanders41 whitefangflanders40 firehouse dog

I loved the heartwarming story of “The adventures of Yellow Dog,” and who doesn’t love “Scooby Doo?”

flanders35 adventures of yellow dogflanders33 sccoby doo

One of my all time favorites is “Fluke,” (the master of the home coming back as a dog,) and the adorable, flirtatious Chloe of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua?” flanders28 fllukeflanders25 bev hills chi Chloe

Diane Lane and her gorgeous “newfie” in “Must love Dogs,” as well as the hilarious Jim Belushi in K-9 with Jerry lee, the infamous dog.

flanders21flanders18 K-9

One of my favorite actors Tom Hanks and Beasley in the slap happy  movie “Turner and Hooch” and everyone’s favorite “Snoopy”, (whether he is celebrating Halloween or Christmas with his “gang,” he is a welcomed sight in all of our homes. 🙂 flanders11 Turner and hoochflanders10 snoopy

One of the most renowned dogs in the world, Toto, in “The Wizard of OZ” and the frolicking, lovable Dalmatians  we all grew up with, as children…in  Disney’s “101 Dalmatians.”

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Loyal, faithful and the dog we all wish our dogs took after in the “obedience” factor, LASSIE!  I don’t which way I enjoyed Tim Allen the most… as a dog or a human being in “The Shaggy Dog.”

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In elementary  school, when our teacher read “Old Yeller” to us, I must have used up an entire box of tissues…and as a movie, it was just as tear jerking. A beautiful  classic. Another great film is “Marmaduke”… He looks like he has found his “Lassie.” 🙂 flanders4 old yellerflanders3 Marmeduke


Two more fantastic movies…”Snow Dogs” and one of my top five picks, (if you have not seen it,) “Dog of Flanders.”  There is nothing as  heartwarming as the bond between a boy and his dog.

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Life seemed so carefree and simple when “Please don’t eat the Daisey’s” was on with Doris Day and Ladadog,  Hollywood’s prestigious English Sheep Dog.  “101 Dalmatians 2” was another hit with the wickedly funny Glen Close as Cruella  deville. flanders hobo in please dont eatthe daisysflanders 102 dalmations

The adorable, lovable pup in the film  “CHOMPS,” and Diane Keaton giving her new found puppy a bath in “Darling Companions” …another great family movie.. flanders chompsflanders 49 darlinng companions


The endearing coonhounds in “Where the Red fern grows” and the gleeful, jovial dogs in “All Dogs go to Heaven.” Two inspirational movies for both the young and old! flanders 31 where he red fern growsflanders 30 all dogs go to heaven In “Oh Heavenly Dog,”  Benji (AKA) Browning, captured our hearts over and over again. This dauntless and brave little guy in the Benji movies stole our hearts as well…a mixed breed known as Higgins in real life.

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A dynamic and lovable little beagle finds he has super powers in “Underdog,” and if your in the mood for a very emotional and tenderhearted tale of a boy and his dog, “My Dog Skip” is a fabulous pick.

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A face every mother could love. 🙂 The  St. Bernard in the movie “Beethoven” will steal your heart! Disney’s  lovely Lady and the Tramp will live on forever in all of our hearts. flanders 15 beethoven 1&2flanders 14 lady in the tramp

Once living in an animal shelter, with only 24 hours to live, (his true life story,)  Rudy was rescued and became a Hollywood movie star in “Marley and me.” This Yellow Labrador retriever stole my heart and I am sure all of America’s. Another heart string puller, is the love story between Richard Geer and Hachi….beautifully filmed and written. (A true story about an Akita dog.)

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gentle giants1I hope somewhere in this vignette you have found your little, (Or big) angel in a fur coat, are reminded of the one you already have…are tempted to go out and get your new addition to your family or perhaps have smiled at some of these stories in realizing what a miracle and wonderment these critters are to our lives. 🙂



PHOTOGRAPHS: If you place your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

“Goodbyes are not FOREVER!”

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I’ll miss you
Until we meet again!
~Author Unknown

Little girl sitting on suitcase looking out onto Golden Gate Bridge

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard! ! ~ Carol Sobieski ~ Thomas Meehan

Dear Living Winsomely readers, I wanted to share with you that I am saying goodbye to this site, but with the words, that ring true in my heart, “Good bye does not mean forever.”

For those of you who have read “And the body just keeps on giving,” vignette , then you know that during my time of healing both physically and spiritually, I began this website with such an excitement and joy. I can not tell you how much having this blog site has been a blessing for me .


It started with a few, and has grown in leaps and bounds! 🙂

To look back in February of 2013 (when we started the site)  we began with only a handful of readers. This year Living Winsomely has grown “in leaps and bounds.” 🙂 Because my husband owns the server that my site is on, he keeps me informed of the amount of readers coming to Living Winsomely. We both have been in awe at the growth. I am amazed at all of the different countries that are visiting the site, as well as how many readers here in America we have. I never dreamed Living Winsomely would have so many wonderful visitors.  I can’t tell you  how happy that makes me and how honored I feel.  It blesses me so much that you, the readers have enjoyed this  site and the writings.  Your comments to me over this last year and a half have blown me away.  (In a good way.) 🙂 Thank you from the bottom of  my  heart for supporting me, encouraging me and for all your kind words of affirmation, even for those of you who told me I had spelling errors 🙂 (I know…I don’t have an editor and  have tried to catch all my mistakes, but know they are out there.) 🙂

I have a new writing commitment that will be taking up all my time, thus I have to stop writing on Living Winsomely for now.  Its at this time, I wish I would have written much shorter blogs that didn’t take a week to complete, (so I could just write one up quickly whenever I had an hour to spare as I am staring this new writing commitment .)  🙂   But as we all know, I write kind of long blogs. (OK, really long blogs.)  🙂  I still have a few I have started and hope to come back when this commitment is over and put those up, with new ones… I will  miss writing on this site immensely, as well as you, the readers.



I  will be leaving the site up for all of you, the old and new readers as well as the readers who will come in the future. For those of you who have written in that you read the site daily and are on the lookout each week for a new blog, I am sorry…Maybe you can go back and read one of the old ones as you may have already forgotten it by now. 🙂 (Just joshing.) I did just post my last blog for now, “The  Joyous wedding of the old and the new.” I tried something new with adding a very classy (as well as classic,)  music video. (I hope you enjoy it.) 🙂   I know there are a tremendous amount of sites  on the internet that are exemplary.

My hope and heart when I began Livingwinsomely (and still is,) that you, the readers would be blessed with ideas of how to bring more beauty, fulfillment, joy, felicity and winsomeness  to your everyday lives.

I will have to turn the sites comment/ reply ability off as I am currently receiving about 250-300 spam comments a day and it takes a lot of my time to go through them all , especially when my time now will be fully dedicated to my new writing commitment. My computer program will hold all the replies that have already been made, they just won’t be showing up on the site, when I turn that service off.


“Home”for the holidays!

I wish you all the very best and again, thank you so very much for reading, coming to the site, sending me such wonderful comments and for being such a great audience to write to… The site will stay up so enjoy!

I may occasionally sneak over to Living Winsomely and change the blogs in the main section according to the season.   Especially At Christmas time. 🙂 One of my all time favorite vignettes of Living Winsomely is “Home” for the holidays! (I will take that tour myself once again, this Christmas.)  🙂



If you have any questions, please know my “CONTACT US” icon at the bottom of the ‘Living  Winsomely’ Home page, is still open. (That comes directly to my e-mail address.)

May God bless you all and thank you so very much.

Sincerely, Susan, Kit and Grantham too.


“A heart full of thanks TO YOU! “



 PHOTOGRAPHS CREDITS: In placing your computer mouse over any of the graphics or photos, it will display where the picture originated from.

Grandeur Dining Rooms

“Dining with ones friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul satisfying and eternal.” ~ Julia Childelegance2

I have such extraordinary memories growing up as a child, my heart filled with such joy  of all the times my parents treated us to a captivating, elegant, royal tableaux and luscious meal.  On those special occasions,REL6 my mom would always decorate the dining table with radiant, candescent candles, freshly arranged red roses, soft , dim lighting, white or powder blue linen table cloths with newly starched and ironed napkins, her treasured Haviland china with its delicate design, festooned beautiful momwith petite pastel roses, her polished choice sliver and stellar Waterford crystal. (I would always be ‘right there watching her every move’)  just in case she needed my help in any way.)  🙂

Her meals were not only legendary, chimerical but heartening and comforting.  I think my top three,REL3 (and I have to choose three as I can’t possibly pick just one,) 🙂 was her homemade spaghetti, (and no, we are from an Irish, not Italian descent,) beef brisket with potatoes, carrots and onions, and from her Southern heritage, a savory and first class, dreamy lump crab casserole. She baked plenty of ambrosial breads, created, hearty delicious salads, (her homemade avocado dressing was gourmet,) and her desserts were decadent… Pecan pie a’ la mode, rich, dense chocolate cake topped with a mocha frosting,  fudge brownies with pecans and real whipped cream, and french Vanilla Ice cream, drizzled with Chambord  liqueur. (I only got a ‘taste’ at that time.) 🙂 REL1The ‘older kids’ shared in a glass of wine, while my  younger brother and I had our  beautiful goblet of ‘boring’ milk. 🙂  For some reason, it did not look nearly as delicious as their sparkling white wine in the classy and regal crystal.)

For very special occasions, I also remember my parents taking us to some really upscale eateries in California that made me feel so pampered and special…like a princess for the night.REL I especially loved The Reuben E. Lee , ( a 19th century Paddle boat docked  upon the Newport bay.)  It was called the “floating, elegant restaurant.” (My dad would always order me a ‘Shirley Temple’) and they  always served freshly made popped corn.  My other favored place to go was the Five crowns in Newport beach. Not only is their English decor absolutely exquisite, but their prime rib is to die for.REL8  Once, while living in South Carolina, they took us to a beautiful seafood eatery, nestled upon the water, in the renowned and historical city of  Charleston and ordered us all lobster tails with melted butter on the side.  To my surprise, I loved it! As a little girl,  I never enjoyed lobster when my parents bought them fresh and then had to boil them all in the Brobdingnagian  pot as those humongous critters were REL7“still kicking.” I’d run out of the kitchen and yell out to my mom, “I will just have salad, bread and extra potatoes tonight for dinner.”) 🙂



There is just something so special about dressing up a room and table with “your best” of everything…creating a felicitous meal, sitting with loved ones, laughing until your jaw aches, sharing stories of yesteryear, eating delectable cuisine until you are stuffed and watch as the last tall, lambent candle’s flame has demised. REL9 It is a gift that you can give yourself, your husband, your family, boyfriend, girlfriend or guests. Having a special occasion such as a birthday, holiday gathering, anniversary celebration or an intimate night with friends is a wonderful landmark to build your fancy dinner around…but I like to do it “just because” on some nights as a special gift to my husband and I..(And Grantham too if we have steak, chicken or salmon, as he impatiently waits for his portion, drooling like there is no tomorrow.) 🙂

I am hoping to share with you in this vignette some very  grandiose dining room ideas as well as share one of my mom’s stupendous recipes with you, to bring forth a few inspiring ideas of how to give yourself as well as loved ones a “fine and regal” dining experience.



DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

 “You never forget a beautiful thing you have made,” (Chef Bugnard  said.) “Even after you eat it, it stays with you-always.” ~ Julia Child

Bon Appetit!” ~ Julia Child

“It’s so beautifully arranged on a plate, you know someones fingers have been all over it.” ~ Julia Child

“If More of us valued food and cheer and songaudry2 above hoarded gold, It would be a merrier world.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~ Author of The Lord of the Rings

“Come quickly! I’m tasting stars.” ~ Dom Pierre Perignon tasting his first sip of his newly created champagne.

“I have a renewed commitment to elegance, she said, in case you think I’m just spending money for the fun of it.” ~ Brian Adreas

“Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. audry7Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress.” ~ 18th century French author Charles Pierre Monselet

“Certainly one of the important requirements for learning how to cook is that you also learn how to eat. If you don’t know how an especially fine dish is supposed to taste, how can you produce it? ” ~ Julia Child
Are you ready to visit  some grandeur dining rooms? 🙂
If you are a History buff, a connoisseur of antiqued chandeliers, silver candelabra, soft white candle light and a warm, regal ambiance, this elegant dining room is the perfect place to plan a festive reunion with loved ones… Absolutely Gorgeous!
Both of these par- excellence dining rooms are fiercely grandiose and would undoubtedly make each guest feel coddled and pampered. The first photograph is one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever seen with it’s  amazing vaulted ceilings, arched hallways, divine, shiny wood flooring, awesome paned windows with it’s breathtaking view, the original and choice sconce lighting, and stellar hanging chandelier. It truly looks as if Royalty lives here. The second dining room is of course a classy and graceful eatery…All the work and preparation is done for you to perfection. The only thing that awaits you is ‘pure pleasure.’   I adore the floral topiary tree. (Just creating one of those and placing it amongst a white linen table cloth would be a wondrous start to your elegant setting. ) 🙂
elegance6fancy eatery
This vintage dining room is exquisite. I could see this table festooned for a ladies intimate dinner…  It’s ambiance creates the feeling of an exciting wedding celebration! 🙂  I love her white, sheer, lace window treatment, her collection of diverse candelabras and the  hanging chandelier is absolutely top-of-the-line! What makes this room beautifully rhapsodic is it’s ‘style,’ a special touch being the unique linen tablecloth with it’s picturesque, entrancing, “Shabby Chic” corners.   Any guest  having dinner in this lovely, ageless dining room would feel very refreshed and catered to.
Already blessed with an amazingly gorgeous view, this grandeur dining room is certainly a treat for any of it’s dinner guests . The soft lighting is perfect for a romantic dinner amidst the blithesome and canty flower arrangements, candescent candle light and stunning china. In our dining room, we have a hanging Chandler, (very casual in it’s presentation,) but it has a dimmer switch which allows us to make our intimate dinners cozy, enchanting, warm and sung! Its a great investment! 🙂

Don’t you feel as if you have stepped back in time as you look upon this  exhilarating and rousing dining room? I can just envision George Washington and his family dining in a room like this as he lived within his Mt. Vernon, Virginia estate… The vaulted ceilings and gorgeously paned window treatment  alone, would keep me enjoying extra cups of coffee after dessert, just to stay at  the table and ‘take in’ this  exquisite and lovely ambiance. This fireplace is stirring with it’s baronial mantle as well as intricate  architectural design. The divine hanging chandelier unabashedly announces it’s glory with it’s jeweled accents, the lively and poignant array of choice flowers amongst the delicate, regal white table settings, classic crystal and refined, polished sideboard is breathtaking! I love this patina!   army56

The repetition of ‘gold’ in this dining room is within itself elegant and grandiose. The table setting is eye-catching with it’s red and gold plates resting snugly upon a gold charger, accentuated with the golden candle sticks and silver serving piece… Did you notice how this decorator has dauntlessly mixed in some blue crystal glasses as well as natures divine greens amongst her regal and rich colors?  The soft candle light and vintage table clock are riveting .  This room is gorgeous and brings an abundance of new ideas of how to create your evening of enchantment and beauty.   army70

 Historic and eminently LOVELY. The lively topiary tree, buoyant yellow roses, vintage portrait and floral painting amidst the enveloping window treatments and alluring view is magical and inviting. I remember when one of my brothers was engaged, he was given a tablecloth much like this and I was so envious! (Very  happy for he and his fiance, but boy, did I want that table cloth.) 🙂  It’s breathtaking and exudes the very essence of  elegant dining. I adore the gregarious flower arrangement centerpiece,  latticed, two tone linen napkins, prestigious goblets, and absolutely stellar, majestic and graceful china. I bet there has been many a lovely, congenial and delightful meal shared around this table. 🙂
This delightful centerpiece with its gilded fruits, august three tried plate stand, gold candlestick holders with their appeasing candles and dainty and recherche china, catches the eye immediately! Again, this decorator has chosen to use the gorgeous color of gold as the rooms  main color palette with touches of white, reds and yellow. I have always loved adding  a baronial, winsome wing back chair to a dining table…It’s unique, inviting and comfortably complimentary.
This majestic dining room brings a tune from Burl Ives to my mind. You know, the song in our children’s  beloved and cherished, (and the little kid in all of us too,) ‘Rudolph the red nosed reindeer’s,’ “Silver and Gold, silver and gold, everyone wishes for silver and gold…”  (It truly is a great movie.) 🙂 I love the white, stellar built in shelves, the golden candelabras, and tall candlesticks, the elegant white linens and the abundance of silver trays, goblets and table decor. Absolutely gorgeous!
Though a table set for the glorious Christmas season, this dining room looks as if it is right out of a classic film… delightfully viewing this winning and par-excellence dining room sparks an abundance of wondrous ideas on how to bring about a stunning and grandiose dining experience for the holidays or any special occasion for that matter. The sideboards, festooned with  graceful swags of garland and fresh, enlivening  flowers, the strikingly bedecked fireplace mantle, festive red bows tied upon the chairs, and a vibrant red table runner to highlight the eloquent white linen table cloth is beautifully inspiring.  The  soft, glowing candle light  amongst the rich, dark woods is warm and graciously welcoming. I love it!
I am always in awe with ‘white table-settings!’ This tableaux is quite simple but also enchanting and regal. I am impressed with the diversity of candle holders the gilded pears amongst the greens, as well as the creative, artful and clever, floral centerpiece. Great ideas!
Another holiday gathering…The first impression, with these absolutely gorgeous and  rich wood, paned French doors is “explosively beautiful!” 🙂 I love the antiquated art work and their gold frames, the polished, cozy dining table with green and red accent tones and the cleverly done, blue trim upon the doors. Very lovely and warm!
Not a typical dining room, yet just as charming. Many a time, especially when all the kids have grown up and moved away, dinner is held in the ‘parlor,’ ( our living rooms with our table set up cozily by the fireside, or perhaps now a days, our  widescreen TV’s.)  🙂 This historic room is congenial, royal, welcoming and evokes a beautifully convivial ambiance to each guest who comes to share an elegant dining experience. 🙂
Another holiday bedecked dining room…(with a cheerful little visitor.) 🙂 Valentines day would be a perfect ‘motif’ for an elegant and grandeur evening meal with friends or family! This decorators color palette is lovely with it’s shades of red, green and white , highlighted with magical touches of gold. The green foliage upon the vintage mirror is classy and graceful. I love the red place mats upon the white linen cloth and the eminently unique and original fire engine red candelabra.  Beautiful room with a wealth of great decor ideas.  🙂
So many elegant and grandiose dining room ambiances use the never failing and magical ‘muse’ of Christmas for their amiable and spirited presentation.   This dining room is classically done…I love the jeweled, enchanting hanging chandelier, garish and exuberant Christmas tree, cobble stoned fireplace, vintage chairs, dark woods with the motley table setting in pastel rose, green and diverse shades of glorious red. The centerpiece is refreshing, inviting and the silver goblets, historically festive! Very stunning!
One of the popular and innovative, beautiful pieces of furniture for your elegant dining room ambiance is the baronial and courtly sideboard. Not only is it a lovely piece of furniture but it is also a place to festoon with beauty, using your regal and captivating  decor, as well as displaying decadent desserts, hot bread baskets, side dishes and beverages upon.
This side table is dressed in magnificent and fresh greens, kaleidoscopic china coffee cups and exquisite silver. It is a spirited as well as sanguine addition to this dining room.
This side table is absolutely euphoric. You do not see many sideboards arrayed in this kind of beauty…The vintage mirror is captivating with it’s antiquated design and elfin, floral swag… the tall, elaborate silver candelabras are classy, almost hypnotic, and  the decadent, showstopping freshly baked cake is comfortably resting on this sideboard, tempting every guest! 🙂   Absolutely romantic and junoesque.
These two sideboards are tasteful and luxurious, but are warm and inviting as well. Both displays capture your eye with their diverse and lovely floral arrangements and the opalescent glow of the tall candles with their dancing flames. Two wonderful ideas to dress up your room for that special fete.

Brilliant, magical, enchanting and filled with charm. A winning sideboard table for any dining room patina. Golden candlelight, reflected in mirrored glass is always a top-of-the-line decor addition to bring forth warmth, magic and a bit of romance. 🙂 army40

Lastly, my adored topiary tree festooned with bedazzling roses…and the cake…HEAVENLY! This sideboard’s ambiance is one of the Victorian era, alluring and full of romance. (The trees are very easy to create and yet look as if they are straight from the florist shop.)  🙂army31

I just read an article on elegant dining by the ‘Fine dining editor’ of the Examiner, George Singeltary. He stressed that what we are looking for when we ‘go out for a night on the town’ to enjoy an elegant getaway and delicious cuisine is three things… We want great service, great food and an a great ambiance to relax in. These are all wondrous gifts that our favorite eateries graciously offer us, but we, as well, can create the same, memorable and convivial experience right in our very own homes to bless our friends and family with, free of charge. I hope this vignette has inspired you with some new ideas on how to bring forth an elegant and grandeur dining room, providing a place for your  resplendent and delightsome evening with your loved ones.

I want to leave you with one of those superb dinners I was telling you about earlier in the blog…from the deep blue waters of the Atlantic ocean…luscious lump crab casserole! You can used canned lump crab, but it will not be as scrumptious! 🙂


YOU WILL NEED: one pound of lump crab meat, make sure there are no shells within your crab, 4 large eggs, (beaten) 3/4 stick of butter, 1 green pepper, (chopped finely,)  1 stalk of celery, (chopped finely,)  3 green onions, chopped finely, (using the chives as well ,) 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 cup of half and half,  1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, dash of Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Remember, (as you LOOK at all these ingredients, it is a rich dinner and you will only be eating just a serving so, for one evening, it will be OK.  🙂 One woman who had this at my luncheon loved it so much, she called me for the recipe… after SEEING the ingredients, she asked if she could substitute with the cream and half and half. If you do, the casserole will not  taste at all like it is supposed to…They say, “everything in moderation.) 🙂    It’s worth it!

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Melt your butter over low heat and saute’ your  chopped vegetables; green pepper, celery stalk, green onion and chives, just until soft. Remove from heat and set aside, allowing to cool.  Beat your four eggs together until well blended. Add the half and half and cream, continue beating or whisking your mixture until it is again, well blended. Add your dash of Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, salt and pepper to taste, (I use freshly ground black pepper and Tabasco.)  Gently, fold in  your lump crab meat  and mix together. Add your freshly sauteed and cooled vegetables, as well as the melted butter they  have been cooked in,  then scoop your mixture into a buttered casserole or a 9×13-2 inch Pyrex dish or baking pan, (same size.)  Spread in pan evenly. Cover with bread crumbs, (I use the seasoned breadcrumbs from the grocer. ) Bake for 30 minutes, test the center to see if it is done as all ovens are different. It should be firm….insert a knife to see if it has cooked through. You will know! 🙂 *** I use about two stems of green onion chopped, but the chives of three.

ENJOY! This is great served with fresh steamed asparagus, sourdough bread and a baked potato with all the trimmings. 🙂

Additional Links:
Country Living magazine white dining room
Victoria Magazine
Country Living magazine
Soot Collector Illuma Lids for candles 

PHOTOGRAPHS In placing your computer mouse upon each photo or graphic, it will display where the picture originated from.


BURGERS with class!

“The Burger!  It’s a complete balanced meal, all in one. You’ve got your protein, vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates and COMFORT! ” ~ Author unknown


Why is it, that the foods we connect with felicitous memories always taste so much better?  It’s not surprising to learn that when asked the question; “What would you choose for your very last meal on earth,?” many people, hands down, responded with, ” A Cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate milkshake.” Perhaps it goes back to our childhood and the comfort we felt when our parents took us to  McDonald’s for a  Big Mac, Jack in the Box’s for their triple cheeseburger, or to  A&W ‘s with their signature Root beer floats.float   As a child, those were the days, weren’t they?      Who doesn’t love a savory and scrumptious burger from the grill?  (Especially now that so many TV chefs, ( who are cooking healthy now,) have come up with a huge array of diverse ingredients they use in their burgers, creating masterpieces we would never think up.

Summer  has arrived  along with its beckoning call to enjoy the great outdoors. It is the most popular season for grilling… It begins with Memorial day parties where we gather with friends, light up the grill and enjoy the flavors of bratwurst, black Angus steaks, turkey or chicken burgers, the all American hot dog and of course the legendary all beef patties, as they simmer upon the smoking coals, filling our souls with a medley of nostalgic memories. ( There is nothing to compare to the delicious aromas in the air when Kit puts on his “grill master apron” and lights up our BBQ.) 🙂 Even when it is in the 90’s with the humidity being 100 %, you will find Grantham , sitting at the foot of the grill, (30 pounds of his weight being his black fur,)  just waiting for the first bite of the evenings meal…  🙂 IMG_1263 In this blog, I want to share some outstanding burger recipes with you…a recipe of Kits and mine, (yes, low sodium and healthy,) but I have also researched some of the most famous and highly rated burgers from renowned chefs, each with a diverse heritage, bringing spices and flavors that add a little pizzazz to the classic American Burger. I hope you find one you love for your next BBQ, a movie night with your family or for your summer galas.






To eat well, I always disagree with critics who say that all restaurants should be fine dining. You can get a Michelin star if you serve the best hamburger in the world.” ~ David Chang

“I always admired Ray Kroc, the man who invented McDonald’s. Ray had a vision of the most commonplace thing-a hamburger and fries to go-but to him it was just the greatest thing ever, and he was going to make it the greatest thing ever for everybody else, and he did.”   David lee Roth


buns“It requires a certain kind of mind to see the beauty in a hamburger bun.” ~ Ray Kroc, creator of the McDonald’s franchise.

“Everyone has the right to a University degree in America, even if its in Hamburger Technology.” ~  Clives James


“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.” ~ Mathew McConaughey

The journey of a thousand pounds begins with a single burger.” ~ Chris O’Brien

“Anybody who doesn’t think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy.” ~ Calvin Trillin

“You can fnorthind your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigation uses stars….We have munched Bridge burgers in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and Cable burgers hard by the Golden Gate, Dixie burgers in the sunny South and Yankee Doodle burgers in the North….We had a Capitol Burger — guess where. And so help us, in the inner courtyard of the Pentagon, a Penta burger.”
Charles Kuralt, journalist.

A Taste of Italy!


Do you ever question how the people of Italy stay so healthy and fit, eating the abundance of delicious, decadent foods that they do?    Well, I have heard it said, they eat smaller portions,  always use fresh ingredients and do a lot of walking! 🙂  They certainly do know how to live! The Italian people love to celebrate everything with food. (I love that about this country.) 🙂  If they run out of an occasion to emblazon, they will gather around their dining table or their favorite Italian eatery and just  ‘revel in jubilation’ for  ‘the great food and wine itself.’   🙂 They adore cappuccino, espresso coffee, pasta, fresh seafood, vino, freshly made conolies and walking down to the piazza, where they meet with their friends and family, to catch up on all the latest news and happenings.They proudly own a passion for cooking and are renowned for their superb, spicy sauces and variety of cheeses they use in all of their pasta dishes. I am sure the burger with an Italian flare will not disappoint!


Italy’s Giada De Laurentiis’ Caprese Burgers



 Ingredients for Burgers:
2 1/2 pounds ground sirloin beef
1 cup fresh or store-bought pesto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 7 to 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, sliced into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices, patted dry with paper towels
Pesto Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh or store-bought pesto

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Eight 3-inch-square pieces of tomato or plain focaccia bread, halved, or 8 hamburger buns, halved
4 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (16 slices)Directions

Cook’s Note: Freeze the mozzarella for 20 minutes to make slicing easier.For the burgers: Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Combine the beef, pesto, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form the mixture into eight 4-inch-diameter patties, each about 3/4-inch thick. Grill for 5 minutes. Turn the burgers over and place a slice of mozzarella on top. Cook for about 5 minutes longer until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is slightly melted. Allow the burgers to rest for 5 minutes.

For the pesto mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and pesto until smooth.To assemble the burgers: Drizzle the cut side of the bread with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread the pesto mayonnaise over the bottom halves of the grilled bread. Place the burgers on top and add 2 tomato slices. Add the top halves of the bread and serve.


Italian Mini Pub Burgers

mexico 13

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/4 pounds ground chuck
3/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
9 small ciabatta rolls, sliced in 1/2
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
9 slices (4 1/2 ounces) Taleggio cheese
9 large basil leaves


Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground chuck, Parmesan cheese, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Pulse until ingredients are combined. Form the mixture into 9 patties. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes each side.

Brush the cut side of each roll with the olive oil and toast on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden.

To serve, place 1 mini burger on the bottom half of each of the rolls. Place 1 slice of Taleggio cheese on top of the burgers. Place the basil leaf on top of the cheese and cover with the top half. Serve.

The Beloved SOUTH!


 What can compare to a genuine , home cooked Southern meal? (I still have not found an answer to that yet.) 🙂 Cheese grits with grilled shrimp, fried okra, butter beans, hush puppies, boiled peanuts, Pecan pie, oyster stew, biscuits and gravy, collard greens, red velvet cake, buttermilk pie and my favorite, fresh crab from the Inlet water ways. There is an undeniable charm and haunting beauty that captivates each visitor , (as well as  resident) in the Carolinas… One of my favorite  Southern places is the prestigious and galvanic city of Charleston,  with it’s cobble stones streets, chiseled wrought iron fences, summoning Antebellum architecture and grandiose live oaks with their long beard swaying in the soft breezes. Each one, if you listen carefully, telling a magical story, hearkening back to all the many years they have graced this historical, entrancing land.  Every once in awhile, I’ll take out one of  my southern cookbooks, (inherited from my mom,)  and make Kit a special meal.   I know to get an extra stick of butter out, (yes, we will splurge for the occasion,)  as an authentic Southern meal simply can not be prepared ANY OTHER WAY! 🙂

For the vegetarian lover, Southern Cook , Paula Deens’   Portobello Mushroom burger!
4 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared pesto
2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard
4 hamburger buns, split, buttered, and toasted
1 cup baby arugula
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.Brush mushrooms caps with olive oil; sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms, smooth side down, covered with grill lid, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender.In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, pesto, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread mixture evenly over cut sides of buns. Divide arugula evenly over bottom halves of buns. Top each evenly with peppers. Place mushrooms caps over peppers. Cover with tops of buns.


The South’s, Bobby Flay’s, Stuffed Cheeseburgers.
       (Just imagine on a freshly baked bun with all the trimmings! ) 🙂
                                           ***** 5 star’s for the cheese in every bite.



1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 pound ground chuck
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large hamburger buns, split
Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, for serving
Lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and avocado, for serving


Combine the jack cheese and chopped bacon in a bowl. Put the beef in another bowl and season with salt and pepper; use a rubber spatula to mix it in. Flatten 1/4 of the meat mixture in the palm of your hand. Squeeze together about a tablespoon of the cheese and bacon mixture to make a little nugget; put it in the center of the ground beef. Bring up the sides of the patty over the filling, making sure the cheese is completely covered by the meat. Flatten slightly for a nice patty shape. Set them side by side on a platter in the refrigerator while preparing the grill.

Place a large grill pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat or preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue and get it very hot. Brush the grates with oil to keep the burgers from sticking. Grill the burgers for 8 minutes per side for medium. (The USDA recommends cooking ground beef until it is no longer pink and the internal temperature is 160 degrees F.) Remove the burgers to a clean side plate while you toast the buns.

Rub the grill rack with more oil and place the buns cut-side down, toast for 1 minute. Serve the burgers with your favorite condiment and any garnish you like, such as lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and/or avocado.

A beautiful land filled with a wealth of history, gorgeous sunsets,  heart stopping beaches,  resplendent waterfalls and taverns,  joyful and inspirational dancing, romantic music and some of the very best food in the world! Who doesn’t love  freshly cooked fish tacos, hot tortillas,  homemade Pico de Gallo, guacamole and bunuelos? Mexico is known for their fiery hot spices, that we all dare ourselves, (every now now then,) to indulge in.  🙂 They certainly know how to add a little “spice to life.” 🙂
The Blond Cook’s Spicy Mexican Cheeseburger.


  • 2 pounds ground beef (15-20% fat)
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • (1) 1.1 ounce package guacamole seasoning
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices cheddar jack cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced tomato
  • Optional condiments: mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, etc.


  1. In a large bowl, combine hamburger meat, salsa and guacamole seasoning. Dividing into equal portions, form 4 patties.
  2. Place on a preheated grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until desired amount of doneness is reached. During the last minute of grilling, place cheese slices on top of patties to melt.
  3. Place on toasted buns and top with avocado, lettuce, tomato and desired condiments
 “Cooking Light’s,” Savory, Cheese Burger, Mexican Style
mexico 14
  • 1 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound ground round,
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (3/4-ounce) slices reduced-fat Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
  • Grilled onions (optional)


  1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping into 1/2-inch-thick patties.
  2. Prepare grill. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Place 1 cheese slice on top of each patty; cover and grill an additional minute or until cheese melts.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon of sour cream over top half of each bun, and set aside. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each with lettuce, tomato, onions (if desired), and top half of bun.


There is nothing quite like the genuine flavor of Tex Mex cooking. Its been described as a flavor that is ‘smoked kissed,’ with its star ingredient being the matchless CHILE. While dining in the southwest, their is only one choice to make. Do you prefer GREEN OR RED!  This region of the United States is known for their bouncing and vivacious  way of life, music festivals, breathtaking landscapes, beautiful mountains, intriguing ruins, rich history as well as world famous cuisine.  Their specialties? Mouthwatering sopaipillas, fry bread, posole and a mixture of spices in all their dishes that will keep you guessing what their hidden ingredient is, long after you’ve finished eating. 🙂 Their secret? A mixture of Native American food with an abundance  of choice spices, brought exclusively by the Spanish Settlers,  arriving to the southwest from Europe and Mexico.


Rachael Rays Tex Mex Burgers

mexico 20

Burger Ingredients

  • 12 slices  good-quality smoky bacon, 4 slices finely chopped and 8 left whole
  • 1 1/4 pounds 80% lean ground beef
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil or EVOO, for drizzling

Queso Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 14 ounce can  diced tomatoes with green chiles, well drained

Rolls & Toppings

  • 4 soft burger rolls, split
  • Crisp yellow corn chips
  • Chopped onion, tomatoes, cilantro and pickled jalapeno



Arrange the 8 whole bacon slices on a broiler pan and bake at 375 degrees until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Combine the beef, chopped bacon, grated onion, garlic, chipotle puree and Worcestershire; season with salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties (thinner at the center); drizzle with oil. Grill the burgers for 5 minutes on each side for medium.

Queso Sauce:

Make the queso sauce; in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. Stir in the cheese to melt. Stir in the tomatoes.

Buns & Toppings:

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top with the queso sauce, crisscrossed bacon strips, corn chips, remaining toppings and bun tops. Serve extra sauce on the side.

Josh Bousel’s Green Chile Cheeseburger

Green Chile Burger


  • 3 medium poblano chiles
  • 1 half-inch thick slice of a large onion, skewered through the middle horizontally
  • 1 lb ground chuck, at least 20 percent fat
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 slices Pepper Jack cheese
  • 3 hamburger buns


Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate. Place the poblanos and onion on the grill and cook until charred on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Place the poblanos in a Ziploc bag and seal, set the onion to the side. When chiles are cool enough to handle, about 5-10 minutes, remove from the back, peel of the charred skin, and seed. Coarsely chop the chiles and onion together and set aside.

Mix the ground beef with the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Form into 3 1/3-lb patties and use your thumb to make a dimple in the middle of each one. Place the patties on the grill and cook until desired doneness. About 2 minutes before the burgers are done, top each with a slice of pepper jack cheese and allow to melt.

Quickly grill hamburger buns, cut side down, until nicely browned, about 30 seconds. To serve, place the burger on the bun and top with the chili and onion mixture.


Nestled upon the Eastern Shore of the United states, Delaware is a state that “has it all.” Tax free shopping, the infamous Rehoboth beach and its historic boardwalk, romantic and quaint Lewes beach, (the first town ever established in the United states,) alluring inlet waterways, enchanting lighthouses and junoesque rivers. This state is known for its renowned seafood,  fresh from the Atlantic ocean. One of our favorite eateries, grills up a “Crab daddy” burger that is heavenly…(they won’t give us the recipe, so we made up our own!)  🙂


Crab Daddy Burger! (our version.) 🙂
Ingredients for burger;
1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup of oatmeal.
Salt an pepper to taste
Whole wheat hamburger buns
Two large fresh garden tomatoes
Large red onion
Romaine lettuce
Mix ground beef, egg, oatmeal  and spices until well blended. Make four hamburger patties, set aside for grilling. (Grill 5-7 minutes per side, for your desired burger. )
Slice onions, tomatoes and lettuce for burgers
Ingredients for crab topping
1 pkg. (8 oz.) creme cheese, (softened to room temperature.)
1 cup mayo
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste
dash of Tabasco
1 pound lump crab meat
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
Mix together creme cheese, mayo, 1/4 cup of cheese and seasonings until blended, fold in lump crab meat( stirring gently.) Top with the remainder of cheese and a few more dashes of Old bay. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
While your crab topping is baking, grill burgers on the BBQ or inside grill. For your burgers finale, top them off with a generous amount of crab mixture.  Especially scrumptious with  Cole slaw and steak fries.
Susan and Kits Mushroom and Swiss Cheese Turkey Burger.
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup oatmeal
dash of Tabasco
salt and peeper to taste
1 box sliced, fresh mushrooms, cleaned
1 red onion
1 large , fresh garden tomato
romaine lettuce
Swiss cheese, or Mozzarella
1 TBSP butter
Mayo, Ketchup
Onion Hamburger rolls
Mix together in bowl, turkey, egg and oatmeal until fully blended. Add Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Make 4 hamburger patties . Heat up your BBQ and grill for about 5-6  minutes on each side, for medium rare. (Each grill cooks differently, so make sure you test a burger to see if it’s at the right consistency for you, before removing from heat. )
The last minute of your grill time, add your cheese and allow to melt.
While burgers are grilling, or this can be done before hand,
In small saute pan, melt butter at low-medium heat. Add your mushrooms and seasonings, cook until tender.
Slice your onion, tomatoes and lettuce.
Serve with condiments of choice, putting the warmed, sauteed mushrooms on at the last minute. A great side for this flavorful burger is sweet potato fries, hot from your oven.
                                         ***** Delicious and low in sodium!
Lastly, Two great sauces for your summer sandwiches and burgers from Rachel Ray.
Tangy and sweet;
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • Mix the first five ingredients, and season with salt and pepper

 California-style sauce from Rach’s Cobb Club Burger sliders.

  • 1 cup sour cream,
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful of chopped herbs your choice – parsley, chives, dill, etc.
  • salt and pepper
PHOTOGRAPHS; In placing your computer mouse upon any of the  graphics or photos, it will display where the picture originated from.