Congrats to Audrey, Jess, and Joanna for completing the scavenger hunt!!
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"Hoedown Twang"

Okay, before we get into the newsletter just wanted to let you know we ended up cancelling the chat last weekend and rescheduled it for this coming Saturday.  So it's now Saturday the 25th, starting at 6 PM Central time.  Again, if you think you may be there please do RSVP to this email address.  The location of the chat will be:

Okay, now to the newsletter!

Hi all!

Welcome to our very first Andrew's Birthday (Observed) issue! So a big happy birthday to our Angel Boy! We have a story waiting for you and that story leads into a scavenger hunt. A prize will be awarded to the winner so we do hope some of you will participate!


Jenni and Karen

Two months ago...

"Okay, I'm liking the Moroccan wedding-style theme but I *know* that'll raise some eyebrows.  And yes the French Country buffet would also be nice.  But...  I'm not sure.  Oops, I have another call, call ya back later."  JenniAnn clicked the "flash" button on her phone.  "Hi this is JenniAnn.  Yes I did order a cake. Right, 'Happy Birthday Andrew' in... did we decide on blue frosting for the lettering?  WHAT?!?  No...  no I did NOT!  I absolutely did not request that a girl dressed as Marilyn Monroe jump out of the cake and sing 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' to Andrew! That's just...  We're trying to celebrate his birthday, not traumatize me or... err... him.  Why are you laughing? Listen, forget it.  I'll bake the cake myself.  Good bye!"  JenniAnn slammed the phone down on the receiver.  "Breathe in... breathe out...  happy place... Happy place...  Green meadows, blue skies, Andrew...  Ah! Am serious party-planner.  No day-dreaming!  Right, invitations..."

JenniAnn surveyed a stack of sample envelopes and invites, selected a few with promise, and then picked the phone up again to dial.  "Hey yeah, this is JenniAnn, I believe we spoke before.  Listen I really like the blue granite stationary but can we get that with silver Lucida Calligraphy print instead of the gold? Really??  And the potpourri is set right into the paper?  Oooh...  That sounds nice.  Yes, I would like to see some samples.  Okay, yep be by around 3:00!" she smiled as she hung up the phone but then surveyed her office which was littered with centerpieces, china samples, and a large sign reading "56 days til Andrew's Birthday!!)

Just then her friend and co-president walked in...  

JenniAnn didn't realize that Karen had been watching this mini tornado/chaos from the door way. She shook her head and walked up to JenniAnn. She grabbed JenniAnn firmly but gently by both her arms.  

"JenniAnn take a slow deep breath and let it out slowly. That's right. Now do it again. I think you need to remember that this party is to celebrate Andrew's birthday. He would not want you losing your mind over planning his party" Karen backed up and looked at JenniAnn's face. She had this frantic glazed look in her eyes. Karen knew that JenniAnn was ready for one of her infamous breakdowns. "JenniAnn, you know Andrew would want something comfortable and cozy as far as a party goes. We only need to invite people from Dyeland. Why not have a barbeque and we will cook the main meal, the meat, and the rest of the people can bring a dish? I will help you with the cake. Now what is Andrew's favorite cake?"  

JenniAnn replied, still a bit frantic yet a little calmer. She even looked calmer. “Let’s do one vanilla and one chocolate, keep every one happy.”

"Okay now we know he loves barbeque . What kind of meat does he like?"  

“Let’s just do a bit of everything again. And of course we’ll have something for the vegetarians. But you know, pork, beef, chicken. Just no turkey! For Adam’s sake…” JenniAnn answered, still more calmly.

"This is great JenniAnn. You just wait and see… this will be a great party.” Karen reassured her friend and they began tossing all the catering and professional decorator brochures.

The day of the party:

The day of Andrew’s birthday party came around. Karen and a couple helpers were out at the barbeque pit with a whole pig, a side of beef, and 100 hotdogs. Inside Willowveil, JenniAnn and others were tossing salads and putting finishing touches on the various side dishes they had brought. The cakes, one vanilla and one chocolate, looked delicious and were waiting to be taken outdoors covered in candles. They were carrying the dishes out to the barbeque pit when suddenly Monica ran up.

“Andrew and Tess are on their way. They should be here in five minutes!” she exclaimed excitedly.

The Dyelanders buzzed around, piling presents on a table and then all gathered in front of it. Soon Andrew and Tess came walking up. Andrew furrowed his brow.

“Hello everyone… umm… am I interrupting something?” he asked curiously.

JenniAnn started giggling nervously as Karen stepped forward.

“Andrew we wanted to give you a special birthday gift that no one else would give you. I decided to share a special birthday song my mother always sang to my sister and myself on our birthdays. It is medium tempo and it meant so much to us and I hope it means a lot to you.” she explained smiling.

As Andrew looked on the assembled Dyelanders sang "Happy birthday. Happy birthday just for you. May your day be gay and may your dreams come true. When you blow out your candles one light stays aglow. That's the sunshine that you spread where e'er you go" as Tess and even Monica joined in.

Andrew was intensely moved by this outpouring of affection. He was still rather stunned when a group of them ushered him to the front of the buffet line. After eating, they all gathered around as Andrew opened the gifts and cards.

“Wow, you guys are just so… I’m… you’re all just really great friends” he said before beginning. “Well, let’s see first one’s from Bunny. ‘Dear Andrew I don't have any money to spend for you on this your birthday, but I do hope you like my gift to you. It is an unlimited supply of carrots for one year. Love your loyal friend, Bunny.’ Aww, Bunny. Thank you. This means a lot.”

Next came a package from JenniAnn. “‘Dear Andrew, I hope that you know just how loved you are by each of us gathered here now and so many others through out the worlds. If you ever doubt it, just open this book. With love and friendship, JenniAnn,’” he read. He then unwrapped the package and pulled out a scrapbook filled with memories of his time both on Earth and in Dyeland. Poems written by JenniAnn and others of his friends also filled the pages.

“This is just… wow, this means a lot. Whenever I’m away I’ll look at this and think of all of you. Thank you so much,” he said smiling at a heavily blushing JenniAnn. He carefully set the book back down and turned to the next package.

‘“Hope your birthday is filled with lots of love and relaxation to get away from any screaming people in the area. Maybe you will even get a break just that day from being an AOD. You still look so young!:) Sincerely Jess.’” Andrew read with a smile before reaching down to grab the included package. He grimaced, it was heavier than he would have guessed! He tore the paper and then laughed. “Ginger ale! Jess, you remembered my favorite! I’m set for a good long time now! Actually I think I’ll have one right now.” he smiled and opened a can, offering some to the others as well.

Monica and Tess came forward and each handed him packages and cards. He opened Monica’s first and read “‘My dear friend I would like to wish you a wonderful birthday, another year older. Where has the time gone?  The Father is so proud of you.  I hope to see you again soon. I added with this card a lovely batch of my new cappuccino cookies!  Love Monica.’” Andrew opened the proffered box and sampled one of the cookies, giving Monica a thumbs up sign before finishing the cookie and directing his attention to Tess’ gift.

“‘To my Angel Boy, it’s a pleasure to celebrate another birthday with you. It’s always a blessing to spend time with you, baby, and it never seems like enough. If you ever get lonely out there on assignment just pop this in and think of how loved you are.’” Andrew read with misty eyes. He tore the paper off the small package and then stared at the enclosed CD.

“I recorded it just for you, baby.” Tess smiled and hugged Andrew. Andrew beamed at all his gathered friends and thanked them again.

Just then a previously hidden band walked out from behind a grove of trees and struck up with a rousing Irish jig followed by all manner of dance songs. Everyone danced and chatted and had a joyous time celebrating Andrew’s birthday.

Around ten that night the party drew to a close and the Dyelanders all returned to their homes. Andrew hugged them each good bye and profusely thanked them for a beautiful birthday party. When the last person had left, Andrew looked up at the sky and thanked his Father for caring friends, the beauty of nature that surrounded him, and for His unending love and support that had got him to this very special birthday.

balloonThe Endballoon

Okay, we hope you enjoyed the story and now we'd like you to find the following items from the story. Here's the rules:

In order to win the contest you need to find the following items and send me the urls for them! Here's the rules:

1. I will only count *one* url per item. So with ten items you should have at most 10 urls.

2. The deadline for this is September 26th.

3. In the event of a tie (i.e., more than one person finds all 10 items) there will be tiebreakers in the form of trivia questions until we have a single winner.

4. The winner will be able to pick a prize from our list or from our store. Please visit:

for more details.

5. Please send only urls, not attachments.

6. Send your list of urls (web addresses) to Jenni. Please also email if you have any questions about the contest. I will try to answer if I can do so with out giving one person an advantage over others.

Now here's what ya gotta find!

1. A web page about the Marilyn Monroe-JFK birthday bash

2. A place to order custom birthday cakes

3. A website detailing some sort of relaxation technique

4. A barbeque recipe

5. A page with some sort of alternate birthday song lyrics or poem. (Other than the usual "Happy birthday to you, happy birthay to you...")

6. A page with a picture of carrots

7. An online scrapbooking store

8. A picture of Andrew at a party

9. A recipe for a dish you would have brought to the party (if you're really set on sharing one you can't find on a webpage, feel free to type it out and just send it in the email, again no attachments please)

10. A poem you might dedicate to Andrew on the occasion of his birthday. (Again if you can't find an url for a poem you want to share or if you're writing something yourself, just send it as text in the email).

Numbers 9 and 10 will not be judged on content (meaning I'm not "grading" poems. Any poem will do.)


Newsletter 147