"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
~~Albert Schweitzer

Hi all,

Like many of you, I'm already caught up in the holiday rush.  At least partly.  So this is kinda a laid back newsletter.  It's actually part one of two.  Next week we'll again be considering some of our favorite John, TBAA, and JABB- related winter holiday memories.  So if you have anything you'd like to add for that newsletter, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Stay warm, stay joyful... try to stay rested!

God bless,

(Thank you Michelle for the nifty graphic!)

From Rebecca:

I definitely have my TBAA traditions.  TBAA is definitely now integrated into my Holiday traditions and I couldn't imagine the holidays without some TBAA!  I have to watch "An Unexpected Snow" for Thanksgiving.  That is definitely a tradition of mine.  I also place "A Christmas Gift" in that category because I believe it spans both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

As for Christmas I will usually have a marathon on Christmas Eve with "Fear Not" and "The Feather."  Somewhere in there I will also watch "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."  Have already watched "Angel on the Roof."

My mother in law usually comes on Christmas Eve and at some point both she and my husband will have to see at least two Christmas TBAA with me.  It's a tradition.

Also wanted to add I never look at turkey the same way after "An Unexpected Snow"!!   Ah Adam and Alexander a whole new take on Turkey.

Happy early Holidays everyone.



From Jenni:

So I have a *ton* of favorite holidays memories and traditions that have built up since 1996 when I became a John Dye fan and started watching Touched every week.  So many, in fact, that I'm saving some for the next issue.  But for right now, in no particular order, these are my favorite winter holiday moments from JABB's 13 years.

1.  Christmas 2009- It had been my tradition for years that the JABB Christmas story would feature parodies and homages to other Christmas fare.  I think my all-time favorite example of this was in "The Past, the Present, the Future."  Inspired by a Christmas episode of
Frasier, I had Andrew prowling around Willowveil dressed as Jesus.  Unfortunately for him, he was found by JenniAnn's father who just wasn't quite sure what to make of finding an angel of death hiding in his daughter's kitchen dressed as a member of the Trinity and drinking ginger ale...  I do so love awkward humor! 

2.  Sorry... I have to get serious here.  In the last Christmas story I had LJA make one of her sappiest, most devoted, most unconditional declarations of love to Andrew.  I remember thinking as I wrote that scene that it seemed like I was writing a finale.  I wasn't.  But it was the last Dyeland story I wrote before so much changed for us.  Now it just seems really poignant to me.

JABB 11- Honestly, I can't even read it without cringing these days.  What were we thinking with some of these old Dyeland plot lines and characters?!?  Still... it was our first stab at writing a Dyeland story, I believe.  So I'm proud of us for branching out. 

4.  The Dyeland Cookbook- I can't even remember what Christmas we did this for but I think as far as our snail-mailing projects, this was my favorite.  And I still consult it sometimes!  The various decorations we brainstormed together are also among my most treasured Christmas mementos.

5.  CABB 4- To date, I think this is my favorite specifically Thanksgiving-oriented issue.  There are certain things you can't do as a kid that you can later on as an adult.  But there are also certain things that you can do as a kid and then really struggle with as an adult.  For me, poetry is apparently one of those things.  I used to write it when I was younger and now nothing ever comes out right.  But I still get misty eyed whenever I read this piece about Adam and his Alexander. 

6.  Just a moment to be bratty, please.  My brother isn't the biggest JABB fan in the world.  But that didn't stop me from using his graphic for a Thanksgiving issue.  Haha!  He gave it to me so that means I can use it however I want!

7.  Part Two of "In the House of the Lord."  This remains one of my favorite stories and it became even more important to me when I learned just how much John cared about the homeless.  In the story, Andrew is reunited with his friends for Thanksgiving after spending some time living on the streets.  I have to say that writing this story probly changed me more than any other JABB story. 

8.  This is one of the very few stories I've written in which Andrew isn't the star.  But I had just an amazing time writing "Origins."  I sometimes refer to it as "my first grown-up story."  I guess just cause it was so heavy on romance and grief.  The part where Lor makes Cora Christmas ornaments makes me feel warm and fuzzy.  Also... I feel like writing this was a God thing.  As a whole, the story is about continuing to live after losing someone you love and making your life a testament to all they meant to you.  Early last January, I felt pulled to re-read it.  I really didn't want to cause, like I said, Andrew isn't the central character.  But I relented.  Now, of course, I know why I was meant to re-read it in the days before John went Home.  It was sorta like having my younger self pull my older self through those dark days.  Everything I had written about not letting grief consume and destroy became really important. 

9.  "Carry On" is, I think, the only Veteran's Day story.  It humbles me to think about all those who have given their lives for their countries as well as those, like my grandpas, who served and returned to their families.  But writing it also gave me new appreciation for real angels.  All the battlefields they've been on...  All the violence they've seen.  And yet... still they do the Father's will and bring messages of love during times of war.  Wow.

10.  All the fun times spent dreaming up different variations on Santa costumes for Adam!

11.  Trying to cram a reference to It's a Wonderful Life into every JABB Christmas story for the past several years.  It's tradition.  It must happen! 

12.  Trying to write JABB's own "12 Days of Christmas" and having my best friend kindly point out to me that count downs don't go "3...2...3!!!"  You know you're sleep deprived when you apparently forget the number 1 exists.

13.  "Tidings of Comfort and Joy."  A couple follows a star and winds up with a baby.  You can't get much more Christmas-y than that... especially when a person has been waiting for said couple to get their happily ever after since the late 80s...

14.  "I'll Be Home for Christmas."  So clearly I just really like writing Christmas stories.  But beyond that... this story finds Andrew helping an Iraq War veteran make his way home for Christmas.  I just like that over time we graduated from strictly parody stories to actually taking on some of the issues of the day.  So big thanks to all who have supported JABB as it transitioned from top tens and such to something that I hope more accurately pays homage to the show and to the man who inspired its existence and, thus, every item on this list.

15.  In general, I just love that we have this tradition of Christmas stories.  Sometimes I get stressed trying to find the time to write them amid all the holiday chaos.  But I also fear what I'd be doing without them.  Because they force me to sit down and really think about the message of the season: God's love for us all and the importance of showing that love to each other.


A Thanksgiving Prayer

Just thought it'd be nice to wrap this up with a blessing for the holiday.  Though not everyone among us is celebrating Thanksgiving a week from Thursday, I think we all have reason to be grateful.

Dear Father,

Whether November 24th finds us gathered around a table enjoying a festive meal or not, please help us to develop spirits of gratitude.  Enable us to see Your work and Your love in each and every person around us.  Guide us as we confront the hustle and bustle of the holiday season so that we never forget what it's all about: Your love. 

We thank You for the friendships You have created in this group.  Thank You for the inspiration, the hope, and the peace we have found in John's work and in the example of his life.  May Your love and Your peace surround his family and all who love him. 

Amen.  Alleluia.

This newsletter is dedicated to the sheer number of things John gave us that we are grateful for.  To list all the things he taught us, all the words that enabled us to face adversity, all the bonds he helped form, all the much needed laughs, and all the healing tears would take us into eternity.  So until we're there with him, may John know that as we say thanks for the blessings in our lives we count him among them.


JABB 342

(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)