"Many of my cartoons are not a belly laugh.
I go for nostalgia, the lump in the throat,
the tear in the eye, the tug in the heart." ~~Bil Keane

Hi all,

Happy anniversary!  Seventeen years!  Wow!  So glad to be here writing this even though it remains a lil shocking.  I wonder what my fifteen year old self would say?

As for my nearly 33 year old self, I'm happy and glad to be starting my two-week vacation!  What a way to celebrate!  I hope you all can celebrate a bit, too, today!  Thanks for being a part of JABB!

God bless,

I'm sticking with tradition again for this one so I present...

My Seventeen Favorite Memories of JABB's Seventeenth Year
(more or less in chronological order... and with story spoilers if you're not caught up)

1.  Finally getting around to starting to phase out the Hallmark Channel-derived Season 9 screen shots.  While it's been slow going, I'm at least making progress and getting a new computer wasn't quite the catastrophe I thought it might be.  I finally found a decent program that works on Willowveil (which is what I named this puter).  All this did lead to an amusing moment when I had to call Dell tech support for help in adjusting my monitor's color and, to demonstrate the problem, used two screen shots of Andrew from "Feather on the Breath of God."  The tech guy used a clip from Batman v. Superman.  I liked my test better.   :-)

2.  Getting to read Dyeland stories that I didn't author!  JABB's 17th year included stories by Heather, Kim, and Pia and so I've been quite happy reading and not knowing *exactly* what's coming along.

3.  As for my own writing...  Finally finishing "The King"!  It wasn't even supposed to exist.  It's just that "The Carpenter" took soooo long for me to write that I finally found a stopping place, ended it, and put the rest into a second "book."  As much as I loved writing them, it was intense and I'm still making up for all the housework that got ignored so completing that particular story was definitely a good memory!

4.  Creating Liam!  I'd had him in mind for months and, in November, I was able to bring him to fictional life.  I think Arthur and Monica are pretty happy about that. 

5.  Writing "The Family Tree," in particular the opening.  As a Catholic, St. Joseph looms large and yet we know so little about him.  While I know it's all pretend, I really enjoyed getting to know the young Yosef in those first two scenes.  The story as a whole was also good for me because I was kind of nervous about how to prominently feature Joshua in stories post "The King."  I feel more assured about that now and it started with "Tree."

6.  Completing the not so fun task of putting "The Carpenter" and "The King" information on the Timeline and the Encyclopedia.  Rereading stories is fun.  Rereading them and stopping every few seconds to add something to a page or two... not so much fun.  So finally finishing that?  Awesome!

7.  Designing the JABB Portal.  I just think it makes more sense and I've found it handy.  I hope others have, too.  Plus, it was fun to use different software than I'm used to.

8.  Adding the Friends of Joshua Forum.  I wish this summer hadn't been such a bust with it but between
"Shadowlands" and real life busyness, I haven't had much time.  Nonetheless, I look forward to returning to it soon.  It's nice to have a place to explore conversation between characters that don't fit neatly into stories.

9.  Clay's and Kylie's dual proposals in "A Cord of Three Strands."  I loved all of the big relationship moments in that story but, for whatever reason, that one really got to me. 

10.  Okay, I'll admit that I really enjoyed writing the opening to "Friend of My Soul" aka "Fifty Shades of Flannel."  I liked thinking that maybe, even if just for a few moments, readers might have thought I'd completely lost my mind and gotten pulled into the whole Fifty Shades craze.  On a more serious note, it was also pretty therapeutic.  Those TV ads were driving me bonkers and writing that was a nice way to refocus.

11.  Creating/updating various pages so that they were actually useful like... Vital Stats, the JABB Calendar, Guidelines for Writing Dyeland Stories, and Biblical Era Characters

12.  The first Friends wedding!  Kim's "Here is My Heart" brought us the first of what's sure to be a flurry of weddings.  I really do think they should all start buying ribbon, balloons, tulle, etc. in bulk.

13.  Looping another flash forward!  With "Shadowlands," I finally got back around to putting the ending of "Possibilities" into its proper context.  I always feel relieved when I do that and don't have to retcon too much. 

14.  Meeting Reuel and the people of El-Chanan.  For a while now, I've wondered if Joshua might have other lands beyond Earth and Asteriana/Dyeland.  It was cool to finally visit one of those places.  And Dyeland got its first principality character!

15.  The "parade of dead people."  So there's the truth...  Originally, Lor, Cora, Sophia, and several other deceased characters were supposed to return for the Christmas 2010 story.  In talking to a friend about my idea, I jokingly referred to it as "the parade of dead people."  However, I ended up going a different route with "To Be With You" and it just didn't work out.  So I put it off for a bit.  And then John passed away...  It didn't seem right to have a bunch of spirits around and no John.  And I absolutely was not going to write John into the story.  So nothing came of it.  Finally, this summer, I was able to bring Lor, Cora, and Sophia back into play and, to make it even more special, Chava, David, Badriya, and Jamey joined them.

16.  The Kiss.  I never really intended for it to happen but whilst writing "Shadowlands," it just seemed right that Andrew and JenniAnn would then.  If having a near death experience and leaving to battle demons isn't a good enough reason to kiss (briefly and sweetly... don't panic, non-Dyeland readers!), I really don't know what is.

17.  Downloading a newer version of one of the very first graphics programs I used for JABB.  Look what I can do again!!!  Andrew surrounded by fireflies and stars!  Because who doesn't want that?!?


This newsletter is dedicated to John for the following seventeen reasons:

1.  Having lovely shaggy hair and (briefly) a goatee in Season 9.  Those two things make facing the monotony of screen capping S9 (again) worthwhile.

2.  How to say this...  His quiet political stances?  With so much going on in the world and so many people hopping on their soap boxes over every little thing, I miss John quietly but without embarrassment taking up causes and working for them without turning it into a "look at me doing good!" sideshow.

3.  Portraying a gentleman in Andrew.  That's not to say I don't respect him for playing Manion.  But Manion was never presented as anything other than loathsome.  In the age of Mr. Grey and his abundance of mixed messages, I'm glad I spent my teen years crushing on a fictional hero who was adamantly opposed to violence against women and who thought exploitation was best met with a baseball bat. 

4.  Giving me several more reasons to have a special dessert: JABB's Anniversary, John's birthday, Andrew's birthday, TOTGA Day, and so many more!

5.  Providing me, however inadvertently, with a platform for dealing with often disheartening news.  The Dyeland stories and, in particular, Andrew's role in them has often been the way I process devastating news stories.

6.  Inspiring a return to my childhood love of Chuck Taylor Converses  My ankles thank him.

7.  Producing not one but two very layered characters.  After repeated viewings, I'm still not always sure what to make of Doc Hock and Andrew.  While I wish the writers of both shows, but especially TBAA, had given John more dialogue to express his characters' inner-workings, his silent moments seemed to hint at so much more going on under the surface of those characters.  I think that's the reason I never really tire of them.

8.  Keeping me interested long enough that what I write here could move away from strictly goofy top tens and such to some of the lumps, tears, and tugs that Mr. Keane references above.

9.  Helping me to become a bit more self-sufficient.  Because of John, I've traveled alone, made those arrangements alone, met people alone (not unsafely), and more.

10.  Pretty much ensuring I'm never bored.  Except for brief lulls at work, I've basically forgotten that boredom exists.  Even if I can think of nothing else to do, there's John-starring TV and movies to watch and John-inspired stories to read and write and this honking site to keep up.

11.  Enabling me to write about Joshua.  While I'd like to think I woulda eventually started writing about Him even without TBAA and Andrew, I can't say that with any confidence.  I think starting from that comfort zone really allowed me to launch into "and now... here's Jesus."

12.  Making my transition to an e-reader so much nicer.  As some of you know, I was very resistant to the whole e-book thing but... it is awfully nice to revisit Dyeland stories from the cozy comfort of my bed.

13.  Helping me to grow more confident.  Years ago, the idea of putting something out there for anyone in the world to read woulda seemed terribly scary.  Now I do it often without even thinking!  At least two times a month actually.  ;-)

14.  Keeping me amused during mundane and boring tasks like dusting, washing dishes, filing, etc.  I can't even tell ya how many ideas for Andrew-centric story plotlines come to me when I do those things.

15.  I know I've said it before but I am truly, truly grateful to John for bringing so many great friends into my life!  While some of us may never meet beyond the screen, I value your friendship.

16.  For just plain inspiring 17 really fun, sometimes funny, and always enriching years with JABB.  From the mundane (how to save as a gif) to the profound (what is the nature of God's relationship to humankind?), JABB has pushed me to seek out answers and I hope it does the same for all of you, too. 

17.  Giving us endless opportunities to impart that all important truth: God loves you!

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(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.)