“We do not need magic to transform our world.
We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.”
~~J.K. Rowling

Hi all,

Welcome to JABB's 18th anniversary issue!  I'm not gonna say too much here because you'll be hearing from me more in a bit.  In short, I feel incredibly blessed to have been a part of JABB for its entire (ongoing) run.  Thank you to all of you for being a part of it!

God bless,

Top Ten Random Facts About JABB

10.  In July 1998, when JABB was founded, Brandy's and Monica's "The Boy is Mine," Alanis Morissette's "Uninvited," the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris," and Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" were among the top songs per billboard.com. 

9.  JABB is older than: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Wicked.

8.  Other ways in which the world has changed since 1998 can be found in the chart below:

July 19th, 1998
Top movie
The Mask of Zorro
The Secret Life of Pets
Bestselling novel
The Street Lawyer by John Grisham
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Cost of a gallon of gas
Cost of a loaf of bread
Population of the world
5.96 billion
7.41 billion
President of the U.S.
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Sources: http://www.mybirthdayfacts.com/#facts and, of course, Google.

7.  JABB's web site is compromised of 30,783 files with a total size of 929.08 megabytes.

6.  The largest file on the whole of JABB's web site is this one.  :-)

5.  In this year alone, the JABB site has been visited by people in the following places: Argentina, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Apologies if your country is not listed and you've visited the site this year.  1and1's analytics aren't 100% accurate and always include a "could not be identified" portion.

.  The name Joshua/Josh appears in 239 JABB files, God in 2,584, John in 1,669, and Andrew in 2,469.  Try as I might, I couldn't find any way to count actual instances of those names.  Maybe next year!

3.  When it comes to Dyeland stories, characters from several different shows were brought together.  However, the Touched by an Angel and Beauty and the Beast characters are repeatedly cited as inspiring the resulting TV shows.  The only TV show that is never referenced inside stories is Moonlight.  Therefore, it can be assumed that the Dyeland stories exist in Moonlight's universe.  And if that's true... they also exist within the Tommy Westphall Universe.  Or not.  ;-)

2.  While I don't recall the exact time when the idea of JABB was born, it's been around for about this long...

1.  It means so incredibly much to me... too much to put in an item on a top ten.  So...

Reflections on JABB on the Occasion of Our Eighteenth Anniversary

When JABB started, I was a shy girl only days away from her sixteenth birthday.  The internet was still fairly new to me but I loved it.  It felt great to feel confident about talking to strangers... strangers who became friends all because of our mutual love of Touched by an Angel and John Dye.  Things weren't always perfect.  I can remember tears when there were disagreements and especially when people would simply disappear into the ether once their own fondness for TBAA waned.  Admittedly, there were times when I wondered why I was still lingering on JABB.  I sometimes wondered if maybe I could just rechristen the YahooGroup as Just a Bunch of Buddies and archive the web site.  Maybe it was one of those childish things that we're meant to put away.  But then things changed.  Up above, in the top ten, I tried to remain light-hearted and goofy.  But we all know that there have been some serious changes in the world in the past 18 years.  And we've all had upheavals in our own lives.  As for me, I've lost dear grandparents, amazing co-workers, adored pets, beloved teachers, even a child I once babysat.  And then there was the heartbreak of losing John Dye, the reason we're all here on JABB.  Each time, I came running back to TBAA, to Andrew, to "I want you to know there's nothing... nothing to be afraid of. On one side, there's life. And on the other...there's life, too."  And, each time, they made me feel better.

Eventually, they made me want to keep the story going, keep the characters speaking.  Not in some silly way... at least not always... but in a substantive, hopeful way.  In, I hoped, a TBAA-like way.  So Dyeland shifted from a joke to very nearly a way of life for me.  I used it to cope with 9/11, mass shootings, terrorism, the horrors of rape, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and so much more.  And then it began to reach backwards, sending me to Nazareth and Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Golgotha.  And, best of all, I wasn't alone.  Whether you read the Dyeland stories, proofed them, started writing them yourselves, bounced ideas around with me, or simply joined JABB and gave me one more reason to keep writing... you made a difference.

And not just in our fictional world.  Whether on the YahooGroup or in private emails, JABB members have discussed their fears, hopes, triumphs, and tragedies with each other.  We've been angels to each other, bringing good news during happy times and comfort during sad times.  That means so, so much to me.  I hope that can continue to be true for a good, long time to come.

Still, sometimes, we talk about TBAA whether it be brought about by the latest indignation (Monica should NOT have snapped Andrew's suspenders!!!), a new member eager to share about the impact the show had on them, or a trip down memory lane.  This is a group that knows the significance of flannel shirts and mocha lattes and pocket watches and really lame loafers.  I treasure that and hope you do, too!

I'm going to end this here because I owe emails to some of you and, frankly, my caffeine intake for today has been a bit wanting.  But I'm glad JABB was born.  And I'm glad you were all born, too.  I may have decided to reject the whole Just a Bunch of Buddies "rebranding" but, in so many ways, it's still true here among the John/Andrew Bucket Brigade.  :-)  Thank you for that!

God bless and love,

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for inspiring 18 wonderful years!  Here's to many, many more!

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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.)