Monthly Archives: March 2010

My Name is Whimzie and……I Always Wanted to Be Famous

When I was little, I used to practice how I’d walk from behind The Tonight Show curtain to the couches by Johnny Carson’s desk after Ed McMahon called my name. (And yes, I realize I just dated myself.) I was always a little fuzzy on exactly why Johnny would be having me on his show because I wasn’t exactly sure why I was going to be famous…I just knew that I wanted to be.

At first I thought maybe I’d be a singer. Unfortunately, I hate to hear myself sing which would make life as a vocalist irritating at best. For a while, I wanted to be an actress. But almost every famous actress story I heard began with the leading lady working as a waitress as she struggled to break into the business. Someone whose family sarcastically nicknamed her “Grace” has no business carrying trays of breakables over the heads of unsuspecting restaurant patrons. I figured my claim to fame would find me eventually. In the meantime, I practiced my signature for the autographs I felt sure people would request of me someday. I practiced making my “A” look like the “A” in Amy Grant’s signature because it looked kind of like a star–the star I hoped I would be someday.

I didn’t want to be famous because I wanted to be a diva. In fact, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would be a gracious celebrity, always volunteering my time and giving money to charities. I didn’t want to be famous so I could have lots of money, have my face on the front of magazines, and always be able to get a table at the fanciest restaurants. I just wanted everyone to love me. Like the people on “Cheers,” I wanted to go where everybody knew my name.

I’m the oldest child so I was pre-wired with a touch of “Firstborn Need to Succeed” syndrome. That disorder’s not in the DSM, so don’t waste a Google. I made it up. I also grew up with two incredibly supportive parents who told me I could be anything I wanted to be. In addition to supportive parents, I have a highly competitive nature so somewhere along the way I merged the two and decided that I needed to be the best at everything I did. And if I couldn’t be the best, I just wouldn’t try.

I achieved honors through the years. I was the president of the student council. I was voted Best All-Around and Most Likely to Succeed. But instead of enjoying each success, I found myself wondering, “What can I do next to top that?” Then I graduated from high school and went to college…with all the other Most Likely to Succeeds and presidents of the student councils and Best All-Arounds with a few head cheerleaders and homecoming queens thrown in for good measure. I felt a little lost and unsure of what I was supposed to do next.

At some point, I decided what I really needed was to be famous for God. I had to do big things for Him. Maybe I needed to become a missionary so I could lead the natives to Jesus. I wanted a huge collection of crowns to lay at Jesus’s feet one day. I wanted to be one of His shining stars in Heaven. I wanted Him to see what I’d done for Him and be proud. I wanted to hear, “Well done, Amy, my good and faithful servant!”

Each stage of my life I’ve looked for the next big thing that would finally lead to my greatest life’s work–the something that would cause God and everyone else to fall head over heels in love with me. Some times I’ve been more conscious than others that this desire was at work in my life. At times, I felt like everything must surely be on hold because I was in a stage of life that prohibited me from doing really big and really important stuff. I felt like I was in some kind of waiting room, sitting tight until it was time for my big debut.

Then I started this blog. I’ve always been a writer in my head. By that, I mean I have a continuous stream of words bouncing off the walls off my brain. They very rarely stop. Sometimes the words are thoughts about life stuff. Sometimes they’re stories about people who don’t exist anywhere except in my head. Most of the time they stay in my brain, but every now and then, I take the words out and put them in black and white and let other people see them. This blog gave the words a chance to get out more often and made more room for even more words to play in my head.

I love when something I write makes sense to someone else. One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too ? I thought I was the only one.” Every day that I posted something here I’d anxiously wait for messages in my inbox that alerted me to a new comment on my blog.  Sometimes I would write something that made me feel exposed or vulnerable and I always felt a huge sigh of relief when someone would comment that they felt the same way, too. I’m so grateful for the community of friends that I’ve found because of this little blog.

But then my competitive nature reared her ugly head and I decided that if I was going to be a blogger, I needed to be the best blogger I could be. I started tracking statistics and worrying about why one post had more comments on it than another. I didn’t want to be unkind to anyone who had taken the time to read my blog so I spent a lot of time sending emails and reading other blogs and leaving comments. It didn’t take long before I had an overflowing inbox, a ridiculously unmanageable Google Reader, and a blog that felt more like a full-time job than a place to put my thoughts. And it didn’t really matter because there was always a better blogger and a better writer. And for that matter I could always find a better mom, a better wife, and a better friend. I just didn’t seem to be the best at anything and I didn’t feel like I was doing big things for God.

Over the last few weeks I’ve made some changes. I took the statistic monitors off of my blog. I started turning my computer off on Fridays. I stopped obsessing over how many times a week I was able to write a blog post. I started ignoring my Google Reader. Then this past weekend on the way home from Florida I read a book that’s been on my Want to Read list for several years.

I hesitate to tell you what I read because I’m pretty sure that I’m one blog post away from having Phil Vischer’s people issue a temporary restraining order on his behalf. But the book I read was Me, Myself, and Bob:  A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables. It’s Phil Vischer’s story and once again, God used Phil’s words to speak to my heart.

Want to know what God said to me through this book?

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And the Winners Are…

Amy Clutter! and Gretchen! It would be so cool if I knew how to take a picture of the Random Generator Thingamajig so that you could see that they won fair and square, but alas, I don’t. So you’ll all just have to exercise some degree of trust.

Gretchen McGladdyGladstone blogs at Jewels in My Crown…Someday, one of my favorite blogs on the planet (and not just because it’s the only blog I know that has an ellipsis in it and ellipses are among my most favorite punctuation marks). Gretchen is a friend who lives in my computer, but honestly? Most of the time I forget we’ve never met. Gretchen, I haven’t even told you this yet, but the other day I was telling my mom about a phone conversation I’d had with a friend who was coming into town and my oldest (who may or may not have been eavesdropping) pipes up with, “Are you talking about Gretchen?” I wasn’t and I told him so but asked, “How do you know Gretchen?” He sighed and said, “Because you talk about her all the time.” Which I don’t think I do, but she is very near and dear to my heart. I should make her come get her certificate in person, but I’ll be a good sport and mail it to her. Love you MUCHLY, Gretchen!!

Amy Clutter is a local friend and she says that this was her first time to ever comment on a blog. And she won a prize. Makes the rest of you a little sick, doesn’t it? Amy, I’ll FB you and we’ll come up with a plan to get your certificate to you. I could mail it or we could actually meet somewhere! That would be fun because then we could continue our last conversation which, if I’m not mistaken was at a Christmas party?! Too long ago! Let’s fix that.

Congratulations to both of you wonderful ladies. For the rest of you, I tell you verily thus, you need to invest in these DVDs. I don’t know if any of you read the comments from yesterday’s post, but CPQ said that while they were at a hotel this week on a little spring break vacation, one of her sons took the Bible out of the drawer and started reading. CPQ asked him if he was looking for anything in particular and he told her he was reading Leviticus because Buck Denver was going to be talking about that in the next DVD and he wanted to be ready. That gave me goose bumps! Our kids have so much vying for their attention. This is a product that will focus their attention on what really matters and what’s vitally important for their survival in this crazy world.

His Girl Amber and I were talking about CPQ’s comment last night and she said that she feels like that this series could have the impact on biblical literacy that Jim Henson and Sesame Street had on literacy in general. I said, that in the same way Beth Moore has encouraged women to learn God’s Word for themselves, Phil Vischer could spur our children to dig into the Bible in a way they never have before. Easter’s coming. Take a couple of the Reese’s and Cadbury eggs out of your cart and buy these DVDs instead. I dare you.

Thank you, Tyndale, for providing the gift certificates and thanks to everyone for playing and for being a part of What’s in the Bible? week!

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Don’t Forget! (A Virtual String Around Your Finger If You Will)

Don’t forget that today is your last chance to leave a comment on the post before this one (just click here) to have a chance to win one of the two new What’s in the Bible? DVDs! Remember, I’m the girl who brought you amazing products like Whimzie Popcorn, World Market Chocolate Macadamia Laceys, and Same Kind of Different As Me.  Would I lead you astray? I’m telling you, What’s in the Bible? is what all the cool kids will be watching this spring. It’s the new black. And by kids, I don’t just mean children, I mean you there on the other side of this screen. Whether you have kids or not. Whether you know me in or outside of my computer. Whether you live in America or not. Go. Enter. Now. P.S. I’ll count any comments that are entered before March 24. I know that I originally gave a cut-off time, but I want to give everyone a chance to enter who wants one.

Speaking of What’s in the Bible?, His Girl Amber, my REAL-LIFE friend who now lives inside AND outside of my computer, gets to interview Phil Vischer for a radio program tomorrow!! I know, right? She was asking us on Twitter a little while ago if we had any questions that we would like to ask. I’ve already given her my (partial) list of questions, but in the comments today, I was wondering what YOU would ask Phil Vischer if you had the chance. What say you?

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WHAT’S IN THE BIBLE? Week: Mom Gets the Last Word…Except for When She Doesn’t

I still hope to post the kids’ review of What’s in the Bible? (www.whatsinthebible.com) but I don’t have the necessary equipment to do that here and now. So in an example of blog imitating life, I only thought I’d have the last say on this series.

I had high hopes for What’s in the Bible? and had been looking forward to its release ever since I heard that Phil Vischer planned to make a video series for kids that covered the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation. I was not disappointed.

The series has just enough silly to keep my kids entertained and repeating favorite lines over dinner. But it has just enough pop culture references and “just over their head” lines to keep my husband and I laughing…and repeating favorite lines over dinner.

I think what impresses me most about this series is the depth of subject matter each disc covers. This isn’t a retelling of favorite Bible stories using puppets. This series ambitiously, but in my opinion successfully attempts  to help children go beyond the surface to truly understand that the Bible is not just a fun storybook. Each disc emphasizes the relation of each book to the others in the telling of “God’s story and what He’s done for us.”

Do your kids know who Jerome was? What the Septuagint is? What the word “testament” means? My kids do. And so do I, know that we’ve watched the first two episodes of What’s in the Bible? Now would my kindergarteners be able to answer all of those questions accurately today? Maybe not. But ask them again later this summer after they’ve watched those episodes eleventy hundred more times. If your kids are like mine, they’ll watch the same DVD over and over and over again. And it does my heart (and theirs) good to know that every time my kids watch one of the What’s in the Bible? DVDs a little more knowledge of God’s Word is taking root in their brains and, more importantly, in their hearts. But they’re having so much fun that they don’t even know they’re learning!

I wasn’t kidding about the stuff K and I are learning. I’m especially loving the discussions about church history (from Jesus to Billy Graham). It just doesn’t seem as dry and tedious when a pirate and a parrot tell me! My mom has a friend who is a fairly new Christian. She didn’t grow up in church. The stories that we don’t remember hearing for the first time? She hasn’t heard most of them. No one has ever explained to her how the Bible is arranged or why the Protestant Bible and the Catholic Bible don’t have the same number of books. I gave her my advance copy of the DVDs to watch. She was thrilled and finally feels like she’s beginning to understand why the Bible is so vital to her growth as a new Christian. It is breaking down a difficult book into bite-sized pieces that she can manage.

I’m not sure who the target audience is for What’s in the Bible? but I firmly believe that it would be a useful addition to every family’s library, whether you have children living in your home or not. Stick the first two DVDs in your loved ones’ Easter baskets. Prop them up with a couple of Cadbury eggs. They’ll certainly last longer and provide better nourishment than a hollow chocolate bunny. Plus you won’t get “real sick in your head  from the What’s in the Bible?DVDs like you might from the bunny. (Good luck getting the “New and Improved Bunny Song” out of your head. You’re welcome.)

And guess what I heard on Twitter yesterday? What’s in the Bible? is in talks to develop a curriculum that would supplement the series. I know!! I’m seeing homeschool moms and dads, Sunday School teachers, parents looking for good family devotionals…so many amazing ways this could be used!

In case you can’t tell by now, I’m very, very excited about this series and I think once you see it, you’ll be excited too. I’m thankful that Tyndale House (www.tyndale.com) gave me an opportunity to preview the series before it was released and I’m very grateful that they gave me two certificates so that I can give away a copy of each of the first two DVDs! To win, leave a comment on this blog post. One comment per person, please. I will keep the contest open until Tuesday, let’s say 7:00 p.m. CST, and I’ll announce the winner some time on Wednesday, March 24th. Sound like a plan? Even if you’ve already purchased a copy of the first two DVDs, you’re eligible to win, as long as you promise to give them away to someone who would enjoy them.

In today’s comment, I’d love for you to tell me what question about the Bible you would like for What’s in the Bible? to tackle. Or, if you have no questions about the Bible, tell me why you would like to win one of these DVDs.

I hope you win!

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WHAT’S IN THE BIBLE? Week: Technicolor Yawn Difficulties

The video review I had scheduled for Day 2 of What’s in the Bible? week is on hold. We celebrated the first day of spring break yesterday with lots of…. well, see, my oldest son was….he uh….(see this post). It looks like it was a short-lived bug but it interrupted our scheduled filming. We’re supposed to leave to go out of town tomorrow so there may not be a post tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be back on Thursday and Friday. Or I may just be flexible and see what happens. Who was it who said, “we plan, God laughs”? But have no fear, I’ll still have a grand finale post where I’ll give you a chance to win one of these wonderful DVDs.

Instead of the kids’ review, would you like to see the first five minutes of the first episode? Hear the theme song? Of course you would! Click here.

Until I get back, I would like you to answer as many of the following questions as you would like to answer. There’s no scholarship riding on it, so be brave and tell me:

A. Who’s your favorite Veggie Tale character?

B. What’s your favorite Veggie Tale episode?

C. What’s your favorite Veggie Tale song?

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WHAT’S IN THE BIBLE? Week: Meet the Characters

I love Veggie Tales. There. I said it. I am a fan of cartoon produce and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  It was nice when K and I finally had kids so we could justify our extensive Veggie Tale video collection.

I also love Phil Vischer. No, there’s no need to call his wife or warn my husband. Maybe I should have said that I’m a big fan of Phil Vischer’s. Some time ago I emailed him to tell him how much the Veggie Tales episode “A Snoodle’s Tale” meant to me and he wrote me back. That’s certainly not the only reason I’m a fan of his, but it certainly made my day. I love that he uses his amazing talents and creative genius in ways that give God glory. I also love that he sounds a lot like Bob the Tomato (I wonder why?!).

Phil Vischer’s latest project is called What’s in the Bible? Here. I’ll let him tell you what it’s all about.

You were visualizing Bob, weren’t you?

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first installation of this series. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to receive a pre-release of the first two episodes. I was dance-around-the-room excited when Tyndale House also sent me a gift certificate for one free copy of each episode that I can give away to two of my friends!! However, I was greatly bummed that they wanted me to wait until the week of March 15th to post my review. But guess what? Today is March 15! And I’ve decided that one day to tell you about What’s in the Bible? is not nearly enough time. So, ladies and three gentlemen (insert announcing trumpet sound here), I declare this week What’s in the Bible? Week at Snoodlings! The week will crescendo to a grand finale where you will have the chance to win your own What’s in the Bible? DVD!

But everyone will walk away with something today because to introduce you to the characters, Tyndale House sent me five coloring pages and said that I could share them with you! (Click on the link below and you should be directed to the pages.)

WITB_ColoringPages

The first picture is Buck Denver. He’s the newscaster host of What’s in the Bible? (I’m not asking you. I know for a fact that he’s the newscaster host but since the title of this series ends with a question mark, it makes punctuating this review with clarity of meaning a challenge of sorts.) The second page features Clive and Ian, two brothers who are always in search of adventure. The next picture is of Agnes and Winnifred.  Remember the two grumpy critics on The Muppet Show? Agnes and Winnifred remind me of them. The fourth coloring page is a picture of Michael. I think he may be my favorite character so far. You’ll just have to watch What’s in the Bible? to see if you agree with me. The last picture is of Sunday School Lady. She has a magic flannelgraph. Need I say more?

The characters are a perfect example of another reason that I’m such a big fan of Phil Vischer’s. Now, let me let you in on a little secret before I explain to you why I think Phil Vischer is a character-making genius. Lean in closer. Here’s my secret: I am NOT a fan of puppets. Chalk it up to thirty-plus years of Vacation Bible School and children’s church, but I’ve just never loved puppets. (And don’t get me started on ventriloquists and their dummies.) Their faces never change. They can’t change expressions. As much as I love am a fan of Phil Vischer’s, I wasn’t sure I was going to love the puppet aspect of What’s in the Bible? But these characters are so well-defined and voiced so adeptly, that within minutes I completely forgot they were puppets! Honest!

I just can’t say enough good things about this series. Today I didn’t even scratch the surface. Tomorrow, I plan to post a video of my kids telling you what they think about What’s in the Bible? Wednesday will be my final post for the week and I’ll do my best to sum up my feelings about this amazing series. That post will also be your opportunity to leave a comment for an opportunity to win a copy of one of the DVDs.

Speaking of winners,  I have three that I need to announce from last week.  (I only said I had one book to give away, but spring break with beautiful weather and What’s in the Bible? Week find me in a very giving mood I guess. Betty Boop is a real-life friend. Boop is not her real last name but how cool would that be if it were? Betty Boop, you won the book Mother-Daughter Duet by Cheri Fuller and Ali Plum. I’ll give it to you at church, okay? Kay (from Off the Beaten Path) is a relatively new blog friend. Her blog is like a daily devotional thought. I always leave her posts with a little spiritual snack to munch. And on a much shallower note, I love her haircut!! Mimi is a precious blog friend who grew into an email and IM friend. Kay and Mimi, I’d like to email both of you a $5 iTunes gift. Will you please shoot me an email to snoodlings@live.com so I can be certain that I send it to the correct email address? (If you don’t have an iTunes library, we can still be friends somehow, but you’ll need to let me know so I can adjust your gift accordingly.)

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of three of my all-time favorite characters. Not even Phil Vischer could create characters as amazing and funny and captivating and precious as these three. Last week our school had Character Night at Barnes and Noble so we had an opportunity to play dress-up.

Here’s the Invisible Man from the classic book by H.G. Wells:

This is Runny Babbit from a billy sook by Shel Silverstein:

Let me give you a little background information about this next costume. I don’t sew. As in, if a button comes off in this house it stays off until my husband can sew it on. Yes, my husband. I believe I already told you that a football player in my home ec class finished my pillow so that I would be able to get a passing grade on my sewing project. I’m not proud of this, but it’s just a fact of my life. So the rule I declared for the selection of costumes this year was that it needed to involve materials we already have. We just so happen to have a shark costume that I bought on sale at a consignment shop several years ago. So our next task was finding a book that included a shark. Blessedly for us (for many reasons), we used to live in Hawaii.  I’d like to introduce you to a lesser-known literary character, Vanna the Magic Shark from The Three Little Hawaiian Pigs and the Magic Shark. Thank you, obscure Hawaiian author!

It was a fun night and The Invisible Man won first place in his grade division. I was bummed for the Magic Shark and Runny Babbit, but they had some stiff competition in kindergarten. The winner came dressed as the wardrobe from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  When you opened the doors of the wardrobe, you could see Narnia inside. Way to go, Wardrobe’s mom! Thanks for making the rest of us look bad inspiring us to be more creative next year!

I hope you’ll come back tomorrow and the next day to celebrate What’s in the Bible? Week at Snoodlings. In the meantime, you can find out more at http://www.whatsintheible.com and http://www.tyndale.com. If you Tweet, be sure to follow @whatsinthebible on Twitter.

You an also win some neat prizes at a couple of my friends’ blogs this week. Kellie from La Vida Dulce and Meredith from Life at 7000 Feet are celebrating their 1000th posts this week and to celebrate, they’re giving away some really fun stuff. They’d love for you to stop by and say hi! I’ll leave you with these assignments and hopefully I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

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But This Is My Real Life

I’ve been looking forward to today for quite awhile. Earlier this year, HisGirlAmber told me she’d be in Louisiana this month. I thought that the chances of our schedules aligning and us actually getting to meet were hopeful but unlikely. But then, a a couple of weeks ago, the stalker “pre-MIRL countdown” (that’s Meet In Real Life for those of you who are just tuning in) phone texts began. And last night I really truly realized for the first time that this was actually going to happen. I was going to get to spend some time with a friend who until today was only a friend who lived in my computer.

I don’t remember how I found HisGirlAmber’s blog. It was probably through Meredith. I can trace probably 85% or more of my friends who live in my computer back to a connection with her. If she ever starts charging me a finder’s fee, I’m in trouble. I think what I love most about Amber’s blog is that she gets right to the heart of the matter and finds God in the everyday minutes of life. I’ve left her blog encouraged, convicted, inspired…sometimes all of those at once! She doesn’t waste words. And she points back to Jesus every time. I love that she’s not cocky about her abilities but she’s confident enough to use her talents and passions to do great work for the kingdom.  The girl sat down and wrote a Bible study about the book of Daniel, people. Who does that? Besides Beth Moore?

So today was the big MIRL day. I was nervous. I’d like to think that by this point in my life I’m confident enough in my life to accept that not everyone’s going to get me and not everyone’s going to love me. And that maybe people can get along really well in the comments section of a blog and not have much to talk about when they’re sitting across a table from each other eating burgers (and cheesesticks) at a table at Fuddrucker. But I wanted them to like me. And I wanted it to be a fun day.

Did I mention they met me here at my house?  My house that was family clean but not company clean. Certainly not, please-judge-me-as-a-housekeeper-for-the-first-time-you-meet-me clean. But that’s my fault and another story for another day (or not). And Amber was bringing her best friend forever and her BFF’s friend. I felt like it would be okay, but I was sweating it a little.

They arrived a little early. For me, and this is really only my third MIRL, the initial hellos are the most awkward. But that lasted less than a couple of minutes and the rest of the day, as I said on Amber’s blog, was like picking up on a conversation with old friends that started a long time ago. I love those girls. Amber is the Amber I’ve already known all these months through our blogs. Sing4Joy Judi, her BFF, is the real deal and a great big walking heart. Ashleigh is an easygoing sweetheart who loves life and does a mean leprechaun leap. I haven’t weathered any storms with these girls. We don’t have a lot of history together. I don’t know every chapter and page of their stories (although they were very patient with my Barbara Walters interview questions). But those girls are my friends. More than that, they are my sisters.

I think MIRL is kind of a misnomer. This blog is real life to me. I’m not trying to go all Julie and Julia, but my friends who live in my computer are as true and real and dear to me as my friends who live outside it. I don’t expect everyone to understand that. I think those of you who read and comment on blogs regularly do.  I don’t think that I truly “know” every person who leaves a comment on this blog. But for many of us, the blog was just the starting point of our friendship. We have emailed, texted, called….and on special days, MIRLed. I wouldn’t trade a single friend with whom I’ve had the privilege of doing life with in the flesh. But I also wouldn’t trade the friends I’m doing life with in more untraditional ways. I am real here. I speak my mind here. Do I hold anything back? Of course I do. But I do that “in my real life,” too.

Today my computer life and “my real life” intersected for a few hours. My friends stepped out of my computer and into my world. We ate, laughed, frolicked (isn’t that the photographic direction you gave us, Judi?), letterboxed stealthily (another topic for another day…if you think you’re cool enough to handle it), and left very few stones unturned (literally and conversationally). Some time during the day, I couldn’t help but think about Heaven. One day, we are going to have the biggest MIRL party ever. We’ll MIRL with Jesus and then we’ll be together with the friends we’ve met and the ones we’ve never seen on this earth. As I sit here and replay moments from my day in my head, I get more and more excited about that day. And although I can’t find a Bible verse or a Randy Alcorn reference to prove it, I  think there might be letterboxing there. If you come unprepared, I’ll let you borrow my stamp!

Amber, Judi, Ashleigh, I love you girls and today will be a memory I’ll cherish. Thanks for taking the time to come and see me and share your lives with me. I feel honored and I hope we get to do it again this side of Heaven. Y’all come back now, you hear?

I was so geeked out I didn’t take a single picture! But Sing4Joy and HisGirlAmber posted one or two on their posts today. She Who Should Not Remain Blogless obviously didn’t post any pictures on her blog…because she doesn’t have one.  (sigh)

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