Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quite possibly the shortest post ever.

I love you all and I miss blogging!  I'm writing this as I hork down a few bites of a late lunch before getting back into character as Lucy Jane and sewing more elephants.  I have 7 days until I run out of time.  I don't have as many finished as I want for a full booth.  I'm going crazy, but by gum, I will have them done!

I also noticed that I lost a follower. :(  Probably due to my apparent falling off the face of the blogging earth.

I miss you.  Please come back.

It's cool though, because I know that follows fluctuate and I will gain some and lose some as time goes on and it will all average out and I can only hope that you all bear with me until this deadline is behind me and I'm semi-famous in my county and I start keeping with my blog schedule again and stop posting in run-on sentences.  That's the goal, anyway.

So that's all I have time for.  Here's a lol cat with a piece of very good advice to keep you happy until I return next week.

MMMMmmmmwaaaahhh.  Hugs and kisses!

Monday, May 23, 2011


It's Music Monday!!!

I'm going to be sewing all day today, getting ready for the Hydrangea Festival, and this always makes me happy to listen to as I work.

I love opera.

Yes, I'm a dork.  I am, in fact, acutely aware of my dorkiness, thank you. :)
DH is a fellow dork and this is his favorite thing to listen to (along with the rest of the WS's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" soundtrack) when he's had a rotten day.

I hope it makes your day happy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not TEOTWAWKI After All...

Yes, I'm posting about the rapture that didn't happen.  Don't hate me for jumping on the band wagon of current news and events.  It's not that I'm not creative and original; these sorts of things deserve a response.

So what's my personal view on the May 21, 2011 Doomsday predictions?
Well, to sum it up, people are mental.

This is what I, as a Christian, believe about the "end of the world":

  • Jesus Christ's gift of dying for our sins is the one and only way to get to heaven.  Period.  Being a good person doesn't cut it.
  • That being said, the Bible is God's Word.  While I understand that it was written and has been translated by men (fallible humans), I believe that what it says is divine and true.  Did you catch that? TRUE.  It's not "outdated".  It has proven applicable and relevant to my life over and over and over again.  I'm not a Bible scholar.  Did I ever say I was?  I don't read the 4 (yes, 4) Bibles that I own nearly as deeply and as often as I would like to.  But what I hear and understand by my pastor and my devotionals shows me time and time again that everything I need to help me understand God and His will for my life can be found in scripture.
  • That being said, I can't stand it that some man calling himself a reverend has the audacity to think he can put my awesome God on his time schedule.  Using, according to the news reports I read all over the internet today, "his own mathematical formula and calculations" to define a date and time for Jesus to return is not only ludicrous, it's downright insulting to the entire concept of FAITH.  He quotes all kind of Bible verses, but there were two major things that I found issue with: 1) he conveniently leaves out any of the context that the scripture he was using to "calculate" dates with and also any of the scriptures that reaffirm constantly that no one knows the time that Jesus will return, and 2) he pegs the time down to 6 p.m. with the idea that it will begin in New Zealand and spread westward?  Really?  As a friend of mine from high school wrote on his Facebook page, "I just never thought that God would recognize the validity of a human concept like the International Date Line."  Indeed, Tony.  Indeed.
  • Make no mistake.  Jesus tells His disciples that He is coming again.  But He makes it very clear (repeatedly) that not even the Pope in Rome will know when that time will be.  As a born again believer, I know in my heart that I should be living EVERY day as though He will be coming.  I should be telling everyone I come across about the amazing things He has done in my life.  In my weakness, He is strong.  Christian means "Christ like".  While I do want to be more like the example He gave, and show His love to a hurting world, I am nothing like Christ.  He never sinned and I am sin itself.  More than being a "Christian", I want to have a close, personal relationship with Him.  That is more important and lasting than any label.  I want Him to come back, whenever that may be.  I know that when I stand before God's throne, I will have nothing to commend me to Him.  I will have no excuses or justifications for my life and the mistakes in it, other than the fact that Jesus loves me enough that He died in my place and will intercede on my behalf.  
  • It saddened me to see the open mockery taking place on Facebook.  Events set up for "post rapture looting" where people would "grab stereos and squat in mansions" when "God's not looking".  People trying to pin the rapture down to an expected day look foolish, and drag a lot of us down with them because we are both called "Christians".  Open mockery of God makes me sad and angry.  I believe that people are just so jaded and calloused that they really don't care whether they will be condemned to Hell if they reject Jesus and God.  Very, very, very sad.
I spent most of the day reading more of Nick Vujicic's book, "Life Without Limits".  I'm about 3/4 of the way through.  It is turning my life -and my attitudes about it- completely upside down.
Please, please, please read this book!!!
I'm going to close this and get ready for church in the morning.
I love you all and I hope that you are ready for Jesus' return, whenever that may be.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hang on! I'm getting caught up!

So I completely missed Go Here Thursday (again) and Frank Friday today.  Well, I guess technically I haven't missed FF if I post it before midnight.

Here's what's been going on behind the scenes to make me miss blogging on schedule:

Lucy Jane was burning the midnight oil to get this gorgeous piece done in time for this weekend's event in North GA. It's done, lovely, and fits perfectly. :)

And for those of you who have been interested in the ballgown that I did for her, here is a shot of her wearing it.  Also done, lovely and fits perfectly.  Two for two! :)

I've also been spending a lot of time in prayer and reading a fantastic book on living up to my full potential.  The book is "Life Without Limits" by Nick Vujicic.  It's amazing.  Even when you take out the whole physical limitations thing, just reading such heartfelt encouragement from such a strong believer is so very humbling and healing.  You can't read this book and not be changed inside.  I'm loving it.  Please get a copy if you can, and be encouraged to live your life to your best potential!

Here's the Marietta Diner "Go Here Thursday" that I've been promising:

Just north of Atlanta, in the beautiful city of Marietta, is a 24 hour diner.

View Larger Map

This diner has been serving the best seafood bisque on the planet, and the most amazing every-flavor- imaginable-and-bigger-than-your-head cakes for the last 17 years.  It's been featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives".  It's marvelous, fantastic, wonderful, and a bunch of other adjectives.
Why don't I just stop and let the photos do the plugging?
Are you in the car headed up I-75 yet?

As promised, here is the recipe for the awesome seafood bisque.
Husband and I are going tomorrow night for a date to see Pirates 4 and will head on over to the diner for some of that bisque goodness.

I hate to have to do this, but I'm going to postpone the Frank Friday post til tomorrow.  I have to upload the photos off of my camera and I've got a migraine coming on.  Starting to make me a bit sick. Blech.  I'm going to bed.

Sweet dreams, my lovelies.  I'll be dreaming of that cake case.... :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Alter Ego's Been A Busy Bee

As you may have read before, I work under the pseudonym of Lucy Jane Pennybright.  Lucy Jane is a seamstress of historical clothing and goods, as well as whimsical toys and other lovely things.

Lucy Jane's first 19th C. commission was for a full set of under things (minus the corset), a day dress, and a ballgown, all done in time for the reenactment event of the Battle of Resaca GA.

The day dress is almost done.  It should be complete tomorrow around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, barring any bizarre catastrophes.

But the ballgown, the hardest thing to make technically, is finished.  I thought you might want to see it.

Here is one photo, and you can find more here on Lucy Jane's blog.

Get up and get moving!

Happy Music Monday!

Today started a new schedule for me.  Instead of a Mon/Wed/Fri Jazzercise class at 9:30 a.m., I'm going to the one at 5:45 a.m.  Oh, yeah.  I am not a morning person and it's taking a cannon blast a shot of caffeine in my arm unbelievable self discipline to get up with my alarm at 5 a.m.  But it will be worth it.

So far it has started my day out really well.  I feel good (excepting that sinus headache from the rain clouds, but that's different) and I got home just in time to get the kids up and ready for school, which started their days off well, which hopefully will help my day continue to go well by the time they get home at 3 p.m.

Anyway, here are a few of the songs that we rock out to in Jazzercise.  Enjoy. :)


Cool Down/Stretch:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Did you miss me?

Due to work and Blogger being down, I haven't posted since Wednesday!  Horrors! :)

I don't know what Blogger's deal was, but I hope it all gets put back to rights soon!  At least I can post a quick update on a few things tonight.

We missed this week's Go Here Thursday and Frank Friday.

Go Here Thursday was going to be about the seafood bisque at the Marietta Diner.  I love that dish so much that not only will I give you a full length, devoted post to it next Thursday, but I will also find out the recipe!  After that I hope to review a couple of places that aren't food related, just to keep a good mix.

To be honest, you didn't miss anything for Frank Friday.  The extent of Frank's adventures have been to ride around in the center console of my van as I take the kids to school, and the occasional errand to the grocery store.  The rest of the time, he waits while I'm at the dining room table, sewing like a mad thing. I'm nearly done with the 19th C wardrobe that I'm creating for a client and friend, but any seamstress will tell you that it's all those little last thing details and trims that seem to take the longest time to finish.

If you want to see my progress so far, visit my alter ego's blog for stages of completion.  Monday night should have a huge post that shows the ballgown completely finished out, and the day dress at least at 90%, if not also completed.  These things are kicking my rear.  But they are sooo pretty. :)

In the midst of all this chaos, my alter ego is also sewing stuffed toys for a huge local festival that's coming up in 3 weeks.  The clock is ticking and the pressure is on, but I (we?) am (are?) doggedly determined to triumph and come out on top with this full wardrobe done, and an award winner of a festival booth.  June 6th will be the judge of how that all happened out, so stay tuned.

Really, that's all that I've been up to here.  I hope you've got all your Blogger posts and comments back and I'm looking forward to reading my bloglist more next week.

You know, when I don't have my foot on a sewing machine pedal and a bunch of straight pins sticking out of my mouth.

One of the elephants I'll have for sale at the festival.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Poetry Wednesday: "The Happy Seamstress"

An original composition, by my alter ego, as I sew a mid 19th C ballgown:

The Happy Seamstress

With patience and delight
I wind the thread through the sewing machine.
The strong cotton thread dances between the hooks
and the smooth metal spools
before slipping through the needle's eye.

It waits there, as though stopping for breath
before I bid it to dance again, in and out of the fabric.
The pedal makes a humming sound
and the bobbin twirls like a ballerina
to its electronic symphony.

I feel a creative bond with others who ply learn-ed trade.
The potter and his clay
The artist and her brush, loaded with paint
The blacksmith and his iron
The knitter and her basket of rainbow hued yarn, wools thin and thick.

Green satin slides across my table
as I guide it gently where I want it to go.
Inches and inches
Feet and feet
Yards and yards of it glide smoothly past three eyes, only two of which blink.

A ruffled trim now, and organza bows
Tiny pearl clusters in the centers
A waistband appears, and then a hem
This sea of green satin begins to take on shape and form
It is a dress now, almost.

One half of a beautiful gown, for a lady to wear with delight.
More satin waits expectantly for its turn to join the dance.
I smile with satisfaction and triumph as I try the finished part
on the dress form model- it's perfect!
More work ready for me tomorrow, I turn off the light and dream of things I love:

Thread, that holds my creations together.
Fabric, pleasant to see and feel.
Pins, that make my progress smooth and easy.
Ribbons, that tie ties and make pretty bows to decorate my fabric confections.
Happy and content, all of these await me when I wake.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Happy Tuesday morning, everyone!

I was originally going to take the day off from blogging today, as I am once again "sewing like a mad thing" downstairs and really need to focus.

But the Lord brought this to my mind when I got up this morning and I wanted to share it with you.  It's meaning is way more important than anything I have to get done today.  Please watch it all the way through.  I hope it impacts you in an awesome and positive way.  Please comment or message me if you would like to talk about it.  I'll have my alerts open in the background as I work all day, and will be sure to check messages tonight before bed.

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.    - Ephesians 2:4-5

Monday, May 9, 2011

Seams, Deadlines and Narnia

It's Music Monday!

While I've posted before about Hans Zimmer and his POTC score that motivates me as I get work done, there is another score that I shuffle in my iTunes for the same effect:

In particular is this track, which is where Peter, Caspian and Edmund (Mostly Peter) lead an attack on Miraz's castle in Telmar.  I hope it motivates you as much as it does me, as you go about your Monday and fold laundry or clean the kitchen or whatever it is you have to do today.   

As for me, I'll be finishing costumes (Due in 10 days!!!), sewing for a festival next month (have to be ready in 20 days!!!) and generally conquering the world.  :)


Friday, May 6, 2011

Frank Goes Back In Time

It's Frank Friday!

Last weekend we packed up a bunch of gear, some out of style clothes, a black powder gun and Frank, and moseyed on down to Selma, Alabama for the 146th anniversary Civil War reenactment.

Frank enjoyed himself immensely.  I carried him in my work basket (alongside some quilt blocks I am working on, and my carefully-concealed-from-view-unless-I'm-using-it camera.) and we traveled around the sutlers, saying hi to dear friends along the way.

Here is Frank with Miss Mary of The Paper Lady sutlery.

The name comes from the pre-made paper cartridges that Mary makes and sells by the box to soldiers.  But what I love her sutlery for, is the corsets and sewing supplies.  I sew like a mad thing, and I'm working hard to learn more techniques and be able to personally make every piece of a 19th Century costume.  But those corsets are just beyond me.  Holy. Cow. All the boning and the lacing and the fitting makes my head spin.  Not to mention the materials it has to be made out of, which would surely break more than a few sewing machine needles if I tried it yet.  Therefore, I make everything else, and leave the corset to her!  I highly, highly, highly recommend her wares.

Here is Frank with Mr. Johnson of Rum Creek sutlery.

Rum Creek used to sell a variety of art prints, but lately have become purveyors of excellent 19th century related books and dry goods.  Mr. Johnson and his brother, Chuck, are some of the nicest gentlemen in the hobby and as I shop around their store I always hear them asking visitors if they can be of any assistance.
I can sew Jake's shirts, but it's actually quicker, easier and more convenient (since I'm up to my ears in ladies things, mostly) to purchase them here.  The tailoring is excellent and the price is very reasonable.  Plus, there is a large variety of colors to choose from, so Jake can find exactly what he wants.  At Selma, I also purchased a pair of reproduction eyeglass frames that I will get fitted with my prescription.  Like Mary's sutlery, I highly recommend Rum Creek's wares.  They will be at the Resaca, GA reenactment next.

Frank also posed with my husband and our friend Jesse before the battle on Sunday:

Frank then went back to the camp to "nap" in my tent, so that's all the photos I have of him at Selma.  Here are a few more photos of us and our hilarity, though. Enjoy. :)

This is generally how Marilyn and I start out a reenactment together.

The guys on Saturday

A friend and myself at the ball on Saturday night.
I have GOT to make a new ballgown! Ugh!
Best Friends

Period correct photo of us being serious
Us being friendly
Us being... well.  Us.

Jennifer and Shelby playing a period game called "Graces"

Yes, they really did burn the cabin down to the ground.  Every year. :)

Honoring those who lost their lives in the Tuscaloosa Alabama tornadoes last month

For more of Frank's Adventures, here is a previous post about him going to Florida for Spring Break.
I'll be sharing his other past shenanigans next week. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I've been tagged!

Tara at Tara Tyler Talks, has tagged me. It's the first time I've played blog tag, so here goes:

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be? When my  husband kissed me for the first time. (When we were dating at 16)

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
My dad's health, so he might have been alive longer.  At least to see his grandkids.

What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?
Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail".  She tries to keep everything running smoothly and under control, but it's really not in control at all. She tries to cope with the change in her life as best she can while still discovering who she is in herself.  And we both go "blank" and can't think of what we should have said to someone who is being awful to us. :)

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
You couldn't get away with it.  Your sins will find you out.  But even so, I would never wish harm on anyone like that.

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
Setting myself up for failure/disappointment (read: procrastination).  If I could set and meet smaller goals consistently and not get so overwhelmed, I think I would be much less stressed out.

Describe yourself in one word.

Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.
I like to find common ground with other people (while expressing my thoughts, feelings and funny stories) and make new friends.

Name at least 3 people to send this meme to, and then inform them:
Lydia @ This End Upside Down
Sue @ I Refuse To Go Quietly
Taylor @ A River Of Consciousness

4th of May Cafe

Ok, yes, I realize that yesterday was actually the 4th of May (any Star Wars fans out there, "May the 4th be with you.") and today is Cinco de Mayo (way to whoop the French in mid 19th C, Mexico!), but yesterday was Poetry Wednesday, not Go Here Thursday, so I'm a day behind.

But now it IS Go Here Thursday!
Today's recommended place to go is...

Unless this is the very first of my blog posts that you've ever read, you should have gathered by now that I'm in love with the coast.  Particularly coastal GA.  St. Simon's Island has my name all freaking over it and I promise that one day before I die I will take up permanent residence there.  While I'm real estate shopping (and playing the lottery to afford said real estate...), I visit as often as I can.

Each time I've gone, I've eaten at 4th of May Cafe and I have never been disappointed.  The food is SO GOOD.  Opened by 3 friends who shared the same birthday, The 4th of May is located in the St. Simon's Island Pier Village area.

View Larger Map

My DH loves the Grouper fish sandwich and Marilyn got the "Harvest Cobb Salad" one time- Check this out:

"Fresh mixed greens, diced apples, dried cranberries, plump raisins, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, sunflower seeds & your choice of baked ham or roast turkey. This salad is great with our Raspberry Vinaigrette."

Yum!  I always get "Aunt Helen's Yankee Pot Roast", the "Shrimp Platter" (from local markets!) or the "Chicken Tenders". And the pumpkin muffins.  Those are amazing!
Nom nom nom!!! So tasty.  

The prices are really reasonable too- about the same as Applebee's or Cracker Barrel.  But much better food and excellent service!  If you decide to go, keep in mind that they are very popular, so there may be a short wait and you may want to get there ahead of the lunch and dinner crowds.

Frank the Adventurous Ape has been to 4th of May Cafe!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poetry Wednesday: "Growltiger's Last Stand" by TS Eliot

This is my favorite selection from T.S. Eliot's book The Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats, which was the basis for Lloyd Webber's hit Broadway musical, CATS.  Available only on the full original cast recording soundtrack, and in the live production, Growltiger's Last Stand is the past role that Gus the Theatre Cat reminisces about during his song in the musical.
Adam Jones and I used to sing it together in high school when we were supposed to be drawing and painting in art class.  That qualifies as "art".  Doesn't it? ;)
Growltiger's Last Stand 
by T. S. Eliot
GROWLTIGER was a Bravo Cat, who lived upon a barge;
In fact he was the roughest cat that ever roamed at large.
From Gravesend up to Oxford he pursued his evil aims,
Rejoicing in his title of "The Terror of the Thames."

His manners and appearance did not calculate to please;
His coat was torn and seedy, he was baggy at the knees;
One ear was somewhat missing, no need to tell you why,
And he scowled upon a hostile world from one forbidding eye.

The cottagers of Rotherhithe knew something of his fame,
At Hammersmith and Putney people shuddered at his name.
They would fortify the hen-house, lock up the silly goose,
When the rumour ran along the shore: GROWLTIGER'S ON THE LOOSE!

Woe to the weak canary, that fluttered from its cage;
Woe to the pampered Pekinese, that faced Growltiger's rage.
Woe to the bristly Bandicoot, that lurks on foreign ships,
And woe to any Cat with whom Growltiger came to grips!

But most to Cats of foreign race his hatred had been vowed;
To Cats of foreign name and race no quarter was allowed.
The Persian and the Siamese regarded him with fear--
Because it was a Siamese had mauled his missing ear.

Now on a peaceful summer night, all nature seemed at play,
The tender moon was shining bright, the barge at Molesey lay.
All in the balmy moonlight it lay rocking on the tide--
And Growltiger was disposed to show his sentimental side.

His bucko mate, GRUMBUSKIN, long since had disappeared,
For to the Bell at Hampton he had gone to wet his beard;
And his bosun, TUMBLEBRUTUS, he too had stol'n away-
In the yard behind the Lion he was prowling for his prey.

In the forepeak of the vessel Growltiger sate alone,
Concentrating his attention on the Lady GRIDDLEBONE.
And his raffish crew were sleeping in their barrels and their bunks--
As the Siamese came creeping in their sampans and their junks.

Growltiger had no eye or ear for aught but Griddlebone,
And the Lady seemed enraptured by his manly baritone,
Disposed to relaxation, and awaiting no surprise--
But the moonlight shone reflected from a thousand bright blue eyes.

And closer still and closer the sampans circled round,
And yet from all the enemy there was not heard a sound.
The lovers sang their last duet, in danger of their lives--
For the foe was armed with toasting forks and cruel carving knives.
Then GILBERT gave the signal to his fierce Mongolian horde;
With a frightful burst of fireworks the Chinks they swarmed aboard.
Abandoning their sampans, and their pullaways and junks,
They battened down the hatches on the crew within their bunks.

Then Griddlebone she gave a screech, for she was badly skeered;
I am sorry to admit it, but she quickly disappeared.
She probably escaped with ease, I'm sure she was not drowned--
But a serried ring of flashing steel Growltiger did surround.

The ruthless foe pressed forward, in stubborn rank on rank;
Growltiger to his vast surprise was forced to walk the plank.
He who a hundred victims had driven to that drop,
At the end of all his crimes was forced to go ker-flip, ker-flop.

Oh there was joy in Wapping when the news flew through the land;
At Maidenhead and Henley there was dancing on the strand.
Rats were roasted whole at Brentford, and at Victoria Dock,
And a day of celebration was commanded in Bangkok.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Blog Structure! Sorta.

Now that the A-Z Challenge AND the reflections post on it are over, it's time to move on.  I found, while reading a lot of other blogs during the challenge, that many bloggers have something of a set "schedule" of what days they write and what general category that day's post will be about.

It seems like a good idea, especially for those like me who are finding they want to blog more, but are still unsure of what exactly to write about, (and are otherwise so disorganized in the rest of their lives) that some basic structure is needed.

I'll post it here as well, but if you ever want to know my decided blogging schedule, you can scroll down to the bottom of my blog; it is there between my Jazzercise goal counter and my fish pond. :)

Music Mondays- Posts about pieces of music that I love and/or find around the internets.

Random Tuesdays- Posts about whatever happens to be happening at the time or something that catches my short attention span.

Poetry Wednesdays- Verse, written either by me or someone else. (Will likely end up usually being by someone else.)

Go Here Thursdays- My recommendations to places or things: restaurants, blogs, museums, cities, attractions, parks, stuff I've tried and liked and where you can get it. (I won't be compensated in any way for these. It's my own opinions and praise, not an affiliation or sponsorship.)

Frank Fridays: One of two things- either me being frank about something that has happened (in the news, my political opinion, how rude the check out lady was at the store....) OR photos and stories of Frank the Adventurous Ape. (places my stuffed monkey Frank has been and what he's been doing.) Hopefully the "Frank TAA" posts will outnumber the "me being generally frank" posts.

Saturday and Sunday will either be non-posting days, or the occasional randomness post days (like Tuesdays).

Thanks in advance for keeping up with me as I continue my blogging adventures!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A-Z Challenge Reflections

The picture on the right sidebar really says it all: I accepted the April A-Z Challenge and I finished it!

So now that it's over, I'm really looking at how my blogging- and my blog itself- has changed.  Here are a few awesome facts about completing this challenge:

Awesomeness #1: I made a ton of new friends.  I found so many interesting blogs to follow that I never would have dreamed of reaching simply by using Bloggers "Next Blog" button at the top of the page.  Instead, these were all bloggers with whom I instantly already had something in common with- the A-Z challenge- and from there it wasn't hard to find other common ground.  My blogroll grew like it had eaten one of Wonderland's magic cookies/that one side of the mushroom.  (As an aside, I think Alice was daft for taking advice from a talking caterpillar regarding a mushroom and what it would do.  I mean, it could have killed her.  Just sayin'.)

Awesomeness #2: Just as I found many amazing blogs to follow and new "friends" to get to know through the internet, my follower count nearly quadrupled as a direct result of participating in the challenge.  I had 8 at the end of March; as I write this post, I'm sitting at 30.  That just blows me away!  The more I blog, the more I like it, and I am glad to see that there are other bloggers who have enjoyed my past posts enough to want to keep reading what I write!  It's encouraging, humbling, and exciting all at once, and I hope I live up to their expectations. :)

Awesomeness #3: The sheer volume of traffic and page counts.  I literally had twice as many page views in the month of April as I did for the entire rest of my blog ever.  In late February I was all excited and wrote this post on reaching 1,000 page views.  I mean, you have to start somewhere and that was a great milestone.  Now, thanks to the A-Z challenge,  a mere 10 weeks later and my page view count is over 3,200!!!  It makes me feel like I've accomplished something really good for that many people to be stopping by for a visit! :)

Awesomeness #4: Which probably should have been #1: Setting a goal and meeting it, and learning new things along the way.  I have a huge problem with procrastination, time management, and getting overwhelmed.  This challenge helped me to set the goal of writing a post every day (except Sundays), and how to schedule a post to appear if there was going to be a challenge day where I couldn't be at the computer (there were a couple).  I learned some code in the midst of it too, for posting active links in comments on other blogs, making buttons, and stuff like that.  I feel so accomplished to have said I wanted to do the challenge, wrote a post on time, every day, and then Z came and I had done what I set out to do!

Awesomeness #5: Without actually copying anyone else's style, I found some blogs that inspired me to set out a posting schedule for after the challenge.  I may not do a post every day, but I think I have a good idea of what I want to write about, on what days of the week, that would keep me on a set path but still allow me creativity and free reign.  In other words, as a generally unorganized and creative artist, I'm learning that structure, schedules, goals and organization are good things that I need more of to become the person that I want to be.  I'm still playing with the themes, but I'll figure it out and post a "This is what I'm more or less going to do after the Challenge" entry before I begin sticking to a schedule.  And of course, if I got the idea from somewhere in particular, I will be giving credit (and links) where it is due.

So that's my summary of the A-Z Challenge, and I can't wait to do it again next year!!!
I wish I could link everyone in this post, but I'm picking my top ten (in no particular order).
Special thanks and hugs goes to:

  • Jayne at A Novice Novelist- it was on her blog in March that I saw the link to the challenge and said "Hey, that looks like fun."  I wouldn't have done it without you, Jayne!
  • Arlee at Tossing It Out- thank you so much for hosting this challenge, explaining the rules, offering encouragement and posting that awesome button for me to brag about finishing the challenge!  I will be on your linky list next year!  (You also inspired me to learn how to juggle.)
  • Sharlene at Rockin' Chair Reflections- I loved your comments.  Seeing a comment from you always made my day!  You are precious and I'm glad we 'met' through the challenge!
  • Deirdra at A Storybook World- thank you for my first award!!!  You can't imagine how that boosted my writing confidence!  I love your author interviews, and my trips to the library have definitely become more interesting and productive as a result of reading your blog!
  • Sue at I Refuse To Go Quietly- finding a fellow A-Z blogger with my same Christian faith and also same interests (yarn, genealogy, music... are you sure we weren't separated at birth..?!) in you is just amazing.  I can't wait to trade an elephant for some knitted ruby slippers! Preferably in person when I make it over to the UK in 2013! ;) PS, I LOVE your flash fiction too!
  • Lydia at This End Upside Down- my friend of many years, my Meg, I am so proud of you!  You have taken to blogging like a duck to water (or other, equally nice idiom), and I love to read your posts and see how you use this newfound medium to express yourself.  Congratulations on finishing the challenge!
  • Adam at Meet Adam Jones- also my friend of many years, I'm proud of you for doing this challenge! Though I don't always condone the content of your posts, I am SO glad I sent you that text and you accepted the challenge!  I love your creativity and your posts made me laugh, most of the time.  Especially the owl one that involved me. ;)
  • Niki at Wool 'N' Nuts- I love your New Zealand pictures and your recipes!!! And your U post made me laugh!  I like your poetry, even if the subject is a little... unusual! :)
  • Lisa at Read.Write.Repeat.- I loved the variety of your posts; you remind me of me!  The Pixar one was a great treat, as well as the ones of our shared loves, Jane and HP.  I also loved all of your comments to my posts. So glad to have met you!
  • Laura at A Hootie Hoot- such a cute blog!  And the S post was made of magic! (After all, who is more magical than her?!) :)  Looking forward to reading more of your blog, post A-Z challenge.

Congratulations to ALL of the bloggers who took part in the challenge- over 1,000 of you!  I wish I could have had the time to read them all.

See everyone soon. :)