As anyone who’s ever tagged me for a meme knows, if I don’t answer right away then I never do. And to be honest, I never answer right away, usually because I can’t think of what to write. By the time the words would have come to me, I’ve usually forgotten the assignment. (Incidentally, this is not very different from my middle school years, when I procrastinated on my homework until long past the expiration date. Of course, back then I could blame it on friends, lack of motivation, and an unhealthy interest in a certain few boys who, in turn, had no interest in me whatsoever.)

But when my friend Robin Bielman awarded my blog — and six others — the lovely badge to the left, I knew I couldn’t ignore it. Sheer terror had much to do with my dutiful response, since Robin knows where I live, she could totally take me in a fight, she knows several of my more potent secrets, and she critiques my writing. There was more to it than lack of courage, however. I loved the spirit of this award, which was designed to acknowledge bloggers who tirelessly entertain near-strangers with regular, good-quality content — and all for free.

It’s deciding which worthy bloggers deserved the honor next that gave me the most difficulty, of course. How is it possible to narrow down my favorite blogs to just seven, even when accounting for those who had already received the badge from someone else? And how could I do that without hurting the feelings of those who were left? After all, I think everyone on my blogroll is deserving of recognition. And so I grabbed all of the eligible names from my sorely outdated list of links, shuffled them in a high-tech fashion, and chose the top seven. If you have the opportunity, please take a few moments to check out the following blogs, as well as the ones from my blogroll that ended up later in the randomized list and so didn’t get chosen this time around. I bet you’ll find some fun new reads that way.

And now, without further fanfare, I hereby present the I Love Your Blog badge of honor to:

  • Katie from Cactus Kate for her gorgeous photographs and awe-inspiring gardening abilities
  • Courtney from Five-Second Dance Party for her unflinching honesty and warm-heartedness
  • Sandi Kahn Shelton for writing posts that never fail to make me laugh and, on some occasions, tear up
  • Alyson Noel from Tales from the Real OC (Really!) for her fun updates, insights into the life of an author, and many cool website recommendations
  • Chemical Billy for writing drop dead gorgeous prose that makes the world around her come alive for her readers
  • Eileen Cook from Just My Type for finding the most random, bizarre, and entertaining links to pass on to the rest of us. I don’t know how she does it!
  • Emily from The Sassy Lime for being such a sweetie, and for her cheerfulness in the face of near-constant pain

Thank you, ladies, for your inspiring, entertaining, and always-interesting posts! Please pass on the blog love by putting the badge of honor on your sites and awarding it to seven other deserving bloggers.

Note on a Unrelated Topic: If you’re reading this through an email subscription or an RSS feed, or at http://www.caryncaldwell.com/blog, you have been successfully transferred over to my new blog. Stay tuned for a fun surprise later this weekend!