“The best index to a person's character is how
he treats people who can't do him any good,
and how he treats people who can't fight back.”
~~Abigail Van Buren

Hi all,

Those of you who know me know that I've become a bit of a news junkie.  However, that was not always so.  When I was younger, if I reached for the paper, it was for one of three reasons:

1.  I wanted to read the comics.

2.  I wanted to read the People section and see if John or anyone affiliated with TBAA was in it and, barring that, if there was any interesting entertainment news.
3.  I wanted to read Ann Landers and/or Dear Abby.

So I guess it was no surprise that I've spent part of this last week reading some of the lovely tributes being written about Pauline Friedman Phillips aka Abigail Van Buren aka Dear Abby.  I've done a pretty good job, I think, of crediting the cultural references that filter into all things Dyeland.  But I don't think I've done as good of a job with crediting those who inspire the style of the regular JABB newsletters.  Because of Dear Abby and Ann Landers, we have our own advice columns: Dear Annie Dru and Advice from the Angel of Angels.  When I write those, I often think "What would Abby or Ann say to this..."  Really I have no clue how they'd deal with drama between angels and their human friends but I know they would respond with compassion and wit and I try to bring a lil of both to these fictional replies.  So I'm going to turn this over to Annie Dru and the Angel of Angels with fond memories of seeking guidance myself from twin sisters who came from my beloved Midwest.

God bless,

Dear Annie Dru

Dear Annie Dru,

I'm new to these parts and find myself with all sorts of questions.  However, I realize my new friends (family!) have a right to privacy.  Should I patiently wait for the stories I'm longing for to trickle out or do you think it's okay to ask questions?  I don't want to put them on the spot but I'm afraid that if I don't learn some more about them then at some point I'm going to say something very stupid and potentially hurtful.

Peter Parker

Dear Bruce Wayne,

;-)  I think the key thing to remember is that there aren't a whole lot of new people brought into Dyeland.  The fact that you're here shows that your new friends trust you.  They know you'd never ask anything to be hurtful.  Besides, if there's one thing I know about the ladies of Dyeland it's this: they *love* talking about Andrew.  So ask away!  Maybe add a clause like "If you'd rather not answer or would feel better if I asked someone else then that's okay" if you want.  That way the pressure is off them and they know you won't be pushy.  However, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised about just how open your friends will be. 

Annie Dru

Dear Annie Dru,

I have a dilemma... I think.  Maybe not.  My roommate and I are being completely spoiled.  Every week one of our friends comes over and does our laundry.  She and another friend come over pretty regularly to help straighten up the house, too.  Us guys love seeing them but how can we get them to realize that they don't need to work every time they're over here?  They do seem happy so maybe we should not say anything? 

Please advise,
Smelling April Fresh

Dear April Fresh,

That name going on a T-shirt now?  My advice: chill out in your freshly laundered flannel in your lint-free recliner.  While you were away, your friends had to forgo a lot of the nurturing they usually bestow on you.  Now you're back and seeing the result of over three months of having those impulses denied.  And you have a cute-as-a-button roommate who everyone loves, too.  Accept that these neat freak activities are actually your friends indulging in their desire to protect and comfort you and the roomie.  Eventually that need will become less pressing but for now just be thankful and you boys can repay their kindness with home cooked meals.  And dessert.  *Never* forget the dessert.

Annie Dru

Dear Annie Dru,

So a friend is taking a bunch of us on vacation thanks to the generosity of some other friends.  I'm so looking forward to going.  The shows!  The food!  The quality time together!  The problem?  It's an amusement park and I'm not sure I can handle those fast, loopy, quick drop rides any more.  But I don't want to be alone while my friends go.  What should I do?

Much thanks for any guidance,
Wobbly One

Dear Wobbly,

I'm sure there will be others who share your hesitation and will find other means to amuse themselves while your other friends decide to take their chances with gravity.  Stick with them.  But if you want, give the rides a try.  You might just find that those thrill rides can be a lot less intimidating when surrounded by angels.  But do me a favor, will you?  Bring me back one of those ridiculous photos showing all of you looking like The Scream as you careen down a roller coaster drop. 

Annie Dru

Advice from the Angel of Angels

Dear Sir,

I have a really, really amazing supervisor.  His life is pretty unconventional and a lot of other angels are very curious about him.  How do I go about answering their questions?  I don't want to reveal too much about my supervisor or our human friends.  However, I totally understand the other angels' curiosity.  I was like them once but, thankfully, I worked in Records so could get my "fix" that way.  What do you think, sir?

Most Sincerely,
A Very Blessed Protege

Dear Very Blessed,

You certainly are that as are we all!  You won't do any harm in sharing a little about your supervisor's assignments and general information about the time you spend with your human friends.  I think you will have little problem telling the difference between recounting life among your friends and betraying confidences.  Most everyone, angel and human, enjoys sharing anecdotes about their loved ones.  (As you know, the Father has an entire Book in which He does exactly this.)  Your accounts may even comfort our newer angels facing their first assignments on earth.  I'm sure you recall how daunting that can be.  When in doubt, ask your friends if they mind your sharing a particular remembrance.  You may be surprised how touched they are to know you think about them when you're Home.

Be at peace,
The Angel of Angels

Dear Angel of Angels,

What is the problem with young angels today?  Their speech is indecorous.  Their clothing choices are atrocious.  I saw one walking around with red hair.  I don't mean normal red hair.  I mean hair as red as a tulip.  How can I help improve the condition of our ranks?

The Old Guard

Dear Old Guard,

You could adjust your attitude.

Be at peace,
The Angel of Angels

Dear Angel of Angels,

I was created a few years ago and am doing my best to do the Father's will and bring His love to my assignments.  I know I don't look like most of the other angels.  My hair is really red and I wear clothes that an assignment once told me were "the best Steampunk clothes they'd ever seen."  I feel like the look enables them to trust me more which is important because I'm in Search and Rescue and don't have much time to make an impression.  However, there's another angel who I feel looks down on me because of how I look.  What should I say to her?

Steampunk Sallie

Dear Steampunk Sallie,

I hope that when you see this in print, you will note that your concern has been addressed.  Always remember this: the Father created you just as you are and loves you just as you are.  He also loves all of His children regardless of their clothes or hair color or choice of accessories.  He is proud of you for making choices that enable you to better reach your assignments.  Don't let a busybody upset you.  You are making many of us very, very proud.

Be at peace,
The Angel of Angels

Well, I think I'm too old to fully embrace the Steampunk phase.  Or maybe I'm just too cheap.  ;-)  In any case, I loved that TBAA showed us that God loves us regardless of our outward appearance.  So this newsletter is dedicated to John's gorgeous portrayal of Andrew as he cared for those who society often turns their nose up at or shakes their head over.  When Andrew cared for China, defended Tony, and showed respect for anyone who others disrespected; it made me feel just a little more secure about my own place in this world.  I'm confident others felt that, too. ~Jenni


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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.)