"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."
~~Saint Augustine

Hi all,

Happy Easter!  I wrote this little story while trying to make sure the dogs didn't get into a bunch of chocolate.  I hope you enjoy it and, if there are lots of typos, blame Leo!

God bless,

A New Look
April 1st, 2018

Easter Sunday dawned breezy and warm in Dyeland City.  It brought with it not only the usual promise of hope and everlasting love but also a much welcome respite and retreat for the Friends.  Beyond the usual busyness of Jesus Christ Superstar season at St. Genesius', their time and emotions had also been wrapped up in Joshua's current "assignment."  It had been nearly two months since they'd all been roused from their warm beds by a text from JenniAnn.

Have Joshua at Willowveil.  Something's up.  Come ASAP.

That was quickly followed up by a text from Andrew.

Do NOT panic.  He's fine.  Not great but fine.  Just get here as quickly as you *safely* can.

Within the hour, they'd all arrived at Willowveil where they'd taken turns mopping the sleeping, feverish brow of their beloved Master.

Thankfully, there had been no similar threats to Joshua's physical health since then.  He'd waved it off as too many nights outside in the early February cold and, since then, the haggardness had fallen away and he'd regained his usual appearance, give or take a few wrinkles or sprigs of gray.

That was why, on Easter morning, JenniAnn, Kemara, and Emma were so shocked when a breezy Joshua entered the kitchen in search of a mug of coffee.

"Good morning, my girls!" he chirped as he grabbed his mug from the strainer.

"Good... morning?" JenniAnn gulped out as she accepted a kiss on her cheek.

"Yeah... uh... happy Easter!" Kemara greeted with forced cheer as she, too, was kissed.

"And to all of you, as well!"  Joshua took a deep, relaxing breath and smiled.

Emma approached, coffee pot in hand.  After receiving her own kiss, she began to pour.

"So... how are you feeling?" she ventured, struggling to meet Joshua's gaze.

"Great!  Like an all-new me," Joshua replied with a grin.  "Are you the only ones up?"

"No.  Andrew, Zeke, and Shane are out back... by the shop.  Grilling sausages," JenniAnn explained.

"Well, then, I'll go outside and wish them a good morning.  Back soon.  The pancakes smell great!"

With that, Joshua hugged each of the women and left the kitchen.

JenniAnn, Kemara, and Emma remained silently shocked for a few moments.

"Umm... so are we going to talk about that?" Kemara eventually queried.

"Maybe it's for his assignment?  I mean..."  Emma sighed.

"Joshua wouldn't give into racism," JenniAnn averred.  "I can't imagine he'd change his appearance just to fit in."

"Of course not," Emma agreed.  "But he does change his appearance if it'll help get people to listen.  I mean isn't that the whole point of the Incarnation?"

"True."  JenniAnn nodded.  "But... but..."

Kemara chuckled and squeezed her friend's shoulders.

"I'm sure it's not permanent."

"No, probably not... but it looks like he skinned a Shih-Tzu and put it on his head!" JenniAnn whined.

Emma giggled at the idea.

"My mind went more to a L'Oreal commercial but... sure."

"And the dishwater blonde does bring out the gold in his eyes," Kemara pointed out.

"But it's so silky and... and... pretty!" JenniAnn continued.

"Honestly, it reminds me a lot of Andrew's hair when it's long," Emma offered.

JenniAnn adamantly shook her head.

"No way.  And it's not nearly so lovely as Joshua's normal... REAL... hair.  The way it's all dark and thick and the curls kinda wrap around your fingers..."

Emma and Kemara looked at each other with raised eye brows.

"Hey!  You didn't spend months doing his hair and make-up!" JenniAnn defended.

"No, we didn't," Kemara admitted before grinning.  "But I do still think you should maybe talk to someone about your attachment to Joshua's hair."

As Emma laughed, JenniAnn rolled her eyes.

"Okay, okay.  So maybe I'm a little bit obsessive.  And, after all, he's still the same Joshua underneath..."  JenniAnn gulped.  "That."

"Right.  Though shalt love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, and might," Emma recited.  "Even when he has a really, really bad hair day."

In spite of herself, JenniAnn laughed.

"Where is that written?"

"The Book of St. Vidal of Sassoon," Emma joked.

Kemara erupted with laughter, nearly pouring an entire bowl of pancake batter onto a skillet.


"That's okay.  We'll just cut it into multiple pieces."  JenniAnn checked on the various fruit toppings they'd concocted and were warming.  "I wish Maryam was here.  She'd know if we should be concerned."

Emma's eyes watered.

"I wish she was, too.  For multiple reasons."

The comment caused all the women to think back on the weeks before, of all the trials and disappointments.

Emma shook her head, rousing herself from her melancholia.

"But today is Easter.  It's Joshua's day.  And so we'll celebrate him as best and as fully as we can.  Just like we all agreed."

"Hear, hear."  Kemara clinked her mug against Emma's.

JenniAnn nodded.

"Of course.  To Joshua."

"To Joshua," Kemara and Emma echoed.


Within the hour, Willowveil Castle came alive as everyone congregated in the ballroom, awaiting Easter brunch.

"How ya doing?" Andrew asked as he stood by JenniAnn, filling cups with juice and milk.

"I'm good.  It's such a lovely day and nearly everyone we hold dear is here and..."

"I meant about, ya know, the hair..." Andrew prompted with concern.

JenniAnn looked across the room to where Joshua was spinning and dancing with the children.  Now it was in a ponytail.

"It's becoming... a bit less shocking, I guess.  I just wish I knew why he'd done it.  Do you think we should be concerned?"

Andrew shrugged.

"Curious, maybe.  But not concerned.  Joshua's not shy about asking for help when he wants it."

"True."  JenniAnn again peered at where the carpenter was romping around with the children.  She was struck by a sudden thought.

"Don't you think it's odd that none of the kids seemed at all shocked?  I mean Belle was all questions and curiosity when I put my hair in a bun last month.  And yet... Joshua goes blonde surfer and nothing?"

"Would you really call that 'blonde surfer'?" Andrew checked, dragging a hand through his own long locks.

JenniAnn hugged his middle.

"No, not really.  On you it looks perfectly natural... and lovely."  She reached up to give Andrew's hair a playful tug.

"It's a good point about Belle and the other kids, though.  And she did seem especially giggly last night.  I just chalked it up to anticipation of the Easter egg hunt but..."

"Maybe she knows something we don't?"


"Hot pancakes!  Come and get em... after we pray!" Caleb announced as he, Sean, and Peter rolled in several bowl and platter-laden carts.

The group needed no further encouragement.  They each took their places at the assorted tables then looked expectantly at Joshua.

After the traditional prayer before meals in Aramaic, Joshua offered his own blessing.

"Dad, we thank You for this food You've given us to sustain us.  Thank You for the creativity and generosity of those who so lovingly prepared it.  I'm filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be here among our beloved children, celebrating with them.  You know that their care and love for me means everything to me.  You also know that sometimes that care and love weighs heavily on them and, in seeking to help me, they sometimes needlessly put away things that would bring them joy."

As Joshua continued, many of the adults opened their eyes and peered at each other.  Of course they knew Joshua knew about their little sacrifices and plots to do the best by him.  It was a little odd, however, hearing it declared out loud.

"I also thank You for the cooperation of our little ones here who kept my secret.  I know You will bless us with a beautiful day filled with each other's companionship and love.  Amen.  And, oh yeah, happy April Fool's Day!"

All eyes turned to Joshua at the abrupt change in tone.  Gone were his flowing, blonde locks... back were his ebony curls... and a headband sporting two pastel bunny ears.

Joshua winked and broke into laughter.

"It was a prank!" JenniAnn shouted with obvious relief.

"And we kept it quiet!" Liam cheered.

Daisy nodded.

"Joshua told us last night."

In the midst of embracing the crowd of Friends that had closed in around him, Joshua looked up and nodded.

"I appreciate the thought behind what all of you decided," he explained.  "Truly.  I know you 'banned' April Fool's Day because you didn't want anything to detract from my day.  But I adore your laughter and your creativity.  So, by order of yours truly, the Lord God Incarnate, consider the ban struck," he proclaimed with a playful glint in his eyes and a hearty laugh.  "Happy Easter Fool's Day!  And now... some music while we dine."

From out of no where, a song rang out... perfectly blending the two holidays as the Friends celebrated and loved on God's Own Fool.

"So come lose your life for a carpenter's son,
For a madman who died for a dream
And you'll have the faith His first followers had
And you'll feel the weight of the beam.
So surrender the hunger to say you must know,
Have the courage to say 'I believe'
For the power of paradox opens your eyes
And blinds those who say they can see.
So we follow God's own Fool,
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable,
And come be a fool as well."
~~"God's Own Fool" by Michael Card

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for reminding us of Easter's promise: there is life after death.

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(Photo Credits: The photograph used on this page is from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  It is not being used to seek profit.)